The Geneforged Sorceress (Part 2) – Lost in Silvasung Forest

It was days after Anya first entered the Silvasung forest, losing the danger of being hunted by the guards and the hissing, the ominous hissing which sound fell upon her stubby ears gave her a boost of adrenaline, enough to sprint faster and further into the forest’s depth. She was lost, surrounded by vegetation and had no clue or indication as to her location. The summit of Caldera could act as a point of reference but only during the day and only if the weather was clear enough that the cloud ceiling wasn’t obscuring the steam spewing beacon. Using the main road would have been too risky when she had first escaped, even if she did know it’s location she dared not return to it.

Her feet were in agony and went into spasm frequently while she tore fresh pieces off her cloak. Taking the self made bandages off her feet stung relentlessly. Is was the best attempt she could do to protect the open sores that were created through the exertion of running practically barefoot. The ash that was buried under the leaf litter still managed to find it’s way into the wounds and caused a minor sting that to her concern became duller by the day. Stepping on the smallest of stones however sharp was still noticeable and when dug into her fleshy soles provoked the pain to continue.

However bad the hurting she felt, it was mild compared to the bitter coldness of the nights. The first night away from the ambient warmth of Caldera was a drastic change for her body. Being a cold blooded creature the slightest change affected her, lethargy and depression kicked in, an almost minor sense of regret crept into her mind. ‘Was this really better than her life before escaping?’ While she was adept in survival the change in environment would prove to be a tremendous challenge, a far cry from the hazed alleyways and sewers of the city. Trying to start a fire was next to impossible because of the wood’s high resistance to burn and trying to ignite anything flammable would instead consume more energy than it would take for it to combust, something she was in short supply.

There was a strange lack of flesh based life for a forest of this size and with no clear indication as to why. Anya’s stomach was demanding, yet another ache brought to the forefront of her mind and required a sacrifice however small, to end it’s torment. The only life apart from the young drake herself was and assortment of insects found under the deadwood and moveable moss covered rockery. All the little morsels could be hidden under nearly every inanimate but moveable object and just required a small effort to overturn their protective homes.

Lifting a chuck of decayed wood revealed a plater of scurrying miniature life in an assortment of shapes antenna and many many legs, it would take a deft hand just to provide a small mouthful. For a carnivorous race like the Calderani, insects were not the palatable choice for those who become accustomed to dine of the meatier farmed livestock. Living rough in the shadows of others and the alleys of the Calderan streets, food wasn’t handed out a plate. So the feast before her was more that she would have eaten normally over the course of any week.

Greed filled her mind knowing that it still qualified as edible food, the requirement she needed to sustain herself. While the numerous appendages and frittering of many legs would have deterred many, Anya’s instinct and desire to survive kicked in. Hunger closed out of her mind the hideous sensation of each of them crawling around the inside of her mouth and over her dry forked tongue. There was no hesitation to chew and their wriggling bodies were brought to an abrupt end with her pointed teeth shearing through their carapace, barely mashed into a paste before being swallowed.

After a few cringing moments and cracking of abdomens, her belly filled enough that she felt content that starvation wouldn’t claim her, something she very rarely enjoyed. She continued her journey further into the forest. After many days walking with the agonising pain, fear set in as she knew that she could no longer continue. While her mind had the determination her body had no energy. Her legs froze stiff and could no longer hold her fragile weight, she slumped to the ground almost splitting her head open on a sharp outcropping rock, the war she fought against the pain had come to an overwhelming conclusion. Anya’s last conscious moments were of the horrible sound she tried sparing herself from the first days of her forestry hike.

…the hissing had returned.

From out of the bushes appear a blur of white hideous maws of miniature razor sharp teeth with legs and eyes attached. The hissing was the sound of millions upon millions of these small bug like creatures pouring over one another, struggling to be the first to their next destination. It almost appeared as a liquid slushing through the undergrowth where they slivered over and through everything in it’s path. They meandered towards Anya as incarnation of Ignaria and saw no resistance to their devastation, just as one would expect a creation of the Goddess of Destruction who would see to the end of everything good or bad. No remorse, no guilt. Just an eternal wave of devouring macro plague looking for a new host.

Reaching just inches beyond her feet a blinding light flooded the area and a strange force shield blocked the creatures which was just as close from the opposite side. The white mass piled up against the bubble, damned up by a protective magik. Anya was inched away hands first by an entity unknown towards an unknown destination…


Prompt: http://jeremysdailychallenge.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/tuesday-conundrum-26-august/


Laura Steel © 2014

The priestess’ prayer

The priestess rested upon the gold metallic rail with a sadden contemplation, her mind was quiet and free of distraction.

She looked out across the balcony towards to the sea that stretched out beyond Solaris’s northern harbour. Staring at the Sol with narrowed eyes, she hoped that it would reveal something to her that she was otherwise unable to contemplate.

She rested her forehead of the cool metal and it drew from it the relaxing soothing properties that helped focus her mind.

The priestess’s prayers would be cast to the heavens unknown.

It slowly become overcast, a rarity in these lands and the yearly raging storm of Tempia the Unrelenting Goddess was on her way to renew the lands of it’s much needed hydration. 

Sol was setting and it’s remaining warmth skipped across the waves and was failing to continuously light the day and the light from the wall held torches was flickering sporadically.

She felt the cold droplets caught upon her face. The carved stonework of the balcony was changing colour with every new puddle and each rain drop could be heard with a subtle clarity. As the rain poured more readily, soaking through her silken gown, she looked up at the last light of the setting distant star…and smiled.


Prompt: http://jeremysdailychallenge.wordpress.com/2014/08/23/weekend-medley-2324-august/


 

Laura Steel © 2014

The Geneforged Sorceress (Part 1) Escape to Silvasung Forest

Having no home, there no reason to live beyond survival with in the city of Caldera was no longer enough for Anya. Having recently witnessed yet another family have their children taken away from them because of their Vis ‘taint’. She felt so helpless and lacked enough courage to act out and was eating away inside of her. The alleys and sewers had housed her for her entire life but being constantly on the run meant that she would never know a sense of peace. One she wanted so desperately but she knew if it was one she wanted it meant she could no longer stay. The urge to escape was always present but a level of complacency and apathy compelled her to stay, even with the Academy having successfully made the city uninhabitable for anyone who used Magik at any level.

After many preparations, Anya made plans to sneak out of the city and was almost flawlessly executed. She had managed to sneak a few meters out of the main city gate, before her presence was noticed. It was still enough to avoid being trapped inside the gates. The guards pursued her with raised voices orderings her to stop, with their pole-arms extended readily as if to carve the air and provide an aerodynamic benefit. Either through willful ignorance or sheer determination, their echoed commands fell silent on her ears. The guards in chase would not let up and they continued to pursue her relentlessly.

Anya ran as fast and far away from them as she could. With the open terrain all around Caldera there was no where to hide, apart from one remote location, Silvasung Forest. The steepness of the mountains and soft ashen ground made it hard to maintain her balance and caused unwanted strain on her already starved body.

As she entered the forest and disappeared through the trees, and out of sight, the guards gave up. They looked on with disbelief and a strong sense of relief; in their belief they saw that she was no longer their problem. Their chuckled among themselves, as they holstering their spears and swords, and walked all the way up to their original posts.

Running such a distance was agonizing and was unbearable. Anya’s legs ached all over, her blistered feet were sore and had a few open wounds. Her chest was pounding, like her heart was about to explode. After a few hundred feet inside the forest she had tripped on an outcropping root, falling fast onto her stomach. Her face was covered in thick ash that was underlying beneath the leaf litter, almost caustically burning her heavy set eyes. She propped herself up, shaking through her straining arms, with almost no strength left. Staying on her stomach would have prevented her lungs from grasping the much needed air they hungered for.

She looked back, stretching her head over her shoulder and saw that her hunters where no longer in pursuit, she could no longer see the dark brown ashen hillside or the towering Calderan city gates. Only the summit was visible, barely, and the plumes of steam that poured out from the various vents that ran along the rim of the basin, as well as lower down the mountain where the few rivers of lava that erupted from around the volcano, carved through the landscape like fiery snakes meandering for prey.

The forest leaves were of the deepest crimson and were present all year round. When they had wilted they would flood the rooted-over and bolder scattered floor. A sea of blood mirrored the canopy of the area and was broken only the thick weaving trunks, their branches reaching out like pale hands for any spare food.

No one entered the forest willingly. In days before the Academy, rumours of the forest being alive or haunted were told, as childhood stories to prevent children from running off to an uncertain end. Stories and legends have always existed about there Silversung Forest, so much so that even the top scientists of the Academy have deemed the forest off limits. No research teams were permitted beyond its edge, as all previous attempts had been met with groups of Calderian Academy students failing to return from the deepest reaches. Their attempts to control the forest from overgrowing were constantly hampered, were it only not for the rivers of lava and areas where no ash fell stemmed their intrusion.

The tranquil serenity of the forest warmed her heart and calmed her mind. She could hear the wind rush through the leaves and all the panic that beset her since melted. The fresh air free from ash was invigorating. Knowing she could no longer return and having lost all desire to do so, she picked herself up and proceeded to walk further into the forest, using it as cover to get as far away from Caldera as possible. Hoping that once she finds the other side she would find a better life for herself. That was until, the hissing started.


Prompt: http://jeremysdailychallenge.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/picture-this-monday-16-june/


Laura Steel © 2015

The Shadowhunter – The Perpetual Nightmare

To many having being cursed with reoccurring nightmares would be a problem, but Laurena relished every opportunity that presented itself. It was the same one over and over, of her mother Elenanor. Even awake she can clearly remember the day her mother died, as clearly as if it just happened the day prior. She was on quest of vengeance over the the death of both her parents and no one could stop her, the nightmare would only perpetuate the hate that boiled inside her.

…the panic in the twelve year old was quite clearly evident to her by the thumping of her heart even if she knew nothing of the reason. It was about to explode out of her chest. Along with her mother, they had reached their home in the poorest district in Umbran.

“Common hunny…quickly!” Elenaor was much faster and agile than her teenager and done her best to keep her at the same pace.

“Mum your hurting.” Laurena tied running running through the streets as fast as her mother but could have not kept up. Her hand was held tightly, which felt like her arm almost about to be yanked out of the socket…

A Day prior Laurena’s father Raenes attempted a kill contract assigned by the Shadehunter guild, he had failed. It was meant to be a simple run, no different than the ones before. A rather disgusting vocation to some – the basis for the negative notoriety of the Shadehunters, to those outside Umbran that is. To the Umbrani it was little more than a job, one that brought home the standard going rate. A few hundred aurams for a life, that was just enough to keep their family going for awhile. Death was apart of their culture, one where only the strong survive and the weak are culled…or those who could afford to have another killed.

…with out trying even explain the situation to her child Elenanor rushed through their home without stopping. Dashed up the creaky wooden steps into Laurena’s bedroom, her mother prised open a secret wooden panel of the wall towards the back room. It used to be for storage but when their daughter was born it was converted into the only bedroom. Elenanor shoved her child into the tight space as much as possible, to the point that a bare supporting frame dug into the side of her, the adrenaline would stemmed the pain.

“…you must hid here my dear…and don’t make a sound!” Elenanor was panting from the terror that had beset her.

“But….mother?” asked Laurena as she tucked her knees to her chest even though it hurt to breathe.

“…No honey! Be quiet…and don’t move…promise me you won’t say anything…regardless of what you hear!” Elenaror knew time was short.

“Mother…what’s happening?” Laurena still confused in her inquiry.

“…Promise me!” Elenanor pleaded as she draped her necklace of the Goddess Noxia around her daughters neck. Laurena nodded as tears rolled down her cheeks.

“I love you!” Elenanor whispered. The loud crash of the front door had indicated to her that time had now ran out. She closed the wooden panel in front of her child.

“BITCH! Where are you?!” Bellowed a low rumbling voice in the next room.

Elenanor had unsheathed her sword and stood ready in the centre of the room as the door was almost smashed off it’s hinges.

“There you are you whore! You think you and you husband would get away with it?!” The large brute had found out who she was from one of the locals, undoubtedly sold out by a neighbour.

“Where’s my husband?” Elenanor asked even though she didn’t want to know.

The brute chuckled. “You mean that worthless skinny fuck. Who’s neck I snapped like a twig.” A deep sense of remorse flooded Elenanors entire body as she knew he had not lied or exaggerated .

“Nooo! You bastard!” Elenanor didn’t even try to contain herself. The rage over her spouses death built up and she lunged at the tall brute hoping to avenge her husband.

Her quick feints and deft attacks would have been enough for most, even without all the years of training and being a member of the most ruthless guild of mercenaries. The larger built up body of of the overbearing man-statue had far more experience as a fighter, proving to be too much for her.

Without even drawing his greatsword that was firmly sheathed on his back, he had knocked the blade from her hand and grabbed her by the neck with the other. Eleanor struggled to free herself from his grasp, trying to pry his hand away for one minute gasp of air.

A shallow gargling sound poured from her mouth and with one tight grip of his hand, a distinct crack echoed through out the house. Her hands dropped to her sides as he let go and Elenanor’s lifeless body fell into a motionless slump. He looked down at her corpse with a side worn smirk.

“Humpf, not worth my time…but no one fucks with Lugo.” He scoffs and walked out.

It’s at this point that Laurena wakes from her nightmare, something that used to be accompanied by a scream of terror, but after some months it fell silent. The same one that wanted to escape on the actual day of her mother’s death.

She still remembers covering her mouth with both hands, in an attempted to not scream out in pain, hoping to not attract Lugo to her location. Laurena had unfortunately bore witness to the whole event through the crack in the wooden panel. Paralysed with grief knowing how badly she wanted to help but couldn’t.

To see her very own mother, killed so effortlessly was unbearable. Specially from the woman who taught Laurena how to hunt and kill just as soon as she was old enough. It was the Umbrian way. Taking the life of another way often key to survival and it was the responsibility of the parents to ingrain it on their offspring as soon as possible. How could she even contemplate avenging her parents if they was meant to be the best hunters Laurena knew, let alone ever have the strength to do so.

She just caught glimpse of her mothers killer – who she at least now knew by name and one she would never forget. She could see he wasn’t human, a “Stonekin” in fact, remembered from one of her parents stories. His wide broad face was clear to see even through the slimness of the cracked panel. She done her best to remember his appearance as best she could. He was the first she had seen so up close and the tales of the Khryosians would allow her to recognise their appearance with little effort.

…for several hours Laurena sat their in her hideaway. Crying into her arms hoping that at any moment her mother was going to pull her out and hug her and say everything was alright. She never did. Her body remained in the same position, drained of all life and had turned paler than her Umbrian skin was already. No amount of wishing or praying would change it. Laurena knew now that she was now alone, from now on she would be on her own to fend for herself.

After she built up the courage to venture forth, she prized open the panel. She could see her mother so much more clearly. The deathly stare of her face with the her eyes still wide open was still worn. For a moment Laurena could have thought that her mother was still alive and merely jesting, but the realization would soon sink in that her mother would no longer be able tell Laurena just how much she loved her…

She awoke and sat up. She caressingly rubbed the Noxia pendent around her neck. The last parting gift from her mother brought some comfort from her dreams but it would quell them. As disregarding of passed on loved ones the Umbrians were, Laurena couldn’t help but feel nostalgia.

Even looking onto the side of her cabinet sat a painful reminder. Her training sword she had as a child. On her twelft birthday, the “coming of age” day that all Umbrani go through is to be presented with their first proper weapon. Training had been done with dull toy-like imitation and used just as a child would. It couldn’t cut through bone or flesh but sharp enough to cause pain from a lack of concentration.

Her parents trained her well in survival but not how to cope with their untimely departure, that was never in their nature as good Umbrian parents. Every new day was perpetuated with the searing pain of losing her parents, renewing her vigour to find her parents killer. She knew it was only a matter of time the Lugo would return to Umbran, as she could never afford to travel beyond the furthest edges of the continent Mortister.

She wouldn’t stop to avenge her parents, it was just a matter of time.


Laura Steel © 2014

The Ex-Communicated Champion (Part 1) – The Long Road Ahead

Across the open plains of Luminter the lone Champion walked. The open plains that stemmed from the horizon were never ending. The only furniture that would break up the monotony was the odd farmer’s house. All of which barred his entry for fear of being brandished criminals themselves. Hedgerows and fences marking their assigned plots of land, stretching out over the rolling hills. The path itself was cut up with bridges that provided the necessary passage over the man-made streams which provided irrigation to the farmlands.

It hurt to walk the long road. He had such an ache in his heart that he could feel building up after every step he took. Having being branded an exile by his people was undoubtedly unbearable. The family he saved was all the justification he needed, no ounce of regret would ever have a foothold in his mind.

He knew that the only way forward could lead him into unknown dangers but that was all the more reason to push forward. To break away from the harsh religious dogma of his former Order. Their strict laws prevented him from doing what was right and honourable. Even if his reputation was officially in ruin, the Solarani would always remember the hero that stood up for his beliefs, something that has rippled through the hearts of others.


Prompt: http://jeremysdailychallenge.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/picture-this-monday-11-august/


 

Laura Steel © 2014

 

Heavenly Haikus

Thunder & Lightning

A roll of thunder
Crackling flash of bolted light
Zeus casts his fury

Cloudscape

Floating vapours sour
Through open sky they collide
Heavenly landscape

Sun’s Light

From Sun’s light life grows
Radiant and luminous
Blinding light, we bathe.

Dancing Pearl

Our little sibling.
Little white pearl, gyrates.
Dancing forever.

Expanding Void

The eternal void
Vast expanding universe
A womb to all life


Laura Steel © 2014

The Shadowhunter – Dreadwood Hunt (Part 1)

A battle was raging in the Dreadwoods. Laurena had chased the gang to their hideout in a glade to where they would store their ill gotten gains. She was currently fighting against three opponents. They had surrounded her and were poised to attack. Their boss Lugo, who was experienced enough to make sure his cronies went first, watched from the sidelines, treating them as nothing but fodder for her blades.

“We’r gonna ‘av fun wiv you!” Sneered Krane. He eyed her up, thinking of more than the fight he was currently preoccupied with.”

“Heh heh…Yeh. Whatcha finking Raz? Free of us…one ‘ole each?” Smirked Brohz. Looking towards he comrade.

“I gets ‘er head…after I removes it from doe’s prit’ey shoulders!” Insisted Raz. He lets out a furious scream as he charges forward to strike.

It was cut short when in one deft move she side steps him and with no appearance of removing the blade from her sheath, sliced clean through his neck. It bounced across the grassy floor, flattening grass and flowers alike. It wore a surprised look of disbelief of how it could have happened, as his body slumped to the floor with thud.

“Fuck me…grrr get ‘er!” Fretted Krane. Signalling his remaining comrade to attack at the same time.

“Bitch we’re gonna gut yu!” Angrerly shouted Brohz as they both closed the gap.

Laurena danced between them gracefully, a leaf lighter than wind. The pang of steel on steel echoed through out the woods with the leafless twisted trees, as her twin swords clashed with each of theirs. Brohz attempted to strike hard when he thought an opening appeared, once deflected Laurena positioned herself behind him struck across his back, he fell letting out a groaning pain.

Krane attempted to strike only to be parried with such force that he was spun round. Recovering Krane returned to his original orientation to find a lost target. She could not bee seen.

“She’s right behind you, idiot!” Lugo shouted in frustration.

Krane readied his weapon in a futile attempt, as he looked around, she had plunged one of her sword through his chest. His body gave out and lost grip of his weapon and his knees gave way denting the ground. Laurena instantly pulled out her holstered gun with her now free hand and shot Krane through the back of the head, the force propelled him of her sword.

Now there was only one left, Laurena walked towards Lugo who had now unsheathed his great sword. As she walked past the still wreathing body of Brohz, who had until now been drowning in his own blood, she shot him to end his suffering.

The Sol was setting and her shadow stretched out across the grass towards her next target. It started to rain as a gust of wind picked up, a storm was coming. Even Lugo a brute of his experience, still hadn’t anticipated that Laurena would face his men and still be alive. He would finally taste a minor fleeting moment of anxiety before the adrenaline kicked back in…


Prompt: http://jeremysdailychallenge.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/challenge-wednesday-30-july/


 

Laura Steel © 2014