Legends of Adora: This Halfryta's, Garden
Hanging on the western sea, in the Adora continental world, hung the crescent lands of Fulgur Virga; also known as the Thunder Peaks. The Kingdom: Grand Fortress Nariko Cestmir, with a history that has swayed back and forth between times of unity and prosperity, and times of separation and disparity; due mostly in part to the fortress’ insane power as a mobile palace. The effect of the palace’s departure from its base being so great, that it literally causes changes in the very nature and ecosystem of the island.
Of the many colonies, tribesmen and beasts living on the Thunder Peaks, those who did not live on the flying kingdom were often discriminated against, especially in times of war, when tension in the noble courts were thick. Living closer to the palace was a distinct sign of your social standing. In particular, the population of beast-men were of higher density further away rather than closer. A select few were even permitted lower level standing in the inner city. Why? There has always been a belief held by many theologians that, in the texts of history, there is evidence beast-men were an important cog in the gears which have caused conflict and chaos.
Such obvious and unfounded prejudice has always been easy to take advantage of. Amidst this, Chief-King Garland-Ian Rakk, the Fifth-Generation Lightning Scion, had, at age 38, succeeded in uniting the split colonies of man and beast under his single banner on Fulgur Virga.
Despite the pre-held negative notions which divided the continent at that time, prosperity flourished in the capital, Nariko Cestmir. The most tumultuous conflicts—with beast tribes and, specifically, warriors of the northern mountains, had been settled. Garland brought an end to that singlehandedly during his rule. He gave birth to three children. First, two sons, neither of which awakened to the aspect. A decade later, his wife gave birth to a daughter. She would grow up to become Sharara Beneberakk, the Sixth-Generation Lightning Scion; later known as Caelum Saltator: The Sky Dancer. - Adora World Almanac I
Historia Est Finis
Parte et Rai
The blunt sounds of smacking wood resounded in the wind, accompanied by the faint sound of grunts and exertion. A wide battleground spread outwards, sporting human-shaped dummies and other training tools scattered all around. Racks of several weapons stood next to the exit. The area, arena-like, was located on a corner of the great fortress, Nariko Cestmir, the moving island above the mountains of the Thunder Peaks. Home to Alok, it’s king, and his son, Prince Fenris Torvald Beneberakk, the new Scion of Lightning.
“Maintain your composure, boy.” Aitan commanded.
“My composure is none of your concern, master.” I grinned excitedly, wooden sword in hand as I leapt at him. I jumped and struck, then struck again. He parried me and dodged with few steps, evading me with a clear ease. His eyes were unwavering, fixated on my every mood. Knight Aitan, my master, the Gladiator King. He charged at me, and I at him. With a single step, he closed the distance. His skill only fascinated me—it never frightened me. That scared him. He reached out to grab me by the arm, and I parried with my sword in my right hand, while grabbing his opposite wrist with my left. Pulling him towards me, I jumped and drove my knee into him. He pulled back and blocked with his own, then kicked me away. I flipped in the air, landed, and was met with the tip of his sword at the apex of my nose.
“As fast as always.” I admired.
“Let’s stop here.” He stabbed his sword into the ground. “You are skilled young prince. A fast learner, a fast thinker. At such a young age, your thirst and ability for battle is among the best I’ve ever seen. It is worthy of praise, yet still, you have much to learn.”
“Thank you master. I am ready and willing.” I replied confidently. He let out a soft chuckle. I couldn’t help but smile at the fun I was having with learning.
“Your movements are polished. You are prepared to defend and react to many situations. However, your pauses between movements is too long. You must find a fluidity, a rhythm and a continuance between the beginning and ending of your onslaught. Your opponent should never know the difference. Your offence and defence are well-mended, but the two should never be separate. In battle, every moment is an instance of the two in concert. Remain focused on that until the very end.”
I nodded in firm response. Aitan had been around for as long as I could remember. He has watched over my training personally ever since I was crowned 7th Scion. He took his weapon from the dirt, leading me to the rack of weapons, near the entrance to the barracks where many knights and warriors, all of them students of battle, took board.
“Come here. We are not finished yet.” Aitan began to draw circular images in the dirt. “Edgar tells me your studies are proceeding well. It appears you have taken an interest in the sealing arts. That is inspiring. Those techniques are advanced and require much study. Remember not to rush your work.” He encouraged. “Yes. Edgar is a very good teacher. When I saw Queen Valterra pull together Reinhelda’s miasma, I couldn’t help but wonder how such a thing was possible.” I reported.
“Yes, the queen of Cephas is known to be quite a skilled sealer. It also appears you’ve become quite familiar with princess Reinhelda.” He said with a half smirk, drawing images in the dirt.
”She’s strong.” I rebutted.
“I’m sure she is. Now, look here. What I’ve drawn here are two pools of energy. You understand what they are, right?” He inquired.
“Yes. Lesser and Greater Arcane energy. Everything contains Lesser Arcane energy. It is life energy. All living things have it . Some are able to harness it, and use it outside themselves, or inside – and more.”
“Correct.” Aitan revealed his hand. Clenching his fist then releasing his grip, a clear light became visible. He allowed me to examine it. “Lesser Arcane energy, through talent, training, and practice, can be materialized and used for everything and anything, including sealing.”
“Because only power can suppress power.” I commented quickly, trying to keep up.
“Yes. But even before that, power can create power. It only matters how you should utilize the energies available to you.” Aitan clenched his fist again and the light around his hand began to ring, vibrating violently and roughly. He turned, let out a stiff grunt, and punched the ground. He left a small crater in the solid ground. “Reinforcing your body is the most basic utilization of the battle Arcane arts. Learning to control the circulation of that energy within yourself should always be your foremost endeavour. It will afford you more opportunities for growth. However, you are a Scion. Which means that within you is also the circulation of Greater Arcane; specifically, lightning. Thanks to that, your body has been given gifts others can only wish for.”
“I just wish I was taller, stronger.” I glared at my right hand.
“You are but a child, Fenris. Nothing and no one is born perfect. By being a Scion, you have been blessed able to harness higher volumes and qualities of Arcane, both Lesser and Greater. Learning to control and harness one will only encourage the other. Mastering both will afford you great powers, Fenris. Do not neglect your training.”
“I won’t, master.” I assured.
“Very good. Now show me your Arcane.” He commanded.
I stepped back and calmed myself as much as I could, then placed my fingertips together, closed my eyes and focused. Pale light enveloped the entire outline of my body, then ran to my hands. I opened my eyes, placed my right fist into my left palm, and with a sharp grunt punched the ground. A crater like Aitan’s appeared.
“Quite skilled, indeed, for a boy of ten.” He praised. I allowed myself a smirk. ”Show, show me your lightning.”
I placed my fingers together again, and let my energy swell greater and greater. The wind rumbled. Sharply, I split my hands and slammed my fists together and the sound of crackling filled the air. My fists were cover in a gold, jittery light, flickering.
“This is my limit right now,” I said. “If I try to cover my body like with the lesser Arcane, it builds too far. I’m still trying to perfectly control how much I output, but I can’t quite grasp it. It feels like I can’t help but misgauge the volume. I don’t believe my judgement is wrong, yet it always seems to be.” I explained.
Aitan gazed at the perplexed look on my face. He scoffed. “It seems you’ve been quite blessed young Prince.”
“I don’t understand what you mean.” Admitted.
“You will see in due time. Now come! Pick up your sword and come at me! Use your powers to their fullest!” He grinned widely.
“Yes!” I shouted excitement renewed.
Some Time Later
I awoke within the great manor. My room was empty. Nothing but the essentials. Father believed any more than what was necessary would only distract me. He would return here only a few times a week, his time spent mostly at the palace, with mom. My mother, Sharara Beneberakk, the queen of Cestmir and Sixth Scion of Lightning, was the power source of the fortress. Cestmir is a floating landscape built upon a plateau of ores. They’re called Chrome Stunners. They’re a unique metal found on Fulgur Virga. By reflecting energy with the same force as it receives. Legend has it that the first lightning Scion found a deposit of such ores here in the Thunder Peaks. He charged the area which makes up Nariko with lightning; the entirety of which became magnetized and levitated above the rest of Halfryta, as deep as the ores dug underground. Before I was born, something rather terrible happened. Nariko has five main cores of ore which reflect the most amount of charged energy. One of the cores, located under the palace, was damaged. No one is sure how. In order to balance it out, my mother entered the deepest part of the palace and charged the damaged core with her own power. She gifted with a large well of Greater Arcane power, was able to revive the core and keep Nariko afloat, but at a great cost. Only a Scion of Lightning is capable of such a feat, and as a result, she would never be able leave the fortress, and can never be too far from the depths of the Thunder Palace. I am going there to see her today.
As I got up from my bed, the wooden frame creaked. I put on a pair of baggy pants: red, with golden stripes falling from the waist to the bottom, just under my knees. The matching jacket fell lightly around my torso as I slid my arms in, while the black, short-sleeved undershirt rustled in the movement. I tied my short, dark curly mane into a ponytail, and left.
Exiting the manor, the servants and guards greeted me on my way out, smiling as they proceeded through their daily tasks, as usual. The stone walls hung pictures & the pillars draped in gold and cloths showing beautiful patterns. I stopped atop the stairs in the middle of the foyer and took a second to examine the family portrait that hung high in the centre of the back wall. Soon, I descended the rest of the stairs, passing by the kitchen, the great hall and the private office, headed towards the door, and left. The sun broke out clear, but not so much higher than where I stood. Nariko Cestmir was a bittersweet home. While I still found myself constantly captivated by the beauty of a city above the skies, I disliked the feeling of being up here, locked inside a floating birdcage. The tips of each of the surface chargers, housed above the five cores were clearly visible from all angles. Certainly it’s not as extravagant as the capital. Still, it breathed a calm peace I couldn’t help but appreciate. The common people here led humble lives. Small farming complexes could be found in one corner between the first and second cores, while shops of all sorts could be seen between the third and fourth. The palace sprawled outwards around the fifth. Homes varied in size depending on where one lived. Those closer to the throne—knights, battlers, warriors, dukes and advisors, all lived in larger houses in the fourth and fifth core districts. A set of barracks with their own training spaces, both indoor and outdoor, rose in the area near the fourth core. Nariko palace took up too much space to build another one. I thought it was boring. At the very centre of Nariko was a park which opened out with five separate pathways to each of the energy core buildings. I walked toward the centre, greeting the citizens in passing with a quiet smile and a nod of the head. Many of them gave only a passing glance, and some held genuinely sympathetic smiles. Nariko’ s citizens welcomed species of all kinds without trouble, generally. I’ve rarely heard of any conlficts. The peace felt a little fake to me. I could tell part of it was because people were afraid of my father, King Alok, the Tyrant they call him. Man or beast, his mercy has never existed. He’s generally equally uncaring to all; even his own child.
Edgar soon appeared next to me as I stood before the centre fountain, admiring it. He greeted me, and together we walked to the palace. Approaching Cestmir’s Palace, a small thin barrier of electricity became visible. Stepping through, a stinging sensation hit my skin, painlessly. The stone doors were already flung open. All light in the hall of the palace grew dim, torches and lanterns against the walls and white stone pillars. The hall, I could see, was blank and empty. Only the sound of slight crackling, and the heat from scattered flames, kept this place a step away from feeling abandoned. Very few were permitted entrance to the hall. Further still, the core room—wherein mother lain—was completely off-limits to all but Father and I, and as those requested by mother.
We descended into the depths of the palace. Long stone steps that fell into the structure and spilled into a dim hallway, lit by only two lonesome torches. Heels clicking across the floor, I reached another stone door, covered in runic carvings. I placed my hand on the exterior and let out a small shock of energy from my hand. The wall rattled and split, sliding open slowly. Edgar bowed and stepped back as it opened. Inside, mother sat up, speaking with someone dressed in all black, wearing a mask that covered only their eyes, a beak over the bridge of the nose.
She sat on a modest, quaint, low-hanging bang, the legs painted gold and the cushions a bright red. The headrest curved over a foot from the legs. With no arm guards or rails, it raised slightly at the edges and was flat the rest of the way.[A1] She wore a limp sort of dress and a nightgown that opened in the centre, draped over her shoulders. As if she’d been dipped purity, a white silk adorning her. Further back, floating over a massive hole, was a giant emerald-coloured crystal, glowed. The Chrome Stunner levitated, humming quietly and peacefully. The rest of the room sprawled out from the centre where mom was sat. Circles of runes and patterns rippled around her, the layers of which ended only at the edge of the hole where the core floated. There were no torches in the great room; only the golden light from the lightning being circulated inside kept it lit.
“My dear boy, you have come to visit me today?” Mother welcomed softly, with a lighthearted smile.
“Hello, mother.” I returned with a grin.
She looked over my shoulder “Where’s Edgar?”
“He’s waiting outside.” I replied.
“I see. Just about 2 years and he’s still acting shy, isn’t he? Well, so long as he is well. It appears the time for you to return to the capital nears again, my dear.”
“Yes. I’ll be gone for quite a while this time.” I frowned slightly to be leaving her alone.
“But of course. It’s necessary for the next ruler to be well-educated. I’ve been informed that you’ve taken a liking to the sealing arts. I was never much for such studies myself. Still, I am proud to see you’ve undertaken such a challenge. Perhaps you’ll challenge the Green Script herself one day.” She scoffed with her chin raised and nose wag, then gave a smile and a soft chuckle. “Be sure your studies never slip. Even in the wake of all your training, do not neglect the pen.”
“Yes mother. I won’t.” I assured.
”Very good then.” she gave my head a soft stroke. “Ah yes, let me introduce my friend, Shadow. She’s a dear friend, Fenris.”
“Hello, miss Shadow.” I greeted her warmly.
“Prince Fenris, it is good to see you well and in health. I should hope it persists.” Shadow smiled.
I bowed respectfully.”Thank you, ma’am.”
”Shadow has a daughter who’s close to your age, Fenris. You’ll have to meet her sometime.” Mother urged.
“Yes, when better circumstances allow, I pray she will be well in your care, young prince.” Shadow grinned slyly.
“As you wish, elder.” I responded.
“I will take my leave for now then, master.” Shadow turned to mother.
“Please, indulge me and stay a moment longer, my friend. There is more I wish to discuss with you.” Mother requested. Shadow nodded with a slight, humble bow.
A serious turn in tone. “Now, where is your father?” Mother, inquired.
“I’m not sure. I thought he would be here with you.” I confessed.
“Perhaps he has gone to the top of the palace. Be sure to go and see him before you leave. And Fenris… you are a unique child. No matter how much you may try to hide it from others, your mother knows. For the sake of others, you’ll ne’er sway—but that makes you stiff and rigid. It is okay to let yourself feel, and to accept that part of yourself too as a strength.” She said.
Mother gave me a kiss on the forehead and Shadow bowed. I turned and retreated outside the room. Edgar had been waiting patiently for me. When he saw me, he seemed to let out a soft, almost sympathetic smile. I noticed then that I had a smile of my own sitting on my lips. It faded slowly as we walked up one flight of stairs to the main floor, and disappeared totally while we took an elevator up from the main floor. Passing three other levels, we eventually reached a small, empty corridor that led only outside. A light creaked through the darkness of the walkway, and the floating ball of fire in the distance showed no shame in its shine.
Father stood at the edge of the palace roof, arms crossed, staring far out over the lands that made up Cestmir. The air around him made it difficult to approach him, and even harder to breath. Edgar stood a few paces behind me, his head bowed down. I tried not be afraid diving into what felt like a thick sea of air.
“So, you can handle this much pressure? I expect no less from my son.” He uttered.
“Thank you, father.” I replied with a bow.
“That was not praise. It is your duty to meet my expectations.” He rescinded.
“Of course, father.” I said
“Have you been to see your mother?” Father asked.
“Yes, sir.” I answered.
“Then, you are prepared to depart?” he continued.
“Yes.” I replied.
“We will be leaving to the capital together. It appears I have been requested for council to deal with uprisings in the eastern plains. You will attend the council with me. It will be an opportunity for you to learn the duties of a ruling power.”
“The uprising,” I said. “I’ve heard that beast-men have become restless and are revolting because of land restrictions.”
“Yes. It’s seems they’re unhappy with the peace they’ve been given, the battle hungry fools. But you needn’t preoccupy yourself with such things now. Prepare yourself for departure. And Edgar… raise your head.”
I turned around and touched Edgar’s folded arms, leading him along. I heard the sigh escape his lungs as he followed behind. The heat of sun beat on the back of my neck as I walked away. Then, on second thought, I realized it wasn’t the sun.
Act II Fin
This story takes place in the year x288, post spring coronation. In the autumn of that year, Princess Reinhelda Maralah Clover was granted participation abroad in studies at the Church of Halfryta. Being the same age group, this would the first time she would join her fellow Scions, Marise and Fenris, in the classroom.
The first day for Maralah was expectedly unruly, as it was likely to be for any famous young princes. Maralah was completely new to the scene, too. She’d spent majority of her schooling in Cephas due to the extreme conditions of her latent abilities, the truth of which left her at a deep loss for words. Literally. For her to be able to walk these halls without imminent risk, she had to be bound tightly by arm and leg with runic bandaging; fully enclosing her sometimes volatile energies—despite her best efforts under the tutelage of the Queen Valterra, who was a rune sage: a master of runic arts and sealing techniques in various forms. Maralah was still young, and not yet able to fully control and circulate her power completely, resulting in a constant grip-hold which restricted even the faintest volume of her voice. There was no way she could hear anything either, amidst the fierce classroom chatter clamouring all around her. The royal families of the Scions were essentially the lineage of founders of these lands. Because of this, one could only imagine the plethora of hallow voices trying to do no more than please you, desperately trying to earn your grace.
“Is there anything I can get for you? Please ask.” A voice called. The choir sang and echoed.
Of course, they couldn’t hear her speak back to them. “Some, pudding please.”
The vast crackles of voices wouldn’t think to let a thought slip from her lips. Simple but quaint, despite the stress and pain hidden behind a solitary smile, hunger was the summation of her feelings. Still, he’d heard her voice before, and so he heard it now. It wasn’t a coincidence. If it could be compared to something, it would be to a beast-like noise. Fenris could tell you a story about a boy locked in a dim-lit cave. For him, his inner traumas had the effect of cancelling noise around him as a by-product. They were the kind of gripping traumas most others would or could never understand. It was effective and selective. In a room full of noise, Fenris only cared for her words. Moments of white noise passed... and a ferociously slow gash rung in. A ripping sound came, all of a sudden, and abnormally loud. Across the room, at the back…. A desk away from the wall and the exit, alone on an island; Fenris stared at the crowd, slowly tearing the plastic cover from a cup of vanilla pudding.
“Did you all suddenly forget how to eat quietly?” He called from above the tension net of blank stares in his direction.
Slowly shifting in the bubble, Maralah rose from her chair. Her heels clicked slightly as she walked over to Fenris, just slightly louder than pins dropping. She then placed a chair in front of his desk. The silence ran through a score of faces: most of which looked unsurprised and expectant, with many more showing dissatisfaction.
Maralah held a handout to the group behind her and spoke. “Spoon.”
A moment of soft blank reactions ensued. Many gave her sympathetic stares, which seemed to say: “To have to sit with him.”
“Good thing the disgust translates.” He made a quiet comment to himself.
“It’s cause your smile is scary.” A soft squeaky voice muffled.
A hand reached in with a plastic spoon at Maralah’s earlier command.
“Thank you.” She said, the turned back to me. “Try frowning more.”
Fenris snickered at her childish sarcasm. Young boys and girls gathered to stare with mixed demeanors of blush and disdain at the two famous faces before them: the focus of quite the unpretty popularity contest.
Story II End
[A1]This description is a little confusing. I tried editing it to the best of my abilities, but I feel it could be served best if rewritten in a simpler way. If this is just the description of the throne or chair upon which the queen sits, it’s not really necessary to go into so much detail. Just mentioning “the queen sat upon a high throne without arm guards or rails, its legs painted gold and its cushions bright red,” is more than enough to convey the information effectively to the reader.