11th March 2012, 06:23 PM #1
Reality is a dream
Crystal of the Elements
Hello, and welcome to my fanfiction project; Crystal of the Elements. As it is my first dive into fanfiction and writing (though I have been reviewing for some time), I'm quite excited, and I hope you'll enjoy what you read. Before starting off, there is probably one or two things you will want to know:
First of all, this fanfic project (saying project because at the current stage of planning it's split into a trilogy) adapts a rather unconventional setting for Pokemon. The setting is that of a very typical fantasy story; medieval times, wizards and swords, kings and castles and all that. Things like Pokeballs and the Pokemon League, pokemon trainers and all that do not exist, at least not in the same fashion you are used to from Pokemon media in general. Pokemon do exist, of course, but they are not known as pokemon, and serve perhaps a slightly different role than that in the franchise at large. As a final warning: The story can well be categorized as a darkfic, for it has many mature themes (among them angst, violence and non-explicit sexual content).
If you are still interested, or hopefully intrigued, then keep reading
Every life is a story
In this world, there exists a select few humans who have a rare and unique ability. They are revered, yet feared, for their power. They are known as mages, for they are able to wield with grace the magic powers of the beasts that inhabit this world. Some places they are shunned, looked upon as abominations and monsters, yet other places they are held in high regard; trusted for their powers and insight. Indeed, the powers of magic would best the power of a sword a thousand times over. The best medicine was greatly outshone by even the weakest of healing magic, and who would dare go against a king whose retainer could read one’s mind?
It is said that every life is a story, and so the lives of mages tend to play out as grand stories. The story of one mage in particular, would turn out to be something quite extraordinary. For far, far north, in the region of Auricu, lived a young woman whose story would not only intertwine with many others, but also change the story of our entire world.
Last edited by TheLlama; 11th March 2012 at 06:33 PM.
11th March 2012, 06:25 PM #2
Reality is a dream
Re: Crystal of the Elements
Wow, I’m finally off and running with this story. It’s been at least two years since I first got the idea to this, and I’ve been planning and planning it ever since. I really hope you like it, and if you don’t, enlighten me on what I’m doing wrong so I can improve! (:
I’ll put up a map of the Auricu region in the Writer’s Atlas in a day or so, and as the story goes along a codex containing information on anything relevant will probably appear there as well.
As for updates, I can't really promise very frequent ones; I will try my best, but I'm rather busy from now until summer. Twice a month is the current goal.
Silence. The dusty, old room was calm; no noise save the crackle of a lit hearth. The fire, playing across the small room, revealed a mess of dusty, web-tangled shelves lining the walls, filled with books and trinkets of all sorts, tables covered in old parchments and alchemic apparatuses. In a corner of the room, where the light hardly reached, sat a living being. A human, male. Bending forward in a chair of hardened wood, he himself arrayed with simple robes of coarse linen, he seemed to study a book, not letting the caliginousity bother his work. His face was wrinkled, his hair long and dirty; its dully gray nearly covering weakened eyes of blue. The man’s body had grown weary of age.
The flip of every book page made it sound like it would tear apart any minute. Whereas the man was old, the book was ancient indeed. Seemingly nothing any living being would be interested in reading; archaic texts only a few could comprehend, much less make use of. Still, he read, and read, and read. And that with alacrity far beyond the capabilities of a human brain. Truthfully, while it helped that his soul was younger than his body would have it seem, he had his way of reading so fast. One look underneath the brim of his hat would show his dim eyes, behind his deep frown, glowing with a faint, bright blue sheen. Telepathy was an awesome method of acquiring knowledge indeed.
And so he sat there, like there was nothing in this world that mattered, if only he could read and understand that book fast enough. That was, until the door to the room opened, letting the gelid blizzard outside catch a foothold in the room. Averting his gaze from the book to the seeming trespasser, he saw the familiar face of a young woman; his apprentice. He then looked down to continue reading, seemingly undisturbed.
”I am back, Master!” the young woman said. Her appearance was a stark contrast to her elder; whereas he was dull and gray, she was vivid and bright; clothed in a long, white kimono patterned with icy blue crystals, purple, shaggy hair hiding icy blue eyes, and a bright red sash tied around her waist.
She noticed he was reading, and did not disturb him further. Closing the door, she wiped her bare feet on a mat. The blizzards were getting colder, she thought to herself. Winter was well on its way, but such severe blizzards at this time of year was an unnatural happening. Chance perhaps, but her master had told her so many times that there is not chance; there is cause and effect, everything is a result of order, not chaos - such is the rule of our world. The farmers from the nearby village of Calamine had been worried as well, she had noted - figuring that was more so from their crops being wasted than whatever omen this was supposed to be, but then again she could never figure out how normal humans responded to such things.
She gazed upon her master; a wise and alacritous man; no doubt he was studying what this meant already, pondering whether or not it would be a cause of concern. She should do her part as well, she figured. Consult with the spirits of the Ether, perhaps; they knew more than most mortals when it came to such matters, in their own convoluted manner. And she hadn’t been there since… that time; maybe it was indeed time to make another visit.
She walked to a corner of the room, and pulled out a seemingly random book, dusty and mouldy. With an infernal creak, the bookcase slowly moved aside, revealing a door of solid oak behind it, though its appearance was more that of a wall panel than an actual door. Reaching her hand towards it, she focused on the other side of the door, on getting her hand through there. She closed her eyes and concentrated intensely. A purple sheen slowly began to surround her arm and hand, however it did not take long before it began to fade away instead, now along with her arm itself; both becoming meek and transparent. Then, in a quick, succinct move, she reached her hand through the door, gripped the lock on that side, and turned it; a massive clack reverberating through the room inside as it did. She quickly pulled her hand back, and with a tingling sensation it returned to its normal, tangible state.
“Mira” the old man said so suddenly the young woman almost jumped. She never really got used to how her master had a tendency to suddenly awaken from his reading trance.
“W-what?” she replied, gathering herself from the sudden burst of adrenaline.
“Do not follow all that which you see and hear in there.”
“I am aware of that,” she replied shortly.
“So you have said - and yet you have made grave mistakes before,” he rebutted. “I need to make sure you understand the consequences of it, properly.” He was still reading.
“The spirits of the Ether are beings of order in a distorted world of chaos, whereas we humans are beings of chaos in a complex world of order. Remember: They seek to make order out of chaos, yet cannot change their own world.” He paused; making sure his apprentice followed him. “The immense chaos in a human’s heart is thus very attractive to them. And since they are beings of utmost order and logic, their reasoning and clarity easily sways and manipulates humans.” He paused again, waiting for her to follow up his lecture herself.
“But for them it is not manipulation; for they have no personal desire, which manipulation is a result of. They are but manifestations of logic and order; created and existing for that sole purpose. Born seeking order, they seek to enter our own world, to instill order in the chaotic beings that live there. Such is their instinct, and thus they are very dangerous; for they are zealous without knowing it themselves.” It was like reading from a book; she knew all of it quite well now. She had to. “An act made solely from pure logical thinking is not always a human act; humans have irrational feelings that must always be considered before acting. Thus their words do not always represent the best course of actions, however reasonable it might seem,” she finished, and paused to wait for her master’s approval.
“Very good, very good indeed,” he praised.
“I have studied and reflected upon my past… mistake” Mira replied. “I will make sure it is not made again.” Her tone was collected, but determined.
“Your determination is praiseworthy,” her master replied, “but you must never let determination blind your thoughts and actions! A fiery heart burns vigorously, but unless controlled, will be reduced to ashes.”
“Naturally” she replied. Not that it was obvious to her, but it should be, so thus she responded.
“Remember to write and draw afterwards what you experience inside the Ether” he said. “For all my years and experience”, for he was centuries old, “I have never truly had a chance to see what is in the Ether,” he finished, his voice slightly vexed.
“And yet you know more of it than me”
“I know but how to react to the absoluteness present in that plane; and that wisdom is no more than a product of my age. I know not how to tread through it; how to see, hear or sense its wonders. That is a privilege reserved for you, my apprentice; an Ether mage”
She could not argue those words, and proceeded to enter through the massive door. It opened into what seemed a small cavern the size of a normal hallway; starting into steps that spiralled downwards. She took a step in, closing the door behind her with a massive creak. Taking a deep breath, which condensed quickly in the cool air of the small cave, she started ambling tiptoe down the rocky steps, her pitter-patter reverberating through the small, craggy corridor. Small crystals lined the walls, emitting a dim, cyan hue, cooling the cavern even further.
After a long descent, the spiralling steps eased out, going straight forward. The small cave opened up into a massive cavern, so large one could fit a royal estate into it and still have room for more. The entirety of the cavern was lit up by the dim crystals, save its ceiling, giving the impression that it stretched out forever into a black sky.
It was even colder down here, freezing some would say, but Mira felt just in her element. The rocky steps emerged from high up one of the cavern’s walls, and continued almost halfway into the massive subterranean hall before they touched its floor. Well down, she took a deep breath, the cold and damp air chilling her insides. The cave had a deep ambiance; the distant sounds of streaming water and roaring falls from farther into the cave sounded a low murmur, accompanied by the occasional shrieks of bats and other cave-dwellers.
With such an atmosphere, the cavern was soothing to her soul indeed, a refuge for her mind. The perfect place to enter into oneself, to channel one’s mind into the Ether. She walked straight ahead, towards a small altar-like incline in the near-midst of the room. It was square, with one luminescent crystal in each corner. Atop it was inscribed a circle inside which there was an intricate lotus pattern. Stepping carefully into it, she placed herself cross-legged in the centre, closing her eyes.
‘Yuka’ she reached out in her mind, calling telepathically for her partner, who was probably flying about somewhere in the cave network. She extended her mind, attempting to reach out to her friend, searching through the caves, though that vast maze. Farther, farther...
‘Yes?’ A response.
‘We’re going to the Ether... back home.’
‘Home... for me at least. But... are you sure?’
‘Yeah. I really need to this time around.’
‘Sure, then. We will meet on the other side.’
With that, she refocused herself on where she was; her body - her vessel. Delving deep into her mind. Her brain activity rose, a illusory feeling of pressure appearing on the inside of her skull. Her eyes started moving rapidly, a kaleidoscopic blur of colours appearing in her vision.
Outside her mind, it was as if the whole cave was resonating with her meditations. The damp air was rapidly condensing, some of it even starting to freeze into small particles of ice and snow, spiralling around her in a downward helix. The dim crystals lit up in a changing, oscillating pattern throughout the entire cave.
Inside her mind, the blurry colours slowly turned into distant images, then into fully lucid ones. She always wondered what her mind had in store for her as she went into herself. This time she could see Yuka dancing across her vision. The graceful elegance of her partner, her kimono-like body, was so evocative.
She wondered what she would be without her, maybe she would have been a... normal human. Maybe nothing at all. Was she even an unnatural human? Perhaps she was not human at all? She had their figure, their language, but aside from that she felt no connection. She felt she couldn’t communicate properly with them - and that they, at least the villagers nearby, revered her, looked upon her as something other than a human.
As “The Frozen Lass”.
Lass. But she did not feel human.
The Frozen One, maybe?.
Why did she even care?
With that thought, everything went black, her body dropping lifeless down on the altar, the crystals returning to their continuous dim state, the airborne snow sublimating to vapour once more.
Welcome once more... to the Ether.
--- --- ---
The sound of firm, rapid footsteps pierced the marbled hallway, the statues and paintings lining one of its walls gazing down on the disturbed messenger scurrying along. On his other side were a row of windows, through which the sun shone brightly, the whole hall blazing with light. Below the windows, down the sharp cliffs outside, one could gaze out on the grand city of Corinth; its bustling markets and port areas filled with people scurrying about here and there, surely oblivious to the most distressing news the messenger had for his lord, King Marxos.
Coming to an intersection, he turned right, into a hallway much more grand, a red velvet carpet running end to end along the room. Its walls, several stories high, featured massive, decorated columns and arched enclaves where imposing statues of great Corinthian dukes and kings of old stood, posing their weapons and bravery. At its end stood a equally impressive doorway, massive wood with elaborate carvings. The overall grandness of the palace left any visitor with no pretence that its owner was anything but an extremely wealthy and powerful man.
Neither did the guards outside; tall men in shiny, muscled steel cuirasses outside tunikas, sturdy helmets with a long dusk and small slits for their eyes and mouths: the traditional uniform of the infamous Corinthian military - only more polished and decorated, to signify their status as members of the Royal Guard. With long and deadly spears in one hand and dished shields in the other, they scared away anyone without legitimate business with the King - and probably some among those who had.
Of course, the royal guards were nothing compared to what would await a trespasser inside. For Marxos was not known for his Royal Guard so much as he was known for his pets; mighty and arcane canine beasts, renowned as legendary throughout the world for their fiery breath.
Nonetheless, he could not allow himself to flinch, for the news he carried had greater importance than anything. He was, however, met with crossed spears by the guards, forcing him to a halt.
“Aethon, Royal Messenger! I need to see the King!” he stated firmly, his voice stressed and exhausted.
“The King is in session with the High Council. He sees no one.” the guard proclaimed, equally firm.
“He will see me.”
“He sees no one”
--- --- ---
Boring, he thought. And utterly so. Listening to old men tattling and arguing with no substance, their desire for personal gain running rampant through their utterances; such was not an act worthy a king. They were truly blinded by greed and lust for power; had these men been in control, surely the city would have been brought to ruin in no time at all.
Indeed, without him, without the kings of past, the city of Corinth would have been but a shadow of present self; rather than a wealthy hub of commerce and faraway trade, its serfs rich and stoic against the dangerous beasts lurking in the Corinthian desert to the east, it would have been poor, a collection of dying farmers gathering around a measly marketplace. Indeed, it was due to his ancestor, Atakion the Brave, that the city even stood. When the Elder Council were busy debating, his swift decisions alone stopped the collapse of Spire, the grand mountain upon whose side the city rested. He erected a magic barrier to hold the mountain in its place for all posterity - and not only did it prevent its collapse then; the mountain could be mined hollow without fear of it ever collapsing again - which had benefited the wealth of the city grossly. Now that was something he himself hoped to do one day - a grand feat towards his city, so grand that when he passed from this world, he could meet his ancestors, head held high. Not like these old men, who would have sat by and watched - watched their city torn to pieces, reduced to rubble. And for what reason? Because they would have been unable to find a solution that granted them the most riches and goods - simple material wealth that mattered only or as long as one walked on this earth.
Had it not been an effective appeasement to the people of the city, a sustained illusion cast upon them to make them believe they had a decision in stately affairs, he would have disbanded the Council long since - so would most likely his ancestors have done. His father had taught him of the corruption and debauchery that plagued the Council. How they deserved nothing but contempt. He held indeed nothing else for them.
Thus his delight was anything but small when the doors of the grand throne room abruptly broke open, the visage of his most trusted messenger and dear friend, Aethos, appearing before them. Less was his delight however, when he saw the distress upon his face.
“My Lord...” he was near-breathless when speaking, “...I bring... terrible news!”. He bent over in exhaustion, breathing heavily. It was only now the king saw the unconscious guards in the hallway. It seems ill news indeed he thought gravely.
“The Council shall adjourn for now, and await my summons!” Marxos shouted out, and with that, the elderly men, who all but a few stood baffled at this sudden interference, dispersed into the hallway, chattering and mumbling amongst themselves regarding the whats and whys of this apparent predicament. After they had all left, the door closed behind them, the king asked, “What ill news is it that you carry?”
Taking a few breaths, the messenger answered, “Uriah outpost... has fallen!”
With that answer, any trace of boredom disappeared from his face, replaced by shock and horror. “Fallen? That can’t be! There have been no reports of anything, for months! Are you telling me they suddenly... have... no, this can’t be!” If this was indeed true... he felt fear growing inside of him. Panic. No, no! He could not let himself stoop to that! He was a king, he needed to be collected!
“Sadly, my Lord, it is true. And what’s more... well, I suggest you take a look outside.” Aethos had gathered his breath by now, and stood erect, his tall posture showing clearly. He said to look outside, but there were no windows one could see through in the throne room; only large and colorful windows of mosaic glass.
“Very well, we shall have a look outside!” He paused, and turned around, shouting, “Kadhros!”
Without delay, a shady character appeared from behind a pillar next to the throne itself. Had he been there all along? Even Aethos did not know of this man.
“You called, my liege?” he replied succinctly. In front of them stood a short man, bald from age, save a long moustache. His clothing was ragged and brown; little less than a cloak and a skirt. His anatomy unnerved Aethos quite; for his hands and feet had only three digits - clawed even - and his multi-pierced ears were long and pointy. In his left hand he carried a long, ornamental staff tipped with a torus-shaped gem. He was surely one of those mages, Aethos thought. He didn’t really fancy mages; carrying powers that were meant for beasts, not humans. It was unnatural, and definitely not to be trusted.
“Would you mind taking us to the top of the observation tower?” Marxos asked in a very commanding fashion.
“Is there trouble about, liege?” he asked observantly.
“According to my friend here, yes.” Marxos replied, having noticed Aethos’ distrustful glances at the shady mage. Turning to Aethos, he remarked, “Do not worry. He may not look like a normal human, but he is quite reliable - and he possesses great power and wisdom!” He ended that sentence with a short chortle.
“If you say so...” he was not quite convinced, but he trusted Marxos, the king... his childhood friend, more than anyone.
“Now, take us there!” Marxos demanded.
“Of course, my liege,” the Kadhros. He thrust forward his staff, gripping it with both hands and closing his eyes. Strange markings began to glow on his head and hands; markings Aethos had not noticed until now. Before long a similar light engulfed the entirety of him - and then Aethos and Marxos as well. It quickly turned so blinding he had to close his eyes. When he opened them again, he found that they were at the top of the palace’s observation tower - a place where one could enjoy a thoroughly pleasing vista of the town down below. Alas, they had not a moment to spend focusing on that vista, for above them, in the sky, something that shook them all took place.
“Oh, my God...” was all that Marxos managed to utter. Above them flew hundreds and hundreds of creatures in a chaotic flutter, all escaping towards the sea - away from the vast deserts where they usually dwelled. But these were not just any creatures - these were the mighty Dragons of the Desert - one of many clans of dragons that existed in the region of Auricu. One could only imagine what would upset much wise and powerful creatures. “What... what could cause such a thing to happen?” he mused solemnly. "Aethos! Was it the dragons that attacked Uriah?”
“No, it was not. It is... hard to say. The report I received was unclear, chaotic. They described something about a sinister feeling in the air. And then...” He paused, for the next part really unnerved him. “they say that they saw three black beasts - horned, canine creatures - running towards them. They were spouting fire at them. Then it ends, with a request for help.”
Aethos seemed baffled, but the kind and the mage both looked at each other knowingly.
“What?” he asked.
Marxos knew what this implied. What grave news it was. For when the dark rises in the East, so shall it spread, and chaos consume all. Yet for all its solemnity, he felt something else. Excitement. This would be his chance to prove his mettle, to earn the right to walk amongst his ancestors proudly.
--- --- ---
As Mira exited the dungeon, she saw her master was still reading. She carefully closed the door after Yuka had entered the room as well. "Master!" She suddenly burst out. The old man looked up at Mira, who was scurrying across the room, towards their small kitchen. “We must leave as soon as possible!” she said briefly, before entering the small room.
“Calm down, my apprentice, calm down,” he replied. He slowly got out of his chair, and followed Mira into the kitchen, where she was busy packing a small sack of food supplies “Where must we leave to, and why? What have you heard?” he asked
The details were sketchy. That was probably the worst part about the Ether; after one exited, one didn’t accurately remember what had transpired in there - only the general feeling of it. She felt like she needed to do something, but she didn’t quite know why. “To Corinth. Something about the dragons there. I felt... darkness.” The old man widened his eyes at this information. “Do you know anything about it?” she inquired.
“I do. I will explain to you as we travel there.” It didn’t take a lot of effort to understand that it was rather serious news.
Last edited by TheLlama; 12th March 2012 at 02:19 PM.
12th March 2012, 11:53 PM #3
Reader and Writer
Re: Crystal of the Elements
First off, Welcome to the Workshop and congrats on Fic of the Month.
What you have written so far is very well done! I definitely appreciate your desire to create a more "adult" and complex world. My style tends to be the same. I thoroughly enjoy the detail and thought that you have put into your world and I can tell it is going to be revealed through your writing in a very interesting manner.
Your writing itself is also very smooth and easy to follow.
Overall, very good start! I will be eager to read more.
Last edited by Legacy; 14th March 2012 at 02:45 AM.
13th March 2012, 01:04 AM #4
CEO of the Monsters
Re: Crystal of the Elements
I do enjoy good fantasy stories, so I've rather high hopes after this first chapter. I hardly realized that it took thirty minutes to read.
Keep it up.
16th March 2012, 09:32 PM #5
Reality is a dream
Re: Crystal of the Elements
Thanks for the feedback, guys! I'm proud to have been selected to fic of the month, and I'll definitely try to capitalize on that :P
I'm working on the second chapter, which will probably delve a little more into some of the main characters and their issues, while also keeping the plot pace up. If I'm lucky it'll be done over the weekend - but it's hard work, because I really need to figure out what kind of pacing I want for the rest of the story, how much time to spend on this and that, and so forth. That balance isn't easily found, even for all the hours of planning I've already spent into this story. But I can promise that what comes out will be well-thought out and hopefully the quality will reflect that.
Oh, and since updates may be erratic, I can tag whomever wants to be notified whenever a new chapter's put up - just give me the word and I'll write you up on a list ;)