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The Wars of Alexis (Prologue and Chapter 1)
Prologue: The Calm Before the Storm
Adriana looked straight into the young kids’ eyes, and repeated the prophecies the spirits told her through the crystal ball.
“Do not fear your enemy
Do not fear your fate
Just look farther, then you’ll see
What dark future you await.
There will be someone you think is a friend,
The enemy believes the lie too;
They will aid you, help you ascend,
But at the last moment won’t follow through.
Beware the one who you think you can trust
Beware the one who stands next to you
Do whatever it takes, whatever you must
To figure out whose heart is untrue.”
Cameron and Chastity listened carefully, every now and then glancing at one another. They were only nine, so of course even though the message was ominous, they didn’t really care. Adriana was the village fortune-teller, telling some of their fates and some of their deaths, which would often happen soon after. Therefore Adriana was sometimes considered a bad omen. Cameron and Chastity didn’t believe that either.
Adriana stared at the two children. “Be careful and stay safe, okay?”
“Okay,” they said happily in unison, and ran out of Adriana’s tent.
Adriana sighed. Didn’t they realize how important this could be? Well, they were only kids after all. But they would have to start taking it seriously – very seriously – very soon.
Meanwhile, in a part of the land far, far away, a witch sat on her throne…
“Are you really willing to show your power to the world?!” her adviser yelled. “Show them your true might and wrath! Are you a coward?!”
“Do not dare call me a coward!” the witch boomed, raising her staff.
“Then fight!” her adviser replied just as angrily; she was the only one who could stand up to the dark witch and live.
“Then I shall,” the witch said, “but where?”
“I have an idea…” her adviser said, getting a gleam in her eye that could only mean one thing.
War was coming.
It would soon strike.
Chapter 1: War Hits Amethyst
In the village of Amethyst, Cameron, or more often called Cam, was just out doing his job. He was fifteen, and home-schooled. More often, he just worked out on the fields with his father, or train fighting with his father’s friend. It was fall and the world was cooling off from the sweltering hot summer – a good relief to have a nice cool breeze, but it always reminded them of the bitter cold of upcoming winter and the need to get ready.
Amethyst was located on the west mountainside of a great big hill, aptly named Mt. Greene, which was covered with fertile soil and trees and plants galore. Further down the west mountainside was a valley filled with a dark forest and all sorts of beasts and animals – the residents of Amethyst (or any other village, for that matter) would only go there in times of most desperate need. On the east mountainside was a military station; in the east valley was a large city named Aspen. On top of the mountain was a great stone tower and fort jutting out of the hill and always looming assuredly over the village – Aspen Fort. If there were an attack, a torch would be lit and set a great fire ablaze in the tower to warn the other villages. Amethyst rarely had to worry about that – they were concerned only with the happenings of their own village.
Amethyst was a small village; it had huts circling the market, the real life of the city. There was a bell-tower nearby, with a large brass bell, to warn villagers or something. But the only time the bell was used was to celebrate the New Year.
Cam was carrying a large basket of apples into the village to sell. The wind ruffled his unruly brown, black-streaked hair, and you could barely see his amber eyes over the apples.
Cam turned, nearly dropping the basket. He regained his balance, and looked at who’d called his name. It was Chastity. Her brown hair flew back in the cool autumn wind. Her warm brown eyes seemed to glow slightly amber in the sunset light. The sun glinted on her small necklace – a silver chain, and hanging on it was a small ruby, shining like fire, embedded in gold, a pendant for the chain. She wore a normal village girl’s dress and a stained apron.
Cameron smiled. “Hi, Chastity, let me get these over to the market, and then we’ll talk, okay?”
Chastity nodded, and ran off in the direction of her house.
Cameron felt uplifted, as if the mere presence of Chastity brought him good health. He refused to admit to his parents and friends that he loved her, even though he had to admit to himself that he did. They’d been best friends since the age of seven.
As he dropped off the apples at his father’s station at the market, he noticed a plume of smoke going up from nearby. What? He looked closer – thick purple smoke with the strange familiar smell of battle and bloodshed…
Others were noticing it too. Someone ran up to the bell-tower and rang the brass bell loudly as possible, screaming at the top of his lungs, “Attack! There’s an attack on Aspen! They’re heading down this way!”
Immediately the whole town was in a panic. People fled to their cabins in fear, pushing others out of the way. The peaceful village became absolute chaos. People screamed as a huge flock of unnaturally large ravens flew overhead like a wave of black water. And standing on an especially gigantic, red-eyed raven was a witch. The witch must have been more than six feet tall. She had hair the same color of the feathers of the bird she rode, and had one eye the exact color of blood, the other bright yellow like amber. She carried an ebony staff with, at the end that she pointed at the village, had a silvery white circle with a six-pointed star the same color inside of that, and a strange energy swirling around it. She wore black, red, and navy necromancer’s robes and a silver chain with a gleaming red stone around her neck.
Cameron was running, running, running away, but he couldn’t help but stare at the witch for a few moments. She was beautiful, despite the cruel look she had on her pale face. But he sprinted away when he saw her raise her staff.
The witch yelled a few words that nobody heard (and if they did hear, they wouldn’t be able to make any sense of it), and waved her staff. The circle and star brightened with the power of a sun, and the energy circling the staff raced down like lightning on Amethyst. The energy lightning hit the market stand where Cameron’s father worked – where they had just been a few minutes ago – and the stand blew up. Luckily, Cameron’s father was out of there.
Smoke billowed out from the blast site. Cameron coughed, and stumbled around. The smoke made his eyes water, and he couldn’t see where he was going. When it cleared, there was nothing left of the whole market but ashes and scorched wood. Nothing was left unscathed.
Cameron’s eyes widened, and he gasped. How was that possible? He looked up at the witch. She was preparing another strike. He ran as fast as he could for cover.
Antagonized shrieks came from the houses. The witch wasn’t the only one attacking. The ravens were ravaging the fields, and there was an entire army destroying the cabins and homes.
Cam ran as fast as he could for the house that his family shared with his friend, Trevor’s, family. He opened the door and left it there, not bothering to close it. That might have been a mistake.
He looked for his father, who he knew had come there. There was nothing in the downstairs rooms…Cam ran upstairs. “Father, are you there?” He ran into his father’s room.
In the room stood two skeleton warriors and a big pile of bloody guts that was way past recognizable, but Cameron knew it had been his father.
Cameron gasped. How could this happen? There was no way! Why him? It felt as if his heart were stopping. The skeleton warriors chattered in an incomprehensible language, as if discussing what Cameron was. They must have been some sort of dark magic; they had no flesh or blood, and were only bone, yet could move around and, Cameron guessed, fight. They both carried spears.
As the skeletons (who weren’t very bright) continued arguing (at least, Cameron guessed they were arguing), Cam edged over to the edge of the room where his father kept a sword just in case of robbers or something. This would be the first time it would be used. It had a curved blade and was wicked sharp.
Cameron yelled savagely, “This is for killing my father!” and swung the sword at a skeleton warrior. It made a weird scratchy noise, and Cam decapitated it. It made a weird scratchy noise, and then fell to pieces. Cam smiled to himself, but realized too late that there was another skeleton warrior behind him. It aimed its spear at him. But it was slow, and Cam was lucky. He ducked and stabbed it right through the skull. The blade easily pierced the bone. The second skeleton warrior fell, and became nothing more than a heap of bones. Cam took a deep breath, and nearly choked on it. What about Chastity?! He ran out to the village.
Most of what was left was ashes. There were skeleton warriors infiltrating, along with a few others. The others looked like humans, only a bit different. Some had weird tattoo-like markings that glowed, some had claws, some had fangs, some had pointed ears, some had odd appendages that resembled wings, some had all of these. Some had none, but looked fearsome even without it.
Cam roared and charged to Chastity’s house. He ran straight through five skeleton warriors, anger winning over the fear that pierced his heart like rusty daggers. He waved his sword wildly – luckily he hit before they could, and none of the human-ish things went after him. He did have a spear hit his shoulder, making scarlet blood fly and spill, making a trail as he sprinted.
He soon reached Chastity’s house, and opened the door so quickly and forcefully that it looked like it would fly off its hinges. Cam raced inside as fast as his legs would go, and entered Chastity’s room. Or what he guessed to be her room, since she was in it.
But Chastity wasn’t the only one in the room.
Also in the room was a she-demon. The demon had on a dress that seemed to be made of the midnight sky – pitch black with dotted silver spots like stars. It had short sleeves and went down to her knees. She had a necklace that had a crescent moon pendant that glowed. She had pointed ears poking out from under her black, silver-streaked hair. There were weird red lines and shapes like tattoos covering her face, arms, hands, and legs. There were two rips in the back of her dress where two dragon-like, leathery black wings stuck out.
Cameron stared. That was all he could do.
Chastity was backed against the wall. Her light blue eyes shone with worry. She saw Cam, and mouthed, Run.
Cameron could only stand and stare as the she-demon raised her hands above her head. Her red tattoos glowed, and a red sphere formed in her hands. Chastity opened her mouth to scream, but it never came out. The she-demon threw the sphere down at Chastity. Cam wanted to look away, but he was too late.
Chastity erupted into crimson flames as the sphere hit her, and after a few seconds, exploded.
Cameron froze. How? HOW?!
The she-demon turned to Cameron – her eyes shone dark midnight blue.
Cameron ran like a madman. NO!! How could this happen to him? His father – or why did it have to happen to Chastity? She was an innocent girl! She was his best friend – maybe even more – but that didn’t matter anymore – she was dead –
He screamed, “Chastity!” as he ran.
After a full fifteen minutes of nonstop racing, Cameron was completely out of breath. The she-demon didn’t appear to be following him anymore. He circled back to Chastity’s house.
Cam was in shock when he entered the room – blood spattered everywhere, bones slightly melted and re-formed into various sickening shapes. He tried not to pay attention to her remains as he went in.
“Chastity…” Cameron murmured softly, and saw something glint on the floor: her necklace. He picked up the chain. It was still warm. The silver chain and gold pendant had been misshapen some, but the ruby was intact, still gleaming with a magical, fiery luster. He slung the necklace over his own neck, and drew his sword. He ran the blade through the blood on the floor.
“I promise,” Cameron choked, “that I will avenge you.”
“Are you done with your goodbyes yet?”
Cam wheeled around and stuck his sword out at whoever was speaking. The speaker was a girl, no older than he was. The girl had dark brown hair and bright blue eyes, and was armed with her own sword. She didn’t unsheathe it, only gripped the hilt, as if making a threat. She wore things that looked sort of like battle armor. She wore a golden amulet in the shape of a crescent moon, with a blue jewel in it, around her neck.
“Please. You’d never win against me in a fight,” the girl said. “Let’s get out of here.”
“Who are you?” Cam growled. “Were you the one who killed her?” But then he immediately knew the answer – he couldn’t believe how dense he was sometimes. The girl was nothing like the she-demon. “Are you with that evil witch?”
“I used to be until about a year ago. Can we save the questions? She’s aiming to destroy the whole village. If we’re still standing in here when she strikes the house with that lightning, we’re toast.”
“Right,” Cam said.
They ran out of the building. At the girl’s instructions, she and Cam went down into the dark forest in the valley beside Amethyst.