Frellos and the Monster of Many Forms | Teen Ink

Frellos and the Monster of Many Forms

February 18, 2021
By lgabramo, East Brunswick, New Jersey
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lgabramo, East Brunswick, New Jersey
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Favorite Quote:
"Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some, are given a chance to climb. They refuse, they cling to the realm or the gods or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is." - Petyr Baelish, GOT 3x6

Our story takes place on a faraway land, in the middle of the Saltinian Sea. It is an island known as the Isle of Amabros. Amabros is home to some of the finest merchants and sailors, so many trades are done on the harbor of Langtor, known as “The City of Merchants and Men.” On one fateful day, the princess of Langtor sneaks out of the castle to watch the trades be done. There was a reason the princess was never allowed to leave. And that reason was the Mandrine. A creature that was a sea serpent that could freeze anything it breathed on while in the water, a deadly dragon that could shoot lightning from its throat while in the air, and a terrifying lizard with breath that could melt anything with its red-hot flames while on the land. And on this day, the Mandrine decided to strike. It tore through three merchant ships and leaped out of the water. Now on land, It burned every parcel and person it saw. When it saw the princess, it grabbed the princess in its claws, leaped into the air, and sprouted wings, shooting down lightning as King Jouburn watched in horror as his daughter was carried away. Outraged, the king called for the 50 best knights from around the island, and one of those knights was a young farmer’s boy called Frellos. As he makes his way to Langtor from his home city of Walth, our story begins...

The king gave all the knights the same task. Track down the Mandrine, and get his daughter back. In return, he promised their weight in silver, 500 elephants, and a golden rose to whoever could complete the task. As Frellos left the castle, three knights came to him and asked if he wanted to join them on their quest. He declined, saying he preferred to travel alone, but in reality, he didn’t want to share the prize with anyone else. A problem soon arose, however. A librarian had seen the beast fly towards the Peaks of Peril. The mountains were surrounded by a rapid river, and the dragon was on the other side of the peaks. If someone had a small boat, they could get there much faster on the river. Frellos decided he would need help, but still refused to work with any knight. Instead, he made friends with a man named Lyernom, who was around Frellos’s age and owned a business that made small paddle boats. Lyernom and Frellos rode the river around the peaks and landed on the side the monster was supposedly hiding. The cliffs were steep, and the two made little progress until Illerpherus, a climber who was testing his abilities on the mountains, gave the two some equipment, and showed them how to get up. However, by the time they reached the top, Illerpherus’s whole climbing group had been burned to a crisp, and the Mandrine had taken off towards the south. Illerpherus wanted to join the two. At first, Frellos didn’t approve, but Illerpherus said he wanted revenge for what the Mandrine did to his group, and he could say no to that. He said, “As much as I wish to share this journey with as few as possible, I cannot refuse a man's plight for revenge.

Frellos worried the whole way south, as his city, the City of Walth, was in that direction. They eventually hit a roadblock, at the Road of Risk. The road was protected by fortresses, and the soldiers were known to be corrupt, confiscating food and supplies, only to use them for themselves. When they reached the road, the guards asked them what their business was, they told them the truth. They said that they saw the Mandrine travel south, and it had the princess in his claws. The guards decided to let them pass, as they didn’t want any trouble with the king of Langtor. However, Illerpherus foolishly mentioned the prize, and everything changed. The soldiers decided to refuse their entry, and when the group tried to sneak through, they were caught and thrown in cells. Stories differ on how they were caught, but they all agree it was Illerpherus’s foolishness again. Thinking that it was hopeless, the trio talked about how when they got out, they would go their separate ways, and Frellos, who wasn’t too fond of Illerpherus, told him not to come with him and Lyernom. However that night, they heard the cell door open. The one who had set them free was Misa, the daughter of the captain of the soldier platoon that guarded the road. She had heard their problem and felt for them, so she decided to sneak them through the road under the cover of night. When they reached the other side, Frellos tried to stop Illerpherus from coming with him, but Misa convinced him to give him another chance. Misa could relate to Illerpherus, as her mother was killed the last time the Mandrine tried to breach the border, back when its flying abilities were not as good. She said that her father had held it off, but not before the beast had snatched and drowned her mother. Frellos was convinced to let Illerpehrus return and asked Misa to come with them. She refused, but he said, “Surely you’d wanted some revenge after what this foul creature has done to you.” Misa said she didn’t want any revenge, but Frellos persisted. Eventually, they heard the soldier realize the prisoners were gone, and in an act of desperation, Misa decided to join them as they fled, fearing the wrath of her father for what she had done.

The problems with crossing the Road of Risk meant they were a day late getting to the City of Walth. And as it turned out, a day was one too many. By the time they got there, there wasn't even a “there” left to get to. All that was left in the Mandrine’s wake was ash and rubble. Every home, every field, every tower, was reduced to nothing. Frellos was furious. He started screaming that he would kill that Mandrine, and he’d turn its skin into a coat. It took all three of them to take calm Frellos down. Illepherus climbed a small cliff to get a better vantage point, and he saw a faint glow in the distance. They followed it and eventually found a house, the only one still standing, far from the rest of the city. Then they heard a voice. “Come in, come in,” the voice said. Lyernom was spooked and refused to enter, so the other three stepped inside. There they found a small black cat. Then in the blink of an eye, the cat was gone, and a frail old man was standing in its place. The man explained that he was like the Mandrine, in that he could turn into different beings. When he wanted to be agile and quick, he assumed the form of a cat, but when he wanted to be wise, he returned to his old form. He explained that the gods created him, as well as the Mandrine. When Frellos asked why the gods would make something that caused nothing but destruction, the old man said it was supposed to protect the world from humans. He explained that the gods decided that humans were ruining the world with their hate and war and violence, so they created four beings that could assume any form they liked and were meant to keep humans in check. The man said his name was Kraster, and he was one of those beings. He explained that the god of the sun, Hansos, was always sympathetic towards humans, and he didn’t agree with the plan. Behind the other god’s back, he added empathy to all the beings where hate should be. But before he could add it to the last one, the king of the gods Zydonosus caught him. He stripped him of his immortality and banished him to Earth. The beings were then spread throughout the world. I was placed in the City of Walth, too scared to be around people and afraid of what I might do to them, I stayed in the outskirts of the city. The Mandrine was placed in the Dragon's Den and continues to wreak havoc on the people. The third one was placed in the Peaks of Peril, and after learning his original purpose, he jumped from the cliffs. The final being was placed in the care of a certain King Jouburn of Langtor, who would raise the being as his daughter, never to let her go out, for fear of the Mandrine that would take her in revenge for not completing her purpose.

The three of them were completely shaken by this news. It all made sense. Why the Mandrine took the princess, why he went to the Peaks of Peril first, why he tried to go south when Misa’s mother was killed, why he burned down Walth, and why Kraster was still alive. The Mandrine expected an old man, so he wouldn’t think twice about a small agile cat escaping the flames. In the silence, Illerpherus asked how they could stop it. Kraster said that before he was banished, Hansos instructed Kraster on how to make a set of armor and a sword that could defeat the Mandrine, using dragon steel. Frellos was excited, but Kraster said he had lost the armor, but the sword was on the island in the middle of the Lost Lake. They asked how to get there, and Kraster told them to go through the Path of Pain, a road where the gods sent people to punish them. They left the house in Lyernom, who wasn’t thrilled about going down a road that the gods felt was bad enough that it was a punishment to go through, but they all agreed they had no choice. On the way, Frellos kept saying he would kill the Mandrine for what he did to his city, and how famous he’d be after doing so. When Illerpherus questioned his motives, Frellos threatened to leave him as bait for the Mandrine, saying it’d probably want to kill the last member of that climbing group. That made Illerpherus quiet, and Misa comforted him, saying he didn’t mean it, and that he had a right to be angry after what happened to his home. Eventually, they made it to the road. As they walked through they heard the clanging of swords. As they got closer, they saw a man in black and red armor, in a fight against six creatures made of only bones. Although the man was outmatched, he defeated the skeletal monsters with ease. However by the time he defeated the last one, the other bones had reformed, and he had to fight them all over again. Frellos jumped in and helped him defeat the monsters again, but they reformed again. “It’s no use!” the man said. “Leave me!” but he wouldn’t. Frellos and the man fought again and again, but the skeletons kept coming back. Eventually, Lynernom tried setting fire to the bones before they could reattach. When they did, they erupted into flames and melted into ash. They stood on their guard for a little while after, but the ash did not budge. The man turned to Frellos. “Thank you.” He said. Frellos accepted his gratitude. Then the man looked to Lyernom and praised him for his quick thinking, and a great idea. This angered Frellos, and he tried to steer the conversation back to his accomplishments, but it didn’t work. The man said his name was Allister, and he had been going through what they had just for a year. He had tried to find the sword that could supposedly kill the Mandrine, but he was caught by the Drerie, a group of sea people who lived in the Lost Lake. They brought him to the gods, who punished him by making him fight those creatures, only for them to reanimate and have to do it all again for eternity. He thanked them all once again, and they continued on the path. They encountered many other people who had been punished by the gods. Misa wanted to help them, but they all agreed that they need to continue, as the Mandrine was a pressing matter. Allister vowed that once the Mandrine was slain, he would come back and free every last prisoner of the gods. Eventually, they reached the lake, and there was an island in the distance. While there was no bridge, Lyernom found a broken boat just under the lake. Allister and Illepherus pulled it out, and Lyernom was able to patch up the holes. Lynernom suggested that only him and Allister go, to reduce the risk of others getting hurt, but Frellos insisted he go instead of Lyernom. They got into a heated argument, with Illerpherus and Misa not taking sides. Allister ended the feud, claiming he would never enter that lake again after his memories of what had happened to him. They got in the boat and set off. The trip was silent until they heard sounds coming from the water. Suddenly, an arm reached up and grabbed Frellos’s leg. Frellos screamed as he was pulled into the water, as Lyernom dove after him. Misa, Illerpherus, and Allister looked on in horror as they disappeared, into the water. As a strong fog formed around the lake, they assumed them dead. However, moments after, a boat rowed to shore in it was only Frellos, wielding a new black sword with a ruby-encrusted hilt. He then told them that Lyernom was dead.

Lyernom pulled Frellos out of the water and onto the shore of the island in the center of the Lost Lake. He had managed to escape the Drerie with Frellos in tow. Frellos opened his eyes and spat up water. Eventually, they gathered their bearings and saw the entrance to a cave that was lit up by torches. Lyernom took a torch from the wall and they walked down. The cave started going farther down, and they eventually found strange markings on the walls. First just lines and scratches, then shapes and circles, and finally, there was a message written in the common tongue. It read, “From this cave, to escape, make a set to kill the ones with no shape.” They heard a sound behind them, and a cat appeared, looking exactly like the cat Kraster had turned into. They understood. This was where Kraster was placed, and this was how Hansos told him to make the armor and the sword. However, the only way he could get out was to give a gift to the Drerie, who demanded the armor, who in turn gave him safe passage to the land. When they reached the end, they saw a small glass box and a sword resting on a pillow inside. On the box was a note that read, “On the sword, I am done, and now my life has begun,” with a small paw print at the bottom. Lynernom excitedly opened the box. He picked up the sword and tested it out. He swung it a couple of times and tested its balance. The sword was jet black, with a black hilt encrusted with jewels. Frellos hadn’t seen Lyernom fight before, so he was surprised to see he could handle himself with a sword. Frellos started thinking about everything Lyernom had for the group, and then that Lyernom might slay the Mandrine himself, taking the prize and the glory. Lyernom broke Frellos’s train of thought by asking him if he wanted to try it, and in an act of desperation, he used the new sword to cut the throat of his first-ever friend.

Frellos had just finished explaining that the Drerie, pulled him down far, and any thought that Lyernom was still alive was unreasonable, when the fog continued to grow, and they needed to continued moving. Eventually, they reach the opposite side of Lost Lake. The death of Lyernom lowered the group’s morale, and Frellos suggested that they try to kill the Drerie for revenge, but Misa explained that they just needed time to mourn and accept that he is gone. Frellos agreed, although he didn’t understand what she was talking about, and eventually they were ready to move on to the Dragon’s Den. The Dragon’s Den was a cave at the top of an enormous mountain, almost as tall as the Peaks of Peril. Frellos started climbing, but Illerpherus told him to wait, as he needed to teach Misa and Allister how to climb before they could continue. Illerpherus ignored him and continued. However, Illerpherus, being the most experienced climber, eventually passed Frellos and continued climbing higher and higher. Frellos again started to have thoughts that he was racing to the top so help could kill the Mandrine before him, or to throw him off once he gets to the top. He knew what he had to do, as he grabbed the shimmering hilt, only to hear a faint voice whisper, “Stop.” This startled Frellos, who lost his grip on the rock he was holding. Illerpherus, who had already been climbing down to help Frellos, grabbed him before he fell. Still believing Illerpherus meant to claim the prize for himself, Frellos regained his position and with his free hand, pushed Illerpherus off the mountain. Misa and Allister, who were farther behind, only saw Illerpherus falling. They eventually reached the top, and they asked Frellos what happened, and he said that Illerpherus slipped on a wet rock and fell, and he tried to help but couldn’t. Allister found that suspicious, especially because it hadn’t rained at all recently, and he didn’t see any other wet rocks on his way up. Misa and Allister said they would need a day to recoup after the long climb and the shock of Illerpherus’s death. Frellos insisted that they find the den right now, but eventually had to give in, as he couldn’t physically force them to move.

They made a fire and cooked some of the meat they had been carrying. Misa and Allister talked while Frellos sat alone and admired his sword, and listening to the voices that it seemed only he could hear. There were many voices, but the occasional one or two he recognized they main said things like, “Stop” or “You’ll make things worse” or even “How could you let this happen.” He kept mentioning them, and eventually, Misa and Allister asked to hold the sword to see if they could hear voices. He agreed. Misa said she didn’t hear anything, and while Allister was carefully listening, he noticed how the hilt of the sword looked a lot like his armor, with the black and red pattern. When Allister gave the sword back claiming he heard nothing, Frellos asked where Allister got the armor. He said the Drerie provided it for his punishment so that the skeletons would never kill him, stopping the punishment. Frellos remembered who Kraster had given the dragon steel armor to, and explained to Allister what it was. He then demanded that he give Frellos the armor. Allister refused, saying that it didn’t matter who wore what armor, as Frellos stated that dragon steel can kill the Mandrine, and said nothing about it being protective. They got into a heated argument, which escalated into them both drawing their swords until Misa broke them up. Allister decided to let Frellos wear his armor, tired of him. That night, Frellos couldn’t shake the feeling that Allister wouldn’t just give up his armor, and that there must be something else going on here. Frellos again concluded that Allister had sabotaged the armor somehow.

The next morning, Misa woke up to no Allister, and Frellos proudly wearing his armor, seemingly forgetting about his thoughts on the safety of the armor. When Misa asked where Allister was. He suggested he left because he was scared, and gave up his armor because he knew he wouldn’t need it. However, Misa noticed blood near where Allister was sleeping and noticed Frellos wanted to leave as soon as possible so they could find the cave. Misa confronted him, and he froze up, unable to say a word. Just as Misa was going to begin talking again, the Mandrine landed right beside them, roaring. Misa and Frellos screamed and hid behind a rock as it turned into its ground form and started shooting its flames at them. Misa yelled for Frellos to kill it. Frellos stepped out from behind the rock and reached for his sword. But as soon as he did, the voices returned, seemingly amplified because of the armor. Frellos suddenly understood. He knew where he recognized the voices from. He knew the sounds of the crowds in Walth from when he ran around the city as a young boy. He knew the screams of the climbers he had seen burned alive. He knew the cautious voices of Lyernom, Illerpherus, and Allister, who had been by his side and supported him. The voices were everyone whose death’s he had not gotten over, not accepted. He couldn't accept that his people were gone, he needed revenge. He couldn’t just accept that he killed his companions for his gain, they were turning against him, they were in the wrong, they should have been loyal to him. But the voices got louder and louder, and eventually, he can’t take it anymore, and drops the sword. The Mandrine takes this opportunity to attack and swallows Frellos whole.

No one knows that happened next. Some say the Mandrine burned Misa alive. Some say she narrowly escaped the Mandrine, only to jump off the mountain after the pain of losing all her companions. Or, what I like to believe, the teller of this story and former god of the sun Hansos, is that Misa picked up the sword, having taken the time to mourn and then accept the deaths of her friends and family. She then slew the Mandrine, freed the princess, and used the winnings to rebuild the city of Walth and have the soldiers in the Road of Risk replaced with better ones, ending the class separation. Or maybe, the Mandrine is still out there. It could be assuming any form and roaming the world as we speak. Would you be brave, trusting enough, compassionate enough, and accepting enough to defeat it?

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