CW Final Project – The Shattering

 

Title Slide

It is the end of the semester and I’m finishing up assignments and projects for my classes. One was a final project for my Creative Writing class. For the longest time, I was at a loss of what to do. So I started working on finishing the last part of the Shattering (which I’ve posted 3 parts of so far). I wrote some and then my brain locked up.

So I decided to draw and color. 🙂

I worked on some dragon pictures and realized they might be the best way to present my piece visually. So I started a PowerPoint presentation and did some more coloring. Eventually, I realized it would be very difficult to put the drawings into the PowerPoint without a scanner. So I went and purchased one. Many of the pictures I drew, then inked, then scanned (in B&W), then printed on my laserjet, then colored, then scanned in again. I also scanned in some of my maps. (I love drawing maps!)

So here is what I presented. In the end, I just did the PowerPoint and explained the images, using up enough time without reading the excerpt. But I will include the excerpt at the end of this post.

~ Effy

Word of Dadreon Slide

Dadreon is a fantasy world I have been writing in since middle school–about 20 years. It has expanded and become more rich over the years. These past few years it has really begun to take shape because the various scattered pieces have begun to come together, fitting with one another like puzzle pieces.

Dadreon Pre-Shattering Slide

This is the world as it existed before the Shattering of the Sunstone and the resulting cataclysm. The world was one large landmass, similar to Earth’s Pangeae.

Dadreon Post-Shattering Slide

This is the separation of the continents immediately after the Shattering, before the continents started drifting apart from one another.

Sandrae Pre-Shattering Slide

Sandrae is basically the center of Dadreon, and the home to all of the Protectors. This is a map of Sandrae prior to the Shattering. The Temple of Yargonae is at the center in the elven city of Bethel. The darker portions are all forests as they existed before the humans arrived.

Sandrae Post-Shattering Slide

This is Sandrae after the Shattering, now surrounded by water.

Rhaegar Slide

This is Rhaegar, the Father of Dragons. He was created by Yargonae at the beginning. He is always dreaming, and in his dreams, he keeps an ancient evil locked away in the center of the world. The Shattering woke Rhaegar, allowing his prisoners to almost escape and changing the face of Dadreon.

The Sunstone Slide

After creating Rhaegar, Yargonae took a scale from him and created the Sunstone. Through the refracted rays of the sun, creating a rainbow of colors, Yargonae formed the Dracolords, the Gemstone Dragons. The Dracolords are the protectors of the elements–earth, fire, nature, air, and water.

Sapphire Slide

Sapphire is the male Dracolord who protects the elemental earth.

Ruby Slide

Ruby is the female Dracolord who protects the elemental fire.

Emerald Slide

Emerald is the male Dracolord who protects the elemental nature.

Quartz Slide

Quartz is the female Dracolord who protects the elemental air.

Onyx Slide

Onyx is the female Dracolord who protects the elemental water. (She turned out looking awesome, but far more mean looking than I intended!)

Sylvan Slide

The Sylvan are the Protectors of life and life essence. They are the mothers of all of the fae races–elves, fairies, halflings, and dryads.

Avar Slide

The Avar are the protectors of the mind and mental powers. They are a race of bird-people with a strict caste system and a way of life that is similar to the Asian and Buddhist lifestyles–focusing on history-keeping, knowing the self, and meditation.

Nagaesh Slide

I believe that the world is formed of opposites and these opposites both complement and contradict one another. The Desecrators are the opposite of the Protectors. For each Protector there is a Desecrator to form opposition and who feed on and destroy the forces that the Protectors guard. The Desecrators are the minions of the ancient ones imprisoned within Dadreon by Rhaegar. At the time of the Shattering, they were summoned to the surface by the envious Zaeriin, god of darkness and deceit.

The Nagaesh are the Desecrators of the elements. They feed on the elements of earth, fire, nature, air, and water. I devised this creature from a combination of various monsters and based its name off the mythical Naga, or lizard men.

Rusc Slide

The Rusc are the Desecrators of life and life essence. They feed on the life forces of other beings. I picture the Rusc similar to a ghoul from Dungeons & Dragons–vampiric and emaciated–which is why I choose to use this image.

Ilmaer Slide

The Ilmaer are the Desecrators of the mind and mental powers. They feed on the minds of other beings. I picture the Ilmaer very similar to the mind flayers, or Illithid, from Dungeons & Dragons–who also seem very similar to the imagery given of Cthulhu from H.P. Lovecraft’s writing.

The Shattering Excerpt Slide

This is an excerpt from the larger piece, The Shattering.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Sunstone had begun to sing again, a melody dreadful and forlorn.

Zaeriin reached forward. A tiny tremor in the marble floor gave him pause. He hesitated for only a moment, then grabbed hold of the gem. A greater vibration shook Zaeriin, seeming to originate from the Sunstone. He took a firmer hold of it. The walls of the Temple began to shudder and cracks appeared in their flawless surfaces.

Zaeriin stood mesmerized, gazing deeply into the Sunstone. Within the gem were swirling masses resembling tiny cosmic clouds, and within them twinkled tiny stars. Now that he held it, the Sunstone seemed to trill with a higher pitch than before.

First dust, then pebbles, then large sections of the plastered walls and columns began to crumble and collapse around him. A large chunk fell to the floor, narrowly missing him and breaking him from his reverie.

“I think that is my exit cue,” Zaeriin murmured.

The Temple groaned and rumbled with discontent. As Zaeriin moved toward the doors, more chunks of plaster fell, now joined by the stone and mortar beneath it, quicker and in larger pieces than before. A jagged hole marred the ceiling, and it made the sun’s rays unpleasantly harsh and condemning to the dark god’s sensitive eyes.

Zaeriin clutched the Sunstone protectively to him. As he reached the aspen doors, the gem wailed and flashed hot pain into his chest.

Crying out, Zaeriin tried to hold on, but the burning gem tumbled from his covetous fingers.

The Sunstone hit the marble and shattered, letting loose an ear-piercing wail. It was a scream of fear, a howl of pain, a cry of anguish.

And it woke Rhaegar, the Dreamer, from his slumber.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

To those living on the great landmass of Sandrae, it seemed the gods had cast judgment upon their creations, found them lacking, and sought to destroy all evidence of their existence. The once calm landscape became a roiling, punishing, living thing.

Mountains bled and groaned and collided with one another, ground together like gnashing teeth then violently ripping apart, leaving great chasms that sucked down the unprepared. The chasms channeled torrential sea waters into the crevasses forming across the continent’s formerly solid surface and the landmass shattered apart. Fractured pieces drifted away from the center of the continent.

The quakes created by the upheaval wracked Sandrae, crumbling buildings, destroying forests, and reshaping the features of the world of Dadreon. Molten rock spewed up from below and washed away great areas in burning rivers of lava.

Thunder and hail created a great cacophony, making ears ring and teeth grind. Lightning lit up the blackened sky and eerily outlined the apocalyptic landscape in stark white on black.

The cataclysmic events sent the peoples running in fear for their lives, but with nowhere to escape.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Zaeriin stood in horrified awe for several moments, staring at the topaz shards scattered around him. He grabbed the largest jagged fragment and fled down the marble stairs that spilled down the front of the violently quaking Temple.

He quickly realized the turmoil extended beyond Temple, though. The city of Bethel had fallen into chaos. Terrified elves fled homes that crumbled around them. They poured into streets that cracked apart beneath a sky that rumbled and spewed torrential rains.

He might have escaped in the confusion if not for the grief of one.

Umaesh, lord of the moons and stars, had watched his love, Onyx, enter the Temple of Yargonae and only Zaeriin emerge. He knew the malice that blackened that one’s heart, had seen much of his wicked acts from his high throne. Umaesh left his heavenly realm to confirm the fears growing within him, but was still stunned into anguished silence when he saw his love slumped into a pool of her own blood.

His tears had begun to fall as her body shimmered and shattered into two pairs of dragons–two of black and two of steely grey. The dragons cried out in their own despair before smashing through the remnants of the skylight of the Temple and escaping into the trembling beyond.

Umaesh was left with only his tears and his aching heart.

For what seemed an eternity to the immortal god, he knelt there, his face soaked with tears that would not stop falling, until finally he remembered the source of his heartbreak. Cold anger, the kind that sharpens emotion-dulled senses, filled Umaesh. He spent only a moment shaping the physical manifestation of his sorrow, the black pool of his tears, into a sharp obsidian instrument of revenge, and then crossed the Temple’s vast marble floor.

Zaeriin had only made it to the lower courtyard at the base of the stairs when Umaesh smashed through the remaining fragments of the great pair of aspen doors.

“Zaeriin! I will have your heart for the pain you’ve caused mine!”

The fleeing god cringed and hunched into himself as he met the glaring anger of Umaesh. The moon god cut an impressive figure across the darkened front of the Temple–silky black skin taut over rippling muscles that trembled with rage. Umaesh’s luminescent silver eyes burned into Zaeriin, making him flinch away from the gaze. In his passionate grip hung a sword with a black blade and Zaeriin knew what the other god intended.

“Be reasonable, Umaesh. You cannot kill me. I’m brother to your King,” Zaeriin said. He gave the moon god his most charismatic smile.

“I am beyond reason,” Umaesh replied, taking slow steps down the stairs to the lower courtyard.

“As was I. Believe me, her death hurts me as it does you.”

“I doubt that, but no worries, you will feel a similar pain.” Umaesh’s steps remained even, measured. “I plan to cut out your black heart.”

Zaeriin winced at the implications. “You are indeed without reason if you think I will submit to you.”

“It is my wish that you don’t. That will make my revenge sweeter.” His drawn out progression continued.

Zaeriin had never realized how steep the staircase was until it counted down to his end. He had no intentions of that happening. “You cannot attack what you cannot see,” the god of darkness hissed.

The entire courtyard went black. Umaesh could not even see the blade in his hand, let alone the steps ahead of him. He paused, his ears alert to any noise. “Coward!” he shouted into the dark.

The words were quickly lost in the deafening sounds of the world destroying itself, an end which meant nothing to Umaesh.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Umaesh whispered to his sword, and it responded. A dim light came forth, black on black, but cutting the immediate gloom. Umaesh stepped quicker down the stairs until he stood where Zaeriin had been a moment before. “Show yourself!”

“What fun would that be?” Zaeriin said. His confidence returned with his ability to fade into the black. This was his element.

Umaesh was aware of Zaeriin’s powers of deceit and knew better than to trust his ears. He focused on the dimly glowing sword as he cut slow swaths through the darkness.

At first, he saw nothing, but finally as Zaeriin’s voice laughed tauntingly behind him, Umaesh caught a movement at the edge of the sweeping sword’s light in front and to his left. He followed where he thought the movement’s path led and slashed.

Zaeriin cried out and the black wall around them wavered. The gloomy low-light of the continuing storm fell like streamers of dull gray, piercing random places and plunging to the ground around them.

Again, Umaesh waited, then lunged. Again, his opponent confirmed the hit through the shout of a scathing epithet.

The third time, the moon god’s sword met hard resistance and two weapons came together with a thunderous crash that echoed in the wounded sky. But Zaeriin’s strength was no match for Umaesh’s. As steel met obsidian, the moon god put all of his weight behind his Moonblade and crushed Zaeriin down toward the ground.

The tattered remnants of the darkness blew away like dead leaves in the whipping wind. Umaesh was face to face with Zaeriin and glared at his love’s murderer with vengeful silver eyes.

“Last words?” Umaesh growled.

“I think that’s enough fun for one day,” Zaeriin replied with a grin, still straining against the other’s muscular arms.

A moment later, Umaesh nearly fell to the ground, all the resistance beneath him gone–along with Zaeriin.

“Damn!”

From then forward, whenever the light of the moons became eclipsed, the people of Dadreon remembered the great battle of Umaesh and Zaeriin, and rejoiced when the moons’ faces once more shone, knowing their moon god had triumphed over evil, though not destroyed it.

Umaesh returned to his heavenly sanctuary and continued to cry for his lost love. His great dark tears fell all across Dadreon, and wherever they sizzled against the flowing lava of the ravaged land they became chunks of obsidian, the tears of the moon.

Umaesh Vs. Zaeriin Slide

This last slide is a surrealistic image I put together from the battle between Umaesh and Zaeriin. It symbolizes the lunar eclipse from the battle as well as Umaesh’s tears falling and forming obsidian.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Flash Fiction Friday – The Sky Crumbles

Solar Eclipse

Just a quick intro today…

This is the third part to the stories posted recently:

Part 2 & 3 are actually meant to intermingle, but I separated them for posting, so that As Darkness Rises could be short enough to turn in for my assignment. They will go back together as intended when all the parts are complete.

Enjoy Part 3!

~ Effy

The Sky Crumbles

“The situation goes from bad to worse,” Sapphire said to his siblings, hissing the words through his sharp teeth.

“This new arrival troubles me more than even this war between the elves and humans,” Ruby agreed. She slowly shook her large, horned head. “What are those dark creatures?”

“I fear there is someone else behind this new development,” Emerald said with a frown on his muzzle, flicking his golden eyes to each of his siblings in turn.

“I have a thought of who,” Onyx replied, her usually lively countenance serious.

“Zaeriin,” Quartz said, reading the look on her sister’s face.

Onyx nodded.

The five Dracolords continued to watch the battlefield. The conflict had been moving closer to the the gates of Bethel, but stalled with the appearance of the gaping, black hole and the dark creatures spewing from it. Details proved difficult to discern through the sooty black fog, all the the Dracolords could see were vaguely humanoid shapes scrambling around and colliding chaotically.

The dark creatures from below continued to multiply.

“We must do something,” Ruby insisted.

“We’re already too far from the Temple,” Sapphire said.

“Maybe we should return,” Onyx said, her voice less certain than usual. She glanced from the battlefield to the Temple of Yargonae, still shining and golden behind them, unaffected by the darkness screening the battlefield below.

“As this darkness arises, it continues to spread,” Emerald said. “What if it continues toward the Temple?”

Before the others could answer, the end began.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Zaeriin climbed the mountain of steps up to the Temple of Yargonae. Usually, the Dracolords would have sensed his approach and barred his way long before this point, but they stayed distracted with the battle from above. He could see their shimmering rainbow still spanned across the heavens.

Yet the great aspen doors remained sealed. Zaeriin cursed under his breath and glanced behind him, in the direction of the battle that raged just out of view. He could hear the growing terror as his dark minions from below sliced and slithered their way through the elves and humans. The inky cloud still hung there like low, thick fog, enveloping the whole of the battlefield.

Other than his brother, Yargonae, only Zaeriin knew the origin of the creeping darkness. Only Zaeriin knew of the existence of sleeping, dreaming horrors in the depths and how to use them.

But Zaeriin’s patience was at its end.

Thankfully, he didn’t have to wait much longer. He saw the first magenta flashes flicker over the walls of Bethel. Zaeriin knew those sparks of light meant the humans were fighting the approaching darkness with arcane magic–magic the young and irresponsible Bael had blessed them with but had never shown them how to use responsibly.

With a raised hand, Zaeriin felt along the weakening aura holding closed the doors of the Temple.

“Soon…” he hissed.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Finally!” Zaeriin hissed.

He shoved both palms against the stout aspen doors of the Temple, and felt the rush of sweet success as they parted. Warm air and the scent of hot metal and spring flowers wafted against him.

Zaeriin crinkled his nose.

Then, his visage immediately brightened when his eyes fell upon the Sunstone. His goal was finally within reach.

One step. Two steps. Three steps. The footsteps came quickly and without thought.

Zaeriin moved within arm’s reach of the Sunstone. The rays of the sun glittered off its perfect topaz surface, causing the gem to twinkle and warble a mournful tune.

It was as if the Sunstone knew the fate awaiting it–awaiting them all.

Zaeriin flinched. The gem seemed to be asking him, begging him, to walk back out.

“No! Not after all this!” Zaeriin roared, gesturing behind him with one wide circle of one arm. “I’ve waited too long. I’ve come too far. You belong to me!”

No, Zaeriin. The Sunstone is not yours. Never will it be yours. As the voice invaded his mind, he watched a swirling grey vapor drift between him and the gem. Seconds later, the vapor coalesced into the looming form of a large, shimmering black dragon, forcing Zaeriin back several steps from his prize.

“Onyx, don’t stand in my way.” Zaeriin glared into the Dracolord’s yellow eyes. The jealousy built within him again, so hot he forgot all other emotions. She had spurned him. She had denied his advances. She had claimed her heart belonged only to Umaesh, god of the moons and stars.

Zaeriin’s insides burned, a building volcano of vehemence.

“You will go no further, Zaeriin.” Onyx met his eyes steadily, her head high and her muzzle elevated. She stood on all four of her muscular legs, toes tense and talons clicking against the smooth gold and grey swirled marble beneath them, her tail twitching restlessly.

“My feelings for you won’t stay my hand,” Zaeriin promised. “Remove yourself, or I will kill you. I will let nothing stop me.” His gnarled, sharp fingers clenched and unclenched at his sides.

Onyx’s lips curled, and she bared her pointed teeth.

The Temple became cloaked in blackness. With the sun blotted out, the Sunstone ceased its singing and silence fell. The abruptness of it was deafening. Onyx found herself disoriented.

But Zaeriin was in his element.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“You should not have come alone,” Zaeriin said, his voice reverberating through the air.

Onyx spun towards his voice, snarling and flailing with claw and tail and snapping maw.

A moment too late, she saw it for the deception it was. Something sharp pierced her breast, in the spot where her scales were thinnest and her body least armored. So sudden did it strike her, her breath caught in her throat. So deep did it cut, it pierced her lung and her heart beneath it, denying her any further objection.

Zaeriin dispelled his darkness, and watched as Onyx slumped forward. She wheezed a few final breaths and growled in the direction of her attacker. Then, her head thumped heavily to the marble, in the growing puddle of her garnet-colored blood.

Allowing himself only a moment’s reflection, Zaeriin swallowed down any regrets. Then he tore his gaze from one source of his envy to the other.

The Sunstone had begun to sing again, a melody dreadful and forlorn.

Zaeriin reached forward. A tiny tremor in the marble floor gave him pause. He hesitated for only a moment, then grabbed hold of the gem. A greater vibration shook Zaeriin, seeming to originate from the Sunstone. He took a firmer hold of it. The walls of the Temple began to shudder and cracks appeared in their flawless surfaces.

Zaeriin stood mesmerized, gazing deep into the Sunstone. Deep within the gem were swirling masses resembling tiny cosmic clouds, and within them twinkled tiny stars. Now that he held it, the Sunstone seemed to trill with a higher pitch than before.

First dust, then pebbles, then large sections of the plastered walls and columns began to crumble and collapse around him. A large chunk fell to the floor, narrowly missing him and breaking him from his revere.

“I think that is my exit cue,” Zaeriin murmured.

The Temple groaned and rumbled with discontent. As Zaeriin moved toward the doors, more chunks of plaster fell, now joined by the stone and mortar beneath it, quicker and in larger pieces than before. A jagged hole marred the ceiling, and it made the sun’s rays unpleasantly harsh and condemning.

Zaeriin clutched the Sunstone protectively to his chest. As he reached the aspen doors, the gem wailed and flashed hot pain into his chest.

Crying out, Zaeriin tried to hold on, but the burning gem tumbled from his covetous fingers.

The Sunstone hit the marble and shattered, letting loose an ear-piercing wail. It was a scream of fear, a howl of pain, a cry of anguish.

And it woke Rhaegar, the Dreamer, from his slumber.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Horror Fiction Project – As Darkness Rises

Black Tentacles, by Archanor on Deviantart

The short story piece, The Sunstone, that I published last week is continued here.

This piece is a continuation, but it is also a piece written for an assignment. I mentioned that I was drawing inspiration from my Creative Writing, Horror & Sci Fi, and Mythology classes. Well, this one is horror inspired. We are responsible for 3 projects this semester, and one is a “creative” project. It was intended to allow students with less writing interest to express themselves through other forms–sculptor, painting, video, etc. But I asked if I could write a piece of fiction, and was given permission. (Yay!)

Yes, I won’t deny there are some Lovecratian influences here.

I hope you enjoy. I don’t have an assignment planned for the third part, but it will get posted here soon.

~ Effy

As Darkness Rises

Tendrils of darkness blotted out the climbing sun like a morning eclipse. They snaked around it, and constricted, until its light became a mere chilly glow. Yet still the sun hung there, though bloated and red, its rays diffused in the sudden ominous gloom.

The source of the creeping darkness spewed from a split in the soil, forming in the center of the battlefield. It swirled like sooty smoke. The ground seemed to fall away at the edges, disintegrating back in upon itself into the abyss below.

The sudden appearance of the crevice swallowed those closest in terrifying swiftness. The darkness below did not discriminate between elf or man–it ate any who had stumbled too near. Soon it gaped like a giant, hungry maw, its throat black with rich soil, crumbling clumps of earth forming its jagged teeth.

Mere feet from having been swallowed, a young elven soldier pirouetted his arms to regain balance and scrambled backwards from the edge of the approaching underworld. He first saw the dark talons that clawed the edges of the black hole. They looked wet, even slimy, catching the little bit of light breaking through the black fog and creating a sickening sheen on greyish skin.

As the glistening creature crested the edge of the maw, the young elf tried to scream at the sight of it, but the sound caught in his throat. A moment later, the sinewy nightmare reached out, a frenzy of slashing talons and fangs, and cut off any further protest in a gurgle of bubbling blood.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Gennerd, commander of the elven forces and their allies, could not see the source of the first screams of terror. He could only feel the creeping chill they sent shivering down his spine as elves and men screamed and then were cut short.

Chaos built in the center of the battlefield. It rippled through the ranks like a dark wave.

Gennerd could not tell if the screams were elves or men, but it didn’t matter. From the change in the battle’s tone, it seemed obvious whatever had changed it affected both sides. From the darkening of the sky, despite the sun that still shone there dimly, he could tell it was more than the barbaric humans were capable of, even with their rudimentary grasp of arcane magic.

“Illandra!” Gennerd called. “Zenadi!” Neither of his commanders were close enough to hear him over the cacophony. Solace, his patience pegasus companion, shifted beneath him, sensing his anxiety, and ruffling the feathers of her white wings.

With a curse, Gennerd urged Solace forward, cautious. He did not coax her into the air, for he mistrusted the darkness gathering there. He did not like going in blind, for he feared what he could not identify, but his soldiers needed direction. They needed reassurance.

What reassurance he could offer, he was yet unsure.

The rainbow that had arched across the sky earlier could not be seen. Whether that meant it had disappeared or just been hidden from view by the smoky murk, Gennerd didn’t know. But the hope it had given him faded with it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Again!” Warlord Kerl snarled.

At his command, another volley of amethyst-colored bolts of energy arced high into the sky, the premature dusk–twoscore of them. The missiles fell among the elven ranks as well as among these new, darker creatures.

Kerl was certain they were some form of fairy-folk summoned by the hedonistic elves.

The commander of the human legion yanked the reins of his yellow palomino and the nervous beast turned, shaking its black mane anxiously. Kerl kept the horse pacing circles behind the lines forming his last hope of destroying the elves. These elves with their pathetic attempt at stalling him from finally eradicating them and their trees and their many gods.

As Kerl prepared to order another volley, he scanned the scorched, torn sod and the scattered bodies tossed around like rag dolls. Those bodies were only men and elves. The dark creatures seemed unaffected. In fact, they were grouping in slithering swarms of shadows, snaking through the remaining ranks of humans between themselves and Kerl.

His horse neighed in fear, its ears flattened, its eyes wide and rolling erratically. Kerl snapped the reins and tried to get the beast under control. Then he realized one of the dark creatures had slipped through the mages, slicing and half-devouring a few along its path.

It clawed at the leg of the terrified horse. As it grabbed a hold, the beast’s leg began to turn a ghastly grey, a sickness of the flesh that crept higher the longer the dark creature kept hold. The horse’s legs gave out, and Kerl rolled away just short of being crushed.

As the horse hit the ground, it shrieked, an ear-splitting sound that dissolved into a gurgling bray.

The dark creature that had brought it down gorged on its horseflesh, making stomach-turning slurping and crunching noises in the process. Kerl sat back in a horrified stupor, only shaking himself from it when the dark creature looked up and Kerl finally got a good look at it.

It resembled an emaciated man, one caught in a blistering fire. Charred skin, now dripping with blood, clung like saturated cloth to its bones. Its eyes burned with cerise hunger and dripping fangs lined its ravenous mouth.

Kerl stoically concluded in that moment, just before the thing pounced on him, that this was no fairy.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Gennerd saw Kerl’s horse go down, shrieking, and grimaced. He may have disliked his adversary, but no one deserved such a fate.

He and Solace had reached the main fray, but the majority of the dark creatures had turned toward the humans and their mages. A viscous black wave of slithering bodies formed a wall between Gennerd’s elves and the remaining humans.

Another volley of fuschia bolts of arcane energy flew through the dark sky. Gennerd frowned. Even he could see from where he and Solace watched that the missiles were ineffective. The only thing they accomplished was drawing more attention to the casters.

Unknown to Gennerd, they also weakened the magical bounds of the Temple of Yargonae within the walls of Bethel.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Gennerd regrouped the remaining elves. He found Illandra, his second in command, and Zenadi, the commander of the fairy troops. Both he told to reorganize their soldiers and go wide around where the humans made their final stand–though, that stand was more of a failed attempt to flee without their warlord.

The elves’ only hope lay in leading the dark creatures the rest of the way from Bethel. Whether it would mean anything without figuring out how to seal up their hellish hole, Gennerd didn’t know.

The elves and fairies made their way around the wave of slithering blackness as Gennerd watched from Solace’s back. The dark creatures took notice immediately and divided.

They attacked the elves with a ferality like he’d never seen.

There seemed to be two different types of the dark creatures. One resembled an atrophied human, its skin charred and crumbling and clinging to its bones like wet cloth. They crawled with a dexterity that belied their frail-looking builds and ravenously devoured anything in their wake. The other creatures were half-man, half-snake abominations. They had dark greyish, slimy skin, stretched tautly over sinewy humanoid torsos and whip-like, snaking tails. They hunted with reptilian eyes and impossibly fast, slithering movements.

“Prepare yourself, Solace,” Gennerd whispered to his pegasus mount, but it was as much an encouragement to himself as to her. He patted her neck, and she snorted affectionately.

The diversion went as well as could be expected. The black wave slithered farther from Bethel’s gates, and the dark creatures seemed to have stopped emerging from the gaping, black hole in the open field.

But before Gennerd gave Solace the command to charge in and past, to draw the dark creatures farther still, his mount whinnied fearfully. The commander turned and froze in similar terror.

Several yards away stood the most hideous creature Gennerd had ever seen. Not even his darkest nightmares could have conjured this thing. It possessed a bulbous, slimy head and giant, milk-filmed eyes that looked blind. The thing’s face resembled a squid, multiple tentacles coming down and covering where its mouth should be. It was cloaked in a voluminous black robe with a tall collar that came higher than the dark creature’s squishy-looking head.

Solace, usually the most patience and steadfast of mounts, paced and whickered and tossed her head. She seemed on the edge of madness and too terrified to even flee.

Gennerd, similarly affected, wished she had bolted. Anything to carry him away from the squid creature.

Instead, it took several paces forward, and then made a gesture with one delicate, glossy hand. A number of elves stepped from the swirling black fog behind the creature. They raised their weapons and charged Gennerd and Solace.

The pegasus seemed mired to the ground. She stomped her hooves but made no headway in any direction. Gennerd’s arms were lead and would not obey him to guide her.

The elves, his soldiers, quickly swarmed Solace. She screeched in terror and pain as their weapons tore into her.

It was only then that Gennerd saw the empty looks in the eyes of the attacking elves. Even had he a voice to shout at them, he knew it would not have reached a rational mind. Their eyes had the same milky-film as the tentacled creature and their expressions were slack and vacant.

Somehow, this abyssal creature had stolen their minds.

Gennerd tried to scramble away as Solace fell beneath him. The elven soldiers grabbed him with dozens of fiercely biting fingers, and dragged him before the squid monster.

No scream would come to his lips, but it echoed over and over in his head.

The large milky eyes, from within the cephalopod face, drew his gaze into their depths and held him. He felt his mind seized as if by ice cold fingers and barred within a dark place. The frigid fingers plucked away his memories, one by one, piece by piece, stretching them out like stringy tendrils until they all floated in the air like dull streamers. The remnants of his strung-out memories were sucked away, and Gennerd was left with petrifying nothingness.

Then, a gurgling, sloshing voice filled the void, whispering things, and Gennerd’s shattered mind clung to every word.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Flash Fiction Friday – The Sunstone

The Sunstone

My new assignment for Creative Writing was due yesterday, and I got to workshop it in class. I realized it is the first time I have ever presented a piece of my own fantasy fiction in a class. I have shared fan fiction. I have shared my fantasy online. But I had to sit and be quiet while a room full of people critiqued my story. It was terrifying! Lol

This assignment was supposed to be about an object, a thing. I realize in retrospect that apparently a few weeks of studying poems and actually writing one seems to have affected my prose–in a good way. Both the imagery and the rhythm seem to have been affected, and it was noticed by my classmates.

This is going to be part of a longer piece. This is the beginning of that longer piece.

I mentioned on Twitter the other day that I am taking information from Creative Writing, Horror & Science Fiction, and Mythology to write this piece. Creative Writing inspired this piece with the “thing” prompt. Horror & Science Fiction is inspiring the piece that will immediately follow this. And Mythology is inspiring me to tighten up the lore of my fantasy world.

The two pictures are the closest I could get to how I picture the Sunstone and the Temple of Yargonae. The picture of the Temple, is actually a temple in the city of Palitana in Gujarat, India. Perhaps I’ll have to doodle something of my own at some point.

I’d like to make a habit of a short piece on Fridays, for Flash Fiction Friday. We’ll see how long I can keep myself on a schedule.

~ Effy

The Sunstone

The Temple of Yargonae

As the sun rose that morning, its golden light hit the Sunstone–refracting from that perfect piece of topaz to lighten every corner of the Temple of Yargonae–for the last time. The Sunstone, Scale of the Dreamer, nested stoically upon its pedestal, singing and warbling as sunlight passed through it like wind through a wind chime, changing tone as the rays of light changed shape. It perched as on any other day since the birth of the world, while within its crystalline depths spun the secrets of creation and existence itself.

Below, far beneath where the Sunstone sat with its infinite patience, Rhaegar, the Dreamer, held that existence together, precariously, in his ever-sleeping mind. No mortal could know the dreams of Rhaegar. To witness the inky blackness, the slithering and sloshing monstrosities trapped within the bowels of Dadreon, would have sent them spiraling into madness. Unspeakable, unnamable horrors lay trapped in their prisons–dreaming and balanced between life and unlife, death and undeath–held there only by the will of the great Father of Dragons.

The Temple of Yargonae stood serene that morning, as it had for thousands of years. The shining center of the city of Bethel–beauty personified and home to the pinnacle of elven society–the Temple gave physical form to the splendor that was Yargonae, king of the gods and creator of the planet Dadreon. He who had made order of chaos. He who had created Rhaegar, mightiest of all creatures. He who had imprisoned the malevolent primordial beings now trapped within Rhaegar’s dreams. He who had taken one topaz scale from the Father of Dragons, formed the Sunstone of it, and through the rainbow refractions of that gem had created the protectors of all of his creations–the Dracolords.

On this particular morning, the Sunstone sat alone. Only the sun and its song kept it company.

Its protectors watched the battle of elf versus man as it approached the walls of Bethel, trepidatious and mostly unseen–visible only as rays of light, appearing as a part of the misty morning sky’s rainbow to those below. Ruby red, emerald green , sapphire blue, quartz white, and onyx black–the Dracolords pondered what consequences would arise if the war the humans brought were to breach the walls of the elven city and reach the stairs of the great Temple.

Inside the Temple, the Sunstone was not destined to be lonely long. For there was one who had great interest in it.

Zaeriin, god of darkness and deceit, had planned for this day. Only Zaeriin knew what terrors waited to bubble up from below and onto the battlefield at the gates of Bethel. For he had awakened those terrors, and he counted on their chaotic and destructive natures to bring him to what he most desired–the Sunstone, and with it the secret of creation.

Too long he had languished in the shadow of his older brother, Yargonae. Too long had he manipulated their youngest sibling, Bael, into leading the humans to create the chaos that would give him his chance at the glittering, golden source of his jealousy.

Now, with Bael out of the way, Zaeriin could push his plans forward quicker, without delay.

Already, Zaeriin could hear voices rising in confusion and fear. The din of discord brought a smirk to his face.

Everything was falling into place.

Had the Sunstone been capable of mortal concerns, it would have feared the approach. Instead, it merely reflected the light and sang its warbly tune as its many facets bent and redirected the sun into millions of glittering sparkles.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.