the first 4 chapters of my book!



REGISTER TO REMOVE ADS

vitxras

New member
Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Messages
185
OREGONIA:
and the Legend of the Myce
By T. W. Radke


Copyright © 2017 by Travis William Radke
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof
may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
without the express written permission of the publisher
except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
All Rights Reserved.


Dedications
I dedicate this book to anyone who has ever felt small or unimportant because despite where you’ve come from, are what mistakes you’ve made along the way, there’s always room to grow and achieve your dreams.
I want to dedicate this book to all my writing teachers and especially those you encouraged creativity and the freedom to express myself through my writing.
I dedicate this book all my friends and family and anyone who has supported my dream. Thank you.
I also wanted to dedicate this book to the beautiful world we live in and the amazing state of Oregon that helped inspire the world of Oregonia. Despite the vastness of the universe and our insignificance in it, we managed to find ourselves on this tiny piece of mass, on this speck of sand, flying through an endless cosmos, and that’s something to be thankful for.


Contents
Prologue
Origins of Oregonia
Chapter 1 Daydreamer
Chapter 2 The Shamrock Festival
The Dance of the Beast
Chapter 3 Valor
Chapter 4 An Unrooted Evil
Chapter 5 Little hero, Big Journey



OREGONIA: and the Legend of the Myce
[h=1]Prologue[/h]I remember the first time I met Shamus, the Sage of Cloverfield, and how he described the world with his amazing stories, enlightening my imagination to all new heights of wonder. We were just kids, playing with wooden swords and pretending to fend off monsters when our parents gathered us together. "Come with us, Eli," my father said, "we want you to meet someone." We followed our parents to the home of Shamus, the great Sage of wisdom and guidance, donning green and red robes, and carried a mysterious staff, imbued with a stone that possessed mystical properties, according to the stories. We sat around the wise old Sage as he described a whimsical world, hidden within the forests of Oregon, and a smaller than life, intelligent race of creatures that originated from mice. That was when I realized he was describing Oregonia and our race: the Myce /mēs/.
Shamus, the Four-leaf Sage of Cloverfield, continued to tell his delightfully whimsical tale of love, loss, and the rise of a new species, to the next generation of myce. These stories were told to ensure that the history of our origins would be carried on, long after he would leave this world and return his body to Gaia, mother of nature.
[h=2]Origins of Oregonia[/h]Gather around my young Myce. Now, little ones, you may know me as the Sage of Cloverfield, but my name is Shamus, and I’m going to tell you a tale that is older than me. The Sage before me, his Sage, and the grand, old Sage before her, have passed this story down since the beginning of our kind. I’m sure you understand by now that this story is very old, it takes us back hundreds of years when it was just the natives to Oregonia that walked this realm, which use to be called Oregon. The tale I’m about to describe to you is the story of our existence and the result of our very way of life.
Long ago, just before our creation, there was a peaceful native who wondered nature in search of a purpose and the meaning of life. She was Colossal in size compared to our kind. The beings of her species no longer walk this earth, but at the time they called themselves humans. But this vigorous and graceful human was very special. Her body was one with nature, and her spirit, one with the universe.
As a youth, she was trained to be a hunter and slew the massive beasts that threatened her on her path, carrying the scars of battle, and of course, their furry hides, feathery cloaks, and various fangs of wolves and bears around her neck. These animals are colossal, monstrous, almost incomprehensible to our kind until you see them for yourself, and dangerous to all manner of creatures, yet are so majestic.
She was an excellent fighter and hunter but nearing the end of her journey, she grew to love nature and was torn inside with each violent encounter. She denounced her life as a warrior and became a Shaman: a healer, and lover of all things. A woman of peace with herself and everything around her, she indeed became. All Life and energies of the forest were drawn to her spiritual power that called out to the woods like a wolf’s howl in the night. And that is where our kind comes into this tale.
There was mischief of Myce, or mice as we once were, that only consisted of 13 curious little creatures, 13 original descendants that forever changed who we are and what we became. The human shaman, entering the wise old years, was beyond kind to them, almost motherly. She fed, sheltered, and even clothed them with tattering’s of her clothes, which we Sages still wear today to honor her to this day. But the greatest gift was none of these, but our self-awareness, wisdom, bravery, and intelligence. She spent her life channeling her spirit in isolation from other humans and becoming one with nature, one with the woodland creatures and became a true child of Mother Nature, Gaia, the Avatar of all life on earth.
The magical energy the shaman had been storing for decades would emerge from her in the most spectacular way, taking the form of a natural, spiritual energy we call Mygic/mējik/. Although mygic still lives today as a small wind that glides through us, connecting us, it used to be an available source for our kind. The ones who could display this power were the wizards and wizardesses. That is until more humans migrated to our land, bringing with them technology and industrialization. These changes the humans brought with them smothered nature and the mygic of the world until it was nearly gone forever. It was the humans own reckless ways that were their downfall, and now they are gone, and the mygic with them. True mygic has yet to return but still lives in all of you, no matter how small. It is the mygic that flows in you that originated from the human shaman, who gave us our greatest gift. It was her power over the world's spiritual energy that ensured our fate one night, long, long ago.
It was a starry filled night, a night that the universe lit up the sky as bright as the sun, or so it started until it quickly turned into the most fearsome storm the realm had ever known. The shaman ran for the biggest tree she could find, cradling the mice in her tattered cloak, sheltering them from the harsh weather that beat them down so ruthlessly. They all took sanctuary in the center of the forest, under the largest tree; the same tree that became the center of our realm.
The sun broke through the storm as it dissipated in a cloud of mist. The 13 mice made it through the night but not their friend who sheltered them. Her tired old age could not withstand the fury of the storm. On her deathbed, our ancestors by her side, she channeled her spiritual energy into a magical force that she divided between 13 separate currents that flowed through them like rivers, raging on and on. Their hearts and minds were like stones in that river, taking in everything it threw at them until they became smooth, and the river stood still and calm, washing away all the haze of mere existence. Their minds felt the same, calm, as they looked around, taking in the world in a whole new light.
Their old friend laid there, still, lifeless, at peace. They gathered around her, feeling a painful emotion that our kind could only just then comprehend. The despair filled their hearts and minds that were fresh from the fog of simplistic realities, a despair that travels across generations, transcended time, and still, hurts us to this day.
With their new given intelligence, they started to build their new lives: a village, around the tree. All mice that came across the village began to change; their minds cleared and grew self-aware. Soon all mice became myce as the population steadily grew into a thriving home for our kind, a freehold for the myce of Oregonia. They called it Treedom, and it still stands tall as the liveliest village in the realm. Soon there grew to be too many myce, so seven of the original mischief became leaders and guides of the realm, starting new clans and traditions of their own. They disbanded with each of their followings to create new villages and thrive independently. These seven became Sages of Oregonia, who I have descended from and now look after Cloverfield as every Sage in my line before me.
We now have seven villages and the Seven Sages who provide guidance and wisdom. There is me, the Four-leaf Sage and we have our Cloverfield, surrounded by shamrocks and a tall acorn tree that grows huge acorns that we use to build our cozy little homes. Pip the Toadstool Sage of Mushroon, the land of, well, many mushrooms. Albert the Cannabis Sage of Marriville, where nearly all of our Hemp comes from and all the cannabis trees are thick and as tall as the eye can see, but I could do without the smell. Rosa the Red Rose Sage of Roseshire, where the roses glow red like shiny rubies of pure beauty, and the women even more so. Then there’s mean old Raska, the Hidden Sage of Bayleaf, the village of thieves lurking in the shadows, secrets, and lies, and secrets that are just lies to deceive you from their secrets. There’s the village hanging under the great ironstone bridge that arches over Silver Falls, and their Sage, Astrid, the Ironstone Sage of Silver Bridge, a land of clockwork, anchors, and steam power; they learned a thing or two from watching the humans back in the day. And finally, there’s Benjamin, the Skyward Sage and the capital of the realm, Treedom, where the village itself now lies inside the tree, carved out into a hollow paradise of tradition and delight. The central tree of Treedom has six village districts surrounding it, all of which are named after the other six villages and they have the greatest view of the night sky, where the stars twinkle as bright as the light within your little hearts.
Among the seven villages, more of Mother Nature's creatures established their own clans, territories, and alliances. They are the gentle giants and keepers of peace and order in the realm. There is Jacent, the Night Gyre, leader of the owl clans and upholder of the treaty of myce and owls. The Lord of the Elk clan, Ezuri, protects Treedom and the Sacred Woods that surround it. The fearless grizzly bear chiefs, Osi and Surric, of the bear clans, following the river, hunting for fish across the realm and helping those in need along the way. And these are but a few of the clans that roam the realm.
During the time the villages were being built, and first clans established, five of the other original mischief went off in search of adventure and the power to protect the realm from those who wish to harm our new found society and disturb our sanctity with Mother Nature. On their journeys, they found strength, courage, wisdom, but it wasn’t until they reunited that they knew their full potential as the Heroes of Oregonia: The Oregonians. They defended us against owls, snakes, and all manner of creatures that threatened our kind for all time. But the greatest of the hero’s achievements was giving all Myce the courage to fight back against all manner of predators that struck fear in our tiny but powerful hearts. We now stand tall, sword and shield in paw, to defend our village from anything that wishes us harm, no matter our size. And that is the legend of the Myce, the legend of Oregonia.


[h=1]Chapter 1
Daydreamer[/h]Once upon a time, in a tiny village hidden from the rest of the world, lived a happy and prosperous mischief of mice. These were not any mice, that scurry about through houses and alleyways, scavenging for food like common animals, no, these were myce. The myce were intelligent, compassionate creatures that may be small but are sprouting with bravery, courage, and might.
These myce, in particular, lived in a village surrounded by three leaf clovers and in the center of their village was a tall tree that produced melon sized acorns. Once they grew too big, these massive acorns would fall and leave a crater on impact. The myce, with their cunning and their group strength, would carrier the acorn, turn it on its top, and shape it into a comfy little home. They would camouflage their homes with shamrocks top to bottom, to hide from the predators that fly up above, which to them looked like an overbearing green sea of shamrocks. The myce, being as small as they are, could live in just about anything from a hollowed out hill to a musty, old, human boot, but the acorns were the most typical home in the village of Cloverfield.
In one of these unusually small, unkempt acorn homes, lived a quiet and humble little myce by the name of Eli Dawnwood, but Eli spent little time in his home, as anyone who knew him could tell. Eli was a young myce who wore a traditional, small leaf cap, and a leaf green tunic with a few faded spots of yellow here and there. He had unmistakably long, pointy ears with tufts of hair billowing outwards, and his eyes gleamed like emeralds, adding to his spring-like charm. He masked his whiskers in a beard to be proud of, but never hid his inviting smile.
Eli Spent much of his time up on the highest branch of the acorn tree, towering over the village, in the perfect spot from which to gaze at the townsfolk below. He would listen to the sounds, the music, and watch them live their simple, peaceful lives from above. The sun shined through the trees, dowsing him in rays of light that shown through the branches and leaves. From above the village, the light shined across Cloverfield, like a dance of shimmering lights, breaking the water's surface.
"What a perfect day," Eli thought, as he laid in his perfect spot, soaking in the warm light, and breathing in Mother Nature's fresh spring air. "What's that?" He wondered from up above, in his perfect spot. Eli noticed something stirring through the busy streets below. The village folk were preparing the town for a celebration that only comes once a year, at the start of March, when the clovers are their greenest: the Shamrock Festival.
Eli ran as fast as he could, along the etched, barren path he had made over the years, scurried down the tall acorn tree, to assist in the preparation of the seasonal festival. Running through the dirt paved paths on all fours, myce all around with friendly, familiar faces would greet him a good day as he ran through the village. The village of Cloverfield was alive with music, bards singing, children playing, myce conversing, and merriment all around. Myce would share stories of their adventures outside of the village; even some have traveled outside of the realm into the once crowded human cities that now lay in waste, devoid of life, but full of wonder and mystery. The shop keeps, local and foreign, cried out in excitement as myce walked by, selling trinkets from the forest, scraps of food. They even sold relics from the old human world, relics consisting of robes fashioned from human clothes, gemstones from forgotten human jewelry, and many strange devices that had log lost their power. To the villagers, Cloverfield was the best place in all of Oregonia.
Scurrying about the village, Eli was approaching his mother's acorn house as she was gathering dew, dripping from a leaf. "You're late, son," Eli's mother, Daisy exclaimed.
"I know, mom," Eli replied, chuckling under his breath as she pointed out the obvious.
"Wait," said Daisy, stepping in front of Eli, holding a cloth bag. Eli stopped, dragging his feet and tail in the dirt.
"Yeah?" Asked Eli.
"I made some snacks for your father and his friends, would you give it to them, please?" She asked, handing him the bag.
"No problem, mom," he grabbed the bag, grinning, and hugging his mother.
She patted him on the face, gently and warmly. "Thank you, son, have a good day."
"I'll try," he joked and was off. On his way through the village, kicking up dirt with each stride, Eli noticed something was following him. Masked miscreants drew closer, running on rooftops, around the corners of alleyways, and bursting from the shamrocks. Eli ran towards the villages training ground for the local guards, known as the Clover Shields. Within the training grounds, children would play with wooden swords and shields, all while in costume, tasked with preparing for the annual dance of the beast that was to be held during the festival.
The children looked over and seen Eli scurry past, running from the masked nuisance. They all ran after him, “Eli, hey Eli…”, they cried out, excited to see their friend, their mentor of sorts.
The feisty little myce all jumped on Eli. All that could be seen of him was one paw and his tail in a mosh pit of furry, anxious children. As Eli stood up, he was immediately knocked to the ground by the group that chased him thus far. The little myce all rose up, eager to see Eli. One group of myce, dressed in handmade garments, wore clovers and old worn out guard uniforms, fashioned to look like the armor of the Clover Shields. The other mischief wore masks that portrayed the wicked creatures of old, myce sized and even larger monsters that lurked the world during the dark age. The masks were made of pieces of bark, torn from the base of the tree in the center of the village, slathered with mud, and draped with hanging moss. The eye holes were carved out with their claws, giving the masks that final touch of wild savagery.
“Come on guys, I’m late,” said Eli, brushing himself off.
The children dropped their heads in disappointment. “But you said you would help us practice for the dance tomorrow, you promised,” said one of the children.
“Yeah, you said you knew how to fight and stuff, and you said you would show us the basics!” Another child claimed.
“Guys, I made another promise too, to help with the festival, I can practice with you after, okay?” Eli crossed his arms and looked around at their eager faces as they nod in disappointing agreement.
One brave little myce, the oldest of the group, emerged from the crowd of children and proclaimed in a cocky tone and with a confident smirk, “If you want to pass, I demand a challenge first.” He raised his pointy little wooden sword at Eli.
Eli sighed, smacked the sword from his face, and with a smile, he looked over at a little girl, “Kailey, hand me your practice blade, for a moment.” She smiled and threw the wooden sword over to Eli.
The little one ran at Eli with short notice, swiping his sword in every direction, trying desperately to whack Eli as he blocked and dodged every erratic stroke. Eli used his tail and snagged the little boy’s foot, falling on his backside, and dropping his blade. Eli stood above, pointing his sword down at the boy. Eli picked up the little one's sword with his tail and handed it over to the little myce. The little one, frustrated by his quick defeat, took the blade and lowered his head in anguish.
“I’ll be back to play with you guys, I’m just a little busy at the moment, kay,” said Eli and threw Kailey her sword. As Eli was about to leave he noticed a Clover Shield named Tristan, someone he was very familiar with, leaving the Clover Shield base. "HEY TRISTAN!" Cried Eli.
"Yeah?" Asked Tristan.
"Come here." Tristan walked over to Eli and the mischief of young myce.
"How's it goin, Eli, hardly working I see... shouldn't you be somewhere?" Tristan wondered.
"You're right Tristan, thanks for being so understanding. Okay, guys, this is Tristan," Eli introduced, "he's like a little brother to me, AND he's been in the dance of the beast, AND he's a Clover Shield, AND I taught him everything I know. So he'd be perfect to help you guys prepare for the dance."
"Wait, that's not what I..." but before he could finish, the children nodded and Eli was off to help with the festival and Tristan was left to play with the eager children. Everything Eli said about Tristan was true, but Tristan knew that Eli a slightly mischievous side and liked to pick on him.
Eli ran into the Village Square to see a few dozen myce decorating for the upcoming event. Large archways made of branches and twigs were decorated with three leaf clovers, topped with little, hanging acorns, which stood at all the entrances to the square.
“Eli, you’re late, son,” Eli’s father Poesy yelled, struggling to help the others raise the banners.
“No, no, you’re just in time,” proclaimed Clover, the village Chieftain, “grab that rope and help us with these banners.”
Eli ran over and grabbed the rope and hoisted the flag with the village insignia, a tree in the shape of a three-leaf clover. The Village Square was surrounded by banners, in the center was a garden of small three-leaf clovers, and one, lucky, four-leaf clover. The chief looked around, satisfied with the results, his smile gleaming through his graying beard and his flaccid whiskers, twitching under his chuckles of satisfaction.
“It’s nearly ready fellas, we just need to finish up the outskirts of the village for our guests from Treedom and Bayleaf,” proclaimed the Chief, “and then we will start the celebration in the morning upon their arrival.”
Just as they were walking towards the Village Gate and the outskirts, Poesy stopped his son. “Son, were you daydreaming again?” Asked Eli’s father.
“Yeah, I just wanted to relax before work and…well…I guess I just fell asleep. I’m sorry,” Eli looked away, scratching his head.
Posey smiled, “it’s okay, you’re here now, and you can make it up to us by working twice as hard, all right,” Posey wrapped his arm around his son, “let’s get goin, son.”
The myce went to the outskirts of the village, Posey and Eli hustling to their side, to hang more banners and decorate with clovers and acorns and pave the way with shiny trinkets that would entice the sages of Treedom and Bayleaf and their followers.
As Eli was working high on top of the archway, he noticed something from the corner of his eye, a shimmer of light, like a star, twinkling in the night sky, except it was coming from deep within the forest. Eli, curiosity peaked, jumped down and walked into the brush, away from the other villagers, who were working too hard to notice. He strolled through the tall grass, deeper into the woods, staring up at the trees that towered over him from the heavens. A small wind brushed against the meadow, flowing like ocean waves, bringing a cool, clean, silent air that grazed Eli’s abnormally tall ears that stood above the plain of grass.
He emerged from the brush and came across a small river. Eli hopped from one smooth rock, cold to the touch to the next, chilling his little feet with each step while avoiding the gentle steam as he crossed over to the other side. Once he had made it to the other side, he then climbed over a series of fallen trees that once stood tall and mighty, but now slowly decay. Deeper and deeper we went into the forest, the sense of adventure captivating his imagination, and stimulating his every nerve, until finally, he came across a large grave plot, hiding behind an eerie fog. There was something pointy and white sticking out of the ground. Whatever it was, its shimmer of light called out to Eli across the dark Elder Woods. There, at the end of the plot was a stone that read,
“Here lies Alistar, the Benevolent.
Warrior, Protector, and a Friend like no other.
R.I.P.”
~Aria Dawnwood
It was a tombstone, a grave for someone once dear to the village of Cloverfield, from a very long time ago. Eli realized that what he was looking at were the remains of a creature, exposed by wind and rain. "Aria? Alistar? Like from all the stories?" He thought to himself. Slowly, Eli reached out to touch the point that craved his attention so.
“Eli!” Someone called out in the distance.
He turned towards the village, accidentally pricking his figure on the sharp point that at last glance looked like a fang before running off. Before entering the brush he gazed over his shoulder for a split second, catching a glimpse of a pair of beastly blue eyes, like smooth, shimmering sapphires, glaring at him like a predator in the night. Eli was startled and did a double take of the grave sight. "I swear I saw..." He thought out loud before his father called out to him again. "Huh, weird."
He ran back as fast as he could, past the fallen trees, over the calm steam, through the brush and ran straight into his father. "Eli!" He yelled, "what were you doing, you had me worried."
"I'm fine, Dad," Eli replied, "I was just doing a little exploring, that’s all."
Posey calmed down, composed himself, and rested his paw on his son's shoulder. "Son," he said, "you need to be more careful, dangerous things lurk in the forests, and they all hunt myce."
"I know, dad, I understand," replied Eli, catching the sincerity in his father's voice. They headed back to the village, to rest for tomorrow's Shamrock Festival. Just a little bit of light reached out over the trees as the sun slowly fell to sleep and the crescent moon rose from behind the hills, to fill their dreams with merriment and joy. Eli returned to the others and followed them home; they were done for the day. They said their goodbyes and headed off to their homes. Eli ran off to his favorite spot high in the tree, while the rest of the village wished him a good night’s sleep. He ran all the way to the top and just laid there, tired, but satisfied, at peace.
Every night, Eli would watch the stars fly across the sky and smile at the moon, and to him, the moon smiled back. Like the warm sunlight he bathed in during the day, the cold moonlight gleamed over him to wash his worries away. Just as Eli was about to fall asleep, he was startled awake by the sound of steps and a faint light. An old myce with a tall, pointy, red leaf cap emerged from the shadows with a lantern in paw and staff in the other. His brows nearly sagged past his eyes, the staff he carried was encased with a stone that had just a tad bit of mygic, and he wore old, tattered, fur robes. The old myce was the village elder, Shamus, the Four-leaf Sage of Cloverfield.
Shamus always kept an eye out on Eli, ever since he was just a little myce, playing warrior games with the other village children. The sage was the wisest myce in the village, even the wisest among all the sages in the realm of Oregonia. To Eli, and most of the village, he was a mentor, a friend, someone to look up to, someone to turn to for guidance. Shamus could see something in Eli, something that no else could see, not even his father. It was as if Shamus had a special intuition about those sorts of things. Shamus spent much of Eli’s childhood sharing stories of the past and the origins of their kind. Those stories filled Eli’s imagination, dreams, and his heart with love for nature itself. Eli and Shamus's bond was stronger than the tree they stood on and deeper than its roots that surged through the village.
Eli, relieved to see his friend, laid his weary head back down, paws crossed back behind his ears for support, “oh, it’s just you, Shamus.”
“Eli, my boy, you enjoying the view, It’s quite beautiful this night,” Said Shamus as he slowly approached Eli, his tail dragging behind him.
Eli looked over for a moment and back at the vast night sky. “Yes, it is quite pretty, but so far away.” Eli let out a sigh, wishing for something that he knew was beyond his reach: adventure.
Shamus took a seat next to Eli and tapped his staff on the ground twice, causing the light from the lantern to glow brighter. “You know, Eli,” he said, staring at the moon with Eli, “there used to be myce that can harness mygic, like the mygic in my staff. If they used it for good, they were called wizards and wizardesses. Nearly all of which are gone now, due to the humans reckless poisoning of the world. But the legends say that one of the last remaining wizards in the realm left this world, entering another realm, a dream-like world. When he emerged from it, he found himself on the moon and decided to live among the stars with the Avatar, Lady Luna, Soother of Dreams and Delight. From her teachings, he learned to harness the power of the moon and spread dreams of peace and delight across the myce world, much like the Avatar herself, did for humans.”
Eli looked over and smiled, “yes elder; everyone knows the myth.”
“Yes, yes,” Shamus nodded, “but did you know, there is a Lunar Fable. As the moon revolves around our world until there is nothing but the dark side, it reveals, some say, the dark side of our dreams. This anomaly weakens the influence of the wizard’s light, preventing his gentle rain of peace, allowing… something to emerge from the depths of our dreams: our nightmares.”
Eli sat up confused and concerned, “what are you trying to say?”
Shamus reached out his paw and set it on Eli's shoulder, “the Lunar Fable is an allegory of sorts, of the cycles of peace and conflict, light and dark. Peace does not last forever, it comes and goes like the light and dark sides of the moon, and we need to savor that light and the peace, while it lasts. Do you understand, my boy?”
Eli looked down and then back up, unsure of himself and the words of wisdom that Shamus spoke, words that almost seemed like an unintended warning of something dastardly to come. Shamus smiled, “it means coming up here, to your tree, daydreaming until you fall asleep, might be nice and all, but eventually you have to wake up, come down, and spend each moment you have wisely. In other words, my boy, don't sleep the light away, or you will wake up in the darkness. Be in the here and now.” Eli nodded and smiled. “Now I hope to see you bright and early in the morning, no sleeping in, and Eli…,” Shamus hesitated, ”enjoy the festival.”
Just as the Sage was about to walk from sight, Eli said, “in the myth, you said it was a cycle? So the light will return in time. Just as peace can't always last, neither can the dark... right?”
Shamus chuckled and smiled warmly, “clever boy and wise too. Have a good night’s sleep, Eli.” Eli smiled and lied down, sleeping under the stars as his daydreams fell into the dreams of a good night’s sleep, and Lady Luna whispered sweet nothings into his soft, bushy ears. Eli's dreamscape was full of fun and adventure. He could fly with ease, up into the clear blue sky, past the atmosphere, touch the stars, and beyond.
The cosmos was an infinite gyre of twinkling light, each star with its own tale to tell, each with a new adventure to seek. Eli's dream was ethereal, gleaming with infinite light, and carefree. Eli slowly drifted among the nebulas of rainbow scattered stars and landed softly on a white powdery surface. The cosmos faded away, leaving nothing but black skies and a desolate, white plane. Eli looked around at the nothingness of white and the colorless craters and rocks. Eli looked directly above his head at the mass, floating in space. It was Earth, far away, out of reach. A light, delicate, but worrisome voice called out in the black. "Eli...Eliii..." She said faintly. A pair of lavender hands lifted Eli up, towards the earth. He looked down at what appeared to be the moon, which grew ever more distant with each passing second.
Eli floated above the earth, looking down at a mountain with a crater in the center, full of water, and one small island, and one towering, otherworldly tree, shaped like a hand reaching out for dear life. Surrounding the mountain in droves were creatures of various skin colors, young and old. They were of colossal size compared to myce, wrapped in tattered clothes, looking up at the mountain as if it were the last thing they were ever going to see. Eli had only seen them in books and pictures but their appearance was uncanny, without a doubt, Eli knew they were human.
Out of nowhere, a light shot up into the sky like a beacon for the end. The light quickly turned into black volcanic ash, covering the sky in death's black gaze. The earth shook and quaked, and the mountain exploded in a fury of fire, scattering across Oregonia. Balls of ash fell like hail from the sky, like an earth-annihilating cloud. The smoldering ash scattered, revealing Eli's friends and family and all the myce of the realm, falling towards the blazing doom. Eli watched in horror, unable to do nothing as the world burned.
The flames nearly settled as rain fell from above and a human woman, of god-like proportions, and skin as green as the forests, rose from the wet earth like a tree, sprouting anew: a sign of new beginnings. Eli could presume that such a creature could only be Gaia, Mother of Nature, the Avatar of life, who had enchanted Eli's dream with her grace and beauty. The unbelievably gorgeous, gracefully divine Avatar came face to face with Eli. Her face and body illuminated in the embers of the fading fire. She reached out, cradled Eli in her colossal, yet soft and gentle hands, like a mother holding her child, and whispered gently into his tall, bushy ears, "Eli Dawnwood, you must save them, you must save all of them..."


[h=1]Chapter 2
The Shamrock Festival[/h]The day of the Shamrock Festival had finally arrived, and the village of Cloverfield was in a ruckus, excited for the day of games, treasures, and legends. Eli awoke early that morning as requested by the Sage. As hard as it was for him, he managed to make it to his bed last night, despite his strange dreams. Eli rose from the pile of bundled leaves he called a bed, grabbed his sturdy wooden shield, and the piece of shrapnel he called a sword, freshly sharpened to a point the day before. He emerged from his little acorn hut, still early in the morning, the sunlight peering over the treetops as if the sun was checking in on the village. From his front door, Eli watched as the village folk started making their way to the gates of Cloverfield. Rows of beams, standing tall, hung with green streamers made of hemp and vines that led the way from the outskirts of the village, straight to the gates. Eli ran towards the front of all the myce, standing ready with the other guards of Clover Shield, composed and readily waiting for their guests to arrive for the annual event: the Shamrock Festival.
The village folk all stood at either edge of the pathway made for the guests, muttering to one another, gossiping, waiting, watching patiently but anxiously. Shamus the Sage, staff in paw, and the Chief of Cloverfield at his side walked to the front of the village to greet their friends from the far-off villages. Once they reached their destination, the Sage raised his paw to silence the village as their friends made their approach. From around the trees came a tall wooden carriage from Treedom, being pulled by two beetles by their horns, beetles three times the size of any myce. A few select guards followed behind the carriage and beside the beetles, and to the right was a very intimidating, heavily metal armored myce, clanking with each step. His helmet covered his face, and he carried with him a sheathed broadsword that was larger than any other ever seen in Cloverfield. The armor was so well crafted, each piece of light glaring metal, perfectly forged, that those who gazed upon it could not help but appreciate the blacksmith's handy work, like an artist who painstakingly cuts a slab of rock down into a statue or monument with nothing but a chisel and their bare hands. They appropriately called the armor-clad myce the Silver Knight, a famous warrior from Silver Bridge, and next in line for Chieftain of his village.
Following Treedom was a large, scaly, fiendishly eyed, yet well-tamed lizard, strutting around. Its claws grazing the soft ground, surrounded by guardsmen and some shadowy, hooded rogues for hire, hiding their faces behind black masks and their brooding silences. Sitting on the lizard's scaly hide was a throne made of large leaves and upon that throne sat the Hidden Sage of Bayleaf, Raska. The carriage pulled in, and the lizard strutted behind them.
Benjamin, The Skyward Sage of Treedom, emerged from his carriage, wearing long red robes, a tall cap, and he had a stern look on his face, demanding the respect and cooperation of those who looked upon it. In his paw was a tall walking staff, with a white gemstone encased at the top, similar to Shamus's staff. The Sage of Bayleaf stepped down from her throne, using her elegant cane as aid. Underneath her figures, encased within the cane, was a glimpse of another gemstone with a violet allure. Her long, poofy dress, almost cloak like, made out of layers of dark green leaves, dragged along the ground, much like her lizard's tail, as she approached the village. Her face was covered by a large leaf that acted as a hood, hiding her look of distaste, among other things. The Sages approached Shamus and the whole village. Shamus nodded to them, and they nodded back, smiling at each other. Shamus turned towards the village and raised his arms and announced, ”Cloverfield, our friends, Benjamin of Treedom and Raska of Bayleaf, have arrived.”
The village cheered for the arrival of their guests, excited to entertain and show their hospitality. Clover, the Chieftain, stood in front of his village and with a roar, he said, “let the festival BEGIN!” The myce roared with excitement and bands burst into songs of celebration. The myce marched towards the Village Square to play their games, shop, and converse with the guests from other villages afar, but most of all they wanted to watch the annual "Dance of the Beast" the children and elders had long prepared.
Eli stood guard as the visitors from Treedom and Bayleaf walked by, waving to all the other villagers, but only one caught his eye and met his gaze in return. The skulkiest of the hooded figures, wearing a long, dark cloak, made of cloth that frayed at the bottom, and layered with dark-green leaves. The hooded figure stared at Eli, his head covered by his matching leaf hood, and his face, hidden by a black mask. Although Eli could not see his eyes, he could feel them, his intensity that struck him like a sneaker wave, pulling in Eli's curiosity. Eli wasn’t amused, so he glared back with equal intensity. The hooded figure snapped his head back to the front of the line, like a soldier who forgot their place and continued to walk with the others. Eli and the Clover Shields followed suit to the Village Square.
All the guards were free to wander the village and participate in the festivities to their heart's content, all but the armor-clad Silver Knight, the sullen hooded figure, and Eli’s father. They all stood guard next to the three Sages and the Chieftain, who watched from the decorated, makeshift altar, overlooking the festival.
“I see that your village has been doing well and prosperous these last few years,” claimed Benjamin as he observed Cloverfield.
Shamus smiled, looking at his people and said, “Mother Nature has been good to us, we are fortunate to have a community that understands the strength of working together and," looking to Chief Clover, “to have a Chief that can lead them.”
Taping her figures on her armrest, Raska grunted in disagreement. Benjamin looked over at his friend and asked, “what’s wrong Raska, do you disagree?”
“No, I agree, your village is well kept and… happy, but you give them too much freedom, too much leisure,” Replied Raska, in her old raspy voice.
His curiosity intrigued, Benjamin asked, “how do you mean? The myce of my village are free to do as they please as well, what's the difference?”
“Treedom is segregated into several districts, armored guards on constant duty. But In such an event as this, you let your forces roam, free to do as they please." She expressed her opinion, with little remorse. "What if something were to happen, they would be unprepared. You need to establish law and rule, or your myce will walk all over you,” she answered shrewdly, her arms crossed.
Clover was unamused with her statement and replied, “you’re right, we need rules, and law, to keep them safe but it's freedom; freedom that keeps them happy and at peace, it keeps them from rebelling against the naturalistic law and forsaking the Avatars. In a community such as ours, freedom is important.”
Raska, still unconvinced, signaled her rogue guard. "My Unseen," she called him, "go and see that our guest is given safe passage and afterward, watch over this village, safeguard its peace." The Unseen leaped into the crowd and vanished.
The others seemed confused. "I didn't know we were expecting more guests?" Shamus asked, utterly stumped. "We would have given them a grand welcome like we did for you."
"And what of the rogue watch, why send him off, away from your side Raska, if you're so keen on safety?" Asked Benjamin, who was stumped as well, but more sarcastic in response.
To Shamus, she replied, "I appreciate the sentiment, Shamus, but I don’t want her drawing attention to herself, and Benjamin," she looked over with a smirk. "I appreciate your concern for my safety, but I have your shining knight by my side, and you might not see them, but all THEIR eyes are on me."
"Raska?" Asked Benjamin, "that rogue you just sent away, is he the one you were telling me about, the one that survived the raids?"
"Not only was he the lone survivor of the Bayleaf raids," Raska clarified, "he slaughtered them all."
"That's quite impressive," said Benjamin.
"And sad," added Shamus.
"Yes, quite so," Raska agreed with both of them, looking down at the ground, remembering that tragic night, "and that is why I fully intend on making him Chief Evie's successor; He possesses the skills and reputation to strike fear and demand respect."
Moments later a young woman, donning a purple leaved dress, approached the altar. Her fur was silky, and her hair was long and fair. Her eyes so lovely, like lavender pearls with a hint of aqua blue, and her smile was pleasing to all who shared in her presence. The tension Raska had built among her friends had melted away the moment they laid eyes on the young Myce. The young maiden bowed to her fellow myce and greeted them with her faint smile and soft, gentle voice, "It's an honor to, to finally meet you, wise Sages, and mighty Chieftain of Cloverfield. My name is M-Mila Sheik." Her demeanor was as calm as still water and friendlier than the cold, hostile, almost belligerent locals of Bayleaf, but still, with a hint of uneasiness and anxiety, and like water, can be easily disturbed. She was nervous, being far from native land.
"At least she has more manners than you, Raska," Clover whispered, remarking Raska's attitude. "It's an absolute pleasure to meet you Mila," the Chief replied bowing in return.
"Very funny," said Raska, poking Clover with her cane, unamused as always.
"Raska, why have you brought this poor, defenseless girl with you, and alone I might add?" whispered Benjamin.
Shamus stood from his chair and asked, "why so scared young one?"
Before she could answer, Raska, interrupted and said, "you should be more kind to me that I've brought this scared, little girl. She's my protege." Raska rolled her figure, beckoning Mila to approach them.
Mila walked up to the altar to speak with the Sage of Cloverfield. "I'm excited to be part of this celebration and to learn from you and your village," she said calmly, with a slight spark of enthusiasm that was uncommon among the villagers of Bayleaf.
"I'm happy to hear that, Mila," replied Shamus, "but why so eager to meet us."
"When Raska does not share that same enthusiasm," Clover thought to himself, aware of the irony.
She looked down at her paws, clamped together, twirling her thumbs, she answered, "the Hidden Sage of Bayleaf, Miss Raska, with all her wisdom and intuition, has chosen me to be the next Sage. That’s why I'm honored to be in the presence of Sages as wise as yourselves." She bowed her head in respect.
"That’s wonderful to hear, my dear," announced Benjamin, excitedly. "So you must be on your journey of knowledge and enlightenment through all the villages in Oregonia?"
"Why, Yes sir, I am, and I'm very honored to be part of such an ancient tradition, I've always wanted to see the world outside my village." Clenching her paws together, her spark of enthusiasm began to rise like a tide and grow into excitement. Mila asked, "great Sage of Cloverfield, what advice do you have to share with a young Sage on her journey?"
"Oh please, call me Shamus, and if you want to know what it means to be a Sage, only look behind you." Shamus laid his paw on her shoulder and turned her attention to the village myce, playing, and enjoying the festival. "Watch the myce, watch how they live free and happy, only watch how they live, and you will learn wisdom. Once you understand your myce and what they have to teach you, you will learn how the world works, then you will know what it means to be a Sage," Shamus spoke from the heart and Mila listened. "Now go, be among the myce, being one with the village and its ways and you will begin to understand the natural order." Mila looked over to Raska for her approval. Raska lazily flicked her wrist, allowing Mila to wander off into the festival. As she walked away, Raska almost managed to produce a smile.
"She's a bit timid to be out and about in this big world, isn't she?" Asked Clover.
"Yes, but she's the last surviving member of a great lineage of myce that can be traced back to the first Sage of Bayleaf," Raska replied, with high hopes, "that's why I chose her, among other reasons of course."
Everyone was happy and joyful; a community that simply knew peace among each other and appreciated all they had. Mila walked among them, feeling something her village lacked, so obvious but at the same time, she couldn't put her finger on it. The sun gleamed against her fair fur; a warming embrace enveloped her with a sense of joy and security. Children scampered by, startling Mila for a moment before giggling at their playfulness. Her ears stood tall, picking up the sounds of something soothing. It was music in the air. She used to only hearing music in taverns and very special occasions. But in the village of Cloverfield, music was as common as the elements. She continued to walk among the crowds of Myce, exploring their local wonders until she forgot where she was and bumped into a young myce and fell back.
"Oh, sorry about that, are you okay?" Asked the young myce, trying to help her up.
"Yeah, I'm fi-," Mila paused as she looked up to see Eli. She stared into his friendly, smiling face. Her eyes gleamed wider, experiencing every detail in his soft face, examining his emerald eyes, his beard, his long, bushy ears. She grew faint as a warm yet chilling sensation ran through her like a wave. She had never known feelings like this in all of her young life and yet at the same time some very familiar feelings emerged in response: fear, anxiety, embarrassment. Mila, blushing through her fur, tried to speak, "you? I mean...what's your name."
"My name is Eli Dawnwood," he replied, grasping Mila's paw gently but firmly, helping her up, "I'm one of the Shields, and yourself?"
She blushed so warmly at the touch of his paw that redness of her cheeks could almost be seen through her fur. She composed herself and answered, "Mila Shiek, of Bayleaf, I arrived shortly after Raska the Sage." Staring into his eyes, she almost lost herself again before regaining her composure. "You know, for a Clover Shield you don't seem to be doing much protecting." "Stupid, stupid, stupid," Mila thought to herself, grinning nervously, realizing that she may have offended him.
"Oh! Well, I'm only a guard for today. I usually just help out around the village and such," replied Eli, scratching behind his bushy ear.
Mila lowered her head and began to feel even more embarrassed. "I'm sorry," she squeaked. An awkward silence filled the air between them for a second. Eli lowered his head trying to catch a glimpse of her bashful face. Mila looked back up to see that Eli had moved in closer, filling the air between them.
"Are you sure you're okay?" Asked Eli.
"Yes, I'm fine, really... thank you," she smiled, then asked, "So why are you a shield for just today?"
"Because the Chief needed the extra help, so they asked me because, well, not to brag but I'm pretty good with a sword and shield," Eli explained.
"You’re a modest one, aren’t you," Mila said playfully and sarcastically.
"I'm just being honest," Eli and Mila chuckled, "... and well there aren’t that many guards in our village, there's not much need for them." Eli paused for a moment, smiling at the coy Mila and asked, "would you like me to show you around the village, Mila, you know, to make up for earlier?"
She gasped slightly, took a deep breath, swallowed her fear, and courageously replied, "ummm, I guess you do owe me… yeah, I'd love too."
"Alright, let's go," said Eli, grabbing Mila's paw, and led her through the crowds. She blushed, just a little, and laughed as they strolled through the festival. He showed her around the quaint little village, the acorn huts, the thick brush of clovers that surround them. He even showed her the one four-leaf clover that only he knew of. "They say finding a four-leaf clover means you're really lucky," Eli explained as they crawled under the three leaf clovers.
Mila smiled and giggled for an instant under her breath. "I think I might be the lucky one," she replied coyly.
Eli smiled back. "Come on, let's go," he grabbed her arm, "I have more to show you." They scurried through the busy streets on all fours, running past the festival goers, and all the way to the base of the clock tower. The village clock tower was just a three-foot tall grandfather clock from the human era that the myce carried into the village piece by piece and rebuilt near the Village Square. The tower faded in color by the sun and rain, was covered in dry, light-green, dying moss, and shamrocks and vines, sprouting lively all over it. On all four sides of the tower were clocks, three of which worked but one ticked slower than the others. Eli and Mila climbed the tower, all the way up to the clock face, overlooking the festival from afar. They sat above the clock face, watching the village. Eli glanced over at Mila and was stunned. He had not noticed her soft, gentle face and her faint, nervously cute smile, almost sad and happy, all at the same time. Watching her felt as though time itself came to a stop, even the clock face behind him seemed to have stopped ticking, if only for a second.
"Hey, umm," Eli pondered for a moment, forgetting what he was going to ask.
"Yeah?" She wondered.
"Follow me," he said and started descending the tower, and she eagerly followed him. Eli ran off towards the direction of the acorn tree when he noticed that Mila had stopped. She stood in front of a traveling shop keep who was carrying an oversized backpack, lumpy like a potato, checking out all the different trinkets he had for sale, hanging from his pack. Eli ran over to Mila's side, and something caught his eyes. Each trinket had a different village symbol.
"Hey, how much are these?" Asked Eli. Mila looked at him, delighted in the hopes that maybe he was considering buying her a gift. Just the thought of it made her mind race with emotion.
"Those are four Myo a piece," the shop keep answered.
"Okay, I'll get the bracelet and necklace," said Eli, giving him his Myo coins. "Here," he said, wrapping a four-leaf clover necklace around her neck, "you take this, so you will always remember Cloverfield, and I'll keep the Bayleaf bracelet, so I always remember my new friend from Bayleaf."
All shy and sweetly she looked into his eyes, fiddling with her gift. “You're so thoughtful… thank you, Eli."
"Come on I want to show you one more thing," said Eli, as he started heading for the acorn tree. Mila spoke with the shop keep one last time and hurried back on Eli's trail. Eli's mother, Daisy, was just leaving the house when Eli and Mila were strolling by. She stepped into his path and hugged her incoming son and asked what he was up to. Then, out of the corner of her eye, she saw her. The shy, fair, lavender-eyed myce.
Daisy gleamed with joy and whispered to her son, "who's your FRIEND, son?"
Eli looked at his mother curiously, not sure what she was insinuating. "This is Mila, from Bayleaf," he answered, gesturing back to her, "she's here visiting our village, and I'm just showing her around."
Daisy rushed over to Mila and squished her cheeks firmly and decided, "oh yes, you'll do nicely for my boy."
"W-what?!" Asked Mila, shocked and confused.
"Oh, it's nothing," she replied with a big warming smile, "it was lovely to meet you, Mila. Okay, you two, you have fun, I'm off to find your father."
"Bye, Mama. You ready Mila?" Asked Eli.
Mila smiled and nodded yes, and they finally made their way towards the tree, climbing the smooth, etched path, to Eli's favorite spot in the whole village. "I don't usually bring myce to this spot," he said, then thought for a moment, "Actually, I haven't brought anyone up here since my childhood friend, Steph."
"Steph? Childhood friend?" She mumbled to herself, filling up with unintentional, unprovoked jealousy. "Oh, I see," she looked away, her self-esteem withering inside.
"Come over here for a sec," asked Eli, waving his paw at Mila to come to him. She walked over, looking at Eli, then in the corner of her eye, she saw it. She saw the light, piercing through the leaves, dancing in the breeze, exposing the beauty and innocence of Cloverfield in rays of Mother Nature's nurturing light as if she was unveiling a painting on a canvas called the world.
Mila's eyes grew wide, amazed by the sight of the village. "Wow, it's incredible," she adored, "...thank you, Eli." She put her paws together and started twirling her thumbs around each other, and she mustered up the courage to say, "I have something for yo-." But Before Mila could go any further, they overheard the Chief address the whole village with a loud roar. Eli and Mila scurried down the tree and ran back to the festival as fast as their little paws could take them.
"Myce of Cloverfield, it's time for the annual Dance of the Beast: the story of a dear friend to our village and his tragic end that meant our survival." Clover opened his arms; the myce cleared the way of the village center. A group of young myce, dressed up as guardsmen, walked into the center of the village and behind them were more myce, operating a large, fluffy, gray lynx costume. The children stared in awe at the marvel that danced past in a festive manner, strutting to the Village Square.
Shamus, the Sage of Cloverfield stepped down from the altar to tell the tale of, "Alistar the Benevolent, at first glance we thought of him as merely a common beast of the wilds of Oregon, but actually, he came upon our village in desperate need after a long, harrowing journey from Canada. Our kind feared the felines, but this one showed heart, whereas others had lived on instinct alone. We did what we knew was right and sheltered him from the elements, and he gave us kindness and protection in return. He was our guardian, for a time, until this fated day, many ages ago."
"I never knew Alistar personally, but my power as a Sage allows me to look into the past, through the eyes of previous Sages and through this power I recall Alistar fondly. His memory, the history of Cloverfield, and many of our traditions live on through this festival. The Shamrock Festival use to be a celebration of the day our village was founded, but now it represents so much more. It's about community, friendship, family, and good times to be had by all, and now we perform this dance in honor of our guardian friend."
__________
[h=2]The Dance of the Beast[/h]100's of years ago, just after the fall of the humans, during the dark ages, and the near extinction of mygic, Alistar fought a mysterious, dark invasion that threatened Cloverfield.
It was a dark time in Oregonia, especially in the village of Cloverfield, having guards posted at each gate at all times. They kept watch, day and night, for creepy, myce-like creatures, infected with black and green decay, lurking deep within the Elder Woods. But despite all that, the myce felt safe with Alistar the Benevolent keeping watch and two of the finest wizards by his side. The light of the sun and moon would keep the dark creatures at bay, but when the clouds rolled in, and the sky became black, then the fear and terror would sink in. On this day the clouds rolled in pitch black, snuffing out any light, leaving nothing but darkness. The myce scurried about, hiding in their homes, fearing the harsh elements and the dark creatures that came with it.
The wizard, Ignitus, old and gray but still full of fiery youth, cried out, "prepare yourselves!" He ignited the torches around the village borders with his blazing cane, illuminating the Elder woods. In the light of the flames, an army of dark creatures emerged, unafraid of his false light. They marched with belligerence, their eyes emptier than wild, bloodlustful beasts.
A wizardess, Aria, a youth of fair beauty and swift power, cried out, "leave us alone, you beasts!" She blew them away with her staff of eminence winds. Despite the Wizards' valiant efforts, the armies raided the village. Before they could do harm to the innocent, the guards clashed with the waves of darkness. Guards clashed with their swords, Ignitus and Aria blasted them away with their grand mygic. But none were as formidable and ferocious as the gray blur that was Alistar, clawing and crushing the dark armies to pieces.
The dark creatures’ numbers were too great, and the myce of Cloverfield were becoming overwhelmed. Ignitus raised his cane high, creating a mygical spell ring with strange, glowing symbols and insignias all around. The spell ring expanded past Alistar and the guards. Ignitus fell to his knees and placed his paw on the mygic ring, igniting its edges with a barrier of fire, keeping the dark creatures at bay. They felt safe but his old mygic would not last forever, nor would it protect the innocence, still hiding away.
Alistar leapt over the fiery barrier and threw himself into the dark hordes. "NO!" Aria cried out, fearing for Alistar's life. Ignitus, using his cane to raise himself from the earth, parted the flames and ran out to fight beside Alistar. Aria tried to run after them but the barrier reformed and blazed even hotter than before. Together, Ignitus and Alistar used all their might and defeated countless dark creatures, but in time they both grew weary. Hordes of dark beasts crawled atop Alistar, clawing and tearing him apart. In a final effort to save the village, Ignitus set off an explosion from his cane, blasting away most of the dark creatures and sacrificing himself. Alistar stood up, body torn to ribbons, fur ablaze from the fiery attack. Alistar, despite being on the edge of death's door, chased the remaining dark hordes back into the Elder Woods where he would find his final resting place.
__________
The Dance of the Beast was complete, the tale of Alistar, the Benevolent, passed on to a new generation, teaching the young the value of trust and friendship. The village cheered and applauded the performance. The guests from villages affair were impressed. They whispered to one another, then Benjamin stood. "Well done young ones, what a show," bowing to the young performers and they bowed in return. "Now, we as your guests would like to share a tradition of our own; a contest of skill and brawn, a clash of swords," he said, clenching his fists to the crowds. "Our best versus your best, let the battles commence!" The Village cheered in excitement for the true games were about to begin.


[h=1]Chapter 3
Valor[/h]The guardsmen of Cloverfield, the Warriors from Treedom, and all the rogues from Bayleaf, the exception of one, stood in their own separate groups, waiting for their challenge to begin. "As part of this tradition in my village," Benjamin explained, "the victor will receive a gift from a fair maiden, in this case, Mila, of the legendary Sheik clan of Bayleaf, will present that gift."
Mila stepped out of the crowd. "It would be my pleasure," looking back at Eli, blushing, "to give the victor his prize."
The Chief and the Sages went over to their respective contestants and from among them chose their champions. Three guardsmen, including Eli, the promising rookie, Tristan, and the veteran, Oscar, from Cloverfield. Tristan and Oscar, two of the finest among the Clover Shields, were clad in armor made from bark, and acorn top hats, while Eli sported his usual attire. Two warriors from Treedom were chosen, named Vir and Gil, clad in lightly carved wood, sleek and smooth to the touch. Their armor was light weight for max speed and protection. The two rogues from Bayleaf, Lee and Ona, were chosen, wearing long, brownish-green robes cut from the same cloth, meant for sneaking through villages and the woods. Their specialty was stealth, not head to head combat, not that they couldn't put up a good fight. The last to enter was the Silver Knight. He was covered head to tail in a metal forged armor, which seen from up close it was more of a grayish color and lacked the shimmer of genuine silver.
Before they could fight, they had to switch to non-lethal gear, according to the rules of friendly combat. Weapons such as sharp wooden swords, glass daggers, metal shuriken and kunai, long spears, plastic, and other bits and pieces of junk that were left behind from the human world, were prohibited. The Silver Knight's broadsword was replaced with a flat, wide stick, scavenged from human medical centers, that the myce commonly use for practice sessions. His metal shield replaced with a large wooden shield to match the other fighters. His armor, much too dense for friendly combat, was replaced piece by piece, until he wore nothing but his blue leather tunic, which was significantly lighter in weight, making him quicker and agiler, but left him much more vulnerable. He kept his head down as he took his large, metal helmet off and put on a leather one. His face, much more visible but less intimidating than the stoic expression of his Silver helmet.
All the contestants stood ready for their own fights. The village stood around the square, muttering to one another, anxiously waiting for the first match up. Clover, Benjamin, and Raska parted ways and met with their fighters.
"I have spectated many fights in my time, and I've learned that vigilance and focus are essential,” said Benjamin, glaring intently at his wood clad knights. "But, most important of all, don't underestimate your opponent, do not let your guard down for a second, NOW, let's show these myce folk what Chief Crawford's best are made of." The knights beat the base of their long shields on the ground, standing as erect as statues.
Raska walked back and forth, taking long, slow strides with her cane. She stopped, just as the rogues began to lose their patience, and said, "you are the most skilled rogues in the Lost Marshes...but, you are rogues for hire and lack honor, but even still, you are also children of Bayleaf. I want you to win for the sake of your village, or for the interest of myo, either way, Bayleaf's name and reputation will creep across the realm like a bleak wind."
"Okay, Clover Shields...and Eli, the time for fun and games are over," declared Chief Clover, his paws behind his back and his chest booming forth assertively. "It's time we show the other villages of the realm that we are as strong and sturdy as the trees and as firm and stubborn as the roots beneath them!" Eli, Tristan, and Oscar cheered and felt a great boon in response to their Chieftains encouraging words, until a tree in the distance, on the verge of collapsing, finally came down in the most ironic of fashions. "Umm...just ignore that," asked Clover. "Tristan, you're up first."
"Good luck, Tristan," Eli encouraged.
Tristan took a long, drawn out breath and signed. "Thanks, Eli."
"Hey, Oscar," Eli wondered, "why are we fighting anyway, since when do we fight other myce?"
"Hmmm," Oscar pondered momentarily, "well, back in the day we'd duke it out with other villages to create bonds and make us stronger as individuals, but I think that Benjamin just wants to show off." Eli and Oscar laughed amongst themselves before the battle begone.
Clover had chosen Tristan, and Raska chose Ona. The two took places across from each other, the other fighters stood back, watching anxiously with the village folk, who fell deadly silent. The only sound was the howl of the wind and the clanking of the wind chimes, until a rhythm of drum beats began, steadily becoming louder.
Clover stepped in between the fighters. "In the village clock tower, there is a bell. The bell will ring three times, and on the third chime you may begin," Clover explained, "understand?" They both nodded their heads. As Clover left the battlefield, the beating of the drums grew louder.
The tension grew between the Shield and Rouge as they stared each other down and suddenly, BONG!
BONG!
BONG!
Ona took off in an instant, throwing one of her blunt, wooden kunai at that same moment. Tristan quickly and instinctively raised his shield, anticipating the kunai's destination, but he left his feet vulnerable to attack. Ona threw two of her wooden shuriken at his feet with great swiftness and precision. Although only made of wood, they still had enough speed and sharpness to cut and bruise Tristan's ankles, causing him to collapse. He angled his shield up from the ground to protect his face from any other attacks. Ona leaped over Tristan, kicked through his defenseless face, kicking the shield out of his paw, splitting the two apart.
The village folk gasped at the sudden scene of brutality. Eli's eyes grew wide, his body tensing up, telling him to charge in and save his friend, but his mind was telling him otherwise. Tristan rolled across the ground, distancing himself from her. When he finally settled, Ona had already reached him, her knife to his throat. Benjamin raised his paw to the rogue and announced, "we have our winner!" The village was in awe over the quick loss, but out of good sportsmanship they clapped, and the other guests from Bayleaf and Treedom cheered for Ona's impressive skills.
Tristan looked up to Eli extending his paw. Tristan grabbed his paw, and Eli hoisted him up. "Good fight," said Tristan, acknowledging Ona as he rose from the dirt.
"Ha, not really," Ona replied, snickering as she walked away, satisfied and victorious. Tristan turned and walked away in anguish, the embarrassment settling in as he walked closer towards his comrades with his tail dragging along.
Next was Gil of Treedom versus Lee of Bayleaf. Lee was just as skilled and equipped as Ona and Gil stood tall and erect, wielding his long, full body shield firmly at his side, and sword in paw, hilt close to his chest, over his heart, pointed upward toward the sun. His stance was that of a true knight or a lifeless statue of a knight.
They started the drumbeat again, the rhythm becoming powerful the longer they waited to make their first strike. Gil, eyes closed, taking in one deep breath at a time, calm and ready. Lee started to grin under his hood. "I think this fight might be a little more... interesting, just a little," he remarked. Gil remained silent, levelheaded in his composure. "Why so serious?" Lee asked, mocking his rival. "Okay, fine, play the silent type, you won't be so quiet when I knock you on your tail." Lee raised his guard.
BONG!
BONG!
BONG!
Lee threw two shurikens, each flying in either direction, curving towards Gil. Gil blocked the right shuriken with his shield and with his sword he cut down the left. Before Gil knew it, Lee was throwing a kunai, flying at him straight on. The kunai was swift, but Gil's shield was quicker. Blocking the knife gave Lee an opening, and he went for it. He came in low, knife in paw, thrusting upward. Gil bashed his shield into Lee's nose, breaking it and disorienting him. "Don’t underestimate us!" Roared Gil and brought his blunt sword down on Lee's shoulder. Lee was practically out cold the moment his face came into contact with the shield, his diversions and attacks were admirable, but were no match for Gil's defense. Gil took his knights pose and walked back towards his companion.
The village went wild, screaming and chatting, "Gil, Gil, Gil!"
"Oh, Lee," Ona mockingly shook her head in disappointment, "you let your ego get in the way again."
The third round was to begin soon, consisting of Oscar of Cloverfield and Vir of Treedom. Vir, making his way to the battlefield, said to Gil as he walked past him, "this is going to be too easy." At this point, the village of Cloverfield had not been well represented, but Oscar hoped to change that. They took their places across one another, Oscar had the look of determination, and Vir kept the same composure as his fellow Treedom comrade before him. Drums started to beat, setting the mood once more.
BONG!
BONG!
With each toll of the bell, Oscar took a deep breath and each took wider stances.
BONG!
Oscar ran with the pursuit of glory, and Vir ran with only the duty of winning. They ran straight at each other, swords banging together. They took turns attacking and blocking. The echoing clash of wood went on for a while until Oscar started to wear down, exerting his stamina and breath at an accelerated rate. Vir showed no signs of weariness and came at Oscar with even more vitality than before. All Oscar could do was block each hit, until his arm grew weak and his shield was knocked from his numbing arm, then his weapon. Oscar fell to his knees, Vir raised his sword and brought it down, but Oscar grabbed Vir's forearm. Vir was shocked, and in that instance, Oscar leaped up, kneeing Vir in the gut, then giving him a sharp right hook. Vir went flying, Oscar threw off his own balance and fell. Vir was quick to rise, but Oscar struggled to get back up. Vir kicked Oscar from his paws to his back and placed his blade to his neck.
"You fought well, better than expected, but it's time you yield," declared Vir, looking down at his adversary.
"You...you're right," Oscar admitted, panting heavily. "I give up."
Cloverfield had suffered another loss, it was all up to Eli, for it was all on his shoulders to go up against and defeat the Silver Knight and win one for his village. It was nearing the last fight until the semi-final rounds, and Eli was feeling the pressure. After watching his comrades fall and all the pride that each village received, Eli was beginning to realize what this tournament was really all about. For Raska and Benjamin, it was to show the power and honor of their respective villages and increase the bonds between communities. Eli was determined to represent his myce and to the show the realm that Cloverfield could be relied upon if ever need be. He approached the battlefield with a new confidence and to show the Sages, rogues, knights, and fellow Shields what he was capable of.
Oscar, walking past him, advised Eli, "be careful out there, that Silver guy looks pretty tough."
Eli smiled and replied, "thanks, Oscar, I will," and carried on his way. Across from Eli was the Silver Knight, cracking his knuckles. The two glared at each other with bold determination in their eyes, both eager to fight.
Away from the crowds, the Sages spoke to one another in whisper. "This doesn't look good, my friend," Benjamin admitted to Shamus "two of your best have fallen, and all that stands is your little, oddly long and bushy eared youth."
Shamus chuckled, "I know Eli doesn't look it, but he's quite capable, more than the village and Eli himself realize."
Raska stood next to them and said, intervening, "whatever you see in that boy, could not compare to Silver Knight."
"It's true," said Benjamin, "the Silver Knight is the best warrior in his village, maybe the whole realm. According to Astrid, the Sage of Silver Bridge, that knight took down a raid of raiths single-handedly. That is why I hired him as my bodyguard for this long trip."
"Ha, raiths," Raska laughed, "just call them what they are: RATS."
Shamus shook his head, disappointed in Raska's ignorance and intolerance for a race that has yet to be fully understood. Still Intrigued by Benjamin's statement, Shamus asked, "so you began this contest to see if your myce would come out on top?"
"We aren’t just doing this for fun or bragging rights, we aren’t that cynical," Raska admitted. "We must test them, for whatever may come in the near future."
Shamus lowered his head and thought to himself, "so, I'm not the only one who senses this strange, impending danger on the horizon. The other Sages sense it too, or at least Raska does." The sky began to blacken, but the village was too focused on the tournament to realize the looming clouds hanging over their ears, menacingly.
Staring out at the gloaming battlefield, watching as their shadows faded away with the darkening sky, Benjamin stated, "we must show strength, so the myce won't lose hope that peace can last. We must show them and the realm that we may be small, possibly the smallest of Mother Nature's creatures, but we are strong at heart and that we are full of might. That is what this fight is about."
The drums began to play, louder than ever, the excitement building, everyone anxiously waiting to witness the mighty Silver Knight of Silver Bridge in action. The tension was high for the village of Cloverfield to win, it was all on Eli's shoulders to bring glory to his myce.
"From the looks of your friends, you guys aren't too strong," snarked the knight, insulting Eli and the village he cared for. He stood tall, boasted his chest, and raised his chin, all to display his superiority. "Why even fight?" He asked grinning through his helmet.
"To show the rest of the realm what we’re made of, but mostly to prove you wrong...," Eli grinned, answering with a sense of unbeatable determination. The drums pounded even harder than before, to the point that they were shaking the ground beneath their feet.
BONG!
"Fine, have it your way," replied the knight, taking his stance.
BONG!
Eli took his stance, shield facing forward, his sword stretched out behind him. Eli focused, and time seemed as though it was gradually slowing down as he cleared his mind. Eli could hear nothing but his own heartbeat, all he could see was the fire blazing in the Silver Knights eyes, and an unseen rage ready to erupt like a volcano.
BONG!
Eli jolted towards the knight. The knight sprinting with his sword, ready to strike with high velocity. The wind howled, lightning cracked from miles away, and the rain fell between them as if Mother Nature herself and her children of the elements were there to witness the battle. It wasn't until the rain splashed against Eli's shield that he noticed how unnatural the rain was. Staring at each drop as it fell he could see a haze of black, clouding the clarity of the fallen water. Eli's thoughts wondered, and he forgot about his heated battle for just a split second.
The knight couldn't see what had distracted Eli past the fire in his own eyes and slashed through the rain in pursuit of Eli. Eli ducked and spun left, bringing his sword around. The knight raised his hilt up high, the blade pointing down to block the incoming attack. The blades made contact and Eli made his way past the Knight's broadsword, coming at the knight with a shield bash. The knight rotated around the shield and swung at Eli's back. Eli held his breath and leaped backwards, transitioning into a backflip, and safely jumping over the knight's broad swing. The knight's furious glare became one of disbelief as Eli pulled what seemed like an impossible feet. Eli landed firmly on his feet, kicked the knight off his balance, and brought the base of his shield down. The knight landed on his paws and leaped out of the way just in time. Eli's shield made contact with the ground, splashing up water and mud. He pulled his shield from the ground and stared at the knight. They both were at a pause, looking over at each other, anticipating their next move.
The Myce were ecstatic to see a splendid display of skills. All were cheering, even the villagers from Treedom and Bayleaf, and especially Mila, Eli's greatest admirer, breaking away from her quiet shell to cheer him on. Eli, never considered to be an exceptional swordsman, was holding his own against the Silver Knight, Infamously known as the greatest swordsman in the whole realm. Raska, Benjamin, even Clover, and especially Eli's father, Posey, couldn't believe their eyes, after having learned of the Knights reputation. The other contestants were baffled as well. Tristan had trained with Eli but never knew he was that good. Oscar and none of the Clover Shields had any idea that Eli had these abilities. Only one Myce expected such potential, Shamus, the Four-leaf Sage of Cloverfield, who had always known what Eli was capable of. The others were starting to see in Eli what they saw in the Silver Knight and the Unseen Rogue.
No one was more surprised than the knight. His anger sizzled, and a new flare of excitement ignited, which only riled him up even more. He gripped his blade tighter, ready to pounce. Eli upped his guard, his sword raised in front of his shield. Eli watched the rain, falling to the earth, the dirt began to turn to mud. Eli lowered his guard, watching as the air and earth around them started to feel black with a mist of darkness. No one seemed to notice the vapor of darkness creeping up from nowhere because of all the excitement. The Knight was also oblivious, due to the fire in his eyes, burning bright with hostility towards Eli. The Knight had his chance to strike, and he went for it. He sprinted, his hilt raised up high, the point of his dull sword aimed at Eli. Eli watched every drop of water crash against his non-lethal blade, blackening it, soaking it with darkness. Eli knew something was wrong, as did the Sages, who noticed Eli's look of dismay.
A crack ruptured between Eli and the knight, abruptly stopping the fight, and the Silver Knight’s burning rage. From within the fracture, greenish-black tainted roots arose and took the deformation of myce. The appearance of the creatures struck fear and confusion in the hearts of the myce who watched it grow from the damp soil. Their bodies made of roots, covered in moss, and pieces of bark, like patches of armor, protecting their soft, vulnerable bodies. In their eyes were a sickly yellow, that only expressed an uncontrolled sense of wildness. They were not myce, they were monsters, like the ones from the stories long since past; in the days of Alistar the Benevolent and even longer before that. It appeared that mygic had returned to the realm of Oregonia, in the form of darkness, in the form of ancient, evil creatures, known notoriously as Rootlings.


[h=1]Chapter 4
An Unrooted Evil[/h]The dark rooted creatures: the rootlings, ran in all directions, spreading chaos around like wildfire under cover of black skies and diluted rain. The myce were in a panic, frantically scurrying for their lives; the village was in complete and utter chaos. The Clover Shields and all other able-bodied fighters leaped into action, fighting off the hordes of monsters running amuck of their peace. Eli and the Silver Knight ditched their wooden gear in search for more lethal weapons. The Knight took up his broadsword and started cutting down all the rootlings that blocked his path to Benjamin, the Sage of Treedom, the one he was ordered to protect. Upon contact with his blade, the monsters would spew out a mysterious black mist. He paid little attention to the mist, even when it passed through him, like smoke, rising above him. All that passed through his mind was being at the Sage's side, to aid him during his peril.
The dark, mindless rootlings, crept closer and closer to the Sages, gradually crawling up onto the altar on which they stood. Posey and Clover were defending the Sages with swords and shields at the ready, anxiously waiting for the suspensefully slow creatures to strike. The Silver Knight leaped up onto the altar and wiped all the rootlings out with his deadly broadsword in the blink of an eye. "Sage, we must get you out of sight," said the Knight, looking around for other rootlings to fend off.
"You're right," Benjamin agreed, "but these innocent myce need you more, I'll be fine."
"I was ordered to protect you," the Knight argued, "I'm staying by your side!"
"I'll do it," Posey intervened, "I'll take the Sages somewhere safe."
"NO!" Yelled the Silver Knight, persistent in his duties.
"Protect them!" Pleaded Benjamin, pointing his staff at the Knight and ran off with Posey. The Knight was so distracted by the fleeing Sage that he didn't notice the rootling leaping at him while his back was turned from the villagers. Eli jumped out from the chaos of the battlefield and struck down the monster before it could strike down the Silver Knight. They both jumped down from the altar, taking their fighting stances, back to back, facing against the darkness that had fallen on the village of Cloverfield.
"What's your name?" Eli asked, his eyes shifting, looking at each of the approaching, rooted menaces.
"My name..." tightening his grip, ready to strike, "is Chris Ironwill."
Eli smiled back at Chris, "it's an honor to fight with you, Chris."
Chris chuckled, "our battle isn't over yet, a winner was never decided."
"Umm," Eli pondered. "I was talking about fighting alongside you," Eli said with an upward inflection, "and against them."
Eli and Chris leaped into the darkness that was the rootlings, tearing through the hordes of uprooted scorn. While Chris used his strength to broadly cut down and decapitate his victims, Eli was quicker with his strikes, cutting and jabbing them with his blade, a blade that was torn from an old metal can and reforged into a usable weapon. Eli's rusty old sword was not as elegant, sharp, or as powerful as Chris's sword, forged from real steel, but both blades were capable enough for the rooted foes it seemed. Eli's one handed sword gave him the advantage of using a shield in the other to defend against the many rootlings, whereas Chris used his powerful offense as his defense, even so, they both had to keep their distance from the ever growing darkness.
Just as the myce were starting to feel overwhelmed, a few shuriken zipped by, cutting down their numbers. The nameless rogue, Raska's faithful guard, jumped between Eli and Chris. From under his cloak, he pulled out a pair of ruthless looking daggers in each paw. His blades were cut from the thickest thorns of the deadliest of thorn bushes, growing rampantly through the Lost Marshes, and were very effective at breaking through skin and muscle tissue, even capable of delivering poison. The rogue sped into action, like a shadow in the mist, striking down all in his path with relentless, ice cold fury, gliding by each of his foes, leaving behind one fatal blow after another with his dastardly daggers.
All the myce skilled enough to fight had congregated to the Village Square to fend off the rooted creatures that invaded their home. The battle ensued for what felt like an eternity, but the number of rootlings began to dwell. The black mist that spewed from the fallen, rooted creatures rose above the village and receded off into the Elder Woods. Eli, the only one who noticed the black mist, curiously pursued it to its destination. Eli ran on all fours, approaching the same Village Gate he had worked on the day before. The mist drifted deep within the darkness of the Elder Woods.
"Stop!" An unfamiliar voice called out to Eli. The unknown rogue caught up to Eli. "We don't know what might be waiting out there?" He warned.
Eli knew he was right and stopped his pursuit of the mist as it vanished from sight. "Wait," Eli wondered, "you're one of the escorts from Bayleaf, aren't you?" The hooded rogue nodded. "Do you know Mila Sheik, is she okay?" Eli asked, worrying about his new, shy friend.
The rogue clenched his fists. "Don't concern yourself with Miss Sheik; she and the Sage are fine," he answered bluntly, "what we need to worry about is what's out there."
Eli scowled at the hooded rogues face, hiding behind his hood and mask. "As long as... they're okay," Eli replied in relief. "What is your name?" Asked Eli, "there is a face behind that mask, right?"
"My name is Shroud," he answered, "and I appreciate your concern for the myce folk, but I will assure you once more, the girl is safe." Eli smiled at his new comrade and nodded his head to him in respect.
The village was starting to settle from the chaos, and the sky ceased its torrential rains. The myce and Sages came out from hiding, only to see the Village Square in ruins. The warriors were exhausted from their struggle, half were on the ground resting, but for an unfortunate few, weren't so lucky to live through the ordeal. The saddened myce carried off their deceased and helped the other casualties scattered across the village. Clover, the Chief of Cloverfield, watched as his village tried to recover from the raid, and his head fell in anguish at the dismal sight. Shamus laid his paw on Clover's shoulder, trying to comfort him in their time of despair.
"It's not your fault," Shamus explained, "no one could have been prepared for this."
"This is MY village!" Clover stressed, "and I let it get ravaged by those monsters." He fell to his knees, wallowing in the mud.
"Shamus is right," Benjamin agreed. "A dark power such as this..." he paused, contemplating the severity of the situation,"...we're very fortunate to be alive thanks to YOU and the efforts of all these fine warriors."
The few moments of peace were short-lived, however. The black mist that had gone off, away from the village, had found its place of end. It hovered over a burial site and submerged into the soil, softened by the elements. The mist's dark power seeped into the bones of the deceased and emerged from the earth. A black abomination, a skeletal feline, a beast of the walking dead set its hollow gaze upon the village, with nothing less than a lust for blood and carnage.
From out in the distant forest, a dreaded hiss echoed. All ears stood on end, a shriek of fear struck their hearts. From just outside the village, Eli and Shroud watched as the undead lynx limped out from the darkness and with a band of grootlings: like rootlings, but instead, they were the size of raiths, large and bulkier than before, and even more grotesque. They stood tall, slouching over, their menacing eyes fixated on the innocent village. Their bodies made of blacker roots, covered in moss and bark. The troop of beasts marched towards the village. Eli and Shroud readied their weapons for the slowly approaching threat. Eli's paws trembled around the grip of his sword, and his breath became heavy with terror. Shroud was completely still, showing no signs of fear, at least on the outside.
"Don't choke on me now," Shroud said, pointing out Eli's fear. "Don't be afraid of them."
"I'm not!" Eli replied, tightening his grip, "I'm afraid that I won't be able to protect my home."
Shroud raised his head up, glancing over at Eli under his hood. "Fear is our greatest enemy, push it down." Eli took a deep gulp as if swallowing his fear, keeping it hidden in the depths of his stomach. Shroud turned back to the enemy. "We won't be able to stop them all from getting though, so we will each take one and let the other myce finish the rest."
"Right!" Eli complied.
The grootlings picked up speed, the lynx started to sprint, then jumped a great distance over the groots, then jumped right over Eli and Shroud. They couldn't help themselves as their eyes fixated on the ever soaring beast, leaping rooftop to rooftop, in a high-speed chase of cat and mouse. Eli and Shroud turned back to the groots, each taking on a rooted, rat-like creature while the others made their way through the village. Their claws were longer and sharper than the others, but they lacked speed and swiftness. The groot swung its claws at Eli, he blocked with his shield, barely able to take the full force of the attack. His shield started to splinter under the force of the roots weight. Eli knew his best defense would be to take evasive action rather than relying on the strength of his shield. The groot continued to swing carelessly at Eli. Eli dodged each attack with ease, waiting for the right moment to strike. The groot went for a power strike and threw its whole body into its attack. Eli back flipped, then immediately leaped forward at the monster, stabbing his blade into its shoulder, and cleaved its arm off with one powerful, downward stroke. It looked at him, unfazed, and went back on the offensive. Eli sighed, "oh crap."
Meanwhile, Shroud was dodging each attack, studying the monster's movements. Frustrated, the groot howled to the sky. At that moment, Shroud noticed that the roots of the monster's neck were connected vertically from the jaw to the collarbone and were fragile and vulnerable compared to the rest of its thick body. The beast went on all fours and charged at him full force. The cunning Shroud devised a strategy and set it into motion. He whipped his tail in a puddle of muddy water, splashing the groot in the eyes. Its rampage came to a screeching halt, trying to rub the dirt and water from its eyes. Shroud went in low, under the beast’s blind-spot, came up swiftly, and stabbed both of his daggers into its trachea. In one clean slice Shroud cut and disconnected the thin cord-like roots of the groots throat. It gagged for a moment and fell to its death, dissolving into mush.
"Go for the throat," Shroud advised Eli and threw his dagger to distract the groot. The blade struck the raging beast in the forearm. The beast turned its attention to Shroud, looking away from Eli. Eli took his chance and leaped up, slashing its neck, nearly cutting the groots head off. It fell, unable to make a sound from its disconnected larynx, and it too, died in a pile of mush.
"Let's hurry and return to the others," Eli insisted, and they hurried to the Village Square.
The grootlings emerged from the shadows of the village streets, advancing towards the tiresome warriors. The myce were weak in the knees and could barely hold up their weapons as the new foes came barreling towards them. The battle they fought earlier had taken its toll. Chris stepped in between the myce and the grootlings. Chris ripped from the earth a plunged, wooden spear, and threw it into, and impaling one of the groots. Chris then pulled his broadsword from the holster on his back, gripping it tightly, pointing it at the dark beings. Staring into their hollow gaze he declared, "if you want them, you will have to get through me!" His eyes igniting with fire, a fire that burned for power. Chris chuckled under his breath and thought to himself, "this is just like the time I took out those raiths, but with less fire."
Chris, the famous Silver Knight, made the first move, slashing the nearest grootling. His blade decapitated the groot, down the left side of its neck, through its chest, and out the right side of its rib cage. Another pair of groots charged at him from his left and right. Following through with his first swing he continued to spin in place, slashing off the legs the left groot, spinning around and slicing the gut of the right groot, leaving behind a gash that poured with a black, bubbling ooze. With one fell swoop he had slain one grootling and incapacitated two more, and within the frenzy of his rage, he was quick to decapitate their heads from their root like bodies. "Yup, just like last time...but with less fire," he thought out loud. Before he could go off on the other rooted beasts, a hiss echoed through the village.
Chris's ears stood up, and he turned around to see an undead monster, a giant feline beast. Its body covered in a decaying, putrefied skin, covered in patches of fur that stood on end. It hissed again, exposing it's long and deadly, sharp fangs. It lowered its body, getting into pouncing position. Then, out in the distance, a voice cried out, "Stop!" The ferocious lynx turned to the source of the outburst, and again it called out, "It's me you want!" The voice was Shamus, who emerged from the thick brush of clovers, slowly closing his distance. The lynx sprinted for him in an instant, its blood lust fixated on the old, wise, and very vulnerable Sage.
Shamus ran as fast as he could, which was not nearly fast enough. The lynx swung its paw, tripping Shamus, causing him to roll a far distance before coming to a stop. When he looked up to see the lynx, staring down at him, terror and despair loomed in Shamus's old face as he gazed into the familiar feline looming over him. "What dark and twisted spell has fallen upon you Alistar?" He asked as tears fell from his eyes, sensing Alistar's pain and the end of a peaceful era. Alistar did nothing but simply hovered over Shamus as a black figure began to rise from his empty skull. It was covered in ash and black wisps, appearing as a specter that took the vague shape of a myce, with long, bushy ears, and bloody red eyes that pierced through the Sage with a hatred most profound. The dark specter, a gifted conjurer, and necromancer, raised its arms and cracked its fingers, like a puppet master pulling the rooted stings of its zombified puppet. The undead lynx, Alistar, opened its jaw wide. Drooling with anticipation, it lowered its fangs on Shamus.
A handful of kunai flew into Alistar’s jaw, preventing the tragic end to the Sage of Cloverfield, and causing the specter to disappear. Shroud pulled his daggers from his cloak and waited for an opening. The undead Alistar moved his glance to Shroud, slowly walking towards him with deadly intentions. From behind Alistar, Chris took a broad and mighty swing at his leg with his steel broadsword. The blade got stuck in its leg, and Chris couldn't pull it free, as hard as he tried. Alistar kicked Chris with his hind leg, sending him flying off through an acorn house and out the other end. While the lynx was distracted, Shroud stabbed both of his thorned daggers, filled with poison, into Alistar's front left paw. Alistar lifted up his paw, flinging Shroud into the air, and with his other paw, brought down the full force of all of his strength on Shroud. Shroud smashed against the ground like a rag doll, then came to the realization that the poison he had administered had only slightly weakened the undead feline.
The mad, undead Alistar turned his fangs back at the Sage. Out from behind a small acorn hut, a spear grazed past Alistar's ear. The lynx turned to see Eli, just as he was throwing another spear, breaking against Alistar's cheek bone. Eli ran up and stabbed his sword into its massive paw, precisely in between the joints of the finger and palm, causing the finger to fly off. With his other paw, the undead Alistar swung with his long, sharp claws. Eli pivoted and leaped out of the way and made a run for the acorn tree. But the lynx was persistent and chased down the fleeing Eli.
Eli ran through the narrow streets of Cloverfield, Alistar following close behind, rampaging everything in his way. Eli dove into the many clovers and crawled through the thick green shamrocks, hoping to lose the beast for only a moment. Alistar stopped and lowered his rotted nose to the clovers and began to sniff out the terrified Eli. The undead lynx was persistent in finding his prey, being sure to sniff out each and every patch of clovers. Eli could hear the monster approaching, and so he moved faster, pushing aside each bushel of shamrocks. Eli couldn't move fast enough without the beast catching on, so with both paws, he ripped out a clover from the ground. He looked at its four leaves and thought to himself, "Huh, neat." He continued to rub himself with the shamrocks and the soil, anything that could mask his scent. Eli stopped at the sounds of slow moving brush and faint, chilling growls. Eli turned to see the undead Alistar just inches away. The scent was no longer an issue when the undead beast was staring him down with eyes so sharp that it felt like being stabbed by its mad gaze. Eli made a run for it towards the acorn tree, Alistar pouncing just behind him.
Eli was cornered between the acorn tree and its purging roots. He turned to see the undead beast staring him down with a hunger for blood and carnage. The dark specter began to rise from Alistar's skull once again, taking the vague form of a myce. Again the dark specter was concealed in an ashy, black haze. All that could be seen of it was its long, bushy ears, and its horribly red eyes, even more dreadful than Alistar's undead gaze. It looked down at Eli, staring at the lone myce who stood against him. The dark specter, completely unwavered by Eli's courage, loosely pointed his paw at him and clenched his fist. The undead Alistar leaped at Eli, fangs first. Eli's heartbeat went from a rapid panic, in fear of losing his own life, to a slow, easy, steady calmness. Just as his heart slowed down so did time itself it seemed. Taking a slow breath, Eli raised his shield, widened his stance, pointed his sword out like a spear, and prepared for the attack. The lynx's fang broke through the crack of Eli's shield that was made earlier by the grootlings, and the force of the impact caused Eli's sword to break against the lynx's fangs. The shield piercing fang grazed Eli's arm, leaving behind a bloody gash, and impaled his shoulder. Eli remained calm, controlling his heart rate, which blocked the pain and kept him from passing out. Eli ripped his shield upward, using the leverage between him, the shield, and the fang, was able to pull the fang through the decayed gum and send it flying from Alistar's jaws. The fang got lodged into the trunk of the tree, high above Eli and the undead Alistar.
The ferocious lynx hissed in agony, his newly rejuvenated nerves, sending pain signals to his decayed brain. While the lynx was distracted, Eli ran up the tree and grabbed the root of the fang. The undead Alistar leaped upward; Eli pulled the fang out of the trunk and jumped off the tree, falling downwards at the dark specter, protruding from Alistar's skull. Fang facing down at the darkness, Eli aimed straight and true. The undead Alistar began to swing his paw, but before he could reach, a dagger, thrown by Shroud, struck its paw, stunning the beast's assault. Letting out a booming battle cry, Eli brought down the long, sharp fang, cutting through the darkness that was the mysterious specter. The fang split right through the skull, spewing black mist all around. The beast raged on, swinging back and forth, trying desperately to knock off the ever persistent Eli. Leaping off from an acorn hut, Chris stabbed his broadsword into the decayed neck of the wounded beast, causing Chris, Alistar, and Eli to collapse. Eli, using the last of his energy, ripped out the fang, and for good measure, plunged it back in, for one last powerful attack. The specter and its dark assault had finally come to an end. Alistar's body started to disintegrate and fade off into the wind, his rage finally ceased.
Eli fell to his knee's in a heap of excruciating pain seething in his shoulder. He grasped his shoulder, his fur becoming soaked in blood. His breathing was growing fainter by the moment and nearing fell into the mud before shroud caught him in his descent. Shroud held onto Eli, scanning his eyes and wounds. Shroud pulled from his cloak an ointment, a substance that could dull the pain and soothe the user. After applying the medicine, Shroud proceeded to stitch up his shoulder and prevent the bleeding.
"ELI!" Cried Posey, running towards his fallen son.
"He will be fine, I tended to his wounds in time," Shroud assured Posey.
"Thank you, Thank you." Posey rested easy as he lifted up his son with both of his weary arms and carried him off from his glorious battle. "You did well, my son," he thought to himself, peering into his son's peaceful face.
The three myce, Eli Dawnwood, Chris Ironwill, and the mysterious hooded rogue, Shroud, and the village had finally defeated the darkness that had fallen on their day of celebration, which will now live in infamy as a day of disaster. The village of Cloverfield could now heal, but an evil was still looming over the realm of Oregonia. Mygic had finally returned after hundreds of years of dormancy, in the form a darkness that threatened all they knew.
 

KingdomKey

The Traveler
Joined
Sep 25, 2010
Messages
6,260
  • Retired Staff
  • Graceful Assassin
  • The Gambler of Fate
  • Beauty Within
  • Cloaked Schemer
  • Whirlwind Lancer
This was an interesting story from start to finish for the first four chapters. :) It reminds me fondly of Desperaux. And I wasn't expecting this to be about myce and magic. I like Eli a lot, including the other characters we met in the individual chapters. I'm glad Eli will be alright after getting wounded in battle, but at least the village and its villagers made it out okay. My favorite part was when Eli was back to back in the fight with Chris Ironwill. <3 Overall it was an entertaining read.

Btw, I'd recommend in the future to space out large paragraphs like this because, it's a bit hard to read through huge walls of text. Otherwise, thank you for sharing a sneak peek at your book!
 
Top