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||You are on Week 795
Every week we will be starting a new Story Telling competition - with great prizes! The current prize is 2000 NP, plus a rare item!!! This is how it works...
We start a story and you have to write the next few paragraphs. We will select the best submissions every day and put it on the site, and then you have to write the next one, all the way until the story finishes. Got it? Well, submit your paragraphs below!
Story Seven Hundred Ninety Five Ends November 17th
|The mountain wind was harsh on the old Vandagyre's face but as he squinted, he could vaguely see the silhouette of the city.
"I’d stay clear of that city." An unfamiliar voice advised.
The Vandagyre quickly spun around to see a Green Scorchio standing close by.
"A curse has been placed on all the land of the city, an evil curse that no one can figure out how to break." Continued the Scorchio.
The Vandagyre gasped as he realized...
Date: Nov 13th
... that he was about to travel to that very same city.
"You can go down the mountain path and get a closer view if you don't trust me," the Scorchio commented, "but don't ever set foot in there."
Uttering a word of thanks to the Scorchio, he proceeded on with his journey. As he reached the edge of the mountain, the Vandagyre could make out the many tall buildings that dotted the area. What shocked him, however, was the bleakness. Everything was grey and dull - the buildings, the roads, and even the grasses. Even from where he was standing, the Vandagyre could feel an air of loneliness and desolation exuding from the city ahead of him ...
Date: Nov 13th
A chill that had nothing to do with the cold wind that howled suddenly crept up the Vandagyre's spine. Old as he was, he had only been so unlucky as to witness such a terrible sight only once before. It was many moons ago, when the Neopian Civil War was at its height.
"Such destruction could only mean one thing," the weary Vandagyre mused, "but- no, it can't be."
His limbs suddenly hearkening back to the times when he served as an advance scout for Shenkuu, he leapt down the mountainside, using his wings to slow his descent. Soon, he arrived at the center of the city- or rather, what was left of it.
As if to confirm his worst fears, there was a huge symbol carved- no, burned right into the ground upon which he stood, trembling. The ancient symbol of
Date: Nov 14th
...The Order of the Red Erisim.
The Vandagyre gasped. The Order was a society of enlightened mages, why would they have destroyed this place? What was this place?
"I see you have many questions," came a voice seemingly from everywhere at once.
From one of the crumbling buildings came a Draik maiden. "Greetings," she replied in a sweet yet forlorn way. "I am Byteena." She started to walk toward him.
He backed away. Could he trust her? "I am Wroffset," he announced, "a merchant from Shenkuu."
Her eyes practically lit up. "Shenkuu -- a city I have heard of only long ago, and have seen only in my dreams." She paused when she was but ten feet from the strange Neopet. "This place is -- was -- Eris, birthplace of The Order of the Red Erisim. Birthplace, and deathplace," she added with a frown.
Wroffset frowned, too. "What do you mean? The Order is a thriving society."
"The Order that lives on, yes," Byteena continued. "But it's not my Order... All of those trapped here, including myself, were all members of the original Order, before it factionalized and war broke out."
But she waved him over. "Come now, it's getting dark. You won't reach Shenkuu before nightfall. Stay with me for the night, I'll make tea."
The Vandagyre didn't trust her, but he agreed it was getting late. And if this town truly was cursed... Well, he supposed that in spite of the desolation and dreariness, life had continued. The Draik was proof of that.
"Alright," he said hesitantly before following her...
Date: Nov 14th
...to a ramshackle hut that was barely standing upright. Sadly, it was one of the best-preserved buildings in the entire town.
"Why do you still live here, if the whole city is destroyed?" Wroffset asked his host as she prepared the kettle.
The Draik was silent until she had finished making the tea, and only then did she look up and meet his eyes. "We are trapped here, as I said. We have no choice but to stay." It was quite obvious that this response didn't actually provide a satisfactory answer to Wroffset's question.
With a heavy sigh, Byteena set her teacup down and began giving a fuller explanation. "I'm sure you know of the War of the Obelisk," she began, and Wroffset nodded. "The Order's leader, Rasala, wanted control of the Obelisk and its magic. Not all of the members agreed, however, and so when she went to claim it, she put a curse on the dissidents to trap us here so that we couldn't interfere with her plans."
Again, Byteena fell silent. This time, Wroffset was patient enough to wait for her to continue at her own pace.
"The magic that Rasala used to keep us in this city is very ancient, and as yet none of us remaining Order members can unravel it. But you, my new friend, you bring us hope."
"Me?!" the Vandagyre responded, shocked. "What have I done? I don't know any magic!"
Date: Nov 15th
She smiled. "Exactly."
Byteena took Wroffset's paws in hers. "In all our attempts, we have tried and failed to break the curse using magic. And each time, failure. Failure upon failure. However, these failures were not completely unsuccessful. Each attempt, though rejected, gave us a clue."
Wroffset frowned. "What sort of clue?"
Leaning closer, Byteena murmured, "Runes. Some are repeats, some are unique, but we believe that they form a message. Say what you will about the stoicness of ancient magic, but it's dying to be figured out. After all, what is the point of a curse if not to be broken?"
The Vandagyre looked at the Draik. Her eyes were lit up with excitement and hope. Too much hope to place on him. "Then what's the point of me?" he questioned, shaking his hands out of her grasp. "I certainly won't be able to read the runes any better than you."
Byteena smirked and shook her head. "That's where you're wrong. These runes are not ordinary. There is a shroud covering their meaning, one that only non-magic wielders can see through. 'Only the blind can see,' as ancient tomes say.
"Which is why we need you," Byteena implored. "Think of it as helping out a people in need. Revitalizing a city. If you leave us, who knows when the next Neopet without magic will step through? We could be stuck here for centuries!"
Wroffset weighed the decision in his mind. He needed to get moving, to go back. On the other paw, how long would translating some runes be, if it was as easy as she said? And if it wasn't, he'd just leave without another thought.
"All right," he said, standing. "I'll take a look."
Byteena jumped up, her wings fluttering with excitement. "Perfect! Now, let me show you where we keep the runes..."
Date: Nov 15th
Outside, the light was fading. The Draik leapt into the the air, beckoning Wroffset to follow, and together they flew among the ruins to a wide, clear space. From the broken columns and withered grass, the Vandagyre guessed it was once a grand square in the middle of the city. He imagined the city before the curse, back when there was light and life and everything flourished. A desperate sadness took hold of him as he gazed at the lengthening shadows, now falling on fractured stone and dead flowers.
In the centre of the square stood a domed building, perhaps once a temple. It now had no walls, merely four pillars of white stone, and Byteena made straight for it, landing smoothly on the marble steps.
"The runes are here?" asked Wroffset in hushed tones.
"Yes. Quickly, follow me! I can hardly wait!" Byteena seemed to buzz with excitement, and they ducked under a fallen doorpost into the shadow of the temple.
A small, nondescript circular room was all that remained, but there was a set of steps leading down into the earth below, and the Draik skipped eagerly downward. Wroffset grew more and more uneasy as they descended into cold darkness, their footfalls echoing on the stone.
Byteena lit a torch with her fiery breath, revealing a series of tablets raised on platforms in the cool cellar. Each one was engraved with a series of markings, and Wroffset could not help but step closer, his curiosity overwhelming his nerves.
At first, the markings seemed no more than meaningless scratches, but as if by magic--and he supposed that was what it was--they seemed to dance before his eyes. Suddenly, they flared with a blueish light, and a pattern of symbols rose up into the air to shimmer and glow. At once, Wroffset felt their meaning:
Here underground the shadows sleep,
and ancient spells and secrets keep.
Death and darkness held in thrall;
Speak out, and you shall release all...
A ringing silence followed, and the Vandagyre wondered if a disembodied voice had spoken, or if the words had come from his own beak. He looked around, and realised the torch had gone out, and the blue light was fading, plunging them into the dark once more. Though he could see nothing at all, he felt a gentle rumbling that became stronger and stronger. As it grew, a low, whispering laugh echoed in the chamber...
Date: Nov 16th
...The laugh was cut off by a sudden silence which a voice pierced through. "I hadn't expected her to convince you to help them so easily. Perhaps the hag still has some tricks up her sleeve," the voice said. It was angry and feminine.
Wroffset remembered Byteena's words, that Rasala had been the one to imprison them here. Was this now Rasala speaking to him. "Are you..." he began to ask.
"Rasala the Bright? So you aren't totally clueless after all," the disembodied voice snarled. "But enough of this. No, don't look around for Byteena, she can't hear us. You are in a brief stasis. I cannot maintain it forever, but outside of us talking, no time is passing at all in Eris. She will not know what was said here."
"Why are you speaking to me?" Wroffset wanted to know.
"It is an inherent flaw in the runes we used that non-magic users can read them and react to them," Rasala's voice explained. "I can't change their nature. But I could leave a fail-safe, a way to contact anyone who read the runes and give them this warning. Byteena is deceiving you."
Wroffset gasped. Could Rasala's words be true?
Rasala continued, "She and the others are not being kept prisoner because they didn't want to fight for the Obelisk. They are dangerous, dangerous people. They were attempting forbidden magic: the release of Melafir from her containment. Melafir was a former leader of the Order who wished to take over Neopia. Her freedom would be devastating for all Neopians. We thought that the Oracle would give us some power or insight on how to seal away Melafir permanently, so we must fight. As for you, the freedom of Byteena and the others while we are distracted would spell doom for Neopia."
"But I already said the runes," Wroffset admitted. "I don't know what came over me. I didn't realize it was happening until I heard my own voice.
"I know. When I release you, you must immediately say this counter-spell." And before Wroffset's eyes were another set of runes.
The spell has broken, I am free. Under a thrall you can't keep me. My words before were not my own. Heed the words I now intone: foul mages I bind you to this place. Your memory of this I do erase.
"My strength is waning. Hurry, Wroffset, do the right thing!"
As the Vandagyre felt the effects of Rasala's spell beginning to fade, he realized he had a choice to make, and he had to make it fast...
How does this story end...
Date: Nov 17th
Head spinning after the encounter with the legendary Rasala, he tried to clear his muddle senses. As his vision of reality returned, Byteena came back into view, a subtly sinister expression across her features.
"You've done it, Wroffset!" Byteena beamed, walking over to him. "You've set us free!" She placed a hand on his shoulder. "And this, my dear fellow, is where we part ways."
Then Byteena pushed him -- hard.
Wroffset crashed to the ground, his tail feathers crumpling beneath him. Wincing in pain, he came to the definitive realization that what he had caused must be reversed. Quickly, he began to recite Rasala's counter-spell: "The spell has broken, I am free. Under a thrall you can't keep me..."
Byteena had begun to depart, but her head whipped around in horror to look back at Wroffset on the ground. "No..."
"My words before were not my own. Heed the words I now intone..." Wroffset continued. He could see that with every word he uttered, Byteena's face contorted into further rage.
"Stop...what are you doing?! You're making a mistake!" she screamed.
"Foul mages I bind you to this place. Your memory of this I do erase."
Upon reaching the conclusion of the spell, the circular room lit up with a bright-blue radiance, forcing Wroffset to shield his eyes. Vaguely, he heard Byteena yelling into the lightness.
Then, all was dark.
Wroffset opened his eyes. From where he stood, he could see the silhouette of a city perched upon a mountaintop.
"I'd stay clear of that city," a voice behind him said. Wroffset turned around to find a Scorchio talking to him. "A curse has been placed on all the land of the city, an evil curse that no one can figure out how to break."
Intuition told Wroffset to listen to this stranger. "Thank you for the warning, sir, I will steer clear of it," he said, smiling, winding his way away from the city, deciding Shenkuu would make a better destination.
Date: Nov 20th
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