Right, this story is my own writing that i have posted on a website called teenagewriters.com before under the name of Baggage, but that website was a bit on the weak side so i have decided to try my luck here.
So far i have written the plot for the first book out of my ideas and have actually written the first four chapters out in almost full.
this is the first chapter, i don't expect you to fully understand what the main goings on are from this section of the story and the title won't really make much sense but i hope i can catch your attention anyway... enjoy.
The stepping stopped. Leo smiled and sat back down. Only twelve steps, not enough to get the guard from the stairs to his cell. Sure enough, he heard the creak of a door further down and then the sound of something heavy being dragged. At the start, some of the prisoners fought back, but over the last week even the proud warriors from the savannah had given up; and they were the most stalwart men in the empire. The great plains of the Savannah had witnessed many battles and had only seen minor losses to the great savage fighters.
The planks on the floor were letting more and more water through. Leo rarely got off the bed anymore he preferred to stay dry. The room would have once been furnished with a proper bed and possibly a small writing desk and chair. It now had a small rusty metal frame for the bed with a small chair sat at the end. A tiny smashed mirror hung sadly across from the bed. He grabbed the small ornamental chair, lifted it onto the bed, and then swung. It hit the wall hard breaking one of the legs. Dropping the chair he examined the wall. The planks were weakening but so was he. Sighing he laid down and thought back to how he had ended up in this grimy, flooding cell.
He had survived in the forests of Reniis for over three months until just before his thirteenth birthday when the slave patrol caught him. The forest was beautiful and not particularly dangerous so it made an ideal home for the runaway.
He had had a good upbringing in the city of Mongoll. It wasn’t the biggest or the richest city but it had made a good home. Leo smiled at the memories of the market with all of the rich smells of the summer fruits, his friends that swam in the river next to his old home and his parents…
Sitting up was getting harder; his last reserves of strength were leaving fast, in a few hours true exhaustion would set into his muscles. He had tried to keep active at the start of his capture, with a small workout every day, however the lack of food had also cut this out of the daily routine of daydreaming and sleeping.
He looked across from the bed at the broken mirror. It was badly smashed with a cobweb of cracks running all along it. At least half of it was now floating around the room. He tried to remember his parent’s features and smiled again. He had his mother’s dark blue hair and rich chocolaty dark brown eyes. He would have a handsome face, just like his fathers, if it were only cleaned of all the grime. He laughed at the thought of what his mother would say to the state of his hair. He hadn’t had it cut for a while now and was left with a small boyish ponytail that was tied with a strip of cloth from an old shirt.
He remembered something his mother had told him about the Old Age. Supposedly they had to dye their hair to get a variety of colours, however now you could be born with almost any colour. Brown and black were two of the most common colours and only the true royal line carried the last of the blond gene.
All that the guards had left him with in the cell was his dark grey under-shirt and his green trousers. His boots, leather jersey and all of his possessions ands weapons were thrown onto the guard’s kettle fire or sold in the local market. He had gathered a small collection of pouches and straps that had held his rag-tag pieces of armour together, now they were probably ash, floating across the great ocean.
He had lived with his parents until they had been forced to move into the local slave quarters. Leo didn’t find out why for many years. He then moved to his grandparent’s house, it was a richer setting than his own home but just didn’t feel right. His bed was too small and he didn’t have many clothes or toys. He didn’t feel loved by the old man and woman, but just felt like an inconvenience for them. They rarely spoke to him and always stuck up their noses like they were superior. The Grandfather didn’t let him out of the house apart from on errands and rarely rewarded him.
That was when Leo found out the truth, his parents were escaped slaves from the king’s court. It was near to his eighth birthday when his Grandfather broke the news. He was the one who had sold his own daughter and son-in-law to the king! He even showed Leo the gold he had received; enough he said to keep him happy to the end of his days. He could vividly remember what had happened that day. Having just heard why his parents had left Leo looked the old, pathetic man straight between the eyes and spat with all the strength the little boy had. He had earned a beating for that and was taken into the grandparent’s bedroom. It was only after being hit for over five minutes did he finally whimper; a small noise that had made his grandfather stop. The next day he ran away; a small child in a world full of dangers.
He wouldn’t have survived the first week away from Mongoll if not for a small mercenary band that took him in. Calling themselves Heavens Army, they taught him the basics of hunting and fighting and had started to call him one of their own. Near the end of the second year, Leo was forced to part ways. Over half of the group were killed on a mission in the west, protecting a foreign king from assassins. They died when the assassins caused a rockslide on a mountain path near the capital, or so the report said. This meant leaving the rest to decide the fate of the group. Despite protests from Leo they disbanded leaving him on his own again.
However now he could survive on his own, his skill with the bow brought food and his ability to tell between certain herbs and berries saved him of many upset stomachs. Anybody wishing to harm the boy soon found a dagger at their throat or a small shadow silently, slipping past them.
He travelled far to the east until he came to the coast. Matured well past his ten years he became a small time thief/pick pocket in a small city called Huccin. While there he gathered strong hunting clothes and a few small luxuries.
Mongoll was big enough to defend yet small enough to not be bothered by the recent war. Or so Leo hoped. He didn’t want to one-day return to his hometown to find it a smoking stack of rubble. He had already made the promise to himself that he would escape slavery and go home, and this time show the old man how wrong he’d been.
The years came and went quickly turning him into a cunning and strong young man. He kept his sense of right and wrong, apart from the stealing, but that was keeping him alive. He kept his thoughts to himself and tried not to socialize too much. He would only have to leave the friends he made when he moved on. He had decided to make a small camp in the woods south of Huccin to escape from the ongoing war, which proved to be his downfall.
Reniis was a small sized kingdom that had been hit hard by the war. They had resorted to selling anybody they could find as slaves to raise enough money to hire mercenaries to protect them. Leo was one of the slaves. At the moment he was in one of the holding cells in a series of rafts off the coast of Reniis. The rafts were once the talk of the continent, three giant rafts that held at least twenty houses on each! Now they were abandoned or in the case of the largest raft, turned into a giant prison. Falling into decline they were now used for menial jobs as long as the scavenging animals could be scared away…
Leo shivered, as his whole body seemed to perspire at once. He sat bolt upright and wiped his hand across his forehead, what the hell was happening? He slowly sank back down into a lying position, and then it stopped. He wondered for a minute if he had fallen asleep and had a nightmare, he could swear he had just heard a snarl, but it seemed unlikely, he’d only just got up. He tried to calm down and his mind started to wander again.
He didn’t really care where he ended up, as long as it wasn’t serving Endora and Woodglade! They were the people that started the whole war and now owned over half of the continent! Woodglade were a mysterious group of supposed strategists that had travelled to Endora, the most politically powerful city on the continent, and planted the first seeds of war. It was rumoured that they were looking for something about the old world temple that sat in the middle of the continent, between the mountains of the gods and the small nation of Thorne. Rumour was that a magical barrier surrounded the temple. Having never seen magic Leo was sceptical that this barrier even existed, he just thought that it was something Woodglade had made up since they couldn’t get inside.
Endora sat at the bottom of the continent and had worked its armies most of the way to the top. They seemed to have an unnatural amount of men and had been seen using animals to attack the bigger targets. There were small pockets of resistance all over the continent, however it looked grim. They made peace treaties with no one and told the countries and nations to give up their borders for a united land. If the defending nation argued the armies of Endora would march onto the capital and place their own king or duke on the throne.
The men of Endora wore unusual garb for fighting men. All wore the same headscarf and strange balaclavas. They showed no flesh, however most had been seen with faded long hair.
He was woken from his daydream by a big sloshing then the noise of a plate being placed on a small ledge near the top of the door. He slowly swung his tired legs off the bed and waded to the door. It looked like the water was in the hall too. They couldn’t stay here for much longer; the water would be up to the bed in a few more days. He grabbed his food and started to turn back to the bed when something caught his eye. Water was seeping in under the door, but it was red…
He placed the food on the bed while grabbing the three-legged chair to stand on. He walked back to the door and placed the chair firmly under the water. He had good balance so it was easy to stay on top of the chair and look through the food hole. Afterwards he wished he didn’t.
A small girl was stood in the middle of the hallway with a terrified look on her face. The water was up to her chin and it was leaving the traces of blood. A horrific ripping sound came from the cell opposite along with a wave of blood soaked water. A body floated past with a gaping hole in the side of its head, it looked like one of the guards. The girl stared as it slowly sailed past, and then screamed. The ripping stopped, as pairs of eyes appeared at almost every food-slot. All of the slaves were looking at the commotion. A door burst open near the damaged cell and a burly looking pair of teens ran out. They looked like twins and both had violent red hair and dark tattoos down their arms. Both carried a different size spike of wood. Before they could reach the girl a shape of darkness erupted from the cell into the farthest twin sending him flying towards Leo! Only his thief’s reactions saved him. He swiftly pushed himself away from the door, allowing himself to fall back into the water, as the already dead body smashed through the top half of the door and hit the back wall hard.
The creature stood on its hind legs and roared. Leo’s head emerged from the bloody water with small bits of mirrored glass stuck in his hair. The body of the red headed teen was a twisted mess floating at the foot of the bed. The creature was a great forest bear from the woods miles away from here. How the hell had it got in here without anyone even noticing?
The whole room was now a mess of noises as most of the slaves screamed or cheered on the last twin. He dived at the bear and stuck the spike of wood almost straight through the bear’s leg! Rotten blood splattered across the boy along with what looked like mouldy flesh! Leo took a good look at the bear and noticed that it’s left arm was practically rotten to the bone and that it’s ribs were sticking through it’s torso! Did it have some disease? Leo gulped, he realised he was looking at real magic, and it wasn’t pretty.
The boy reached out to take his spike back and was rewarded with a claw to the face; Leo stood up and grabbed his bed sheets. They were barely more than rags but would have to do. They could be used to quickly distract the bear, or so he hoped.
Throughout all of this the little girl stood crying silently behind the bear, with the waves silently, tumbling her little frame.
“Over here,” whispered Leo “I won’t hurt you.”
The girl turned and shivered, she was too scared to move. Thankfully the bear was starting on the remains of the second twin.
“C’mon I’ll get you out of here.”
She must have heard the desperation in Leo’s voice as her eyes shone a little brighter and she suddenly folded her arms around herself and started towards his cell. Feeling the independent movement behind it, the bear wildly swung round smashing the girl through the air.
She flew for what seemed like an eternity then smashed into the wall next to the stairs, Leo heard more than one bone break. His only hope was to get out of the cellblock and get this girl to a hospital.
By now the cells were completely quiet apart from the odd whimper. The bear seemed amused at the little interruption to its meal and growled throatily. It turned back to the floating carcass and spotted Leo. He stared it straight in the eyes and for a second was reminded of the time with his grandfather looming over him and he had spat in his face. He needed a bit more than spit this time, so he slowly draped the rags into the water and waited for the bear to lunge.
At the last second it occurred to him that in the water the bear would be too fast for him, he would need a sign that it was about to attack. He knew from his time with the mercenaries that the bear would give a full frontal attack, probably lunging straight at him. Searching for a sign he looked at the rotten flesh of the leg, managed to see past the fur mottled with blood and saw the decaying muscle tighten! He threw himself to the left towards the stairway and lifted the rags high towards the bears face.
The rags connected perfectly and slapped across the bears snout. Leo didn’t look to check whether it was going to stay on long and ran for the stairs only stopping to stoop and grab the girl round the midriff. It was fortunate that she was light, Leo was near the end of his strength, he had been cooped up in the small cell for too long.
The stairs were only small, going up about twenty steps to be level with the waterline. Hearing a roar behind him Leo turned to see what was left of the rags slide off of the bears snout and land on the face of the dead guard. It quickly swiped the dead guard aside and ran, sloshing through the red water towards the stairs. Leo knew that if he turned his back on it, it would be fatal. Instead he held he ground and just hoped he could still dodge with the burden of the little girl…
The bear reached the bottom few steps, and still Leo waited and stared fiercely. The bear slowed down at the sight of such a small and unrelenting prey, then the magic and undead side seemed to resurface and it pounced up the stairs as if it’s soul was being tortured.
The stairway groaned loudly as the bottom few steps pulled away from the rest leaving a gaping hole for a torrent of water to flow through. The bear’s claws sliced at Leo’s shins as the water engulfed it. Leo fell hard to his knees. He placed the little girl down as he prepared to go and try to open some of the cell doors, he wasn’t about to let them all drown along with the bear.
Leo lifted his head and looked for the speaker.
“You’d only die if you tried to help.” The speaker was an old man who sat in the middle of the hallway. He seemed to sit on the surface of the water and was dressed casually in a black jacket embroidered with a gold tiger. His hair was probably once brown but now only showed the slightest of flecks.
“I’ll take them somewhere,” he grinned “but if you ask me you’re the lucky one, you won’t have to work for Endora and possibly build weapons that could be used to kill your family. That’s the only future this rabble has. ” He laughed and started to smoke on a pipe he had pulled from under his shirt. Leo had a glimmer of recognition as he looked at the man but it quickly passed.
Leo quickly scanned the ground for a projectile to throw at the grinning man.
“Ha haa, I see, how about we play a little game then?” the man placed the pipe back under his jacket. “If you throw something at me, I’ll throw something at you…”
He clicked his fingers and a hefty black axe appeared to the left of his head.
He watched Leo gape at the axe and chuckled,
“Yep and I can throw this a lot harder than you could.”
Leo was in no fit state to fight and with the rising water it looked like the old man had succeeded in scaring him off. He clumsily got to his feet and carefully lifted the small girl over his shoulder. His adrenalin had left him and so was his blood through the slashes across his shins.
“Now run!” cackled the old man, as he again clicked his fingers, summoning more undead horrors into the world of the living… Leo’s only option was to turn, and run!
The auctioneer hadn’t had the best of days. The doctor had told him he was losing too much weight. Which was easy to see, the once round belly had lose it protruding bulge and now was the same size it had been at twenty. Also it was his fiftieth birthday in a week but with the war it looked like he’d just be getting socks again.
He stepped down from the carriage and threw a small bronze coin up to the young lad who was driving. That would keep the poor lad alive for another week. As he walked towards the auction rooms he sighed at the sight of yet more homeless beggars filing down the street towards the help centre. This war was truly terrible. All of the money made from today’s sales went to the Reniis court treasury and the auctioneer was sure that most of that was put aside for the king. He clenched his fists at the thought and pushed open the door to auction room one.
It was in here that the slaves were sold, while the other two rooms were used the sell possessions and trade with the few traders that still came to Reniis. He was pleasantly surprised to see such a crowd in the auction hall; there must have been at least seventy with about half of that looking like rich buyers from the north, where the war hadn’t reached yet.
He slowly walked to the stand at the front and took off his small bowler hat. He had bought that from an old lady down in market square, he thought it made him look more business like and hoped it would help in the sales. The crowd were talking quietly, oblivious to the pain and suffering just outside on the rotting wood of the streets. The rafts weren’t going to hold for much longer before they’d have to be abandoned.
“Well if we’re all ready.” called the auctioneer, “Bring on the first slave…”
This time Leo felt bile rising in his throat. That old man had been summoning more and more dead creatures in the last hour than ever before. Leo had figured how the bear had got in the cellblock so quickly; the old man had summoned it. Every time another creature was brought in Leo felt light headed and sweaty. That’s what he must have felt earlier, the bear arriving.
Leo had escaped from the old mans summoned crows quick enough and had been hiding in an old scrap metal shed until first light. His first priority was to check how severe the girl’s injuries really were. She was still breathing, which was good, however she had broken her left leg and it looked like two of her ribs. Her left arm was badly swollen and she had cuts and bruises all over, including having a nasty cut across her scalp. He had already torn the bottom of his shirt into strips for his legs. The grey material was already soaked but had helped lessen the flow greatly. He reckoned he only had about an hour’s energy left in him before he would collapse and succeed in getting both him and the girl killed.
It had been light for about an hour when Leo finally decided to move again, this time cradling the girl so as not to cause more injury. The progress was slow but he could finally hear voices ahead of him. There were a great many voices and Leo hoped at least one of them would help.
The auctioneer smiled. The first four slaves had practically been bought for over double their price. About an hour before there had been a bit of turbulence when the raft had been shook and at least four of the stupidly over dressed snobs had fallen from their seats. He had sent a guard down to check and to also bring some extra slaves, not that they really needed to make any more profits for the day.
There was a man stood at the back that didn’t seem particularly interested in the auction but kept glancing at a group of wealthy nobles from the far north. One of the nobles had waist length black hair that hung over his left shoulder. He was surrounded by beautiful woman all dressed in the same luxurious furs as what he had garbed himself in, although the weather didn’t call for it. Just a minute ago the furred noble had bought an old man that didn’t look like he was going to sell, only to shoot him in the foot then shout at him to get out.
When the man had stumbled past the sniggering snobs, to the door at the back, the man who had been staring whispered to a slave girl to help the man. The man in furs jumped up.
“And who might you be sir to help my slave without my permission?” he asked with an air of complete superiority.
The man at the back stood up to his full height and took out a small purse. He had dark blue hair that was cut short and stylishly messed up at the front. He had round glasses and a small goatee, which fell into a point. He looked intelligent, and deadly.
“To you I’m merely called Mr Abdell, now how much for the old man?” he asked calmly.
The room was as silent as a funeral. The auctioneer looked from one face to the other, it was obvious that the man calling himself Mr Abdell was mocking the cocky trader.
The auctioneer decided to try and calm things down, “Now why don’t we all sit down and resume… ahhh!”
Hiding behind the pedestal the auctioneer sighed; he’d shot at him! What a vulgar man.
“Now back to business Mr Abdell,” said the trader, raising the gun to point at the man. “Twenty gold coins, or I tell my men outside to burn your airship. Give me an extra five coins and I’ll think about letting you leave here alive.”
That was the fortunate moment Leo decided to stumble onto the stage and collapse hard onto his knees. Mr Abdell sighed; this was a simple assignment that had got out of hand. The trader was supplying Endora with information about the northern nations and he had to die. Mr Abdell had never expected him to be so well armed or so cruelly clever. On top of that he had now bought yet another slave, the wife wasn’t going to be happy.
Leo didn’t really know what was going on, but he had to warn them, he had just felt the biggest surge of magical energy yet. This wasn’t a single bear or even a few; Leo knew this was summoning something bigger, better.
“ Run…” Leo could barely hear his own voice.
He had failed; they were still going to die.
He whispered softly into the little girls ear, “I’m sorry.”
He placed her down then fainted next to her. The last thing he heard were the sounds of splintering wood and screams...
There you go, i hope this proved to not be too much of a bore, comments please.