Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Prologue 1

The grey tracksuit lay neatly folded on a carved wooden chair, nearby were a pair of almost pristine sports trainers and some boxer shorts that had seen better days. All three looked entirely alien amongst the fine tapestries and ornate furnishing of the small bed-chamber.

A figure sat on the foot of the bed slowly massaging his temples. He was wearing long sea green robes decorated with various crests and devices in white embroidery. His hood was lowered and his almost jet black hair was ruffled. Everything about his posture, and the slight twitch in one eye pointed to a man in the heavy grip of utter exasperation. The source of which stood on the other side of the room examining himself in a full length mirror.

"Mate, these are proper uncomfortable," the youth by the mirror couldn't have been more than seventeen or eighteen years old. He was wearing a long orange tunic and dark trousers tucked into a pair of thick leather boots and his hair had grown out awkwardly to sit moppish "I look like one of them f'ckin queerbos from the Drama course."

The figure on the bed did not move at all "Everyone dresses like that here, and would you please. Stop. Swearing."

The youth carried on unfazed "Ahhh, and, AND if this is some kind of f'ckin parallel world bollocks how come you can speak my language? Ferry or Ferrow or whatever your f'ckin name is."

The tiny circular motions stopped and fists were clenched as the figure glared over at the youth who was still preening himself in front of the mirror "My name, is Farius. And we have been over this. We cannot speak your language, you are speaking ours."

"Yeah but I still don't even get how I got here though mate."

Farius closed his eyes and recited his explanation with the tone of a man repeating himself for the last time "Every twelve years there is a powerful storm called the Criaethas, and your people always wash up here below the cliffs of Eli Vocis. Nowhere else; just here. It is the reason the city was built, and it is where we found you. Close to death, half drowned and thankfully unconscious."

The youth turned away from the mirror as Farius spoke, and started tugging at his own tunic sleeves nervously. "Anno but, f'ckin why?" The mask of contempt he had been wearing since he regained said consciousness was starting to crack, and the faint traces of fear were creeping in.

Farius was blind to it. Even if his eyes weren't closed he still wouldn't have noticed. He remained where he was, fists still clenched, voice still full of frustrated irritation. "We do not know, and I do not care. You are awake, you are healthy enough, and you are no longer my charge. We will find you a guild this afternoon."

As Farius opened his eyes the youth turned away so his face was hidden "F'ckin guild? Whatever 'at is. I ain't one of them f'ckin World of Wallcraft dick'eds."

"Because Guilds are the only way for outsiders like you to find work in this country, and god be damned if I am training you for the Palace Exams given the trouble you seem to have with even basic social etiquette." The last three words were emphasized with borderline malice.

The youth jolted as though Farius had stabbed him and spun around wearing a filthy scowl "Not my f'ckin fault mate av got dys-"

"Stop. Swearing." Teeth gritted and patience totally worn thin, Farius rose from the bed and took a little wooden box from a small table below the window. Opening it, he presented the contents to the youth whose expression suddenly melted into wide-eyed admiration at the sight of precious metal "These are a precaution. It is the last gift that you will receive from me, along with your new name."

"Ahh sweet," The youth happily removed the contents, putting two golden rings on each wrist, and started to examine the circlet with his hands to see how it opened "What new name?"

"Two of those are for your ankles, and that goes around your neck not your head, the clasp is there." Farius waited for the youth to put his new gifts on properly, barely hiding a wicked smile at the yelp and stream of expletives that came as the circlet and rings tightened to fit each limb exactly "You have been adopted into the de Farunelle family, and your new Elizan name is Aluredus."

"But av already got a name though-"

"Your name is now Aluredus de Farunelle, and you must not ever take those off." Farius scowled as Aluredus nervously scratched at the ring around his neck, which sat tight with only a finger's width between the metal and his skin.


"They are to protect you. Powerful magic has a habit of manifesting in your people, those inhibitors will make sure that it does not arise in you." Farius retrieved his cloak from the bed as he spoke and raised his hood.

"What?" The fear on Aluredus' face was plain to see. The penny was beginning to drop.

Farius opened the door and stood half in the room and half in the stone corridor beyond "The Maithans are currently hunting and burning all those accused of magic. We did not spend all this time and effort in reviving you just to have you torn apart by some witch hunter's mob." He allowed himself a glance back at the youth, who stood in the centre of the small room finally realising the gravity of his situation. Instead of pity, a grim satisfaction arose in the guardian and he felt vindicated. "The guild recruiters will be here in two hours. I will bring you some food before you meet them, and please-"

"No more swearing, got it." The door closed behind the guardian, and Aluredus was left alone and shaken. He sat warily on the edge of the bed, glancing back at where he had supposedly been unconscious for the better part of a month. The light grew dim and there was a faint patter as it started to rain.

This really wasn't a dream. He wasn't going to wake up and have a cigarette. There was no take-away dinner tonight and no more texts from the girl he was after. There he was alone in a strange castle in an even stranger world totally out of his comfort zone, and worst of all he wasn't even himself anymore. Dan Smitty was dead. Aluredus was the only one here now.

"Ahh why'd I have to be such a dick'ed?" He flopped backwards and stared at the vaulted cieling talking to himself outloud "Bet Farry hates me now..." He sniffed loudly and rubbed at his eyes. Crying was totally out of the question so he rolled on one side and pretended to sleep.

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