Author Topic: Story - Different Worlds  (Read 2563 times)

Offline Tin_Grin8444

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Story - Different Worlds
« on: 31. January 2024, 11:24:50 AM »
Chapter 1

"Stay sharp." He barks. He knows I'm getting distracted without having to turn around.

My focus snaps back to stepping over heavy piles of bloodied armor, keeping pace with Anten so as to not fall behind to stall Resperia and Lote tailing me. I'm the win condition here, but I need them to get me to the throne room, and I won't make their job any harder than it already is.

I go over the formation in my head again to steel my nerves. Anten takes the lead and guards me, Lote supports from back line with a bow and has his own short blade sword if anything gets passed Anten, and Resperia holds the far rear with range and fast healing. I'm clutching the knife the arch bishop gave me with a white knuckle grip, careful to not press the teal gemstone crudely lodged into its hilt. This knife is the only thing that can kill her, and everyone here is protecting me because I have the best chance of sticking her with it. Everyone has their job, and everyone has to do it perfectly.

A sharp tick from the hallway to the left sets Anten off. He preemptively swings his broadsword at chest level towards the hallway's entrance, shearing through two more guards as his blade tears through their armor. His sword isn't even made of an armor piercing material. I've come to learn he just swings it that hard. The loud shammer of the occupied armor rattling to the stone floor echoes further ahead to a choke point. There are at least six more guards waiting on either side of the wall past the doorway. Anten looks to Resperia, who scowls at the silent order. She reluctantly raises her staff and fires off a spiraling shot of blue flames, once past the doorway it splits into two smaller shots before curving away from each other, turning back to explode against the walls on either side of the door. The fires shift to a bright orange as they fry the ambush set for us. I used to think Resperia's reluctance to casting offensive spells spawned form some personal belief in valuing life, but in reality she despises depleting her mana by any amount, and offensive spells are the most costly. I'd heard she agreed to join our party to reduce a prison sentence, but I've no idea what her crime was. I make a mental note to ask once this is all said and done.

I go over the plan again and again, like a prayer to keep my nerves from cracking as we meander towards the compound's war room. At the final flight of stairs, I have to mind a gap left by one of Resperia's opening acts, the stones still warm with residual heat. It's contrasted by the sharp wind swirling through the hole, the same ominous clouds swirling since we snuck in. I take in that final taste of outside air before we press closer. She's close. Everyone can feel it.

We reach the last door.

Still gripping the knife, I can't stop my hands from shaking. Everyone can hear the hilt rattling the blade inside of it. Lote places a hand over mine, stilling the noise. He looks over the door and checks a few spots we don't have information for. What little we had, numerous spies gave their lives for. It's taken nine whole months for us to reach this door, and behind it is where I have to perform.

Anten grabs my shoulder and moves me aside between two cabinets facing away from the stairwell.

"Take a peak inside, see what she has waiting for us."

Resperia places herself to my left side and readies a defensive barrier, while Lote seats himself to the other side of the room with his bow drawn. Anten stands in front of me, putting on an assuring face. Rough around the edges as he is, he knows me well enough to not push too hard. we're all scared in our own ways.

One last time.

I sit to the floor between the cabinets, the knife still in my hands, and close my eyes, squeezing them shut tightly. That familiar tingling from the back of my head floods my senses and I can start to make out the room around me. I sift through the blue haze past Anten towards the door. Lote looks in my general direction, and glances upwards before returning his sights to the stairwell. I take his que and float to the top of the door before phasing my head through to see the other side.

I feel a shiver in my body below me. She's there. She's looking right at me. I quickly pull my head back through the door and open my eyes, Anten studying my reaction. I regain the courage to speak up.

"It's just her."

Anten straightens himself and nods to Lote.

"Let's not keep her waiting."

Anten takes the lead with one hand on the door and glances behind as I'm followed by Lote and Resperia. Once she's within grappling range of Anten, he'll close the gap and try to stick as much damage as he can to slow her down. As big as Anten is, he's deceptively fast if he's moving in a straight line. Lote will keep his bow drawn to form a pincer in case she tries to get around Anten, while Resperia dumps healing spells into the three of us as necessary. The very instance Anten creates an opening, I take the knife, touch the teal gem in the hilt once, and strike her with it. That's all I have to do. That's the entire reason I'm here.

Anten glances down making eye contact with me.
"Time to be brave."

I manage a nod.

He repeats the phrase once more to himself before pushing the door open.
"Time to be brave."

We walk into the room with weapons drawn. We continue as a group towards her at the far end. She stays seated. I haven't heard Lote shift his bow away from her, so there isn't an ambush in hiding for us. It really is just her. As we draw closer, her eyes are glued to me. Her pail face and hands contrasting with her flowing black robe. Even from this far back there isn't a single wrinkle or line on her face, it's uncanny. Her expression is one of curiosity. She glances to the knife in my hands and back to my face, her expression unchanging, only looking away when Anten stops within his ideal range and speaks.

"Laurenella! The High Court has found you guilty of conspiracy against the crown and regicide against the Lord Uth-"

"Why have you come?"

The question catches Anten off guard, but only briefly.
"We have come to destroy you."

"Oh. There must be some mistake. There's only four of you. You're not enough."

The hair on my neck and arms raises, flashes of red, blue and green light like that of a church's stained glass send a wave of dread over me. In an instant something strikes my entire back, and I'm on the ground. When I see Resperia rushing towards me with a look of panic I've never seen from her before, I realize the pain in my back is from the wall behind us. My head is spinning. She reaches me and begins forcing pulses of mana with a soft emerald glow, desperate to keep me conscious. I look ahead in amazement as Anten moves his entire weight into swings of his sword, deflected with slaps from Lauranella's hands, sparks flying from the metal striking her nails. I can barely make out Lote dashing about between them with his short sword aiming for her legs. She seems to dance as she swings her arms lower to parry his fast but weaker slashes. Resperia's healing magic realigns my spine enough for me to realize how bad this is getting. Anten is keeping her between himself and Lote to try and pincer her, but it's no use. She's toying with them. Resperia stands and turns to support Lote. Lauranella turns her focus to her. In an instant, Resperia is gone. A warm mist touches my cheek. Lauranella turns to her left, once more staring me down. Her robes once again glow with distinct colors, like I'm looking into the sun. I hear Lote yell as he lunges, only to be caught by her left hand. Without looking away from me she throws him through the window behind me, his voice quickly fading.

This isn't happening.

Anten finally reaches her, the force of his blade changing the air pressure around us sends my head spinning. She holds the blade in her hands. She's still looking at me. Anten glances to me.

Not yet

I force myself to my feet, Resperia's spell finally catching up to my stamina.

Lauranella's eyes widen. She shifts her body to strike Anten at the center of his chestplate, sending him flying to the other side of the room. He struggles to stand and charge.

Lauranella leans forward towards me, takes the knife from my hands with an iron-like grip. She brushes her thumb over the teal gemstone. The knife glows a brilliant sky blue in her hands. She swiftly pins the weapon into my right shoulder, the force of her palm behind it forces me to the ground. The blue light that shown from the dagger is extinguished. Lauranella looks confused for a moment and takes a step closer. I try to reach for the dagger with my left hand, but before it touches the blue light returns. It seeps out from the wound and begins to envelop the rest of my arm and chest. A warm sensation spreads, my arms and legs begin to feel further away from me. Seeing this Lauranella smiles, as if she's guessed the answer to a riddle. The light continues across the rest of my body and she begins to walk towards Anten. She begins slapping his sword away as he swings it with animosity and desparation. The blue light creeps past my neck and to my face. It reaches my eyes, and the last thing I hear is Anten's voice.

The air hurts. It hurts to breath. I force myself awake and off of my stomach. My vision returns as my surroundings, previously lit with a blue glow, become dark. The beginnings of a sunrise allow me to make out where I am. I move to my feet to see I've awoken in a shallow valley between two roads running parallel to each other. The patch of grass where I lay is tall from rain water being pooled by the slope of the ditch. I look around, but it's difficult to see further, the air hurts my eyes. I'm still wearing the same tanned hide armor, now a noticeable hole around the right shoulder, but no wound, and no dagger. As the Sun starts to rise a bit higher, I can make out a strange cubic brick structure adorned with spires, surrounded by walls. An academy?

Where am I?

Offline Sparky

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Re: Story - Different Worlds
« Reply #1 on: 31. January 2024, 15:10:28 PM »
I love it when a story starts with zero braces content! But something tells me that the academy could be important, when it comes to braces.

I most admit, your action description was great... and as I read, I could feel a sort of parallel to the fight my witches went through... but your description was much better!

I'm actually planning a follow up to my Serena story, maybe I can get you to help with my fight scenes?

Offline Tin_Grin8444

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Re: Story - Different Worlds
« Reply #2 on: 01. February 2024, 03:23:19 AM »
Thank you so much!  ;D I had a blast workshopping this one, and "The fight where everything goes wrong" is probably one of my favorite openings to write so far. Re-reading it has me giddy with what I have planned  ;D if youd like to send a pm with the some basic info I'd be happy to provide some input!

Much Love!

Offline Tin_Grin8444

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Re: Story - Different Worlds
« Reply #3 on: 12. February 2024, 10:48:27 AM »
Chapter 2

The sun continues to rise quickly, and I realize being out in the open is not the ideal position for me to be in. With the residual pain in my back still tingling, I'm in no condition to fight, so my objective has to be finding a place to hide where I can get my bearings. There isn't much in the field surrounding either sides of the two roads. I can make out adjacent buildings past the front of the academy. I don't feel Laurenella anywhere around me, but I can't rule out that there are still hostile threats in the vicinity.

After a brief pause, I decide my only choice is to investigate the academy. A large ornate sign reads, "Beckett's". Past it, a courtyard holding a medium sized statue of an older man in odd clothing. The layout of the surrounding structures indicate an administrative building, lecture halls, and past those, residential buildings. I can hear movement coming from the administrative building to my left, so I make for the lecture halls straight ahead. I just need to get out of sight.

I swiftly dart along the far side of the structure, keeping crouched below windows. I don't hear anyone inside, but best to not take chances. I spot one of the windows has its lock undone, and has an opening clearance of a hair's width, just enough for me to place my hands at either end and gently work it open. I vault into the empty room, and nearly close the window as I'd found it behind me. A low hiss emanates from lengths of metal against the ceiling leading to strange glass objects.  As I reach a door leading to a secondary hallway, I feel a twinge at the back of my head, the same sensation as the one the dagger made while stuck into my shoulder. I shudder from the feeling, but realize the sensation has a source from within the building at a lower level. I think for a moment at the door, weighing my options. I'm in unfamiliar territory, having awoken in a ditch with no indication of having been found by allies to the crown. I should assume I'm on hostile terrain, but the geography and direction of the sun didn't give me any indications. Wait, the sun. There was only one. I couldn't see the second, and the one I did see was a pinkish orange. I might not even be on the same continent as before the Dagger.

I should assume I'm not a welcomed guest here. I need to find the source of that sensation. I sit to the floor to the left hand side of the door behind what appears to be a metallic locking cabinet. I squeeze my eyes shut and try to look through the door. It takes a bit longer this time, but after a few seconds, I can see through that familiar blue haze. I faze through the door and float towards the general direction of the sensation. As I move closer, the intricacy of the decorations becomes more archaic and ornate. Statues of what I can only assume are instructors line the walls displaying portraits of figures important to the academy's history. I eventually reach a religious alter, decorated with engravings, intricate etchings carved into the surrounding stone floor. Soft morning light bleeds from higher windows and reflects across dust in the air.

Something's under the alter.

I move closer, bringing my head into the wood and stone alter's interior, and find a complex mechanism, seemingly meant to shift the mass along a set path when triggered. I move a bit lower, and find a small staircase leading deeper towards the source of the feeling, but for some reason I can't move any further. No matter how I try to float further, I can't make it past the stairs. I'm wondering if this is due to my only recently healed condition.

I open my eyes to the lecture hall. I decide to open the door and make my way towards the alter. Halfway there, I begin to here footsteps from the entrance to the building. I quicken my pace, keeping close to the walls and low to the ground. I reach the outside of the room with the alter, but the door is locked. I look around, and spot an adjacent room has another door leading to the left hand side of the alter's room. Once inside, I approach the alter and spot a large wooden wardrobe behind it I hadn't noticed before. Behind the glass of it's doors, I can see numerous books, seemingly religious texts, carefully stored away from sunlight and open air. I return my attention to the alter and begin searching for it's opening mechanism. I run the tips of my fingers along it's edges, feeling for any gaps or looser pieces in the woodworking.

I hear the footsteps getting closer. I ready myself to hide behind the bulk of the alter. The footsteps hesitate, and quickly run up the side door I'd mistakenly left open! After a pause, the footsteps quickly sprint back towards the front of the building. They've noticed something's off. I need to be fast. I continue feeling for the opening piece, and after an eternity, I find it! It takes a bit of wiggling, but it finally engages, and the alter slides backwards towards the wardrobe, revealing the staircase. I here a group of footsteps, at least four or five, making their way towards me at a frantic pace. I need to move now!

I start my way down the staircase, but I stop.

Something's not right.

I can't go any further.

More like I really shouldn't.

This is the only way in or out. The air feels stale.

"You! Stop right there!"

Four men in dark blue uniforms stare in fear at me, glancing at the now opened atler, as if it's their first time seeing it in this state. Just behind them is a darker skinned woman with shorter hair in a strange formal attire with a look of fearful rage on her face. The man closest to me draws a weapon from his belt, a sleek black device that crackles to life as it ejects two thin metal spirals in my direction. I instinctively move to the left, away from the wardrobe, and glance at my surroundings. The front door closest to the building's entrance was locked, so I can't assume I'll be able to open it from this side. That leaves the side door that the five of them just came in from, so I'll have to get around them.

Using their fear to my advantage, I quickly lunge towards their legs, keeping low to the ground just as Lote taught me and slide across the floor between the legs of one of them, out of the door and break into full sprint as they each yell at me to stop.

I'm certainly faster than them, but the pain in my back is quickly becoming a problem. I slip back through the door to the lecture hall, the strange glass objects now glowing brightly, the metal leading to them seemingly alive. I vault back out of the window and sprint along the side of the building as the rest of the campus begins to awaken. I find another window at an adjacent building is unlocked, and make my way in. This must be the residential building. I quickly move into a darkened room, the floor lined with stained carpet and hide beneath a strangely polished wooden desk. Crouching beneath it send a sharp pain shooting through my back, and I can't help but let out an audible wince. I catch my breath and decide to try shutting my eyes and searching for a way out, but the room becomes bright as the glass objects hanging from the ceiling begin to hum. I place my hands over my mouth to try and hide my breathing. I haven't heard to door open.

I hear footsteps across the carpet from the right hand side of the room, away from the direction of the door. A pair of legs adorned in colorful patterned fuzzed fabric and slippers stop in front of the opening I crawled into the desk from. I look up and find Laurenella staring down at me.
But it's not her. She's shorter, less pale. While she has bags under her eyes, she looks far more alive than the Laurenella I'm familiar with.

No doubt her expression is a result of my sorry state. A wave of terror wreaks across my face. Coupled with the pain my my back, tears well up into my eyes. The door to the room opens.

"Miss Lauren, an intruder was spotted on academy grounds. You must return to your dorm this instant!"

Her gaze lingers on me for a fraction of a second before she answers the guard.

"Okay! I'll get my laptop and head back up."

The door closes and footsteps are heard sprinting away. She looks back down to me with an amused look of curiosity.

"Looks like you're in a bit of trouble."