Dissonance

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Chapter One: "Dissonance" is a story about the conflict of many fantastical races as they all strive to reach their independent goals. what happens when those with different views do not understand the existence of each other? the protagonist, a compassionate but naive elf named seryna, was raised in isolation. she embarks on a quest to explore the unknown she wants to unravel, but in her path she makes friends and foes, and those she does not know.

Submitted: June 20, 2016

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Submitted: June 20, 2016

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Dissonance

Chapter One

 

 

 

 

Art by Quissus, DeviantArt

Source: Pinterest

Written by Booksie Member Haku

Short story inspired by the DA franchise

 

 

 

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CHAPTER ONE
A Threat in the Darkness

 


The day grew closer to twilight as the shadows within the trees grew darker when Seryna tread deeper into the forest of Nethaleen. A soft light remained, peeking through the midst of the looming trees above, illuminating the emerald green colours of the forest. To prevent the disturbance of the forest and the awakening on the elven clan, Seryna was hesitant to draw breath and moved with subtlety, until she was no longer in the vicinity.  The snap of a branch could alert anything that lingered in the shadows. For the first time, Seryna wished that she had learned the skills of an elven clan hunter. She was not afraid however, as she had the ability to conjure magic through control of the elements. She possessed the skill of a mage, and was the only one her clan, except for the clan keeper, Maryden, a powerful magician who yielded ancient arcane power, which earn her place in leadership of the elves within the clan of Nethaleen, a desolation of bright trees commonly known by other elven clans as the “emerald forest”. 
Keeper Maryden had wisely forbidden anyone from leaving the clan’s camp site, to protect her people from the unknown threat that now hid in the depths of the forest. In usual circumstances the clan could fend off any threats they encountered in the forest, for they have inhabited the forest since ancient times. Other species often pose as a threat to the Nethaleen clan, and are more often than not, humans. The presence of a mage became known to mankind, which created hostility between these races. Having a mage in the clan endangered the clan significantly, but they were willing to protect their own kin. Many foreign species would look upon a mage like Seryna and call her an abomination. As vile an accusation as it is, it is not entirely false. No elf is born a mage, and the power to control living matter using magical forces is not inherited through the blood of a kin.

 

As she travelled deeper into the forest, she began to feel the weight of her equipment weighing down on her shoulders and causing her back to ache. She stopped travelling to regain her strength, and began searching for species of plants which she could brew into a potion. Back with her clan, Seryna enjoyed gathering plants and making potions immensely, and was known for her fondness of the collecting copious quantities of elfroot ever since a young age. The night was getting closer as the forest grew eerily dark. Seryna ignited a flame on her staff, which gave her comfort as she starting into the warm of the ember, which was glowing softly in the dark. As she emptied contents into a flask, she stared up are the trees where the stars were beginning to appear. Feeling the warmth of her flame, she felt a wonderfully serene wholeness with the forest. She was deciding whether or not she should start travelling or set up a campsite for the evening, when something stirred in the shadows. Disturbed, she shuddered with fright and listened intently. 
A hooded figure landed on the woodland ground with a soft thud. Her thudding heartbeat slowed at the relief, as she recognized immediately that this person was an elf, considering their small frame. The anxiety in her chest lifted almost completely. This elf was clad in a leather hunters coat dyed a darker red, which hung down to the back of her knees. Their arms and legs were armoured, the silver gleaming in the darkness. The small figure wore a heavy white scarf over their darkened face. This was the appearance of a hunter trained to be an assassin, the clothing all elven assassins wore that concealed their identity.
The assassin stood up in one swift movement. Their burgundy coloured hood feel back from their face gently as they rose. Seryna recognized the familiar cold features of Remera, a clan huntress. Her pale features had matured into even sharper forms since she last saw her all those years ago when she entered the clan for the first time. Her clan tattoos, which all elves wore to worship their ancestry, had been coloured in blood red. She had high, prominent cheekbones and a levelled face. She had become more feminine since, but this only made her appearance seem more intimidating to Seryna.  
She noticed Remera was still wearing the expression she had always conveyed; she stared down at Seryna silently, her elegant features stone hard and expressionless, except for her amber eyes, which glared at her lividly. 
“You dishonour your clan, wandering in the forest for no justified reason” Remera said scornfully. 
Seryna stood her ground. “I can fend for myself, Remera”, she tried to retort just as coldly. Remera merely turned away from her and thrust her daggers from the earth swiftly. She sharply returned her eyes back to Seryna, who was gazing up at her in stunned hesitation. Attempting to escape from a trained assassin was a most unwise choice. 
“No, you can’t defend yourself” She finally replied. Seryna thought she glimpsed an apathetic smile curve on Remera’s lips for a split second, through the dim light of her staff flame. Remera spun her blades deftly in her hands and placed them neatly into her belt. She said quietly, “Get up. You are going to help me reach my destination and complete my assigned quest. I could use a mage – you barely suffice as one, but it will do for now”.
Seryna disliked her smug attitude severely, but knew her command was blackmail. She would make her go back to the clan if she refused. When Seryna responded to her criticism regarding her magecraft, Remera ignored this as if she had never uttered word in the first place.  Remera looked at her, and nodded in a direction, 
“Follow this path. I can sense something suspicious going on far ahead” she said confidently.
“What should I –“ 
Seryna was dismissed again, as Remera left the ground with a sudden leapt into the air and climbed up into the trees with agile prowess. Seryna reluctantly obeyed, and ascended forwards to the “suspicious” area that lay ahead of them, gripping her staff. The combustion of her ignited flame was dying, so Seryna sifted magical energy from her palm and let its energy flow naturally into staff to sustain the flame.
They walked in silence for a long period of time, and Seryna felt glad to hear the occasional rusting of the leaves above her where Remera was prowling in the shadows. To Seryna’s pleasant suprise, Remera finally seemed to want to converse will her. Her heart sank when she heard her question.
“The transformation. What is it...?” Her quiet voice trailed off.
  “How does it feel to become a mage?” Seryna finished the sentence off for her.
If Remera was in sight she guessed she would have nodded in confirmation, but instead there was a pause. 
“Yes” Remera hissed, lowering her voice which almost hidden her tone of impatience.
“All mages experience the same thing. I had – there’s...” She stumbled. The memory often intruded her thoughts during moments of euphoria, which made her resent herself once again. She sighed with sorrow. “The transformation begins with nightmares. It speaks to you. A being that takes a strange form – Marylen told me each mage sees something different. Some recall a spiked beast, a snake, and she herself said she saw a monstrous form of a panther. She doesn’t know why the possessor takes a different shape the dreams. I told her I would find out. She laughed at me though, saying it was impossible to connect to world of spirits” Seryna laughed softly, attempting to encourage a light hearted discussion.
Remera only said with no trace of enthusiasm, “Go on”.
“...In my dream, it threatened me, trying to make me feel terrified. “You’re family were disgusted at you” it said. “They threw you into the woods and left you”. My vision was completely white, except for a stark black creature which looked like it was...I don’t know. I was eight years old then. When I didn’t believe it, the thing tried to convince me it knew my future. Said everyone in the world would turn their back against me, and other things. It’s voice was so loud it felt like something whispered in my ear. Rei said she heard me talking in my sleep when I woke her up. The spirit started showing me illusions, of my entire clan massacred. I remember the thing crawling towards me, and I attacked it with my entire wraith. That was when I woke up, and everything around me was on fire, and it looked like it had been burning for a while. I remember my face feeling sweaty. That was the first time I summoned magic. Something in front of me was aflame. I was responsible for the severe injuries several of our clan members endured. Do you remember Cleo, who has a hooked hand? Or Verity, who always wears that fabric around her hair. And...”
The clan’s cripple. She knew Remera realised who she meant. Seryna felt sick to the stomach at the mere thought of their name. The person who fell victim to her own corruption. 
“But...I was fortunate. I am lucky, that I am still me. Many mages become instead when they are inflicted with magic.”
“That must be why humans are afraid of elves” Remera commented with indifference. “I’m curious as to how you survived without becoming fully possessed by the demon. I didn’t you had it in you, mage”, she said curtly.
Seryna was simply shocked. What was her problem? Why did she sense that Remera resented her? Her mind was brimming with thoughts, trying to figure if there was something she had done in the past, something she had missed. 
 “Excuse me? It isn’t about – Ouch!“
Remera had leapt from the trees and slammed her to the ground, crouching on top of her back as Seryna groaned in pain, now feeling incensed. She planted her hands on the ground with the intention of getting revenge.
Then she saw what was laying on the ground in front of her nose. There was a pool of fresh blood. She could taste iron on her tongue. Someone must have been fatally injured. She tried to search the surroundings when Remera’s hand pressed the back of her head forcefully against the ground. 
“There is a campsite ahead. Just as I suspected” Remera said under her breath.
Seryna mumbled irritably, “Why didn’t you tell me what –“
“Quiet!” Said Remera, as she pushed the back of her head into the ground mercilessly, thrusting her hair this time. “Listen” she said in a low voice.
Beyond the tall trees of the Nethaleen forest, a large campfire cracked in the darkness, and Seryna could feel the withering heat touching her cheek. Her stomach churned when she realised how close they were to the campsite. Harsh foreign voices occupied the silence and her heart thrummed. She hadn’t realised that they had reached the end of the forest, and that an unknown species had entered the boundary of clan Nethaleen. 

 

- end of chapter one

 

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Note:

Although the book covers I selected are actually fan art for the popular game franchise, Dragon age inquisition, which shows an elf inquisitor with the head of the dread wolf, the presupposed antagnonist of the next game that will be lauched of the Role Play franchise. I chose this cover not simply for an attractive display of the chapter, but because I decided during my character creation that Seryna's animal totem would be a wolf, which will come in useful for developing her personality in later chapters (an animal totem is where selected traits are associated with an animal).  The fan art also has a close resembelance to how I imagined Seryna to look, so therefore it is quite a fitting cover indeed.

 

 


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