The Aether: Genesis of the Void

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a story of the unlikely hero Ryder and his journeys through another corrupted dimension as he tries to stop the dark ruler, Arise.

Submitted: February 13, 2014

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Submitted: February 13, 2014

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The Aether

Nick Williamson

Ideas credited to the Aether Team

Ryder grabbed the stone from the ground. Yellow jets of light beamed from it as the rock glistened yellow. He peered at it for a second, making sure it was the correct stone. The small splotches of burnt sun individualized the rock. Ryder clenched the stone tightly in a fist, and threw it against the ground. The large rock hit the ground and shattered like glass, breaking into twelve fragments. He picked up one shard. Its sharp edges left a faint scrape on his fingers. Ryder opened his palm and the shard of sun stone glowed with a vibrant light, and hovered above his hand. As it floated back to his palm, Ryder forcefully threw the fragment.  In a wild hissing, the shard flew a few meters in front of him and floated. He picked up the other fragments and repeated the process. Soon, the sun stones were floating in an elliptical pattern. Ryder glared at his right palm. The cut from the witch’s knife was still prominently etched into his skin. He tapped it with his other index finger. The scar glowed and emitted small, sparkling particles. The wound now illuminated his palm. He faced it to the bottom of the elliptical. With all his energy, Ryder pushed his hand forward in a powerful motion. Small beams of water were summoned from his scar and joined to form an orb of flowing water. Ryder clenched his fist, the light from the empowered scratch burned through the small cracks in his fingers. As he released his fingers, the ball of churning water raced into the elliptical. A blinding blue flash illuminated the landscape. When Ryder was able to see again, the elliptical was filled with a dim, blue light. Ryder walked forward into the elliptical. As he stepped into it, his legs warped and disappeared. When he moved farther into the light, his chest warped, then finally his head. Ryder was gone.

Ryder stepped out of the portal. A blue sky filled the landscape as long as he could see. Different colored clouds dotted the landscape. The portal was magically suspended above a ground that was not seen. He turned to the back of the portal. The first thing he saw was a blur in the sky rushing toward him. Ryder held out his palm, concentrating on the energy that would protect him if it was an evil force. But his powers failed him, and the blur hit his stomach. He was flung from the portal, tumbling through the bright sky.

He closed his eyes, praying to the sage Theum that he would survive. His prayers must’ve been answered because Ryder fell onto a white clould. The cloud padded his fall. He stood up. Surprisingly, he was able to. The sound of wind rushing was heard from behind him. He ducked just as the blur rolled over his head. As he stood up, he realized the blur was already flying back toward him. The shape became outlined, and Ryder saw what the creature was. The creature had a round, white body with gold patterns carved into the skin. A long, spiked tail emerged from the behind. Its glowing yellow eyes were half-covered in white eyelids, but Ryder was still able to see the snake-like opal pupils. Ryder was able to identify the creature as a Zephyr- an ancient species of flying monsters that were summoned by Arise. Ryder jumped on the Zephyr’s back, and wrapped his arms around its sides. The Zephyr roared in anger, spewing an orb of crystalline ice from its round, toothed mouth. The ice disappeared in the fog. In a shrill scream, the Zephyr rushed around and forward. Ryder held on for life as the scene around him turned to a blur.

Bluish dirt soon came into focus. Land, thought Ryder. The Zephyr nearly slammed into the dirt, but shot upward. In the sudden verticality, Ryder slipped from the Zephyr’s back. He shot himself forward and grabbed hold of the dirt. It began to crumble under his weight. Ryder let go with one hand and grabbed hold of another chunk of dirt. He climbed vertically, similar to climbing a rock wall. His hand suddenly grazed soft grass. He held it and pulled himself upward. He moved his legs above the top of the dirt wall and was on solid ground.

The view was beautiful. As he walked, shimmering particles were emitted from the grass. Low hills dotted the small island he was on. Golden trees with shimmering crystals poked out of leaves. A small triangular stone structure was barely visible on the other side of the island. Wait, that is not supposed to be here, thought Ryder. The stone building was supposedly the lair of Arise, but it was supposed to be hidden deeply in this dimension, concealed deeply in a mountain. But here it was, in plain sight. He silently prayed to Theum, hoping it was not truly the land of Arise. Just as he said the finishing words, he was propelled forward involuntarily in a forced motion. He turned to see the Zephyr propelling at him again.

Another ice orb rushed toward him. This time, Ryder was able to duck below it. He got up and sprinted toward a tree. He ripped a piece of golden bark from it and whirled around to see the Zephyr a couple meters behind him.

Ryder held the bark like a knife and swung at the Zephyr when it got in range. As the bark scraped the monster, it screeched in anger and rushed away. However, Ryder was not done with it. He ran toward it and jumped up onto its back. The Zephyr felt the force and roared angrily, swirling around in a nauseating speed. Ryder stabbed the creature in the back with the shining bark, and the Zephyr silenced and stopped. It began to dissolve in a golden shimmer, and burst into golden flames. Ryder fell to the ground, victorious.

His makeshift dagger was covered in a thick, white liquid. The bark began to dissolve under the Zephyr blood, and Ryder knew that the blood would disintegrate his hand as well. He threw the bark into the air, and it fell to the unseen ground.

The Zephyr attack had jolted Ryder back to the reality that if he wanted to survive in this realm, he would have to be ready to defend himself. He tore a longer piece of bark from the tree and set it on the ground. Ryder extended his palm, praying that his magic would work. The cut glowed, and the bark formed itself into a smooth sword. He picked it up and twirled it in his palm. It was light, but heavy enough to cut into an enemy. Next, he climbed the tree into the leaves, tearing out a few of the crystals. He grabbed some twigs from inside the leaves and threw them to the ground with the shining gemstones. Using his magic, the sticks and gemstones molded together, forming yellow, shining torches that illuminated the ground. He grabbed them with his free hand and shoved them into his pockets, just as night fell along the blue landscape.

The darkness birthed to creatures of the night. A large, yellow, ostrich-like bird with an olive green beak was summoned from black smoke. A Cockatrice, identified Ryder. It was another mutant of the Moa: a peaceful, long-necked bird.  The Cockatrice opened its beak and a stream of billowing green smoke emerged, rushing toward Ryder. Ryder held his sword to block it, but he was too slow. The smoke hit Ryder in the stomach and he was knocked backward into the tree.

His vision quavered in and out, and he felt nauseas as he painfully felt his energy depleting. Ryder knew the poison would only last for a few moments, but it made it hard to attack the Cockatrice. The bird glided toward Ryder who drunkenly pointed his sword at the creature. The Cockatrice, however, was smart and flew to the side. Ryder staggered to face the Cockatrice, but all too late. Another stream of green smoke rushed toward Ryder’s chest.

The poison wore off just in time. Ryder ducked the smoke and sprinted toward the bird. The Cockatrice realized Ryder was able to fully function once more and jumped to the side. Ryder was already sick of the creature, and wanted it gone. He swung his sword at the wing of the Cockatrice and it sliced through the feathers. The Cockatrice reared in pain, and shot another poisonous projectile at Ryder, who easily step-sided it. Ryder flung himself at the creature and clamped its beak closed with much effort. With his free arm, Ryder stabbed the Cockatrice and it exploded into yellow puffs that quickly disappeared

Ryder’s energy was sapped, and he knew he needed to take shelter to protect himself from other creatures of the night. He looked around for cover, but the only shelter he saw was the stone temple of Arise.

The temple was across a chasm, with a bridge of floating, yellow sand. Ryder started to run toward it, but was blocked by a strike of lightning that struck in front of him. Blue fire exploded from where the bolt had it. Ryder whirled around to see the attacker. It was a Zephyr, but with a black body with dark blue patterns, and a translucent, lightning bolt tail. A Tempest. The monster shot another crystal of ice from its mouth, and it flew toward Ryder. He jumped to the side just as the projectile hit the ground where he was standing a second ago.

Ryder knew he had no chance against the Tempest. He ran toward the sand bride, hearing the rushing of wind as the Tempest whirled toward him. His sandaled foot hit the sand, and suddenly Ryder was filled with adrenaline. He raced along the natural bridge with intense speed. Another ice crystal landed a foot in front of Ryder. He jumped three feet in the air, just high enough to dodge the explosion of sky-blue fire beneath him.

Ryder stepped off the pathway and the burst of energy abandoned him. He sprinted at normal speed, but not fast enough to dodge the Tempest. It sped toward him, and Ryder went to open the door to Arise’s temple. It wouldn’t budge. The Tempest was even closer. Ryder grabbed a torch from his pocket and jammed it into the keyhole, kicking it open with his foot. The inner chamber of the temple was revealed, and Ryder rolled his body into it to dodge the Tempest’s crystal orb as it flew into the tiny room. It dissipated as it hit the opposite wall. Ryder got up as quickly as possible, tore the torch from the keyhole, and slammed the door just before the incoming Zephyr came into the chamber. Ryder realized he was alone in a dark chamber of a Hell god, with no weapons besides the yellow torches and a makeshift, wooden sword.

The room was small- the only path was a spiral staircase leading down into blackness. Crumbling rocks made up the walls and ceiling. The floor was seemingly new, flat stone bricks. Ryder stepped onto the staircase. Crumbling rocks echoed through the unseen chambers. Ryder continued his descent slowly, holding a torch to illuminate his path. Finally, he touched flat ground. A growl softly boomed through the hallway. Ryder instinctively drew his sword, ready for a fight.

Ryder stood in a horizontal hallway- a path to the left, and one to the right. However, each trail was covered in blackness. Ryder heard the growl once more- it was coming from his right. He turned to face it and walked forward. His torch lightly brightened the path he took. The walls, ceiling, and floor were all the same as in the first chamber, but moss and vines covered the stone, and as he walked farther into the hall, and deeper into the lair, the plants became more prominent. Ryder came to the conclusion that the deeper into the palace he went, the older it would get. The growl once more radiated through the hall. Ryder jumped and held his sword in a fighting stance. He heard a soft shuffling voice. Fear pounded in his lungs. His breath deepened, and the attacker sprung on him

Ryder step-sided it just in time. He turned to see it. The monster was, simply, a stone. It had the engraving of Arise all around it. Ryder swung his sword down, and the creature released its fury. In a millisecond, the sound of an explosion traveled through the hallway. The monster had, simply, exploded. The blast knocked Ryder back a few meters. Ryder stood quickly. The stone was no longer there, but in another bang, Ryder was propelled forward. He turned to see a whole armada of these Sentries was advancing on Ryder with surprising speed.

He drew his sword and stood to face them. With sudden agility, Ryder charged into the fleet of Sentries. A few detonated, knocking Ryder back, but he needed to progress. Each detonation was a mere annoyance at this point. His sword cracked each Sentry in half, the symbol of Arise glowing as each died. Soon, the army was gone. Ryder looked at his blade. It was badly damaged in many places, and the bark was flaking.

He progressed into a sanctum so vast that he could not see the other side. In the center, a stone pedestal raised above the ground. On top was a colossal stone monster, nearly twice Ryder’s size. Ryder walked toward it slowly, sword at his side, ready. The monster had a triangular body, muscular arms, no legs, and a small head. He was engraved with the symbol of Arise on his chest, and made entirely of stone: similar to the Sentries.

Ryder advanced. As he got within a few meters, the room shot to life. The pedestal broke into hundreds of Sentries. The monster opened its red eyes, which were enough to illuminate nearly the whole room. Sentries pressed on Ryder, detonating as they got close. Soon, Ryder was thrown back to the entrance of the chamber. He knew he couldn’t take on this many Sentries- he raised his palm and the cut glowed. A soundless wind pushed the Sentries back. Ryder dropped his palm, most of his energy was sapped from the amount required in the spell, but he had to keep going. He sprinted toward the Sentries before they could recover from their stun. His sword slashed; a blur of wood swinging through the crowd of monsters.

The Sentries recovered from the magic before Ryder had crushed all of them. The remaining Sentries pressed on Ryder, who was panting, and barely able to lift his sword once more. The detonations blasted Ryder back, as he was too weak to resist them.

Although sapped of strength, Ryder got up. His sword weighed a thousand tons in his hand- his arm was lead, but he still lifted the weapon and attacked the Sentries. Slowly, Ryder was able to overthrow the Sentries; however he was hurt by their detonations. Small shards of rock impaled his shoulders and chest and his face was cut. His breath came in and out in powerful gasps. His chest hurt. He stumbled over his feet as he walked, but he was victorious.

Against one army that is. The huge stone monster was staring Ryder down. He held his hand in front of him as if to signal he did not want a fight. Ryder’s blade was scarred and broken- he doubted it would last in a fight against this monster.  With much effort, he looked the monster in the eyes, and a cold voice tore the silence in the sanctum. “I am the Sentry Guardian,” it whispered, “You have ended my brethren, now I shall end you.” “No!” cried Ryder. Too late.

The Sentry Guardian flew toward Ryder with the force of a tumbling boulder. Ryder groaned and pounced to get away from it. It was not as easy to confuse as the Sentries. The Sentry Guardian turned and looked at Ryder. “You think I’m a pathetic creature, don’t you?” Ryder recognized it as a rhetorical question, but he answered “Yes,” anyway. The Guardian growled in anger. His colossal arms punched toward Ryder.

Ryder rolled under it and barely dodged the fist. The stone cracked where the arm punched. Ryder jumped unbelievably high, and landed on the shoulder of the monster. He took his sword and planned to shove it into the symbol of Arise, but was not fast enough. Next thing he knew, he was above the ground in an inescapable stone fist.

Ryder tried to push himself out of hit, but in vain. The Sentry Guardian had too strong of a grip. “You are the pathetic one now, Sage.” Ryder dropped his sword in shock of this stone being knowing his origin. He quickly regretted his mistake. The room turned cold and his vision blurred in and out. The pressure on his sides build up as the Sentry Guardian gripped Ryder tighter. “This is the end of you, Ryder Blackthorn.” Ryder was very taken aback, and all forms of escape abandoned his mind. “Goodbye.”

Suddenly, a burst of power slithered through Ryder. He began to glow an aura of light, and the Sentry Guardian’s fist burst into fragments of rock that scattered the floor. “What!?” Ryder’s eyes glowed white as he turned to face the monster, who was so shocked, he couldn’t react. “Sentry Guardian, you have no right being in the temple of Arise,” spoke Ryder in a voice that was not his own.  “Theum! This is not your fight!” “You are not one to challenge me, Being of Stone!” Ryder held out his palm. “No!” A shockwave filled the chamber. The Sentry Guardian was pushed into the far wall by a long white beam the extended from Ryder’s palm. Sparks shot from where the spell hit the Sentry Guardian. “Theum! Please!” “You have not showed mercy to heroes before; this Sage has a right to live. And with that, Ryder pushed his palm farther forward. The beam of light increased, and the Sentry Guardian burst into light. The spirit of Theum abandoned Ryder, and he lay on the stone floor, abandoned of all energy.

Ryder awoke, feeling possessed. He saw his sword, grabbed it and stood to fight the Sentry Guardian, but it was gone. What? Then, Ryder felt his palms burning. He looked and saw leftover magic essence. Theum! The god of the Sages had come to his aid! With a burst of strength and power, Ryder sprinted down another hall connecting the chamber he was currently in, ready for another adventure.

The path led to a small cell, where a fading, red light was the only form of illumination. Ryder recognized it immediately as a vision orb- it brought back the memories that would help his find his way. It was an invention of Arise’s thaumaturge, and self-proclaimed “Maker of Dreams,” Ivan Greystone. It was a small stone with a spell put on it. It was meant for Arise when he needed to see the way to challenge Theum as god while he was still in the Godfir Kingdom. Ivan was supposed to destroy it afterward, but it proved impossible. Arise hid it inside his kingdom, hoping it would not be found. But here it was. Ryder reached out his hand tentatively. As his fingers passed into the aura, his vision reddened, and Ryder fell to the floor.

Arise and Theum were the two gods of the Sage Heaven, Godfir. For eons they ruled Godfir in harmony. Those condemned to torture were sent to the kingdom of Gorral, the ruler of the Sage Hell. The two fairly judged, and only those sentenced to Gorral argued their decision. However, after time, Theum and Arise began to have different opinions on those sent to their judgment. Arise became a harsher judge, condemning many to Gorral, while Theum became more lighthearted- sentencing many to Godfir. Disagreement broke between the two. Theum was angry; he said that he should rule Godfir, and Arise should rule the Hells; but Theum wanted to opposite. The two agreed to fight-the winner would take control of Godfir.

Arise fought with a sword, while Theum used a bow. His advantage of being able to fight from afar caused him to win control of Godfir. Arise was sent to the Hells, and clashed with Gorral. The two fought for years; therefore many criminals were given the privilege of Godfir. In the end, Hell was split into nine sections. Four were owned by Gorral, four by Arise. The remaining Hell was ruled by the powerful Eptio Opoevikos, a race of reptilian monsters.

On Earth, Theum and Arise worshippers were called Sages. The Sages took the form of a Hell or Godfir spirit, depending on who they worshipped. Sages were given extra energy, and often given aid by their god. The Sages discovered a realm they called the Aether; literally meaning “clear sky,” as the sky in this realm was light blue and relatively cloudless. The portal to this realm was built from a rare stone called Sun Stone; which was formed when a sun spot was directed down on earth by Arise trying to kill worshippers of Theum. However, when one of these sun spots hit a stone, it became a Sun Stone. Using these Sun Stones, the knowledgeable Sage, Vancer LaCarte, created an elliptical pattern with these rocks. When it was finished, he threw the opposite element, water, into the shape. It opened a gateway to a sky realm. Arise immediately claimed this as his own. His palace was built on a discreet island in this realm. He was still angry at Theum for taking Godfir, and wanted to be as close to it as possible.

Soon, many Sages moved to this Aether. Very few remained in the true world, and those who went into the other realm never returned. The Sage religion slowly faded, but those of Sage origin still held the power of all Sages.

Ryder awoke with a start. His vision was like a puzzle- he had to figure out what it truly meant. And he thought he had. Ryder walked out of the room and searched hallways for a staircase.

As he neared the top of the staircase, Ryder heard a loud shuffling noise, but much deeper than before. A low growl echoed in his ears. Ryder’s heart pounded- if his prediction was right, he would soon be facing a crazed, merciless god of four Hells.  He was released from the staircase, and a huge, locked door with three keyholes awaited him. Ryder sighed. He had figured getting into the lair of Arise would not be easy, but if it required three keys… Ryder was ready to quit. That is, until an idea blossomed in his mind. He held his palm out, and repeated the words, “Avoixto o kyeioapoypura va auto By va Koyaon.” The incantation, meaning, “Open keyholes to Hell Doors,” would make the spell stronger. Sure enough, brass keys fitted into the locks, turned, and the stone door opened.

Inside was a huge Sentry. It was twice the height of Ryder, and made entirely of stone. It was not Arise. Ryder neared, and an icy voice rang through the sanctum. “Ryder the Sage. You have arrived.”

“Do you like my new form? It preserves my life form, as so I can preserve my image as when that damned Theum cast me down here.” “Arise?” asked Ryder in shock. “Yes fool. I am the Slider in this form, though some call me Oyountns. Though if Arise works for you, I suppose it will do.” “Why am I here?” asked Ryder, truthfully not knowing. “To fulfill the Theum Sage destiny. Do you not remember?” It came back to Ryder now- the destiny stated that the final Sage who worshipped Theum would go into the Aether and defeat Arise to show justice to all the innocent Sages who were killed by him.

The Slider launched at Ryder, who rolled underneath it, startled by his sudden movement. “Puny hero.” Anger welled inside Ryder as he thought of his great-grandfather who was killed by Arise. His palm glowed, and a sword was summoned in his hand. It was a beautiful model made of iron, the hilt lined in leather strips. It was neither heavy nor light in Ryder’s hand. He struck the first blow at the Slider with such force, even he was surprised. “Very well. I cannot fight you in this form. Arise, eya eew aro retpa!”  The Slider glowed, and burst into red flames. From them was summoned the god of four Hells, Arise.

Arise had pointed ears, long, curled brown hair. He was heavily armored in stone and leather. His eyes were yellow with opal pupils. He wore long boots that covered his ankles. In his hand, he held a bow, which came as no surprise to Ryder. After all, if bow beat sword once, why couldn’t it do it again. Arise notched an arrow pulled from an invisible quiver and shot at Ryder. He instinctively ducked beneath the arrow and charged toward Arise. Arise step sided Ryder, but Ryder anticipated the move. He thrust his sword to the side and tore through the leather covering Arise’s stomach. “Ow!” yelled Arise. He grabbed another arrow, but instead of notching it, Arise attacked Ryder with it, arrow on sword. Ryder had the advantage of a longer blade, and was able to press Arise back.

Soon, Ryder had the upper hand. Arise was in a far corner, and had no opportunity to notch an arrow without getting his neck sliced. With sudden agility, Arise ducked out of the corner, and was soon the one pressing Ryder. The two attempted to force each other back, but each responded with the same move. It was stalemate.

Ryder’s magic was his secret weapon, and if he could say the right words at the right time, he could defeat Arise. However, at the speed the two fought, it would be near impossible to do so. The two fought until Ryder found the words.

Arise went to notch another arrow, but Ryder hit it away the arrow with the pommel of his sword. Arise quickly pulled another arrow from the quiver, but not before Ryder spoke the words “Ekotwoe auto tepas aro teoopa Koyaoeis!” with his palm extended. “No!” screamed Arise. But all too late. Ryder’s palm burned with the energy required for the spell, but a jet of brilliant fire burst from the cut, hitting Arise in the chest. Arise screamed in fury, rage, and pain, but was cut off when particles of light began to emit from the side of his body. Arise was disintegrating. He shot his last arrow before he disappeared into light.

Streams of light surrounded Ryder, spinning faster and faster. Soon, Ryder was unable to be seen from within this cylinder of light. These streams faded into the atmosphere, and Ryder reappeared on top of Arise’s kingdom. The clear blue sky shone before him. Golden trees with crystals glimmered before him. Tall, shining grass covered the ground. Stunning clouds dotted the perfect sky. Ryder smiled contently. This was the Aether.

 


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