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Prequel

Sophomores Cohl Obwald and Andrew Moore start their first serialized novel, Fantium. Chapters will be revealed every month. Make sure to check back and leave comments on what you think about it.

Since times of old, fearsome and timid creatures large and small have roamed the lands. Some of the more powerful and dangerous beasts use the essence of the wild to make themselves even more formidable. These creatures, later classified into groupings called sigils, used different aspects of nature to gift themselves impenetrable spines molded from ice, the ability to step between shadows,  soar through the air with the expertise of a bird of prey and much more.

These creatures have always been around, but way back in the oldest writings it tells of a time when human and sprite fought in an endless battle. Both sides of the unending fight would become stronger just to see the other trump them in new ways. This war raged on for centuries until one day, after a particular battle (The Battle of Beginnings), a farm boy found a badly wounded earth creature (an elemental sprite) eating his crops.

The farm boy at first had no unjust reason not to go and kill the creature on sight, considering the horrific stories and tales he had heard of man and beast fighting. Considering that the creature was alone and looked weaker than previous descriptions of these beasts, he could have very well gone and gotten rid of the intruder on his family’s land. However as the boy crept closer he realized the creature was hungry and injured, so the boy thought to bring more to the creature, instead of ending its life.

The farm boy came back to the injured sprite and crept towards it with more stalks of grain to offer. The elemental accepted the gift tentatively and with trepidation. The boy gave the sprite more and more food until it gestured its fulfillment with hands like saucers and arms the size of tree trunks. The boy left feeling strange, because everything he had heard from others portrayed them as vicious and unfriendly, but from what he had seen, some of them weren’t as bad as they had been made up to be.

The boy came back everyday to labor in the fields and each day the elemental would return. After several days of this the boy came up to the creature and started asking it questions.

“What are you, and why do you constantly come to eat our grain? I fed you once, and now you never leave. You flee at dusk, and show up again every morn!”

The boy’s tone changed from open minded and warm hearted, to closed off and concerned.

“I didn’t think your kind even ate grain. In fact I was told from when I was a young one you eat flesh and bone, not grain!

“All you’ve come to do is steal from my family, haven’t you? Steal just to make life harder for us!”

After he said this the boy realized the full weight of his words. He and his family would not have enough food for the oncoming winter if this continued. Last winter was the most grueling in many years with war escalating and farm families having to give part of their harvest to the soldiers.

The torrenting winds exposed the roots of their crops sending a golden shower of grain flying through the sky.

The boy wanted to tell his parents about the elemental, but thought better of it. His parents would not be pleased if they knew he wasn’t telling them about the elemental eating their family crops.

The next day when he saw it out in the field he planned on doing whatever it took to force it to go away and never come back.

The boy walked up to the sprite with determination and a conviction to drive away the creature no matter what. But then it did something very unexpected. It walked towards the boy and laid something at his feet, a cut gemstone in the shape of a small diamond.

The boy looked up at the creature with renewed curiosity from the unexpected gift of the gem from the stone creature.

“What do you want me to do with this?” asked the boy. But I guess the sprite heard for it made a grinding noise from deep within it’s chest, something similar to communication, and motioned for the boy take the gemstone and bring it over his chest.

“Do you mean like this?” The boy asked while bringing the stone towards his chest.

At the moment the boy touched the stone to his chest light ensued to flow out of the gem in a continual pulse similar to a heart beat. Then, when the boy stopped gawking at the stone in his hand with pure astonishment, he looked up into the eyes of the creature in front of him.

What he saw both frightened and intrigued him… the creature’s eyes pulsed with the same beat as the stone. In a brilliant shower of bright lights the creature was gone, but the gemstone was now not only pulsing with light, but bathing everything in view in a brownish white hue.

Looking back at the stone the boy noticed it start to melt, loose its shape and start conforming to his hand. Slowly the melted stone began to lengthen and move up the boy’s arm, halfway to his elbow.

After the molten stone finished its slow progression up the boy’s arm, it started to solidify and harden into the shape of a gauntlet. The gauntlet was made up of interlocking pieces, metal or gem, allowing mobility whilst still protecting the boys arm. The gauntlet seemed to be made up of the same substance as the stone he once held in his hand.

When the final part of the gauntlet hardened into its solid state a massive wave of brownish white energy exploded out of it and leveled all of the crops around the boy in a ten foot radius.

When the blast of light subsided the boy was standing in a crater of churned up earth doubled over in shock of what had just occurred.

I have just ruined my family’s only chance of having enough food for the upcoming months. The boy thought to himself. We are going to starve, all because of that stupid creature. We won’t be able to fill our quota for the army either.

Everyone had heard the rumors of what happened to those who didn’t have enough food for the army. Some would be beaten, others has their houses burned to the ground, and then they along with their families were taken to work in the main city.

He wouldn’t be able to live with himself if his parents lost their farm because of him and his assistance to the creature. His anger was boiling up to the point of no return, and with all the ferocity and power he could muster, he let out a resonating shout so loud it shouldn’t have been possible for it to come from human lungs.

At the sound of the beastly roar his parents came sprinting out the back door of the farm to come see if their son was in any danger. When they finally spotted their son he was on his hands and knees weeping.

“What’s wrong?” the mother asked her son. “What has you crying and what happened to this field?” she asks as she stares at the crater the boy was kneeling in.

“I’m so sorry,” the boy cried. “I destroyed all our food, because of helping a wounded… a wounded…” the boy started to clench the churned earth. “Never mind it doesn’t even matter. All that matters is that we don’t have any food to give the army.”

“Hey, hey don’t worry about that,” his mother insisted. “We’ll get through this, I’m just glad you weren’t hurt.”

With those words his mother placed her hands on him to give the boy comfort and affection.

As if the sprite inside the boy’s gauntlet could feel his pain and suffering, the gauntlet started to glow with an inner light akin to a miniature sun. Then a voice began to speak to the boy.

“Would you like me to help you get rid of these nuisances,” asked the voice from the gauntlet. “Because it seems as though their arrival has made your tears flow more freely. I could grant you strength to make them leave you alone.”

“No, no they’re my parents,” the boy explained quietly as he leaned in toward the source of the voice. “I don’t want to hurt them… but you talk of strength? What kind of strength” he asked questioningly.

“All kinds of strength,” the sprite stated, “Strength that could help you defeat your enemies, or strength that could help you in other ways.”

“Could you give me the ability to make the trip to Aureola?”

“What is this Aureola you speak of?” questioned the sprite.

“It the closest city from here, about a mile or two.”

“I could give you the strength, yes.”

“Would you give me that power right now, please?” the boy asked cautiously.

“Of course,” the voice replied.

When the voice answered the gauntlet started to glow a bright orange and with it the boy felt a wave of vitality wash over him in a rush of nerves and fear of what he was about to attempt.

“Goodbye mom, goodbye dad,” said the boy sorrowfully. “I am off to the city. I will help you in any way that I can from there, but right now with this confusion I have within, I need to find somewhere or someone to explain it to me. And I think my best venture is towards Aureola…”

“Wait, what are you saying?” His mom asked worriedly.

“I am leaving and heading to the city. I have questions regarding some new discoveries of mine. And I want to be someone! Someone other than a food factory for the army, or a farm boy. This… this thing,” the boy said gesturing towards the gauntlet, “is my key to be able to do something other than grow food for the rest of my life.”

With those words the boy started backing away from his parents, backing away from his home, and backing away from everything he ever knew, to pursue a better life and a better future.

* * *

After a trek to the city, he realized that no one would believe his story. None of the smiths, carpenters, or other business people would hire him, because of his refusal to share his origin. All they wanted from him was the shiny refined stone that would sometimes peak out of the boys long shirt in his attempt to hide his hidden companion.

With no money to buy food the boy was forced to scrounge around in the back allies of taverns and inns to beg for food like a lost stray dog.

While doing this the sprite inside of the boy would keep him company and offer to help him gain his own food through force, but the boy would never steal from another person for his own gain.

While talking to the sprite in this way the boy learned to communicate with it mentally, not having to talk with it out loud to make him look mad instead of just lost.

After living in filth and the backs of allies for a few days the boy and sprite came to the same conclusion. Nothing good was going to come from staying in the city.

Later that night the boy and his companion left from the city without a certain destination, but a momentous idea.

Surely they weren’t the only ones with this bond. They could find others like them and learn together how to use these bonds to their full potential.

For the next weeks and months the boy and his partner traveled throughout Aureola searching for others in the same predicament as them.

Over this time they discovered multiple teens with similar cases. Kids who had bonded with sprites of differents sigils.

Together with their growing numbers and myriad of sprites this band of misfits numbered about a dozen and together began to learn about and study the gift they had been given by their bonded partners.

Through intense examination and testing these teens learned to create tornadoes, swords of indestructible ice, shadows under their control, and much, much more.

Together this group crafted houses of rock, metal and even precious gemstone like onyx, ruby, or sapphire, when they could find it in large enough quantities.

After several decades of growth, study and recruitment, the group, now called the Assembly of Domadors, flourished in number and status. With the assistance of their partner sprites, the now adults and kids, had created some of the most formidable and unique establishments in the form of schools created from every material of nature.

These schools were named for the sigils they represented.

  • Ruby Halls, school of the fire sigil
  • Sapphire Depths, school of the water sigil
  • Diamond Heights, school of the air sigil
  • Scapolite Stronghold, school of the earth sigil
  • Topaz Emporium, school of the mind sigil
  • Onyx Dome, school of the shadow sigil

These schools, several homes, artisan stores and markets made up the new city of Fantium.

For more chapters, come back next school year. For another article, read World-class Photojournalist Travels, Shares Stories from Around the Globe.

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