Chapter 1

Chapter 1

A Chapter by Johnzo
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Trede is traveling back to his home town after a long trip working as a courier, but an attempt on his life changes his plans. In the second half, Cassidy nears Smisom.

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         Trede opened his eyes in a flash and gasped to catch his breath.  His nightmares were getting worse lately, so much so he was having a hard time telling what was real and what wasn’t.  Still short of breath, but feeling relieved it was all just a dream, he stood up to stretch his legs. 

He’d already been traveling for six days and it was getting awfully cramped riding in a carrier strapped to the back of what he thought was a particularly fragrant airwhale.  He looked outside a nearby window.  Through the rough, round wooden frame he could see the sun was shining.  He decided to go above deck to get some fresh air.  As he began to walk he thought, this trip seems to be taking a lot longer than normal, wouldn’t be so bad if I hadn’t missed the first transport.  Man, if I don’t get this package delivered soon… “Crimus!” he exclaimed under his breath.  The Marshal will probably haul me off.  Trede had had numerous run-ins with Marshal Langhorne before.  Not that he had ever done anything truly illegal, but in the Marshal’s mind couriers were akin to smugglers.  They had several, as Trede would put it, misunderstandings in the past.  This time he was bringing a crate back to Smisom specifically for him.  Trede knew it wouldn’t be a good idea to disappoint the local authority again.  He paused for a moment as he opened the door to the top deck and stepped outside.  The sun does feel good though, almost enough to make you forget your worries…  Almost.

         Trede’s eyes panned across the empty deck.  This was an average size carrier and he had seen nearly thirty people get on board, but there wasn’t anyone else out that early in the morning.  Trede let out a sigh of relief, as he didn’t particularly want to run into to anyone so early anyway.

The airwhale carriers were the only safe way to travel from one town to another in those days.  The land between most towns and cities was full of jagged rocks, broken chasms and dry, arid land.  This made traveling on foot near impossible, to say nothing of transporting goods and cargo.  Trede walked to the edge of the deck and looked down.  He could see the airwhale’s massive left wing slowly rippling as the wind passed through it.  The bright colors of red, gold and white in the airwhale’s long and tapered fur dazzled in the dawn’s light.  He placed his hands on the coarse wooden railing that surrounded the entire upper deck.  He looked towards the back of the carrier; he could just see the tip of the airwhales tail rolling up into view as it pushed back against the clouds.  Although he had been riding on the backs of creatures like this for years, he was still in awe of their sheer size and ability to float so effortlessly through the skies.  He closed his eyes and stood for a moment just trying to enjoy the fresh air.  He was still tired; exhausted really, his nightmares had been growing in frequency and intensity over the past several weeks.  He was beginning to become afraid to even go to sleep anymore.  Any sleep he did get was soon interrupted by these continuing visceral visions.  There were rarely any common elements in any of the dreams, except they all started and ended with the shining of lights, and the thunderous crashing of shimmering waves.  He wondered if there were any meaning to his dreams and what the lights were, and where these powerful waves came from, but this latest dream left him with no more answers then before.  He tried not to let that stop him from enjoying the sunshine for a moment.  “It is actually rather peaceful up here,” he thought out loud. 

         As the wind picked up it blew the loose end of Trede’s scarf whipping into the air.  It could get quite brisk traveling up in the clouds, even during the warmer months.  He pulled his grey jacket tightly closed until the gust slowed.  He always brought his jacket on all the carrier trips while running deliveries.  Besides keeping him warm, it had a lot of extra pockets he found useful for storing supplies and such.  The other item he never traveled without was his gunstaff.  Many of the areas Trede traveled to were on the outskirts of the continent.  He had frequently run into trouble with local raiders, gangs or other thieves.  The gunstaff was a one-of-a-kind contraption, built by Trede himself several years ago while in his early teens.  It was over four feet tall, made from a light and sturdy metal, with leather straps crisscrossing the handle for better gripping.  The long handle was thicker at the base then became more slender as it reached the blast chamber.  The chamber was about eight inches in diameter at the front opening and about fourteen inches long.  Though not very conspicuous, his staff could shoot out large beams of destructive energy.  He would normally set his right hand down towards the thicker handle, and his left closer to the blast chamber as he built up the charge before firing.  Since he always traveled alone, it was his only protection.  He always kept it strapped to his back with the chamber end sticking out over his left shoulder, at the ready should he need it.   

         Just as Trede was beginning to lose himself in the quiet beauty of the early morning the door from below deck creaked open.  He expected it to be one of the crew, or another passenger, no one who would have any reason to interrupt him.  But this person spoke and seemed to have a direct interest in conversation, “Trede…” said a low voice. 

It did not sound familiar, or particularly friendly so he turned around to face the door.  There was a man standing there, cloaked and holding a metallic scepter with a single glowing amber jewel.  The man, besides being cloaked, was also in the shadow of the doorway leading below deck, so Trede could not make out any discernible features.  Trede stared at the man for a moment, waiting for him to continue speaking, or at least step forward into the light to reveal himself. 

         “Who are you, what do you want?” said Trede.  There was no answer.  “Look I’m not carrying anything of value, if you’re looking for money you’re out of luck.”  There was still no answer.  Annoyed, Trede opened his mouth to speak again, but before he did the man held up his scepter and pointed it.  The amber gem began to shine, beams of light shot out of it in all directions.  Trede could now make out a glimpse of the man’s face, he was older perhaps in his mid fifties though he looked to be in excellent health, and had a peculiar shade of green eyes.  The light suddenly stopped. 

         “It seems you have something of great value.  You will come with me.”

         “I’m not going anywhere with you.”  Said Trede.  He fingered at the tip of his gunstaff behind his back, trying carefully not to seem obvious. 

         “I’m sorry Trede,” the man said in a tone that contained no empathy.  “But you do not have choice in this.” 

         Suddenly two lumbering beasts jumped out of the door behind the man.  Mowguls, Trede remembered they were called.  They stood over four feet tall at the ridge of their back and had tough gray scaly skin, round heads, dark sunken eyes and very sharp teeth.  Alarmed, Trede grabbed his gunstaff and began charging the first blast.  He fired directly at the first mowgul, the bright yellow and white energy swirled into a beam, crashing into the beast’s head sending it rolling backwards towards its master. 

         Before he could charge another blast the second creature jumped at him.  Trede held his staff across his face to block the attack.  The mowgul bit down on the handle of the gunstaff and the impact of the leap slammed Trede back into the carrier railing.  Trede threw his attacker off to one side, only to see the man’s amber gem scepter glowing brightly again.  The man summoned a large swirling ball of light in front of him, which immediately began firing strokes of curling energy towards Trede.  Trede was able to duck and avoid the first volley.  The railing behind him flew apart in splinters from the impact of the missed blasts.  Trede rolled to the right as he charged his gunstaff for a return of fire.  The man held up his free hand as Trede’s blast was harmlessly split and curved away from its intended target.  Trede had never faced anyone with such power and what seemed like such magical strength.  He had heard stories of the mystics that were said to live across the continent in hidden places, but never had he heard about such abilities and destructive powers like this. 

         Trede stood and began to charge at the man; he placed both hands at the base of his gunstaff ready to give it a mighty swing.  Hopefully a melee attack would not be so easily pushed off as his previous effort.  He only managed to make a few steps when the mysterious assailant gestured with his scepter and another large beam of swirling energy shot at Trede.  This time it hit him broadside in the chest sending him reeling back.  He staggered as he felt the wooden railing crack and break beneath him.  Trede grasped to catch the broken railing before starting to fall into the sky below, but it was no use.  Before dropping completely out of view, he caught one last glimpse at the man and his green eyes.  Those green eyes he thought, he would not soon forget. 

         As Trede continued to fall, he looked up at the airwhale, now much less concerned about it’s beauty and docile nature.  His mind raced on how to get out of this mess.  He looked down to the ground.  The skin on his chest was burning from the blast of that glowing orb.  There was a forest of trees immediately under him, still very far down but rapidly approaching.  He gripped his gunstaff tightly in hand as he thought, Not exactly how I thought it’d end.  I’d always imagined myself… a famous merkant… or a daring pirate sailing the blue sky with my cloud princess.  As the wind continued rushing by, Trede could think of only one thing.  He pointed his gunstaff to the ground and held it tightly, tucking the handle under his arm and placing his left foot at the base of the blast chamber.  He began charging it, letting in build up much higher than he had ever tried before.  He hoped the blast chamber would be able to contain the shock.  This was his only chance.  As the gunstaff continued to charge it started to feel hot in Trede’s hand.  He tried focusing his aim on the ground, but his eyes blurred.  He didn’t know if it was the searing wound on his chest, or the rapidly decreasing altitude but he was losing consciousness.  He tried his best to release the stored blast towards the ground to hopefully break his fall.  As he approached the tops of the trees his eyes closed and all went black. 

Nearby in the forest a shining white light and booming crash stirred a mysterious creature.  The short figure moved through the shadows of the deep forest to investigate the sound. 

         “I can’t believe those pompous idiots on the Cytech counsel sent me all the way out to Smisom.  Smisom! Of all places!”  Cassidy was furious.  She was walking the road to the town of Smisom from a nearby airwhale station, and could not contain her emotion any longer.  No one was around for miles to hear her, but she continued.  “They sent me to track down some potential apprentice inventor jerk just because I’m younger than the other new recruits.  That shouldn’t mean they could send me off to some back-dust town in the middle of nowhere. What a waste of time!  Why couldn’t I have gotten an assignment back in Sedenza, or even Jonin on the coast?  This is taking forever, it’s been over a week and I’m not even there yet.  Feels like I’m never going to get there…” Cassidy let out a heavy sigh of desperation, irritation, and outright boredom.

         When she had first joined the Cytech inventor’s guild six months ago she had thought her life would be at least a little more prestigious than this.  The dirt road stretched on for over a mile up a hill in the distance, there was a forest to the west, and to the east nothing but dry cracked earth.  She hadn’t been able to bathe since she left the guild house in Sedenza, that alone would normally be enough to put her in a bad mood.  This combined with the long and cramped airwhale carrier rides, the fact she missed the direct ride to Smisom and was now stuck walking 3 miles from a remote trading outpost, she was in a rare state of exasperation. 

         As she continued her walk she took out her recruitment sheet to read it over for the seven-hundredth time.  It wasn’t much, but it would keep her mind occupied for at least a few minutes.  “Ok “ she began reading.  “Name: Trede.  Hometown: Smisom.  Current Occupation: Private Courier.”  She looked up from the paper for a moment, “Courier huh?  Sounds like a winner already, doesn’t this guy have any motivation?”  Even though no one was around to hear her biting remark, it made her feel a little better.  “Reason for interest,“ she continued reading, “A self-made Gunstaff capable of producing potent beams of destructive force. Energy producing technology could be reverse engineered for application in other devices.  Long-term benefits could be substantial in development of new portable machinery and devices that require large amounts of power while in the field away from natural energy sources.”  She paused, “Blah blah blah… I don’t see how anything this advanced could’ve come from a no-body out here in the outskirts.  If this trip doesn’t pay off…”  She fumed.  “I just won’t think about that for now.  I need to get to Smisom and find a shower!  Then I’ll start looking for him.  It just better be worth all the trouble.”  She continued following the rough dirt road and began climbing the last hill before reaching Smisom. 

         As she began cresting the hill her pace slowed, she leaned forward to try to keep her balance.  The weight of her gear had begun to take its toll.  Cassidy was a particularly proud inventor and liked to bring as many of her creations as she could carry, even if there was only the slightest chance of using them.  Although she had only been with the Cytechs for six months she had built numerous inventions previous to her recruitment, which was the main reason she was inducted at such a young age.  She wore a thick belt and bandolier full of slots and pockets for her favorite items.  Her dark blue tunic was starting to bunch up under her bandolier strap and her shoulder was getting sore.  She adjusted herself as she finally reached the top.  She pushed her hands back through her ear-length dark brown hair and rested her hands on the top of her head as she stood at the top of the hill. 

         She looked down at the town of Smisom as her eyes panned across the scene.  Being on the outskirts, Smisom was not a frequently traveled area.  As such it was not a very large town.  There were a number of houses scattered around the edges of town, some fairly rustic looking made of rough-cut stone and mortar.  The center of town held a handful of public areas.  The most prominent feature was an airwhale landing tower in the center of town.  This was where the airwhale carriers were docked and unloaded when they arrived carrying their passengers and supplies.  There was also a market place with several store fronts selling all the typical goods you would expect to find for basic survival.  There was another building too that Cassidy recognized as a Marshal office.  The marshals were the local authority for most areas in the northeast.  The town was bustling as much as a small town can and there were a fair amount of people out walking the dirt streets. 

What a dump.”  She muttered as she started down the hill into town.  

 

 

 

 

 



© 2012 Johnzo


Author's Note

Johnzo
Is it interesting? Enough descriptive language or too much?

EDIT. V.2 - made some fixes and general improvements

My Review

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Reviews

I think it is interesting enough to make a good book, and the descriptions are perfect.
Good job!

Posted 12 Years Ago


I think it is very interesting. The description is great if you ask me, sometimes books don't give enough information and then you're just left to wonder. I'm very interested to see what happens next.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 14 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I found this very interesting myself.
I love your character Cassidy
I like how you go into your details as well.
Very descriptive writing and wonderful imagery.
well written.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 14 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on October 7, 2009
Last Updated on May 9, 2012


Author

Johnzo
Johnzo

Bridgton, ME



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For more info on my little world, visit: www.echowake.com -Latest post: 2nd Draft Preview My favorite stories are usually ones that have a bigger world behind them, a story behind the story that.. more..

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