The First Follower

The First Follower

A Story by McCooey
"

This is the prologue and the first chapter. The full book can be ordered on amazon. Max and his friends fight in order to save the bond of friendship they share.

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Prologue

Date: August, 32, 1506

            Thud, thud, thud.... Max opened his eyes from a blissful sleep. Whispers echoed throughout his room. He peered around, anxiously trying to find the source. A crack of moonlight shed its luminous glow through the blinds that hung from his window. He slid out from his warm sheets and crept along the floor toward his window. Goosebumps crawled along his skin; he was unsure whether they were caused by the weather or the fear that threatened to consume him. Max wanted to look, but he just didn't feel ready, so he leaned against the wall and listened. He knew the conversation had to be a secret, because people were never allowed to roam about at night.

            “We must move,” a deep voice said.

            “No,” whispered another. “Max Leoguard is not our priority right now. We must continue our search for the tomb.”

            The moment Max heard his name, he froze in fear, though he urged himself to peek through the blinds. He pushed himself up and held his breath. Squinting into the night, two men stood, their faces lost in shadow underneath gray berets. But Max wasn't paying any attention to the men; instead, his eyes were fixed on the monster next to them. Both its arms were swords that stuck out like the blades on a windmill. Max's hands trembled, his heart raced, and he couldn't hold his breath any longer. He exhaled louder than he expected.

            “What was that?” one man's voice said.

            Max ducked to the floor in an instant. He told himself it was only a dream, but the breathing of the monster increased and seemed more real by the moment.

            “It's him,” the other man said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

YARDWORK, HOUSEWORK,

AND SHOWING OFF

           

Hitrea… a planet of darkness and little hope… 

 

Daybreak hunted out the cockerels as the sun peeked over the top of the Northern Mountains, which stood like ancient broken teeth to the north. Gray clouds scudded away, avoiding the attentions of the sun, presenting clear skies. The rain droplets on the glass windows from the night before began to fade. Strong gusts shook the rickety rooftops of many village homes, as they were scattered among the miles of farmland. It was just like any other day through the quietness of Pyro Village. It seemed almost deserted, with the only sound of wind blowing through trees and crackling leaves littering the trail.

            Pyro Village ran for more than fifteen miles on the southern part of Elpine, an island with vast open fields and countless evergreen trees. Half of the village was located in the dense forest and was shaded by the thick canopies, which stretched out into the air. Most of the homes were made from small handmade blocks of smooth forest-wood crafted to interlock with each other. The rooftops were made of straw so fine yet so strong, it was like horsehair, neatly compressed into golden panels as long as needed.

            On a normal day in the village, the men would work the farmland and the women would stay home, doing craft work and taking good care of the children. And with all the maintenance, it was only natural for every yard to be perfectly manicured, not a flower out of place. Each day in Pyro Village was the same as the day before, nothing changed. Almost everyone in the village enjoyed their life of work, but a few needed some diversity. Max Leoguard was in that minority of people, though the other members of the Leoguard family enjoyed their dull lives. Besides Max, the Leoguards were a family of manual laborers. They believed that the only important thing in life was doing three things. These things were treated as rules within the family: yard work, housework, and showing off. Yard work was an automatic thing within the family and the village. Nobody questioned why they were watering the flowers for the fifth time or trimming the hedges until their fingers fell off. It simply must be done. Max hated yard work; to him, it was no automatic thing, it was another painful duty around the village. Housework was another pain for Max, especially because his thinking was crystal clear, that the house would always look the same. Even if he swept the floor a thousand times, which he probably had, it still would be the same wooden floor. But for the rest of the Leoguards, housework was a vital duty, because the cleaner the house looked, the more attention the Leoguards would get. This led to the final important job that the family pursued, showing off. Max never showed off, even if his family ordered him to. His belief was that showing off only turned people away and attracted the wrong attention. Max was the only Leoguard to be considered different from the rest, and people ignored him for it. His family was well known throughout the village; his dad owned the only market, his uncle was famous for his mastery of swordsmanship, and his aunt was the manager of a clothing outlet across the road. Max believed that all these great titles made people look up toward the Leoguards, and because Max did not obey their customs, people ignored him. But this never bothered his inner being.

            Max had many theories, beliefs, and questions, but he knew that the only things he lived for were his three best friends, Sean, Miranda, and Jess. Like Max, his friends, who were all around the same age as him, also were in the minority who needed the diversity. Primarily, this was the reason why their only friends were each other. The four of them were a little different from the other teenagers in the village. The average teenager would take three years to learn the basics of swordsmanship, which was the type of education children and teens must acquire. Unlike anyone else, the four of them excelled at the art of swordsmanship. It only took Max and his friends one year to learn the basics. Because they were so skilled, other teenagers frowned upon them. Max would never forget the day when he had learned a new technique called “The Arrow,” which is when you fling your body toward your opponent with your arm extended, and then running past them to make it harder for them to hit you. The teacher, which was his uncle Noah, demonstrated for the class. Then the class attempted. Everyone failed except Max, who got it perfect the first time. The class just stared at him with disbelief. Using a sword was difficult and everyone knew it, which was why they gave Max dirty looks when he learned techniques so quickly. All children over the age of twelve were required to be educated and proficient on how to fight with a sword, and they were required to carry one at all times. This rule had been proclaimed since the attack. At that time, the outer defenses of the village had been weaker and more people had been letting their guards down even though travelers had warned them about a distant war going on. The attack had happened more than ten years ago, and Max still remembered it.

            The day of the attack had been just like another afternoon, with everyone doing daily chores in Pyro Village. Then the unthinkable happened. Twenty Avengers had destroyed the outer gates and marched inward, killing livestock and ripping up the perfect grass. These were inhuman, colossal creatures that stood over ten feet tall and had three baseball-sized eyeballs sunk into their heads. The Avengers had dark rugged skin and long toenails that jutted out from their two feet. Their most horrifying feature was their mastery of the sword, which was downright terrifying. Just one Avenger could kill more than thirty men in just a few short minutes. Because attacks on Pyro Village had never happened before, the afternoon of the attack was filled with chaos. People screamed for their lives, children cried in hopelessness with blood spattered over their faces, and many village homes were battered into the dirt. Max, who had been only seven at the time, had fled from the scene, but in the process, he had lost his mother. Max’s mother was just like any other Leoguard, but loving. Her death took away the little love he had been given.

            Eventually, the fire chimeras of the village had burned the Avengers to the ground and saved the lives of thousands. On Hitrea there were three main types of chimeras: fire, ice, and lighting. These flying creatures consisted of three beasts. Each one had a lion’s head, a dragon’s body, and a serpent’s tail. The chimeras all had their unique abilities to unleash their powers. Lighting chimeras were more favored by evil beings for a reason that was not known to humans. They were special for their ability to induce lightning and start thunderstorms. Ice chimeras were much preferred throughout Hitrea and were known to be the most pleasant for riding. In Pyro Village, fire chimeras were for defense, even though people never thought about being attacked.

            After the day his mother died, Max had felt sorrow, but he kept thinking that hopefully a day would come when there would be new hope for the future. When Max had turned thirteen, he began to appreciate what he already had. He figured new hope was not really needed anymore, since he had his friends and a father-like figure named Rick. Rick owned a fishing company next to the lake. Max and his friends had met him when they were five, when they played around the sandy shoreline of the lake. Rick would tag along in his spare time, helping them with making dribble castles and learning to swim. As years went on, the relationship grew, and Rick became best friends with the four of them. The Leoguard family wasn’t too fond of Rick because they thought that it was inappropriate for a fat fifty-year-old man to hang around with children, but soon, the Leoguards accepted him and went back to their showing off and working duties.

            Ages fourteen through sixteen were pure boredom for Max; each day followed the same routine. It was get up, collect eggs, eat eggs for breakfast, housework, yard work, begin shift at the market by noon, train with Noah, clean the fireplace, check the house for rat infestations (common in Pyro Village), kill a rooster, cook it, eat it, bed. This routine was done everyday of the week and with no help from anyone. Occasionally though, Jess would stop by and give Max a hand because her schedule was less busy. The only thing that was an excitement to Max was his hormones, since he could feel new changes. He enjoyed peering across the classroom at some girl’s hair or beautiful eyes. But he had to be careful with his uncle Noah being a master at swordsmanship; his keen eye was always at watch for students not paying attention. Max thought he was clever, though; he would always keep his head toward Noah but his eyes toward the girl. Only one time was he caught�"not by Noah, but by the girl he had his eyes on. She returned a nasty frown with her brows lowered. Max just turned away. He tried everything to get girls to notice him; one day he had spiky hair; another day, a muscle shirt; and one time on a hot day, he had worn no shirt and no pants. Everyone in class had noticed him, but Max knew it was the wrong attention, so he had returned to his normal self and realized what he had tried to do. He had tried to show off, the one thing he was against.

            When Max turned seventeen years old, he had a small birthday party at the shack where Rick worked. The party was so great he even marked his calendar to remember it - August 33, 1506. He never had such a fun time with his friends in all his life. He went fishing, hiking, and hunting. Also, he nearly died of laughter when Sean fell off the boat because a Minnow fish pulled to hard on his line. It was a peaceful day too; he received a strawberry cake with no frosting, a few gift cards for the clothing outlet his aunt managed, and a large box of chives which were simply edible blades of grass that have an onion flavor. Max didn’t care for chives, but it was a tradition to give a box every birthday. Max thought the tradition was ridiculous, and wondered why anyone would want a box of onion grass for a present. After the party ended, things began to change, but only for the worse.

           

© 2011 McCooey


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Such a wonderful set up! Alot of suspense and action. I enjoyed this. Amazing imagery and detail as well. Very well written.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on April 25, 2011
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Author

McCooey
McCooey

Narragansett, RI