Author Topic: Prophecy of Silverguard  (Read 733 times)

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Offline Gaz

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Prophecy of Silverguard
« on: August 06, 2014, 12:50:10 PM »
I had promised someone quite a while ago that I would post the NaNoWriMo story I started working on a couple years ago. Finally convinced myself to go ahead and post it. I'm pretty self-conscious/critical of my writing. Enjoy it for what it is.

Chapter 1: Meet Lance

In the end it did not matter. Everything he had tried to achieve had been for nothing and all the recognition he desired would be heaped upon someone else. Someone who, in his mind, did not deserve it at all.

He wondered how it felt now that everything was coming to a close. Was the sweet taste of victory starting to turn sour in the mouth? As the darkness began to overtake him, he started to think back to the day that had started all the subsequent events that lead him to where he was now. If only he had ignored that accursed prophecy and just gone back home; none of this would have happened and he could have gone on with his life.

The beginning of the chain of events could be traced back to one day not even a month prior. A mere month ago, Lance Hartman had been an ordinary young man. Though at that time, ordinary had not been enough.

There was something that the world could not seem to deliver, and it was something that Lance longed for more than anything. Lance wanted to be a hero. Not one of those "everyday" heroes that were promoted in elementary school. No, he wanted to be like one of those lucky bastards in the movies who were in the right place at the right time to accomplish something amazing and were practically praised the rest of their lives for it.

For just over twenty years Lance had worked his butt off to make it into that mystical place that adults called "the real world". On TV, the real world was portrayed as a place filled with adventures and hijinks. It was also a place that could offer a great payback if you worked hard enough.

After graduating from college, Lance had discovered very fast that the mystical realm of the "real world" was much more disappointing than he had been lead to believe. Every day heading to his job to earn a living was possibly droller than it had been previously.

Lance had worked his butt off to show the real world that he had what it took to make it. So far the real world had done squat in return. At that time the only payoff had been that he could finally afford the new gaming system he had been wanting, and this was how he was spending his time on his day off.

"Even in video games," Lance muttered bitterly as he controlled the hero of the game.

Lance glanced up at his clock and realized that he needed to grab something for lunch. That would mean a trip to the store down the street, as he had not been shopping yet. At least a trip to the store would be something to help alleviate the tedium of another day.

The walk to the grocery store took Lance past a small clump of forest. It was never something that Lance had paid attention to in the past, but that day was different. Something moved off in the distance just out of the corner of his eye that made him jerk suddenly.

Squinting into the forest, Lance tried to make sense of what he thought he had seen. It was something that almost seemed like a horse! It had to have been because it was too large to be a deer. But that was impossible; there were no wild horses around here. It couldn't be a runaway horse from a farm since the nearest one was miles away.

There had been something else about the creature Lance had caught a glimpse of. He could have sworn that he saw the blurry shape of a human torso. If that were the case that would mean he had seen a centaur!

"Too many video games," Lance rationalized as he ran a hand through his short and spiky auburn hair. "Either that or my job is already starting to make me crack. I'd buy that."

Settled on a reasonable explanation for the moment, Lance took care of his business at the grocery store. However, on the way back past the woods, Lance paid more attention to the forest than he ever had before. This time, though, there was no sign of anything unusual. Because nothing showed up a second time, Lance was able to brush off the initial occurrence without a second thought.

"You saw a what?" asked Donna incredulously over the phone.

Lance sighed before he replied, almost quietly, "A centaur. An honest-to-God centaur. I don't even know why I'm telling you this."

"Because you tell me everything," Donna relied matter-of-factly.

It was true, Lance told Donna nearly everything. No matter how embarrassing it might potentially be. Donna Church was a friend who happened to now live and work in the same area. Lance had a thing for Donna and was always on the lookout for something that might impress her or catch her attention. In this case though that might not have been the smart thing to do.

"Just how much did you have to drink last night?" Donna asked, this time sounding a bit exasperated. Lance tended to go out drinking on Friday nights. His way of rewarding himself for surviving another hum drum week of the "real world".

"Nothing," Lance replied firmly.

Donna wasn't buying it because she replied in an equally firm tone, "Don't lie. How much? No one sees unicorns while they're sober."

Lance's face was growing red, though Donna couldn't see that. "I told you I didn't have anything! And it was a centaur, not a unicorn."

"Fine! A centaur. Pardon me. But I have to ask again, why are you telling me this?"

Lance rolled his eyes before sighing with exasperation. "Ya know? I don't know anymore. Just forget I said anything."

"That's gonna be real hard," Donna replied, barely stifling a snort.

"Whatever," Lance said with annoyance as he hung up the phone.

As his frozen meal rotated in the microwave, Lance reflected back to try and figure out what he had been thinking when he called Donna to tell her what he had seen. It was so ridiculous, and calling someone to blab about it seemed like a childish thing to do.

In retrospect, Donna lived near the same stretch of forest. It was practically in her back yard. Lance had been secretly hoping that Donna might have noticed something going on back there. However, that plan blew up in his face and Donna now believed he was hung over from the previous night. His Friday night drinking escapades were seriously eating away at his credibility. Not that Lance had much in the way of credibility to begin with.

The microwave beeped and snapped Lance out his thoughts. At the same time, it drew his attention to the coffee maker, which rested next to the microwave. This reminded Lance that the next day was Sunday.

Every Sunday, Lance and Donna met at a local coffee shop for brunch. It was a reason to get together and talk, prepare themselves for the tedious week ahead and enjoy some good company. For the first time, Lance wasn't looking forward to this weekly meeting. After the phone conversation between the two of them not long ago, Lance was expecting some mockery to be heading in his direction.

One of Donna's favorite past times was to give people a hard time. Lance was her favorite target because he made it "so easy". It was always in good fun, Lance could tell that.

The main reason why Lance put up with it was because it meant that he was the topic of discussion, and Lance's personal weakness was that he loved being the center of attention. He never saw it as a weakness however and relished any opportunity to do something to steer conversation in his direction. This might have been the only time when Lance did not want to be the focus of attention.

Sure enough, the first thing that Donna brought up when they met at the coffee shop the next day was the secret Lance had divulged over the phone.

"You saw a centaur, huh?" she questioned as she sat down with her skim latte.

Donna's bright red hair was pulled back into a loose ponytail and she was wearing a dark green sweater against the growing autumn chill. Lance was never short of jokes about Donna being a fiery red head with a quick temper. These conversations usually ended with Lance gaining a new bruise on his upper arm.

Once Donna had commented on the previous afternoon's conversation, Lance rolled his eyes as he sipped from his coffee.

"I was really hoping you wouldn't bring that up," he commented sheepishly.

Donna blinked as if she couldn't believe what Lance had said. "You tell me that you saw a centaur and you think I'm not going to bring it up? You don't just casually drop things like that and keep going."

"What else am I supposed to say about it?" Lance remarked with a shrug.

"What did it look like, for starters," Donna prompted.

"I only saw it out of the corner of my eye," Lance replied. "In fact it was so quick, it was probably a deer and I let my imagination get the better of me."

"Stop trying to make excuses," Donna pushed, "you never let your imagination get away from you. The few times you do, you don't tell me about seeing centaurs. Why did you call me about it?"

Lance was quiet for a while before he replied, "It was in that clump of forest. I was curious if you had seen anything strange back there lately."

The sooner this conversation was over, the happier Lance would be. He had quickly begun to regret ever bringing this up. He felt like such a child, it was ridiculous.

"Not lately, no," Donna commented. "Then again, I haven't been paying much attention."

The conversation hit a silent patch as both Lance and Donna sipped quietly at their coffee. Lance was extremely grateful as he took a moment to savor his warm drink.
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Offline Gaz

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Re: Prophecy of Silverguard
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2014, 09:36:41 PM »
Chapter 2: the prophecy found
 
Through the forest ran a creature that has often ran through stories and mythology. It was too large to be a deer and it was not exactly a horse. Only half of it was a brown colored horse, the rear half to be precise. The top half was the torso of a human man whose skin was tanned. His brown hair blew around his face in the wind as he raced through the forest.

In the distance there was a slight shimmer in the air, almost like the heat rising off the pavement in the middle of summer. This was the centaur's destination. Galloping towards the shimmer at full speed, he leaped at it and vanished into thin air.

On the other side another centaur was waiting. This one was older and had the lower half of a pinto. His features were weathered and his skin resembled aged leather. He wore a vest covered in nature symbols.

"Did you find what you were looking for, Atera?" asked the elderly centaur. "I did not approve opening the ancient portal this time, and it will not be done again."

Atera tried to catch his breath before he responded to the aged centaur. "But Elder Vara, I believe I have found the one!"

Vara shook his head. Atera was young and eager to prove himself and had been reading too much into the old writings. It had taken a lot of persuading on Atera's part to convince Vara to re-open the portal to the other world.
Only centaurs possessed the knowledge to open such portals through their practice of old magic. Even now the knowledge was fading from Herd tradition, and that was probably for the best. From his visions, Vara could see that the Other World was vastly different and a much more savage place. Not to mention that it was a place that had abandoned the old magic, so it was void of that connection to nature that many inhabitants of Cardoma held dear.

"You read too much into the old writings," Vara told Atera in a fatherly way. "You should spend more time focused on your learning."

"But if what I have found is really the Prophecy of Silverguard--" Atera began earnestly.

"Silverguard lived long ago," Vara interrupted quickly. "None of his writings survived The Valley Flood, you know this."

Atera sighed and tapped the ground with a fore-hoof. He was a grown member of the Herd now with the arm bands to prove it, and yet Elder Vara continued to speak to him as if he were a mere colt!

"It must be the Prophecy!" Atera insisted again. "One of the Other-Side Humans saw me."

Suddenly Atera had Vara's full and undivided attention. "An Other-Sider saw you? Are you sure of this?"

"I am sure!" Atera replied eagerly. "I had myself hidden from their eyes; the way you taught me. There were plenty of Other-Siders present, but one human male turned and looked right at me. I could tell by his face that he saw me."

Elder Vara closed his eyes and breathed deep for a moment. He offered up a silent prayer to the goddess of the forest for guidance. If what Atera said was true, than maybe he had found a surviving copy of the Prophecy after all. Many things would change if that were so; many lives would be lost. It was not that Elder Vara knew anything about the Prophecy, no one did. Prophecies never went about things half-way; there were great things on the horizon, of that much Elder Vara was certain.

"Elder Vara?" Atera asked, concerned. The Elder had been silent and still for a long time. Atera feared that age might finally be catching up with the old stallion.

"We must return to the Herd," Elder Vara replied firmly, "and you must show me what you have found. I may have been too hasty in dismissing your claim."

Atera's brown eyes shone as he quietly trotted back towards the Herd's valley, which was called Lareland. After all the time he had spent trying to translate the old writing, and the time he had spent trying to get Elder Vara to look at his work; it was all paying off now. Atera only hoped that he really was right and Elder Vara would not chastise him for wasting time that could have been better spent.

Though Elder Vara's idea of "time better spent" was hours in silent prayer and meditation to the goddess of the forest.  It was not like Atera did not respect the goddess of the forest. She was the one who provided the Herd with their home and control of earth magic, but surely she did not want them to be ignorant of their past. Especially where The Prophecy of Silverguard was concerned. If the tales were true, Silverguard's prophecy had come from the goddess herself.

Little was remembered about the Prophecy because no one had believed it at the time. All anyone remembered of it was that it spoke of an outsider and a great event that would take place. Since nothing had immediately happened, and outsiders had come and gone, many dismissed Silverguard's "prophecy" as the rantings of a delusional mind.

"What makes you certain this is the Prophecy?" Elder Vara asked as the two centaurs approached the home of the Herd.

"What I have been able to translate speaks of things that have not yet come to pass, Elder," Atera replied. "It speaks of a stranger that will come from the North and the fate of a race."

"Is there more?" Vara asked the young centaur, he wanted as much information as Atera was able to give.
Atera cleared his throat, embarrassed. "I'm afraid there appear to be pieces missing, Elder. I do not believe that I have the complete document, and what I did find is very old."

Vara took a deep breath to calm himself. It would have been difficult enough to decipher a complete manuscript, but the fact that the manuscript was incomplete would make the process all the more difficult.

Atera led Vara to his hut. On the standing desk was a very old piece of parchment with a newer scroll next to it. The older scroll looked like it had been torn up. So it was true what Atera said about some being missing. It seemed that the beginning was mostly intact, but the last part was gone. That was not good since the end of the Prophecy was the part that mattered most.

Vara glanced between the old parchment and the new one covered in handwritten notes. It was impressive work, Vara had to admit, and Atera had good knowledge of the old writing. Many of the young ones did not choose to study that and so the knowledge was becoming lost very quickly.

With that aside, Vara focused on what was written on the parchment rather than the quality of it. What Atera had told him was correct. The Prophecy spoke of a stranger from the North and something about the fate of a race being decided. Many of the words were faded beyond recognition and the rest of the Prophecy was missing. The most important part; the end of it.

"What makes you think the Other-Sider is the one?" Elder Vara asked curiously, because there was nothing written that supported what Atera had been saying earlier.

"Strangers from the North of Cardoma have been coming back and forth for years," Atera replied in earnest. "The only option that I see left is an Other-Sider. You yourself have said that the only place a portal can be opened to their world is the great Northern forest of El-Alyan."

El-Alyan, Vara thought. It was said to be the favored forest of the goddess herself and filled with magic. What Atera said was true; it was indeed the only place where portals to the Other World could be opened. But an Other-Sider the savior of Cardoma? Surely the goddess would not have it be so.

True, there were Other-Siders who lived in Cardoma in the Kingdom of Araenna. Their ancestors had come over so many years ago however that none of them recalled the World that had been their forefather's home and were quite content to be at peace with the other races.

"The Other-Side has become a wild place," Vara said after a long moment, "I cannot accept that the goddess would choose Cardoma's champion from there."

"But, Elder Vara," Atera pleaded, "is not the forest herself a wild place? Were we ourselves not a wild race before the goddess gave us our valley?"

Vara could not help but smile at Atera's words. He paid more attention to his lessons than he would like the Elders to believe. The goddess of the forest, and the forest itself, were mysterious in their workings. If the champion were to be chosen from the Other-Side, who was Vara to question?

"Very well," Vara acquiesced. "I will take your findings to the other Elders and we will discuss it. You should be prepared to argue with them as earnestly as you have with me in case they wish to speak with you."

Atera nodded, unable to speak, a chance to speak before the Council was rarely granted in recent times because there was rarely an occasion grave enough to warrant it. Times had been peaceful for many years, but if the Prophecy was correct than that was all soon to change.
MAX: Forsooth! SAM: You don't even know what that means.  MAX: No, but it sounds all classically literate.

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