lucoswegowrites Lucas Brown

Following the events of “Enchantyon: The Cost The Elves Must Bear,”… The Jördlands are infected with turmoil. When Mox Magnusson and what remains of her band of runaways escape into the Jördlands of Northern Tesardess, they are hunted by a relentless pair of vampires and their hordes of enslaved thralls and undead warriors. And as the manhunt propels them further into foreign lands, a weathered and blood-depraved Mox quickly finds herself at odds with the outside world that she dreamed of, and the cold reality of the people she’s met with. In the heart of the Jördic Province of Vinterlund stands tall the World Tree. Her name is Aslauga, The Dryad Queen. Majestic and ancient, she stands as a sentinel over the mountains and troubled people of her Jördic realm—the Lundi—who find themselves under assault by those who had chased the strange company of vampires and grey elves into her borders. But despite her efforts, a sickness takes hold of her that threatens to leave both her and her people at the mercy of the enemy now on their doorstep. Amid it all, two Lundi Jörds—Sylvi Narin and Lord Runolf—find themselves on perilous journeys as they try to confront the conflicts that have made their home rife with conflict. Sylvie sets off on a journey to find a cure to the ailment overwhelming the Dryad Queen and perhaps a resolution to her own family woes. Meanwhile, Lord Runolf is forced to not only deal with the new undead threats at his province’s border and the sickness growing within Aslauga, but also her unwelcome offers of becoming her newest champion and the darkness that would come with the title. *** This completed story is part of the "Enchantyon, Enter The Arcane" anthology series (Book #6).


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Prologue

Enchantyon.

It is the Realm Within Realms. The Great Magical Wound. The Cradle of Humanity and the Dragons. The First to Fall. The Crown of Creation.


When Yggomni first established the world, He had plans for it and its mortals that would have them as co-rulers of all Creation. But when His chosen champion ignored His warnings and fell to the Enemy, the world came under constant threat of self-annihilation. In the heavenly kingdom of Idridelle, Yggomni grieved, for His children had been led astray and adopted by a traitorous new patron—The Malifarr—and would now share his fate of damnation.

Many calamities then fell upon the realms as the Dawning Age came to a close and gave way to a time of myth and legend. The Day of Magic reshaped the world and many became fatally addicted to the power that magic offered. As a result—fearing that their great race might fall to the warmongering and foolishness of sorcerers—the Dragons left the world entirely for safer pastures. The Mythical Age had become marked with as many horrors and crimes as it was by its heroes and legends. Then came the Third Age. The Seelie Age. In this time, the Fae invaded and enslaved the world, and were only defeated at the cost of tens of thousands as well as the entire Dwarven Race. In the midst of all this horror and pain, Yggomni the Father sent His Son, Lorraullion, the White Faun. He sacrificed His one true Son in order to save His fallen children from their sins and to begin the end of the tyrannical reign of the Fae, thus heralding the end of The Seelie Age.


Enter the Arcane Age.

In this Age, Enchantyon once again stands as a world teeming with wonder and adventure as Yggomni’s Living Light illuminates the darkest corners of all the realms from the very hearts of the mortals He saves. But this age is not without its perils. The Malifarr’s revenge against Yggomni has taken on a host of new forms, as well as reviving some old ones.


On the Continent of Tesardess, the Northern peoples of the imperial Jördlands fight against forgotten powers, raiders, elven persecution, and the unforgiving tundra itself. In the heart of the continent, the Free Border Dominions of Tesardess fight their own daily battles: they fight amongst themselves, against the last hosts of the Wolfplague, and the monstrous beasts and heathen tribes of the Greater Wilderness. They also must contend with the agents and champions of the Dark Province to the West and of the Eastern nation of Goblinstine across the Green Channel. And on the Southern end of Tesardess, there is an ancient threat stirring on Zano, the Forbidden Island of Sleepwalkers. In response, the Emperor of Octavia has rallied his best centurions and adventurers from across the Holy Dunes of his empire to bring the island’s secrets to light.


As heroes rise and fall in this tumultuous time, it falls upon the average citizens of the realms and Yggomni’s Holy Church to rise above the fray with courage and valour. Two qualities that the Tesardessians thankfully have in abundance.


*


“Despair has no home within our hearts, for we were not given spirits of fear.

From our hearts, like beacons, Living Light will flood this world.

Arise, my brothers! Arise, dear sisters!

To the Enemy, beware! Your annihilation is nigh!”

—An Enchantian Creed



***



In the heart of the Jördlands stands an ancient tree that towers over even the mountains. She is known by many titles: She is Aslauga, the World Tree of Tesardess. She is The Lady of the Jördlands, The Queen of Vinterlund Province, and The First Amongst the Continent’s Dryads.

For time immemorial, she has stood and grown alongside this world and its many peoples. In her realm of Vinterlund, little ever escapes her gaze. As a World Tree, her roots spread out throughout the entirety of the Continent of Tesardess, and some say that one day, they’ll encompass the entire world. But while this reach allows for her dryad form to manifest wherever she chooses, she is far from omniscient, nor is she omnipresent. And so she also relies on the strength of her warriors, the Wardens of the Grove, to help fend off anyone who dares to trespass on her lands.

But there is another reason for which she depends on her people as much as she does. For several centuries, a weakness had long since crept into the World Tree. Part of this was due to age—she was a creature who had withstood the test of time for several thousands of years. However, in the early days of the Seelie Age, the rebellion of the World Tree shattered the Faemother’s vision for the Jördlands, infuriating the Fae Overlords. Aslauga had been harbouring the poor souls—whom the Fae considered their own property—that had escaped them and was keeping the High Faeries out somehow with an anti-magic field around Vinterlund Province that negated their magic and made them easy to kill. Not to be outdone by a dryad, though, the High Faeries found some way to curse her, eventually. Not only did she feel the draining effect of their power immediately, but the High Faeries had sent a message confirming their scheming. Their taunt of a message had said that while their curse wouldn’t kill her immediately, it would eventually spell her end.

And the Fae were fine with that. They were patient. They were more than willing to wait.

When the High Faeries were eventually defeated by the Alliance of Usurpers, and the Arcane Age began, Aslauga had hoped that whatever magic had been draining her would have disappeared along with them. But that never happened, and so, over time, her life force continued to be drained by some mysterious High Faerie witchery. An affliction that was only made worse by the need for Aslauga to personally defend her realm from time to time…unless, of course, she could convince her newest chosen one of any era to take up the mantle of “champion”. And possibly for the first time, her current choice for the role refused to take it.



***



Mox Magnusson

Somewhere In The Jördlands




Autumn, 500 A. A.


“My teeth are too long…my hair is a mess, my fingernails are claws, and…and…what is that noise?!

Mox swung around as those who remained of their travelling party did their best to avoid the mess of a vampire that was too consumed with muttering to herself to be fully aware of what was going on around her. As best as Mox could tell, it was just before noon. Everyone was just building up camp, and the warmth of the sun felt distant to her.

“…My teeth are too long,” Mox muttered on. “…my teeth are too long, my stomach is nibbling at me, why are there…? Where did the sun go?”

Seemingly in the time that it took for Mox to walk around in another circle around the tree, the others had left her alone at as they had now finished setting up camp long ago, and were now making food. The sun had also disappeared behind a dark cloud and the snow was falling heavily by then. How much time had she just lost? Was it noon already? Afternoon? Evening?

ACK! My stomach! Ugh…my stomach hurts…my mouth hurts because my teeth are too long!”

Mox’s body had slowly disfigured due to not having enough blood to drink during their journey; her fangs, a few of her front teeth, and her whole upper jaw had grown to where she now had an overbite had her words slurred. Her fingers had reverted to their clawed state, clumps of her hair had fallen out, and now whenever she looked at one of the grey elves that were travelling with them, she could no longer see them as the family friends she had among them or as the former subjects that Mox and her family had back in the Dark Province. Instead, all she saw when she looked at them were walking masses of pulsing, beautiful, scrumptious-looking blood vessels.

My teeth are too long, my teeth are too long, my teeth are too long, my teeth are too—!

“Mox, snap out of it!”

Mox snapped back into focus again, and she was no longer even walking around the tree. Now she was sitting on a log next to one of the grey elves—her childhood friend, Eddie.

“What…Eddie?” said Mox. “What…when did you get here?” The sky was black now and a much lighter snowfall came from the dark clouds above them in the night sky.

“I’ve been here for a while now, Mox…”

Eddie placed a hand on the side of her savage-looking face, and a part of her greatly wished he hadn’t; although Elven blood wasn’t nearly as delicious as Human blood, his flesh itself still smelled wonderful. Too wonderful. In Mox’s mind, it was a cosmic crime that that delicious hand was attached to her best friend…

“You’re not doing to hot.” Said Eddie, stroking her hair.

Tears filled Mox’s eyes. “Do…do you hear that? There’s something walking out there in the dark. I can hear this strange rustling. And—and there’s this ringing sound too!”

“I didn’t hear anything…I’m sure it’s nothing, Mox.”

No, Eddie, it was definitely something. It was like…it was like someone stepped on a twig and snapped it.”

Eddie looked into the dark woods behind them and scanned them for a moment or two. “I still don’t see anything, Mox. It’s not like anything could hide from us when we have night-vision. Plus, if they are still hunting us, they wouldn’t be able to see or hear anything going on inside the barrier anyway.…I think it’s just your hunger talking.”

I AM NOT ON…” Mox sighed. “Fine…fine. I’ll let it go for now…”

A moment of silence passed between the red-haired vampire and her elf friend.

UGH! NO! How can they relax like this,” said Mox. “It’s only been a week since we last saw the Blood Knight’s army and that coffin they keep parading around, and everyone just acts like we’re a hundred per cent in the clear now! Setting up camp in the middle of nowhere? What’s wrong with everyone?!”

Eddie sighed. “Yeah…yeah I know. But cut them a little slack. This journey’s been rough for them—for all of us. They need some downtime to rest and eat. And so what if they play around a little too?”

“We should keep moving towards those villages.”

“We’ll keep moving when the daylight is out. It’ll be harder for the Blood Knight's armies to chase us then anyway, you know that. Mox, relax! Have you even eaten anything yet? Don’t lie to me. I can hear your stomach. Look, just take some of my blood, why don’t you?”

No. I’m fine.

“…Right. Well, I’m going to go grab something to eat myself then. Try to relax a little while I’m gone, alright?”

As he walked off to a spit set up over the campfire where some meat had been seasoned and cooked, Mox did her best to do as she was told and took a deep breath. She watched the women and children of their group laughing and playing in the snow. The men were laughing too as they sang their rowdy campfire songs, and while Mox and some of her siblings still hadn’t drunk blood yet, the rest of them were finally getting their first proper meal in what felt like a lifetime. Overall, she had to admit: the night had been a stark contrast to how their escape from the Dark Province had been thus far.

Like her eight siblings, Mox Magnusson had scarlet red hair and like all vampire pure-bloods, the silver eyes. They were all from a place called the Dark Province. The Magnussons and the rather large party they were travelling with—a group made up of a sub-race of elves called the “grey elves” whose men had antlers growing from their heads—were all hiding away in the tundra of the Jördlands because they were running away from their homeland, and the vampires who ruled it.

Originally they had fled on an antique flying ship of golden oak that had taken them across the North-West region of the Greater Wilderness, and across the Grand Abyss separating it from the frozen, Northern realm of Tesardess known as, The Jördlands. However, upon crossing the border into the North, their flying ship was struck from below by a ghastly fireball that sent them crashing into the snowy tundra below. A monstrous vampire knight had conjured it. One that the ruler of their homeland within the Dark Province—The King of Alvein, who was also Mox’s godfather—had sent after them. A vampire that their group now referred to simply as, The Blood Knight.

For what felt like eons afterwards, those who survived the crash had been running for their lives. Some went their own way, presumably finding shelter elsewhere—or at least Mox hoped so—and they lost others in the night, once separated from the group whenever the enemy was hot on their heels.

“Is this seat taken?” Without waiting for an answer, one of her two older brothers, Orn, sat down on the snowy log beside her. One look at his own disfigured face and body, and Mox knew he was clearly suffering from the same painful effects of blood-deprivation as her. “You starving yourself too?”

Before she could even answer, Mox’s stomach let loose a mutinous roar. “Yes…you should be eating, though. Just ask one of the Pendles for some blood.”

“Why don’t you do that, then?”

“Because I don’t want to drain them. They’ve been donating enough as it is. I love them, but they’re being way too nice about it…it should be fine if just you ask, though.”

Orn shook his head. “If you’re not eating, then neither am I.”

Mox glared at him for a moment, then looked back at the party going on in front of them and groaned loudly.

“…I don’t know how they can be so calm right now. I know the bubble they conjured up around us is supposed to make us invisible and completely silent to anyone on the outside…but I don’t know, Orn…I’ve just got this bad feeling in me. I feel like we’re being watched even now. I even thought someone was walking around just a few moments ago, but Eddie insisted I was just on edge because he didn’t see anything either.”

“He’s probably right, though, y’know.” Said Orn. “This journey of ours has been hard on all of us. And I’m willing to bet that you haven’t slept in a while either, have you?”

Mox didn’t answer.

“Uh-huh. That’s what I thought. Well, at any rate, try to enjoy tonight, alright? We’ve got a big day ahead of us. Mr. & Mrs. Pendle wants us to make our way to the big tree starting tomorrow.”

He had gestured toward the large, unmissable landmark that was towering over the land nearby: it was a tree—a massive tree that had black bark with glowing light blue veins and branches that towered so high above the surrounding mountains that the tree’s leaves seemed to mingle with the Northern Lights themselves.

Mr. Pendle had told them all beforehand that this particular tree was famous in Tesardess—he said that its name was, Aslauga, The World Tree, and that she was the centre of an independent province of the Jördlands known as, Vinterlund. It was Mr. Pendle’s hope that they could enter the province and enter a small town hoping to refill their supplies. A hope that was bolstered by some of their scouts, who spied a nearby community the other day. And seeing as none of the mages among them were practised in either the conjuration or transfiguration axioms of magic, that resupply in fresh food was more than welcome. Then maybe they could continue making their way further north in search of a land of endless sunlight. Or at least, that was the hope.

For at least a week by that point, they had not seen so much as a single one of the Blood Knight's thralls, and now their fortunes seemed to be getting even better with the prospect of nearby food and safety. And thus was the justification for a celebration of sorts; They enchanted the wind inside of their magical dome of protection to sound like music. Some children had enchanted their snowmen to play with them, and both Mox’s siblings and Eddie and his own siblings were laughing and dancing to the musical winds together.

Mox had to admit, it all looked like a grand time, and it made her wonder how things would be once they started meeting other people out here in the world beyond the Dark Province. How common was it for the average Tesardessian to encounter a vampire? Would they marvel at their strength and speed? They would surely have questions about their need to consume blood, but Mox already had a plan for that; when they originally needed an abnormal amount of blood from the people of the village that her parents were lord and lady of, they relied on blood donations from the public to get by…or at least they did initially. And when no one could—or was willing to—donate, animal blood would suffice for a time.

This time would be different, though. Mox was determined not to let what happened right under her nose back home repeat itself beyond the borders of the Dark Province. She wanted to ensure that her new relationship with anyone from the rest of the continent started off on the right foot. The villages on the road ahead held no promise of donations of blood from either the humans or elves, or any other race they might encounter, but she was determined to preserve her integrity and find an alternative means of survival if it came to that. One that didn’t involve kidnapping or forcing herself upon them. She was better than that—they all were…they had to be.

However, even with a positive mindset, her enjoyment was hindered by the prickling sensation on her skin and the hairs on her neck standing upright. Thus, no matter how hard she tried, she just couldn’t stop herself from looking over her shoulder from time to time.

“You should have listened to me.”

Mox whirled back around to where Orn was sitting only moments ago. In his place now sat a woman, her face concealed by a wooden mask carved in the shape of a smiling cat. Her skin, reminiscent of a ghostly apparition, seemed to be intertwined with the stars, shimmering with a celestial glow. It was as if someone had taken the essence of a human and the brilliance of a constellation, and combined them flawlessly. The High Muse of Dreams was just sitting there beside Mox, gazing into the bonfire.

“Muddles!” Mox tried her best to keep her voice down, despite her alarm. “Look…I don’t need your badgering right now—”

“By venturing this close to the World Tree, you have not only risked placing your entire travelling party in the eyesight of your pursuers, but by planning to actually venture into Vinterlund Province, you will find quickly that the people of this land are far more hostile than you—”

“Muddles, stop it! Enough!” Mox hissed at her. For about a week, the muse who had been warning her against letting her family lead their group into the area after having just lost the Blood Knight’s forces for the past week had plagued Mox. “I mean…ugh, you’re right. We shouldn’t be partying right now—I tried to warn them about that! We should be moving still…but we need to go into Vinterlund. We’re tired! I’m tired! We need food and supplies, and there’s nothing else for us out here! And I already told you before, if you’re not going to just give us what we need, then we don’t need your help or the Faun’s! I'm going to try and get this party wrapped up soon, but we’re still going to Vinterlund. We’ll be fine!

“Excuse me, everyone!” came someone’s voice close to the fire. “Attention, Everyone! A moment of your time, please! Thank you.”

And just like that, Muddles was gone, nowhere to be found. She looked back beside herself and found that Orn was once again sitting right next to her in the muse’s place.

The call for quiet had come from Mr. Pendle himself—a grey elf with a rather large pair of antlers—and standing at his side by the campfire was his wife, Mrs. Pendle. Both of them had great big smiles on their faces, each had an arm wrapped around the other, and their hair was lightly frosted with snow, like a pair of frosted deserts—and it was on that note that Mox, resolved that as soon as they were finished whatever they were about to say, she would see about finding something to eat after all. She did, however, feel more at ease, as it may now be easier to wind the party down, if Mr. Pendle was already planning on giving a speech to close out the night as she suspected he was about to.

“Well, everyone! It’s been quite a journey, hasn’t it? While it pains me that not everyone who left with us to come this far actually made it this far, I must say that I—”

A long, black arrow whistled through the air, whizzed between Mox and Orn, and buried itself deep into Mr. Pendle’s heart.

Before his body had time to fall to the ground—before anyone even had time to react—another arrow flew and buried itself into Mrs. Pendle’s forehead. And then finally, as the two bodies fell to the ground in each other’s arms, their children—Eddie and his siblings—let out terrible, blood-curdling screams and shouts.

The whole campsite erupted in panic, and everyone bolted in every direction as men clothed in black rushed into the campfire light and began grabbing whoever they could get their hands on.

DON’T KILL THEM!” someone roared from the shadows. “How are we supposed to drain them to collect their blood if you idiots spill it all over the snow?! Grab them, tie them down, and toss them onto the wagons!”

The next several minutes were a blur to Mox, as the entire scene quickly became one of chaos; almost everyone ran for their lives in just about every direction. The only exceptions to this were Mox and her siblings—who were failing to organize the few fighters amongst them into something remotely resembling a battle formation, and the poor Pendles, who were all huddled on the ground around the bodies of their murdered parents.

Mox tried to shove and fight through everyone on her way to get to Eddie, but then something hit her hard on the side of the head, and she went tumbling down into the snow.

When she came to again, Mox slowly realized that she was being dragged by two people. Their voices were muffled so she couldn’t hear what they were saying, but she could make out who they were. Both Eddie and Orn had placed one of her arms over their shoulders and were running as fast as they could toward the World Tree without dropping her.

“Knight…World Tree…Just keep moving!” The voice of her other older brother—Halldor—was coming from somewhere nearby, but like everyone else, it was muffled and fading in and out.

Finally, they were all violently shoved off of their feet and into the snow by some unseen force. It didn’t take long for Mox to figure out who was responsible for that attack, though.

Out from the shadows and into the clearing they had stumbled into came a swarm of thralls, a vampire driving a wagon with a coffin on it, and leading them all was a vampire in crimson armour that was adorned in bat-themed motifs—like the bat wings on the helmet.

“Lords and Ladies Magnussons!” said the Blood Knight. “How much further must I chase you? How much longer until you realize that there’s nowhere you can run that we won’t find you? Your elf pets cannot help you! So what’s it going to be, Magnussons? Will you finally, at last, come home willingly? Or will you drag this out until it things reach their inevitable conclusion?”

Mox turned to look at both of her older brothers and felt a sense of pride as they rose to their feet and stood in front of her. Their instructions—something about staying behind them, along with something else—reached her ears, but her confused mind couldn’t fully grasp their full meaning. Instead of standing up, Mox settled on the ground, finding support against a large rock at the other end of the clearing. With a deep breath, she sensed the thunderous footsteps of the rushing army resonating through the ground and braced herself for the imminent chaos, hoping beyond hope that more of their people from the campsite had survived.

2 de Enero de 2024 a las 05:16 2 Reporte Insertar Seguir historia
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Leer el siguiente capítulo Chapter One: The Dryad Queen

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Jogos 2 gos 2 Jogos 2 gos 2
Oiii,estou prestes a ler o seu livro.Com serteza vc faz otimos trabalhos.
March 09, 2024, 09:55

  • Lucas Brown Lucas Brown
    Thanks for the comment and for reading! Hope you enjoy it! March 09, 2024, 10:02
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