Here’s the first two chapters of an in-progress story I’m working on. (There’s so many of those!)
RISE OF THE ELEMENTS
The pond soothed my feet. The vines curled around me, hugging me. Everything was perfect here- far away from my house, far away from Lila. Or so I thought.
Interrupting my dream-like fantasy, a blonde girl with long braid rushed through my paradies, disrupting the nature’s balance.
“Oh Emi!” She sing-songed, plopping down next to me. “Guess what Mom found?”
Her mother, Loretta, was just about my least favorite person in the world. Lila was my second least favorite person- like mother, like daughter.
“Aunt Amberly’s hair pin!” she said with a smirk. I stiffened. Aunt Amberly- that was my mother. And anything that belonged to her shouldn’t be touched by Loretta or Lila!
“Where is it?” I demanded. “It’s mine!” Oh no she wouldn’t ruin anything of Mother’s- no!
She showed me her braid. In it, braided in, was a small, beautiful clip. A dark red, set with even darker stones. Gold outlined the edges of it. I couldn’t believe it was in Lila’s hair- Lila!
“It’s mine. Mom said I could have it!” She got up smoothed her skirt and pranced away. I doubted she’d even be able to find her way back.
Burying my face in my knees, I tried not to explode. I should have expected this. Mother’s gone- so Loretta takes anything that she owned that was worth anything. Thankfully, I already salvaged as much as Mother would want me to have. Which was really not a lot.
Mother was always such a modest person- although she managed to be beautiful all the same. Loretta tried so hard to be beautiful. She never was better than my mother, and she never will be.
Loretta always had a thing for my father. Even though her deceased husband, Maven, was best friends with my father, Mathias- she always had some infatuation with my dad.
As soon as my mother passed away, Loretta and Lila came to live with us. It was a nightmare. After they came, I tried to escape from the house as much as I could. No longer could I call the building home- it was nothing more than a building.
My father, who had always loved me, and I had always loved, suddenly started loving Lila so much. So much more. He bought her gifts, brought her everything that she would want, as an attempt to have her be in line with his relationship with Loretta.
He needn’t have worried- Lila didn’t miss her father one bit- she adored my father. Of course, they weren’t related- yet, but she called him ‘Dad’. I hated it. She called Mother as Aunt Amberly, although she wasn’t related to Lila either. Both Loretta and Lila were slowly seeping into my life, taking over.
It was common knowledge that Father and Loretta were going to be married. Common knowledge that I conveniently tried to forget. The only place I could escape to was my backyard. The calm, beautiful backyard of my house was the only place that hadn’t been tampered. I absolutely refused to let Loretta ruin it- she wanted to make it a pool!
When Father had begged me to reconsider, I flat out threw a tantrum. It ended with everyone disgusted in me, but I didn’t care. They anyway didn’t care for me.
My backyard was like a jungle. Vines and trees and bushes and so, so, so much green! In the middle of the beauty was a pond. The pond was home to so many animals, many of which I had named. The frogs, the turtles, the birds- even the insects.
This place was my home.
I knew I couldn’t stay there forever, so I left, trying not to be seen by anyone. Especially Father. Father was so eager to make me friends with Lila that he didn’t notice my absolute hatred of everything that was changing in my world- even him. However, when I snuck in the house, Father caught sight of me and beckoned me over to him.
“Ember! Come, come! Sit down!” He urged me into a chair, but I stood stiffly.
“What?” I bluntly asked. I didn’t care anymore. He looked offended, but I didn’t care at all. He deserved it! I couldn’t call him Dad anymore- now he was just Father.
“How about you go to Lila! She needs some company-” He began.
No way. Nuh-uh! I needed an excuse… and then it came to me on a silver platter! Thank you, thank you, excuses!
“Wait!” I interrupted. “I, uh, have to go to someone’s house. Home.” A home- which I didn’t have anymore.
“Who?” My father inquired. I could tell that he wanted to redeem himself in my eyes by ‘being involved in my life’. Or I thought so, at least.
“Sady!” I said quickly. “She’s expecting me. Got to go!” I sped out of the room and out of the house. I wasn’t going to Sady’s house- but I knew I couldn’t be in the backyard.
I raced past our house, past the backyard, past the street- and to an area which I hadn’t ever explored. There was a hill. I ran down the giant green mound. On the other side was a tall, rock wall that was orange, earthy, and wonderful. It felt perfect under my hands.
I sank to the ground under it. And then it happened.
The wall seemed to open behind me and suck me in. Suddenly it closed- and I was in a chamber of sorts, although it was pitch black. I groped around, trying to find a doorknob. If I had fell in, there had to be a way out. I circulated myself around the entire area, and at last my hand closed around a knob. I gasped in effort and pulled out the almost-stuck knob.
I didn’t go out- I went further into the depths of this eerie place. This time there was a long hallway, dimly lit with lanterns. At the end there was a metal-looking door.
I ran to it and banged on it. There was no knob.
“Hello! Help! Help!” I shouted into the emptiness. Noticing a medium sized metal panel on the walls, I stuck my hand onto it, left with nothing else to do. And I fell onto my back, gaping, as a panel from the ceiling disappeared and three figures dropped down, emerging.
I was lifted from the floor by a kind-looking woman. She smiled at me and stepped back. There was a burly, heavy-set big man who had a permanent scowl etched on. But both of them were looking towards the final man. He was the smallest of the threesome, although he carried himself about with a royal sort of air. I could tell immediately that he was their leader.
This man had several golden beaded necklaces and bracelets strung around him. He wore coarse, colorful cloth on various body parts with a sash hanging from his shoulder to his hip.
“Hello, young girl,” He spoke. His voice was deep and soothing. “I am Chief Benzon. This is Niakalya-” He gestured to the woman, “And this is Remo.” The tough guy continued glaring at me. I shrunk back, tentative.
“Who are you?” I whispered. I realized that he had just introduced himself and quickly corrected myself. “I mean-”
“No worries!” Chief Benzon said again. He peered at me under heavily painted dark eyes. His entire face had war paint on it- black and red, blue and green. His eyelashes were long and slightly exaggerated. “We will explain everything in due time. Follow me.” He turned and set a hand on the unopening door, then set another hand on the metal panel next to it. The door opened, leaving me with my jaw on the floor.
How did he do that?
The two others followed him, but I was left unsure. I didn’t know these people at all- but they were also my only way out of this hellish place. Stranger danger- but that versus staying out here without anyone, anything, or anywhere to go? Definitely inside.
I followed them.
This room was much bigger, brighter, and better. A few others were inside, but several of them hurried out just as we walked in. Chief Benzon settled in a bejewelled throne-like cushion, and I hastened to sit in another cushion. He faced me.
“If I am right, I believe you are Ember, Daughter of Amberly?” He inquired.
Woah. Little steps, buddy. He knows my name, and my mother- and why did he just address me as “Amberly’s Daughter”?
“Do not worry. We will not hurt you,” He said with a smile. “Please hear us out.” I like that he was using the word ‘we’. Although he was the Chief, Benzon was including his comrades in his ruling.
“I am the chief of The Lost Island of Ash.” He softly said.
He just literally dropped a bombshell on me. The Lost Island of Ash? Ash Island? According to folklore, Ash Island had submerged because of a volcano- over five hundred years ago! Was this man playing a joke on me? I stared at him.
“No, I am not kidding. Ash Island did disappear over five hundred years ago. But not entirely. The volcano erupted and our land sunk. However, we managed to keep ourselves alive. You might know that Ash Island wasn’t moored to the core and the crust of our planet. We managed to direct the elements and protect our island from the lava. But the rest of your world doesn’t known that.
“We have magic. Directors can shape and mold a particular material to do their bidding. For example, Niakalya here-” She stood up and took a lantern off of the walls. Her hand closed and opened. The fire inside disappeared and reappeared. I gasped.
“Yes. And Remo-” Remo stood up. With a stomp, the earth under him cracked and mended. Once more, I gasped.
Chief Benzon smiled. “This is Valker,” he said, nodding to a man with long, blonde hair. “He can sense vibrations and tell when people are lying. He’s a Vibrater.” Valker nodded at me.
“As you can see, we have so many powers and elements in our hands. All of this time, the Ash civilization has been kept undercover for a reason. Imagine what the world would do if they found out about this! No one else knows about it.” Chief Benzon said earnestly.
I could tell that he didn’t want me to tell anyone. Ash Island was real- but had to be kept under covers. But there was still one question that he hadn’t answered.
“Why am I here?” I asked.
Chief Benzon exchanged grim glances with Niakalya. “That will be told to you in a short amount of time. However, right now we must give you a place to stay. Tomorrow will be very eventful.” He put an emphasis on ‘very’. I didn’t know whether to be scared or not.
The next morning, I awoke in a modern-looking room. White, clean walls. Polished furniture. Elegant wall art. Silver bedspreads.
For a moment, I was horrified. Where was I? Then I remembered the previous day’s events and relaxed. Remo and Niakalya had led me to these quarters directly- through the walls! Of course, Remo was an Earth Director, so he could change the walls to his liking. They both left after letting me get settled.
I looked around.
Because I had come through the walls, not the door, I didn’t know which way to go if I wanted to leave. Although these quarters were nice- it had a bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchen filled with food- I did want to explore.
I found the door and pushed it open, only to meet with a surprise.
It didn’t lead outside, which I had foolishly expected. After all, there were no windows! Instead, the door opened to a large, large, HUGE room. It was a stylish gray, with a beautiful fountain in the middle, spewing crystal blue water.There were at least fifty doors including mine, meaning that this room was huge. HUGE.
I dipped my fingers in the cool water and strode out of the room, out into nature. My first thought was: How is this place so beautiful?
The nature was absolutely stunning; everything seemed to be enhanced compared to where I lived- even the pond couldn’t compare to this place! The foliage was vivid and vibrant, ripe with fruit and flowers. Noises of wild animals and murmurs of humans invited me.
I didn’t want to go, though- not yet. So I climbed up a tree and hung onto the branches. It was like second nature to me, so I didn’t know why someone had suddenly yelped at the sight of me.
I looked behind me and saw a girl who was about my age; fourteen or fifteen. She had thick, curly black hair and dark skin. Her eyes were a hazel brown that shone with shock and confusion at the sight of me: a redhead who stood out against the green and brown of nature.
“Hello,” I said, scurrying down the tree and brushing off my pants. “Sorry if I scared you.”
She stared at me and finally held out a hand. “Rahone Massin, but you can call me Rahi. Water director. Are you new or something? I’ve never seen you around.”
I cleared my thought self-consciously and mumbled, “Ember Darya Alizeh Ivani Nihma. I’m… new around here, yes. But actually, I’ve never been here before. I’m from the mainland.”
As soon as I said that, Rahi gasped. “The mainland? You mean that you aren’t from Ash Island?
I just nodded. “I’ve lived there all my life. Yesterday I stumbled across a secret passage and your chief and some others brought me here. I don’t know why they allowed me here. Isn’t Ash Island not supposed to be opened to strangers?”
She looked at me for a while before saying, “I bet they’ll tell you. There’s a legend- but I probably shouldn’t say it now. They’ll tell you. I have to go, so see you later.”
Before I could call out for her, Rahone Massin was gone.
Ok, that’s it for now. See ya later, but first:
MERRY (belated) CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Have a GREAT holiday season!
P.S. That’s bye in German!