Rise of Shadows

So here is the Rise of Shadows story as far as it has been posted.

Uhtred was a tall lad with broad shoulders, eyes as green as emeralds, and long hair as brown as the earth that we live on. He lived in the port of Stromberg in the land of Gorlan. He was bored of doing the same old thing day in day out every day for the past ten years of the twenty that the fates had been weaving his threads into the tapestry of life; get up, get washed, get dressed, go to the ship yard, help build a ship or two, go home, eat dinner, go to bed, again and again every day of his life. Then one day he heard a man shouting offerings of a voyage to an island where adventure was certain and a large chance of becoming rich, richer than the richest man in Stromberg nay richer than the gods. Upon hearing the man Uhtred dropped his tools, ran home, picked up his old rusty falchion, his battered buckler shield, his old helm with its nasal guard that was too small, his bow and a quiver of arrows, a purse of coins with about five silver picas in, money he had been saving since he started working and a few other things.

When he arrived back at the docks the man was still there. Uhtred wandered up to him and asked “Were you the man offering adventure and riches?”

          “Aye mate an’ I can promise ye the adventure but not the money. It be ten copper picas to join the trip both ways an’ any thin’ ye find ye keep. What be ye name lad?” was the sailors reply.

          “My name is Uhtred. And yours good sir?”

          “Alfred be me name. I’m sure we’ll be blessed by the fates with ye bein’ on this ‘ere trip.” After this exchange they shook hands, Uhtred handed the ten copper picas over and they boarded the boat.

There were about twenty men aboard including Uhtred. All of them big strong men, all equipped with at least a dagger and a leather jacket. Uhtred was the best equipped person onboard except one. This one man had full plate armour and a brand new wyax, a big double-headed axe made for cutting through a man’s skull in one life ending stroke.

The journey was uneventful. Uhtred spent his time making friends with Adamaska, the man with the plate armour and wyax. It turned out he used to be a lord in lands far north and east of Gorlan, a land of ice and snow called Niflheim. In Niflheim he had been robbed and stripped of his lordship. He had embarked on this adventure to regain his lost riches and to find those who had robbed him and to take his revenge. The last of his money he informed Uhtred was spent on his armour and his wyax. Uhtred was outraged “That ain’t fair!” was his exclaimed reply to this information.

          “Aye and nor is life Uhtred. But as the Ancient Tongue proclaims on the twin alters of life and death ‘Wyrd bið ful ãræd.’”

          “What?”

          “‘Wyrd bið ful ãræd.’ It means Uhtred that fate is inexorable.”

Then, after about a month at sea, land came into sight. “It be Deorc Ealond cap’n” shouted the man on watch.

          “We’ll be there in ’bout an hour lads. So get your stuff ready an’ we’ll soon be off this damned boat” bellowed the captain. Suddenly a great shock-wave hit the boat which almost sank it. Then just when the last sigh of relief had been sighed a tidal wave hit the boat and sank it. Everyone fell into the sea and the boat was obliterated.

When he woke up Uhtred was on a beach, his falchion had shattered on a rock, and the shards were now spread across the beach. In anger and frustration Uhtred threw the remnants of the falchion as far as he could across the beach. His bow had snapped and his arrows lost to the sea. Only his hunting knife and shield were intact.

          “Brilliant” Uhtred shouted to no-one in particular “Now what do I fight with!?” As Uhtred said this, a big burly man, only dressed in ripped shorts carrying a hand-and-a-half sword, screaming his head off in a berserk rage, charged at Uhtred. Uhtred quickly pulled his shield over him. Moments later he felt the bone shuddering slam of sword on shield. His enemy off balance, Uhtred sprang up and smashed the rim of his shield into his adversary’s face. His shield arm numb and the insane anger in the berserker intensified by the blood pouring from his nose made Uhtred sadly aware he could not last long. Then suddenly Uhtred’s foe dropped to the floor. Dead. Blood was gushing from a wound in his neck. Behind his corpse stood a wolf.

          “N-n-n-nice m-mr w-wolf p-p-please d-don’t e-eat m-m-m-me,” was all Uhtred could stammer through his blood-freezing fear.

          “Please, Mr Wolf was my father, until he mysteriously vanished. Call me Beowulf. And Uhtred if I was going to eat you then you would be dead by now and man flesh tastes rancid. And the least you could do is thank me for killing him,” the wolf, Beowulf, said calmly as if talking to people on the edge of a mental breakdown was a normal part of the day.

          “S-sorry about that and thank you for killing him. Anyway how can a common wolf like you speak the language of men?” Uhtred questioned, gaining confidence with every word.

          “How dare you call ME a common wolf!?” Beowulf snarled, his eyes sparking red with rage, “I am no wolf, I am a wulf, a familiar, a familiar the gods decided to ordain to you. But if you plan on treating me with such scorn then I will eat you, no matter how rancid you taste! And for your information the language we speak is nothing but the common tongue used by all to speak to other races.”

          “I’m so sorry Beowulf, it won’t happen again.” After this little discussion Uhtred took the dead man’s sword. It was perfectly balanced and brand new; its pommel was made of a strange stone resembling a ruby. Uhtred and Beowulf ran off the beach and cautiously entered the forest

After walking for a couple of hours they stumbled across a clearing with a pool in the middle. A voice called to them “Stranger this clearing is sacred to and owned by Aksmada, the Lord of this island, king of the necromancers and master of the elements. The payment for entering this place is your life. If you put up a fight I have a hundred well trained men and you are one.”

          “How come they cannot see you Beowulf? Are they blind?” Uhtred asked Beowulf quietly.

          “Because Uhtred I have no wish of showing myself to such ignorant people. Now tell them you may be one but you can call up a powerful spirit in the form of a wulf. Then fight.” Uhtred did as he was told and when he said about the wulf spirit the men laughed and called out insults to Uhtred, telling him that he was no mage let alone one powerful enough to call up a wulf spirit. Uhtred cursed the first man with the worst curse he could think of, shouting out “Erif snam!” The man instantly burst into flames burning in seconds. Uhtred then strapped on his shield and drew his hand-and-a-half sword. The next man to fall was torn apart by Beowulf, who was now visible to Uhtred’s enemies. Then Uhtred decapitated another. It carried on like this for well over an hour but then there were no foes left. It was dark by the time they had finished their gory work and checked the corpses for anything valuable. Uhtred found a new shield, another buckler, and around twenty gold picas.

Suddenly a voice said from all around Uhtred but at the same time from nowhere “Well done to you man-of-fire and wulf-of-water,” at this Uhtred brandished his sword in front of him. “There is no need for that man of fire but just in case you try to hurt me with that sword ‘drows flah-a-dna-dnah em ot emoc,‘” at this Uhtred’s sword flew from his hand and into the shadows. “Now will you please listen to me man-of-fire and wulf-of-water? I am Scedu, shadow mage of the shadow race, the Scedugenga and therefore Scedugenga-of-shadows. I congratulate you and offer my services. I have no true form so cannot show myself to you but I can change to any form that you wish.”

          “Careful with your decision boy, Scedugenga or shadow walkers are a tricky race to be certain of their loyalty” Beowulf whispered

          “Yes wulf I know that from the old legends but we need all the help we can get. Lord Scedu we shall be honoured if you join us.” And that night they slept in the forest under Scedu’s protection.

The next day they headed west. According to Scedu they needed to find an elf of air and a wizard of light and sadly a dwarf of earth so the tyranny of Aksmada could be ended.

So they were going far to the west, to Gomrath, the city made from the living trees by elves and then north to Brisingamen, the palace of light, the home of the wizards, and finally north east to Bebbanburg the diamond citadel of the dwarven folk in the mountains of Beorg. The territory they would pass through was a land of thieves and outlaws, so even Beowulf was slightly pleased of the company of Scedu.

Half way to Gomrath the way was barred by a group of crazy outlaws. Just as Uhtred and Beowulf were about to attack Scedu said “Stop, let me prove my worth.” Uhtred and Beowulf obeyed. Scedu whispered “Udecs sagnegudecs” As the words came out of his mouth shadows seemed to rise around the outlaws. After a minute or so the shadows fell to the ground and nothing was there.

          “How did you do that and where are those outlaws?” Uhtred gasped.

          “The shadows have swallowed the men and I did it by saying shadow walkers shadow in the elemental tongue like when you burnt the man with ‘Erif snam’ or mans fire in the common tongue or for you Beowulf by saying ‘Retaw sfluw’ or wulf water in the common tongue. Only your element will obey you but no others, now a mage can do other things by saying what he or she wants in the elemental tongue like when I took your hand-and-a-half sword in the woods Uhtred. You might have heard of this manipulation of the elements and other things being called magyk for that is what these things are. Uhtred make a fire with magyk and Beowulf put water into this pot, also with magyk.”

          After practicing every meal in the same way both Uhtred and Beowulf were good at manipulating their own element to do their bidding.

The rest of the journey to Gomrath was uneventful. When they arrived at the tree city they had to, violently, persuade the guards to take them to Ænlic, the elf Scedu reckoned had power over air.

          When they arrived Scedu announced them to Ænlic by saying “Ænlic, lady elf-of-air, may I present Uhtred, man-of-fire, Beowulf, wulf-of-water and myself Scedu, shadow mage of the shadow race, the Scedugenga and therefore scedugenga-of-shadows.”

          “I thank you Lord Scedu for your grand speech and ask what service a humble elf such as myself can be to you?” Her voice was the purest music that ever was; her skin was like the finest silk and her movements fluid as water. To Uhtred she was perfect, the most beautiful thing that he had ever seen and he fell instantly and helplessly in love with her.

          “My lady, as I am sure you have guessed, I know you are an elf-of-air and we are trying to overthrow the tyranny of Aksamada and need to join the six elements, we have a man-of-fire, a wulf-of-water and a scedugenga-of-shadow, so we need you an elf-of-air, a wizard-of-light and sadly a dwarf-of-earth, how repulsive the little beasts are, to accomplish our quest.”

          “I shall join you Lord Scedu even is one of the hwon-esne, the little-people, has to come along, for I am also sick to death with Aksamada’s tyranny. I did know I was a manipulator of air and my trigger is ‘Ria sevle‘.” With this a potted plant was blasted off the windowsill.

The road to Brisingamen was a long and perilous one but also one that had to be taken so Scedu transformed into an eight-legged horse, told Uhtred and Ænlic to hop on and rode like the north wind, towards Brisingamen he rode with Beowulf pacing him with every step.

When they were near Brisingamen, a blur flew towards Uhtred and Ænlic. Uhtred felt a blast of air smelling like old blood and rotting flesh, he turned around to check on Ænlic but she was not there.

          “Stop!” Uhtred shouted.

          “What?” questioned the horse-shaped Scedu.

          “Stop he said and I agree. I can smell vukodlak.” growled Beowulf.

          “What a nosferatu, a vampire? But they are only legends!” Uhtred said.

          “Nosferatu, yes. Vampire, no. This is far worse than a vampire; this is a vampyre, an elfin vampire. Vampyr are stronger, quicker and cleverer than a normal vampire. Also they are immune to sunlight and can manipulate blood but still need to bite their victims. And I bet you used to think that scedugenga were legends but they’re not and neither are vampires or vampyr.” was Scedu’s reply to this.

          “Just turn round and help her Scedu” Uhtred said exaperatly. He could not be bothered with this anymore.

          “Doolb sutarefson” The vampyre whispered at a pair of holes in Ænlic’s throat and two small jets of blood started to float out of the puncture marks. Before any could get to the vampyre’s open mouth Ænlic uttered

Ria sevle” At this utterance the vampyre was blasted away and the blood went back into her open neck as his magyk was severed. As the vile beast was about to speak Scedu said

          “Evom ton od, ecnelis” the vampyre froze, as if paralyzed. Scedu told Uhtred to burn it so Uhtred muttered “Erif snam” And the vampyre was consumed by the ravenous flames and not even ashes remained of it. After bandaging Ænlic’s wounded neck they carried on swiftly.

On arriving at the wizards’ palace of Brisingamen the party was stopped by a wizard guard.

          “What does a mage of shadows want in a palace of light mages?” the guard challenged.

          “We seek Cadellin wizard-of-light. Is he here?” was Scedu’s reply

          “Maybe he is. Maybe he is not. Maybe the dew falls. Maybe the dew grows. But a magpie does fly by, one for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy. Maybe he is.”

          “Speak plainly wizard or speak not at all!” growled an annoyed Beowulf

          “Ok master familiar. Unfortunately Cadellin is here and so is his damned magpie. Shall I show you to him?” replied the wizard seemingly protecting his throat with his hands.

Cadellin’s room was sparsely furnished, a few oak chairs, a birch table, a willow bed, a maple staff holder and an ash bird perch with the largest and most beautiful magpie you have ever seen perched on it. The magpie had tail feathers the length of your arm, the black feathers blacker than pitch but the white ones whiter than snow. The most enthralling part of the bird were its eyes, they seemed deeper than the sea and more intelligent than those of any man. Cadellin looked almost the same as the bird, only the magpie feathers he had were sewn on a cloak, not real like those of the bird. His eyes had the same drowning property as the birds. If you looked into those eyes for too long you could fall into them and not climb back out.

          “And what can I do for a young man-of-fire, a strong wulf-of-water, a beautiful elf-of-air and you Scedu, shadow mage of the shadow race, the Scedugenga and scedugenga-of-shadows? No wait let me guess, you want me to come with you collect a dwarf-of-earth along the way to Ymir to stop Aksamada’s tyranny. Am I right?”

          “Yes Cadellin correct as usual. So what do you say yay or nay?” Scedu said in a voice filled with scorn.

          “Yay whole heartedly and Dryw my magpie familiar shall come also. Won’t you Dryw?” Cadellin exclaimed

          “Wyrd bið ful ãræd,” was Dryw’s reply. Wyrd bið ful ãræd now where have I heard that before? Uhtred pondered.

On leaving Brisingamen the strange company headed north east to the mountains of Beorg and the dwarven citadels buried deep within the rock of which Bebbanburg was the capital.

After a couple of days the road was blocked by a land slide. Atop of the boulders was a group of svarts, small black humanoid creatures with skin like leather, a hatred of light and only greed and hate for emotions.

          “Svarts move or feel the consequences!” Cadellin bellowed.

          “Him kill, wizard stupid, all knows he like us to talks.”

          “O.k. you asked for it.” Then Cadellin mumbled “thgil sdraziw” A blinding flash of light came from the center of the svarts and then only the boulders remained

          “I will take care of this,” said Beowulf “retaw sfluw” with the incantations power a great mass of water came and washed the boulders away.

When they were in a copse of trees at the bottom of the Beorg they heard a gruff, gravelly voice call out “It be a strange party made of a human, a wulf, a wizard, a scedugenga and an elf.” The last two the voice spat with contempt. “What be yer business ’round ‘ere?”

          “Show yourself dwarf or I shall hunt you and make your entrails my dinner.” Beowulf snarled.

          “Aye an’ if ye tried that I’d make yer entrails yer extrails master wulf. But I’ll show meself anyhow.” and with this a dwarf, tall for his species, with a long plaited beard and long plaited hair, all chestnut brown, carrying a big two sided battle axe jumped out of the undergrowth in full chainmail.

          “Master dwarf-of-earth and wielder of ‘htrae sevrawd’ we greet you and agree that we are a strange party but these are strange times. We came this way to find the dwarf-of-earth and wielder of ‘htrae sevrawd’ being yourself so we could overthrow the tyranny of Aksamada. Will you join us and fight for good or not?” Cadellin answered

          “Wizard if I declined and let the fate of this island be in the hands of an elf and a scedugenga then I would be a disgrace to my family and clan and aye I can wield ‘htrae sevrawd‘.”

          “My name is Cadellin master dwarf the man is Uhtred, the wulf is Beowulf, the elf is Ænlic and the scedugenga is called Scedu. What is your name master dwarf?”

          “My name master wizard is Gungnir.” was Gungnir’s reply.

And so the elementals were gathered and they went to stop the tyranny of Aksamada. Little did they know they would have to stop his plot to take over the whole world and enslave its peoples. And so the shadows rise and grow in Ymir, at the worlds end.

Hope you enjoy, please feel free to comment.

The Lonely Recluse.

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2 Responses to “Rise of Shadows”

  1. really enjoyed this il be back to read more if thats ok xxjen

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