Critique logo

Wanderer & The Owlves

Book Two of the wanderer cycle

By Isaac LawrencePublished 10 months ago Updated 9 months ago 9 min read
Like

THE WANDERER AND THE OWLVES

BOOK TWO OF THE WANDERER SERIES

Chapter One: Heritage

A time before time

A history written by Feally Eocheach

Owlven sorcerers strained, hands outstretched, guiding their magick towards the aberration, focus on their faces.

Owlven eyes wide.

Their efforts combined with the other Bestial mages and the stirring of the great Ephemera. Foes to Infernus, and its children since time immemorial, since the time of the great reptilian scourge.

The powers of consumption they fought were a firestorm of need and savage desire. A Daemon broke through the circle and sought to consume one of its implacable enemies. The swinging sword of an owlven warrior met it. Not one Daemon could breach the circle!

The Owlves held firm, as the combined magick of the Source’s children: the beasts of Aquis, the Ephemera of Tempestus, and the giant stone wall of Terran power.

At a crawl, they forcibly fought the daemons back in to the Infernus, yet many fell. The stone wall scourged, bestial mages broken by the strain that the magick caused, and many of the great ephemera burned away.

Determinedly, the flames of Infernus extinguished, sealing its daemonic children away.

Stomping it out as a boot on a fire, yet as the embers flew up, sparks spread. Seeds you might say of the great infernal forest.

One fell on a small band of brutish humanoids, that the humans would refer to as Neanderthal in the future. It opened their eyes to a heightened sense of comprehension, for it bore the spark of Infernus and the leavings of the magick used to put it away from the world.

These new humanoids would be called the Birthright, by the bestials. The name would stick.

Other sparks fell on the reptilians of old, to form the dragons. Others fell all over the world, remnants of the great infernal power.

The Bestials took the members of the first birthright and spread them around the world, and the Owlves took the birthright that was to be called.

Pendragon.

xxx

I strode into a dusty chamber and through the ephemeric passage; it remained as a kaleidoscope of colours for mere moments.

This place had not seen a guest for centuries, preserved somehow through the ages. Earthy smells stuffed into my nose, the dust laden air causing me to cough. A shaft set in the ceiling allowed the escape of dust and the entry of a shaft of light which fell into the centre of the chamber.

The light shone upon a knight laying interred in armour on a cold marble altar.

I moved forward into the room under the skylight, stopping to assess the reclined figure. A blazoned breast-piece had an etching in intricate detail; a stag with magnificent antlers, surrounded by cloud carvings flowing around them. The stag gazed out with an insubordinate look and an upraised hoof, standing proud, against ... what?

It was unclear, but it was obvious from a rent in the knight’s simple helmet that this armour had seen many battles. Placing my fingers against metal, I sent out feelers to gauge its strength and type.

Tin, a weak metal that had reinforcement with an iron inlay to give it resilience. There was something more in this room. I circled the room, and as I did, sconces in the walls lit, somehow sensing my presence. They revealed the tin wall of the dome, the shadows of two reptilian creatures against the walls.

It startled me, until I noticed two metallic depictions of dragons placed in two of the sconces cast the shadows, yet somehow, they sparked a vision in my mind.

Two snarling shadows whispered of long dreamt myth, echoing in my thoughts.

The chamber held an assemblage of black and brown cloaks; some well-worn, a mass of tired and broken clothes. One stood out amidst the sconces. Approaching it tentatively, it shimmered, running my fingers over the rough-hewn tin wall before retrieving the flexible cloak and drawing it forth.

I threw it around myself, knowing now that its hood would hide my features. Its folds fell over my shoulders like a hug from a friend, and the entire outfit covered me as if made for me; there was magick in it, I knew.

Brushing the walls once more along the edges with my fingers, I plotted out the circumference of the chamber. The tin felt cool to the touch, with many parts having holes punctured in its surface from the hard roots of plants, revealing dark old earth without. Memory had remained in this place for centuries, untouched, masked by subtle magic woven into the walls. I felt it was enormously powerful to have existed dormant for this long.

I reached out with my ephemeral senses, feeling fragments of century old souls, drawing memories to me, the first soul fragment, the greatest one. It led me to the warrior in repose, to the slab on which the body rested. I sunk down and sought it out, calling its memory to me ...

A memory surfaced: a powerful man clad in a purple robe, tied by a sash, approaching his later years ‘My son, I bid you go to our domains. There is danger. You must protect our revered name. Do your best, my son. Here are your instructions.’ He looked down and there, on a piece of slate, were runes of various kinds, scratched on to the surface with chalk. It read,

March to the relief of Tintagel, under the banner

Memories faded and returned. The warrior, behind a leading commander, holding a small red dragon banner as they skipped on waves through the Severn Estuary.

A creature beside him inclined its shining head in the sun made from shimmering crystal. The creature turned and looked at the warrior and foldable cracks in the crystal, giving the appearance of a smile.

The memory shifted.

Blades flashed as the memory of the warrior thrust its sword, slashing at one enemy after another. He moved deftly over the battlefield, turning, twisting in swift, death dealing and defying manoeuvres.

He was a most proficient dealer of death in this war.

A barrage of approaching spearmen hemmed the crystal skull in. The memory of the knight charged across the battlefield, breaking spears and placing himself in front of the skull. Valiantly, he held them back until a long-handled knife, crimson and silver struck him on the side. He looked down to see scarlet blood flowing through the rent in his armour, just as his eyes failed him and the memory stopped.

I reeled back into the cavernous room, mind roiling with the intensity of the memory, steeling myself by holding on to the marble. The intent of my magick was obvious. This forgotten warrior had been the member of a band that had seen a skull sage and looking about, I realized there had been the transposition of an ancient magic to preserve this tomb and hide ancient truths.

They had honoured the knight in death by giving him this last duty.

Spending hours I tried to bring forth further memories from this brave warrior, but no further glimpses came of ancient truth. His ancient sword provided a faded image of its first use in taking a life, the memory tainted by remorse and the dying embers of a young man’s beliefs. A young man forced to kill in dedicated defence of an ancient code.

Stepping back from the marble dais, I scanned the room once more. I felt this was the perfect resting place for the knight, isolated and forever protected by the magic of whom he had protected. The Skull.

I would remember this safe place; A refuge yet also a tomb possessing the gentle hum of magic.

It sang to me.

Studying the dragon sconces again; two dragons fighting brought to mind the myth of Llud. Could it be?

Looking closer, I found a small compartment full of coloured prisms, selecting the first one, made of crystal set in the pose of a dragon and feeling the electromagnetic energy throbbing from it, caught in a loop within the crystal I placed it in a niche in the bracket. Another opposing shadow of a white dragon joined the white dragon snarling on one side of the chamber.

The shadowy silhouettes battling, however, one claw of each dragon unified with the other, in a brightening light.

The light filled the entire chamber with light as bright as a lightning strike, gradually fading to reveal the image of a cloaked man, hooded and weathered.

At first, I thought I’d seen him before; the image was reminiscent of the robed figure who had come to me at my making. There were subtle differences, however, suggestive of a family connection.

‘Wanderer, Wanderer,’ said the vision. ‘I place this message to draw you here instinctively, and remind you of your new dedication.’ The vision flared, energy flowing through it as I gazed upon it. The words continued.

‘I have struggled since my grandfather’s time to keep our people safe, but I know what he knew — Preserving the magickal sources was required. If you are receiving this message, it means the sources release now in you, Wanderer.’

The vision lifted an arm, receiving a small bird. At first surprised, I remembered it was a recording before me which ruffled the feathers on the birds head with great care.

The recording turned to me again with apparent concern “and Wanderer, be cautious of the powers of Infernus, for it is the power of greed and hunger. Beware it” The recording sputtered briefly before continuing.

‘In these dragons ... a device used at one time to symbolise our struggles to survive, I have encompassed our history, and foresight, which I have applied to your time. You seek the skull sage, one of my grandfather’s closest friends. In the journals ’ he waved his hand and a well-protected niche opened in the marble slab ‘... you will find his last known location, and where to find the heir who was preserved. Good luck, Wanderer, be wary, and remember the heritage of the Last Pendragon needs to be maintained.’

With that, the message faded, the light of the recording weaving out in wisps to join with the low humming of the magick emanating from the walls. I stepped back, amazed.

The small crevice that had opened on the earthen floor revealed a darkened musty tome preserved over the centuries. I stepped forward and opened it. Inside lay an array of ogham in a wieldy script that wavered over the pages. Most of it was unreadable and would require months of study for me to puzzle out. However, hidden amidst the incomprehensible sigils, lay words transcribed in my native English.

Search for the Pendragon in Lyonnaise.

I pottered about the building for a while and pondered my next move. Later, I sat with the book on a patch of cold tin floor, puzzling over the sigils and other aspects of this place I had discovered. The greater the knowledge I gained, the more I felt unprepared for this change within me.

Lyonnesse? What could it mean?

Then I remembered: Lands’ End, the most south-westerly point of Britain, home to Lyonnesse, the sunken island of Arthurian legend.

Unprepared but resolute, I exited the chamber using a subterranean tunnel which led to a thicket of brambles tucked between two boulders.

I emerged into a starless night and walked from the thicket as clouds wept their bitter rain on to an expansive moor.

Soon I came across a small pony grazing, using its thick lips to gather coarse hawthorn.

It raised its head, peering at me with a curious and accusing stare, pointing out to me my intrusion into its isolated calm. I felt out its soul with ephemeral energy, drawing it to me, forming an artificial attachment as if I were its favourite resting place: a moonlit meadow.

The pony brayed with discordant pleasure as I mounted it.

I stroked its back, feeling the wiry mane interspersed with pieces of flower, grass and hay. It was a moor pony, one of those that scratched a living off this rocky land filled with coarse food. Vowing to myself that I would attempt to honour the pledge to find a pleasant home for it. I noted it was now more than content to accept me as a rider and urged it forward across the land...

DraftFictionFeedback Requested
Like

About the Creator

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments (1)

Sign in to comment
  • Isaac Lawrence (Author)10 months ago

    Hi, this is the finalised first draft of Chapter One, of the sequel to wanderer and the Golem. Please comment on this, let me know what you think, how it can be improved etc... I think this critique area will be useful to all authors in doing this, so happy to respond in kind etc....

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.