More from the untitled WiP that I’ve been posting from.
This follows from last week’s snippet.
She was running as she reached the foot of the hill, Veren easily pacing her. Confidently she moved through the streets and alleys, the route imprinted on her mind, barely noticing the ragged figures that ran into deeper shadows, fleeing in fear.
At the entrance to a dead end alley she pulled up sharply and got her first look at the source of her Calling. He – at least she thought it was a he – was a Mutant, an Ogre. His skin was a combination of green and blue-grey and his body held the promise of being powerful, but he was far too thin. He was wearing a long skirt and a blouse, obviously scavenged from a refuse pile. They were torn and dirty, and hung awkwardly from his gaunt frame.
At the moment he was cowering in a corner next to a tumbled down wall, waving his arms and half-sobbing, half-shouting for something to go away.
Kestra glanced at Veren, wondering if he could see the attackers. They looked like crows, but with scales instead of feathers, and their talons dripped what she could only assume was some sort of poison.
Veren frowned. He hadn’t known the Temple had grown strong enough to summon creatures like these, but what else could they be?
He started to draw his sword, but Kestra stayed his hand. “I’m not sure your weapon will be effective against those.”
“Only one way to find out.” He started forward and she sighed and stayed with him.
One of the creatures turned and dove at them, focusing primarily on Kestra, and Veren’s sword flashed and sliced it in two, each half instantly forming a new whole. He swore as the two of them dove at Kestra again, but she ducked through the flock attacking the boy and placed herself between them. One dove at her and she swung her staff, connecting solidly and sending it tumbling to the ground, stunned.
An overly long blurb:
Magic had reasserted itself. Banished for millennia, it could no longer be contained and erupted, bursting forth with a surge of power that had never been known before, and which, mercifully, has not been repeated since.
Unfortunately, no one believed in magic anymore, so no one knew what to do with it, not even those most directly affected: not those who had mutated overnight into creatures of legend, not those born as something other than human, not those who retained human but found themselves touched in other ways, with special powers and abilities.
Almost no one.
There were a few. A few who had held on to dreams and understandings, who believed in the things that others called fantasy. These few took roles as adepts, as teachers and counselors, leading the way into the new age.
There were some, of course, who rejected the changes. They persecuted the Abominations, as they called them, they drove them out of the cities and into the wilds.
And, gradually, a balance was achieved.
Outside the cities, in the wilds, there arose villages, their inhabitants, human and non, living together in peace and harmony with each other and with the natural world that was feared by the city dwellers.
In the cities, Tech ruled. But magic, or, rather, magic power, was not forgotten, nor entirely abandoned, and Temples grew, their priests (who had no power of their own) seeking Power, seeking to harness it for their own ends.
But also in the cities, magic remained.
Humans were still born with special abilities, special senses. They learned not to talk about them, not to reveal that they were “different” – if they did, they were ostracized, driven out away from the general population.
Veren was one such human.
Mutants were still born each year, but in smaller numbers than during the Awakening. Some infants were killed by their parents, and some were hidden away for a few years, abandoned when their differences could no longer be hidden.
Jopie was one such child.
And in the wilds, humans and mutants continued to live in harmony, and to practice magic. But occasionally one would be born with a wild talent, something strong and different than what was normal for their village. They felt isolated, because there was no one to help them understand their gift. Some were driven mad by the visions they saw, others went in search of help when the visions became too much to handle.
Kestra was one such person.
(Yeah, I know it’s too long. But the book is a long way from being finished so I have lots of time to work on it.)
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