Warning: This story is not intended for children. Rated PG-13 – R depending on the chapter for Violence, Some Nudity and Sexual Situations.
If you want to read a Hallmark style story, this is not it. It deals with real issues that may be uncomfortable to read. Fair Warning.
After the world ended in a cataclysmic war, the Elemental Age began.
Daren Cole is a mechanic who builds airships in a totalitarian state. Alicia Alcorin is of another world where the natives are magic-born. Holding to a mysterious past, she flees pursuers, knowing full well they will never stop. Her family name is steeped in horror and powerful dark magic, controlling two worlds.
Rescuing a beautiful, but stubborn woman was not in Daren’s plans. Having his dreams confirmed real, alters everything he believes.
Together, escaping the floating city of New Muskegon in Michigan is just the first thing they must endure. With visions of another world and a prophetic dream, they race to confront a darkness that threatens both Earth and Alicia’s Fae world.
– Daren Cole
Age: – 35
Occupation: Steampower Engineer
History: Born in the underbelly of the sky city, New Muskegon, Daren grew up mostly on his own. His parents died when he was young and was taken in by one of the local gangs. Some years later, he was hired on to assemble airships when it was discovered he had a knack for fixing things. Helping comes naturally to him, a quality instilled by his parents when still alive.
In regards to Alicia, he doesn’t know what to make of her. She’s stubborn and mule headed. But there is something in her that draws him in, even if this could be dangerous.
– Alicia Alcorin
Age: – N/A
Occupation: – N/A
History: Alicia Alcorin is an outcast from her own family. Nightmares cloud her mind as she tries to keep one step ahead of those pursuing her on her family’s behest. With great power, her family name is behind the most corrupt and powerful people on two worlds. And Alica’s own hands are guilty of dark and wicked deeds of the past. They haunt her as she runs from her own past with one hope. She must find sanctuary with the one people that can protect her. The enemy of her own family, Dragonblood.
Her makeup is of a strong, fiercely independent woman. Her skills of fighting is honed in some of the most brutal arenas as per family orders. Growing up, her life revolved around one dark moment after another, living to take orders, to surrender to the abuse and humiliation of her peers, to welcome the dark lords her family worshipped.
Blackness was her future until the whispers in her dreams. Now she runs from the terror her family serves.
Nobody recalled what sparked the wars that preceded the new age. They only remembered what happened afterward. In the midst of the world powers signing a truce agreement, planes began plummeting from the sky, patients died in hospital beds, vehicles of every type ground to a halt. All across the world, everything relying on electricity had died. The world became dark.
The first several years were the most difficult, as cemeteries attested to. With them becoming overcrowded, cremations became a common sight almost every day. Riots erupted in the major cities with fires and looting. It was a time of survival, doing whatever had to be done to stay alive.
Smaller communities conducted emergency meetings to gather resources. Food rationing and curfews were implemented.
Ancient blueprints were gathered from library vaults, and the age of the steam engine gradually returned. Repurposed factories and blacksmith shops sprouted up in every town, bringing hope to the future.
Trains became the primary mode of transportation once more, and with them came the desire to fly.
Airships, which built on prior technologies and concepts, became another mode of transportation.
From the western plains of a shattered nation, a caravan of nomadic traders made their way east.
In town after town, the nomads presented to the audience a crystal they called Sinvin.
The core of the crystal shards held a black liquid center the traders claimed had strange universal powers. It could heal ailments as well as energize anything it touched. It was beyond anyone’s understanding and baffled every scientist.
Once they hit New Chicago, Sinvin became the new gossip.
Inventors of every type clamored to get their hands on a crystal shard and soon, it was all anyone was talking about.
It became the focus of studies as more and more crystals showed up.
The nomads were secretive people and refused to reveal where they attained such strange things. It didn’t matter though so long as the crystals kept coming.
From dinner tables to the halls of governing officials, Sinvin was on everyone’s mind.
It was only a matter of time before someone tested the limit of a single crystal to find out what the potentials were.
Not only was it capable of healing but also gave off a strange byproduct when heated at intense levels. It became volatile but with it, produced an energy so powerful that the testing had to be controlled.
As the understanding of Sinvin increased, it transformed the way people lived.
Inventors called it elemental energy.
Common people called it an elixir of the gods.
The transformation was to the extent that it ushered in the Elemental Age of man.
What nobody realized was that within this new age, a dark and malevolent force spread itself over the world with intent.
And in this new age, a dark reality took shape in men’s hearts. The black oil in Sinvin’s core was doing its work.
Duncan Garland walked across the large room filled with a glowing blue hue. To one side, a massive swirling vortex sputtered in and out in the midst of a massive machine. He was so close to doing what his brother hadn’t. James Faelivrin had his reputation as a monster, an emperor of madness who was banished by magic to never again step foot on the fae world of Gontha. His feats and dark incantations were some moments in history Duncan remembered fondly. His hand was in many of these events and he took pride in it all.
That didn’t mean remembering such things were good when things were in motion for other events. He smiled at the ease of manipulating a handful of powerful lords, mages, Pentarch wizards, the highest order of the White Council. His plans were always bigger than just the next few years.
His legacy would be different than his brother’s. He manipulated the histories of major worlds. He was a god among men, controlling the destinies of races. The Garland family name was to be feared and bowed to.
With a sliver of a smile, Duncan turned his attention to the floor in front of him. Row after row of soldiers lay dead on the floor, their blood slowly pooling around their severed, burned necks where heads use to be.
He was a merciful lord, but it had been two years now, two years of his daughter running from her destiny she was born to. He had crafted her, molded her in his own image, creating in her what was needed to bridge the gap his brother was never able to. His brother was a fool. Inciting the White Council to destroy Dragonblood, James forgot the most important thing. Whoever held Ansville’s Gate, controlled the fae worlds. They would hold the keys to every world within the realm of Extal where the faeborn lived.
Now, all he needed was his daughter back. Her body and that of one of Dragonblood, with the mixing of blood, he could form a weapon through the infusing of ancient fae blood. The potent mixture, complete with the magic of Sinvin, he would be unstoppable. He knew the dark recesses Ansville’s gate opened to. The creatures at the far edge of Extal were a nightmare breed. And his daughter, when all was done and said, would command the night.
Duncan gripped the sword sheathed at his side and marched to the sole remaining soldier held in shackles. He glared profusely at the man. “Perhaps you can answer this question.” He glanced to the side where the soldier’s comrades lay decapitated. “Pray you do.” He closed his eyes briefly and through his hand, energy flowed into the sword blade, making it glow red. Leveling it at the man’s throat, he said, “Where…is…my…daughter?”
The soldier gulped softly. “Sir, I…” he closed his eyes briefly. “I may know. Her movements are hard to follow as she was trained under yourself. But I believe spies have found her at last.”
Duncan rose an eyebrow. “Oh?” He didn’t let the sword lower, just stared.
“We believe she is in Tarkon. An informant says they saw her in Windsail City.”
Duncan glared hard for a second before swinging the blade hard.
A low “clang” and the chains binding the man fell to the ground. “Take your men to Tarkon and find Alicia. Kill her if you have to. I don’t need her alive for the spells to work.”
The man nodded hurriedly and half ran out of the blood soaked room.
Ducan turned his gaze at the swirling vortex again, eyes searching. “Soon… I will be what my brother only dreamed.”
In the old city of Muskegon, Michigan, a man dreamed what he had hundreds of times before. It never altered.
The world below was awash in white peaks of tall mountains. From a bird’s eye view, an enormous kingdom spread out below. Its stone structures and towering bridges spanned the length of the mountain. It was an achievement only dreamed of.
The scene shifted to the land below. Both humans and creatures of legends ran screaming as fire engulfed forests and cottages. The hundreds of roads within the realm filled with white clad soldiers marching towards the mountain stronghold. A red stripe ran down the length of the soldiers’ white robes and each held staffs glowing with a red magical energy surging outward.
All about lay the dead inhabitants of the land, their blood covering the marching white overcoats. There were no innocents to save.
High in the clouds, three towers stood above the rest of the mountain palace with a blue current of energy spreading from one tower to the next.
In a blinding light, it streaked down towards the mages below.
As one, a chorus of voices shouted and an invisible shield spread around the perimeter of the mage warriors. They began chanting and soon, a ball of white fire appeared in their palms.
With a unanimous shout, they let loose the energy.
White fire swept towards the mountain towers with blinding speed.
The towers exploded with a resounding “boom!” Rock fragments flew as large boulders rolled down the mountain side smoldering in smoke.
Reaching the mountain hall’s iron gates, the first line of mages drew on their power. Chanting in their strange tongue, an intense fire shot out from their staffs quickly turning the iron red. One after another, the bars began to melt away.
From high above, tiny flashes of blue light appeared with people running into mountain passes. There, they would vanish out of sight.
The scene, like every other time, switched to a strange hall with enormous marble pillars. The floor held a bluish marble tile with stone walls draped in purple curtains. In each corner of the hall, giant hearths burned a bright fire.
At intervals, the draping curtains parted, revealing murals of unknown people and events. In one vivid portrait, a group of men, women and children huddled in the crevices of rocks at the base of a mountain. Above, an enormous dragon stood with outspread wings.
In the center of the large hall, a shallow pool laid with the hearths’ firelight glimmering off the water’s edge. A red carpeted dais rose in the center.
Above the dais floated a brilliant sword with an internal burning flame. It licked the edges of the blade illuminating ancient writings down the center. Gold covered the hilt with the pommel made of a globe encasing what seemed like a living world.
From one side of the hall, a set of double doors burst open.
A crowd of men, each dressed in council robes, rushed in with terrified looks.
“There!” One called Dennon, shouted and pushed his way in front of the rest. “Someone must take it! The White Council betrayed us!”
Even as Dennon said the words, the other men with him halted in sudden fear.
“But we can’t!” a man next to him stammered. His eyes grew wide with fear. “You know the laws, Dennon. Any who grab the sword that’s not of the blood will burn from the touch!”
“Superstition!” Dennon snarled. “The Sherwin, may they all rot in hell, told us this story to keep it for themselves!” He turned about and faced his fellow councilmen. “Will nobody take it? Are you all cowards?” He spun to face the glowing, burning sword.
“Then I will!” He straightened and marched towards the pool.
The chamber went silent as each man looked on.
Reaching the pool, Dennon waded through the ankle deep water, coming to the foot of the dais.
The sword’s illuminating fire was so bright, he had to step back for a second.
He smiled, and at that moment, greed filled him. He wanted the power for himself.
Taking the few steps up the dais, he reached out hungrily.
And met thin air.
In seconds, all went dark.
The enormous hearth went cold and the sword that burned a second ago, vanished.
“What?” Dennon gasped. His eyes went wide in disbelief and horror and fell to his knees.
Gasps escaped the surrounding men, some whispering cries.
He blinked and looked up in shock.
“No…” One of the men cried out in a soft moan. “Dennon, what have you done!”
Dennon knelt in numbed silence before a slow creeping fear began to take hold.
Someone whispered, “We’re doomed. We have cursed ourselves.”
Again, the scene changed.
This time, the place was on a cliff of a mountain top overlooking a valley not touched yet by mages and their magic.
A wizened old man walked out a door of the mountain palace to stand on a road leading to a thin pass in the steep cliffs.
Where the road turned to the side following the mountain, he turned to look out across a beautiful lush valley far below. To one side in a far distant corner of the valley stood an enormous waterfall. Before it, a forest of color with the center being a crystal clear pool.
Turning slowly, he faced the mountain with her many inner halls.
With the high winds sweeping at his brown tattered robes, he lifted a staff in the air and cried, “Woah is the children of Dragonblood! You have forsaken your heritage! A beggar comes to your gates, but you spurn him for the indignity of his station. Damned are you for your broken vows! You were the appointed ones by the high lords of the fae. But greed fills your hearts now. Your need to appease the White Council and her gods have made you soft. You have forgotten your way. Now, the enemy is at your doorstep, deceit in their eyes and mouths. You have betrayed your legacy and your God. The once filled halls of a mountain kingdom, the guardians and emissaries of humans and fae, will now be a tomb, a memory of what once was.
“The Golden Age of Dragonblood has ended. Now prepare for the age of darkness and the cruelty of the nine gods.”
The man awoke from his nightly dream with a sigh. He wished for the thousandth time he could remember other ones or none at all. Why did his mind constantly play the same thing over and over?
Getting up, he made his way out of the bedroom to the bathroom. From the groaning of old pipes, water trickled into the bathroom sink. It was a wonder there was anything flowing these days in the lower parts of the city.
Splashing his face, he freshened himself as best he could.
This done, he packed a few things for lunch before opening the front door.
The smell of old oil and the clanging of distant gears came from high above. The sun never showed her face here. The sky-city above with her blinking lights and occasional drip of oil was all that came from above.
The world was awash in gears and steam, all for the greatness of a crystal and its enchanting power.
Copyright © Andrew D Nusz, 2023