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Friday, March 9, 2012

Spectrum: Chapter One: The Dark Arrow, The Mysterious Girl, and The Royal City

   He had been exiled from his home village as a newborn child, left in the woods by fearful parents who saw the silver birthmark over his heart as a sign that he was tainted by the powers of the Sea. He had been found, however, by Melise, the Witch of the Woods, who brought him to her small cottage hidden deep within the Lattice Forest at the foot of the Sunset Mountains and raised him as her own. He had been named Seles by the good Witch, and he had been raised as one with the powers of nature; growing with, learning of, and always respecting the creatures of the forest.

   As he grew older, however, he became more and more inquisitive and overly confident in his own abilities. It was his constantly growing confidence that provoked him one day to enter the part of the wood he was forbidden to go.

   He quickly learned why he was forbidden to travel this area of the forest when a rampaging Oroax appeared and tried to gore him. He leapt about, dodging its charges and shooting arrows from his quiver at it—and although he managed to chase the creature away, it took all but his very last arrow to do so. He hesitated, not feeling safe unarmed, but curiosity won over caution, and he continued onward.

   Exploring boldly through the low-hanging foliage, he came across a most unusual sight; a dark arrow lodged into the trunk of a venerable old tree. A stream of sap bled sluggishly from the bark in a manner disturbingly similar to blood; feeling the old tree’s pain, Seles walked up to the tree and tugged the arrow out.

   In a flash of dark light the arrow disappeared, and Seles was surrounded in a dark miasma. Something hit his birthmark with a powerful force, and, repelled, swirled around and plunged into the right side of his chest instead with a sharp, stabbing pain. The miasma expanded in a whorl of indigo light, and suddenly a throng of Whackoons exploded from the bleeding hole in the tree.

   Reaching for his last arrow, fully expecting to die at the sharp-clawed hands of the Whackoons, Seles was astounded to find that his quiver was suddenly filled with arrows of silver and black. With one smooth movement, he drew and fired at a Whackoon.

   Although the Whackoons were great in number and could do great damage with their sharp little nails, they were not particularly hardy creatures, and it only took two well-aimed arrows to take one out of commission. Seles ran from the leaping Whackoons, firing as he went, and managed to make it away from the clearing of the bleeding tree.

   As was the nature of Whackoons, they had a tendency to have small collections of various odd objects on their person, and sometimes Seles managed to salvage a few of the Whackoons’ treasures after their defeat. Most of this treasure was spare Aurum the Whackoons had stolen from streets and villagers, but a few Whackoons possessed some medicinal Flower Seeds that were highly nutritious (as well as delicious). One Whackoon even had a Lucky Whackoon Paw stolen from some other Whackoon; Seles decided to keep this, hoping it might bring him some luck.

   If it was supposed to, it failed, because as Seles tried desperately to find his way back to Melise’s, he began to encounter new creatures. The Wood Bird was actually made out of wood, and it slapped Seles around with its sharp-edged wings; the Fanged Caterpillar would pop out of the trees at unexpected moments and latch onto Seles with its rows of teeth. Seles had never seen so many unusual and hostile creatures in one place before!

   As he defeated enemy after enemy, he began to grow experienced in the art of war. Having rarely used his arrows with the intent to kill before, he was unskilled at battle; every encounter honed his strength and accuracy to new levels of power.

   It was fortunate that this occurred, because just as Seles saw the trees of the deep forest begin to thin, he was attacked by an enormous growth of thorny vines. The Brambler was a tough opponent that lashed Seles with its long appendages and tried to drag him into its thorny maw; however, Seles recognized the mouth as the weak point and filled it with arrows. It was a difficult fight, but Seles finally emerged victorious, carrying away from the battle a colorful tuft of mysterious fur.

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