Alright, figured I should put an end to the procrastinating and actually get this done. The first chapter is a shortened version of what was originally intended, but I haven't decided if I want to include the other part in the first chapter or not. It may get added before the monthly competition deadline, but we shall see.
THE SOARING CITY: Chapter #1
! Two men stood on the side of a mountain, both staring in the same direction. One had a face of awe and amazement, his youthful and somewhat heavenly features only added to his current demeanor. His companion was significantly different; he continued to carry the same stoic expression that he always favored. His features also held significant difference from those of the first. While not old, his face certainly seemed aged in years and in contrast to the look of vitality of the first, he appeared to almost be dying, or perhaps, already dead. Both men held very close to their descriptions, the first was often confused with an angel, the second, a corpse.
“I would advise that you not hold your mouth agape for too long in my presence Micah.” Remarked the deathly man, “You know very well how much I attract the flies.”
“How is it that you can view this and not marvel Grimm?” replied the man called Micah, ignoring Grimm’s sarcastic advice.
“This? This is easily brought about by wizardry. Powerful wizardry of course, but wizardry all the same.” said Grimm, “I’ve seen much more than this, things that are beyond mere magic.”
“And I suppose you won’t be telling me any of these things anytime soon.”
“No, why would I?” replied Grimm, to which Micah simply rolled his eyes.
Out in the distance, but clearly visible, was the source of Micah’s amazement. It was a city, a city by the name of Akaphia, or as most called it, the Soaring City. This city was indeed soaring, quite high in fact; the tallest point in the city seemed to almost reach the same height as the mountain. The height, however, was not the characteristic that earned the city its nickname. Hovering high above the ground, the only connection the city shared with the ground was a long and rather wide beam of light, shining from the bottom of the city down into another building on the ground, where the light burst out from all possible exits. To add to its wonder, the floating mass was incredibly large, much larger than any city the two men were used too, as it seemed to be equivalent to the size of a small kingdom.
“How long do you suppose it’s been up there?” questioned Micah.
“A long time I’m sure, not that it matters.”
“You’re not even the least bit curious?”
“Oh there is some level of curiosity I assure you, but we have more important things to do at the moment. You would do well to remember the precarious position that you and your order find yourselves in. It is crucial that you prove yourself useful to the plans of your new lord.”
Upon hearing this Micah was quick to turn his attention back towards Grimm. The attention given, however, was not the look of awe that he had while gazing on the wonders of Akaphia, as a look of disdain now covered his face. He knew quite well the unfortunate situation that his order currently found itself in, as well as the hand that Grimm himself had it putting them there.
“The King,” Micah said with obvious spite in his voice, “would never be so foolish as to do away with us. We are far too loved among the people.”
“For now.” Replied Grimm confidently, causing Micah to give him an even greater look of ire.
Before Micah could say anything else in response, Grimm quickly remarked that they should get going, there was, after all, much work to be done. He then began making his way down the mountain. Having no place to argue, Micah stood there silently for a moment, wanting to raise an argument where there was none. As if to drive in the needle that he had pricked Micah with, Grimm called out.
“Hurry along Micah, finding an ancient relic of great power requires much time, we have none to waste on petty squabbles.”
Upset at how his thoughts had been so easily read, Micah berated himself for falling prey to Grimm’s taunts. He would be working together with Grimm for quite some time, learning to deal with his condescending demeanor would be crucial to ensuring that conflict would be kept to a verbal state only. Begrudgingly, he followed Grimm down the mountain.
! Their descent was quiet and after traveling about halfway down Micah grew bored of the silence, thus he took it upon himself to start a conversation that wouldn’t immediately result in a sarcastic response from Grimm.
“So what is it exactly that you plan on doing once we reach the city?”
“Well,” came the reply, “I plan on flying right up into the city, and asking the first person I come across if they have seen a very old orb that radiates chaos. If they say no, then that will be that and we shall return home.”
Micah sighed, he had failed, miserably. Grimm spoke up again.
“You’re not a complete fool Micah, what would you do in such a situation?”
This caused Micah to halt his advance. Was Grimm actually asking for advice? Was he attempting to teach him something rhetorically? Or was this simply another attempt by the corpse of a man to find more amusement through ridicule. Micah than noticed that Grimm had stopped as well, he was staring at him, with a look that seemed to be asking “Well?” So Micah obliged.
“We need information, and we’ll need it before we reach Akaphia.”
Micah paused for a moment to brace for a retort, but he saw no change in Grimm’s expression, so he continued.
“As infamous as the Soaring City is, we know nothing of its culture or government. In order to find what we seek we have to be able to contact the right people, so we must uncover just who those right people are. I also believe that it would be best if we gathered this information in a town or tavern that lies outside of the influence of the city.”
This answer seemed to please Grimm as a slight smile came to his face, but it did not stop him from asking a follow up question.
As simple as the questioned seemed, Micah didn’t have a true answer for it, so he decided to make do with what he could.
“Well, that depends on the information that we learn.”
Surprisingly enough, this answer also seemed to please Grimm
“Excellent!” said Grimm, “but you forgot one important detail.”
“And what detail would that be?” asked Micah.
“It should be obvious young herald.” Grimm said with a wide smile. “We need to find a way up!”
“A way up?” Micah said with a rather confused face, “why can’t we just…”
“NOT everyone is like you Micah.” Interrupted Grimm, “there has to be a means by which average…” he paused for a moment while looking at Micah, “…flightless individual would ascend to the city,” he finished.
“So?” replied Micah, “we’re not average individuals.”
“This is true, but there is no reason to appear as until the proper time.”
“You are suggesting that we hide our strength?”
“I am suggesting, First Herald of Odeo’chai, that we evaluate the situation without announcing our presence.”
Micah went silent, he knew that Grimm was right, and there was no arguing that point. Barging in and displaying their might would gain them nothing but enemies and unwanted attention, subtlety was the best option. Micah sighed once again, Grimm was right as usual; this would be a very long mission. Grimm smirked as he seemed to understand Micah’s realization, and he turned and continued his descent down the mountain.
“We should make haste,” Grimm said while walking, “I believe I see an inn, but the darkening should be upon us just as we arrive.”
Micah had no choice but to follow, this would be a very long mission indeed.
Yah, looking back this is short, I'll add some more before the end of the month, but posting this now should give me a bit more initiative.