From the Vault – Wrylna 3: Mistaken Identity
Saryin stared up at the ceiling lazily, counting the fading stars through tiny holes. Sharamancy truly changed the world, he reflected, but nothing ever came with a manual. The light slowly starting to creep across the floor told him that dawn had come once more.
A few feet away, Felwin sat at the controls, attempting with futility to safely navigate past the bumps in the road. Sharamancy truly changed the world, he reflected, but nothing was ever that easy. The oh so familiar shade of blue in the sky told him that it was his brother’s turn to drive.
“Can I get some food first?”
“No. You’ve been awake for almost an hour, I could tell from your breathing.”
“If I didn’t know you better, I’d swear you just made that up.”
“Okay, okay. I’m going. You don’t need to remind me what happened last time…”
The vehicle slowed down as control switched between the drowsy brothers. As Felwin closed the door to the living space, Saryin mused that the day shift was definitely the better deal. A stray piece of bread promptly found itself spontaneously combusted and inside Saryin’s mouth within a matter of seconds. The old machine had all sorts of issues, but finding food wasn’t one of them. Saryin barely saved his toast as he began to laugh, seeing an opportunity for vengance.
Felwin didn’t notice the slowing of the vehicle as he slipped between both the covers and consciousness. He also didn’t notice when Saryin opened the door and walked in holding a stray piece of metal. What he did notice was when Saryin proceeded to bang his sword against this piece of metal.
“WHAT?! WHAT DO YOU WANT SARYIN?!”
“We’ve arrived at another one.”
“AND I DON’T SUPPOSE YOU COULD’VE POSSIBLY LET ME GET A FEW SECONDS REST, COULD YOU?”
“No, I couldn’t. That’s what these were for!” He held up his sword and the piece of metal, a grin on his face.
“…Fine then. I’ll grab a charge and we’ll head out.”
Following this, he sat up, and banged his fist against the metal box next to the bed. A small yellow pill popped out of a hole at the bottom. Saryin stared out the window, lost in thought.
“Sharamancy. Can’t live with it…”He mumbled, surveying the field where remnants of destruction were still quite visible.
“…Can’t live without it.” concluded Felwin, swallowing the pill in a rather irritated manner.
As Saryin dressed in his loose-fitting clothes and found his scabbard, Felwin simply opted to throw his cloak over what he was wearing. He walked over to a loose section of floor in the corner. A quick stomp on it catapulted a small blue ring into the air, and he skillfully slipped it onto his left index finger as it flipped through the air.
“Y’know, sometimes I wonder why I’m the fighter…”
“Because you are capable of only basic spells, because I’m significantly faster than I am strong, and because I’m not expendable. Need I go on?”
“Just shut up and get ready so we can head out…”
Felwin walked over to the window, picked up his staff, and carefully poked his free hand out between the broken glass.
“Eh… Too tired for specifics… Warm, light wind toward us, advantage against olfactory foes, and… Something doesn’t feel quite right about the air…”
“Be quiet, will ya? Let’s just head out and get this over with.”
“All right, just be at the ready…”
Saryin slid open the door, and they stepped out. The rising sun cast long shadows over the damp grass. flowers grew sporadically across the plain, mostly dark shades of red and blue. Rusted armor and broken machines were all that remained to betray the dark secrets of this place. It was also a rather flat locale, devoid of hills or buildings. The tallest thing in view was an old tree, an ancient guardian standing vigil over all that surrounded it. It was this landmark that caught Felwin’s attention.
“Movement.” He pointed the end of his staff toward the tree.
“Probably just the wind.” replied Saryin, drawing his sword regardless.
“Better safe, brother…” With his left hand he rapidly drew a series of symbols in the air before drawing a large rectangle, his fingers leaving a glowing blue trail behind them. The space within the shape shimmered briefly before magnifying until the tree filled the image.
“See? There’s nothing there.”
“Stay your tongue, Saryin. Look closer.” It wasn’t clear, but there was a peculiar protrusion on the left side of the tree, as if something was concealed behind it.
Again with his left hand, Felwin pointed his index finger towards the tree. As he made a few minute adjustments to his position, the ring began to glow. There was a quiet tinkling, almost like glass breaking, and a tiny shard of ice shot forth from his finger. Almost instantly, the side of the tree exploded, sending splinters flying. The fragment had in fact barely grazed the bark, but environmental friendliness was low on their priorities as the figure behind the tree jumped out from it’s now compromised hiding place.
It wasn’t overly large, maybe the size of a tall human. It wore bizarre armor, surprisingly unrusted save for a few spots, and had a cape over its left side. Moss or something similar had grown around its joints, and its eyes glowed a dull red within its rusted helmet. What little movements it had made thus far were rather jerky and unnatural.
“Looks like a Rays, brother.”
“Heh heh, perfect. Prepare to get toasted!” Saryin started running toward the creature, a red-orange aura enveloping him and his sword.
“Never the subtle type, is he?” Felwin mused aloud.
“Burn zombie, burn! SARYIN INFERNO!” The aura spread rapidly from his sword, becoming a wave of flame.
“Did it ever occur to you that shouting out your attacks actually helps your enemies dodge them?” He was once again talking to no one in particular, but it helped to vent his frustration.
“That’s only a problem if they survive the first hit! SARYIN INFERNO!” Another wave of flame.
Surprisingly, the zombie was able to jump over the first wave. Its luck ran out, however, as the second wave sliced through its ankles. It fell to the ground, no longer able to balance itself.
“HAH! Nobody messes with the Saryin, Magic Blade of the Deep Inferno!” He held up his left hand, and the fire developing on the grass where he’d struck spiraled up and into it.
“You…You don’t even know what a Rays is, do you?”
“Of course I do! It’s a plant zombie…right?”
“No. Well, yes, but no. A Rays is a dead soldier reanimated by dark plantlife. A Rays then becomes capable of feeding by three means. The life force of creatures, like any zombie, but also the life force of other plants. And of course sunlight, which it is named for.”
As he said this, Saryin became aware of an expanding brown circle around the corpse, as the grass and flowers rapidly died. The thing’s feet moved on their own and reattached to its legs. What happened next surprised both brothers. It jumped, not merely to its feet, but high into the sky. Looking up, Felwin observed a renewed glow in its eyes. But worse than that was the ball of blue light in its hand.
“Evidently not a Rays. Not a Rays at all…”
TO BE CONTINUED
Ah, it’s refreshing to read this again, even if time has betrayed its many flaws! This was where I first introduced Saryin and Felwin, the brothers who would later become the main protagonists in my first NaNoWriMo attempt. They aren’t exactly the same characters, though, as the novel takes place in a world devoid of minibuses and robots. Actually, I re-wrote this story in that style at one point. I’ll probably post that piece next, before moving on to the fourth and currently final chapter of Wrylna. Tell me what you think, and stay tuned for the next part!