Chapter one - With a purpose
The morning air was crisp and light fog clung to everything in sight. Elias stalked slowly through the underbrush, rifle slung over his shoulder. A rustling to his left alerted him to Elijah's presence as the pair moved closer to their quarry. A small herd of deer had bedded down near a creek that sluggishly flowed past without a sound. The deer were completely oblivious to their hunters as they drew nearer. Taking note of the creek Elias brought his rifle to bare. "You know they are practically begging you to get them." Elias whispered to his brother.
Elijah shushed him before looking back. "You know why I won't." He whispered back ducking his head as one of the deer lifted its head and looked around. They were silent for another few moments waiting for the deer to relax again.
"Come on," Elias pleaded quietly. "It would save us the bullets."
"You know I'm not that good okay?"
Elias rolled his eyes, "Fine." Shouldering his rifle he peered through the scope. Keeping a hushed tone he looked at each of the "lumps" in the grass. "I'll take the one farthest out."
"I've got the one closest to the water."
Waiting for Elijah to start he kept his eye down the sight, when he didn't do anything Elias decided to speak first. "three?"
"One." Elias said with a bit of excitement he stood tall. Go!
He thought keeping time the two of them fired in sync, the entire herd got up in a frenzy at the thunder of flashing barrels and bound into the forest and out of sight in a moments notice leaving two of their brethren behind. Once all was quiet again the two moved forward to claim their prizes; two does both fat and healthy. "You think any of the others have had any luck yet?"
Elijah wasted no time in getting his catch into a comfortable position on his shoulders. "I doubt it, we got these two in less than a day. Record time!" Elijah said smiling triumphantly.
The two were playing a sort of game, them along with six others were just of age and had taken up the job of finding food for the camp. They lived in a small settlement that had been dubbed New Raevina. The camp was built on the ruins of old Raevina which at one point had been a city but had fallen prey to the war and was completely deserted up until a few years ago. After another grin form Elias he two hefted his doe and the two started heading back west towards home.
Having been on the trail since the previous day they were anxious to get back. Their game had turned the job of hunting into a race and with this only being the first day out they were no doubt in the lead. The sun slowly started to spill its light through the fog along the horizon as they went, eating berries as they passed them rather than stopping for a meal. Before the sun was halfway up another pair of loud claps reverberated through the forest. "Sounds like someone got something." Elijah noted.
"Sounded like they were a bit behind us." Elias answered in turn. "We still have the lead."
"Yeah but not for long." Elijah answered as he ran passed Elias, he soon took the hint and followed behind him shifting the doe to a more comfortable position as he ran. Being accustom to these races they ran with the extra weight for the better part of an hour before stopping to rest, both of them panting from exhertion. The landscape was relatively flat so they managed to cross a fairly large distance with their quick run. "Hey, look here." Elias said as he walked up to a tree overgrown with thick vines. "Grapes."
"Your kidding, are they ripe?" Elijah asked incredulously walking up behind his brother. Elias grabbed a small cluster and rolled one between his index finger and thumb, the plump purple berry was slightly soft but had a firm core. He brought it to his mouth, the berry was slightly sour but not overly so. He tried another which was slightly softer, this one was sweeter but still had that sour after taste.
"Yeah, the softer the better." Elias said spitting out the skins. The thing about wild grapes is that they had a thicker skin making them hard to chew, it was the center you wanted. "This day just gets better and better." Elias continued as he started picking the fruit. The only fruit they'd had any luck finding recently were blackberries which were a royal pain to pick because of the thorns that grew along the stems and leaves, thankfully grapes lacked that annoyance which was why it had the brothers in such good cheer.
Sifting through his pack Elias found a small container that used to hold the previous nights meal, it easily held a couple dozen grapes. Elijah followed suit and had a similar amount in his pack. "We'll come back for more later." He said once he was finished. They were about to continue home when a dull thud
stopped them cold. Before they could react there was another...and another..until the faint rhythm grew louder as the distance between them and the source grew smaller. Damn!
Elias though as he and Elijah ducked through the vegetation to hide. The trees were thick enough to hide them from airial view but what they heard would most definitely smell them if it lingered. Through the canopy they caught glimpses of a massive creature, its wings stretched wide and transparent against the morning light. It was a deep amber in color and soared through the sky due south... towards Drakean territory.
The two kept quiet for what felt like an eternity until the faint sound of massive wings couldn't be heard or felt anymore. "You think that was a rogue?" Elias asked back in his hushed tone.
"Are you still breathing or am I dead?" Elijah answered sort of comically.
"Yes and no."
"Then no it wasn't a rogue." Rogues were dragons that would venture out into the midlands for food and territory. They were anything but friendly and were ruthless, any stories you've heard of dragons being vicious beasts that destroyed and burned everything in their paths would describe a rogue perfectly. "That one was moving with a purpose, a rogue wouldn't be in such a rush."
"Where was it coming from then?"
"North, from the mancery lines maybe?" Elijah said looking north as he spoke. "Or do the drakes have a meeting place in the midlands?"
"We have to tell the mancery when we get back, if they're in the midlands then who knows what they're up too." Elias answered, Elijah's face went blank at the prospect of reporting to the mancers. He was a proven aquamancer as far as his brother was concerned but if the mancery learned that he was one he would be taken away. The mancers had a strict policy if anyone bearing their gifts was discovered. Many people who found themselves with their abilities would readily join their ranks but their were just as many like Elijah who rejected the idea of fighting in their war with the drakes and if those that didn't reveal themselves were ever found they were taken away no questions asked. For the past couple years Elijah had kept his abilities hidden and had gain some control but he was paranoid about being found out, to him going to alert the mancers was like serving himself up on a silver platter. "When we get back I'll do it while you take care of these." Elias said gesturing towards the deer aware of his brothers inhibitions. Elijah nodded as he shouldered his load, Elias followed and they again began sprinting towards New Raevina.
Alright, first chapter of my original story...what do ya think?
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