Lost Stories of The Spiral: Sung Beneath the Sun

The Lost Story of Dragonspyre Academy: Sung Beneath the Sun

Written by Chariity

Lost Stories of the Spiral 1st Place Winner

Picture 2016-08-07 10-23-39

The heat was sweltering.

The battered wizard could see the usurper silhouetted against the brilliant sun. In one hand, he held an iron veil, and in the other, a blade rippling with blue and gold. A stolen helmet and a stolen weapon.

The wizard’s voice rasped as she called out to him. “Brother,” she said. “Look away from the glare of the sun and let the light of the moon cool this madness.” But the sun only flared more intensely than ever before.

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“The greatest treachery occurs when the sun shines,” Iona Pyrelance muttered to herself, her back resting against the flame-tinged trunk of a tree. She looked into the wide blue sky and shielded her eyes.

“What’s that?” came a musical voice from above.

“Hardly anything of note, Ashley,” Iona shrugged. “A quote I read in a book.”

“Ohhh, you read too many books, Iona… And I’d never say such a thing to any other student!” Dancing sparks shot from the tree’s flaming branches as she chuckled to herself.

Iona could not help but crack a laugh too. However, she soon fell silent.

spellbookAn unnatural quiet descended between the two friends. Iona had been deliberately vague about the book she had quoted from — none other than the famed Principles of War (2nd Edition), a tome that spoke of the mysteries of light and its intertwining connections with the intricacies of battle. It was a challenging read and a challenging fight to overcome to obtain it in the first place, though nowhere near as arduous a task as winning her trusty Legendary Mythic Songblade from the darkest pits of the Atheneum.

“Sooo, what does that quote of yours mean?” Ashley asked her timidly.

Iona closed her eyes, let the bright sunlight lap at her toes.

“The sun is shining,” she said softly, stroking the songblade at her side. “There must be trouble stirring.”

“But it’s so nice out…”

Indeed, it was nice out. Students crowded the sunlit plaza, brandishing blades that glimmered with magic. Duels broke outDueling Ring at every corner — practice only, but from the intense expressions upon the duelers’ faces, you could hardly tell the difference. Everyone appeared to be aggressively preparing for some great battle off in the distant future.

Yet there was a creeping sense of… comfort. Ease. After all, the hardest battle had already been won. Iona was the big-shot hero who had selflessly shared the secrets of the Knowledge Crystals with all, when the kings would only hoard it like so many shiny baubles.

She had done the right thing. A happy ending well deserved. Wasn’t it?

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The guards had fought dirty. This battle was a far cry from the orderly practice fights at the academy, where each would cast in turn like clockwork. Here, it was blow after blow of stormy torrents and icy barriers.

LabyrinthMinotaur            A sudden hiss, and Iona was crippled for two ticks of the battle. A pounding of drums, and she felt her powers weakened for another tick. Spitting snakes, cantering centaurs, even one of her own merciful minotaurs mercilessly turned upon her.

            Where is he? Iona thought wildly, as her songblade sang with each spell she swung into the battlefield. I haven’t seen him since we entered the castle. I hope he isn’t hurt… At her side, Nikol fought bravely. With a final charge and swing of her axe, the minotaur brought the last of the dragon guards to their knees, where they vanished in a burst of flame.

            “Where is that scoundrel friend of yours?” Nikol grumbled between gasps for breath.

A stillness now thickened upon the king’s hall. The silence was shattered by a clatter from the throne as a golden crown tumbled down the steps leading up to it. At the top of the steps stood Al, her friend and fellow classmate, gazing at the empty seat. He spun around, eyes wide in surprise. Quickly he held out a handful of glowing crystals.

“I’ve done it,” he said breathlessly. “I mean to say, we have done it. This power belongs to the people now.”

Nikol snorted humorlessly, but Iona approached her loyal friend and pried the crystals from his hands. She held them up to the sunlight shining through a breach in the castle’s ceiling and watched the reflections dance upon the throne.

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            dragon-steam-lookThey used to call her Iona Pyremask for the veil of iron she wore in her early years attending Dragonspyre Academy. This helmet was a gift specially crafted by ironsmiths of the generous nobles she was indebted to. For in those days, only the sons and daughters of nobles and soldiers could attend the hallowed halls of the academy, and Iona had inherited the round, squashed face and dirty-blonde hair of her peasant class. But her noble patrons believed in something more for her when she’d thought herself a nobody, and under the light of the moon, she’d been welcomed into the grandeur of Dragonspyre Academy.

            Iona found few friends in her classmates. This was the unfortunate side effect of the secrecy she maintained. But she felt welcomed by the drakes she studied and the creatures she conjured, and she did manage to befriend one of the students.

            She learned quickly and absorbed information in an almost desperate fashion. She was eager, willing, hardy. Professors generally doted on her and encouraged her never-ending curiosity. She was happy enough, but her heart twisted with irrational guilt at her own deceit.

            The greatest of magical knowledge is not for the likes of you. The moon had never shone more brightly.

            “Iona!”

            Nikol’s voice jolted the wizard out of her thoughts. Iona leaned over her drake’s long neck and peered down at the minotaur who’d called out to her.

            “We’re here!” Nikol pointed a hoof at the stone façade of the Atheneum library. “He said it’s somewhere down below?”

            Iona nodded and gently steered her drake to an arched arcade, where they landed. She slid off the drake’s back Fire-Dragon-vs-Smoking-Mirror-Zombies-1v3gracefully and cupped her hand to the side of its kind face in a thankful gesture. Nikol crossed her hooves and flicked at her nose ring impatiently.

            The windows of the library were shuttered in the night. Iona unsheathed her novice’s blade. She concentrated on a sense of loss and void, and when she opened her eyes, the window she was standing before had vanished. A simple cleansing charm.

            She clambered through the opening and heard the clicks of Nikol’s hooves pattering after her.

            “The blade is just down these steps,” Iona whispered after they’d crept along several confusing corridors. Both looked into the depths that the endless, winding stairs plunged into. Iona could hear a snort from her side.

            Quickly, the two descended into the darkness. Round and round they twisted, until at last they emerged onto what seemed to be a deserted landing.

            Iona took a step forward.

            “You seek a knowledge forbidden to you. Or perhaps you mislike the glare of the sun in your eyes.”

            A fiery dragon slithered out of the shadows.

            “What trickery is this?” Nikol hissed, as Iona again unsheathed her blade.

            “Al warned me it may be guarded,” Iona said swiftly, her mind racing to conjure up the spirits she was psychically linked to.

            HumongofrogWaves of bats, frogs, and minotaurs spun out of her blade as she wove passageways for her friends to cross from the spirit world. Magic and mythic songs rang in her ears.

She had to focus, had to recall the long hours training under practice duels. But it had ceased to be another academic exercise. These were very real, tactical decisions she had to make, and with each new spell cast, her doubt in her abilities only grew.

Somewhere, a distant voice called out to her: “Do not trust my brother’s lies! He never intended for you to live!”

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            “Hello,” said an oddly familiar boy sitting one desk over in history class. “I am called Aldared.”

            Iona turned to stare at him. From the scarlet of his robes and the glowing blade at his side, she presumed him to be a wizard with a focus in fire magic.

“Hello,” she returned cautiously. At the front of the classroom, the professor hissed loudly, and she swiftly turned her attention back to the lesson.

            “Pyremask,” the professor growled. “Did you have more input regarding the possession of the Knowledge Crystals you would care to share with the entire class?”

            The professor was, in truth, a draconian warrior who had all the appearance and attitude of not wanting to teach this class to begin with. As such, he had a short temper and a liking for nasty punishments if crossed.

            gargoyle-guard“I apologize, Professor Lorestriker. I stand by my opposition of the possession of the crystals in the hands of the kings and no others. It is not right for them to have sole access to the knowledge we deserve.”

            “Agreed. We warriors are the only ones worthy to control all the knowledge and magic,” the draconian said heatedly. “And perhaps you wizards could stand to absorb some of that into your minds as well,” he conceded as an afterthought. He returned to his class notes and continued to drone on about the powers within the crystals, ignoring the rising hubbub of the rest of the class.

            As a duel erupted in the back of the classroom, many heads turned to watch the dance of lightning strikes and fireballs. Aldared took the opportunity to again speak to her.

            “Yes, I agree with you on that matter as well,” he said. “Why should the kings have all the fun? Power alone should satisfy their greed — but what do you intend to do about it?”

            Iona hesitated, saying nothing.

            “You know what I think?” he continued. “We have got to take the battle to them. We march in like an army — we’ve got the manpower and magic anyhow — and we force them to give up the goods. Listen—” He dropped his voice. Iona had to lean in to hear him over the din of shouts as her classmates took sides and egged on their respective champion in the impromptu duel. “Listen, I’ve got something better, too. A secret weapon, one to make King Betrin’s head spin. Only catch is, it’s hidden under the library at the Atheneum, and due to an unfortunate misunderstanding, I am forbidden from setting foot there.”

            A cry of victory burst out from the back, where the distinct stench of singed books and cloth wafted from. The pyromancer had apparently won.

            Iona nodded. Perhaps this boy could be of use to her cause. He didn’t even seemed bothered by the veil that obscured her face as so many others were. He had a strange gleam in his eyes, one with a mixture of excitement and, oddly enough, pity.

            At the front of the class, Professor Lorestriker droned on, “…and can even function as a vessel for a person’s soul, though crystalline entrapment is not enough to contain the will and spirit of a powerful mind, just as the moon can never truly eclipse the light of the sun.”

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            loremaster atheneumOn her first official day as a Dragonspyre student, Iona swung by the Atheneum’s library during her mid-morning break. She clambered up the stone steps and eagerly pushed aside the heavy doors.

            Within, she found a treasure trove of knowledge that she in her prior years could only have dreamed of. She stacked book after book and enchanted them to float at her side — several aisles later, and her blade-hand was shaking from the weight. She used her left hand to grip her right, and stumbled into the nearest reading chamber.

            It was deserted.

            Excellent, she thought. Not a soul to disturb me.

            She curled into a high-backed armchair — in truth, more like a steel-cold throne than the squashy comforter she had hoped for — and began flipping through the first of the books.

            The Unabridged History of Dragonspyre, Volume 1: The Creation of the Knowledge Crystals as Rightfully Belonging to the Kings and No Others, read the cover. Fascinating. She was lost within its pages in mere seconds.

Within minutes, she was far too entranced with its contents to notice the gradual but alarming shift in the temperature of theTT-CrystalCaves room, as it slowly became more stifling — and her breathing slowed to a hollow crawl — and her arms no longer had the will to flip the page — and her eyesight blurred — and her focus wavered — and the heat in the room made the walls shimmer like white crystals…

Suddenly, arms were wrenching her from her spot, and her body could not even protest this intrusion. Someone was dragging her to safety, though she’d long since failed to recognize the danger.

Iona closed her eyes, and when she opened them, she was greeted with a scene so odd, she wondered if she was dreaming.

There was a boy, who looked at her with pity in his eyes. Dotting the spacious room were all manners of fiery creatures, who were rapidly vanishing in puffs of smoke one by one. The boy was being dragged away himself, by some invisible pairs of hands from the look of it — few in the room, which was filled with stern-looking figures, seemed to dare to approach him.

There was a young girl about Iona’s age hovering close by, gesturing wildly at the figures. “My brother,” she kept saying over and over again in some strange apology. Then she turned to give Iona an apologetic glance as well. “My brother,” she repeated, as if that explained everything.

            Iona tried to respond but was ushered out by a team of medical attendants who had abruptly materialized.

Outside, the midday sun shone down forcefully. The light was ever so bright, and the heat made her forget, and when her mind wandered, wanting to daydream of her remaining years at Dragonspyre Academy and not try to remember, she was filled with hope.

Did You Enjoy Sung Beneath the Sun? Let us know in the comments below!

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Leave A Comment!

  • Someone make this into a novel!

  • Suharsha

    I didn’t understand any parts of this story.

    • Eric Stormbringer

      It is written in a unique style that splits the events into several segments. Each of the suns act as a boundary for each segment.

  • alexis hunter

    Oh this is certainly the best story of the three. Great choice team Duelist, and many congrats toChariity!

  • Yoan Dimov

    The story is hard to follow and quite boring if you ask me, I definitely would prefer reading the other 2 rather this one. This one just fails to excite me like the other dragonspyre academy story. Overall I give it 6/10 as it did have an interesting format and writing style.

    • I don’t mean this as an insult- but I saw your other reviews and I’m curious what kind of story you would write- hopefully it gets top 3 next time there is a contest like this!

      • Yoan Dimov

        I have the right to comment, and give my opinion. I don’t think I could write better than last 2 but I could find a better way to write this story for sure. Also I am not into online contests lol.

    • mintquackers

      Did you like your own comment?

  • Chariity

    Thank you all for the comments, and for at least giving my story a try!

    I realize its slow pace and unconventional format may be off-putting to many, but I hope those readers still found something redeemable in it. For those wondering, the reverse chronological ordering of the scenes is intended to recall the tragedy surrounding Dragonspyre’s fate, much like how your in-game character stumbles upon the broken fragments of the world when you first venture through it (and its history is revealed piece by piece).

  • Igor Efimov

    Breathtaking scene setting, flow was definitely not bad, i pity the foo who ends up with Lyon as his/her teacher though. Nice easter egg. 🙂

  • Simon

    This story is quite good, but I like the other two stories much better.