Book I:

The Nation of Alrest

Chapter I

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https/youtu.be/0pSxFohBmis

An entire horizon of blue, an endless ocean that extended past what anyone could see. At its heart, a bountiful continent full of life, love, and hope. This was the world that we called home. According to the history taught by Granny, this beautiful world was the culmination of years of strife. Whereas once the world was running out of land and doomed to fail, now for the past five hundred years has harbored every tool we've ever needed to succeed. The name of this paradise was called Elysium, a land to which my forefathers fought and died for. Outside this continent, a small archipelago called Leftheria rested peacefully on the water, and stood apart from the land that we shared as our home. While true, any of us could leave if we truly wanted to, but life here in Fonsett was simply, easy. Who would ever want to live anywhere else? I lay in my bed, staring out the window at the ocean. I felt conflicted, I wanted to just jump in and see all of what the world had to offer, but at the same time, I only wanted to stay here and rest. It was all so... calming. The waves crashing against the beach, the small sea birds cackling through the breeze, why did I want to leave, and why wouldn't I try to? "I could be so much more," I thought to myself, but I didn't have any real desire to change that.

Immediately I heard some pounding footsteps up the stairs as my door flew open.

"Silas get the hell up!" an old Gormotti woman yelled in her Welsh accent.

The Gormotti were an interesting people. They were a race of humans with ears similar to that of a cat on the top of their head and have extendable claws. They weren't really native to Leftheria, but she had always stayed here as far as I could remember. What weirded me out was that they still had normal ears on the sides of their heads so it made me wonder if the cat ears were ears at all...

She pulled back the covers and yanked me off the bed, while I was in my underwear no less.

"If you lay in 'ere all day again I'm going to lose it, you 'ear me? Get your lazy arse up and go haul back the lumber like I asked you to three days ago!" she yelled.

"I'm sorry Granny! I forgot, really!" I said in defense.

"Forgot?!" Granny asked. "Boy, are you thick? What do I 'ave to do to get it through that 'ead of yours that you've got responsibilities! Ignoring them ain't going to make it any easier," she said, storming out. "And for the Architect's sake put some clothes on! There ain't no one on Alrest who'd wanna see you in your undies!"

I drowsily got off of the floor before she called through the hall again.

"You got dishes too, that's for making me wait so long!"

"Yes Granny...," I responded, swallowing any pride I had left.

I got dressed and brushed my teeth. I put on a plain grey t-shirt and blue jeans with my brown work boots and a black belt. I stopped to look in the mirror. My short, brown hair was messy, but managed, my unnaturally teal eyes shifted around as I looked at my pale, white skin and skinny, yet semi-athletic body. After acknowledging that I didn't look like complete crap, I then proceeded to walk down stairs to meet her, she had made breakfast.

"Oh would you look at that! Up in time for breakfast," she snickered.

I laughed nervously before making us glasses of hot orange juice. After I had finished, I placed the cups down and sat across from her.

She took a drink of the juice before commenting on it. "The hot oranges taste much better than last years, what'd we do differently?"

"I think Azurda sent us some manure that really helped," I answered. Although I wondered who decided that this fruit should be named "hot", as it was neither spicy nor warm, maybe for irony's sake?

"Ah, you're right. All that titan poop really helps, don't it?" she laughed.

"Gross Granny, not while I'm eating," I laughed.

"I kid!" she laughed back.

"When will I meet Azurda? You talk about him pretty frequently," I inquired.

"He'll come around one day, I'm sure," Granny answered.

We then sat down and enjoyed our meal of rhogul eggs and kapiba sausage. Rhoguls were rather large birds of prey that also happened to be easily domesticated. Kapiba resembled large rats, except with much thicker fur and skin. They were both common monsters in Leftheria.

After we finished I grudgingly, although I dared not complain, washed the dishes and put them away.

"Brown boots and a black belt? What're you five?" Granny chided.

"You haven't bought me a brown belt, remember?" I snapped back.

"You're twenty years old, get a job and buy you're own belt! Don't you know Rex's story? He—"

"I know, I know," I said, slightly irritated. "He was a salvager at about fifteen, but I don't know what I'm supposed to do! There are so many options and I'm not sure I'm good for any of them!"

She hugged me sympathetically, I rested my head on her shoulder.

"You know I only want the best for you, yeah?"

"I know..."

"Rex didn't know what he was supposed to do either, but he lived his life one day at a time, and that's all I'm asking you to do. Go out, find a job, find a pretty lass," she laughed.

I laughed. "No girl would want some lazy scrub like me."

She let go. "Yeah I wouldn't either, but I'm sure there's someone out there," she teased.

"Jeez, thanks for the boost of confidence."

She laughed. "Now go take care of the lumber. And if you see any pretty girls out there be sure to not tell them you're a slob."

"Alright, alright!" I laughed, heading out the door.

https/youtu.be/lZJK_tOXcJE

I went out the back and looked at the lumber, it was piled up well over my head and I knew it was going to take a while. I went to the shed in the back and grabbed my double-edged one-and-half-hand sword and my ether pistol.

Ether's an interesting material, it exists in both liquid and crystalline states. It was recently discovered in this crystalline form about two hundred years back, and the use for it was astronomical. The crystals each hold different elemental properties, when melted down, they could be turned into metal ether bullets and tools that could set things on fire, freeze others, produce auras that heal cuts, scrapes, and even poison, and so many others. I simply had dark-type ether bullets, which would inflict poison and major bleeding. I only used other elements in emergencies.

I then grabbed an axe, a shovel, and a saw and went to work. I cut down the pile into small pieces, shooting the small jet snakes that would appear. Nothing major attacked so I didn't have to worry about too much. That is... until I accidentally bumped a skeeter nest. Skeeters had fierce stingers and would drain their victims of their blood.

I quickly pulled my ether gun and changed out the clip to one that contained fire-type bullets. One shot and they bursted into flames. After about four hours of work I finally stacked up all the wood by Granny's house and had it all ready to go!

I went back in the house and laid down on the couch.

"Good job Silas, but you need to take a shower before you lay on all of my pillows. You'll be washing them yourself if you can't figure out how to get clean," Granny scolded.

"Right, my bad!" I apologized as I went and got clean. The warm water felt nice on my back, and soon enough I was done, dry, and had fresh clothes on. I realized I had not put my gun or sword away, I knew Granny got quite irritated when there were weapons in the house so I latched the sword to my right side, as I was a lefty, and my gun to the left.

As I walked down the stairs I heard a shriek. Panicked, I ran outside to find a large-looking monster outside, it'd cornered Granny.

I took one look at it, it had the face of a shark or an orca, and the body of a crocodile, I believe they were referred to as aligos.

I immediately knew my gun would be useless, as the armor on this monster would either catch or deflect the bullets, and I wasn't sure how well my sword would pierce it, but I wasn't going to stand and do nothing.

I pulled my gun and let loose three fire-type ether bullets right into its face, blinding and stunning it. I then ran up, unsheathing my sword, jumping, and planting it into the top of its head.

I didn't kill it, as the sword only pierced its skin. The aligo threw me off, breaking my sword off into its head, leaving me with a handle and half the blade. It ran off and down a cave near our village, Fonsett. I immediately ran after it.

"Silas stop, you'll just hurt yourself," Granny warned. "Besides, that cave is Spirit Crucible Elpys, and that's a place you don't need to ever go."

"I want to make sure it can't attack you again!" I argued.

She silenced me. "I'm can't stop you, but you're definitely going to need another sword before you tackle that thing."

I looked at mine. "Yeah... I guess you're right."

"I'll put in an order for a steel version, I've 'eard they're much more durable than the one I bought ya."

"How long will it take?" I asked.

"Well with that fancy railway station they installed across from Ysheva Harbor a few years back, I'm certain it'll be 'ere by tomorrow," she laughed. "Quite amazing the technology New Torna's produced in the last 'undred years."

New Torna, otherwise known as the Golden City, had been founded some four hundred and eighty years back. It was quickly realized that this city was built on top of gold, silver, jewels, and even more importantly, the largest ether mine the people of Alrest had ever seen. At first the people had no idea of its uses, but after experimenting with its potential, a nopon scientist and mechanic named Tora worked with his father, Dr. Tatazo and an unnamed third scientist who developed it into what it was today. I heard rumors of the technologies Torna had produced since then and anyone who'd ever visited Torna had either never come back to Fonsett or won't say anything past, "it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience".

"Here's the order and the necessary gold, since it's so useful to you, I'll go ahead and buy your fancy sword, but next one's on you, got it?" Granny clarified.

"Yes Granny, understood!"

"I also put in for a new gun and ammunition, that one's for me, so don't screw it up! Take it to the nopon at the Ysheva Railway Station and she'll set it up for ya. Don't forget to tell her it's for me."

"I'll be back in an hour or so," I informed before running ahead.

"Be safe...," she said quietly, knowing he couldn't hear her. She placed her hands over her chest, feeling the crystal that was embedded there.

After a long, uneventful walk, I made it to the train station and went to talk to Lutoluto.

Now the nopon were, like the Gormotti, another interesting race. They, however, weren't very humanoid at all, but kinda looked like a potato with little nubby arms and legs, which lacked fingers and toes. Attached to their head on either side, where you'd normally see ears on a person, were long, flat, arm-like appendages that we're fully prehensile, they worked as their true hands. They were small and fury, had weird, repetitive names, spoke in incomplete sentences, and usually didn't ever do anything for free.

"Hello Lutoluto! I have an order I'd like to place for Granny!"

"Silas! Oh it so good to see you! How is Nia?"

"Granny's doing great! On my case all the time, but that's more of my fault than anything."

"Silas should do more to help old Nia, she help everyone else!"

It's true, Nia was Granny's name, and she did help everyone. She's the one that raised me after a series of... unfortunate events and she also taught history at Fonsett Academy and had even lived through most of it.

Something did strike her as a bit off. Despite only looking about forty years old, the elderly townspeople, well over seventy, would comment on how Granny had helped them while they were children. Her hair was beige and her eyes were bronze. Despite her nickname, she honestly didn't look that old. Her hair was just above her shoulders and she always wore some type of weird orange jumpsuit that suited her too well, despite it being way out of fashion. I couldn't understand how she seemed to age so little throughout her life. However I felt it rude to pry, as she seemed to help everyone out, and that was honestly more than enough for me. It did not, however, stop me from asking other people.

"How old is Granny anyway? She never tells me!" I asked.

Lutoluto laughed. "Ah Silas, that a story for another day!"

"Alright, well, thanks and I'll see you later!"

"Bye bye, Silas! And be good to Nia!"

I watched the sun disappear into the sea as I walked back. I was definitely tired, and kind of hungry too. By the time I made it back, Granny had already made some ardun steak and meaty carrots on the side.

Ardun's were basically cow-sized triceratopses with weighted tails. They were usually gentle and easy to tame. Armus were female, arduns were male.

The dinner went on without much conversation and I couldn't wait to fall asleep.

"Go ahead and sleep in tomorrow Silas, you worked your arse off today, so give yourself a break," Granny advised.

"Thanks Granny, good night," I said before going to sleep.

Tomorrow would be a new day.

Readability Level: 11th-12th Grade

Time Taken: 4.5 Hours

Please do not use without permission. All artwork is not mine and credit goes to the artist.

Amazing book cover made by Hecoand at /p/hcv8l5