Guardians of Elpis
By Sokai and Evilness321
Disclaimer: Never will the series, W.I.T.C.H., ever be claimed to be owned by either one of us . . . because then we'd just end up in jail and could no longer write for you nice people. However, where this NEW plot/name, characters (including one new one/'replacement' of sorts)/attacks/anything else that doesn't seem familiar to the original series are concerned, we DO own . . . so back off. LoL.
Dual Note (from Sokai and Evilness321): As a fair amount of former readers to this tale may notice/realize, yes, this used to be entitled "Guardians of Eos," and also used to be housed within my former co-author's account, instead. However, she had chosen to opt out of continuing on with the story, having lost general interest and other reasons, it seems like.
At any rate, as the world of Eos and its creatures, alongside the character of Gina had been hers, all of that has been removed from the overall tale, so that everything else which had been previously established on my (Sokai's) end (powers, the other characters, etc) could remain and continue on, as a new co-author, my good friend, Evilness321, could join on (and so that the former co-author could have/keep her ideas without fear of it being stolen or envisioned within another way from what she might have had in mind had she stayed on).
With her, she brings with her her OWN character to be sort of a replacement of sorts, as well as her own replacement world, the world of Elpis (hence the title change). And so, while the chapters which I had already gotten out before the old version had been taken down are more or less the same (and will be re-posted in due course), please note that this prologue is completely brand new and entirely of Evilness321's creation/vision (hailing from an old, original story of hers, this world of Elpis, for the most part, although the name was/is my own doing, and with a few other changes/additions to her "borrowed" world meshed together by us both); also note that her new character/replacement's debut chapter will also be brand new.
With all of that said, we all hope you will (re)enjoy this story, which I am personally glad to finally be able to continue on with!
This story was first created on May 6, 2006, and 'canceled' within mid-2011. It has been revamped November 2011.
Prologue: The Summons
It was a world unlike any other.
Ancient, yet new, sprawling, deep and rich in history and strife.
Five moons orbited this world, sometimes a sixth, every one hundred years within accordance to its orbital patterns. And so, without fail, there was always a moon, or two, or three, in the blue skies of the majestic and mystical creation of Elpis.
On the western side of the main landmass, sat the largest feature on a plateau that stretched out for miles, until reaching a mountain range that bordered the land to the north, or the fellow mountains that bordered the country of the High Elves, as well as the Horse Lords to the south.
Near the epicenter of the bountiful terrain stood a gleaming castle, like a spike of diamond silver, towers raised higher into the sky than any from the city that surrounded it on its eastern side.
The Silver Castle, as it has been dubbed since its early beginnings, sat in the valley between the two mountain ranges on the plateau that overlooked the ocean to the west. The plateau stretched out eastward, to a large lake that was fed by a river from the mountains in the north, and farther east was the land that none of the Elves, Horse Lords, or Other Peoples in the west dared entered.
The castle, itself, had been there for as long as any in the land could hope to recall, far back when the flourishing city around it had been a mere village, and possibly even before then. It was easily the most recognizable landmark upon the western side of the country.
Much about its actual origins remain fairly unknown, although many of the Elpisian natives believe it may well have been formed through the overpowering magic of the Woodland Elves, kin to the High Elves and who lived within the Crystal Forest, to the northeast of the castle. Not much has ever been known about the Woodland Elves, or their overall societal structures, for they have remained traditionally recluse for many years, almost on even footing as the Horse Lords in that regard, who, despite their inviting, wide open grasslands and rolling emerald hills, have continually chosen to encase themselves within their own dwellings.
The High Elves in the lands between the two mountain ranges, the Woodland Elves in the Crystal Forest to the North, the Horse Lords in the South, and remaining Other Peoples have all lived peacefully with each other for countless generations, despite personal preferences, even standing together when darkness would ever dare threaten their world.
Currently, with no known strife to call the Elpisian people to arms, peace has reigned and made all lands prosperous . . . even near the Crossing, the border and last outpost before moving into the Eastern lands, where both the Other Peoples and a fair amount of those hailing from the Elven race have lived within good spirits since the time of the final war between them had been waged and amicably ended long ago.
Generations have gone by without any sign of the reemergence of the world's Guardians, its appointed protectors, as a direct result of its continued peaceful times; however, while the overall inhabitants of Elpis were rather content with this knowledge, there was at least one being who understood, who felt, that their unified days of peace would soon be over, and in its place an overwhelming period of turmoil would soon be at hand.
Within the tallest tower of the Silver Castle, that looked as though it nearly touched the heavens, was an overpowering feeling as though a shadow had crept up along the gleaming, silvery halls, casting a dark glow upon the singular, female figure bent down in prayer.
Wearing white robes of silk, lined with a fine floral pattern embroidered in gold, her shoulder length hair matched the color of her vestments, a glistening silvery-white, while her amber yellow eyes mildly mimicked the flattering designs there upon.
And when these amber colored eyes opened, they seemed to be looking at nothing in particular, yet at the same time observing everything. The room the lone woman was within was circular in structure, and like the rest of the castle, the walls were of pure silver and diamond encrusted, reflecting the sunlight that burst in through the open stained glass window at the top of the domed ceiling.
A crystal chandelier hung from the center, casting many specks of colored rainbow light in the diamond room, almost like a prism had been set there.
Although there were no paintings in this room, the windows at the top and around provided its own canvas of sorts, having a faint, stained glass appeal to them and bearing the only signs of the castle's possible true age to anyone who might look upon them. The floor consisted of a pattern, a thin gold line in the form of an eight pointed star etched into the silver marble, with a circle that looped around it several times.
And within the center of the star on the floor, almost as a finishing touch, was the ever silent, prayerful woman.
She'd been there for days (possibly even weeks at this point, as the passing time has become increasingly interwoven to her), merely meditating, praying, and even hoping, as a looming threat in the east grew and threatened the peace and stability that the majority of Elpis had long since come to accept as their way of life, especially after the Hundred Year War had finally concluded.
Now, it was nearing the two hundredth anniversary since the ending of that war, but instead of unanimous celebrations, slight rumors and other various hearsay was curiously growing in its place, whispers of the ageless fear that had risen in the east having reached her ears . . . and she pondered what to do.
Should she let it continue to grow and fester like a bubbling cauldron before it threatened to explode? Or should she take the preemptive strike, and cast herself from this castle in search of the warriors who could save them all?
Yet, she was reluctant to even summon the legendary warriors, the Guardians of Elpis, once more. Her own daughter, her only child, had been one of them, among the first quintet ever to be appointed the noble position, and who'd helped save their world before . . . but she, like her companions, had tragically perished during one of the final battles in The Unknown Lands further out East.
The death of her daughter traumatized the holy woman, the Priestess, for some time, and her sister, the only family she had left, had been changed forever as a result of that ongoing, trying conflict . . . a fact, specifically as to how, why, and possibly by whom, that was still disturbingly murky, and full of unwelcome mystery to this very day.
Fighting against Nagira directly, her sister, her remaining blood, would require a strength of will to kill, above all else, for Nagira wasn't what one could call 'normal evil.' If anything, she had been considered to be one of, if not the most formidable foes the world had ever faced, even amongst the various obstacles set in motion during the treacherous battles in The Unknown Lands.
As it was, it had taken the collective front of the fallen Elpis Guardians to at last make progress within their direct confrontation with Nagira, managing only to place an eternal seal upon her as their last protective act . . . but if that seal had indeed somehow been opened. . . .
The Priestess, Adolpha Silverhawk, didn't want to think about it any further.
At long last she allowed herself to stand from her place of continued solitude, in a single, graceful movement of white and gold.
Adolpha seemed to be lost in thought for a moment, before making her mind up about something privy only to her. With a soft sigh, she suddenly transformed into a giant, fully grown tiger with a coat of the purest ivory, and black stripes across the body and tail.
Only the amber eyes from her humanoid form remained the same in this special guise, although they appeared to glow for a moment before she disappeared in a flash of blinding, white light.
Having not journeyed away from the Silver Castle in so long, away from Elpis, itself, Adolpha found that she hadn't any choice. Her urgency was dire, as she sought the assistance of not just one figure, but several.
And it would take a good amount of time and energy to find precisely whom she was looking for.
The King and Queen would not be thrilled by her absence, for certain . . . but this was the only way she could send the message to the individuals destined to be the new Guardians.
She could only hope that the bounty of prayers she'd made during the passing weeks would help carry her along a lot faster to her newfound and currently intended destination:
Along her steadfast journey to the equally mystified plane as that of her own, Adolpha frowned inwardly to herself. Now as a bright, white hot star streaking through the dimensions toward her point of arrival, the High Priestess simultaneously worked at sending the Summons, or Vision, ahead of time to the ones who would become her world's newest Guardians.
She did not know whom they might be at this point, but could at least discern that all five surprisingly hailed, not from Elpis, as the majority of the premiere Guardians had been, but rather scattered, somewhere upon the planet of Earth. . . .
How coincidental, it seemed to the pale faced woman, that her world's soon to be saviors this time held similar origins to that of Kandrakar's own Guardians, rather than ties to her own realm like before. Aldolpha imagined having to bestow the task of anointed protectors upon the shoulders of five, otherwise oblivious Earthlings this time around, and for a place none of them had certainly ever heard of nor ever hoped to believe could possibly exist would be greatly unfair . . . but as the apparently infinite, although familiar and always comforting skies of Kandrakar came into view, she knew there was now no turning back. . . .
Infinity was endless, indeed, deep and charismatic just as the word, itself. Kandrakar, being the heart of the magical dimensions, appeared to have no end to its surroundings. It was peaceful, quiet. Just the ideal vicinity for the one known as Himmerish to meditate, ponder and question the existence of such power and elegance.
Walking along the halls, he paused at a group of images of the Guardians of the Veil, who affectionately referred to themselves as 'W.I.T.C.H.' more often than not, he'd noticed, for it was a word created when arranged within such a manner, courtesy of the first initial of each females' given names.
Himmerish continued to gaze upon the various visual projections of his champions, his calm, dark eyes beginning to twinkle with pride.
Confident Earth Guardian Cornelia Hale, with her long, golden hair flowing about her, as she summoned a fairly gargantuan sized blossom tree on a whim. The ever humorous Guardian of Water Irma Lair conjuring a giant sphere of water right alongside her at times strained, blonde companion, as though within direct magical competition.
Cheerful and ever bright, even a bit clumsy at times Hay Lin, the Guardian of Air, giggled gaily at the mystical display, while the sometimes shy, however always intelligent and kind Fire Guardian Taranee Cook, and her closest friend and leader of the group, Wilhelmina, or 'Will' Vandom, merely sat side by side and heaved a dual, heavy sigh of mock disapproval.
The one blessedly imbued with all four aspects of the elements, and who so bravely and selflessly united them all with the sacred, and quite frequently coveted Heart of Kandrakar.
Himmerish began to consider the struggles that the magical quintet had gone through to protect the planes of Earth, Metamoor, and even Kandrakar, itself, at one point, in the time they had since become Guardians, when a prickling upon the back of his neck told him that something, or someone was fast approaching his domain.
He hurried outside into the open, having no fear of the newfound arrival, as he contently peered up towards the endless sky and saw what appeared to be a bright, and ferociously burning star. It was curiously growing, gaining within size by the second as it descended straight toward enlightened entity, until it abruptly landed before him within the form of a large, white tiger with mesmerizing amber tinted eyes.
And throughout all of that, Himmerish still hadn't felt alarmed, nor even flinched.
"Ah. . . . The Lady Silverhawk," Himmerish spoke with a calm smile and light nod of welcomed acknowledgment. He'd always found it to be rather amusing that the High Priestess of Elpis's surname was Silverhawk, when her favorite form to shift into from time to time was that of an earthly tiger, as was presently the case before him.
Perhaps it was merely an ironic act of Fate, like so many others within the lives of those he had intimately come to know over time.
Himmerish quickly pushed aside these various thoughts, however, the moment he saw the undeniably storm-tossed look upon the shape-shifting priestess's face, even within tiger form.
He, of all beings, should have known that an abrupt visit from one of his fellow magical companions, after so very long of noted absence, might hold the strong possibility for avid concern.
". . . . Something troubling has carried you from Elpis?" Himmerish asked, almost more so executing it as an honest statement, instead, just as the mystical white tiger transformed into the familiar, beautiful, humanoid sight of the High Priestess Adolpha.
"Yes, Himmerish. . . . I strongly believe that 'The . . . The Shadow' has risen once more into The Unknown Lands, Himmerish." she replied softly, yet firmly, her pale face somehow becoming even more so, while her amber eyes darkened with worried agitation.
Himmerish's own eyes narrowed within similar affect.
"But your Guardians should have sealed it . . . her away, permanently, generations ago," he murmured upon distressful reflection, mindful to take delicate care with choice of words concerning such a matter, especially one so unavoidably personal and tragic for his revered compatriot.
"The . . . seal has somehow been broken. I can feel it. I know not of the appropriate details as of yet, by whom, or why, or perhaps most importantly, how, but . . . I am absolutely certain now that it is shattered, Himmerish. And now . . . 'The Shadow' grows once more, and rapidly even stronger," Adolpha frowned, her heart becoming increasingly troubled and heavy. "I come to bring you this development personally, as well as to inform you that . . . I fully intend to summon the new Guardians of Elpis at long last. In truth, as it presently stands, there should be nothing to concern yourself directly with - You, as well as your own Guardians - unless . . . 'The Shadow' should this time set her sights beyond Elpis, and squarely upon Kandrakar of all places. . . . I fear that I am not sure what her desire may be this time . . . besides an undoubted sense of vengeance. . . ."
Himmerish did his best to block out the shuddering sense of dread which then threatened to wash over him upon listening to the ominous forewarning of Elpis's High Priestess. He recalled, quite strongly, the struggle her world's Guardians had gone through in order to successfully subdue 'The Shadow,' and how within the end all which could have been achieved was 'simply' sealing her away . . . at the cost of their very lives.
And so if the combined efforts of the Elpis Guardians, who'd possessed a level of magic which admittedly, and unmistakably rivaled, even quite honestly surpassed that of his own Guardians, hadn't been enough to do away with this overwhelming threat within a permanent sense, he felt positively crippled at the thought of how well 'W.I.T.C.H.' would fair (despite all of his girls' personal and unified accomplishments), should the new Guardians of Elpis succumb, as well.
After all, before now, there had never been a need nor intent for a new set of Elpis Guardians to ever be appointed, as the first and only quintet to have upheld the position had been imbued so strongly with all the mystical blessings that that world had to offer, that they had never failed as its protectors throughout the many, seemingly endless decades of having done so.
There had never been a foe encountered which they could not best . . . until 'The Shadow.'
Until Nagira. . . .
". . . . I shall certainly be on the alert if such a travesty should occur, Lady Adolpha. The last attack upon this fortress amidst our own, separate battle has admittedly weakened our defenses greatly, as I am sure you are aware. And so, we are still within recovery," Himmerish revealed tensely, directing the ivory haired woman's vision to the last sign of the great battle which had taken place within his sacred dwellings, scars upon the otherwise pristine domain.
Nodding solemnly, giving brief pause, Adolpha pursed her thin lips together before speaking once more.
". . . . So I see . . . regrettably. . . . I must take my leave of you now, Himmerish. The awakening of each chosen Elpis Guardian shall soon be upon my people, as I have already sent 'The Vision' to the newfound leader."
Adolpha then shifted her gaze back onto the remaining signs of damage upon her longtime comrade's personal damage to his home, and seemed to take it in rather quickly, before nodding once more and turning away from the display.
Normally, she would have shown much more care to the overall situation of Kandrakar and any related concerns therein; however, with such a serious threat at hand within her own world, she had little time to spare for the plight of others.
It was admittedly a tad callous of her, all things considered, but she was the High Priestess of Elpis, not of Kandrakar, nor any other known or unknown world within this particular universe. And the job of ensuring the sound protection of her world, her home, fell upon her shoulders.
She did not like having to summon brand new Guardians, especially after so long of doing without, and would not if she could avoid doing so.
But, she truly hadn't a choice.
As Adolpha turned back to face Himmerish one last time, her tiger form manifested itself once more, within a brilliance of white illumination.
"I shall . . . alert you on occasion of the progress, if any, that is being made within our war. I pray that said war shall be contained simply within Elpis, and that, moreover, our new Guardians shall be up to the task which is rapidly at hand," she informed The Oracle, fleetingly confessing her growing concerns over her still forming expectations of her motherland's newfound champions.
". . . . I wish you luck, then, Lady Silverhawk," Himmerish began, just as the mystical woman vanished from his sight, before worriedly whispering to himself, ". . . for all of our sakes. . . ."
To Be Continued. . . .
(A.N. from Sokai and Evilness321: Sooo . . . okay. Originally, Evilness's prologue was about four and a half pages long, and was going to stay that way, as I didn't want to really mess with her vision, just as I hadn't with that of my former co-author. But then after re-reading it and realizing there was some slight hiccups in the "might not make sense to the readers" manner, as well as generally feeling some things needed to be expanded upon, I threw my hat into the ring to make this wonderful prologue of Evilness's a combined effort. =) Well, honestly, this entire story's naturally a combined effort, but as was the case with my former co-author, and again with my new one, we will each take a scene, sometimes even a chapter for ourselves to write out after reviewing it with each other, etc, etc. But . . . yeah. In this case, I guess, while Evilness wrote it all out and covered what we'd agreed upon, I went back and added a lil' bit of extra scenes/moments, like I said, to flesh it out a tad more. And now it's ended at seven pages. Damn, me. LoL
But, no, seriously. We really hope you enjoyed this new prologue/world of Elpis. The direct mention of the WITCH gals was all Evilness's doing, again, and a bit surprising to me, since the first time around, back when it was still called "Eos," they never were mentioned, as my former co-author and I pretty much made it clear that while The Oracle had been featured then, too, his gals pretty much didn't exist within that world . . . kinda. Pretty much. LoL
I don't honestly believe that they'll cross paths with the Elpis gals, really, as I personally do not have plans for them to, from what had always been envisioned since the days when it was still "Eos," but in terms of this prologue and the interaction between Adolpha and 'Himmer-mimmer,' Evilness felt it a bit 'necessary' to mention them. =)
Who knows, maybe at the very end of the tale, during the final showdown, they WILL be mentioned again and try to help them out. Why, not. ~ Shrugs ~ LoL
Oh! And no, it's not one of those, "Let's make OUR Guardians sooooooooooo much stronger than the canon Guardians! Yay!" As I'd said, they were never originally meant to be mentioned directly, so that it would sort of be perceived that this takes place within an alternate universe of sorts.
Still does, honestly.
But, as already pretty much illustrated, sort of, the back history, limitations, foundations, guidelines and such of the Elpis Guardians were/are quite different from that of 'Himmer-mimmer's' Guardians.
Again, not an honest "we're better" shot. Just always that way, really, since back when it was still "Eos." I'd put a LOT of freaking thought and effort into their overall power listing SINCE the days of "Eos," damn it, let alone all that dynamics, so...yeah. LoL
Tired. Reflex. I blame Evilness. =)
Next posting, is Ellie's vision. Remember her? Yeah. LoL But her vision scene is also completely new, also written by Evilness, as it had originally been written by my former co-author. And then the other completely changed aspect will be for/catering to Evilness's own added character/replacement.
Sooo . . . yeah! Next posting, most likely later today. =)
P.S. And before anyone may ask about my 'The Royal Guardian' story, YES, it will be updated fairly soon, alongside a rather important message about it. So, please, be patient and stay tuned, for this, AND that story.
And DEFINITELY definitely check out the rest of Evilness's own tales, especially her 'Batgirl: Beyond' series. Very good stuff, that. =) )