Dark form book 1 of the.., p.1
Dark Form_Book 1 of the Shadow War Trilogy, page 1
The rain is coming down as hard as hail and as fast as lightning; cold clear droplets soaking into the life of Elvendora. A dark mare comes galloping down the dirt path; her hooves thundering against the muddy earth as a knight in plate mail armor hovers above the saddle. Swiftly riding through the thickening night, racing to a frantic destination, the knight peers through the storm and sees the end of his journey. A figure in a shadowy black cloak stands at the edge of a cliff unmoved, even by time. He slowly brings the mare to a halt as he approaches the dark form.
“They are now under the protection of the Sacred Forest,” the man breathes what he knows will be his last words, “there’s no way in.”
Folds on the dark figure’s cloak spreads out, ironing out the creases in the obsidian silk as the material thickens into a flesh structure colored a gradient of charcoal and indigo. The edges of the odd form harden and, through the rigid features that carved its way into what was once the cloak, reveals that the garment has transformed into a pair of wings. Full of life and death, they stretch towards the sky with unbound emotion hidden within the concealed form to which they belong.
The knight is thrown into the mud as the mare’s forelegs leap into the air. Instantly, the horse bolts into the trees nearby. Not knowing what to do the man begins crawling backwards. Darkness wraps around the figure as it releases a loud shrieking cry of anger and agony. The world around submits to its power; causing hurricanes to blaze in destruction, earthquakes to devour the surrounding wildlife, lava to incinerate the skies, and tsunamis to submerge the terrains with incredible force. The figure’s cry should’ve brought the end to this world but it wouldn’t. It couldn’t.
A breeze rustles the leaves above; woodland creatures scurry across the ground and fly high above the branches. The luscious grass waves in the cool breeze, slowly brushing against my skin. The Sacred Forest’s giant trees radiate soothing colors as the sun coruscates against the morning dew. A day like this seems as if it only comes once in a lifetime. I lay on the ground in a small circular clearing where the tree branches don’t block the sunlight and it’s welcoming. It’s my favorite spot in the world, mainly because I don’t feel so…trapped. Since the moment I could crawl I was never allowed to leave the forest but this place, particularly, makes me feel like I’m free of my restrictions. I stretch my arms across the ground absorbing the ambiance of this harmonic place. A brightly colored eagle swoops down from the trees and lands onto my bare chest. I can feel its feet pressing firmly against my skin; it then vanishes as swiftly as it came. A sensation of fear is left in its absence. The sudden sound of a twig snapping sends a surge of danger through me. Without hesitation, I’m on my feet in a crouching position.
Over the years, many strange and dangerous creatures have come traipsing through the forest searching for something. None of them made it far enough to find it. My parents never explained to me why they came to the forest; yet, the only question on my mind is, what could they be looking for?
Beams of sunlight shoot through the leaves creating a low menacing glow beyond the small piece of grassland. Soft breaths hum in the wind as I hone in on my surroundings. Black shadows fly through the darkness, past the light, heading towards Meta Village, the only piece of civilization in the Sacred Forest. My legs instinctively move towards the village as well, but a shadow covered by a blanket of black smoke lands a few feet in front of me. It soon takes the form of a giant black wolf with keen red eyes and fangs that are as long and sharp as swords.
It growls and snarls at me but neither aspect frightens me. Lunging toward me the lower half of its body becomes the black smoke that it once was. I bring the side of my left foot into its chin; then, with a quick rebound, I bring my other foot across its jaw. Faster than I imagined the wolf regained itself and lunges at me again. I am unexplainably stronger and faster than your average elf; shifting my body to the side I wrap my arms around its neck. Forcing all my strength upon it I twist my arms out into the air, snapping the beast's neck. The ghostly animal explodes into black smoke that fades away.
The shrieking cries of women and children ring into the hollow sound of the forest. I bolt through the darkness, pushing aside twigs and branches, leaping over logs and puddles. Shadows race by; burning clouds rise off into the air from the raging fire nearby. Despair flows through me at the thought of my parents—and all that I hold dear—being slaughtered by these impossible creatures.
I plunge through the trees, into the outskirts of Meta Village. A veil of darkness slowly engulfs the surrounding area blocking all source of light. My night sight kicks in allowing me to witness shadow beast devouring the helpless elves, ripping them apart and shattering their souls. Everything is happening so fast I don't know what to do. Vibrations flow through the earth, the breeze strengthens and water from puddles begins to rise.
A chill of death runs down my spine. I close my eyes trying to stay calm and focus, yet everything feels as if it is falling apart; I open my eyes to find a figure covered in a black cloak emerging from behind the veil. The cloth hides its frame, revealing only its eyes. Two frightening colors. The right a piercing red and the left a soothing blue. Complete opposites, but yet they are one?
The sight will be something I’ll never forget; I almost feel drawn to it. The figure’s body begins to shift towards me but I can’t bring myself to get away. Its eyes have grasped a hold of my mind and soul.
“Let go of him you bastard,” a strong feminine voice of discharges over the screams of innocent lives being destroyed.
A figure stands tall and powerful. She grasps a bow firmly with one hand and holds a drawn arrow with the other. Her fingers slide off the feathers on the back of the wood as she exhales. The arrow rips across the surface of the bow; a burst of burgundy light erupts through the darkness as a mass of energy envelops the missile; it penetrates through the sudden furious gust of wind.
The grasp that was once over me is now shattered, however, the chill comes back with a hidden warning.
A black hand lashes out of the cloak, red symbols have written their way across the skin’s surface. The figure’s right-hand clutches the arrow inches in front of its face. The energy disperses the moment its fingers enclosed around the finely crafted wood. A slight shift of its thumb and the arrow snaps in half. When the figure turns its hand over the object becomes ablaze; the raging fire slowly calms into a perfect spherical shape.
The figure’s head shifts over to the w
Even though I’ve never seen her before until now I feel an intense connection between us. This feeling pulses through me creating a sudden urge to reach out anyways. When I do, I don’t feel the empty space in the middle of us; no, instead I feel the burning heat of flame: the fireball explodes outwards with my extended touch. She turns to me holding a grin from ear-to-ear as if she was already expecting me to have pushed the flame away.
The ground starts cracking, the wind begins ripping smaller trees from the earth and water gradually swirls around the perimeter of the village. Shadows retreat into the figure's body as if to give it more strength. Few remain behind trying to kill two extremely amazing fighters. My parents?! My mother, Delphine, is swinging around a long double-bladed glaive. Hacking the beast to pieces. My father, Edon, throws around a giant flaming hammer; smashing and bashing the shadows to dust.
“Listen Zarvick, we have to go—NOW!” The woman calls over to me with urgency.
“How do you know who I am? And what is going on here?”
She doesn’t respond.
The woman draws another arrow. When she releases it there isn’t that same burst of energy from before, it was just a normal arrow. Once it strikes the ground the missile explodes with a flash, chunks of rock fly in all directions and I stand there paralyzed.
She appears at my side in a blink of an eye. Grasping my arm, the woman pulls me behind her as we sprint through the battlefield. The place that I call home begins to fall into ashy ruins. As we race across the blazing village, I witness the shadows killing every single thing that breathes. Completely absorbed with the death and destruction, I don’t notice the beast before me until I bump into the woman.
Luminous hollow eyes that seem to stare into my soul. An aura of death silhouettes the creature’s body. This ape-like being roars down at us as the space between us diminishes. The craziest part about this all isn’t the fact that this monstrosity of darkness is about to kill us. No, it’s that we are heading directly for it!
In a flash, I see my life…it’s blank?! I can’t seem to remember much of anything right now.
What’s going on? I annoyingly ask myself.
Before I could further question this sudden uprise of events a new beast springs into view. Yet, this one is different from the others. It’s not made of shadow nor does it possess a presence of evil. This creature isn't trying to kill us, actually, it’s trying to protect us.
The beast dives over us and pounces on the shadow; blade-like fangs and talons sink into the shadow’s obsidian flesh. Green blood pours out of the gaping wounds and seeps into the soil. Darkness flies up in a blur as the ape’s large hand grips our guardian’s neck. With one motion, the animal is in the air and plummeting to the ground.
A small crater is formed from our protector’s impact with the ground. The ape slams his other fit straight for the beast’s head; it rebounds from the previous blow and swiftly dodges the new strike
The woman grabs hold of my arm once more and practically drags me along as she races towards my parents.
I couldn’t stop myself from watching the battle between these two monsters. Both trying to tear the other apart. They shift around in a circle waiting for the perfect opportunity to attack. They appear to be of equal strength, however, both aren’t like anything I’ve ever seen before.
There is something off about this creature trying to protect us. I focus my vision on the finer details of our unknown protector, revealing the animal’s attributes: long snout, giant legs, black fur, elvenoid like structure, and golden eyes.
It's a kaine! But they are cold blooded beast that kill anything and everything. Part-elf part-wolf. Why is it here? It must be with this woman.
“We must get out of here before―”
I do too when my eyes fall upon its gaze. The cloaked figure has positioned itself between my parents and us. It’s alluring eyes gleam vividly into my soul. I was waiting for the grasp it had over me before to happen again, it strangely doesn't. The only thing I feel is this woman’s hand strangling my arm. I sense her somehow struggling to shield me.
Creases form along the garment as a concealed movement hides beneath its surface. A white hand coated with blue runes etched across its skin appears; the figure’s left-hand clutches a rugged onyx whip that phases in and out of reality. With an instant flick of its wrist, the whip glides backwards. The rugged surface smoothes out into scales as the whip transforms into a giant snake. Garnet eyes waver in the darkness as the snake slithers back and forth on the floor.
The figure flicks its wrist forward forcing the snake to lash out; soaring towards us, the animal’s mouth snaps open revealing large pulsing fangs. Darkness and destruction that seem to have come from nowhere is one thing…but a whip that has changed into a snake is another. I don’t know what to do, we’re trapped in an endless battlefield of nightmares.
Before I know it my body is shoved into the floor and the hiss of the whip breaks above my head. I look over my shoulder to find that the kaine has pinned the shadow ape to the ground, wrapping his jaws around its neck. It fights to get loose but the wolf-like creature has the upper hand. With one fierce growl, the shadow’s head is ripped from its shoulders. Its remains become a cloud of smoke that evaporates.
“Come on, get up. We have to go!”
The woman pulls me to my feet the very moment that cloaked figure retracts its whip. Her voice is full of urgency.
“I’m not doing anything until you tell me what’s going on,” I shout above the growing destruction.
“Do you really think there is time for this shit! Unless you want to die, I suggest you shut up and follow me,” anger replaces her urgency.
From the corner of my eye, I see the snake hurtling towards us again. Without thinking, I push the woman out-of-the-way and raise my arm to shield my face. When I do a stone spike shoots through the earth puncturing the snake’s skull. Like the ape, the snake becomes a cloud of smoke. And unlike the ape, the snake’s smoke reforms into the rugged onyx whip it once was.
The woman picks herself off the ground and walks over to me. With one quick movement, she slaps me across the face.
“That’s for pushing me,” then kisses me on the cheek, “and that’s for saving me, twice.”
I blush while she smiles at me. A moment later, the kaine is crouching beside her; she jumps up and swings her leg over his side.
Holding out her hand she looks at me, “he won’t bite.”
The irony of that statement is unbelievable.
I grab her hand anyway and she pulls me onto his back. The beast rises, snarling at the dark figure. It just sits there waiting; then, the kaine dashes towards the figure, his arms and legs rapidly push off the ground picking up speed. Not a second later, we are feet apart from this dark being. There’s no doubt in my mind that this beast will tear the figure in half. At least that’s what I’m hoping for.
Faster than lightning, the figure’s body becomes two separate clouds of black smoke. They maneuver around the wolf’s head and the woman’s body. The clouds bind together and plow into my chest. As I am I falling off the kaine’s back the woman spins around and grabs me; her hand tightens around my forearm. Turning my head, I try to find the dark cloud.
Behind us, black smoke reforms into the figure. Its cloak flies open revealing nothing but black emptiness. Ebony tentacles erupt through that emptiness and sweep through the darkness. The woman pulls me up closer to her.
“We have to get out of here,” she says to the kaine.
“I don’t think that’s going to happen right now,” I reply
“And why is that?” Pure attitude.
The tentacles are closing in all around us. She pulls an arrow from her quiver and jabs it into the closest appendage. A small gleam of light shines from the wound; it explodes into a cloud filled with burgundy sparkles, then fades away.
However, that didn’t make much of a difference. Another tentacle just takes its place. We are going to die by shadowy tentacles. Honestly, not how I thought I would die. Kind of a downer.
My father jumps over us swinging his hammer around in his hand. Flame ignites around the weapon, coating the hammer’s surface the instant he hurls it at the figure. It plunges into the cloak. Fire erupts around the figure's body engulfing it in a sea of flame. The power soars along the appendages and incinerates them.
Not even that was enough to take down the figure. Its cloak wavers shut, extinguishing the flames. The figure grasps the hammer, a surge of electricity devours the metal head and leather binding. Vaporizing it. Its hands retreat into the cloak and tentacles soar through its void once more.
My father dodges and evades them but one finds an opening; it pierces into his shoulder forcing a small cry of agony out of him. Glowing ruby blood trails down his body and drips onto the earth. Another tentacle speedily closes in. I thought I was about to witness his downfall, yet again, I am wrong. A large circle of golden light slashes through the appendages and charges towards the figure. With a swift jump backwards it dodges the attack.
The light jumps into the air where a dark silhouette grasps its center forcing it to transform. My mother turns the circle into her double-bladed glaive as she plummets towards the figure. Like a speeding arrow she thrusts the weapon into its chest, pulls out the glaive, swings it above her head and, with the other end of the pole-arm, she slashes it through the dark form’s neck. Not a single drop of blood from either wound. As the glaive cuts off the figure’s head it becomes smoke.
The cloud whirl about my mother and reforms into the figure behind her. She turns to face it. With one swift movement, the figure claws her chest sending her to the ground. Glowing sapphire blood pours out of the gash. The form’s right-hand has turned into large talons. Now covered with my mother’s blood. My father appears at her side and slugs the figure across its hooded face. Then knees it in the gut. The moment his foot touches the ground he spins around and kicks the figure across the other side of its face.
by M. A. Da Costa have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes