Buried within another time, world, dimension, or perhaps simply your mind, there lies a fantastical land of discovery. Welcome to a country filled with empirical magic, infection, and a dying hope. A plain of existence where fantasy and reality entwine. A compilation of unlikely characters bound by insurmountable odds. Welcome to Oderria.
Who am I? No one special. Simply a guide graced with the key to this land. When the gates of wonder are opened, we will, as friends and historians, journey through the mystery, action, and magic. And maybe–just maybe–we’ll learn a few things along the way.
I direct you to a moonlit town at the edge of poison’s stronghold. In the confusion of the outburst skirmish, the black-haired boy ran, his pious face held high. Tonight was the last stand, the last plea that would bring restoration from the ashes of a dying hope. The time was nigh.
“In order to bring the true hero into this magical nation,
Journey next to the capital of those with evil derivation.
Gather twenty White Jewels at the Pedestal of Light.
The wizard’s apprentice will find a hero that night.”
The boy repeated these words in a refined melody. They were his only source of encouragement as he fled in a desperate attempt to reach the opening between worlds. His lungs burned, his heart raced, and his legs throbbed. He fled through a crumbling grainery, surrounded by a maelstrom of clashing weapons, armored and hooded silhouettes, and the sounds of warriors bellowing the cries of war. When outside, he witnessed, with a chill, an old mill crumble to nothing as flames and electricity winded unnaturally about it. This was their doing. The boy heard a noise, looked back, and to his horror saw, trailing after him, a savage, sable figure, shrouded by the undulating mass of a cloak.
A Dark Sage.
With determined speed and quavery hatred, the fiend tore through anything and anyone that dared cross his path. The boy would be lucky if he could escape.
His speed and fear escalated as he raced through the disparaged remains of smithies and masonry shops and up the jutting terrain until he was at the center of town. He darted into a violent throng of heroic knights and evil hooded beings with weapons of glowing purple.
While he shoved his way through the thick cluster of people, the child glanced back. The shadowed man had changed. He was now a beast. Glaring at the boy with glowing orange eyes, this monster shoveled people out of its way with its crinite arms, horned face, and earth-shaking hooved feet, heading toward him rapidly.
Choked with dread, the boy’s pace quickened. He darted up a tall hill laden with obtrusive stones and thorns, reached in his leather bag, and pulled out a red gem, which had on it a winding symbol of fire. The monster’s shadow looming over him, he pointed his Erythro Jewel over his shoulder. Mounds of boiling lava burst out of the jewel and onto the monster. In pain, it gave an ear-splitting screech, and as if by the lava, its form began to shrivel and diminish, then it altered and grew.
The animal quickly grew bigger and bigger as its skin turned into rough black scales, some of which were extending out from its back. Swiftly, the creature’s two back extensions formed into umbrella-like wings while the rest of its body turned as big as an elephant and as scaley as a lizard. It grew massive keen talons and, inside its gigantuous mouth, foaming fangs to match the size of the claws.
He tried to sprint away, but he did not get far before the large dragon was directly above him. From the boy’s jewel there emanated a transparent red shield that looked as if it was made of a strange mixture of glass and wind.
The dragon pounced down on the shield and relentlessly clawed at it, slowly fragmenting it.
His heart racing, his breath hollow, the boy struggled to keep the shield standing. “You are failing them,” his thoughts rang out. “You are failing yourself.”
The steam-like shield had little strength remaining. The boy felt a shadow pass over him, and he closed his eyes expectantly. When pain did not come to him, his eyes opened. He saw an immense mass fly above him and ram into the black beast, and next thing he knew, the black animal had plunged down the hill. The child looked up and saw the thing that had done this was another dragon with muscly arms and glistening orange scales. The boy’s eyes were wide with astonishment. He was saved.
As the orange creature began to claw at the black dragon, it said in a distinct low-pitched voice, “Hurry, boy, get to the portal!”
“It’s Chad!” the boy thought aloud, immediately recognizing the comforting voice of an age-old friend.
The boy smiled fervidly as he and the orange dragon’s eyes met. Then in fatherly protection, the creature lunged, swiped, and charged through the other dragon’s breath of flames, the boy’s safety of higher concern than his own.
“Dear boy, this could be our last goodbye. Find the kid, get the gem, and don’t trust anybody, or else they’ll get you!” stated the shape-shifted man as he hardly held back the adversary. Though he had said this in his more casual tongue, he still sounded so unnaturally stoic, as if the message carried the weight of the world. “Now, hurry to the Ingress! Go!”
The child bolted away, tears streaming down his face.
“Goodbye,” he whispered.
Eventually, he stood beside the pedestal filled with arcane carvings and upheld by sculpted gems of dragons. The portal’s source opened before him.
The boy took one final look at his world. His mentor may have been gone, and he would soon inherit a tremendous responsibility. He was at a crossroads between worlds, and from now on, nothing would ever be the same. His hands were trembling. He clenched his fists, glared at the portal, then jumped in.
Jeramy struggled against a dark, cloak-like mass that closed around him. His eyes flew open as he jumped out of his bed in a panicky sweat, one foot landing on something soft and the other on something fiercely sharp.
Instantly, his feet returned to his bed as he stared down at the floor, infested with the scattered remains of old school papers, forgotten T-shirts longing to be washed, and action figures with sharp accessories. The latter two were the culprit behind his pain. His hands brushed against his blanket and he then realized this was the item he had just fought against for dear life. He glared at the bedroom window through which there shone the bright-golden glow of a summer day and his mind drifted into its usual ponderings.
The boy, the figure, the violence, the destruction, the seemingly medieval town–it had all felt so vivid, so real. He could smell the plumes of smoke, hear the sound of chaos, he could even feel the wind of weapons just an inch away from maiming him. And, like a tormenting curse, he saw, night after night, through the eyes of the child, the same beast, the same chaotic battle; the same dream. It was yet another question, yet another unknown to leave him in eminent, insurmountable fear. Because of both this and his curiosity, he could not help but wonder, as he had many times before if this dream meant something, and he could not help but feel that—somehow, some way—he was connected to it. He felt accursed, for the reality of this dream would seemingly leave him imprisoned in endless confusion.
He almost accepted the events in the dream as reality, but then, as usual, he questioned the things presented to him.
“Magic jewels? Portals? Shape-shifters? How can it be?” And with this, he had quickly dispelled the thought from his mind, knowing that he was being absurd. Of course, it was not real.
Still, the usual sliver of doubt buried within him kept his mind troubled by his ponderings.
After maneuvering through his cluttered room, he gazed out the window and hardly stirred. He saw blooming spindly trees and savored the warmth of the sun. Because of his pull to nature and the way it seemed to clear his head, he concluded to go on a walk and empty his mind of the dream that afflicted him with unending questions. He headed downstairs and opened the door when, suddenly, a voice rang out from the other end of the house. “Jeramy mu’ boy, you going on a walk? I’ll join ya’!”
The origin of this southern accent was undoubtedly his mother. His mom could hear the tiniest noise from a whole mile away, and like some manic beast, she pounced. Jeramy rolled his eyes and sighed in irritation. He wanted to run out that door right away, but he restrained himself. Of course, he loved his mother, but he hoped his mom would not love him to death, especially when he was in public.
As the boy headed out the door, his mother joining him, his thoughts drifted back to the dream. He remembered the mysterious plea of the dreampt child’s magical protector. It had sounded desperate, yet strong, tense, yet informal. There had seemed to be much behind the creature’s words. What, he wondered, could they mean?