An. Originally believed to be a Short Story of a sole Author, I've officially decided that this story will become my first ever Collab Story. Here's a little synopsis of the story's setting:
Deep within a veil of shadow and mist lies the ruins of a large, abandoned civilization, the Lost Kingdom of Varmelle. Said to be haunted all across by strange spirits. Abandoned but unwilling to surrender, Torvald Grimm, a boy born into the aristocracy with a taste for the dark and mysterious, finds himself, alongside his twin sister Klaudie, in a thrilling adventure across the forsaken plains and decrepit buildings of lost truths. Truths of which were never meant to exist. What will they discover and who will survive? Find out as you shape their fates!
Gates of crumbling alabaster stood before Torvald, looming over him from a height rivaling his manor's. Looking across its continual line of cracks, he could see the gates defiance toward the forces of nature.
Torvald eyed the architecture with a tinge of awe on his face. "I am quite amazed that such an old structure would still be around in such a place as this." he said, turning his head from the left to the right.
From where he was standing, not much could be seen of the Varmellian ruins. As far as his memory could date, there was no other location in the world that piqued his interests as much as those ruins. His father, Master Aloysius Grimm, used to speak much about the Kingdom of Varmelle, the previous incarnation of the ruins. Under the control of a noble ruler, with the assistance of several strong fiefs, it was said to have been a magnificent and beautiful place to live within. But that was before a dreadful force destroyed its entire society, reducing the proud civilization to its present state of utter desolation.
And yet, that is only one of the many stories about the Kingdom created by those who claim to have laid eyes upon its old Knicks and Crannies. Most choose not to follow them when deciding to venture out there, believing them to be mere scams meant to trick and entice the spineless, for everyone knows no one has been to the ruins and come back. Dead or Alive. Giving birth to new stories, tales that everyone would rather not believe to be true. Such things, however, soon fell under the favorites of a young boy named Torvald Grimm, who for some reason was always fond of the dark and mysterious. It was no surprise that once he was old enough he would depart to the Varmellian grounds and scour its unknown surface, looking for any remaining wonders and searching for clues about its vanishing past.
Now here he was, standing right in front of an incredibly tall entrance to the Kingdom, pondering the missing past behind its creators. Mulling over crackpot theories as to what could've happened in a kingdom, one as glorious as Varmelle for that matter.
"I too wonder why it all went to the ground, just like that." said his twin sister, Klaudie, startling him from behind. Though It actually didn't surprise him in the least that she would join him on his special expedition to the Kingdom grounds. After all, it was through her assistance that he was even able to have an expedition through what might become their final trip outside the estate.
Her persuasion tricks, broad intellect, and excellent perception skills had easily gained her a high social status among the nobles that would visit their abode. As a matter of fact, It seemed as though she had been reading his mind a lot lately. "Perhaps she is just that perceptive when it comes to people's feelings," he thought to himself.
Klaudie stepped closer to the towering portal, stopping right in front of her older brother. A wall of fog formed on the other side, far in the distance. It prevented them from seeing the vast and mysterious wilderness beyond.
"Weird." said Klaudie. "There isn't supposed to be fog or mist around this time of day."
"Maybe it's because we're In a different region, that's all." replied Torvald. "The local meteorologists did say in fact that this whole area was subject to drastic changes in climate."
A large breeze as cold as an icicle swept across Torvald's body, blowing in from the direction of the fog. "Well, it w-would be b-best that we move on-w-wards." he said, shivering from its touch.
"Y-yes, I agree." said Klaudie, already feeling the wind's lifeless breath on her exposed cheeks. As it started to rise in velocity, it also began to drop in temperature. "I really d-don't want to be c-caught in a b-blizzard." she continued.
They began to walk forward together when suddenly Klaudie halted her footsteps. "Wait a minute, p-perhaps we should g-get some more s-supplies from the m-motorcar." she said.
However, upon turning around the two of them realized their car and driver was nowhere to be found. Klaudie called out for him in the barren hills behind them, but to no avail would it succeed in bringing back their ticket home. Within seconds, Torvald watched in slight astonishment as Klaudie ignored the cold and cursed the driver's cowardice.
Once she was done fuming she came back to reality and quickly looked at her brother. He was still staring at her.
"Well, what are you staring at?" she said back to him.
Alarmed by her tone, he put his hands in front of him. "Nothing, sorry about that." he said.
Calming down, Klaudie suddenly noticed something strange. "Torvald," she said, "Do you feel that?"
Torvald immediately paused and after a minute finally responded. "Yes," he said softly, "the cold wind has stopped, there's not even a single breeze."
None of them spoke for several minutes, until Klaudie finally broke the deathly silence around them. "Why do you think it stopped all of a sudden?" she questioned.
"I do not know," replied Torvald, "But what I do know is that we press forward and finish our objective."
Klaudie tried to smile. "Alright then," she said, "Let us go forth and explore this kingdom."
With a nod, both Torvald and Klaudie held hands and walked in unison through the large, stone gates and into the quiet mist ahead, neither one knowing what might lie beyond it.
As Torvald and his sister wandered through the town, they felt as if they were being watched. He was sure that he would be able to catch whatever it was if he turned at just the right moment. Klaudie seemed more preoccupied with the old ruins on either side of them, and wondering what on earth could have happened.
The Mist began to lighten up as they got to some sort of fountain. It would have been beautiful if it was still spraying water, but needless to say it won't be doing that anytime soon. "There's something written on the bottom here." Klaudie leaned down and took out a notebook and a pen and tried to write out a translation.
"Let's see here..." Torvald eye's widen as he looked closer, the craving in the foutain seemed new, as if it had been carved only a day ago, he decied to keep quite. Maybe he was just being paranoid. "It says 'In the land of the Shaldrin, Varmelle now stands.'...What on earth does that mean?" Torvald looked over to what could have once been a temple. "I Don't know, a religous phrase?" Klaudie dusted her self off. "Well, prehapes we should take a little look at the temple?"
The Temple was in better shape then most of the ruins, the murals on the walls were a little faded, but they were remarkably left intact. The Statues were arranged with three on either side, with the Largest overseeing them in the center. Klaudie Spent time translating the carvings on the bottom of pedestals.
"So, this was the center of religious affiars back in the day." Torvald mused as he observed one of he murals, it depected a shadow over the city, but with the figures that resembled the statues protecting it. "Yes, it would seem so. All of their gods gathered into one place, I wonder what it would look like to them in this condition."
Thier thoughts were interupted by the sounds of something scuttling near by the pillars. Almost instantly, Torvald brought out his revolver. "Stay still." He said, to both his sister and his target. He moved, and saw a shadow on the floor, he shot and it ran away with a whimpering sound. He came closer, and found nothing but a trail of blood that ended at the wall, but with no body or any other evdence.
"What was that?" His sister asked from across the room. "Nothing, it got away." He put the gun in it's holster and walked back to his sister. "Let's hurry, it might come back." Nodding her head, Klaudie jotted down some last notes before following her brother. She didn't notice as something else followed as well.
They made their way back to the stone gates, but something had changed. "I could have sworn they were opened." They tried pushing, but it wouldn't budge an inch. "I didn't what to spend the night in his place, but it appears we have no choice." Klaudie sighed. "Just let me set up camp, it doesn't matter, they'll send a search party if they don't find us."
Klaudie nodded and went back to studying the gates, and saw something carved into the side. she quickly traslated it to mean 'In the Land of the Shaldrin, none may leave.' Klaudie blinked and in a few seconds the carving faded away.
"Must be getting tired, eyes playing tricks on me." She yawned turned her way back to the camp. Thinking nothing of it.
Chapter Three Edit
An ancient heart began to beat. Deep underneath the ruins, hidden in the darkness of ancient dungeons. The heart belonged to a monster. One that was left below, for the safety of those above.
Intruder, thought the Monster, Its heart started beating faster. Limbs silently creaked outwards, clouds of dust spilling off into different directions. Slowly, the ancient monster began to rise, waterfalls of dust flowing in its wake.
Large, bright eyes bearing slit pupils opened in a heartbeat. each one looking around at the shadowy environs it was locked within. Portraits, varying in size, resting upon larger packages of unknown insides, each one cloaked in a veil of cobwebs and dust.
Its eyes twitched to the other side now, staring intently at two, large chamber doors, made from a dark, sturdy substance of which the Monster was no longer aware. Wishing to know more, it strained to further awaken the rest of its hulking, decrepit form.
Must... Move... Body, it screeched within its fragile, little mind.
Slowly and steadily, its limbs started to obey the Monster's request. Within minutes, the dark creature shifted a large, posterior claw across the alabaster, the metal strewn upon its surface almost glinting in ambient luminescence.
Another foot shifted towards the same direction, its speed much faster than the first. As more fell into a pattern of steady motion, the big creature became increasingly anxious to see what was beyond those chamber doors.
I must... Eliminate... the Monster continued inside its head. 666 must leave... 666 must protect... 666 must destroy!
Speeding up, the frightening appearance of the beast began to enter brighter areas of the room, revealing more of the Monster's's nightmarish capabilities. Large spires of metal jabbed out of its spine, splitting down the middle to reach towards the creature's two sides. Fourteen limbs began to separate from each other, lowering to sense the residual area around them.
It stopped. Eyes lost their focus and darted across the dusty room. It felt more disturbances, more threats to the sanctity of its kingdom, more threats to the Queen. No... No more..., It spat out through its brain, No more Threats... Enough!!
The Metallic beast shifted focus again, back to the doors in front of it. It moved much faster, the desire to protect, and destroy, flowed through its veins. Or, at least they might've been veins, if not for the truth that they were actually old hydraulics, formed from a composition of synthetic organic elements.
Minutes passed, but soon it reached them, the two obstacles that stood together, right in its path of protection. The Monster hated it, it hated obstacles, no matter where they stood, so long as they stood in its path. They... Must... Die. It thought again. They will die!!
Six arms reached forward, almost seven if it weren't for a slight hazy feeling, having been in a slumber for centuries. Despite this sensation though, the Beast pushed through the feeling and stumbled onto the bulk of Chamber entrance. It wouldn't budge. A few of the monster's other anterior limbs shifted across the doors' surface, searching for some sort of locking mechanism.
Suddenly, the Monster felt something odd below its hulking frame. Shifting its eyeballs downward, it detected a dim glimmer of metal emanating from within a crack along the brick flooring. The beast lowered itself closer to the crevice and discovered smaller ones connected to it, running around the edges of one, abnormally large brick. Without hesitation, the Monster dug one of its gruesome claws deep into the larger crack and lifted with tremendous force, causing the object to instantly fly from its position towards the roof where it shattered into many pieces that sprinkled over the monster's roundish, unmoving head.
The being looked down again, and from its a face a strange little smile had emerged, for underneath the large brick was big golden key. Thought its design was far from elegant, its surface however still looked new.
The Metallic monster picked it up, taking regard for its fragile condition, and looked back at the door, a new feeling of adrenaline pulsing through its heart.
It's limbs were fast now, feeling all over the hard surface before them, until finally a small hole was revealed, buried in ages of dust. The Monster inspected it quickly, believing the hole to be around the size and shape for the key to fit through. With one claw clutching it tightly, the monster jammed the item into aperture and turned it to the left in a heartbeat. As it did so, the sound of an unlocking mechanism reverberated throughout the chamber's walls. Within minutes, the two large doors began to slide backwards, creating a narrow crevice that was increasing in size. Beyond were brighter lights, torches perhaps, having been lit for centuries.
A draft of ancient wind blew from behind the Monster, urging it onwards as it escaped into the outside world.
The Monster smiled again, this time revealing enormous rows of menacingly sharp daggers. No man can run from me... It thought excitedly, 666 destroys all within its path.
Step by step, the Monster began forward in a faster and more refined way. It's start up process was now fully complete, it was ready to kill.
The queen clapped her hands, "Ooh, isn't this charming? My beast shall tear those poor, unprepared children apart. Ooh!"
"Yes, charming indeed, my queen. The beast shall stain the snow white city with blood, it shall. Charming, quite. Quite charming," the king joined in the queen's clapping.
The queen tapped the mirror. "Tell me something, mirror. Where's the children?" The mirror's image shifted from the monster, to the two sleeping children. "Ahh... Still sound asleep, unsuspecting of the pain and destruction that draws near. Let them sleep, and we will have our pleasures later."
"Charming, quite. Quite charming."
Klaudie was walking in an empty landscape, nothing to be seen but darkness... "Hello?"
"Klaudie... Klaudie... Save us... Klaudie..."
"Klaudie... Save us... Save us..."
It was a child's voice. "Save you? How?"
"Save us... The city burns with torches lit for centuries... Though lost, are their memories... Find the stories... And release their glories... Horror creeps... Darkness seeps... The queen will fill this place with laughter... Though the king, in the end, will be her master..."
"What does this all mean? You're not making any sense..."
"Up, down, side to side... In the end, you must decide..."
"What? Tell me, what you mean."
"Save us... Save us, Klaudie..."
Klaudie sat up, a cold sweat poring off her brow. Torches lit for centuries? Stories and their glories? A queen? A king? Ugh... I need a new life... She rubbed her eyes. She looked over at her brother, still asleep. She sighed, "Time to wake up, Torvald. Torvald?"
He ignored her attempts. Time to have a little fun... She touched her mind to his... He was dreaming of their father. Klaudie entered the room with them and smiled. "How are we gentlemen?"
Torvald answered, "Eloquent. Just having a nice discussion with father about his newest machines."
"Ahh... Really? It's time to wake up, Torvald."
"What?" He turned to her, his face flush.
"As I said, it's time to wake up."
Her brother sat up, "I hate those dreams."
"What dreams?" Klaudie smirked.
"With you telling me to wake up. I've been having them more and more lately."
"Well, it is time to wake up..."