THE SHADOW QUEST
OKIE I know I posted Sapna and ditched it!!! And those who love me will look down at the INACTIVE in my siggy and wish to kill me...And here I am posting another story....
So let me subdue and explain myself...
Due to sudden circumstances I will be in hostel and only returning home in the weekends. Though I meant to carry on Sapna, I simply have no time to si back and breath in the mad rat race! So looking forward to sit back and take a deep breath and continue my beloved serial!!!
Yet...The Shadow Quest is a different story. It has a long story behind it too! In short, I started working on it in Grade Eight(nearly five years ago!). Its my very oldest and in short, most editted story. I've never posted it online or even shown it to anyone except my mother until finally I decided-yes I can't stay away from Tales Corner and yet I have nothing to post on my own work! So comes The Shadow Quest! Ive completed the whole story but am editting it thoroughly for the last year whenever I get the time and nearly five chapters are done! So whenever I get the luck to come online expect a new chapter-I'm not ditching it!!!!
First of all THANKS so much to Naina. She was the one to whome I PMed this story and she gave me all the backing and her review was totally awsome. Thanks so much Naina-you rock and IF rocks because of you! Plus Thankie Yshoo dear. Your presence over here makes me want to go on-for who could miss a chance of bumping into the great Ysh? And Niyu-you made my day when you said you liked Sapna! Yes, I thought, I'll go on!!!!
OK I'm overstepping my mark-giving a whole personal talk about myself and no story! (But I warn you-you'll have to deal with it and da impatientos please skip this part or a guarantee to craziness!)
Thus..... presenting you the prologue! Read, enjoy and REVIEW!
Please note-my stories may seem a bit confusing-specially the prologues as I love a mysterious entrance and let the characters reveil themselves! No character sketches! I will post a summary of the story on the first page as I go on posting the other chapters to make it easier!!!
P.S. This is a very special post-my 1000th post on IF-the one which shall make me a Goldie!!!!
Title-The Shadow Quest
Category-Fantasy, Adventure, Romance
Prologue (Pg 1)
Chapter 1-The Jade Necklace (Pg 1)
Through the trees, he could see sunlight-bright and warm- but the air was cold-too cold for a hot day in June. He could hear birdsong-chirpy and merry- but nearly drowned by the cackle of high-pitched laughter.
He felt cold and his temples were burning. He could smell blood and the burning flesh. He could feel the Fates beckoning him to the next world.
"You shall not…"he croaked. "You shall not… Not as long as we live…"
The cackle lessened-to grow shriller, colder, and crueler….
"Until you and you alone, live…The rest are long gone…"
Twenty thousand leagues away, a young woman stood up, her face ashen.
"They killed him. They are all gone…"she whispered.
"Gone…gone…gone…" The words reverberated in the huge room around her.
The diamond's glare was a bloody red.
"It is time." The old man stroked his beard thoughtfully, his tone wistful.
"They are too young, Gurudev." The young woman's words were neither a comment nor a protest.
The third of the party, a tall eagle eyed man, sighed.
"But it is time." His voice was weary. "We have to hand them the burden, however young they are."
"But can they achieve success?"
The last of the party, a wizened old man stared into the hourglass "That remains to be decreed, by Time itself…"
"Groige, my son, wake up. You are late, have thou said thy prayers yet?"
Prince Groige of Thaith, drowsily pulled apart the curtains. "Good Morning, mother," he muttered drowsily.
"Quick, get ready. Thy father summons thou in his court in fifteen minutes."
"GOSH! I forgot, Gurudev said he would be early today." Groige jumped out of bed and fumbled around as his mother helped him around with a fond and amused smile.
Just a few months past his sixteenth year, Groige could have looked none less than the picture of a perfect prince. His black hair was tousled and his eyes sparkled with merriment. Even his aristocratic suit looked dismayed at the ill-treatment it received.
"Good Bye, Mother dear!" Groige flung his arms impulsively around his mother.
"Be back soon. And, Groige," she lowered her voice, "May Abaash be with you."
"Shehaaaaazzaa!" The voice rattled her awake.
"Wake up, you stupid, lazy girl! Always asleep until noon!"
Shehaza jumped out of bed. Her mistress, Queen Kalyani of Thaith scowled down at her formibally
"Get ready and make the tea."
Shehaza was surprised. Her mistress was gentler today. She seemed to have forgotten her morning practice of beating.
Not daring to get prepared, she jumped out of the tattered mat and rushed to the fireplace. As she made tea, she scrutinized her mistress, wondering about the sudden change.
The queen was slim and tall. Her tinted brown hair dazzled in the morning sunlight, but there was some difference. The pretty face, usually filled with a look of sneering pleasure, was replaced by a look of mingled fury and hatred.
What could have been the matter? It could not be anything to be with herself as the queen's fury was never less than forthright.
Ever since time she could remember she had been Queen Kalyani's maid. She remembered no family, no kin-just the palace and the queen. Queen Kalyani was a personification of cruelty. She did not treat the girl with the indifference that the other queens used but with more of a loathing grudge which seemed to border hate. Yet, Sheahaza did not know a world otherwise….
"And what have I done to her?" Shehaza wondered sadly, as she lay the tea in the flowery tray. "I always do my best to please her. I so wis she'd like me, she's so pretty and popular."
The girl had been so engrossed in her thoughts that she didn't notice the queens feet were stretched out. The teacup shattered on the floor, bespattering its hot contents on the queen.
Slap! Her rage was apparent.
"You daughter of a swine! How dare you!"
The dainty room was shaken with the sound of resounding slaps.
Shehaza spun down on the floor as the queen let go of her and looked at the new arrival in amazement.
Tall, slim, with a twist of auburn hair falling on her shoulders the tall lady looked down at her, with a face filled with concern and pity.
"Come, my child. Your time of imprisonment is about to end."
Jehane, the ladies-in-waiting of her grandfather's court declared, was too mischievous a girl, that the hours of brooding she spent were unusual, certainly not healthy.
Leaning against the gilt stairway on the bright summer day, Jehane saw nothing unusual or unhealthy as she closed her eyes and imagined the dragons her father had told her described the previous day.
Not that her mind was completely engrossed with the charms of the fire breathing monsters. She felt a queer feeling of anticipation, mingled with the unusual and unpredicted.
Why had her grand mother asked to see her? Why had she told Jehane to leave the embroidery with which she had toiled long hours to interest the girl?
There was something unusual….
"Jehane! Come up! Stop thinking! You look as if the burden of the whole world is on your shoulders."
"Certainly not, Grandma! I don't have any burden. They are pleasant, pleasant thoughts!"
Queen Rima sighed. She wondered whether her favourite grand daughter's pleasant and carefree life was about to end.
"Jehane, dear, I've got something to tell you. The King Medae has sent you an invitation to visit your aunt, Queen Thebes in Thaithe."
Medhav whistled cheerily as he helped Guvobu with the weeding. The plot was bedecked with huge pumpkins, juicy melons, leafy cabbages, bright tomatoes and huge ears of corn. At one end, a huge golden paddy field stretched for many miles and on the other the fruit trees beckoned masses of colourful birds.
"Time you went home my son." Guvobu, a huge man with a red, beaming face boomed. "You should get ready. Your good aunts have been preparing since the rooster called."
Medhav stretched out as he picked up his crutches, pondering. The man watched him fondly, his mind deep in thought.
Medhav was a cripple. His legs were twisted and deformed, yet his face had a light in it and his eyes sparkled with life. Despite the good food and loving care he had received since a toddler, he remained small and lean-the only thing that Guvobu regretted about the boy he considered as his own son.
"Tell me Uncle." Guvobu woke from his reverie as Medhav spun around to face him.
"Is the city as unpleasant as I have heard? Then why are you sending me there?"
Guvobu sighed again.
"I'm not sending you my child, but everything is as the Leader commands. Now hurry, it is almost time…"
The boy limped on his crutches to the huge, red farmhouse in the horizon, barely hearing Guvobu's murmured words of parting.
"May our spirit be with you, my son. May our courage be yours…May you be guided with truth and honesty…."
"Something has happened!" Groige muttered to himself as he strode up the broad flight of steps to his father's court.
His mother's parting words troubled him. She had been too gentle-he knew she had been worried and even scared.
Courtiers thronged past him, whispering and chatting excitedly, taking no notice of him, deeply engrossed in whatever that had happened.
Groige rushed towards the wizened man, aged beyond the ages, as he sat on the top step.
"What has happened? Something has happened!"
Grudev smiled at the boy's excitement.
He was a good boy, a clever boy with a heart. Yet, he had much to learn. He was far too young. Yet, it was as Fate decreed…
"Your father has acquired a new queen, but that does not concern us. What concerns us is that you have finally got permission to visit The Shadow House….."
Edited by umrao_jaan - 2007-03-10T09:14:57Z
Thanks all my reviewers! Luv ya guys!!!!
Sam-First reviewer rights! Yeah I meant it to be confusing!!! Love it that you like it!!! No this is not based in India, though most of the concepts and names are Indian. I've made the whole settin a fantasy-land so there will be no need to clash with history etc. More descriptions are in the second chapter to make it all clear.
Ysh-Second Reviewer! That's a nice way of putting it in! Looking forwards for ur review Ysh-I deserve it!!!
Naina-Thanks dear!!! I'll certainly keep posting when I get the chance!
Niyu-Confusion? Lolz! Hehehe my favourite character is Jehane too! I simply loved making up her character!!! I found her name while reading some old English poetry for a project and used it cos it sounded sweet!
Kitty468-YESSSS!!! I was quite inspired by The Lord of The Rings in the first para. Thanks for your review dear!
THE JADE NECKLACE
The mist in the diamond swirled as the young woman stared into it. The huge room around her was as quiet as ever, yet she could feel the mysterious presence…of echoes of the past, of wild fury and great sadness, of betrayal and hate, of deep love and great hope, of trust and kindness…all mingled together…
She hated it. She hated the huge room in which she was a prisoner of her duty. She longed for escape-to go back to the days of travel-back to the wild forests, back to the violent seas, back to the dusty deserts. Yet… she never cursed…She was lucky, she knew…unlike the many before her…
She raised the diamond to eye level. . She knew what she wanted to see…Yet she had never felt so hesitant…
"Yes look." It was the tall, eagle-eyed man. "There's no denial that their time has come, however much we fear their fate…"
Her hand trembling, she looked into the diamond. The mist within it swirled, slowly forming a clear, stark image,
The boy was tall and wiry. His tousled black hair fell untidily over his face and his eyes were full of merriment and mischief, with a hint of stubborness.....
"That's Groige, Prince of Thaithe, Madea's son by Thebes. He's sixteen and acts even younger at times. He is a mischievous lad, but has a good heart. I trust he will be brave and spirited in times to come…"
The young woman smiled. The boy reminded her of long days past, when she had been as carefree and mischievous.
The light in the diamond swirled again. This time it was an image of a girl that formed: an exceptionally pretty girl with long auburn hair and beautiful violet eyes. She looked somewhat thin and careworn yet possessed a look of quiet dignity.
"Shehaza. She's nearly fifteen now. She's been Kalyani's maid for so long, but thankfully no great harm has been done."
The young woman raised her eyebrows slightly. "She looks exactly like.."
The diamond's light had swirled again. An image of another girl formed-though neither as beautiful nor enchanting as the first, her dark eyes were intelligent and merry, and her face had a look of trust and gentleness that immediately drew the young woman towards her.
"My daughter, Jehane. She's just a few months past her fifteenth birthday." The man's voice was wistful.
The mist swirled again. His time it was a boy who appeared. Small and lithe, with sharp features and a friendly smile. He seemed exceptionally frail yet seemed to be full of life and a gentle and sensitive personality.
"Medhav. He's around fifteen too."
The young woman nodded in recognition. "I know," she murmured, "I promised his mother to look after him. God be with him."
Gurudev, Groige mused, had been his tutor since his seventh birthday. Dressed in his customarily dark blue robes and gold belt, the sage commanded a respect that had been neither diminished by his age or frailty. Groige knew that he was a Forester, from Gohanbin, the Far Wilds of the East, a land of witchcraft and evil. Other than that he knew nothing of Gurudev.
Groige still remembered the day his father had called him to the court to introduce the great sage. He had been struck by the small, aged man whose aura seemed to outshine all the king's majesty.
"This Groige," King Madae had said in a tone of unwilling respect. "Is your new tutor, Grudev."
Gurudev regarded the boy as he bent down in worship. He lay his hands and raised the boy, looking keenly into his face.
"You show promise." Was all he had said. "I have taught your father, his brothers, his father and his grandfather before you and only you and one another have shown the characteristics to lead The Shadow Quest…."
As he walked slightly behind Gurudev, the words uttered nearly nine years ago seemed to reverberate in his ears. Throughout the years, his respect for Gurudev had increased even more as he realized that the sage was a wealth of knowledge that ranged from martial arts to the great classics. He also possessed a sense of humour and was quite in touch with the prince's stream of thought, which was at times unnerving.
"Thinking, Groige?" Gurudev beamed down at the young prince. He seemed in a more jovial mood than usual.
"Umm…yes Teacher. I've been thinking of The Shadow Quest. Is it something connected with the Shadow House?"
Gurudev's smile widened. "You have a good memory, my son." He chuckled. "And the purpose of your visit to The Shadow House is to tell you all about it."
"Gurudevv.." Groige groaned. "Don't torture me master!"
"It's a long story…" the sage stepped out of the palace grounds into the Main Street. "It's best…" his voice trailed off as he stared across the street.
Groige followed the sage's gaze. Across the road, a plump, middle aged woman sat on the pavement, placidly knitting stockings.
"Nadia…" Gurudev groaned. "Come, Groige, it's best if we makes a steady exit before she sees you and starts matchmaking!"
Her pretty rescuer, Shehaza soon realized, was King Madae's new Queen, Yalana. She had heard murmured talk among the maids about this new queen, tales were muttered about her, dark tales about a warrior princess, a witch, a Forester…She was not, the maids had whispered, as unkind as Queen Kalyani, not as drab as Queen Ashwa, but certainly not as exotic as Queen Thebes. She had a mind of her own, they said, and the King was bewitched by her.
Shehaza could not have agreed more with the King's choice as she surveyed the pretty room that the queen had given to her. After her initial rage with Kalyani, Yalana had took Shehaza and gently explained that she would be her maid in the future. She had given Shehaza, the small room adjoining hers, a great honour indeed, as this was usually reserved for the chief-lady-in-waiting.
The queen sat on the pulsh chair as Shehaza decorated her hair with jasmines and yellow roses. Her reflection shone in the mirror, dazzling and vigorous.
" Tell me Shehaza," she said quietly. "How long have you been Queen Kalyani's maid?"
"I cannot remember, my lady."
Yalana sighed deeply as she regarded the girl's pretty face.
"I was rather late," she said to herself. "But I managed to save her. With all Abash's mercy, I will be able to prepare her for The Shadow Quest…She is so beautiful, too beautiful…I fear so much for her…"
Medhav peered out of the fast paced bullock cart as it spreat through Vivan, the capital of Thaithe. He was impressed by the huge palaces and the glitterinbg temples of Abash. Yet he felt chocked by the stuffiness, the noisy bazaars and the many beggars who thronged around.
"Aunt Felicia," he looked up at the pretty young woman beside him. "How more distance do we have to go?"
She shrugged. "I don't know Medhav. I haven't been in Vivan for ten years and much have changed. But we have not reached the Deccab Slums yet, I would certainly have recognized IT!"
"Deccab Slums?" Yes. Guvobu had told him about them. The poorest, ugliest, meanest region of the great city, packed with beggars and filth. The one and only gateway to the Shadow House…
The cart jolted suddenly and came to a halt. "Whatever?" Felicia's voice was tinged with fright as she peered out of the coverings.
"The Teacher." Medhav felt himself reaching pout for his clutches as he rose to greet the great and wizened sage.
"Sit down, Medhav." Gurudev seemed more cheerful than useful. "You arrived at just the right time. I was wondering how to take Groige to The Shadow House without having to face Nadia. It seems she has returned from ."
Medhav noticed for the first time theboy standing beside Gurudev. Tall and wiry, the boy looked exactly the opposite of him. He liked his cheerful looks but felt repulsed by his strongm personality and mischievous, lively eyes.
"Medhav, meet Prince Groige, Prince of Thaithe. Groige, meet Medhav, your future companion in The Shadow Quest…"
The huge shrubbery that seperated the rose garden and the Fountain Garden was considered drab and Queen Rima always bemoaned the fact that the king hated ornamental plants, but it was Jehane's favourite nook as it was where her father always met her..
It was a secret she treasured deeply. Though in her grandmother's words, her mother and father were both dead, Jehane knew otherwise. She could only remember the vague recallation of first running into him as a girl of six. She looked forward to the day after full moon when he would be sitting on the bench-full of tales that would keep her mesmerized for the rest of the month.
Jehane's heart was heavy as she walked into the shrubbery. She would be leaving to a far-off land. She did not know whether her father would meet her there. Of course, she knew Thaithe, she had heard his stories of the land that was ruled by a tyrant.
Today, she was a bit afraid. What if her father was not there? Lately, he had been hinting of a possible separation, but she had thought of it as a day faraway. Yet his hints seemed to be looming closer in deadly reality.
She slipped through the arches and drew a sigh of relief.
He stood there-tall and straight, sharp and vigilant as if expecting an enemy to pounce upon him at any moment. He was dressed in his silver armour, the sign of the snake winding around his forehead.
"Father," Jehane rushed towards him. "I'm so glad you're here today!"
He hugged her warmly and regarded her quietly for a few seconds.
"I realize Jehane, that your grandmother has told you about your visit to Thaithe?"
She nodded. It was no use asking him how he knew.
"And, as I have told you before, this will be my last visit here."
"Yes dear, and I have a present for you."
"This was my first and last present to your mother." He said quietly. "She died an untimely death and this is all I have in remembrance. It is my present to you. This necklace, Jehane, has magical powers, of which I will let you have the joy of discovering. Yet…remember one thing, when you are in trouble this locket will always help you as it has our spirit embedded deep within it…"
It was a slender silver chain with a beautiful carved jade locket. As soon as she held it in her palm Jehane realized that her father was correct-it had a sense of warmth within it. It gave her a feeling of comfort and safety.
"I have to go." Her father said after a few seconds of silence.
Jehane looked up in surprise. His visits usually lasted an hour at least.
"At dawn tomorrow you will begin your journey to Thaithe. It is fortunate indeed, as you will soon be needed to help aid in the Quest…"
He embraced Jehane warmly again and rose to lead her out of the shrubbery.
"Father," she whispered in a choked voice.
"When I will I see you again?"
He sighed deeply and she barely heard his words as he replied,
"As The Shadow Quest decrees, my child…....."
Njoyed it? I think the confusion is slowly unravelling itself! I have made the names of new characters appear in bold text to make it more easier.
Reviews please-I'm pretty open to them and they are the food for my thoughts and keep motivating me!!!
Just one quessie-Is the text size and colour ok? Is it readable or does it need any changes?
Luv ya all,
Edited by umrao_jaan - 2007-03-10T09:10:10Z
Topic started by umrao_jaan
Last replied by Prenz~13