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General Art Against the Darkness, Book 1: The Sky Watchers


The King of all Rocks
Nov 12, 2011
Death Mountain
Alright, here's a book me and my bro have been writing. it is the first of a quadrilogy and then we will write a sequel trilogy. and i will also include the cover art i drew with Gimp.

Sky Watchers.jpg

Against the darkness
Book 1
The Sky Watchers

The Darkness

"Hurry! They don't have much time left!" shouted a voice.
Rozenna jumped out of bed and untied her griffin, Langlon, and quickly led him out of her small house. The emergency bell was ringing and people and griffins were running and flying around franticly. She mounted Langlon and they flew towards the citadel in the middle of their small town. The flesh that was the ground was wriggling, making it hard to walk. The two of them flew in the hole at the top of the citadel and landed inside. Their commander, Jumanjar, was shouting orders to other Sky Watchers. He was wearing only a silver mail shirt and sleeping pants. He waved his bow around and told the others to hurry. Langlon walked over to him and nudged him.
"Ah, so good of you to come, Rozenna." he said, rubbing Langlon behind his pointed, feathery ears.
"Of course, sir. Now, whats the problem?" she asked.
"Will heard a emergency horn from below signaling fire and destruction. Its the first time for over a decade that we have heard this horn. I'm deploying everyone but Will. Ongeenorus is having a hard time calming down and that boy is the only one with the touch, so he is staying here."
"Of course. Sir. Where was the horn heard?" Rozenna asked.
"Over by Kikwitonne. You must leave immediately."
"Yessir." Rozenna replied and then kicked Langlon gently. He took off and flew over to the armory. Rozenna jumped off Langlon and ran inside. She grabbed a silver chain mail shirt, a fold-up bow and a quiver full of silver arrows. She threw the shirt over the one she was wearing, and slung the quiver over her back. Then she jumped back on Langlon and he took off. He flew over the town and past Will's house at Ongeenorus' head. Then, with nothing but clouds beneath him, Langlon folded his wings in and dived. Quickly leaving the Sky-Ray behind, he approached the ground. When he could see the trees, he pulled up and started flying at a rapid pace. The most intelligent animal on the planet, griffins were almost as smart as humans. He knew this was an emergency. Soon he approached Kikwitonne, a small town in the Upper Jungle. The dense foliage provided almost endless resources, among them the legendary Motak Tree. With bark as strong as iron, and an explosive sap reservoir in it's center, the sap was often used to make wonderful green fireworks, it is the reason Kikwitonne was founded. Now, in the distance Rozenna and Langlon could see the thousand foot tall tree burning. Three large, shadowy shapes were climbing on it and ripping branches off and tossing them to the ground. Her vision red with anger, Rozenna urged Langlon to fly faster. If the flames were to reach the tree's explosive core, the blast would be of unrivaled force, and would probably destroy Kikwitonne and set the rest of the forest ablaze with flaming sap rain. Langlon poured all of his energy into flapping his silver feathery wings and they reached the tree in minutes. Rozenna strung her bow and loaded it with an arrow. She aimed and fired, piercing one of the dark shapes' backs. It turned around and made a horrible shrieking noise that forced her to plug her ears as long red veins in it's arms glowed with a dark mysterious energy. Langlon faltered in the air after hearing the beast's shrill cry. Rozenna narrowed her view and clenched her teeth as they banked right around the tree. She reached gradually for another arrow as she stood up in the saddle and Langlon made a sharp turn around the tree. A foul wind blew Rozenna's hair around her eyes as she held the arrow tip to her lips and gently whispered a spell. The air was thick with smoke and black ash as she loaded the enchanted ice arrow and pulled the string to her cheek like her father always told her to do, then fired it straight through the malign smoke that encompassed the tree right into the spindly arm of one of the black creatures. Again it screeched as the ice tip grew and froze the beast solid as stone. She grabbed a last arrow, enchanted it, and fired hastily at the epicenter of the flame, hoping the ice would slow it's devastating wrath. Feeling the near emptiness of the quiver on her back, Rozenna patted Langlon on the side lovingly.
"it's time to go." she said in a gentle rolling tone. Langlon peered up at her with a smile for what could well be the last time. Rozenna undid the saddle's waist strap and leapt from her mount. She fell freely for a moment as ash and smoke rushed past her dirty face, then threw a large hook with a rope and grappled a thick branch and swung up to it, swinging her legs up over it, soiling her leather pants with a smear of charcoal and ashen dust. she stood up and tried to brush it off but only got more on her sweaty hands.
"yuck" she said as she climbed towards the beast she had shot earlier who was, amazingly, still alive. Soon she could see more griffins diving down from their flying town to help. Rozenna drew two sturdy daggers from a sash on her lower back and began to climb up to the branch the beast sat upon. The tree's bark was hard and smooth with few footholds, so the task of climbing the fifty or so feet to the shadow monster's branch was left mostly too her arms. By the time she was just halfway up her fingers,wrists, and muscles burned like acid.
"maybe it would have been better to have flown." she said as sweat dripped from her brow and armpits. Initially she had wanted to sneak up and catch the beast off guard, something that could not be done when mounted on a griffin, but now Rozenna regretted it.
"who cares about surprise anyway?" she jabbed her right dagger into the tree's tough bark and gave it a good wriggle, testing it's security. Then, pulling up on that dagger she yanked out the left one and thrust it in a few feet higher. This was how she climbed, it was not easy, or fast. She told herself this was the only way for encouragement, that she could do hard things. There was no way to fly now anyway, Rozenna had left her Raven Vail, a sort of whistle that she used to call Langlon, in her field satchel back at home. A midst the chaos and noise of battle that so gripped them now, Langlon would be unlikely to hear it anyway. Rozenna winced as her biceps screamed at her to stop climbing. But thirty feet from the nearest sizable branch, she could hardly give in to her body's relentless gnawing complaints. She breathed heavily as her sweaty hands struggled to keep a grip on the sleek dagger hilts. Finally she kicked her heels against the bark of the tree with a succumbing sigh. Instantly seven inch long steel blades folded out of the soles of her metal framed boots. She jammed them into the tree bark as unto her daggers. Rozenna hated to use these because they put uncomfortable pressure on her calves and gave her nasty blisters after a while when she climbed.
As she continued upward, she could hear the whistle of flying arrows and the shriek of the monsters. As more Sky Watchers joined the fight, it gave her inspiration to keep going. Soon the shadowy creatures were in her sight. They were apelike, with long muscular arms and smallish legs. They had no face, just a silvery disk covered in red runes and swirls. Rozenna could not read the runes, but she heard another Sky Watcher gasp as he looked at their faces. Soon Rozenna approached where one of the monsters was. It was facing the other way, busy ripping the magnificent tree apart with its bare hands, so strong was it. She climbed up on a sturdy-looking branch and sheathed both her daggers. Then she reached to her back and grabbed her bow. Custom made for Sky Watchers, the bow was silvery, inscribed with blue runes of freedom and peacekeeping. When she pushed a small button on it, blades shot around the edge of the bow, turning it into a double bladed sword. Then she jumped, landing right behind the creature. Swinging her bow, she cut the creature in the back, creating a long, glowing red cut. The monstrosity shrieked again, and turned to face Rozenna, it's veins of red flowing energy pulsing with a life-force of angered dark magic. The branch they were standing on was barely large enough for them both to stand upon and Rozenna was careful about her footing as she eased carefully forward. The beast struck at her with its powerful clawed hands, but she raised her bow and the creature pressed its hands right into the razor-edged blade. The creature roared and wailed in pain and wrath, but the force of the blow was still enough to knock Rozenna off the branch. She flew off and landed on a much smaller one, farther below to her right. But two more Sky Watchers landed on the branch above and hacked at the monster with their bows. It shrieked its high-pitched squeal and exploded in a ring of light. One of the Watchers was blown off and caught by her magnificent griffin, but the other hung onto the branch, whom Rozenna recognized as Thomasin. Then he stood up and lowered a rope down to Rozenna. She weakly grabbed hold and he pulled her back up to large, sturdy branch near the top of the tree as she gasped for breath and cringed from the pain of the fall. She had dropped a good and pain arousing fifteen feet and landed on her stomach, and already she could feel a bruise forming as her muscles wheezed and shuddered from the impact and the tough climb up.
"Thanks," She said tiredly.
"No problem. Nice blow, by the way." he replied almost mightily. He was taller than Rozenna by a few inches and had sooty yellow hair and wore forest green trousers with a big silver buckled belt and polished chainmail shirt like hers, but more tailored to his physique. The links of metal were thicker, heavier, and harder to move swiftly or precisely in, he probably relied more on strength and staying power than speed and precision, unlike Rozenna who relied more on her agility and flexibility in combat. He helped Rozenna to her feet and called for his griffin as she brushed ash and sweat from her brow shakily. Her hands and face were nearly blackened by soot and perspiration, she regretted not having the forethought to bring her gloves and the rough brown field satchel that held a Sky Watcher's gear, including her ivory Raven Vail. It wasn't real ivory though, like from an elephant or something, it was ray ivory, a kind of material shaped from the shed teeth of the huge sky ray they lived on, so it really wasn't worth much.
"uh, hey, could i ride back with you?" Rozenna asked a bit hesitantly. The man looked a bit surprised.
"i forgot my satchel and raven vail." Rozenna added. He nodded his head.
"sure." he replied cooly. He blew his raven vail and without fail his griffin soared triumphantly into view, passing afront of the rising sun, it's golden rays radiating through the creatures feathers majestically as it glided carefully to their branch and touched down without a sound. His was a large powerful griffin, not unlike himself in stature and build, and It's feathers had grey tips and flecks as well as an overcoat of the usual golden brown. He hopped on first and then helped Rozenna up. He gave her his hand and then helped her with the waist strap. After she was buckled in they took off. They rose high into the sky then dived down again with much speed, then another Sky Watcher pulled up next to them.
"Orders from Jumanjar!" he shouted over the smog ridden wind.
"He needs everyone not fighting monsters to dump water on that fire before it spreads to the rest of the rain forest!"
"i don't have a water bag." he yelled back. The man nodded and prepared to toss him a big tarp, or water bag. He threw it but the wind took it and blew it down.
"I got it!" they dove breakneck through the smokes and quickly grabbed the bag before rising back up. They gave their Messenger a thumbs up and flew down towards the lake not far from the great burning tree.
"whats the plan?" i asked him as my eyes watered and burned from the smoke in the wind.
"we are going to give the bag to my griffin, Rand'da'ha, who will scoop up a bunch of water at the lake, and fly back to the tree and dump it on the fire." Rozenna and Rand'da'ha nodded sullenly as they neared the great forest oasis. This freshwater lake is many miles across and is renown for the soft white sands that blanket it's shores and the legendary Mothu'watkai, great lake monsters that look like a cross between a turtle and a snake and spit a torrent of water at attackers when threatened, though they usually keep to themselves and only come ashore to lay eggs. They skimmed the surface of the lake with our water bag until it was full along with a dozen or so other Sky Watchers trying to stop the raging and potentially devastating fire. Who knows how long we had until the fire would reach the tree's center? Once we had all the water we could carry we pulled up painfully towards the tree. Hopefully we would be able to make it to the tree without Rand'da'ha passing out, Rozenna thought. When griffins carry to much that can happen, and two people plus 500 gallons of lake water is pushing the limit for sure. They flew as fast as they could, though with this much cargo that's not too fast, but they soon reached the tree and dumped our load on the fire. It did little to douse the flames, so they went to get more. And more. And more, until it became clear that they couldn't put out the fire. The flames were eating there way to the tree's core.
"Oh no." Rozenna said mournfully.
"This tree is done for. We need to get the people out of Kikwitonne." said Thomasin.
"Rand'da'ha, take us to Kikwitonne!" he said.
Rand'da'ha squawked in agreement and dropped the water bag. Then he flapped his wings and flew for the small plumes of smoke that was Kikwitonne. Soon they arrived at the small settlement called Kikwitonne. People were running around franticly and sending messages using messenger lizards, small, green reptiles that inherited a map of the whole world from there parents, who got it from there parents, and so forth. They landed and Rozenna jumped off and started running to people's houses and banging and shouting at the door. Thomasin, meanwhile alerted people from the air. Soon the entire population of the forest town was packing necessaries and leaving. But as the people left, Rozenna spied one young girl, asleep in a shack made of unused building materials. Wood, bricks, even some bone. It was barely standing as it was, and it would provide no shelter when the explosion came. As Rozenna rushed over to the little girl, one of the shadow monsters ran out of the surrounding trees and drew two swords out of nowhere. Rozenna changed course, hoping to lead the monster away from the helpless girl. She was successful, but now that abomination was coming at her. She flipped her bow off her back and pressed the tiny button. Blades emerged from within the bow and the she ran at the beast. They contacted and exchanged blows, each blocking the other's. But, as Rozenna was injured, the monster had the advantage and stabbed her left hand. She screamed in pain and dropped her bow. Her hand was paling and the cut was black and deep. But then a large, golden-brown blur landed in front of her, shielding her from the monster's next strike. It was Langlon. But, just because Rozenna wasn't hit, doesn't mean someone else wasn't. Langlon shrieked and pecked and clawed at the monster. His right wing was bleeding and turning pale. The monster shrieked as well, but this time Rozenna didn't plug her ears. Visions of war, blood and suffering came into her mind, causing her to become disorientated. Only after Langlon bumped into her was she able to remember who and where she was. She picked up he bow with her right hand, as her left was bleeding now worse than before. She ran next to Langlon and they both kept fighting the creature. Blow after blow, strike after strike. They kept fighting until Rozenna saw movement out of the corner of her eye and glanced over. The girl wasn't there. Then a blade popped out of the monster's gut and it exploded in a ring of light. After recovering from the blast, Rozenna and Langlon saw a short, black-haired girl of about nine years of age, holding a knife. Thomasin rushed over to Rozenna and Langlon hurriedly.
"oh my gosh! Are you OK?!" he said nearly shrieking. Rozenna could not answer as she stumbled to the ground and tensed with pain, her face swinging from anger to despair, finally her emotion tumbling to sadness, then to rage. Thomasin rushed to her side as Rozenna showed him her hand, As a tear of pain ran down her destitute face.
"does it really hurt that bad?" he asked seeing that the cut didn't seem too serious.

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