The Wizard's Quest Chapter 1
If you can imagine it,
You can achieve it.
If you can imagine it,
You can become it.
Magus long cape didnt just flutter in the wind. It snapped and crackled, the force of the snow-ridden gales pushing the wizard two steps back for each step he took forwards. He silently cursed the weather (for about the millionth time) as his boots sank into a snowdrift.
Magus was on a quest. Since hed helped destroy Lavos, and had achieved his revenge, he felt that this was his only life goal.
Magus hadnt always been a mystical wizard of the dark arts. And, as another cold blast of air slammed his already numb face, Magus mind drifter back to better times
Hed been born as Janus, son of the revered Queen of Zeal kingdom, a magical paradise suspended high above the rest of the world, which was gripped in the midst of the Ice Age. When Janus was born, the kingdom rejoiced. The Queen already had a ten-year old daughter with impressive magic, but it was widely known that Zeal needed a male heir, as it was a fact that males almost always had more power than females. And, at first, Janus lived up to their expectations, performing magic spells in seconds that the kingdoms finest mages couldnt do in weeks. But, as Janus grew from a baby to a boy, his powers seemed to dwindle, and by the age of seven, the only amazing things anybody saw him do ware occasional flashes of prophetic visions of the future.
As Janus power died, his friends seemed to disappear as well. The other young Zealians shunned him, telling him that the only reason he was allowed to stay in Zeal was because he was a prince. When they said that, Janus would deny it, but when he sat alone in his luxurious room, failing to do spells the slaves could manage, he knew it was true.
Janus, whod once been the apple of everyones eye, their great king-to-be, had only two friends in all of Zeal. He first came in the form of a little purple tabby cat named Alfador. That cat followed him everywhere, and it was always there for him.
Janus other friend was Schala, his seventeen-year old half sister. Alone of everybody in Zeal, Schala still believed in Janus power, and reassured him constantly. She never did a single spell in front of him, and encouraged others to do the same. The two were unlikely friends. All of Zeal loved Schala; she was gorgeous, self-confident, caring, had a heart of gold, some said. All the teen-age boys actually got into physical fights to escort her wherever she went. Even the poor magic-less people stuck down on the frozen surface, in the Earthbound Village, loved her, because she always visited them twice a week, bringing her own piece of paradise to those who had none.
And with Janus, it was the exact opposite.
Even with Schalas love and Alfadors loyalty to cushion him, Janus grew to become cruel, unloving, and harsh. For a boy of seven, he was amazingly cold.
Then, the Queens experiments began. She built a device called the Mammon Machine, designed according to instructions the Queen had received in a dream. All she would say of the source was: Lavos. Over the next few months, the Queen became obsessed with Lavos and her machine. She took all the Dreamstone in the kingdom to fortify her Mammon Machine. All, that is, except a tiny Dreamstone pendant, given to Schala when she was a baby. Although nobody knew it at first, it gave Schala a sort of power over the Mammon Machine, and all other things made with Dreamstone
Magus snapped out of his daydream when he heard a cry, not far away. He turned, ready to face the threat. A creature leapt out of the snow and landed on his shoulder. A purple tail tickled his nose. Alfador, he whispered. The cat purred loudly, rubbing against one of Magus pointed ears. Magus smiled, just a little, for the first time since Schala had disappeared
Take this, Schala told Janus. They were in her room, in the palace. Schala held out a pendant, little different from her own. Janus took it, and held it tightly in his small hand. What is it? he asked her. Schala smiled, something she didnt do very often anymore, and Janus felt his spirit warm in its glow. Im going away soon, she told him. To the Ocean Palace, with Mother.
The Ocean Palacethe Queens newest project. It was a huge, elegant building, built beneath the deepest part of the sea. It had been built, with enormous magical and physical effort by all in Zeal, to place the Mammon Machine closer to Lavos. And herself as well, the Guru of Life, Melchior, had said, before he was banished to Mount Woe. The other two Gurus had spoken out against the Queen as well. And now, nobody knew where they were. Schala, too, had her own suspicions about Lavos. Zeal is becoming a slave to this Lavos! Schala had cried one night at dinner, the only time the Queen spent with her family anymore. If my father, or Janus father were still here she began to say. The Queen had slapped herhard. A mark from the Queens rings had remained on Schalas cheek for weeks afterward. But the mark on her heart lasted much longer
Janus clutched the pendant to his chest. No! he yelled. She isnt our Mother anymore, and you know it! She belongs to Lavos! That doesnt matter, Schala said, shaking her head. I still have to do what she says. Shell hurt you if I dont, and I cant let that happen. B-but Janus stammered. Schala took his hands in hers, and squeezed them together. This pendant will protect you, she said softly, her eyes shimmering with unshed tears. It isnt as strong as mine, but it has a little Dreamstone in it. One of the last pieces that isnt part of the Mammon Machine Just remember that Ill always love you, Janus.
Without another word, Schala left, on her way to the Ocean Palace. Janus chased her out into the hall. He watched her go through a Dreamstone-locked door, to the Queens throne room. Janus felt his arms start to shake. His vision was so blurred with tears that he didnt notice three people, one with red spiky hair, break the doors seal with their own pendant and go through.
Janus didnt remember anything for hours. He went to his room and screamed his rage to the uncaring walls. In his blinding anger, a vision came to him. Something the Zealians would call heresy. And something Schala had known all along. Lavos was not the guiding light Zeal thought it was. It was a creature from a different universe all together. And it was covertly creating the world they knew. It directed evolution to suit itself. All that occurred in the world happened because Lavos wished it.
That revelation broke through the princes self-centered tantrum. He was suddenly, totally calm. His mind focused on two things, with equal intensity: Save Schala. Stop Lavos. And he couldnt do either alone.
Janus got Melchior from the Earthbound Village, where the Guru had been hiding since hed escaped Mount Woe. And he told Melchior his suspicions: the Queen was going to summon Lavos from its resting-place deep in the center of the world. And she was going to use Schalas power to do it.
Janus and Melchior broke the Dreamstone seal on the door to the throne room, and inside was the portal to the Ocean Palace. They made their way through the immense structure, taking a few shortcuts that Janus knew along the way. And finally, they burst into a huge chamber. The scene they encountered made them stop short.
Schala was glowing with ethereal light, chanting steadily, arms stretched out in front of her. The Queen was standing near her, a demonic smile stretching across her face. The mysterious prophet, a newcomer to Zeal, was also there, silent, his face shrouded in shadow.
Schala barely gasped out the last words of the incantation, and sank half-unconscious to her knees. The glow transferred itself from her body to the Mammon Machine, which began to shimmer with light and electric pulses. Lavos comes! the Queen screeched, her voice a high-pitched grating sound, almost unrecognizable as her own. Noooo! Schala moaned, trying to stand.
Janus couldnt control himself any longer. SCHALA!! he cried, racing forward, with Melchior close behind. Schala held out a hand to him, but glanced behind her. The Mammon Machine was shivering and clanking violently. Schalas expression of hope turned to one of horror. No Janus! she screamed. Stay away!
And suddenly, they were all in a different world.
Janus couldnt tell up from down. The only thing he could see clearly was a huge thing, like a mountain, with immense spikes jutting out from its surface. It had a head, Janus noticed. Like a circle, split into thirds, and when the pieces pulled away from the center, a blast of foul, stinking air filled his nostrils.
The beast roared once, a blood-curdling, bone-shaking sound. Melchior disappeared, a black hole the only thing showing where hed been. The monster roared again, and Janus felt empty air beneath his feet. With a startled yelp, he was sucked into the hole. JAAANUUUSS!!! Schalas anguished cry rang in his ears through the blackness.
He hit grass, and rolled onto his back. A green, overweight creature was standing over him. Janus had hit his head, hard. Lavos, he snarled, delirious. His mind reeled. Ill find you Schala Lavos
Magus swiped snow and ice out of his eyes, his urgency burning anew with the memories. Alfador meowed urgently, and licked Magus cheek, bringing him back to reality. AAARRRGGHH! he yelled suddenly. This is useless! Give it up, fool! Shes dead!
But something, deep down in his heart, said otherwise. No, it whispered. No. If you give up now, you give up on HER! Continue! At least youll know you tried! Magus stopped walking, and traced the voice deep down, inside him, to a part of himself he hadnt listened to in a long time.
Schala, I will not give up on you! Magus snarled. Even if it takes every ounce of power I have, even if it takes me a thousand years, I will get you back!
Not alone, though, the voice said reasonably. You need help. From who? Magus asked aloud. Alfador was staring at him. Probably thinks Im a loony, Magus muttered. You know who to turn to, the voice murmured, fading away.
Magus took a deep breath of frigid air. His lungs burned briefly, but he ignored them. Yes, he said quietly. Yes. I know who to turn to. His cape swirled around him, and a blast of cold, snowy air obscured him for a moment. When it passed, he was gone. And there was no sign in the white snow of a troubled wizard and a purple cat.
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