The story starts with us. We are mythical creatures, meaning no two are the same. All from different tribes and species, we have very unique personalities that add something special to the group.
Firstly I would like to tell you a bit about myself. My name is Saoni, and I'm a Pegasus. My name comes from the name of my mother, the Pegasus queen. I'm not girly and delicate like a normal princess, and I don't need to be. Though I have dreamed of being queen, my sister, Lolinami will get the crown once it is time for my mother to hand it over. My best friends are the others in the group, and I feel less comfortable around my own species. I'm organised and friendly, and a good leader, though others in my group assume that role as well.
Next let's talk about Goizu. Goizu is a dwarf, from the mountains. He is childish and kind, energetic and humble. He is the perfect friend for everyone in the group, and always has a hand to give. Despite being small, he is fast and packs a powerful punch. As he runs out of energy quicker, he has a tendency to ride Junke.
Junke is a centaur, half horse half human. He is loyal, strong and very tall, despite being on all fours constantly. He and I get along very well, both being quite horse-like. He is the son of a rich merchant and works in the market four days a week selling wares like mermaid cores, Phoenix feathers and unicorn horns. Despite what you may think, they are all one hundred percent real.
Might I just say, only a couple species built tribes and civilisations. The only tribes that exist are Pegasus, Giant, Dwarf, Centaur, Mermaid, Griffin, Dragon, Harpie, and Hyklix. Junke's father's business is completely legal. The mermaid cores are simply shells that mermaids have put their magic into. Pheonixes and unicorns are often kept as pets, and since their horns grow back so quickly, clippings are often taken off the unicorns and sold. This business has no effect on the animal's health, which is why it sells so well. I learned this from a business lecture I sat through with Junke.
Glycon is a dragon. He is the generals son, well trained and ready for battle. He and I have been friends for longer than I can remember. He is creative, fun, and his stories are vivid and unique. He is also a rare Dreamglancer, one who can see glimpses of the future in their dreams.
The last one is a griffin. His name is Arvid. His tribe hasn't built up into a town yet. They live in trees, and are a wandering tribe. However, just recently, he has decided for them to stay in one spot, a clearing in the woods just outside of Ferustyne, my city. He is the leader of the small tribe, but his adviser, Harvine (aka his sister) is content with leading the tribe while he's away on journeys and such.
On a map you would view Fantasia like this: North is Ferustyne, south is Drakaupi, the city of the Dragons. Just east of my city you would find Arvids tribe. Running in a curve from North to West is the mountains that hold the dwarven city Tsubi. The mermaids are in Lake Meteor, their city lit by the glowing coral that makes up the castle walls. On a hill in the south-east is the Giant Castle, or in their language, the Pingarin Shtubliah. The hyklix live in the frigid south, farther down than the dragon city. Their town, Icepeak, is carved from a glacier. The centaur live in a town not far from the centre, but just far enough to tell that it's not in the middle, called Equesta. Harpies live on the clouds, in Stormshire. Ritual is just south of the Tsubi mountain ranges. And smack bang in the centre is where the story begins.
I watched as Ritual, the ancient meeting ground, grew on the horizon. It appeared that Arvid and I were the last to arrive.
Okay, I'm sorry. I suppose you need a bit of backstory. There are nine Representatives, one from each tribe. They are chosen by the representative who was before them. My aunt Juno gave me the position. Every year there is a single meeting held, in Suncast. The only other time that a meeting is held at Ritual is if something extremely important needs discussing. Usually I would be happy about travelling to Ritual with Arvid and seeing the others, but it was Snowcast, the season after Goldcast and before Bloomcast. And two seasons after Suncast. Something was wrong.
When I saw Glycon I was filled with joy, like I always was when I saw my best friend. I turned loop-the-loops in the air, and Arvid laughed at my delight, joining in with my aerial acrobatics. As I landed by the fire, Miriap, the mermaid Representative, swam to the surface of the river that ran by Ritual. I greeted her formally. "Why are we here?" I said. "Is there something wrong? Have the eastern unicorn migrations been interrupted again? Those things sure could change everything." You may think that all unicorns are petite, calm and elegant, but the eastern ones are raging, vain and violent.
"Nothing of the likes. Quick, summon the others." Arvid, Glycon and I glanced nervously at each other. We ran towards the huts, knocking on each door and telling the other five species to come to the meeting. We returned with Klyo the hyklix, Junke, Goizu, Mary the harpy and Ponte the giant.
We sat in silence for many minutes, none of us knowing how to start. I was relieved when Klyo tucked his front paws under his tail and began to speak. "We have discovered something ancient dwelling in the heart of our country. Fantasia is at risk. We discovered a tornado that never moves but is constantly growing, right in what would be the centre of a map. We discovered the Stronghold, long past ruins of a once great city. And we discovered a way to save us all.
There is a lock in the ruins, with a very unusual key size and shape. We suspect that the key can be found somewhere in Fantasia, so we must split up to find it. Also, the tornado is constantly growing, devouring anything and everything that gets in its way. The Stronghold is next, followed closely by Equesta, Junkes town. We must locate this key, turn the lock and discover what lays at the very centre of our world, in the eye of the storm."
It took a moment for it all to sink in, but when it did, what his us was a wave of shock and fear, very slowly seeping into us and sending shivers down our spines.
All of my friends looked around the clearing, and I knew what they were thinking. It was time for the Gang to regroup.
Miriap, Mary and Ponte were left at Ritual, being the least durable and hardest to transport. The rest of us began the trek to the Stronghold. On the ground, Goizu travelled on the back of Junke, following the lead of Klyo who bounded easily across the plains, commenting frequently on how hot it was. In the sky, Glycon, Arvid and I soared through the clouds, occasionally flying by a harpy house. Whenever we looked to the ground, we easily located Klyo, the giant snow wolf easily locatable on a background of pea green grass. I flew by Glycon, Arvid on the other side of him. We relished the clean air.
As we neared the place we were to stop, Klyo and Junke slowed. I was nearly knocked out of the sky by the sight that awaited me. I heard Glycon hiss in distaste of the swirling grey mass of storm that disrupted our peaceful afternoon sky. We were guided out of the sky by Arvid, who wasn't so shocked at seeing this terrifying natural disaster. We landed feet away from Goizu as he got off the back of Junke, who showed similar distaste in the tornado. As we trekked up the hill, it became apparent to me why we couldn't have landed there. The wind was strong, and the places that we could land were only places with well too limited space for Glycon to land, his scaly bulk easily bigger than most buildings is the used-to-be village. As we crept through the city I became more aware of how scary it was. I crept up close to Goizu and Junke, and whispered, "this place gives me the creeps." They jumped back, and I realised I must have spooked them. I hopped back to Glycon and Arvid, and joined them in great waves of laughter. This came to an abrupt stop as Arvid cocked his head to the sky. He heard something. Being small, Goizu was naturally a bit terrified. He slunk into the safety of Arvid's feathers, as did I, not because I was small, but because girly instinct overrode me. I didn't stop after I realised this, though. Arvid gave me a strange sense of comfort nobody else did. I blushed as he put a wing over my back.
Klyo stopped walking as he heard Arvid squeal. "What, what is it?" He was concerned until he saw it was simply a rat. He shook his head. "Come on, griffin, man up!"
Glycon and I had scolding looks on our faces, both giving out to Klyo. "What? It's simply a rat! The griffin has no reason to be afraid."
Junke pouted his lip and said, "Well, if you had taken the time to know us, you'd know that Arvid has an irrational fear of rats."
"And that Mary is an insomniac." Everybody looked at me questioningly. "What?" I said. "Just while we were on the topic of knowing other Representatives. Sorry." Glycon smiled at me. "Gosh, you're a funny Pegasus, you know?"
We continued through the dead city, hearts pounding in our ears. I ruffled my feathers in disgust as we passed the rotting corpse of a unicorn, its horn snapped in two. Klyo led us through the streets until we got to a palace, it's marble walls crumbling under the pressure of time. It was a beautiful structure, that's for sure, but what was most eye catching about it were the statues.
Three lines led up to two giant arched doorways, each representing a different species. The first three were the Hyklix, the Harpy and the Giant. The hyklix's head was facing downward, staring at us with stark blue sapphire eyes. It's tail was stone grey like the rest of the statues, but at the tip there was a bit of the same sapphire that gave its eyes a malicious blue glow. The harpy was much similar, being made entirely of stone with golden topaz eyes, and a topaz feather in each wing. The giant towered over everything, slightly taller than all the other statues. It's giant green eyes were made of emerald, as were the laces in its delicately carved shoes.
As we passed them, walking between the Hyklix and the Harpy, we came across the mermaid, the centaur and the dwarf. Junke sucked in air in a sharp hiss as he saw the statue representing his race. It had ruby red eyes, giving it an evil look. It was rearing on its hind legs, a bow strung in its giant hands. The fletches of the arrows were made of ruby as well. The mermaid was beautiful, slender and sleek, stone scales placed in delicate layers. Her eyes were glowing diamonds, as was the flower crown in her flowing, stone hair. The dwarf was much like the giant, but a lot smaller and with highlights of yellow citrine.
We walked past the centaur and the mermaid, and came across the final layer of statues. I gasped. The griffin was carved with such skill that when I compared it to Arvid, I saw no difference. The eyes and claws were made of giant hunks of quartz. On the other side was the dragon. In its claws it held a quill, made of obsidian. Though it's eyes were nothing but small orbs of black obsidian, they were full of life, the brow and posture breathing life into grey stone. And in the middle was the Pegasus. It was beautiful and delicate, far more magnificent than any of the other statues. It was rearing up, eyes of amethyst glowing in the dusk light. The mane and tail were made of the same purple crystal, each hair carved separately with incredible life likeness.
Klyo came up behind me, startling me. "We suspect that this was built by the pegasi, a long time ago. This statue is far greater and more perfect than any other one, so they must have cared very fondly of the Pegasus race, or at least had a Pegasus ruler at one point."
We walked into the palace. There was a stained glass window, each species represented by a mosaic of glass the same colour as the statues. And in the centre of the room there was a big pillar of amethyst.
And in the amethyst was a keyhole.