My grandfather once told me that everyone needs to find their center. Everyone has a purpose, a prime directive, something that they were almost born to do. He told me the lucky ones are those who find theirs early on in life. I knew that mine was the same as his. I am a story teller.
Now telling a story and writing a story are two different things. I work as a talk show host so in a way my job is to tell people's stories and I love every bit of it. I get to hear so many and it becomes my honor and pleasure to pass them on in an exciting and gripping fashion. This time I wanna tell my own story. I've never written anything more than a structured essay back in university. Those don't require much imagination. This will be my first novel.
So bear with me and forgive my amateur mistakes as I'm sure you'll pick up quite a few. I hope you enjoy the world I create and the characters who live inside my head.
It is the oldest of all cities on all worlds. It is said that when all was created it was where the first man and first woman were born. From its gardens, all life; animals and plants flourished and thrived. The heavens smile upon this paradise and its good people. It’s mountains high and mighty. It’s rivers coursing strongly. It’s land richer than life. All crops, plants and trees grow in Milasur all year round. Copper, iron and gold could be mined from its deep caves for what seems like all eternity. All the way at the top of Nourna Hill, stood the mighty city of Milasur. It was truly a masterpiece to admire.
The city could be seen from miles away by day or by night as you make your way from the Farlands. The sun would shine from the east creating a silhouette bathing in the golden rays of a sprightly summer. Not only can you see it from a distance but you will be absorbed by it’s cascading shadow below the hill. By night it’s light shines in all directions from the Torch of Wisdom in the northwestern corner of the city.
Milasur wasn’t a large city in the sense of the area of land it covered, but it’s grandeur came from somewhere else entirely. Its architecture was divine; as if all the buildings and the statues were carved by the gods from one piece of white granite. In fact some claim that it was so. Mostly the children are convinced it is true. The city was one big circle on a tilted upward hill. To the northwest where the statue of Goliath stood a 100 meters tall, was the highest point of Milasur. The eyes of the statue were hollow and empty, but through them shone an endless fire called the Torch of Wisdom. The fire would only stop by day, but would fiercely burn on through the night. For thousands of years, every night without fail, the fires from the Torch of Wisdom continue to rage on.
Next to the statue of Goliath is the Hall of knowledge where all the city-states wealth of scientific advancements was saved. The Hall is massive in structure and grand in spaces with columns and ceilings tens of feet tall. Like a museum and a science academy combined, the Hall of Knowledge contained the labs where Milasurian scientists worked the hardest. From their plasma technology that heals the sick and eradicates most diseases in a few minutes, to their advanced weaponry division that developed the war machines Milasur’s Council of 7 uses to protect the city.
In the heart of the city lies the High Temple, a relatively small building with but a few chambers. Yet the people of Milasur revere it for they know it’s the permanent resident for the Council of 7. It is said that this was the first building to be built in all of Milasur. Constantly under protection by the Milasurian guard, the High Temple is the head to the body of Milasur. What the council decides, the city follows.
Those are only some of the city’s many famous landmarks, known to millions across the world. However none are as famous or as notable as the Wall of Milasur.
"Are you ready?"
"Gedar, your dad's gonna kill us."
"Oh don't be such a scaredy cat. It's not like he didn't do it when he was younger. Did you change your mind? Are you not up to the challenge?" Gedar knew exactly which buttons to push to taunt Tanafos.
"Shut up pretty boy! Barzan, give us a count down."
Both boys leaned to the ground, hearts pounding in their chests, carefully drawing their breaths in and out. One knee between their shoulders and the other stretched back. Just before the countdown started, everything slowed down for Gedar. He took one final look at Tanafos from behind his brow and smiled. Barzan screamed One, two, three.
In a sudden rush of adrenaline, sweat and dust, the boys took off like a couple of cheetahs out to catch their prey. They were running so fast it only took a few seconds for their small crowd of cheering friends to fade into the background, barely audible. They ran down the garden and jumped past the short fence, straight into the leaflets of the trees on the other side.The field was massive and the branches were everywhere but they both knew where they were headed. Gedar could barely see a meter in front of his face, yet he didn't slow down. He had such confidence and fearlessness in him. Tanafos was more calculated and slowed down his pace to increase his response time should he run into a solid branch.
Gedar emerged from the field first and another smile formed on his face as he stuck his tongue out, pulled his head back and really started running, gunning it, making it seem like he was crawling just earlier through the trees. Tanafos pulled through not three seconds later also picking up his speed. The sun in their faces and their target clear in front of them, where the sand meets the sea. The shores of Vasnara. By the time they reached the well, their friends had already circled around the tree fields and were patiently waiting.
Just a few meters before the well of Mas'ud, Gedar took off his shirt and threw it carelessly to the right. He got to the well and with one jump got over the edge and hung on with both hands to the inside rim. He took one look back in the direction he came from and saw Tanafos right on his tail. He looked down below his feet resting on the inside wall and saw the turbulent water rising up. The rocks were jagged and had mean looking teeth. He though it looked like a mouth wide open and ready to eat. Many have hurt themselves and even died just making the jump. He knew timing was everything. The wave kept rising and just before it peaked, he took a deep breath and he let go. Gedar penetrated the surface with very minimal splash. His body was rigidly straight like a perfect rod. Even before he had a chance to look around, he already knew he nailed the timing. As soon as he opened his eyes under water he saw the water level receding with the wave being swallowed back by the mighty Vasnara. He aimed his body downwards and started swimming towards the darker depths.
The well was narrower than he had expected. They'd heard the stories of course but it's not the same as being there. It instigated an immediate and intense feeling of claustrophobia. He started feeling like he was suffocating despite knowing he still had more than half his breath. He could barely maneuver around but he somehow managed. The gate wasn't as far as he thought. Just a meter and a half ahead he could clearly see the metal that once covered it pertruding to the side. There was still a lot of sunlight coming from above. "There's no way anyone could've done this at night" he thought to himself. But before he stuck his head into the pitch black side tunnel he couldn't help but be completely captivated by the intricate design of this gate. It had gold and iron engravings of a lions head. It looked so majestic and beautiful. Just before he grabbed the edge of the ancient looking metal gate to enter the tunnel, he could feel the flow of water quickly turn against him. The wave was rising again and he almost lost because he got distracted. He put everything he's got into one powerful lunge downwards and then another which got him close enough to grab the gate. He stuck his head inside and started crawling through the tunnel.
As soon as he entered he could hear Tanafos's body splashing through the surface. The tunnel was like a coffin. It made him feel close to death not just because of how narrow it was but he could instantly feel the water current through it was somehow different, colder and it gave him the chills. Gedar had to use both hands to push against the walls of the tunnel in the little crevasses his fingers could find. He could literally see the light and the end of the tunnel. He pushed with everything he's got. Already running out of breath, he regained his focus and kept his head looking up to the light. He finally pulled through and got out on the other side of the tunnel into the open sea. He swam directly to the surface drawing in a big gulp of air.
Gedar knew he'd won and looked back at the beach albeit slightly disoriented to which direction that was. All his friends were there yelling and screaming. He smiled at them and let out a hearty "Wooohooo". Getting through the Well of Courage on his first try was a big deal. It's the most infamous unofficial Milasurian rite of passage. Only the bravest of the brave have the heart to let go into the dark abyss of the well and through the frighteningly narrow tunnel coming within a few seconds of death. It takes almost three minutes from the moment you go under water until you come out on the other side. Certainly it was no easy feat. Everyone knew the stories of those who died getting stuck in the tunnel. Most of those who perished, did because they panicked or ran out of breath and tried to turn around inside the tunnel. It's not possible of course. Getting through the gate is the point of no return.
He lied back in the water, catching his breath, combing his fingers through his hair. It felt like eternity before he realised that Tanafos hasn't surfaced yet.