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Veneficius: A short story by my brother.

Veneficius is a short story written by my brother for a writing competition. It follows two brothers, Vasu and Zakir, on their journey as they are gifted dragons, and fight for their homeland.

Throughout the course of the short novella, the two brothers show their potential for magic, and fight a great evil tainting their ancestral homeland. The story shows the commitment of brothers, and is a great start to the category of fantasy. Tune in to Dymocks Beyond Words competition, to see if it wins a place. Below is the story:


Prologue


On the Darkus Isle, a monster lurks. A tower tears at the clouds. A curse taints the sea. That land is dead. Even the sorcerer who inhabits it is not natural. Whether foul magik or cursed bloodline, he is half-demon. No ordinary human can touch him, for no one has ever drawn the damned blood of Ifor the Black.


***


The forest is alive with chatter as the dragons are brought out, their bellows echoing through the forests. The recipients themselves are buzzing with nervous energy. There are two of them and two dragons. Vasu and Zakir Exodus stand in front of the Elder, their grandfather, as he addresses the crowd. ‘I present to you Vasu and Zakir Exodus, sons of the True Darkus Tribe!” The crowd cheers and applauds and the cages shake with Draconic power. Zakir’s dark skin and lean, corded muscles have made him an excellent Dragon Rider in their training. Vasu’s skinny frame makes him less of an athlete than Zakir, but he is still an excellent Rider. “Let’s do this Vasu.” Zakir says, grinning as they approach the cages.


***


“Within the cages is a Diabolica Dragon and a Stormrider, choose wisely.” says the Elder, giving a little encouraging smile. “I want the Stormrider.” Zakir blurts.

“Fine by me,” replies Vasu “I’ll take the Diabolica Dragon.”

“It is decided then,” yells the Elder “Release the Dragons for bonding!”

The cage doors slide up and out tread two majestic dragons. A dark grey dragon with blue, lightning-like stripes and a massive wingspan, with a slim, aerodynamic body. Its yellow eyes crackle with electricity and its tail swings as it roars. The second Dragon is black with onyx eyes and also a massive wingspan of muscly pinions and tattered membranes. Its teeth are sharp and its claws are wicked, like a blade. Its horns come from the side of its head and curl, much like a ram’s horns. Around its throat is a metal collar, made of silver and inscribed with mysterious sigils, pulsating with purple light. There are two bindings on its horns as well, and all three are connected by a chain. It seems cruel but Vasu knows that if those bindings weren’t there, his dragon could destroy them all.


***


“Now they shall seclude themselves, with only their dragons for company, and for six weeks, meditate and forge the innate bond that lies within them and their dragons.” informs the Elder. Zakir and Vasu are led to the Shrine and escorted into the lower chambers with their Dragons. “Don’t worry,” the Elder says jovially “Only once has someone been killed by their Dragon.” Vasu gulps. They are led into their separate chambers and sit down in front of their massive Dragon. “Get to know them, learn their name, what they like to eat and so on. You’ll be fine!” the Elder says reassuringly. “Thanks.” replies Vasu.

“Don’t worry Vasu. Your meditation starts. . .now!” the cell door closes, leaving Zakir and Vasu in darkness.


***


Six weeks later, the twins emerge with their Dragons into daylight, shielding their eyes from the harshness of the sun after six weeks of hollow darkness. Their dragons, now known as Tempest and Anima, trail behind their Riders, loyal to them forever. As a rite of passage, they leap up onto their Dragons and take off, breaking through the canopy of the Elder Forest and into the sky. “It’s finally happening Zakir!” yells Vasu “We’re Dragon Riders!”

“I know, and it’s amazing!” Zakir yells back. And so, as brothers do, they fight. Hurling Magik at one another and drawing weapons and duelling, and all can hear the song of metal on metal, dragon against dragon, brother against brother. Ghost Magik swirls in Vasu’s hand, a miracle that he had been born with. As they clash once more, a great, swirling vortex of black appears between them and they both are sucked in.


***

Vasu and Zakir look around, groggy and dizzy. “What happened?” groans Vasu, clutching his head. “I don’t know, some kind of Translocation Vortex sucked us in and spat us out . . . well, here.” Zakir replies. They’re on a beach, bleached white sand and . . . black water? “Oh no, oh no, oh no,” Vasu panics, “We’re on Darkus Isle.”

“What have they done to it?” Zakir seethed. He had not been here when this land was stolen from their tribe centuries ago but he knows it should not look like this. A tower of black stone looms over everything. A desolate wasteland where only tree stumps are left. Hideous things swim in the water, corrupted by the Darkus Curse.


***


Immediately, they were grabbed by rough hands, dragging them across the beach. As much as they kick and struggle, they cannot break free. Thrown harshly on the steps of the tower that they saw, they see their Dragons being chained to an enchanted pole. Footsteps echo as a figure walks down the stairs to stand over them. They look up to see a monster. A man, with snowy white skin and pitch black hair. The whites of his eyes are an abyss of endless midnight, his irises are blood red with slit snake eyes. Tribal markings are painted on his face, but they seem to have depth, like staring into a void. Zakir and Vasu realise with fear that this is Ifor the Black, the half-demon necromancer who stole Darkus Isle. He is feared by all and rules from his dark tower. A cruel smile dances on the necromancer’s lips and he speaks like a flower, secretly hiding poison in its petals. “Come inside, won’t you? I’d like to hear all about you.” He grins menacingly and dismisses their captors and turns to walk back inside. He waves a hand and excruciating pain shoots through Zakir and Vasu as they are dragged within.


***


Vasu and Zakir crumple to the floor like rags and Ifor laughs, “Get up little Darkus Sons.” Filled with rage, Zakir stands up and runs towards him, blade swinging. Ifor pulls a dagger from his cloak and knocks Zakir away. Vasu, incensed at the sight of his brother's defeat yells and runs forward, lightning crackling in his palm, and throws it at Ifor hitting him squarely in the chest. Ifor looks down and chuckles, tearing off the smoking cloak and throwing it to the ground. “Try harder.” He says. Zakir and Vasu rush at Ifor, weapons drawn. Ifor pulls out two black iron daggers, duel wielding against the twins. The onslaught of blades hammer down on Ifor, but he holds his ground, knocking the weapons away again and again. Malicious glee flashes in his eyes as he sees an opportunity. Ifor leaps forward and sinks the cold metal blade into Vasu’s heart.


***


Vasu screams in agony as his chest is penetrated by Ifor’s blade, like a cold, merciless hand, stealing his soul. Pure torture pulses through him and raw power pulls at its weakened chains. Clutching his chest, Vasu looks up at the sky and screams, distorting the world around them, an overload of pure power implodes, the thousands of screaming souls being burnt up, the tower is blown apart, but does not fall, a floating mass of ruins, help up by the calamitous power of Ghost Magik.


***


“NO!” yells Zakir, pure wrath coursing through him at the sight of his dying brother. All he can see is red, clouding his vision, red giving way to a storm. Great, booming thunderheads, roiling and frothing with power. The clouds begin to funnel down into Zakir's chest and suddenly he is back in the ruined tower, crackling with electricity. “Ifor!” he booms, raising his sword, shooting bolts of lightning at the necromancer as he approaches. Ifor works his dark magik but Zakir cuts down all skeletons sent his way with merciless ferocity. He and Ifor duel, Zakir strengthened by his rage begins to overpower Ifor blow by blow and the necromancer feels a completely alien emotion. Fear.


***


Zakir lifts his sword over his head, ready for the killing blow, cleaving his head off like a piece of meat on the butcher's block. A putrid, black smoke rises from Ifor’s neck and his face appears in the foul smoke, readying to repossess his body, but is sucked away, into the standing Vasu, who seals his loathsome, necromantic spirit away. His eyes roll into his head and return once more and he limps towards Zakir “We won’t be seeing him again.” Vasu says, clutching his bloodied chest. “But . . . how?” Zakir responds in amazement.

“We’re mirror twins, remember? My heart is on the other side.” answers Vasu before collapsing into his brother’s arms and Zakir carries him back to their waiting dragons.


***


At their master’s defeat, the Darkus Tribe fled to sea, never to be seen again. The True Darkus Tribe retook their ancestral homeland and the deeds of the Exodus brothers were never forgotten, living on in lore and legend. Songs of their exploits have and will be sung for centuries since and more.


Enjoy!

nbooker

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