Do you want to embark on a journey unheard of in the fantasy genre? Take a glance at my latest work. It is written by a teenager, for a teenager.
Intertwined (working title) follows the story of Cindy Harrison, a meek girl who, like all humans of the earth, can traverse to other lands if they enter through a specific transport known as a Gate. In the second volume to the ongoing series, Cindy travels to a Gate humans simply call “Animal Spirit”. While on a quest to find her lost comrade from another Gate, Cindy meets a number of individuals in Animal Spirit that change her life: William Zamora, the leader of the land’s powerful Guild of Birds; Hiroshi Chighang, William’s best friend, and lastly, Amelia Oliver, an enemy spy who is trapped in an abusive relationship.
Celeste knew she arrived when clouds of smoke hung over the streets like mist below mountains. If there were dead bodies, Celeste thought, she knew she would vomit at the sight. She knew that she would never be able to recover from such a view. They were still in the sky as they entered a massive cloud of smoke, Celeste nearly losing sight of William.
“What is that smell?” Vincent asked. Celeste used the sound of his voice to locate William, who had slowed to a halt. She touched his shoulder and felt his straight, thick hair, which appeared a dull gray in the smoke.
“You’ve never witnessed something like this in the Gate Realm, have you?” William muttered.
Not even close, Celeste thought. She lowered herself to Vincent, whose face was turned bright pink, all the way to his ears,
“Can we actually do this?” She covered her nose as the smell Vincent spoke of entered her nose. It was a pungent odor of something burning – not the homely scent of kindling firewood, but a harsh odor of living beings. That was when Celeste saw it. It looked like a nightmare. Like a scene from a fictional horror film that would set a terror in even an adult’s heart.
Smoke hung everywhere, and Celeste could hear people below choking. Coughs echoed amidst the criers of women and children. Celeste was blind to anything below the haze, but the smell and the sounds… Her lips curled beneath one another. She could feel the bile pushing its was into her esophagus.
“We have to go in,” William met eyes with Celeste. Vincent glanced up to meet the two of them.
Celeste swallowed hard. She made sure her blue dasher lay atop her shoulder before she opened her mouth, nearly choking on the smoke. “Let’s go.”
William descended like an angel, so much so that as soon as Celeste could see through the wall of smoke, citizens dashed into bits of rubble for cover. She could see their eyes following his snowy wings. It was not long before people pointed at the group of three. Some began to call out for mercy. The scent of burning only grew stronger as the tips of Celeste’s toes touched the ground.
“Look, over there!” spoke Vincent. About two blocks way was a building halfway torn apart and ablaze, tumbling into a pile of rubble.
“Sir!” a girl emerged from a fallen pile of trash and broken cement. She was young, possibly a couple years younger than Celeste. “Sir, please!” She crawled over to the white-haired owl user. Her face was bleeding and dusted over with soot. “You are Zamora, aren’t you?” she touched the tip of his cloak. William shared a glance with er and looked away quickly. “Then why don’t you do something?” William took a step back as the woman sobbed, “Why did you welcome these demons?”
“Have you seen any of the instigators?” William ignored her last cries, like he had never even heard it. Celeste glanced over to him. His eyes were glossy and his white hair was matted in his face because of the wind. She could see how pale he’d become, his already white face fading into porcelain. He looked as if he would break down any second. Celeste moved to touch his arm, to get him to snap out of whatever was going through his head. But she stopped herself when William took a step forward, past the woman. She tumbled around onto her back and let out a groan.
Celeste held back a gasp as she marched by the woman. Farther ahead were more victims just like her, bleeding, and sobbing. RAID may have been meant for fighting, but it was nothing compared to what she was witnessing right now. The burning the bodies, the smell… Celeste could feel her heart bursting. She glanced at Vincent and met eyes with him. His pupils had contracted to mustard seeds, and he was almost as pale as William.
“We’re going to find the one who did this, Celeste.” Vincent’s words were like a candle flame that had been blown on. He looked away from her.
“Even in RAID, it was nothing like this. Even when I led Dark Vengeance. This is nothing I’ve ever seen before.”
“Celeste, I need your dragonfly’s power.” William stated, his voice stoic. He glanced at Celeste and then looked away again.
“You need me to track Jared?”
William promenaded through the rubble, kicking rocks out of the way on accident. At every intersection he would study it, looking around and readjusting his monocle. Then he would turn back front and continue forth into the smoke. It was strangely silent, save for groans coming from the injured. Despite the quietness, Celeste couldn’t shake the dread she felt as she watched godforsaken buildings kindle to a crisp.
“We’re in the aftermath, it looks like. When will we reach the militia lines defending?” asked Vincent. “Shouldn’t we be out there right now?”
“We need to focus on finding our source and be wary that we aren’t seen,” William commanded.
“Speaking of that, I’m sending my dragonfly now. It’s likely–”
“Get down!” Vincent shrieked. Instantly his hands were over Celeste’s head and neck, yanking her to the floor. She realized it was her boyfriend and lifted her head to find his face, but an acute blast muted everything in her mind. Celeste ducked again and felt a blast of heat against her face, like magma. She screamed and felt her lungs shrink.
“Cindy!” Vincent’s cry tore her heart. But that was the last thing she had heard. There was nothing left but a harsh, thick ring. She could feel nothing but the slight pressure of what she hoped was Vincent’s arm around her still.