This begins another novel of mine. The idea started with a flying train, and went crazy from there. I’ve written the Prologue and Chapter One, while QuadL (Literary Loving Little Lady, or Beca as you might know her) wrote Chapter Two. Then I’ll post Chapter Three, and back forth until it’s completed. Also of note are the markers to signify another section: they’re supposed to be trains, but they look…odd… Anyway, hope you enjoy!
Verbon-Sun turned from the balcony. The sunset was beautiful, as always, but the Wizard Apprentice had other things on his mind. Such as, why was his master in such a foul mood today?
The mansion stood in the center of So-Terri, the sprawling metropolis that served as capital to Xerin, the country his master ruled. But this wasn’t his real home. He had his own place far away from here, on the edge of Xerin.
Verbon-Sun entered the room where his graying master resided. His name was Lycandor, but no one spoke to him by that name; he was referred to behind his back as ‘the Puzzler’ for his odd habit of making jigsaw puzzle pieces appear out of thin air, then fitting them together.
The Master was slumped in a chair, his mouth in a tight frown. “Get me something to drink, Verbon-Sun,” he ordered, without looking up.
As he did what he was told, Verbon-Sun frowned as well. “What is troubling you, Master? I thought that something as easy as getting a drink would not hinder you.”
“It would not hinder me, but I need to think, and thinking is from a clear mind, not one bogged down with minor spells.” The Master accepted the drink, a berry mix that was popular those days. “I do not understand it, Verbon-Sun. I do my best for the ones in this country, and what do they do? They turn on me as soon as my back is turned. They call me the Puzzler, they think that I am old and senile.”
“Forgive me for saying so, but you are older than most, Master.”
“This is true. But with age comes wisdom. Do they not see that? For although I am old, I am also wise beyond their years. I was here when the original Wizard created this country. I was the one he placed in charge.” Verbon-Sun groaned inwardly. He had heard this story thousands of time. Outwardly, however, he remained as interested as he could be. “I ruled for five hundred years, and then I saw something. A boy in the marketplace, who was doing things that he shouldn’t have been able to do. And when I looked closer, I found that it wasn’t just a normal boy, it was someone who had a gift with magic. I took that boy in, and trained in as my apprentice for the past one hundred years. And you are the result.”
“I know, Master. I was there, remember?” Verbon-Sun’s voice was tired, but he disguised it enough that the aging Lycandor did not realize.
“Perhaps in another fifty years they will remember their wrong and forgive this tired old man for ruling them so long and taking forever to die.”
“Master, do not speak that way.”
Lycandor stood, his dark eyes flashing. “Remember your place in this world, Verbon-Sun. I raised you, and if I want it to happen, you could be thrown out into the street once more.”
“Yes, Master,” Verbon-Sun apologized, bowing. When he looked up, however, Lycandor was gone. It was one of the talents that Verbon-Sun had yet to learn, how to teleport. So, instead of waiting for the Wizard to return, he went back to the balcony and watched the sunset once more.
It was the next morning that Verbon-Sun realized that the world had been torn apart.
He had awoken early, as was his custom, and had done his forms, running through basic spells and various martial arts maneuvers. After that, he had taken a stroll to the lakeside. And it was there that he noticed something different. The water, usually a sparkling blue, had turned darker, and no ships where docked. The next thing he had noticed was the lack of docks themselves.
Verbon-Sun ran the rest of the way along the shore. Something was glittering in the water, and he leaned down to take a better look. It was a piece of metal, a hook from one of the ships. And as he watched, it dissolved slowly into the liquid. He reached down and touched the water, then withdrew his hand quickly. It was burned red.
The water had become acid.
Reeling from the news, he stumbled back from the shore, and back to the mansion. Then he climbed to the highest part of the tower. And it was there that the next part of the horrid day was shown. Usually, from the top of the tower, Verbon-Sun could see the Mountains. But this day, they were no where in sight, and in their place, a gigantic fissure stood.
Verbon-Sun did not know how to teleport, but he knew enough to speed his body up. Within minutes, he was at the edge. He stared down in horror. Far across the acid, the mountains loomed.
Then he got an idea. He bounded into the air, far enough that he could see all the parts of Xerin. It was then that the complete, awful truth was brought forth: The lands had become a gigantic puzzle.
Each was within it’s own puzzle piece, and was complete within itself. But there were no crossovers like before. The desert sat there, a clod of sand in Verbon-Sun’s eyes. He could see everything now, each piece consisting of a major part of Xerin. He could see desert, ice, mountains, Brenneckston, and many others. The only one he did not see was the Wizard’s own personal retreat.
Once he returned to the ground, he found mass chaos. He had arrived in the middle of a small village called Brewerston. All the people flocked around him, and caught onto his sleeves. “Help us!” they cried, and Verbon-Sun nodded.
“I will do what I can. But please, I need you to calm down.” Everyone parted as he strode to the top of the village, where a man named Fergus lived. He pounded on the door, and Fergus opened it. His broad accent was filled with surprise as he saw who was standing there.
“Verbon-Son? Gud ta see ya, ma friend. Cum on in, please.” Verbon-Sun thanked him, entering the small hut. “What can I be getting for ya? A pint? Anythin’ at all?”
“I just need to talk to you, actually.”
“That’ll be fine, then. What is it you be wantin’ to talk to me about, eh?”
“The mess out there,” Verbon-Sun replied, sitting on one of the stools. “No one’s going to be able to get to any of the other islands, you realize.”
“I’m sure that ole Puzzler will fix it up soon enough,” Fergus said, sitting across from Verbon-Sun.
“I don’t think so. I think he was driven insane by all your talk about him being the Puzzler and all that rot. And I think he’s left for good.”
“But, if ‘e does that, what’s gonna be ‘appening to me and my family? We’ll starve, and you know it! Most of our trade comes from the mountains, and we cannae get over there, do you understand?”
“I have a solution,” Verbon-Sun said. “I’m going to create something for you. But only you and your family, do you understand?” When Fergus nodded, Verbon-Sun rose and walked over to the young child playing on the floor. “May I have this?” he asked, picking up a toy train. The young boy nodded, not understanding. “Come, Fergus,” Verbon-Sun said, “We have work to do.”
He left the building, and set the train down. He put his hand on the wooden toy, then muttered something. It was long and complicated, the hardest spell he had ever done. An hour later, the magic had worked: the train now was full sized, made of metal and had one more significant change: It floated a foot above the ground.
Fergus wandered the engine. It was like the inside of all the engines he had seen, except that this one had something more. A panel with two dials, one for height another for direction, had been added to one of the walls. He ran back outside when he heard a sigh. Verbon-Sun, exhausted by what he had to deal with, had fainted.
The next morning, Verbon-Sun found Lycandor over him. “I should kill you for what you did!” Lycandor hissed. “But you almost killed yourself, so I’m not going to.” He pulled his apprentice from the bed and hauled him over to the window. The train was a speck on the horizon. “Your plan worked. I hope you’re happy. Now they’ll still have to lean on the Wizard’s help. They should have been left to die!”
“Why did you do this?” Verbon-Sun asked, trying to get out of his master’s grip.
“If they think they can do without us, then let us see how well they do. In a thousand years, we can return. But now, we must be off to our hideaway. We must not be seen here any longer. From now on, Wizards are a story to help children get to sleep. Do you understand me?”
“Master, I don’t understand,” Verbon-Sun said again.
“That’s to bad,” Lycandor snarled. Then they disappeared. They appeared in the Wizard’s personal hideaway. Lycandor pushed Verbon-Sun to the ground, then walked away, sitting in a dusty chair.
“We need to help them, Master,” Verbon-Sun said, but Lycandor just laughed.
“If they think they’re to good for us, then let us leave them to their own devices, shall we? Then we will see how much they need us.”
“Master, please,” he tried again, but this time he was ignored. Instead, he lay his head down on the cold hard rock floor, and wept for all the grief his master had caused.
And so it was that the Puzzled Isles came into existence.
Looking for the next part of the saga? Just follow the link: https://gloriousmesssite.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/the-puzzled-isles-chapter-one/