Authors: Catherine L Vickers
Aarabassa World Series
Catherine L Vickers
Copyright © 2013 Catherine L Vickers
This is a work of fiction. No characters in this novel resemble any real people and are purely a product of the writers imagination.
Book 3 -
- Blood Bride (e book and paperback) Blood Bride December 2013
Book 2 -
- Flight of a Changeling (e book and paperback) May 2013
- Guardian Dragons (e book and paperback) February 2013
Aarabassa World Website:
Other Books in World of Aarabassa Series:
Guardian Dragons - Book 1
Flight of a Changeling - Book 2
Anthology with various authors
13 Bites: Short scary tales
When is a Nursery Rhythm Not a Nursery Rhythm
I’m Not Her, I’m Me
Upon this world one half is dark and the other is light. A Magic Wall divides the darker characters out of the Lightlands.
All upon Aarabassa are preparing for battle.
The evil monshaad Emperor has enticed the Changeling to the Darklands where he hopes to capture her very essence of magic. However, the vamplin Lord has different ideas.
Evil stirs, who will stop it.
It was a remarkable sight, witnessing such huge numbers of the vamplin population migrating to the mid-mountains of Madzren. This was the start of the Hunting Season. They would soon begin the search for the giant white shaggy bear.
The monshaad Emperor hovered with his minions observing the vamplin movements. Emperor Morte-Bielz scrutinised the march, greedily pleased to have such armies at his disposal. The monshaad population numbered only forty-five. They could not breed and they could not die, so the numbers remained ever faithful. The vamplins however, had increased their population size enormously. The Emperor was voraciously recruiting for his army and the vamplin race was to become a part of that army, whether they agreed or not.
The Battle for the Lightlands could not begin just yet, but each moonpass brought the impending conflict nearer. He looked up to the dark skies to watch the large round shape of the red veined Nytloon. It was believed this moon flowed with hot lava from a temperamental volcanic landscape. Every crossing of the moons hopefully brought the battle nearer and very soon the Changeling would also be his.
The monshaad Lords followed their Leader. The being who had created their very essence over a thousand mooncircles gone by. The Emperor glided down to join Lord Fiendrac, Leader of the vamplins.
Fiendrac was a formidable sight. Vamplins, normally quite large in stature, made for strong warriors. He was stroking his favourite basca, one of the huge beasts that vamplins managed to tame and use as a means of transport. The vamplin Lord looked surprised as he noticed the arrival of the monshaads. It was rare for them to be so far away from their home in the ice-lands.
‘Emperor, I was not expecting your presence at the start of our Hunting Season. This is indeed an honour. One I hope that will bring us much luck?’
The Lord of the vamplins was keen to get started with the hunt and did not appreciate this delay, but did not show any disrespect at this unexpected arrival.
Now is the time for us to discuss the arrival of the Changeling,
the Emperor Mindtalked the Lord.
‘Could this not wait Emperor? Many moons have passed since our last hunt,’ the Lord shouted up at the hovering monshaad leader, not at all pleased with such a demand in the middle of nowhere.
It is not for me to decide when the Changeling decides to pass through the Wall. Indeed, it is convenient that you are already entering the mid-mountains, as this is where we shall be greeting her.
‘I did not have that in mind when I journeyed to the mid-moutains,’ Fiendrac was beginning to show his discomfort with the presence of the monshaads. ‘Can you not capture her and hold her prisoner until our hunt is complete?’
Can Aarabaasa stand still while the vamplin Lord plays his game of hunting?
Morte-Bielz had anticipated this apprehension of the vamplin Lord.
‘I ask only that this human be kept waiting a short while. I am hungry and need to feed on the blood of this beast. What use am I as a leader if I am weakened through starvation?’ The Lord pleaded.
That basca is your favourite pet I understand
? Morte-Bielz asked of Fiendrac.
‘Yes,’ Fiendrac patted his basca fondly. ‘He is a fine beast do you not agree? He will outrun many of the mountain bears in our coming feast,’ Fiendrac replied proudly.
Morte-Bielz gloomily shadowed the vamplin Lord as he rose higher above him.
The ocean edge crashed on the black rocks that stood protectively on the shore-line, splashing Fiendrac with an icy cold chill. A white bony hand slithered from the Emperor’s cloaked shape, pointing at Fiendrac’s beast. A ghastly green-yellow haze of light surrounded the basca whilst an unseen force dragged and raised the unsuspecting creature over the water’s edge. Lashing out his claws and flapping his wings, the basca panicked itself into a frenzy. There the beast hovered over the seas where the Emperor floated teasingly above it. Small ripples of black waves grew in size, roaring upwards from the unsettled icy seas. The air felt dense and heavy with an electrifying aura, magic was at play.
A gigantic sea serpent raised itself, revealing numerous writhing thick necks, each owning an ugly reptilian head, baring large mouths with snapping teeth. The frantic basca was swallowed whole. With an ear splitting screech it lived the last few moments of its life attempting to fly, its feet trapped in the serpent’s poisonous mouth. Fiendrac jumped upon one of the slithering heads and forced it over to the ground. A powerful tentacled arm wrestled him off and threw him against the sharp surface of slimy moss covered rocks. His bones seemed to crunch with the force of the fall and his breathless body slumped into a pile. When finally he managed to get back up to continue the battle, the monster was gone. The waves spiraled downwards in an eerie silence. Lord Fiendrac was stunned, he swiftly turned to confront the disdainful Morte-Bielz.
‘What is this? You have slaughtered my beast before my eyes,’ the vamplin Lord pitched his fury at the Emperor. ‘You will pay a price for this mistake!’
Lord Fiendrac, I would remind you that you will not be participating in the Hunting Season. We are to ready ourselves for a new beginning, that is unless you wish me to hold a hunt of my own. Your people will make good sport for my Lords to hunt down and murder. When we have taken every thread of life from each one of them, we will enjoy their vamplin souls with a greed you have never witnessed. Have you ever seen a tortured soul Lord Fiendrac?
‘You threaten me monshaad creature?’ Fiendrac was buried deep in his own anger, forgetting the vast powers of the monshaads.
Fiendrac, it is no threat, it is a promise. I allow your race to continue to breed because we need an army. I allow you to live because you will rule that army. I could use any vamplin creature for my plans but I do not desire to end your historic lineage, I knew many of your fore fathers. That is, unless you force me. Do you understand my intentions Lord Fiendrac?
‘You rule only because of your magic. When the Changeling’s magic is mingled in my bloodline, the present ruling Emperor will rule no more. Do you understand my words, fiend?’
We shall see what the future unfolds. Meanwhile you will do my bidding and this war shall begin.
Morte-Bielz’s cloaked shadow faded and disappeared, leaving Fiendrac’s anger to brew and boil.
Bright white snow danced in large twirling flakes as it fell out of dark grey skies. The darkness surrounding them was only brightened by the pulsing beams from Nytloon, reflecting off the settling snows. Lord Fiendrac did not notice the worsening weather. Nor did he detect his sister approaching. He saw only rage at the loss of his favourite basca. Later would come sadness but for now his thoughts were on revenge for his lost beast.
‘You should not let him see your fury, my brother,’ Lady Vatara chided.
‘Bah! He believes that he rules my race. It is time I showed him otherwise.’
‘Come, my Lord,’ she encouraged, ‘we must be moving, this weather worsens. We can discuss this once we are camped. You can ride with me for now.’
Upon arrival at the nearest camp, Fiendrac dismounted the strong back of his sister’s female basca. Having no interest in conversation with his sister, he looked around for his First Commander, Sherat, with the intention of calling his troops together. It was time to consider the demands of this Emperor. Fiendrac was fast becoming disenchanted with the monshaad’s plans for the future of his people.
Traditionally an old vamplin lair had always been the first stop on such a long journey in the Hunting Season. Vamplins had not lived in these regions since the end of the Serpent Wars. Their preference to live nearer the seas did however, leave them vulnerable to attacks from sea serpents. The inland lairs had been skillfully carved out of the natural black basalt towers. They loomed over the land creating huge shadows. The stone, originally formed from the high volcanic overflow of the mid-mountainous region in times gone by, had become frozen, resulting in strong useful giant towers that had been utilised by the people living off the lands. These towers would have held the Lords, his Commanders and their families. Others would find shelter in caves and some constructed shelters made from the unbreakable light shells of the dumla beetle.
Lord Fiendrac sat at a makeshift stone table and drank from a dumla shell cup filled with a warm sweet red wine. His sister sat at his right hand side and the Commanders found seats wherever they could, all waiting for their Lord to begin the debate.
‘You are all aware of the propositions put to us by the Emperor,’ he began. ‘Some of you I have already spoken to, others know that I really wanted to leave this quandary until after the Hunt, but this it seems, is not to be so. Our self elected Emperor has commanded that we meet with the Changeling instead of joining in the Hunt this season.’
The Commanders stood up waving fists and grumbling at the inconvenience of such a demand.
‘It is not the missing of the Hunt that I have called you all here for,’ he shouted over the ruckus.
‘I have deliberated much on the suggestions put to us by the Emperor. Some of us have so far, welcomed the idea that our race will become stronger if we mix the blood of the human Changeling with that of our people.’
A deathly quiet came over the group as no one dare to admit this out loud, but all shook their heads in agreement.
‘My brother is wise,’ Lady Vatara spoke up.
‘Wisdom depends on how you view the situation,’ Lord Fiendrac scowled at his sister. ‘Our people are not murderers. Neither are we butchers like the humans. This is what we will become if we act upon the Emperor’s commands.’
‘What are you saying my Lord?’ Lady Vatara questioned. ‘Surely you can only praise the Emperor for his insight. He sees a way that we can grow stronger.’
‘No, Vatara. He sees a way that he can use us to fulfill his own ambitions. He uses us for his armies. We will probably lose many of our kin, and we don’t know for sure that this blood will have the effect he says it will have. I am still the Leader of our people and I say that the Emperor does not care if we survive this experiment or not. He just uses us to eradicate the humans of the Lightlands.’
‘I see no harm in this, brother. If our race can finally leave the Dark Side of Aarabassa, surely this is worth any risk? So what if the weak humans do not survive. They were the butchers long before we had even thought about this. As a race we will expand and cover the whole world and not just half of it. Does my brother not wish this for his people?’
‘This matter, my dear sister, is not open for general discussion. I will seek the opinions of my Commanders before I make my final decision. But, I make it known that my people are a gentle race. True, we are strong warriors and never to turn our backs upon a battle, but I say that this is not our battle. We will not slaughter our neighbours just because the Emperor wants to rule the entire world. The hatred for the humans is his alone. I feel they are no threat to us so why should we slaughter them?’
The Commanders still would not speak their thoughts. Their Lord was of strong opinion in this resolve and none wished to speak against him, even those who did not agree with his ‘soft’ approach.
‘My sister has more courage than any of you,’ Lord Fiendrac shouted at them, growing impatient at their lack of response. ‘At least she speaks her opinion. Tell me what it is that you feel of these demands from the Emperor?’
‘My Lord, we would become a stronger race. It may be that the blood of the Changeling could bring magic into our bloodline. We might be capable of walking in the sunlight. Can we not welcome such developments for our people?’
‘You would do this at the cost of another’s life?’ Fiendrac retorted. ‘You would feed upon a human for just one meal and then murder them all as the Emperor demands? I ask, is this the kind of people we have become, we kill for food?’
‘We do not kill the dumla beetling so why should we kill a human?’ One dared to ask.
‘Your Emperor wants the humans dead. The humans cannot spare their blood as the dumla beetling can. They cannot be farmed as the dumla beetling is. I tell you all, this is madness. We should make the humans our friends, not our enemies.’
‘Brother, you grieve from the loss of your basca. You cannot possibly mean the things that you say.’
‘But I do mean every word, my dear sister. I think our race would prosper better by befriending these humans when the Wall is down and not by eating them. You all forget that once they were our neighbours. They did not imprison us behind the Wall, this is our homeland. We have never desired to pass into the Lightlands, why should we want or even need to now?’
The Commanders were silent. It was obvious that their leader’s opinion differed from that of his sister. Already they were splitting in their loyalties. Some looked into the eyes of Lady Vatara, waiting for a sign from her that she would lead them if they too disagreed with their Lord.
‘This is a grave decision we must make for our people. Do we make a new enemy for ourselves? Do we become butchers for our food? Or, do we go against the Emperor and join forces with the humans?
‘The wrath of the Emperor will be great, my brother. Is it worth losing our people this way just because we do not want to kill the humans?’
‘I have always sought your advice sister and considered your radical thinking important when I know that my ways of thinking are the old ways. But, in this I am sure that my thoughts will be the saviour of our people. The Emperor will surely eradicate us as well as the humans, if we follow his path. We will meet this Changeling and make no agreements yet. Consider my words as your Leader. Never has our race wanted or needed to walk upon the Lightlands. I say we stay this way. Go now and rest, for soon this decision will be upon you.’
The Commanders left the room with heavy thoughts weighing them down. Lady Vatara lingered to speak with her brother to convince him that he worried needlessly.
‘My Lord, this is a great opportunity for our people, can you not see this? You love your people, I know this, but yet I cannot understand why you hold them back from such progress. If the Emperor truly can grant us the things he has promised, then it means our population can grow and be strong.’
‘We have always lived upon the Darklands, Vatara. If we were meant to be on the other side of the world then we would not be vamplins. No, I cannot see it your way. I do not seek power as does the Emperor. I feel sure that if we make our neighbours our enemy then eventually we will exist no more.’
‘You assume we are weaker than these humans my Lord?’
‘I assume nothing. I care not whether we are weaker or stronger. I know only that they have magic and we have none.’
‘We have the Emperor’s magic.’
‘No. We are his minions. He will leave us to perish if it does not help his progress. I wish to be alone now and you need rest before we continue our journey.’
‘Yes, my Lord’
Lady Vatara left her brother with fury in her blood. It was clear that she could not bend him to her will. He was forcing her hand to go against him. Now she must assess how much support she could muster from the disgruntled Commanders, if she was to rebel against Lord Fiendrac’s decision.