Checkmate

By @Adyson_Engel
Checkmate

A castles population vanishes without explanation. Ivory goes on a journey to discover new places and stumbles upon the unexpected. Ivory meets an unexpected friend who reveals the secrets of the castle. Is her new friend telling the truth?

Chapter 1

Stories Aren't My Thing

I never really liked stories. It was a strange thing. I was always fascinated by them but I never really liked just listening to them.

Person does this. Person does that. It seemed nobody every really wanted to be that person. To make their own story.

I sit in the middle of a quaint tribe of demons.

Yes, “scary” I know. But I’m one too, so that isn’t saying much.

We look completely normal,well in your sense of normal. The only difference is that when we get really angry our eyes flash red, it’s really dangerous if people are around when we’re in that state.

As I was saying, where I come from isn’t easily accessible. We live in a dimension called Dray. A name many people know, but never care to delve further into it.

But yes, there are demons here, dragons as well, and you guessed it! Monsters!

Before you go all crazy on me and freak out over “monsters”. They’re completely harmless. Quite friendly to be frank. They love to be fed.

I haven’t even introduced myself have I? My names Ivory Corradetti. Strange name from a strange place.

Alright back to the topic, stories!

One day, when I was about 18, it was dinner time and everyone gathered by the fire to eat.

It was nice, the children laughing,telling jokes, the small monsters stealing food from the children’s plates.

A seemingly perfect meal.

I set down my plate and went over to my mom.

“Mom,I’ve been doing some thinking.” I started out trying to ease into the conversation casually.

“Ivory, if this thinking of yours has you going out on some journey. I swear Ivory you need to stop with these foolish ideas. You’re just like your father.”

“But Mom! We barely know anything about what’s out there! I could make maps. I could trade some items. There’s a whole other world out there!” I pleaded following my mom as she tried to storm off.

My mom turned around. “Ivory,dear, I understand you want to go out there, but what will you do when you find nothing? Here, there’s everything you could want, food, shelter, family. You want to leave all that?”

“I’ll come back. We’ll have more knowledge than we’ve ever had before. The outside is bigger than we think. I’ll have food with me, I’ll have money, please mom.” I looked at her like it was the last thing I would ever ask.

She sighed. “As you wish Ivory, but you must say goodbye to your brother.”

I squealed. I was finally going to go somewhere other than to the neighbors house. 

The next morning wasn’t really what I thought it was going to be….

My mom packed my bag, and everyone from the tribe was there to give me farewell.

“Well, here goes nothing….Bye everyone!”

The tribe smiled, waving me goodbye. As I made it down the hill I already missed them.

This is a new start for me. A new adventure. A story of my own. Or so I thought.

There’s a lot of walking involved when making your own story. Not much anyone else to talk to, and it’s quite lonely.

The first few days passed fine. I passed a few villages and met some very nice people. It wasn’t after a few weeks where this story really begins.

I was walking up a hill, my feet aching and my mouth wanting water,when I saw it.

A giant castle.

I’ve never heard of a kingdom being in Dray, nor an entire castle at that.

Who just leaves a castle in the middle of nowhere?! WHO DOES THAT?!

This castle wasn’t your average castle that you see in the books either.

It had big walls that looked sturdy even though it looked as old as my grandma,or older.

Here in Dray, we tend to live for a longer time than your average human. The days also revolve faster, causing less time in a day. So seeing something this old was quite a sight.

The dust from the rocky floor was lifted up as a dry breeze swept past.

I took in the atmosphere, the ground was much drier around here, as if thousands of people had once walked the same path I was. There was a forest nearby, it’s trees tall and barren of leaves.

What is this place?

I walked closer to the castle when the ground started to shake.

“In the name of Glade, what the hell is that?!”

After a few seconds the rumbling stopped and I though it was just an earthquake when I felt a hot breath on my neck.

I turned my head slowly and came face to face with a monster. Class 4 at least, looking at its size.

It’s breath was still heavy and smelt of rotting meat.

“Nice monster….” I nervously laughed.

This monster seemed different then the ones back at home. It’s pupils were ***** as it crept closer, it’s violet eyes staring at me. It’s teeth baring. From upon further inspection this monster had scars running along its body, several deep ones on its face.

This monster wasn’t friendly. It was a killer.

I slowly paced backwards, hoping to not signal an attack.

I made it several feet away when it roared. That thing was loud.

I bolted for it. I didn’t dare to look behind me. The castle doors were getting closer with every step but I still had no idea how I’d get through the gate. I only had a few seconds to figure out what I was going to do before I was eaten alive.

The ground didn’t have much for my shoes to grab onto, I was risking falling over and being eaten anyway. The castle gate was very close. If I could only make a few more feet. Just a couple more steps. I could almost touch the gate.

That’s when I fell over and slammed against the castle doors. I was doomed. My mom was going to be right. I shut my eyes tightly waiting for death.

When it didn’t happen I was shocked. I opened one of my eyes a bit and I saw the monster a couple feet away.

It was clawing and bitting at a glowing translucent patch of green. A field of magic…

This whole castle had a defense magic to keep out high class monsters.

When I say magic I don’t mean wands and staffs like things in human stories.

All demons have magic. Magic of all different colors. There are different types, usually demons tend to focus on one type of magic, who ever made this barrier was a very powerful defense magic user.

Magic runs through the blood of demons, and other beings like shapeshifters and dragonshifters. It allows us to have different abilities from changing shape to protecting ourselves. It can be triggered by emotion. And right now, my heart was racing so fast, a dark red laced my fingertips.

The monster glared at me with its violet eyes. It head butted the barrier then stomped off. 

I took a few deep breaths and thanked Glade for saving my ass. I almost lost my head.

I got up from the floor, then faced the castle gate.

The metal was cold, scarred with claw marks and scratches from the wind.

My mind still could not wrap around how this castle had remained here for so long without being known. It looked so old, and so empty.

“Hello!? Anyone there?” I didn’t get an answer back.

I placed my hand on the gate once more and red once again laced my fingertips. The gate started to move from its place in the floor.

Everyone specializes in a different magic. I specialize in helping magic. The ability to move things, to help around the house.

I’ve never moved something like an entire gate before though. I lifted the gate barely enough for me to walk under it and it collapsed when I walked through.

Magic also has a limit. The more you use it the more tired you get. If you use it to much you can risk death.

I walked further into the castle and saw no one. There were a bunch of empty houses, abandoned stuff on the floor and fires still burning. But there was no one.

“Hello?”

There was still no answer. I searched through several houses and found nothing.

Now this was weird.

An entire castle with a magical barrier preventing monsters, had no one in it. That was unheard of. Or at least as far as I knew.

I grabbed a piece of wood that was falling out of a house and lit it on a fire.

This was only the town within the walls,what could there be inside the actual castle?

The castle was bigger than it looked. Three stories tall,with a giant hall in the middle. It smelt like dust and I could tell this place was empty as well.

I now had even more questions. I went up one of the staircases and wandered along the castle. Paintings and unlit torches. The strange thing was,as I walked along the torches lit themselves, I turned and they extinguished as I got further up.

This entire castle seemed to work with magic. The top floor mostly was filled with bedrooms. I was about to walk past one, when the door creaked open.

I peaked my head inside and the first thing I saw was a battered up teddy bear. It’s button eye last falling out and it’s head was tilted to the side.

The room had a large bed in the middle and a large library above it with a spiral staircase.

The room had a dark presence that was more intense than the entire castle.

I walked in the room, the light illuminating more of it. Large windows flooded in moonlight. I was about to turn around and leave when there was a voice.

“What are you doing here? You’re not supposed to be here!”

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