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Noel and the Cult of the Red Sun


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#1
Jake

Jake

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Some of our members may know this, but for those who don't, I aspire to become a writer one day. In fact, I've already created a fantasy world to base stories in, and have written a couple in that universe.
So when my school said they were accepting entries in their literary magazine, I was ecstatic. I realized it was a chance to get my work to a wide audience and get feedback.
And that was when I got writers block. For several weeks, I didn't have any ideas. I began to worry, as time was running out for submissions. Just a few days before the due date, I got my idea. And I wrote. The day the entries were due, I turned mine in, just in time.
Anyway, being a site dedicated to fantasy video games, I thought the members of this site would enjoy it if I posted the story here, as well. Enjoy, and please give me feedback. It's my first major short story.

And please, don't comment on the Red Sun's similarity to the Dark Brotherhood. I honestly wasn't trying to copy it, but see why someone would think so.

“And thus, I am left with nothing,” Noel stared at the nobleman with his large blue eyes, “and I am scraping money together and living day to day on the street. Could you please spare a coin?”
The nobleman smiled at him, “I suppose I can spare some gold.” He dropped a sack of coins next to Noel, who could hear the rattle of many coins inside. “I pray that you find good fortune. Hopefully the Cult of the Red Sun will get what's coming to them, eh?” the nobleman tipped his hat at Noel.
“Thank you,” Noel coughed at him as he walked away.

“New sucker born every day,” Noel muttered under his breath, smiling as he tore off his ragged tunic.
He emptied the contents of the sack into his hand, counting, “ninety-nine, one hundred, one hundred and one...one hundred and one.” He sighed as he dumped the coins back into the bag. It wasn't as much as yesterday, though it should support him for a few days.
“Cult of the Red Sun, bah! What gullible people there are,” Noel chuckled, “they're assassins, not thieves.” When the Cult was becoming more prominent, people became more and more fearful of it, making it the perfect excuse to gain sympathy.

Noel walked back from the market with several bags of food, including chicken, fish, and beef. He began budgeting his remaining gold when he saw a flash of movement in an alley.
“Hello?” Noel called out. No answer, though he could hear the sound of boots scurrying around the back of the alley.
“Lowlifes,” Noel muttered. The province of Deputes had very strict castes of the rich and the poor. Noel was one of the few that fell in between. He shook his head and walked home. While he felt a small amount of sympathy for the less fortunate, he didn't care enough to actually do anything.

It was dark by the time he reached his house. As he carried his bags through the door, he heard a rustling coming from upstairs.
“Hello?” Noel called, “listen, if one of you lowlifes needs a place to stay, you can sleep on he floor for the night.”
No answer, but the scurrying continued. Setting his bags of food on the floor, Noel cautiously ascended the staircase, listening for the source of the sound. The scurrying became louder and louder, until he swore it was just around the corner. Slowly, ever so slowly, he peeked around the corner...

Nothing. Nobody was behind the corner.
“Darn rats,” Noel sighed, “I'm just feeling rather jumpy tonight.” He began to rip off his tunic and get into bed.
“We are the darkness that comes before dawn,” a high pitched voice whispered through the house.
“Who's there?” Noel hopped out of his bed and looked around.
“We do battle with brains, speed and brawn,” another voice whispered behind him.
Noel spun around, “I demand you to leave at once!”
Once again, the high pitch voice sounded behind him, “stand and deliver, as we do mean harm.”
“Show yourselves!” Noel grabbed a dagger from the foot of his bed and swung it in a circle.
“If you try to resist, you will lose an arm,” the other voice seemed to be coming closer.
Noel froze in terror, “This isn't a game! Who are you? Show yourselves!”
He froze up as he heard the two voices directly behind his back, saying in unison, “We need you. And you will soon feel the same about us!”
Noel blacked out before he could turn around.

Noel started gasping for breath as soon as he came to. He began panicking when he realized he couldn't see anything.
“You've blinded me! You monsters? Why did you do this to me?'
One of the men pulled the bag off Noel's head.
“Oh. Never mind. Even still, why have you taken me?”
A man in a red cloak stepped forward. While darkness covered most of his face, Noel could make out a scar on his throat, and his long and thin nose stuck out of his hood.
“Allow me to introduce myself,” the man said in his high-pitched voice, “My name is Yurian.”
“Well then, Yurian,” Noel glared at him from his chair, “where have you taken me, and what do you want with me?”
“Well, you see, Noel, we don't like seeing our name misused. And you seem to have done just that. We simply wish to reach a compromise.”
“The Cult of the Red Sun? Well, that's just my luck, isn't it?” Noel gulped as he broke into a cold sweat, “Listen, I won't talk about you ever again. Deal?”
“Tsk, tsk,” Yurian wagged his finger in front of his face, “Not enough, I'm afraid. You owe us, Noel.” He grinned widely with his thin lips.
“What do you want from me?” Noel began shaking, trying to plan some sort of escape, “I have nothing worth offering.”
“Oh, believe me, you have something. That something is your skill. We want you to join us.”
Noel stopped shaking and began staring Yurian down. “My skill? I'm anything but an assassin,” he protested, “what could I possibly accomplish?”
“Coercion,” Yurion replied as he began pacing, “agility, resiliency, cautiousness. We've watched you for a while, and we believe you exhibit these traits. Believe me when I say you have potential. I, and only I, can bring that potential out. So, will you join us?”
“I suppose I don't have much of a choice, do I?” Noel grunted.
“Nope,” Yurian replied as he continued his unsettling grin. He stretched his hand out to shake.
Noel just stared, “I can't shake until you untie me!”
“We didn't tie you.”
Noel looked down, and was surprised to see that he was never even tied down. “Very well, I will join you,” Noel replied, and extended his hand, Yurian expressing his crazed smile all the while.

“So, what is the first thing I need to do? Some sort of entry ritual?” Noel asked, sipping his coffee.
“Well, we used to have an initiation, but after a horrible accident, we stopped,” Yurian touched his scar and winced.
“So no initiation, then,” Noel decided not to inquire further on that matter, and repeated his question, “In that case, what do you want me to do next?”
Yurian raised his finger in the air as he finished his coffee. As he put it down, his smile faded and he put on a serious expression, asking, “You have heard of the City of Mallowfort? And Lord Arititor? Of course you have, what am I saying...well, he's gotten one of our members caught and hanged. It seems we need to show him not to cross us. He is having a noble gathering. Problem is, he recognizes many of us, so none of our older members can take this contract. Are you in?”

“Invitation please, sir,” the man at the door extended his hand. Noel handed him his forged letter. “Lord Akarat? Enjoy the party,” he handed back the letter and nodded.
As Noel entered the foyer, he glanced around at his environment. Around him, he saw the nobles dancing, discussing politics, and feasting on wine and meat. He almost wished he was here for such a reason, as it looked to be much fun.
Lord Arititor is going to have dark skin and black hair tied into a tail, Noel remembered the description Yurian gave him, he usually wears a purple cape.
He glanced around the room one more time, but could not see anyone who matched such a description. Relax, he told himself, just enjoy the festivities until you see him. He headed over to the feast table.

Noel almost forgot what he was there for when he heard everybody in the crowd hush. As he glanced over, he saw a man step down the main stairs. He had dark skin and black hair, tied into a tail. He also was wearing a purple cap.
That's him, then, Noel thought. He began looking for some sort of way to get the job done cleanly.
“I am first going to give my sincerest thanks to any attending...” Lord Arititor continued on, but Noel was no longer listening.
Instead, he was quickly tracing the overall layout of the room in his mind. His eyes glanced to the chandelier, to the ropes hanging around it, and finally to the rafters. He smiled as he realized what to do.

This was higher than I planned it to be, Noel thought to himself as he sneaked across the wooden beams, I never had a good balance.
Eventually, step by step, he reached the area directly above Lord Arititor. Noel could see the crown of messy black hair on his head. Clutching a dagger in his hand, he reared back his arm for a throw—
“Ahh!” Lord Arititor screamed and clutched his back in pain. Within seconds, he was on the ground, dagger sticking out of his back.
Noel opened his hand, looking at the dagger he never threw. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the shadow of a woman on another rafter. He immediately turned his head toward her, but she seemed to disappear before he could get a good look at her. What was going on? Did the Cult of the Red Sun send someone else?
“Secure the castle! Nobody is leaving until we find who is responsible for this!” One of Arititor's royal advisers stepped down the stairs and raised his hand, “Everybody calm down!”
“Better get out of here. Maybe Yurian will still give me credit,” Noel muttered. He tried to turn around, when he suddenly lost his balance. “Oof!” he tumbled toward the ground, right in front of the staircase.
“Well, what do we have here?” the adviser walked toward Noel. He shoved Noel onto his back with his boot.
“Th-this isn't what it looks like,” Noel stuttered. Too late, he realized he was still clutching the dagger.
“How stupid do you think I am?” the adviser's eyes narrowed, “guards, restrain him.”
Noel's eyes widened as the guards moved toward him. With no idea what he was doing, he swept his legs around himself, tripping all the guards around him. He them pushed off his shoulders, landing on his feet.
“Catch him!” the adviser screamed, “catch the assass--”
Noel tossed back his dagger in hopes of providing a distraction, and almost cringed when he heard the adviser scream, followed by a crash and a gurgling sound. Outrunning the heavily armored guards, Noel aimed toward a stained glass window, put himself into a charging position, and jumped through.

As Noel pulled himself out of the moat, dripping wet, he looked around the square. Everybody seemed to be going about their normal business.
Better hurry, Noel thought, before the word gets out from the castle. He walked as fast as he could without drawing attention. As he reached the city gate, he could hear the sounds of shouting coming from the castle. He breathed a sigh of relief.

“Yes, that has actually happened before,” Yurian scratched his chin as he heard Noel's story, “She is a freelance assassin that has been stealing many of our contracts, and it has been a huge problem, blowing our cover on many an assignment.”
“Do you know her name? Anything?” Noel asked.
Yurian left for a second and came back with some parchment, “As a matter of fact, we do. She's been a thorn in our side for far too long, and we were planning an attack. Her name is Alys,” Yurian closed the scroll and placed his hands on the table, glaring at Noel. “So, would you like to take this one?”
“Of course, Yurian,” Noel stuck out his hand.
They shook.

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#2
Jake

Jake

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It says this has been posted as an article, but the link doesn't go anywhere.



#3
David

David

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It isn't front-paged because there's no category for stories. The link is just autogenerated.I'm also still in the process of reading/revising it.

#4
Jake

Jake

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By the way, I have an entire series of stories thought up already. Alys becomes quite the villain later on.



#5
Eric the Bard

Eric the Bard

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I thought it was rather good, although maybe a bit easy to see ahead, and I found it odd that the nobleman had a bag with 100 coins that he could spare. Sounds a lot. Also I think there's a mistake in paragraph 6, line 2 “You've blinded me! You monsters? Why did you do this to me?' I tihnk there's another mistake in there somewhere, but can't remember and I don't have time to look for it right now. Anyways, again, I thought it was rather good, at the start I hoped for more magic, but... I guess...

#6
Jake

Jake

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 Anyways, again, I thought it was rather good, at the start I hoped for more magic, but... I guess...

Cicigia is rather light on magic. I wanted to make sure I didn't go overboard, and therefore, there are only a handful of ways to be a mage:

 

Be a member of the Birdlinx race. They can naturally use elemental magic.

Be a male Jacrion. They can use runestones to harness powerful spirit magic.

Possess a Link Weapon. These contain a specialized power that only a god could normally wield.

Become a priest of one of the three major gods.

Become a werewolf or vampire.

 

Alys gets ahold of one of the Link Weapons, by the way.



#7
David

David

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Just finished reading it. It was pretty interesting; what sort of feedback did you get from you school?I still think a series of blogs would be perfect for this sort of story that has the possibility of continuation.



#8
Jake

Jake

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Just finished reading it. It was pretty interesting; what sort of feedback did you get from you school?

I just submitted it last Friday, and since this week is my Spring Break, I haven't heard anything yet.

 

And yes, I have several ideas for continuation.






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