I entered this story in a professionally judged writing contest and got an Honorable Mentions award.
NOTE: The original version is properly indented, but for some reason, this isn't. I don't know how to fix that problem. I tried tab and I tried spaces, but neither shows up. Sorry!
“…And finally, a drop of dew from a Tigerberry leaf, the claw of a Metarzia, and a hair from the end of a Silver Snow Flox’s middle tail,” Wryna recited to herself as she prepared the items spoken of, the last three ingredients to her latest project.
She reached for the vial of dew. It was small and of classic design, but with the tip of an eyedropper that made it ideal for what she was about to do. She lifted the vial and held it close to her face, slowly turning the little bottle and examining it. When she was satisfied she turned and, popping off the cap, proceeded to slowly, carefully tip the vial over the pitch black cauldron before her. Inside it a sickly green, bubbling acid was oozing back and forth with foreboding rhythm.
A single drop, as planned, fell into the acid with a loud, sizzling hiss. A brilliant, blinding blue light flashed before the witch’s hazel eyes, briefly illuminating the enormous dark, dank chamber in which she stood.
Her short, dirty blonde hair was tied back in a tight bun to prevent any of her hairs from falling into the brew, which was now bubbling furiously and had turned a beautiful light blue. The last time one of her hairs had gotten mixed into her cauldron, the resulting creature had been some hideous, grotesque form of herself, with large, sad blue eyes that followed her everywhere, and a voice that let out frightful moans, at least until those times when she turned her back for more than a few seconds, or tried to leave the room, at which point it began to wail like a banshee, an unearthly, unbearable, ear piercing screech that could be neither drowned out nor ignored.
The banshee creature had also possessed great strength, lashing out and breaking the bars of her first cage to cling to her creator. Wryna had luckily managed to pry the thing off and whip up a stronger cage before it could suffocate her with its grip.
And all because it had chosen her. Of course it had. They all did. Wryna was proud to say every one of her creations had chosen her. To be chosen was a blessed phenomenon in which the choosing creature became endearingly attached to the chosen for life. It usually occurred right at birth or creation. Unless tragically and dramatically forced to change its opinions about its chosen in the most traumatic of ways, the creature would choose only once in its lifetime, and even if its lifespan extended far beyond its chosen’s years, it would generally commit suicide or refuse to eat and starve itself in the event of their chosen’s death. A creature was loyal to the end, unless turned and forced to hate their chosen. In this case, the thing would become vile and violent, usually killing the former chosen and departing to find itself a new one.
Here within the walls of this ancient fortress, Wryna created many new and exotic creatures. She was renown for her creation abilities, famous even, but she preferred to remain where she was to work in complete solitude, training her creatures to use their various own abilities with rightful, motherly love.
Or perhaps you could call it mere interest. Having been chosen by so many, the novelty and thrill of being chosen had worn off, and she no longer cared. What mattered to her was sport and results. The sport of creation and training, and the results that came afterward, when the creatures had mastered their own skills.
Wryna replaced the cap of the vial and returned it to her work table. The entire chamber was only dimly lit, but scarlet candles ringed the cauldron and table where she stood. This created a light workspace, but left the rest of the chamber in the dark, from which reverberated a low growl. Wryna looked up briefly.
“Hush, my child; soon, there will be a new sibling in our family,” She reached out once more, and took the next ingredient in her fingers. A claw.
It didn’t look like a claw. It looked like a blade, long, curved, sharp and metallic. But Metarzias were more or less living steel, great and lumbering. No one knew for sure what they had been before “The Wave” in 2012, but it was suspected they had been something called “Polar bears,” just as history hinted the orange-and-blue striped Tigerberry had once been called a “Blueberry.”
Multiple nuclear bombs and the eruptions of several super volcanoes had rocked the Earth, sending a radioactive wave to wash over the planet’s surface, seeping into caves and cracks and crevices, into oceans and rivers, killing or changing and mutating every living thing it came across. The theory was, anything touching the mutated survivors when they had been hit had fused together with them, creating new and often horrendous beasts that over the generations, grew less and less mythical, and more and more like new, natural animals and creatures.
As for people... Well, humans who survived found themselves imbued with such power that they could no longer call themselves human beings. And so, the Dawn of Magic had begun. Classes and subclasses were formed, including witch, wizard, warlock, mage, and other standards and sub standards, each with their own colors and symbols to represent them when worn on one’s robe in public. Robes were, in essence, collages of symbols. Every detail meant something, and made it easy to know just who you were talking to, significations ranging from class, subclass, career, gender, personality, polarity, element, (not just the original six) and even magic preference and main characteristics.
Wryna was a sorceress creature witch, meaning she was A.) More likely to do things independently and practically, B.) Of the general element “Creature,” and C.) Female, tending to prefer potions, brews, and cauldrons to what she considered, “randomly flinging spells.” The reversal of this would be enchantress mage, of any sort or element. The thing with mages was that each mage’s element had two names, one for males, and one for females, which could get rather complicated if one was not brought up with the system.
She did not often wear her robe, preferring jeans and T shirts, but it was a necessity she kept nonetheless. Midnight blue in body, it represented her element or subclass, and was adorned with silver, horizontal diamond stars, for negative polarity and gender. It had silver trimmings for class, and over her heart was a symbol depicting a blood red rose with sharp thorns and a violet dragon coiling around it, tail wrapped around the thorns of the stem, talons clutching the head of the rose, and maw open wide as if to breathe smoke and fire, or perhaps another element. The sleeves of the robe were of average length and pleated, meant to symbolize her openness and temper. The longer the sleeves, the more introverted their owner. Very short or nonexistent sleeves indicated a more outgoing person, though in their case one hardly needed to check their sleeves at all, having only to watch their behavior and attitudes to understand. The pleats were to symbolize her average temperament. Had they been plain, she would have been viewed as one who was slow to anger, and were they creased, she might well have been avoided for fear that her anger was easily invoked.
To be quite honest, she wouldn’t have minded. She found people to be troublesome, and minimized her dealings with them, hence her isolated stone fortress in the mountains, bought with profits made from her trade. As a rule, Wryna sold only the recipes of her lesser creations, as well as excess ingredients she grew herself and a few reproductions of her least favorite creatures, which were nonetheless popular for reasons she could not fathom. Such creatures were difficult to make, as she could not afford for them to choose herself over the customer, but there were ways to guard herself against that possibility.
As the Metarzia claw was gently dropped into the mix, the cauldron flashed brightly once more. Finally Wryna took a single, silver hair, the last component of the brew, from its small plastic container and carefully lowered it to the cauldron, not wanting it to blow away. It was long and coarse, and glimmered as the light from the brew reflected off of its surface. Snow Floxes were believed to have formerly been a being called a “Fox,” as they had retained most of their general structure. Of course, now having three tails instead of one was a new development, and The Wave seemed to have given them abilities... Namely evasive... That they had not possessed before.
The cauldron erupted with pure white light, but the practiced witch had seen it coming. Already, Wryna had stepped back to what could be considered a safe distance, but she continued back out of experience. Shielding her eyes from the blinding light with one hand, Wryna waiting patiently for it’s brilliance to fade. Finally, the light subsided, and the cauldron appeared empty.
“It is small in size; no matter, that will serve only to make it more convenient,” She carefully but confidently strode forward and peered into the cauldron.
It was rather small indeed, and she doubted it would grow much further, but having crafted it from the finest of ingredients available to her she still retained her high expectations for the beast. Her presence startled the creature, and it leapt onto the rim of the cauldron in fright, eyes wide and emerald green in color, with flecks of blue that slowly melded into a blue-green ocean shade. As the creature began to calm, a liquid, golden amber color began to seep from its irises. It spread until it dominated completely, and the other colors vanished. Wryna nodded approvingly; the dew from Tigerberry leaves were known to enhance intelligence and were always at least one of the main ingredients in such things as “Mood” rings or wands. Personally, she believed them to be useless trinkets of the frivolous.
This newest creation was truly a masterpiece; lean, graceful, evasive and agile as the Snow Floxes used to create it, but with the strength, force, and fearlessness of the great and powerful Metarzia. An intelligence that could easily bypass any witch or warlock and a long, beautiful, sharply arrow-headed tail to go with it, which was what allowed it to balance so perfectly on the rim of his creator’s cauldron, the birthplace of his own newly begun lifespan. His claws also worked much like eagle’s talons to hold him upright, as he held his tiny clawed hands or paws close to his body as if in self defense. His fur was very short and a reflective, metallic silver color.
“Before I am to name you, I must first assess the maximum reaches of your potential,” She stated coolly. And the tests began immediately, giving the newborn no chance to rest or adjust though he soon found himself forced to do so else he be driven mad in what he considered an exceptionally strange world. Despite the creatures awkward discomfort however, Wryna was very pleased with what she discovered.
Her creation could lift boulders more than twelve times his size with ease, though his body was lightweight and well suited for maneuvering in water. He could bend iron bars (which made it difficult to construct the ideal cage) and could detect the tiniest of movement within a 5 foot radius of his position. He excelled at climbing, could hold his breath underwater for 3 times the average limit of normal land creatures, and could dodge bullets and darts in the blink of an eye, as well as chase after and capture moving targets running 120 mph. With a complex, efficient, and fast working brain, the thing could solve intricate puzzles and, while capable of eating two or three times his own body weight, preferred to eat relatively little. His biggest asset however, was by far his unusual transformative powers...
The creature stood over the shredded remains of the dummy it had “conquered.” His eyes glowed an eerie, bloodthirsty red as his tail, now a deadly scythe lashed back and forth behind his body, slicing the air. His small paws had become razor sharp scissor blades capable of reducing stone to rubble or flesh and blood into bite sized bits; he could end a life in less than a heartbeat. Impressed and pleased, Wryna leaned forward toward the cage, keeping her face just out of reach of the bars, and smirked.
“You have done well; and a name has been chosen to suit you. From this day forth, you shall go by the title, ‘Razor,’”
“Wryna, you sent away for me?” Sindred asked. He was not really a friend of the witch, as she had none, but was an old colleague of hers, the closest thing she had. This was why he was often called to witness the marvel of her creation abilities.
“Yes, I want you to see my newest creation. He has only recently hit the 3rd month marker, however, I think you will find that he is truly the perfect creature I have spent my entire lifetime attempting to create,”
“Have you blessed him with a name yet?”
“Yes. I have chosen for him the title “Razor,” and you shall soon see why,”
And indeed he did. The cruel, grim spectacle it put on with such rage, aggression, and bloodlust he found appalling, but Wryna’s twisted pride at the beast’s accomplishment was far more so than the poor caged creature’s acts of self defense. It sent shivers down his spine as Razor himself studied him intently, the scarlet blood red color fading from his eyes to be replaced with a pitch black midnight shade. Despite the dark nature of the color, intelligence shown clearly in his eyes. But when his gaze shifted again to his creator, Wryna, the color became tinted red.
It was months later when he returned again, this time to find Wryna fuming with anger and frustration.
“Wryna, whatever is the matter?” He asked politely, puzzled by her mood and actions.
“Razor is the matter! The stupid beast, he will not choose!”
“But I thought he already had?”
“That’s just it!” Wryna cried, and he knew the full depth of her fury; the witch spoke as formally as possible when calm, and it was only when enraged that she stooped to what she deemed, “the level of commoner speech.” Normally, he played along, and a bit of it had even rubbed off on him over time. “He hasn’t, he just HASN’T!” Breathing deeply in silence for a moment, the woman sought to sooth herself. “Who else is there to choose, there is none but me in this castle! Unless he were to choose another creature, and such a thing is unheard of, impossible! Even if he could he would not have gotten the chance; he spends little to no time with the others, they are to remain apart! Such is the way of my work! I cannot take this much longer! The wretched little monster, he has no choice!”
“Well, perhaps he’s just waiting for a potential chosen to visit you,” Sindred knew the words were a mistake the moment they passed through his lips.
“IMPOSSIBLE!” She screeched. “EVERY one of my experiments has chosen me!” And here she turned to glare at Razor with hatred which he was quick to return in kind, eyes red and violet with calculating rage. “He will choose me, I swear it, I swear on my very life!” The creature’s eyes seemed to flash, as if he were accepting the challenge.
Somehow, Sindred got the feeling as he left that day that he would never see Wryna again.
“Wryna? Wryna, are you there? Wryna!” Called the wizard softly, raising his voice with each call. The large doors creaked open as he pushed on them ever so gently. He gasped in horror at the sight that greeted him.
The witch Wryna was no more; all that remained of her was a bloody mess, and standing in the pool of scarlet red was none other than Razor himself, eyes the color of the blood that still dripped from the scythe tail even now lashing angrily behind him in a menacing fashion, scattering droplets of blood across the stone floor. Sindred held his breath as the creature turned to gaze at him, the newest intruder. But Razor’s eyes turned to black, tail and paws returning to normal. And that was when Sindred realized what had been going on all along.
Green was fear, blue confusion, amber-gold either happy or calm; violet was the color of concentration and calculation, making red the color of hate, rage, and bloodlust. And black... Black was love.
Of course Razor had refused to choose Wryna... It had already chosen him! And when it had heard Wryna’s vow it followed through with the only logical course of action available to it...
It had ended the witch’s life.
Razor quickly and quietly moved toward the wizard and left the pool of blood behind, though it trailed after him in the form of queer footprints. He stared adoringly and lovingly up at his chosen, cooing and crooning softly much like a newborn baby. Sindred got down on one knee and faced the creature with a serious expression.
“Come, Razor; let us leave this place,” That said, the creature eagerly jumped into his waiting arms and cuddled into him, still cooing affectionately. Sindred rose to his feet once more and with one last look at the remains of the witch, turned and left the castle without another word.
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