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Chapter 1: Freinds both old and new

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Chapter 1
Friends both old and new

Wynn struggled to level her own breath as she pressed her small body against the side of an overturned tree, tugging her dirt covered robe tighter and slowly placing her staff on the ground so that she could crawl on all fours to peer through a gap that had appeared in the age old bark. Her green hair shook slightly in the faint wind as she narrowed a single eye against the crack, scanning the open field that she could see beyond for signs of activity or movement which would betray the coming of those she now hid from. She shuffled forward slightly and gave a hiss of pain as a stone dug into one of her bare legs, cutting through her skin to draw a slight trace of blood and causing her to pull away from her peering hole to clutch her knee in instinctive movements.

Overhead, a pair of birds flew across the brilliant blue sky, their bright green feathers reflecting the sunlight in a dazzling sight as they sored through the cloudless blue. They circled above head for a moment, as if watching over the young charmer as she held onto her leg until the pain passed before they both tilted their wings and feel down towards her. The birds cooed to themselves as they landed atop the dead tree and tilted their heads towards her, their eyes seeming to light up expectantly as Wynn failed to hide a warm smile that crept across her face at the sight of the feathered animals.

She had always loved wildlife, always found a place in her heart to have been dedicated to animals and the creatures that lived in peace within the separate world of the small wood that stretched out around the north of the place she called home. Birds were the most common that she saw, often coming to the outskirts of her school to search for easy food or bath in the fountain that stood before the buildings front door and Wynn had always made a point to save a little bit of food for them whenever she could. She loved the way the birds gathered around her and chirped whenever she fed them from a bench outside the school she lived in, their brilliant coats of a colours all standing out against the world around them, impossible to miss.

Uh oh.

"Shes over there!"

Wynn mentally face-palmed in annoyance at herself for managing to daydream as she pulled an eye back towards the hole she had been supposed to be using to keep an eye on the field that lead up to the school.

Now three figures were running at full speed towards where she was hiding, using the presence of the birds as a sure-fire beacon to signal her presence. Gasping to herself, Wynn waved her hands at the birds, shooing them away and feeling a pang of guilt at their somehow disappointed looking faces as they flew back into the air without a treat and left her hiding log clear again. But it was too late; Wynn could already hear the advancing figures cheer in victory as they homed in on her, shapes of human and inhuman pursuers running across the grass.

Crawling back to her feet and doing her best to ignore the sting of pain from her cut knee, Wynn began to jog away from her forsaken hiding place and in the opposite direction to her oncoming hunters. She doubted she would be able to find a decent hiding place now that she had been found, but she was going to make her chasers work for their catch.

"I see her!" A female voice called out from behind "She's making a run for the woods!"

"Cut her off!" Another shouted and two of the figures suddenly put on a burst of speed, rushing ahead of the third and hurtling faster than Wynn could possibly hope to outrun given the fact that she was currently moving at a slight limp.

Wynn risked a glance behind and felt a blast of worry take her as she saw them catching up, spreading apart so they could catch her in a pincer movement. She caught sight of staffs similar to her own clutched in their hands and again mentally scolded herself as she realised that she had left her own staff back at the log after putting it down to keep an eye through a hole she had then forgotten to watch.

Why did she have to keep daydreaming?

"Will you just focus for once Wynn...WAH!"

Wynn let out a yelp as her, unintentionally out loud, mental scolding was interrupted by a blast of fire which soared past her, scorching some of the grass by her feet and causing her exposed legs and cheek to tingle from the heat. She tilted her running to move slightly more to the right and angled her body so that she could counter with her own spell only to her empty hand narrowly avoid another wave of flame that swirled overhead. She couldn't use her powers without her staff yet, needing to use the crystal in its hilt as a catalyst, and now that she had managed to lose it…the young girl was powerless.

Focusing back upon her running, Wynn tried to force every last ounce of her strength into her tired legs to get that final burst of speed before she felt something hard smash against her back and her clothes grow heavy as the fabric absorbed a sudden spray of water. She stumbled under the impact but managed to get another steps behind her before another blast of water struck the back of her legs and they buckled under her own weight, sending the girl crashing to the ground where she simply lay, panting in an attempt to get some air back into her exhausted lungs.

She heard the sound of footsteps sound out around her as her pursuers finally caught up and paused over her, both leaning forward with palms on their knees as they too struggled to catch their breath after the chase. Finally however, one took a step forward and leant over Wynn, the girls head blocking out the light from the sun as she placed shade of the Charmers face and grinned beneath a cover of deep blue hair.

"Gottcha" Eria grinned.

...................

"Was the fire really necessary?"

"Damn right it was!"

Wynn rolled her eyes as she watched Hiita twirl her staff around in her hands and draw a smiley face in the air with a swirl of fire, the flames hovering in the air for a second before flickering and dying as a wisp of wind whispered through the field. Her friend gave a chuckle as she swirled the staff to rest across her shoulder before looking back towards her and grinning.

"So what's the score now then?" She asked, raising an eyebrow as she flicked her red eyes between the three girls gathered before her "Cause between nearly being set on fire and managing to lose her staff, I think we can softly say that Wynn lost that round"

Wynn hung her head low in embarrassment as she heard her friend's chuckle at her expense, resting a hand upon the staff that now lay across her lap. After Hiita, the charmer whose powers rested with the element of fire, and Eria, the charmer of water, had chased after her and used their powers to take her down (Which was completely unfair if you asked Wynn) the game they had been playing had come to an end and Aussa, the Charmer of earth, had taken her time to catch up with them, pausing by the log Wynn had hid behind to collect her staff before following. It had been a rather humiliating way for the improvised game of chaise to have ended but Wynn was still on a somewhat adrenaline high and couldn't help but start laughing along with her friends.

"Well" Hiita finally said with a grin as the laughter died down "Either way, I know that I'm still top of the leader board for not being caught"

"Oh are you?" Eria raised an eyebrow "Because I seem to recall you trying to hide behind an applecart in town and setting it, and by default yourself, on fire. That was even more of a giveaway for your hiding place then Wynn's birds where"

"That was one time!"

Wynn gave a slight giggle as she watched the two begin to argue and leant backwards on her hands from her sitting position. Beside her, Aussa gave a mumble that the wind charmer had to be more careful as glowing brown hand was held over her cut leg. The earth charmer's hand seemed to shimmer as the blood that still ran down Wynn's leg is a thin line begun to retreat back up towards her knee and back into where the stone had sliced her flesh before the cut slowly sealed back in on itself and left without so much as a mark remaining.

"I definitely need to try and remember that spell"

"Given your level of clumsiness Wynn" Aussa raised an eyebrow "I would say it would be an essential one to know"

...............

"Bare forth the song!"

Wynn awoke with a jolt from her desk as the sound of cheering and shouting rose through the window that lay open on the far side of the room, a storm of invading noise smashing through the solitude of her previously quite home and shattering her train of nostalgic dreams.

Blinking against the sun light that bathed the room after having her eyes closed for so long; the green haired charmer stood and rubbed her eyes, stifling a yawn which refused to be ignored. On the desk she had been sat at, the small form of Gulldo looked up towards her with a tilted head as he hoped atop of the book that she had started reading before her doze off into memory lane. He gave a happy chirp and smiled through his beak as he nuzzled against the hand she reached down towards him, before spreading his wings and flying up to land upon her shoulder.

The bird that had recently become her familiar had proven itself to be more than loyal towards Wynn on many occasions in the short time that the two had known each other, striving to take the place in her life that the abandonment of Petit Dragon had left her with. It had shown that it could intertwine its essence with her and share power in a way that most familiars would never be able to with their masters, both Wynn and Gulldo becoming one and sharing their power. When they did so, Gulldo would grow greatly in size, going from being small enough to perch comfortably on her shoulder to one that allowed her to ride him into battle as a mount. It was a bond that made the two a great force and partnership…and had all been formed in little under a year.

"Let the forest be amplified!"

Again Wynn looked up towards the window as the voices of cheering and the beat of music began to sound out from the hidden outside. The beat of drums and stringed instruments blended and danced in the air as she walked onto the small balcony that opened up to the village of Gusto. Her green eyes glistened as she felt a soft kiss of wind take her when she left the walled shelter of her room.

Spread out beneath her balcony, the charmer was gifted with the breath taking sight of the village centre that stood in the core of the Gusto tribe's home. A mass of wooden huts and robe ties that stood amongst the trees of the forest in a complex and surprisingly beautiful array, both manmade and natural structures managing to blend together in perfect harmony. Circler and square huts stood both upon the ground and atop the branches of the great trees in what should have appeared to be a random, with rope bridges and ladders connecting them all together in a complex network of rope and wood. People moved around at their own leisure, having no need to rush about on jobs or business, simply enjoying

It was a sight that Wynn had loved from the first second she had seen it after being given the house, and no matter how many times she looked at it (every morning when she got up and every night before she went to bed as a matter of fact) she would never get bored of it.

Today however, the sight was breath-taking for a the exact opposite reason than it usually was.

Wynn felt a surge of excitement as she saw the usually empty rope bridges and floor below were now filled almost to bursting with the chatting and cheering figures of both people and animals, all pressing in towards the village centre. It was as if every inch of space that could possibly fit a human body had been filled as even more people dropped down from the branches of the trees and birds of different sizes and colour flew down to perch on people's heads, all the creatures that called the forest home looking in a single direction towards the stage that had been constructed against the great tree in the very centre of the village.

Atop the stage, a band of five held instruments made of wood, weaves and rope, instruments carved from the very bark of the great tree itself. Drums beat out a rhythm of four that repeated again and again whilst the strings of a pair of lutes carried out a series of tilts that echoed across the village centre, across the sea of green haired. The instruments were basic at best and Wynn had seen far better in design during her time before coming to Gusto but she could not deny that the quality and love that had gone into their making.

At the front of the band stood a member of the Gusto priesthood, his hooded figure standing utterly motionless as the sea of green haired people before him swayed to the beat of the music, a symphony of the forest. Slowly, the music began to increase in power and speed as it built up towards a climax before, only go stop short into a quite beat the second that crescendo was supposed to happen.

As the sound of the music became a barely audible beat, the priest slowly lifted his head and held his arms out wide as he began to sing in a slow, calming voice.

We who hold the forest most dear,
Fighting against the horrors we fear,
The wind fights with the animal's heart,
Never shall we and our motherland part.

For Gusto we fight,
With all of our might,
Against the horrors of night.
For we know the forest is right,
Yes we are the people of Gusto.

They misunderstand,
So we play for our band,
A tribe of truth we stand,
Never shall we and our motherland part.

With another swing of his arms, the priest signed to the crowd and his voice was joined by a hundred others as all sung out as one.

For Gusto we fight,
With all of our might,
Against the horrors of night.
For we know the forest is right,
Yes we are the people of Gusto.

"You not joining in?"

Wynn jumped high enough in her surprise at a voice calling out inches from her head that Gulldo went flying clean from her shoulder to bounce against the banister of the balcony, rolling worryingly close to falling off before righting himself. Spinning around, the wind charmer gave out a cry as she raised her hands into an instinctive defensive pose before managing to even register the existence of the grinning face of a young boy smiling at her.

"Whoa" He laughed as he watched her lower her arms with a sigh "Didn't mean to scare you Wynn"

"Gods Kamui!" The charmer sighed as she turned back towards the crowd "What have I told you about sneaking up on me like that?"

"Oh you're no fun Wynn"

Wynn simply rolled her eyes with a slight smirk as she heard Kamui drop from the roof and move to stand beside her, the girl shuffling to the side slightly to allow him room whilst an annoyed looking Gulldo flew back up to her shoulder.

Kamui was a boy of slightly younger age than Wynn, an eternally grinning youth who always managed to find the light side of a situation and the good in others. When Wynn had first arrived in Gusto alone, it had been Kamui who had first accepted her and tried to befriend her and the two had quickly formed a strong friendship. He was one of the two people in the tribe that she honestly knew for a fact that she could trust and had been a in even been the person to introduce her to Gulldo, a relative of his own familiar bird.

The celebrations below was just the start of the annual celebration for the founding of the Gusto tribe, a tribute to the day in which the ancestors made a pact to serve and protect the wildlife around them and formed a bond between their hearts and that of nature. It began with the music and the song like chants of the priesthood and would then degrade into a hundred different groups and people gathered to enjoy the day in whatever way they saw fit, be it drinking or reading quietly in the library or prayer in church. Every Gusto celebrated in their own way and Wynn was happy to just sit and watch.

After all, she had only come to live there a year before and despite the fact that it was clear that this was her homeland…she just didn't feel like it would be right to join in such an important tradition for the people around her.

"Now I know that look"

Wynn turned to find Kamui fixing her with a slight smirk and raised eyebrow as he poked her in the shoulder and called her attention away from the singing below.

"You're thinking that you aren't going to take part in any of the fun aren't you?"

"How did you…?" Wynn sighed as she stopped herself from asking the question. Kamui always seemed to know when there was something bothering her and she had long ago given up on trying to work out how "Alright then, yes I was. It's not my place after all"

"Oh I knew you were going to say that. Your so depressing sometimes you know that?" His voice was broken by a kind laugh as he began swaying on his heels as if suddenly nervous "So me and Reeze got to talking and we decided we are not going to let you just yourself up into your room again. Thus, you are coming with me now!"

"What?" The wind charmer found herself backing away from her overbearing friend "Now? You're kidding right?"

"Do I look like I'm kidding?"

To be honest, Wynn thought to herself, his face would look like he was kidding if he was telling her that he was deathly ill.



"You know Kamui…this is borderline kidnap?"

"Why yes, I do"

Wynn gave a slight smile as Kamui's laughter echoed from where he walked a couple of feet ahead of her. She had tried to escape his little 'make Wynn party' plan by running as soon as they had emerged into the street from her house but his familiar (a green bird similar to Gulldo) had found her quickly and was currently carrying her towards their destination, dangling from where her cloak was held within its beak. Her struggles had proven useless in weakening its bite on her and she had now simply given in to her fate.

Kamui sung to himself as he skipped down the path, twirling his blue crystal tipped staff around in a variety of complex, and pointless, different styles and seemed to giggle at some un heard joke before using his staff to point towards a clearing that was visible within a little deeper into the forest.

"See that Wynn? That's where were heading"

"Your taking me to clearing in the middle of the forest far away from the village. Why am I getting bad feelings about this?"

"Oh hush before you give someone ideas"

Wynn rolled her eyes again as she allowed herself to be carried up to the clearing and dumped onto the damp grass with a thud. Grunting something even she didn't quite understand, the wind charmer pulled herself back to her feet before looking up to where Kamui had hoped onto of a rock and was grinning down at her.

"Ok? You got me here. What now?"

In response, the young Gusto scout gave a cheery grin a pointed up towards the roof of the treetops before ducking as a sea of confetti fell from some unseen source and a the voice of Reeze echoed around them

"Now? You start enjoying yourself for once!"
Prolouge: [link]
Chapter 2: [link]

In this story, I'm going to be starting from the very start, with the rise of war between Gusto and Gishki and will go onto the realising of the Steelswarm (and maybe later if people are still enjoying it). This will be a dark tale, one of war and its cost so but it will have its happy moments…just don't expect one full of joy. War is hell and that is how I portray it.

Anyhow, this chapter is mostly character intros and they tend to just drag out due to a lot of talking so please bear with me past this (possibly) boring dialogue and we shall be getting to the fun stuff soon.

Next chapter is the start of the actual plot with a flick over to the other side as I introduce Eria and the Gishki.

Either way, let us being and if you have any questions or advice/points you would like to make, feel free. I love me some feedback :)
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© 2012 - 2020 commingdarkness
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