The Magical History of the Skeleton Key
The merchant's ship had just left the dock and was sailing both into the Cambrian sunset and away from the only home that Arrusemia Il Yaron had never known. The wind lashed at her exposed skin like a whip made of razors and she huddled further into the thin robes she alwas wore. Arrusemia, or Ru, as her one and only friend had called her, had spent her entire life locked up in the royal temple grounds of the Goddess of Waves, only ever escaping at night on quiet jaunts into the city when she was sure her adoptive father, the high priest himself, was asleep. She had never gone further than the roofs of the city before. Now, looking out over the entire island shrinking smaller and smaller before her as her ship sailed on, she thought it was all absolutely beautiful. Tears broke into a run on either side of her face but she wasn't sure if it was from the beauty, the sudden loss of her only home or the biting cold of the ocean breeze. How could this all have happened, she thought over and over, the question stuck like a dagger in her that she didn't have the strength to pull out.
She knew she would be in trouble of course.
Ru was being trained as her father's replacement; she was to be not only a sorcerror and high priestess, but the most powerful spell caster in the world and the leader of all the people of Cambria. If anyone had bothered to ask her, however, she would much rathered to just have become a Knight's guard with Elan, her best and only friend. Truth be told, she wasn't even any good at magic and was more likely to burn down the building she was in than ignite a torch for light. As such, when one is made to do all sorts of things they would rather not, there is always trouble and trouble was Arrusemia's unofficial middle name. Yet she had no idea that the trouble would one day follow her far outside the confines of the warm, stone walls of her temple home and into the deepest parts of the island's jungle. She knew she shouldn't have chased after the slyzards, the dog-sized lizards that have been attacking the city as of late, just as she knew she shouldn't have forced poor Elan to be her escort as she did. Ru was also fully aware she shouldn't have snuck into the forbidden ruins when she found their locked doors were mysteriously ajar. And she was absolutely certain she shouldn't have grasped the strange gauntlet she found there when those same, hungry slyzards eventually attacked. She knew all this but what she didn't know was why the gauntlet bonded to her when no one else on the island could wear it and, what's more, why it meant that she had to pack up whatever she could carry and leave the island and the only people she had ever known...forever. It was supposed to be the night the priests worked their magic on the great spell that protected their island home from harm. Instead, it simply seemed to cause Arrusemia and the strange metal glove to glow, to glow so bright that she could be seen from the very stars above. When her father and the rest of the priests eventually found her, she tried to use every word in the common language to describe what had happened to her. In the end, all that seemed to matter, the single fact that seemed to set the clerics' solemn faces into stone, was that she was brightly shining with this strange blue light. When they arrived, her father took one look at the young girl and the silence they shared seemed to last her entire life as it flashed before her eyes. With a wave of his hands, the light around her disappeared. With but a sentence, her world disappeared with it. "You... you must leave Cambria, child...and never return. The magic has spoken."
No. Wait, no. Absolutely not.
Arrusemia took the corner of her robes and wiped the tears from her giant green eyes and scanned the ship for whomever looked the most Captain-like. She saw a couple of large, hooded ne'erdowells by the prow. Not them.
She turned and could see a few March Riders from the mainland, dressed entirely in bright red metal armor. She knew immediately that, with their heavy-set clothing, they wouldn't be able to captain a Grimmer's Ball team, let alone a ship.
"Is...is anyone the captain here?" she called out as loud as she could through the whipping winds.
"Huh? Aye, lass, I am." A mountain of a man in a dark blue fur cloak and hood called out to her from behind.
"What need have you of me? We've got 5 weeks till we reach mainland, I'd suggest yer find yerself a spot under the deck and get some rest. The Arch is a long way off, lass, and it gets cold at night. There are no stops till we reach horizon."
"Hmmm" she said, suddenly finding her courage like a wild dog and chasing after it. Arrusemia Il Yarun knew what she must do.
She found a strange power in the word, almost like it was magic itself.
"Uhm...no?" The captain took the carved pipe from his mouth and stared slack jawed at the young priestess.
"No. You're going to turn this ship around right now and return me to the docks of Auldport so I can figure out what in the flying hells is going on. Or, you can leave the ship now and swim to shore and I will steer this thing myself back to the city...somehow."
She did her absolute best to sound like the bravest teenager in the world and was honestly curious how the Captain would react. She tried to tuck her bottom lip under her upper one as she had seen Elan do when he was practicing with his broadsword and hoped against hope she didn't look as ludicrous as she felt.
The Captain squinted his ancient eyes and a huge smile spread across his face, cutting his rough-hewn beard like a knife.
His laughter stopped when she found herself, almost in spite of herself, raising her hand and pointing the iron spiked gauntlet she now wore at the man. She didn't know why, but she then pointed a single finger in his direction. She had caught her courage and it was now licking her face madly.
The Captain's smile sunk and disappeared behind the forest of hair he wore as she soon started to glow a bright, royal blue.
"Or, I will show you what real magic can do."
A Magical History of the Skeleton Key:
The story of a young teen girl named ARRUSEMIA who lived as the daughter of the high priest in a small island off the coast of a powerful empire. They receive very little news from the rest of the world and are under the belief that they are the last caretakers of real magic. ARRUSEMIA, or RUas she is called, is being groomed to replace her powerful father, a fate she dose not in anyway want. She considers her life dull and lifeless and the only real excitement she gets is when she sneaks out to explore the island and capital city. That is until one day when her and her best friend make a shocking discovery that shakes the island's beliefs to it's core. After barely surviving a harrowing encounter, she is forced to leave the island forever as part of some ancient fail safe the high priests have discovered (and, in reality, were created to protect). Her whole life in disarray and all her beliefs shaken to their very core, she has to use her quick thinking, agility and the the strange and powerful living gauntlet she found as part of the priest's ritual to get back to the island, save her friend and figure out what has caused the priests, if not the whole island, to suddenly shun her. And, though she doesn't know yet, also to save the world itself.