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KARDINIA INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE


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The Word 2016 is finally here! The small committee have put in a large amount of effort collecting, collating and editing to get this year’s edition up and rolling. We would like to thank the contributors who filled the pages with their amazing stories and poems. There are truly some wonderful up and coming writers that everyone should keep an eye out for. A special thank you to Mrs Peel and Mr Ince for supporting and guiding the Word committee and helping us to organise all the submissions. Finally, to all our readers, welcome! We hope you have a wonderful time enjoying the work of some of the best and most eager writers that Kardinia has to offer. We have sure enjoyed putting together such a wonderful magazine that shows off some of Kardinia’s greatest talent.

Emily Cooke

Ally Laidlaw

Mia Somers

Kayleigh Poyner

Mrs Peel

Mr Ince

Tarsha Nowell

Hassan Nasser

Ruby Cotton Kennedy

Fiza Kaippilly

B W Bridger

Justine Inguanti

Annabella Milne

Robert Xu

Milo Gaffney

Liam Dempsey

Oscar Armstrong

Harriette St Ledger

Will Ryan

Milli McDonald

Lily Mettam-Cribb

Giulia Mandarano

Kane Bridger

Coen Jacobs

Max Whyte

Bonnie

Taiki

And all the anonymous contributors….


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By Tarsha Nowell Aubrey looked into the distance, and a photographic view awaited. It was an unfathomable concept to believe that she had brought her own story to life. Sharp mountains stretched as far as the eye could see, with plunging canyons and thick ridges. The mountains in the distance were an eclectic ripple of deep orange, pale blue, mossy green and ochre. It looked as though someone had picked up large handfuls of coloured sand and released them onto the surface of the land, where intricate wavy patterns were left behind. The Maple Mountains lived up to their name. They were exactly what Aubrey dreamed they would be. All she was left with was the pen. The strange black pen, with sophisticated gold lettering imprinted on its thin length. It seemed peculiar that by simply writing with this pen she had formed a land of wonder. Peculiar indeed. Aubrey was so overcome with bewilderment that she struggled to stand. She had walked for days on end, following a character she had brought to life. It took time to adjust to such a pure, bright land. She walked towards the edge of the cliff she stood on. A talon grasped her shoulder firmly. “I wouldn’t do that if I was you,” the wise, forceful voice stated. “The rock will crumble like shortbread, and you will fall. We need to keep you alive, after all.” She spun around to see the exotic, flame-hued bird. It was a phoenix. “Alanza?” she curiously asked. “Why must we save the realm?” The bird of wisdom had dodged the question for hours. Her quench for knowledge was intensifying. “Stories grow up and evolve, just like their authors. When the writer matures, so does their story. If the author experiences a time of darkness, darkness will inflict their story. Therefore, a simple pebble must have evolved when you were upset or exasperated, and converted into the Eternal Stone. According to the pixies, a woman stumbled across this land and found the stone we speak of. She was trapped in time, and could not leave the realm no matter how hard she tried. She grew angry, and turned creatures against each other. She was so enraged that the land was influenced by her attitude. Now, she goes by her middle name. I couldn’t handle the terror, and knew that you were the one who could save us all. That’s why I found you, and convinced you to jump through the mirror portal to arrive here. I couldn’t do the task on my own.” Aubrey was astonished, to say the least. Thoughts circulated like a hurricane inside her head. Now she knew what her task was. She had to abolish the stone, and release the woman from her isolation-fuelled insanity, to repair the realm. Aubrey created this world for a cheerful children’s story, but someone was darkening it maliciously. It was time to save the Twilight Realm, before it was too late. …..

The initial amusement of the land had extinguished. The blissful land turned dark rapidly. Everything she created had turned lethal.


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Twilight Realm was more like Nightmare Valley. The innocent hot springs became incinerating geysers. The magnificent, colourful marble caves were now death-traps overrun by menacing goblins. When entering the hideaway, a shower of blood-smeared arrows and spears were missed narrowly. Even the shifting sands were transformed. The original pattern of swirling turquoise water and sand was now impossible to wade through, due to sharks with transparent bodies and large, visible barbs on their backs. If not for Alanza’s sharp eyes and forceful wing power, Aubrey would be literal dead meat. Now, it was time to face the sea of stars. Speckles of stars glowed infinitely, and cut through the dark sea. Fantasizing over the other locations had been disheartening. The dangers would far outweigh the wonder. She looked up at Alanza, who looked so tired that he could barely open his wings, which were now the colour of ash. They pushed on, and explored the nearby cave of echoes, perched on a cliff. Alanza sensed the stone was nearby. …..

The Eternal Stone was indeed close by. It was in the cave of echoes after all. A tall thin woman stood malevolently, wearing a long black robe with sweeping sleeves that draped across the floor slightly further from the entrance of the cove. Her straight brown hair hung loosely, and reached down towards her lower back, while her sharp green eyes looked around accusingly. She was neither old nor young, and looked stunning and equally evil. The stone was draped around her neck, tightly. She was the enemy. However, it was hard to look at her with hatred, as she seemed so familiar to Aubrey. She had the same coloured hair, and equally green eyes. Aubrey and the villain both shared a tall, slender build. She felt like she was looking into a mirror, despite the vast age difference. Suddenly, it hit her. The enemy was future Aubrey. Her future self was the one who was trapped. She looked at Alanza, who was also perplexed. The evildoer went by their middle name, and if Aubrey and the enemy were the same person, the rival’s name was Isadora. “You plan on assassinating me, don’t you? Your efforts are hysterical, but it takes more than bravery to be a hero. You need skill and stealth, which you both obviously lack,” she boasted, with a menacing smile.


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Aubrey desperately tried to formulate a plan. She placed her hand in her pocket, and held the pen. There had to be more to the device than she suspected. It got her into this mess, and it was going to get her out. Suddenly, the room was showered in dust. The cave made a strange noise, sounding awfully like a groan. “Alas, the beast has awoken! You dared to destroy me, and now I shall destroy you!” Isadora screamed, with a cackle as loud as the rumbling of stone surrounding them. Each ridge and rough surface of the cave walls slowly transitioned into a body, with each crack creating large facial features on the monster. The creature’s eyes were perpetual pits of darkness. By no means would the creature be regretful for any damage caused. Soon, the whole cave had transitioned into a beast the size of a skyscraper. The creature’s large fist moved compellingly towards the ground in Aubrey’s direction. In defence, she raised her hands above her head, and clutched the pen tightly. She closed her eyes, afraid of her fate. The beast’s fist did not collide with her, but she could feel the pressure of its weight against her arms. When she looked up, she discovered that the pen had transfigured into a large golden shield, which glowed brightly above her. Using the disk’s colossal strength, Aubrey pushed the hand off her. She ran towards its left leg without any hesitation and took a swing at it with the shield, ignoring the vast thickness of its extremities. As she swung the shield, it transformed into the golden silhouette of a blade, and sliced through rock as though it was butter. The noise of its scream was almost unbearable, like someone was rubbing nails violently down a chalkboard. Its deep groan rumbled the ground, which shook uncontrollably. It seemed hopeless. Aubrey felt powerless. At that moment, the enduring light of the starry sea allowed Aubrey to see into the distance. The dreary sky was filled with miniscule and bizarre spots of bright hue. In a matter of seconds, it was evident that the spots weren’t spots at all. They were phoenixes. Hundreds and hundreds of striking birds flew swiftly and elegantly towards the cliff. Aubrey looked over at Alanza, who directed them at the beast with his wings. The phoenix army swooped at the rocky beast simultaneously, following his instructions. They darted the lethal blows of the creature. The beast was clearly overwhelmed. He was no match for the irritated birds. She had been so distracted by the beast that she had forgotten about destroying the stone. Aubrey caught a glimpse of Isadora and sprinted after her. Isadora attempted to hide behind another boulder nearby. Aubrey grasped her arm tightly, and she turned round with a gaze as cold as ice. “Let go!” she screamed. “No!” Aubrey cried. “I know that you realise who I am. If you don’t hand over the stone now, we will always be trapped here. Don’t punish me like this. Don’t punish us like this. Just hand over the stone!” she commanded. “I can’t,” Isadora explained, “I have been trapped here for decades! I finally have power over the realm! You can’t stop me now! I’m invincible!” And with that, Aubrey snatched the necklace before Isadora could stop her. She pulled out the pen, and before Isadora could scream, Aubrey plunged the sword into the red jewel. The stone exploded into thousands of tiny glittering fragments, and Aubrey was thrown backwards vigorously. When she looked up, Isadora had vanished. Aubrey took a deep breath of relief, and bathed in her own glory. She had saved the Twilight Realm.


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By Max Whyte It was cold, and wet, and miserable as Arak plodded along hunting for food. His supplies were running low and he knew that if he did not find something to eat soon it would not be the bandits or goblins that killed him. He was down the southern end of Dagger Tooth Isle about 3 miles from his camp when he saw the deer, a large buck standing off to the side of a clearing grazing under a gigantic old oak tree. By sheer luck Arak had approached the deer from downwind and yet, for some reason unbeknownst to Arak, (possibly because of that sixth sense that most animals seem to have) the deer suddenly stood up straight and alert. Arak stopped dead still. Time seemed to slow down as the deer turned its head to check its surroundings for intruders on its peaceful existence. When it finally looked down again Arak drew back his bow and aimed. Now, time sped up. The deer heard him as he notched the arrow and it coiled its huge muscular legs to bound away just as Arak released his shot. His arrow flew true hitting the deer right where he had aimed for. The forest was silent as if to acknowledge the victory of the hunter and the defeat of the prey. It was as if the whole world was frozen in time, just for that fraction of a second. As he prepared to step out into the clearing to go and collect his prey Arak automatically looked around to make sure he was alone. It was well he did as, just when he went to step into the clearing, a band of goblins appeared from the North where their settlement lay. As Arak shrank back into the shadows a second group, bandits this time, stepped into the clearing from the West also in the direction of their town. It was obviously a prepared meeting. The leader of the goblins (Oogtog was his name) called out across the clearing to the leader of the bandits (called Harrow) in his raspy voice that sounded like a mix between someone with a parched throat and the hiss of an enraged snake. “Have you got the goods?” “Aye” replied Harrow holding up a rather fine deer pelt along with a quiver of arrows the tips of which were made from the antlers of the same deer. “How about you, you bring the metal?” asked Harrow suspiciously. “Here it is.” Said Oogtog as he mirrored Harrows action but this time holding up large lumps of uncut metal. There were chunks of iron and small cubes of black steel which only the goblin smiths knew how to forge. The perfect material for weapons. As he watched the exchange Arak’s eyes wandered over the procession of goblins when he suddenly realised that one of the goblins was carrying a Norve style axe made of black steel. This angered Arak greatly as it is a well-known fact that goblins (being too lazy to design their own weapons) will often recreate the weapon of an enemy that they have slain in black steel to intimidate other enemies. This goblin must have killed one of Arak’s kinsmen and used the design of his axe as the blue print for the weapon that the goblin now carried. Arak vowed then and there to take back the axe of his fellow Norve. This was a surprise my dear reader because, until then, Arak had often been too frightened and lacking in self-confidence to follow through with any plan that he had. So that is how he found himself creeping off after the goblins as they finished their exchange of goods and headed back towards the North. As he crept along following the goblins Arak was careful not to step on any twig or branch and he made sure that he stayed well behind the goblins, so, it was just bad luck when the wind suddenly changed and the goblins (having excellent noses) smelt their pursuer. “We are being followed” whispered Oogtog in his raspy voice to his second in command. “Should we set a trap?” the second in command whispered back in query, “yes, let’s” replied Oogtog and he sent the goblins scurrying off to the side of the track with strict order not to make any sound to await their enemy.


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So that is how, when Arak rounded a corner on the trail he found himself attacked from all sides by goblins all shouting horrible curses at him. As Arak drew his axe hurriedly and prepared for what he knew would be his last battle he glanced around. There were goblins on all sides now moving forwards menacingly. Arak slipped his shield off his back and onto his arm while swinging his axe once, twice, three times in a complete circle to show the goblins that he meant to take as many of them with him as he could. Just as Arak was about to leap into the middle of the goblins a shadowy figure suddenly leapt down from a birch tree firing three arrows at once into the hoard of goblins. The elf (for elf she was) landed lightly next to Arak and began to cut and whirl and dodge among the goblins all the while spinning her twin blades in intricate patterns that carved through the goblin ranks. At the same time Arak set to work with his axe catching and deflecting blows with his enormous, round, oaken buckler and at the same time dealing out a great many crushing blows upon the goblins who dared to face him. At last, when the final goblin had been sent packing and the rest were either slain or already heading back to the safety of their settlement the elf turned and glared at Arak. “You stole my hunt!” accused the elf. “I beg your pardon” he replied, bewildered and wondering what the elf was accusing him of as there was certainly no animals in sight. “Your hunt?” “Yes my hunt, I’ve been tracking those goblins for days now and just when they were about to finally lead me to their supply cache when you show up and ruin everything!” exclaimed the now thoroughly annoyed and angered elf. “I’m sorry” Arak said feeling anything but sorry. “If I had known that the goblins were going to ambush me I wouldn’t have walked right into the middle of their trap.” He exclaimed sarcastically. “Well maybe you should be more careful.” The elf replied forcefully. “All you Norves are good for are bashing things.” She cried as she turned to stalk off. Arak turned to walk in the other direction, and sighed. He had reacted in anger (fuelled by his fear and adrenalin from the battle) towards the elf and he was now wishing that he and the elf had gotten off to a better start. “I don’t even know her name and yet here we are stuck on this desolate island in need of help!” thought Arak as he started to jog off after the quickly disappearing elf. She moved quickly through the forest as she headed off on a parallel path to that of which the goblins had been traveling along. As Arak continued to jog along trying to catch the elf he realised that lately he had been making a lot more decisions for himself. Normally, when he made a plan, he wasn’t confident enough to follow it through and would often discard the plan as being too risky. Until now his only decisions that he had made with confidence had been when he was hunting which was the only thing he believed he was any good at. Now he realised that he had made two split second decisions in the last hour or so. Well, he thought grimly, they were right when they said that attempting the seven tasks of Argort were life changing. Now it looks like they were going to be life threatening as well. He began to draw level with the elf and as he came up alongside her he slowed to a brisk walk. “Look, I’m sorry for how I acted back there.” He panted out. Arak was fit but the elf moved as if she belonged to the forest which, Arak reasoned, she probably did. “I am sorry as well.” The elf sighed as she slowed her pace. “I was aggravated that I had lost the goblins but it was not right of me to shout at you like that.” This response surprised Arak as all the elves that he had met had been arrogant and headstrong believing that they were better, smarter and more important than everyone else. “It’s ok” Arak replied a bit dazed by the elf’s response. “I should have been paying more attention anyway.” He mumbled. “Then I might have spotted goblin foot prints heading off to the side of the track.” He was ashamed now that he had not spotted any signs of the ambush and that he had not realised that the wind had changed being too caught up in the idea of collecting the black steel axe to honour his fallen kinsmen. “I doubt it.” The elf said in a casual tone. “I was watching those goblins and the big one (their leader) ordered one of them to use a leafy branch to brush away the other goblins tracks as they left the path. I thought they had realised that I was following them and I was just about to make a run for it when you appeared.” Arak looked up, surprised. “Why didn’t you?” he asked. “All you did was put yourself in more danger.” Yeah, but there was no way that a big clumsy oaf like you was going to survive facing that many goblins.” She replied teasingly. “Besides, I couldn’t let you have all the fun!” “Fine, fine.” Arak answered back smiling now. “By the way what are you called ‘elf who thinks I can’t defend myself’. I’m Arak.” He said and put out his hand in greeting. “Elvina” The elf said as she grasp his hand.


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“How come you’re stuck out here on Dagger tooth isle?” Elvina questioned. “It’s not exactly where any one (apart from the dark men and the dark things that come up from long forgotten caves and tunnels in the most desolate parts of the world) wants to go. In fact everyone I know, or knew, went out of their way to avoid Dagger tooth isle.” Arak gathered his thoughts. Not many people understood his culture and he had never tried to explain it to anyone else. “Long ago,” He began. “The black wolf ruled over the world. He was a cruel and harsh leader and no one could stand against him.” “I’m confused.” Elvina said. “Couldn’t humans fight off big wolves in those days?” She questioned. “No.” Arak said pleased that she was actually interested in his culture. “The black wolf was a Karaf. Now days there aren’t many left but those that are left are called skin changes or shape shifters and can change between the form of a human and an animal. The black wolf was a Great War lord who could change at will into a gigantic black wolf. That is how he got his name. Now,” Arak said now thoroughly enjoying being able to share his beliefs. “You must understand that Karafs of the ancient era lived for much longer than the average human and the greatest of them lived for centuries. In this way the black wolf ruled for many life times before he was over thrown by the great bear.” Arak lowered his voice. He did not know why but his Aunt had always done it when she told this part of the story to him and the other youngsters of their clan. “In those days” he whispered, “the great bear was not so great. He was a simple village boy who was trying to make his way in life. Somehow he found himself in the fortress of the Eagle lord Tarral. It was Tarral that taught Narikan (the great bear) to fight and it was he who fought alongside Narikan to the end. Basically, Narikan raised an army of the common people who rose up against the black wolf and bested him in the Great War that we now call the Forunkan or the beginning for it is here that we believe myths become facts and legends become history. The great bear, having bested the black wolf took his rightful spot as the king of all the lands but soon after gave it up. Legend states that Narikan fore saw a time when the black wolf would rise again and he would be needed. For this reason he retreated into hiding and some say that, because he was the greatest Karaf, he still lives today waiting for the day that the black wolf returns and they must once again do battle.” Arak realised that he was rambling on and decided to sum up his story quickly. “Before he went into hiding the great bear created what we now call the seven tasks of Argort or the seven tasks of the warrior. When a man or woman reaches the age of sixteen they must prove that they are ready to join their kinsmen and kinswomen by completing the seven tasks. The first six are done before they reach sixteen and are not overly difficult but the seventh requires the participant to slay a creature of darkness and so gain the right to join or form a clan.” He finished. “So I take it you were here to ‘slay a creature of darkness’ so to speak?” Elvina asked. “Yes,” Arak said “myself and eight others (five boys and three girls) all came here together to finish our tasks but things went wrong. One of our instructors Falque, was a traitor. He had an army of bandits hidden in waiting and when we landed they cut us off from the boat and took three of us (two participants and one instructor) by surprise but everyone else managed to defend themselves against that initial assault and then we began to fight our way back towards the ship. As we pushed forward a second group of bandits joined the attack. They had obviously been watching our ship and when they heard the sound of fighting they must have rushed forward to take part in the mayhem. Two of the biggest and ugliest brutes singled out my friend Targon and began working together to bring him down. They were almost successful.” Arak stopped for breath. It was painful remembering all of his friends and mentors that had died that day. It seemed like years ago but in reality it had only been about a week. “I saw both of them swing out of the corner of my eye. I didn’t think, I just acted.” This part of the memory always confused him because when he thought back to that dreadful day he knew that he hadn’t trusted himself to stand against the bandits. He lacked self-confidence and he had been sure that he was going to cause the groups down fall. He realized that he was lost in his own thoughts and he hastily began the tale again. “I’m not sure how I did it but I managed to catch one of the swords in my shield and deflect the other with my axe but that left me completely undefended. One of the other bandits took advantage of my situation and hit me over the head with a club. Luckily my helmet protected me but I was still knocked unconscious and they took me for dead. When I woke up the ship was gone along with the bandits and I’ve been trying to survive ever since.” Arak finished. He was not use to talking so much to strangers but Elvina was a good listener and it felt good to be able to tell someone about his problems.


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“What about you?” He asked Elvina. “Why are you here and don’t tell me it’s to hunt goblins?” Elvina laughed. “No” She said, “we are a seafaring people as you probably know and I was aboard my father’s ship as we returned from the Far Eastern lands were the best cloth and wine come from we were driven off course and into the shoals of dread by a storm. Our ship did not last long in there and when we hit a particularly large rock I was thrown overboard. I managed to grab a piece of timber and I was lucky enough to avoid getting smashed to death on the shoals but now that I am stuck here I wonder if it would have been better to die in that harsh reef?” Arak glanced over at Elvina and saw that she had a faraway look in her eyes. “Come on,” He said hoping to boost her spirits. “We may as well go back and look for those supplies you were so excited about. You mentioned that you thought the goblins were nearly there when they smelt me.” “That is true.” Elvina replied thoughtfully. “Besides it can’t hurt to go back and check. So off they went, back the way they came keeping a sharp eye out for other evil beings. When they reached the sight of the battle Arak stoped down and picked up the axe that he had been after. He had been so angry at the elf before that he had completely forgotten about it. At the same time Elvina emptied the quivers of the two goblins with bows and then walked around collecting the arrows that she herself had fired at the goblins. When these tasks were finished they turned in the direction that the goblins had been going and strode off down the path to a place where the bush was thinner and they could slip into it and continue to follow the trail unnoticed. As they rounded a corner in the trail Elvina stopped suddenly. With Arak watching she tilted her head back and appeared to smell the air. “I can smell goblins.” She whispered to Arak. “We must be near.” Arak looked around, at a glance there was nothing unusual about this particular piece of track but, when he looked again, he realized that ahead of them, slightly to the left, there was what appeared to be an animal trail but, as he looked closer still, he recognized it for what it was. The path to the goblins treasure. Now, in those days Grorcs still existed (imagine a mix between an orc and a goblin but add some troll into the mix) and as most people will know this meant that goblin treasure hoards would have set any one up for life and a trade hoard (like the one Arak and Elvina had found) would hold many valuable goods. Now, those of you who have never even heard of a Grorc will be wondering why on Earth they effected the amount of treasure the goblins had. Well, I will explain it. As you know goblins of those days lived in separate tribes and often quarrelled among themselves meaning that they were never any real problem as they were off fighting each other and not the more civilized races of the land. This my reader, is where the Grorcs come in. The Grorcs, as I have already explained, were not ordinary goblins. In fact they were bigger, stronger and smarter than any living goblins and all the goblins looked up to them and that was the problem. The Grorcs broke down the barriers between tribes and turned the whole goblins race into one tribe. The small and insignificant goblin raids turned into massive, prepared attacks which wiped out whole cities. This is why the Grorcs effected the goblins income. The Grorcs knew that they couldn’t favour any one and so any treasure was shared evenly among all the goblins. Due to the recent attacks, any goblin right now would have a large supply of goods boosted by whatever they found themselves. This was why Elvina had been looking for the goblin cave. As they warily stepped onto the path Elvina and Arak looked around to make sure that they were alone and then quickly and silently they crossed over to the entrance to the cave.


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By Hassan Nasser It was useless. Why had he even thought of it. Zuka was much older than the twins, and had asked them to join him on his quest as support. It was far too dangerous to go on a quest by himself (as guided by The Book; written by the great Solks from the past), but he was beginning to regret his decision. They were turning into baggage, more than help. Annoying, quarreling baggage. Zuka had a short temper, and it was not long until he finally snapped, especially at his old age of 32. And yes, 32 is quite old for the people of Solk. “You darn simpletons!”, Zuka exclaimed. “I am tired of your vociferous whining. Do you want to get us eaten?”, he asked, infuriated. He continued on, with some words, I’m afraid I cannot tell in this tale, as Nute and Lute continued to broaden their vocabulary. The twins acquiesced to his demands and were taciturn, but I am unsure how long the silence would last. The three of them were entering the Trankien Forest, and it was as if they came into a completely different world. From the lush green grass swaying across the river, to a faded, unpleasant green. From the vibrant blue sky showering happiness across the land, to a dull, lifeless grey. Even the sun turned into a harsh red, the only thing slightly splashing colour across the sky. Moss enveloped the trees, along with thick cobwebs and long vines tangling the forest roof, stopping any sort of life coming from the forest. It is unfathomable to believe it could hold any life forms, but the Trankiens weren’t troubled. This place meant evil. Even the silence pierced through their ears. It was no wonder why this was a place to stay away from. As instructed earlier (by instructed, I’m putting it nicely), the twins were not to make a sound. The Tranks had exceptional hearing, especially for creatures of their size. Zuka was most certainly doubting they would make it through the forest without causing a commotion, as even the slightest of sounds would catch their attention. The path was clear as far as they could see, which wasn’t very far, but beams of red light shone through the thick forest roof, making it just bearable. They continued walking, ever so quietly, until Zuka remembered the talisman he found earlier on, at the Rotolynn River. He put his hand in his loose pocket, and pulled out the lustrous blue gem. He had only picked it up at the Rotolynn for its beauty, and nothing more. It had no significance, or for that moment, at least. It was shining much brighter than before, but he didn’t take much notice of that. Zuka really admired its elegance, but instinctively, placed it back in his pocket the second he heard some rustling in the nearby trees. All three of them paused, expecting danger. Nothing happened.


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They went off once again, following a rocky path, passing many trees, ranging from beech, all the way to hemlock. Many, tangled with rich, healthy berries. Or so they looked. In fact, they were nasty, poisonous little fruits. They could make you grow and shrink and turn purple and green. Luckily Zuka knew this, or he would have grabbed quite a few without even thinking. This made all three of them hungry, but they were on rations. After Nute accidentally spilled most of the contents of his bag out in the Rotolynn River, they were left with just Lute’s rucksack. Zuka stopped walking, and paused suddenly. The twins copied. After much difficulty, and many hand actions from Zuka (they couldn’t talk or they would almost inevitably be eaten up), they all decided to nibble on some of the Unicorn meat they had. Some much needed protein. This was not a good idea. Little did they know, the Trankiens adored Unicorn meat. The great king of the Trankiens, Grulu, often requested for such. They would peregrinate far north to collect some, up to the Solgun Valley, where Unicorns had roamed for many years. The Trankiens seldom had visitors, and were instantly alerted as soon as the three of them started eating. Zuka, Nute and Lute were starting to feel quite exhausted, and were urging for a rest, as they had been walking for about an hour now. They were laying down some blankets, preparing for a little rest beside the rocky path under a weeping willow. All was calm and tranquil, until they heard a penetrating screech. Trankiens appeared from nowhere, cornering them from every side. They made high pitched monkey noises, deafening the intruders. The three of them looked around in despair. There was no escape. The Trankiens were hideous creatures. Similar body type to monkeys, only smaller and filthier and uglier. Their yellow, bloodshot eyes stared right into the Solks’ souls. A toothbrush might have also done them some good, as their sharp, discoloured teeth could have sunk into the Solks’ skin at any time. Zuka, Nute and Lute could do nothing, but scream. This made the Trankiens angrier, and much fiercer. Before they knew it, they were out cold. The three of them woke up, almost simultaneously. They looked around, aghast. They were tied together on a piece of mahogany wood, with rope, almost choking them. The wood had a hole in it, unusually the same shape as the gem in Zuka’s pocket. A circle of fire danced around them, almost laughing in their faces. Many Trankiens were surrounding the fire, too scared to enter the circle, and were creating more deadly noises. Some playing on the bongo’s, whilst others started hopping around, wearing traditional clothing. This gave Zuka the feeling a ritual was being performed, and that it would not end well for them. The twins, once again, had no idea what was going on. “Aargh, oogh”, demanded one of the Trankiens. His voice shook the whole forest. It wasn’t any ordinary Trankien. It was the almighty Grulu. He emerged from thick, black smoke, and walked straight through the fire. He was, once again, difficult to look at. Grulu was about 3 times the size of any other Trankien, and had a long, red scar running right across his face. He had an abnormally large tail, looking completely ridiculous compared to the rest of his body. But, having said that, could have strangled the whole population of Solk at the same time. They were absolutely terrified. Their hearts were beating and roaring like a lion trying to get out of a cage. The harsh light from the fire, along with the loud bongo noises and the ear piercing noises from the Trankiens was all too overwhelming. Even Nute and Lute knew it was all over.


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Around 20 Trankiens walked to the edge of the fire, where they all handed him an unusual weapon. A wooden club, engraved with words and lines and shapes and patterns. Most frightening of all, it was covered in sharp, metal spikes. Grulu dipped the weapon into the fire, setting it alight. He held the bottom part of it, which was wrapped in a piece of cloth, where the fire dared not to touch. The twins were holding their hands, trying to tell each other their last messages before an inevitable death. Zuka was trying not to give up. It was as if the gem in his pocket was shouting at him, calling for him to pick it up. He tried to reach for it, and even though his arm was tightly secured by the rope, he had just got it by the edge of his fingertips. Grulu was preparing to kill the Solks, tightly gripping his weapon in his hand, and preparing for a swing. The Trankiens were cheering louder than ever, until, everything fell silent. Zuka had pulled the shimmering blue talisman out of his pocket, and the Trankiens were petrified. Even the great king, Grulu, stepped back frightened, which seldom happens. The fire blew out, the rope loosened, as Zuka, Nute and Lute all fell out. Thud! The noise from the Trankiens picked up again, and the they had their eye on one thing only. The gem. Hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of Trankiens started chasing after the three Solks. Luckily, their bodies were built for running, and could outpace the Trankiens for now. The gem had done nothing, apart from spare them a few seconds. This is definitely not your ordinary fantasy tale. Lute picked up the piece of wood they were tied up to just in case he needed it as a weapon, and continued running. It was a matter of time until they would be caught anyway. They had no idea which direction they were going in, but it didn’t matter at that time. Grulu’s loud footsteps shook the ground, and all the dead nature from the forest roof, fell below. A horrifying Trankien carcass almost tripped Nute over, but he continued. A ray of red light passed through Lute’s new weapon, which made him notice something. The hole. It was made obvious to him the gem needed to fit in it, and this was what the Trankiens were so scared of. “Zuka!”, Lute called out. “This is not the time!”, Zuka responded, breathing heavily. He had not ran this much in a very, very long time. “Throw the GEM! Now!”, Lute demanded. He had to scream quite loud as the Trankiens were creating loud noises not far behind them.

Zuka, although he was older, had obeyed Lute, and threw it backwards, not caring where it landed. He thought the gem was useless anyway, as it had hardly done anything in terms of saving their lives. Everything was in slow motion. Not only were their lives depending on this catch, but the people of Solk, who sent them out on this very important journey. Catch! The blue gem was gripped tightly in Lute’s hand, and was placed with extreme precision inside the hole. A perfect fit. A loud, deafening, explosion like noise almost teared apart their ears. A blinding white light covered the whole forest, and then finally, darkness.


15

A boy, 16 years old, rode on horseback from a small countryside town to the capital of Esmoequa – Stredaegon. He knocked on a door, and asked the person inside – Jonas some questions. The Boy was called Linley, and he was on an adventure to save his father. His father was exiled from Olympia, a land full of descendants of the gods. Linley’s father, Baruch, was still patriotic, and thus went to help with a war against Zaerylia, the land of demons. Linley heard that his father was captured, and the key to his cell was split into for parts. Exiled or not, Baruch was still one of the strongest of the Olympians. Linley had consulted Jonas to find out where the parts of the key were stored, and how to get them. The first place Linley went to, to retrieve a part of the key, was the one said to be the easiest to breach – the magma mines, guarded by the goblins. The goblins of this world, though cunning, were only about half as strong as regular humans, and were greedy, especially so for money. After four days of travelling, Linley reached the Magma Mines. Outside the mines, he saw two goblins guarding the entrance. Jonas had informed Linley regarding how to deal with the goblins. Linley did as Jonas told, and dropped a map showing that there was “treasure” on the other side of the entrance. The two goblins, looked around, not to check for intruders, but rather to make sure no-one saw them running off. After the two goblins left, Linley ran into the mine and hid, he did not want to get caught. Soon, Linley reached the deepest part of the mines, where the key was stored. Linley hid in a part of the mines, listening to the conversation. It turned out that the Goblin King had left to find hidden riches in the Canyon of Doom. Many of the other goblins had left with him. The Goblin King left his three most trusted goblins to guard the key, and left with them two dozen goblins, all the rest left with him. Goblins were weak creatures who were only half the size of humans. Even the Goblin King could barely fight on par with an average human, not to mention the average goblin. Thus Linley, who had the blood of the gods flowing through him could easily take care of the three goblins. It took Linley but a minute to dispose of them and obtain the part of the key.


16

After obtaining the part of the key, Linley ran out of the mines and made for his next destination, the Perilous Peaks where the Orcs were situated. The Orcs were thrice as strong as a regular human. Linley, being only sixteen, was only approximately two and a half times a regular human. This meant that any Orc could beat Linley. This of course, was only if the Orcs had the intelligence of regular humans. Orcs had incredibly primitive minds, and could would fight without thinking, instead of planning out a tactic according to the opponent’s weakness. This meant that if Linley fought an Orc one on one, he had a high chance of coming out victorious. However, if Linley was pitted against two Orcs, he would have no choice but to run. Jonas had told Linley that he could kill Orcs without worry. Orcs would often fight with themselves, coupled with their lack if intelligence, if they saw an Orc dead, they would just assume that another Orc had killed it. There was one exception to this, however, and that was the Orc leader. The leader of the Orcs had intelligence equal to that of a human, and his strength had reached the Olympian average of five times a regular human. When Linley arrived at the Perilous Peaks, he made his way for the highest peak. There was no Orc guarding the base of the highest mountain, as an Orcs personality made it dislike standing in a spot for hours on end. On the way up the mountain, he only saw Orcs by themselves, some of which he fought – only if they noticed him.. When Linley reached the top of the highest mountain, he saw a sight he was not expecting. There was a house sitting on top of the mountain. The Orc Leader was definitely different to the other Orcs. After some scouting, Linley found out that the Orc Leader was in his house. This caused Linley some troubles, as he did not know how to deal with the Orc Leader. Just when he was fretting, a piece of information Jonas had told him popped up in his mind. The leader of the Orcs was a mutated offspring between a goblin and an Orc. When he thought of this, he dropped a piece of paper. The Orc Leader picked up a map suspiciously similar to the one that the goblins guarding the entrance saw, and walked out of the house. With this, Linley gained another part of the key and departed for the withering woods. When Linley reached the withering woods, he saw yet another strange sight. At the edge of a forest stood a “dark” elf, and it was wearing green and yellow, as opposed to the red and black that Jonas had informed him of. Just when he was about to fight, the “dark” elf spoke up. “I am not a dark elf, but rather a light elf, and we are allied to the Olympians. We have retrieved another portion of the key to your father’s cell after defeating the dark elves.” With that, Linley headed for the Sizzling Peak.


17

The final place was the home of the dragons. They were neutral, but Jonas had heard that the dragons owed the Demon Lord a favour, they would not interfere with wars because of it. This meant that the last part of the key was on the Demon Lord Just when Linley was pondering how to find and defeat the Demon Lord, a voice rang out in the sky. “Linley, your father has been captured by me, the great demon lord, and now, you will too. I have the last part of the key on me, and you will never get it” with that, the Demon Lord flew down at Linley, unleashing an attack. Linley managed to dodge it, just. The Demon Lord was one of the strongest beings in existence. He was 8 times as strong as Linley, having the strength of twenty men. Linley figured that he could not last more than fifteen moves against the Demon Lord. However, as he went on, he realised his estimation was incorrect – he started to last more than he had predicted. At about the twenty-sixth exchange, Linley finally couldn’t last anymore. Just when he was about to be captured, the Dragon King stopped the Demon Lord, preventing him from escaping. “I’m sorry, but I truly can’t risk offending that person. Considering I owe you a favour, I will allow you to resume the fight in fifteen minutes.” At first, Linley thought that the extra fifteen minutes was pointless. However, he soon realised he was mistaken. The fight with the Demon Lord had triggered a reaction in his body, and his blood was getting purified by the second. This was the reason Linley could last more than he predicted. Right now, his strength had probably reached the average level for Olympians. Fifteen minutes had passed, and without the Demon Lord noticing, Linley’s strength had already far surpassed his. Linley’s strength had reached fifty times that of a regular human. In just three moves, Linley took down the Demon Lord and claimed the final part of the key. Linley then went to Zaerylia and freed his father. After telling his father about the events that had transpired, Linley inquired about the mysterious figure that made the Dragon King interfere. “Oh him,” Linley’s father replied “He is the god of wisdom, Jo-” Baruch cut off there – a barrier of magic prevented anymore sounds related to this topic from being uttered. Linley and Baruch returned home after that. Not to their home in Björnville, no. Linley was so meritorious in the war that the Olympians decided to let Linley and Baruch back into Olympia, where they now reside.


18

By Ruby Cotton Kennedy Bopsy and Lopsy were happily married mice who lived in Botania. Bopsy worked on a tomato farm and his wife, Lopsy, stayed in their burrow and did the usual. Cooking and cleaning being the norm for mice ladies. The mice of Blubellia were just the same type of mice that scavenge the streets for an apple core, or run out swiftly under your feet and nearly give you a heart attack. However, like all mice, they communicate and have lives just like you and I. They are not as up to date with all the tech stuff that we have but they do use an acorn that buzzes to call each other. How does it work you ask me? Ha, some kind of brown magic I’d say, but that’s another story… The town of Blubellia was usually a very peaceful and contented place but on this Wednesday morning something was not right. It was a rather gloomy day, overcast and a bitter wind was about, the birds weren’t chirping and the wind was whispering. “Well a little bit of cloud won’t stop this fellow from getting out on the farm,” said Bopsy triumphantly. “Don’t forget your hat, darling. Even though it’s cloudy today it doesn’t stop the UV rays from singeing your fur!” Lopsy called out to her husband as Bopsy was just about to shut the door. Although physical and tiring, Bopsy loved his job, he got to be outside for the whole day and he never complained about that. “Darling,” called out Lopsy, “your acorn is buzzing, I’ll get it. Hello Bopsy’s phone, Lopsy speaking.” “Hi Lopsy, sniffle, is Bopsy there, sniffle sniffle. I need to tell him something that may, sniffle, upset him greatly,” replied Plopsy. “Sure Plopsy I’ll put him on the acorn right away,” said Lopsy. “Bopsy, you need to come back inside your mother is on the acorn and it sounds serious,” called out Lopsy. “Ok I’m coming,” replied Bopsy. Lopsy handed Bopsy the acorn with a worried look on her face. “Hello mother, how are...” said Bopsy but before he could finish his sentence, Plopsy began…


19

“It’s your father Bopsy, he was fine last night just tired, you know. It is your father, always tired. Anyway I woke up this morning and asked him if he wanted a cup of coffee…” said Plopsy in a rather distressed tone. “Yes, yes, and then what happened mother…Is he alright?…I’ll be right over,” said Bopsy beginning to feel distressed himself. “No, Bopsy” in a serious tone, replied Plopsy, “He isn’t alright, when I asked about the coffee there was no reply… He didn’t wake up.” “What on earth do you mean mother… Did the called the mousbulance?” said Bopsy in a rather frustrated tone. “Yes, I called the mousbulance and they said that he… that he…had a heart attack during the night and…” said Plopsy… and as she burst out with tears, “he didn’t make it…he’s dead Bopsy.” “His funeral is on Monday…” [Whimpering]. The phone went quiet. After a long while of silence Bopsy finally said, “I…I… can’t believe it, it can’t be true…” Questions began flying around his head. The phone call ended with no happy, “Goodbye mother” or “Well, best be getting on now”. It was just a simple, quiet, good bye. And so as Monday came the pain and loss which Bopsy and Plopsy felt began to grow. The flowers, the cards and the pre-prepared meals which were given to Bopsy and Plopsy didn’t do anything but continue to remind them how useless they were feeling. The funeral came and that was the saddest day Bopsy had ever been through. All of the town had come to say goodbye to Tropsy. Bopsy felt both privileged and heartbroken. During the funeral, the sight of his mother made him feel as though he should run over and comfort her. Her fur seemed to have lost all signs of life in it and just flopped around besides her body. Days after the funeral Bopsy made the utterly selfless decision to clear out his parents’ burrow and have his mother move in with him. He called her and said “I’ll be right over to help you clear out the burrow, you can’t stay there on your own.” “Well, I’ll put the jug on,” replied Plopsy. So after the truly saddening week Bopsy had had, he went off to his mother’s and late father’s burrow to clear out some of his father’s belongings. A truly gruelling task it would be. Bopsy walked into his parent’s burrow, “Mother, I’m here. How about we have a cup of tea before we begin… There’s no point making any decisions until we are a little bit more settled.” Said Bopsy.


20

“Oh, Bopsy, I agree. The thought of going into Tropsy’s room. Where all of those memories are makes me want to crawl up in a ball and never wake up!” exclaimed Plopsy. “We’re in this together mother. Tropsy would have wanted it this way. And I know it is a very difficult time for both of us, it is something that just has to be done.” Said Bopsy with a clear tone. So after their cup of tea Bopsy and Plopsy went off into their loved one’s room and undertook the truly torturous task of clearing the burrow out. Bopsy took the kitchen, dining room and his father’s bedroom and Plopsy took the bathroom, the spare bedroom and the pantry. It took them several days to fully clear out the burrow and during those days both Plopsy and Bopsy found many things that were unexpected. One of which was a strange wristband which Bopsy found in a box hidden underneath a fake drawer. The wristband had a factory number on it and a sentence. The sentence read as, L’Oreal anti-aging elixir testing mouse number 119382. As well as one more word on the inside of the wristband which said, affected. Bopsy kept this to himself for a long time. He decided that he would ask his mother after his wife’s birthday. However, after the celebration everyone was in such a good mood. Spirits were high and everyone had temporarily forgotten about the recent tragedy of Tropsy. Bopsy felt as though if he asked his mother now it would bring a flood of memories back. As a result, he “just didn’t want to do that to his mother.” The procrastinating continued for several weeks. Until Bopsy drove himself crazy with theories of when the right time to would be to ask his mother about the wristband. Bopsy went to his thinking chair to see if any recollections came to him regarding mysterious wristbands. Hours, upon hours, he sat there scraping his brain for any information he could find. Finally he remembered. He had a friend in North Dafodillia named Hopsy who owned a wristband similar to the one Bopsy found in his parent’s house. Bopsy knew what he had to do, “Lopsy, it’s cherry picking season in North Dafodillia so, for our wedding anniversary I’ll come back with cherries,” called out Bopsy to his wife. “Ok, dear I’ll come…” replied Lopsy. “No, no, no need for that. I’ll manage on my own. And besides you need to look after the burrow,” said Bopsy. “Bopsy, your mother will be here to look after the burrow and I have a better eye for cherries than you do, so I’m coming and there’s no question about it,” said Lopsy in a strong and determined tone.


21

“Oh great,” said Bopsy to himself. “Bite the bullet, Bopsy,” said Bopsy also to himself as he realised he was now going to have to tell Lopsy about the wristband. “Dear, I haven’t been completely honest with you,” said Bopsy. And so Bopsy stuttered along trying to tell his wife about the mysterious wristband. It took about an hour just to get his words in order because it took him a while before his sentences didn’t sound like, “house band drawer wrist father.” Bopsy did end up telling his wife and she was shocked that someone she knew so closely could have kept such an intriguing secret for so long. But she was understanding and still prepared to come with Bopsy to his friend’s house in North Dafodillia, even though she wasn’t getting the cherries for their wedding anniversary. And so they packed and within a matter of hours they were off. The journey to North Dafodillia was not too long but treacherous. Creeks, feral cats and falling trees were just some of the many dangers of the road to North Dafodillia, ‘Rolling Pebbles’. However, the mouse of Blubellia had travelled the road of ‘Rolling Pebbles’ for many years and they were used to the rough terrain. During their journey they took all the precautions that the mouse of Blubellia had learned. For example, don’t walk out in the middle of the roads. Stay together at all times. Look left then right then left then right and then it is safe to cross. And finally, the most important precaution of them all is to never forget to turn your acorn on vibrate. If feral cats hear the calming trill of the acorn ringing they will almost definitely eat you! They kept mostly safe except one day, when it was particularly windy and the old rhododendrons were shaking and creaking and then there was a crack… Bopsy heard a squeal and before he knew he was under the tree himself with his wife clutching his legs. It was black, cold and windy and yet he knew he wasn’t dead. He couldn’t be, he felt the bitter wind and he felt his wife’s warm breath. “Bopsy, what did you do?” said Lopsy. “To be honest with you, I have no idea,” replied Bopsy as stunned as Lopsy was. Bopsy placed the tree next to where the two were crouched, with ease, and sat there for a long time thinking of the event which just took place right before their eyes. The adrenalin and terror which the two mice were feeling was slowly decreasing. Lopsy was trying to make sense of what she saw, a flash of lightning, a tree falling and then Bopsy catching the tree. “Bopsy, you must be the strongest mouse alive. When did you know you could that?” Said Lopsy.


22

“I didn’t…” Replied Bopsy.

So the two went on the journey and didn’t really speak much of the tree incident until a similar thing occurred again. When the two were almost at the creek which was the final leg of their journey they came across a pack of feral cats. Without a second thought both Bopsy and Lopsy were off as quiet and as quick as they’ve ever ran before. The feral cats caught their scent and were off too. Cats are a lot faster than mice and have more agility when it comes to jumping. Although there was one cliff which no mouse nor feral cat in the whole of Botania could jump over, the Begonia Leap. It was over 18 metres high and many ledges poking out of it, a truly mean looking wall. Bopsy and Lopsy had run themselves into a place of utter misery, a cat and a very high place. The only option, Bopsy knew it, was to try to scramble up the Begonia Leap. Bopsy didn’t think, as the cats were coming in closer and closer, Bopsy wasted no time. He grabbed Lopsy and pushed, they were going higher and higher and then they landed on the upper most ledge of the Begonia Leap. He had done it, Bopsy and Lopsy were safe and those feral cats were still 18 metres below them. “I’m starting to get used to my new super charged husband,” said Lopsy with a cheeky grin on her face. “How did I do that?” asked Bopsy. “If I knew don’t you think I would have tried it?” said Lopsy, again, with a giggle in her voice. So yet again, stunned, however, Bopsy continued on the journey with his super strength and super spring. Which made the creek crossing a leisurely hop, skip and a jump (literally) away. They reached Hopsy’s house in a matter of days. [Knock, knock, knock] as Bopsy knocked on the front door of Hopsy’s house. “I’m coming, just one moment.” Flustered Hopsy replied to the knocking. Hopsy opened the door to his beaming old friend, “Come in Bopsy and Lopsy, lovely to see you again,” said as Hopsy welcomed them inside. The meeting and greeting went on for hours. Similarly, to the discussion of their families. Bopsy explained why they were here and about his father, which was very difficult to explain and to accept because he was still coming to terms with the fact that someone he loved so much was just gone. However, after the explanation Bopsy wanted to get to the bottom of the wristband. So Bopsy showed Hopsy the wristband, “Oh my, Bopsy, where on Botania did you find that?” asked Hopsy.


23

“These wristbands are only given to certain types of mouse…” said Hopsy.

“Well actually Hopsy, it was my father’s and I don’t know anything about it. I was hoping you did because I remember you having one just like it when we were kids, which was, until you got it cut off…”said Bopsy as his mind trailed off to a childish memory. “Yes, yes...” said Hopsy as he went off to his room to fetch his wristband. “This is mine, I received it when the furless people captured me and took me to a place called ‘Iart-ha’. Luckily I escaped.” Explained Hopsy. “What do you mean ‘captured’?” asked Bopsy.

“Well you see Bopsy, the furless people test their beauty products on us, in fact, they’ve accidently created an ancient race of mouse. These mice have super powers and they are called ‘Labmice’. I used mine to get out of I-art-ha. Every now and again there is a throwback and one of the offspring of a ‘Labmouse’ has those super powers. Things like strength, agility, that sort of stuff. When the furless people take them into their labs they give us a wristband so we don’t get mixed up, conditions are poor and they barely give us any food but it is easy to escape…” went on Hopsy. Bopsy looked at his wife and said, “I’m a throwback. My father was a Labmouse,” said Bopsy. “Yes Bopsy, his wristband proves it, L’Oreal. He was affected by the products in L’Oreal, obviously.” Said Hopsy. “Bopsy, I know it’s a lot to take in but there are some good furless people, some of whom are trying to ban animal testing…” said Hopsy. “You should get back to your burrow in Blubellia, I’m glad you finally got to the bottom of the wristband…” said Hopsy to Bopsy and Lopsy. “Thank you, old friend. Maybe Lopsy and I will come and visit more often now we know that the journey won’t take as long now that I have the powers of the Labmice…”said Bopsy. “Thank you, Hopsy…”said Lopsy. As Lopsy and Bopsy were walking down the street of North Dafodillia just down from Hopsy’s house. Bopsy said something that made them both nearly fall over in laughter… “I hear that Zinniania have beautiful cherries just starting to get plump and red, what do you say?”


24


25

By Fiza Kaippilly Sweat was dripping down his pale forehead. If he got caught out for this, there was no doubt he would be executed for treason. It had taken Pyro to gather all the courage he possessed to come this far, and he was determined to not let it be all for naught. Obvious stress was painted out on his regal, aristocrat features. His thin, tall frame was not striding with its usual confidence, and even his long, silky silvery hair seemed to flow uncertainly behind him. His deep brown eyes held a barely contained look of nervousness, instead of its usual hearth-like warmth. Pyro’s ears were long and pointed, illustrating his elf status, and he was dressed in the traditional clothes of the fire-users. The shiny golden badge that was pinned to his vest identified his high authority in Blaziresus village. In one arm he held a defensive sword, and in the other he gripped the skimpy forearm of a water user from Neseiter village. The water user (whose name was Triton) was a head shorter than Pyro’s height of two hundred centimetres. His raven-haired head was bowed, and he appeared to be disarmed. Upon assessing the situation, one would think that the lieutenant of Carreau the merciless had captured an innocent Neseiter who was simply strolling through the neutral territory of the Elemental Kingdom. No passer-by would dare interfere with the situation, even though it directly violated the laws of the neutral land. But everyone in the kingdom knew that no good ever came from directly interfering with Carreau’s plans, lest they wish to be decapitated. And this was the reason for the lieutenant’s stress. When the elf and Carreau had first formed and allegiance, Pyro was the average, loyal and friendly elf. Both of them were mere younglings when Pyro caught glimpse of the bulky trolls bullying the innocent goblin. So as a righteous youthful elf, he stood up to the devious bullies. As an elf, Pyro had an advantage with his towering height. Needless to say, the bullies never came within eyesight of them again. And then, a beautiful friendship was born. At first, Carreau was cold and closed off, always muttering to himself whenever he saw the elf. But soon enough, the tolerance turned to acceptance, which became trust, which then blossomed into friendship. They were a rare pair, an elf and a goblin. At first they were given strange looks, but soon enough Blaziresus village came to accept it. The friendly and humble personality of an elf usually clashed with the cold, cunning and revenge driven persona of a goblin. However, the pair managed despite their differences. That was until Carreau changed. Despite his urge to always do what was right, Pyro was admittedly a complete pushover. Especially to those he was loyal to. So when Carreau’s personality began to change, Pyro did nothing about it. As the goblin became closer and closer to the menace he now is, Pyro did nothing to draw him back. And this is a regret that the elf lives with day by day. Carreau would always assure him that nothing would go out of hand, and it wasn’t like Pyro to confront his friend of his evil ways. When Carreau earned the title of ‘The Merciless’, Pyro could only stand back and accept the lieutenancy that was offered to him.


26

That was, until recently. When Carreau introduced his plan to gather the elements of the other three villages of the kingdom, Pyro decided to himself that enough was enough. The goblin ordered the elf to bring in a water user from the neutral territory, but when Pyro went in, he decided to inform the wateruser of the ways of the merciless. Triton and Pyro hatched a plan to free the land of the fire-users from Carreau’s grasp. So now, as they re-entered Blaziresus, Pyro took the chance to absorb what he had let happen to his people. The land was barren as usual, but the lakes of blood were something that Pyro held a slight responsibility to. The goblin had gathered an army to hold control over the land, and he ordered them to slaughter the villagers who refused to pledge allegiance to him. Being the hot-heads that they were, over half of the population was lost. The blood and burn marks littering the ground would forever be ingrained in Pyro’s mind as something he didn’t try to prevent.

Now seething, Pyro was determined to free whoever was left. He stormed up to the castle with Triton in his grip. Marching his way through the elegant halls, Pyro threw the water user into a kneel before the Goblin. With a hunched, short figure, and green crinkled skin Carreau was honestly the true definition of ugliness. His nose was crooked as though it had been broken multiple times, and his eyes were a blood red colour. “You have done well Pyro.” Carreau’s voice was scratchy, like nails on a chalkboard. Pyro did nothing but nod in acceptance. Triton glared at Carreau with disgust- a gesture which was returned with much fire. “You are truly disgusting,” Triton spat with complete malice, an ugly sneer on his face. “These are your people, your family. And this is how you treat them?” In the next moments, Carreau was silent, but then the battle seemed to end as fast as it began. Triton raised his palms, and a gush of water came thundering towards the goblin. Unfortunately, being as practiced as he was, Carreau was fast to retaliate. In a rush of heat, the water evaporated into a burning steam. Fire danced and burned in the goblin’s eyes, and a malicious ball of fire appeared to jump out of them. The fireball hurtled straight towards Triton, and struck him right in the chest. The water user collapsed, and the result was obvious. He was dead. Pyro could feel his heart crash to his feet. Not only were the hopes of Carreau being defeated dwindling, but he had caused another innocent life to die. The elf could feel his emotions rattling like a lion inside of him. The betrayal of his friend, the shame of his cowardice, the anger for the innocent and the pain of the loss, they had only accumulated over the years and were now taking their toll. He began to tremble with the overwhelming power. All had gone silent in his ears and all he could see was the goblin. The brightness was overwhelming and the room began to shake. Pyro couldn’t seem to contain this onslaught of emotion, and it exited him with the power of the sun. The heat was everywhere, and he released a battle cry from the physical and mental pain. The clearing of the smoke brought him back to reality. Carreau was no longer there, but pieces of his body lay scattered around the room. When the reality of the situation returned itself to Pyro’s mind, he collapsed in shock. All he could do was release one tear for the goblin who used to be his friend. But that was all. For now Pyro was overjoyed with happiness. Because his home, Blaziresus, was free once more.


27

By B W Bridger

My name is Wesley Becomes, and on June 3rd 1932 I flew my first raid on a fleet of British bombers. I was flying the Messerschmitt 109; I was born in Austria Germany. I was in the Thirty Second Platoon and unfortunately we were one of the smallest platoons, of only five people. As I walked out onto the runway with melted rubber all over it, and I looked over at my plane. For some reason, I had a happy glare in my eyes. Later when I was dressed in my green jumpsuit walking out of my flight quarters, my friend drove one of the transport cars up beside me. His name was James. I hopped into it and to my surprise a big fluffy and wet fur ball jumped on top of me, it was a dog! “James” I said with a suspicious tone in my voice as he turned around and a gave him a glare. “It’s our new dog, Ralfie,” he said back. “You do know we aren’t allowed dogs,” I said back with a worried voice. Then he looked back at me and extended his pointer finger to his mouth. We then hopped into our planes and I looked down the runway at James. I started the engine, then closed my visor and started to move forward, I took off! We were going to intercept a convoy of Lancaster Bombers that were being transported by P51D Mustangs. Getting closer to our targets we were startled by some Supermarine Spitfires. I had one on my tail and then I pulled up and came back down behind it. I squeezed the fire button on the joystick with anger. I watched the plane fall in a fire plume and my heart sank. We could see the convoy about fifty yards in front of us. “Fall in boys,” a voice on the radio said as a group of Mustang’s broke off the convoy. As all the remaining planes came into a v formation, we caught a glimpse of more and more aircrafts. They were like a swarm of bees. We could see more of the German platoons coming in from the sides, THINGS WERE ABOUT TO GET SERIOUS. I came in and targeted one of the bombers, there was two Mustangs on my tail. I pulled left and right but I couldn’t shake them! Then one of the Messerschmitt’s came in and tore through those planes. “YEAH” I screamed in to my head phones. Then one of the bombers’ turrets took me by surprise, I was dropping before I knew it. One of my wings was leaking oil and I knew I had to eject myself, but it would be dangerous. I pulled the chord and bullets were flying past me. I was shot in the arm, but the rest of me was all right. I hit the ground with a thump, “GAHH,” I screamed with annoyance. I ripped a piece of cloth from my shirt and bandaged my arm. I found my plane wreckage and got the two pistols that I keep in the cockpit and the few supplies that I needed. I was still questioning how the cockpit wasn’t chard with flames but there were trees all around. I kept up a constant speed so that I could cover more ground before night fell. I set up a fire and tried to catch some sleep. I heard voices growing nearer to me. I quickly put out the fire, their voices sounded British and like there was two of them. “What’s that,” they said when they saw the fire coals. I pulled my pistols out of there holsters and drew them to their heads. I had never actually used a gun before, I wasn’t even sure if they were loaded. Give me every supply you have I said. They turned around and it looked like they had two guns. “Drop your weapons,” I said with a shifty tone. “We just want to get out of here,” one said and the other pulled out his gun. I shot him square in the chest and knocked the other one over. I grabbed the guns and any other useful stuff and I ran for it. Unfortunately, it was snowing and I had to swim across a river. I’m not that good at swimming, and soon enough I caught a glimpse of a tiger tank (German tank) and they shot at me. I put my hands up as if trying to surrender, and they drove nearer to me and let me hop in. “Are you going back to the German military base,” I asked. They said yes and soon enough I was home before I knew it to fly planes again.

The End


28

By Coen Jacobs “They’ve passed the border! The Orcs have South Rimwood,” cries the many civilians, many only just before the swords and bludg-ers fell upon their heads. The Orcs were a ruthless race. Now, you are probably very confused. Talk of Orcs and lands you’ve never heard of. You see, this tale of redemption, violence and heroism takes place a long time ago, in a valley not too different from ours. Though, I don’t expect you to have much knowledge of it. It is seldom spoken of. It’s a beautiful place, with vast plains of green, the farmers work their crops and the children run around. Beautiful oceans and tall mountains of ice are a spectacle to look at. I can tell you, there is nothing more beautiful than watching the sunset on a warm summers evening in the plains. Far west live the elves on the border of the valley, secluded, and deep in the mines of the Icy Mountains are the dwarves, endlessly searching for gold and other precious gems. They are rarely seen and neither elves nor dwarves take place in this tale. This is a battle between the people of Rimwood and the vile and despicable Orcs. Long ago, years before this tale, the valley was peaceful, granted there were dangers of dragons, fire demons and other horrors in the unknown, and of course I need not mention the strangling vines and the water demons. But there was nary a quarrel, and if you were too stupid to enter their territory, unprepared and all, can’t feel too sorry for you. Everyone knew their place. Until Orcs arrived. Fed up with The Unknown, they fled, seizing the tall, towering volcano and soon darkness fell over the valley. Orcs raided and flooded many villages, leaving a pile of bodies in their path. Nothing could be done, no one could stop them. People weren’t very strong in those days and no one dared to fight Bazrog, the vicious leader living in the volcano. Soon they became bored and returned to their new home. But not before cursing the marshes, allowing no living creature to tread the dirty water and mud. For a while, nothing much of a story happened. 20 years ago, a set of twins were born, no different to any other of the thousands of twins, however their role in this story is imperative, and the stories shall be passed through generations, until it seems more like a myth than reality. They were called Vizzigo and Vitabella. Vizzigo was strong and had fast reflexes. Vitabella was cunning and had even quicker reflexes. They were both as kind as a summer breeze before dusk, always helping and teaching the children. They grew up not rich with money, but with friends and family. Although as we reach the present of this story, not many will remain. It happened just after the stroke of midnight when the Orcs broke through the marshes and begun to raid North Rimwood. A plethora of Orcs burst through, killing many, children to old men. The weapons hit without mercy and the cries sent chills down your spine. To the twin’s serendipity, they were spending the night in South Rimwood, as they were helping the kids with a school project. They woke to a loud explosion. You can just imagine their fear. Watching as their home is burnt and knowing that their family is dead or dying. The helplessness and hopelessness would have hit you hard. At that point, I’m sure they preferred their chances in the Dark Waters with the water demons and flesh eating eels. That feeling did not go away for a long time. It took only twenty minutes before the Orcs passed the border and into South Rimwood. “Hurry. We must make haste,” cried out Vitabella. “To where. Surrender I say,” replied Vizzigo. “Do you really think Orcs take prisoners?” “Then fight. They have numbers but we have heart and the skill,” Vitabella and Vizzigo nodded in agreement and headed for the blacksmith. You may be curious as to why they are so confident, despite the circumstances. Well, while similar to us, people in the valley are stronger and have better reflexes. They certainly can hold their own in a fight. The siblings ran in haste for the blacksmiths while dodging axes, leaping over fires, catching arrows and killing many Orcs with their bare hands. Vitabella reached the blacksmiths first. She pushed through the rusty door and headed to their many fine and intricate blades. Rimwood is both famous and infamous for their impeccable work in the trade and to wield one is an honour. She grabbed one of the superfluous of blades and a few more for fellow civilians too. Together they now stood a chance.


29 Managing to hold the Orcs off, even pushing them back. Things started to look better. All in one goal, to keep as many people alive. The Orcs wouldn’t have lasted much longer if Bazrog had never entered. No Orc is scarier, stronger or crueler than Bazrog. The leader of the Orcs. You pray he kills first, ask questions later. His looming figure and shadow towered even the tallest of men. One thing a Rimwoodian won’t do though is back away without a fight. Sometimes their stubbornness doesn’t pay off. Bazrog’s large, wooden and unforgiving bludgers laughed with hate at all the lives it took away. It did not take long before the numbers began to dwindle, and the few left wept and ran off and soon only the two siblings remained. It was at this moment, to the siblings luck, that the clouds covered the piercing moonlight and everything went black. You could feel the coldness. The throats burnt, while in the distance the burning buildings roaring in flames provided some light. But all the siblings could focus on was the angry orange eyes staring at them and with everything going on it was hard to keep your wits. Vitabella did. Sparing no seconds, she grabbed her brother and made haste. This caused quite an uproar from the Orcs. The door could barely be held shut. The pounding of bludgers and peculiar laughter of the Orcs was unnerving. Vitabella looked in anguish at the dark room they were trapped in. She was desperately searching for an escape, failing at each attempt. It was hard to stay focused with the boisterous clanging caused by the Orcs. The scratching at the door ruined the sense of security this clandestine room once provided. Claustrophobia begun to come over Vizzigo and the room only seemed to get darker and darker. Fed up, he grabbed Vitabella in the darkness, distracting her from her undying search. “We have to leave,” “What do you think I’m doing?” replied Vitabella, too annoyed with the situation to feel any compassion. The darkness only grew, leaving them with nothing to see. So in despair, and with no chance of ever getting out, the two sat down in silence and listened to the gradual growth of vociferous scratching and banging and laughter caused by the vile creatures. The chances of survival and escape slowly faded into nothingness, much like the deepening darkness surrounding them. Suddenly, the creaking and woeful sound of the Orcs ceased. Somehow this was even less comforting to Vitabella and Vizzigo although neither of them expected what was going to happen next. A bright flash out of nowhere burned their eyes. Next thing they knew, the door was breached open and rushing through came the Orcs like convicts escaping a prison, hollering like madmen. Vitabella was quick and cunning, and her admirable jumping skills helped her quickly leap into a dark corner of the roof, hidden from the pale eyes of Bazrog and his army. Vizzigo however, was not so lucky. Still blinded from the flash of light, he was completely vulnerable. Vitabella watched in horror as Vizzigo was torn apart from the Orcs in the most vicious manner and chilling enthusiasm, while tears flowed down her face like a river. He was gone. A fate that seemed not too distant for herself she thought, waiting for them to catch her scent. Little did she know how wrong she was going to be.


30

By Giulia Mandarano

A sudden thirst had overcome me, I contemplated on whether or not to go down to the kitchen on the Eve of Halloween. Thinking it could be a harmless decision, I rose from my bed and padded softly to the kitchen, the house was so quiet I was almost afraid to make too much noise. As I came face to face with the old, rickety stairs, I tread lightly on them, knowing that they could break at any given moment. The creaks echoed throughout the empty house. As I made my way across the carpeted floor of the living room and into the kitchen, I noticed something. The window by the sink was open. The curtains were flapping as the wind whistled through them. I thought I distinctly heard the creak of the floorboards by the front door. But that was ridiculous, I locked the door. Or did I? The sound of footsteps resonated throughout the house. Fear twisted its way into my stomach. The curtains began flapping more violently as the wind began to blow harder through them, making a high pitched whistling sound. All rational thoughts left my mind. In that moment, all I could think about was protecting myself. I desperately scanned the kitchen, surveying the room for a suitable spot to hide in. My eyes landed on the pantry. That was relatively big and had enough room for me. The footsteps became louder, my frantic mind all jumbled and confused. I rushed to the pantry and desperately tried to close the door. It closed quickly with a loud bang. I cringed at the sound as the pace of the footsteps quickened with each heavy, deafening step I heard. The lights to the kitchen flickered on. My heartbeat quickened. The footsteps slowly made their way over to the pantry. The door was flung open. My eyes widened in horror. When I saw the figure step out of the shadows, relief washed over me and I ran straight to it, familiarity bursting like a bubble within me.


31

By Kane Bridger Boundless. That’s what we believe we are, or strive to achieve. For many may strive to go places, do things out of the conventional, but not many do. Many think they have, or futilely tried to. But sometimes all that you need is a nudge, to leave your life behind and do something unanticipated. Villagers are running and screaming as the town is set alight. Matalith is a fishing settlement next to Lake Nolel. Fire burns all that it touches, for this is like no fire Phanel has seen before. This is a fire which cannot be put out by water, as that only aggravates it, and requires no fuel to scorch. It simply burns until it goes out and by the time it does go out, it has set everything near it on fire. Phanel turns the corner to reach the docks. All of the boats are set alight. The water glows red. All of the mages in the small town are trying to put out the fire with no result. No incantation, spell or charm does it falter to. All that it seems to do is absorb the magical energy. Phanel stands next to the water’s edge. The village’s inhabitants flee in all directions. He watches as a few fishermen jump into the water to swim to safety. They all scream in agony. The water is steaming now and covered in a blanket of crimson flames. Looking down on his left hand he discovers that it has become turgid, disfigured and distorted from the exposure to the abundant heat. Phanel turns to run away from the docks, he finds the town is completely ablaze. There is no going back that way. He sprints along the cobble stone road beside the lake. There are only two roads out of Matalith, one is the thoroughfare to the settlement of Lilaths and the other to the land of Elendra. He decides to travel to Elendra as it is the only exit that isn’t already blocked. Phanel puts his hand on the hilt of the scimitar that his uncle had given him and draws his blade. He didn’t know why he did this, but he felt as if it was the proper thing to do. The market was here only hours ago, but now is completely abandoned. The boulevard of Matalith looks as though it belongs to a ghost town. But it does not. Reaching the edge of town Phanel discovers folks dressed in grey robes with gilded tassels lining them, their faces seemed to sink into the darkness of their hoods. There were cloaked figures holding bows, and swords and daggers and crossbows and staffs of every imaginable size and shape. After seeing the cloaked men’s façade Phanel hid behind one of the abandoned stalls and waited in the hope that he hadn’t yet been discovered. Out of habit Phanel’s leg begins to shake. He waits behind the shack for an agonisingly long time. How long would you have waited in a time like this, sitting on a comfy chair confined to your small bubble. You would probably think that you know exactly what to do in this situation. But you don’t, and neither does Phanel. He was holding the gilded hilt of his scimitar with such ferocity that he cut the circulation off to his fingers. He loosens his grip and takes a deep, long, uneven breath. ‘What am I going to do?’ Phanel silently whines to himself. Looking around he sees the rubble of a building that had burnt now to an ember. Phanel begins to incrementally move toward the building. Once he reaches the pile of rubble he begins to move slowly towards the cloaked figures. Using the cover of the building he is able to pass by them. Until one of the cloaks spots him. The cloak was only a few feet away from where Phanel was hiding, he runs at him and thrusts his scimitar through the cloaks chest. Though Phanel does not know it yet, the journey to the land of Elendra has only just begun. From the conventional to the unexpected. For true adventures can’t be planned, for they are forged in uncertainty.


32

The bracelet flashed green as the only light source in the barren valley. His footsteps echoed on the cold, hard stone. Not long ago the valley was filled with bright colours and noise from the dragons that inhabited the valley until one day they vanished. Ronan swung the bracelet with four dragon scales around his thin wrist. The scales’ glow surrounded the teen. His father said the scales were magical and that if he focussed his imagination on something, it would appear but that time he used magic, a scale would fall off. A pair of mischievous eyes stared out of the shadows watching the tall, lanky boy with the blonde hair, brown eyes and the glowing bracelet. The mysterious person crept in the shadows silently towards the unsuspecting boy. The person jumped, bringing Ronan down with a startled cry. Ronan rolled on top of his assailant before realising the boy with brown, shaggy hair and bright blue eyes was familiar. “Arthur what on earth are you doing?” Ronan asked angrily. “I wanted to find the gem with you. Why can’t I help?” Arthur questioned insulted, while brushing dirt off his clothes.

“It’s not that I didn’t want you to help but my father had died trying to return the gem to the kingdom. I wanted to complete his quest” Ronan said quietly. “This place is supposedly haunted by dead dragon ghosts” Arthur muttered changing the subject. The boys walked in silence through the abandoned valley as the setting sun cast ominous shadows. They walked past dry lakes and dead plants. As they passed a cave, Arthur tripped on something large and jagged. With a gut wrenching feeling Arthur realised it was a bone with the decaying flesh of a dragon. As he wondered what had happened to the dragons, Arthur kicked the bone. Pain shot through his foot and up his leg. “I can’t die like this mate, I’m supposed to marry a foreign princess and become filthy rich” he screamed. “Arthur, be quiet! You’re not going to die.” Reaching the end of the valley the mountains opened up to a dense, eerily silent forest. No sound came out of the forest. It was like birds or insects were afraid to make a sound. There appeared to be no exit and the trees were identical. The boys checked the map and could see that the forest circled the mountain they were trying to find. Feelings of dread came over Ronan as they stepped into the forest. They walked on, afraid to make a noise in the deafening silence. Roots like reaching fingers twisted along the ground and the silver spines of the trees created shadows like beasts lurking in the dark. No light could penetrate the trees. All day the boys walked and the trees were still thickly pressed together with no sign of thinning. They should have reached the mountain after an hour according to the map.


33

Suddenly Ronan realised they were in the Ever-changing forest. He had read about it in his father’s books. An ancient wizard had cast a spell that made the forest never ending unless the people that were lost had magic. Ronan looked at the bracelet hanging from his wrist with its warm green glow and then closed his eyes. He imagined the trees parting and the path up the mountain appearing in front of him. He hear Arthur gasp and shake his arm. Opening his eyes he saw the side of a mountain with a thin twisting path leading through the forest and up the slope. A dragon scale is lying on the ground dull and lacking the green glow. Arriving at the top of the mountain path the boys heard a soft whisper coming from inside a dark cave. The cave had a dull glow beckoning the boys inside. Inside the narrow passageway of the cave the walls were cold stone. Towards the end of the cave was a sharp turn to the right and the light was becoming stronger and the whispers louder.

The passageway opened into a large cavern with high ceilings. Bookshelves lining each wall were filled with books that ranged from spell books to cook books. Sitting in the middle of the room was a large rectangular wooden table covered in piles of open books. Strangely coloured potions were everywhere. At the edge of the table was the gem engulfed with yellow light coming from a nearby lamp. A wizard stood muttering in front of the gem dressed in a dark cloak. He was tall with short, black hair and looked about 40. A rock fell from the boy’s hiding place and the wizard looked up with dark brown eyes. He caught sight of Arthur’s foot sticking out behind a rock. The wizard shot fire from his hand and hit the wall near Arthur. The boys jumped out of their hiding place and faced the wizard. “Give us the gem” Arthur yelled from behind Ronan. The wizard let out a deep laugh, waved his hand and tied the boys together with rope in less than a minute “You fools, this isn’t a stupid gem. With a flick of my wrist I could create more riches and gems than you can ever imagine.” “This precious thing” he stated stroking the gem “is a dragon egg and is the answer to eternal life. I’m sure you have heard of the magic powers of different dragon types?” “This egg contains a dragon with scales that can prolong a life for 400 more years, there are 1500 scales on a dragon that regrow when taken off. I, Icusar, will be immortal” he was becoming slightly hysterical. He leaned close to Ronan “How old do I look to you, huh how old?”

“uhh 40 I, I guess” Ronan stuttered slightly scared. The wizard started cackling with joy. “103,450 years old” he screamed with delight. “But enough of that - I have to kill you so you don’t ruin my plans” he yelled. He started to mutter a spell During Icusar’s rant about eternal life Ronan had moved his hand so it was facing the crazy man. He imagined a large boulder breaking free of the wall and falling down to knock the wizard unconscious while they escaped. He opened his eyes as a large rock crashed down trapping the wizard’s legs. Grabbing the egg they ran out carefully as to not let the egg fall. At the bottom of the mountain the boys sank to the ground breathing heavily “We are never going on a quest again” Arthur gasped out. “Never again” Ronan agreed.


34

By Justine Inguanti Another day, another meeting. This stupid job makes me really question my purpose in life. I’m meant to be an agent and I thought that meant “action” and “adventure” and “exhilaration”, but obviously not. This job usually means I sit at my desk for an eternity and type up science paperwork on things people have already done. Every day for the past month I’ve been quietly wondering: “Why not me?” Honestly, I should be the one inventing these marvelous things. So, here I am. In another random hall in Lanzhou, China, which is draped in red velvet and various gold furnishings, for yet another unveiling of an invention I should’ve come up with. Everyone is still waiting for someone to emerge onto the stage. To paint the picture for you, this meeting is about as exciting as listening to elevator music for three hours straight. I’m not 100% sure what this invention is actually for, because I didn’t bother to read the information that was given to me about it. As plain as it might look, it’s interesting because I wonder what it does. I stare at the small silicone-looking ball trying to comprehend what it is made to do. In the past, I’ve seen all kinds of things. Nowadays, the inventions I see are mainly something already existent, only it’s solar-powered. So this is surprisingly a welcome change. My job also includes making sure nothing goes wrong during the meeting. However the most shocking thing I first notice is why it is simply standing on a table in a glass tank with no barriers around it whatsoever! Most people in the room don’t seem at all fazed by this, but I know something’s up. I look up to see a small child tapping on the glass. The ball is incredibly sensitive considering it appears to be made of silicone. Then this ‘ball’ starts to rapidly expand. That glass tank won’t be able to hold it much longer. Within seconds, an explosion of glass and greyish liquid encircles the room and everyone in it. Someone yells “Get them!” and soon every official person in the room is chasing after me. Proof that anything can go from dreary to horrifying in a matter of seconds. So back to square one and the only safe place I know, my home, AKA: my office. After seeing many buildings in many cities around China, I’ve realized the one I enter so very often is not at all like the others, especially on the inside. It’s a fair bit older than the rest. The others seem to be all marked as “heritage” even though they’re made in somewhat 2150. The skyscraper I’m standing in - China’s tallest I might add - was built in quite a strange era indeed, long before I was born.


35

My research on architecture and inventions of the past proves that this place was made long before that, in 2020. It doesn’t have any special mark because it’s something people tend to refer to as ‘timeless’. I don’t hear that term tossed around as often as I used to, which is strange. So naturally I’ve wanted to explore this maze of glass, fountains, and other fancy things ever since I came here. After several hours of procrastination I know exactly what I shouldn’t do. But I’m going to do it anyway because I know that it will bring me answers. Good ones at that. After all, I’ve been here longer than anyone else and I’m tired of people telling me what to do. I rush down the stairs fast enough to break a world record. They seem to spiral down forever but I can almost hear them coming to a finish. Aha! The store room! It has a rusty high voltage sign on it, but if your door’s made of wood, then I think not. I know no one ever comes down here but the screech of the door leaves me to think that I’m going to get busted any minute. I whip out my notepad and start to jot down what I see around here and start putting some things in my backpack. Would you believe, I finally found my stapler down here. I strangely find some old discarded inventions as well. Some of the things my own fellow colleagues made here, dumped here and swept away. But aside from all this, I find a strange photo-booth-like machine and I wonder what it is for. It has a bit of security tape around it saying “DANGER DO NOT TOUCH”. It has a tag that is usually put on faulty equipment. It says ‘damaged’. Well that narrows it down. Exactly where??? This is in mint condition. But the memories start coming back to me. The unveiling of this invention was as a new transport mechanism. Literally, a teleporter. A live demonstration was done and they picked a lady out of the audience. All went as planned, except for the fact that she came back badly cut on her arms and forehead, and screaming. She said something in Chinese; “Lingyu, ling yu… ling…yu…” I had no idea what she was talking about. She didn’t make it after that, and no one ever believed her or understood what she meant. Maybe I’ll have a chance to get a fresh perspective on things. The minute I sit down and pull the lever, it feels like a million knives are stabbing at you all at once. Then all your senses are lost for a moment. No light, no feeling, no sound. Just darkness and silence. I am no longer in the storeroom; I am in an unknown place. Things slowly start to appear, and… the place is an absolute mess. Honestly what teen nightclub could have concocted this monstrosity?! But two things are familiar, the gold furnishings, and the grey matter that never turns to a complete liquid. There’s only one thing that could’ve caused this. So, this teleporter in fact, is real. But why isn’t it taking me back to the same time the other lady specified? I mean, shouldn’t the timer on the front just reset itself? Then it hits me. This isn’t a teleporter… it is in fact something everyone always thought we had invented but no one ever knew we did. A time machine. I’d better leave before anyone from around here finds me.

***


36

By Justine


37


I miss his bright smile, I miss his contagious laugh, I miss the way he takes me on dolphin rides in the pool, I miss his good half, I miss the naughty half, I miss how he was always acting like a fool. I miss all the endless games of chess I lost, To be fair, he was the chess champ of Victoria, He had dementia, I never knew it would cost,

I hate how the fun times are now phantasmagoria. Some tell puns in acts of innocent joking around, Grandpa did every single day of the week, I say them in memory, which might astound, Why did he have to become so frail and weak? 2013, a week before his birthday, He died surrounded by the people he loved, And now every single anniversary, His friends, foes and family feel like they’ve been shoved. We buried him at Scots burn, at the farm,

His ashes overlook the dam, to this day, I’m sure he’d love the stars, when it’s calm, I’d say I’m fine but am I really okay? I savor the puns, the chess and the swimming, I stare at that empty board waiting to be played on, It was a constant reminder that he was always winning, Lest we forget you Grandpa, your memory lives on.

38


39

Night-time is when the true me comes out It’s the time when the world stops The time when I can come out of my shell When I can truly be me The time where no-one’s there to put you down No-one to hurt you, no-one to judge you

I feel the cold air on my tongue as I take a cold breath in the dark The darkness makes me feel safe, makes me feel like I can be free It’s the way I feel, the way I am I feel that the night-time is part of me My comfort, my home The dark is where I belong Night-time is when the true me comes out. Annabella Milne


40

Your party of the people leads your land towards the light. You are the great saviour who always puts up a fight. Your policies build a nation, triumphant in even the worst hour. Where do you find the strength? How do you have the willpower? You improve human life from Taipei to Shanghai. Merry workers singing together they’re unified. Red armies rise at your bidding, your fighters fill the horizon. What more can you achieve? How do you make every day brighten? They tremble in jealously over your nation’s rapid development. Their economies are threatened daily for your people are so intelligent. You celebrate in imperial palaces with an abundance of rice and tea

and can hear the joy of the people who proudly showcase their ethnicity.

Robert Xu


41

Wind gushing, Rushing around me, Lifting me off my feet. Can’t stop, Oh I can’t stop falling.

Don’t think that I’ll land on my feet.

And then the music saves me, It takes me away, Lifts me off my feet, Whirlpool of songs, Notes all around,

Leads a sweet melody through my dreams,

Cold water, Frozen around me, Sinking down, down, down, down. Ice breaks, From the heat of the outcome. Swallows me whole and seals back over.

And then the music saves me, It takes me away, Lifts me off my feet, Whirlpool of songs, Notes all around, Leads a sweet melody through my dreams, Leads a sweet melody through my dreams.

Milo Gaffney


42

As a piccolo’s starry note, clear amongst the ocean of sound, You shine to mine ear, thus I tilt my wings to face the stellar trail of your tune. Following the sound of your striking treble, The rhythm of your waves erode the densest of my impenetrable stone.

As an ark, sailing in a deep sea of ebony; My heart like the Moon, you confide scar on impact. Following the sight of your woven frame, Your graceful artistry robs me of a precious pulse.

As a tempest, a typhoon – either matter – The pair both inhale and so blow me away Following the taste of your vivid red fruit, I inherit the strength and vigour of your core.

As a child’s playmate – a mild beast – small in body, endless. A gift for foster, a gift to confess and a gift of cherish. Following the touch of your warm embrace, I reminisce and hold your grasp firmly in the library of my mind.

As a recent blossomed dream, newly rooted in my thoughts; I toil to recall every glistening petal of your detail and image. Following the scent of your gratifying aroma,

I leave you unpicked so that you may flourish beyond my dreams. Liam Dempsey


43

Walking through the frozen forest Icicles dripping from the leaves All is quiet, not a single sound Except the explosions from the battleground The overheating vehicles melting the snow Waters dripping, starting to flow There’s too much water it bogs the cars Goodbye everyone, I’m off to the bar Taiki


44

Glistening dew sprays from the grass The smell of freshly cut grass fills the air Running around like a headless chicken Boots treading in sloppy mud Feeling excitement and enthusiasm Parents cheering Aching legs “”Soccer is love” “Soccer is life” Anon

The sweet, juicy smell of oranges, Lingers through the air. Steam coming off people’s skin, And onto the dewy field. This is the AFL. Oscar Armstrong


45

The wind in my hair; I just don’t care; The sand between my toes; It’s like time just froze; Gliding on a perfect wave; It’s just like I’m in an isolated cave; With nothing to worry about; And nothing to fear; No one to doubt; Why I am even here; The sun shining on my, skin; From cheek to cheek is a big grin; The birds are tweeting with glee; The sweet smell of the sea; It makes me feel free; The sunset is bliss; The wind is a hiss; The stars are bright; In the peaceful night; The water is cool on my hand; Everything seems so grand; Looking up to the sky; I feel like I could fly; Floating on the sea; Water as far as the eye can see;

It feels like the sea is meant for me. Harriette St Ledger


46

Bonnie

Sprache Some books, some maps, that’s all I need. They’re the tickets to my favourite subject of knowledge. Tarih I love languages. I love history. I love learning about different countries and their cultures. Limba I know the Ottoman Empire’s downfall I know the Irish famine I know the words that most don’t know And they are my friends Történelem Liechtenstein is safe Australia is peaceful Sealand is small

And Russia is the largest of them all Språk Some books, some maps, that’s all I need. They’re the tickets to my favourite subject of knowledge. Istoriya


47

Death is not an emotion, Death is something we fear, But why fear the end, when the end is all but near

Sadness may consume you, but only if you let it, Sadness will get you down, but trust me, do not fret it.

Humans may find envy, for those who are better, All we can really do is, strive to do better.

You may choose to push away things you do not like, But you should know that if you try it, we may be a little alike.

Anger is no good thing, revenge and hatred suck, Resolve your problems calmly, and randomly quack like a duck.

Joy is the best emotion of all, let me tell you that, If everyone is happy, at least someone will screech like a bat.

Will Ryan


48

The wind is roaring like an outraged lion, The elephantine waves are a beautiful force of nature. My muscles burn like a bushfire. The weather that makes you excited, but terrified of sailing in. The icy water burns where it touches your face. This is the weather that most sailors dream of sailing in, the kind that leaves you buzzing with adrenalin for hours after. I love it.

The white hot sun blazes down through a cloudless sky. Lounging on the decks, not doing much. Moving slowly, noting the lack of wind Splash! Somebody, somewhere has jumped in. “Hey!� fun calls from across the water, easy banter. A large splash, as I capsize my boat.

An airy laugh from my crew. An easy, relaxing day. Milli McDonald


49

My mum, she is beautiful and she is strong. She is kind and she is brave. She is smart and she is thoughtful. She is all of this and more,

Ma mère, elle est belle et elle est forte. Elle est gentille et elle est courageuse. Elle est intelligente et elle est réfléchie. Elle est tout cela She is my mother, and et plus, I love her. Elle est ma mère, et je s’adore. Max


50

Wander with the pity girl She loves words and she loves thinking, Thoughts unruly and insane; She loves to think of you.

All hell broke loose in the garden that night,

Frogs screeching and geese arriving Wilting flowers are left, disguised As fake leaves and dead beliefs Birds are not nesting but stinging trees And all the lights flicker.

Lilted eyes, gorgeous dark rings, Running, running round the iris, Lashes plush and wet with tears, Distant stares adored. Lily Mettam-Cribb


51

Thank You for Reading

The word 2016  
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