Three Threes Volume 1: Masks - Prologue
by Jacob Repucci '19
The Mask on Spatium’s belt was a key to mankind’s ascension to godhood, and she felt the weight of guarding it. That’s why when she realised something was hunting her, every muscle in her body tensed.
Most people wouldn’t notice an attack force creeping through the forest at night when the three moons were on the wane, but Spatium did. The way the air moved and the slight abnormality to the rustle of the pines all spoke to a third party being present in the forest.
And as far as Spatium could tell, it was a rather large third party.
She pulled out her bow from behind her. Drawing a rod made of Elder wood, she strung it to the bow with cords made of magic and drew it back ever so slightly. She held completely still, hoping that the people tracking her would pass by.
That chance never came, as a volley of magical attacks flew towards her from all directions. With the speed of a cornered cat, she spun around and let loose the arrow. She sent purple flashes of light from her hands, which engulfed the projectile as it flew through the air.
The now-purple projectile struck a tree, and Spatium materialized just behind it, the magic bound to the arrow allowing her to teleport to its location. She grabbed the wooden rod from the tree and ran ahead.
More volleys of magic flew toward her, but now that her attackers were behind her, their aims were inaccurate.
Suddenly, another volley of magic attacks came in, this time from her right side. She
grabbed two more wooden rods from her quiver, jumped into the air, spun toward her assailants, and shot all three projectiles at the same time. Three hooded silhouettes fell to the ground on the impact of the arrows.
Spatium held up her hand as she ran, and purple light leapt from it, projecting a portal that allowed her to view the forest from above. Judging by her surroundings and the view of the forest in the portal, she was still deep within the forest. She could also see through her viewport that a few more scattered groups of people were waiting at the forest’s edge. She cursed. It was going to be a long night.
In her lapse of concentration, a blast of fire magic hit Spatium in the shoulder, sending her to the ground. She winced and scrambled onto her feet as the foliage around her rustled, making way for hooded silhouettes moving in for the kill.
Twisting the handle of her bow, Spatium split it into two pieces of wood, purple light leaping up on their edges forming blades. The high-pitched noise of Elder swords being activated rung in Spatium’s ears as blades edged with fire, lightning, water, air, light, and even life leapt up around her in the hands of hooded figures.
She spun around, using one sword to block an attack from behind and another sword to cut at the stomach of an assailant. She spun again to block another attack from her left and cut her opponent down with her second sword all in one movement. Spatium spun and blocked and slashed, engaging in a elegant but deadly dance that left piles of dead or injured bodies around her as more soldiers emerged from the forest.
“Disengage!” hissed a figure, stalking into plain view.
The Order soldiers backed away from Spatium, whose weapon was now trained on the new arrival. The figure wore battered armor, two large gauntlets, and an old gas mask.
“Spatium,” said the figure. “We’ve been looking for you.”
“What a coincidence,” said Spatium, “I’ve been looking for you, too, but that’s ‘cause I wanted you dead. Of course, that option is out of the question for me, so why are you here?”
“You know why,” said Arachnidhall. “Relinquish the Mask, Spatium. You’re surrounded.”
“Yeah, and surrounding me has worked so well for you so far,” responded Spatium.
“Yes, against our mages you may have the upper hand…” said Arachnidhall.
A figure wearing a grinning Mask, a white tuxedo, and a large top hat appeared behind Arachnidhall, melting out of the shadows.
“…but against a Mask? Even you, the Master of Space, may have some difficulty.”
Spatium’s eyes widened, and she aimed her bow into the sky to escape. However, the new assailant was quick, and he attacked right as she was about to release her arrow. The blade sliced her across her shoulder as she stumbled backwards from the attack, and her arrow took a wild trajectory through the air. The arrow hit a tree above her, and she materialized right behind it. She leapt from branch to branch, hoping to put some distance between her and her attacker.
Spatium opened another triangular portal above her hand. It was twitchy and unstable, the spike of adrenaline affecting her ability to do magic. Not taking her eyes off the path ahead of her, she spoke to the person she was trying to contact.
“Master, I need your help,” she said. “I took the Mask of Complacency from the Chronicler after her death, but the Order is on my tail. They have the Mask of Glee with them, and-”
She stopped running, stunned at what she saw.
In the portal, instead of the face of her master, was the face of a red-haired girl.
“Who are you?”
Spatium choked as her Masked attacker appeared behind her and a blade passed through her body. The portal in Spatium’s hand dissipated as she looked tried to turn her head to look at her killer.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered.
The attacker withdrew his sword, and Spatium tumbled to the ground in front of a waiting Arachnidhall.
Arachnidhall removed the Mask from Spatium’s belt and admired its gleam in the moonlight. She pried off her own gas mask and pressed the Mask of Complacency to her face. It changed shape until it fit to her face, covering it completely.
The Masked figure who killed Spatium slid down the tree and landed on the ground without a sound.
“Well done,” said Arachnidhall to the Masked figure. “You will be rewarded handsomely for this.”
“Oh splendid!” he responded.
And so the body was taken away underneath the tri-moon lit sky, setting the sparks in motion that would set fire the embers of a dead war…
And my part to play was soon to begin.
Read the rest of Three Threes Volume 1: Masks at readthreethrees.wordpress.com