Obsidian | Teen Ink


November 27, 2021
By Anonymous


Arlyn had killed thousands of people in less than a night. And it didn’t bother him. After all, he had done worse. He stood before the rubble-strewn gates of the entrapped city, shivering slightly. He wrapped himself in his cloak, grabbing it firmly as it swirled around him in the wind. Fires burned within the city, lighting the smoke in the night sky with flickering orange light. Arlyn breathed in; savoring the smell of burned flesh. 

His eyes flicked to the top of the wall as he spotted a flash of movement. Nothing. Then suddenly, several feet to the right of where Arlyn was looking, another man popped up, minuscule at the top of the wall. He drew a longbow, knocking an arrow and drawing it back. Before the archer could release the arrow, Arlyn groped for something in his pocket and pressed it to the back of his hand. Strands of something like liquid fire dripped from the object, falling to the dirt at his feet and wriggling like worms into the earth. The archer released the arrow and it flew straight and true. It struck Arlyn but shattered and he barely flinched. The archer’s posture looked disbelieving. As he realized his predicament he ran across the wall, fleeing from Arlyn. Grasping another object, Arlyn this time thrust it towards the man, the same reddish-gold liquid dripping from it. 

As the archer ran he slowed and began to glow, his skin growing redder and redder by the second. He screamed; high and loud. The scream was quickly cut off as he burst apart, his body shattering like glass and clattering to the stones of the wall. Arlyn turned his back to the wall and strode down a wide cobbled road, his cloak flapping behind him in the wind.

Chapter 1: Gone Too Long 

The sound of clashing metal filled the air, ringing through the Arena. Terryn breathed in deeply, the cold air stinging his lungs. His dark brown bangs hung low over his forehead, slick with sweat. He brushed them out of his eyes, then blocked another swing of the old man’s sword. Terryn lunged at him, aiming for his stomach, but at the last moment, the man twisted away. He countered with his own lunge but Terryn sidestepped and whacked the man’s hand with the butt of his sword. The man’s sword fell to the stones and he gripped his hand, grimacing. Terryn put his sword to the man’s throat and said, “Dead again, Master.”

Standing up and pointing his sword to the ground, the man grinned, “Terryn, I’m impressed. I probably shouldn't be telling you this, but I haven't been going easy on you this past couple weeks. And yet you're still beating me in nearly every duel!” He grumbled, a little sore about it, but was still good spirited, “I’m not sure if there’s more I can teach you. I have some men waiting in the wings for a duel. Why don’t you go home early today.” 

Terryn wished they could continue, but he didn’t want to seem disrespectful. He saluted and said, “Yes, sir.”

 As Terryn walked away, he glanced back over his shoulder to look at the building. It was three stories high and open to the top. Rings of tiered benches covered the inside Walls, stopping halfway up. Terryn usually didn’t take the time to notice the grandeur of the building, but sometimes he just had to stop and stare.

Originally the city had been a massive, flat, plateau. Hundreds of years ago though, Stonemasons had carved and molded a city out of the stone. Each building in the city was one seamless structure of marble. Each one had been hand carved by a Stonemason and the process had taken more than a century.

Terryn walked out of the large, arched arena into the street beyond. He turned left to head home and walked down the cobblestone street with his hands in his pockets. Brightly dressed street vendors shouted, advertising their products to Terryn. He ignored them. If he bought from one he’d get roped into a never-ending cycle and wouldn’t get home until past dark. 

He turned another corner and walked right into a broad-shouldered boy and fell backward onto the stones. Terryn looked up, annoyed until he saw that it was just his friend, Spencer.

Spencer was the son of a merchant who sold trinkets from ‘other lands’. It was common knowledge by now though that he made them himself. After all, how would he get trinkets from other lands, when there were none?  

As soon as Spencer realized who he had knocked over he reached down to help him up. “Hey, Terryn! Sorry about that. Are you alright?” He asked, concerned.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Terryn said.

 “My father just got a new shipment from the land of Khathazia. There are plenty of new pots and furniture. There’s some jewelry I thought you might like too. Do you want to come to see them?”

Terryn chuckled but said, “Why not? Let’s go.” Terryn let him guide him down to Spencer’s family stall. 

Their little shop was made of the same white marble as the rest of the city, but it was two stories, much taller than most of the other low shops on the street. Spencer’s family lived up on the top floor, but on the bottom floor they displayed all of their goods on stone shelves.

As Terryn looked around he realized Spencer hadn’t been lying...well, mostly. He had still lied about the fact that the trinkets came from the supposed ‘Khathazia’- but other than that, he had been right in saying that they had some very good items. Terryn saw some surprisingly well-carved furniture in the back corner of the shop, along with rows and rows of jewelry laid out on the shelves on the walls. 

He spotted a medallion that looked interesting; it was made of a leather necklace and an iron symbol of Reshknak. Leather was a rare material in the city, but the symbol was interesting too. 

Reshknak was the high god of the Rithians; a pantheon of gods that lived in the heart of the world and controlled everything that occurred across the land. It was believed that Reshknak controlled the departed souls of the righteous in the Underworld.

“I’ll take that one,” Terryn said, pointing, “How much is it?” 

Spencer looked over to where he was pointing- and putting on his air of an eccentric peddler- exclaimed, “Ah! A good choice. This one was made by the greatest blacksmith in all of Khathazia, Oridofis, I think his name was? He worked many long hours on it to-”

“Spencer!” Terryn interrupted, “I just want to know how much it is.” 

“ I see. This one goes for the low price of just four Trafen.”

“Four Trafen? Spencer, that’s ridiculous! I could hire a blacksmith to make an exact replica of that for 25 Ili. I’ll buy it for one.” Terryn doubted he would be able to hire someone who could make that, as leather was a scarce commodity, but Spencer didn’t know that. Or at least Terryn hoped so. 

“I will part with it for no less than two Trafen.” 

“...Deal.” said Terryn, grimacing as he handed over the large gold coins. Spencer had obviously been practicing with his father. He was getting too good; soon Terryn wouldn’t be able to get any lucky discounts. Terryn sighed, “You are getting way too good at this Spencer.” 

Spencer grinned at him, “Well, I wouldn’t have half as much experience without your haggling.” He wrapped the medallion in a small brown cloth and handed it to Teryn. “Anyway, it’s been nice talking with you, Terryn. Have a good afternoon. Hopefully, I will see you tomorrow.”

Terryn walked out of the shop, grinning. Talking with Spencer always made him feel better, even if it was just a brief exchange like that. Placing the wrapped medallion into his pocket, he started towards home again. 

His father’s large house was right in the middle of the city. Actually, more like the center of the center. The city consisted of two large ovals, one sunken inside another; the Inner City, where Terryn lived, and the Outer City. There were Walls around both, but the Walls around the Outer City were taller; it always gave Terryn the odd sensation of being at the bottom of a pit while in reality he was actually level with the ground. He only knew this because the Walls were the only thing you could see of the Outer City; everything else was invisible unless you stood on top of the Inner City’s Wall, and it was forbidden to climb it, even though many of the younger boys had tried. 

Terryn thought that it was crazy to forbid people from climbing the Wall, but the King and his Councilors didn’t want the guards’ work to be disrupted. Worse, they didn’t even allow citizens of the Inner City to leave. As far as he could tell, they hadn’t for years, long before he was born. The riots in the Outer City were supposedly too dangerous. Any attempt by the City Guard to stop them was always short-lived. 

Terryn turned the last corner, passing a horse-drawn carriage clattering across the cobblestones. As his house came into view he sighed, he couldn’t wait to collapse onto his warm bed. As he thought of that he clutched his coat tighter and hurried towards the door.

His house was a large three-story mansion with several balconies and large, stained glass windows. His room faced the street and had a small balcony he rarely used. It was also on the third floor, which was miserable because he was absolutely terrified of heights. His father always told him that if he was constantly up higher his perspective would change and he would begin to appreciate the height he was at.   

 Terryn had lived in the third-story room for three years. It wasn’t working.

He walked up the neatly carved stone path to the house, through the iron gate enclosing the yard, and up the stairs. He turned the frigid handle of the brass doorknob and went inside. 

As he walked in he shouted, “ Dad? Are you here?” There was no response. If his dad wasn’t home yet he doubted he would be for at least a few more hours. Council meetings usually don’t last for more than a few hours past noon, but when they do, they always last long into the night. Their maid, Amita, greeted Terryn as he looked through the many rooms of the mansion for his father. 

Amita had been their maid for as long as he could remember. She did all the cooking, cleaning and anything else that needed doing. Terryn had alway thought she was overworked, but she was also overpaid; she had a much larger income than any other maid he knew about. 

“Terryn, what are you doing home so early?” She asked. 

He relayed what had happened during practice. She sighed and Terryn asked, “Have you seen Father recently?”

“He sent word that he won’t be arriving until late tonight.” She stated, very clearly preoccupied with dusting off the mantle of the fireplace. 

Terryn groaned, he had been looking forward to talking with him. He strode out of the room, up the stairs, and into his bedroom. He closed the door behind him and collapsed into his bed, not even bothering to take off his shoes.


He woke up refreshed, warm rays of sunlight streaming through the window. Terryn rubbed his eyes and sat up. His body screamed at him as he stretched, still sore from the practice the previous day. His last practice, he reminded himself. He frowned. 

Something seemed off. He wondered what it was for a moment before realizing that by this time in the morning Amita should’ve been up and cooking. She always cooked breakfast in the morning, and the amazing smell was usually one of the first things he noticed. That was absent now. 

He rolled off his bed, the stone floor cold against his bare feet, and walked down the hallway. He called for his father and Amita, but there was no response. What could have happened? He glanced through all the rooms for the second time in as many days. Neither of them were home. Terryn sat down at the heavy stone table. Amita could be anywhere. It wasn’t possible his father could still be in a meeting, right? He had never stayed overnight at the palace. Terryn wondered where in the world he could possibly be when he heard the front door open. 

He got up and ran over to see who it was, finding Amita walking into the kitchen. He opened his mouth to ask her where his father was but she interrupted him, already knowing what he was going to ask, saying,

 “Terryn, your father wanted me to tell you something important if he ever ended up staying at the palace overnight.” She paused, as if trying to think of what to say. Haltingly, she finally spoke, “He wanted you to know that he will be alright. Secondly, he wants you to know that if you discover that anything has happened to him, that you must climb the Wall and see what is on the other side, no matter the cost.” 

Amita looked at him hard and said, “He said he should be fine and that you should hear of his victory soon, but if anything goes wrong, you should do as he says.”

Terryn’s head was swirling with questions. What victory? Why do I have to climb the Wall? He was flustered and angry at his dad for not telling him anything. He grabbed his gray jacket off the hook next to the front door, slipped it on, and left, leaving Amita still standing in the doorway.

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This book has 1 comment.

on Dec. 13 2021 at 10:25 pm
Terryn-Ashford, Amherst, Ohio
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

Great chapter, really well written!