Thunder rumbled, so loud and
near that it practically shook the earth below. It was nearly impossible to
hear anything over the showers pounding against the mud and puddles, or the
trees trembling in the wind. A branch cracked and fell.
There was a flash of lightning,
and for a moment, the two figures weaving and battling through the trees were
The one with bright magenta hair
crashed against a tree trunk with a pained grunt, recovering just in time to
duck away from the steel handclaws that sliced through the bark with ease. She threw
a punch into her opponent’s side, and they doubled over; the jack-o-lantern
head resting on their shoulders nearly smashed into her face, but she grabbed
it with both hands and slammed it down towards her knee. When it collided, the
thick, hard material had her stumbling back and clutching the joint in agony.
In a flash, the jack-o-lanterned
launched forward, claws extended like a spear hurtling towards its target. She snatched
their forearm out of the air and spun until they were behind her, from where
she yanked and hurtled them over her shoulder. As they flung forward, they
twisted their body just enough to land right back on their feet and fling her
with her own momentum. She tumbled across the mud and leaves until skidding to
She scrambled to her feet,
wiping the residue off of the solid black, metal mask covering the lower half
of her face. As Jack-O-Lantern ran forward, the woman lifted her left arm and
pulled back a shot on the crossbow strapped tightly to her wrist. One small, wooden
arrow was shot, but they ducked under it and launched themselves into the air,
one heel ready to strike.
The woman was quick to throw her
arms into an X-shape above her head just in time for the other to crash down
onto her; despite the protection, she still dropped back down to the ground.
Before they could attempt any other attack, she reared back and kicked, boot
colliding with their crotch and knocking them up and over her head. They
somersaulted back onto their knees as she rolled over and readied another
“Oleander,” she whispered.
A soft, white glow crept from
the base of the wood to the steel tip, and then shuddered and disappeared.
Jack-O-Lantern was still
kneeling in the mud, one hand propping them up while the other held their lower
stomach. The woman furrowed her brow and paused, waiting to see what their next
move would be.
A steady stream of blood
trickled down her forehead and into her blue eye; a lock of loose hair blew
into her green.
Finally, Jack-O-Lantern looked
up. If she could see their eyes, she was certain they would be making eye
For a long moment, the only
sound that could be heard was the raindrops pelting the earth around them.
And then, the snap of a branch.
The woman let out a curse as it
came flying out of a tree and attached itself to Jack-O-Lantern’s arm. A rock
was close behind, and then a vine, and another branch, and on and on until they
were armored by various essential parts of the forest around them.
As they climbed to their feet,
the leaves swirled around and stuck as one final layer. All that could be seen
from here was the pumpkin protecting that which was most important.
The woman glared, fired her
arrow, and sprinted for the trees.
In a world where magic is of every day usage and kingdoms are held together only by the most courageous of citizens, Camp Schesi is one of few grounds where students can hone their crafts for the good of others. People come from all over the Kingdom of Eydeyse, and sometimes further, to train under some of the best. For four years, they will study and fight to learn every ounce of information they can get.
Terra Beste, Soledad Caballero, Chika Gao-Aiza, and Adela Kariuki have all made the decision to attend, each at vastly different points in their lives and with a variety of motivations: to get away from home, to prove their worth, to learn to protect others, to learn to protect themselves. While they may start as strangers sharing a room, it's only inevitable that their stories will begin to weave together until they're impossible to separate.