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  • Writer's pictureAutumn Isobel Smith



In which Autumn Isobel Smith introduces her readers to the world of Althea


This is a special story for me, for it is the first I've written in the world of Althea. I've been writing since I was very young, and when I was about twelve years old, I created the land of Rimigah. It was a fantasy world, full of elves, humans, dwarves, and more. I made maps, invented characters, and came up with legends passed down through the ages. But it took many years for this world to develop into what it is now. Rimigah was just one realm in a continent. Now there are many, each one as detailed as the next. Even still, it is constantly evolving. Currently, it is the setting for a live-action roleplay for my friends and I to enjoy, but I decided that our stories deserve to be told.



The dream came to me once more last night. When I closed my eyes, I was eight years old again. The scene played out just like I remembered, like it was happening all over again. Mama, Papa, Tomo, and I were at the table, eating redroot soup. It used to be my favorite. Now, I can barely stomach it. We were just sitting there, like it was any other day. Mama was laughing at something dumb Tomo said. Then, I heard a scream. Distant, but close enough that Mama was concerned. I can still see her eyes in my mind, as green as the forest canopy above us. Green like mine.

She looked up at Papa, and her mouth fell open as we heard the splintering of wood and shattering glass. More screams, and then a piercing silence that filled our ears more thoroughly than any sound could. Then, footsteps. These were no elven footfalls. The villagers I knew were light on their feet and skilled climbers, just like us. This was something else.

Mama knew something was wrong, and it scared me. She pulled me from my seat. “Tomo!” she said in a hushed voice. That scared me even more. “Take Rin and hide under the bed. Go.”

“Mama, what-”

“Do as I say, Tomo. Please. Don’t come out, no matter what you hear.”

Tomo nodded with determination and took my hand. Together, we scrambled under the wooden bedframe. It was dark and dusty. The footsteps outside our little house grew louder. Beside me, Tomo was shaking, but he put an arm around my shoulders and drew me closer. “It’s alright, Rin,” he said. It made me feel better in that moment to know my big brother was with me. He would look out for me. He always had.

A sharp smell reached my nose. Magika. Sure enough, when I looked at Mama’s legs, I saw purple sparks falling to the floor. Lightning magika, her specialty. “Wiphidia, give me strength.” I heard her murmur, calling on the goddess of air. But the gods didn’t care about us then, and they don’t now. What happened next was proof of that.

A blade unsheathed. That was Papa, pulling out his sword. The footsteps were almost on top of us now. Suddenly, they stopped. Just like always, I held my breath. There was a massive crash as our thin wooden door was blasted off its hinges. I remember wanting to scream. I could feel the sound welling in my throat, but Tomo placed his hand over my mouth.

Mama screamed though. I had never heard her make a sound like that before. My skin prickled and an icy dread swept over me. “Get out!” she cried, her voice thin and sharp. “Please, just… just leave us alone!”

Something laughed. It was cold, guttural, and devoid of any compassion. I knew then how this would end. Eight years old, and I could feel the mortality of my parents as three orcs advanced upon them. Mama and Papa backed up until they were against the wall. Tomo and I could see them perfectly. The image is burned into my mind. I’ll never forget, no matter how hard I try. The orc in the forefront held up an axe. It was made of some black material, I have no idea what.

The only color I remember after that is scarlet. Papa died first. He fought hard, pushing Mama behind him, but the orcs were too much for him. A sword plunged through his chest and then there was red. So much red. It stained the floorboards and crept towards our hiding place. Tomo pulled us back further until we were hidden in shadow.

Mama screamed again. Sparks flew from her hands, bright tendrils of lightning that wrapped around the orc that killed Papa. It roared in some harsh language I had never heard, and Mama, still screaming, threw all of her energy into the bolt of lightning she cast next. The orc dropped to the floor, his grey flesh smoking. But as Mama turned on the other two, they raised their blades and she fell. Her head came to a stop beside the bed. Those eyes, so green, stared blankly back at me, and that’s when I always woke up, heart pounding, in a cold sweat.

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