MFA Writing Sample: Spirits

This is the start of a longer speculative fiction piece I’ve been working on. It’s a creation story in which three spirits do battle and create a planet in the process. Following this, is an opening chapter of the main story in which Val, a man who worships the spirit of Hades, begins laying siege to a palace with none more than one sword.

Top Left: Crimson Bottom Left: Phantom
Middle: Hades
Top Right: Jade Bottom Right: Dark Seeker

A journey back to the dawn of life reveals a land of pure darkness. No land or skies. Just void. Three spirits battled within this void. Nothing illuminated their path except the small, burning lights placed just far enough from each other to avoid contact. Yet still, these lights were close enough to fill this realm with a soft glow. A fire spirit wearing a black mask and a shadow spirit with a face covered in a sheet of frost stood side by side. These companions prepared to stand tall against a truly terrifying foe. The spirit of fire was known as the Phantom, and the being of shade was known as the Dark Seeker. They stared on at what appeared to be a spirit of many vast green and blue colors. The spirit that called itself Hades.

“Phantom and Dark Seeker. You have tailed me for many centuries. The time has come for me to complete the balance of the universe,” Hades started. “With this, I will feed on your souls and become God.”

The Phantom’s flame increased in heat, burning ever brighter. His bright orange and yellow flames radiated sheer rage.

“Hades,” he bellowed, “you have consumed all of the other spirits! With this you will create a true Hell. All that we know will cease. All perception will be shattered and all matter distorted.”

Hades smiled and took his stance, edging his arms behind his back and leaning his head forward with a clear thirst for pursuit in his aura. As he prepared to lunge, the Dark Seeker stood tall and strong and spoke valiantly.

“Hades. What you battle here is not the strength of us as spirits but as comrades. You stand against a timeless bond between two warriors, and that can never be shattered. Your celestial feast shall end with this moment.”

Both Phantom and Dark Seeker charged towards Hades and prepared to strike. Hades simply backed away, erecting a wall of solid brown material. Hades picked up this wall and projected it towards both of the spirits, sending them floating into the distance. Hades jumped towards the Phantom and attempted to strike him. The Phantom ducked and placed his hands on the abdomen of Hades and forced him back with a large wave of fire.

“The flames of the Phantom will burn brightest here. I carry the essence of my fallen brothers,” The Phantom cried out.

The Phantom pursued Hades and struck him numerous times. Hades fell further back but stopped his own momentum with sheer force. The Dark Seeker dashed toward him and placed a ghastly hand through his stomach, causing the penetrated area to freeze up almost immediately.

“This is the power of the mighty Hades? I expected more from you. Where is the power that you used to slay my brethren? Where is the strength that you used to massacre all that I love?”

Hades created an energy barrier around himself and forced the Dark Seeker away. The Dark Seeker’s hand was destroyed by the barrier as it formed. Clutching the wound, he approached the Phantom, and the two stood side by side once again. Hades had grown angry.

Hades lifted two hands above his head. The brown material he used to create the wall previously started to form above his head. This time it continued to cluster until it took the shape of a sphere. The sphere continued to grow, reaching indescribable magnitude. The Phantom and the Dark Seeker looked at each other, searching for a way to destroy the sphere. Hades projected the sphere in their direction but the Dark Seeker jumped in the way of it and unleashed a wave of mist onto the object. Ice shrouded the entire sphere, and it came to a complete stop.

The three spirits took the battle to the surface of this sphere. With each step the Phantom took the ice was melting and turning into a strange clear liquid.

“Credit is given where due, Dark Seeker,” Hades said. “You are in fact a mighty Shadow Spirit. The Shadow Spirits were always a very powerful clan as a whole. You do your name justice young one. But I am afraid it is time for us to close this chapter. Our battle ends now.”

Hades lunged toward the Dark Seeker and created a large blunt weapon from a stiff brown substance. Hades delivered a series of strikes to the Dark Seeker. The Dark Seeker put all of his focus into dodging the strikes. Finally, the Phantom jumped from behind Hades and set fire to his weapon. It burned almost immediately. Angry at this, Hades lifted chunks of the ground and throwing them at the Phantom. The Phantom fell back, but the Dark Seeker lunged, standing before Hades and slashing him across the stomach with a shard of ice. Phantom and Dark Seeker used this opening to charge forth and barrage their foe as a team.

Each strike became more and more in sync than the last until finally they delivered the perfect synchronized strike. A combination of ice and flame that left a crack in Hades’ chest. Hades, now filled with rage, unleashed a wave of energy so fierce and dense the ground shook until hundreds of his newly made wooden weapons spawned across the sphere. His shout continued to shake the foundation of the battlefield, sprouting lush green upon these planetary appendages. Hoping to gain an advantage, Hades disappeared into the lush of the world’s first forest.

“The mighty Hades runs? Imagine this,” the Phantom roared. “After everything you claimed to stand for. You wish to dominate all, yet when you face opposition you run and hide? No ruler goes unchallenged, Hades. All the more reason why the position does not suit you!”

“On the contrary, Phantom,” Hades began. “Only a fool stands and fights when he’s been outmatched. What you deem pride, I would call a mere lack of strategy.”

“Well how far can your strategy take you, fool?” Phantom said. He then created a spark that continued to expand until he’d created a flame large and wide enough to incinerate the entire forest. As heat incinerated each and every tree, Hades was pushed back. The fallen trees and the ash they created shrouded Hades, burying him beneath the aftermath of the attack.

Finally, all that remained was ash. Hades emerged from the ashes and lunged toward the Phantom, unleashing a shriek that echoed throughout the entire void. The Dark Seeker attempted to move, but brown material trapped his feet. In his state of vulnerability, the Phantom was savagely beaten by Hades. A barrage of violent attacks all leading up to a final blow delivered to the center.

The Phantom unleashed the largest flame he could muster, severely burning Hades. Hades dropped to the ground and clutched his face, screeching in agony. The Phantom unleashed a series of attacks onto Hades. Each attack was getting stronger and creating a larger crater beneath them. The Phantom was fighting for more than his own life. When he closed his eyes, he remembered the Crimson Spirit, whom he had loved. He remembered reaching for her hand as she fell into the abyss that was Hades. With this grief overpowering him, his attacks grew stronger. Hades was beginning to fall apart. He knew he had to put a stop to this. As the Phantom approached Hades, preparing his final strike, another of those trees emerged from the ground. This one was far more jagged and impaled the Phantom.

“No,” The Dark Seeker cried out. “Phantom, get out of there!”

“Prepare to become a part of Hades,” Hades shouted. “Goodbye, Phantom.”

Hades took hold of the Phantom’s very essence. Hades then opened his mouth and the inside started to glow yellow. The flames of the Phantom would fade.

“Mark my words, Hades. Even you, with strength this great, can never truly extinguish the flames of the Phantom.”

The Phantom continued to fade until he was no more. As the Phantom fully vanished, a faint red aura surrounded Hades. He dropped to the ground and started to grow slowly. Hades growled ferociously as his celestial shape continued to expand. The Dark Seeker looked in shock as Hades became the size of a titan. Finally Hades rose, looking down on the puny Dark Seeker.

“You are the last spirit I have yet to consume. When I feed on you I shall become a truly omnipotent being. How can you hope to defeat me without the help of your precious friend? The Phantom is part of me. The only way for you to be reunited with those you love is to become part of me.”

The Dark Seeker was in a state of pure terror. Looking in horror he finally attempted to escape. He was moving at a speed so intense, Hades could barely keep up. The Dark Seeker’s mind was shrouded in an overwhelming sense of fear and isolation: being the last one of his kind. He focused his mind, and he could see them clearly. The beautiful Crimson Spirit that was his sister. The Jade Spirit that was his lover. Even the Phantom Spirit that was his best friend and bravest ally. He had lost all of them to Hades. Everything he loved was gone. When things seemed to be at their worst, something happened to the Dark Seeker. A golden aura surrounded him, encasing him in a warm glow. The Dark Seeker could feel his power increasing with every passing second. Feeling this increase in strength, the Dark Seeker charged towards Hades.

“Dark Seeker? You would still oppose me? This will make swallowing you far easier than I thought it would be,” Hades said before swinging his arm at the Dark Seeker.

The Dark Seeker flew low to the ground avoiding Hades’ strike and charged directly into him. Hades clutched his stomach and fell forward. The Dark Seeker flew towards Hades and delivered a decisive strike, launching the evil spirit into the atmosphere. The Dark Seeker dashed angrily toward Hades but was blocked by a brutal and decisive strike. As the Dark Seeker went crashing into the ground, he created a pillar of ice, then proceeded to gain traction, landing on the ice pillar and gently sliding down to the surface. Then he used the ice to project himself back into the atmosphere with Hades.

“This is it, Hades,” The Dark Seeker shouted. “The end of this battle is upon us. I will destroy you and all that you are.”

Hades charged down upon the Seeker, and with his substantial size created a quake that sent him across the surface. Dark Seeker managed to stop his own momentum. Upon stopping, he created a large ball of ice. Many shards fired from it hitting Hades directly in the chest. Of course they were too small to stab him and merely shattered against his aura.

“Is that the last of your power?” Hades asked as he unleashed waves of fire upon the Dark Seeker. Of course the Dark Seeker continued to run away from every wave, dodging, surviving. Suddenly, however, a voice chimed in his ear. The voice of the Phantom.

“My friend. You know this aura. This is Soul Energy. You and I are intertwined, and with this you can achieve your true strength. He is no bigger than you are. You are just letting yourself believe he is. You have the strength to destroy him, Dark Seeker. Go forth. End this battle.”

The Dark Seeker slammed the ground as the yellow aura expanded around him. Dark Seeker started to grow as well, expanding to the size of Hades.

“I am forever tied to those I love, Hades. Prepare to perish beneath the might of all of the spirits.”

The Dark Seeker subdued Hades with a full-bodied charge, and, as the large titan fell to the ground, the giant ice shard impaled him. That ice melted and the water filled the crater beneath. Hades kicked the Dark Seeker, and he fell into one of the other craters. The Dark Seeker then launched himself into the skies with ice, which would melt and fill the crater shortly after, creating the oceans.

The two landed on opposite sides of the surface. The two engaged in one final charge towards one another. Hades delivered a deadly strike to the Dark Seeker. As this strike connected, the Dark Seeker created a large blade of ice and impaled Hades. This strike created a massive shockwave and melted ice spread across the surface.

The two dropped to the ground, and this battle was truly over. Hades and the Dark Seeker dissolved slowly. Hades fell through the surface and changed shape, becoming spherical as he melded with the core of the sphere. Finally the flames of the Phantom lit brightly around him creating a burning core. The Dark Seeker shed tears, even in his triumph. These tears would bring life to blades of green across the sphere. An entire sphere once completely barren was now covered in green and blue. But it was still empty.

From within the center, the flames of the Phantom started to react. Small embers left the core and made their way to the surface. These flames didn’t burn any of the matter on this sphere, however. These flames took the shape of new spirits. Spirits of creatures that would swim throughout the oceans, or dance upon the grass, or grow from the lovely dirt. What arose from this battle was neither the chaos nor Hell that birthed it. This war created a land in which many creatures could live in harmony. The battle between the Phantom, Dark Seeker, and Hades created pure beauty. The battle created Crystalis.


Prologue: The Hell That Hades Brings

Existence moves in loops. All that is was once before and all that will be reflects on what is. That is true of all things. Reality is a cycle of beginnings and endings, but in time all will be born anew. Resisting the flow of time will only result in despair. Fighting what cannot be controlled will result in life’s greatest sorrows. Perhaps truest of all, however, is that no matter the cause, the ideals, the purpose, war will never bring true peace.

Our story begins on the lush beautiful planet known as the Senter. When the sun rose on this sphere it was a beautiful day. The marvelous castle that sat atop a mountain in the capital city overlooked beautiful, red grass being brushed by a light breeze. The castle was a sight for sore eyes indeed. Standing tall and appearing unbreakable. But some took such strength as a challenge. When the sun rose on the Senter it was beautiful and lush. By noon, however, it was a hellfire that would never be forgotten.

The entire capital city was aflame. Soldiers covered the ground with slashes through their bodies and blood pouring on the ground beneath their corpses. The entire imperial army had fallen. To defeat such an enemy, an army would require strength that the empire was incapable of summoning. But to everyone’s surprise, there was no enemy army. Only one man. A malevolent subhuman intent on destroying all in his path. He slicked his brown hair back, moving the hair that had fallen in front of his red eyes. He wore his long white coat with red lining the sleeves. The open jacket made visible one large tattoo on his chest. Upon his torso was the symbol of a constellation. Three spirits. The Phantom, the Dark Seeker, and Hades. From the belt loop on his white dress pants, he drew his thin rapier as he approached the castle.

As he reached the castle gate, he was attacked by more soldiers. As they approached him, he maneuvered around all of them slitting their throats and slicing them whenever the opportunity presented itself. A sinister grin formed on his face as he lifted his arm, raising his blade to the sky drawing lightning towards the tip. He then pointed his blade to the door and blasted lightning directly into the lock causing the door to explode. He walked in to see all of his targets.

The four sacred children and the Ancients. Two boys, Ralaheed and Kierian. Two girls, Elena and Jade. Darkros, son of the ancient king sat at the base of the throne. Sitting in the throne was King Radkos. The Cahokian Ancient king was prepared to protect these children with his life. Radkos stood tall and charged the man, but he just smiled and slashed the old king across the chest. He raised his blade one final time, with a vertical slash delivering devastating damage to Radkos.

“Who are you?” The King asked, looking into the eyes of his assailant.

“Your sacred children are key to our new reality. I wish you a happy transition out of this world, King Radkos. I must give you my genuine thanks for setting things in motion. As reward, I shall tell you my name. The one who has plagued your home and destroyed that which you hold dear, goes by the name of Val. I am Val Hades…and I shall become God.”

Val stabbed the king and twisted his blade. At last his siege on the castle had come to an end. He looked into the eyes of the sacred children, who were too paralyzed with fear to move. Nothing in their eyes but despair as they watched the king fall. Val turned his attention to the gate of the castle, smiling as he looked upon his greatest conquest yet. His conquest of the Senter, that provided him with everything he needed to set his greatest plan in motion.

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