In its infancy Atala was rich in life and species – it was evolution’s nursery – and only the most ancient races had any concept of the Verve, knowledge of which they jealously guarded. But then the Fracture happened, creating a tear between the Phantom Plane and Atala, and the land was overrun with magic and monsters. It was at this point the Tytalbans invited other species, including humans, to share in this knowledge of magic, for fear of genocide.
The Verve has affected - even stunted - other aspects of life, such as technological advancement and continental drift. Even though the month/year/century is exactly the same on all three exo-planets across the Firmament, Atala is different both in terms of its geological inertia and its technology, making it feel medieval.
Atala is home to a number of MajorWood Studios' projects including - 'Vervewalkers: Spoils of War', 'The Adventures of Pint and Stella' and 'Vervewalkers: Quest for the Crystal Tears' - to name a few.
And there it appeared above them, dangling in a clearing in the canopy, leaving her only one option: stand her ground, hope for the best and pray that the Grand Ogrun is well fed.
She hadn’t seen many before, though enough to be wary, the reavers were a weapon themselves, adorned with steel spikes and a venomous will.
As it dropped to the ground, she was thankful for the sole occupant, it was big enough to have accommodated a whole squad of the nasty shits.
‘You,’ it called as it jumped from its ride, ‘you seen a forest rat, yellow head?’
It was shorter than her, but it had thick, buckled legs, that when extended would make it taller. She couldn’t outrun it.
‘Never heard of such a thing.’
It walked purposefully until it was only a few groths away. Her fingers tightened around the axe. Its four arms were short and muscular, and it held, in each hand, a hammer. You never let a destelt get close, she reminded herself.
‘What do you call ‘em? Those little things with lumps all over.’
‘You’ve described half the creatures in the forest.’
It appeared perplexed: ‘Stumpy men with yellow hair.’
‘Newspire’s full of them, a ballache for a tall lady.’
‘I’m talking about a little sodding man, not a lady. Have you seen him?’
The destelt had crept forward and smelt of grease and shit. His narrow eyes were fixed on her; she felt like prey again.
‘Glanced something running, east I think, not sure what it was.’
‘East…’ He turned away, his thoughts more dangerous than her, leaving an opportunity to plant the axe in his back. But then she glanced at the reaver, which was still mewling, and thought better of it.
‘It shouldn’t be far,’ she said, hooking his attention.
‘You a tracker?’
Hesitancy trapped her as she thought about what a good answer would be. ‘I’ve a little skill.’
‘Datta,’ he said and spat. That wasn’t promising – the destelt word for human meant “talking pigs”.
He stared at her, reviewing her person, the sack, the axe, and then removed a piece of cloth by his side to reveal a book. That meant only one thing – he was a Vervewalker.
The forest gulped to life as she glanced for an escape, becoming aware that the wind was strengthening. Then she remembered the groth was in the bush behind her. She considered turning it in.
With its cudgel, the destelt was drawing verve magic out of its spell book and a rain of lights and earth and bone and blood spattered together into a swirl of revulsion and wonder, which she was desperate to escape.
- Extract from 'The Adventures of Pint and Stella'