Prologue

In a different world, in a different time, there lay a series of islands. The name of these collective islands was "Ceres". Each of the five islands held a distinct climate, ruled over by a different race. First to the north, there was the Island of Frost. A snowy realm ruled over by Humanity. To the south was the Island of Flame. A harsh desert region ruled over by the mighty Dragons. To the east was the Island of the Forests. A realm covered in forests and plant life ruled over by the Vine Panthers. To the west lay the Island of Storms. A realm with erratic weather patterns ruled over by the wolf like Lupines. And in the center lay the Island of the Spirits. This island was special, a lush paradise where the souls of all in the world ended up after their death. The ruling race of this realm were the Fae, a race of shamans, those who could speak to the spirits.

Though peaceful for the most part, Ceres was not without it's troubles. A substance ram rampant throughout the islands, and between the sea that separated them. A substance known as "Chaos Mist". The chaos mist was a miasma that spawned deadly monsters known as "Daemons". Though a constant hazard, the people of the islands managed to live with the mist just fine. However, one day, the mist grew unstable. Daemons spread like wildfire and began to destroy anything they touched.

Sensing the people's pain, the spirits granted five individuals from each island, a representation of each race, to wield the power of the five elements: Fire, Water, Earth, Air, and the Aether. Together these five fought back against the Daemons, and became known as the "Champions". Thanks to them, the Daemon army was defeated, and they were inscribed in legend.

One thousand years have passed since the Champions first saved the islands, and since then the mist has not grown out of control. But life has a funny way of changing.

XXX

It was a brisk early morning in the swamp. The swamp itself was a rather murky place to live, filled with all sorts of dangerous beasts and wild plants. To the young vine panther, it suited him just fine. With his strong legs, he leaped from tree branch to tree branch. As he came to a stop, he took in the morning air.

"Ah just smell it!" He declared.

Honestly he didn't know what the humans were saying. A lot of them found caution within the swamp, but it suited him just fine. He wondered why the humans settled here even though they didn't take to the place. But that were humans for you. They would settle wherever they wanted throughout the islands, but were never satisfied with where they were. Oh well, no problem for him he thought. Leaping down from the branch, the vine panther landed perfectly on his feet. Very much akin to his smaller cat cousins.

Just then, he noticed something scurry by. Licking his chops, he smiled, "Breakfast." He said.

Taking off, he shot after the swamp critter like lightning. Though his kind were attune with nature, the vine panthers were not without their hunting prowess. They needed their meat after all. He hurried forth, keeping the critter's scent fresh on his nose. He hurried through the brush, readying the image of him snapping up his prey.

Suddenly, he heard a small squeak, and as he exited the brush, he came to a skidding halt. He saw the critter, or rather it's tail. And it was hanging in the mouth of a swamp gator. The gator snapped up the rest of the critter and swallowed.

"Uh oh!" The vine panther exclaimed.

The gator let out a low growl as it set it's sights on the vine panther before it.

"Later!" The young creature said turning right around and kicking away.

A cloud of dirt was left in the panther's wake, hitting the gator in the face. The poor creature let out another growl as it's intended prey had vanished. All the while, the vine panther let out a triumphant cry.

"Ha! What a loser!" He proclaimed, "As if anyone could catch me."

Once the vine panther came to a stop, he once more took in the morning. Breathing in deep, he exhaled as the fresh swamp air filled him. This was certainly a good morning. As the trickle of sunlight broke through the trees, it created a second coat around the vine panther's violet fur. The leaves that lay upon his body, around his paws, and forming a V pattern around his chest, seemed to be stimulated as they too felt the light. Atop the feline's head, a vine "antenna" flowed backwards. That was where vine panthers got their names from.

He was still young. Around fifteen years of age. Both a teenager number wise and biologically. His people had several key stages in their lives, sprouting as it was. Right now he was in the "middle" stage of his live cycle. Once he fully blossomed so to speak, he would officially be an adult. But hopefully that was a long time off. Least he hoped. He enjoyed being a child. Not many responsibilities for little orphan him. Just living a carefree life, doing what he wanted, and no parents to rear him in.

Puck.

The vine panther's joy came to a halt. The lack of parental figures was a lie. There was indeed one.

"Legan?" The vine panther asked.

Puck. Come to me my son.

Puck listened well to the voice in his head. It sounded dire. For a moment, Puck became nervous, for he feared he was in trouble of some sort. He looked to his left, his mind considering his options. He could put it off, enjoy some ounce of freedom before his eventual punishment, or he could go to the right and take his punishment like a man. He started moving towards the left, willing to throw away responsibility, even for a few moments. But just as he was about to take his second step, he sidestepped and went to the right.

"Better get it over with." Puck told himself.

That's what Legan had taught him: to be a man, even if you had to make a hard choice. And being a man meant not running away.

Puck raced through the swamp towards his guardian's home. He knew the path, could even walk it blindfolded. He moved past the brush and dodged roots. Careful as he was, he would avoid any pitfalls and trips. But as he found himself lost in his pace, he felt a sharp tug on his left paw. Puck tumbled and turned, landing right on his side.

"Ow." Puck moaned.

The vine panther attempted to get to his feet, but a sharp pain hit the paw he tripped on. Hopefully it was just a sprain, but before he could even realize it, he felt a tug at his hind legs.

"What the!?" Puck exclaimed, face growing fearful.

He felt another tug as his body slid across the ground. Puck looked back and noticed what exactly had grabbed him. A vine had sprouted from the ground, grabbing hold tightly. Puck gave a pained groan as he felt his muscles pull from the tug. Puck pulled his leg back but found resistance from the vine. A tug of war ensued as both sides wanted the leg. Suddenly a sharp pain hit Puck's leg. He watched the vine carefully, and from it's green stem came a series of spikes. A break gave away as Puck felt something warm around his leg.

"Let-let go!" Puck screamed.

The vine paid no heed, and continued to pull at him. Puck gritted his teeth, let out a growl as the thorns dug further into his skin.

"I said let go!"

Suddenly, there came a great snap as something gave way. Before Puck's eyes, the vine flew upward into the air, landing just beside his leg. Puck's eyes grew wide as he noticed something. A stone horn, one that hadn't been there before, now poked out of the ground. Then as instantly as it had appeared, it sank back into the ground.

Puck tilted his head to the side, mouth agape and brow lowered. "What?" Puck moved and winced as he felt the pain spike up from his leg. Looking down, he could see blood seeping down from his wounds.

Puck.

With a grunt, Puck got to his side. He let out a gasp as he put pressure on his paw. Then another as he felt the sting on his hind leg.

"Okay...really bad fall." He said to himself.

Come to me son. Heal yourself at my spring and I will explain everything.

"Legan. What is going on?" Puck's mind was awash with wonder. That rock, he had to know, "Did I make that rock?"

All will be revealed.

"Why can't you tell me now?" Puck asked.

A soft chuckle was his response.

Oh my boy. This is a day I've waited for a long time. Ever since I came to know you.

"Legan."

Hurry now Puck!

Puck wanted to ask more, but knew better than to keep his guardian waiting. Nodding, he trudged forward, gritting his teeth slightly. "All right. I'm on my way."

Even as he continued forward, the questions never left Puck. But he considered his guardian's words. The spring would heal him up, and with a healed body, his mind would be in a better state to listen. And so Puck the teenage vine panther continued on. All the while, he was eager to know more.

And this was the start of a grander story.

A/N: Okay, little story time. Many years ago, I posted a story on this site called "Journeyman Shaman". It was my first time writing a fantasy story, and it was well received, but got some criticism too. Looking back, I think I did a good job, but frankly my writing wasn't that great back then. It's 2020 now, and my writing skills have improved greatly since then. So basically this story is sort of a reboot of Journeyman Shaman. I've taken the same characters, albeit renaming some, and giving some of them different personalities. Now I'm not expecting this to become a mega hit. I'm simply putting this out there to show my writing and hopefully entertain people. I mean I do hope it gets comments and not too many criticism, but we shall see. Back in the day I was obsessed with becoming some huge writer, but really I was just trying to find a way to feel good about myself. Nowadays I don't feel that way.

Well, in any case, enjoy, and Chapter 1 will be up shortly.