GUARDIANS OF THE SPIRITUAL GIFT
By Elleigh W. Todd
The fantasy land of Catrossau, Oseka in 434 BD tells the story of travelers struggling to survive making their living by killing demons. This tells the story of an unlikely group of people working together.
434 BD: CATROSSAU, OSEKA
Kiyoko couldn’t help but admire the beautiful land of Catrossau as she walked through what was known as Heaven’s Forest. Legend has it that when one of the Goddesses of Heaven, Alectrona, came down to Earth to visit her lover Cybele, Goddess of the Wilderness and Nature, Alectrona was so excited to see her that she came crashing down to Earth so hard that the forest she landed on absorbed some of her Heavenly energy, purifying the forest itself and giving it magical powers. The forest Alectrona landed on became known as Heaven’s Forest, rumored for its magical properties.
By the time you step even one foot into Heaven’s Forest, you can already feel the purifying, magical energy that engulfs the forest and not only feel, but see it too. Heaven’s Forest has a golden iridescence that makes the forest look like it is surrounded by golden fireflies. The trees are tall, the plants glow with a stunning light, and even the animals seem to glow too. To the untrained eye, the forest would look just like a normal forest but the magical energy is so captivating that anyone can feel it.
Taking Root: The Girls Write Now 2022 Anthology
For more than two years, our young writers have weathered an adolescence shaped by an ongoing global pandemic. But a harsh climate can also produce work of rare depth, complexity, nuance and humor. The Girls Write Now mentees in this collection have found new ways to build community and take root. This anthology is a catalog of seeds—each young writer cultivating a shimmering, emergent voice. In short stories, personal essays, poetry, and more, they reflect on life-altering topics like heartbreak, self-care and friendship. The result is a stunning book with global relevance of all this generation has endured and transformed.
This place felt comforting and warm with such a distinct energy Kiyoko would know it from anywhere. She practically grew up here, as it was where she would spend her time when she needed to escape reality. Kiyoko continued down the unmarked path with her long black hair flowing through the wind as she took a moment to look up at the sky which blinded her enchanting deep blue eyes that seemed to have a golden glow whenever she looked up at the sun. Kiyoko always had a special connection to the sun since she was a child. Taking a breath, Kiyoko continued on her way, wearing her signature red hakama and white kosode with her yumi on her back and a pack of arrows as well. This was the outfit Kiyoko typically wore as she was a priestess who used to attend to her family’s shrine though she hasn’t been back there for quite some time.
“Kiyoko! Kiyoko!” A female voice called out.
Kiyoko looked towards the direction of that voice. She recognized that voice all too well.
“I’ll be there in a second!” Kiyoko called back with a warm smile.
Kiyoko walked faster towards the voice and quickly arrived to see two people standing there, a man and a woman. The woman was average height with long black hair that shone in the sun and brown skin that complemented her entrancing brown eyes. The woman was wearing a black sleeveless outfit with detachable sleeves that ran to her fingertips that had green details all throughout with a bow and arrows on her back. She had a black mask below her chin and a hood that was also down. The man that was standing next to her was a bit taller with even darker skin, that almost had a blue tone to it, with short curly black hair and wearing ragged clothes. He had on a long-sleeved, tattered white blouse and a light purple petticoat with baggy black pants, a big black scarf, a long baggy light blue jacket, and short black boots with a very large and intimidating sword on his back.
“Kiyoko, you’re always wandering off and making us late. You need to manage your time better or else one day we’re gonna lose these bounties,” the woman said sternly.
“PÎsim, I can’t help that the spirits always call out to me. I’m just following along, so I don’t get on their bad side,” Kiyoko replied with a smirk. PÎsim rolled her eyes with a smile, used to Kiyoko’s excuses.
“Well, let’s leave before someone else gets offered this bounty,” the man stated as the trio started walking along the marked path.
“Chuk is right. I’d hate for it to go to those monks again. They’re always so smug, not very holy like if you ask me,” Kiyoko complained.
“You think they’re even real monks or just scammers?” PÎsim asked.
“No, those monks are definitely real ones, powerful too. They just happen to be assholes,” Chuk replied.
PÎsim and Kiyoko nodded their heads in agreement as they all continued to walk in silence until they reached a large white mansion with four huge columns in the front.
“This the place?” Kiyoko asked.
PÎsim pulled the crumpled piece of paper out of her pocket and looked at it for a second.
“The address is the same. I didn’t think the place would be this big though,” PÎsim chuckled.
“Well they wanted the best, so here we are!” Kiyoko said confidently.
“Don’t let your pride get the best of you, we have no idea what we’re going to face.” Chuk reminded.
“I’m not getting cocky. I am simply remembering what the bounty said,” Kiyoko replied, taking the paper out of PÎsim’s hand. “150 bronze coins, 100 silver coins and fifty gold coins to the best demon slayers who can expel the demon that has been wreaking havoc on our humble abode.’ I mean to me it just sounds like a rich family who has no idea what they’re dealing with and nine times out of ten ends up being a little demon who doesn’t have the power to go after anyone powerful like us!” Kiyoko stated confidently.
I was very much so inspired by a show I was watching called “Inuyasha,” an anime that tells the story of a teenage girl named Kagome living in Tokyo who has the ability to travel back in time to a feudal era Japan where she meets the half-demon half-human Inuyasha. They work together along with their friends to defeat the evil Naraku from becoming evermore powerful. This show was one of my saviors during quarantine and when I was trying to come up with ideas for my anthology submission, “Inuyasha” was the first thing I thought of.
Fictional writing has always been my strong suit, specifically fantasy, and I used the fiction writing skills (such as establishing setting, character, conflict, etc.) I learned in a Girls Write Now workshop to help make my piece as strong as possible. One very important thing I learned along the way was that I needed to try and limit my writing. It can be very difficult for me to distinguish what is relevant when telling a story and what isn’t. To solve this problem, I tried to imagine one specific moment between these characters.
Elleigh W. Todd
Elleigh is a young writer passionate about a variety of things including creative writing, music, painting and volleyball! She has been creative writing outside of school for years and loves to come up with as many ideas as she can (though she doesn’t always finish them). Elleigh has been playing volleyball for 4 years and plays for her varsity high school team and loves to paint in her free time! Music is a very important part of her life as she can never walk down the street without it! She also has 4 cats and a dog.
A MONTH IN REVIEW: ABROAD IN COPENHAGENby Joanna Tan