Champions: At Fire’s End
by Charlotte Jain
Publication Date: November 28th 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, YA
Seventeen-year-old best friends, April and Kyle, are thrown into the final battle of the Titan and Olympian war. Locked into an endless struggle, the Immortals have finally reached a solution – bestow mortal Champions with control over the elements to wage their final campaign.
Bestowed with control over fire and water, April and Kyle were raised by Immortals with a single purpose – win the war. After finally uncovering the remaining Champions’ identities, April and Kyle must launch themselves into their final battle for survival. Winner takes all. But the Immortals are growing restless, and time is running out.
Eyes bore down on me from all directions. They glared as if they knew, as if they saw me for what I was, for where I was heading. A sea of cheerful faces surrounded me as I moved decisively through bustling streets. Head down, hands buried in my jacket pockets, I continued on. Sure to avoid eye contact with anyone who might be watching, I dropped my gaze and let a deep, purposeful breath fill my lungs. Calming. Forcing myself to see the truth. There was no danger here, only townsfolk going about their business in Caria’s streets and alleys which had come alive with nightfall. He has to be here. But what if he isn’t, and I am truly all alone in this war? I suddenly found myself scrambling to my feel within the shattered remains of a once grand clock tower, now nothing more than a skeleton littered with rubble and scarred with scorch marks.
I took in a steadying breath and then made a run for cover. And for an old friend.
“Where are you?” I spoke to the shadows of a town now built on ghosts. A man dropped down from above, landing effortlessly on the shattered cobblestones before me as if a three storey drop from an unstable building meant nothing. A lanky figure with unkempt, dirty blonde hair strode towards me, menacing. “Not sure a jeans and t-shirt do you justice, Ares,” I noted, watching the powerful immortal figure reach me.
“An attempt to fit in. Or stand out less,” he added. He appeared calm but wary, curious but bored, in control but ready to snap at any instant. Everything about him seemed mortal, as you would expect from anyone else walking on the street, except for the long blade sheathed across his back. Menace melted abruptly into a wide grin.
“So. You’re still alive, then?”
Ares drew me in for a rough hug, then stepped away, reluctant to let his guard down under the watchful gaze that always followed their Champions. It was a curiosity to see someone who seemed to care so little for everyone else care so much for a single person who meant barely nothing to the rest of the world.
Silence fell as Ares paused, his eyes glancing to the shadows with what was a keen skill developed over centuries of battle and deception.
Suddenly, Ares raised a finger to his lips and glanced to the ruins above us. His gaze locked on mine, suddenly fierce. “Get out of here,” he whispered and drew a single blade slowly from behind his back.
“You get out of here.”
“Where’s the fun in that?” Ares grinned and nodded in the opposite direction. “Now!”
Bright blue orbs of water burst to life in my hands and we dived into the ruins in opposite directions. Crumbling pieces of stone and wooden debris erupted around us. Tiny chunks flew skyward and then rained down with force and precision only possible using magic. Stone pieces catapulted towards me as I did my best to shoot them down in jets of glimmering bright blue water. My eyes dashed over the scene but, with every glimpse of the assailant, shadows took their place, as if traces of light folded in on themselves to leave behind only darkness. And a faint, red glow that seemed oddly familiar… Our attacker was agile and fast, but not as fast as Ares, who darted around the ruin field blocking attack after attack with ease.
Another wave of debris flew our way. Whoever was out there was sticking to the shadows, using abilities to keep the light away and remain hidden. Using abilities to channel the light… Water fell away in my hands, useless, as realisation dawned. I stood motionless and defenceless in the middle of the debris field, wide open. But it can’t be. There’s no fire.
“You’re back…” I mumbled under my breath and on the edge of silence.
A heavy piece of stone flew towards me, but I didn’t react. I couldn’t.
“Kyle!” Ares shouted as he leaped towards me and dragged me to the ground. I heard him cry out. The onslaught ceased. Debris fell away around us to return to its ghostly home among the ruins of Old Caria.
“Ares!” I rushed to gather his shoulders in my hands as he lay sprawled across shattered cobblestones. Blood oozed from a chunk torn in his side where our attacker’s stone had struck him instead of me. But the blood stopped. Muscle and skin twined itself together again beneath my hands as the gaping hole seemed to repair itself beneath my fingertips. In moments, Ares was brushing himself off, the bloodied tear in his shirt the only reminder of a near miss.
Footsteps fell behind us. Rage boiled to life behind Ares’ eyes.
“Jesus Christ, April!” he shouted at the darkness. “You could have killed him!”
“He was supposed to move,” a girl’s voice defended, with reproach and strength that I never thought I would hear again. A tall girl with flowing dark hair threw a hand at Ares and dragged him from the ground before pushing him aside.
“Get away from him,” she warned Ares as if I wasn’t there.
“Not sure if you witnessed which of us tried to kill him,” Ares pushed her in return, but they both stood down. “Much can change in a single mortal year.”
Her reply was scathing.
“Do the High Council know you’re down here?”
“They do, as a matter of fact,” Ares’ grin returned. “Bet they didn’t know you were here, though. You shouldn’t’ve stepped from the shadows.”
About the Author
Charlotte Jain is an Arts graduate from Melbourne and the author of the Champions series. When not scrawling exciting YA tales filled with magic and adventure, Charlotte enjoys travelling the world and snuggling up on the couch watching movies.