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- Varen and his friends joined in on the quest to search for SteamWorks to chase after his past. He search for his missing brother and the clockwork doll that was belonged to his great-grandfather, Varon. Most importantly, he wanted to bond with his lost brother ever since the queen executed his parents when he was young. Varen's goal was clear his family's name to the queen of SteamWorks that he and his great-grandfather had nothing against SteamWorks, but simply a misunderstanding to save SteamWorks. SteamWorks had lost their king for many years ever since his capture. Will Varen prove his trust to the queen that he can save the king? Or will he face execution or banishment from SteamWorks

Fantasy / Adventure
Linda Nguyen
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

The sail opened, leather wings opened from the side, and then the ship lifted off into the sky. The gears spun on the wall, grinding against one another making the sound of a rhythmic beat of a clock ticking. Shining in the bronze painted sky, a man was playing a violin with the tunes of a pirate sea shanty. The breeze was gentle, brushing against his hair. Clockwork owls flew across, flowing with the wind, passing the ship. Over watching the ship was the man’s older cousin who dressed in leather overalls with a plain green shirt, he controlled the ship’s wheel to guide the ship.

Suddenly, the wind blew hard against the sails. The older cousin’s hands were on the wheel, gently rotating it back and forth. And his green eyes were focusing on making sure his hands don’t slip off.

The young man paused his playing, calling out to his cousin, “Victor! Try to keep the ship steady!”

Victor simply nodded. “On it, Varen.”

Varen nodded, his brown shirt with a light purple line streaking across his turtleneck and across his shirt bristled against his leather tan jacket vest flowing in the wind. One of his hands with leather tan gloves covered over the purple gear symbol on the left side of his vest, his violet eyes peered across the unknown distance across the sky, his gear iris dilated as he saw figure of land approach. Glancing on the map, then outwards he saw the island that they were looking for. The island is an enormous gear shaped land foundation with industrial brick buildings and factories full of steam and thousands of working mechanical gears that helped run the city made a ton of noise..

A faint memory came into his mind, a lost of someone who he knew was somewhat dear to him, his younger brother. He couldn’t remember a single detail of what he looks like, but he remembered the right violet eye that held love yet also hint of resentment in them, and the other blue eye that had looked happy yet was on the verge of tears. The brother was only a toddler from when he last saw him possibly smile.

He recalled someone powerful from SteamWorks took his brother away, the queen. She exiled him and his cousin when they were children. He wanted to get his brother back, but he feared his little brother wouldn’t remember him and possibly resent him. But, she hated him and his cousin so much. His brother was robbed from him for no apparent reason. Why?

Once he finds her, he wanted to confront her and learn the truth about the past. He wants his brother back. Where could he start? Travelling through the clouds, of course. Yet there was nothing much he can do, but look at the skies, watching the clockwork birds, growing bored as he craved more than what he knows. The queen who kicked him out, making him suffer on the outskirts of the island.

He was raised on the island of clockwork owls taking advice from some hermit. An old, wise hermit used to tell him and his cousin to stay safe on their journey outside the island. He taught him how to be a chronophim, even though he did not have the powers to teach him the way how to fight and control his powers.

With his cousin, Victor, he gained confidence in himself and his powers. He put his purple goggles over his eyes and smirked.

Victor turned the wheel and steered to the left where the wind blew against the ship. He put his green goggles on and screamed as he pointed, “Varen! A storm is coming soon and it’s getting very bad already. We need to get to safety!”

“Nowhere is safe.” Varen replied nonchalantly, crossing his arms and hugging himself from the cold. “I am going to find SteamWorks and find my brother! I won’t let anything get in my way!” He declared to the sky, challenging anything that comes his way.

Suddenly, rain poured heavily on them as if already challenging Varen on his words. The ship was flailing back and forth, Victor was losing control on the ship. Trying hard to gain back control from the ship, Victor was trying not to lose his grip on the wheel, slowly helping the ship gain stability. The trapdoor to the lower deck opened, a lavender haired girl stumbled to the top deck and was putting her hand to her mouth, glaring at Victor in anger.

She yelled at him, “I’m getting seasick! Can you stabilize the control? I’m working on the gears!”

The girl who came out was Ellie Russell. She wore a brown dress with a lavender goggle on her head. Her hair reached to her waist. The boys called her ‘the maid’ of the ship. She is Varen and Victor’s childhood friend. She was raised on the same island with them and very protective of her friends, but they’re troublesome to her since they wouldn’t listen, as well as fuel up some arguments. It went for years since Varen left the island.

She gets annoyed sometimes, but she knew that they were cousins and they always must stick together. Without sticking together, they would not be strong. Varen’s motto was that sticking together makes them a team.

Overhead, Varen and Victor saw black smoky clouds rising in the air as the ship steered closer to it. Ellie took out her binoculars to see from the distance. She saw that the smoky steam clouds were coming out from the long black tube. The light brown clouds cleared as the ship moved closer to it. They saw angel figures flying everywhere from building to building, timeless angels so they’re called.

They kept the ship out from their sight using a fog machine to generate clouds from the side to keep it safe while the rain falls upon the island. Their eyes watched everywhere. The city was fascinating with buildings with attached gears to itself, but noisy with gears. At the center of the island, there was a big parliament building where the authority resides.

No one saw the ship passing by. Ellie made sure the cloud machines was working to keep the ship hidden. The ship was barely noticeable, but it can’t keep flying forever. It needs to dock.

Victor searched for a place to dock the ship, but he couldn’t find one. There wasn’t a remote area where the flying ship could dock. He thought every island has one except this one. He turned to Varen and reported to him, “There is no docking area. We need to find another island to set the ship.”

“Of course,” sighed Varen disappointedly. “Nothing like doing more work, but is there one nearby?”

Ellie pointed, “It’s over there!” She spotted the smallest gear island. “SteamWorks have scattered small islands of gears. I believed each island is separated from the destruction of the war. Chronophim used to have wars against the clockworkers.” She signaled Victor to steer the ship towards the small gear island.

“I see,” Victor mused. He looked at the wheel and turned it around to set the ship to the dock. The ship moved the other way and stopped producing clouds from the machine.

The ship headed toward to the smallest gear island where the other flying steampunk ships were docking. They need someone to watch the ship, but they had no one. After docking, they met with the key master who owns the island and watched over ships, providing space to dock. The key master wore a brown suit and pants with a hat, shaped like a top hat decorated with bronze metal gears. Varen handed over the main key to the ship to the key master, but before he could leave, he asked for the price to dock his ship, knowing a hefty price he could pay.

“It would cost nothing. Fellow chronophim leave their ships here from their time travelling,” said the key master. “I wouldn’t worry about it, but I’ll hold onto your keys.”

“You won’t do anything to it, right? Everything will be locked and alarmed. I know when the ship is burglarized. Make sure no one steals our ship,” Varen asked with a stern voice. The ship used to belong to his parents. When Varen left his island to travel around the timeless Axon dimension, he wanted to set out for adventure, creating memories with Victor and Ellie. The ship is his family’s heirloom basically.

Varen picked up his engraved gear violin. He looked at the engravement, touching it from the tips of his fingers. He felt a tie to the violin, but he wouldn’t describe what it is. The violin used to belong to his ancestor from generations ago, Varon Ewell. He recalled that the hermit used to tell him stories about his ancestor that he never met. The hermit’s life has been long, and timeless, his immortality has made him seen many things. Including knowing Varon in various ways..

Varen turned to Victor and Ellie and nodded, “Let’s go.” He spread his wings behind his back. His wings were huge and had a resemblance to a great-horned owl. The great-horned owl is personally his favorite animal. An animal that represents intelligence and time, and it was no secret that owls flew in the night. Which helped made him blend in, and hide away from the scouring eyes of timeless angels.

Victor and Ellie spread their wings. Victor’s wings resembled a falcon bird, which the bird represents strength and swiftness, the ability to catch prey and fight marvelously in the air. Ellie’s wings were bright yellow canary wings, representing the canary’s uncanny resemblance to the yellow sun, and shining bright in the bronze sky.

The trio generated their gear heart to make their wings move. The gears inside their wings generated to move itself to fly.. They jumped off the island and take flight. They flew into the clouds, dispersing it to the air. Once they reached to the other side, they landed wobbly, stabilizing their balance by the tip of their boots.

Varen caught Ellie when she was about to fall back, “Be careful, keep your feet steady...”

“I’m trying!” she took off her goggles and pouted, turning away from him. “You are very stubborn you know between you and your cousin. Do you always have to ignore me?”

“Sometimes, but not now,” He smiled, patting her head, “We’re here at least.” Varen looked from left to right, making sure everything was safe. When he saw the sign that says, ‘Welcome to SteamWorks’, he was relieved that he was in the right place.

Victor grinned, “Where should we start?” He cracked his knuckles and stretched his wings until it disappeared.

Varen retracted his wings, but he wasn’t sure where he wanted to go except to find clues that may help him find his little brother. He silently whispered his little brother’s name to himself, “Vinny.” His main goal here was to get his brother back.

First, he wanted to find the center of the island where the parliament building is. He knew his little brother would be tortured in some prison or manipulated by the queen. He feared that his brother wouldn’t recognize him because he was three years old. Varen was two years older than his little brother when the incident happened. He would not forget that his hands did touch his brother around his shoulder, keeping him close to their parents and not letting him wander off.

His parents were outlaws. They were executed for trespassing in SteamWorks for three years. He remembered his parents were dechronolized. His parents were shattered in gears and they could not be put back together. These tiny little pieces of gears were his parents’ souls. It could not be mended, only to be thrown out to the trash at the bottomless pit of the Axon dimension.

Varen grieved on that day. He grieved for months of losing his brother and his parents until Victor lost his own parents. Victor and Varen came together to plan an attack on the queen by themselves, but they were exiled. The patrol took them out from SteamWorks under the queen’s order, presuming she had become suspicious of them and would not allow them to roam the island in possible threat to her power.

Varen remembered the queen’s eyes from when his parents were dechronolized. They were yellow with the eyes of the gears. She wore a steampunk dress with frills around her arms and belt straps on her waist.

He shivered unconsciously, not wanting to recall those memories until he finds the truth. He searched with Victor and Ellie for the parliament building without asking for directions. It would give suspicion. Victor knew SteamWorks’ laws very well.

The laws are harsh. A chronophim must wear brown, steampunk styled clothes, gears as accessories (for girls and women), and anything matches with the theme, but a little of the other colors that doesn’t represented in the Axon dimension. Most importantly, a chronophim must have a gear halo whether it is invisible or not. It shows nobility as a chronophim. Without that, the punishment would be harsher and possibly death. The buildings must run with gears with water or steam to power the island.

Chronophim must protect the Axon dimension from any corruption of time. They have their own bubble. The opposite of time is space which is on the outside. They never met with their counterparts, but they believed their counterparts were creators of the Axon dimension.

Varen knew about the origin of the Axon dimension, spoken from his hermit. He closed his eyes, trying to sense if his brother is nearby. He opened his eyes and activated his right eye. He tried to use telepathy to connect his little brother. He felt it and he pointed his head where the parliament building is standing. He pointed as he whispered, “Victor, Ellie, it’s over there.” He led them to the building and they followed.

Victor and Ellie cautiously observed the building. The building’s door was surrounded by five guards with their silver swords in their hands. The guard were wearing brown and blue trim leather uniforms. They held poker face expressions, clearly won’t talk unless forced to.

Varen told them not come close, wanting to approach the guards himself. He approached to the guards cautiously and asked, “Excuse me, have you seen my brother? I thought he worked in here and I need to pick him up.”

One guard answered him, but he questioned, “What’s his name?”

“Umm...” He paused before answering, “Vinny.”

“He’s about to head to the saloon. He’s having a bad time because his eye hurt,” replied the guard.

The door slammed open, Vinny stumbled out from the doorway. He wore a brown and blue trimmed shirt and brown leather pants, similar to the guards standing outside uniforms, but seemingly more lower. He wore a deep blue beanie hat, and his left eye was shut, stinging with pain. He didn’t pay attention of Varen, but walked passed him.

“My eye hurt. Why now?” He groaned, running away from the building.

Varen stared at him, dumbfounded by Vinny’s growth and how he changed. His brother looked a lot older, but younger in his eyes. He was about an inch shorter than him. Vinny seemed irritated. He thought he might’ve harmed him accidentally, but the guard comforted him, “Vinny is having an eye sore. There’s nothing that we can help. I hope it isn’t an eye infection, but why are you here?” The guard looked at him in suspicion

Varen stepped back in a slight panic, he couldn’t say anything else. He needed to go to Vinny before he got away. So he turned around, “I need to go.” he said quickly as he ran after Vinny.

The guard didn’t bother chasing him, and decided to leave him alone for now.

Frantically, Victor and Ellie followed him, shouting at his name so they don’t lose Varen from their view.

The guards didn’t care when they saw another two coming out their hiding spots. They exchanged looks and didn’t seemed to be bothered by it. They assumed the teenagers were harmless as well assumed they were Vinny’s friends.

Varen lost Vinny in a plaza, before glancing around and saw Vinny heading inside of the saloon. He sprinted towards it, trying not to bump into people and reached the saloon doors, abruptly pushing open the doors with great force, catching everyone’s attention on him. He gulped, not liking the attention giving, and he shrunk down in size. Victor and Ellie soon caught up to him, panting heavily trying to catch their breath.

Soon everyone just decided to go back to whatever they were doing.

The saloon was dimly lit with candle, with decor matching the Victorian era, and a moose head behind the counter where the bartender was. Over by the counter as well, was Vinny sitting there.

“Finally a chance!” he thought to himself in relief. Slowly making his way to him, with his friends trailing behind him. His legs seemed to wobble with nervousness, but he hopped onto the chair next to Vinny’s right and looked at Vinny quietly. Victor and Ellie soon sat onto the left side of Vinny.

Vinny didn’t seem to notice, as he asked the bartender to serve him a cold drink until he turned next to him and saw Varen. Silently, Vinny’s eyes stared at him for a moment, widening as well. Something occurred, but what?

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