|My name is Katto. Most people call me Kat. Some people call me the Ruler of the Horizon. I never understood where I got that title. Until now. Now I understand. And it's not pretty.|
|— Katto introducing himself to Basil in Blue Sty, page 1|
| Preceded by|
| Followed by|
Blue Sty is the first book in Markings.
For Mom-who bought me the original journal.
For Teddy-who helped me every step of the way.
For Lisa-the author of Casper, which gave me the idea for one of the most inspiring characters yet.
And, of course, for all the authors in the world--without you I would be nowhere by now.
Katto Ortinus is just an ordinary 11 year old boy with a dog named Randy. While going to feed him one blazing day, a scenario happens that will change his life forever--and haunt him the rest of it. Katto and his newly found best friend Basil go to a mystical land called Egyt, where they discover that a powerful enemy--Icefire--wants to destroy each and every one of the six worlds of Zyaka.
But first Icefire needs to kill a magical creature called a blue sty, whose blood can make you immortal. With only a handful of friends, magic on their side, and a power that only Katto knows how to use--will they be able to save the land of Aramus, and stop Icefire from getting the blue sty blood?
Detailed Plot Summary
Katto Ortinus wakes up in his room on a farm in South Dakota, the day after his eleventh birthday, February 13, 2011. In order to access a locked and bolted room where he hides his dog, Randy. After giving Randy feed and drink, he is about to go back through the vent when he hears footsteps. Katto's panic slowly melts away after the noise stops, but before he can go back again, he hears Randy barking, and rocks collapse from seemingly nowhere, blinding him and rendering him unable to speak. The intruder eventually makes his appearance, a man with pale white skin, long blonde hair reaching his shoulders, and eyes like shards of ice.
The man tells Katto that Randy is dead, but refuses to say why. He consistently emphazises that he needs to get on with his proposition, and states that he must kill Katto. However, a boy who appears to be the man's partner rescues Katto from certain death. The two argue about whether they should kill Katto or save him, and the man, revealing his name as Basil, ends up standing for Katto to live, although he seems to have a peculiar reason to kill Katto as well . After a short skirmish between the two, Basil ends up in a brawl with the man, whose name is revealed as Icefire. Katto's parents end up trying to protect him, but a quick attack from Icefire ends up killing both of them. Before Katto's father dies, he whispers words to Katto that he has heard many times before: ˝You are the Ruler of the Horizon˝.
Basil, in a last minute attempt with his wand, transports Katto to a curious land dubbed Egyt, and to his home, much like a pyramid on Earth, but with hundreds of different colors and adorned statues, which he calls a zuko. Basil explains how they live in a region of Egyt titled Patrika, the Seventh Region, and this zuko itself is titled Ares. Katto notices a picture of a golden-skinned monkey on the walls, who Basil says is Hori Zakahmat, their Seeker; the leader of the zuko, who currently is in the Second Region of Egyt, Sukaka on official business. Basil leads Katto to his room on the third floor of many and tells him the story of the origin of Zyaka, the name for the world they are on now, that encompasses several lands, one of which is Egyt.
Basil's narrative begins in a period where there was only one world on Zyaka, Shinko. The creatures that populated Shinko were two: zys, figures about two inches tall with thick brownish-blackish fur and long, venomous claws, as well as akas, figures sharing most of the features of a crocodile but with the rounded snout of an alligator, dragon scales lining their long ears, and a primate's tail for balance. The zys and akas eventually struggled with ambition rising in their separate groups, which culminated in the Battle of Cresamin, a war between the zys and akas lasting three days in a row. Borders ended up being drawn between the two separate groups, and neither was allowed to cross, with the punishment of death if so. This way, the zys kept the akas segregated from themselves, with the akas beeing more the victims. A group of humans made their home on Shinko, neither zys nor akas, but the recent borders drawn between the zys and the akas led to a culmination in this. While trying to expand Shinko and make it more habitable through cutting the water canals to feed along the entire land and provide freshwater for all, the zys overheard and ended up misjudging their actions--thinking they wanted to use the water canals to destroy the zys, thinking that they were sided with the akas. In a supreme attempt to kill the people, the zys tied the two people up in rookof, string unable to be cut, and threw them in the river to drown. The killed people, one of which was Icefire, eventually found the soul of another body to live in after thousands of years of suffering as a ghost. The other man with Icefire's intentions would be forever draped in shadow.
Eventually, the shadow man introduced magic into Shinko. As the civilization grew and humans were formed, some left to form other lands and proceed on new pastures. As far as it is known, the original Shinko was left to die and ended up being destroyed by those who meant harm for it.
In order of where they were formed, the lands Aramus, Rustificul, Egyt, Sinummer, Gasso, and one Basil won't tell Katto about were populated and created by these others. However, just as Katto begins to interrogate Basil about him not mentioning the sixth land, Icefire breaks into their room and casts a spell on both of them that he says will be worse than death: Honomus Revelio, which makes you live through your worst nightmares. Katto lives through six different nightmares: watching his parents die, being alone with Icefire, death, suffocation, traitorship, and being helpless. In one of these nightmares, he sees the twisted, disfigured corpse of Randy standing over him, snarling, whereas in several, he sees visions of Basil shooting him.
When Katto manages to return to the real world, Basil is shocked that he has had six nightmares, versus two or three like he had. Basil continues to explain that they are in Rustificul, evidently transported there by Icefire. As Katto rests, pondering his thoughts, he broods over the fact that Icefire seems to have no end result to his actions, and cannot seem to fathom why he was torn out of this life. He goes to sleep in tears.
The next day, they go down into the waters of Rustificul, where Basil shows him how Rustificulians use a visor to breathe underwater and ride on white fish called cklones to get around. The two of them get their own cklones and decide to get to the capital of Rustificul's underwater hub, Atlantis, where they find out that a magic hiatus has struck the worlds of Zyaka, meaning that magic is no longer able to be used. Katto and Basil immediately think that Icefire may be the cause of it, but Basil ponders on the fact that Icefire would not have enough power, and neither would anyone else, to be able to completely cripple magic. He would need support from a strange, dangerous outside source.
Without a source of magic, Basil begins to ponder the reason Icefire has stranded them in a strange land. For once, fear begins to strike within Basil, as he begins to realize that if they are trapped in a place without friends nor money, they will soon begin to struggle. Noting that Icefire might be more powerful than them for once, Basil begins to search for a way to get money and eventually find a place to say.
They eventually meet an employer, Vender, who says he will give them a place to stay and money if they take a ring from him. Basil at first is suspicious, but ends up taking the ring in desperation for money. Katto tells Basil that there may be something wrong, but Basil says they will likely throw it out tomorrow and keep the money. Katto feels like that may be a bad idea, as the man Vender would not have given them so much money if he hadn't known that they would keep the ring, but eventually decides that it would make no difference, good or bad, whether they keep the ring or not, and what will happen, will happen.
Vender brings them lunch, which is cklone wing (a delicacy) and fried pineapple, as well as eyes from kalas, an aquatic creature with fourteen legs that breathes through its eyes. Basil explains that Rustificul is the only land that doesn't create spices. Katto asks why spices aren't imported, and Basil explains that it is forbidden to mix anything from different lands, per old customs that say only this way can the culture of the lands be kept alive, and the lands be kept diverse and truly magical. Katto also himself suspects that there are other reasons the lands are kept diverse.
They discuss the magic hiatus at table, but Basil hardly feels comfortable revealing Icefire's plot, feeling as if there's nobody he can trust anymore. After exploring the mainland of Rustificul and seeing the barren fields of rust and a blue sun beginning to set, Katto begins to have night terrors of waking up again in his room in South Dakota, but with a knife in his belt and blonde hair reaching his shoulders, the dead bodies of his parents on either side. He wakes up with sweat on his neck, almost imagining it as his parents' blood. He goes to Basil's room in terror, only to see that he is gone.
Katto ends up exploring Vender's residence to find Basil, and locates him sitting at the edge of a window, a visor by his side, the ring in hand. Katto doesn't make a noise, fearful, and only watches Basil as he fingers the golden ring in hand and ponders what to do with it.
The next day, Katto wakes up, but Basil doesn't appear at breakfast. He expresses his concerns to Vender, who notes that Basil is likely just out on a walk. Katto takes the time he has to attempt to write something, but his writings keep seeming to become darker and darker the more he goes on, and his thoughts continuing to switch over to those of his parents. The thought hits Katto all at once that he is alone in the world; with only Basil for a companion, and in a new landscape that he can hardly trust.
At night, after a tense day of attempting to write, Katto falls asleep all at once, and once more has night terrors. This time he sees Basil charging at him with a knife, at first from far away, but as the time passes he gets closer and closer, the knife already bloody with one's blood. When Basil is inches away from him, Katto screams and steps back into his own house, trips over the bodies of his dead parents, and watches in hopelessness as Icefire brandishes a wand and screams words that wake Katto up from his slumber.
This time, Basil is with him, shivering in horror. Katto, his breathing harsh and labored, manages to convey to Basil that he is wondering what's wrong. All Basil does is show Katto the ring and says three words between his teeth: ˝It came back.˝ At once, Katto realizes that Vender gave them the ring as he knew it would be impossible to get rid of it any other way, and now it is latched to them.
Katto and Basil use the night to study the strange intricate patterns on the ring, and note that it has letters engraved on it: ˝JDWAS BCLOX QRMZY FKLPG˝, with a crude drawing of a dog spitting fire of its mouth on the inside of the ring. Basil begins to beg for Katto to break it, in a strange weak form of him that Katto has never seen before. After much poking and beseeching from Basil, Katto eventually gives in and decides to break it, feeling as if he is powerless to stop whatever the ring has planned for them. He throws it to the floor, grabs a visor from where Basil left it back inside the retreat, and continously smashes the ring with the helmet until Basil is almost driven to tears, the ring still not broken.
Eventually, it shatters, and Basil almost immediately feels a fast-tugging sense of relief. However, Katto feels a slowly-worsening sense of dread within him, and watches as words whisper in his ear: shinuku, shinuku, shinuku, and a blue mist begins to rise from the ring, forming into the shape of a hand. It grabs at Katto's ankle before rising into a full form of a demon, with a grotesque, twisted face, eyes sunken deep into its head, legs twisted around one another, and a chest large and open, with nothing inside. Katto screams for Basil to help, but the man is petrified, and the demon ever-growing. Seemingly out of nowhere, it stops and stunts several inches lower, before explaining in a raspy voice: ˝It is almost time˝, and melting back into the ring, which reforms. Basil whispers a prayer to himself as Katto interrogates him about why he was so scared. Basil only answers with a few words: ˝I've seen him in my dreams.
Throughout the period of the next day, Basil ends up commanding Katto to leave Atlantis and make for somewhere far, where the ring may not reach them. Katto is the one that stands with logic, and states that they have to take the ring with them, as whatever it is too, it may be important. Basil still feels plagued, but refuses to tell Katto anything.
Katto eventually requests Vender on how to transport to a different land. Vender gladly agrees, likely on the cause of wanting the ring to get even further away from him. He tells Katto about a legend where