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Chapter 2: The Journey Begins

Chapter 2: The Journey Begins

A Chapter by J.J. Schelly
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Jaerel learns of Ordia's past, of the Immortals, and their Stones. He and Siervan travel to Maisin Rokine, Jaerel's home city

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Chapter 2: The Journey Begins

 

            The cold walls around Jaerel suddenly seemed dark and ominous, as if they were glaring into his soul almost as much as this old man was. He had figured out all his travels in a matter of minutes and of this particular Stone. Jaerel could not run or hide, this was a wizard well trained in whatever magic he had practiced and mastered it. This man was also knowledgeable in both the history of Ordia and of present times and situations; Jaerel could sense his wisdom flowing through the air. For a moment neither of them spoke; it was a great coincidence that Jaerel had decided to visit Vays and not Tulvia.

            “You are right,” said the old man, turning to walk back into the streets. “We must speak of this privately. Come with me.”

            Jaerel knew if he refused this man could easily find him again. Following him, he ended up in a small inn room with a bed, a desk with a lamp and paper on it, and a wooden chair. The curtains were closed over the glass window, causing the room to look empty and lonely. The man sat upon the chair with a long sigh and welcomed Jaerel in, who stood by the door still as he closed it behind him.

            Suddenly, with a bright flash of white and yellow, the man transformed into a completely new man. He now had long silver hair, covered in white and silver garments from head to toe. A ring he wore of the same color with a blue gem resting on top, same to the one on the staff which had not changed. His eyes were no longer black but a deep ocean blue, calming yet alert at the same moment, showing wisdom and kindness. And what was more…he was an Elf, pointed ears listening to everything around him.

            “This is my true form,” came the elf, expanding his arms to let the garments show their glittering appearance. The Elf was glowing almost as much as the Stone Jaerel continued to hide in his pocket. “I am Siervan, and I am an Elf Malige.” (Malige was an ancient Elven term for ‘wizard’ or ‘magician’). “You are a half-breed, from what I have just told you. No being in Ordia can hold a Stone of Imlikan save for half-breeds. I am most fortunate to have found you before the Darkness could.”

            “What is this Darkness exactly?” Jaerel asked. “Yes, I am a half-breed, I’ve known for many years now. But I must know what are these evil forces and how does this Stone mean anything to you or to Zaarlan? If you must tell me everything you know, do it now and swiftly. I am to set off tomorrow for Maisin Rokine.”

            “If I must tell you now, it will take some time. Whatever is waiting for you is not near as important as what you hold.”

            “I will listen tonight to your words; you seem wise and friendly, more than most wizards in Ordia that is.”

            “Thank you…I must tell the tale now.”

            Siervan’s voice was soothing and calming to Jaerel’s ears, reminding him of songs past sung by local Elves in the forests near his home. High and low they spoke and sang, of wonderful things and of hateful things but still he would listen attentively and carefully. Siervan had a similar tone, although his was full of memories and emotion, a connective voice that cuts deep. And thus, Siervan began the tale:

            “What you have with you, is a Stone of Imlikan; there are four across Ordia and each have their own share of power. The tale I will tell you begins centuries ago, to the Third Age of Ordia, where magic and strange beasts lived in every corner…the Age where Immortals walked among the earth. When Ordia was created, the Immortal Aluvendale reigned supreme over three other Immortals, which he had created as well: Flindor, Asilia, and Alteria. Flindor was the ‘god’ of the heavens, flying free among the clouds and sky and controlling the weather of which we still receive. Asilia was the ‘goddess’ of life on earth, keeping track of what grows where and in what regions should certain beasts, animals, and beings should live. And Alteria was the ‘god’ of earth making, who created this very land from the Algard Ranges to the Korlag Forest to the Elkov Wasteland in Salmoria.

            “Each of these Immortals was given a specific Stone, or jewel, to signify their importance, ruling, and dominance over Ordia. Alteria was given a golden yellow jewel, Asilia an emerald green jewel, and to Flindor a darkened blue jewel. Each Stone contained the power and skill of these Immortals and before you ask: they could not be broken by any smith among Men, Elves, Dwarves, or any creature living on earth. These Stones were made by Aluvendale himself, and the only source that could break such a Stone was magic sent specifically from one of the Immortals to any being in Ordia of whom would contain such magnificent power.

            “During that Age, the First and part of the Second, wizards were non-existent. The flow of magic was unknown and all the beings in Ordia live how most of Mankind and some Dwarves live presently. But the Immortals wanted more in their people, they wanted to allow them control over the lands and regions. So, each Immortal taught a select few in their people to learn the ways of magic, mostly forming and constructing magic that is. The magicians were so adept and learned so quickly that they began teaching others the way of magic. Soon the population grew too many magicians in one place, each desiring the jewels of the Immortals, desiring the power above any mortal man, and thus started the Malige War of the Third Age.

            “All regions collided: Zayfithia, Threlonk, Mulianty, and Salmoria. Battles fought in cities, on plains, in forests…anywhere that there might be a dispute or need for power for their land there was always a constant battle. Mages, warriors, knights; they were all present as well as races from distant lands. This Age is where Intashim Isheliv was brought into the world and where Zaarlan became known. Great generals and captains were brought together but for the wrong purpose. The lust for power was too great in that time…” Siervan blanked out of the story for a few seconds, suddenly blinking his eyes and snapped back to it. His memories of old were coming back.

            “Years passed by, the fighting was slowed and delayed but there was always controversy. Then at last, the Immortals gathered together as many magicians as they could to meet in one location for one last time. During this whole time, the Immortals had decided to stay out of this fight but by then they had gone through their patience and desired peace or death; to put an end to the war. Now, almost every wizard and magician of every race gathered in northern Zayfithia, thinking this was to be the final battle cry and last stand of their magic kind. Thousands were finally collected and the Immortals were glad.

            “Then Flindor, the god of the skies, roared to them, “Listen to my words and listen carefully. You have been foolish! Your greed and your desire for power has grown too strong for us to bear. We have brought you magic from our Immortal hands to bring you peace, but you have brought the opposite and have disappointed us greatly. Surrender now your magic back to us calmly and you shall live; deny us, and death will be given freely and swiftly”. The many who were there thought of this as a joke, or a distraction from the enemies. No one, save a few from each group, gave up their powers or magic abilities, only waited for the enemy’s charge.

            “Showing that most had not acted upon his words, Flindor met with Asilia and Alteria. For a day, they talked and debated while the magicians grew impatient on the battlegrounds. Suddenly, a wave of fire rushed through each encampment of wizards; thinking this was the enemy attack, each group charged and met one another at Kurug Daal, commonly known as the ‘Valley of Condemnation’ presently, in the region of Taashi. Once they were in one area, thinking their leaders had left them to fend for themselves, they were massacred.

            “Wind came first, from Flindor, knocking the warriors and wizards back and forth, tossing their bodies around like dolls. Smashed against rock and earth many died a horrible death. Then came rumbling earthquakes and fire from the ground, sent by Alteria. A great host fell tragically into deep caverns and holes while others were burning and screaming in pain. Many of the wizards by now had begun to flee towards the east as quick as they could while they could hear their comrades and enemies yelling in pain, begging for them to take them with.

            “Leaving everyone behind the rest ran until they arrived north of the Kyrel Ranges, west of Seviri and the Sont River. Thinking they had escaped the wrath of the Immortals, they all had a moment of rest and night passed by. And in the middle of that night Asilia made her move to finalize the Magile Massacre. First came a rain of poison, choking and burning anyone who touched even a drop; their skin boiled and popped until they dropped dead in pieces. After an hour of torture came pools and streams of darkness, swallowing the entire camp into an endless void of pain, each wizard scratching for the surface but to no success.

            “The very few that remained, about twenty or so, were kept alive as a reminder to obey the orders of the Immortals. Of course, they were terrified and scarred for life that they all went insane and ended up dead in the next few years. The Immortals decided to place their power in stones, ordinary landscape in disguise, so that no being with any magic skill taught by a mortal could locate them; the war had brought too much unrest for their world and for Ordia.”

            A great pause followed as Siervan tried to recall what he had missed and what he had remembered. Tales and stories were found anywhere in Ordia about the war in the past but Siervan told it better than most. A group of Magiles still existed in hiding and could tell the tale without being in pain, unlike Siervan; these magicians, however, were not entirely good and only lived for their own rule. They were named “Anti-Ordician” as they roamed the earth without a purpose, only to survive on their own. Siervan made no more comments on them as he hated them and their wicked ways.

            “You mentioned Intashim,” Jaerel reminded him. “And Zaarlan coming into power. What effect did they have on that Age? For it is the Fifth Age now and Intashim has passed away into shadow.”

            “Yes, yes. Intashim was a great wizard and was very wise; he had not participated in the war because he thought it was blasphemy and most stupid to defy the Immortals. Zaarlan, on the other hand, wasn’t as wise. When the Third Age ended, Zaarlan was known as the greatest king of the East, ruling in his city of Theyshon. He built a royal palace and a stronghold there to boast of his strength and his wisdom. And many people came to admire such a place; he welcomed many in and invited many back. His glory days were very well known across Ordia. For twenty years, give or take a few, his fame flourished.

            “Intashim grew in popularity ever so slowly while Zaarlan was occupied with his wealth. Soon Intashim became the king of Maisin Rokine, your beloved city, as you might know. His people were the happiest folk I have seen in many years; festivals and shops and communities were bustling in that proud city by the hills. Soon the wonder of the world shifted to Intashim and his city, causing Zaarlan much less visits and even less popularity. Many went now to Intashim for wisdom, strategy, and overall happiness that such a ruler existed.

            “Of course, this enraged Zaarlan very much but for the time being he remained in his city and let hate, jealousy, and revenge fester in his mind. He brought forth a new race to challenge his enemy: Orcs. Deadly fighters, Orcs were a cross between Men, Elves, and goblins and through careful magic he created the most vile and evil creatures that still walk in Ordia to this day. A massive army he built of these Orcs and in the next year he marched his army across the land to challenge Intashim.

            “Far and wide his army was known as the biggest most evil hoard any creature on Ordia had seen. Black armor and flags bearing emblems of a sword crossing a scepter; tough skin covered these Orcs, almost like scales. Arrows from the farmers that revolted against such a kind bounced off their enemies; fields and crops were burned, villages pillaged and most of the people murdered with no reason. Zayfithia was in distress and they called upon Intashim to act, the only king they looked up to. No longer would the people of Ordia trust in the Immortals.

            “For many long months Zaarlan sieged the city of Maisin Rokine but Intashim had trained his warriors and wizards very well. The siege started in the fourth month and ended in the tenth; many were the casualties of such a siege but Intashim claimed his victory. Zaarlan was furious once again and challenged him to a duel, one on one, without magic or aid. Both armies retreated to a safe distance in the battlegrounds to let the two leaders fight to the death.

            “For a whole day Intashim and Zaarlan dueled fiercely but since Intashim was active in battle the previous day and Zaarlan stood upon a hill directing, he grew weary and tired without his magic. One final slice to the neck at sunset and Intashim was slain; but Zaarlan hated his foe with a great passion that he decapitated the king’s head and carved his emblem into the sides of his cheeks. Placing the head upon a spear and shoving it into the ground, Zaarlan left victorious but with too few of troops to continue the siege. Ever since then, the enemies of Zaarlan have been hunting the Orcs, reducing their number until the Dark Lord has finally shrunk back into his dark fortress. And for many years he has remained there but I fear a new uprising may come yet again in our Age. His power grows each year that we leave that wretched place alone; I have talked to many councils among Elves, Dwarfs, Men, and other species about this, but they have all responded the same way: to leave the Dark Lord be as he has suffered many defeats in his time. I do not want this Darkness to rise a second time in one Age…”

            “Zaarlan must know of these Stones then; he must be after them to gain control of Ordia to dominate it in one final sweep of the land.”

            “Yes, he knows of them but he does not fear them any longer. They are rare and almost impossible to retrieve. He knows that no Elf has such magic to locate them or any Dwarf that has such tools to grasp them; but he has forgotten the lineage of Intashim and his offspring…”

            Jaerel was baffled. How could Siervan know that he was Intashim’s nephew? Intashim was a great ruler and king but once he died and his children took power over Maisin Rokine the fame and popularity died quickly. Jaerel was left unnoticed by most of the people and decided to live a life in secrecy. He had an older brother who would take the throne soon after his father’s rule, who was also his favorite and most popular among the townsfolk. Jaerel wanted to forget this as his mind began to wander, before his jealousy would rise.

            “You have mentioned before that you are a Malige,” Jaerel continued with his wonders and amazement. “It seems like there were once many, but now they seem rare. I hardly see any, maybe one or two from the North-South Road, but they are scarce. What is it like to be a Malige?”

            Siervan paused for a moment, wondering how to explain such a thing. Then he spoke.

            “To be a Malige means to feel everything. The pain, the joy, the torments…of course, that is, we can sense only the feelings of other Maliges. If we felt every living being’s feelings we would all be dead with so much emotion in our minds. Thankfully, although it was a disastrous and terrible event, there are not many Maliges left and therefore we sense and feel less.”

            “So, you used your Malige-sense to find out where I was and that I have this Stone,” guessed Jaerel. “I know how to use the Malige powers to sense beings around me and their movements through their footsteps.”

            “No, that is its own power. You may not realize it or know it yet but you are a Malige as well. And not only a Malige, but a half-breed Malige, the rarest of them all and the one rumored across the land to end the Darkness.”

            Silence followed. Jaerel had to return to his thoughts; had he heard Siervan correctly? No way he was prophesized to become the hero of the Age, he had little knowledge of the world outside of his travels between Maisin Rokine and Vays. The only outside events he knew were because travelers telling campfire stories or vendors from far lands in the streets. Somehow, he was not surprised that he had Malige power inside of him, for he knew many spells and could conjure them better than most magic learners in the cities. Butt Jaerel knew almost nothing of Zaarlan and his coming Darkness, until now, and remembering what Siervan had told him he began to shiver at the idea of facing a monstrous black figure with all the dark power of the world, in many Ages, in him.

            Zaarlan was indeed a mighty foe but Siervan mentioned that he could be battled with and most likely weakened if the correct spot was vulnerable. Since Jaerel was more of a hunter and ranger one of his skills was spotting the weak spots in almost any creature he passed. Whether it be a wild beast or a powerful Malige, there is always a weakness somewhere. Finally, after thinking things through Jaerel spoke.

            “You say I am the one to defeat the Darkness, to defeat Zaarlan in a final battle of good and evil. It is a rushed thing to say in one night but I do believe you. But why can’t I give you the Stone and you fight Zaarlan along with the other Maliges? I know you cannot touch the Stone but can you not absorb its power with your magic?

            “There are many Maliges across Ordia that do not trust in anyone, in any Malige that is. Ever since the dreadful massacre they dared not group together anymore. We have become nomads and weary travelers; the only thing we can give out to the world now is information and wisdom. As for absorbing the Stone’s power, I cannot do. It is with a half-breed’s touch only that the power can be absorbed.”

            “I have touched the Stone but nothing happened. When I discovered it in the cave, however, the place seemed very odd and distant from the world itself. I dove in a deep well of water; as soon as I plunged in many terrified screams were around me, as well as deep war drams, as if an army were to siege the very cave I was in. I came back out and all was silent.”

            “You may have heard the screams of the Unworthy, the foolish Malige that chose to face the Immortals. What you have told me tells me that you are indeed a Malige, and what’s more you can reach back into history’s memories.”

            “How am I able to do this?”

            “Remnants and shards of the past; an old necklace or a broken vase or a shattered shield. Using your Malige powers you can catch a small glimpse into the events. But I warn you not to take this gift for granted; if you use it foolishly you will end up like those tortured Maliges that you heard.”

            “I do not wish for such a thing. But still I am curious: why did nothing happen when I touched the Stone? You said it is with the touch of a half-breed but I felt no great magic flow through me.”

            “It is because you did not use your magic to look inside the Stone. You must feel its energy and reach into its power source to absorb it. We shall not attempt it here as it might disturb some civilians outside; a great light will shine through you and smoke will follow. That would cause too much attention, especially here in Vays.”

            Glancing to the window, both Jaerel and Siervan noticed it was nearly dark, as Siervan’s advice and storytelling took quite some time to tell. But it was enough information to make Jaerel sway to where his story in life would take him next. Once he was outside the city limits and away from the North-South Road he would attempt to absorb this peculiar magic and search for the remaining two Stones. For the Elk, however, he had no plan for it; he had forgotten all about it in the time that he met Siervan. Suddenly he remembered his sword and most of his traveling gear were still hidden and that his magic would soon wear off past midnight. Siervan agreed with Jaerel to meet at the gate at sunrise and allowed him to retrieve his supplies just in time. Finding Helagor’s house was no challenge as it resided only a few minutes away from the stables.

            “About time you showed up!” roared Helagor at Jaerel’s appearance. “The dinner’s almost gone cold and I just about gave up on you and ate it myself!”

            Joyful that someone was glad to see him, Jaerel entered with a friendly smile and greeted Helagor’s wife. To the residence’s amazement, Jaerel heated up his food in an instant by snapping and creating a small flame on his fingertips. Such magic had not been used in Vays in many years and with such casual style. Jaerel told them he had met up with a long-lost friend that he had thought gone missing a few years back; he told them he was in the forest hunting and came across a familiar trail but made no mention of the Elk that he put another spell on for the night. After sharing some stories and adventures of his hunts, Jaerel turned in for the night, informing them he’d be leaving early.

            The next morning came quick and swift; Jaerel was ready for his next journey and how long it was to take he did not know or even guess. He said his farewells to the lovely couple and wished to return there someday once the Darkness passed; it was the kindest hospitality he had received in many years.

            “You’ll need a cart if you’re gonna drag those deer around until Maisin Rokine,” stated Helagor with a laugh. “Visit my friend Shalandin, tell him you’re a friend of mine and he’ll give ya a discount on a travel cart.”

            Sure enough when Jaerel found Shalandin near the entrance of the city, he gave him a good deal for a small cart to carry his supplies and his hunt. Content with his visit to Vays, Jaerel exited the walls to find Siervan waiting for him, chatting among the guards, the same ones who had talked to Jaerel just a few days before. Recognizing a friendly face, they all said their farewells and “good lucks” until at last the travelers set off to Maisin Rokine. Luckily the North-South Road was connected to the city, transitioning from a nicely paved stone road into a rough dirty road a few miles away. But the textures of roads were not of importance to the travelers; what they needed now was cover within the forest.

            “It is the best place to experience the first absorbing of a Stone,” admitted Siervan, almost showing off his intelligence. “You can feel everything in the forest, the animals, the birds, even the roots of the trees; a Malige’s power must relate to the earth of Ordia itself.”

            The Elven-Malige and the prophesized magician continued for a day stopping once for a meal. The next day they traveled until noon where they discovered an empty space where trees should’ve been; deeming this curious, they dismounted and tied their horses to some cut down stumps. Jaerel admitted that he had not remembered such a large amount of the forest gone before he reached the Veilt Hills. Siervan was cautious but decided this was the area where Jaerel could gain the ancient Immortal magic. Leading him to the borders of the Korlag, he stopped short to make sure he was not in the presence of the forest. Even a strong magician such as Siervan could be lured into this enchanted forest. Grasping his sword, Siervan stood ready in case of an attack but also if Jaerel could not withstand the power and attack him in response.

            Grasping the Stone, Jaerel was frightened; the jewel was still glowing and now had a more threatening aroma, as if it was going to suck him into the stone itself. He stared at for some time while Siervan stood patiently, wondering if the power was already working within him or if he was too frightened to try anything. Soon he grew too frustrated and yelled at him to snap out of it and perform the magic.

            Focusing on everything he had within, Jaerel glared intently at the center of the Stone, a pure white substance, rather than the green he had seen in the cave, and then closed his eyes, surging every strand and bit of energy he could into this Stone. As Siervan stood behind him still, Jaerel exploded into a glorious light and his arms flew to the side; his hands glowed and his eyes shot beams of light. A great voice, deep and commanding, came from him: “I am he who is unseen, I am he who burns in the day and glows in the night, I am he who controls the weather and the fortune of the world. I give to you, oh chosen one, the light of the Immortals.”

            Falling to his knees, Jaerel remained in shock and could not speak for some time. He had seen and heard everything that came from his own mouth; was that really Flindor’s voice calling to him? Was the magic flowing through him this ferocious? Then Jaerel opened his eyes to a new world: focusing his energy he could hear everything in the area. The birds chirping, the moles burrowing in their holes, Siervan’s heartbeat, the tree’s roots digging. Everything was present and very much alive.

            Suddenly, Jaerel realized that his arms were glowing a radiant silver, the same shimmering color that covered him just moments ago. He let his energy down and the silver disappeared; in amazement, he brought forth the new magic again, and to his joy the silver returned upon his arms, from his shoulders down to his fingers. Letting the energy go again, he turned around to greet Siervan.

            “Amazing,” Siervan applauded him, laughing, “Simply astonishing to see the true work of the Immortals at hand. You’ve done well applying their disguise too I see.”

            “I am truly honored to receive such a gift,” Jaerel answered honestly. “I did not expect any of this nor did I ask. Why has fate decided this?”

            “You have walked many miles in the darkness, Jaerel. It is time for you to become who you truly should be, and I am not talking about rising to be king of Maisin Rokine, although that may be a possible future.”

            “It is not the crown I desire…I do not know what I truthfully want. It’s been my goal to find out what meaning I have in this life. I believe now that I shall have to carry this burden for as long and wherever it may take me.”

            “I am glad to hear this. Now, for your first lesson with your new power: flying. If you have enough energy and stamina you can teach yourself what limits you have to flying. So, remember not to focus on just one portion of power, but to balance them. You already have excellent eyesight, as that is your Elven nature; combining that with the gift of flight will make your hunts especially be much more productive. Spread your wings now, let me see how crafty you can be.”

            Jaerel took a few steps away from Siervan and ignited his new power once again, his arms illuminating with the same light. Gathering all the energy he could he raised his arms high and in one swift motion he jolted them down, causing him to rocket into the air in seconds. Once he retrieved a good height he spread his arms, which now looked more like wings with silver feathers made of glass, and began to glide gracefully through the warm breeze. Over the trees he flew, past the lush green leaves, the amazed creatures in the treetops wondering what new species this was, and over the road and the plains until at last he came back to Siervan, his heart rushing and pounding with joy and great pleasure; never before had he traveled so quick, not even on the fastest horse from Maisin Rokine.

            Suddenly, a thought upon Jaerel: he could now use this power to search for prey on his hunts, making the target much easier to locate and even easier to kill in a single shot. Containing his excitement, though, Siervan approached him and told him that not only was this new air power used for good, but could be carried away. The air power was not meant solely for flying either; an air temple for training magicians was in northern Threlonk, where Jaerel could be taught in the ways of War Air, a mostly defensive but dangerous weapon to use through air itself. This temple, also known as the Silver Shrine, was located directly above the city of Inti, a peaceful place where most of the citizens were dedicated to simple life, meditation, and community.

            Before traveling to Inti, though, Jaerel and Siervan decided to continue their plans to ride to Maisin Rokine first. Siervan knew of a company that had long been waiting for the half-breed, always checking the city of Maisin Rokine, as news could spread quickly that an unusual man was seen walking about stealthily, but whenever someone would attempt to catch his attention he would disappear for months. Only Jaerel’s family knew of his whereabouts, speaking not a word to anyone who had suspicions on the Alivenns.

            Coming back to his horse and wagon, Jaerel found it was much lighter to lift anything, including the cart itself. He almost was tempted to send the horse back and drag the cart with him but it would be a waste of his gold; he told nothing of this to Siervan so the Elf would not take advantage of him. Remembering what the folks in Vays told him, Jaerel reminded Siervan of the road, how it might become dangerous if they kept to it for too long. After they had passed a good ten miles they swayed right toward the Corvel Plains; a marsh was directly north of them, connecting to the Tiok Road, leading west to Maisin Rokine. Content with their path, the two magicians went along their way.

            Upon entering the wilderness, although it was flat and barren except dry grass, Siervan began to hum a short tune, a tale told of his previous years, where the Darkness shrived in every corner of the land, seeping into the minds of any living being:

           

            The touch of grass, the way of the wind

            The softness contained in the finest of silk

            A light so fine, in a princess divine

            But not so was the lord of old

 

            The ground shakes, the wind is ash

            All that is good, has now turned to black

            A darkness so evil, in a lord so terrible

            But not so was the lord of light

           

            Up he sprang, from his throne of gold

            ‘Make haste make haste! The time is near!

            The time to cure this place of fear!’

            And up he sprang to challenge his foe

            The one true sword for the final blow

 

            Darkness and Light, collided in the night

            A shining sword and a poisoned knife

            Down came Zaarlan, a passionate kill

            Down went Intashim, a passionate king

            And all was still except the breeze

 

            Siervan remained quiet after the last line, his memories clinging desperately to his mind, attached to his dreams and nightmares. Intashim was a great king, loyal to his people and very kind at heart. Siervan knew him well as Intashim called upon friendly and wise Magiles whenever he was stuck in any situation. Intashim never hated any being in all Ordia, not even Zaarlan, but when it came to it he had not the heart of hatred as Zaarlan did; such a hate was brewing inside the dark lord, the one thing that made him powerful above all else.

            The Elven Magile remained silent for another hour as they pressed on until nightfall. They had just about five miles to the marshes that blocked their way to the Tiok Road but thought it’d be best to take everything at a relaxed pace. Siervan took the first watch during the night, tending the fire carefully until Jaerel took his position. Early at dusk, they ate a quick breakfast and took off once more. In a matter of an hour they reached the marshes; the first hour was swift and easy but once they had reached the center Jaerel began to sense a sharp pain in his chest, random pricks as if he were poked with tiny needles. Jaerel reported this to Siervan.

            “It is the old spirits attempting to gain a new body,” explained the Elf, “A new body with tremendous power but I can see your shields have improved since we first met. I am glad you are taking precautions. But still be careful; most of these spirts are of evil and only desire a dark possession of both your body and your mind.”

            “You cannot sense these spirits?” asked Jaerel surprised, since Siervan had said nothing of them before they arrived.

            “I can and I tend to ignore them.”

            “How? They are constantly pricking at me with their invisible needles and every now and then I hear a small voice, almost like a whisper.

            “How do I ignore the darkness and their spirits? I find light and follow it to a cause.”

            “A light? What do you mean? Surely the sun cannot outshine these creatures.”

            “The light I speak of does not come in physical form, young Magile. I can see you have not been taught correctly of the spiritual world; at least not yet. This light is the light of the Immortals, it dwells and roars within and shines brighter than the sun all beings need. Someday you will understand and feel it too.”

            Jaerel seemed stumped and puzzled by Siervan’s words, never before had he been told of an internal light but something inside him desired this light. Siervan remained quiet, knowing his fellow traveler was curious about life and the ways of the Magile more than ever. Siervan knew that to be a Magile meant to be one with the earth and one with the Immortals: a prophet to give wisdom and protect those that are lost.

            Onward the two Magiles trudged through the harsh and disgusting swamp. A strong and unforgettable stench scented the air every step they took, stinging their noses and making their eyes water. A thin mist began to appear before them, first near their feet then reaching up to their faces. Not wanting to spend magic, Siervan led the way with a white staff containing a cold silver light at the top, and Jaerel following close behind.

            Before they anticipated, Jaerel and Siervan finally spotted a view of open green fields far off in the distance. With hope and determination, they passed through the swamps easily and before sundown they were on the Tiok Road, heading straight west to Maisin Rokine. They rested well that night with pleasant dreams.

            “I would like you to clean up, Jaerel,” Siervan admitted, looking his new friend up and down. “If we are to be in Maisin Rokine we should appear better looking. Honestly, I do believe we look like beggars.”

            Jaerel had not given a single thought to his appearance this whole journey but if Siervan was worried how he looked it must’ve been bad. They found a small stream near the road and following it they discovered a pond, its water murky but still able to see reflections. As Jaerel bent over the water he had realized Siervan was right: he looked exactly like a beggar. His dark, shoulder length hair was smeared with mud and dirt that blended in with the stubble of his beard. His cloak was beat up, rips and tears across the sleeves and back were very noticeable and his once bright brown clothes underneath were so stained he thought it looked almost black. The ring he wore, though, remained perfectly clean: a grey ring with styles of many branches reaching around it, winding together until they held a dark green emerald.

            His eyes drooping from exhaustion from so many miles traveled, Jaerel splashed water across his face and scrubbed his clothes until no stains were visible. Approaching Siervan soon after, the Elf smiled and said, “Now you look like a human, very good,” and laughed. Jaerel agreed with a smile. It was very true that he looked more like a Man than an Elf even though he had both species within him. But that did not bother him, for his family accepted him in the city and although he did not have a home of his own, many citizens welcomed him into their houses and inns.

            From dawn till dust the travelers continued their way until at last the next day they spotted the city’s walls just a few miles on the horizon, standing tall and mighty to boast of what an extraordinary city they appeared to be. Siervan transformed back into the old man that Jaerel met in Vays, and by the afternoon they arrived before the gates of Maisin Rokine. Grey and white stone walls surrounded the city in light, protecting the people and most of all the Trees of Illumination. These trees were of great significance both to the citizens of Maisin Rokine and to Magiles across Ordia.

On the west section of the city grew a great blue-silver tree, Lurracon. This tree glowed in the night, empty branches stiff and withered that creaked and groaned in the dark; but what was important about Lurracon was its sense of future weather. If it grew even one healthy green leaf the next day was to be clear and sunny, if it grew two the week would be blessed with light, and if it grew three leaves the month would be a very fruitful time. The second tree planted in the east side of Maisin Rokine was named Suulvon, a tree of sunlight that glowed magnificent colors but turned a pale blue during the night. This tree also was important for weather, for it determined the seasons and how they should be approached. Each season was signified a color: during spring the leaves would turn a radiant lime color if the season would be good or a dull flat green if it were to be bad; the summer’s leaves were like a clear blue summer’s day but on the flip side it was a dark ominous blue; the fall’s leaves appeared a fiery combination of red and orange, or a matte pink; and finally, the winter’s leaves shone a shimmering silver or a bland grey.

Because such delicate and precious remained permanently in the city, the security was constantly in check and wary of their surroundings. Maisin Rokine was divided in two walls, both circling the capital building. Behind the first wall was a center for crops and livestock. Anything that needed to be grown or nurtured from nature remained there. Behind the second wall was the citizen and living areas, all buildings surrounding the capital palace which had a smaller wall made of rough grey bricks. Maisin Rokine was relatively peaceful, the only exceptions of spies from Threlonk or rebellious criminals.

Four guards garmented in rich, royal armor stood firmly before the front gate, made completely of metal and steel, and grasping long spears they glared cautiously at the mysterious travelers. The emblem of the city shone proudly upon the breastplates of the guards, almost like a warning to any dangerous beings who had unsavory business on their minds. Siervan and Jaerel had no worries on their minds nor any doubt that they would be viewed as criminals or servants of the Darkness.

The front guard on the right approached them first, questioning them of their purpose to the city and where they had previously visited. Siervan answered for Jaerel, telling them how he found Jaerel in Vays after Jaerel had been busy with a hunt, which explained the cart containing the White Elk, still under the illusion spell. Siervan then explained why they went through the marshes and the Tiok Road, as there was rumor of the Darkness across Ordia. Hearing this, the guard felt content with their answer and allowed them entry through the first wall.

As the gates clanked open, vibrant colors of greens and blue filled Jaerel and Siervan’s visions, the plantations and fields filled with healthy crops and livestock prancing around happily within fenced confinements. A few civilian workers were spotted toiling in the rich soils, not paying attention to the visitors except for a couple curious glances. Walking slowly up the second gate, four more guards were placed in the same positions as the outside wall. This time the guard on the left talked to them of the same topic and almost identical conversation. Entry was given and finally the disguised Magiles were in Maisin Rokine.

“For now, I must leave you,” told Siervan, stopping Jaerel before they came across the busy city streets. “This journey requires more than just two weary magicians, so I will be gathering worthy companions for us. In the meantime, take care of your personal business with your hunt and if you can to prepare for the months to come. Meet me at the Hungry Horse Inn in a week.”

Siervan hobbled away in his disguise as Jaerel walked swiftly with his horse and cart to at last retrieve the gold he had originally been thinking of before Siervan caught him. The largest trade center in Maisin Rokine was at the far east side, taking an hour to arrive. Keeping an eye out for suspicious characters, he slowly pushed his cart till he found the trade center, a large wooden shack with open windows, a weather-beaten door, and loose shingles. Parking his cart near the door, he stepped in, the floor boards creaking as he came up to the owner, a gruff and hefty man, who was patiently sitting behind an old desk littered with paper records of previous trades, sales, and purchases.

“Well, I haven’t seen your friendly face in many months,” laughed the owner. “Off on another hunt I reckon?”

“As always,” Jaerel agreed. “But this time I have brought something much more special than a bundle of rabbits or a handful of rare berries.”

“Oh? Show me, show me!”

Jaerel left the room, dragged the disguised deer back to where he stood, and uncovered the spell. With awe, the owner gasped, “That…that is the White Elk. How did you ever come across this creature? I thought it was impossible to catch.”

“That’s because most hunters do not have the patience as I do,” Jaerel admitted. “Since the task has been defeated, the secret of my catch is with Alung berries. Apparently, the Elk had a passion for sweet berries.”

“I never would’ve guessed. Now I’m sure you’ve come here to collect your coin, eh?”

“Indeed. I have worked many months to catch this beast, I do believe that it is worth at least a month’s time of food.”

“Hmm…” the owner had never seen such a legendary being like this before, especially in his own shop. “200 gold and 50 silver pieces. How does that fare with you?”

“I say 225 gold and 25 silver pieces. I have been so passionate for this.”

“Done! I will get your reward.”

The owner shuffled to a back room to retrieve the coins and place them in a brown leather sack. In a few minutes, he returned with a large bag and placed it with a heavy thud upon the desk. Before Jaerel could take it, he told him to wait where he was for he had a bigger surprise. Although Jaerel believed that it might be an addition to the gold, he backed up closer to the door. Rounding the back door’s corner, the figure that stood silent was undoubtedly not the shop owner and only had one purpose for his visit: to capture Jaerel.




© 2017 J.J. Schelly



Author's Note

J.J. Schelly
Again, hope you can pronounce the fictional names, if there are improvements to be made or just simply comments, just leave a review/comment. Thanks!!

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Added on November 6, 2017
Last Updated on November 6, 2017
Tags: fantasy, adventure, fiction


Author

J.J. Schelly
J.J. Schelly

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About
I am a beginning author hoping to write fictional/fantasy novels, as well as poems based off nature, some life experiences, and themes based in my upcoming novel. I will be posting the beginning 5 cha.. more..

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