The Chronicler and the Chord

The Chronicler and the Chord

A Chapter by TCTCSA
"

The People of Time Part 0 Chapter 1 The Chronicler and the Chord

"

-Chapter One-

The Chronicler and the Chord

 

I hope you don't mind me asking,

but why are you wearing a watch?

 

            And everything was completely devoured by the darkness. I didn't know where I was. I couldn't see anything, or hear anything, just as the first hint of my consciousness was starting to bubble. I felt a cold breeze brushed across my face. It was a gentle, soothing gale. The wind tasted like pineapples and ice cream on a hot summer day. I remembered everything.

            I could feel someone tugging at the hem of my sleeve. My forehead was resting heavily on my wrist. I raised my head, my eyes feeling as though they had been glued shut for an entire year. I couldn't make anything out as everything was still in a complete blur, even hazier than foggy windows on an early winter morning.

            For a moment, I had trouble even remembering my own name. My ears also didn't feel too eager to work, though I could hear faint screeching noises which sounded a lot like metal bars being dragged along the cold marble stone floor.

            When my vision finally began to clear, I realized we were in a class room, a very large, well lit emerald green room with a table at the far end and rows of wooden armchairs rising in levels before it. People were packing their bags and chatting merrily all around me. It’s the third time this week. I figured I must’ve slept through Professor Claire’s lesson.


            “Thanks,” I muttered sleepily. It seems I was awoken by a girl with long blond hair and, well, my eyes were still not functioning at full capacity so that’s pretty much the only thing I could see at the moment. Yes, I think that was how I met her.

            I don’t think she heard me though. She was heading to the exit long before I could say another word. I wouldn't blame her. After all, it wasn't like I was someone special.

            If there was one thing special about me, it would only be the hideous, gash-like feature my face had been so well renowned for. My birthmark, if you may. I've had it for as long as I can remember. It was ink black, with the appearance of a scar being ripped from all sides, running from a little above my right eyebrow down to the bottom of my cheek.

            It really just looks like a five-year-old's badly drawn map, but from everybody else’s point of view, I guess it looked closer to an incurable disease quickly spreading throughout my face. I wasn't like the other kids, and that’s likely why the other kids didn't like me either.

            It goes without saying that this black mark was a mystery. I didn't grow up knowing my parents, nor was I a true citizen of the land of ‹‹Time››. As far back as I can remember, I've just been living with a woman I refer to as my mother. You might think it's weird having to call her just by “mother”. Oddly enough, she never told me her name, and wouldn't tell me even when I asked. She’s like an action movie lead and has more than a hundred names in fifty different places.

            Sometimes, I'd try to force it out of her, to no avail. She'd tell me a name that she obviously just made up on the spot and that's when I'd know there's no more point in pushing the matter. Though she usually goes out and talks to the neighbors as Samantha, I know full well that's just one of her aliases.


            She said she used to be friends with my real mom. When the war between the lands of ‹‹Time›› and ‹‹Darkness›› broke out twelve years ago, ‹‹Death›› was forced to choose sides despite its intention to remain neutral. My parents tried to stop the warring sides, but unfortunately died in the end.

            Or at least that's what she told me. I never saw them once, not even in pictures.

            It's not like her testimony sounded authentic or believable, but in the end, I was handed over and made to live my life here, as a ‹‹Chronicler›› in the land of ‹‹Time››. Even though I possess ‹‹Time Quanta››, the natural energy embodied in the flow of “time”, people seem more eager to believe that {{Fate Eggs}} can hatch into other {{Fate Eggs}}. The people of ‹‹Time›› aren't exactly hostile, but I wouldn't exactly say they're fond of me either.

            It's true that out of the twelve countries, ‹‹Time›› is considered the most open to outside influence. You'll easily find a ‹‹Half-Blood››, that is, a person with an elemental alignment other than ‹‹Time››, wandering in almost every street corner of the day. In fact, it is said that almost 40% of the population of the land of ‹‹Time›› is composed of ‹‹Half-Bloods››, and some of them are not even affiliated with ‹‹Time›› at all.

            However, even with all this diversity, I'm still viewed as something that shouldn't belong. I guess a little over a decade is too soon to forge relations between previously warring countries. They say it may have been the result of some ‹‹Darkness Quanta›› lodging itself onto me, though a person attaining elemental affinity to one element just because of exposure to its ‹‹Quanta›› is practically unheard of. The sad part is that ‹‹Darkness›› is coincidentally the most notorious of the elements, secluding itself and making as little contact with other countries as possible. Well, it’s in their nature after all, and if I really am an affiliate of ‹‹Darkness››, then that’s all the more example of ‹‹Darkness’s›› antisocialist issues.

            It’s not that easy as it sounds to make that happen though. A person is born with at most two main elements, one from the father and the other from the mother. Even if that person has still other secondary alignments, they will not readily show themselves until a catalyst of some sort awakens it at a later age, usually around eleven or twelve. After that it becomes impossible for a person to have any more affiliations.

            Right now I'm nearing my twelfth birthday. So far I don't have any ‹‹Darkness Quanta›› in my pool so there’s no conclusive evidence, but sometimes, I think to myself it might be better if I just ran away into the land of ‹‹Darkness››. Maybe that would finally make everyone happy. Given this, and the fact that I'm the only one carrying a wristwatch around, an actual working watch to be precise, I guess I'm the laughing stock of the whole land of ‹‹Time››.

            I walked past the golden armor statues lining the hall, burying my face down my timetable and careful not to make any unintended eye contact with anyone. Millia Academy.  Located on the southern state of Oscilla. Population 3,500. It was still the first days of school, but most of the students bustling over the crowd already knew someone and were going in pairs or groups of three. As I said, I was the only odd one out, like the only bruised tomato in a basket of bright red apples. I bowed my head even more, and trudged onwards.

            According to the list I was free for one hour and a half, an awful lot of time for simply eating a late breakfast. I made my way down the front oak doors, where the two giant statues of Pythagoras and Euclid towered on either side, both holding a quill on one hand and a book on the other. Just right above hovered the symbol for infinity, a mobius band of a deep, piercing shade of red, exactly like an “8” viewed horizontally, enclosed in what looked like a small floating ball of yellow light. The ‹‹Mark of Time››.


            A pathway stretched out into the main gate, winding into a circle halfway through, cutting down and separating into two the wide grass lawn where a number of stone benches and tables stood. There was barely anyone around this time. I felt relieved to know that atleast I wouldn't be receiving as much glare as usual, but at the same time, it still kind of made me feel hollow. I proceeded to sit on one of the empty benches. The rough stone surface pushed rigidly against me. I didn't feel like eating at the cafeteria, but not because of the food. It’s just that I’d be sitting by myself there as well.

            I took off the lid of a small blue lunch box to find three palm-sized, yellow balls. They were ‹‹Parmensan Fruits››, and despite their parched taste, can fill up the ‹‹Hunger Bar›› for quite a while. One piece is enough to last two hours. It should be remembered that they heavily drain up the ‹‹Thirst Bar›› though. I asked Mom for ‹‹Tuna›› yesterday, but she said too much artificial protein is bad for me.

The wind blew gently over my shoulder as I began eating my lunch. The shadow cast by the [[Great Sundial]] at the center of the circular pathway, a bright yellow arc shaped like a crescent moon suspended in thin air, with a chain hanging down through three blue spherical balls in decreasing size, showed that I finished in less than ten minutes. A hundred more minutes to wait before my next class. 

            It was at these times that I felt forgotten the most. There's nothing to do, nor anyone to talk to. This place where time drips like old paint. Empty minute after empty minute, time passes with as little consideration as its people, and holds in each second as little meaning as the shadow of a tree. I hate it. If I could, I wish time itself would end, and leave everything forever frozen in history, unmoving, unchanging. Unfortunately, I know time would not stop for me.

            The truth is, Millia is actually a school for the elite. It sets very high standards, and has consistently produced the best of the best ‹‹Chroniclers›› in the country. I don’t know why I was even enrolled here in the first place.

            I craned my neck around, searching for the slightest thing that might save me from an hour's worth of doing nothing. The North Tower right now would have too many people for my comfort. The Astronomy Tower is too high to climb, and I’ve already checked out the old abandoned Divination Building. My eyes skipped from a couple of older students snuggling under a nearby tree, to a girl flying over the Forest, to a girl in a black cloak, sitting by herself with her back to me, to a guy wait! Did I just say a girl flying?

I mean, she had wings and all, but sure enough, when I looked back at the direction of the woods, she wasn't flying anymore. I could still partly see her through the leaves though, sitting on a high branch with little bits of white which I suspect are her wings.

            I think I remember the headmaster saying that the ‹‹Forest of Reminiscence›› was temporarily out of bounds, for God knows what reason. Somehow, seeing this rule being broken so casually made me feel hollow. There are only so many things to make a person feel hollow. Rule breaking, couples snuggling under a tree, not having the chance to thank the person who woke you up, having nothing to do for one whole hour, having to thank the person who woke you up, dry ‹‹Parmesan Fruits››, and having a huge black mark on your face among other things. 

            I had an urge to go there and tell the human butterfly danger may be lurking in the forest. Well there’s that, but I was mainly interested in how she was flying earlier. There’s no ‹‹Time›› Spell that allows one to be airborne, and this is the first time I’ve seen something like this. There are many ‹‹Half-Bloods›› I the land of ‹‹Time››, but there are still things that can stir up a person’s curiosity every now and then.

Thinking that I’ve got nothing better to do anyway, I slipped my bag across my shoulders and began running the length of the field. By the time I reached the edge of the forest I was almost out of breath. I should start training my END any time soon. I strained my eyes for any sign of the girl, but it seems I've already lost her.


            Now I know what you’re thinking. I probably shouldn't have gone there at all. I should just go back and tell no one of this incident. After all, my almost out-of-bounds wandering may very well lead me into big trouble. Even considering the worst case dangers of the Forest, didn't I just say she could fly? For all I know, if a {{Forest Spirit}} suddenly jumped out of nowhere, she could easily flutter away to safety. That being said, I had absolutely no business there whatsoever. 

            I really should've just gone back, but unfortunately something caught my attention before I could do so. It was normal for the view under a forest to be a little dim as the canopy of leaves blocks most of the sunlight, but was it normal for it to be dark? No, I'm not talking about “night” dark. The forest seemed to lose color as it grew deeper.

            It was a weird sight. I could see the nearby trees on either side of me in their normal reddish brown color, but as they went on, they began to turn gray, kind of like those old black-and-white movies, until the farthest end looked like a tiny black slit that was carved through space.

            Before I knew it, I was trotting deep inside the forest. I even forgot about the flying girl for a moment and was focused solely on what the slit of darkness was. As I kept walking, I began to notice something peculiar. The darkness never came. I thought it was something in a fixed location, something that never moves, like Legalmier's cup of tea whenever he goes for a visit. I thought it would grow larger and larger as I walked closer or something, but it didn't. It was like my whole body was the source of light, of color, and everything I was close to gained color while those far away from me slowly lost theirs.


            That seemed like the end of it. I was then convinced there was nothing interesting about the Forest, until I turned around in resign, ready to go back, and saw something that made my heart leap. I could’ve sworn I've been walking for at least five minutes already, but there was light just up ahead as though I hadn't traveled more than ten meters.

            And perhaps it would have been for the best if the situation was what I thought it was, that it just so happened that nobody can enter the forest. It’s just forbidden that way. You’ll just keep walking on and on towards a black spot you’ll never reach, as though in an inescapable trance, when in reality you’re barely even moving, and only when you turn around will you realize that you've been stuck in the same square the whole time. How I wish that was the case, but unfortunately, there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. 

            As I made my way back, I noticed something even more unusual. Where there should've been a field of grass and the view of the school’s buildings, there were only trees. More trees. My stomach gave an unpleasant lurch. I ran as fast as I could, the rustling of leaves heavy on my ears, and found myself at a huge circular clearing which seemed like the only area unoccupied by trees.

            Definitely not the way out, I told myself. My thoughts were racing now. Was I lost? I was clearly lost. This was obviously not a normal forest, and I can’t believe how gullible I was to actually come here in the first place, completely unaware of the possible dangers I just told myself I’d get into. 

            Trying hard not to panic, I rummaged through my stuff for anything I could use. I guess I wasn't trying hard enough, as the best I could probably get out of my backpack was a pair of worn out scissors. I left all my Emergency Items, including a ‹‹Teleportation Crystal››, back home. Since it was just school, I never expected something too critical to happen. I tried to sit on the ground (which I noticed was actually sand) and calm myself down for a moment. It only made me feel hollow.

            By the looks of things, I am currently at the heart of the forest. The most plausible theory I could think of was that the forest can reverse directions. 

            It's too bad that ‹‹Chroniclers›› aren't equipped with an internal compass. We have the ‹‹Fallen›› of ‹‹Gravity›› for that. You see, each race has a built in Skill that is universal to all its members, and the only thing the Skill of ‹‹Time››‹‹Astral Watch››, is good for is telling the exact time by looking at any celestial body. A pretty useless Skill, not to mention it doesn't work on cloudy days. Albeit speculations that I may not be a full-pledged ‹‹Chronicler››, I'm almost glad I don't have it.

            That aside, if the forest did disorient me and switch north and south without me realizing, then maybe all I have to do is go back the way I came? Is it worth a try? Or would I risk even disorienting myself more if it shifts directions again?

            I looked around. Now that I think about it, this forest doesn't seem like a forest at all. Sure, there were lots of trees, a little too much if you ask me, but I don’t think I've seen any animals out here yet. No birds, no Creatures, nothing. It was just way too deserted to be called a forest, any more than birthdays can be called birthdays.

            I stared up at the sky and sighed. I wondered why this place was called the ‹‹Forest of Reminiscence››. A small breeze ruffled across the cloud of leaves, sending a few to rain down upon me along the way. A calming sensation suddenly washed over me. I felt like I could almost forget all my problems and live here forever. It was so peaceful, and the air itself made me feel quite at home.

            A familiarly beautiful woman from behind patted me on the shoulder. Her hand was as soft as the warm breeze. I looked up, and remembered how she used to tell me bedtime stories and sing me to sleep as I gazed into those deep brown eyes. I could smell the scent of her wavy blond hair all the way here. Mom threw me a smile, and handed me a tray of cookies with a warm glass of milk.

            Before I knew it I was sitting on the smooth, newly polished wooden floor of our house. I could feel something rubbing down the length of my back. I turned around to find a fox-like creature staring longingly at me. I patted its head. It had long rabbit ears and milk white fur, with two round eyes a deep blue color. Its nine furry tails, emerald green at the ends and each almost as long as its entire body, wrapped fervently around my arm, which had been reduced to the length of a foot. I tried to move them off and stroke the underside of the creature’s chin.

            It felt so… nostalgic. I gazed around, at the dark ebony windows lining the ivory white walls, the aging grandfather clock mom had dusted so often, and the multitude of miniature hourglasses sitting on an old wooden shelf. She took me by the hand and helped me stand up. She led me to the front door, a shiny tint of scarlet. I saw us there, the slightly blurred reflection of a young woman and a messy five-year-old boy with ink on his face. She opened it and together, we walked outside into the blinding sunlight.

            I blinked. The house had disappeared, and for a moment I thought I had finally lost it, until I remembered I was in an out-of-bounds forest and the reality of everything came flooding back inside my head. 

            The image of mom had also disappeared and in her place was a girl with her head slightly inclined, giving me a bewildered look. She was beautiful, electric blue eyes, flawless white skin and long flowing blonde hair, but what struck me most about her was the pair of white, feathery wings subtly attached to her back. They didn't look anything like butterfly wings. They were bird wings.

            My mouth instantly went dry, and I fumbled in an attempt to find my words. I should've said something more polite, like “Pardon me but, who might you be?”, or atleast something that made sense, but my mind was still numb and instead, what came out was, well...

 

 

            “Are you an angel?”

 

 

  

            I couldn't see my face but if I did, it probably looked ridiculous as she instantly held her hand to her mouth and stifled a hearty laugh. She didn't know of the things that could make a person feel hollow.

            Even so, I think this was the first time I've actually witnessed this kind of reaction. Most of the time, my experience only consisted of people turning their faces away and pretending I'm not there, or worse, they’d be laughing at me but in a completely different way from this. I’m guessing she’s new to this country.

            When she was done, she raised her hand as though trying to reach for something I couldn't see, still trying hard to keep herself from giggling. Then, a light cerulean flute with wavy lemon yellow markings began to materialize out of thin air. She pulled it to her lips and as she began playing soft notes on it, her angelic wings disappeared with the wind.

            [[Wings]],” she said jovially, holding out the flute for me to see. “I am a ‹‹Chord››.”


            For a second, I thought she said cord. “Ummm, excuse me?”

            “Oh, my apologies. I take it you are not familiar with the term yet? I guess it should not come as a surprise. Are you perhaps a starting ‹‹Chronicler››?”

            I nodded silently.

            “I see. That aside, ‹‹Chords›› are people affiliated with the element ‹‹Air››. The thing you witnessed earlier, [[Wings]], is in fact one of the most famous Shield Artifacts of ‹‹Air››, though I only use it mostly for flying long distances.”


      

            Yeah, that definitely doesn't look anywhere near a shield at all, I thought to myself. It's also a wonder I didn't understand. I heard ‹‹Air›› is a very strict country when it comes to other elements. There are barely any ‹‹Half-Bloods›› within, and conversely, there is a very limited number of ‹‹Chords›› residing outside the land of ‹‹Air››. Now that I think about it, this is the first time I've met one. 

            “Wait, what were you doing here in the forest?”

            “Nothing,” she said, twiddling her two forefingers together as though she has half a mind to tell me and another half to tempt me into finding out for myself. Women and their secrets. “Never mind that. Rather, I should be the one more concerned with you. Are you not a little, pardon me, scrawny, to be amusing yourself at the heart of the forest? What are you doing here?”

            “Well, I-,” I stuttered. “I- I was actually looking for you. I didn't expect to get lost in the woods. I just got worried when I saw someone hovering over the trees. Since I didn't have lessons for another hour, I figured I’d come to tell you.”


            For a moment, I thought I saw a slight twinkle in her eyes, but then she resumed in a sermonic manner, “Still remains the fact that this place is forbidden among students. They did not name it the ‹‹Forest of Reminiscence›› for nothing, you know.”

            “Yeah, about that. What exactly is this place anyway?”

            “Let's see,” she said, more of talking to herself rather than explaining it to me. “It’s designed to relive your memories, depending on the situation,” she smiled.

            She spared me a sideways glance and I could tell from her eyes she wanted very much to hear about the things I saw earlier. I quickly looked away. Even men are allowed to have secrets.

            “What's that,” she said, pointing at my left arm.

            “This? Well, it's a wristwatch,” I said matter-of-factly, trying to make it sound as less weird as my body language would let me.

            “Hmmm…” She surveyed it with great interest. “I hope you don't mind me asking, but why are wearing a watch?”

            “This? Oh it's, ummm, well... Promise you won't laugh.”

            “Why?”

            “Just promise.”

            “Fine. I promise.”

            “I'm wearing this because, I can't... use ‹‹Astral Watch››...”

            “Okay?” she smiled after a long pause. I'm not even sure if she believed me. Oh well, atleast she didn't laugh. It's not like she wasn't wearing a wristwatch as well. She had an Aerochron Model up her arm, one of the digital clockworks that came out recently during the last ‹‹Patch››. It can tell the time with extremely high accuracy, but from what I've read it's only good for twelve uses, and then it self-deflagrates. Apparently these are what rich people are into.

            “So,” I started, trying to change the topic of the conversation. “How do we get out of here?”

            She looked at me, one brow raised and a weak smile as though the answer should’ve been obvious from the start. She closed her eyes and blew a long, sharp note on her flute. Suddenly, the wind dissolved into a pair of white angel wings, her so called [[Wings]] shield. The flute then disappeared and she held out her hand.

            I didn't know what to do at first. You can only be shunned by humanity for so long that you lose all social instincts, but I think it would be safe to assume here that she wants me to hold it. I grabbed her hand, hoping that's exactly what she had wanted me to do, and just like that, a feeling of extreme lightness spread over me. I was lighter than a feather. It felt like I would float upwards to the stratosphere if I didn't force myself down.

            With one flap of her wings, we were off the ground and soaring into the endless blue sky. I could feel her warm hand on mine, and the cold wind on my face. Down below, the ‹‹Forest of Reminiscence›› looked like moss lying on the surface of a seaside boulder.

            “By the way,” I called out over the rushing wind. “What’s your name?”

            “Heather,” she answered. “And you?”

            “Synth.”

            “What?” 


            “Synth. Yeah, I know it’s a weird name. I have absolutely no idea where in the world my mom got that.” I'm betting she had an even worse name and was just taking it out on me, but who knows.

            We landed a short distance away from the edge of the forest. At the far end I could see the school building just right where it should be. A sense of relief ran through my body. I seriously thought I'd be lost inside that forest forever. I promise never to set foot inside there again for as long as I live.

            “Ermmm, are you sure you have no immediate appointments to take care of, Synth?”

            “I have, but it’s still---”

            My heart fell into pieces. When I turned to look at my Edge Blitz 1.0, it was already 12:58. “What time is it?” I frantically asked, hoping that my watch had just decided to malfunction on its own. My prayers were in vain though.

            “It’s 12:59 on mine,” she replied, glancing at her own pink wristwatch and casting what was one of the twelve lifetime uses of the Aerochron, probably out of sympathy, or pity, whichever makes the situation any less pathetic.

            “What! T- That’s impossible!”

            But it wasn't impossible, and she just gave me a pitying look that told me we two were on completely different levels of intelligence.

            “What?”

            “I knew I should've told you about this earlier,” she sighed, clapping her hand to her head as though unsure how to tell a child why he can't eat rocks. “Time flows differently inside the ‹‹Forest of Reminiscence››. What you think was half an hour may have been actually five. These setbacks usually happen without you knowing and can be quite severe, especially when the forest starts playing a part of your memories. Are you telling me you went to the forest without knowing this?” she asked in incredulity.

            “Uhhh,... no.”

            She forced herself not to stifle another laugh.

            “Hey, it’s not like I can fly too you know. Anyway, I have to go. Professor Skinner would go mouth rifle on me again if I came late to ‹‹Composite Archaeology››.”

            “Then farewell. I also wish you luck,” she called out as I left running for dear life. I can’t believe how narrowly I dodged this bullet. If my first week at school is already this troublesome, I could only imagine what lies ahead. I looked back one last time, but she was already gone. Something was telling me she’s circling around the forest again as she had been doing so earlier.

            As I made my way back, I couldn't help but think that her face looked oddly familiar. Yes, that was how I met her. Heather. Heather Coriolis. Piercer of the Heavens. Whisperer of the Gales.

        Wind Waker. Cloud Treader. Humble Princess of the ‹‹Air›› Kingdom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



© 2014 TCTCSA


Author's Note

TCTCSA
This is a novel based on the online game at www.elementsthegame.com

Spells are enclosed in (( ))
Creatures are enclosed in {{ }}
Permanents are enclosed in [[ ]]
Miscellaneous items are enclosed in ‹‹ ››

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I had to rewrite this a few times over but overall I'm impressed with how it turned out. The protagonist was able to keep his projection of being antisocial/social misfit, as well as being objective in his tone and not going too personal with the reader (although this might be a minus for first person point of view)

Posted 6 Years Ago



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Added on December 7, 2014
Last Updated on December 7, 2014
Tags: time, entropy, air, gravity, fire, water, elements, aether, earth, darkness, death, light, life, the people of time, people of time, synth, synesthesium, novel, elements the game, chronicler, chord


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TCTCSA
TCTCSA

Philippines



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Rogue Rogue

A Chapter by TCTCSA