An Apocalyptic Epiphany
I decide to depart from the Finch family home, and furthermore the Serene camp, in the early hours of the morning; this way, farewells do not need to be said. Just the way I like it. The odd purple sky spawns a feeling of emotional warmth, from the product of the conflicting deep blue of the night, and the delicate red-orange of the morning sunrise. The same emerald green grass I trod down yesterday seems to adopt a slightly darker hue, reflecting the colouration currently displayed in the heavens.
The mown plain the dwellers live upon is shaped in a rather neat circle, around the circumference a thick lining of the Serene marks the portal to a different world; a more beautiful, yet dangerous one. As much as the dense forest undergrowth in the ‘danger zone’ can be the nightmare of a mortal, I am not intimidated at all. The Glatteiswald is a different matter completely, but this isn’t the case at present.
The woodland air retains an indescribable, fresh nature fragrance. Often in poetry I attempted to reconnect with my emotional side by trying to illustrate such beauties of the natural world, but never to any avail. My sentiment has been stolen by my deep studies into necromancy, and my focus into my quest to piece together these visions I had foreseen. It all started a month or so ago...
I was meditating at a graveyard upon the suburbs of Blackmire, focusing in on my connection with dead spirits within the area. This was meant to be a training exercise, a simple strengthening of my ability to raise the dead; however it was illegal to actually perform this command directly, so I casually recited the incantation and connected with spirits. In actual fact, I had found myself transported to some kind of spirit world. It resembled a cloud, but it was meadow-like on the surface I stood on. A single woman stood beneath an immaculate marble arch, clothed in a long silver gown, which was too, pristine, that touched the floor. Her long, flowing blonde hair ran like a waterfall down to her heels, which were bare, and remained completely tranquil due to the lack of wind. Upon her seemingly fragile face, her eyes were a deep blue abyss, and her pink lips soft as silk. Her pale skin was like snow, the only imperfections her rosy cheeks. A single piece of jewellery sat upon her figure: a white gold amulet hanging from her neck, carved into it the face of a dragon.
“Who are you?” I asked, demandingly, I wasn’t too happy with spirits controlling my sub conscience. “And why have you brought me here?”
“Not as many questions as the others and your voice contains a tone of slight annoyance. You must be a necromancer?” Her voice was sweet and harmonious.
“Correct,” I replied, still not lowering my guard to her lullaby conversation. I had read tales of spirits only known as ‘soul-eaters’ and it was told they lulled their prey into a false sense of mental security, before sending them into an endless pit of unconsciousness where they would feast off their essence. However, I was no ‘prey’. “Nonetheless, you have not answered my question,” I shook my head disapprovingly.
“My name is inaudible to your kind, but those who have heard my name translate it to ‘Alison’, so you may call me by that name. As to why I brought you here, Tempus Mortem, of the family Drewson, you can probably guess it has a correspondence to your abilities as a visionary.”
“Is something humorous?” She inquired, her face retaining an innocent look.
“I have only been told to be a visionary, I have never truly experienced a vision in ten years,” I chuckled.
“Well then take this encounter as proof.”
“How can I trust you when I don’t know what you are? A hallucination? A subconscious trick? A soul-eater?”
“I am something that you may refuse to accept.”
“Try me,” I retorted, practically foreseeing the answer she gave.
“I am an elf, a reverie elf.”
I considered the woman’s answer, and after scrutinising the plausibility (and the existence) of such a creature, I cocked my head to further interrogate her. “How about this,” I paused, searching my imagination in need of a word more suitable than ‘bullshit’. “Location.”
“I do not follow your notion.”
Hm. Of course you don’t. “This ‘world’ clearly is shaped to match ancient scriptures and seeings of the Tharrealm. It is nothing more than a...” And then it hit me. ‘Seeings’. Indeed, this place was not an illusion, people, such as I, had truly witnessed the exact image that entered my mind. Alison’s face smiled in reply to the epiphany that I had undergone.
“Men like you have been here before, centuries ago. Yet none have been called upon in the hasty fashion in which you have,” she said solemnly, as the smile morphed into a grave expression.
“What d-do you mean ‘hasty fashion’ wha-what’s happening?” I stuttered, trying to slow my imagination from leading me into the impossible worlds of foreseeable doomsdays and alternating dimensions.
“I will be forthright to you, Tempus. The world of Druevern is truly at risk.”
My eyes widened, and my heart rate increased, which was extremely unusual. What do you mean ‘at risk?’ Holy shit am I in it now. I’m not capable of preventing anything like that!
“I know what you are thinking, necromancer, this is truly a daunting task, and carries an unimaginable responsibility, however, time does not choose, so we must. As the only seer in Druevern, I, we, every soul requires you to do what no one else can. Understand this though, you will not be alone; I will guide you through what is required of you. However you need to follow my directions to where my powers can reach, for they orbit according to the great star Majoris. Be at the peak of Yrul Pike in two weeks, and I will reveal just how dark the future of Druevern is.”
“Wait!” I called. “What do you mean by ‘we’? Who are ‘you’? Answer me!”
And that was when the same white light that summoned me to the dreamlike world evicted me back into the daily woes and troubles of a lowly being in the physical reality.
It has been about a month since the first ‘calling’ to my duty as protector of Druevern. It all seems a bit... dramatic to me. I’m only twenty-five years old; not even a fully-grown man, and yet I have been summoned to defend this world from a fate of destruction and terror. This thought begins to depress me somewhat, so I dismiss it to the subterranean depths of my mind, ready to be dug up when required.
My footsteps tap against the solid dirt path, producing a steady, hypnotic metronome. The sun has begun to fully emerge from its deep-blue duvet, ready to watch over another day of mortal struggles and sin. I hear rustling from the canopy above, and cease movement. I have no reason to examine my surroundings; I know just who is watching me from their soul. The soul of a man thuggish and brutal. The soul of a man who’s notoriety reaches as far as Massaca and the habitable edges of the Forsaken Region. The soul of Charles Fyrettini. “Come out Charlie, I can hear you, y’know. There’s no point hiding any longer.”
“I wouldn’t be so pompous, you cowardly little twat,” hisses a voice that one would match to the face of a bull; which, as it happens, is quite alike his appearance. Five men drop from above, landing comfortably in a circle, preventing any escape from their aggravated attacks. Predictably, Charlie has brought friends to play, even a man of his size struggles with an experienced sorcerer, and although I had doubted that he would scar his reputation with the need of reinforcements, it was, in itself, highly doubtable. “You fought you could hide after killin’ one of me men, and then rub salt in the wound bah snatchin’ one of mah horse? I’ll ‘ave your fuckin’ throat for a bracelet, you fragile li’l runt!” The leader in front of me shouts, signalling his men to begin circling their target.
I frown enthusiastically and study my body. “I thought I looked quite well for a necromancer; well, perhaps the idiots you command have little to aspire for...” I say, nonchalantly.
“We’ll ‘ave your right arse-cheek for that!” One of the men exclaims, followed by a wave of laughter. I even chuckle a bit, but not at all for the same reason.
“I never knew mercenaries were so picky about backsides, as long as they got the hole in the middle.”
The rest of the men cheer in a childish chorus, then stop when they realise the retort was an insult to themselves, that leads me to internal hilarity, so much so my abdomen begins to thrust in and outwards. They all draw their weapons, most of which are cutlasses and broad-swords; they honestly believe the size of such weapons would make a difference to a cursed blade. I shake my head as the laughter subsides, unsheathing Infinem and poising myself to fight.
“Don’t touch ‘is pre’y li’l face, it’ll look good on me man’le piece,” Fyrettini’s gruff voice growls, as he motions his force to close in.
One bald man with a face dented and broken lurches first, delivering a downwards slash with all the effort in his body. How vain. I bat away the enormous sword and spin my sabre with the wrist, before retaliating with a quickly measured slice to the assailant’s forearm, lopping all beneath the elbow clean away. The man screams in realisation as the limb falls to the ground, and the crimson blood begins to dye his jet-black uniform.
He is too slow an oncoming strike from another of his scummy kin, and loses a lung (and furthermore his life). The cutlass’ swing finds the body of Infinem. The brute force of the swing knocks me over, and, without a moment’s thought, I recover with a sideward roll, body checking another of the mercenaries. The lightweight armour beneath the jacket takes the brunt of the force, giving my shoulder a nasty bruise and doing virtually nothing to the guy. However, the man didn’t expect me to have contemplated such a possibility. A tendril of pure darkness darts from my black cotton sleeve, and impales the man through the abdomen, causing him to gape in shock. I dodge into the space in which the deceased figure had opened, breaking its ribs as I push my weight down to my feet. This followed with a sharp throwing movement, and the dark magic hurls its captive into his ally, causing a cacophony of sickening breaks and snaps; if they are dead or just greatly harmed, I do not care, they have threatened me with my life, and my punishment was the equivalent of theirs.
That’s three down, and two left.
“Hm, ya stronger than I expected. Come Trey, let’s go.” Charlie grunts in defeat, and turns to flee, followed closely behind by one of his little lapdogs.
The thought of pursuing the duo hovered above my conscience, but I decide against it. However there was one thing I wanted to settle. “Hey,” I call to the crime lord. He stops and abouts.
“What’ya want maggot?”
“A little goodbye gift, for you.” I snap my palm and another tendril is ejected from my forearm. The man stiffens in fear, but all that he suffers is a slice to the cheek; deep, but not lethal. He curses, then oddly, smiles at me, before heading off on his way.
I continue to trek towards my waypoint, trying to shake the sickening feeling from my mind; there was something about Fyrettini’s expression upon his exit, and it spelled bad news. Another depressing thought, fantastic, will there be any happy thoughts in Tempus’ mind today? I muse upon my bad fortune and current situation, truly, this turning of tables is, oddly, a relieving feeling; sometimes I struck it so lucky I believed a spirit of some description had tainted me.
Goosebumps break out all over my skin, as a majestic screeching roar echoes from the skies above me, accompanied by the heavy ‘swoosh’ as wind is thrust earthbound by the enormous, intimidating wings of the grandest of all beasts: a dragon. I raise my head and stare into the heavens as a grimy-cyan, scaly figure of a giant winged lizard flies straight over my head, squawking a rather harmonious tune. As a dragon enthusiast, I realise dragons as fantastical creatures; hyper evolved and astonishingly sentient compared to their much smaller ground-dwelling cousins. Another feature that adopts a more mammalian biology is their dog-like ability to adapt to their habitat very quickly, essentially they have so-called ‘pure-breeds’. The variety of dragon that swooped over my head is known as an ‘Eagle Mauler’.
The sub-species listed as ‘Maulers’ a share a single trait: their curved talons that are actually a part of their skeleton, as opposed to other dragons that have talons separate to their skeletal structure. The ‘Common Eagle Mauler’ can vary in colouration, from a soft velvety scarlet to a deep, seductive violet, including everything in between. They possess a trait that is unique to their variety: their enormous wing muscles double as a pacemaker, stabilizing their heart and producing a nice, steady blood flow. As to how they evolved to gain this trait is unknown, but if they stop flying they die, which is why the mother lays many eggs when she must spawn offspring; to compensate for her own death. The Eagle Mauler is a small breed, often preyed upon by other dragons, but they are beautiful nonetheless.
The shape shrinks and vanishes into the distance, leaving me with a slightly elated feeling; I wasn’t sure if it was the adrenaline pulsating through my veins, or the emotion of fascination just touching the essence of my soul. I am glad, regardless of which cause, when I notice the stone and concrete walls that surround the small hamlet of Blackmire. The place is truly wonderful; the people are charitable and friendly; the air is crisp, fresh, and even makes breathing a joyful activity; the girls are feminine and mischievous (any man could tell you this, considering I’m relatively restrained when it comes to women); the guys are often genuine and a good laugh; and, of course, the cider is the best in all of the southern states. Just standing around doing nothing is enough to make you glad you came, the location is a paradise. For all people dream of a vista in places like Hedon and Colberidge, on my list Blackmire outclasses them all.
A thick wooden portcullis stands over me, and the guards perched upon raised observation platforms gaze down, examining my figure to make sure I’m not a threat. “Ah, Tempus, Good day!” The black sentry who I identify as Gurrte calls, before he is nudged by his inseparable partner: Treavel.
The two are like a comedy duo seen at a theatre; most of their interactions result in hilarious ramifications, usually delving them both into deep trouble, more often embarrassing than serious, but deep trouble nevertheless. A grunting correction can be heard from the two, as they consult each other over the rules of addressing visitors, however, I have no time for such a debate, especially when I’m not involved.
I clear my throat as a clear show of impatience, and gain the guards’ attention. “Please, enter!” Gurtte calls majestically, and a tad over-dramatically.
“No, first you’ve gotta ask him what his intent is,” Treaver sighs, angrily, and the two start squabbling again, this time aloud.
“When you ladies are finished!” I raise my voice, now asserting my position within the scenario, “I didn’t come here to listen to your petty bickering all day, and for all my soul I cannot figure how you two have not been discharged from the hamlets armed force or killed on duty. Just let me the fuck in!”
“Oh, sorry Tempus,” Treaver whimpers, like a scolded dog, “We were just...”
“I don’t give two damns! Let me in!”
“Open the gate!” Gurtte calls down, and the portcullis begins to ascend, revealing Blackmire’s streets in the scene before my eyes. “Careful where you tread, Tempus. ‘Ol farmer Harelds was pretty pissed when he found out about your little escapade with Abigail, and from what he said he’d do to you, it definitely doesn’t sound like it’s going to blow over soon either.”
“Understood,” I sigh, raising an eyebrow. I bow my head, and step forth into the familiar streets of Blackmire. Time to get down to business.