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War. War never changes. I’m not a fan of cheesy and overused quotes but I was living it. War is horrible, there is no true winner, the losing side gets raped and pillaged into submission little by little and the winning side suffers losses of its own, they become arrogant and complacent, they believe they’ve already won, that belief only gets stronger and stronger each time they sack a city, or win a laughably mismatched battle, they never suspect that the battles were too easy, or notice the conspicuous absence of soldiers on the walls of the ruined city. Sure, the toll war takes is significantly less on the “stronger” side, they have more food and wine and significantly less death and suffering, but they lose something- the most basic aspect of the human spirit. They lose the resilience and tenacity that has embodied the human race since eons ago, when my ancestors were still living in caves and crude dwellings and their idea of highly advanced weaponry was a sharpened piece of rock flimsily attached to a long stick.

As with most wars, what sparked this one was stupid, childish and just plain retarded. The King of my country Markus the third had pledged his daughter to the son of the king of the neighbouring, bigger country King Kein. This was supposed to be a plan to help my country avoid a war with their much stronger neighbours. Unfortunately, this pledge was the very thing that started it. Princess Annabeth, pretty in form but short of wit managed to get pregnant with the child of one of the stable boys at the royal castle ( who seemed to disappear shortly after he was found out). Understandably, old Kein was not pleased at this, saw it as a slight against himself and his family (which it was) and incomprehensibly saw it fit to mobilize his army and start a war that so far had killed ten thousand people and ruined a thousand more lives, all this because some filthy stable boy could not keep it in his pants.

We were losing this war. We were losing badly. First off, we were outnumbered four to one; second, we had the most incompetent general in the history of warfare. This man gave up the high ground numerous times, seemed to always be constantly flanked, and was most likely the sole reason we were getting walloped in every battle by the lazy, fat enemy soldiers. We had lost two cities, the enemy army was closing in on our capital and our army was confused or scattered, or in some cases both. A group of about fifty soldiers, me included broke off from the main army without the general’s permission, we were behind the enemy lines and as they marched forward to raze our capital we would rush towards theirs to do the same, relying on the speed our smaller size would afford us.

We got to their capital in a week. They had left their country largely undefended and although we had a few losses, we were able to reach the castle and in the dead of night set it alight. As people panicked and rushed to the castle to help, we moved through the city in small groups, setting everything we could get our hands on alight. We reckoned that in two days time, the king would hear that his beloved capital was in burnt ruins and start rushing back, we were confident and we celebrated our “victory”. We were too naive.

Turns out our coward king had surrendered long before we reached their capital, we passed the huge army on the way back and I caught a glimpse of him, in chains, in robes meant for slaves. They meant to drop him and the royal family off in their dungeons, then return to complete their victory.

“Captain” sobbed one of my men “Was all we did… for nothing?”

“Depends on how you look at it” I admitted “They won’t be back for a while, but they will most certainly be coming back, and whether we like it or not, we must get ready”

That did little to raise the spirits in the camp and it wasn’t intended to, I was just as confused as they were. Where do we go from here? What do we do now? Those were the thoughts swirling around in my head as we climbed a hill that overlooked the capital city. Through the smoke and the burning rubble we saw something that lifted our spirits, the people had already begun the rebuilding effort, old, young, it didn’t matter, everyone able was doing what they could to restore the buildings, to care for the wounded, to bury the dead, it was the most inspiring thing I had ever seen in my life.

“Men” I said, turning around “You see what I see don’t you? These people have suffered a huge loss, I reckon there isn’t a soul down there that has not lost someone within the last week, but they are standing up and moving forward, we are supposed to protect them! We are the soldiers! We will stand up and move forward! We will protect our loved ones and our country!”

The men collectively yelled and marched down towards the city. I had not meant for my speech to be that theatrical, but it worked so I don’t mind. We humans have overcome everything that has been thrown at us, and even now, we will overcome everything we can throw at each other, we will rebuild, we will restore and we will revive, time and time again, millennia after millennia. We will continue to struggle till the end of time.

 

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Till its dark: Chapter 13

Four down

Rara had ignored her mother’s advice to leave the village with the other mages, she decided to lounge in the lake and wait for them as they surely would detect a mage of her power first and come for her and as much as she hate him, the lakes spirit would happily slaughter everyone who dared show up, that was the plan. Plans very rarely work out and this time it was a disaster of improbable scale. The templars were quite content to enter the village and massacre the lesser mages, wisely saving their strength for the bigger problem, so to speak.

The lake spirit chuckled “Well, well my sweet one, your plan was a disaster, you are not at fault though, it was an intelligent plan, just executed poorly, you could have very easily lured them here, but you did not think about that, did you?”

Rara was steaming, she ignored the lake spirit, she knew she wasn’t at fault, but she still needed to help somehow and she immediately tried to rush out of the water to the town.

“Oh no” laughed the Lake spirit “You don’t get to leave just yet, this just became fun, let us see how the town holds out. Shall we?”

Turns out the town didn’t hold out too long and when she was finally released by the Lake spirit she swore she’d find a way to destroy him one day. It wasn’t going to be easy, in this world there existed two and only two tiers of “spirits” or “gods”; The Timeless or Juz and the Manifested or Vuz. The Juz were immortal and generally aloof while the Vuz existed as long as where they tethered their existence did. The ones tethered to the different spheres of magic were named and could be summoned while the others tethered to things like “a plot of land” or a lake were far less powerful and were subservient to the major ones, they also had an annoying tendency to be pranksters and mischief makers and thus were constantly getting killed off by powerful mages or warriors too pissed off to even notice the spells that were hitting them. As is usual in these things, there was a third tier, but their influence had faded to the point that few even knew they ever existed and even less knew how powerful they were. They were called the Tuz or The Elysian, but in some texts are also called The Malevolent, which is the sum total of what the rarest book would tell you regarding them.

Rara had wondered for a long time what tier of spirit he was, he was most definitely not Vuz-Too powerful, which left two possibilities, neither of which she liked. The spirits bound to the spheres of magic were said to have almost infinite power, each one being as powerful as about a hundred Archmages, but they paled in comparison to a single Juz. The Juz, having existed from the dawn of time made the High-Vuz look like a bunch of First orb apprentices, however being rather aloof and on account of there also being a very small amount of Juz-Thirteen in number to be precise, there hadn’t been any recorded contact with one of them for centuries, they also rarely interfered in human matters. The lake spirit had the personality of a Lower-Vuz, but power comparable to one of the weaker Juz. Rara pushed those thoughts to the back of her mind, she had to hurry and rid the town of templar scum.

She had barely arrived in what used to be Umere, but now looked like an area a fire-Vuz had waltzed through before four unfortunate templars accosted her.

“Well, looks like we got another one” a short, spiky-haired one said

“Oh, a pretty one!” said another templar

“Hold up Eric, we’re under orders” said another, clearly the brains here

“Let’s get on with it then” said the last one, a bit gruffer than the rest “This whole business sickens me”

Rara felt bad for him, but still, he had come here and he had helped in destroying the village, she didn’t like insincere words and she’d make sure he suffered more than the others.

“Hey miss” smiled  the spiky-haired one “We would have loved to take you captive and play” he continued, licking his lips “but orders are orders, and our orders are to kill each and every of you unnatural lot”

Rara frowned, she also did not like hypocrites. Templars are mages, they are mages that could not specialize in a particular sphere of magic and so decided to channel their arcane talents into anti-magery. Anti-magery is still magery, just for weak, talentless trash that couldn’t cut it at actual magery. Despite Rara’s disdain for templars, she was aware that templars were not a joke, their meagre talents were devoted exclusively to stopping magery in its tracks, either by severing the arcane power from its source or by simply dispelling it. Powerful templars could and should scare the pants off even Archmages, but these four weren’t powerful templars, not even mediocre.

She smiled at them and said “I’m no threat sirs, could you please let me go? I’ll make it worth your while” she pleaded, motioning to a half burnt down barn.

Spiky was all too eager “Come on Sam” he whined “Look at her, she’s no threat to us, we should have some fun. She’s even willing!”

He was shouted down by the gruff templar “You idiot, how did you even get out of basic training, can’t you feel it?”

Spiky shut up and kept quiet, if he concentrated he could feel it, the grumpy bastard was right, this wasn’t just any ordinary mage. They were staring down probably the strongest water mage there was in the province. His face paled, and he took just one step back. Rara was waiting, and instantly a wall of ice blocked his path.

“Now now Eric, i thought we were going to have some fun?” Rara said, smirking.

The look on the templars faces was priceless and Rara could see many a wet patch forming at their collective crotches. She didn’t have to be so flashy and mean, but the templars also didn’t have to destroy her home, she shouldn’t also be exerting herself at this stage of her pregnancy and weirdly she was both appalled and flattered that Eric aka Spiky was willing to take her, even with her clearly protruding belly.

“So, tell me, exactly what stops me from killing all of you right here, right now?” she asked, arms behind her back in the manner of old, grumpy women.

Sam had apparently regained a bit of his composure “You can’t! the air is dry, we burnt the town so you water mages would be useless” he stood straighter, and rather childishly said “No water for you!”

Rara chuckled, he was right, it was after all the glaring weakness of a water mage. Water mages unlike other mages can’t just produce water spontaneously out of thin air, which is why water mages are often seen carrying gourds of water around. Fire mages can produce fire from thin air, earth mages are even more ridiculous, seeing as the combatant is literally standing on their battleground, air mages are worse, after all you need air to live and worst of all perhaps are the rare mages of the spheres of Light/Darkness and Life/Death. The templar was right, the air was too dry, the ice wall had taken almost too much effort and getting a droplet out of the air now would be a challenge. Unfortunately, those rules meant nothing to Rara, she was unfazed.

“Ah, i was wondering why you went through all the effort of burning down the town while knowing the council would pay for it to be rebuilt” Rara was getting tired, it was time to end this.

“Enough talk” Eric roared regaining his confidence “You will pay for fooling around with me” his eyes were now even wilder than his hair which was quite a feat.

Rara sighed and raised her right arm up, palm facing the sky. It started to drizzle.

If the templars weren’t scared before, they certainly were now.  Rain could only be summoned by three kinds of beings; The Water-Vuz, lesser water-Vuz and insanely powerful mages, mages so powerful they would be classed as living, breathing forces of nature, Rara was the latter.

Rara dropped her arm and spoke to the templars “You know, if you had simply come with me, I would have just knocked you out, well, apart from you gruffy” she finished, pointing at the terror-stricken templar.

“Let’s go ma’am” that was Eric “Right guys?”

“I changed my mind” she said matter-of-factly “You ruined my home” she continued, the rain’s intensity rising with every word “You killed old women, you killed old men, you killed children!” she emphasized that last point with a shard, or rather, a spear of ice through Sam’s chest, killing him instantly. “You louts are detached from the main force” she growled “Where are the rest? How many?”

The unnamed templar spoke up “There were sixty of us” he said, stammering “We split from the main group to find something to eat” he finished.

“Lying won’t help you now” she said, her voice deceptively warmer “What is the real reason you came here?”

“We were looking for wen… girls to…er” he stopped, his eyes staring at the ground

“To what?” she snapped, turning the rain around her briefly to mist.

“To entertain us” he finished meekly. He was rewarded for his honesty by a relatively quick death. Rara froze him into a block of ice, a crack formed halfway through it and the templars body slid away in two halves.

To his credit, Spiky did try to defend himself. he summoned an ethereal shield to nullify Rara’s attacks, but it wasn’t enough, not even nearly. The rain falling around him turned to mini ice spears and well, speared him.

Rara raised her hand and stopped the rain, she then motioned for gruffy to run. He didn’t believe his luck, but he wasn’t about to stay, he turned around and took two steps before he stopped, permanently. Rara flash froze every droplet of water, in every pore in his drenched skin, then ripped them out, living him to bleed out in a puddle.

Rara was furious, she had wasted too much time toying with these nobodies, there were tougher templars in the town and she was sure they had the help of a fire mage, that was the only way the town could be so razed and yet not completely burnt down. She would find that traitor mage, crush him and the templars and have her revenge, before it was too late for her.

Farewell Part 1

Gio was livid, not because the town was burning, nor was it because of the putrid stench of roasted human flesh that hung in the air as he and his brother sped towards the village, he was angry because this ruined all his mother’s plans, the chance of his brother’s wife being dead was rather high, and of course if she was dead, so would be the thing that his mother was interested in more than any other, the stormspirit she carried, his mother would be mad, and when she was mad, she wasn’t pleasant( not that she was pleasant when she wasn’t mad).

The town was in ruins, which was expected, it was burning after all, but what Brodje did not expect were the numerous dead that littered the street, were they mages that didn’t flee the city fast enough? Or were they just normal folk who got in the way? Brodje stepped over the corpse of a woman he recognized as the old fat lady he bought apples from on the weekends, her face was charred beyond recognition, but the blue sash she had round her waist hadn’t been touched. Brodje turned around and made as if to pray for the slain woman.

“Are you stupid?” shouted Gio “There are literally dozens of dead bodies that line these streets now, if you’re going to stop and pray to some god that couldn’t or didn’t even want to stop this in the first place, I suggest we head home now, because for every pause we make, every breath we take, the chances of your wife and my nephew joining them increases”

Brodje nodded and stepped away from her, his first priority- the only thing that should be on his mind now was finding Rara and getting her to safety. It didn’t seem like the soldiers had gotten to the city centre yet, but he had no plans to wait till they did, he drew his sword and levitated by bending the air currents around him. As much as he wanted to have nothing to do with this side of him, he was a mage, and he might as well use his gift.

“Hey, brother” Gio called “Wait”

“What is it now?” Brodje asked, clearly annoyed

“Um, we left Wiete behind”

“We have to go back for her” Brodje said, exasperated

“No, there is no time”

“I did not save her to let her get killed again” Brodje shouted ” And how did we even leave her behind”

“It was when you levitated, she was holding onto you remember? She dropped some time ago I think.”

“And you said nothing?”

“Calm down, I just noticed” Gio paused ” I’ll go get her, we have no time, go rescue your wife”

“How am I supposed to face all these templars alone?”

“I’ll be back in time”

“Fine then, be careful”

“No time for talk, just go!” Gio spat, and he was gone.

“Damn it” Brodje said ” This can’t get much worse”.

Gio, raced back to the outskirts of the town looking for Wiete, what was he doing? why was he even here? he asked himself, he had a mission to help Zio rescue his wife, then get out of Umere, there was no mention of rescuing a helpless albeit pretty girl from rape and rescuing her again  when she was stupid enough to get lost( Although technically it was Zio’s fault). Gio couldn’t find her when he was in the air, so he decided to drop down and check whether she was in any of the buildings that weren’t smoldering heaps… he was right, she was in one of them, a store from the looks of it but seemingly abandoned by the owner, that or the owner was dead, one of the many corpses that lined the streets, but that didn’t matter right now, Wiete was in there and surrounded by templars.

“Not again” Gio thought as he crept closer, he’d not act just yet, something was telling him not to and through the years he had learned to listen to that voice, mostly because every time he hadn’t, he had almost died. Gio crept closer-camouflaged by the debris of the burnt out house just opposite the store and tried to listen to their conversation, they weren’t hurting her yet, but by the looks of things they would be, and it wouldn’t really take long either.

“This one’s a mage as well” said a heavy set man with red hair, obviously the leader of the group

“She’s so pretty though, sure we can’t have some fun before we off her?” asked a slim, tall soldier

“Orders are orders, we have to get done with this fast and get to the main squad, apparently there is a ridiculously strong mage in the town that refused to budge”

“Come on Cap’tn ” said a soldier who had seemingly lost half his mouth, which explained his odd intonation “We’d be done quick as a h’re”

“That isn’t really something I would be proud about” said the captain grinning “Fine then, you lot have ten minutes, no more”

“Thanks Captain!” said the first templar as he grabbed Wiete and lifted her off the ground “Get up now lass, you’re lucky, you get to have a taste of heaven before you die!” he said laughing, the others giggled as well.

“N..No” Wiete said, her voice barely a whimper

“What did you say lass?” asked the slim templar “I don’t promise we’ll all be gentle, but I suggest you don’t resist”

“NO!” Wiete shouted, shocking the templar and startling Gio, who was still behind the heap of still smoldering roof(?) he was using as cover.

“I’m  af’raid you got no choice las’sie” said the templar with half his mouth ” Unless you prefer to die now” he looked around at the rest of the templars  and winked ” Where’s the fun in that?” they all laughed.

“I.. I won’t let you touch me” Wiete was in tears “I WON’T!”

“Ooh” it was the captain this time “And how exactly are you going to stop them, hmm?” he looked around at his men and added “Seven minutes you louts, tick-tock”

“Well then” the slim templar pushed her over the desk” We’d best get started right?”

“NOOOOOOOO!” Wiete shrieked.

Gio was just about to come out from his cover and grab her until she shrieked and after that there was an almost infinitesimal moment of silence and then the templars started laughing again, they weren’t laughing for too long however. Gio stood, mouth agape at the scene unfolding in front of him, all around Wiete purplish-black tendrils were extending and anything they touched, instantly rotted, anything of course included the templars, the shrieked and screamed as they tried to run away, cast an anti-spell, stab her before a tendril could get to them, but it was all in vain. The store crashed down around Wiete and she stepped around and over the dry bones that were once lecherous templars.

“Gio!” she called “I know you’re here”

Gio appeared behind her and took her by the shoulders “The captain was about to escape so I went over to impale him” he said pointing to a corpse farther down the street ” It was definitely not my self-preservation instinct”

Wiete smiled coquettishly at him and said ” I’m sorry, you could’ve been hurt”

“Hurt?” Gio asked, incredulous “They are bones!, seriously!, bones!, did you always know how to do that?”

“No, it came to me just now, being raped isn’t fun you see”

“Someone’s definitely talkative now” Gio said ” How sure am I that you’re the same person?”

“I don’t know, I feel a bit more confident in being able to defend myself now, that might be it” Wiete started walking down the road “Let’s go help my saviour”

“Wiete”

“Yes Gio?”

“Remind me never to try to rape you”

“Sure” Wiete replied with a smile

Brodje couldn’t quite believe what he was seeing, there were four mages, holding off about fifty templars, were there this many powerful mages in the town? He asked himself, he then noticed that all the mages looked alike, as if… they were… the same… person… It was Rara.

Till its Dark:Chapter 11

Why?

“Stormspirit?” Brodje asked, “What is that?

“In Ancient times, children born of the union between two certain kinds of mage were labelled as abominations and killed at birth, they were killed not because of any physical or mental deformities, but because they had power surpassing that of a regular mage” Gio answered

“You still haven’t answered my question, so my unborn son has more power than a regular mage?”

“Actually it’d be an understatement to call them more powerful mages, calling them forces of nature is way more appropriate”

Brodje sat down and ruffled his hair “Why should i trust what you say is true?”

“You don’t need to” Gio said while using small gusts of wind to blow up Wiete’s skirt. “Normal mages don’t manifest their powers until about eight years or so, for “prodigies” it’s around age four, but for Abominations such as your son it’s immediately apparent at the time of birth”

I don’t understand, if it was this easy to create an all powerful mage why aren’t there more of them?

Its rare, very rare for a fetus of such a union to survive past three months, i’d say it’d be at about a one in a hundred million chance. Gio stopped teasing Wiete and continued “The killing was only done if it was apparent that such an abomination was actually born”

“I won’t let you kill him” Brodje said, his expression serious

I’m not going to, he is my nephew after all” Gio disappeared into thin air again “Besides” he continued “He might prove useful to m-our cause”

Brodje kept quiet and continued running, this was another hitch in his plans, now there was no chance at all his mother would let such a potentially powerful weapon get away from her, it was probably also why his mother was so keen to help, “Damn it” Brodje cursed, he had been such a fool, he had actually believed for a moment- a tiny moment, that his mother was actually doing this out of her goodwill. Gio glided unseen above his older brother, he could only imagine what was running through his head, in fact, he didn’t want to imagine it, but this was how the world worked, there was no peace for the good, only the strong and ruthless got what they wanted, he wished his brother would understand that soon… for his own sake.

Young Faith

As the sun rose its light crept in through the cracks in the window to rouse a sleeping Rara, she rubbed her eyes and yawned, she didn’t want to get up, not yet, she knew it was going to be another hard day. Rara got down from her bed and went off to find her mom, her day had not come back home yet, he left one day carrying his big knife with Kien’s dad, but Kien’s dad came back so surely her dad would too, she wouldn’t believe the people that said he wouldn’t. her mom included. “Momma” Rara called out “Good morning!” She ran into the kitchen and jumped onto her mother “Good morning Rara” Tara smiled, throwing Rara up into the air “You’re pretty cheerful this morning Rara, did you have a nice dream?”

“Yeah mom” Rara answered smiling broadly… and displaying tooth-shaped holes in her mouth

What happened? Hop on my lap and tell me all about it” Tara said, lifting her smiling daughter onto her lap

” The Town was on fire and i was lying on the ground alone and crying” Rara started

“That sounds more like a nightmare dear” Tara said, looking concerned

Mom!” Rara yelled “Don’t interrupt”

Go on then”

” I was alone crying on the ground, and things were burning all around me but just as the fire was about to reach me a handsome man with silver eyes came and carried me away” Rara finished

Tara was silent, this was not an ordinary dream, Rara may have inherited some of her ability for visions, for now she’d just let the little girl be, no need to burden her childish mind.

That’s nice dear” Rara said dismissively “Now, let’s go get some breakfast and you can go play with Kien”

Okay mom!” giggled Rara as she got down

For breakfast they had some hard bread with a few eggs Tara had found while venturing outside the town, terrible as it was, it was still a better meal than many other people got. The drought had been on for six years now- the longest drought in the history of the Province and it didn’t seem to be ending soon, fleeing would be an option if it wasn’t affecting the whole province, the other provinces were not sending any aid and were killing refugees, the High king did nothing but sit in his over-sized throne(still collecting tax) and there was no way of contacting the western continent, though they were far more likely to laugh at their woes. Tara sighed and sent Rara off, if only this drought would end, everything would be all right she thought. If only they were allowed to draw water from the lake on the outskirts of the town, but apparently the lake spirit didn’t take kindly t0 humans and already about a hundred people had died when they attempted to draw water, drowning and yelling as they were dragged into the water and subsequently found on shore, lifeless, the next day.

Rara ran out into the street heading for Kien’s house, the sun beat down hard on her as she raced about the town evading the half- dead homeless that littered the town’s pathways, ignored their rasps for food, their cries for “just a bit of water” and their outstretched hands as they grabbed for her. Rara did not understand why they were asking for food and water, after all she always had them at home when she asked her mother, well if they didn’t want to go home and eat their own food they could lie out there and roast in the sun.

Kien!” Rara yelled as she spotted the Dusty-haired little boy as he ran(for apparently no reason) around his house.

Hi Rara! Did ya come ta play” Kien asked grinning as he stopped running and walked to Rara

“Yup” Rara answered “What were you doing?”

“Hmm? I was just running” replied Kien, picking his nose

“Why?”

“Cus i can!” exclaimed Kien “Come on let’s go!”

Kien grabbed Rara’s hand and ran out into the street. almost bumping into a sick-looking man who immediately started begging for food and water “Eww” cried Rara, who had actually bumped into him “You smell!” she turned to Kien “Doesn’t he smell Kien?” she asked, Rara almost immediately recoiled at the look Kien was giving her. Kien turned his back to Rara and ran into the house, he emerged with a pitcher full of water, handing it to the man, he turned to Rara and said “ I don’t think i should play with ya anymore”

“Why?” asked Rara

Don’t you feel bad for em? They don’t have houses or food or water, our mom’s give us these things but all these people don’t have moms or dads to give them too”

I didn’t know” sobbed Rara

It’s fine Rara” Kien said, wiping away her tears “I have a plan”

“Plan? For what?”

“To get water from the lake” Kien answered with a grin.

Rara was shocked, her mom had always told her to stay away from the lake, that it was bad.

Kien, mom says to stay away from the lake”

“Yup i know, the spirit of the lake kills people”

It does?”

“Yes, but i think that’s only because the people who go there to collect water only do that so they can sell it, not because they want to help people. That is what is making the spirit so angry”

“But” Rara started protesting

If you don’t want to come, just stay here! I already know you don’t are about other people!” Kien shouted, he turned around and took off towards the lake

Rara was confused, she didn’t like disobeying her mother because that usually earned her a beating but on the other hand Kien was her friend, he was smart and funny, he was also three years older than her and she liked him. Rara decided to go after Kien… ignoring her mother’s voice in her head that was screaming for her to turn back.

Rara arrived at the lake shore tired and hungry, she would find Kien, help him quickly and go home to her mother, it was already way past time for lunch. Rara stumbled past the weeds that lined the shore and arrived at the water’s edge, she couldn’t see Kien anywhere, she decided to search around the lake, sure he was hiding. An hour later Rara fell down exhausted near the water’s edge. Kien had probably gotten the water she thought, he had already gotten the water and gone home.

“You think wrong little one” came a voice from seemingly the middle of the lake

Rara stood up terrified, where was the voice coming from? Who was talking?

“Over here” the voice called, Rara turned around and saw a white haired young man lazily basking at the other side of the lake

“Surprised little girl? You shouldn’t be, you’ve heard the stories about the lake spirit haven’t you? the man said, smiling wickedly

You’ve met it?” Rara stammered, almost choking from fear

The man disappeared and instantly reappeared next to Rara, “You know child, i really hate stupid questions, yes i have met it”

“Where is he? Where is my friend Kien? screamed Rara, forgetting her fear for a moment

“Oh? You’ve got guts young one” the man smiled “I am the spirit of which you speak” the man sat down next to Rara, “And i believe this dead young man is your Kien yes?” Kien’s body suddenly appeared at Rara’s feet, his eyes open and unseeing. Rara screamed and began to run away but the spirit simply stuck out a leg and she tripped.

Now listen here young one sit down” said the spirit who was not smiling anymore

Rara did as she was told, she was regretting ever becoming Kien’s friend, she was regretting leaving the house this morning, she  was regretting ignoring her mother’s advice, she could feel it, this spirit was the real thing, his presence kept her frozen, she was paralyzed by fear and all her senses were screaming out that she should run, but she couldn’t, she couldn’t, she’d die, he’d kill her if she moved, she was sure.

“Good, good” the spirit appeared pleased by her compliance “You have no hope of running away, so just sit down there, if you move you’ll end up like your little boyfriend.. and your father”

MY PAPA IS NOT DEAD!” Rara yelled, forgetting fear for a moment again

“He is” the spirit said coldly “I can tell you how, or, better yet, i can show you”

Rara’s head swam in a sea of colours for what seemed like an eternity, when she opened her eyes she was standing in a field and all around her  men were fighting. she spotted her dad, he was turning back and running from the battle, she ran through the field to get to his side but just as she did a white light arced through the air and hit him in the head, lifting his body from te ground and dropping him down… dead.

“PAPA! PAPA!” Rara shouted but her head was soon swimming again and when she opened her eyes she was at the lake’s edge again and facing the spirit, who had moved to directly face her

“Your father died as a coward” the spirit spat in disgust “He was a disgrace to men”

Rara said nothing, she couldn’t make a sound.

The spirit was grinning “Little girl, you’ve entertained me for a while, tell you what, i’ll make a deal with you, i either bring back the laughably naive kid or i stop the drought, both choices come with a condition though”

“What if i don’t choose any?” Rara asked

“I’ll kill you” the spirit smiled

Rara thought for a moment, if Kien found out she had passed p the opportunity to end the drought he’d be angry, but she wanted Kien, he was her only friend, she wanted him to smile again.

“Made your decision?” the spirit asked, after Rara looked up

“Yes”

“Spit it out then”

“i want… you to end the drought” Rara managed

Intelligent young girl, as an added bonus for choosing the smarter option, i’ll make you a water mage and give you a quarter of my power(Not using it much anyway)”

You said something abut a condition”

“Yes, almost forgot there, thank you” the spirit laughed “You have to come to the lake everyday once you turn fifteen”

“Why?”

The spirit laughed maliciously and licked his lips “Oh my little servant, what did i say about asking stupid questions?”

Broodje was running, they were so close to Umere now, he just needed to climb that hill and he’d be able to see it, he couldn’t wait to see Rara again, this one week apart had been like torture, he smiled and ran up the hill, just one more step and he’d …. Umere was on fire, he rubbed his eyes and looked again, Umere was still engulfed in flame, “Gio” he called “Why didn’t you say something?

“Well, you looked so happy, i couldn’t bring myself to tell you” Gio replied, smiling nervously

Brodje sank down  onto his knees, he could not believe his eyes.

“Get up Brother” said Gio, who was already vanishing again “We’ve got work to do and fast”

Brodje got up slowly and muttered “Why?…”

p.s: Now this is done, i’m off to bed, shall edit/fix errors later

Till its Dark: Chapter 10

Stormspirit

The brothers and the girl they picked up were on their way again, moving ever closer to Umere. if all went well they would be in town just in time to pick Rara up and get out before the templars arrived. Brodje was running on the ground deep in thought, Were his mother and brother the evil ones ? After the scene yesterday with the girl he could not be so sure anymore, Was it so bad to work for them? No! he could not think about this right now, his goal was to rescue Rara and ensure her safety, anything else was secondary.

“Gio!” Brodje called out

“What?” came the reply from seemingly thin air

“You said something about me and Rara’s child being an abomination”

“Oh yeah” said Gio as he dropped down “Is it fine for her to be so close to you? This is important” he said, gesturing towards Wiete who seemed to have developed an infatuation with Brodje’s left arm.

“Its fine, we’re gonna be looking after her from now on aren’t we?’

No, you are gonna be looking after her, she’s hardly any younger than me, it’d  be strange for me to be looking after her” said Gio who was pinching Wiete.

“Oh yeah that’s right, we still don’t know how old she is” remembered Brodje, turning to Wiete, he asked “How old are you exactly?”

“Seventeen sir” answered Wiete meekly

“Seventeen?” shouted Gio, incredulous “You’re older than me?

“It would seem so” answered Brodje with a  smirk “This is perfect, mother has no need to search for an ideal girl for marriage”

At this Wiete hid behind Brodje, peeking out at Gio and blushing while Gio glared at Brodje.

Ah you finally revert to how you really are, you hot-headed little kid” said Brodje, rubbing Gio’s head fondly

Gio glared at him for a while then said “Do you want to know about your unborn child? Or do you still want to waste even more time making stupid jokes?”

“Ah, he went back” thought Brodje

“Fine, fine i’m done” said Brodje still smiling “What exactly makes my child an abomination?”

“First off, you know about the spheres of magic right brother?” said Gio quizzically

Fire, Air, Earth and Water right?”

“Wrong! Honestly brother, if not for your natural talent, you’d be useless”

“Forget that! get on with it!” said Brodje who was a bit pissed

“No need to get worked up. You forgot Light and Darkness, Life and death”

“Life and death is basically the same thing right? Same thing with Light and darkness”

“Yeah, but certain people are more attuned to a particular side, so those are more like sub-spheres of magic”

“What part of this has anything to do with my child” asked Brodje, getting impatient

“I’m getting there, there is one last sphere, the rarest and potentially the most dangerous”

“Which is?”

“The sphere of pure Arcane energy”

“Never heard of it”

You wouldn’t as it was discovered after you left home. You know how certain individuals show some degree of magical talent but when trained are totally inept at any of the more common four spheres?

“Yeah” replied Brodje who for some reason was now carrying Wiete on his back

“It was discovered that those individuals were not infact inept but were attuned to the Arcane sphere of magic. Was a rather big discovery”

“So, what makes it so special”

“You know how we that use the other spheres of magic control,shape and create the element we are attuned to?

“Yeah, but feel free to keep dragging this out with mundane questions”

Gio glared at his brother for a few seconds then turned around and vanished.

“Oh, i’m sorry, come back Gio” cried out an exasperated Brodje

To answer your question” Gio carried on as if nothing happened “Magi of the arcane sphere do not control or create the element they are attuned to, as it is technically not an element. They can shape it into Arcane shields which nullify all magic damage or Arcane bolts which are your basic projectiles, but their main strength, what makes them so fearsome is that each of them use powers derived from an abstract concept.”

I’m not sure i follow you” said Brodje, ruffling his hair

“What i mean is each of them have abilities that correspond with an abstract concept, for example: Creation,Destruction, Vanity, Desolation, amongst others”

Brodje turned pale “How do you stop such a mage?”

“Cool down brother, not all of them have awesome powers, i’ve heard of an arcane mage with his concept being Happiness, i have no idea how that would even work, besides they are very rare”

“Have you ever met one?” asked Brodje

“Oh? You know one Brodje, very well infact” said Gio, who was smiling and trying to trip the curiously quiet Wiete

“Who?”

“She wears glasses, drinks tea at eight every morning and once whipped you for failing to beat up a bully”

“Mother?”

“Yes, mother is an Arcane mage”

“Lies, she is attuned to the Air sphere like us”

“Mother’s concept is absorption, you should be able to figure out the rest”

“She absorbed Father’s powers didn’t she? She can absorb elements from mages she defeats

“Slight correction, she absorbs the lifeforce; which includes the powers and memories of anyone she defeats”

Brodje gently lowered Wiete to the ground and sat down himself, turning very pale. “She, She is invincible at this point isn’t she?”

“More or less yes, but every Arcane mage trades something for continuous usage of their powers, in Mother’s case it’s her eyesight, she’s almost half-blind now”

“I understand, and thanks, really for teaching me all this, but still you haven’t gotten to what my main concern is, why exactly is my son an abomination?” said Brodje, regaining some of his colour

“Oh?” exclaimed Gio with a wry smile “My little nephew’s a Stormspirit”.

Till its Dark: Chapter 9

Justice?

Brodje and Gio got on their way towards Umere, they had just 2 days to get there and get Rara out before the squadron of Templars arrived, as such they were moving as fast as they could and making no stops as they sped through the forests of Yaaba. Brodje was for some reason still reluctant to use his magic so he ran as fast as he could on land while Gio, barely visible, kept up with him from the air. They had been running for 8 hours straight when suddenly Gio dropped down and motioned for Brodje to keep quiet.

“What is it Gio? We have no time to lose” Brodje whispered impatiently

“Calm down Brother,well, actually, don’t be calm, we’ve got enemy soldiers ahead” Gio said, looking rather irritated

“Soldiers? why here? i thought you heretics drove out the government from this region 3 months ago” Brodje said, hand on his sword hilt

Apparently the retards up north thought it’d be a fine idea to make their soldiers go out through the northern border, turn around and try to take us by surprise” Gio was smiling rather wickedly, it made Brodje very uneasy.

“So, what do you suggest we do?” said Brodje, not liking the look on his brother’s face at all “Is there another route somewhere?”

Of course there is brother, there is always another route. Well i suppose you don’t mind us bringing back your wife’s carcass three weeks from now, that sounds like a good idea yes?”

Brodje ruffled his hair, getting more annoyed by the minute, Why couldn’t things just be simple, for once, was that really too much to ask? he wondered. The soldiers were coming, there were about fifty to sixty-five of them roughly and they were laughing rather happily, Brodje felt a slight twinge of guilt, these men would die soon, or at the very least suffer serious injuries, was all this really worth it? he quickly banished that thought from his mind, this was all for Rara, he’d die for Rara, he’d kill a thousand men for Rara, he’d burn down cities for Rara, he’d debowel pregnant women for her, he’d made his choice and he was going to deal with it.

Gio interrupted his thoughts by coughing loudly-a little too loudly, the soldiers were about fifty feet or so from then now and any moment now they would be spotted. “So, brother, what are we going to do, i highly doubt those soldiers are going to let us through, i’m obviously a mage” Gio said as his right arm began to vanish

“Hold on Gio, i’ll do this myself” Brodje said gruffly “I must do this myself”

“I won’t help you if you’re dying, if you want, after you die i could still go to Umere and rescue your wife” Gio said whilst giggling and randomly making parts of his body invisible

I’ll be the one to rescue her, thank you very much” Brodje said as he drew out his long, sleek one-hander and held it in a  reverse grip, with its tip facing backwards.

“That’s a nice sword Brother, where did you get it?” Gio asked

Made it myself actually, i’m a blacksmith afterall” Brodje said puffing out his chest

I’m not quite sure you should be proud of that, also the soldiers are coming closer, just so you know”

“I’m going, i’m going”

Brodje put his sword back in it’s sheath, he’d first try to pass, then lie, then if the soldiers still refused to let him go he’d murder them, the soldiers in question had now stopped moving and were now in a loose circle, surrounding something in the middle, he heard the laughter of the soldiers, the filthy jokes, the clink of their armor, but there was somthing else, it was a female voice pleading for help. Brodje was alarmed, he was 20 feet or so away from the soldiers and his curiosity was piqued by the female voice pleading breathlessly for help, then he heard the screaming, the long, drawn out pleas for help, he heard the soldiers jeer and laugh, he heard them poke fun at her as she was being raped, he heard them laugh. Time was still for Brodje for a while, he Imagined Rara as the one there, being raped by these uncouth poor excuses for soldiers, he could hear her screams, he could see her pretty face disfigured by tears as she wailed and nobody came, he could see her body as it was left uncovered and exposed after  the bastards were done and he couldn’t ignore it anymore.

Brodje unsheathed his sword and charged at the group of soldiers, taken by surprise by the wild-haired man yelling obscenities at them, two guards fell as Brodje sliced em as he charged directly for the two guards in the middle, confusion reigned as he hacked and slashed, ten, fifteen, twenty dead soldiers, suddenly he was surrounded on all sides and the soldiers began to laugh

Heretic scum like her ain’tcha?” a soldier jeered

Or maybe she’s his wife, we’ve had some like that” another soldier put in

Or maybe they were bethrothed” said another soldier grinning stupidly

Too bad she ain’t pure anymore, Both ways” the first soldier finished and they all burst out laughing

Brodje blinded by rage, put his sword back in his sheath.

“Oh lookie, he’s gonna surrender, another one for old Nor then, he likes his boys doesn’t he?”

I prefer them bit younger but my ma always told me never ta look a gift horse in the mouth” the tall, slightly hunched soldier said

Brodje lifted his hands up and rose up into the air, hovering just over the treeline, the sky began to darken and thunder rumbled ominously as Brodje’s pupils disappeared. The soldiers, displaying uncharacteristic intelligence started running for their lives, but Brodje wouldn’t let them, he started calling down bolts of lightning at them wildly, sometimes missing and setting trees on fire, he channeled chain lightning and took the lives of four soldiers simultaneously, the lightning running from one person to the next. Eventually Brodje fell, exhausted having annihilated all the soldiers… but one, apparently one had almost been able to escape, that is of course until Gio popped up in front of him and impaled him with his arm somehow.

So brother, what are we to do with her” Gio said, pointing to the girl, who had put on what remained of her clothes and was cowering behind a smoldering tree

“We’ll take her with us” Brodje said ruffling his hair and looking pale “What’s your name?” he asked

“It’s Wiete sir” she answered looking like she would die any second

“Hmm, looks like they hadn’t finished with her” Gio said looking at her somewhat lewdly “What do you say brother, want a go?

The girl hurriedly ran and hid behind Brodje peeking out from behind his shoulder.

“Don’t worry, he’s joking, at least i think he is, really appropiate joke in this situation Gio, really classy”

“I do try my best” Gio said smiling “So brother, how do you like those soldiers? Are we still heretics? Handsome face of justice right?”

Broodje could not reply, were his mom and junior brother really evil? Is this what the Face of justice in Yaaba was?Four hours later, they were halfway to Umere, Gio was carrying the girl on his shoulders and Brodje was on ground once again. Gio suggested they set up camp for the night and rest, Brodje and Gio learnt that the young girl was a child who had just started to show evidence of being a mage and was thus handed over to the authorities by her parents who believed it would protect her. Brodje lay against a tree while Wiete cuddled up to him,it was just past midnight as he fell asleep to thoughts of Rara.

The day the apples went missing

The day the apples went missing: A short story.

He wanted the apples, wanted them, needed them, he must have the apples, they were his, the apples were his, the apples were important, why? He did not know, he  was being driven by a mad desire for the apples, he clopped along, his nose guiding the way to them, they were close-so close, he could almost taste them, sweet apples, sour apples, sweet and sour apples, soon-very soon he was going to have them. There they were! freshly harvested apples, filling the air with their delicious scent, he snorted once-not too loud, too loud and they would be waking up, they who would keep him from his apples, they would be taught a lesson soon-very soon, but first he was going to take the apples, all of them, they were his, and he was theirs.

Applejack woke up with a strong feeling of unease, there was something wrong, something off about this day, she stopped herself and got up, after all everypony knew there was no use worrying.She clopped outside only to be met with a startling sight, there were no apples! All the apples she had spent hours harvesting were now gone, overcome by the shock she fainted. Applejack awoke to  concerned faces of all her friends “Applejack” cried Pinkie Pie “You’re awake!” Applejack stretched and asked sleepily “What happened?”

Rainbowdash saw you collapse in your yard” answered Twilight Sparkle

So that means…”

“Your apples are really gone” finished Fluttershy, who had already told her animal friends to start looking for them

“Don’t worry Applejack, we’ll get those apples back for you, and punish whoever stole them too!” said Rainbowdash while sorta revving her wings

“Thanks Y’all” said Applejack “You guys are the best friends a ponygal could ask for” she finished happily.

The search went on throughout the day, Rainbowdash searching by air, Pinkie Pie and Rarity asking the ponies in Ponyville, Fluttershy searching along with her animal buddies and Spike and Twilight Sparkle searching the area outside the town, they searched all day but found nothing, when night approached and the sun’s light began to dim they decided to leave it at that and continue the next day. Applejack lay in bed thinking, were the apples really gone? Would they manage to find whoever took them? Eventually sleep took her with those heavy thoughts lingering in her mind.

Twilight sparkle was seated at a table reading, they couldn’t find the apples today and there was always tomorrow so there was no use thinking too much about it, she might as well cheer herself up with a book, *CRASH* she looked up suddenly at the sound of the noise, “Don’t worry i’ll get it” Spike said “Probably a pan falling or something” Spike shuffled off towards the noise and Twilight Sparkle settled back down to her book. Minutes passed and Spike was not yet back, there was something wrong, she stood up and trotted slowly through the door,she gasped, there, in the dim moonlight was a shallow pool of blood, “whose blood?” she thought as she backed away *munch munch* she turned back *Munch munch* something was chewing something, she gathered her courage and turned around, Spike was gored on the Bai Ze’s big horn, his lifeless eyes surprised and his forked tongue hanging loosely from his lips. Twilight Sparkle screamed as the Bai Ze charged forward, apple cores speared on his strangely canine teeth, he killed Spike! She was not gong to run away from him! Her horn started glowing as she gathered up all her magical strength, the Bai Ze leapt forward and speared her in the stomach a moment before her blast sent him reeling backward, she galloped through the door and into the ponyville night, entrails leaking from her stomach as she called for help “Help… Anypony! Help!…” she mouthed as she fell over a few steps from Rarity’s home.

He did it! He did it!, he had gotten one! One of them who would keep him from the apples! One of them that tried to take them back, she learnt, she was dead now, the apples were HIS! He was not sharing, He would teach them all!.. just as soon as he finished this mouthful.

To be continued(?)

This was done for some gold coins in a contest on HoN forums. My regular stuff(for the few that actually read it) will be out later if i’m not too lazy.

That's what I mean by a Bai Ze

Till it’s Dark: Chapter 8

Doubt

The sun had just started to peep over the horizon as Gio woke his sleeping brother up “Zio hurry and wake up! Or we will never make it in time” Gio said as his brother rolled over on his side, wiped at his eyes and glowered at him “What have I said about calling me that name Gio?” Brodje said as he rose lazily “I will not be associated with that murderer in any way” Brodje sat up and stretched, yawning as he did “You should know better, you know the sort of man he was don’t you?” Gio smiled and grabbed his brother’s arm to pull him up “I know that he was a great mage” he said as he himself stretched “We should really get going brother, you’ve grown lazy”

He was a murderer and a drunk, he deserved to die at the hands of his own wife” Brodje said, stretching some more.

I recall you were always terrified of father, you would never have dared to talk like this about him if he were still alive” Gio was at the door waiting for Brodje to finish.

I’m glad he’s dead then, we’re all better off, even though he left this wretched organization in his wake”

“You are forgetting that I am a member of the “wretched” organization of which you speak, your tongue will be the death of you eventually brother” Gio said, smiling softly

“Oh?” Brodje said “Seems you think you have grown up small one, mother is not here, and you’d do well to remember who exactly I am” Brodje said, his silver eyes shining dangerously.

“I have not been slacking off these past five years, unlike a certain someone i know, but enough of this talk, mother wants to see us before we leave” Gio said as he opened the door and walked to his mother’s study.

Brodje was not really as confident as he acted, his brother was right, these past years he’d never once even used his powers, he was weaker than his younger brother now- he could feel it, his brother emanated power much like their father used to back when he was alive and he’d never heard his brother talk in such a dangerous tone before, he might not be able to escape working for them this time he thought but he had to get Rara to safety, that was the most important thing.

The study door was slightly open, he could hear his mother’s sweet chuckle, a chuckle normally reserved for when she was sending some poor fellow to his death, a chill ran down Brodje’s back, what he was trying to do was nothing short of folly, his mother might be the most powerful mage alive, even his father had fallen to her power and he was trying to deceive her? Fool was too tame a word to describe him he felt, he was beyond the realm of fools and right down there with retards. Rulio was taking a sip of her tea when Brodje entered “What took you so long Mazio? Were you scared?” Brodje bit back a sarcastic retort, this was clearly bait, she was clearly trying to rile him up, he was easier to control angry- As if she could read his thoughts Rulio laughed “ Calm down boy, I was just teasing you, what mother does not tease her son? You don’t have to overthink everything now do you? I’ve already told you I won’t kill you just yet, you can relax” She downed the rest of the tea and said “Brodje give my regards to Rara when you get back home will you not? Of course if things go well I’ll be seeing her soon enough, but still”

Brodje was taken aback with shock, how did his mother know the name of his wife? He looked at Gio who shook his head as if to say he was not the one that told her, but that was ridiculous, Gio was the only one he had told since he came back home. “I understand your confusion Mazio” Rulio said, smiling as she saw the look of horror on his face, but surely you did not think my organization was sloppy enough to lose the tracks of one tall, dark-haired man with sparkling silver eyes” She smiled again, absorbing his reaction “You were ridiculously easy to track, you spent heavily in the western continent, left, lost almost all your money in a bar fight in Aer, cheated and got all of it back, got beat up and left with a huge wound because you refused to use your magic, got robbed, wound up in a huge lake just outside Umere and met the town’s premier mage and lastly, you decided to settle in the town, taking up work as a blacksmith”. The room was silent, Gio was standing at his mother’s side trying to hold back laughter while Brodje was against the wall, mouth open and expression unbelieving, he made the attempt to speak several times but could not make a sound, finally he collected himself enough to say “If you knew where I was, why did you not send anyone to try and kill me?”

Rulio smiled and replied “I was never really trying to kill you Mazio, the previous attempts were just to keep you on your toes-to remind you that I was watching, nothing more, besides I didn’t come after you because I was told you seemed very happy in Umere and truthfully I’m of the opinion that everyone deserves a bit of happiness” Rulio finished, taking off her glasses and wiping them on Gio’s sleeve.

Thank you for that” Brodje managed “I might have judged you too harshly”

Do not get too comfy Brodje, I will still kill you if you default on this agreement” Rulio said menacingly, yet somewhat soothingly “Only reason I’ve left you alive this long is because you are my blood, and my motherly instincts are not gone entirely, I’m fairly certain that if I were a man, I would hunt you down and kill you myself” she stood up, walked over to where Brodje was standing and hugged him “Calm down Brodje, your wife will not die, I have promised you help and you will get it, now off you go, both of you”

How many soldiers are you sending with us mother?” Brodje asked, surprised at this sudden display of maternal affection.

Rulio released Brodje from the hug, tilted her glasses and said “Soldiers? Why would you need soldiers?”

“Well considering we are going to be up against a lot of soldiers-Templars at that, I do not think Gio and I can handle it”

Rulio smiled almost ruefully “You’ll see that you are wrong Brodje, your brother could take down the capital of Yaaba himself if I wished him to, I just choose not to, you’ll see”

Rulio picked up her cup and walked slowly out of the room, suddenly she came back as if forgetting something and said “Yes Mazio, you are not even his equal right now, so please do not think about facing him in battle, I’d rather kill you myself if possible” With that she left the room, probably to find someone else to torment. “Shall we go then brother?” Gio said, blushing a little “We have wasted too much time” Brodje tilted his head backward and ruffled his hair “Sure” he said “I would not want to tick you off O’ powerful Gio” Gio rolled his eyes and led the way, his mother had exaggerated a little, he could not take the capital alone, he was not that strong… yet.

P.s: I know this post has been a long time coming, that could be attributed to laziness, but for a while i was not sure what to do with all the ideas floating around in my head hence the delay.

P.s.s: I know my punctuation is not the best, I’m still working on it, i hope the quality of the Story masks my punctuation errors.

Till its Dark: Chapter 7

Villains?

Gio led the way through the grounds as Brodje kept his arm firmly on his sword hilt, he did not really need it but it was a habit that was hard to stop. The two brothers walked silently, neither of them willing to break the silence; finally Gio asked “Why did you leave brother? You take off for five years and now you come back and ask for help from your family-the family YOU turned your back on?”

“Who said anything about asking for help?” Brodje replied dryly

“I am not a little kid anymore, I can see in your expression that you are in some kind of trouble… most likely involving a woman” Gio said, his grey eyes glinting in the moonlight

“C… Calm down, I’ll explain everything as long as you don’t say anything to mother”

“Fine, fine”

Brodje then spent the remainder of their walk up the hill telling his brother about how he had survived over the years, gotten a wife and was soon to become a father. “Wow!” Gio exclaimed “Brother that’s amazing”

“You think?” Gio replied grinning broadly “You should come see her someday, she’s a beauty”

“Brother wait!” Gio said, suddenly serious “You said she was a water mage right?”

“Yeah, why are you asking?”

Gio’s eyes went wide with shock, he trembled as he struggled to form the words, every time he tried to speak he stammered and stuttered, his knees buckled and gave way.

“Gio!” Brodje shouted while running to help him up “Are you okay?”

“Brother!” Gio mouthed having composed himself a bit “What have you created?”

Brodje was about to ask what Gio meant by that but at that moment the huge doors to the house opened and they were ushered in by a servant. “Mistress Imber is in her study on the 3rd floor” said the servant as he left them in the entrance “You would do well to go see her promptly as she is already aware of your presence young master”. Gio left Brodje saying he had to go look for something in the library and so Brodje was left to face  the only thing on this earth he truly feared apart from losing Rara, he was about to face… his mother.

Brodje climbed the stairs slowly, his fear growing with every step, his mother was terrifying, she was an excellent magus as well as the most underhanded, sly, conniving person he knew, it was her that had ordered the EquiOmni soldiers to kill him thrice and here he was walking up to her study alone with only a mere sword and with every creak of old wooden stairs his desire to flee grew. When he reached the third floor he heard a voice call out “Mazio I’m in here, now hurry up and don’t keep me waiting”, following the voice Brodje walked down the hall past his old room and into the study. “Mother I refuse to be called by that name!” Brodje shouted at the finely dressed grey-haired woman who was sitting down by a desk reading.

“Shut up and sit down Mazio, you are not in any position to make demands” said Rulio as she took off her reading glasses and smiled at her son

“Fine, so how long do I have until the bodyguards come for my head?” sneered Brodje

Depending on your answers to the questions I ask, your head shall remain on your shoulders… well today at least”

“What do you want to know?”

“First off. Why have you come here seeking for help?”

“Because this is the only place I can get it” replied Brodje frowning a little

“Where have you been these five years?”

“I was in the western continent for a few months, eventually settled in Umere in the province of Aer”

“Lastly what do you need help with?”

“As a result of you and your heretic organization, other provinces are getting rid of their mages”

“And what does that have to do with you?”

“My wife, she’s going to be killed!”

“Ooh you got married did you?” Rulio said grinning happily “From the look on your face you are an expectant father right?”

“How did you…”

You are my son you know, also if she wasn’t carrying a child or sick escape would be no problem right? I’m afraid I can’t help you, most of my forces are up north pushing back the old government soldiers, besides you should be able to take a regiment of soldiers yourself or have you grown weak these last few years?”

“I have reason to suspect they may be sending Templars, my wife is an exceptionally powerful mage”

Oh! I can see why that might be a problem, what element does your wife control?”

“Water”

Rulio laughed loudly, stopped and looked at Brodje’s puzzled face then laughed some more, “Dear child you have no idea what you have done right? What you have created?”

What are you talking about?” Brodje asked

“You are an extremely powerful wind mage, in case you did not know, marriage between certain mages with certain elements are outlawed because such a union would produce an abomination. Brodje, you and your presumably pretty wife have created a stormspirit”

“What’s that?” Brodje asked

Don’t worry about that for now, I expect Gio will fill you in as you journey back to Umere” she paused and looked towards the door “Come in Gio, I know you’ve been eavesdropping

“My apologies Mother, Brother, but if I am to help brother I would like something in return from him”

“What do you want me to do?” asked Brodje while ruffling his hair

“When we are done rescuing your wife, both of you have to come live here and work for the EquiOmni”

“WHAT! I will never do that…”

“Pardon me brother” Gio interrupted “but if you do not agree to our terms mother and I will kill you right here” Gio finished as his right arm began to fade.

Brodje thought hard, he didn’t want Rara to die but he also would rather die than join his family in their conquest of Yaaba, he would agree, then he and Rara would escape later after everything had calmed down.

“Fine, Fine, I’ll join for the sake of my wife, you don’t have to start disappearing Gio, jeez!”

“Good” Gio laughed “We take off at dawn, I got someone to clean your old room, you can sleep there, and I’ll come wake you in the morning”

Brodje nodded and left the room after saying goodnight to his mother and brother. Rulio smiled at Gio “Do you think he’ll keep his word Gio”

Of course not mother, he’s big brother after all” Gio replied “But if he tries anything funny, then that’s one more family I’ve erased from this world, nothing lost, nothing gained”

“Well, his soon to be born child is a stormspirit, that’s nothing to joke about

“It will grow into a huge asset for us if taught well” Gio agreed” But if I had to, I’d kill it right now, it’s too much of an uncertain factor”

That’s my boy!” Rulio exclaimed “Goodnight then child, I want to read some more”

Goodnight mother” Gio said as he closed the door behind him, he’d go keep an eye on his brother just in case he tried any funny tricks, thinking that, he phased into thin air, things were about to become a whole lot more interesting.

Till its dark: Chapter 6

Silver

Brodje was still whistling as Rara walked in, the windows had been opened and the sunlight streaming in temporarily blinded Rara “Damn, my eyes” she cursed, noticing her, Brodje looked up and said “Good morning Rara, sorry for leaving so early” while grinning, this was strange, was this the same person Rara had left last night?, why was he so cheerful?, something wasn’t right here Rara thought while looking him over then her eyes rested on an object hanging from the right side of his belt.

Brodje! Is that what I think it is?” she screamed

“Well it certainly is” replied Brodje while drawing out the sword

“What do you plan on doing with it?”

“Isn’t it obvious? There’s no way I’m letting them kill you, only over my dead body

“N…No stop Brodje! You mustn’t do this”

“It’ll be alright princess” he replied his silver eyes gleaming “I’ll see you in a few days, there are things I have to do, if the baby comes before I return name him whatever you want” he finished as he walked toward the door “By the way, eat your breakfast, it’s going to get cold soon” he said as he opened the door and stepped out

“Wait, wait! I have s…something to tell you!” she shouted while running out the door and into the street, but there was no sign of him “What an idiot” she cried “why do you want to die so badly, my fate is sealed already” she wiped her eyes and went inside to eat the breakfast he made for her, but then she remembered “His eyes! Oh no, this is dreadful!”

Brodje gingerly touched the hilt of his sword, he did not really need it but for the time being he was willing to let his wife still think of him as just an ordinary wanderer that ended up settling in her hometown, he had six days to prevent his wife’s death but even he couldn’t take a regiment of soldiers alone, he needed help and he needed it fast and for that he’d have to go back to the place he hated the most, his hometown of Ventus in the province of Yaaba and also the current headquarters of the association of rogue magi called EquiOmni.

Brodje got there just after sunset on the 3rd day of his trip; wasting no time at all he walked to the headquarters of the EquiOmni also known as his home. It seemed nothing much had changed since Brodje left home five years ago, the house was still impressive as were its grounds, although he didn’t appreciate the people living in it, it was still a grand building. He walked up the gate and rapped it with the gigantic gargoyle-shaped knocker once, twice, no response, well in that case he was just going to scale the wall, just as he was rolling up his sleeves he heard a voice behind him “Brother, what are you doing?” said a young boy who almost looked like his clone

“Scaling the fence” Brodje replied with a slight smile on his face

“Well no need for that” the young boy replied “I’ll let you in” he finished as he opened the gates.

His younger brother Gio was probably the only one in his entire family he actually cared about, Brodje kept his hand on his sword as he followed the lean sixteen year old through the massive gate, around his family it was best he stayed on his guard, he had betrayed them by fleeing when he was made leader of the EquiOmni after his father’s death, they had already tried to kill him twice, the chances of it happening a third time were not slim.