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Till its Dark: Chapter 5

Abomination

            Brodje left the house early the next morning, only bothering to kiss Rara good morning and mutter something about not letting this happen. Rara lay stretched out on the bed, still thinking about what Brodje had said yesterday and reminiscing about how she met him near the lake on the outskirts of the town.

Rara had woken up early that morning and so she set off for her duties at once, she was required to walk through and water the farms in the southern and eastern parts of the town, the town was said to have many great water mages but the truth was that Rara accounted for more than half of their magical strength, from the time she received her powers at age five she had averted droughts, stopped dry spells and kept the harvest bountiful, for this service the town built her a large house in the city Centre and provided for all her needs. She was an attractive, fairly tall, long haired girl with eyes of the deepest blue; though this was a side effect of being a water mage as eye colour is one of the most important ways to tell a mage’s affinity, the brighter the color the stronger the mage, fervently sought after by the town’s young men she had never really thought about settling down as in her own words “Our town’s men are too dreary and boring”.

At the end of a day’s work she would walk to the lake and have a long dip, on this particular day however she noticed a peculiar sight, another person was in the lake! It was well known in the town that she visited the lake often so people were usually discouraged from going there, “Hey” she called “who are you, I’ve never seen you before, and why are you in my lake?”

Me? I am a wanderer” replied the man “Also I wasn’t aware that people own huge lakes nowadays, nevertheless I’m just taking a dip, I’ve walked a long way”

Well get to walking again” Rara snapped “Everyone knows that I come here after my work is done, are you some sort of pervert?”

Well princess, I am a traveler as I stated before, therefore I had no idea about this weird custom of giving an adolescent girl full reign over an entire lake, Also why would I be a pervert? I’m just lounging in the pool, is it not safe to say that in this situation the one that brought up the accusation is the true pervert here?”

“Well, whatever, just turn around and I swear if I see you duck under the water I’ll drown you”

“Fine then”

Two of them stayed like that for a while, neither one saying a thing, during this time Rara was eagerly checking him out, he had black hair and was handsome in his own way but the most peculiar thing were his very light gray eyes, they almost looked white, “ Could he be a mage?” Rara whispered to herself

“Um, hey” Rara called out

“What do you want princess?” he replied

What’s with your eyes? They are really bizarre, are you some sort of mage?”

“ Well, I’d consider that as a deeply personal question most people won’t ask someone they have just met for the first time, someone they don’t even know the name of, but seeing as you are obviously not normal and a pretty cute girl I’ll answer it”

Rara blushed slightly, sinking below the water so he couldn’t see, “Stop with the blatant flattery and tell me if you’re going to!”

Fine, sorry princess, the answer is… No I’m not a mage, I had this peculiar disease that lightened eye colour, according to the doctor I met it will go back to normal in due time, that answers your question right?”

“Yes”

“In that case” said the man who was starting to rise “Nice meeting you princess, but I’ll be on my way now”

Rara drew in a deep breath, the man had an enormous cut that ran down the right side of his body, and it was still bleeding! “Y… You!” she stammered “what happened to you?”

“Long story, I must go, have a good life princess” the man said as he limped out of the lake

No! I cannot let you go just like that with such a huge wound, it would stain my conscience, come with me, my mother will treat you and if you’re lucky maybe you’ll get a meal out of us. Also my name is Rara, princess is getting annoying

“Thanks for the kind offer prin- I mean Rara, my name is Brodje, and I will take you up on that offer”

That was 4 years ago, Brodje eventually settled in the town working as a blacksmith, in time they fell in love and got married, “ Feels like such a long time ago” Rara said, rubbing her belly “ It’s a pity our child will never know his mother”. Brodje came back about four hours later, Rara could hear him making himself some breakfast and whistling, “He seems in a good mood” she said “I wonder why” Rara got up and steadied herself, she had been preparing for this moment all morning, she was going to tell him her dark secret, she was going to tell him her magical powers came from the god of the lake and why that meant she couldn’t leave.

 


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Welcome home

Brodje got home in high spirits; well as high spirited as he could be in this situation, he had finalized the plan, he and Rara would leave their newly born child to be raised by Rara’s mother then escape to Winslow, after a decade or so when things would have calmed down they would return and maybe take their son with them or resettle in Umere. “Rara!” Brodje called out “Big trouble, well, expected big trouble”

“Oh Brodje, you’re back” Rara said while stepping into the walkway “What was the decision, am I to be murdered alongside my magi brethren? Or did the mayor see sense and realize we have nothing to do with this?”

“In a perfect world maybe, he has decided all magi will be banished, it’s infinitely better than being killed in my opinion”

“Stop playing cool, I can see you’re scared out of your wits, what are the details?” Rara said smirking a little

Apparently the High council of Aer is sending a regiment of soldiers, Templars most likely, to purge the town in a week’s time, so all magi are supposed to make themselves scarce by then” Brodje replied ruffling his hair

That’s a big enough time window for most of us to escape, but if we were to escape, where would we go? And before you ask, I’m staying here” Rara said while resting her hands on her hips

I had a feeling you would say that, Rara if you stay, you will die”

So?”

“I obviously don’t want you to die, I’m your husband, I need you, we’ll stay long enough for you to give birth, leave the child’s rearing to mama and escape to Winslow through the forest, you’re an amazing water mage so we should be safe, in ten years when things would have calmed down, we’ll come back, resettle or take our child back with us”

“Brodje I understand where you’re coming from but I have lived in this town all my life, I am twenty-five and I have served this town for twenty years of my life, I refuse to run away like some outcast”

You WILL die! Don’t you get that? If you die I won’t be able to see you ever again, I won’t be able to live anymore, don’t you value your life, don’t you love me?, do you want to live me a broken man for the rest of my life?”

After shouting that Brodje left the room, he couldn’t understand why his wife was so stubborn, “I cannot live without her” he thought, “she has to escape or both of us will die”. Rara sat in the living room watching the flames flicker in the fireplace, Brodje did not know why she couldn’t leave, it was a secret, a dark secret only her and her mother knew and now it looked like she was going to have to tell him or their last days together would be the unhappiest of them all, but wouldn’t telling him make him hate her even more? the last of the flames briefly sparked and died and Rara sat in the darkness softly weeping.

 

Red Morn

It was in the news again, the stories about the rogue magi slowly taking over the province of Yaaba, they had recently captured a little town in the province’s south and were slowly heading north. The provinces sharing borders with Yaaba had started taking precautions against any possible revolts of their own mages, the Province of Aer to the east of Yaaba had issued an order to kill every mage in the province, the mages in the province were left with the choice of dying or escaping to join the other rogue mages, some towns within the province were unwilling to kill their own citizens so they banished them instead, the town of Umere was such a town, a town mostly home to Water mages, it had thrived throughout the years as the resident water mages made sure there was no such thing as drought.

Brodje sighed and ruffled his hair, he and other men of the town were at the town meeting to decide what to do with the magi, although he was relieved that the mages would not be killed the current decision meant that his wife who was carrying their unborn child would be forced to leave the town of her birth, how was he going to accept that? He stood up and shouted “Mayor, my wife is pregnant! This is wrong!”

“Remember your manners Brodje!” the mayor retorted “You are not a native of this town; therefore you have no say in this matter. Escape with your wife to another province, she’s a talented mage, she can hide her talent well enough”

“Mayor she is almost due, this is wrong, why should the actions of those brigands have any effect on us”

The decision taken by the high council of Aer is that mages should be killed! Have you forgotten that this town is under the protection of Aer? We are already taking a big enough risk as it is”

“But!”

Enough” the mayor exploded “ This is hard on me as well, the town’s economy is going to plummet after losing all our mages, have you any idea of the hard times in store for us? This is the final decision, Mages!, you have a week to leave the town, on the seventh day at dusk a platoon of Aer’s soldiers will be here to purge the town, Good night and may Winry be with you”.

The town meeting ended and Brodje began the long walk back home. It was a windy, cloudy night and the serenity of the town at night seemed to be mocking what would happen shortly.” Seven days” Brodje thought to himself “Seven days to get Rara out of this town, no, the entire province, the biggest problem here is whether she would actually agree to leave”. He walked slowly; each step heavy with dread because the more he thought about it the more he saw no escape for the mages, Yaaba is west of Aer, to the east of Aer is Trior; the realm of savages, to the north is Winslow who welcome immigrants with the sword and to the south is the Bain sea, was their only option to join the rogue mages? Growing disgusted at the thought he spat at the ground, No! He was never going to join those heretics, he and Rara would sneak into Winslow through the forests that formed part of the border, Rara was an exceptional water mage so they should be fine while travelling through. “Yes!” Brodje thought, this was the best plan if Rara wasn’t heavily pregnant. She would be entering her 38th week tomorrow and for their plan to work the baby had to come two days before they had to flee, right now, he could only pray.

Till its Dark: Chapter 2

Droplets

 


Till Its Dark. First Chapter

Till its dark: Drizzle

Run little one, run

The demons are coming to play

Clouds full of tears, heavy and fat

Drizzle before Deluge

Shifting beneath a thousand moons

The rogue winds roar

Soaring above a thousand peaks

The sleeping fiends soar

The shark calls the sea it’s home

The falcon preens it’s plume

Within the sealed temple dome

The wicked spirits fume

I swear upon my failing heart

Safe from the ill showers

and the menacing squalls

This life shall remain.

I lived in an old wooden shack as a child with my grandmother; this was due to my parents having died shortly after my birth. My childhood was pleasantat least the parts that I remember, the one thing i do remember clearly is: When it rained my grandmother would recite a little poem. I only remember a few words of it but what I do remember was that it scared me every single time. I still don’t know why. I recall once asking her to stop and perhaps, to show me what would happen if she did she honoured my request. It was horrible, in a matter of minutes my body was wracked with the most horrible pain I’ve ever felt, the most horrific pain I hope I’ll ever have to feel. The pain didn’t last long though, my grandma had resumed reciting the poem and I was fine soon after. I never asked why this happened, or maybe i did ask and was ignored. I don’t remember. I do remember  that she recited it less and less as I grew older and the rain was more persistent. By the time my sixteenth birthday came around the rain had become omnipresent and the poem recitations stopped completely.

I live in a town called Umere. It was once much larger, but shrank every year as the rain increased in volume. Nowadays the town is a shadow of it’s former self, the sun-dried carcass of a once healthy and majestic bird of prey. Due to the constant rain, the town, once interspersed with farmland, barely produces any grain of it’s own. We are forced to buy our grain from neighboring villages and the capital city of the region. . . at obviously heavily marked-up prices. We survive though, albeit barely, due tot he fact that we have the largest and most comprehensive library in the province and we charge visiting scholars for the priviledge to use it. This library is free for townsfolk, and I do not approve of people having to pay for knowledge, but it’s wither that or starve and I prioritize my stomach over my heartat least in this particular case.

The homeless litter the rain soaked gutters and drains that lead into the canals that were once our pride. They are largely water magi whom, somewhat ironically, were once the leaders of the town- when it was still a barren ghost town. They are outcasts now due in part to their uselessness in the current situation and mostly because they are blamed for it by the ordinary townsfolk which I don’t understand as they gain no benefit from ruining the town.Most of them have left the town , but the few that remain haunt the town’s rain-soaked alleys and gutters, enduring unending abuse and hatred, all for the love of their birthplace.

Courtesy of Emma, the baker’s girland resident town gossip, it appears that the town council with help from famous scholars and Magi, are getting close to discovering what exactly is the cause of all this. It’s only taken nineteen years. Some rumours say it is a spell cast on the town by one of the many magi banished from the town 18 years ago. Yet another rumour states that this  is what happens when a magi with tremendous innate strength is left unaware and thus has never been trained to stifle the passive effects his power has on his environment. I don’t believe that last rumour as itaccording to the little I know about magic and mages, would require a mage of insane magical strength to manifest an effect like thisstrength enough to rival the Archmagi over in Sept.

I can feel the excitement in the air as I step out into the streets. It seemed everyone had a smile on their faceeven the normally surly beggar Raz smiled at me as I passed him on my way to the library. You see, a week ago the mayor announced that the scholars and Magi had finally figured out the reasons for the endless rain. Today was the day that the findings were to be officially disclosed, now that it think about it, Raz would be happy wouldn’t he? This could potentially clear his name and that of all the other water magi. Yet another reason to look forward to the announcement. Raz had always been nice to me, he said he had known my mother, back when she was still alive. It didn’t stop him from ignoring me when I asked him about her though. There were rumours that they had already pinpointed a culprit and would also be judging them today, in the town hall, in about seven hours. Leaving me with enough time to get to the library and poke around the section on Magic and mages, both to sate my curiosity and also to escape being dragged to the forge by my grandma, bless her heart. I walked into the library, greeted the old librarian Missus Mune and climbed up the spiral staircase that led to Nuso Tower where the tomes on Magic, Magi and Templars were kept.