Legacy

Jave's life was normal, well, somewhat normal, being a thief in the common slums of the city. He was satisfied with his life as a thief, as there was plenty of loot to gather, and the authorities didn't give a rat's arse about thievery in the slums. But one day, as he is standing at death's door, Jave gets thrown into unwilling heroism, as he is placed with an epic destiny in his arms.

This is the first part of a three-part story, called "The Khronum Legacy" following the descendants of a blessed bloodline. The next two parts are named "Heritage" and "Destiny".

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4. Chapter 4: Family

Once again the dark, purple fog wrapped around Jave, as he found himself in the pitch-black place where his ancestors spoke to him. “The night before your turning point, is always quite tense. But know this; your fate is like steel, solid and dense. Tomorrow is not the end of your days, nor will it be anytime soon. You will learn our fabled art, under a crescent moon.” The voice spoke from within the fog, cutting at Jave’s mind like a razor blade. “So… Now you’ve become quite th’ poet, eh? And a prophet as well, it seems.” “I am more than you could ever imagine. -We- are more than you could ever imagine. And so are you.”

With these words, the fog retreated with a piercing screech, as he popped open his eyes, and saw the door to their cell being opened with a loud creek. A guard stood with a bundle of chains in his hands, and a wicked grin on his face. “Rise and shine meatbags! Next stop: the void.” A few more guards arrived, to place the prisoners in chains, and drag them outside. The sun was setting on the horizon, and the thin line of dusk was rolling in over the sky. A small assembly of people had arrived, some of them guards, some of them citizens. Klynn grunted, as he had expected all in the city of Khronheim to arrive, to look upon him as he was executed. As the guard pushed aside the citizens, and pulled the prisoners in their chains, an eerie silence fell upon them. The tense silence of an approaching death. Jave was at the back of the queue of prisoners, and Mick was up front. They were pulled up onto a platform, where an executioner stood, dressed in grey, with a black hood covering his face. He stood emotionlessly, with a bloody halberd in his right hand, beside a block of wood, where the prisoners’ heads were to be split from their shoulders. As Mick was pushed towards the block of wood, he was unchained, and shoved down on his knees. A few tears rippled down his cheek, as he laid his head on the block of wood, accepting his fate. The executioner raised his halberd, and the audience bowed their heads. With a mighty swing, the axe descended upon Mick’s neck, and his head tumbled down into an open wooden crate. A few citizens performed a quick prayer, which seemed like a small wave with their hands. Jorn, who was next in line, twitched his eye, as blood spattered up on his face. One of the guards pushed Mick’s body away with his foot, before gesturing to a few other guards to prepare Jorn for the beheading. He gave a deep sigh, before being unchained, and shoved down on his knees. The birds did not sing, and the sunny sky did not seem so pleasantly soothing, as it usually did. It was simply just a gloomy silence, broken only by the frightening chop of the executioner’s axe. As the queue was shortened, Jave saw his inevitable death approach, as the head of Klynn dumped down into the crate. The guard seemed to cross out a few things, whistling carelessly, which Jave found to be twisted, and frightening— how he could take it so casually? And now, the guard gestured Jave to be unchained, and put to the block. Jave made a displeased “Tsch” and went down onto his knees himself. Might as well go down with a clear mind, instead of being clouded by fear and distress, he figured. He placed his head on the wooden block, and began whistling a song from his childhood, while looking down upon the audience. They all seemed worried, yet one of them stood out. He was clothed in fine clothes, he almost seemed noble. In comparison with the rest of the rabble, which was clothed in rags and what seemed like carpets, this man was quite outstanding. Behind him, the executioner raised his axe, and the guard behind him seemed completely without a care, as he continued his whistling. Suddenly, the man in the fine clothing snapped his fingers, and with a bright flash, everything seemed to slow down. The sound of the guards whistling slowly halted, and the birds above hung still in the air. Jave’s whistling stopped, and he looked around. “What the- Whassis? Magic?” “Yes, indeed it is. But never mind that, we need to get going.” The finely clothed man said, whilst running up onto the executioner’s platform. “Eh? What’s going on? Who are you? Why’d they stop trying to lop my head off?” Jave said, and raised his upper body. “I will get the chance to answer your questions another time, but not now. Come, we need to run! Now! The spell won’t stay steady for long.” The man said, and grabbed Jave by the collar, and dragged him away. Everything seemed greyer, more colorless, and as he looked back, he saw how the executioner’s axe was but a few inches away from where Jave’s neck should have been. He gulped, as he was being dragged away by the finely clothed man. He seemed to be heading down the slope, towards the great gates of Khronheim.

“Oi! Where’re you takin’ me?” Jave protested, as he ripped himself out of the man’s grip. “No time! Come now, before the spell fades!” He replied, with his deep, intimidating voice. Jave stopped, and demanded answers “I ain’t goin’nowhere, before you tell me what’s goin’ on. For all I know, you may just be trying to kill me and send me floatin’ down the river!” “If I wanted you dead, I wouldn’t have saved you. Look, I’m a friend, and I wish to see your power grow.” He said, as he now also had halted. “My power? What power? Look, I think you’ve mistaken me for someone else.” The man looked upwards, and cursed “By the gods, stop asking so many questions! Please, our time is fading!”

As he said this, he grabbed Jave by the sleeve and dragged him down the slope. Jave disliked being dragged, and ripped his hand from his rescuer’s grip, resorting to simply following. The entire city had simply stopped, it seemed. People froze in time, and the water from a fountain in the market quarter, had stopped in mid-air. Everyone but themselves, had gone colorless and still. Was this magic? It must have been, nothing else could be the explanation. Jave looked around in awe, as he had never seen magic before. Not even small conjuring tricks. But this was magnificent. This man had literally put a halt to the entire city, and who knows if it affects the land beyond? But even though he could do some impressive tricks, why should Jave follow him? Jave squinted his eyes at him, and wondered. And yet this man seemed like he had his arse stuffed with gold. With those fine clothes on, certainly he must have something of value. That settled it— Jave was going to follow this fellow around, sweet-talk him a bit, and then rob him while he wasn’t looking. Jave let out a little chuckle, proud of his own, crafty mind.

As they arrived at the great gates, they saw that a horse-drawn carriage was making its way through them, much to their pleasure. It certainly would have been troublesome, to open a gate whilst time was stopped. The finely clothed man made his way around the carriage, and out of the gates, but Jave jumped elegantly up onto the horses, then onto the drivers head, and out of the gates. He let out a laugh, wondering what that driver would think, once he found a foot-print on his head. As they exited Khronheim, the entire plain lay before them, as far as the eye could reach. It seemed like a gigantic valley, with mountains surrounding them, with only a few passes to enter and exit the valley. Suddenly, Jave’s mind had a fit. If they were exiting Khronheim, where in the world could this finely-dressed man’s home be? Jave had expected a rich man like him to live in a fine mansion, filled to breaching point with loot. This was getting strange, but in Jave’s curiosity, a thought struck him. If he was not rich after all, then he must have gotten those clothes another way. Did he steal them? In that case, Jave would be happy to work with a colleague. The man seemed to set up his speed, and Jave followed, with ease and elegance. As they crossed a hill, Jave noticed a small hut, made of wood which only seemed to be able to house one person. The finely clothed man looked back, upwards, and then slowed down to a walking pace, and clicked his fingers. Suddenly, the grey gloom retreated, and everything regained its colors. The birds began chirping again, and a reindeer leaped away, as Jave and the finely clothed man suddenly appeared a few meters away from it. “So… ‘sis little wooden shack yers?” Jave said, with some disappointment in his voice. “Yes indeed. It is mine, and yours, for some time to come. This is the place where I will be guiding you through what you do not know, so please… Enter my humble home” The man said, and pushed open the door, and disappeared inside. Jave shrugged lightly, and let out a careless “meh”, before pushing open the door. Jave’s eyes widened, as he saw that this was no ordinary shack. The ceiling shot up before them, and the walls were suddenly bright white and round. Looking upwards, he could see a crystal window at the top of this tower, and shelves covered the round walls. Jave stood stifled in something between awe and confusion.

“What.. what is this place?” Jave mumbled, his tongue almost twisting itself in his mouth. The man let out a pleased chuckle, as he placed himself on the steps of a twisting staircase “This is the home and refuge of Porthus Bjornson, one of the few chrono-mages alive. This is where I come, when the king issues tax-men, or mage-hunters. Those people want all my money, just because I know a few tricks. Tsch… Oh well, they’ll never catch me here. All they can see is an empty wooden shack. But enough about me, it is time for you to be informed. You, Jave, do you know your last name? Do you have any known family?” Jave shook his head, and replied “Nopes, never met ‘em. While I was still a kiddo, some foster-parent took care o’ me, back in Khronheim. They never told me who my real old folks were; they didn’t even pull ‘emselves together enough to give me a surname. I’ve always just been Jave, easy and short.”

Porthus shook his head, and clicked his tongue a few times on a lecturing manner “You have been fooled, my friend. For all these years, you have been held in the dark. What a shame, considering what you are actually made of, my friend. Come along now, and prepare yourself for a surprise.” He beckoned Jave up the stairs, with a torch in his hands. Jave followed, his curiosity out of control now. As they walked slowly up the stairs, Porthus lit a few candles with his torch, and illuminated the staircases. The Jave looked down upon the stairs, and raised an eyebrow. Was that gold? Was he walking on gold? Jave couldn’t resist, but to bend down in his knees, and tapped at the stairs. It was gold! Jave drooled slightly, but noticed how Porthus was getting ahead of him, and ripped himself loose of the golden stairs, and quickly made his way up behind Porthus. As they reached the top, where the crystal window in the roof was, Porthus looked at Jave and smiled “Are you prepared? Are you ready to see what you actually are? Time is nigh, and your destiny is coming closer, and you must embrace it.” “Urh, yeah bring it on, lemme see what ya got there.” Jave said, and shielded his eyes from the bright light of the torch.

Porthus nodded, and turned to the walls, and held up his torch. As the light shone, a granite wall was revealed, with carvings in it. It showed pictograms of a man, who seemed to be yelling, mysterious signs written everywhere, and what seemed like a dragon. “This here shows, your first forefather, Ufrill Khronum, defeating the dragon Likhazon which invaded this valley in ancient times.” Porthus said, and moved further along the wall with his torch, to reveal the carving of a man with a long beard, pointing towards a hill, which Jave recognized quickly. “Oi! That’s the Giants Back!” Jave burst out “Indeed it is. This shows Marken Khronum, founder of Khronheim, and original king of Khronheim. In those times, only the Khronum were to be kings of Khronheim, and that tradition kept on going for ages. But then one year, the Khronum bloodline was lost, and another family took its place. The current king is from that false bloodline, and unrightful owner of the throne. For ages, the Khronum bloodline was lost… ‘Till now.” Porthus said, and turned quickly to Jave, his torch held high.

“You, Jave! You are the latest Khronum, and rightful heir of the throne! And these mysterious signs, those are your family tongue, and your blessing! The only true language, which affects the very fabric of the world with mere words! Scream the word for “fire” and a pillar of flame erupts from your mouth!” Porthus shook Jave in the shoulders with a joyful smile on his face. Jave didn’t seem to have understood, and let out a confused “Wha’?” . Porthus sighed, and kept speaking “Don’t you see? All of your forefathers achieved greatness, through great deeds! And look! You are the next in line!” Porthus rushed to another side of the wall, and held up his torch, to illuminate a blank wall, with only some of the signs on it. “I have been studying your language, and this is your name, written in your family tongue!” Porthus spoke, while touching the word gently. “Wait wait wait… Does this mean, I am supposed to do some fancy deed, and save th’ world from some ancient threat?” Jave said, while tilting his head. “Yes! It is your destiny, and in good time, it -will- come your way! Like it or not, you have little choice!” “What if I don’t wanna?” “There is no declining it, it is foreseen on the Khronum wall!” “And how do you even know it is me?” “Because of your scars, my friend” Pothus said, and touched Jave’s cheek “Just look! It is the same on the wall! All your forefathers had the same scars, on the same place!” Pothus cried, and guided his hand over the pictures, revealing the same scars, on each of the character’s cheeks. Jave touched his cheek, and raised an eyebrow “But tell me… Why are they all yellin'?”

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