Small Beginnings- LOTA Part 1

Well, I think it's time I placed the latest version of what I've written on here. I'm starting a new project, and I'd like people to know where I got with the old one, just, you know, because. This is a working title, any suggestions let me know. Thanks guys :)

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10. Chapter 10

It was actually quite funny, Krenclire thought. It had been a very long while since he had had a laugh with people he knew well. The High Atland used to be the living emanation of happiness and laughter, separate from all the woes and sorrow of the worlds below. It could have been viewed that metaphorically speaking, the sun was always shining there. Scientifically speaking, the high Atland was perfectly spherical and had its own gravitational field, meaning that by simply walking north-by-north-east constantly, the sun would always be shining. Putting that thought aside, Krenclire’s mind began to swirl. If, of course, he was expecting to encounter Igneria on his way to the highest Atland, it would be impractical to not prepare for such an occasion. He would like to say something Valiant and meaningful, like ‘I have come to avenge the death of my beloved M-‘

“Ari!! Come see this!” Jiro shouted.

‘And in doing so, I will end your miserable life here and now!’ It didn’t really suit him, the whole noble knight thing. He decided it would be easier just to storm in and throw Igneria and all the pain he had caused off the side of the Atland, and into the murky depths of Big Blue.

“Seriously, Ari!” Jiro called, turning his head to see where she was. He was just in time to see Arián push him off the side. Krenclire whipped his head round when he heard Jiro shout. But before he could do anything, Arián grabbed him by the waist and retrieved him, laughing. Jiro whipped round the moment he was back on the floor.

“What did you think you were doing?” Jiro asked.

He sounded stern.

Arián smiled in that “How could you stay mad at me” way, which didn’t work as well as she had hoped. She went for the next one.

“I saved your life!”

Jiro picked her up and fireman’s carried her, kicking and screaming the rest of the way to their camping location.

~

They arrived at the clearing they had hoped to reach, and set up a tent. A more accurate thing to say would be that Arián threw it out of the rucksack with her head still in there, shouted something like “Give us a hand!” while violently waving her free arm in the air. Jiro, who could be as bothered as Arián, muttered something lazily and flicked his hand ingloriously. The tent was not aware of the fact that very little care was taken when putting it up.

On the inside, the tent was absolutely stunning. It had the benefit of being very large, and cleverly conservative with the space it consumed. As Vellian wandered in to claim his corner, he found that his head spun slightly. The creamy canvas tent was seemingly bigger on the inside. Vellian pondered this slightly, and then set his grey, dirty rucksack down heavily next to a brown pole. He stepped back outside, and was shooed by Arián’s still-waving arm and told to go find some firewood by Arián’s still-stuck-into-her-rucksack head. To make a long story short, Vellian obliged. A short while later, he returned to see that it was getting dark quickly. He threw the logs haphazardly down and sat down on the tree trunks Krenclire had placed in the centre of the clearing. Jiro and Arián were having a magical competition, seeing who can throw the other the highest on a jet of water.

“Jiro had that round,” Krenclire called. There was a cheer and a moan of disapproval.

Vellian turned towards Krenclire, both still watching Arián and Jiro. “They really like each other.”

Krenclire did that thing where you condense a whole laugh into a stifled “Humph.” He paused, before turning back to Vellian. “They both have grown up more or less alone, and they both have been through the same things, and have both come out the other end the same kind of person. They are a rare example of very good friends, Vellian. Friends, Vellian, not lovers. Besides, why would it concern you?”

“Just stirring conversation,” Vellian replied, casually but just a bit too quickly. Krenclire noticed this, and turned his head towards Vellian very slightly. He smiled, ad went to unpack his things.

~

They were all asleep. Except Vellian. He had been suffering a bit from insomnia ever since he had arrived at the dojo. He was now propped up against a wall, eyes wide open. He could hear nothing, and see very little apart from the small light Krenclire was holding. It was apparently an eternal flame, which was pretty cool, but Vellian couldn’t be bothered to think right now. He knew what was on his mind, and he didn’t really want to think about anything else. He just sat there. Sleep didn’t seem to be a comfort.

Perhaps what he was thinking about was sleep-inducing, because he slowly drifted out of consciousness soon after.

~

Vellian hadn’t even opened his eyes before he knew what had happened. He didn’t even need to look around to know where he was standing. He was in the huge cavern that, a fortnight previously, had left Vellian unconscious. There, exactly where it was last time, was the crystal.

“You foresaw our meeting.” The deep voice shook the cavern, yet did not shake the cavern.

Vellian said nothing. He drummed his left hand on the hilt of Nightslayer.

“You have found the others.” Still, Vellian did not reply.

“You understand, Vellian, that you have already encountered the darkness.”

Vellian was careful to remain defiantly silent.

“Twice.”

Vellian couldn’t help but widen his eyes. The crystal was, true to character, instantly aware of Vellian's surprise.

“Did you know you were ambushed by the Darkness in the hills?” The crystal enquired in its all-knowing kind of way.

Vellian could not remember anything like it.

“After failing to destroy you, the Darkness made you forget you were even there. They are clever. Their human-like appearance is woven with deep magic, and makes your eyes slip off their frame the moment you look away, deleting their image from your brain.”

Vellian remembered some fragments, but he could not focus on one image.

“The Darkness then tried to investigate you, but came out foul of this task when it realised later that the Governor and Governess it thought it had encountered were actually two of your accomplices.”

Vellian stifled a giggle at this.

It was only now Vellian renewed his memory of the fissure. It was exactly how he remembered it. He noticed once more the strange markings in the crystal, and took a moment to quickly enquire about it.

“Exactly what are those markings? The ones in you?”

The voice hesitated slightly. “Each curve represents a person’s goodwill. It is my lifeblood, and alas, it diminishes. As in the land below us, we are slowly forgetting our goodness, our humanity, and so my power dwindles. However, that is off the subject.”

“You must be prepared for the Darkness. Eliminate it at its source. Find the unbalancing point, and set it straight. When day falls to night, only the stars may guide you, but when the day is upon us, I shall be your guide. Be ruthless, and at the same instant, calm. Be merciless. The pain they have caused is phenomenal, and any apparent heart it tries to prove they have is a ploy to save itself. You must end it. Goodbye again, Vellian.

“Do not fail us.”

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