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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4. Chapter 4

Jiro walked, his anger only apparent because of his impatience and desire to get the full picture. He walked and walked and walked, the rhythmic plodding of his weary feet complimenting his dreary mood. He had so many questions.

Who was Myren? Why did he have destiny? Where is he? He realised it was hopeless, and decided that he should find rest in the nearest town. Of course, that was probably going to get him nowhere, he thought, and hastily concluded that he would be better off camping out here for the night. A suitably large tree loomed in front, and he walked up to it, leant on it, and sat on it. He felt dazed, and lay down. He closed his eyes, and opened them, made to stand up, and leant on the tree. Problem was, it wasn’t solid, and Jiro fell through.

For a moment Jiro was puzzled, and couldn’t quite work out why he had fallen into a solid object. He felt dizzy and unwell, he rolled over, and the blackness which now surrounded him beckoned as he fell into a deep sleep.

He came round in a dark space. It was big, and empty. He sat up, and groped around, but finding nothing, stopped. As he stood up, the room suddenly lit up. There was no indication as to the source of this uncannily even glow, but he could now see he was in a large space. The walls looked like tree trunks that had been wound around each other to produce a thick wall. The ceiling was solid leaf, and the ground was threadbare and dusty. It was a strange spectacle, to be surrounded by a thick curtain of undergrowth. Jiro checked over the scene once more, and noticed something. A green shape at the other end of this strange room. It became focused as he stared at it, and he realised it was an ogre of sorts. It held a bloodstained axe in one of its muddy green hands, and a form of crude body armour punctured with spikes and worn from use.  It threw back its large, gnarled head, opened its saggy jaws and roared, revealing rows of large, unappealing brown teeth. The roar was tremendous, and threw Jiro off balance as it picked up pace. It ran at Jiro with a sluggish force, raising its axe, ready to take the killer blow.

Morphus Diffrento!

The ogre recoiled, and lolled its head. It then noticed the lack of a weapon, and realised that instead he had struck Jiro with a rubber axe. Dazed, he went in to attack once more.

Morphus reducto!

The ogre charged once more, and kept charging. The room was getting bigger, but it kept going. Only then did it realise that it was not the room getting bigger, but it getting smaller. It was enraged. It roared, a sound which once made the earth tremble, but it was now reduced to a simple squeak. But no, it wasn’t finished yet! It charged once more at the now looming figure of Jiro, and as it gripped Jiro’s leg, began to regain size. Jiro saw this, and let out a cry. As the Ogre made ready its final attack, Jiro realised he had one chance. One life. One final push before the claws of death gripped him and dragged him down.

Morphus Combusto!

~

Jiro rescued himself from the searing, deformed, charred masses of flesh that were the only memorial to an exploded ogre. Although covered in dirt and guts, he brushed himself off. It wasn’t a nice feeling when he had heated a monster to boiling point, and watched as it was torn into a million grimy pieces.

Jiro found himself, and began to circle the clearing. There was seemingly no parting, but at least a substantial amount of light was streaming in through the leafy canopy above. Desperately, he made a jump, but couldn’t reach. He realised that he was stranded, and began to run. He had no earthly inclination of why, just that he needed to run, and fast. He ran and ran, until he could run no more. There seemed no end to this unearthly clearing. He sat down by a deep pool, and suddenly had an idea. What if there was an underground cavern, now submerged by water? He had to try, or stay here forever. He needed to find Myren, and he needed to convince the guild that Illyerin’s well was worth protecting, for the sake of his friends.

Why him? As he stuffed his outer clothing into his small backpack, he readied himself to jump.

3...

2...

1...

He dived.

He immediately felt a surge of cold rush through his body like a waterfall. He opened his eyes, fighting the stinging, and saw what he wanted. A hole. He swam towards it as quickly as he could, and just as he entered the short tunnel, he realised he was running out of breath. He rushed, and kept powering on. He swam, stroke after stroke, and felt his lungs begin to sting.

The pain was monstrous. Jiro hadn’t really thought about whether or not there was a spell for breathing underwater, and now regretted the choice. He saw a light. He swam. His vision darkened. He swam and swam. Almost there! But he wasn’t going to make it. No. Yes! Yes! No. No.

No.

~

Vellian felt lucky. Lucky that despite living in the crude custody of Illyerin, there was enough to eat, do and relax. That and the fact that she had cured Vellian and nursed him back to health. Despite this, he felt alone in this cold, unearthly cell, and without Krenclire for company he probably would have fallen into despair days ago.

Where was Jiro anyway? He should have been back. Vellian had taken to carving a tally of the days he was here on one wall. He realised then why most cells had them. It felt like that was the only way for a prisoner to stay sane. That was one thing that they knew they could hold onto-hope. The knowledge that, one day, they would be released, and sent on their way to wherever they wanted. But Vellian could not know if Jiro had been injured, or died, or just left to rot. It was a horrible feeling.

Krenclire, on the other hand, was growing annoyed. He repeatedly punched walls and ceilings, he tried to phase out but lost control and had to force his way back when he materialised halfway into the escape and ended up stuck in the wall.

It wasn’t something that he would ever try doing again. Nonetheless, he still clung onto those last few strands of sanity, but felt them slip away, slowly and deliberately, one by one escaping through the solid concrete. It was excruciatingly scary and was seriously beginning to take its toll on Krenclire. Or what was left of him.

Every night, Vellian would lay on his pathetic excuse for a mattress, and hope. Hope that none of the fates he so feared would become reality. Hope was all he had left. The one last thing he could desperately cling on to, when all was lost. The lone candlelight in an ominous field of darkness. Hope. That was all he needed to make it. Only hope.

~

“Y’all righty ‘dere, sonny boy?”

Jiro opened his eyes. He made to sit up, but the moment he had fully awoken he saw that he was underneath the hideous complexion of a man in his forties that apparently hadn’t seen soap for 20 years. Jiro immediately came to his senses and backed away quite suddenly. It was strange, to be sitting up in a chair, having no recollection of any event past his blacking out.

“I’m a-finking dat you d’inna wanna be awake for dis, but oh well.”

Jiro, still lacking his usual alertness, only registered what the newfound hillbilly’s intentions were when his gaze fell upon a bloody carving knife, with a menacing serrated edge and a blade worn from use. Even then, it took a few seconds for him to realise that he was only here because he was on the menu of some poor, lonely man, who probably thought a young and healthy boy was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Jiro had milliseconds to work out what to do, and focused on a spell of the Morphus branch.

Morphus is a section of magic devoted to harnessing and manipulating objects around you. All of its spells are quick and easy to cast, but will only work if spoken by a specific person.  They were utilised in the various magical sects for their efficiency and mercilessness, much like their members. Jiro had the exact requirements to perform Morphus spells, most of which were physiological, and his SpellCaster teacher wanted them to be a priority. He was relieved that they were so easy to cast.

Morphus ventus!

The hungry hillbilly, knife in hand, shot backward against a wall of the small room Jiro had awoken in. He seized the opportunity and ran out the door, leaving it ajar.

 Jiro hadn’t thought past this point, expecting there to be a wooded clearing and a path to freedom. Instead, he was faced with a long corridor.  He ran anyway, with the hillbilly picking himself up and reaching for something just out of view. Jiro ran, not daring to look back, his still emerald robes flowing behind him. He skidded round a corner, and turned down into another, similar corridor. The clomping of heavy feet pursued him wherever he turned. He turned a corner, and stopped. He was at a dead-end corridor.

Jiro turned slowly, and realised what the hillbilly had. A shotgun. He was aiming it right at Jiro’s head, in such a way as he could look down the rusty barrel and see two gleaming balls of death awaiting him at the other end.

Whenever the maniac with his finger on the trigger chose to, he would end Jiro’s life. He knew he couldn’t do much, but he also knew he couldn’t fail Vellian. Vellian was waiting for him, and failing now wouldn’t be an option.

“I’m gonna count to tree.”

Jiro felt helpless. What could he do? Was there a spell in the world he could use?

“One...”

There must be something! One spell, somewhere could stop it. In an instant, Jiro’s mind cleared, and he realised the right spell was within his grasp. But he needed time.

“Two...”

He focused, he felt the energy building up; he prepared. Split second timing was what he needed. On the count of three, except for the unclean, impatient man on the other end of the gun had already said two.  He shouted, “Abracadabra!”

The hillbilly flinched wildly, anticipating being hit by a tornado. Instead he looked around expectantly, and then turned back.

“y’ar hocus-pocus d’inna work. Now where was I...? Oh yeah.”

Morphus reducto!

His gun shrunk just as he said three, and by the time he went to pull the trigger, he was screaming in raw agony from the pain of having his finger crushed and amputated by a trigger cover the size of a pinhead. He bent double, shrieking like a banshee and Jiro took his chance.

He vaulted the hillbilly’s body, and ran out the nearest door. It let outside. Jiro ran, and ran and ran and ran, for what seemed like hours, until he could run no more. He knew he couldn’t just collapse, last time he did that he ended up in nature’s answer to the coliseum. This time he decided to lumber on, in the hope that he reached an inn that he knew of. He knew roughly where it was in relation to his current position.

Conveniently, he found it about five minutes from there. He found the pathway, signposted to the right, and experienced a short journey comparatively uneventful up against the last twenty four hours. He stumbled in, threw a few coins in the landlady’s hands, and collapsed onto the nearest bed.

}~

“No!”

“Son, you know you have to leave.”

“No I don’t!”

“You will die if you stay here.”  The man’s words were sharp as daggers. He stood, the fiery dance of a nearby inferno silhouetting him against the blaze of a village raid.

“But what about you and mum?”

“Just... Just go. And don’t come back.”

“Why? Where are you two going?”

“Go!”

The boy hesitated, and then shrunk back. He heard shouts, saw his father turn, and ran off into the cold night, not daring to look at the remnants of his home.

~

Jiro awoke in a cold sweat. He could see from the thin streams of light poking out from behind the curtains that morning was upon him, and as he surveyed the inn he fell asleep in more closely, realised he was on his own. This was uncommon in inns; there were normally 5 or 6 people to a room. He was still breathing heavily. He slowed, and eventually brought the burst of hyperventilation under control. There were numerous thin sheets entwining him, a pillow was at the other end of his bunk, and another greyish pillow rested in the corner. Jiro saw himself to be the only occupant of the room and sat up, running a hand through his tangled, muddy, messy hair. The midsummer mornings in the lower Atlands were serene affairs; and they became unforgettable with the thin canopy of vibrant green leaves shielding the earth from the onslaught of the summer sun. However, Jiro knew that he couldn’t stay around, so concluded that heading for the nearest town was the only option.

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