Runic - Aeonian Overture

The realms float about in the neon cosmos of mystic forces long thought to be extinct, a universe known as Ambright where mana and technology can transform entire cities into prosperous empires. However, war has left many with a past haunted by those who lost their lives, as such the case with Glave Octus. He, a veterans's child of the same war that took his sister away, embarks on a journey to rediscover his bloodline. It will be a long trek that will take him deep into the underworld dungeons and lawless cities of Grove, the urban realm where he was born.

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2. Chapter 2 - The Daystar

 

 

"The two suns of Grove were named Mortimer and Timoltin, after the two renowned warriors of yester century."

-Bailey, a realm historian -

...

Glave's spot in the house was an upstairs room with a desk and candles mounted on the wall boards, creating enough light to read and devour book after book. The snow had stopped raining down so he had the silence needed to accurately draw parabolas and vectors on the map rolled out before him. It was to formulate shortcuts if he got lost while inside the dungeon. So far, these pathways had been easy to draw out, for the first floors were either simple hallways, vast areas of empty space, or large rooms. The canyon on floor one, the lake on floor two, a massive shrine on the third floor - all of these landmarks were potential clues regarding his mother's absence.

However, upon completing the map, his thoughts gradually drifted on to other people, and soon it was impossible to fission the his gaze from what was glimmering at the corner of his desk. Whenever he entered this room, he would even go as far to say hello to the girl smiling behind the picture frame. His sister had straight white hair and passion red eyes, as if she belonged to a different species. Many would turn heads when she would bustle down the streets carrying food to the foster home.


Milos would want me to do this, to figure this out, whatever it took, he thought, marking his last food source on the map; it was around floor three. Even with rumors of the things that happened in the underworld hovering in whispers, Glave wouldn't allow that to be a distraction. Just when the twin suns carried themselves under the sky to welcome the night, he rose from his chair stretching, now finished mapping every possible route for the last time. Now he scooted out a paper palette, took an ink quill, and entered his journal entry.

Log entry #31

Tomorrow, I will be exploring the dungeon at the east side of town. It's the last place Wilva journeyed before her disappearance, and I hope to find clues concerning where she might be right now. Unfortunately, the entrance is restricted to mostly everyone in Grove, so I will do what I always do, work around it. This is not an expedition, because I plan to be back in roughly 12 hours starting next morning. The bag that I will bring carries food and water that can be rationed among 24 hours, medical supplies, and my book that I took from the library to map possible routes to the lower district of Forktown and the first three floors of the dungeon itself. It the situation arrives where I return with no clues about my mother or anyone of the sort, then I will have to search elsewhere. However, this dungeon is a very large underground facility once designed for the sole purpose of containing prisoners. It's a big world down there, one that has not been documented in forty years. Forktown's library holds no recent records but I had to make out what I managed to find there. Creatures live in this dungeon, and I am prepared to fend them off. My name if Glave Octus, and I'm searching for my bloodline, because the name Octus is losing its trace along history. Farrow appears to be the connection to this, for the city was declared a restricted war zone soon after my mother vanished. There much to be discovered, with even more to learn, and it all starts tomorrow. I will venture to this forbidden city and find the one I'm looking for. The date is Tuesday of the year KG491

To him, it was the only opportunity to find what became of his bloodline, for it had all been taken away. His mother was a victim where the war had sucked in anyone with useful mana capabilities, eating them up, and spitting them out where there was only an echo, no sign of a pulse, turning them to ghosts; In her case, she could make a force field that could blind the unwitting man if he gazed into its light. His world was perfect until she seemingly vanished, and everything rolled down. Now, however, there were chances laid in front of him, chances to locate her and try to understand.

It was almost deceiving, Farrow's location wasn't the problem, its boundary being roughly four thousand miles from Grove's Gaining entry was the true impediment.

Glave reached for a book sitting on his desk shelf, one with dulled orange outlines curving around its face and spine. Opening it was like opening a gallery that history had forgotten. Every page was as art piece of Farrow's scape accompanied by descriptions, poems, and dated fables spanning back before the Aven era, even before the war. These testaments and myths were what kept him and Milos occupied for nights on end when they both lived at Jin's foster home, staying up late with a lantern, going into the back gardens as to not disturb the others who were fast asleep in their beds. The pages depicted pastel paintings of rolling hills drenched in glowing vegetation, of people with lunar complexions, and places where buildings were made from nebulas, truly a place where realism gave way to mystical architecture. And all of it was real, like a common fact that everyone knew.

Only, It was almost shameful. This place, an area which had given him and his sister so much wondrous delight, possibly within reach, was tied to a relative who had suddenly disappeared. Wilva's unannounced absence and Farrow's seclusion were linked. They had to be.

He glanced back towards the map book, then at the art book again, then lastly at his sister's picture frame, and he sighed. It was just him now, without anyone who truly shared his blood. Hopefully, without enough fortitude and a good amount of ingenuity, that would change.

"I'm going out." he called, descended the staircase.

Aylward looked up from his half finished tackle box. "To the place?"

"Yeah, the place." The front door shut. Outside, Glave found the nearest vantage point and began his climb skyward. His books were left inside the shop, but there were more reasons to travel like this. When he neared the main square, hundreds slowly entered the roads simple-mindedly to enjoy themselves, conducting their behavior as if they were in an amusement park. During nightfall, everything lit up with lanterns that burned fluid shades of orange and yellows, and the streets came alive in festivity with swindlers trying to strike their next big advantage. The dancing would fuel on until the first hour of morning, then the plaster-faced law attendants would have to disband the crazy mass of chatter. Glave use to join in with Aylward and watch the performers dance with ribbons, moving to the light music of the woodwinds. However, preoccupation of his planned journey rendered him absent from such activities a while ago. Now he passed them from above, eager to sift through the noise.

Visions of the next jump or slide put his feet in a focused limbo. A clock tower thundered its six o'clock bong, the same time Glave kicked off a house gutter and landed all fours on the next structure. Stabilizing a walk across the tip where the half rooftops met, he knelt lower to jump higher on the slightly taller cathedral ahead. His hands gripped the edge and he pulled himself up, smiling at the quick progress. Climbing wasn't needed to avoid the law, not really at this hour, but it was a heck more fun than walking. Lamp post rose above the late hour commotion that ignited the night in neon radiance. Sometimes, songs arose from the alleys to welcome the continuing prosperity Forktown was bathing in. Others were hymns about how the war segregated the now isolated cities like Farrow and Ratra from the rest of Grove, forever left to thrive on their own. No matter the subject, dances were performed, while music echoed throughout the promenades and courtyards.

Looking at a downward slope, the town's edge gave way to rolling hills. A bit farther that way was his destination. Glave was at the very opposite side of where the dungeon was, the west side of town. It was not a place for bandits but for quiet thoughts. It was the outside landscape of green where rows of windmills stood on the hills, and Glowtail Swallows fluttered smooth as nylon over the grass. He sat against one the windmills that was broken, his favorite one to lean against whenever his thoughts spilled over. This one, the one that stopped churning its wooden fins years ago, he visited when the urge to get away from everything washed over. Blades of grass rustled. Crickets chirped. An owl hooted. The sky was starting to turn a deep red violet as dusk set in. Out of all the realms in existence, Grove was known to have the best weather by far. One could often see the stars at night and the streaks of mana glowing like ethereal ribbons above the stratosphere.

Mana was a lot like fire. The more one focused, the more power that could be drawn in from the very air. It came in all different colors: green, red, violet, even black. The most common color would be a deep blue, like the sky. Controlling it, however, wasn't that simple. Before the mana could be used for anything, it first had to be drawn from the air and passed through the body. Any break in thought could send the reactive substance bursting through skin, leaving scars that could take days, even weeks, to heal. Everyone who used this energy in some way, whether to craft special serums or to simply give shows of bright light and fireworks, would have gruesome lashes and bruises on their skin from the times they had 'Overdosed', as many called it. Only those who crafted their talent over years of experience could harness this energy on a whim without large mental strain. Of course, there were other ways to get this type of energy, rather by drilling where it collected or gathering it during rainfall, but mana, because of its special nature, was seemingly a limitless supply of power that was in the very air breathed by all.

Glave leaned back to set his vision at the stars. His head was a carousel that repeatedly spun through his careful upcoming plans - when to wake up, what to bring, how to bring them, the lookout posts to avoid, all manner of precautions that would only help him for part of the way. Even with all his research and study, he would still need aid in meandering through the more downturned paths and alleyways.

He rose off the sea of grass to take in a howling breeze, churning the windmills faster. Lanterns from the city flickered behind him while the moon stuck the sky in a pale jailhouse. Of course, above all else, there was another precaution that always required the utmost attention - using magic. Or rather, the process of doing so. 

It was time to practice.

It was an exercise he often did. He knew that mana was an unstable force as the slightest break in mindfulness spelled horrible injuries all shapes and sizes. He focused his thoughts until they stuck to his skull, sharpening them into a narrowed stream to draw in the raw energy. His breath grew long to sympathize with his heartbeat. A jolting sensation wrapped his spine in stuttering zaps as a cloak of green energy collected and burned all around his body, expanding and growing, filling itself up. The light expanded, brighter still. It pulsed only once before exploding out in one fluid wave of blinding luminessence. Glave became the embodiment of a star, an orb of green that was released upon the world, blazing into the night with a lambency powerful enough to shake the night loose from its time zone. It consumed his body in a radiance fathoms brighter than any imagination, a forcefield, a weapon, and a beacon all at the same time. Then, the light dissolved, once again plunging his world to darkness revealing again the familiar nighttime landscape of windmills, hills of even grass, and city lights from behind. The forcefield had faded. Practice was over.

"Still got it in me, good," he said, along with a frosty trail from his mouth. This was a power passed down by genetics, but it could only be brought to reality with meticulous training, something he had been doing for a while now in preparation for tomorrow. Gathering mana from the air in this quantity was a dangerous feet, absolutely. However, its payoff resulted in a display of remarkable defensive ability, a shield that blocked from every direction. It was impossible to evade, at least to his knowledge, and, try as he might, it could not be broken, or even fractured. If Forktown had taught anything, it was that the most life threatening risks bore the grandest rewards, if one was being careful. This broad notion was what lead him to learn how to climb and meander under law's watch in the first place, because, in doing so, he could slip under society and easily locate every bit of lost knowledge caged underneath, unveiling new locations, and clues about his bloodline, a freedom that had been infused within his skin like a crystallized tattoo.

Upon returning home, the chattering drone from the city still went on, but sleep still came like a destined prognosis, a trait welcomed by heavy dreamers. Milos was still beaming behind her picture frame, probably humming to a happy song, or maybe she had found something funny to laugh about when the picture was taken. Either way, she looked down from the desk as his eyelids succumbed to their own weight. Tomorrow, when the first sun rose to push away the night, the dungeon would be waiting for him at its mouth. If Wilva, or anything significant were to be found, the best place to explore for clues was there.

His commission was to uncover. His creed was his endeavor.

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