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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10. Chapter 10: Justice

Jave shuddered, and his eye began twitching. That voice cut into his very soul, making his heart ache, and his stomach churn. Ethella stood speechless, never had she heard such an evil voice. As the gates hammered against the other side of the wall, Jave found himself standing at one end of an enormous hallway of bone, without a roof. There was space for at least three or four wagons to ride side by side in this enormous entrance. Jave hesitantly stepped inside the walls, with Ethella at his side. It was completely silent, silent as the grave. As they walked slowly forward, going up a hill towards the tower, Jave noticed there were holes in the walls, just like those he had seen in the crypt, except that in these, the same type of troops as the gate guards were standing inside, arms crossed and heads low. They held onto their battle-axes with their crossed arms, and Jave was frightened that they would suddenly step out, and chop him and Ethella to pieces.

“So, you are here to put an end to me, hmm? That is brave indeed, but foolish as well. But I will give you a chance to strike at me. If I wanted you dead, I would order my men to slay you within seconds. Now, come along… I am waiting.” The voice bellowed once more, the same gust of wind rolling down the hill they were climbing. Ethella gripped Jave’s hand, and looked at him, with frightened eyes. She was scared, as she had never seen anything this evil and malicious. Undead were nowhere near Everspring, and she had never had the chance to leave her home forest. Jave, who knew he was in danger, kept his head cold, and his mind determined. With quick, hastened steps, he walked up the hill, towards the big, black tower. He grasped Ethella’s hand, and almost dragged her up the hill. His right hand moved down to his flintlock, and as he approached the entrance of the tower, he shouted “Knock knock, old man! Open up, so I can come and lop yer head off!”

Slow, shaking laughter was heard from within, and the door creaked open. “You… may enter” the voice spoke, and echoed from within the tower. The door was black, and cold to the touch, as Jave pushed it open. It resembled Porthus’ tower, yet it was black, and it smelled rotten. The walls were clearly made of blackened bone, and the stairs of pale ivory. Jave raised his flintlock, and rushed up the stairs, slipping from Ethella’s hand. He darted up the ivory stairs, and into the top room. It was an exact replica of Porthus’ tower, yet where the Khronum wall should’ve been, there was simply a big hole, into what seemed like a cave. It must have led into the mountains, as The Skeleton Fortress was leaning up against them. Jave fearlessly, or recklessly, walked inside, and spun his flintlock around a few times in his hand. He rested his hand on the pommel of Purniik, as he scoured the dark, seemingly empty cave. There were several pillars here and there, and a staircase, leading up to a small raised area. “Oi! Mr. Skarss! You home?” Jave shouted, his voice echoing from the walls. Behind him, Ethella followed up the stairs, but before she could enter the cave, a descending gate crushed down, locking her outside.

Jave spun around, and cried out her name. He darted over to the gate, and looked at her with distress. He opened his mouth to speak, but then the dark, bellowing laughter returned. “Jave... Little, young, Jave… So you’ve come to fulfill your destiny, hmm?” The voice spoke, as if it came from the walls themselves. Jave looked over his shoulder, and saw how a black, cold mist rolled across the floor. Suddenly, at the raised area at the back of the cave, a gout of black mist slowly emerged from the floor. Jave stood speechless, as the small pillar of mist slowly formed into the shape of a human being. The mist slowly stopped churning, and materialized into a tall, pale man, wearing a long, black robe. His face was covered by his hood, but didn’t conceal a wicked smile on his face. His skin was pale, and his lips dark. He held out his arms in a menacing fashion, and let out a loud guffaw. Jave spun around, and pulled out his flintlock. He clicked the trigger, and a bullet darted through the air, and flew straight through Lord Skarss. “You fool… I am no natural being; you cannot kill me with natural resources!” he screamed, with a shambling, dead voice. Jave snorted, and frowned in anger. “So… You are the newest pawn of the Khronum, hmm?” Skarss spoke, and walked around on his raised platform. “And you’ve come, to kill me, yes? I guess it was to be expected, from a foolish boy such as yourself. Have you ever thought that you may not be told everything? That someone may have kept you in the dark, for “The greater good”, hmm?”. Jave grunted at this speech, and grabbed down after Purniik. “Although you carry around a blessed blade, you are still not ready… You have come here too quickly; it will only be your own undoing. On the Khronum wall, it shows your ancestor’s greatest deeds, but have you ever wondered, why it does not show how they died? I can tell you this much: that none of them died of old age.” Skarss snickered wickedly, and gestured towards himself. “Oh, you bastard!” Jave burst out, and pulled out Purniik. His blade was shining brightly, in the vicinity of Skarss, illuminating the dark halls. “That is right… I killed every last one of them, by my own hand! But you see, one of them escaped… You, Jave! I should have killed you, while you still were a little child in my arms!” Skarss spoke, the words cutting in Jave’s heart. “Wait… Wot? Are you tellin’ me-“

“Yes, Jave… I… am your father!” Skarss shouted, and let a grin spread upon his pale face. Jave’s heart skipped a few beats. Could it be true? It could be. Nothing to prove it wrong. Skarss -could- have been his father. Jave shook his head, denying every thought of it. “It is true, Jave! And as I was the one who made you live, I will be the one to make you die!” Skarss screamed, and Jave looked up at him. He seemed to be breathing in deeply, and Ethella screamed at him to move at the same time doing it herself. Jave leaped behind one of the pillars, and heard Skarss screaming out “Morrs!”, his voice warping and twisting relentlessly. At jave’s right side, a wave of a pitch-black cloud of force crashed against the gate, some of the force seeping out from between the bars. It moved like a weightless cloud of water, which spread as it hit the wall. It dissipated soon after, and Skarss’ voice sounded from behind Jave. “Run, Jave! Hide like a rabbit, before the wolf gets you!” Skarss cackled wickedly. Jave’s hand shook in fear, as he gripped hold of his flintlock. He let Purniik stay on the ground, as he spun out from behind the pillar, and pointed his flintlock towards Skarss. He breathed in deeply, readying a word, but Skarss eyed him quickly. Before Jave could speak, Skarss had already pointed a finger towards Jave’s flintlock, and he screamed “Irrn!” his voice vibrating quickly. From his fingertips, a bolt of lightning shot out, and struck Jave’s flintlock, ramming it out of his hands, and shocking Jave as well. Jave winced in pain, as he rolled out behind the pillar. His hand was numb for a few seconds, and his flintlock was out of reach. He had to do something smart, and he had to do it now. He flipped out his dictionary, and skimmed through it.

Skarss stood with his arms folded, dark mist dripping down from his blackened robes, as he let a cruel snicker spread on his face. He shot a glare towards Ethella, who peeked out from behind the descended gate. “When I’m finished with my son, then you are next, elf!” Skarss shouted out from beneath his hood, his voice cracking and twisting in his mouth. Suddenly, Jave pounced out from behind the pillar, and Skarss eyed him quickly. “You fool! Do you have a death-wish?”  Skarss cried out, seemingly insulted, as he let a hand extend towards Jave. “Irrn!” he screamed once more, and a bolt of lightning darted out from his fingertips. Jave looked to his side, and barely saw the bolt of lightning, before it struck him straight in the temple. Ethella cried his name out, and dropped to her knees. His body slammed against the gate, and Skarss let out a victorious guffaw. “What a fool! Oh well… He has been tested, and found unworthy.” Skarss spoke, with a hint of disappointment. He floated down to Jave’s body, as if riding the black mist on the floor. Tears rippled down Ethella’s cheeks, and dripped off her chin, as she buried her face in her palms. Skarss approached Jave’s body, which lay face-down on the floor, and he picked him up, by gripping around Jave’s head. His fingers were long, almost like a raven’s talons. He lifted it up, for Ethella to see, and he let out a twisted chuckle. “See that? That, elf, is a failure! An utter disappointment for his family!” Skarss shouted out, with anger in his voice. Ethella looked up at Jave’s dead face, her eyes flickering with sorrow. She eyed Skarss, and then suddenly, began smiling, and chuckling quietly. “What’s so fun-“ He said, but was interrupted, as a surging pain struck through his withering body. His old, blackened heart pumped a few times, but then stopped, as it lay, pierced, in his chest. Purniik, the bane of undead, had pierced his heart, thrusted by Jave. Suddenly, the body in Skarss hands began emitting a low, turquoise glow, and then dissipated in a brilliant show of light. Skarss looked upwards, shocked and appalled, at how this was possible. Jave drew out Purniik, and Skarss dumped to the ground. His mouth moved, as he breathed out his last words “Good... Boy… Now, run.”.

As he spoke these words, it was as if the entire building began shaking. Now that Skarss was no more, there was nothing left to hold up The Skeleton Fortress. Cracks began running through the walls, and the pillars began chipping off bits and pieces. Suddenly, the pillars cracked completely, and the gate before them began to sway back and forth. “Get back!” Ethella screamed at Jave, as the gate suddenly collapsed towards Jave. He made a quick, agile leap backwards, and the descending gate crushed Skarss beneath it. Ethella darted towards Jave, and embraced him quickly. Jave seemed confused, as Ethella began speaking words on her own language, and their surroundings seemed to fade away. His sight blurred, and he suddenly felt numb. Everything around him seemed to fade away, as a pale, white light covered everything.

With a luminous flash, Jave suddenly felt grass around his feet, and a gust of wind sweeping through his hair. The rumbling sound was now only a faint sound in the distance. His eyes widened, and he looked around, finding himself back on the grassy plains, just where they had set camp last time. He twitched a few times, unaware of what to do next. Ethella left his arms, and coughed several times.

“I believe I owe you an explanation.” She said, and walked over to a nearby rock. She seemed to dig around in the ground, and pulled up a flower. It was beautiful, with hundreds of colors, and its petals seemed to be made of crystal. “This, is a home-root, used by the elves to flee quickly back to their homes, if they find themselves in danger. It only grows in Everspring, and can only be used once.” She said, and the petals suddenly began falling off, and the flower drooped, dead. “I have been carrying it around for years, not sure of what to use it for, yet I found out today.” As the flower died, she tossed it away, and looked at Jave. “Now, I believe you owe me an explanation as well. How did you do it?” “Do wot?” “Don’t be silly. What did you do back there, to fool Skarss into thinking you were dead. And the disappearing trick. How did you simply vanish from sight?” “Oh, right. Well, I flipped through this book ‘ere, and found two words, which seemed useful. “Cloak” and “Decoy” were the ones I used, to trick that old man, to thinkin’ that puppet was me, and sneak up behind ‘im. I was lucky that they at all worked, and they didn’t just fizzle out, as it was th’ first time I tried ‘em.” Jave said, and flipped open his dictionary, to show the words to Ethella. She nodded, and smiled at Jave, before embracing him, and kissing him deeply on the lips. She muffled some words from him, as she did so, but Jave gracefully accepted the kiss. Her lips made a surge through his body, yet he pulled his head back, and sighed. “Arright, look… I need to ask you a favor.” “I don’t like the sound of this… What is it?” “I have some business in th’ valley, but I need yeh to journey through the southern pass, to live yer life there. I would love to join yeh, but folks need me here.”

Ethella whimpered, and let a tear ripple down her cheek, though she nodded at him. “As you wish, my love…” she said, and rested her head on his chest. He let a hand glide through her hair, and squeezed out a tear as well. A bolt of lightning crackled in the distance, and suddenly, rain began pouring over them, blending with their tears on their faces. Jave kissed her on the forehead, and left her arms. He took a step back, and looked at her, adoration flaring brightly in his eyes. “Safe travels, my love.” He said, as he pulled out his map, and handed it to her. She smiled at him, and wiped away her tears, as she accepted the map “God’s blessings, my love.” She replied.

He performed a gracious bow, and spun around on his heel. He walked towards the road, with sorrow in his heart, but with a determined mind. It was time for him to undo what had been done.

Some days passed, and Jave had made his way back to the smoldering ruins of Khronheim. The smoke had died away, and only the sorrowful remains of a once great city were left. He pulled out his dictionary, flipped through it a few times, and his finger landed on a word. It was a superior word, the one translated to “Undo”. He breathed in deeply, and held out both his hands, and dropped onto his knees.

“Krofft!” he shouted, his voice sounding like a roaring dragon, as his hands suddenly burst into a blue flame. The fire spread over his body, consumed his clothes and equipment, and before long, his entire body was a beacon of blue fire. His eyes were on fire as well, making him seem as if he was gripped by the gods themselves. In the distance, Khronheim seemed to move, as if it was alive. The towers began re-building themselves, as if time was going quickly backwards. The gates tilted upwards, and struck themselves back into place. Jave let out a smile, and suddenly dumped face-first onto the ground. The blue fire died out, and a voice spoke within his head, as he drew his last breath. “I am proud of you… My son.”

High in the mountains, on a snowy peak, the sound of a chisel and hammer echoed. Inside a tower, Porthus was kneeling down before the Khronum wall, hammering into it, with all his might. He looked at his handiwork, and let a proud smile spread on his face. Written in the wall, it foretold of a new hero, a new heir, to the Khronum legacy.

Months had gone by, and in the southern pass, a hooded woman stepped out of a building. She looked south, down a stony road, and smiled, as she put a hand to her enlarged belly.

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