Heritage

This is the tale of Jeraz, the young half-elf who lived in discrimination from the humans of Fogstead, until the fateful day, where a myterious man enters his home, and tells him of his ancestry, his blessed bloodline. As of that day, all the evils have seemed to come his way, and he wouldn't be surprised if the world ended tomorrow.

This is part 2/3 of a "trilogy", named The Khronum Legacy.

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7. Chapter 7: The Deadly Shadows

Jeraz arched an eyebrow, as Erron suddenly began waving his hands before him. Suddenly, it seemed like black oil dripped from his fingers, and the shadows in the corners seemed to creep closer. More magic? As Jeraz noticed that the “oil” wasn’t oil, but black magic, he scuttled closer to the wall, afraid of his soul being sucked out, or the likes. As Erron’s hands stopped in mid-air, he closed his eyes, and whispered a few words. The magic was tearing at Jeraz’s mind, as whispers seemed to come from the shadows, and phantoms of people and animals seemed to walk the hallways. With a click of his fingers, Erron’s body suddenly was covered in the “Oil”, which seemed more like heavy smoke, or steam. He let his hands descend down the side of his body, and he began walking towards the locked cell-door. As his body was now pitch-black, he seemed like an erected shadow, the black smoke floating from his body. As he walked towards the cell-door, his blackened lips spread into a grin, and he walked straight through the door. The black smoke seemed to cling to the bars, as he walked through them, insubstantial as he was. Jeraz’s eyes widened, as he saw this spectacle, his stomach turning with something between awe and fear. Awesome is such an overused word, but this truly inspired awe. As he stepped outside his cell, the darkness shrouding him seemed to peel off, like the peel off an orange. The flakes drifted to the ground, and dissipated as they struck the granite ground. Erron turned to him, as the darkness fell away from his face “Surprised? You should be. Alright–  we don’t have much time, so let me explain quickly.” He looked around a few times, finding himself alone with Jeraz “Alright, I believe you have heard of the murders in town, yes? Well my fellow back-stabber, you are looking at the leader of the group which has been killing people off these days.” He smiled in a strangely casual way, as if it was perfectly normal to speak of such a subject. “But people have been sniffing at our trails, and we need a few more men to take care of these individuals. So therefore, I offer you a little spot in my little organization. It’s perfectly safe, and you’ll be earning quite a sum of money, if you work for me.” Jeraz glared at him, and shook his head “Get stuffed. I am not going to work for a malicious fiend like you. I’d rather rot up in prison, than be your goon!” Erron rolled his eyes, and pulled down his hood. His ears flipped up as his hood fell, long and elegant, as real elven ears should be. “I don’t take no for an answer. Either you come with me, or I put an end to you. Your choice.” Suddenly, a bell rang throughout the prison hallways “Prisoner escape! Seize them!” a voice shouted. Erron looked behind him, and saw a guard ringing a bell, down at the end of a hallway. He turned to Jeraz and grunted, displeased. “Meet me at midnight, the southern end of town. Be there, or your days are numbered.” As he spoke these words, he began waving his hands, more black smoke emitting from them. “But how will I get out? I can’t do any fancy mag-“ Jeraz spoke, but was interrupted, as the shadows of the prison trampled towards him, like hastened waves of water, and before he could even twitch, everything went dark. He felt like he had fallen into an ocean of darkness for a short while, everything felt up and down. Gravity was non-existent, and complete silence filled his mind. But suddenly, the sound of birds chirping, and faint sounds of wheels rumbling was heard, and light glimmered in the distance. It was as if he was in a mine-shaft, and he was gazing to the end of the tunnel, where light broke through. He would have run towards it, but it seemed more like it came to him. Quickly. Just as with the wave of shadows, the light rolled quickly towards him, and before he could react, sunlight struck his face, and the air raised a few hairs on his neck. He was outside once more, in an alley between two houses, where light shone from above. It was well-hidden, no one in sight, though he could clearly hear the busy streets of Hyllmarch, presumably the market place. He looked around a few times, quite disorientated, and he stumbled a few steps forward. He toppled over, landing on his hands, which splashed into a puddle of cold, dirty water. As the water splashed onto his face, he twitched, and spat. He staggered up onto his feet, and looked around. His head was swirling, and his mind clouded, but he could figure out that he was no longer inside the prison. He had been transported outside, somehow, by Erron. It was magic for sure, but not the kind he was used to. This was dark, tenebrous magic, tearing at the border between life and death. Jeraz’s legs felt shortly numb, as he took a step forward, his leather shoes splashing in the puddle of water. He thought of Erron, and his arrangement. Was it safe to go there? He was a mass-murderer after all, and even worse, a dark elf of the kind. The smartest was definitely to report to the authorities about this, and make them prepare an arrest order. He strolled through the streets, asking for guidance on where he might find the authorities, and he was pointed in the direction of a large building in the eastern end of town. He flipped a coin over to the man who guided him, and smiled, before walking down an alley to the east. As he walked through the dark alley, a shiver ran down his spine. This place smelled of misfortune, crime, and death. The stench of unspeakable deeds reeked in this place. He tucked his collar up, and jogged through the alley, his heart beating quickly. He felt like he was being pursued, and suddenly, he would’ve sworn he saw a pair of eyes in the dark. The houses were leaning in over the dark alley, their shadows painting Jeraz’s surroundings dark grey, as he turned around a corner of the alley. As he swung around the corner, he saw the light of the exit break through a narrow crack between the houses. Hsuddenly found himself running as fast as his feet could carry him, and seemed to hear a faint breathing, and a muffled chuckle. But that all faded, as he merged into the brilliant light of day, where he was blinded shortly. As his eyes got used to the blinding sunlight, he set his eyes upon the mighty Hyllmarch castle. It was beautiful, magnificent craftsmanship, as it was made of smooth granite. The windows were pretty mosaics, clearly crafted by the finest of artisans. It seemed more like a church than a castle, though. It was not as tall as one might have expected, but it sure made up for its lack of quantity, in magnificent quality. It was well hidden behind the other houses, much different from that of Fogstead. There, one could see the authority’s manor without even entering the town. Jeraz folded his arms, and admired the castle for a short while, before remembering why he actually was here. He began walking towards the castle, and eyed a pair of guards at the gate. Compared to the guards at Fogstead, these seemed like something sent from the gods. Their lances were tall, with bundles of red hair hanging from the shaft. Their helmets, which were made of glittering steel, also had  a red bundle of hair on the top. Their armor were finely polished, and resembled a lizard’s skin, in the way that small pieces of metal overlapped one another, like scales. Jeraz approached the gates to the castle, and one of the guards eyed him, and let his lance descend in front of Jeraz. “State your business!” He said, with a deep, firm voice. “I wish to report a possible murder, sir.” Jeraz answered “Is that so? Fortunately, you don’t even have to enter the castle for that reason. I can handle that from here on. Now, what is your name, and is there a way we can distinguish you from the rest of the rabble?” The guard spoke, and pulled from his pocket a small piece of paper, as well as a pen. “My name is Jeraz. Just Jeraz. Also, I’m a half-elf” Jeraz said, and pulled down his hood, to reveal his pointed ears. The guard nodded, and began scribbling on the piece of paper, mumbling “Jeraz… Pointed ears….Alright, done! Thank you for reporting this, we will send a guard to the market place to find you.” “No sir, I am the one who should be thanking.” Jeraz said, and performed a gracious bow, before spinning around, and leaving. As he turned around, he noticed how the castle was surrounded by a large wall, circling around the courtyard. Also, he saw the little alley he came from, as well as a large, open gate, merely a few meters away from the exit of the dark alley. He rolled his eyes and sighed, wondering why he didn’t just go through the gate. Nevertheless, he stuffed his hands in his pockets, and strolled down towards the gate, and through it. The descending sun was clear on the horizon, and dusk was approaching quickly. Jeraz’s surroundings seemed to gain a reddish tint, as the evening sun painted the skies dark red and orange. The shadows around him were growing long, creeping across the ground, like a dark carpet. Something suddenly struck Jeraz’s mind. Where was he going to sleep? Was he supposed to sleep on the streets? He figured it wouldn’t harm, as he was used to sleeping without a roof over his head, but that usually happened in the woods. But one time had to be the first. He continued to walk down the roads, until he arrived at the market place. It was mostly empty, although there were a few open booths here and there, most of them just offering whatever they had at hand. Strolling around for a few minutes, looking at what the booths had to offer, Jeraz suddenly heard a piercing whistle a few meters away. He turned, to see an armored guard, with a sword in his sheath, and his helmet under his arms. “Hey you there! Half-elf! Are you there one who requested my presence?” Asked the guard, and walked towards Jeraz “Not yours specifically, just a guard in general. I have a little problem, which needs solving.” He answered, as the guard now stood before him. “Very well, I am listening. What do you need me do?” “Alright, here’s how the story goes. Back in my hometown, Fogstead, an unfortunate accident happened, and a man’s life was the cost of this accident. It was a fight in a tavern, and of course, it was just my bad luck, that I was framed for the murder. Before I could even get a chance to explain myself, the local guards were upon me, and eventually, I got knocked out cold. And before long, I ended up in the prison here in Hyllmarch.” “Then why are you here? Shouldn’t you be behind bars?” “Ah yes, but you see, that’s the interesting part. I was placed in a cell, adjacent to a dark elf’s cell. He later told me that he was the man who was responsible for all the murders in town. Also, it just so seems that he is a dark mage, capable of manipulating shadows, and other scary stuff. Through some magic here and there, he made his way out of the prison, and transported me out as well. But before that, he told me to meet him in the southern end of town, at midnight.” “By the gods, this is vital information! If you are speaking truthfully, this might be our chance to put an end to this menace!” The guard exclaimed, and rammed his hand down into his palm. “Yes, I’ve been hearing about these murders. Could you by any means tell me a little more about them?” Jeraz asked “I guess there is no harm in enlightening you a little. Yes, it is true that there has been a series of murders around these days, and it is not something we are proud of. We tried to cover it up at first, but it just got out of hand, and it slipped out to the people through rumors and whispers. Now everyone knows it, yet no one has seen it. That meaning, no one has lived to tell the story. All the bodies we’ve found had one thing in common: Their skin was pale, bleached as if they had never seen a ray of sunlight. Their hair was grey, and their eyes were completely white, all the way through. It was as if their soul had been torn straight out of their body. A horrific sight, truly, and you are the first who isn’t a part of the authority, who has been told this. The people are scared enough; we can’t have them going around, worrying that their souls would be stolen by a shadow-mage.” The guard said, frowning. Jeraz folded his arms, and nodded, as the sun was now below the horizon. “Very well then… It seems we are going mage-hunting at midnight.”

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