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.


8. Chapter 8: In The Lion's Maw

After a while of strolling around the city, the guard showed Jeraz where some of the corpses were found, and how they were found. According to his description, every single of one of them was killed in either a dark alley, or inside a house. It seemed like the murderer was quite fond of shadows, and didn’t kill outside them. This was actually quite fortunate for Jeraz, as he should seemingly just keep out of the shadows, to stay safe. Although it wasn’t a fact, it was strongly reliable. Jeraz looked upwards, and saw how the moon was now clear in the sky. It was nearly midnight. If moonlight would save Jeraz from a tenebrous death, was still to be revealed. “It is time” Jeraz said to the guard, who turned around once, and nodded at him. They were back at the market place, where people had long since left and gone home. The streets were now empty, not a soul to be seen. Silently, the guard led Jeraz to the southern end of town, through the darkened streets at night. Jeraz noticed how the buildings became gradually more broken and old, as they walked towards the southern end of town. They were no borders between the quarters, which otherwise was so common in larger cities, but you could clearly see when you had entered the southern district. The houses were placed on top of one another, like bricks in a wall. Some of the houses crossed over the roofs of other houses, blocking out the moonlight from the narrow alleys below. “Are you sure we shouldn’t call for reinforcements? This is not a petty thief we are dealing with, this is a serial killer.” Jeraz said, as they stood before an alley, which lead further into the maze of alleys. “And let the promotion slip between my fingers? Of course not! Look, he won’t be conjuring very much magic, when his head is rolling around on the ground. We’ll just attack first, ask questions later? Alright?” The guard said, putting his helmet on, and facing Jeraz. Jeraz rolled his eyes, and shrugged lightly “Very well”. As Jeraz drew Purniik from his sheath, the guard took the first step inside the dark maze of alleys. Only a few beams of moonlight broke through the otherwise tight cover of buildings above, and only the sound of a rat skittering across the ground was heard. It was too silent to be safe. All the houses were dark, as if no one lived inside. Jeraz’s heart thumped viciously, and his breathing was heavy. It was as if he walked into a bear’s cave, the only thing difference being, this “bear” might snatch his soul. The guard took the lead, with his sword drawn. His movements were fearless and determined, as he walked through the dark, wet alleys. “Alright, mage, you can show yourself now! It’s midnight, and we are here as you asked” the guard shouted. No response. He opened his mouth to shout once more, but he was interrupted by hoarse laughter. “I only asked for the half-elf’s presence, not yours, guard. But nevertheless, I won’t ask you to leave… Oh no, just the opposite.”  said the voice, which Jeraz quickly recognized. It was indeed Erron Tenebris, the serial killer of these parts. The guard seemed to snort in displeasure, as Erron cackled loudly. “You think you may have been smart to bring a guard, but you have just led him straight into my trap… Like a rat against a lynx!” “Shut your mouth, fiend! We have come here to bring an end to your foul deeds! Justice is inevitable, show yourself!” The guard shouted, looking around. They couldn’t see much, but they could just make out that they were in a clearing. A small area, surrounded by old, crooked houses. “You should’ve brought a torch…” Jeraz said, gripping tightly around the hilt of Purniik. “Too late for that now.” The guard replied. “Even if you -had- brought a torch, you wouldn’t even be able to light it. This is MY realm, MY shadows. I am in full control of this place, and what happens inside it… Even what happens to you… Mortal.” Erron’s voice echoed, as the shadows seemed to grow thicker, denser. The guard now seemed to grow angrier, as he let out a low growl “Show yourself! I will have no more of your tricks!” The guard shouted, only to be answered by another maniacal cackle. “Very well then… If you are so eager to die!” Erron spoke, his voice sounding eerily metallic, and enchanted. The shadows now twitched and turned a few times, as a strange, black cloud appeared a few meters away from them. It was pitch-black, far darker then the shadows around them. The guard took a step back, now seeming quite frightened. Jeraz stood in a fighting position with Purniik, as the cloud seemed to gather into a humanoid form. The strange black smoke swirled around this form, before suddenly gathering up, as if pulled into shape. The form stood still briefly, before a pair of eyes suddenly flashed in the head of the shape. Even a wicked grin showed itself, on the lips of Erron, who now stood before them, in the flesh. “So you’ve come here… Hoping to put an end to me… Yet the only one who will end this night, is you!” he uttered, his voice cutting like a razor blade in their minds. The guard stood paralyzed in fear, unable to act, and Erron eyed him evilly. “Yes, fear me, worm! Let your last waking memories be of me, and how I tore your soul from your body!” he screamed, and thrust out a hand. The guard dropped his weapon, and fell on his bottom, whimpering in fear. Jeraz was uncertain of what was going on, but it wasn’t good. Erron’s hand began flashing with turquoise magic, and the guard’s whimpering was replaced with a painful scream. Jeraz’s stomach churned at this sight, yet he leaped towards Erron, and let Purniik descend upon Erron’s arm. As it struck him, it went straight through, as if he was cutting in smoke. As Jeraz stumbled forward, he spun back at Erron, and attempted another slash at his body. As expected, it went straight through, and Erron let out a loud chuckle. “What did you expect, boy? I am a being of shadows, no physical weapon can harm me.” He screamed, as a stream of turquoise light was being siphoned from the guard’s body. The screaming from the guard had stopped, and he was simply moaning now. His voice resembled that of a very old man’s, much to Jeraz’s fright and disgust. As he made his last moans, the guard’s body slumped down onto the ground, lifeless and depleted. Erron’s glowing eyes flared with malicious intent, as he glared at Jeraz. “Now, it is your turn, traitor. I thought I could count on you… You disappoint me.” He said, grinning at Jeraz. Jeraz had to think quickly, if he wasn’t going to end up like the guard. Then, something struck his mind. “No physical weapon could harm me” were his words. Fortunately, Jeraz possessed more than just Purniik. Quickly, he held out one hand, and took a deep breath. Erron’s grin twitched a few times, as he  was uncertain of what Jeraz was doing. Jeraz’s hands began glowing brightly with a blue light, illuminated their surroundings. He sheathed Purniik, and raised his other hand. As he uttered the word “Vuun!” he slammed his hands together, and a bright wave of blue force smashed into Erron’s ethereal body. He barked in protest, as his body dissipated, and scattered all over the area. Jeraz saw his chance to escape, and spun around on his heel, and dashed back the way he came. Around corners, through puddles of water, he ran as quickly as his feet could carry him, but it was all in vain. Through a narrow alley, with a few side-alleys here and there, the shadows gathered once more before Jeraz. He halted, and reached down after Purniik, but was quickly interrupted, as a sharp pain surged through his body. Erron stood before him, with a hand thrust out, and turquoise energy flickering in his hand “Not so quick, Khronum! I know what you are, and I know the value of your soul! I must have it!” Jeraz stood paralyzed, sweat trickling down his forehead, as he could feel his very soul being ripped from his body. The outlines of his sight were becoming blurry, and his eyelids were heavy. He had a strong urge to just lie down and sleep, but he knew it was the malicious influence of Erron’s magic, tearing at his mind. His entire body felt heavy and numb, and seeing that he was in no position to do anything, he gave up. His epic destiny, ending in the hands of a shadow-mage? This didn’t seem right. Surely, the gods wouldn’t see this happening. And if Jeraz didn’t know better, he would swear that the gods intervened, in his time of dire need. His last sights of reality were of Erron frowning, and a hard thump on the side of his body, and then more darkness.


“Blimey kiddo, why are ye so useless?! First, ye get knocked out cold by some woman with a chair, and then you get friggin’ caught by some what-should-I-call-it magician?! Sheesh, ye should be happy that there was someone nearby to get you out of this shit, or ye’d just be another soul, in tha’ fella’s collection.” A familiar voice said, as Jeraz once more found himself inside the darkness, with the purple mist swirling around him. Jeraz recognized the voice; it was clearly Jave, who was angry at him… again. Jeraz simply folded his arms, and kept silent. The mist stopped turning, and much to Jeraz’s surprise, something emerged from it. It was the shape of a man, but it was purely made of the purple mist. It approached Jeraz, and folded its arms as well, before letting out a few lecturing clicks with its tongue. Jeraz opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted, as the figure placed a swift slap on his cheek, awakening him from his unconscious state.


As he thought he had opened his eyes, he found them to be tightly shut, and unnaturally difficult to open. He let out a few troubled groans, and a woman’s voice gasped, and spoke softly “He’s awake, he’s awake, he’s awake, what do I do now?” the voice said, and the sound of feet scurrying over a wooden floor was heard. “Water... yes, boiling water; that should do it… I don’t have any boiling water! Ohhh…. This is not good!” the voice said once more. Jeraz could almost hear the sound of nails being gnawed at. Suddenly, he felt a poke at his cheek, and he grunted softly. “Mister? Are you awake yet? Stay -right- there, you got it?” It was not like he was going anywhere, not in this state. The feet across the wooden floor were heard again, and it seemed as if they walked behind a wall, or into another room. Jeraz felt around with his hands, trying to figure out where he was. The ground beneath him was soft. Too soft. It felt more like a bed than anything else. Strange. Most of his body was numb, yet his feet and hands were still capable of sensing. The feet returned once more, and the voice spoke again “Here, drink this. It may sting a little.” He groaned, trying to answer, but his attempted words were muffled, as an unknown liquid was poured into his mouth. His eyes flung up as he swallowed it, and his upper body rose into a sitting position. He was coughing loudly, and he heard a frightened squeal from nearby “Oh gods, I killed him! I think I killed him!” Though he swallowed most of it, Jeraz coughed up a handful of liquid, which landed on a sheet before him. He found himself in a white bed, with a sheet over his body. He looked around, staying silent. He was inside a wooden house, quite finely made, in fact. The bed was placed up against a wall, with a window beside it. He looked out the window, and saw that the sun was high in the sky. “Ehm… Mister, are you alright?” the voice spoke, and Jeraz quickly turned to face it. He saw a doorway, where a woman stood, with a half-empty vial in her hand. She seemed nervous, almost frightened, as she stared at Jeraz. “I… Yes, actually. I am alive, at least. Are you the one I should thank for that?” Jeraz asked, and stirred in the bed, seeing how he wasn’t numb anymore. The woman smiled shyly, as Jeraz tried to get up on his feet “Well yes, I did save you from that- oh no no no, don’t get up yet!” She exclaimed, and dashed over to Jeraz, letting him lean on her shoulder. Jeraz could feel how his body wasn’t quite ready to support itself, still torn up by Erron’s foul magic. The woman, who was clothed in loose pants and a white shirt, gently placed Jeraz back in the bed, and smiled at him. “You need rest. You’ve been barking up the wrong tree, mister, and this tree got you good. Your body is still in lack of soul vitality, as a good chunk of your soul was siphoned by that mage.” She said, as she folded her arms, and smiled at Jeraz. “I see… Well, you have my undying gratitude, miss…?” “Fletcher. Ann Fletcher.” She said, and brushed a lock of copper hair away from her eyes.

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