[Story – WIP] Rebirth – Chapter 1x

This was, at one point, the first chapter of Rebirth, but times have changed and its now somewhere near the middle. Rex has arrived from Farenheim in response to rumors that entire city has vanished the same way the Enthi had at the start of the novel almost two months ago. After the confrontation with the Brigade in New Fareh and later in Fayholme, Rex believes some very dark is responsible for the destruction and find himself apprehensive as he ventures into the unknown.

Feel free to comment, as always any feedback is appreciated.

Fog had rolled in with the storm, obscuring the beach in a fine mist. One that muffled the crashing waves but did nothing to soften the pouring rain. Even with my aura burning, I was getting soaked. I couldn’t turn back though, I close enough to the city now though to see its silhouette through the haze. Aside from the storm and waved though, there was no noise where there should have been. Even with the rain, there should have been the dull murmur of people conversing as they hurried through the streets. It looked like the first part of the rumors had been true—but what about the second? Only one way to find out.

I moved forward, the fog clearing with each step in that particular way it does while you’re standing amongst it; like you’re in a bubble. Anticipation rolled off my skin, mixing with the equally plentiful rain that blasted the open stretch of sand. Despite myself, I tensed up causing my aura’s light to wane and the mist to close in around me.

Soon, the base of the wall loomed out at me and my gaze climbed its face. I stopped after only a few feet. The white stone wall, which used to tower over me, was devastated. What remained was blackened and charred. Forgetting that there might be pirates or even Augmented Loh troops, I rushed through one of the gaps in the wall.

Scrambling up and over the debris, I found myself in a courtyard. There were no signs of life in the small open area. I forced myself to relax, to center, and felt my energy start to flow freely again. My aura flared up, burning off the fog and filling the space with blue light. Ornate columns emerged from the mist, a few still stood but many were knocked over and lay shattered on the stones. I cast it out in long sweeps around me, looking for energy, no matter how faint. Almost immediately, I knew it would be futile. The Currents of energy that used to run throughout the city were sluggish and weak. It was, in a sense, like all the water in a river had been removed, laving behind only mud. I knew before I’d even started there would be no survivors.

What had happened in Fayholme crossed my mind, but I put it aside. There was no way I could let myself believe that a massacre like that could have happened again, it had to have another explanation.

I burned at bit more of my energy, my aura responding with a further increased brightness that pushed the oppressive mist back a few more feet. With how hard I had been traveling since I left Farenheim, I probably had about half an hour of free energy until I ran down into the last little bit I needed to stay alive. It was probably traveling the a week’s worth of distance in a days time that did it. Once more shaking off the dark thoughts, I headed into the ruin with baited breath hoping my skirmish within would be, at most, ten minutes.

I wandered with no real direction for three or, maybe four, minutes, mostly just observing the aftermath and trying to gain some insight as to what in the world had happened. One of the attackers had a fire based Ebb, some of the char marks on the rubble were still warm. Whatever had occurred, it was recent, within a day. Other than the burns there was no evidence as to whom had been the attacking force, as there were no hallmarks of any of the bandit gangs or any corpses on either side. It really was like the whole city’s worth of people had simply vanished.

There was a loud clattering and on instinct my energy spiked, the whole area lighting up for a brief few seconds. With a quick sweep I looked for dead spots and then pulled my energy tight again, lowering the amount of energy I was bleeding out to almost zero and the fog closed in around me. I couldn’t that anything was amiss and I figured it must have just been a pile shifting. I relaxed a little bit and my aura fanned out again. I took stock of my reserve after that spike and swore. My reaction had cost me nearly ten minutes. I cursed to myself for wasting my energy like that but, certain now that the place was just a ruin, I figured I could get it back with a quick respite, to be ready for the road ahead of me.

I leaned back into a pile of crumbled wall and focused on passing the remnants left of my spent energy out of me, while pulling in what new I could. As I tapped into the Flow, memories of the past few days played on the back of my eyelids. Once again, I stared into the eyes of the twisted Fay I had seen in Fayholme. I could feel myself getting sicker by the moment and finally had to open my eyes.

I stood there, staring at my feet when I felt the hair on my neck stand. Another scuffling noise off to my left broke the rain soaked silence and my mind confirmed a dead spot in that direction. A spot that then vanished. The thought that the twisted creatures associated with holes in the Current were learning gave me chills and the sick in my gut feeling intensified.

If what had happened in Fayholme had happened here I was in for one hell of a fight. Much more so if ones made from humans were more adept than the remnant Fay had been. I let go of all restraint and my aura rose into its happy blue glow as all my energy ignited. With my short meditation, I was back to thirty minutes of being able to cast, less if I had to all out.

With my time ticking down I made my way back out in a hurry. My burning aura lighting the ruined town like a hundred torches. Able to see, I realized just what I had, in the dark, somehow managed to navigate perfectly. The town was an impassible mire of rubble created in destruction’s wake. The sick feeling in my gut grew worse as the path I had been following dead ended. I jumped up and grabbed a low hanging ledge that crumbled in my grasp, plunging me back to the ground. I turned to retrace my steps, but as I faced back the way I came, I knew I was in trouble. There was a something just out of sight in the mist. It didn’t give off a glow of energy in my mind. Even so it registered to my instincts as alive as its breath stirred the air.

I would have to drop it to get past. I could probably have destroyed one of the brittle walls, but with something unknown watching me I wouldn’t have time. I waited, hoping it would make the first strike, until the world fuzzed out for a second. I was getting close to the danger point. I couldn’t have much more than ten minutes left in my whole life. I couldn’t afford to wait any longer. Pulling the energy in my aura in, I then pushed it out into my feet and my fists. The blue glow of my aura dimmed around the rest of me and only my clenched fists put off any light.

If it was like the Fey, its reflexes would have been dulled by its birth, but it gained strength in the process–a process whose source and form still eluded me. I knew I had, at best, two attacks before it could counter attack.

With a quick symbol to cement my will, I launched forward. I closed the distance between myself and the thing in the span of a breath and struck with both of my glowing fists. I felt my imbued hands slide through flesh to bone as I punched through its chest with my left hand and grabbed its shoulder with my right. A quick burst of energy and I flipped over its head, putting all my weight on my flaming palm and jerking the other clear up through the other shoulder.

Arching over it, I landed hard on my knees, the tough leather of my boots taking most of the impact. Hoping to kick it up into the air and make a retreat, I spun to deliver the blow and then found myself sailing through the air, an intense pain emanating from my right side. I hit a wall and felt it crumple as I passed through the weakened stone. I frantically looked for something to grab hold of to stop, before I crashed into another, more solid, something else. Rushing at me was a wide post and in with feat of will, I twisted around in midair and reached out to grab hold of it as I passed it by. My fingers tore gashes in the heavy stone but it slowed me down and could set my feet on the floor.

My fingers were bleeding, skin shredded to the bone by the friction. My muscles screamed from the strain I had just put them through. I blew on my aching fingers, then glanced about. Even before I looked away the flesh and muscle had begun to knit itself back over the exposed bone.

The building I had been crashed into looked like it had been abandoned for years, as a thick layer of dust lay over everything. Judging by the vast open space, it had been a warehouse at some point. Though, aside from the posts that reached up towards the mostly destroyed ceiling however, there was nothing in it and no evidence of what the building once held. Above, the mist danced around the remains of the ceiling, tendrils of gray clinging to trees of stone.

The thing crashed through the wall behind me. In here where the mist was thinner I could see it better–though I wished with my whole being that I couldn’t. It was vaguely human shaped. Which by that I mean it stood on two legs, had a single pair of arms and one head. The similarities ended there. The legs were easily twice or thrice the normal thickness of a human, with most of the mass on the lower half of the leg around the ankles and feet. Its arms were long, thin, and devoid of flesh, the bones from the elbow down had fused and stretched into a long, blade like appendage. Its face however was the most unsettling, fixing my gaze long after I tried to turn away. From the nose up it looked normal, aside from the black voids that had replaced the poor soul’s eyes. Below that however, was a maw that put a shark’s to shame. The thing’s jaw stretched down past its neck to its chest, a dark ravine lined with rows of needle sharp teeth. I couldn’t help but retch slightly as it shambled closer to me. The thing smelled worse than week old milk.

In Fayholme, it had taken all I had to kill one of the Twisted Fays and that was smaller than me. I was no small person at five-ten but this thing stood at least a foot taller than me easily, its blade arms alone were longer than I was tall.

I needed to run, there was no way I could handle this with just five minutes of energy left. I shook off the nausea and turned, making for the far wall and the door upon it. Before I had made three steps, the thing was on top of me. It knocked me to the floor and sank its blades into the stone floor on either side of my prone form. Its gaping maw loomed closer. I had only moments until my energy would reach fatal levels. In desperation, I gambled.

With two quick symbols I set my palms against the thing’s thick shoulders. With a roar I unleashed half of the energy I could spare without dying, in a quick burst. Two hand sized columns of blue exploded out of the creatures back. It reared back from me, more in surprise than pain I surmised. Rolling left, I slid under its lodged arm and ran my left hand over my right arm. Using the last of my will I molded what remained of my aura into a wrist blade. Using the roll’s speed, I jumped off an upturned shelf and leaped up into the thing’s face. With a thrust, I stabbed the blade up into what I hoped was still its brain.

The creature roared with pain, but didn’t die.

Desperate to finish it, I planted my feet against the pillar I had nearly crashed into and kept pushing, even as my vision slowly dimmed. With a final heave I felt my bladed arm press through the front of the thing’s skull.

It shuddered and then went limp, though its huge blades keeping it half standing. My aura faded and I fell into the dust, hitting the hard floor with a resounding thud. In my ears, my heart beat echoed, slowing to a crawl. With more effort than it should it have taken I rolled over onto my back and tried with all my might to absorb some amount of energy while ignoring the dead looking face hovering just out of my vision. Nothing came. Unable to move, I lay staring at the gray above. My breath came in spurts and the warmth was bleeding out of me as the last of my energy was consumed by my body’s rapid healing.

With nothing else I could do, I tried to piece together what had happened here; mostly to keep my mind off of the very real chance I wouldn’t make it back from this one. Clearly the citizens here had had their energy stolen the same as the Fay had, because that was what caused the mutation. Except, the Brigade wouldn’t have been able to make a raid on a Shay city the same way they had raided the Farhenheim country side or Fayholme, so why wasn’t there any sign of combat on the beach or any fallen Brigaders in the city?

As I pondered this I became very aware that the thing I had just lobotomized was stirring. Something pulled at me from inside, his voice calling out. There was no way around it, I took a deep breath and was pulled down into myself.


About Trevor Gulley

Trevor Gulley is a writer, cartoonist, and gamer. He works full time in the IT industry and judges Magic most weekends.

Posted on 04/11/2012, in Fantasy, School Work, Snippets, Story, Work In Progress and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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