Narice Arkline and the Seventh Element
On the eastern side of the North American continent lies a little island hidden by magic.
A gentle wind blows by as Narice runs through corn fields.
“Narice- come inside for supper!”
An extended arm waves out as Narice looks back at his home- a voice calls to him from the steps.
He can’t remember her face- that’s the last memory he had of his mother.
For two years, he and his father grow up alone together. It’s not the same without her, but Narice begins to adjust. Until one day…
His father comes home with a new woman.
“Narice, this is Cindy…” His father introduces a woman to Narice.
Narice looks at the woman confusedly,
“She will be your new mother.”
Narice is six.
He picks food up from the local grocery.
“I hear that Jarret married a human,” a woman whispers to another.
“You’re right,” another woman whispers back, “what a scandal.”
“Oh my. Remember the last time there was a half-breed?”
“I know i don’t want that,” the reply came.
Upon noticing Narice – the women change the topic of conversation. Narice comes home with a new hatred in his heart.
“What’s wrong Narice?” Cindy asks him concernedly. Instead of responding to her however- he avoids her as much as possible and spurns any kindness she showed.
“Are you mad at me?” Cindy said to him quietly. He turns his head and pouts, but she lets it slide. However, his attitude gets his father’s attention.
“Narice, get inside now!” he heard his father yell. He was not so gentle.
“It’s okay, dear…”
“Why do you treat your new mom this way?”
“I don’t want her to be my mom.”
His father hit him across the face, “Don’t you ever say that again.”
He looked up at his father’s eyes as years began to well inside him, but he brushed them off and ran off.
“Narice!” he heard Cindy say.
Narice hid in the fields and cried.
The sun began to set.
“Supper’s ready, Narice!” he heard from the front porch. It began to get late.
Another half-hour passed and he felt a hand on his crouched back.
Cindy came up next to him and knelt down beside him.
She place her hand on the red mark his father had left him.
Narice wasn’t sure what kind of magic did it- but it began to feel better.
“There now…” she said as he began to feel his face. She was a human. but right now… perhaps that was okay.
He looked up at his new lady in his life. Perhaps a new mom wasn’t terrible…
“Do you want to come inside? Supper’s getting cold,” she said.
“Okay…” Narice said as he grabbed her hand.
A new baby sister arrives. By now- Narice had turned eight.
Narice looked curiously at Ari cradled in his step-mother’s arms.
“Hi Ari…” he said looking down at the wide-eyed child, “I’m your big brother…”
He dangled a finger down at her wide-eyed face and a tiny hand grabbed onto it.
“Can I hold it?” he looked up to his step-mom.
Carefully, his stepmom guided Ari into his arms as he held onto her for the first time.
“Narice!” A two year old Ari spoke to a Narice, now ten, as he himself prepared for school, “Where are you going?”
“I’m going to school…” he smiled and patted her on the head.
“Why can’t I go?”
“You’re too young,” he tried to explain to her.
“I can do anything you can,” Ari spoke, giving him a pout. He didn’t doubt that she could. For some reason, she inherited lots of magic, while he himself still couldn’t use it. Even still- he’s happy for her.
“Alright Narice,” his dad spoke to him. Narice nodded and followed his father.
He and his father left their house and took the long walk from the edge of the island.
School. Between the ages of ten to sixteen, it’s where they learn about their abilities and the history of magic.
Unlike his sister… he had not been gifted with an obviously apparent magic. As it was he had none. Perhaps he was a late bloomer, but it could be that he may have been the first non-magic Aqayan in all of history. His father told him that they learned about humanity and the history of magic besides this. He wondered what he’d be doing when others practiced their magic.
However, his father snapped him out of his daydreaming.
“After this time,” his father spoke, “you’ll be walking on your own…”
Narice nodded. While his family had been forced to live outside of the village on the outskirts of the island, Narice would still participate in the activities of the others. That was the ruling given by the council members after the ordeal with an unsanctioned marraige.
The schoolhouse was massive- enough to fit a hundred people- even though there were only forty or so children. There were four teachers – different age groups and sections of magical study separated the kids between five and twenty a class.
For introductions this year there were seven new students, which was about average as kids would only be in primary education for five years- after which they’d be divided into trades based on magic or further education for the more promising students. There was still room for freedom within trades but promise granted more opportunities.
“Hey you…” A big kid came up to him during break.
Narice tried to be nice, like his parents were teaching, “hi,” he responded.
“I’m going to show you a lesson,” the boy was a year or so older and about twice his size. He punched Narice in the stomach.
Narice took the pain.
The boy pinned Narice on a tree.
“Your family is a mistake.”
“How so?” Narice replied angrily, it wasn’t the first he’d heard of dissent coming from the village, but this was the first time it was so blatent.
“I hear that your dad married a human and that your sister is mixed. ”
“So what?” Narice started to get angry.
“Well, humans aren’t welcome here.”
Narice curled his fist into a ball…
“You’re son had a fight in school,” the teacher told his dad.
“Is he okay?” Jarrit responded looking at Narice standing behind the teacher. He motioned for Narice to come behind him and Narice did as he was asked.
“He’s fine, but you should really teach him how to behave. If there’s any more of this, he won’t be allowed back, the other kids were crying. I’m sure it’s probably because of his mother-”
“Kids?” Jarrett interrupted.
“Well- after the first one was beaten up, the others tried to stop him so he took them out too. It took a lot of work to break him off of them.”
“I’ll make sure to talk to him, thanks,” his father closed the door.
“Narice… don’t you know better already?” his father took a look at him.
Narice held his face down guiltily.
“Look at me,” Jarret responded.
“He insulted mom…”
Narice looked up- scrapes and bruises covered his face and body.
“Oh dear…” his step-mom almost cried.
“What happened?” his father said.
“Well he started the fight…and I finished it,” Narice smiled through the bruises, although it wasn’t much of a smile with the puffed up jaw.
“Well,” his father spoke up, “If you’re going to become a ‘Guardian’ someday, you’re going to have to learn how to fight better and get stronger.”
Narice looked up in bewilderment. His father was once a full-fledged ‘Guardian’ who did many adventures to enforce laws made by the ‘Council’. Nowadays – he’d been out of the guardian circle- instead choosing to raise his family… but once Narice and Ari were grown he may or may not go back depending on the circumstances.
His step-mom came back pulling out a few bandages from her medical kit. Back in the states, she was a nurse who used her knowledge to do amazing things for people. Narice had heard the story from both of them as they told it to guests and such, and supposedly that’s how his father and she had met.
“A Guardian?’ Narice said wide-eyed to his father as she began to bandage him.
“Really dear?” Cindy said with a more concerned attitude.
“Yes, he’s most likely meant to be one. There’s no point in letting him loose on his own and it seems like he’s got a knack for getting into fights anyway. It’ll take some training for sure- so we’d better get started.”
Narice looked up at his dad.
“We’ll get started as soon as your mom’s done patching you up…”
“But dear-” his mother responded hesitantly about it.
“There’s no time like the present, right?”
“Right!” Narice looked back up with dedication.
After his mom patched him up, his dad brought him outside and began the training.
His dad hit him on the neck.
“Ow!” Narice said after rubbing his neck.
It seemed however that this was already a lesson- “Always be ready when your enemy is nearby.”
His dad had taken on a fighting stance: “You’ll be coming home with bruises every day from now on, unless you can beat me. You’ll be fighting every day and you should train your body- I’ll be having you work in the fields. It’ll be good for your health.”
Narice put up his fists…
“Your son doesn’t have a power,” the elders spoke to his father. Narice was twelve now.
“I’ve trained him to expect the unexpected, he’ll be able to handle himself…”
“We don’t care…” the chief spoke up. She touched the ground, the room completely turned to ice and then with her other hand she touched the wall again and it melted, “How can he be prepared for something like that?”
Despite it only being level one type magic- it was still powerful and effective enough to hold its own against stronger forces that could threaten the village.
“I’ll prepare him myself then,” Jarret said disgusted, as he walked outward of the building, “if he isn’t TWICE as capable as any other candidates- THEN you can tell me he’s not allowed to be Guardian.”
Narice and his father went beyond the village to a secluded area in the woods. His father opened up a portal, to which they entered. Within it was the woods still, however, this one seemed somehow different.
“They don’t understand… you’re much more capable and clever than any of those other brats they call kids.”
“It’s ok,” Narice said a little disappointed but accepting of the ruling. After all, while everyone else in the village had magic, he didn’t- to become a guardian required unique abilities, “I don’t have any powers-“
“Nonsense,” his father rebutted, “You have a unique immunity to the abilities they throw at you. Did you ever notice how much of a resistance you’ve had to the magic they’ve thrown at you?
Even if they don’t recognize it as ability- that can be much more useful when in conflict.”
Narice looked at his dad. He would know best, seeing that he’d done many missions for the Guardians. It was true too. Narice had grown up with the other kids in school always showing off their abilities. He’d come home burned or numb or scarred from their magic- but he’d make sure not to fight back except to defend himself. Whether it was magic or simply developing immunity, after so many experiences the initial attacks seemed to leave only shallow scratches.
After each fight his mother would take care of his injuries, but sometimes, barely any bandages were necessary. And then either way, he’d go to work in the field and then take on his father.
Ari his little sister was now six.
They’d travelled quite a distance away from the village. Narice wondered what his father had in store.
His father led him further into the woods.
Narice hadn’t been here before… it seemed somehow different… for one a darkness grew thickly around them almost blinding Narice completely. Between each tree was a thick darkness.
“What is this place?” Narice asked confused.
“It’s a sacred training grounds, filled with unique magic. For you to be a guardian one day you’ll have to prove yourself here… the training ground for all those who wish to battle against magic. You’ll be challenged much more than you were at home.”
His father handed him what seemed to be a wooden sword, “Take this…”
Narice took it- unsure of what the meaning was behind it.
“Begin!” his father spoke to the wilderness. He wasn’t sure why.
From the shadows of where they stood, an entire horde of creatures appeared it seemed. And they began to charge at the two of them.
His father used his own light to frighten the creatures back.
However, one of the creatures he didn’t- and the creature charged towards Narice.
Narice realized that he’d be learning on the spot.
Forty days passed.
Grueling at first- Narice grew more and more adjusted to the wilderness life. The initial conflict he faced turned out to be a shadow creature.
In this wilderness of challenges- he’d learned how to live off of the lands, scavenging. The nights were a constant war of sleep deprivation and attacks from the shadows. The day, he learned both to live off the land and get trained in his use of weapons. For someone like himself, his father spoke, he would have to learn how to avoid something called ‘bullets’ without magic. His father could simply avoid it by speeding himself up or disintegrate them before they could reach him.
His father explained that bullets worked like a long range spear. The best way to avoid it was either close combat or movement and shelters.
When it came to creatures, his father had tested him, initially holding back a majority, until eventual- Narice would have to hold all of them back himself.
It seemed the creatures were the remnants of lost souls- enchained within this abyss of a prison. Weaker than their true form, they longed for a body to roam the earth again. With only their shadow form, the only plane they could exist on was this one. He met many creatures, fighting some with his sword and others with words. Maybe a good conversation with one was somewhere in there, but Narice wasn’t too proud to admit relief upon completion of the trial as most just wanted to take him for themself.
Forty days passed since he’d seen his mother, his sister, his classmates, the adults, and the village.
“Since you didn’t fail- we’ll go straight to the council and overturn the ruling.” his father spoke.
Narice held onto his sword. They were both dressed in ragged clothes- the remnants of his once clean clothes he’d been wearing upon arrival of the training grounds.
They’d lived off the land, survival skills as well as fighting skills were imbued upon him.
Training was complete.
His father walked at a moderate pace as Narice raced ahead. It had been too long since he’d seen his mom and sister or had a fresh cooked meal or a shower. He wasn’t ashamed to admit that he missed them.
Narice overlooked the cliff that overshadowed the town.
He yelled as his father ran to catch up to him. The village that was, was now simply a wreckage. A giant crater laid in place of what was the village. Broken rubble was all that remained.
Narice and his father raced towards their house on the edge of the island in the hopes that it would remain safe. Sadly it wasn’t. While the crater itself hadn’t reached the point of their home. The earth was broken up as if a giant earthquake had moved across the entire island.
“Cindy!” his father yelled as they looked through their home.
“Ari!” Narice called out.
Upon arrival of their home however, they only seemed to find Cindy’s body.
Over the next day they tried to find any other signs of hope.
All they continued to find were remnants.
“Who was it father?”
“This was the reason for your training…” his father’s solemnly replied, “a new threat.”
A hollow tone echoed from his voice.
“This is the path of a Guardian.”
Since that day, Narice tried passing the time by keeping a log. Through writing it down maybe it would make it easier to get off of his chest.
We’ve started building ourselves a house… from the remains of the village it shouldn’t take too long. We’re trying to figure out what specifically happened here, it must have been another Ancient’s doing as it looks like the work of one. We don’t know how he found it. We thought it was protected with our magic. Perhaps it was someone with the knowledge of the area beforehand…
Dad seems so serious, but he’s really broken up and so am I- perhaps we’re keeping busy to forget. We buried my step-mom.
We’ve been able to keep warm at night because of dad. We’re thinking of leaving here and heading to the city.
We made a plan to leave to Daraness using a ship as it’s the only way to find it.
We’ve started building a ship. There’s nothing more here, we’ve already built the graves for those who lost their lives here. Dad’s been trying to teach me about the purpose of ‘Guardians’ and their place in history.
Supposedly guardians were set in place to protect the world from the many dangers. It seems that a new threat has taken hold of the world. Dad hasn’t been able to reach his normal contacts.
The boat they’d worked on was ready, they said a quiet goodbye to Cindy’s and Ari’s graves.
They pushed off from the shores – when he was younger, his dad had been a shipbuilder- he and Narice were able to put something together. After a couple weeks of work, they’d put together something that would work.
His dad assured him they’d be able to catch food from the ocean.
A few days passed as they neared what his dad said would be the halfway point to Daraness’s portal.
“Hey dad…” he said pulling the sail, “the wind’s picking up…”
His dad looked at the sky. The wind seemed to be the foreshadowing of a much more ominous storm.
“Put down the sail!”
Narice followed his father’s commands for a storm.
The next few minutes the sky grew dark, and the waves grew rough. They turtled up inside of the boat until a giant stillness arrived.
They got out of the cabin to check- however, the clouds around them were still dark.
“It can’t be… this… is this…?” his father spoke with almost what Narice would describe as awe and trembling.
‘What father?’ Narice said, however the spoken words were muffled by the grandeur of the storm as a large darkness overshadowed them…
His father stopped as a figure appeared in the sky, slowly descending from the clouds above them.
“Ka’atra…” he whispered.
As ‘Ka’atra’ appeared- hovering above of the boat, a strange stillness surrounding him – the calm in the storm.
[(Pre-book, Ka’atra has gained information on the council through a couple of its head leaders… he knows a majority of the ‘guardians’, has hunted down a majority of its leaders and tracking down the guardian’s assigned to such leaders-including Elera’s father. By this moment, Jarrett is one of the few remaining guardians.)]
While the figure approached slowly. He watched as his father grew strangely quiet. His eyes closed as a power began to emanate from him.
He turned to Narice with a serious look that Narice had never seen in his father before. As if a fight for his life were about to occur, however, his father then gave the entirety of his attention towards the figure descending onto the ship.
No words were spoken as his father jetted into the sky. Surprise and awe caught Narice. He’d had no idea that his dad was capable of flight.
His father threw out a giant flame in front of him that illuminated the entire sky. The figure was astonished for a moment and had to back up defensively. Perhaps the figure hadn’t expected such a force from the man.
For the next few minutes, a fierce battle occurred. His father cast both spells of fire that seemed to cut gashes into the figure. Each strike would have been a deathblow to anyone else. The figure it seemed, gain some scrapes with each attack.
When it started, his father seemed to have the upper hand with enhanced agility, and unique magic. A lightshow of fireballs and strikes- and other things Narice couldn’t describe-after a little, he realized the truth. While his father was tiring out, ‘Ka’atra’ was none the weaker. It seemed that his father was just punching at shadows as ‘Ka’atra’ moved in and out of the way.
His father, he saw, noticed this too and looked down at Narice. He then charged at Ka’atra and grabbed onto the man’s waist – following this- he attempted something else entirely as a glow illuminated from his father. The glow suddenly became a flash of light that erupted the entire sky as the waves around him shook violently and a force pushed everything around him in a giant explosion.
When what had been a large glow of light became visible again after maybe a few minutes and the waves finally settled- he looked to see a weakened man holding onto the body of the still intact figure.
Ka’atra looked at him with what seemed to be pity and with a light jab his father fell into the ocean.
The man flew down from the skies onto the boat and stood before Narice solemnly.
After a moment of being studied by the man- Narice heard words come from him.
“A young, Narice, I presume. I’m sorry it came to this…” he said looking down at the figure sinking down into the ocean.
“There’s no counterspell to what your father just did… he won’t ever be able to revive from the spell he cast on himself- I ended his suffering quickly.”
Narice didn’t believe the figure’s words.
“If I weren’t an immortal- I would have died many times over against him…he was perhaps the most powerful foe I’d ever faced- if that’s any consolation…” the figure looked at Narice with the same solemn look as before.
Narice only looked on.
“I have only one question… perhaps you can use your gift to help me save this world from its turmoil. Would you care to join me? I know that you would make me a great guardian in the new kingdom.”
Narice looked harshly at the man, he picked up his sword and charged at him.
“No?” the figure dodged the attacks swiftly. Compared to his father, they were nothing to him.
“Then I guess I’ll do the only thing left to do,” Ka’atra put his hand over Narice after he brushed away the sword from his hands. “You’re strong, but not strong enough… yet… until I gain the remaining jewels, perhaps I can do this… ”
Narice heard him chant some words…
“You will forget everything about your past,” he said to him. “I’m sending you to the future, where you will live out your life in a world of my design…”
As he began to faint from the overwhelming force that seemed to envelop him he could make out one last phrase before Ka’atra seemed to vanish back into the darkness.
“I’ll see you in the future.” he heard Ka’atra say.
He felt a warmth overtake him while he was about to faint. What was this? It felt like something inside rather than from Ka’atra… Something was protecting him.
After that, everything went black.