“How are things coming along, Merth?”
Merth heard a voice speak through the ‘portglass’ – one of many inventions using ‘port’.
His ability allowed for him to make portals – ‘portglass’ was an ability that could transmit an image and/or voice to another location. In this situation it was only a voice- as the other side worked anonymously.
“Aarock is contained,” Merth spoke.
“Very good…” the other voice seemed surprised, “Stay alert. It has been told that he has gained some powerful companions.”
Merth responded, “I’m sure it’s something that Devon will handle shortly.”
“Very well then,” the voice replied.
The link ended and the crystal went dull.
Following this, another voice on another crystal spoke up, “Lord…”
Merth replied, “Yes, Devon?”
“We have a situation…”
Merth didn’t like to hear that, he was already upset with Devon’s lack of cooperation early, “You can’t handle a couple kids, Devon?”
“One of them is exceptionally powerful…” Devon replied, “I would suggest that we prepare and separate them.”
Merth was at least grateful that Devon was suggesting a solution.
“Very well,” Merth replied, “I will lend you a couple of my lieutenants.”
Devon spoke, “I will try and come to you actually- just have them ready in the commercial district.”
Merth closed the line and then proceeded to stage two of the plan.
When Merth was younger- he was just an ordinary wizard, unable to compete with the exceptional- but he never lost heart.
Eventually he continue to develop this ability until he could port a small object from one location to another. Initially he kept it a secret until an important duel. He distracted his opponent, and using port he transferred a part of himself and attacked his opponent.
Following this, he signed up for the newly formed defense force –helping a group of people defend themselves against a dark wizard’s attack in the west. He bravely fought off a horde alongside a small group- cutting the head off of one of the opponent’s generals in one on one combat using port to get close and attack.
Sometimes -the enemy would send large hordes. In response- Merth developed a new magic for large groups- lightshow would both blind them and cause mass explosions across the battlefield. Even still, ‘port’ was his trump ability and he developed his skills with dual swords to fight well in close combat after he would port himself.
His abilities garnered the attention of the guardians – he was even selected amongst a group of guardians for a task force, and after a strong display of tactics and bravery with little reservation in the face of giant obstacles- he was given responsibility over a group.
Any time that he would lose a battle, he would strike back hard –and end victoriously. Eventually he became the leader of the ‘West.’
Between he and Devon, they finally managed to at least establish government, but sometimes things got out of hand.
Governing was not as easy as simply fighting for Merth.
Over the course of thirty or so years- this port town was riddled with conflicts. The docks were encompassed by unsavory characters – the passerby lizardmen and travellers were usually rough-like and aggressive. Brawls were common occurrences at the bars- merchants would lie and scam- Even the townspeople were unfriendly to their fellow man. Everyone was shut inside their houses afraid of the streets.
How could he solve this he wondered? When Aarock had first given him the position of mayor- he and Devon had tried and solved this problem.
Initially they’d only fought back as much as possible- investigating the problems, lies, scams. They got decent at it- but it wasn’t enough. There was too much opportunity for the port town to get past them.
Until he found another way- the root of the problem lay in the mind- and with ‘port’- he’d finally found a way to fix it.
Using ‘port’ – he solved all the disputes.
However, he became approached by another.
“I hear good things about your work,” the man spoke. Merth at least took the time to hear him out.
“Oh, what do you have to offer?”
“Hmm, even though i hear good things- when Aarock arrives, do you think he’ll approve the use of dark magic?”
Merth had accepted long ago the use of his ability to manipulate the mind in the name of peace.
“Are you planning on telling Aarock then?” Merth readied himself to strike the figure.
“No, no,” the figure spoke, “I can help you subdue Aarock- permanently.”
From there, they formed a pact. It seemed that the figure was in the know- always warning ahead of time what troubles may come Merth’s way. Not only that, but the figure had another ability- that helped Merth maintain peace throughout the entire town with ease.
Merth became a god of the west. the only problem was Devon- the person to oversee the west- but the figure was able to sway Devon to his own side earlier, and thus the three of them took over the town together.
“So…” Devon spoke upon returning to the group, “How would you all like to see the city?”
“What about Aarock?”
“Oh, Aarock said that he’d be a while actually, so going to the city was his own suggestion.”
Neither Narice nor Venu sensed anything strange about what Devon said.
Narice and the group really didn’t feel like waiting around for a day in the middle of the desert- so they agreed.
They gathered together their things and followed Devon as he led them from his hut.
Devon began to explain about the city to them.
“Actually,” he began to speak, “this is a central hub for trade as people travel alongside the coastline to transfer objects by boat…”
The closer they got to the city- the more the city’s grandeur came into view. The city gate was probably thirty feet high and a well decorated wall stretched into the mountains in the far distance.
“How do you manage it all?” Elera asked, curious about the macroeconomics of the trade system.
“Ah, haha,” Devon replied, “who knows how Merth manages – he has a lot of people enforcing law around the area…”
They passed through a large gate and entered inside.
They began to walk through the town on the major road and the sound of running water moved alongside them.
Their voices carried along the -sides of the buildings. actually besides themselves, the water was the only sound. It was eerily quiet.
At first they assumed it was underpopulated, but then as they walked they noticed that there were people doing construction- others were tending to gardens- and the people were friendly enough to smile as they passed by. However, something about it seemed a little fake.
Devon seemed unaffected by the uncommon attitude of the town.
“Hmmm, where should we stop by first?” Devon mused aloud to the group.
They settled upon the market area, a series of tents spread out along the waterside and leading away from it.
“Hm,” Devon spoke, “Perhaps we can split up as we look for things…”
And thus they divided into groups as they went with their own list of items.
Unexpectedly- contrary to the salesmen that they would have expected at a market, the market was flowing with concern for the fellow man. As they entered under a roof, each shopkeeper would smile politely, nod, and would ask simply something similar to, “How may we help you?”
“We’re trying to find some dragon-milk,” Narice spoke.
Rather than selfishly attempting to sell them – the gentlemen’s peddler-like appearance shifted and his attitude become surprisingly friendly.
“Oh! dragon-milk. We have some here, but- I believe Suzie has that a few stores down… two down this path then left by one… Suzie’s is higher quality than ours and Matthew’s is cheaper- I recommend Matthew for a better deal.”
Venu looked curiously at the man as he spoke- for someone interested in trying to make money- it seemed counterproductive to recommend other stalls… “I feel something strange here…” he whispered to Narice.
“What do you mean?” Narice replied.
“I don’t know yet.” The vendor looked thin – as if he hadn’t properly eaten in a while.
Afterwards- they walked in that direction of said Matthew,
“Hey can we get some dragon milk?”
“Yeah sure,” Matthew replied and like the other vendor- “but the reason mine is cheaper is that I cut it with guava juice…”
“How much juice?” Venu asked.
“Hmm, almost a quarter,” he replied.
“There’s definitely something wrong here,” Venu spoke.
They went to Susie.
“Hello!” Susie spoke, “Matthew told me that you wanted 100% dragon- milk, that I certainly have- but this is 98% and 2% flavorings… the 100% isn’t really as good tasting and even though ours is high quality -I think the best deal for 100% would be Jilken if that’s what you want – he deals in the same time of dragonmilk as me.
Venu spoke aloud to Narica- obviously there was something more than friendly going on here- but it was Venu who recognized it.
“All of them are under a spell of some sort…” Venu replied, “they aren’t aware of what they’re saying when they recommend the other stalls I think; it’s dark magic for sure…”
Narice replied, “but then how did it happen to them?”
Venu replied in response, “I think the source comes from the town leader… he’s the only one who can control the city in such a way… or at least knows exactly what’s going on… we should be wary of this town and the dark magic. Better still perhaps we can confront the town leader.”
“But then… what about Devon? Isn’t he a guardian for the area?”
“Yeah- that’s what I don’t get either…” Venu replied, “Maybe we should ask him… but I didn’t sense any dark magic coming from him…”
“That’s because of my specialty,” A voice came from behind… Devon’s voice. “I was a dark magician- but my specialty isn’t dark magic…”
Devon replied. This time he held out a hand towards them…
He seemed to be channeling some sort of magic with it – as a multi colored light seemed to emanate from his palm.
Narica – upon sensing an attack, held onto the fire jewel to haste himself- however as he did, the energy suddenly vanished completely.
Venu – as well, didn’t have magic, but wanted to attack. In response however. Devon used a hand and Venu was suddenly halted and pushed backwards.
“Not bad…” Devon replied, “But besides the Ice Aqayan, I don’t think anyone except Aarock can stop me… and she and he are tied up at the moment.”
Three groups of two as they spread out about the marketplace. Rather than keep everyone bored- Devon had a shopping list. It included Juniper, Nightwind, and Dragon-milk as spices for a recipe he was concocting.
Together – Devon and Elera, Mika and Sari, Venu and Narice- who both had no desire to shop were given the responsibility of finding ‘dragon-milk’.
Seeing as Devon was being so agreeable and the marketplace was relatively peaceful, there was no reason to feel threatened- even Venu didn’t sense any sort of danger…
“Ah I see,” Elera spoke to Devon. They had recently separated, and despite not showing a magical aggression, Devon seemed tense.
“Was this your plan all along then?”
Had she already noticed? Devon wondered – it had only been a minute or so before she noticed the preparations made for her capture.
“Hmm?” Devon replied- his hand was on the hilt of his sword.
Surrounding the two of them, a group had approached. Elera had sensed their presence earlier. It could definitely be said that she was of high caliber to notice their approach so early.
“You know that I can freeze time for everyone in my vicinity- not just one at a time,” she spoke as she began her spell cast- the instant that she shot it off however- rather than himself that was frozen- it was her.
“I understood the nature of your ability the first time I saw it,” he spoke. While he couldn’t duplicate spells by his own ability- his ability ‘counter’ could allow him to respond directly with a reversal as long as he understood the nature of the spell… Although her first spell would have defeated him in 1v1 as it was the first time he’d ever come in contact with the ability. He looked at her body- it probably wouldn’t be too long before the spell wore off- only as long as she’d wanted to cast the ability on himself- and it wasn’t something permanent.
The group surrounding the two approached and used the newly developed anti-magic shackles on her. As she was coming to- they put chains along her wrists and her feet.
She began to move once again and found herself bound and unable to cast magic- “So that’s your magic,” she spoke looking at Devon. Once again- Devon wondered who this girl was to have been so well attuned to magic- whether or not she understood now- it would be difficult for her to stop him with her hands and feet literally tied.
Rather than respond- he spoke to the group.
“Take her to Merth…” Devon spoke, “You all gather up Mika and Sari – while I handle the two Aqayans.”
The group of magicians nodded.
It wasn’t long before Sari and Mika were gathered up as well and all on their way to Merth. It wasn’t that they were weak but the magicians that handled them were fully trained – unlike Mika- who had just realized his own abilities and was only able to handle one or two at a time.
After the report, the rest of the magicians joined up with Devon as they headed on their way to the two Aqayans. Devon went ahead- as his ability to counter stopped Venu from realizing any sort of negative attack.
“What did you do?” Narice asked angrily.
“I didn’t kill her,” Devon responded, “You don’t need to worry about that”
Despite Devon’s assurance- both Narice and Venu could feel that something bad was in the works. Suddenly more faces appeared surrounding Narice and Venu. From the looks of it- they weren’t the normal magician, but highly trained ones.
Venu closed his eyes- attempting to sense ‘right path’ with his magic – after a moment he opened them and turned to whisper to Narice, “Trust me.”
Narice could tell that Venu had an idea so he returned a nod.
Afterwards, Venu lifted up his hands, “I surrender!”
Narice was surprised by the sudden surrender, but couldn’t grasp at what Venu had planned as Venu had his back turned towards him while looking at Devon.
Devon nodded at the guards and they went to secure Venu.
As they began to approach him aggressively – Venu responded, “Is this how you treat someone on your side?”
Venu lifted up his hand to the group of wizards that approached them.
The group decided to let Devon take charge of this one.
“What do you mean?”
“I assume that you’re taking us in because we’d threaten to release Aarock if we had a chance. Devon was on edge at Venu’s keen awareness. Venu replied, “but i assure you- i have no intention of helping Aarock.”
Despite having doubts, Devon was intrigued- he knew better than to completely trust Venu, but because of Venu’s darkness- perhaps Venu had an actual reason to resist Aarock- if he wasn’t bluffing. Devon didn’t have the time or resources to worry about such things. He could let Merth decide what to do with Venu- at the worst, Merth would dispose of Venu without an issue.
“Very well,” Devon spoke, “Then help me capture him,” Devon pointed at Narice.
Narice was in fact making it more difficult for the other eight assailants. Despite their magic- he seemed able to resist or repel a majority of their attacks. Even Devon was impressed- slightly admiring the boy without magic.
Venu slowly approached Narice from behind as Narice was focused on the attack from in front. Narice certainly didn’t expect the attack that was to come from behind.
After a slight jab to the side, Narice was pinned down by the others without hesitation.
Narice looked at Venu questioningly, but Venu simply kicked the sword he’d been using away from him.
“A sign of goodwill,” Venu spoke- lifting his hands to the others.
“You will get your audience,” Devon turned his attention to Venu.
Merth awaited the report when Devon arrived ahead of the caravan.
“A young man wishes to see you,” Devon spoke as they brought in the group.
Devon motioned to Venu – pointing towards Merth.
“Oh?” Merth spoke. He seemed pleasantly surprised as he could sense a certain type of magic inside of Venu.
“Venu, lord,” Venu said as he bowed graciously.
“Venu- huh?” Merth replied, “and why shouldn’t i just freeze you like the rest of your friends.”
Venu replied, “I’ve never felt at peace with Aarock looking over my shoulder.”
Devon then spoke up for Venu, “He helped me secure his friend.”
Merth looked at Devon and then towards Venu again.
“Fine,” Merth spoke with a wave and directed Venu to stand off to the side.
Mika was the first brought up in an assembly line, Mika’s face was held to Merth – and Merth followed by casting ‘port’. Mika’s mind was transported instantly and Mika was stilled.
The others followed the same way – Sari- to which the others were upset but held in place – Narice was ported without incident, and finally, Elera- Merth attempted to stare at her, but she certainly put up a fight and her mind took a while before she was finally ‘ported’ even with the shackles. It took him a little time staring before he was certain that her mind was no longer there. He understood now why Devon had a hard time. Her attunement to magic was no weaker than Devon or himself.
He looked for an instant at Venu, who stood simply without any sign of emotion.
“How do you feel, Venu?”
“I’m curious how your ability works…” Venu responded intrigued.
“Hmm,” Merth spoke as he continued with the next stage.
Merth then held his hand outwards towards the group and Venu watched a sort of eerily green light exchange from Merth’s mind towards the others.
Merth clapped his hands, “remove the shackles!”
As the shackles were removed, Venu gave a sly smile and rubbed his wrists.
“So… what do you want to know?”
“I’m curious how your ability works,” Venu spoke to Merth.
Even if he didn’t manifest magic, Merth could sense great potential in Venu.
“Hmm- it took me years of mastery and natural affinity to it,” He replied, “but I can talk to you about it while I use Imprint on them.”
“Imprint?” Venu replied.
Merth put his hand out and Venu watched a unique green and black sort of light flow into Mika and Sari. Venu sensed a great powerful magic in the works. He could tell that this was the disaster that his ability warned him of. He needed time to stop Merth.
“Imprint is the ability to place a feeling or a portion of one’s own consciousness upon another… there are many uses,” Venu could sense a change occurring in Mika, “Planting an idea which causes the person to act in the interest of a certain goal is most beneficial.”
“Is that how you brought peace to the village- you planted an idea?”
“It’s different for each person. If it’s only a certain argument between two parties easily resolved, I may just port the perception each person has to the other and the argument is solved,” Merth continued using Imprint on the group. “if there’s a problem in their way of thinking- I may correct it by imprinting the idea of empathy or generosity… etc…”
“What if the person is completely corrupted?”
“That only happens once in a while… but I port them in a special cell only accessible by port… Filled with anti-magic and under the ocean.”
Venu rubbed his chin.
“How do you undo it if it’s used incorrectly?”
Merth responded, “You would have to use some extremely potent counter magic that could push out the imprinted image – or it would require the user’s own life to undo it.”
“I see…” Venu spoke nodding.
Venu watched as Merth imprinted upon the last one- Narice… He could sense that the ability entered into the mind but immediately left… As he thought- Narice was awake.
“Now all of you…” Merth spoke to the group, “go to the prison and lock yourselves in your cells.”
Venu watched as the four of them obediently followed Merth’s command.
“What did you do to them? Venu spoke.
“Oh nothing harmful- I just imprinted the idea of lordship upon them… when they’re in prison they will once again lose their consciousness to the other realm… so even if someone wanted to help them escape- they wouldn’t be able to… but- I’ll be sure to take care of them well enough though.”
From here Merth and Venu were alone.
“So if you were stopped- all the people would be returned to normal?”
Merth turned to Venu.
“Ahaha! You weren’t really interested at all,” Merth responded as he turned around.
Venu could tell that Merth knew his ulterior motives.
“But what you fail to understand is this…”
Merth cast his hand out towards Venu – as if to use ‘port’. Venu already understood however, that ‘porting’ consciousness required certain preparation- eye contact was key.
In response Venu– just like he had with his mother- in an extreme emotional state- the entire room became filled with darkness.
“You won’t have the chance to lay a hand on my friends.”
“Oh?” Merth spoke and snapped his fingers.
Merth snapped his fingers and glowing lights surrounded the area, but they were all sucked into darkness only emitting inches of light before the thick darkness absorbed it.
“Ahh, how interesting…” Merth spoke intrigued, “…You’re the second Aqayan I know with dark magic…”
Venu was confused by the statement – was there someone else with dark magic?
“Ah, but he is Much more powerful,” Merth lifted up his hand and suddenly was gone… Venu knew in that instant that Merth had used port to escape the fog. It seemed that Merth had some counters to Venu’s magic.
Venu raced outside of the building through the entrance to look around for him.
However- as soon as he tried an explosion bombarded the entrance nearby.
Venu held his arms out and took a brunt of the force pushing him against the outer wall.
Through the massive amount of explosions he couldn’t sense his opponent – but knew that if he tried to run haphazardly- he would instantly lose. He could feel that that was Merth’s specialty.
He casted another black fog around him- and the explosions around him grew more distant as he ran. It gave him a few moments to get his bearings as he gained some space around him.
Merth was up. It seemed that Merth could fly in addition to his own special magic.
“Little boy wants to take on the adults?” Merth laughed haughtily through the fog.
He could sense Merth looking for him in the fog as he ran… It was quite intimidating.
Merth held out two katana-like blades at his sides- perhaps the size of two medium thin swords. Both blades it seemed were completely filled with extreme power. Basically if Merth caught Venu – Venu would lose.
While Merth was porting around in the fog and casting explosions close to him and slashing with dangerous cuts that stretched for a hundred feet.
He had one chance. He took a deep breath and let the fog dissipate. Sensing Merth behind him – he dove down, did a roll, and looked straight at Merth.
Merth drew his blades for one last attack as he looked at Venu’s face he put his swords up to Venu’s neck.
However Venu’s eyes held a glow.
“No!” Merth was cut mid-sentence as his face went blank.
“Yes,” Venu replied to the stationary Merth – Merth’s two swords were milimeters from his neck. Venu replied to the attack by taking a small dagger and pierced Merth’s heart.
“Your powers are mine…”