Narika looked around his cell. Everyone else waited simply- either standing in place or sitting, but there was a slight glaze in their eyes and the room was dark.
Even still, their hands were tied with anti-magic shackles.
There seemed to be around fifty people here is this prison.
He maintained the memory of Merth using ‘port’ and ‘imprint’ on him, but imprint had already been pushed out of him somehow. Not only that- he felt stronger than ever.
He walked into the appointed cell- which had five others- but only Mika from his own group. As they were all in stasis- it didn’t matter too much.
He grabbed hands with Mika- who both broke out of imprint and stasis.
“Narice?!” Mika replied.
“Hey Mika,” he spoke and raised his index finger to his lip. There was still a guard at the top of the stairs- despite the ‘stasis’ spell. The guard upon hearing a voice walked downwards, and looked among the people.
Mika and Narice remained still as the guard looked through the people slowly.
Devon looked at Aarock in the separate prison that Merth had placed him. The entire cell was covered in anti-magic rock but Devon doubted that it’d work at all.
He didn’t doubt Merth’s magic, Aarock being here was proof of it. Devon knew of Merth’s ability. Right now, Aarock’s consciousness was somewhere else- like a permanent dream. The only way one woke from a dream prematurely was to be shaken- but as long as Aarock was here, there was no way that someone would mistakenly awaken him.
He sat down watching Aarock and slowly reflected on the past.
“Hey- Devon,” an unassuming Elf approached him at his small house at the top of the village.
“Welcome,” Devon nodded. By now he’d been respected by the village- and was given the responsibility of overseeing newcomers and such, “Are you looking for safety or need help with any of the dark wizards in the area?”
The figure responded by pulling out a sword,
Devon sensed a fight- as the newcomer begins to throw some swings. After Devon parries a few of the attacks-the newcomer puts away the sword and begins to speak.
“How would you like to help me in the kingdom?”
Devon took a closer look at the figure- while unassuming, the figure carried the iconic rapier and had a singular braid alongside his face- Aarock.
“I know about your past already- but i believe in second chances,” Aarock replied.
From there- they’d fought together and bled together. A long time passed as Devon left from the village and went to the kingdom as a warlord. However, something happened in between- causing Devon to give up on his position. Even when Devon gave up his position as a guardian, Aarock offered him a chance to oversee an area as one of the warlords if he’d wanted it.
Once again however, Devon passed up on the offer. There was a reason why, he couldn’t accept the generosity given when he was already working to betray Aarock.
As Devon reflected on the past- he imagined a moving finger and a lump in his throat arose. Thankfully it was his imagination.
Devon breathed a sigh of relief. He was powerful- enough to defeat two-hundred and fifty in combat. He knew because he’d done it- but Aarock was still stronger. If he’d had to fight Aarock one on one – then he would probably lose.
Once again, he imagined a finger move again and laughed at himself this time.
“I’m sorry, Aarock- but Merth’s magic is impossible to beat…” he responded.
“Is it?” a voice came from the vessel in front of him.
Devon watched the figure of Aarock move from it’s position and Aarock started to stretch a bit from his time in stasis.
“Hmm,” Aarock spoke looking at his body again, “Well- that took a while.”
“How did you-?!” Devon replied.
“So Devon,” Aarock spoke unapologetically- not giving Devon a chance to finish the sentence, “You choose darkness once again?”
How could Devon explain – and why should he?
“I made my choice a while back, Aarock.”
“May I ask what choice you made?”
“I swore my allegiance to another in return for something you could never give.”
For a moment Aarock hesitated his accusative tone. Rather it seemed that he desired to understand, “And what was that?”
“Forgive me…” Devon spoke- suggesting that he wasn’t able to tell Aarock why.
“That’s a shame,” Aarock took up his sword, “Very well- but you know how I feel about second chances.”
“You don’t get another…” Devon drew his own blade, “I know, Aarock and I accept it.”
Aarock dodged his head to the side, as the cut swung went by his face- however the sword’s attack was strong and his face was cut.
Aarock gave Devon a slight smile for an instant as his face slowly healed the wound- the sword’s magic seemed to be able to affect Aarock more strongly than normal- the blood dripped.
Normally, the blood wouldn’t have time- Aarock looked at the blood that fell from the cut.
Devon drew his blade ‘invincible’ to face Aarock’s rapier.
“But don’t expect me to go down easily!” he spoke as he rushed towards Aarock.
Devon knew he was outmatched in power- Aarocks’ magical strength and healing abilities were top notch- but he wasn’t perfect. If enough damage was done that Aarock couldn’t heal Aarock would take the brunt of force- and there was still such thing as a mortal wound- a clean slice to the head or to penetrate the heart- these were Devon’s options.
Devon dashes at Aarock- sword in hand- counter-magic ready.
As he fought, his life flashes before him. Once upon a time, he was a boy of fourteen, led by a man named Card along with other youths of the fifth generation. At this time, he was full of potential as a dark wizard. He was a prodigy among the fifth generations- a proud breed of the immortality project. His friends too, were all impressed by him and they would go on adventures in groups.
After the second generation killed the first generation all the descendants were taught dark magic… the only wizard to abandon the rest was Corvin. He disagreed with the practice of hunting the Elfa and left.
As dark wizards drained the power of Elfa- their life naturally grew longer, Second generation wizards could live thousands of years – as much as any immortal had ever lived. Three more generations of dark magic naturally led to societal change. Wizards became a powerful force.
Duels to solve disputes, status was by how much mana you had. The only rule was not to drain other wizards- protect your own. After enough life-draining, hunting Elfa was simply a sport.
One wizard failed to abide by these rules, Corvin. He abandoned the rules- protecting Elfa and draining other wizards in duels.
One day however, Devon’s father-figure Kars left and didn’t come back.
Two days later, Devon investigates and finds out that Kars was attempting to sway Corvin through a duel. Initially it began with the emissaries that Kars would send to gain Corvin to his side. However Corvin defeated and then drained them. Following this, Kars himself went to talk with Corvin. Kars continued to believe he could pursuade Corvin to join the wizards.
Devon believed that noone could have defeated the strongest wizard of all time, so when he’d heard that Kars was defeated – Corvin must have done something to cheat Kars in the duel.
Devon wanted to prove Kars’ strength and worked hard- abandoning his friends in pursuit of strength- while the wizard era was weakening without a leader and Corvin in pursuit of those related to the immortality project- he became strong in the darkness.
Devon came out from hiding- having drained many Elfa and dueled many wizards. He looked for the wizard.
“Hey!” he yelled to Corvin whose back was turned… for some reason Corvin looked weak- as if he’d just been in a long battle or something. Corvin turned around.
As Devon looked at his face, he was surprised. A hardened man for sure was before him- but there was something there that he hadn’t seen in a man before. Pity.
“Oh?” Corvin spoke looking at Devon up and down.
Devon gathered the details upon looking closer- it seems that Corvin had actually just dueled and drained a wizard- this was probably the weakest point for a wizard- the body had to adjust to the change. Devon’s pride wouldn’t allow him to fight Corvin when he was weak. He didn’t want to take advantage of Corvin’s weakness to prove his master’s strength.
“Tomorrow- you will face me!” Devon spoke, full of vigor.
Corvin raised an eye, “tomorrow then.”
It was the next day when Devon approached the same spot, “Are you ready?! I will avenge Kars-”
“I didn’t need it, but for letting me have a day to recuperate- I will spare you being drained.”
It wasn’t a fight. Every spell that Devon had so masterfully crafted and strengthened were deflected or interrupted with minimal effort and the responses perfectly hit him during his weakness. Corvin seemed to be a mountain to Devon. As it was, Devon could barely survive Corvin using the most basic of spells. Spells that Devon felt were beneath considering. The terrible thing was, Devon felt he’d used much more power and force, while Corvin had been conserving his pace as if he were simply walking.
Devon had one more trick, with an all-out assult he moved towards Corvin- preparing a final stand. Corvin responded with a more serious spell giving Devon a full impact attack straight to his heart while Devon’s attack left a barely noticeable scratch.
After the dual was finished Devon had left a little scratch while Devon was completely defeated.
“You’re strong,” Devon said.
“No,” Corvin responded as he held out a hand to Devon, “it wasn’t strength… you have more strength than I.”
“Then what?” Devon couldn’t help but respond.
Devon took a closer look at Devon’s cheek with satisfaction. This scratch would require healing as it began to fester with poison. Devon had not chosen to be completely honorable- even if he died, he would make sure that Corvin would suffer.
Corvin felt the barely noticable scratch for an instant- and responded.
“Haha…” Corvin spoke, “I see. It looks like I’m going to die unless I seal this away…”
Corvin cast a spell and the wound was sealed into a small tumor if his cheek.
Devon’s heart dropped. Even in his misery, having been completely crushed- he’d held out the small hope that at least the poison would work.
“For what it’s worth,” Corvin said, “You did more than Kars ever could.”
“Just kill me,” Devon was disgusted.
The figure that was Corvin looked down at the near dead boy that was Devon, “You don’t want to live?”
“Ahaha,” Corvin spoke- laughing at Devon. Devon despised Corvin for what he’d made him go through for the past few months. “Live” was relative… If he’d known that he’d be ‘living’ like this- he may not have accepted.
Every day – the only thing that kept him going was the thought of one day giving Corvin what he deserved. Devon had his magic sealed away- and was left destitute as a beggar in an Elfen village. Corvin was the protector of this area. For this reason, the Elfa left Devon alive-
but that didn’t mean they didn’t torture him and kick him and spit on him. The once esteemed and glorified Devon was a beggar- eating the scraps and living under the edge of houses to protect him from the rain.
The only ability left to him was the ability to reflect back magic, not even cast it.
“This is going to teach you all sorts of magic, Devon,” Corvin had told him, “it will teach you to recognize opponent’s magic and help you win duels.”
Devon argued a simple statement, “I already know magic.”
“Mm-hm…” Corvin replied.
One day, an Elfa passing through recognized Devon from his past – “It’s him!”
The Elfa seemed angry about his friends’ deaths at Devon and he instigated the town against Devon. He told everyone about how Devon had murdered his friends- riling up the village in the name of ‘justice’ but moreso revenge.
It was true that he’d grown in his ability to recognize magic- but how could he face the whole village?! He needed to run. He was surrounded, and forced into an alleyway.
As much as Devon hated to admit, the Elfa were strong. Devon didn’t have a chance. They readied their magic to attack as Corvin appeared….
Corvin countered every single spell with one giant wall and then sealed the entire village’s powers with another spell.
Corvin watched Devon huddled on the ground, “Why didn’t you use your abilities?”
Corvin had been watching.
Devon replied, “I can’t face an entire village!”
“You know nothing about magic,” Corvin spoke, “Didn’t you learn anything?!”
“But I did…” Devon responded attempting to convince Corvin otherwise. For some reason, he had the desire to impress Corvin. Corvin was so far ahead of him. Kars was possibly defeated fairly. Even as leader to all the dark wizards in the village- with all his pride as the greatest wizard of all time- leading the others fiercely and with an iron fist, Kars had still thought of Corvin as an equal.
Perhaps Corvin could have defeated Kars. Devon had thought he’d known magic, Corvin was right…
“Master…” Devon spoke to Corvin. Corvin and Devon had been together for a while now as master and student. Generally this meant that Devon was responsible for doing all the menial tasks that Corvin asked of him: dusting, shopping, even cooking. Devon owed him his life however, so this was of little consequence. Devon studied in his free time different types of magic- by now Corvin had released the seal, but Devon still tried to limit his use of magic.
Corvin usually left Devon to keep the peace in the Elfa village while he went ‘out’. When he wasn’t ‘out’ Corvin usually slept or stayed in his study. He ate food and spent his time leisurely. Devon had no idea how Corvin had become such a powerful wizard when these were his habits. Devon assumed Corvin partied- after all, he was neigh immortal and had all the time, youth, (and because he got the spoils of the duels) and resources in the world.
But this time however, something was wrong. Corvin was sick.
“Ah…haha, Devon? right?” Corvin spoke as he kicked off his shoes, “excuse me, I’m a bit incoherent… but I think I’ve countered the major part of the spell.”
Devon looked at Corvin- and put away the shoes- followed by helping walk Corvin into the house. Corvin looked pale.
“Master- what happened?”
Something was definitely wrong. A glazed look appeared in his eyes and in his face where the tumor was his wound had begun to spread the poison. Devon started by getting a towel with cold water.
“I should’ve known not to push myself – but I was so close to the end…”
End? Devon wondered.
“Yes…yes… the immortality project has taken a different turn- hybrids and abominations, dark dark magic… I faced something –else…”
This was the first Devon had heard about Corvin’s excursion. This whole time he’d been fighting against dark magic.
“Master,” Devon replied guiding Corvin to a couch, “just rest…”
Corvin went unconscious in an instant- which made things easier. The first thing Devon did was attempt to heal the poison in Corvin’s cheek, however an ugly mark remained and the spell still worked against him, just slower. Weeks went by until Corvin looked at Devon coherently for the first time. Whereas Corvin used to have an almost immeasurable lifespan, Devon could see that Corvin had much less time than before – perhaps a few centuries at most.
Corvin looked up one morning- and his eyes were no longer wild. He was very quiet. Whatever he’d faced had taken its toll on him, Devon could tell. Devon watched on as Corvin looked into a mirror at the growth that now covered a large portion of his cheek and neck in black. He rubbed it.
“Thank you,” Corvin spoke- before heading towards the door.
“Master, what are you going to do?”
“Devon…” Corvin responded with a sigh, “As of now – you are no longer my disciple… I won’t be returning here again- if you can- please protect the village. All that I have is yours.”
With that he was gone.
Swords clashed along with flickers of light in the sky – this was a fight to the death and the force was brutal. As he was attacked by Aarock’s quick striking rapier- He tried to be aware of every detail. Aarock was a master of swordplay- and when he couldn’t defend an attack he would have to use magic to enforce counter around his body. Somehow Devon had always been preparing for this moment.
Aarock and Devon both cast spells- Devon with his blade of non-elemental magic, and Aarock with a torrent of spells.
They both flew backward to dodge each other’s attacks. Around them – the foundation under Merth’s mansion crumbled to the severe earthquake that followed the attacks.
“You are very strong- Devon!” Aarock spoke as they took a pause a distance away after a clash, “I regret not having noticed before!”
“You do not need to flatter me!” Devon had been able to keep up this whole time.
A hundred years passed since Devon had parted ways with Corvin. Having pushed back the dark wizards – the Elfa no longer needed protection- and Devon left to travel, sometimes returning to the house that Corvin left him. He made a name for himself as a champion for the weak- howbeit, his exploits were mostly anonymous.
Devon would sometimes hear stories. Corvin was a wizard working behind the scenes but the effects of his work resonated. The world was changing- during his travels he joined forces with a couple as a passerby, with his newly gained freedom.
One night- at the local pub – He heard of a man matching Corvin’s description in a nearby village. However, when he found him… it wasn’t what he expected.
Corvin looked like a homeless beggar. His hair was overgrown and he had sores everywhere. Everything Corvin had it seemed was tattered clothes and a small staff. He was lying on the ground and seemed to be not himself.
“Corvin?! It is me, Devon!” Devon kneeled down and checked up on him.
“De-von…?” Corvin responded. It had been over a century and some change- perhaps it was hard for Corvin to remember him.
“Yes, Devon,” Devon responded as he picked him up, “come with me.”
Devon lifted Corvin up and brought him to his home.
He brought out a cup of tea and a blanket and sat him on the Sofa. Corvin looked shaken up once again, he seemed to have jitters and unaware of his surroundings. Once again, Devon took care of Corvin the best he could. He told him to lie down and then tried to figure out what Devon had gone through over the past many years.
Corvin’s poison had taken over a third of his body now- he looked aged and ragged to he was incoherent- but Devon could still sense a great power in the man. He looked older. Devon wondered what could have happened to him to take the life away from such a great force.
Corvin didn’t wake up until the afternoon. In the meantime Devon started by buying a new set of clothes for Corvin- gave him a way to clean his face- and paid for him to get a bath at the bathhouse. Corvin was definitely zoned out while Devon was helping him get back on his feet.
Corvin became coherent after another week, but afterwards… Corvin still didn’t remember him or anything about himself- except the name of a girl – “I’m almost finished.”
Something definitely happened. Devon didn’t pry- but he didn’t want to leave Corvin like he was.
At first, Devon tried to think of how to handle things, but when he got back after going for a trip to the doctor and find a way to help Corvin- Corvin wasn’t there anymore.
Devon was pushed back by a strike and flew across the sky- and in that singular instant, Aarock summoned a giant storm-
As the quickly approaching Devon knew that he couldn’t escape it, rather ‘counter’ was his only option. He put all he could into the reflection and a copy of the firelike tornado moved towards Aarock.
However Aarock certainly wasn’t an amateur and in the moment Devon had attempted counter, Aarock threw out more spells- enforcing the tornado and simply taking the ‘counter’ head on.
As the copy that Devon produced hit Aarock, Aarock’s enforced tornado pushed Devon. The weakness of counter was this – counter was limited to the power of the user. Counter couldn’t exceed the magic limit of the user. Devon had a high magic limit- enough to probably ‘counter/deflect/repel’ two hundred ordinary wizards.
Aarock threw an attack three times stronger.
Devon took the strength of the attack- and brute force pushed him against the ground- following this shards of magical flames and cutting wind sealed his defeat.
He fell to his knees. Even as the strongest wizard- he was no match. He was a fool to believe he could subdue Aarock with simple skills- Aarock was so much stronger than he’d been when he faced Corvin.
The storm died and what was left was Devon’s broken body lying faceup on the ground. Devon looked at a clear sky, blue and with the last ounce of strength in his body – he began to laugh.
Corvin looked at his fingers. How was he alive? Hadn’t he been killed?
Across from him a magician sat with a leg cross over- eyes staring intently. He couldn’t tell exactly what race he was- it was definitely a hybrid.
Project P, code named- Rod-n (3rd son)
Corvin’s heart leapt in his chest as he readied his left hand for a spell cast. It was instantaneous. Or so it would have been had it worked properly.
“I wouldn’t do that…” Rod’n said. “I think it would be a waste of Devon’s sacrifice bringing you back if I had to kill you right afterwards. Not only that, but you cost me ten years. At least do me the courtesy of doing something with your life…”
Rod-n seemed somewhat bored and somewhat attentive.
“Bring me back?”
“Ah- Yes. You were dead.”
“Where is Jarin?”
“Ah…” Rod-n spoke, “It is not your duty anymore. Let me take care of my father. You do not have the power to stop Project P.”
Corvin looked across the landscape after leaving the lair. He looked back. He knew the location, but would he be able to find it again without magic?
He was in a desert. Completely surrounded by sand with a mirage of moving heat. In the distance were what looked like mountains, but other than that…?
Was it worth it? If what Rod’n said was true then- what was his purpose?
Perhaps he really could live a normal life with the woman he loved. He shook his head and started walking. He’d find a way to retrieve his lost magic somehow, and then he’d make his decision.
His body… it could feel like a humans, but it was only a façade. He looked at his fingers – he wanted to pinch one till it bled. Just like Rod’n said- a magic force took over his hand and repaired it instantaneously.
He was immortal, but limited. According to Rod’n the more magic was used by the vessel- the more it would deteriorate: like a piece of metal.
Even still… ten years of Rodn’s magic with a strength greater than Aarock himself… would last quite a while.
Rodn looked at Devon with a raised brow as Devon responded in thought.
Devon responded, “I will fulfill my position.If Aarock comes then I will do my best to stop him.”
Narice and other three with him escaped – while Venu had met up with them from where he’d battled Merth before.
Behind them were the other prisoners that Narice had freed with the touch of his hand. Merth’s defeat hadn’t stopped the spell- but by Narika’s touch, he’d released the prisoners from the curse.
Ahead of them were three hundred or so townspeople- still manipulated by Merth’s spell- with the directive to defend against intruders at all costs..
Narice spoke as the army of three-hundred or so moved mindlessly against the small group. He asked for Elera’s hand.
It took Aarock a whole minute to completely repair the damage from the last attack as he walked towards Devon. But even still- his body went from a heavily burned victim to completely whole in what seemed to be moments.
Devon on the other hand was not so fortunate. Burns littered his body- and he was in so much pain that he was unable to move. Even still- he accepted his fate.
Aarock walked slowly towards Devon- to which Devon tried to lift his hand up.
Upon seeing his hurt friend non-threateningly call out to him, Aarock rushed towards Devon’s side and kneeled downwards.
“I’m sorry,” Devon replied, “for what I did… I made a vow much more important than myself… I can’t go back on it regardless if I lose my life…”
Aarock looked at his friend. For betraying the king, for working on the side of dark magic, for – Devon deserved death. Even still, Aarock considered him a friend… and hated to see him suffer. When it came to evil – he had a code… Looking at his friend however- his code seemed to be nothing more than a few jumbled words.
“If I were Sardis, i might be able to heal even this…” Aarock spoke looking at Devon’s body. He held Devon’s hand with his own – and Devon’s pain was eased.
It wasn’t healing magic- Devon understood- Devon was past healing- but the pain was no longer there.
Devon looked at Aarock with a sad smile, “You must be so disappointed in me…”
Aarock replied, “Why?”
“For all that you did for me, and having turned back to darkness,” Devon replied, looking upwards, “Ugh… there’s too much to say isn’t there…”
“First and foremost… Sardis has never betrayed you- your still-born daughter is alive.”
Even Aarock looked wide-eyed.
Devon looked at Aarock, “so, even you can be surprised…”
Aarock didn’t know what to say, so he decided to pry who Devon “Tell me, Devon- who is it?”
“Even now,” Devon spoke, “I can’t betray him to you.”
Aarock sighed, “What did he do to deserve such loyalty?”
Aarock watched on as Devon’s eyes closed. Time had made him more lenient- it taught him to work hard at peace, but when he had to fight- he still held the same principles over the past thousand years- slay evil without mercy. Aarock’s was a swift justice that didn’t allow for kindness.
“Devon…” Aarock spoke looking at the unmoving figure and felt a heavy burden in his heart. After a while he’d thought he had grown used to it- in some ways he had- death was a natural part of life after all. Even still – he felt strongly that he’d lost someone close.
He closed his eyes and breathed deeply… then opened them again and looked around.
In close proximity – three hundred of the townspeople were facing off against three while Sari and Mika were leading a hundred other villagers away from the fight. Sari’s dragon swept in protecting the group from stray attacks.
Aarock watched on as the battle commenced. A barrage of magic attacks flew their way towards the three as a white light emitted from Narice and the attacks all dissipated. Following this – channeling their magic into Elera – Elera held her hand out. The next thing Aarock saw was this, the three of them had instantaneously moved towards the opponents. His consciousness was aware that something extreme had just happened… but what?
Could it have been ‘port’? Something was different however.
From there… Venu took the lead. From his own hand he held what looked like Merth’s own sword as he taunted the three-hundred Many of their attention was grabbed but to the opponents, they acted as if they were blind and moved only towards his taunts. He dodged skillfully back and forth around any attacks.
He saw what was happening. Venu was distracting the three hundred with some sort of blindness spell- while Elera and Narika were setting up some offense.
He wasn’t sure what they were planning but he realized that he could at least assist in whatever it was.
Aarock cast bind and rooted the three hundred figures in an instant. He then proceeded to watch as the Aqayans of Light and Ice made their move.
Narice closed his eyes with Elera touching his back in the center of the three- hundred… it was just now that the opponents realized where Narika and Elera were.
Suddenly a white light came from Narika and a mist of darkness seemed to be released from each of the three hundred individuals.
As he’d already pieced together, Aarock saw that the ‘imprint’ spell that Merth had subjected the village to lifted.
Where the aggressive crowd had been were three-hundred subdued people coming to realization of where they were.
As the port town came to- Aarock wanted to ensure that all the loose ends were tied.
He jumped and quickly appeared before the three Aqayans at an extreme speed.
“Where is Merth?” Aarock asked.
Venu replied, “He’s dead.”
Rather than ask, Aarock looked at Venu and nodded. While he’d known stronger- he was aware that Venu had a great potential.
“Ugh I hate that things got so messy for you all,” Aarock spoke to the group, “It seems that I’ll need to ensure that the town is okay- which may take a few days… so if you all wouldn’t mind- please take the portal underneath Merth’s house without me.”
Aarock threw a hand out and all the rubble became a solid structure as steps led them to the portal. He handed the closest of the group a parchment that materialized in front of him. He scribbled some words with a pen that appeared in his hand and handed it to Venu.
“Bring this parchment to my lieutenant- it will grant you access to the castle… The portal will take you Elondra –I’m certain – I’ll catch up in a couple days.”
Narika nodded to Aarock with the rest of the group behind.
The group said their goodbyes to the people they helped save- while Aarock seemed to be working on reparations and checking up on the individuals in the vicinity.