Chapter 4: Shards of a Myth
The area was sacred. Everyone, clan member or not, could sense the power that protected the relics. It was strange. Anyone with ill intentions were repelled at the entrance, forbidding them entrance. Of those that were able to enter, only a handful could touch the weapons; the others were repelled by the same barrier that was at the entrance. But no one was able to move the weapons from their resting place.
The village elder sighed, his eyes roaming the holy ground as he awaited the individual he had called for. His age was showing in the white strands of hair that clung to his head and the wrinkles in his face. His eyes reflected the fear and sorrow that had grown when the relic had started glowing.
“Elder Olias?” The soft baritone echoed quietly in the cavern as the owner wandered in, his dark brown eyes worried, “What happened? Half the village is destroyed.”
“It was an attempt at stealing the scythe, Ash.” The teen paled, his eyes landing on the sacred weapon. “We were lucky and were able to repel it, But thats not why I called you here. Do you remember the myth regarding the relics?”
“Everyone who’s destined to be an elder does, sir.” Ash murmured, scanning the pictures that lined the wall. “Several millennia ago, the Ancients drove away the shadows of an unspoken evil. Years after, another terror arose that stole their lives as it was sealed.” His finger traced the carved figures on along the cave wall. “The relics were born during the second shadow war, numbering five in total; The Blade of Sorrows, the Crystalline Scythe, the Starlight Daggers, the Amber Bow and the Emerald Gauntlets. The gauntlets were said to be lost and the wielder of the Blade of Sorrows was cursed to sleep until the time when he’d be able to redeem himself of his failures.” Ash shrugged as his fingers ended at the picture of a mountain where the tomb was.
“Many hunters have searched for the tomb and the remaining weapon but all have come up empty. Now, people believe that the relics are weapons gifted by the Blessed themselves and the Ancients are nothing more than characters of a fairy tale.” The elder nodded to continue when Ash hesitated. “But there was a warning. A warning from the Lady of Spirits moments after the sealing was done. She warned of the rising of the second shadow once more. When the time came, there were to be individuals who knew of the full legend, the legend that was not included in the regular telling of their story.”
“However, that legend has faded. It was lost as the Ancient’s stories faded from memories into myth. Even now, only a handful know of the warning and none believe it.” Ash turned to his mentor, a question in his gaze. “Elder, what happened? You would not tell me to recall the legend if all was well. You know my memory has yet to fail me.”
Elder Olias chuckled. “You know me well Ashton Fae.” Ashton smiled softly at the fondness in his tone. “The Crystalline Scythe has started glowing. And a boy has appeared. A boy with violet eyes.”
Ash stared at him in confusion, prompting the elder to continue. “His reaction to the state of the village was interesting. It was like he saw something else instead of the half burned homes and the crying villagers. What is even more interesting, is that the scythe started to glow after he was run out.”
“His aura. It radiated with the same feel as the ones responsible for the burning of the village. I felt it and spoke out leading everyone in removing him from the village premises.” The elder explained. His eyes locked on his apprentice who had started pacing around the weapon.
“Who attacked the village? There were no bodies besides that of the other villagers.”
“Skeletons.” Ash tripped, catching himself on the edge of the stone as he spun toward his teacher, stupefied. “Yes Ash. Skeletons that could talk and move on their own. What’s more, they were more than just the undead. Their leader had a nasty personality, with the goal to raise the village to the ground and bleed out the villagers like the lamb in a slaughterhouse.” The teen paled.
“You think the events that are happening…” Ash trailed off, turning to face the elder. When he spoke, his voice was full of disbelief. “You think that second shadow is starting to rise? That the warning is coming to pass?”
“Ash, I believe as you do.” The elder raised a hand, placating the teen. “The myth is just that, a myth. As for the boy, he had violet eyes. The same violet eyes as Ziqla Eirthi, the traitor that died a violent death to the Blade of Sorrows when he forcefully removed it from its Holy Ground.”
“Ziqla was a summoner, was he not? A descendent from those that could call aid from the other planes, whether they be spirits or animals?” Ash ran a hand through his hair. “He could’ve summoned the living dead, but how is he alive?”
“I examined his corpse, or what was left of it before it was burned. There is no doubt that he was dead. But if the boy is him, what brought him back? Is the theft of the Blade of Sorrows a the trigger for the events that are sure to come?” The Elder placed a hand on the scythe, his eyes clouded with thought. Ash mirrored his actions, a hand placed on the shaft of the weapon. “Or was it a result of events that are already occurring?”
He was fighting against something. He didn’t see what it was that was restraining his form from running to his allies who laid terrifyingly still. He could feel the water that traced down his face as he screamed words he couldn’t hear. A blinding light shot at his face and he knew it collided before his restrains could take the blow. He heard a worried voice before he was swallowed by the restraining magic and knew nothing more.
Ziqla jolted up, his violet eyes snapping open as the covers fell away from his sweating form. His chest heaved and the boy had to choke back a sob as the dead bodies flickered into his view. He was distantly aware of a hand rubbing his back but it didn’t stop him from losing his dinner on the ground beside his bed roll. It was when he had finished vomiting that his companion helped him wash the taste of bile from his mouth.
“Something you ate?” Ziqla shook his head, groaning when the motion made him nauseous. A hand brushed against his forehead, “You’re fevering.” The teen didn’t fight when he was laid back down and tucked into the covers. He could feel his conscious slipping but he needed to stay awake, even if it was only for a moment more. His violet eyes were forced open meeting worried midnight blue.
“I’m sorry Ezra…” His voice was quiet, but the words made the Ezra hesitate all the same. “I couldn’t protect her. I couldn’t protect any of them.”
Ezra froze, his eyes wide with surprise as he stared at the form hidden by the covers. Violet eyes reflected the regret and sorrow that he had seen in his own eyes before they flickered close. When they opened again, all hint of recognition was gone and there were no signs of the emotions that had been there moments before. “Sorry to be such a bother. It must be annoying, helping someone you just met twice.”
Ezra swallowed thickly, staring at him sadly. “Its fine. Get some rest.” Ziqla murmured another apology before he drifted to sleep, his exhaustion and illness pushing him into a dreamless slumber.
When he was sure that Ziqla was asleep, Ezra stood, moving back to the tree that he had sat against before his companion had started thrashing in his sleep. It had only been a couple of hours after they had a light dinner and the boy had fallen into slumber. His eyes glanced upwards, knowing that sunrise wouldn’t be for another few hours.
Ezra ran a hand through his dark brown locks. Ziqla wasn’t the boy’s name, he was the only one who knew that. But the deceased Ziqla was the only one with violet eyes. It was luck that they both had black hair, so that the boy could assume Ziqla’s identity. Ezra shuddered, thinking of what would’ve happened had the boy remembered who he was, when his body had just awoken from his several millennia slumber.
Ezra wiped his eyes of the few tears that had appeared when the boy had apologized. Even if it was only for a moment, the boy remembered. He remembered everything that happened. Ezra felt his eyes become wet, and in the shadows of the night, in the sleeping presence of his amnesiac old friend, he allowed himself to mourn for his long lost lover and friends.