Counterfeits

Parcel, Thorn, and Orb

Chapter 1

The trackers were zealous and persistent creating an almost impenetrable wall around the city. They were scattered everywhere but it seemed that they were far too low of a competition against a powerful mage when it comes to defense.

Trackers are never to be underestimated, for once a mage is caught by them, they would show no mercy in torturing the mage with his own Magic. The powerful the mage caught, the more intense the torture they could inflict upon themselves--which is why the emerald-eyed wizardress sneaked underground, keeping her magic next to zero to hide herself and her important parcel.

The surroundings seemed more of a dark hall than a dirty canal, with only a very faint smell lingering around as reminder of it being a part of the city's sewer system. There were torches lined along the walls, evenly spaced by ten feet; and the floor was reflective like that of the Hall of Councilors.

Hydi noticed the difference the instant she entered the canal. For her long walk underground, she was never able to spot any mice lurking around the place. "Must be special," she thought.

Now she seemed more sure of her decision than ever. She was thinking if it could actually be a wrong move, or if it would not be worth the risk. She was doubtful if she should really let go or if she should hold on.

The choice was like guillotine-or-hang. Now that she saw how clean this part of the city's sewers are, she felt a notch assured that this was the right choice. Tension built up around her, distracting her aura.

"Hopefully, Magic would be able to call back to where it belongs," she whipered, more to convince herself than to declare.

As though her thought materialized, a faint whisper came to her ears. It was calling her. For a moment she stood stiff and quickly checked the place with her Magic. She could sense a strong interference within the radius of ten feet. It wouldn't do good to maximize the her sphere, lest she wanted to get caught by the trackers aboveground. By the intensity of the disruption, she was sure that the caller was not far.

She hastened to the caller's direction, the basket in her hand slightly swinging with the weight it held. She took a quick peek at it, cheking her feelings first. It would not do well for her to look at the valuable parcel; and now, just by looking at the cloth that covered it was a wrong move, she had to take her eyes off as quuickly as possible so as not to sway her decision.

In fact, it would be best not to look at the basket at all or even think that she was holding it.

She focused on searching for the caller. Within seconds, she felt the caller's presence within her sphere, and by doing a quick check on the aura, she finally sighed.

It was alright. All she had to do was think that it was just a parcel--a very special one yes, but a only parcel, nonetheless. She just had to convince that she was a delivery girl, and a magical one at that; and she just had to stop thinking that the delivery would one day become a powerful entity.

Then she stopped. The caller was just around the next corner, only five feet through the corner wall, but her legs were locked. No matter how much her brain wanted her to move, she could not bring herself to.

She cupped her mouth with her free hand. Her brows knit to her forehead and tears came rolling down her cheeks.

"A very powerful entity," she thought. She wondered if this Magical Thread would remember her, for all the nine months she spent with it, taking good care of it. She wondered if it would remember the man who told stories, the one who was so proud of this Thread.

Then there were footsteps around the corner. The caller was heading towards her. She wanted to move, but she could not. It wasn't the caller's Magic, it was her heart's. She sobbed quietly as the caller finally reached her.

"Hydi," the caller spoke her name so softly, symphatizing with her agony. A comforting hand came to Hydi's shoulder. "Hydi, I'm so sorry you have to do this."

The caller supported Hydi as she fell to her knees, feeling her heart of glass shattered to pieces. Finally, her wall of emotions broke down. All her hurt and sorrow flushed like water furiously breaking down its dam. Apparently, it was made of glass.

oOoOo

There were several blue roses lining the labyrinth's walls, interrupting the evergreen background of leaves. It was winter but the garden was still lively and snow was nowhere to be seen. This was all thanks to Juvo, the Great Wizard of Phoemar.

"The day seems to be a good one, Your Highness," Juvo remarked.

"I'm sure it is all thanks to your grace, Juvo," the Queen Alyona smiled at Juvo. Seeing the flowers in the midst of winter's blue was probably the most envigorating activity she had had. She caressed the nine-month old child within her womb.

"The Royal Child must be cheerful, then," Juvo said, "since Your Highness is very pleased with the flowers."

"Of course, this child is very energetic, I see no means of it being lonely. It's been very playful in its dreams while being here within my womb," she picked up a flower and turned to the wizard with a wider smile, "and lately, it's been kicking."

Juvo was at a loss for words, he was processing what the Queen's smile meant when he realized it. "Kicking, you say, Your Majesty?"

"Yes, I did," the Queen replied, crouching down elegantly to pick another rose.

The Great Wizard let out a breath that seemed to have been both of surprise and sudden gladness. "Then Your Highness is--"

The Queen nodded before stretching out her hand to get a rose. Suddenly, Queen Alyona's face became slightly strained. When she plucked out the rose, she was pricked by a thorn on it. Blood oozed from the cut as the Queen curled to her stomach. Her hands came to her womb just when she cried out in pain.

The wizard called for the maids with his Magic, for it was useless yelling for them in a labyrinth, and when done, he came to the Queen's aid.

"Your Majesty, it will be alright. I already called Mannis," Juvo the Great Wizard of Phoemar breathlessly spoke, he was in panic and at a loss for words.

"Great Wizard, help me, my cut feels strange," the Queen weakly requested. Juvo looked at the cut and found that it was not normal, it seemed to grow in size and burn inside.

"Your Majesty, this is--"

A drop of deep red blood stained the Great Wizard's immaculate white robe.

oOoOo

"Alyona's dead," the dark mage reported casually as he entered the black hall. He was dragging his scythe behind, causing a screeching noise that annoyed the ears of humans.

Everywhere in the hall was black or dark, which blended well with the monless night. Of course, for protecting themselves, they have to lurk only in the darkness, force themselves into a nocturnal existence rather than living freely. The trackers are not to blamed, but instead, their commander.

"I never thought he would be acting so fast," the young man standing in front of the glowing orb--the litmus--said as he turned to face the reporter. His face, however calm it may seem through the naked eye, countradicted his aura, which emitted intense worry--very characteristic of his wizard self. "He's too hasty, let's just hope she made it in time."

The mage assessed the young man. The litmus was the only source of light in the hall, casting an orange hue on one part of the young man's face. He was handsome and the eyes behind his glasses were tranquil-gray and deep-set. Undoubtedly, was still young--way too young--to be handling this business, and for that, the mage pitied him as well as admired him. It was terrible for the young wizard to loose everything important.

"I think you need to rest," the mage said out loud, hoping the next news he would deliver might at least ease the young wizard a notch. "She had done it well. I heard Liemur on the way here, and that helleye simply wouldn't get away from her, right?"

The young wizard's eyes shot at him. For a moment, the mage thought that he might get killed, for wizards tend to throw a sharp look before killing their opponents; but when he looked closely, he saw that the wizard's eyes were full of relief. The mage realized that it was just the sharpness and the coolness of a wizard's eyes that gave most people the wrong impression.

"So she's coming," the young wizard whispered to himself. "She made it on time."

When the young wizard turned back to the litmus, his aura was a little bit eased, "I think you're right, I must have been thinking too much. You may leave now."

The mage felt relieved when he felt the wizard loosen up a bit. It made him smile in behalf of the wizard. He bowed a little as he made his leave, now carrying his scythe on his right shoulder, and not stubbornly dragging it.

"One thing, Aaron," the wizard called.

"What is it?" Aaron asked without looking back. The mage kept on going but he was listening to the wizard.

"I guess I'm old enough for this matter, so don't worry," the young wizard replied, his voice calm and cool.

Aaron stopped walking and turned back to the wizard, only to find him nowhere to be seen, not even in front of the litmus. The mage smirked, "Vanishing into thin air just so I couldn't argue with you is a childish thing, you know."

He resumed walking out the hall. "I don't worry about you because you take good care of yourself and you're doing a remarkable job in keeping us all together; for that, you have my trust and loyalty," Aaron said out loud as if he was hoping that wherever the wizard maybe hiding, he would hear, "But that doesn't change the fact that you are still way too young to be worried about all of us."

It was a little while after Aaron left when thunder rumbled outside. The sky was clear and starry, which made th thunder odd. Suddenly, an old man in white robes appeared before the hall's entrance. His eyes were evergreen and his hair as white as snow. A little mist gathered around his right fist and turned into a staff with a gray orb at the top. The orb had gray clouds whirling inside, restless. Little sparks of what seemed to be thunder occasionally disrupted the small clouds within the orb.

"Hello there, Cuvrin," the old man, a powerful wizard greeted. His aura was not friendly, it was intimidating and for a while, it inflicted pain on any creature within fifteen meters, which unluckily included the young wizard.

Cuvrin turned sharply, sensing danger in the air. His eyes shot to the older wizard with utmost intensity that one could tell he was mentally shooting daggers through the old man. After a few seconds, Cuvrin finally spat with venom, "I don't want to see you."

The older wizard laughed, "My, my, Cuvrin. That's quite a disrespectful tone to use on your father. Why don't you come to me, and I'll give you a fatherly hug."

Cuvrin's eyes went dull, and he stared to the ground. If it were not for his glasses, the old man would have quickly been on his defenses. "There's no way you would. You don't even seem like my father."

He then returned his glare to the old man, his countenance calm but dangerous. He could not forgive this man, for all that is worth.

"Calm down, my son," the old man said with a tone too sweet to be trusted. "I came here to deliver a message from the dark lord."

Cuvrin hissed with all the hate he has inside,"What is it?"

"The lunar eclipse is coming. The Thread will be cut."

With that, the old man vanished into thin air. It took the young wizard a while to digest the message, and when he finally did, he could only think of one person.

"Hydi."


Author's Note: Okay, it seems like I'm in the mood for writing now, thanks to literarycellofreak! Haha, Thanks for your review. I thought so the same thing, and I'm also wondering if the story is kind of cliched, since I haven't read many fantasy stories. I hope it is not. ^_^

Please review, tell me what you think--like, if this chapter is a bit boring, if it tells nothing or if it is hideously written or what.