- Pangaea -
Arc 1 - Vampire's Vengeance
Part I – Not Another Escort Quest
"We have to run, Nathan!" Ayla stressfully called out to her brother.
"No! A hero does not retreat in the face of evil!" Nathan refused valiantly as his glowing sword struck down another human husk.
"But there's too many of them and you're channelling your enchantments for too long, you'll drain yourself of mana before you know it." She pleaded. A distant soul piercing screech echoed through the catacombs as more bodies rose up from their resting places.
"Then I shall cast them down without my magic, like a real hero would!" He refused again, using his shield to violently smash another husk to the ground before thrusting his sword into it. As he did so the glow of his weapon faded and his mana was fully exhausted. He fell to one knee, sweat dripped from his brow, he was out of breath and all he could hear was a high pitched tone. He struggled to focus his vision and Ayla's voice calling out to him was too muffled to understand. She cast off another healing spell, but she was weakening herself and it was only a matter of time before the same thing would happen to her. She rushed to his side slumping beside him and pulling him close before looking into his blue eyes with her own and speaking slowly and clearly. "Nathaniel we have to go now or we're going to die here and heroes don't die like this." He stared back at her and slowly nodded. She helped him up and they began to limp away with the husks close behind them and the distant screeching echoed again. She leaned him against the bottom of a staircase, turned around casting a shield in front of her and forced it away, knocking back the husks in the room.
"Where did you find them?" Dr Yanusu asked Dr Kiyo. Yanusu was an older man with long white hair and pastel pink eyes, talking to Kiyo as they stood under a doorway looking into the ward where the blonde haired twins, Nathaniel and Ayla, rested.
"Staff heard screams coming from a locked off staircase. They broke the entrance open and found these two barely conscious. After pulling them out they quickly barricaded the staircase because they heard strange noises echoing from inside." Kiyo explained nervously.
"Damn it, you careless fools." Yanusu muttered, rubbing his forehead as if his mind was elsewhere.
"Yanusu, sir, it's not like they aren't trained for combat. They're White Legion soldiers. The male uses enchantment magic and the female uses curative magic."
"Hm? Oh them two…" Yanusu snapped back to the situation. "When they wake up, find out how they got in and send them on their way."
"I doubt they can afford our fees."
"…But they're in bad shape."
"Then they can go to their Infirmary like the rest of the soldiers!" Yanusu snapped.
With that Yanusu left and returned to his office where he sat in front of his paper covered desk. He grabbed his quill and reached to the inkwell before a pain burned within his wrist. He jolted, dropping the quill and knocking over the inkwell, causing ink to spill across his desk. He used his unaffected hand to pull up his sleeve, revealing a glowing eye on his skin and he clenched his fist to deal with the pain. Suddenly his senses were no longer unique to him, he felt another pair of eyes behind his own and his skin crawled. He waited a moment for the feeling to pass and then burst with rage;
"Is this interesting to you?! Are you here to help me with this form-filling?!" His fist shook with anger and he whacked the ink-ruined papers from his desk. He viciously stood up, knocking his chair over and marched to a mirror. He looked into his reflection but wasn't looking at himself; he stared at his own eyes to what was behind them.
"Perhaps if you weren't too busy haunting me but checking on your fool brother, I wouldn't be dealing with his mess!" He exclaimed and then the sensation departed. His senses were no longer shared, the mark on his wrist had faded and he sighed allowing his anger to disperse.
...A few days later...
A train horn sounds in the distance. A million and one lights attempt to challenge the sun's dominance during its absence. Bang bang bang. It feels as though a layer of dirt protects the skin whilst simultaneously purifying it of natural cleanliness. Bang bang bang. Eyes cannot see beyond the block. Perhaps because this memory does not belong? All is hazy, yet a little too real. Standing in an empty street with nothing more than concrete and neon lights to give a false sense of a naturalistic habitat. Bang bang bang. Laughs echo from an abandoned building. Overwhelming desertion. Turning around in search of familiar faces. Turning around in search of any faces. A glass reflection. Heart sinking in loneliness and then the sweet release of reality. Bang bang bang.
Waking up to the relief of well accustomed surroundings of his bedroom, a stirring induced by the daily scheming of daylight through the crack of the curtains. The sun, ninety three million miles away with pinpoint accuracy, a pre-meditated pact out of Louka's control. He sits up gasping, as if a necromancer had forced life upon his unwilling corpse.
Bang bang bang. Within a split second recollection kicked in and gave his waking purpose. The abrupt, although scheduled, interruption made by his childhood friend Marcus.
Forcefully pulling himself out of bed, Louka made a half-hearted attempt at brushing his hair to the side with his hand and then dragged it down his tired face. Taking a deep breath before standing, he dragged his feet across the cold floor and staggered away from his bedroom to the front door. Bang bang bang. The door scrapes open to reveal a world contradicting the one he had become so comfortable with. Met with a tall, yet shorter, man with hair that could rival the sun's glare, it took a few moments for Louka's green eyes to readjust.
"What?" Was the only response Louka could muster. His tone was more blunt than gracious as his undressed torso began soaking in the sunlight ahead of his regular preference.
"Are you serious? Come on! Put some clothes on man, we had a deal! I helped you put up that stupid fence and you help me kill monsters!" Was the snappy reaction that escaped Marcus' lips, although he started with aggravation he ended in warlike enthusiasm. His excited and half-bloodthirsty smile seemed to support this.
Louka simply retaliated in a conceded groan as he closed the door in Marcus' face.
"You can't be serious! You agreed to this! Cut the crap! I'll give you 10 minutes to get ready before I smash this stupid damn fence to pieces!" Marcus inhaled deeply to calm down. "I have splinters!" He added, shouting at the door before turning around and crossing his arms in a huff.
Down the dirt road was Jaymes, accompanied by his faithful hound Monty. He held onto the straps of his large backpack and grinned to himself in excitement of the survey job they were about to leave for. A couple of pots and pans hung from the backpack and banged together as he walked, giving an identifiable warning that he was nearby to anyone expecting, or not expecting, him.
Coming to meet Marcus and Louka it was only a few days ago that Jaymes was declaring the expedition in The Merc's Union recruitment hall. He was expecting to pay just a couple of standard adventurers for an escort mission, but he couldn't believe his luck when Marcus Hotaru stepped up to the job.
"Can you believe our luck, Monty?" Jaymes started as Monty looked up at him expressionless.
"The Prince o' Thieves himself! This mission is gon' to be a piece'a cake!" The oblivious dog barked up in delight at the mention of cake and Jaymes lightly chuckled.
Marcus, having calmed down, was sat on the doorstep looking bored with his head leaning on one hand and a stick in the other just poking the dirt. He looked up as he heard the unsubtle clanking of pots and pans.
"Hey there." Called Jaymes, as he waved his hand in the air and walked alongside the picket fence. Monty barked and wagged his tail in excitement of seeing a semi-familiar face and hoped they had some food on them.
Marcus stood up, dropping the stick and extending a hand to Jaymes.
"Mr Takara." Marcus nodded.
"Call me Jaymes, please." He assured, accepting the handshake as the dog started investigating around Marcus' legs. "Don't mind Monty, he jus' wants to see if you got any food is all." He added.
"I don't, sorry." Marcus apologised.
"Ya hear that, stupid hound! There's no food for ya!" Monty sniffed then sighed in disinterest before plodding off to look around.
"So…" Marcus started "…You have everything you need for the mission?"
"Yeah I should think so, it's a simple one so shouldn't take too long. Especially not with the 'Prince o' Thieves' himself!" Jaymes stated with an awed grin.
"He's not a real Prince, you know." Louka pointed out as he closed the door behind him.
"So you finally decided to put some clothes on, huh? Afraid of what your mother would do to you if I smashed up this stupid fence?" Marcus teased.
"More like afraid of what she'd do to you!" Louka countered, Marcus gulped anxiously at the thought of it.
"Err sorry to interrupt," Jaymes spoke up. "But what did he mean that ya not a real prince?"
"Ignore him, he's being an ass!" Marcus spat.
"I mean it how I say it. He's not royalty, not at all." Louka explained.
"But ya father's the 'King o' Thieves', right?" Jaymes queried.
"Yes but it's only a nickname. He's only a black wizard."
"Hey what do you mean 'only a black wizard'?! My black magic would beat your light magic any day, buddy!" Marcus snapped.
"Your magic? Sure. Your wits though? I'm not so sure."
"Hey! You wanna go? Let's go! I'll show you right now! I don't even need my magic to beat you!" Marcus jumped into a fighting stance with his fists up. Louka laughed at Marcus' quick temper.
"Wait you a fighter and a black wizard?" Jaymes queried, getting increasingly confused.
"Yeah I am. Why? You one of them anti-black magic folk fighting for reclassification?" Marcus looked back at Jaymes sternly.
"Huh? What me? No no no…" Jaymes defended with his hands in the air innocently. "I just want to know that ya up for the task!"
"Pfft, don't you worry about the job. We can handle it. Louka and me can handle anything!" Marcus gave a thumbs up with a reassuring wink.
"But weren't ya two ju—" Jaymes' sentence was cut off by Louka stood behind Marcus shaking his head and motioning to forget about it. "Well then, in that case let's get going! Come along Monty!" Monty took his face out of an ants nest, shook the ants off and ran over to them as they began walking ahead.
Albus is the central city in the entire region of Laurasia; it is home to the royal family and also serves as the headquarters for the White Legion making it the political capital. The Ocarina River flows through the middle of the city from east to west and even under Albus Keep, the heart of the city itself. The river separates, what is generally considered, the richer living areas from the poorer ones.
Louka lives on the northern-most side of Albus, in a neighbourhood where most of the soldiers of the White Legion's families reside. He lives with his mother in a cottage that is nearer to the farmlands. His father had died about a year before, leaving just the two of them.
The group had left the dirt path and were now on a stone road that led through the city but they weren't alone, they hadn't realised it but they'd picked up a straggler shortly after leaving Louka's house. It was Crescentia, a girl that grew up skulking in Louka and Marcus' shadows. She never had any friends and was treated as an outcast because of her half-Wilderkin blood. The only child to have ever shown her compassion was Louka, which was simply pity, and with Louka comes Marcus, whose compassion was somewhat lacking but not through judgement of her heritage, she just annoyed him.
Midori Park, the home of Crescentia and the rest of Midori Tribe, isn't too far from the cottage Louka lived in. She would sometimes just sit in the trees and watch Louka working about his home, a habit she picked up as a child when she used to wait for him to go out with Marcus so she could pester them to tag along.
She kept her distance, ducking and diving behind trees and walls. Her green hair bobbed back and forth. Monty would stop now and then to look back with a worried whine and run back to the others. Crescentia liked this and had always considered it a game to play with the other kids, even though they didn't know they were playing.
Ahead Louka looked as exhausted as usual, his bed head was a medium shade of brown mess. Especially in comparison to Marcus who was, as usual, over dressed in battle-worthy garments, ready for a fight should the time arise.
Monty finally stopped and started barking at Crescentia, the three looked back to see her head duck behind a wagon of trader's goods. Marcus grabbed onto the pair of daggers he had hidden underneath his cloak.
"What is it, boy?" Jaymes kneeled down to Monty's level as the dog gave a worried whine.
"It's Crescentia." Louka pointed out un-phased, he knew of her habits and wasn't threatened by her borderline stalking.
"…great…" Marcus groaned, relaxing his grip on his weapons.
"Get away from there half-breed!" Ordered a disgruntled trader as he pushed Crescentia away from behind his wagon. She stumbled into view, collected her thoughts and skipped over to the trio acting nonchalant.
"Hey guys! How's it going?" She said with a big smile. "Up to anything exciting?" She continued, probing for an excuse to join them.
"We're good, just…dealing with something." Louka retorted, trying not to give her an excuse to join them. Not that he wanted to shun her but he didn't know what to expect on this job and he didn't want to have to worry about her along the way.
"Looks like you've sure got something interesting 'to deal with'." She hinted, looking at Louka's bow and quiver. Marcus had been looking away, arms folded and ignored her the entire time as a point.
"Well, you know…" Louka kind of trailed off as Jaymes picked up.
"We're on an adventure!" Jaymes blurted and Marcus' eye silently twitched in irritation.
"Ooh an adventure? That sounds like fun! What kind of adventure?" Crescentia asked excitedly.
"Well I'm a cartographer and I've been commissioned to map out an old catacomb that was found underneath the city." Jaymes then leaned in with one hand to the side of his mouth as he lowered his tone. "Rumour has it that there might be something else lurking down there too."
"Woooow!" She gasped before springing back and holding a finger up. "Then maybe I should come with you!" She beamed inevitably inviting herself along.
"…Damn it…" Marcus whispered to himself as his eye twitched again.
"I'm not su-" Louka started before being cut off.
"Are ya skilled lil' lady?" Jaymes queried to see if she had any skills to lend to his cause.
"Sure I am! I'm trained in hand to hand combat, plus I got a little magic up my sleeve."
"Then it's settled, ya in! The more the merrier!" Jaymes permitted.
"You're not getting any of the pay!" Marcus snapped. "This contract is officially business with The Merc's Union."
"I don't want any money…" She replied quiet and innocently. "…It'll just be fun to be with my friends."
Marcus felt a flicker of guilt, but it didn't linger and he certainly wasn't going to show it. He just went back to looking away with his arms crossed.
"It's fine, it'll probably be nothing more than an escort but stay attentive." Louka spoke up.
"So what's ya name lil' lady?" Jaymes asked.
"My name's Crescentia." She beamed again. "But my friends call me Cressy."
"…What friends…" Marcus muttered under his breathe once more.
"Nice to meet ya Cressy, I'm Jaymes and this fella here is Monty." Monty whined nervously.
"Aw it's okay," She kneeled down to Monty's level. "You don't have anything to be worried about. I'm your friend." With that said Monty instantly perked up and barked happily.
"Huh ya sure changed ya tune quickly." Jaymes noted to the dog.
"Enough talk, can we go please." Marcus interjected.
"Of course." Louka nodded and they started walking again.
This is the first story I've written for a while. I used to write fan fiction and for the first time I've created my own universe to write in.
I have been inspired by the web series 'RWBY' and by the anime 'Fairy Tail'.
I love constructive criticism and would be really interested to know what people think.
Thank you for taking the time to read.