Final Light Chapter 1 - Amnesiac

A young man sat resting against the trunk of a large, towering tree that hid him within its shadow from the the full moon above. The sky-grazing tree one of hundreds lined with glowing crystal growths that stretched as far as the eye can see in every direction. Crystalline shades and hues of blue, red and green emanating softly from the gem deposits that sprouted directly from the barks of the trees, as well as rocks and even the soil of the forest here and there leaving the paths many shades that lit the way. This young man, having pale skin dampened with warm, red blood across the right half of his weary facial features and a dazed look in his eerie glowing pale hues. Having awakened from a slumber he didn't seem to have recalled. Thick bangs of spiky, layered platinum silver hair swept over his forehead across his brow gracing the tops of his eyes and framed his face. The profound coloration gleaming under the light of both the moon and this mysterious crystal forest. Eyeing his clothes a moment, nothing but a tattered and ripped black shirt and pants and only one shoe worn on his left foot.

A small groan left his lips, left arm reaching up to hold his head and ease the severe pain that had rushed through his skull. Regaining a bit more of his senses when he felt a nasty wound on his head; the blood that ran from it warm and wet onto the single black fingerless glove that was snugly cradled over his palm. Inner palm flexed open, the late teenager to young adult stared at the blood for what seemed like ages. Looking upwards at a flock of crows cawing in the distance followed by a ruffle of wings and them taking to the skies. Trees rustling from their departure and a gentle breeze washing over the nooks and crannies of the canopy above. Then, the young man suddenly felt a rather peculiar sensation, this sensation coming from the wound atop his head shortly after the pain and feeling warm and pleasant, soothingly so...

He reluctantly reached back to feel the wound, his pale fingers dabbed at where the injury should have been a bloody gash atop strands of platinum-silver and yet? The wound was no more; the cut having very rapidly sealed itself over in the span of a couple of seconds. Confused and completely unable to remember absolutely anything before awakening at this moment, so many questions flushed in the stranger's mind. So many questions, yet not a single answer. A heavy exhale, followed by a tired grunt of discomfort as a burning sensation welled in his eyes then quickly faded; with it so did the soft glow that emanated from them. The howling of a pack of wolves somewhere in this vast forest of luminous plants and crystals met his ears. He had to move, the wilds were no place for the injured. Yet, where would he go? Who even was he? Where was he? How was he injured?

He turned to his side, tucking his arms under his person followed by his legs and feet. A pause, an inhale, then an exhale and he in one motion pushed himself to his feet standing erect only for his legs to buckle and collapse him back on the soft dirt face first with a groan. A sharp pain had run up his right leg when he stood, making him wonder just how badly was he injured? Why didn't it heal like the blow to his head? Just as he thought about that question, the pain in his leg faded away. A new feeling of vitality coursing through his blood as the pain he felt all around began to fade into nothingness. A few moments later, and he tried again, heaving himself back to his feet and this time managing to stay bipedal as if everything was fine. His colorless eyes looking skyward at the dark starry night and the large moon hovering above as a calm and cool breeze brushed aside the bangs of his hair.

"Where... ?" The boy spoke as he looked at his bloody glove and stained fingers again with a hazy look in his eyes. He felt weak, and fragile, why? What in the world happened that brought about such a terrible awakening?

"How did... I can't..."

He paused; the words themselves almost too incomprehensible to him to even say out loud. He tried to recall something, anything at all.

Nothing...

No recollection of how he got here or how he received his injuries; he didn't even remember his own name. Lowering his arm back to his side, he looked around the clearing of forest he was in for any clues...

Nothing...

There was yet another sudden sharp pain in his eyes that caused him to grasp his head in extreme discomfort before it all faded just as quickly as it came. Blood now streaming from his eyes and staining the fingers of his other hand now. He looked down when he withdrew his hand and opened his eyes again, vision blurry and erractic before clarity settled. His pupils had shifted, transformed so to speak, into a shape reminiscent of a Crescent Moon across vibrant glowing pale irises and harder, more profound glowing limbal rings in both eyes. Accompanied by this pain and the shape change of his eyes came something drastically different about his vision as well. For now, everything was grey scaled across the spectrum save for something that caught his attention written on the tree a few meters directly across from him in incomprehensible scribbles he for some reason, was able to perfectly read. Unlike everything else, these markings etched into the tree were white with black outlining... Pulsing softly with strange energies.

Know thy name, and remember... Runic.

"... Runic?" The male whispered to himself in a very calm yet shaky tone; was that his name? Was that all that was written there? Upon saying the word out loud to himself the incomprehensible inscriptions across the tree shifted into another set of inscribing. His eyes glowing a bit brighter upon seeing the new set of symbols that made perfect sense to his mind, despite consciously not knowing anything about the symbols he were looking at. A resonance between his body and spirit welling up in his core, he could feel it. This odd and ominous sensation of the unknown spiraling within him as he read the next inscription aloud that formed a single phrase.

"Connectunt ad mortuorum, Charon." Runic repeated what he'd read reluctantly and almost immediately afterwards there yet again was a powerful burning sensation in his head accompanied by extreme pain. A powerful pulse from him sent out a wave of dark tinted silver aura into the air. Falling to his knees again, hands gripping clumps of his spiky platinum hair Runic dug his nails into his flesh as he opened his mouth to scream only for nothing to come out. Powerful and ominous pale, ghastly essence swirling around his body; howling like the wind and rustling trees and blowing back fallen debris. Blood streaming down pained, burning eyes as he felt like he were suffocating. Robust ethereal chains sprouting from the earth beneath and snaring his limbs as if shackling him to restricting his movement. Each chain snapping at the base shortly after; one by one before vanishing as quick as they came, almost as if they were freeing him. Blood staining his face and on the verge of passing out, Runic opened his mouth to scream out into the night for it all to stop...

But then...

Then it all faded away again; only his hard breathing being heard among the dead silence of the forest. His eyes returning to their original appearance and the glow vanishing as well once the pain subsided. His forehead kissing the ground in a prostrated pose, Runic breathed easy. His inhales and exhales growing calmer and calmer before he was finally able to look up ahead and stare at the tree as well as something else that caught his attention. The inscriptions on the tree were no longer there; the plant looking uniform among a sea of others. Contemplating the meaning of the words he'd read, one made perfect sense, the second despite it making sense in his head when he read it aloud sounded nothing more than gibberish.

Know thy name, and remember...

What did that mean? Runic didn't know. He didn't know anything anymore, all he had to cling to that gave any hint of what exactly happened to him and who he was, was the word 'Runic'. Was that really his name? Thinking about all of this gave him a headache, left hand reaching up to caress the side of his skull again as trying to remember anything brought about mild headaches. As if something was stabbing him in the head repeatedly with a long dagger. His stomach felt queasy, the blowing breezes bringing about the faint smell of food off on the distance. That aroma upon hitting his nose causing his stomach to growl in hunger; the hunger pains surfacing as his core heaved urging him to head towards the scent. Cradling his left arm with his right, Runic cast his pale hued gaze down to himself one last time. Noting in particular how lean and sinewy he was in terms of physical build. This body felt... strange.

A scoff of disbelief escaping his lips, he didn't even remember what his own body looked like. How utterly sad...

A step forward, and then another, and Runic slowly made his way towards the scent along a crudely made dirt path through the bushes he'd stumbled across. Resting periodically against the husk of a fallen log or the trunk of a tree or even the girth of a boulder. His eyes taking in the many shades of glowing crystals that lit the way with the moon through this mysterious forest he had no idea about. Vibrant shades of blue, green and red all across the forest like a beautiful canvas of neon paint he couldn't help but pause every so often and just admire the scenery. Only returning to his initial mission when the hunger pains basically smacked him across the head and told him to keep moving.

He walked for what seemed a full hour, amazed he was able to smell something from so far away so accurately. That aroma growing stronger with every step closer, his head raising to poke his nose in the air like a dog as the smell grew stronger and his stomach growled louder. The scent of cooked fish and meat causing him to drool almost as he stumbled forward catching himself and then moving more urgently than before. Another gentle breeze blowing itself across his nose tempting him harder with the aroma of food. Crickets and fireflies all around glowing and chirping in the forest as if guiding and chanting to him he was almost there! Just a little more!

Runic broke out into a tired run; the hunger pains were unbearable at this point. He needed to eat something! That tired run very quickly turned into a sprint forward at a speed that Runic wasn't ready for; eyes widening as he went faster than he anticipated and tried to abruptly stop! Feet skidding across the soft earth before he grunted as he fell forward into a tumble that sent him ahead and crashing through a thicket on the other side where he ended up on his side groaning yet surprisingly unharmed. Broken branches and leaves stuck to his ripped clothes and hair as he reached to irritatingly yank them off him and sit crissed crossed by himself in frustration. He was going to die of hunger, no matter how much he ran that smell seemed to never lead him anyw-

"Are you alright there boy?" A withered and soft-spoken voice called out through the thicket. Runic falling quiet and tensing up, slowly turning his head to gaze at the aged features of a man who looked to be in his late fifties pushing through the bushes. Pale eyes staring into the bland brown eyes of a dark-skinned weathered and frail man dressed in blue overalls, a white button up undershirt and hiking boots along with a large flat rimmed brown hat and shaggy black hair. He was a bit on the short side, probably no taller than five foot six and walked with a limp and a wooden cane. Runic staring at him in silence, unsure of what to say or what to do. His mind going blank and his body froze like ice as he stared intensively. The old man gesturing harmlessly for him to come closer, turning half circle to point at the direction Runic smelled that delicious food from.

"It's alright son, I won't hurt ya now." The old man spoke, his voice frail and weak as was the laugh that followed. His features vividly showing the work of years being done on his face and the wrinkles that accentuated them. "I've got some food and a fire you can rest at. It'll get cold soon, always does around this time of hour." He gestured again. Runic not budging an inch and continuing to stare with blank eyes of shock. Another jolt of hunger pain snapping him out of his deer in headlights moment, and the young man nodded slowly as he stood up and walked towards the old guy. Still holding his own left arm in discomfort as he passed the thicket upon a small campsite a few feet away where he now vividly heard the soft crackling of tinder and hay in the hearth of a fireplace. A small black tent posted up nearby as well as a spit for food roasting fish and meat over the flame and a chair nearby with a cooler at its side. The orange rays of light emanating from the fire flickering his shadow across the ground and tinting his face.

"Just have a seat by the fire, you look hungry. I'll get you something to eat just hold on." The older man said pointing to the fire. Runic watching him pass by in silence as he made his way to the cooler and began to rummage through it; Runic himself walking over reluctantly and silently to the opposite side of the flame surrounded by small stones and sitting before it criss crossed rubbing his wrists. A shaky exhale escaping his lips as he relaxed, something about this man was soothing... he felt no danger being near him or felt any malevolence behind his words.

"Got a name?" The stranger asked softly.

Runic peered over at the geezer approaching him with a damp rag that was cold to the touch. Holding it out for him to take and presumably wipe off the dirt on his person. Looking between the rag and the man, Runic hesitated on how to answer that question, unsure himself of who or what he was... all he had, was what he saw.

"... Runic." The quiet young man said softly as he took the rag and wiped his face while looking into the fire. The silence that followed was brief, but profound nonetheless. He was a person with no history, family, or anything that had ties as long as he was aware... He wasn't even sure if what he'd seen earlier wasn't just a hallucination. Yet nevertheless...

"My name... Is Runic." He repeated, sounding as if he was trying to convince himself of that more so than the man helping him. This was the start of his legend; this was the start of his curse.

Know thy name, and remember... Runic!

So begins, the tale of this weary Amnesic.

To be continued! Next Chapter - Brief Consolidation