Evryn, Fiction

Dr. Heimler’s Journal (11)

Date: ???

Thank Rathia, we made it. I’m thoroughly exhausted, and I have more questions than ever, but I’ll keep this re-accounting of events short.

As soon as we finished the teleportation, we landed in a plain. The air was slightly thinner, and in the behind us was a mountain range. The clearing was not empty, and as soon as we landed on the ground, a bunch of people panicked. Some ran off, while others looked on. I cried out for help, but they didn’t seem to understand anything other than the word ‘help’. So I ran over and begged the first lad for aid, who luckily seemed to understand a little bit of what I was saying. Speaking in a dialect that I did not understand, he instructed the folk to check on us, which resulted in them creating a makeshift stretcher for Ana, which she was hoisted up and away on. On the way, the lad introduced himself as Ulriel, who stopped the bleeding with basic healing magic. I thank him, and introduce myself as Pirean Stenard, a traveler with his apprentice who happened to meet an accident. Ulriel nods, and claims that while he’s not good at healing magic, that his master would help us much more, but the wound seems much better than when we were out in the water. A ten-minute walk downhill takes us to a small village, during which we made small talk. Apparently, we were in the western mountains of Vanar, three days travel from the sea, near a small village named Heija (Hei-ya), easily a week’s travel from Theon.

Theon. That’s where we were supposed to be headed.  Also known as the western capital of Vanar, Garrick’s contact resided in the third floor of the city’s clock tower/mage guild. I’ve never known much about Vanar, only fragments from rumors, but apparently Vanar was a relatively peaceful nation, known for its prodigious mages and craftsmanship of fine things. That secured it trades with neighboring nations Lanthara, Surtnar, and the free nations of Othnam, but somehow managed to trade with Yarmathia, which was halfway across the world. Hearing that, perhaps Ulriel’s master might be a master at the healing arts, but our pace, brisk as it was, was not fast enough when Ana’s life was on the line. And as soon as we arrived in the village, outside Ulriel’s master’s dwelling, we were welcomed in and Ana immediately taken into the back room for treatment.

Which leaves me here, a day and a half later. Ana’s wounds have been closed up, and she’s been asleep for the entire duration. She sleeps soundly, like she did when she was younger, not that she was one for tossing and turning.

I remember when I was called in to the back room by Ulriel’s master, a middle aged woman named Sariel. Seeing her lying on her front, bandages all over her upper torso, I had a shock. Ana had several lines of runic tattoos on her left side, black in their dormant state. Running from her right hip all the way up to her left scapula was a vicious scar. What did she go through for all that to happen? Now she had another one to add to her collection, with that near fatal wound that she suffered on the ship fight. From what Sariel told me, it seemed as if Ana would be in a coma for a few days, describing that as a result of chronic mana burnout, but otherwise perfectly fine. I bit my tongue, not sure if I should tell them about the hazards we faced.

I can’t do much other than worry, and so I try and organize my things. Miraculously I’ve managed to save some travel documents (albeit waterlogged), this journal,  although the earliest entries have been ruined, but some of the later ones are barely readable. More importantly, the crystal shard still remains. I look at it, color-shifting in the light of the bulb in the room, and cannot help but wonder if those creatures could possibly be after this.

I mean, Ana did teleport us here from the middle of the ocean. We could have avoided all of this, if only we teleported straight to Theon instead of taking that accursed vessel to its doom. I had my secrets, and she had hers, too. I’m honestly worried if it’ll cost us someday.

On second thought, maybe I should tell Sariel and Ulriel about the horrors we witnessed.


A rap on the door distracts Heimler from his journal entry. Opening the door, Sariel enters, a delicious, herbal aroma preceding her entry. Heimler closes his journal, and turns around to receive the bowl of soup.

Thank you, Sariel.

Heimler sips the soup. A multitude of herbal aromas tingle his tongue, lending an exotic taste to the venison. It might even be his new favorite dish. Sariel nods, and tends to Ana. Removing the covers, Sariel hovers her hand over Ana’s sternum. Without any incantation, Sariel’s hands glow green as ethereal runes form over her forearms, like a large glove. The glow pulsates for a moment then stops, the runes disappearing. Sariel turns to face Heimler, brown hair framing a face that had a strange timeless beauty to it, those lime green eyes boring into Heimler’s soul. 

She’ll be recovering faster now. 

How much faster?

She’ll wake up tomorrow, right as rain.

Sariel sighs deeply.

I would love to help you more, Dr. Heimler, but I apologize in advance for this. You’re going to have to leave tomorrow. 

Coincidentally, Heimler was about to tell her about the crystal abominations and how they couldn’t stay. He nods, a grim expression on his face.

Wait, how did she know his real name? He never told them. 

I know what you saw, and nobody should have to live through that.

I never told you my name.

You never needed to say anything, I would have known either way. 

Did you just read my mind?

Your daughter’s tag says it all. 

She holds up a tag, an intricate diamond-shaped metal shell the size of a digit with a turquoise, diamond shaped core. Sitting in the middle of Sariel’s palm, a soft infusion of mana into the tag causes a small, holographic list to appear in thin air. On the list was all of Ana’s details; surname, birthday, age, blood type, relatives… 

You are a fortunate one, Dr. Heimler. You have a beautiful daughter, a noble cause for research, and a second chance at redeeming the mess you made out of your life. Not everyone gets that.

I-

You are a kind soul at heart, so take pride in that you do, Dr. Heimler. But know this; you tamper with forces far beyond your comprehension.

Sariel gets up and heads for the door. Opening the door, she looks back, a somber, pained expression on her face. In that moment, Heimler senses it; Sariel seems far more ancient than an ordinary middle-aged mage.

I’m truly sorry, but I cannot help you much more than this. What I can do is buy you time for now. Honestly, you deserve a chance at happiness, and that answer may sometimes not be what you think it is.

Thank you for all your help. I’m eternally grateful.

Aishthela-Ifranah, may the stars watch over you.

The door closes, leaving Heimler alone with his sleeping daughter. Their journey up till now was not mentioned on Ana’s tag, nor did he say a thing about those abominations. Heimler sighs, then starts packing their remaining belongings in earnest. He holds the crystal sample in his hand, feeling its heft and potential, then brings it up to the light in the ceiling, allowing it to drink in the energy from the light. Strangely, he doesn’t feel worried, acknowledging that there were things beyond his control. The present was all he had, and making the most of it, he sets to work with a new focus, augmenting his shirt to make up for his lost travel cloak.

Sariel did read his mind after all. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evryn, Fiction

Dr. Heimler’s Journal (10)

Three things happen.

The first: pain. Searing pain. Appendages attach themselves onto Heimler’s temples, their touch burning like white hot needles being slowly, painfully pushed into his skull. In the space of a second, the pain intensifies a thousandfold in his head. Heimler tries to scream, to move, to squim, to struggle, but the immobilizing beam renders his body useless, the output portion of his entire nervous system compromised and rendering him only able to feel the pain. Touch, smell, sight, taste, hearing, all of it was irrelevant, insignificant in the face of the excruciating pain that lit fire in his entire system. Factually, it lasted for a second, but in that excruciating amount of pain, that felt like an eternity. The pain suddenly gone, Heimler almost loses consciousness, only to be jolted back by a familiar sight.

The second: images. The moonlight on Dina’s face before their first kiss; their passionate, fiery lovemaking on the roof outside their newly built home in the midnight; the mad panic as Dina went into labor, and the relief and joy when Ana came into this world; their family celebrating the moonlight festivals with the neighbors, the adrenaline as they did it in the backyard again halfway through; the pride when Ana completeded her first triathlon; the fights that Ana had with her mother as a teenager, then making up afterwards; Ana excelling at sports events that he and Dina would always attend, the surge of pride and joy that came with wins and consolation and pride with the shortcomings. Heimler experiences every significant memory and sensation in his short life, and like someone making a bad film out of it, he was forced to watch it all, knowing the inevitable was coming: the day he opened that goddamned letter. Like somebody opening the floodgates in his subconscious, joy, pleasure, surprise, disgust, turn into fear, shame, anger, and depression. The memories end with Heimler watching himself fighting like a berserker on the lifeboat to protect his daughter from abominations. Ana- Like wiping away a stain, the images, thoughts and emotions fade, leaving only darkness. A tiny, soft, orange, infernal glow pulsates in the dark, like a slow heartbeat. ‘Come’. A dark, rumbling voice echoes as the glow glows larger, and a speck of black appears in the middle of the glow. ‘Closer’. The voice softens into a whisper as the glow expands, and the speck of shadow grows into a humanoid form. ‘Help me-‘. The voice takes on a more familiar feminine characteristic, the halo intensifying as Heimler is pulled towards the shadow. ‘Release me-‘. The orange glow turns into an inferno, and the shadowy figure raises both his hands, and Heimler feels an icy cold in the depths of his heart as the hands caress his face, the voice of his own daughter in the inferno echoing in his soul.’Bring me the miraculum-‘

The third: vertigo. As Heimler collapses to the floor of the lifeboat, confused and dazed from the ordeal, like someone waking up from deep sleep. That doesn’t last long however, as a sudden impact throws him off his feet. The cold water shock jolts him fully awake, and he knows that he is underwater. Darkness overhead, Heimler kicks his legs hard as he swims upwards, only to knock his head HARD on the floor of the life boat. Trapped. Panic kicks in. Forcing his mind to work, arms stretch out and feel their way around. Seats. Innards. Corpses. Crystal shards. Ana’s shortsword embedded in the planks. Heimler grabs it in case of abominations, and feels his way up the seats, eventually finding the sides of the boat. The self-preservation instinct kicks in as he hauls himself over the side of the boat, kicking upwards to blessed, fresh air. The sensation of it filling his lungs, the salt water sting in his eyes, the salt on his tongue jolts his mind as he struggles to remember something.

Heimler looks around his surroundings frantically. He doesn’t see her. An earsplitting roar pierces the night, coming from the direction of the ship. Whatever it was, he needed to get Ana out of here. He plunges the shortsword into the hull of the capsized lifeboat, then takes in probably the deepest breath of his life. Diving into the dark, turbulent waters, he struggles to pierce the dark waters with his eyesight. In the depths, infernal orange streaks swam back towards the sinking ship, probably constructs or abominations heading back to the ship for more prey. He wondered if they noticed him. A flash of light catches his attention, followed by a streak of aqua shooting into the depths. Heimler follows the dagger as it returns to its mistress, his legs kicking hard. There! The dagger illuminates a woman, drifting downwards into the depths, blood trailing from her shoulders. The dagger circles its mistress once, then re-sheaths itself in her right scabbard and ceases to glow. Harder he kicks, faster his arms paddle, and his hands close around her arms. Grabbing on tightly, he kicks upwards. His eyes sting, his lungs burn, his right arm screaming out in agony as Heimler struggles to swim up. The weight of his daughter’s life overpowered all sensations, and the pain coursing through his limbs and lungs is nothing compared to what he went through moments ago. That determination in mind, Heimler knows that things cannot possibly get any worse, death the only thing that can stop him. He wants to yell out, but he knows he can’t, the capsized boat is close, and to open his mouth is suicide. A sudden decrease of resistance by his outstretched left hand, and he grabs onto the lifeboat, and pulls Ana’s right arm over his chest as he paddles to keep afloat. Grabbing the embedded shortsword, Heimler hauls the both of them on to the boat. He needs to resuscitate Ana quickly, before she dies from either water in her lungs, or from blood loss. Hands over her sternum, he desperately pumps it.

A flash of lightning streaks the sky, a piercing moment of brilliance against the darkness of the night, illuminating the turbulent sea. The sinking ship listed at a steep angle, and like a grotesque parasite attached to the side of its host, the gargantuan construct half the size of the ship clung on, its core shielded by large crystal panels that doubled as its claws. A flash of intense orange light from its core lanced across the ship at another creature, this one a colossal serpent that rope out of the turbulent waters at the stern of the ship, hitting its torso square on but not having any effect. A roar pierced the night as the serpent unhinged its maw, revealing four rows of jagged teeth, its face splitting into four jaws, illuminated by lightning. Smaller constructs swam or floated around the attacking beast, some of them carrying abominations that fire eye-beams at the creature, some casting their immobilizing beams at the creature, but its sheer size and scaly armor was more than enough to thwart all their efforts. Another concentrated beam of orange light strikes the creature, but it shrugs it off like the rain that starts to pour from the heavens. Another flash of lightning, and the creature rises out of the water, taking the laser with its mid section, it rears its head back and responds with an ear-splitting roar at the construct. The stern of the ship crumples as the shockwave strikes it head-on, shattering windows, ripping out benches, tearing out objects as the wave of destruction travels down the length of the ship.

Even with his ears closed, Heimler feels as if his head is going to split, but he ignores the pain as he tries to illicit any response from Ana. His vision clouds, and red forms at the bottom of his sight as his eyes start to bleed. A strangled cry exits his mouth as he struggles to make any noise, tears running down his face as desperation takes over, his hands pumping harder on his daughter as blood pools from her wound into the ocean.

The sonic attack, or whatever it was, knocks the construct backwards, damaging the integrity of the ship structure further. The difference in their size is further emphasized as the serpent rises higher up in the air, and with extraordinary speed considering the size, its head rockets forward towards the starboard side and under, reappearing portside as the serpent wraps itself around the ship while heading towards its opponent. The construct fires multiple beams at its opponent, but the serpent bursts out from portside and wraps itself around the construct, its fully extended maw closing over one of the panels surrounding the construct’s core.

PLEASE I CAN’T LOSE YOU AGAIN-

Muscles bulge as the creature flexes its titanic muscles, its coils tightening as the ship hull cracks and deforms with astonishing speed. Trapped in the serpent’s coils, the construct is unable to respond as the serpent lunges forward, its jaws tightening around one of the panels of the construct. The maw of the serpent whips backwards, and a giant crystal panel is nothing more than fragments in its mouth, along with all the people trapped in suspended animation within, their fate sealed. The construct seizes this moment, its core blazing brighter, with the luminance and intensity of a newborn star as its infernal orange core shifts to white hot in a matter of microseconds, and a thin beam lances from its core into the serpent’s maw. The beam lance, so bright that everything else dimmed for a second, penetrates the serpent’s head, emerging the back of its head and firing away into the night. The bright white core fades back to orange as the construct struggles to free itself from the serpent’s coils, and the serpent, finally sustaining some kind of damage, rears its head backwards to let out another scream, bioluminescent ichor oozing from its wound and corroding everything (not crystal) it touched. Unaffected by the ichor, the construct frees one of its panels and fires it into the serpent’s maw, only for its foe to catch it in its jaws and crush it. That distraction was more than enough, as the construct regurgitates its core into the air above the ship, swiftly followed by the its two protective panels. Freed from the serpent and having the aerial advantage, the construct starts reassembling its remaining two panels, breaking them down and reassembling them into eight smaller spires that orbited the core. The serpent bellows its fury, and slithers towards the stern of the ship, rearing for an aerial strike as it ignores attacks from the opponent’s smaller brethren. Three of the spires repositioned themselves to face the enemy as the massive construct’s core glows white hot once more. Throwing itself at the construct, the serpent stretches up to 20 meters above the boat, and seemed to be in range to envelop its foe in its jaws. Faster than the eye can follow, a beam lance fires from the construct, striking the beast midsection, burning a hole in the ship, creating massive clouds of steam where the beam struck water. Ichor barely spews from the serpent’s wound, and faster than it can dodge, a fired crystal spire impales the wound.

Ana’s body spasms as she coughs up water and blood violently. Heimler lets out a choked sound as he embraces his daughter.

Ana-

Dad~

Pinned to the ship, the serpent falls short of biting its foe, and its maw thrashes haplessly as the construct fires two more beam lances, one into its body, and another into its jaw, pinning it to the sinking ship. Its foe mostly immobilized, the construct lowers itself above the serpent as two spires orbit towards the serpent’s head. At point blank range, the serpent unleashes another sonic scream, the impact knocking back the construct. Exerting its colossal strength, the serpent frees itself from the ship and slithers into the ocean, the three crystal spire still embedded in its flesh. The construct follows, gliding closer towards the water surface, only to be ambushed by the serpent, and this time the serpent manages to close its jaws around the construct’s core. A sharp cracking sound propagates as the crystal spires surrounding the core are crushed, the construct core glowing white hot in response.

Leaning on her father for support, Ana touches her right scabbard. Her tattoos glow softly, their aqua color reassuring. Her right arm tries to reach for her left side, but falls short.

Lef belt-, pyrmi-

Eyes half closed, barely making the words, Ana spasms as she coughs up more blood, but Heimler understands. He frees the small, palm-sized pyramid shaped object on her utility belt and passes it to her. Ana struggles to even hold it, let alone move it, but she does so, every movement painfully slow. Heimler looks out at the battle between the giants at the sinking ship, only to see another beam lance pierce the serpent and up into the sky, narrowly missing a bunch of orange streaks. His attention is caught by the orange streaks coming their way: smaller constructs and abominations. Ana’s cheek wound glows a soft orange again. Heimler guesses it, and curses under his breath: they marked Ana, and there was no escape.

The quad-sided pyramid crackles with energy as soon as Ana touches it against her right scabbard. Releasing it, it floats above their heads and splits into four pieces, three orbiting their feet and one floating above. A runic circle forms as Heimler instantly recognizes the spell from his limited study of Garrick’s notes: a tier-three Daryean circle. With three rows of teleportation glyphs equally spaced in eight intervals, two rotating counter-clockwise and one the other way, the circle was a  potent teleportation spell, but with Ana critically injured, she might not have enough mana to channel it, let alone control it. They would have to gamble it; anywhere was better than right here, right now.

An abomination hangs from the appendages of a mono-eyed construct, screeching as it came within range of the father and his daughter. Its chest open, core exposed and charging with energy. Behind them, the serpent had taken more injuries; their unlikely savior was losing the battle against its smaller foe.

How long more, Ana?!

She passed out.

Heimler positions his back to shield his daughter from the incoming attack. A blinding white light envelops Heimler, with Ana in his arm. He raises his free arm instinctively to shield her in his embrace, and jams his eyes shut against the blinding light. A rush of wind whips past them, and everything is silent.

 

Evryn, Fiction

Dr. Heimler’s Journal (9)

Abominations corralled a small group of people against a wall, trapping them. A group of mono-eyed constructs drifted towards them, resembling unearthly cepholopods from a distance. Picking a victim each,  a beam radiates from their eyes and bathes the chosen person’s face in their gaze. Enthralled and utterly incapable of resisting, three tentacles from the one-eyed constructs pierced their temples, seemingly draining something from their host, spreading infernal-orange cracks across skin wherever they touched. Their victims’ jaws then went slack, and faster than the eye can see, they forced their way into their mouths, their victims’ throats and chest bulging from the foreign body within. A second of spasms ensued, during which the chest of the host glows yellow, with crystalline spikes developing randomly on the host, squirting blood everywhere as flesh is re-purposed into new form. One host body, however, seemed incapable of supporting such changes, evidenced by it collapsing to the floor, a bloody mess of crystal spikes and mutilated internal organs. Those were the lucky ones.

A man gets up and lunges at one of the abominations, landing a solid blow across the remnants of a face. Unfazed, the abomination retaliates with a spike in the man’s throat, then signals for one of its one-eyed brethren to join it. Removing its arm from the throat, the man collapses to the ground, only to be set upon by the one-eyed construct. Beaming in the man’s face, it only takes a second’s moment of hypnotism for the creature to force its way into its new host through the wound in the man’s throat. Another host completes the same transition, the eyes now orange, and screeching in an incoherent language, the newly born abomination joins the ranks of its brethren, its new form moving with unearthly fluidity, albeit its head barely hanging on. The whole transformation process takes lesser than three seconds, and the rest of the ship crew seem fated to join them, except that there were more people than constructs. Even so, the processing was methodical but bloody, like a slaughterhouse. Some one-eyed constructs just attacked their hosts, not bothering with a beam and just forcing their way into their hosts’ bodies. Many of the others were beamed up for a precious few seconds, but their end was all the same. Muffled screams were the end of the process as the abomination forces ran out of constructs to impregnate their victims with, and the remaining humans were led away to an unknown fate.

The ship’s tilting had stopped, but it was from behind the minibar that Heimler witnesses the entire scene. They had slid a short distance before falling straight into the minibar, where they managed to hang on and hide. Using her legs to wedge herself between the counter and the wine racks above her father, Ana sifts through the pouches on her waist, looking for something. 

There’s about 16, I don’t think you can take them-

Shut it, deadbeat. I’m trying to get us out.

Ana fishes out a couple of pills, which she gulps down with the help of some Lantharian gin. The cut on her cheek was bleeding, the wound refusing to close, and for second it glows a searing orange. Gritting her teeth, Ana endures the fleeting sensation as her father keeps a lookout.

Two incoming.

I know.

Do we just run for the lifeboat?

Not yet.

Ana claps her hands together, then whispers-

Homnium Geminus 

Ana lifts her left hand up, and her figure blurs for a second. A slightly translucent image of her appears and lifts off her form, which then grabs her dagger from the right scabbard. A glow then envelops the dagger edges, forming Ana’s kama as the mana blade reforms. Identical in every aspect, the clone Ana then dashes out from behind the minibar and runs upwards towards the wreckage of their room, kama in hand.

Now we go.

Looking at the reflection of the deck to make sure that the abominations had their attention captured, father and daughter crawl out of their hiding spot, making their way down towards the nearest lifeboat. A crash from behind, and the abomination that Ana ‘defeated’ earlier bursts out of the wreckage of the room, lashing out at the clone. Nimble as she was, the doppelganger dodges and leaps higher. Ana looks back and sees the sixteen to one ratio, casts a spell.

Siérhe Strom!

As Ana completes her incantation, a storm of fiery arcane missiles projects from her clone’s left hand, striking its pursuers. A combination of acrobatics and nimbleness keeps the clone from harm, as the fiery missiles track their targets and explode in their faces. Crouching on a railing, the doppelganger waits, and barely dodges an arm missile as the smoke clears. Clearly, these foes were far more stubborn.

Taking advantage of the distraction, Heimler arrives at the lifeboat first and starts working on controls to activate the lowering mechanism. Ana stays 5 yards above him and the lifeboat, casting spells by proxy as she mentally directs her doppelganger’s actions. A soft clink from the main ship, and the lifeboat is lowered slowly into the water.

Nice one.

You like it?

Ana flashes a cheeky grin, but then the cut on her cheek glows again. A split second is a short time to react, and just as Ana turns to jump into the boat, a spiked arm buries itself wrist-deep in her left scapula. Her scream pierces the night air.

ANAAAAA!!!

Caught off guard, another projectile grazes Ana’s neck before she hastily throws up her mana shield to deflect further projectiles. Out in thin air, she falls a few meters, only for the fall to be broken by her own father, who leans over the stern of the life boat, grabbing her right hand. Searing pain rips through her form as she pushes her mana shield further from herself, shielding Heimler from projectiles from above. The father quickly pulls the daughter into the life boat. Laying her on her right side, Heimler leans over to grab at Ana’s left side as the abomination hand squirms inside her back. Pulling the foreign limb out of her back, she lets out a cry as Heimler throws the limb into the ocean, coughing out blood and mucus. It wasn’t good. The projectile had penetrated her leather armor and pierced her ribcage, perforating her left lung, narrowly missing her heart by half an inch. Sweat drenched and coughing up more blood, Ana’s complexion was pale, blood and tears all over the right side of her face, a dark red contrasting the thin line of runic tattoos across her left cheek, which were still glowing. The cut from just now was glowing orange, blood seeping from it. And the abomination horde was descending on their position, all thoughts of the doppelganger forgotten.

Fight on-

Which is then that the doppelganger dances past its foes, a trail of carnage blossoming in its wake as the magic kama severs limbs from abominations. Taking up a defensive stance in front of where the lifeboat was, doppelganger Ana lets out a warcry as the monsters charge her position. A crescent kick at the nearest foe sends it flying behind her, and before her foe recovers, doppelganger Ana drives a push kick into its solar plexus, sending it flying off the back of the ship. Taking a large stride back with the momentum of her kick, a one-armed , headless abomination lunges forward, but a quick roll of the shoulders traps the arm, and doppelganger Ana buries the kama in her foe’s chest. The aqua glow of the magic blade intensifies as it drinks the mana from its foe, only to be removed to slash at another nearby foe. A kick dispatches that enemy over the open sea, as the doppelganger uses the trapped abomination body as a meat-shield for eye-beam fire.

Throwing the mutilated abomination at its comrades, doppelganger Ana leaps forward and buries the kama in another foe, the blade glowing in delight as it drained its next victim. Ripping the kama in an arc as it performed another crescent kick, the doppelganger sunders its foe’s torso and left arm, catching the latter mid-air using it as a bat. The sundered core glows from within the abomination, a trail of leaking mana arcing the path of the kama as doppelganger Ana throws it at another foe in the back. The damaged core shrinks into a concentrated ball of pure energy, and pulls the remnants of its crystal endo-skeleton towards it, warping organic matter into energy as three appendages formed around the crystal bits orbiting it. The one-eyed construct squirms out of the mutilated host body, having no more use for it and targets the doppelganger. Beaming at the doppelganger, it’s gaze lands momentarily, only for the kama to fly back like a boomerang strike it, sending it flying away uncontrollably. That momentary immobilizing effect was more than enough, as an arm-blade pierces the doppelganger’s torso, followed by three more as the clone is swarmed by abominations. A scream rapidly dwindles down to a whisper as the image of Ana flickers and disperses into a thousand aqua wisps that fade away. The kama, seemingly with a mind of its own, falls from the doppelganger’s hand and flies back to it’s mistress in the boat below.

Seeing the battle go unfavorably, Heimler pulls Ana’s short sword from her left scabbard. It felt just right, albeit with a little more heft than an axe, a hammer, or a test tube. Wasting no time, he starts hacking away at the ropes connecting the life boat to the main ship. A low rumble, followed by a hum echoes from below as a giant crystal drill the size of a building bursts from the belly of the ship, rearranging itself into a massive construct with crystal appendages. In its crystal components, Heimler sees humans trapped inside like insects in amber, their features distorted with orange cracks across their bodies. The snapping of a rope sends the life boat falling down the final meter and float in the ocean prow-first. The driller construct hums deeply, and the abominations start jumping onto the lifeboat. 

A second rumble cuts across the night as Heimler catches Ana’s kama on its way back to its mistress. All of a sudden, Ana coughs up more blood and her consciousness fades, all the sensations experienced by her clone suddenly returning to her as it fully de-materialises. The overwhelming sensory input puts her out, and the glow of her runic tattoos fade away. 

NO!!

The mana blade in Heimler’s instantly vanishes, leaving Heimler with a dagger instead of a kama in his right hand and a short sword in his left. A series of impacts on the boat, and the abomination horde face Heimler.

COME AT ME!!!

The abominations waste no time charging at Heimler. They didn’t use their eye-beams on him, but it didn’t matter, he was going to take every single advantage he had. Bellowing a warcry, he takes a step forward and bisects the first abomination with a swing of the sword, his recently augmented arm-strength from self-experimentation paying off already. Heimler was on his next foe before both halves from the first creature hit the floor, slashing randomly like a berserker, sending gore and crystal shards flying everywhere. They massacred a ship of three hundred humans in less than half an hour.

THEY HURT HIS DAUGHTER. THEY WERE GOING TO PAY. 

FASTER AND FASTER HE SLASHES, IGNORING THE CUTS AND STABS THE ABOMINATIONS DEALT TO HIM. HE FEELS NO PAIN. ONLY ANGER.

A third rumble echoes through the night as the waters around the boat churn, and the warmth from the crystal sample in his chest pocket intensifies, but Heimler doesn’t notice it all. 

HE MUST KILL THEM ALL. HIS BODY MOVES MORE FLUIDLY THAN IT EVER HAS, EACH STROKE OF HIS BLADE SEVERING ABOMINATION.

An arm missile pierces his right shoulder, but Heimler’s body forces it out, repairing the tissue damage instantaneously. The waves rocking the boat grow stronger, throwing everything on it off balance. He doesn’t notice the pain or the choppy waters, HE MUST KILL THEM ALL. A sharp pain in his chest catches his attention, and Heimler turns around, only to see a crippled abomination impale his chest. He should be feeling pain. He should be dead. He doesn’t feel anything.

LAUGHING MANIACALLY, HE RIPS THE ARM OUT AND BISECTS THE CREATURE. REGAINING HIS BALANCE, MORE OF THEM RUSH HIM, BUT HE DOESN’T CARE. THEY’LL ALL DIE!! EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM!! IT DOESN’T MATTER IF THEY REGENERATE, THEY DIE!! DIE!! DIE!! DIE ALREADY!!DIE-

WHAt-

HE CAN’T MOVE. 

Behind Heimler, a mono-eye construct beams him up. Immobilized and unable to retaliate, he is slowly being turned around to face the construct. He knows that once the construct looks into his eyes, he is as good as dead. He wills for more power from the crystal sample, but berserker strength didn’t matter at this point. His limbs were dead weights, his balance goes away as he crumples to his knees before collapsing sideways on the floor, at the mercy of the waves. His consciousness begins to waver as an intense fatigue like never before overwhelms him, leaving him prone on the floor, rocking with the choppy waters outside. The only thing keeping him conscious was all the pain that he was starting to feel from his wounds, and the sight of Ana lying on the stern of the life boat, bloody and unconscious. A large orange eyeball comes into his view as a gentle sensation touches his temples. Rocking like a baby in a crib, his life flashes past him, a memory of Dina and Ana cuddling by the fireplace, and his vision fades to black…

…as a fourth rumble came from beneath the waves, followed by an earsplitting roar.

Evryn, Fiction

Dr. Heimler’s Journal (8)

Date: 20/9/1694

Up to this point, Ana and I have only ever engaged in small talk, and I had no idea where to begin. I started out by asking her about the Navori over breakfast, and she’s dismissed them as being a fictional cult to spook people. As a result, I only told her the half-truth of why I left home all those years ago over dinner, leaving out the part of the Navori death threat.

As I finish telling her my story, I’m greeted with silence. She looks at me with a mixture of sadness and utter disbelief, then shakes her head and walks away. I try to get up and go after her, but she’s too fast and out the door, striding on to the front deck. My splitting migraine hits me again and I’m paralyzed due to sheer pain, unable to get off the canteen stool and go after her. When I recovered three minutes later, Ana was still not back, and so I trudged back to our cabin and went to bed.

Four hours later and she’s not back. If memory serves, Ana gives the silent treatment when she’s angry. I don’t blame her. She had every right to be upset, considering that Dina was a mage and that we all could have faced that threat together as a family. Well, maybe she’s pieced two and two together and thinks that I’m a complete idiot, or deadbeat; the irony of being a scientist and spooked by a fictional cult to abandon my family. Godammit, that was the lowest I have ever felt in 8 years time.

I didn’t feel like going after her, not in my current condition. My head still hurts a little ever since I woke up, and I want to do some tests on myself using the samplnfFyfKYdkh,


A sudden impact sends the ship rocking portside.

Belongings, notes and clothes lie scattered round the room, like a storm just tore through it. Heimler gets up on his elbows, only to notice that the floor is slanted at an angle. 

Outside, screams could be heard from the occupants of the ship as the increasing gradient  pushes the ship towards the starboard side. Heimler looks out the open door on the opposite side of the room, only to see people losing their balance and sliding downwards towards the water. Grabbing onto the open window next to the table, he hangs on, only to see the crystal sample fall off  and slide down the room, joining his journal and notes. 

The screaming intensifies outside just as Ana leaps into the room, short sword in hand. Driving the blade into the floorboards, she uses the newly created handhold to swing herself onto the bed right next to her father. 

Are you alright?

What’s going on?!

We’re under attack. 

By who?!

Don’t know, but we need to get off now.

The terrified screams on the front deck died out, replaced by a series of bloodcurdling shrieks. A one eyed construct the size of an arm floated out in view of the window, shining a harsh orange light on Heimler, immobilizing him. Three appendages shot out towards his forehead, each of them glowing with purple energy at the tips, only to be cut off by a glowing kama as Ana leapt towards her father. Shrieking, the creature backs off, releasing Heimler from its trance, and he falls towards the other side of the room. Ana throws her kama into the wall nearby, and grabs her father’s hand while hanging on to the window. It seems to break his trance.

Huh-

Wake up!! We got to leave now.

I-

Save it for later. I’m gonna swing you to the door. We’re gonna run for the smallest lifeboats on the aft side and-

The wall near the door explodes as another creature crashes into the room. Four limbs barely hanging from a sundered torso revealed a molten orb at its open center, a horrible amalgamation of crystalline and organic matter, save for the core. A crystal shard protruded from what used to be a human head, eyes glowing an unearthly orange as crystal spikes grew out of the man’s face. Leveling its gaze at the duo, a left arm digs into the floorboards as the abomination grows spikes from its right arm. The right arm detaches from the abomination-

What the-

Watch out!

-and shoots towards Ana as the abomination leaps towards Heimler. 

Heimler lets go of Ana’s hand, and falls towards the wall behind him, one thing on his mind.

Letting go of the window, Ana kicked against the wall, dodging the arm-missile and launches herself at the abomination. Runic tatoos glowed emerald as a translucent shield projects from her outstretched left hand. Shaped from hundreds of hexagons, the mana shield as tough as surtnarian maculite, yet weightless and twice as effective produces a resounding crack as Ana collides into the abomination, sending it crashing into the back of the room four yards from where Heimler was, and hangs on to the shortsword she planted earlier. 

What was that for?!

Before Heimler could reply, the right arm missile retracts towards its owner as the abomination clawed upright, if that was even possible given how slanted the ship was. Without even waiting for the detached limb to reattach, an unmistakable snap came from the abomination as its head breaks off and floats towards Ana’s right flank, firing a concentrated eye beam at her. Ana propels herself towards her glowing kama by the window, parrying blows with her gauntlets as the abomination leaps into melee range. Trapping a right hook from the abomination, Ana slices off its spiked arm with her magic kama, the blade glowing brighter as it drank in its victim’s mana. Too late to block the incoming retaliatory slash from her left, Ana dodges back, but a searing pain across her cheek meant that she took a hit. Noticing the severed right arm in her hand trying to slash at her, and the floating head re-positioning to get a better shot at her, Ana throws the arm at the floating head, sending it spinning away. A back thrust kick sends the rest of the abomination flying across the room, away from her father. That gave her time to recover, grabbing her travel cloak off the floor, and sheathing her short sword and kama. 

A shriek. The abomination’s parts start reassembling while firing eye beams, but Ana tanks it with the brunt of her mana shield, and raising both hands, she yells:

SIÉRHE!!

Pyro-blasts erupt from both of Ana’s hands as she fires at the abomination and at the wall behind her father. Two holes the size of a bed tear open in the room as the abomination is blasted outwards. Taking advantage of the chaos, Heimler scrambles for his journal and a precious few notes. Tucking them in his shirt, he runs over his important things mentally, and is missing one particular crystal. He crawls back into the wreckage of the room, frantically searching for the crystal sample.

What are you doing, dad?!

A loud crack pierces the room as the abomination leaps back into the wreckage of the room, its organic components still on fire, revealing a misshapen crystal endo-skeleton beneath. The shriek dies down as Ana’s fire burnt away the abomination’s throat, but the creature carried forward, apparently incapable of  feeling pain.

There! In the rubble of the drawer, a soft glow shrouds a crystal, the sight unmistakable. Heimler grabs the crystal as the abomination leaps towards him, only to receive another pyroblast from Ana, staggering it but not taking it out.

Heimler barely manages to shove the crystal sample into his jacket before Ana grabs him by his left arm. With what little strength had left, she pulls him clear of the wreckage and tosses him out the opening in the wall onto the slanted deck. All the while, the tilting of the ship only worsened, and incapable of balancing, Heimler slides down the deck, followed swiftly by Ana. The creature tries to follow, and is hindered by the table in the room crashing into it.

My God.

As they slid down the deck, the scene that beheld them was something out of a nightmare. 

 

 

 

 

 

Evryn, Fiction

Dr. Heimler’s Journal (7)

The rising sun illuminated the room, casting a soft, yellow light on everything it touched. Sunbeam in his face, he rubs his eyelids and yawns. He is greeted with soft, brown hair that glowed a beautiful ochre in the morning light, messily framing a pretty oval face a few inches from his.  

Life is good.

His right arm numb, he sneakily loosens it from the pillow beneath her head. His left arm reaches behind her back, feeling the warmth of her flesh beneath his touch. He pulls her closer, not that they weren’t already right next to each other, and nuzzles her on the forehead. Eyes still closed, she flashes a lazy smile. He prods her cheek, she grunts. Typical Saturday mornings; she won’t be getting up anytime soon. 

Can you get the postt? I’m expecting that invitationnn~~

Only if you fix breakfast~

mmmmhmmmmm…

Someone’s being a bad girl.

He tickles her vigorously.

Sthapp~

Breakfast 😛

mmmmmhmmmmmm~~~

A peck on her cheek and her reciprocatory grin seals the deal. He gets out of bed and walks out of the room. 

Mug of coffee in hand, he walks out to the front door. Alirean lilies dotted the front yard, their soft, purple and amber glows from male and female flowers respectively fading in the morning light as the flowers slowly closed shop. The hilly landscape ahead was scarcely dotted with houses, and the mist was slowly rolling out from the depths of the hills. Lively birdsong sounded from everywhere a sign that the Alirean valley was coming to life, ready to begin a new day.

Ten paces places him in front of the mailbox, where he peers into the mail. Sifting through them as he walks back to the house were three letters; the expected invitation to the neighbors’ Yue’da moonlight festival next week; a letter from the local school, and an unmarked letter.

He opens the last letter, the cover a sturdy paper of pristine quality, but with no decorations, markings, or words. Its only content was a slip of paper, and the only thing inscribed on the paper was a symbol. An eye with reptilian pupils leaked a tear that curved in the shape of an s, topped with a triangle above the eye itself. The symbol had a rainbow hue to it, but as he stared, it took on a shade of pitch black, then the tear started bleeding downwards, the black transitioning to blood-red. The symbol then lifted off the paper, slowly dissolving into jet-black  vapor that dispersed into the morning air, leaving only the blood-red trail on the paper.

The Navori were supposedly an urban myth, a tale to scare people. The only known thing about their cult was their symbol, which guaranteed death for the individual who saw it bleed.

His clients weren’t supposed to be shady, or were they? That would explain the fact that members of his team disappearing on a monthly basis, never to be heard from again. Whatever it was, apparently it was far too deep, and they didn’t want loose ends. How were they even working for the Navori in the first place? How did they know he lived here?

When would they strike? Today? Next week? A month, like what happened to his friends? A year?  His blood runs cold, all the sleep gone from his system as his mind went into overclock mode.

All thoughts of a lazy Saturday out the window, he runs back into the house. He runs past the smell of freshly cooked omelettes drifting from the kitchen, dropping the letters on the table. Rushing into their room, he throws open a suitcase, then runs into the study and starts gathering research papers, clothes, and notes. The commotion isn’t unnoticed as she peeks in.

Fuck, fuckfuckfuckgodammit!!

What’s the matter?

Uhm, I need to leave now, urgent, late for a meeting, I’ll be back in abit.

How long will you be gone for?

It’s urgent, but I need you both to stay safe for me alright? I don’t know how long I’ll be gone, probably a month, but I’ll be back, I promise.

What’s this about-

I can’t tell you, but I need you to trust me when I say I need to go now!

Hey-!

He grabs her by the shoulders, and glares into her eyes.

Dammit, I want to tell you but I can’t, so God help me, swear that you’ll keep yourselves safe!!

I promi-

That’s all I need. I love you.

The bewilderment on her face barely registers before he drops a quick kiss on her lips, and he was down the hallway the next second. The man, in his rush, bumps into a teenage girl, the splitting image of her mother. 

What’s the rush?

It’s important, I’m erhm, late for a meeting…got to go, I’ll see you later!!

Shrugging, she said; I’ll see you later. Love you.

He was already out the door, the ground disappearing beneath him in rapid paces. He needed to be anywhere but here. It wouldn’t make a difference, but he needed to disappear, and quick. Yarrmathia? Lanthara? West Surtnar? It didn’t matter, he kept running, even with the sharp morning air searing his lungs, he ran, knowing that to stop was to embrace death, to turn back was to put his family in danger. He ran, knowing that his work had cost them all far too much. He ran until his legs gave out, crashing him into the dirt, but he picked himself up and forced his exhausted body to keep moving. He ran, and with coin he bought a strong graght, and riding on the beast he headed for West Surtnar.  

Life just went horribly south, and so Pirean Heimler disappeared off the face of Evryn.


Date: 19/9/1694

My ‘gone for a while’ was 8 years ago. The Navori haven’t come for me yet, unless that letter was some sick joke, or that they were biding their time, ‘toying’ with their food. 8 fucking years is a long time for a death threat to come full circle. Goddammit, I have lived like a rat, going by aliases and living in highly guarded institutions. My considerable wealth was depleted to keep my cover, to go places, to disappear. Then I arrived in Anaya a year ago broke, and literally begged Garrick to take me in as I helped with research. No one would be looking for Toomis, a haggard, tanned, long-haired man who was a shadow of who I used to be. The Anayan Research Institute (ARI) was secure for my needs, guarded by magical sentries all the time and being capable of transforming into a bastion, and it was close to the capital of Lanthara, which meant reinforcements.

Now on the boat on the way to Vanar, the safety of the Anayan Research Institution lies far behind me. Hoax or not, these thoughts of the letter occupy my thoughts again. Eight years was a long wait, but would the Navori strike when I was out in the open? More importantly, could Ana protect me? Could I augment myself to the point where I become literally unkillable instead? That’s it!!

I don’t care if it that goddamned letter was an actual death threat or some sick joke, screw all the danger the world could throw at me. I had a solution. I’m sick of hiding from unknown danger; COME AT ME. I will not stand for letting my family down a second time, and Ana deserves to know the truth of why I left home eight years ago.

Yeah, I’m gonna do it. Eight years’ worth of atonement had to start somewhere.

And this time, time is on my side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evryn, Fiction

Dr. Heimler’s Journal (6)

Date: 17/9/1694

What does it mean to be filled with hope? I’ve always been an atheist, ask me about miracles a week ago and I’d likely invalidate your argument in the worst way possible.

I don’t know if its the start of a paradigm shift, but from the ‘miracle’ crystal sample, to my daughter showing up as her assignment, to being able to enjoy Anayan chicken stew again, my mind might just start to change. Honestly, I’m undecided. As cynical as I am, I’m still careful while I conduct my research, and I question the motives of the powers that assigned Ana here. I initially thought that Garrick arranged for a Spellblade to accompany me to help with my research. How did he know about the significance of my research in the first place when I’ve only discussed the sample with him once? Was Ana here of a Spellblades’ assignment, or was it an order from the Grand Council of Mages? Does Ana even know the significance of my research?

I don’t really know what to do about all these questions, and so I think I’ll stick to my current option: travel to Vanar, play dumb, see what I learn, maybe I can even turn things to my advantage. Uncertainty fills my path ahead, but while I catch up with my daughter, I can perhaps learn something about my current circumstance. What is certain however, is my shot at being able to make a difference in the scientific and magical communities, and my second chance at being a father to my not-so-young-anymore Ana. To those glimmers of hope, I say: we take those.

Speaking of my experiments last night, I conducted the first human experimentation. If my hypothesis from the mice experiment was right, it should not go wrong if I concentrate properly.


Human experimentation notes #1                                                                                  16/9/1694

Subject: Pirean Heimler (me)

  1. Heat crystal sample up in warm water.
  2. Expose left arm to warm crystal for 30 seconds, concentrate on improving grip strength. Handle with right hand, use glove.
  3. Wait and see how it turns out. Get a towel to bite on in case it hurts. Painkillers on standby as a last resort.
  4. Clean up thoroughly afterwards.

Observations (luckily I’m right-handed):

Feeling a strange, tingling sensation in my left arm. It is not uncomfortable, but it seems to get more itchy. About 10 seconds pass, and now my aRm hUrts LiKE HeLl, LiKe smTH iS crUsHinG Tt. N0anMnWghjkTmsdg

Writing this after the pain subsides, which was about three minutes after exposure to the sample. The pain feels like something in my arm is being crushed at first, then as time passes it feels as if a thousand white hot needles are being jabbed into my arm. As quickly as the second sensation appears, it subsides, replaced by fatigue and soreness, like when I exert myself through overexercising. Apart from the skin on my arm rippling slightly throughout the process, there are small visible changes after that.

Results:

Writing this the next day (17/9/1694). My arm feels weird. I am definitely not used to this degree of vitality or strength in my movement, evidenced by a broken cup when I gripped it a little harder than usual. From my guess, it seems that my left forearm strength has been improved by about threefold. My left arm also appears more muscular, with several veins popping out (reminds me of when I was Ana’s age). This will take some time getting used to.

Conclusion:

If what this test shows is true, then it seems that the crystal sample allows me to reverse the effects of aging, and I cannot stress how much that it feels like playing God to a certain degree. Whether the crystal can prolong life by exposure through the constant reversal of aging requires further testing.


Turns out, it worked, although it will take some time getting used to. Since I dislike imbalance, I repeated the same on my right arm, so that it does not look out of place. I can attribute my strength to carrying alot of stuff in my time in Anaya as an excuse. Maybe I should repeat the same on my infrequent headaches which were the last of the annoying symptoms from a few days ago, while the rest seem to have disappeared. Maybe I can be a magical healer of some sort, too? That wouldn’t be too bad either. Fingers crossed, hopefully Ana doesn’t notice anything.

Speaking of Ana, she seems ever-so-slightly excited to teach me the basics of magic, using Garrick’s scryfer as a textbook. I’m really looking forward to that, father-daughter quality time. I’m wonder, does she not have any resentment towards me, leaving her and Dina all those years ago?

“You had your work ahead of you, and while I hated you then, I learnt to forgive you for it. I’m giving you a second chance, but if things were the same as 8 years ago, we’ll part ways for good once this is over.”

Going back to being all cool and calm, a croquette vendor caught her attention and she started being curious again, just like when she was younger. I’m going to hold myself to this promise: to be the father she needs, because we are the only family that the other have. I smile at the thought of our family, and with a literal elixir of youth contained in my bag, I sip my cup of tea and savor a moment on the front deck. We leave for Vanar tomorrow.

Maybe that’s what hope is, a guiding beacon of light in a sea of uncertainty. Faith that all things will turn out alright.

Evryn, Fiction

Dr. Heimler’s Journal (5)

Date: 16/9/1694

I would confidently say that I’m not someone easily surprised. The past few days have proven me wrong and today was no different.

Having barely an hour to pack my belongings as soon as I was released from confinement, I only managed to grab the bare essentials and my travel cloak before running down to the lab to grab the crystal sample. Meeting Garrick by the main lobby, I was introduced to my companion from the Spellblade Order.

Slender with a well built figure, with hands on her hips, she stood tall and proud in her purple and gold travel cloak and light runic armor. Twin runic blades sprouted out of scabbards on her waist, complimented by an array of pockets possibly containing magical artifacts of her own. Taking off her hood, brown hair tinged with white streaks tied loosely in a braid complimented a slightly tanned oval face. Dilated pupils framed by green irises poked out from under close-set eyes, and her thin lips were open in an unmistakable sign of surprise.

She may have white streaks in her hair, a line of small runic tattoos running down her left cheek, but otherwise was the very splitting image of her mother, Dina.

“Dad?”

“Ana…”

Eyes like mine stared at each other, an awkward few seconds of silence passing between us. I don’t know ho to put it, but my mind went blank at that moment. Stepping forward, she embraced me tightly; 8 years apart was a long time for a daughter to be away from her father.

Pleasantries were exchanged with Garrick, and without further ado, we set off for the Anaya town square. Turns out, it was her first time in Anaya so I took the pleasure of showing her around. From the arcane statue in the middle of town to my favorite restaurant in town, we settled in there and talked over Anayan chicken stew.

Ana left home with Dina at 16, and spent 4 years completing her studies while working to support her mother, who had contracted magiseptsis* a year after our divorce. While I moved over to Lanthara to conduct more research, she was already moving up in the world of magic as Dina’s apprentice. 3 years after she left home, Dina passed away and Ana chose to join the Spellblade Order after the funeral. Not long after that, she passed the trials and became a full-fledged Spellblade herself, her first mission being the take-down of an illegal arms smuggling ring in Yarmathia. Taking on several more assignments with her team, her last mission was the containment of the beast that caused a disaster in Surtnar, and now she’s here to accompany me on my research trip to Vanar.

I didn’t know how to properly process it all. She had been through so much, and I wasn’t there for her. I think of the letters from Dina in the first two years that I never opened due to my obsession with my work, and the stream of letters that slowly trickled to none after the second year. Had I been that selfish, refusing to reach out to my ex-wife when she needed me the most? I feel worthless, sacrificing everything that had ever loved me to achieve recognition in the pursuit of knowledge. I don’t deserve my beautiful daughter, and no matter how much I may try, a part of me will always feel guilty for ignoring my family. For the first time in a long time, I cried.

Now in a room in the inn above, I look at Ana as she sleeps. She’s so beautiful, and it feels like I’m staring at Dina again. A gentle lamp illuminates the room and I’m left alone with my thoughts. Retirement thoughts, starting over in Surtnar, maybe even opening my own research institution? Not sure how I can go about doing it, but if anything would make it possible, it would be the crystal sample in my bag. I think I’m gonna study Garrick’s scryfer, then work on a few more experiments myself. If my research proves right, and that crystal allows me to play God with matter, then it IS the key to my redemption. With it, I will make the greatest scientific and magical breakthrough the world has ever seen, and finally have a chance make amends with the family that I left behind.

Sleep can wait.


Study notes from Garrick’s scryfer (Historical)

  • The history of magic has been a poorly documented one. Humans have learnt how to wield magic by the end of the third age, and with the present day being the fourth age, we as a species are still relatively young to magic.
  • As far as the first documented use of magic goes, a nomadic people from Surtnar were the first to demonstrate some form of control over magic. The first magic users may have originated in the aftermath of the Sundering**, but the records are sketchy at best.
  • With the rise of the Magyron Empire in south-east Surtnar towards the end of the Third Age, the rate of development of magic was at an all-time high, albeit unchecked. The rampant use of unchecked magic led to conflict with the other nations in east; Surtnar, Zuerta, and Tianzeia as they sought to dominate their neighbors. An internal power struggle between the mages coincided with an attempted coup resulted in a masssive civil war between the dictatorship and those who opposed them in the Magryon Empire.
  • The civil war, combined with the war against Surtnar and Zuerta, resulted in the downfall of the Magryon Empire. Facing two foes and fighting on the inside, the Magryon Empire shrunk to a quarter of what it was, and eventually being driven towards Mount Minomato***. Before the combined forces of Surtnar, Tianzeia, and Zuerta could approach them to negotiate surrender terms with the Magryon dictatorship, the rebels struck first, resulting in the destruction of Mount Minomato and the last of the Magryon dictatorship.
  • In the aftermath of the Magryon war, the mages of Surtnar, Tianzeia and Zuerta banded together and formed the Grand Council of Mages, a governing body to make sure that magic does not run unchecked. Following that, elite mage-warriors from Tianzeia and Zuerta banded together to form the Spellblade Order under the Jurisdiction of the Grand Council.
  • Where the Grand Council oversees the use of magic throughout the world and research on the latest developments, the Spellblade Order acts as a neutral, independent faction in itself until the time the Grand Council has need of their services. Both are based in Deka, and are their own sovereign city state in the Confederacy of Surtnar, but are minimally involved in politics.
  • Despite being 45 years old, some of the notable feats of the Spellblade Order include diplomatic/humanitarian efforts in the north of Yarmathia and Jalantis, and assassination of arcane terrorist Rava the Shifter****. Their most recent endeavor was the imprisonment of a mysterious beast that broke free and wrecked havoc in western Surtnar, and according to official sources the best is currently under study in Deka.
  • The last I heard of the Spellblade Order, they were leading humanitarian efforts in the free lands of Midnor, who happen to be caught in between the warring nations of Vanar and Zuerta.

*Magiseptsis: According to Ana, magiseptsis is also known as ‘Mage’s bane’ in the magic community. It is an extremely rare, incurable disease that attacks the nervous system of a mage, causing excruciating pain whenever they move or cast a spell. Symptoms include fatigue, mana (the mage’s word for energy) burns, extreme fatigue, brittle bones, nausea, vomiting, muscle atrophy, and eventual paralysis in the long run. As far as patients are concerned, there is no known cause and cure for magiseptsis, and treatment only delays the inevitable. The fact that Dina lived for up to two years with magiseptsis is nothing short of miraculous, as normal patients tend to die within a year when diagnosed.

**The Sundering: A cataclysm of unparalleled proportions that tore the continent of Surtnar in half. While records of that time are few and far between, the results of the Sundering can be seen on maps today. The scar left on the world is a massive, continent-wide chasm that supposedly leads into the heart of Evryn known as the Rift, but no one knows for sure. What is known for sure is that the plant life surrounding the edges of the Rift have demonstrated quasi-magical properties, and the area is a well-known mining powerhouse, producing some of the strongest metals the world has seen.

***Mount Minomato: A small mountain that used to exist towards the east of Surtnar and north of where Zuerta is today. The fall of the Magryon empire caused the destruction of the mountain, and today the main bastion of the Zuertan empire rests on top of where the mountain used to be.

****Rava the Shifter: An arcane terrorist that came to power 10 years ago. A former member of the Grand Council of Mages, he left the council and began his acts of terror across Evryn, most notably liquification of entire populations by napalm to prove a point. His claim was that the Grand Council was corrupt and that Surtnar was being corrupted from the inside out, but no one has ever been able to prove it. He was assassinated the night before he was about to liquify the people of Deka. As his name suggests, he was an expert pyromancer, fluids expert, and shapeshifter.