Count your selfs lucky travellers, for you are the very first outsiders to gain a glimpse of the world that is, EXZALIA! This first in a long number of tales, is a short story that will get you acquainted with some of the mechanics of this world. And hopefully, get you excited to unlock the mysteries, experiences the horrors and the wonders of this, never ending world.
Exzalia is a strange and never ending world. Chaotic energies flow from its core affecting all who call this world home. Energy called aether; which can warp reality at a whim. I have traveled this world all my life and have only covered a fraction of its immense surface. I have seen many things, but few as strange as this. Many years ago I arrived at the mountain city of Tesra located in the massive human kingdom of Lore. I myself am only part human my mother being one of the merclan. Ever since I was a boy I dreamed of traveling all of Exzalia; studying and documenting the strange events that happened here daily. On this particular day as I walked through the sun swept city filled with all manner of strange beasts and mounts I came across an alarming sight. A human was tucked in behind a wall peeping out only to keep track of who he was following. His black hair and sapphire blue eye’s betrayed him as a Lorian, but his actions were cause for concern. In the middle of broad day light this suspicious rather thin looking fellow seems to be stalking a child no more than 12. It would do no good to jump to conclusions so I did not call him out, I did however watch.
The girl was a very pretty one with black hair and sapphire blue eye’s however most interesting was not how she looked but how she acted. She had a glazed look in her eye’s, she walked without purpose and her face showed little expression. All in all she looked miserably bored and a little sad. She slowly moved away from the produce she was inspecting and traveled down a gently sloping hill. Her stalker making sure no one was watching slipped away. But I saw where he went and my gut told me something was not right. The mountain city over looked a vast jungle and a dangerous one. Strange beasts roamed under its gentle canopy and only the really adventurous like my good self would dare enter and yet, towards the jungle she went with all the confidence of a hungry dragon. To my surprise her follower seems to have the same intention and it was there that I decided to put a stop to it.
Against city rules I weaved a spell and fired a trail of lightning right in front of the creep. He jumped letting out a yelp and nearly falling over.
“Hold it right there!” I commanded Storming down the road He blushed wildly looking around as if trying to find a place to hide. “All right buddy I have seen you so don’t act innocent.” I said pointing my finger accusingly at him.
“W-whatever are you speaking of?” he said looking flustered. I walked right up to him stared him in the eye’s. His domineer was not one of defiance but of fear a pathetic stance he was in, blushing uncontrollably, looking to the side like a shy school girl I almost felt bad for him, almost. I got up in his face and said. “You’re a pervert aren’t you?” I might of well said the world was ending; the sheer panic in his eye’s was almost laughable. Sticking his lanky hands out and shaking them desperately he said “No it’s not like that! I swear!!!!!”
“Lair, you want to get in her pants don’t ya?”
“What? NO!!!” he was getting even more flustered. I scoffed
“You know what? I’m sending up a panic spell bomb, Once the guards arrive you’ll be fed to a hungry Rackdon.” I began weaving the panic spell bomb, but he weaved faster and countered my spell before I finished it.
“Oh you little horn dog you’re in for it now.” I jumped back and readied myself. “I challenge you to a duel!”
“Huh? Wait I don’t want to fight. Please liste…”
“EAT LIGHTNING!!!!!!” I yelled and blasted him with a beam of red lightning, or at least that’s what I tried to do. He was skilled at manipulating aether and countered my spell again causing me to instead shoot a beam of foam.
“Hold on!” he pleaded, and with great speed tackled me to the ground.
“Ahhh un hand me you horn dog! I will not be your play thing!”
“Will you listen to me!” He yelled so loudly a passing wind seer looked down from above looking slightly scared. An awkward silence followed, a lazy looking beast carrying radish lumbered by. “well horn dog? I’m listening and…you can get off now.”
We sat on a nearby bench watching humans passed us by on their way home riding their beasts. There was a few airmids among the traffic their feathers adding colour to the otherwise black haired blue eyed crowd. “All right horn dog explain yourself.”
“I’m not a horn dog and I have a name, it’s Vash.” He replied looking annoyed.
“Fine.” I said “so tell me pervert, why were you following that little girl.”
“I said stop calling me that!”
“I’m sorry my Lorian must be a little rusty; I thought you said not to call you horn dog pervert. Or am I mistaken?” He rolled his eye’s looking annoyed but still flustered. For a moment we watched more humans on their beasts rushing home, it was evening and Exzalias sun was slowly turning into its moon; orange light slowly turning blue, warm wind turning cool. Finally pervert horn dog…er I mean Vash spoke up.
“I don’t blame you for assuming I had wrong intentions, it’s true that I do love that girl bu…”
“EWWWWWWWWWWW, you nasty.” I wrinkled my nose and made a disgusted face.
“Can I finish? You’re a very rude little merclan child you know that.”
“I’m only rude to people who can’t keep their hormones in their pants. But Fine, finish your defence”
“That girl.” He continued “I knew her when I was only 5. She saved me from drowning in a river, since then I think I’ve liked her. you se…”
“Wait, hold up, stop the dragon. Did you just say she saved you when you were FIVE! You’re at least twenty.” I paused to do the math counting with my fingers. “She shouldn’t have even been born! I knew you were just a sleez bag I just knew it!”
“But it’s the truth! She saved me when I was five…and from that day on I think began falling for her.” I was understandably suspicious. “Just let me explain, you see as I grew older I was eager to reach her age. I loved her since I was 8…but as I grew she, stayed the same.” He turned to me with a sorrowful expression. “When I was ten my parents said they were moving to another province, it was then I confessed my love to her. I promised that when I returned I would marry her, but.” His face became more sorrowful as the sun changed. His hands were between his thighs his head held down. “It’s been ten years and she hasn’t aged, not one day. Looking back, I realize that she looks the same today as she did back then when she saved me.”
“That’s not possible, are you insinuating that she’s somehow…immortal?” Many mages had tried using aether to gain immortality, but not one in all of Exzalia had succeeded. And this man expects me to believe he’s in love with an ageless twelve year old?
“Rrrright, I’m going to send up that panic spell now.” I scoffed. He sighed accepting his fate.
“Go ahead; I don’t blame you for not believing.” He looked utterly defeated and I wondered. Could it be he was telling the truth? He did not have the look of one who would do harm, his eyes were youthful and sad. Perhaps, there was truth to his story.
“Look, say your story is true what were you planning to do?” I asked him.
He sighed, “I just want to figure out what’s going on with her. Is she a ghost? A divine? Is she even real?”
“Then we’ll ask her!” I said jumping up from my bench.
“What?! I-I can’t do that!” he said also jumping up in objection I smirked.
“For a horn dog you sure are shy. I’ll come with you and we’ll get to the bottom of this together.” With that I marched off towards the city with pervert…er I mean Vash in tow pleading that I change my mind.
“Come on just forget about it. Hey just pretend it never happened you don’t have to do this. Look I’ll eve-"I whirled around and poking his nose with my finger I proclaimed.
“Listen up pervert horn dog! If you don’t solve this mystery you’ll never live with yourself. You will go through your entire life wondering what may have been. Do you want that!?” He slowly shook his head, his name drawing stares from everyone on the street.
“Tomorrow we find out what’s up with the love of your life, right when the moon turns back into the sun okay?” He nodded, and then walked away still flushed and awkward, a love struck child he was. Suddenly, he turned as if he forgot something.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
I put my fists on my hips and proclaimed. “I am Tess! The great adventurer, traveling all of Exzalia in my never ending quest to unlock its secrets.” I bowed afterwards drawing more stares from passing people, he smiled at me.
“Thanks Tess, for believing my story.”
“Get some sleep horn dog. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
He left looking strangely happy he was defiantly an awkward guy. One could barely call him a man, still just a boy at heart, a boy whose heart was tied to an ageless girl. I walked back to the inn where I would stay the night Ignoring the drunken laughs and merriment I went to my room. Agelessness, was that possible? I know elves lived a very long time but she clearly was human. I scratched my head; all that I had seen and learned gave me no clues. I crawled into the bed; frustrated with my lack of theories, guess I would just have to wait for tomorrow. I prayed to Origin of all, wrote the days events in my unreasonably large journal, and tried to sleep. But sleep never came; my mind was rife with the possibilities idea’s. What could be the answer? I eagerly awaited the dawn.
The moon shimmered with aether steadily reddening before sending out a blast of light and warmth that signaled the start of a new day. I was up early enough to see it mainly because I barely slept to begin with. I grabbed my inventory case, put on my adventuring gear which was an assortment of cloth leather and pockets, and headed out of the inn. The air was fresh and cool contrasted the warm bright sun. All manner of beasts took their human owners to work and school, and there in the distance strolled Horndog. He wore what looked like his best clothes, Khaki pants with a long silk robe covered in all manner of symbols and colour. Wait, this was traditional Lorian courting attire.
“Dude…you’re not going to marry her yet.”
“I know that!” He snapped sounding more flustered than angry, “Just I want to impress her.” He blushed scratching his head, while averting my gaze.
“Your such a horn dog.”
“Stop calling me that.”
I chuckled teasingly at him and together we set off in search of the ageless girl.
We spotted her sampling fruit at a produce stand. She had that same dead expression on her face. But now she had two stalkers regrettably, Pervert horn dog and I.
“This is so wrong.” I muttered.
“Well weren’t you going to just walk up and ask her mister confidence?” Horn dog was now teasing me. He had a stupid grin; clearly enjoying himself.
“You’re the horn dog, you ask her.” I shot back, and soon we were bickering over which stalker should talk to the damn girl sounding like an angry old couple, a monk waltzing by gave us a weird look stopping our bickering. Looking the other way I whistled as to seem innocent. The monk passed on muttering something.
“Look there she goes!” The ageless one began heading back down the road to the jungle, the fact that she lived in such a dangerous place just added to her mystery. We followed, though Horn dog had was staring second thoughts, he’s such a wuss it’s laughable. We tracked her through the jungle, her strange antics keeping us from simply confronting her. Finally we reached what appeared to be her dwelling, an abandoned temple, in the middle of nowhere. Over grown with flora, this temple could very well be older than the kingdom of Lore its self.
“I’m going to knock on the temple bell, it’s should still be in order. Time to get to the bottom of this.” I said in a strong voice.
“Great idea, go for it.”
We sat there for five minutes, just staring at the bell.
“Well?” Horndog said expectantly.
“Shhhh I’m mentally preparing myself. You know psyching myself up.” Another five minutes passed.
“You’re scared aren’t you?” Horn dog teased. I suddenly sprung to my feet.
“I’m no coward you watch!” I marched straight up to the bell and rearing back I swung to hit it. Just as Contact was made a shrill scream came from inside the temple.
“Did you hear that?” I asked, horn dog had already dashed inside.
The feeling of eather being weaved hit us aggressively; it was not being used to grow flowers of that we were sure. We picked up speed flying down the temple hall ignoring the plethora of strange sights around us. Hurtling a fallen Colum we came upon a desperate sight, three mages dressed in white had surrounded the girl we had been tracking. She raged a desperate battle against them, fighting with a fury we did not think she was capable of.
Remarkably she was holding them off! Blocking and countering their attacks with a masterful command of eather. But it was three to one, and it was only a matter of time.
“Let us even these odds!” I cried and jumped down weaving, horn dog close behind, we jumped dow steep wall and ended up in what appeared to be a partly dried up well, light from the blues sky reflected off the shallow water, a beautiful battle field. The three mages saw us coming looking surprised that their prey had somehow got reinforcements. But we were coming at the tail end of this fight; the girl vastly outnumbered was succumbing to a powerful draining spell. Two males and one female garbed in white robes would make one think they were from a religious order. But they were strong. As quick as they saw us the one closest to us weaved and cast Light arrows, volleys of oversized shining arrows soured across the battle field. Vash attempted to put up a barrier as I opted to roll out of the way, I cast disrupting geyser on my own teammate blasting him out of the way of the deadly arrows which pierced through the wall behind him.
“Don’t try and block those; they go through shields!” By the time I warned him the man farthest away was upon me charging forward wielding a deadly enchanted blade, He swung at me with speed, I however was faster and easily evaded his strikes. But I needed to gain distance, I had no blade to fight back and every second wasted left the girl weaker and weaker as the third one continued to drain her.
As he came with an over hand swing I stepped in catching his blade strike by grabbing his wrist, Weaving quickly while my foe struggled to be loosed I let go of him. He jumped back then lunged for me thinking I was open, I cast, “Arcane BOLT!” Red lightning surged from my fingers and through him, stunning his eather and sending him twitching across the well floor.
Bright hot energy exploded from behind me as Vash fought a desperate battle against the other hooded priest mage. A fire bolt had smashed into a powerful barrier made by the enemy, and my foe was already getting up.
“We won’t save her in time.” I had to think quickly, Lunging forward my foe tried to cast another volley of light arrows, I disruptive his weave with the aptly named disrupting gyser, Water again caught him from below sending him in the air. I was too slow and he fired light arrows anyway but now he was spinning off the ground sending stray beams of death crashing everywhere, one of them hit the mage Vash was fighting, slashing his right arm, now was my chance. I bolted forward casting ice drop on the flailing mage. A small fist sized water drop glided through the air hitting him just as he smashed to the ground, an explosion of ice cold water expanded like a tidal wave covering the helpless mage before freezing him solid. As that happened I cast frost beam at the mage fighting Vash hitting him while he was distracted. Vash wasted no time blasting the frozen mage with a fire bolt to the face. It was then we heard a scream.
The third mage, a female was still draining away eather from the girl who was crying out in intense pain. Vash dashed forward while I weaved another spell.
“Leave her alone!” He cried casting a large tunnel of fire strong enough to devour a squad of soldiers at once, never could I have expected for him to wield such power. But this third mage was more powerful than the other two combined, and they were quickly recovering. She weaved eather drain and all the power of Vashes attack became absorbed fueling her, giving her power.
“Vash now's your chance grab you sweet heart and run!” I yelled.
“And leave you alone? I wou-“
“Trust me!” I shot back almost angrily before activating my weave. He dashed forward grabbed the girl and began to run back the way we came climbing the wall of the well frantically as I; unleashed my plan.
I cried, “Summon thunder eel!” Blasting out of my weave a giant serpentine eel shot up into the air screeching with anger. I bolted towards the well wall casting ice drop to trap my pursuers as they charged after me the woman yelling.
“Get them! We need that paradox!” Paradox? She said it with such desperation, no, more like sheer panic, was she referring to the girl? I jumped on the well wall and started to climb.
“Now thunder eel!” A screech then *boom!* the eel let out souring amounts of overcharged lightning and blasted the well floor, which was covered in water! The water sent the bolts directly into the three mages who stood soaking wet. The force of the blast sent boiling hot steam everywhere as all the water instantly turn to vapor, my magic guard barely shielding me from being boiled alive.
I caught up with Vash as we ran through the halls the injured girl on his back. Finally tired from our effort we put her down panting to catch our breath.
“Are they dead?” Vash hesitated to ask. I didn’t answer I was too busy staring at the girl we just rescued, the one they refered to as, the paradox. Was this the same girl? She was much more…bountiful than I remember.
“Where her breasts, always that big?” Vash gave me an annoyed look, “What? It’s a legitimate question.”
“I just find it funny that was the first thing you notice.” He scoffed.
“You’re the pervert not me horn dog. But kidding aside, she has aged, greatly.” It looked like ten years had passed in a few moments. Vash looked at her,
“Good lord you right, she’s aged, she looks about mid-twenties now.” We stared at her in amazement,
“Tess, what the hell is going on here?”
A flash of light snapped us from our ponderings before us the female mage stood angry and panting. She had survived! Amazing her magic guard must be much stronger than most, or perhaps it was just her. We went on the defensive ready to strike her at any moment.
“Give me the paradox child. You are too young to die needlessly.” She threatened scowling.
Before I could respond Vash yelled staring her down like an enraged dog
“Wait what do you mean by paradox? Why don’t we talk about this?” I knew her strength was real, fighting her may be disastrous, but Vash was too blinded by love to realize just how powerful she was.
“l swear to everything holy, even demons will cry when they have seen what I've done to you!”
She raised her hand,
“hold on! Vash cool it let me handle this.” Suddenly the ground began to shake, the sky started to turn strange hews, pink, green, brown. The animals were being thrown into a panic. The mage cursed,
“Another Eather spasm, damn paradox!” She looked down at the two of us in frustration.
“Exzalias doom will be on your head!” With that she weaved and warped away.
The anomalies were happening more violently, it felt like the world it’s self was being torn apart.
“What’s happening!” Vash said sounding panicked.
“Eather spasm…I have read about them before but never thought I would see one. Grab the girl we have to leave now!” Vash ran to lifting her limp body we hurriedly bean running out of the forest.
“The eather is reacting wildly, we better hurry or else!” I yelled as the earth shook, and the sky sweld.
“Or else what?!”
We leapt over a log running through beaten trails as reality it’s self-began to unhinge around us.
“Anything! Eather warps reality, that’s how mages do spells! But an eather spasm happens when eather acts on its own without a mage. Anything could happen, we could spontaneously combust! We could be turned inside out! Changed into sheep!” I kept running behind us a black ball of eather began forming ripping apart everything, trees, animals the ground itself. It only made me run faster, run harder, to be caught inside one of the rarest events in all of Exzalia was awe inspiring, and terrifying. Soon I could see the out skirts of the city, we were almost out of the jungle. I looked behind me to tell Vash the good news. It was only at that moment I realized I was running by myself.
I turned around, Vash was being slowed by carrying the girl who still was not moving, was she even alive? The black orb steadily grew, they weren’t going to make.
“Drop her!” I yelled, He didn’t listen or, did he not hear. I looked to the out skirts of the city, so close we should be safe if we only reached there.
“I said drop her, VAAAAASSSSHHHH! Drop her! Don’t throw your life away! There's no point in you both dying!” He just looked at me his desperation gave way to a contented smile.
“DROP HER!” I screamed, my merclan voice echoed like a siren wailing in the night. I screamed it again and again as the black orb slowly caught up to him, I was so helpless it was all I could do. And then, he stopped running.
He had given up, or perhaps he was just too tired to go any further, sweat streaked down his face, one could see his chest heaving. He set the girl on the ground…and kissed her. The black orb devoured them, and then…. A blast the likes of which I had never seen knocked me off my feet and carried me, tossing me around like a leaf in a storm, I was hurled into the city outskirts. It’s hard describe to you the sound the explosion made, It was not the sound of fire erupting, it was the sound of eather ripping apart the very foundation of reality. A sickening screeching sound with deep rumbles and then, silence. I looked up, the black orb was gone, nothing in that area remained, it was just a crater, and they were gone.
Mass panic gripped the city as I returned; the humans looked with worry as mages from all around came to study the eather spasm that had happened right next to their kingdom. But for the first time I was not excited to see the strange and the wonderful. He didn't even know her, yet he refused to live without her, amazing. “I don’t know much about love, but I think, it may look something like that.” I wiped the tear from my eye, I had to be strong, tears won’t bring them back. Besides, I had my own quest to complete.
I began on my way toward the cloud gate, but my mind was on them. “I promise, I’ll solve the mystery of the eather spasm. For you Horndog,” The sun began changing into the moon as I walked splashing evening colours across the sky. Exzalia is a world filled with mysteries, and tragedies, why had she become ageless? Who was after her? What role did those priests play? And what did the eather spasm do to Vash? Only time would tell.
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