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Elementals Chapter 18

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Chapter Eighteen

Darwin Petral stood at the top of the small hill looking over his home town of Laudrin, enjoying the last of the summer air. Before long his two older sisters, Edwin and Lesa, had come up the hill to grab him for supper. He pleaded with them to stay and watch the setting sun before going home and they obliged in his wishes. Together they sat down on the grass on both sides of Darwin.

Ever since their parents died Lesa had been in charge, she was fifteen when their mom died giving birth to Darwin. Their father had died many years before that though so Lesa was left alone to take care of her younger siblings. It was not too horrible though, Laudrin was a small town with a great community and most people in town shared what little they could with the three orphans so they wouldn’t starve or freeze in the winter.

The orphans tried to help around the town with chores or anything the other townspeople might need to pay them back. Edwin got a job at the bakery and Lesa, when not schooling Darwin, was an assistant to the great magician Talrin. Darwin admired the elder wizard Talrin, he wanted to be just like him one day and Talrin promised when Darwin was old enough he would start teaching him the ways of magic.

To Darwin the day he could start studying magic couldn’t come soon enough, but for that night he would have to dream about being a magician because after supper it was straight to bed for him. That night Darwin dreamt he was in dim grey space, devoid of everything. He hollered in his lungs for someone but no noise came out, only dark ripples among the endless void of grey.

And then a creature emerged from nowhere, it was humanoid and white made out of some sort of buzzing energy. The creature had no face or any detailing structures to it, only a humanoid outline of white mixed with darker shades giving it a more depth of look to it. Faint whispers filled Darwin’s ears as the creature faced him, the whispers grew louder until it sounded like a deep voice echoing in his head.

Darwin couldn’t understand the creature, was this some sort of elemental? He wondered. The whispers inside his head echoed more and more, all of it incomprehensible until finally he understood something. “Seek me out…” was the only thing Darwin could understand properly among all the echoing whispers; when a loud crash sound threw him right back into his body and he was awake in his own bed.

It took him a moment to adjust his eyes to the darkness but when he did Darwin could see part of his roof caved in and large shattered chunks of wood lay haphazardly just a few inches from his bed; he was lucky to be alive. Carefully Darwin crawled out of bed, using the light of the moon leaking into his small home from the open roof, as a guide to navigate safely out from his own room. He nicked himself on more jagged pieces of wood here and there and got some small tears in his cloths, but it wasn’t anything serious.

Outside was chaos, half of Darwin’s town was smashed while the other half was on fire. The townspeople ran around in panic trying to either put out the firers burning down their homes and livelihood, or trying to find their family amidst the chaos. Edwin and Lesa, Darwin suddenly realized his sisters were not around. The worry started to seep into him as he feared for the worst still wondering what was going on.

“Lesa! Edwin!” Darwin screamed at the top of his lungs hoping they would hear him. There was no answer so Darwin ran around in search of them screaming their names now and again. The townspeople all seemed to be heading away from the center of the town and something told Darwin that’s where he would find his sisters, and the answers to what was happening.

At the center of the town Darwin saw it, he saw what the problem was; an elemental. An orange and reddish scaled monster with hollow white eyes, it was four times the size of even a fully grown large man. It had a razor beak and talons for hands and feet, and a long slender neck that stretched out away from its torso.

The elementals focus was on an elder magician and a young woman combating it, distracting it. It took Darwin a moment to recognize the two, they were Lesa and Talrin and they were losing the fight. Darwin started to rush to them not thinking clearly; perhaps he would plead with them to run away since they couldn’t fight the monster. “Run away,” Darwin thought to himself as though somehow his thoughts would reach the two, “run away and live.”

The closer Darwin got to the battle the more his body strangely weighed him down, he wasn’t out of breath or feeling tired, but he felt himself unable to move anymore and could no longer stand. Darwin fell to his knees struggling to keep together as the world around him slowly faded out into nothingness, the noises, the smells, and finally his sight. His final thoughts, “Don’t leave me alone in this world, please.”

The cold hard ground and the smell of something burning woke Darwin up from his deep slumber. The sun was high in the sky, it was midafternoon already. Darwin got to his feet slowly looking around him, unable to fathom the destruction that had befallen his entire town. Most of the buildings had been burned down or run through by the monster from last night and were now nothing more than ruins.

The corpses of the townspeople were scattered around like the scene from a wretched nightmare, but Darwin was awake and he knew it. He managed to look past all the horror around him in search of his sisters, his only family in this world. It was a slow search and each body he checked to make sure it wasn’t Edwin or Lesa only seemed to drive him further away from his shock and into his grim new reality.

Finally he discovered them, the corpses of his older sisters at the edge of town. Their cloths were ragged, torn and covered with dried blood patches all around. Their skin was pale and ice cold to the touch, their faces, looked to be at ease. Darwin collapsed to the ground unable to bear the weight of the situation any longer. His whole world he ever knew destroyed in a single night.

He lay quite between his sisters letting his tears fall as they would, staring off in the distance. The pain of hunger in his stomach eventually brought him back to his senses. And for a while he wondered why bother, why bother living anymore, but he got up all the same in search of food. It was easy enough to find some stale bread in one of the destroyed houses along with a decent water skin half filled.

Darwin decided to wander through the town while eating to try and occupy his mind if even a little. As he did he wondered what happened to the elemental, wondered if Lesa and Talrin managed to kill the monster at the very least. He searched around the town for its body and the more he thought about it the angrier he became. It was all the elementals fault, everything was gone because of those monsters.

He never found the monster, but he did find tracks made from it leading out of town off towards the direction of the mountains. Darwin starred at the tracks contemplating if he should chase after the elemental or not. He stayed in the town, for a time, but as days went on he kept starring out at the elementals tracks and when he realized there was very little food or fresh water left in town he made his decision.

Packing up the last of the food and fresh water Darwin could find, and with two sets of cloths for the cold nights, he set out following the tracks of the elemental. He traveled long hours each day following the tracks and only stopped to eat twice, resting when it was too dark to see the tracks. Over hills and even through a forest Darwin followed those tracks, even when his food and water ran out he carried on until he could go no further and collapsed from exhaustion, hunger, and dehydration.

“Will you die here?” A voice asked, whispering inside Darwin’s head. “Will you die here, alone and with nothing accomplished?” the voice continued.

“What else am I to do, I don’t have the strength to continue,” Darwin said his voice little louder than a whisper.

“Would you like the power to go on? Your sisters dead, your town destroyed, and the elemental that did it all still on the loose. I can give you the power to bring that elemental to justice, and more.”

“What is it you want from me?”

“I want you to return here after you have had your revenge. I want an alliance with you so that we may work together to achieve a common goal. So do we have a deal?”

Without any real thought at all Darwin said, “Yes, deal.”

As promised by the mysterious voice Darwin gained a new power, his stamina was fully restored, and his feeling of hunger and thirst gone completely. He rose to his feet without using his hands, and actually floated in the air a few inches off the ground as if it was natural of him to do so, he felt amazing, felt strong.

“Remember Darwin, return here when you’re done.” The voice reminded him of his promise.

“I will,” Darwin said before speeding off through the air, continuing to follow after the tracks left behind by the elemental. He kept going until the sun set, he didn’t need to rest anymore he was so full of energy. Settling down for the night Darwin noticed he could see through the darkness almost as clear as it were day.

He looked up into the night sky, wondering perhaps if it was the moon that was giving off more light tonight. But it was not the moon, for up in the sky the moon was barley a thin crescent shape. Darwin realized this must also be part of his newly gained ‘power’. And so he continued on, following the tracks of the elemental.

Eventually he found the monster near the foot of the mountains resting. Darwin flew up high above it, and letting the same unknown force that guided him in his flight, he channeled his energy through his hand aiming it at the elemental. At first nothing happened, but soon a glowing ball of colors like a rainbow started to form in front of his hand, the ball soon turned into a beam that evaporated the elementals head in one hit; it was dead.

Darwin didn’t stop there, he kept throwing out beam after beam of the rainbow swirling energy, completely destroying what was left of the elemental and even burning through part of the mountain. It was all over so fast Darwin barely had time to feel good about it. With nothing more left for him there Darwin turned back around, slowly heading back to where he was now being called to.

As he made his way following his new calling Darwin began to think, “Why should I just stop at one elemental? I wonder how many towns, and lives were taken or destroyed by other wild elementals. They are evil, they are monsters, that is why we humans become magicians to protect those we care about from the elementals.”

Darwin soon enough reached he place he was being called to by an unheard voice. The area was a large flat circle with numerous dim white glowing lines that all spiraled around forming the circle. It took Darwin some time to recognize the area, he was not paying much attention during his first visit but it was the exact spot he’d collapsed at before gaining his power and hearing that mysterious voice.

Darwin touched down on the ground at the center of the circle and immediately felt a little dizzy and lightheaded. “Hello?” Darwin called out.

“Back so soon?” The voice whispered in Darwin’s head as it always did.

“Yes, and I have made some important decisions while I was gone, but I came to fulfill my end of the deal first. I owe you anything and everything so what is it you want of me?”

A long silence followed Darwin’s question until finally the voice answered, “Tell me first, what are these decisions you made?”

“Alright then, I decided I want to help this world out, I want to get rid of the elementals entirely.”

“And you want to do this by yourself?”

Darwin thought about the question before answering, then he said, “No, but if I must I will do it alone yes.”

“You are young, and with the power I gave you, you could go far with your mission. But there are simply too many elementals out there in this world for you to take care of yourself, and others would only slow you down. You would need over ten life times to accomplish this mission. However I too want the elementals gone from this world for good.”

Darwin sat down; his dizzying sense was getting to him. “Why do you want the elementals gone too?”

“You see it was I who created them in the first place.”

“I… I do not understand what are you talking about. And if what you say is true than what are you and why did you create those monsters?!”

“I am what you might call a creature of the void. When I first came to this world it was so beautiful and so empty at the same time. There was many species here and I was so inspired by each and every one of them that I decided to create my own species as well to live in this world with the others.

“That was a mistake, the species I created, the elementals, after exploring the world for themselves soon decided they wanted it all to themselves and started killing off the other species in this world. I tried to stop them, but that only made things worse and a war broke out. The war nearly destroyed this entire world and my own creations sealed me away in the void so that I couldn’t stop them.

“Fortunately the war did leave them too weak to finish what they started, but they have been gaining their power back slowly over the years. I fear in couple centuries that the elementals will be strong enough to finish what they started and even your Magicians won’t be able to stop them.”

Darwin lay back and starred at the sky thinking, it was so much for him to take in and he didn’t even understand half of it all. Finally he asked, “What is it you’re proposing then?”

“Free me from the void, bring me to your world and together we can get rid of all the elementals for good and bring peace and order back.”

“And how am I to do that?” Darwin asked getting back to his feet.

“It won’t be easy and will take many years, but I do have a plan. We will need to gather a great sum of energy in this spot. We will take it all one step at a time though.”

“Okay what is the first step?”

In answer the white lines on the ground shined brighter and small beams of white rose up to the center of the area, swirling around as Darwin started backing away and out of the circle. The light formed together and out came three hand sized rectangular cards. The cards were pure white front to back and had a light glow to them.

“Take these cards and capture and three elementals with them.” The voice whispered in Darwin’s head. “You must first weaken an elemental to capture it, not kill it. Let your instincts guide you when going to capture them and it should all work out fine. After you have done that practice summoning and controlling the elementals you captured.”

He took the cards and examined them. He wasn’t sure how these cards could do all that, but he had faith in this ‘void creature’ and did as instructed.

As Darwin soon discovered finding the elementals was the easy part, it was capturing them alive that was tricky. Half of the time he ended up killing the elementals, sometimes out of frustration other times out of hatred. But he finally managed to capture three unique ones. Controlling them was a much more daunting task all together.

The moon had waxed and it had waned as Darwin learned to control the elementals and his abilities. The full moon had passed him by a couple times before he had mastered summoning and controlling the elementals. When he was done he returned to what he liked to call ‘the void circle’ where he could talk to the void creature.

“Alright what’s the next step?”

The ground lit up like before and more cards appeared; tens of them. Darwin took the cards and the void creature said, “Now we get the other magicians to help us.”

“And how are we supposed to do that?”

“Simple, first you will go to the largest city on the continent and put on a show. You will display your control of the elementals to everyone convince them that controlling the beasts is the way of the future. You will give three cards to each participating magician and explain to them how the sealing process works.

“Then they will have one month to capture any three elementals they can and they will fight a one versus one match against you using whatever single elemental of theirs they wish. If they manage to kill your elemental then they win and you will reward them the other two elementals you own.”

“What if three different people manage to kill all my elementals and there are others left to fight?”

“If that happens then you will return here first and we will move on to step three immediately, but try not lose even once and make sure to swap around the elementals between fights. Take only one fight per a day, understand?”

Darwin did as instructed once more and was off to the only city he knew of, Wymar. It was located further south of Laudrin with three other towns all within the same region. Finding it wasn’t so difficult just took some time.

As Darwin came into the city he tried to make a nice entrance to get people’s attention. He got it for a short time but getting them to listen was tedious, until he summoned his elementals. For a brief instant the people watching were in panic of the sudden appearance of an elemental, but Darwin swiftly un-summoned them as proof he was in control.

After the crowd calmed down he summoned them again. He summoned all three of the elementals one after another, moving them slowly but in rhythm in display of his powers. The crowd grew rather large before long to see the wondrous child who mastered wild elementals and bent them to his will.

When it was all over Darwin asked for any and all magicians to step forth, to his surprise that was half the crowd. He told them if they were interested in capturing and taming the elementals like he had that they should stay, but if they were not or were simply curious and had no intention of trying than they should leave now. Darwin waited a couple minutes and when none of the magicians left he started handed out the cards to them, there was barely enough to go around.

After all the Magicians got their cards, Darwin began to explain to them slowly how to capture the elementals with the cards. He had to repeat himself several times which annoyed him, but he kept calm about it until finally the magicians felt they understood and he continued on. Darwin issued the combat challenge to them and explained the rules and rewards. The first ones to return to Darwin with all three elementals got the first right to challenge him and so on.

Darwin gave them all one month to capture their three elementals and challenge him. They could get whatever kind they wanted using any method they wanted. He waited around in the city becoming more social with the citizens and even putting on some simple shows for people now and again.

Before too long the magicians slowly returned with their three elementals ready to challenge him. For the safety of the people Darwin took the battles outside the city in an open area where no one could be hiding so they couldn’t accidently get hurt. Of course people were free to come and watch, from a safe distance.

The battles themselves were not really difficult for Darwin, they were not easy but he could handle them. At first his opponents underestimated him because his young age, but he proved his strength to them swiftly. They stopped underestimating him by the third battle but it didn’t make any difference. Darwin noticed that the magicians took time to summon their elementals and didn’t have much stamina to control them, or some were just plain clumsy with them.

One by one he defeated them all until no one was left to challenge him. When that day came Darwin had said his goodbyes to everyone and told them all to practice controlling the elementals while he was gone for he would return soon enough, even if wasn’t sure he would.

Back at the void circle Darwin told the creature of his success, it was now time to move onto step three. Darwin was slowly taught how to create special pillars that were designed to aid magicians in gathering energy from their environment.

“Alright now how is this supposed to help me summon you?” Darwin asked, for the first time questioning the void creature’s methods.

In response nine pillars slowly emerged from the ground all around the void circle, each one a dim color of their representing element. “Because Darwin,” the void creature said. “Every pillar you create is linked back here and a small part of all the energy the magicians gather through them to aid in their summoning will go to these Core pillars. When these Core pillars have stored enough energy you will channel them all into widening the narrow hole between this world and the void that is right in this spot.

“Once it is open I will come through into your world and undo the mistakes of my past and get rid of every elemental from that world. In the meantime the magicians will help the overpopulation of them by using the cards I create to capture them. It will all come together in time, I promise.”

Soon enough Darwin was building a small arena outside the city with two pillars on opposite sides of one fighting ring and a row of lined seats for people to come watch; the seats fit over one-hundred people. He went into the city after that, advertising about his small tournament where the magicians would fight each other with the elementals and the first place winner and runner ups would get a good amount of crystals. He easily found some help from two people to run admissions, which he was charging one orange crystal per entry into the arena to watch the fights.

After he got all the magicians with elementals signed up, he took them alone to the arena and taught them how to use the pillars. Within a few weeks they all had figured it out and he announced the arena opening and a schedule of three days for it all to go down. Next he drew the magician’s names randomly for their matchups and explained to them the rules of the fight. The rules were to destroy your opponents pillar using any means necessary; killing would be frowned upon but not illegal.

When everything was finished being sorted out the first day of the arena was open and almost all the seats were filled. The fights went very well and everyone seemed happy, even the magicians that lost had some great thrills from it all. On the second day all of the seats were filled and there were still more people outside wanting in but Darwin had to refuse them.

The third and final day there were only six magicians left to fight and once more the seats were packed with more wanting in. After all the fights were done Darwin announced the final standing magician the grand winner and handed out the rewards to her and the other two who came in second and third place. He made sure to keep enough crystals, after the rewards and paying his two employees, so that he would have enough to trade in them all for at least one copy of each crystal at the city bank.

After acquiring one copy of each crystal Darwin returned to the void circle with them tossed them into the center where they disappeared. A few hours later countless crystals off all the colors and exact size came pouring out from nothingness landing on the ground in a massive pile.

“What is all this…” Darwin asked barley able to speak.

“We will be needing funds from now on for the next parts of the plan.” The void creature said. “And now, with the sample crystals you gave me, I am able to perfectly replicate the currency of your world so that we have unlimited funds.”

For an instant a dark thought formed in the back of Darwin’s mind, he could take as many of the crystals as he could carry and run off. With all that money he would want for nothing ever again and could live any life he wanted. He erased that thought from his head then asked, “So then what do I do next?”

The void creature conjured dozens and dozens of more blank cards as Darwin took them. Then it said, “Take these cards and go back to the city and offer the magicians a job, pay them as much as you think it takes. Their job will be to spread out the information, knowledge and the blank cards to all other magicians in every town or city on the continent.

“Tell them they will give any willing new magicians five blank cards to start out. Then they will meet with you back at the city by the end of next summer.”

Once again Darwin returned to the city of Wymar and gathered the magicians outside the town so they could talk. He offered them the business proposal and each of them that went along with it received a white crystal for payment. Only thirty of all the magicians there agreed to it and Darwin gave them the cards to hand out, as well as five red crystals each for supplies on their journey.

When the last magician Darwin hired had left, so did he. Returning to the void circle his next task was to create a building tailored to the design implanted in his head. He could see it almost as clearly as everything else, the tall white structure with curving jagged spires, diamonds infused into the sides of the walls, all of it reaching the skies.

Creating this colossal building or structure was not overly difficult, but very time consuming for Darwin. It took him almost an entire year to finish what would be the headquarters to his future guild Ragnarock. He was so busy with the construction he almost missed his deadline to meet the magicians back in the city.

Most of the magicians Darwin sent off nearly a year ago came back with success; some did not, for whatever reason. Darwin paid all the magicians and offered them a place in his new guild. Only half of the magicians there accepted but it was enough, all the base work was finished and Ragnarock was officially born.

Over the next few years Darwin acquired many cities and towns permission to create and maintain arenas and coliseum for this special new sporting event he called, “The pillars of elements game”. Only Darwin knew the secret to creating the pillars themselves, but he taught trusted members of his guild how to rebuild the pillars after they were destroyed.

In only a year after getting the last arena and coliseum build and set up in the last city on Aeon Toris, Ragnarock had become the official and supreme guild of the continent, known and respected by everyone there. The cards to capture elementals were sold at numerous markets in every town and city now too.

Next Darwin began to build a city, not just any city a great city, which he called Elysian. Elysian took over ten long years to build even with all the magicians working for him. When it was complete Darwin gave proper homes to all his guild members within the city and soon enough people started moving to Elysian all of their own accord. It was mostly Magicians who moved to the city but many non-magicians came too.

At some point Elysian had become the official capitol of Aeon Toris, and in celebration Darwin announced a special grand tournament for all contestants of the pillar of elements game, and the first place winner would be showered with riches and have an opportunity to join Ragnarock.

After that very first grand tournament Ragnarock’s influence, and the sport Darwin created, spread through to the other two continents with immense popularity and success. Darwin made sure to host the tournament yearly as well, but as the numbers of applicants grew Ragnarock had to start holding exhibition matches to dwindle down the number of available contestants each year.

Over forty years after its birth Ragnarock had unofficially taken over the world, and Darwin for all that time remained the guild master. From time to time the higher up people in the guild, ones on his board of advisers, tried to remove Darwin from his seat of ultimate power. The first attempt was nothing more than the board asking him to retire in his older age and enjoy life. Darwin told them he would not step down as guild leader until the day his heart stopped beating for good.

Most members on his board of advisers respected his decision to stay with it to the end; he had built it up from nothing after all. But in time most of his original board members had either retired or passed away from old age. He brought in a completely new board of advisers save for a few people who still wished to remain with him for as long as they could.

Not long after the new members of the board came on as advisors had many assassins come after Darwin, none of who reported back to whomever they were working for; neither was their bodies discovered. The only reason anyone found out about the assassination attempts is because one of them tried taking Darwin out in broad daylight in the center of Elysian. He was an old man with grey short hair, but he moved and acted like a man in his prime, taking care of the assassins swiftly.

A few days after the public assassination attempt on Darwin, several of the board members that were suspected of being behind the attacks, but never proven guilty, mysteriously all vanished without a single trace.

Darwin Petral stood out on the balcony of the top floor of Ragnarock’s headquarters. He looked over the city bustling with activity in celebration of the annual tournament. A light smile crossed his face and he looked up and out to a boat leaving the island. His smile turned into a small frown and he said out loud, “Where are you going, Primordious?”

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