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Rated: E · Short Story · Fantasy · #1636391
"in a world very much like our own there is a prophecy..."
In a world very much like our own there is a prophecy. The prophecy states that one will be chosen to save a new world. He will bring about the dawning of a new age or else abandon the land to darkness. This story is the beginning of the beginning, only the first few words in a book that never ends. This is the story of the ancient relic and a boy who refused to obey the rules. This is the story of Cerona.

Darus tackled his friend with a hearty laugh. Hurst grunted and rolled, aiming a kick at his friends stomach. Darus laughed again, blocking the bare foot with his hand. Single handedly, he pushed Hurst to the ground and held him down. Hurst coughed as the dirt clouded his vision "you win" he wheezed.Darus smirked,
"of course i win, i always win."

Just then, while the boys panted heavily, a shadow came upon them. "Darus chiali ermund." announced a voice that seemed to resonate through the small hollow. Darus shivered involuntarily. "thats me." he said, looking up towards the voice from his position on the ground. the shadow nodded "come."he said and turned on his heel, not bothering to give an explanation. Sighing, Darus pushed off from the ground and followed, knowing that he didn't have a choice.
He knew this great beast of a man. he was an elder, one of the five leaders of Terislo, the village by the sea. It was extremely unwise to disobey a summonings from an elder. "im not in trouble again, am i?" his voice wasnt worried, he was in trouble with the elders often enough to be unperturbed by a trip to the council. The elder didnt bother to answer him and darus didnt bother to speak again. Hands in his trouser pockets, he watched the rest of his village contentedly.
The smell of baking Didar fruit was coming from one of the little huts and Darus breathed it in appreciatively. Gran Maren was making her famous pie. Smoke rose from some of the stone houses as dinner was started in the households and small children played rauciously around the village. something tugged on his elbow so he turned his mismatched eyes unto the child whoo was staring at him with curiosity and innocence sparkling in his.

"Darus are you in trouble again?" Darus grinned and bent so the child wouldn't have to crain his neck. "i dont know, Aoro, Jeriko here wont say anything, maybe you can guess." the boys eyes sparkled, this was a game they had played since Aoro had learned to talk. "um, you cut down old man Fiurs's tree?" Darus grinned, he had done precisely that once and hoarded many boboro fruit from the prized tree.
"no, there isnt enough fruit yet." then he winked "maybe next year." aoro giggled with enjoyment "maybe next year ill be old enough to help?" it was hard to turn down such hopeful, pleading brown eyes.
"sorry, kid, i dont think seven cycles is enough for a stunt like that." he ruffled the boys hair. "what about stealing a pie from gran maren?" Darus shook his head with mock solemnity. "never steal from Gran, she's worse than the elders. Why dont you try gathering some flowers for a trade, she likes the scent." Aoro seemed a little disappointed but the prospect of a fresh pie brightened his mood considerably.
"Tell you what, over by the Great Oak there are some Giridian flowers, they're her favorite." the boys forehead crumpled in concentratiion "the Giridian flowers are the ones with eight petals and upside down leaves." aoro nodded his thanks and scrambled toward the direction of the Great Oak.

Darus laughed loudly, his bare chest rumbling. He loved Aoro, anyone could see that, though he would never admit to it in so many words.
Jeriko stood impassive, waiting, watching a few feet away. When Darus stood the elder started walking again.
He was lead through an archway into a large stone and wood building. The house of the council, Darus knew it well.
At the far end of the room was a table much higher up than was usual for the average person. Five chairs stood behind the Shier wood inhabited by four giant men with grave expressions.

Darus sat in the much smaller chair in front of them. The first time he had sat there he had felt the meekness that the room had been designed to make one feel, but now he felt completely calm.
"detara, moro, zeian, master nefaeus." he greeted the elders by name and slouched nonchalantly in the chair. "Darus." the man on the far left nodded. Each shared many of the same qualities; meaty hands big muscles hard expressions and slightly wrinkled faces. The third man to the left, Moro, had a scar the shape of the ancient letter M. Detara had an almost bald head, which distinguished him from his fellows who wore their hair cropped short. Nefaeus was the most different and also the most respected of the council. His face was kind and wrinkled with age, his hair pure white and wispy like a cloud. His eyes were the lightest shade of blue and seemed to hold thousands of mysteries and secrets.
Darus bent his head at the elders but to the older man he bowed low. Few people had earned his respect in his sixteen years of trouble making, Gran Maren and the old elder being the majority.
"so what'd i do?" he asked, barely hiding a smirk. Jeriko moved to his place beside Zeian before anyone answered.
"you did nothing wrong, Darus." said Nefaeus, his voice slightly squeaky and full of power contradictory to his small and frail stature. "Then why did you summon me, sir?" this was not a word he used often,in fact, it was only Nefaeus who had earned the honor.
"There is something of grave importance that you must know." the head elder did not exaggerate and his eyes, those endless eyes, conveyed concern and sincerity.
Darus frowned, heavy brows pushing together. "Why me?" he asked, analyzing the faces of the council. The expressions ranged from concerned to angry; this could not bode well for him. "Because you are the object of our concern." replied Detera, his eyes black and his lips pressed into a thin line. "what concern would that be?" Darus chose his words with great care knowing that, with the elders on edge like this, a single faux pas could get him in deep trouble. "The matter of our impending demise." it was Moro that spoke this time, a sliver of pity in his tone. "meaning...?" he could not see how such a thing could pertain to him. Darus' heart began to pound loudly in anticipation. "There has been written a prophecy." said Nefaeus slowly, obviously worried about something. Darus' neck dewed with sweat and he fought to keep his breathing even. If this prophecy was bad enough to make the council of elders practically quiver in there thrones, then there was definately a crisis on the way. He waited for the elder to continue, but the hall was silent, eerily so. "What does it say?" he prodded, anxious. Nefaeus closed his eyes and steepled his hands. "On the eve of his seventeenth birthday one shall be chosen who will lead a world in a time of great peril that exists outside the barriers of the sea. He shall discover a place where the Wild has run entirely free and Darkness is creeping through the Light. His shall be the choice that decides the fate of this land, his shall be the dagger that pierces the heart of evil, his shall be the hand that wields the Power to save or destroy."
Chills ran the length of darus' body and his skin paled. "You cant possibly think that i... that i am him, do you?" he spoke only to the leader, had eyes only for his mentors withered and sorrowful face. "There is another that describes this hero, would you like to hear it?" Darus shook his head, but not in denial. It was in disbelief that he looked to the eyes of the others. Surely they had made a mistake, surely it was another person whom had a fate such as this hanging over his head. But he had to know for sure, had to be certain that there was no possible way that this future belonged to him.
"yes. yes, i need to know." his stomach was in knots, twisting uncomfortably until he felt he would be sick. The elder nodded and closed his eyes again. "One with eyes of silver and green for the Sight of knowledge and the feel of magyk. skin turn scale from births wrongful turn he shall have the mark of the king of skies and the favor of a sorceress bright as the sun." he shivered with dread. Even if nothing else made sense the first line could be read clear as day. His eyes, the eyes that so often had twinkled with mischief and gotten him into it as many times, had now marked him as a savior, a saint. If he hadnt been full of shock and fear, Darus might've snorted. No one would have used that word to describe him. Devil, evil one, and a plague upon the entire village, yes, but never a saint.
"So what am i supposed to do? Pack up and leave, you know what happens to the people that venture away from Terislo! they dont come back!" he was beginning to get over the shock, and starting to feel the rush of excitement that always accompanied an adventure. Despite himself, and the danger, a small part of him was eager to begin the quest. "We know." Nefaeus spoke with pity and sorrow in his eyes. "And yet you ask me to run off to try to save some world that has absolutely nothing to do with us!" Nefaeus shook his head sadly "No, darus. When whatever plagues this other land is finished reeking its havoc there, it will only move. Eventually it will be among us and it will be too late."
Darus shook his head, how could such a thing happen? Only minutes ago he had been messing around with Hurst and now he was supposed to save the world? It was impossible, surreal!
"Believe it or not, this will happen if we do not do something to stop it." Darus glared at Detara. "And by we you mean me." It wasnt a question. "While you sit here and wait, enjoying the fact that i wont be here to pester you any more i should go off and risk my life." he snarled and stood, knocking the chair to the floor. "Why should this beast come here? Yerislo is a peaceful place, we have nothing that it would want! We do not even have a military for gods' sake!" Nefaeus was shaking his head "That does not matter to the beast. imagine this: a black hole, all consuming, never satisfied, and it has been released upon the land. It shrouds the village in darkness and terror until all are petrified with fright and then it sucks the life from everything. The trees and plants wilt, the people die, and even the sea dries under its power. With every kill it grows stronger and if it is not stopped, soon everything and everyone shall be extinct and all that will be left is Darkness."
Darus could see it. The Great Oak shrinking, shriveling, the village people growing old and frail and a barren wasteland in the place of the sea. He saw Aoro, Nefaeus, Gran Maren, Hurst, dying and knew that it would be his fault. The guilt was inescapable. If he went he would die, if he stayed everything would die. There was no way out of it, he would have to leave his home.
"I will leave in three days." There was no way to postpone the date, it would have to be the eve of his birth day. He was leaving everyone and everything he knew, risking his life, and saving thousands and he had only two days to prepare.
"One more thing." said the elder on Nefaeus's right, the priest of Terislo. "You may tell no one of this, it will only frighten them." Darus laughed harshly. "Or what? You'll banish me? Kill me? Ha!" Nefaeus looked at him with sad, bottomless eyes "Would you have them full of the same terror that grips every body in this room? Would you be so selfish as to allow them to suffer with us?" Darus murmered something that would get him a tanning in Grans house. He couldn't tell anybody, they would think he had abandoned him. They would not even worry for his well being, likely they would forget him completely. Oh, life was cruel.

ch 2

Darus packed easily. Meat, a few stolen herbs, fruit, enough clothes to keep him for a month. He knew he would be away longer than that, but it was all that would fit in his pack. Taking the knowledge that he would be leaving silently, however, was another matter.
Darus spent every moment he could with his friends and he village people. He would play child games with Aoro for hours on end then flirt wih the village girls outrageously for quite a while after. Not only that, but he got in as much trouble as was possible in Terislo. The way Darus figured it, he'd better pull as many of his pranks as possible before he left. After all, it wasn't like they could actually punish him. He tried to keep up the act as much as he could, but sometimes he slipped and the anxiety would show.
The day before he was to leave Gran Maren sat down with him at the dinner table with her wise old eyes trained on his. She knew, there was no fooling Gran. "Darus, where are you going?" Her voice was sad underneath the commanding tone. Darus looked away and attempted to hedge her question "I do not know what you're talking about, Gran." Gran tsked briskly "don't lie to me, boy." she reprimanded sternly "I saw that bag and i know you. You don't plan on staying here long, now i want to know why." Darus met her eyes with an ache forming in his chest "I cant. you cannot tell anybody about this. It has to remain a secret." Gran's words were quiet, and all the more cutting because of it "Because you plan to abandon them? Abandon us all?" Darus hardened his expression. He had known they would come to this conclusion. Knew it, and hated it because he was doing the exact opposite. He felt a flash of anger towards the council for telling him of this monster. "No. I have to do this, it is for the well being of the entire village that i leave." This was a bit of an understatement, but it was the best he could do without revealing the true nature of his mission. "You will be careful, and you will come back.Promise me." she ordered fiercely, tears glistening in her wise old eyes. "Of course. I will be perfectly fine, you have no faith in me." But his eyes told another story.
he was sad, worried, and the tiniest bit excited. A small part of him was curious, wondering what was out there. The feeling of being trapped came back, he hadn't felt it since childhood. He walked back to his room, leaving his food untouched, and uncrossed his fingers.
Darus slept fitfully that night, his eyes refusing to shut until only an hour before dawn, his allotted time of departure. Then it was time. He felt that there should be some kind of hero march or farewell party, but there was none. The only scene of farewell he had had to attend was with Gran Maren.
Darus slunk out of his village, his home, before any one else had awoken. Again he thought of how the villagers would wake that morning to find him gone. How they would think he had abandoned them. Yes, to some it would not matter, to some it would be a blessing. Still, he resented the need for secrecy.
He remained adamant in his thoughts that the village people should know about the coming peril, at the very least they should have a chance to try and defend themselves. But in the end his beliefs did not matter, in the end it was only him and an undefeatable monster. To Darus this venture felt like trying to capture smoke in a fishing net.
Once he had reached the Great Oak he looked up into its endless branches and hesitated. Beyond was the Wall of Stone where a single path carved its way through to the unknown. Beyond was a mystery. The unfamiliar dangers clawed at his imagination, conjuring up horrible things. A hand came down gently on his shoulder and Darus tensed, only to relax again when he recognized the pale gnarled fingers.
"Master Nefaeus." his voice sounded hollow and he wondered if his eyes looked empty as well. "Darus, i wish i could tell you that you dont have to do this." he held out his hands in a gesture of helplessness. "But i do because for some reason the gods singled me out to be either a hero or a failure." Again he felt both excited and enormously sad at the prospect.
"Yes. I would go with you if i could but the people need their leader." Darus shook his head. "What leader would not even prepare his people for what is to come?" perhaps this was a bit harsh but what did he have to lose? "Ah yes, well... we shall see about that." Darus' eyes sharpened at that. "Do you or do you not intend to tell the villagers of the prophecy?" Nefaeus looked uncomfortable, something very rare indeed.
"that depends."
"on what?" Darus did not have the patience to stand there while Nefaeus hedged his questions.
"on whether or not- on how long it takes you to complete the deed."
the old mans quick save did not prevent the wave of dark dread that swept over him. nefaeus was readily considering the possibility that darus would never come back. somehow, he realized, after seeing the fear in gran marens eyes, after being told that hehad to leave and might not come back, he had still carried a small nodule of hope. yes, he still believed -though perhaps a bit half-heartedly- that he might be able to pull this off.maybe. probably not. but when it came to his belief in surviving the impossible task, he had just hit zero percent.
"ah, so now there is a time limit." darus snapped.
nefaeus opened his mouth to say more, but darus waved an impatient hand.
"in that case, i suppose i ought to be going." barely waiting long enough for a nod from his earstwhile mentor, he turned and began to make his way down the narrow mountain path. the walls on either side of him seemed to grow in magnitude until he was trapped between them and the prickling feeling of being held in a cage continued to follow him.
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