Second Chapter of Erden
| Age Ten - Boy on Fire
"Urie, dear! Where have you been!?"
Mother was squeezing me in a tight embrace after I was found loitering near Daerin's fountain. I didn't resist as I could tell how worried she must have been when I went missing.
"Urie, you really shouldn't be troubling our mother like this. It'll be bad for her heart."
My eldest brother was placing a blanket around me and mother. Although he was scolding me, his voice was soothing. Mother's tight grip on me loosened a bit.
"Yeah, little brother! You should at least tell me where you're going before you run away."
Second older brother grinned, revealing his white teeth. He was trying to make the mood a bit lighter but it seemed mother took it the wrong way and she threw him a threatening glare. He flinched as he met her eyes and immediately turned his head the other way. He might not have noticed, but he did help. Mother's embrace became even more relaxed.
I heard loud footsteps come from the door before it was suddenly swung open. Father appeared at the doorway panting heavily. His appearance was disheveled.
It was the first time I'd seen him so out of sorts, far from his usual unperturbed self. He didn't show this much of a reaction that time elder brother was bitten by a stray dog, nor when he climbed up a tree and couldn't get down.
"Urie! I heard they found him!?" He directed his question towards my older brothers before spotting me nestled in mother's arms.
"It's okay dear, he's here. They found him by the fountain." Mother was caressing my head as she spoke to father.
The panic on his face visibly calmed down as he heaved a sigh of relief. He composed himself and met with my eyes before he approached and opened his mouth to speak to me.
"Urie, I'm glad you're safe, your mother would have been distraught if something had happened to you." He said.
Mother smiled in a mischievous manner as she leaned in closer to my ear and whispered, "Your father was pretty unsettled earlier when he heard you had disappeared. He dropped his bags and ran outside to look for you."
"I--I'm sorry father." I stuttered as I stifled the tears welling up in the corner of my eyes.
"Urie, son..." Father put on his usual stern expression.
"In the future... Vigril and Kyron will be assisting me with command over the army fighting against the creatures attacking the Wall. I want you to stay here and take care of your mother, alright?"
"But father!" I raised my voice in protest, only to withdraw it reluctantly as I knew I couldn't complain. I had an idea of why my father didn't plan on having my help when I graduate from the academy.
I once heard from second older brother that the children born in the Loeth house usually grow with a self-composed personality. I didn't know what it meant but...
During that time he had been attacked by a dog, both me and eldest brother were with him.
I couldn't move. I wasn't scared but I didn't know what to do. My thoughts were disordered and I just stood still. Eldest brother acted quickly and drove the dog away, but looking at the bite wounds on my brothers, and the large gash on second older brother's face, I cried. I wasn't bitten nor was I wounded, but I was the one that cried.
I knew then that I was different from my brothers.
They said it was a blessing when taking command on top of the wall. Being composed when magic beasts are bearing down upon you. Being able to stay calm when sending people to their deaths. That was why my father did not want me at the wall, I wasn't born with a blue seed like himself or my brothers. He wasn't expecting any help from me because... I was unfit.
Father spoke a bit with my mother and my older brothers before sorting himself and departing for the Erden wall the next day.
That was how I remembered that particular incident a few years back.
After hearing the news of the magic beast attacks getting fiercer, father had to leave for the wall. I slipped away from the house on the day of his supposed departure after my older brothers told me that they would be joining father in the following years.
I went to Daerin's fountain, listening to the sound of water trickling down from the statue's mouth had always calmed me down.
- Age Seven -
-Age Ten - Urie Loeth-
A dream. I opened my eyes to the sight of a familiar ceiling. Locks of golden hair had come into view as I turned my head towards the side of my bed.
Mother was lying down beside me in deep slumber, her eyelids had appeared swollen, probably from crying herself to sleep. I felt deeply apologetic as I knew that I was the cause. I turned my head the other way and saw the light shining through the window's curtains.
It's daylight? My memory was fuzzy as I tried to recount the events of yesterday night, and what led me to wake up in my own bed.
Yesterday was the Harvest Festival, I failed to form my mana roots, we went home and received the news that my brothers wouldn't be able to come home, then I ran away.
I ran towards Daerin's fountain as I knew that no one would be there during this time. At the fountain, I remember I saw--Red. I remember seeing red hair? I closed my eyes and furrowed my brows as I tried to recall more of what had happened...
"--Milady! A letter has arrived!" Patty, she entered the room after knocking on the door.
Mother stood up after laying my head gently on the couch and left the room with Patty.
"Someone was at the door? Have my brothers finally arrived?" I walked to the door and opened it slightly, just enough so I could peek through the gap.
It wasn't eldest brother at the door, and neither was it second older brother.
"Milady, I was also entrusted with a message from the young masters." The young man at the door said. "They wanted me to inform you that they could not be relieved from their posts as the magic creatures' attacks have gotten fiercer."
"Not be relieved? My brothers-- They weren't coming home?"
At the courier's words, the single strand of hope that was keeping me together had snapped. Through the corridors, past the kitchen backdoor, and into the back garden, even after arriving at the garden, I continued to run.
"What do I do!?" I screamed inwardly. "Magic--! Without magic--!"
For as long as I could remember, I had been looking forward to this day. The day I would finally be able to use magic.
The streets of Daerin, they were quiet. On the path leading towards the square, the sound of my footsteps were the only things echoing in the silence.
Today was the Harvest Festival after all, the people were in their houses celebrating, or in bars drinking. There were not many guards as well, I had yet to run into one.
My feet had taken me to the square below Erden's Tower, a place in which I felt solace. Right as I entered, I stumbled. I felt the pain from my knees and elbows hitting the ground, and I watched as my tears slowly started escaping from my eyes and onto the pavement.
Why!? Why couldn't I form my roots? How was I supposed to help my father and older brothers?
I raised my head and looked up at the towering structure in front of me as I quietly wept. The sound of trickling water nearby caught my attention so I stood up and approached the source.
A statue of a beast with wings, a narrow stream coming down from its mouth was disturbing the water's tranquility below. I wanted to calm myself down by gazing at the fountain.
My eyes-- they followed the direction of the flow and were drawn towards the surface of the water. Amidst the countless ripples, I made out a reflection.
Long flowing red hair with a few strands falling right between the bridge of the nose, neatly tucked into her right ear. Wearing an elegant white dress and an ornate blue cardigan hiding pale skin.
It was a young girl. Her eyes, a shade of crimson complimenting her hair, were looking back into mine.
I was unsettled. It wasn't my appearance being mirrored on the water. The last time I had looked at myself in a mirror, I was a boy. I had neither red eyes nor red hair. I was even wearing a shirt and some loose pants.
My lips moved without uttering a sound, I hesitated to speak. Who would try to start a conversation with a reflection on water? It was just that. A reflection.
The absence of emotions she was showing made me think that I was looking at a portrait on water, and the portrait, for some reason, had slowly begun to show change.
A solemn tear appeared and had fallen down her cheek. Soon after, they started spilling from her eyes like a dam that had just burst open.
From the moment I saw her start to shed tears from her eyes, my own which had ceased started flowing again. Although I knew our reasons for doing so weren't the same, crying with someone greatly eased the heavy feeling I had in my chest.
When I felt calmer, I took a good look at her again. I couldn't recall anyone that had red hair or red eyes in our city. Who was she?
Could she be a ghost? A reflection of my inner self? I thought to touch the water in hopes that something would occur.
As I extended my hand towards its surface, she reached out as well, but when our fingers got close enough to almost touch the other, a flash of red light had covered my eyes and I quickly found myself falling into unconsciousness.
That was the last thing that I could remember. My head was hurting from the lack of information.
What happened? Mother and the others must have found me asleep and brought me home, but how did I fall asleep?
As I was lost in thought, the heat under my blanket had gotten past being comfortable and prompted me to get up from the bed. I walked towards the windows and drew open the curtains, letting the rays of sunshine hit my face.
"I can't use magic, huh." I whispered.
There was a sound of yawning from behind me, and I knew that my mother must have woken up.
"Good morning Mother, did I wake you?" I said.
"Good morning Urie. " Mother sat up and spoke with a soft voice. "Go call Patty and Ersha, let's go prepare breakfast." She looked half asleep and was rubbing her eyes.
"Yes, mother." I answered, and walked towards the door to leave the room.
Mother was still sitting at the bed with half-opened eyes, ready to lie down and continue sleeping. I was about to close the door when her eyes suddenly shot open. Her consciousness jolted awake, she stood up from the beds and briskly walked towards me.
She swung open the door and looked at me with eyes that seemed to be asking something, her face showing deep concern.
"I'm alright now mother, and--" I paused and looked down in guilt before issuing an apology. "I'm sorry for running away last night."
Mother knelt down and hugged me. She gave me a pat on the back of my head before releasing me and telling me to go on ahead to the dining room for breakfast. She didn't mention anything else. I agreed and left my mother to her morning preparations.
As I was going down the stairs, making my way to the dining room, I felt a slight discomfort in my chest. The feeling of heat that I got from under the blanket had abated since earlier, but I was now feeling it again.
I could feel the warmth spreading throughout my body. I felt no weakness in my limbs nor any sign of lightheadedness in my head so I was probably not sick.
I decided to let it go for the time being as I could see no harm being done. I continued down the steps and entered the dining room where I saw Patty setting up the table for breakfast.
"Good morning Patty." I greeted.
"Good morning young master." She turned around looking surprised before smiling and greeting me back.
"Young master, are you alright?" She suddenly asked.
Was it because of last night? That made sense, Patty might have gone out to search for me as well, but to be honest, I was feeling more than fine. Maybe it was because I already cried out all the negative feelings?
"I'm fine, is something the matter?" I answered, and took a seat after walking towards the table.
She shook her head lightly in response and asked, "Has milady Rivelle woken up?
"Mother will be down soon, she just got up."
"Alright, then I'll be right back with the food, young master." Patty excused herself and went back to the kitchen.
I hoped that she would return with the food fast as I was starting to feel a bit...
Hungry? Wait, no... This wasn't hunger. There wasn't any indication from my stomach.
Then what-- It was heat. My body was heating up, did I catch a fever?
No, I wasn't light-headed and I felt fine. This was making me uneasy. My chest, something in my chest felt hot. I looked underneath my shirt, nothing was there.
I wasn't feeling drowsy but I felt the sudden urge to close my eyes, so I did. Snapping them back open only a few seconds later.
I couldn't stop myself, I smiled. My mouth was curling up and I couldn't control it.
I closed my eyes again to sense them. Motes of white light gathering around the surroundings were being attracted to me, to my chest. Laughter involuntarily escaped my lips.
"You rejected mana and prevented me from awakening my roots. Yet, now you absorb it like a sponge!"
I could feel it. Thin, red threads spreading throughout my inner consciousness. My mana roots, they were finally forming! It felt great, but why? Why now? I mean.
No-- Don't ask. For now, at least, I didn't have to know.
My full attention went to my seed. As the roots kept spreading out, I felt the speed at which I could absorb mana become faster.
I didn't hesitate, I willed it to go faster.
"Young Master!" An abrupt shout pulled me out from my excitement and brought me back to my senses. I opened my eyes.
Ersha was at the other side of the table, though I couldn't see her expression as my vision was blurred.
"What's wrong Ersha??" I asked.
"Aah!!!" Before she could answer, Patty cried out from behind her.
What's wrong? Why did she shout? I rubbed my eyes, trying to remedy the haze obstructing my sight. Only after a couple of rubs did I notice that it wasn't my vision that was impaired. It was the air around me that was moving. What was going on?
A glance at my arms gave me an answer, and I closed my eyes once again.
I did a quick inspection of my roots. It looked like they still hadn't fully formed, they were pulsating with red light and the thickness of each strand wasn't uniform. My mana seed was still operating at full capacity, absorbing mana through my roots.
Patty and Ersha must have been startled by the red glow coming from my body, but I couldn't stop, even if I wanted to. So I tried holding back on the mana absorption.
It seemed to have worked as the red light receded into my body.
"What is going on?" Mother showed up at the door. She was in for a big surprise.
"Milady! Young--young master! He--" Patty stuttered.
Without waiting for her to finish answering, mother turned her head towards me.
"Mother!--" I said.
I felt my face growing hot and I couldn't stop smiling.
"--I can use magic!"
- Rivelle -
Rivelle was in the study staring at a piece of paper placed on top of her desk. She was fidgeting about in her seat, wracking her brain on what to include in her reply letter to her husband.
Since Urie can now use magic, he was eligible to enroll in Daerin's magic academy. She wasn't opposed to his enrolment in the academy, but she did feel rather against his wish to go to the wall after graduation.
That was why she had mixed emotions, she knew what it meant for him to be able to use magic. Although, she thought that even if he wasn't able to use magic, he might've still run away to join the fight on the wall in the future, without informing her or her husband.
"Haaah..." She let out a long sigh and felt resigned. Her husband and two children were at the wall and her youngest was also in a hurry to grow up and join them.
"I might as well go with them up on that wall rather than just stay here by myself waiting for whatever news that may come." She pouted.
Rivelle started moving her pen in a flurry and words began appearing on the piece of paper. Moments later, she took out an envelope and placed the finished letter inside, and sealed it. She left the study and ran into Ersha on her way to the garden and handed her the letter.
"Give this to the courier when he arrives." She instructed.
Ersha bowed in response as she received the letter with both hands.
"How is Urie? Is he still letting out any outbursts? " Rivelle asked.
She looked at Ersha's appearance, she was sweating and her face was flushed. Her hair also looked frizzy and stood up in strands.
"Milady, young master has settled down since his initial outburst. Patty is watching nearby just in case of any accidents."
Ersha's appearance wasn't due to performing any exercise. They were the results of staying nearby her son during his 'outbursts'. They were a continuation of this morning's incident, where his mana roots had first formed.
According to the accounts of the two maids, Urie had let out intense heat from his body, affecting the temperature around the entire dining room. The light which indicated his mana root formation had manifested themselves around him like flames. Rivelle had never seen or heard of anyone having such a unique way of awakening, neither during the Harvest Festival ceremony nor during any private ceremonies.
A few minutes after she had walked in on his first outburst, Urie's body had started to let out red light as his body had started absorbing mana again. It seemed the only reason he had stopped in the first place was that he had exhausted the mana available inside the dining room. They brought him outside the house into the garden where the heat he was letting out would not be able to affect anything in his surroundings.
"If his father or any of his brothers were here, we might have been able to do something about the heat. " Rivelle thought.
Other than the fact that Urie became a living furnace, and that he didn't seem to be experiencing any discomfort, she knew that it would be difficult if this continued.
All these events, she included in the letter she wrote to her husband.
At the garden behind their mansion, Rivelle arrived to see Urie sitting cross-legged in the middle of a huge stone circle. His eyes were closed, and red light was dancing around his body.
Patty was on standby at a bench on the side with a bucket of water on hand. Her skin was as red as a tomato, and she was using a towel to wipe the perspiration from her face.
Author's notes :
Thank you for taking the time to read my story.
If you want to continue reading, the first volume of the book is available on smashwords. It has illustrations of some of the characters as well as the rest of volume 01.
It is free, but you can choose to pay for it if you'd like to. That would help this new author out greatly and support the series. Leaving a rating and or a review would also be greatly appreciated.
The rest of the work is also available on tapas.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope you enjoyed it and will continue to read it.