A young boy of only nine, stood on the grassy knoll, donned in a hue of cobalt, with gold and silver crest embroidered on the garment and underneath he wore a taupe shirt that hung slightly over his earth-toned trousers and a pair of worn brown boots. Wrapped around his waist was a thick, leather belt with twin blades that glistened in the daylight, he removed the blades from their sheaths and studied the intricate markings and the ornate, curved handle with a violet gem on the pummel. The young boy clumsily played with the weapons, he dropped the blades and watched in utter shock as the weapons fell with a thump on the dirt path. Briefly, he thought he felt a strange vibration coming from the blades just moments before the weapons fell to the moist ground. Suddenly, a voice called from beyond, “Y’raiden! It is time to go!!”
The boy then glanced over his shoulder and placed his blades back in their scabbards and took up his staff. He slowly approached a shimmering stone obelisk with twelve ornate clusters of alien markings. Y’raiden then placed his hand of the obelisk. Behind Y’raiden was the shimmering city of Neran’tu-Vor. He glanced over his shoulder and watched the myriads of luminescent orbs fluttered around crystalline skyscrapers that reached towards the heavens as sleek hawk-like chariots soared through the sky. He was drawn to the His long champaign-colored hair flowed in the cool breeze, his golden locks formed around his face, his deep blue eyes gazed upon the city one last time.
Y’raiden’s heart sank deep and he wondered if one day, he would return to Neran’tu-Vor. He turned his back towards the city once more as he embarked on a new journey far from the world of the familiar. He trotted over the rise with his staff clutched in his hand and strutted up the ramp only moments before violet-crystalline starship ascended into the atmosphere as the engines hummed quietly. The young boy followed the corridor through the cabin of the transport, curiously he explored the inside and saw some quarters with a few bunks as his family stowed away their luggage in the hold. He felt the ship jolt as his father piloted the vessel with extreme accuracy and grace. Y’raiden heard the perpetual hum of the power core resounded throughout the ship as he slowly walked to the cockpit where he sat quietly in the back. Y’raiden caught glimpse of the swords that were securely attached to the bulkhead, “Why are we leaving Val’hydiran?”, the young boy asked in the ancient tongue.
“I’ve been summoned by the Council of Elders to Val’Suritak. I’ve been instructed to lead a group of warriors there, that are in need of the wisdom I’ve been endowed.”
The young boy inquired cautiously, “I would rather stay on Val, where my friends are.”
Y’raiden’s father looked at him with such compassion and with a calm response, “I am obeying the Will of Edonai, do you understand?”
Y’raiden hesitated, bit his lower lip and answered with a glazed expression, “I do.”
The young boy then gazed into the blackness of space and observed the glistening clouds of magenta, lavender, blue and green flowed across the bed of jewels, myriads of diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires shimmered over the black canvass. R’doren, Y’raiden’s father closed his eyes and the engines accelerated and a violet stream of energy encompassed the ship. Instantaneously, a massive violet-gray gas giant appeared in front of the starship, orbiting a binary companion star and on the outermost edge of the planetary system was a bluish-green moon and appeared to have a cluster of objects in orbit. The young boy recognized the various ships that soared nearby, including the fleet of motherships and squadrons of fighters that patrolled the region. Y’raiden’s youngest sister entered the crammed cabin and frightened by the sight of such a system, “Are we at our new home, yet?” the little one asked.
“Soon.” the mother replied.
Y’raiden’s mother, Zhymar’el watched pensively as the moon grew slowly and embraced him warmly, hoping to lift his spirits. Y’raiden shook his head and with a glare, stormed off to the back of the ship, near the engine room and he produced a photograph of his friends from his pocket. He felt so alone, so angry, he didn’t want to come out across the galaxy to help some people on the outskirts of nowhere. Y’raiden felt he had lost so much already, with the grandparents deaths, he didn’t like facing death. To him, death meant to lose someone you loved and cared for and watching his grandparents as he did, he was frightened… terrified.
The Kah’Rai transport weaved through the outgoing interstellar traffic, darting to-and-fro like a dragonfly or humming bird. The contoured battleships glided out into deep space before entering hyperspace. A squadron of fighter patrols came along side the elegant spacecraft, escorting the vessel to the planet surface. R’doren piloted the craft skillfully through vast seas, mountains and valleys that spanned the continued until the ship was guided to the small city of Kyl-Nedar. This cluster of spires protruded from within a large valley, surrounded by rivers that reflected the brilliant sunlight and the violet hues of the Jovian world perched in the heavens.
Y’raiden, meanwhile, peered out of the small porthole and gazed upon the city and he was amazed at such complexity in such structures, as the myriad of transports soared beneath the ship. Finally, the ship came to a large platform just beyond the primary spaceport and the starship extended it’s landing struts before gently landing. Y’raiden listened carefully as the ship’s engines died down, he grabbed his gear soon after he heard his parents calling for him. He stepped out onto the landing pad, he explored for a moment before the rest of his family was greeted by a husky, dark-haired man, “I am So’Tor. Magistrate of Suritak. Welcome to Kyl-Nedar.”
“I am Re’doren Val’Qor. Mystic-warrior of the Kah’Rai. The Zhyr-K’al has summoned me here to aid their warriors in battle and the train them in the Way of the Val’Qor.” Y’raiden’s father greeted with his hand extended according to the ancient customs and he continued, “This is my wife Zhymar’el, my daughters Zah’nyys and K’taelah and my son Y’raiden.”
Y’raiden thought to himself, sensing unease around So’Tor, What am I sensing…? Are those his thoughts? Something doesn’t feel right with So’Tor… What is he not telling my father?
“Please, come with me. I will have my escorts bring you to your new home.” So’Tor invited, “We are having a state dinner in your honor and I will show you to your accommodations on the edge of the city.”
“We are grateful, Magistrate. That will be wonderful.” Zhymar’el sincerely retorted, embracing her family with relief, and for a moment, she too, sensed something amiss. It was when she saw the glazed expression of Y’raiden, but was it the passive aggressive nature in him or was it something else entirely.
Ro’doren and his family arrived later that evening on the outskirts of the city, where a great fortress of stone and crystal stood firmly before a dark, dark forest. Two large jade beasts guarded the entrance, as the family cautiously approached when the large doors opened and there stood a middle-aged woman with her hair pulled back in a bun and inquired, “What is your business here?”
“We are here on behest of the Magistrate.” Ro’doren replied.
So’Tor came from behind the door and with open arms, welcomed his guests with a respectful bow, “Please, come in. Welcome to the House of Chalmar.”
So’Tor coaxed the rest of his family and introduced them, both families seemed awkward, but soon settled in and mingled with the present company that the Magistrate kept. Ro’doren and his family sat down at the extensive table and the Val’Qor clan seated next to his own. With a raised goblet, “Before we indulge ourselves in this glorious feast. I would like to make a toast to our new guests—may you find friendships and blessings where ever you may go.”
Everyone in the room raised their glasses with a smile and drank, yet, something troubled Ro’doren. One of the councilman attended the feast, a charismatic gentleman dressed in the finest linens and lavished in jewelry commented, “Ro’doren, where is it you and your family came from?”
So’Tor interrupted with a hearty laugh, “Pardon me…”
Annoyed at So’Tor, answered the councilman’s question, “We came from Val’hydiran.”
“Ah—yes, near the Galactic Core.”
Y’raiden scanned the thoughts of those who sat at the table, images of a desolated fortress of stone covered by vegetation… concealed deep in the forest. When suddenly, with an inquisitive spirit, he timidly spoke, “On our way here, I happened to notice some ruins. Can you tell me more?”
The councilman was surprised the young child and his curiosity, “Of course, of course.” the Elder sipped from his goblet and resumed with the utmost intent, “I’m sure you would be bored to death if I were to go into details of history.”
“I want to know what happened? Who was here before the Kah’Rai settled on this world?”
“My son has a vivid imagination. It is getting late, after all…” Ro’doren quickly excused.
“Leaving so soon—the night is young!!” So’Tor coaxed Ro’doren and his family to prolong their stay.
“I’m afraid not. We must beg your leave. Good night.” Ro’doren concluded, as he and his family left the premises.
Many months passed, Y’raiden spent his time studying at the Conclave of Knowledge, but he didn’t quite fit in with his fellow peers and was teased for who being of the Val-Qorin lineage and his desire for home magnified greatly as he secluded himself. On his trek home from the Conclave, he walked along the narrow path, his heightened awareness suddenly sparked inside of him and he heard the thoughts of a group of his fellow peers and soon after, they came over the rise with their sticks raised. Y’raiden became overwhelmed with fear, he ran as fast as feet could take him until he slipped into a ravine—everything around him fell into darkness…
The young boy opened his eyes, dried blood crusted on his temple and ran down to his tunic. He realized that he was near a tree-line that lead into an overgrown forest of pine. A cold wintry breeze swept across his face, sending the autumn leaves into the air. Gazing upon the heavens, dark stormy clouds billowed to the south and thunder rolled in the distance. Finally, he came across the ruins of an ancient city, covered in moss, ground cover and trees. The ruins seemed extensive, some of the eroded stone and corroded metal appeared to have some sort of archaic language.
Curious, Y’raiden explored the abandoned fortress and he came across rusted armor and other archaic weapons. Finally, he approached the ruins of an ancient temple, the entrance was blocked by fallen stones and columns. Y’raiden searched for another opening, he found an unusual crystalline doorway that glistened in the sunlight and he cautiously looked over his shoulder as he began fiddling around with the portal. His hand felt the material, which seemed warm to the touch. Confused, he pressed a few characters which stood out to him and suddenly, the door disappeared and the antechamber came to life and he immediately drew his weapons.
His heart quivered, when he heard the voices of his tormentors in the distance. Quickly, he rushed inside and wondered aimlessly through the network of causeways. He heard the echoes of crumbling rock and buckling girders as dust fell to the stone floor of the ancient structure. Y’raiden entered a cathedral and in the center was a pedestal, the sconces on the wall hummed to life and he was able to navigate his surroundings with ease. As he stepped towards the pedestal, he noticed that there was an object hovering a few inches in the air, a white column of light emanated from the ceiling, accentuating the ornate detail of the ancient device—an annulus.
As the young boy neared the pedestal, the artifact became luminescent, when a diffuse energy swirled around the crystalline device. The young boy noticed the intricate detail, nine alien glyphs shone in intense amber and he sheathed his weapons. Without hesitation, he reached out for the device, he felt the energy from the device and as his hand wrapped around the artifact. An intense burst of energy surged through his body and he recoiled back into the wall, unconscious. Eight alien markings then appeared on his forearm, his mind overloaded with images of the distant past, a great war that lasted for several millennia.
Y’raiden awoke feeling drained, his head throbbed as the images faded into the background as he attempted to stand and he realized that it was nightfall. His acute senses detected numerous entities all around him, though they were not visible, he knew they were watching him. Suddenly, one of the entities darted towards him with eyes like ambers, “You have much fear inside you, boy.”
The young boy trembled, he placed his hands on his weapons, but quickly retracted as he felt another dark entity behind him, “Your feeble weapons are no match for our power.” spoke the dark spirit.
Another demon appeared from the darkness, tall, broad-shouldered and muscular. Girded in the most ancient of armor and large sword clung to it’s back. Overwhelmed with fear, he fled through the corridors and managed to escape the Shadow’s grasp. Above the ruins, hovered a bright orb and quickly disappeared and reappeared above the horizon and disappeared once again as it shot up towards the heavens.
For hours, he ran until he reach his home. Tears streamed down his face, as he looked back and saw that nothing pursued him and he could barely catch his breath. He stumbled into the house, his parents were worried for him and his mother sensed the fear within him, “Y’raiden, where have you been?”
“The Ruins. They are in the Ruins. Nairakto!! Darkness!! Shadows!! They are here!!” Y’raiden ranted in the ancient Kah’Rai tongue.
R’doren rushed to aid and he saw the markings on his son’s forearm, “What is this?!”
“I don’t know!! Where did you go?”
Suddenly, Y’raiden began speaking in an unknown tongue, his eyes flared with violet energy and the house quaked. Darkness quickly shrouded the room, but the darkness receded into nothing as a bright light pierced through the darkness and all disappeared.
“I’ll will return.” Re’doren boldly stated, grabbing his swords and girding himself in armor and he continued, “I’m going to those ruins.”
Zah’nyys rushed to her brother’s aid, as the little one watched with concern, “Is there anything I can do?”
“Pray—Pray hard.” Re’doren quickly left the hovel, as he journeyed to the ruins the Magistrate had mentioned when they arrived.
Standing before the stoic Council of Elders, donned in archaic garments, wearing a leather tunic with the Val’Qor royal crest displayed on his left shoulder and his swords clung to his side. The Elders of both genders, scrutinized the warrior and his child in their midst, however, they refrained their tongues. The day waned as R’doren explained the purpose of his arrival, a seasoned woman coldly opened to the warrior, speaking in the ancient Kah’Rai dialect, “The Council bids you welcome, R’doren of the Val’Qor. It has come to our attention that you have an urgent matter to discuss with the Zhyr-Ka’L. I am sure you are aware that since we began colonizing this galaxy, we have come against great adversity. Our allies of Atach’darae have been under attack as well.”
“Of that, I am aware. It is the Darkness that I wish to discuss and the Ruins to the North.”
“Those ruins have long since been abandoned.” One of the elders explained, “This world was once belonged to the Artanai—”
“My son entered those ruins.”
“Preposterous!!” So’Tor chided as he entered the Hall of Elders.
“He mentioned a name… Nairakto. Does that have any meaning to you?” Re’doren inquired.
The Council grew silent, eyes darted across the room, then the lead council member stated, “Step forward, boy.”
Y’raiden timidly approached the Council, his eyes darted across the room and he sensed the presence of So’Tor and elite guardians that protected the halls of the Citadel. The lead councilman peered down at the young boy and ordered, “Raise your sleeve.”
Ro’doren trusted the will of the Council and concurred, “Do as they say.”
The young boy lifted his sleeve on his right arm, the eight markings were most apparent in the sunlight. The council gasped in awe and fear, then with the utmost composure calmly inquired, “The markings… How did you get them?”
“I touched the artifact…”
“What artifact? Could you describe the artifact to the Council?”
Y’raiden looked at his father, fearful of what would follow, “Everything will be alright. Just answer the question.”
The young boy described the artifact and the ruins in detail, but he did not trust the judgment of the Council and of So’Tor. The Magistrate quickly interrupted, “S—surely, the boy has a vivid imagination. He’s chasing the stars.”
Ro’doren raised his voice, “My son would not lie to the Council.”
“Yet, it has also come to our attention that he is failing in his academics and there have been some incidences of him practicing the Ways of Kyat’hathar.” the councilwoman continued, “A form of magic that has not been used in over ten-thousand years.”
“Madam Councilor, if I may state. Kyat’hathar, though it may be an ancient art is still valid for today.” Ro’doren advocated.
“Do you believe that your son to possess such knowledge of this ancient magic, since he entered the Ruins?” So’Tor peered down at young Y’raiden, his eyes glared with scrutiny.
Ro’doren quickly answered for his son, “Y’raiden may very well have knowledge that transcends even that of the Council.”
“What you speak of is blasphemy!!”
“Is it?! You have known about the ruins since the Kah’Rai colonized this world. I believe that Edonai has a purpose in all of this.”
“Surely, Edonai would have spared your son from entering the Ruins and if what your son said is true. Then darkness is truly upon us.”
The Council adjourned shortly after as hopelessness, fear and uncertainty burdened the mystic-warrior. Departing the chamber of stone and quartz, Ro’doren walked for hours with Y’raiden, through the Hall of Archives and studied some of the holographic historical scrolls and stellar cartography. Ro’doren searched through the known colonized systems of the Kah’Rai Dynasty. The young boy grew restless and decided to roam the hallways until he encountered the one his classmates, “Well, look who’s here. It’s the Val’Qor—is it true, your family is the undesirable heir to the High Lord? Where’d you get those markings? You want to fight?” the young boy goaded with fists raised, kicking Y’raiden to the ground.
The young boy stood up and instantly, rushed the bully near the banister of the balcony overlooking the promenade of the infrastructure and he shouted, making himself known to all that heard. His eyes aflame with anger and hatred and his fist cocked, “I am tired of you teasing me! I have had enough!!” And with a quick release of his fist, the jab landed in the orbit and quickly recoiled, like a viper. R’doren’s son quickly fled and ducked behind a flight of steps, as he heard the weeps of his assailant echo through the hallways.
Meanwhile, Y’raiden’s father searched the entirety of the structure for his son and out of the corner of a vacant room Y’raiden approached. It was then that the oppressive bully came around the bend with a soar eye and he glared at Y’raiden with such livid intent, “I’m going to get you.”
Y’raiden smiled, confident in his abilities. He knew that no one could hurt him, however, he still felt alone. Yet, his spirit became restless, he was changing and his awareness reached beyond the physical world. Finally, they reached the end of the great hall and asked, “Could you show me the markings again?”
Perturbed, Yraiden lifted up his sleeve on his right arm, “But I—you already know what happened…” the young boy quickly averted.
“I know.” Ro’doren replied, “Do you remember what happened before you got those markings?”
Unsettling images flashed in his mind—they were not his own… the ruins, darkness and light, a pedestal and… and an artifact going far back to antiquity. Apprehensive, Y’raiden slowly responded, “I don’t know…” he lied. Fearful of being reprimanded and unloved, he kept his knowledge a secret, pushing it deeper into his subconscious.”
“Y’raiden, you can trust me.” R’doren gently coaxed.
Trust no one… A voice whispered from within, You will be alone…forever. We are coming…
Y’raiden looked away with insecurity, riddled with uncertainty and he answered, “I want to go home.”
Suddenly, a member of the council approached Ro’doren, her wavy silver hair glistened in the sunlight, as she spoke quietly to Y’raiden’s father, “I apologize for your treatment by the Council. You came to us for help and we’ve berated and mocked your circumstances.”
“Y’raiden is not possessed. He is not Shadow.”
“Yet, there is darkness in his heart. His spirit afflicted with atrocities—a great and terrible war going back countless millennia. To a time when the Kel-Reh and the other ancient races inhabited the universe.” She sullenly retorted, peered deep into Y’raiden’s spirit.
Together, they left the great hall and watched as the binary suns merged together at the zenith in the sky. The earth shook tremendously, when the suns darkened in that moment. Swarms of insect-like ships descended onto the planet and rained fire from the heavens and within seconds, everything was consumed in flame and darkness. Y’raiden ran for the ruins, as the Kah’Rai motherships came hurtling down from the atmosphere, the skyline became pillars of fire and smoke and he looked back to see that his father was no longer with him. Alien ships completely surround him before he had a chance to survive, a ship landed in front of him and the pilot emerged. Reptilian scales formed around the body, strikingly similar to the Kah’Rai and slightly taller. The creature morphed into a Kah’Rai counterpart and grappled Y’raiden with such an overwhelming force. It’s eyes were like that of a serpent and hissed his name, “I know you… Y’raiden Val’Qor. You and your kind will be no more—wiped from exis-stens-s-se. But first, we must destroy you from within. From there, you will destroy your family and those whom you hold most dear.”
“No.” Y’raiden refused, “I won’t. You can’t make me.”
“Oh?” the creature hissed, “But we will…”
The creature tossed him aside and reached into his spirit, tormented by excruciating pain and his mind overwhelmed with terrifying images of suffering. He cried out…
Y’raiden awoke, his chest thumped with great intensity. What is happening to me? He thought to himself, these nightmares were becoming more intense. He walked over to the mirror in his bedroom and turned on the light and for a moment, his eyes had changed—like the creature in his nightmares.
The young boy was now eleven, he remained socially isolated as the darkness stirred deep inside his spirit. Ba’azalisk had persisted in corrupting his thoughts, he grew angry and paranoid of being hurt by those around him and the power he possessed had grown further… In his isolation, he could hear the incessant noise of people’s thoughts; unable to channel and focus on a single voice, it became more difficult for him to bare. His dreams were filled with intricate images of an alien language, planets, star systems and so much more.
One day, he and his friends were playing in the woods nearby, while So’Tor collaborated with Ro’doren and reviewed the archives of their ancestors. Meanwhile, the son of So’Tor instigated a fight with Y’raiden. The K’taelah watched as the brawl escalated, Arratak swung a hay maker, until blood oozed from the young boy’s mouth and nose, knocking the Val’Qorin to the ground. Then Arratak quickly throttled Y’raiden, as he slowly deprived his friend of his life, everything around him faded into darkness. K’taelah, jumped on Arratak in her brother’s defense, as she cried out, “Stop!! You’re hurting him!! He can’t breathe!!”
“Get…off…me…” The young boy struggled with each painful breathe, as he felt his airway being crushed.
Suddenly, the young boy spoke an ancient tongue, a supernatural energy surged within the young boy and a brilliant sphere of energy appeared. Arratak flew a few feet in the air and stumbled, the other children fearfully watched. Y’raiden, seething with anger, stood to his feet, as a translucent form of energy exuded from his eyes and the palms of his hands. Arratak was shaken by the turn of events—something had awakened inside him that was not of this world, but only spoken in legend… To the Age of the Dragoon. An unquestionable terror consumed Arratak as he climbed to his feet,
“Get out!!” The Val’Qorin boy ardently declared.
Arratak defiantly replied, “No!!”
“Get out, now!! You would have taken my life!!”
“It was a game.” Arratak justified.
Y’raiden’s eyes shone brightly as he refrained from wielding the Kel-Reh magic and commanded most authoritatively, “Get out!! Now!! Do not come back!!”
Zah’nyys, the elder sister came to investigate the commotion as the other children quickly disappeared towards the house. Arratak looked over his shoulder with a sharp glare and returned to his parents. They all returned to the house, raised voices echoed throughout the halls, Y’raiden throat felt sore and raw after the altercation and he overheard as his former friend skulked next to his father. Ro’doren looked up and saw the contusions on his son’s neck and the bloody lip and nose. His mother swooped in, as his father inquired, “What were you doing?”
“Arratak…was punching me.”
“Arratak what…??”,So’Tor defended his son, “He would never do such a thing. They’re boys. What do you expect?”
Ro’doren was particularly frustrated, he trusted Y’raiden’s word and saw the truth, “Boys!! Your son almost killed mine!!”
“I did not!!” Arratak retorted, “Y’raiden used magic and attacked me.”
“He’s lying.” the little one interjected, “I tried to stop him.”
“I believe you have overstayed your welcome, So’Tor.”
Once So’Tor and his family disappeared, Ro’doren looked at Y’raiden, “I was defending myself.”
Ro’doren embraced his son warmly, he looked at his wife and insisted, “I believe it’s time for us to move on from this world. Perhaps Atach’darae or Tul’Arasuun… just somewhere far from here.”
“We must seek the Face of Edonai, perhaps, we should visit the Oracle on Val’Hydiran.”
Y’raiden’s father produced a small long, violet gem from his pocket and placed it on a small oval-shaped device of blue metal, cyan-colored buttons activated as the crystal was carefully placed on the adapter. In moments, an holographic display appeared of the Councilwoman he had spoken to years ago,
“Ro’doren, I fear a great darkness is on the horizon. Our borders are secretly being breached, our kingdom is being overrun. I believe your son has been chosen—So’Tor wishes to conceal the history of this world from you. As you are aware, only a handful of our ships have surveyed the nearby worlds… Shadows have crossed into this realm. They have been summoned, to what end. Endonai only knows.. But I believe Y’raiden’s only hope of survival and understanding his calling, he must go to the Oracle. The Seer. She might even have the wisdom to help Y’raiden purge the darkness from within him…”
The image dematerialized and they began packing, “I’ll retrieve our ship in the morning—from there, we’ll embark to Val’Hydiran.”
Copyright(C)2014 By M. J. Stoddard. All Rights Reserved.