A box of Magic
The sky above was dark and dank. Down bellow, the dying city of Valerac. The city sat like a gray ink puddle on the planet. Smoke rose from the soot-caked chimneys from the few privileged enough to have one. The cold snow of winter drifted gently down to caress the city bellow. Down below the smoke lied the true ruins. People staggered through the street, drunk or wounded. A man strikes a whore while trying to pull him pants up. A group of raggedy children barge their way through the streets as a man chases after them screaming, “Stop those thieves!” over and over. A group of men encircle two drunken brawlers, cheering them on as the beat themselves senselessly. All alone in the middle of a deserted road, a child stands, wearing little more than a bag as a dress, clinging to a stuffed bear while she cries out for help. No one answers her cries. In this dying city, there is no help for those who have nothing. There is no help for anyone.
The worst was Old Town. Old Town sat in horrid condition. Men lie dead and dying in the streets. A man breaks a window to get at the food he sees unguarded within. A group of women fight over a dress they found. Gun shots ring out over and over. Police stand rigid with fear, unable to do much more than watch as the city they promised to protect is overrun by scum.
A sniffle sounds out as a young girl with fair brown hair wipes her eyes. She swallows, attempting to wet her dry throat. Her eyes are brown, yet they are bloodshot. She licks her chapped lips, looking out at the street from behind a pile of broken crates. Sitting beside her, a boy with the same fair brown hair, sits covering himself with a brown linen blanket. The girl taps the boys shoulder.
“Jason, get up. Someone is coming.” She says in a clear, though dry voice.
The boy nods, and stands up, just able to see over the crates. Jason looks down the road. It is almost barren, except for a lone finger, obscured by fog. The girl nods at Jason and walks out onto the road. Jason looks down, searching for an object he could throw in case they failed. He finds a large stone, and grips it tightly.
The girl stumbles onto the road, trips, and falls flat on her face. The man walking down the street stops, the walks forward calmly.
“Should 'ave figured twas you, Alexandra. If you're here, then your little brother isn't far off.” The man said as he looks down at the girl.
The girl grunts, and stands up slowly. Jason carefully worms his way to his sisters side, clinging to her hand tightly.
“You need a better act if you want pi'y, li'l twit.” He said with a laugh.
Jason looks up at the man with fear in his eyes. Craig was always known for being a ruthless man. He basically owns Old Town. His stubble covered face reminds Jason of a porcupine with short quills. His scraggly half beard crawls up the sides of his face and meets with his hair. Most of the top of his head is covered by a top hat that is bent and has no top. His mouth has a blackish tint, and his teeth are either chipped, missing or yellow. His breath stinks of cigars and chewing tobacco. Craig has a man on every street. He has a group of raggedy children who have been trained to pickpocket for him. He doesn't look it, but he is the most wealthy person in Old Town.
“If'n you ever wan' a job, I'll be glad to take ya under my wing.” Craig says as he walks down the road.
Alexandra puts herself between Craig and Jason as he walks away. Jason swallows lightly.
“Alex... we can't keep doing this. Let's just take him up on his offer. You've seen what happens to kids who don't!” Jason says with a whimper of fear.
“And you've seen what happens to kids who do! Trust me Jason. We don't need Craig. Soon I'll be old enough to work at the bar, and we'll get money and move away from this place.” Alexandra says with a false confidence.
It doesn't work. Jason shakes his head, crawling back behind the crates. Without another word, Alexandra follows him. They sit in wait quietly. Jason is like a small statue. His thin, ten year old body easily hidden behind the large crates. Finally, their patience is rewarded with another man. Alexandra repeats her earlier performance, stumbling out onto the road and collapsing. They are in luck. The man runs to her aid. Before the man can even touch Alexandra, Jason leaps out from the crates, ramming into the man softly and sprints away. The man stumbles, looking at Jason as he runs. A realization hits him and he checks his pockets. Jason dives into an alley, barely able to breath, his chest heaving up and down. The man charges after Jason, unsure of which way he went. As soon as the man was out of sight, Jason and Alexandra regrouped, running the opposite way. They turned left down an alley and crept behind an abandoned cart. Alexandra looks hopefully at Jason. Jason opened his hand, dropping ten golden coins onto the ground, along with a small pouch. Alexandra beamed.
“This is good. We have what we need for today. What's in the pouch?” She asks as she picks it up.
She shakes it, and yet no sound comes out. She opens it and pores the contents next to the coins. It is a glittery red powder. Alexandra looks at it with great interest.
“What do you think it is? Crushed jewels?” She asks as she pools it into her hands.
“We should ask someone.” Jason says simply.
Alexandra nods. The pickpocketing duo steal away through the city, avoiding people who could recognize them. Twice they passed Craig, who was busy speaking with his cronies. They find the one man in Old Town that they feel they can trust. A older policeman by the name of Johnathan. Johnathan is a tall man, nearly six and a half feet tall, with a great curly brown beard. He wears his police uniform with pride. It is easy to see that he cares deeply about his position from his uniform, which seems to have been taken better care of than Johnathan himself. Alexandra walks towards Johnathan, holding the pouch tightly.
“John! It's Alexandra and Jason.” Johnathan's partner Victor says, leaning leisurely against the wall behind them.
“Alexandra! Jason! What a pleasant surprise! What brings you to my humble post?” Johnathan says in a huge voice.
“We found this pouch!” Jason blurted.
“Shh! We found this pouch and we don't know whats in it. It’s some kind of shiny red powder.” Alexandra says as she covers Jason mouth.
Alexandra hands the pouch to Johnathan, who inspects it carefully. A orchestra of hmm's and umm's echo from his throat before handing the pouch back to her.
“I'm no expert on powders, so you may want to show this to the Jeweler Grant.” Johnathan says as he hands the pouch back to Alexandra.
“Grants a real wiz' when it comes to useless crap.” Victor says in his lizard gruff voice.
“He's in the Old Town market all day. He's easy enough to find.” Johnathan says while glaring at Victor.
Alexandra smiles, satisfied with the result of her question. She grabs onto Jason's wrist, pulling him softly along as she moves towards the Old Town market.
The Old Town Market is a desolate place, much like the rest of Valerac. There are only a few carts, and even then the carts have very little to sell. The market itself is in a culdisack-like section of the city that connects with the city’s main gate, as well as a road to basically every location in Valerac. Alexandra pulled Jason along towards the cart of the Jeweler Grant.
Grant is a portly man who by any stretch of the imagination thought far too much of himself. He speaks using words that he either doesn't know the meaning of, or simply don't exist. He wears an array of metals that he has polished himself, and claims them to be rare medallions from kingdoms long since forgotten. His pudgy face is framed by a mustache that curved up and almost meets with his cinnamon brown hair, which sits on his head like a strip of tape. Grant wears what he considers “grand” crimson cloths that doesn't just hang from his body, but rather sags.
Grant looks down at Alexandra the moment she comes within two yards.
“Ah, if it isn't my most wondrous customer! What marvels and magicals may I interest you in?” Grant says in a opera-like voice.
“I'm not here to buy. I want your opinion on something.” Alexandra says simply.
“Something, anything, however you may need it! The splendorous thing about children is that they always have some bibbel or bauble to show. Well, go on and show me!” Grant says in a grand tone.
Alexandra looks to Jason, who quickly presents the pouch to Grant. Grant quickly lifts the pouch from Jason's filth covered hands, and carefully pours the a small bit of its contents onto his cart. He looks at it carefully, shifting the small pile with his finger, moving it in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. He even smells it lightly, before letting out a soft chuckle.
“My dear girl, this unwarranted powder is nothing more than crystallized crushed rose pedals. You'll find they are no more valuable than a regular rose.” Grant says as he pushes the powder back into the bag.
Jason looks up at Grant, noticing that his face was becoming lightly red, and that he was beginning to sweat. His hand fidgeted lightly with the bag as he held it tightly in his hands.
“Well, if it really is that worthless, you won’t mind giving it back.” Alexandra said, obviously noticing the odd behavior.
“Oh, but this little bauble would be of no use to someone like you. What do you say I just take these off your hands...?” Grant says, slowly losing his lush “vocabulary.
“If there's one thing a alley kid knows, it's that nothing is useless. I'll find a use for it. Unless you want to buy it?” Alexandra says slyly.
Grant mumbled to himself, realizing he's been trapped. He turns his back to the children, fumbling through the cart. He turns back, tossing three gold coins onto the ground.
“Here! Payment! Now please, leave! You are blocking the way for other customers!” Grant says, trying not to bark.
Alexandra nods, gathering the coins and leaves the cart. Jason follows behind her eagerly.
“Can we get some food now? Please? I'm starving!” Jason says pleadingly.
“Now? Now we can eat.” She said nodding.
Since they were in the market, Alexandra decides to just buy two loaves of sourdough bread from the bakers cart. They aren't exactly what Jason would call a delicacy even though they only cost four gold each. The bread was almost as dirty as the children themselves, but Jason doesn't mind. He tears into the bread, forcing down the sour, dirty food. Alexandra removes the crust, making sure there is no dirt on the bread before eating it slowly and calmly. Jason finishes quickly, tears running down his cheeks.
“Jason? Jason, what’s wrong?” She asks between small bites.
“I can't do this anymore. I'm tired of it! Eating dirty bread, stealing from people just so we can get stolen from! This isn't how humans live! I just can't do it anymore!” Jason says, curling up into a ball.
Alexandra looks at her brother sadly.
“Don't worry, Jason. We'll make it through. We always do. We'll get the money and run away together, and we'll never have to see Valerac again!” Alexandra says hopefully.
Jason ignores her, sitting in his ball. Every once in a while, Jason shivers or quivers. Alexandra sits beside him, hopeless and depressed. For her brothers sake, she refuses to cry.
Finally, Jason sat up. Alexandra looked at her brother with renewed vigor.
“Come on, lets go to sleep.” She finally said as she walked down the road.
Jason nodded, following her. His eyes were red, and pink bags were forming underneath them. They walked through the Old Town market, and took the eastern road towards Castle Fair Gardens. They turned into an alley, following down the wet, deserted road until they came to a metal wall. Alexandra and Jason squeezed through to a small nook which was covered with three fairly dry blankets, which Jason and Alexandra had stolen years ago. Alexandra lays a blanket out, then lays down and covers herself with one of the blankets. Jason lays down next to her, covering himself with the other blanket.
Alexandra quickly falls asleep, but something keeps Jason up. Something seemed to poke at his insides. Not a pain, just a feeling. A feeling of something to come. He couldn't sort out what it was, whether it was hunger or premonition. He watched as the sun sets then finally forces himself into sleep.
Jason is rousted from sleep by Alexandra. Jason opens his eyes slowly, welcoming the sunlight. He reluctantly crawls out from the blanket. Alexandra offers him a clean pieces of bread. Jason takes it thankfully, eating it with the same ravenous vigor. He smiles slightly, a warm feeling bubbling up inside him. Something good was going to happen. He knew it.
“Where did you get the bread?” Jason asked between mouthfuls.
“I stole it from the cart when Dean wasn't looking.” She said simply.
“Did you eat something already?” Jason asked.
“Of course. I ate my loaf while I walked back here.” She said simply.
Jason saw breadcrumbs on her dress, and nodded. After Jason finished his bread, he and Alexandra spent the rest of the morning watching Castle Fair Gardens.
“How many people do you think live in there?” Alexandra asked Jason.
“I dunno. Lord Fredrick doesn't come out much, so I guess not that many.” Jason said.
“What do you think Lord Fredrick is like? Do you think he's a nice person?” She asked.
“He's rich. He doesn't need to be nice.” Jason said.
“How much money do you think it would take to live in that castle?” She asked.
“I don't know, a lot?” He said, her constant questions annoying him.
“God, I wish I could live in a castle like that. With servants, and cloths and food.” Alexandra said longingly.
“I don't.” Jason said bluntly.
“You don't? Why not? Everyone wants to be rich.” She said.
“Not me. I don't want money. I want to be an adventurer or something. A bandit or pirate. You know, someone who lives a life with lots of danger and excitement. It would be so boring to sit around in a castle all day. I don't need anything like that. All I need a sword and a chance to prove myself.” Jason said.
Alexandra said something, but Jason ignored her. He was lost in thought. He pictured himself, maybe ten years from then. Laughing as he plundered the seas with rapier and pistol in hand as a pirate, or ambushing rich people with naught more than his sword and wits as a bandit. Maybe a bounty hunter, firing arrows at villains as they ran in terror, or even a soldier, marching of to battle to prove his mettle to his lord. Jason chuckled, imagining what his life could be like. Alexandra snapped him out of it with a strong push. Jason sat on the ground for a moment, then looked up at Alexandra.
“What was that for?” Jason asked as he got back up.
“I don't like being ignored!” Alexandra said simply.
Jason shook his head as he stood up. He wanted to say something, but found himself unable to form the words. He stood dumbly for a few seconds, then finally pushed her back.
“Hey!” Alexandra said as she stood back up.
Jason smirked playfully, and sprinted out of the alley. Alexandra chased after him, brushing her hair out of her face. Jason looked back at Alexandra to taunt her, and ran directly into a man. Jason stumbles to the ground, not knowing what, or in this case, who he hit. The man reeled back at Jason.
“You little street rat! What did you steal?!” He said lunging at Jason.
Jason rolled, just barely dodging the man. Jason scrambled frantically to stand. Alexandra was soon there, standing between the angered man and Jason.
“Get out of the way girl! That little punk stole from me!” He said.
“What did he steal?” Alexandra asked.
The man stood dumbstruck, realizing he hadn't checked if anything was gone. He quickly skimmed over his person, before glaring daggers at Alexandra and stomping off. Alexandra helped Jason up, who was shivering like an abused dog. Alexandra patted his head softly.
“It's okay. He's gone.” Alexandra said soothingly.
Jason couldn't speak. He choked on his own mouth. He hugged his sister tightly, silently crying his eyes out. Finally, he stopped crying, and Alexandra took him back to their cot in the alley. Jason curled up underneath both blankets. He still shook, remembering the man’s face. The fear he felt.
Alexandra looked down at her brother with sad eyes. She watched him for a while, then left.
Soon, Alexandra shook Jason. Jason sat up slowly, roused from a peaceful nap.
“Jason! The Magister salesman is here! Calcifer! He's in the market!” She said excitedly, pulling Jason up.
As soon as Jason heard the name Calcifer, his energy returned. The two bolted as quickly as possible to the Old Town Market, being careful not to bump into anyone. Jason and Alexandra were soon among a small crowd of people In the middle stood a man dressed in purple, yellow and pink clothes, covered in colored stones and wore his beard with a small pink bow at the end. The man’s mustache was small, and curved in on itself. This was the Magister Calcifer, the magic traveling salesman.
“...And my next item is a rather one of a kind item. This magical mirror! Look inside, and it shall make you beautiful beyond imagining, but I should warn you, the magic only works when it is dark! Do i hear twenty gold?” Calcifer bellowed proudly.
Jason instantly knew that Calcifer was lying, yet he noticed the reaction of the crowd as different than expected. Men and women alike started murmuring, looking at themselves with their own mirrors. Even Alexandra sneaked a peak at herself in a small compact. Finally, a rather plain woman bought the mirror at a “bargain” for ten gold.
“My next item is this! It is a...” Calcifer looked at the item he held with odd curiosity.
It was a small, well decorated music box. Jason looked at it curiously. He had an odd feeling when he looked at it.
“This is... a magical music box!” Calcifer finally “determined” with a loud voice.
The crowd instantly groaned and began to disperse. Alexandra pulled Jason away, though Jason protested and struggled. The Magister saw he was losing his crowd and tried desperately to get them back.
“Wind it up and it will grant you any one wish! Only five gold for a wish!” he said even louder than before.
Alexandra turned and tried pulling on Jason with both hands, but lost her grip and fell backwards. Alexandra landed at the feet of a bizarre looking woman, who seemed to be looking at the man.
The woman was old, probably seventy at least, and wore deep purple robes that at golden edges. She almost looked like she didn't belong in the same universe. Jason and Alexandra stared at her in strange awe, unable to look at anything else. Suddenly, she spoke, though softly it was easy enough for Jason and Alexandra to hear.
“Foolish man. He doesn't realize the only item he has of any true magical value is the very box he's trying to pawn away...” She said, before turning her back to them and walking away.
Jason stared at the woman, who seemed to glide, rather than walk. Finally, Alexandra stood.
“Jason... do you think she was telling the truth...?” She asked, looking at Jason.
Jason stood, thinking.
“I think we should buy it! We have the money and we can always steal more!” Jason said enthusiastically.
Alexandra nodded. Jason watched as his sister walked to Calcifer hesitantly. He heard Calcifer laugh loudly, giving her the music box and taking their last five gold. Alexandra walked back to Jason, holding the music box gingerly in her hands. Jason looked at it eagerly. Alexandra looked up at Jason.
“We should go back to the alley before we make our wish.” Alexandra said quickly.
Jason nodded and they rushed to their alley. As they ran, Jason looked up at the sun, which was already setting, tearing the sky into an orange and pink storm.
Finally, they reached their cot. Alexandra set the music box on the cot. Jason looked at it quizzically, then looked at his sister.
“Alexandra, I can't think of anything. You wish for something.” he said.
Alexandra looked at the box, then at their surroundings. Then something caught her eye. The beautiful Castle Fair Gardens. She looked at the box, and began winding it up.
“I've got it. I wish that me and Jason could go to Castle Fair Gardens and meet lord Fredric!” She said.
She finished winding the box and quickly took a step back. They watched the box as whirring sound began echoing. Finally, the box starting playing a beautiful melody. Jason and Alexandra looked at it. Jason was about to say something when a blinding light erupted from the box. The music started playing faster and faster. Jason and Alexandra shielded their eyes from the light, unable to keep their eyes open. Finally, and loud dong sounded, and the music stopped. Jason slowly opened his eyes, and the box was gone. Alexandra opened her eyes to, and quickly looked around. They were still in the same alley, with the same blankets and the same cloths. The only thing that had changed was that the box had vanished.
“Maybe it takes a while for the magic to work?” Alexandra said, nodding confidently.
Jason nodded. The light and vanishing proved it was truly magical. Jason and Alexandra silently went to sleep, dreaming of what their life would be like if their wish came true. And it would, but not how they would think. For they weren't the only ones who had seen the light from the box.
High up in Castle Fair Gardens, a man stood with a large telescope, peering down at Jason and Alexandra.
“At last, I've found it...”
A soft nudge woke Jason. He sat up reluctantly, rubbing his tired eyes in an attempt to get the sleep out of them He looked up at Alexandra, who stood leaning down at him. Jason looked at her with her goofy smile. Then Jason noticed a well-dressed man standing behind her. He stood perfectly straight, wearing a simple black and white suit.
“Guess who he is.” She said simply.
Jason looked at the man with little interest, until he saw the castle in the distance.
“Is... is he Lord Fredrick's butler?” Jason asked with amazement.
“Yes! He says his master wants to meet us! Jason, our wish came true! We're going to Castle Fair Gardens!” Alexandra said in a giddy tone.
Jason leapt out of his bed quickly.
“Let go then!” Jason said quickly.
“If that is what the young masters wish...” The butler said with virtually no emotion.
Jason and Alexandra followed the butler out of the alley, who seemed afraid of everything around him. Jason watched him carefully, and noticed every time he got to close to something dirt, he would back away in a manner most undignified, then correct himself and walk as if nothing had happened. Jason looked at Alexandra, who was watching the castle in the distance, completely ignoring everything else around them. Jason wondered if this was possibly to good to be true, but expelled such thought from his mind, remembering the music box and what the old woman had said. He felt confident and strode along the road next to his sister, proud to be wear he was.
Soon, they reached the castle. It was considerably larger up close. It was made of white granite. Jason brushed his hand along the smooth surface of the castle with interest. It was like a obelisk, a stone beacon of hope that maybe one day Valerac would become prosperous once more. Jason looked at the castles surroundings, which was a beautiful garden, hence the castle name. The butler pushed Jason along.
“We must not dally, the Master is expecting you now.” the butler said.
Jason and Alexandra quickly nodded. The inside of the castle was amazing. Rather than being plain, the castle walls had a multitude of beautiful arts of all styles. The floor was a silk carpet. Jason and Alexandra looked at each other, smiling proudly. The two walked quickly behind the butler, who directed them through the massive castle. They went through hallway after hallway, passing hundreds of people who worked to keep the castle clean and pleasant.
Finally they came upon a door that was so large it reached the roof. It was redwood, with golden hinges. The butler stood to one side.
“The Master awaits within.” the butler said.
Jason and Alexandra pushed the doors open, revealing a glorious sight.
The room was a huge study, filled to the brim with papers, charts, schematics for inventions, strange circles on posters, and of course books! No matter which way Jason looked, he could see books and books and even more books! Books on just about anything he could imagine. “How to get a girl and loose her in an hour.” “A perv's life” “Arcane wonders” “The hands of fate” “Gods mistake” “More of gods mistakes” “Just who is this god person anyway?” and even “Mystical instruments and how to use them.” were among the tons of literature piled into the bookshelves.
At the end of the study stood Lord Fredrick, who smiled at them.
“Please shut the door. We have much to talk about.” He said warmly.
Alexandra and Jason quickly obey.
Fredrick strode over proudly. He had a clean shaved face, with a golden pistol attached to his red leather belt. His belt had a golden buckle. His dark brown hair was pushed back. He was a very handsome man, if anything.
“Now then, you two must be Alexandra and Jason.” He said, putting a hand on Jason and Alexandra's shoulders.
“Yes... umm... how did you know my name?” Alexandra asked, a bit intimidated.
“I know many things. For instance, would I be correct in saying that you two came across a music box yesterday?” Fredrick said, walking away from them.
“Yes. My sister bought it from the Magister Calcifer.” Jason said, not as intimidated as his sister.
“Excellent! Now then, would you tell me where that little box is?” Fredrick asked slyly.
“umm.. we lost it... we made a wish on it and it vanished in a blinding light.” Jason said, looking down.
Lord Fredrick's reaction was not one Jason expected. Rather than getting depressed or angery, he strode towards the opposite end of the study, mumbling to himself. They watch as the richest man in Valerac spoke to himself. Finally, he turned to Alexandra and Jason.
“Thank you. You can't even begin to imagine how much this has helped me. Now may I ask you two a little favor?” he asked.
“Yes, of course!” Alexandra said, looking at Jason, who was smiling back at her.
“Could you two step onto this circle here?” He said, pointing at a golden circle at the rooms end.
They walked towards the circle, looking at it with interest. It was covered with markings and symbols neither Alexandra nor Jason could understand. It was right beside a French door, with led to a ledge with a telescope. They held each other’s hands and took a step onto the circle.
The circle instantly enveloped them in a blue orb. Alexandra quickly attempted to escape, but found herself unable to pass outside.
“Lord Fredrick, what is this?!” She asked frantically.
Fredrick put a finger to his lips, ushering her to silence. He walked to the orb and tried to touch it. The orb rejected him, turning red and zapping him. He recoiled quickly.
“Not the ones...” He muttered.
Once again, Fredrick began pacing back and forth, muttering incoherently to himself. It look a longer time than before, but finally, he turned to the two.
“Thank you, but you're services are no longer needed.” Fredrick said simply, reaching for his pistol.
Before either could react, Fredrick fired. Alexandra cringed, then fell. Jason looked down at his sister, who lied in a pool of blood. Jason's eyes erupted into tears, and he turned towards Fredrick who was nonchalantly reloading his gun. Jason charged screaming straight through the orb, which unlike with Fredrick and Alexandra, didn't so much a hinder him. Fredrick notice immediately, and whipped his gun up at Jason quickly, firing. Jason fell back, screaming and clutching his shoulder in pain. He turned away from Fredrick, bolting towards the French door. Fredrick gave chase, but, Jason burst through the French door, falling straight down. Fredrick stood on the ledge, looking down at where Jason fell.
“In the end, I win.” Fredrick said.
A mist covered where Jason fell. Jason lied in the mist, broken and in pain, but alive. He lied unconscious, waiting for death to take him. But something else came instead. The woman clothed in purple came to him. She gently lifted him.
“Rest now, hero. Soon your destiny will be in your own hands.” she said before walking away with him into the eerie mist.
Years pass, things change
A new wind blows, but unlike the winds of Valerac, this wind is pleasant. It has a warm feeling that creeps all over one’s body. The sun shines bright in the beautiful blue sky. Jason lies alone in the middle of a large field of grass, watching the clouds. It has been five years since he fell from Fredrick’s tower. Though Jason would like to forget about that man and that day, his body will not allow it. A deep scar rests on his back. He sits up, looking around himself with meager interest. He finds himself unable to see the beauty in his surroundings. He stands slowly, stretching his muscles. He wanders through the field knowingly. He goes to the field every day to think alone. Soon he reaches a small cliff that has a rather steep slope. Below is a gypsy camp. For the first time, Jason smirks. He is no friend to the gypsies that took him in. In fact, the gypsies hate him unconditionally. Jason jumps from the ledge, landing on the slope. He slides down quickly, but the moment he hits level ground, he skids and begins to roll uncontrollably.
The gypsy camp is calm. The travelers prepare themselves for a performance. Some test instruments, while others prepare their voices. A few read off monologues. Jason rolls into the camp, causing utter chaos instantly. Jason hits a ramp, flipping through the air. He land, stumbles, and bolts straight through the camp. Every time he bumps into someone, something even worse happens. He bumps into a man carrying a carefully made bowl. The man stumbles, loosing hold of the bowl. The bowl flies through the air, crashing down by a group of children. The children scream in unison and burst through the camp. Gypsies all over the camp are in turmoil.
Jason halts himself at the last cart in the caravan. He pants lightly and looks back at the camp.
“Heheheh… not bad.” Jason says to himself.
Jason had been counting the days since the day he was wounded. It had been 1,834 days since Fredrick had killed his sister. Though he tried to ignore the pain, he found himself unable. He had been counting the days until this day. This day was the day He had chosen to begins his journey. A quest for revenge. He climbed into his cart, removing the supplies he had saved. A backpack filled with potions and food, a bottle of red wine and three jugs of water. He set them, counting them up to make sure everything was there. He nodded in satisfaction. He pulled a slightly rusted long sword out of the cart, admiring the blade. It had served him well for three years. He then pulled out a pistol. The gun, unlike the sword, was in perfect condition. It hadn’t been used once. He put the pistol in his belt, and then pulled a knife from the cart. He stuck the knife in his belt and looked over his supplies another time before realizing what he had forgotten. Jason went back into the cart, and removed a simple red wool blanket, carefully putting it in the backpack.
Once ready he began to long trek to Valerac. Walking through the gypsy camp, Jason could hear the gypsies talking about him.
“So the demon child is finally leaving?”
“About time! That boy has been nothing but trouble from day one!”
“Momma, where is he going?”
“Nowhere. Because there is nowhere in Abilon for a person like him.”
Jason stopped, just outside the camp, and looked back. The caravan was a mess. Jason smirked.
“My gift to you all.” He says as he turns.
He stopped short. The mysterious woman clothed in violet stood on the road before him.
“Sylvia. What is it?” Jason asked.
“The day has come. You have been preparing for this vengeful day since I saved your life.” She said.
“Of course.” Jason said, walking towards her.
Sylvia looked out towards the sun.
“Jason, do you know what destiny is?” She asked.
“Destiny? Never really gave it much thought. Isn’t it just what we’re going to do?” He said.
“No, Jason. Destiny is not our entire lives; it is moments in our lives. Moments that are meant to happen. No matter how one tries, they are destined to do certain things. It is the way the world works. The most powerful of these destinies is how one dies.” Sylvia said.
“That’s depressing.” Jason said.
“Do you know what a hero is?” Sylvia asked.
“A hero? Some person who does amazing things right? Helps people and such?” Jason said.
“No. Heroes are people unhindered by the hands of fate. Unlike the rest of the world, nothing for them is certain. A hero can spend their life doing whatever they wish, and because they have no destiny, they can change the destiny of others. In a sense, they are the most powerful beings in Abilon.” Sylvia said.
“Great. I’ll make sure to be careful if I meet one.” Jason said.
“Jason. You are one of these beings. You are a hero.” Sylvia said.
Jason stops and turns back to Sylvia.
“What?” Jason said.
“The reason you didn’t die that day was because you are a hero. That was the turning point. Whether you are a hero of vengeance or of redemption, I have yet to see, but I know you are a hero.” She said simply.
Jason looks down at himself. He didn’t feel like a hero. He had stolen to survive for twelve years, and then lived with gypsies who hate him for five.
“How do you know?” He asked.
“A seer does not see the future, but rather has the ability to see a destined moment in one’s life. When I met you five years ago, your destiny was bleak. You were destined to die when Fredrick shot you. Yet you lived. And your destiny changed. Destiny does not change unless that destiny has been affected by a hero. Since then, your destiny has changed over and over. Without a doubt, I know you are a hero.” Sylvia said.
“So what does that mean?” Jason asked.
“It means that you are one of the only people able to kill Fredrick. Fredrick’s destiny is to rule the world of Abilon using an ancient magic artifact. Since you are a hero, you can change that destiny.” Sylvia said.
“I don't plan on saving the world. I plan on killing Fredrick. That's it.” Jason said with a sneer.
Sylvia stood, quietly watching the hero leave. Jason wasn't the kind to be lectured. He hated people who told him what he was, or how he should be. He wasn't a gentleman, or a gypsy. He knew what he was. He was a warrior. He enjoyed combat, despised cowards and felt sympathy for the weak. Yet, his feelings about weakness were conflicted. He hated weak opponents, yet cared for those who had no means to defend themselves. He despised weakness.
The journey was long and hard. All alone, Jason had nothing to do but walk along the road. The closer he drew to Valerac, the more people he met. He met traveling merchants and policemen mostly. The road seemed to go on forever. When the sun began to set, Jason began to set up a camp. He walked into the woods surrounding the road, marking the tree's as he went, until he found a small clearing, perfect for a camp. He had no tent, and no tinder. That meant to shelter and no fire, but Jason wasn't worried. He sat against a tree and covered his legs with the blanket he had brought. Then he pulled out his long sword and a rough stone. The stone had been carefully crafted by Jason. It had a slit in it that was made to sharpen blades perfectly. He slowly and carefully slid the stone up the blade. The blade itself was rusted, but the edges were gleaming and sharp. He set the stone aside, and began a series of quick slashes, parries and thrusts, making sure it was perfect. The blade whistled quietly as it glided through the air. Satisfied with balance, Jason spun and slashed at a tree with all his might. The blade buried itself in the tree deeply. Jason was dismayed to find that removing the blade was difficult. He pulled hard and strained, but the blade remained in the tree. Finally, he let out a soft grunt, and pulled with all his might. The sword burst from the tree, sending small splintered hurdling. He checked to blade for damage, promising never to test a blade in a tree again. Satisfied that he was ready, he drifted off to sleep.
Jason awoke at crossbow point. The arrowhead not a inch away from his face. He looked at the arrow with intrigue. It wasn't every day you got to actually see what an arrow looked like. It was a stone arrowhead, made quickly and crudely. Jason doubted it was very useful for piercing armor. Unfortunately for Jason, he had no armor.
Jason looked up at the assailants. The one with the crossbow was a gruff man. He had thick stubble that had been trimmed in vain. He wore brown cloths that were both dirty and worn. Rummaging through his bag was a girl who, despite the dirt, was rather attractive.
“Don't move, ya bilge rat.” The man said, poking Jason's forehead with the arrowhead.
Jason wasn't intimidated. With a unseen move, Jason slid his knife out from his back pocket. The man looked back at the girl.
“Olivia, what's he got?” He asked impatiently.
“This guy's a treasure trove! Potions, wine, and a pistol.” She said.
Jason seized his chance, jamming his knife into the crossbow. Though the crossbow fired, the knife nailed the arrow in place. Before the man could react, Jason kicked at the mans shin, tripping him using sheer force. The man yelped in pain, releasing the crossbow. Jason seized arrow from the crossbow, snapping off the arrowhead and holding it to the mans neck.
“Okay, back off!” Jason barked.
The girl was shaken, pointing Jason's pistol at them. Jason knew he had won. The pistol had one shot, and if she fired, she would hit the man. He held all the cards.
“Leave him alone. You hurt him and our reinforcements will crush you!” She barked back.
“You suck at lying, you know that? If you had reinforcements, they would have reacted the moment I struck the crossbow. Just drop the pistol and back away. I'll release your friend here and we'll all be happy.” Jason said.
Olivia looked angrily at Jason, then at the man inches away from death. She stood rigid, unsure of what to do next. Jason, on the other hand, was cool as ice. He had killed before, he could kill again. If he wanted to, he could kill both without much trouble. The standstill lasted a good while. Jason didn’t take his eyes off of Olivia, his eyes narrowed into a death glare. Olivia stood at crossroads, unable to make a choice.
“Fine. If you really want him to die…” Jason said simple as he slowly began to poke the mans neck with the arrow head until a small drop of blood trickled down the mans neck.
“Stop! I’ll…I’ll do as you say…” She said, bowing her head.
Jason grinned slightly as she tossed his pistol to him. She walked backwards, away from his camp. Jason shoved the man forward, picking up his pistol. He held it at the ready, in case they tried anything. Jason watched as they skulked away, before flipping his pistol into his belt. Jason fixed up his belongings, and got packed. There was no point in trying to sleep.
“May as well use the adrenaline while I have it.” Jason muttered as he followed his marks back to the road.
The road seemed less impressive now. He saw the same kind of things over and over. It was boring. The road seemed to stretch on forever, and nothing seemed to change. Jason looked down at his pistol, regretting not obtaining more bullets. He sighed, and wondered if he would run into anyone else like Olivia and her less than impressive partner. Jason daydreamed as he walked, wondering what the two were doing, and how they reacted to him after they were forced to flee. Jason smirked with a simple satisfaction of knowing that he had managed to fend off two people.
A sudden thought occurred to Jason. Why did they have to steal from him? Wasn’t the government doing its job? Why wasn’t the Queen helping people like she’s supposed too? Jason pondered this, then another thought found its way into Jasons’ head. Hadn’t anything changed since he was young? Why were things so bad when he was young? Jason found the thoughts depressing and refused to think of them any further.
Jason refused to rest that night. He continued down the road, fueled by what little food that he had eaten, and the thought of finally exacting his revenge upon Fredrick. Jasons’ feet hurt, his breathing was deep, yet he trudged on. Day break finally came and Jason was greeted with not only the sight of the sun, but the sight of Valerac. Jason stood, grinning with satisfaction of his travels, and the vengeance he would soon inflict.
“Watch out, Fredrick. Jason’s back, and he’s out for blood.” Jason said in a dark voice.
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