Ch 3: A New Identity
Seven golden rings of light appeared in the center of the room, followed by thousands upon thousands of reversed symbols. Within the golden rings appeared three figures but because the light was too bright, no features could be made out from said figures. Just as the light was on the verge of dimming, one more ring appeared by the others, delayed by a few seconds but no one seemed to notice.
As the light from these rings began to fade, a large voice boomed within the room.
“Welcome future heroes. I am…”
As these words were leaving his mouth, a man within one of the rings, who lay curled up in a ball, appeared to be moving slightly. He could not see currently but his ears still worked perfectly fine and he could hear a voice and knew he had to act quickly.
(I can feel it. I can feel the magic energy around me.)
With a deep inhale, magical energy began to flood into this man’s body and he didn’t sit idly by. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out dozens of talismans and filled them with energy before throwing one in particular, into the air. Before the man with the booming voice could even finish his first sentence, the talisman activated.
Like a flash grenade, the talisman instantly became as bright as the sun and for the surrounding watchful eyes, it was just as intense. Those in the room could do nothing but wince and shut their eyes in pain, as this light temporarily blinded them. They had been prepared for the rings earlier so the rings of light didn’t affect them but this sudden light had caught them completely off guard.
Next, the man threw out the rest of the talismans. Since he couldn’t see his surroundings, he could only throw them randomly in a circle. Once more the talismans activated. These, however, unfortunately for everyone around, would not send out a blinding light.
*Boom Tzzzt Fwushh*
Several explosions rang out both big and small. Some of the talismans struck out with lightning, while others spit out a flame, most though were simple explosions, enough to maim but not enough to kill.
The surrounding people were filled with fear and shock and the man with the booming voice yelled at the nearby Garn.
“What the hell is this? What the hell is going on?”
Garn threw up a large barrier of energy and yelled back.
“I don’t know, it has to be a rebound or something. This doesn’t make any sense, we did everything right.”
As Garn continued to yell out, the surrounding explosions suddenly ceased and the light faded. This unexpected situation had only lasted a moment but it was more than enough to cause mayhem.
The torches that once lined the walls and lit the room were all extinguished and the entire room was now wrapped in a veil of darkness. Garn pointed his staff toward the torches and said.
The crystal embedded at the end of his staff glowed an orangish-red and a single flame formed at the tip. With a thought, the flame shot toward the closest torch and reignited it, before jumping to the next torch and lit that one as well and then jumped once more to the next and the next and the next. Within only a few seconds, besides the completely broken torches that had fallen or could no longer hold a light, the rest of the torches lit up most of the chamber.
Garn and Rust looked around in shock. The sight before them left them utterly flabbergasted and appalled.
Bodies, bodies everywhere. Soon the sounds of painful groaning could be heard, allowing the two men to sigh with a bit of relief. If they were groaning that meant they were still alive at least.
Garn had put up a large barrier in time, which managed to protect not only himself but Rust and a dozen or so soldiers behind him as well. Most of the mages had also reacted in time and put energy barriers around themselves but the soldiers and the summoned ones were not so fortunate. There was blood everywhere. Broken bones, twisted and missing limbs, severe burns, lacerations and gouged tattered flesh hanging from bone, the sight of which was hell incarnate.
Rust grabbed a soldier by the collar and roared in the man’s face.
“Healers! Get the healers now!”
The healers were working all day, using their abilities as best they could. With healing magic at the ready, many impossible things became possible but the consumption of magic power came at an enormous cost, leaving each one of them nerve racked, as well as exhausted both physically and mentally. For their patients though, this cost meant nothing and they would gladly drain themselves away if it could save just one more life.
The sun was just about to set as two healers walked into a recovery room. There were 10 beds in total lining the room. Each bed had a patient wrapped in several bandages. Those that were the worst off had just had limbs reattached and were still suffering greatly from the pain but as the healers made their way through, the painful expressions passed and a feeling of relief washed over them.
As the two healers approached the last bed in the room, a patient with a face entirely wrapped in bandages could be seen laying, unmoving. One of the healers grabbed a chart from the end of the bed and rubbed his old tired eyes for a moment before inspecting it. The old man flipped a page or two and squinted his eyes before furrowing his brows and passing the chart to his colleague.
“Neya does this look right to you? I think I’m too beat and my eyes are playing tricks on me.”
The one called Neya looked over the charts before handing it back. Wiping the sweat from her brow, she began to fan herself trying to cool her fatigued self down if even just a little.
“No, well you do look like you have half a foot in the grave but your old eyes aren’t that bad yet. This young man had his entire face melted away by the aftereffects, even his eyes were destroyed in the incident.”
“So is that what they’re calling it, the incident.”
Neya grumbled under her breath seeing that her comment did not affect the old man whatsoever. Pouting slightly she said.
“What else would they call it? They can’t divulge important information to us healers but we all know what that chamber is used for. If they don’t call it an incident then the only other option would be to call it sabotage, which in turn would mean we have a traitor in our kingdom.”
The old healer shook his head in bitterness.
“How could someone sabotage the summoning spell, especially in these dark times. The heroes are our only hope and yet someone actually…Do they want the world to end? The fools.”
Neya approached the young man on the bed and placed her hand just above his wrapped face. A small gold ring with a tiny green crystal nestled in its center rested on her finger, began to glow an emerald green. The young man on the bed started to thrash around but after not even a second, the green energy poured down upon his face like a gentle soothing mist, causing the man to fully relax and sink back into the bed, calming him completely.
Neya nodded back at the old healer.
“What else could they want but for the world to end. Those damn Azirian’s. If only they’d just dissap…huh?”
Neya looked back and forth between the small glowing crystal on her ring and the young man. She could feel some type of small interference with her energy.
Pulling her hand away, she opened and closed her hand a couple of times before trying again but still, something wasn’t right. The old healer noticed a problem and asked.
“What’s the matter?”
Neya explained what she felt and gained the old man’s curiosity. He too placed a hand over the man’s injury and tried himself but to his surprise, his power wasn’t quite working.
“Hmm, Both our rings can’t be defective. Hmm, he’s one of the summoned and they usually have special properties or abilities, maybe this is one of his. If that’s the case, since he’s just arrived it can’t be too powerful so maybe if we try together our power will overcome his. It’s at least worth a shot right?”
Neya nodded and the two placed their hands over the injured young man and activated their powers simultaneously. At first, there were clear signs of resistance but with a steady flow of power, the combined magic of the two finally felt something give.
Their rings shone a bright emerald and the energy poured in like water into a bucket.
A moment later and like little worms in the dirt, fresh flesh beneath the man’s bandage began to wiggle as it grew. A bit here and a bit there, muscle began to reconnect, nerves started to regrow, and blood circulated faster dyeing his bandages red. A few minutes later and the light on the rings dimmed and the two staggered back. The old man almost collapsed from exhaustion but Neya had caught him by the arm.
“Thank you Neya. It seems I’ve overdone it, I can’t feel even an ounce of energy left within me. Looks like I’m done for the day. Will you take care of the rest?”
“Of course, that’s what I’m here for.”
The old man nodded and wobbled away as he took his leave.
Neya breathed a long sigh.
She too was on the verge of fainting herself but she still had a bit more to do. Good thing this was her last patient for the day.
Once more she placed her hand over the young man’s head but just as she was about to help him, without warning, her wrist was grabbed. Not just grabbed but grabbed hard, causing her to wince slightly due to the pain.
She was about to scream for help when a low hoarse voice whispered to her. She couldn’t quite make out what the man beneath her said and she didn’t know whether it was due to fear or curiosity but she leaned in slightly closer.
“Wha…What did you just say?”
The injured man did his best to put strength into his voice as he spoke louder.
“Leave my bandages on, my face, my face is ruined. I don’t want anyone to see.”
Neya’s fear was washed away and was replaced with relief and understanding. She placed her other hand over the top of his as gently as she could and spoke softly.
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to take off your bandage, I was simply going to use magic to clean it. Ah, you’ve just come to this world so maybe you don’t know what that is but believe me, it will do wonders for you.”
The young man didn’t seem to be convinced and trembled slightly. Neya, however, was the picture of calm. Once more she spoke with a feather-like voice.
“Trust me, as long as I’m here, no one will force you to remove your bandages if you don’t wish it. Now, do you want me to remove all that sticky blood or are you gonna let your wound get dirty and infected.”
The young man hesitantly released his grip and whispered.
Neya slowly placed her hand over his face.
“Ok, I’m going to start.”
With a green crystal attached to her ring, it would be a little more difficult for her to use the element of water but with a high degree of focus and the remainder of her power, a glove of water formed over her hand without spilling. Placing her hand at the top of the bandage and wiping it down slowly, the man twitched slightly in pain from her touch. As the glove worked its way down, all of the blood pulled away from the bandage and clung to her glove of water dyeing it blood red. A moment later and she was done. Grabbing a small basin next to the bed, she placed her hand over it and thought a single word.
The glove of water and blood fell into the basin and Neya felt her stamina drain even more.
“That’s it. See, no need to remove your bandage.”
The young man turned his head toward Neya’s voice and whispered a small.
Neya stretched her tired back and laughed faintly.
“Hahaha, that’s why I’m here, no need for thank yous. Well, I’m completely out of power now so my day is over. Time to take my leave, goodbye.”
With that said, she turned and began to walk away. Just before she left the room though, she remembered something.
“Oh yes, although I know you don’t wish for anyone to take your bandage off, you also should leave it alone. For some reason, both I and my colleague had trouble healing your face so we could only do a small portion of it. Ah but don’t worry, the remaining magical energy is already working away and the rest of your face should probably finish healing on its own by tomorrow. I just don’t want you taking your bandage off and freaking yourself or others out. Hmm, yep that should be it, goodbye and goodnight.”
Her last sentence came out awkward because of her [freaking others out] comment, so Neya hurriedly turned and left.
The young man continued to shake and tremble but as soon as Neya had left and he could no longer hear her footsteps down the hall, as though it never existed in the first place, his trembling stopped.
Still, the man waited until the sun had gone down and the night had taken over completely before he decided to make his move. The man lay in bed and listened quietly for a few moments. Hearing steady breathing in his surroundings, he could tell that the other patients in his room were deep asleep.
With his neighbors sleeping, the man could get to work. Inhaling deeply, magical energy started to pour into his body like a torrent of water. Exhaling, the man felt exhilaration deep down, all the way to his bones.
With his body pumping full of power, the man placed a hand over his left eye socket and willed his power forth. Even without a crystal or a magic tool such as a ring or a staff, power condensed in his hand and his palm emitted a faint glowing green light. A small orb of tissue began to grow. At first, it was no bigger than a drop of water and then a moment later it was slightly bigger than a seed, then a pebble and then a small rock. it began to connect with the rest of the muscle and connective tissue until finally, a fully formed eye had materialized. With a bit more the eyelid grew over the top of that and it was complete.
Opening his bandage slightly so he could see, the man silently got out of bed and walked to the bathroom, making sure to make as little noise as possible. Entering the bathroom, besides a toilet, sink, and mirror, there was also a single candle. The man pinched the wick and a small flame burst forth and lit it. Standing in front of the mirror, the man slowly unwrapped the rest of his face and grimaced in pain every time he accidentally brushed his hand against his injury.
Seeing himself, the man couldn’t help but stare for a long while, so long in fact that he lost track of time. Only when he heard the cough of a patient in pain did he finally snap out of it. Listening quietly, the man heard steady breathing and once more looked at his reflection.
Looking at his face in the mirror, the man could only be described as ghoulish. Although his face had healed a bit, in the end, it was only around 10%. Looking between the now melted part of the candle and his reflection in the mirror, the man couldn’t help but find many similarities, further fueling his disgust.
With a slip of madness, the man threw a punch at the mirror but quickly regained control of himself and stopped just shy of it.
Reaching into his pants pocket, he felt a loose thread and pulled it away, tearing open a hidden pocket within. Pulling something from that pocket, the man looked at it under the candlelight. It was a small crystal ball, no bigger than a grape. passing some power into it, the ball shined a faint blue and emitted a hologram. An image of a young man appeared within. Laying it against the mirror, the man once more willed his magic into his hands and breathed out heavily.
Holding one hand under his chin, the man whispered to himself.
“One more time.”
His other hand slowly approached his face and black energy attacked him. The muscle that had just healed was once again melting away under this dark energy, causing excruciating pain. If the acid felt like a hot iron, then this dark energy felt like a thousand. The only sense of relief the man could get out of this was the fact that the dark energy worked faster and there was less to remove, speeding up the process even more.
With only an eye on his face and no more, the man continued. This time, with energy in his hands, he flicked his wrist and made quick signs in the air. The bones in his face began to break and re-fuse before breaking again. This process repeated several times as the man focused on both his face and the face within the photo until his bone structure was a match to the one in the picture.
The only thing that got him through the pain, was the thought of revenge he would have on the one who betrayed him.
Collapsing to the ground, the man panted and breathed out heavily from the agony he had just endured. After collecting himself for a few minutes, he dragged himself up to his feet and continued. This next part though was much easier. Muscles, nerves, connective tissue, cartilage, lips and skin, hair and finally another eye.
As all of this grew, it felt like hundreds of ants were crawling around his face, causing an unbearable itch. After his new face was completed, the man’s nails were dragged across it, furiously driving out the irritation. The last thing was the color of his left eye. When he regrew it earlier it had been his original eye color but now it didn’t match the other. Placing his hand over his left eye, the color dulled then greyed and then transformed into the same color as his other eye.
Picking up the small crystal ball, the man focused heavily on his new features and the ones in the hologram. Turning his head left and then right and then left again, the man looked but found no flaws. His new face and the one in the hologram were now completely identical. From the surface level and beneath, it was perfect.
The man couldn’t help but smile and laugh within his mind.
(Hahaha, With this new face, I thank you…Ryu…ta.)