Sincerely, it has been a while since the last time I wrote, so it might be a bit awkward to read.
“Rain… Haha. What a perfect weather… maybe I could find something more unique but… ha. Doesn’t matter.” A laughter echoed between the droplets splashing on the mud, a body was lying down, half-closed eyes, dirtied clothes, shivering. Despite the fact it was the end, he felt at peace, finally, he could take a rest. Or was he really at peace ? Did he really give up on trying ?
Never did he have a reply, the only reply he could give was a laughter. He thought it was so unfair, unfair, it was frustrating, however, what he could except…
“Alright, you win…” ...admit defeat ?
The fire kept flickering as the wind brushed it in the middle of the night. A lone light was crossing the forest, facing the wind no matter what. Held in frail hands, the torch revealed its owner. A young man with a pale ill skin, hooded from head to toes, greedily inhaling and exhaling air, half-closed eyes dulled by his exhaustion. Dozing near a campfire was not refreshing enough. His stomach groaned.
“Aahh…” On top of his exhaustion, he was starving. He bit on his own lips then sighed, stopping his ceaseless march to stare at the sky for a few minutes, his eyes gained a certain light, dim, on the verge of fading, but it had the merit of being present.
His breathing slowed down and a slight smile crept on his face as unfortunate words escaped his throat.
“I guess… I have no… aaaah… choices but to go… there.” As always, he was thinking aloud, since he did not wish to forget the words he hardly pronounced, despite his efforts, according to his experience and life, it seemed like he will always have trouble to be on same wavelength as the era he is living in.
Without forewarning, the flame vanished, raindrops fell on his hood, his hand covered his mouth and he coughed, red tainting his hand. A color he could not see due to the sky blackening, his sick becoming blurry, his head feeling dizzy, his hands becoming numb… The shadow kept growing, then suddenly, silence. He could not hear the droplets falling on the ground, the steps on the mud, his own breathing, nothing except a voice.
“Quod estis vos ?” A few seconds after the voice ended, every came back and returned on their tracks, the raindrops, his breathing, he could hear everything again. His eyes closed for a few minutes, then, he opened them. A whistle escaped his lips, to cover every sounds he could hear, concentrating himself to produce a melody that requires his mind to be dedicated to it. Memories ceaselessly unfolded in his brain as he tried to think about something else.
Hours later, this young man was still waking, the wind calmed down, the night began to retreat from the sunrise, threatening the existence itself of the shadow. Sticked to his clothes, the young man smirked as he saw the light and felt a certain sense of security from it. Spectator to the wonders of Mother Nature, he thought it was terrifying yet fascinating. The sunlight giving no signs of life, the animals keeping their noises to themselves against the grumpy clouds, throwing thunders and rains altering the dirt into mud….
“Anyway… how was it called ? The Esoteric Syndicate ?” He wondered as his eyes stared at the sun, at the source of life, pushing away the growing darkness at its feet. Gossips were all around it, it is a sort of organization affiliated with this country which is currently recruiting people as they always need more and more workforce. A month or so ago, he heard that they were sheltering and nourishing their trainees. The young man didn't wish to go there, nevertheless, since he might die at this point, he does not have a choice.
Days later, the sun rose once again, upon a city of white pure marble, reflecting the light on its inhabitants and visitors. It was massive city you could see from dozens of kilometers away from it. In the middle, there was a humongous edifice, extremities covered in gold, runics sign were engraved on the walls and shining a green light. Then his eyes were attracted by the entrance, the battlements were easily above twenty feet tall, perhaps thirty. However, there was a peculiar detail, only a few people were there. Usually, for a city like this, you would expect the entrance bursting with merchants, hundreds of people coming and leaving.
...Not this time, there was not even dozen of people and it seems to be only the citizens, no outsiders at all. Were not they supposed to recruit people ? Then shouldn't there a be a lot of people ? He could not help but asks to himself oblivious questions he did not have replies of.
A familiar sigh fled from his mouth and he continued to walk forward despite the abnormalities, after all, he did not have any other choice. If he wanted to live, that is. Four humanoid shapes were visible, guarding the gate. All of them were severely staring at the young man who did not stop in the slightest. It did not budge him much.
Time elapsed slowly, very slowly. For some reasons, the guards seemed to prepare their weapons while keeping an eye on the hooded and suspicious foreigner. The atmosphere seemed to be tense, their judgemental stares weighed on him, and a certain heaviness pushed him to the ground.
“Aaaaahhh… uhm… is it possible for you to come out ? It is stressing to be observed by someone I can not see…” the suspect said as he adjusted his hood. Following his words, someone came out of space from behind him, a young man with scarlet dark hair, a sophisticated black robe filled with pockets, especially inside the robe. His skin was lightly tanned, some wrinkles were visible on his face, hard to see but they are present along with a certain curiosity shining in his playful eyes.
Naked feet, he crossed his legs and rose an eyebrow as if he was on a chair while he was floating in the air.
“How did you know ?” He required a reply from the stranger who sighed at his question.
“Did… you even try to hide yourself ? You were way too close and the air itself seemed to be tense… like, as if something was compressing it ?” He did not know how to say it, while, the redheaded frowned, his terms were way too vague and imprecise for him to understand how he was detected.
“I… see. On a more important note, might I know why you are trespassing on our land ? Don’t you know that it was forbidden for people to come here ? Also, what is your name ?” Shifting the subject since the alien did not seem to be willing to explain how he noticed him.
“Um...brum ?” Blinking, Umbrum had troubles comprehending what he heard, did he make all this way for nothing ? Since it was just said that it was forbidden, in others words, they are asking him to go back on his steps. His fingers rubbed his forehead and he continued to talk against his own desires.
“Uhm… I was told the Esoteric Syndicate was recruiting so I just walked forward.” A slight smile was then drawn on his face, albeit a forced one, however, it was still better than no smile at all.
“Pfft… hahaha !” It was hilarious to him, the newcomer broke many laws because he heard about them recruiting, was it a joke ? Usually, nobody would crack up a jest in such a situation, nevertheless, he did. After all, if it was one of the most extremist elders of the Syndicate, he would already be buried six feet under the ground.
“Indeed, we are recruiting, but if you know, you must have come out a institution or something along those waters, isn’t it ?”
At his words, Umbrum tilted his head and held his chin, he learnt about the Esoteric Syndicate in a isolated village, and the man from the syndicate sighed, understanding that he was in front of a self-taught arcanic, what else could he be ? It is impossible for an individual like him to succeed the entrance exam, on top of that, he skipped the formalities, the sweet talk, everything that was supposed to put him in a decent spot according to the examiners.
“Alright I understand, first, before coming, you should have sent a message through a transmitter, which you didn’t as everyone is hostile to complete strangers, like you. However, there is a few tests to be accepted in the Syndicate, which you may or may not pass depending on the examiners. Is that clear ? Any questions ?” It was a shame, someone who detected him through vague sensations was going to fail so quickly and will not be able to stay for long.
“Mmm… how much time do the tests take ?” Umbrum wondered after hearing about it, since he will be sheltered and nourished, he needs to know what was the bottom line, how much time will he pass safe and sound at the very least.
His response was curt and brief. It did not bother Umbrum at the very least who showed a rare sincere smile. One month was a lot of time, inside, he was finally feeling at ease. Sadly, he can not pass more than one month there. If only he could pass more time…
“Thank you for your replies, shall we ?”