Chapter 286
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Power flowed through my fingertips as the pages of the Chronicle began to turn. A chorus of indecipherable words began to softly chant. Each voice told a different story.

I took a deep breath to calm my nerves and focus my mind. Placing my hand on the book, I forced it to stop flipping through pages autonomously. The voices began to dim. It was almost as if the book was waiting for my command. “There are thousands of years of memories recorded within your pages. There must be one that can help me with my situation, a clue, a hint, no matter how small.”

The voices came to a halt as silence filled the room. The pages of the Chronicle curled upwards, and the text began to change. Ink flowed like calligraphy as a story began to unfold. A new sound called out. It was barely a whisper at first but with each passing second it grew louder and louder. There were no words, only mournful sobs, the unmistakable sound of a young boy crying.

My vision began to darken as the walls of my room faded away. The crying became clearer, closer, until it was no longer just a disembodied wail. I felt it in my soul. The unmistakable weight of grief mixed with despair and hopelessness.

The emotions overwhelmed me. Whatever determination I had when deciding to use the Chronicle vanished. Everything was forgotten as I lost myself in the memory of a distant past.

I blinked away the tears in my eyes. I no longer sat in the sparsely decorated room in Dragon’s Nest. Instead, I was met with the unfamiliar view of a cliff at the edge of the sea. I could smell the salt in the air and hear the rhythmic crashing of the waves against the rocky shore. The night’s sky was dimly lit by the crescent moon.

I choked back my tears as I knelt on the ground, unconcerned with the sharp rocks digging into my knees. I held a familiar small book to my chest as I stared vacantly at the mound of freshly dug dirt in front of me.

A freshly dug grave overlooked the sea. My eyes stung from crying, but I could not tear my eyes away from the sight of the roughly carved tombstone. The words etched into it were still fresh with flakes of stone shavings on the ground below. “Tressa Aevus, savior, martyr, mother. Your sacrifice will never be forgotten.”

Grief swallowed me as I read those words. It felt as if I was drowning beneath the crashing waves. Each one pulled me deeper and deeper. I’m unsure how long I knelt there at the grave's edge. Hours must have passed, and slowly the overwhelming sorrow began to change. A spark of something more began to burn away the darkness.

My grip tightened around the small book clutched to my chest. I could hear the creaking of the leather as my knuckles turned white. My eyes were clear now as I stared out over the grave.

“I promise I will make this right. No matter the cost, even if I have to burn the entire world to the ground, I will never give up.”

The overwhelming grief faded with each word I spoke, replaced by burning rage. The air itself began to tremble as if in fear. The crashing waves ceased, and chirping insects fell quiet. Absolute silence dominated the land like the calm before a storm.

The embers of fury burned in the pit of my stomach but rather than lash out, I became colder, quieter. Even my breathing came to a halt.

In that moment, power greater than any I had ever experienced flowed from every pour in my body. The world around me began to twist and stretch. It even shattered in places, as if space itself was being ripped apart.

The book in my hands began to shine. My own words echoed back at me from within its pages. I could feel it as if the book had become an extension of my hands. My power flooded through it, forever etching itself onto the pages. It instinctively rampaged as if trying to consume the book and make it part of itself. However, just before the process was complete, another power rose up to clash with my own.

This power was weak, like a flickering candle in a storm. I could crush it with a thought, and then the book would become a part of me forever, but I found myself hesitating. I recognized the power, however, faint it was. I could never forget that feeling. It was her power. A piece of her still remained in the book.

Tears streamed down my face again as the rampaging power came to a halt. I felt the gentle power, completely dwarfed by my own, and was struck by an intense feeling of love. In a moment of enlightenment, my power began to change. It no longer flowed through the book in an effort to make it part of myself but instead poured into that familiar little light. I wanted to make it brighter, to feel her warmth again for even a moment. I did not completely understand what I was doing. It was instinctual, the love of a child longing for their parent, but when it was complete, that gentle power had grown to encompass everything. The world sang with her voice, and my own rose up to join her in chorus.

The book stopped shining, and it gently fell into my outstretched hand. It felt as if she was standing beside me once again. Conviction burned in my chest. This was a sign that my path was correct. I would kill them all. I would make everything right, and nothing would stand in my way.

.

..

The memory began to fade. The sea vanished first, followed by the rocky cliff and the stars in the sky, but I did not wake up. I stood in a black void, empty of everything except for a young boy and a nondescript grave.

Despite the memory being over, the boy’s expression changed as he looked at the grave. There was no longer conviction or sorrow, only remorse and guilt. He turned to look at me, aging decades in seconds. His clothes morphed into a finely tailored suit, and he began to radiate regal baring that made my skin crawl.

“Did you find what you were looking for?” My teacher, Mathew Aevus, asked.

His voice was flat and emotionless, but I knew he was anything but calm. This was no longer a memory. He had felt my intrusion into his past and kept me here so we could speak.

“I… think so,” I replied hesitantly.

“Do you understand what you have witnessed?” he asked, his voice still completely even-toned.

I nodded. “That was the creation of the Chronicle. The day it turned from a simple diary into a legacy armament housing two different powers, but I don’t understand. Even after experiencing it for myself, it doesn’t make any sense. How can two talents interact like that without rejecting each other?”

Mathew sighed and turned to look at the grave. “All innate talents and by extension, armaments can be simplified to our will and spirit exerting itself onto the world. Reality itself dances and twists to our desires. The only way two talents can coexist in the same space is if their wills both completely align. For the creation of the Chronicle, it was love that allowed the two powers to intertwine, however briefly. This is not something that can be forced. It can only happen naturally.”

I frowned. This was not the answer I wanted. “Is there really nothing I can do?”

“I didn’t say that,” my teacher said with an annoying grin, “Though we cannot force the perfect fusion you desire, I can guide you to the first steps of the right path.”

“What do I need to do?”

“It’s simple. You just need to add your other half’s story to the Chronicle. Combine it with your own and relive it over and over until you forget your identity as two separate people. If you cannot accomplish that much, how can you ever hope to combine two wills into one?”

I paused momentarily as I processed what he wanted me to do. In a way, it was what I always planned, Wren and Aurielle as one. However, now that the choice was in stood in front of me, I found myself hesitating. If I went through with his plan, I would basically be brainwashing myself into believing that there were never two people. The Chronicle would combine our stories into one. I didn’t know if it would change me into something I couldn’t recognize, and the thought of that scared me.

“I… agree,” I said after a long pause.

Mathew eyed me carefully before nodding in satisfaction. “Good, I will watch over you during the process to make sure that nothing goes wrong, but first—” He paused as his gaze drifted to an empty corner of the void. “I don’t like being spied on.”

My teacher raised his hand in the direction of the empty void and clenched his fist. Space shattered like a pane of glass to reveal another figure standing at the far edge of the void. I recognized the body of translucent purple mist instantly. It was Mare, or more correctly, the version of her that hid in the center of the planet.

“Who are you?” Mathew said. His voice carried a threat that sent a chill down my spine. The last time I heard him speak like that, it ended in death.

The mist-like figure looked surprised that she had been found. It took her a few seconds to regain her composure before she spoke. “It is not yet time for us to meet. For now, you should simply consider me a shadow of what may come.” With those words, her figure began to fade, dissipating into the void.

My teacher narrowed his eyes at the rapidly fading figure and made a simple gesture with his hand. Suddenly the shadow stopped fading away and snapped into sharp focus. “I think not,” he said coldly, “I do not know how you snuck into the Chronicle, but this is my domain. Here, my will is absolute.”

The shadow’s eyes widened in shock as she suddenly found herself unable to leave. Mathew’s steps echoed loudly in the void as he approached the figure. A predatory malicious intent radiated from his body.

The shadow took a step back. Her eyes intent on Mathew. “I admit you caught me by surprise. I guess this is what I get for being too curious, but when it comes to escaping, there is nobody in the myriad realms that can stop me.”

A flash of purple light filled the void, and the shadow's body fell still. The light had faded from her eyes like a puppet with its strings cut.

“Tch, broke off a piece of her soul to escape,” my teacher said with annoyance, “That must have hurt, but you are sorely mistaken if you think an old Preateritum trick is enough to escape my sight.”

With another motion of his hand, the lifeless mist left behind by the shadow began to coalesce. The purple figure began to take shape. For the first time, the shadow’s face came into clear view. She looked surprisingly young, barely ten years old, and only slightly taller than myself. Bright purple eyes glowed in the dark. She gave off the air of a mischievous child, laughing at a joke only she knew. The girl’s figure was clear for only a fraction of a second before it popped like a balloon and disappeared into the void.

My teacher furrowed his brow at the dissipating sparks left behind. “Interesting. It has been a long time since someone managed to escape my grasp here. Do you recognize the girl?”

I shook my head. “I know the shadow is related to the personality engrained in the Preateritum remnant I found, but I have never seen her real face anywhere before now.”

“Assuming it was her real face,” he replied doubtfully, “When I tried to trace her energy back to its origin, it felt like an ocean of stars. That was likely just one of many faces this shadow wears.”

“How is that possible?” I asked in disbelief, “You can even track people across dimensions. She couldn’t have gone that far from my Chronicle.”

Mathew rubbed his chin thoughtfully before barking in laughter. “I didn’t fail, quite the opposite. I succeeded too well and picked up other energy signatures she left behind across different worlds. Don’t worry. I have her mark now. There is nowhere in the myriad realms she can hide from me.”

 

 

I am currently at a celebration of life in Alaska for a friend of the family that passed away, so this chapter was delayed a couple days. Next one will come soon.

  • Remember to always cherish your loved ones and make every day memorable. You never know how many you have left.

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