This story was created due to the unending problems a lot of the people in my country, and probably around the world, experience. No matter how advanced the world is today, there are still lives that are being left behind.
All because of greedy ambitions, they fail to see the laughter of such innocence. Some may have tried, but as always it never lasts. If others tried, there are always sharks along the way and will be the cause of grave disasters.
No matter how much one believes, where no wealth lies then there will never be advancements. Where a good hand was extended, pigs will mow it down until not a single trace is left. If a ray of gold has shown, it will be easily kept until it becomes a last resort.
There are hungry and desperate souls left to die without ever fighting. Trying will make them end up in chains. Bars have always separated equality. Mere presentation will fall in a line of judgmental assaults. Names were called, but none seemed to answer.
All these things fell and have been corrupted by a storm of raging thoughts. In the end, if justice is blind then the scales will never be balanced.
We all live in this land of confusion.
Pronouncing Character Names
Others not listed here are pronounced as is:
Castellone - /kas-tēl-lēˈō-nē/
Ciryh - /sər/
Dyie - /di/
Genon - /he-nän/
Kerxis - /kər-sis/
Lyté - /li-tā/
Regh - /re/
Saihme - /sām/
Sirius - /sē-rē-yus/
Stoel - /stō-wel/
Vellojah - /ve-lō-jä
Blind Scale Seekers is available in lulu.com. and Wattpad!
Fires. They spread.
Screams. They echo.
Swords. They clash.
Blood is everywhere.
Countless lives were taken.
The great halls grew quiet.
The forsaken were banished and they promised never to return or pledge to the High King ever again.
Those who aimed for justice fled into corruption.
When all laughter faded, no one was there to help.
And all the memories of such great kingdom faded as it fell to the hands of the unrighteous for the heart who wielded it was as cold as ice.
Eleven Years Later
From a distance he heard a sound. A cry for help. He followed its direction until he found a clearing out of the dead forest. He hid behind one of the trunks while taking a peek at what was there. There were two men and a girl who was about his age. The girl struggled to free her bounds as she was being dragged. The men appear to be slavers.
"Help!" A desperate call. It was the only thing that came out of the girl.
Driven by nothing but the responsibility of being a witness, he had to help her. He held tightly onto his spearblade before hurling it towards one of the slavers. It barely missed and slit open a wound on one of the men. The injured one let go of the girl and found himself looking around for the one who threw the weapon that landed in front of them.
The boy emerged from his spot and charged holding a dagger. The man braced for the attack expecting the boy to tackle him. It was just a boy, he knew he could take out the rascal.
When the boy drew closer, he threw his dagger at the man. The man soon found the dagger between his eyes which protruded at the back of his head, bloodstained. He fell to the ground, lifeless.
His companion pushed the girl furiously until her back met the ground. He drew his sword and attacked the boy who was just about to pull his dagger off the dead man.
The surviving slaver pierced the boy on his shoulder. The boy flinched and took a step back. He had to take a hold on either his dagger or the spearblade.
He looked at the spearblade stuck on the ground a distance away from him. He held onto his injury before making a run for his weapon. The slaver struck the boy on his feet that made him stumble forward. But he was persistent on taking a hold of his weapon.
Either he was to die there or he kill the man first. There was nothing else to think about when death was staring right at them.
Lifting himself, he made one last run towards the spearblade and pulled it off the ground before swinging it towards the direction of the slaver. Not knowing the sharpness of the blade, the man was soon torn in two. A sound of metal against earth was the only sound he heard for a brief moment. He realized he just killed two people. Killed. That was supposed to be a new sensation, yet a single pang of guilt wasn't dealt with.
When he was about to help the girl, he saw fear imbued on the eyes that were staring back at him. Her face was struck with an emotion he must have seen before. He just couldn't remember.
He knelt beside her and untied her bounds, ignoring her reaction. When he made sure she was safe, he plucked his dagger off from the slaver and attached it to the other end of his spearblade. He was just about to leave by then.
"Wait." The girl called out.
He stopped and looked over her from his injured shoulder. She approached him, and saw that her eyes were no longer dyed with the expression of fear. She held his injury. Her touch was warm and there was something in her touch that soothed the days he had been searching. Searching for something he didn't even know. Soon, an unusual green glow escaped her hands. When she withdrew them, his injury was no longer there.
"You're a..." The boy's voice trailed, he thought of what his mentor told him of the people with abilities.
The girl shook her head. "I'm not. But I can do this for as long as I can remember."
The boy said nothing more and diverted to the ground.
The girl observed him for a moment. His eyes wandered and a frown had almost formed in his face. He would appear like he was from the other side of the Wastelands but that didn't really tell her anything about him. She noticed he wore a golden bracer. That thing definitely didn't belong there. He looked calm, but there was something in him that she knew didn't fit right with the person who just saved her recently. "You look like you're not used to people." She saw the boy's hand twitch, his face was warming up a bit. It must be true, and he might be embarrassed. "Do you have a name?"
The boy hesitated, still unable to meet her in the eye. "I...don't."
He looked lost. The girl wondered what caused it. "Do you have anywhere to go?"
He needed to polish his communication skills. It was what she thought. "Well then, do you know where you came from? Maybe you could go back the same way?"
The boy looked around, his eyes avoiding her, wandering on their own. "I don't remember...anything."
She was quite surprised. For someone who can't remember anything, he sure can fight or remembered how to fight. "Caltha. That's my name."
The boy finally looked at her, confused. It was like a song he didn't quite interpret well enough. So that was what other humans' names sounded. To him, hearing another name aside from his mentor's, Saihme, was a new kind of lyric. "C-Calla?"
"You mispronounce, it's Cal-tha," she corrected.
"Calla." He insisted. It was easier for him to say that.
She didn't know what else to say. She simply smiled. 'Calla' wasn't a bad nickname anyway. "If you want, we can go to where I live, perhaps someone will know you there."
"O-okay." The boy sounded hesitant, but he soon found himself following behind Caltha.
The trail through the dead forest rang eerie. Crows circled the trees branches. The boy noticed that the mist was getting thicker the closer they arrived. They soon stood at a mountain path that overlooked a city almost covered in fog. Caltha could see the astonishment in the boy's eyes like he's never seen the buzzing life of civilization. "You've never been here before?"
The boy shook his head.
So she was wrong about that. He dragged him along hoping he knew the place somehow. Out of no where, a concern surfaced from her. "Is it okay if I give you a name that people can call you?"
"I don't mind." The boy said, unsure of his answer. He waited for Caltha to call him a name. He watched as her lavender eyes looked around the dead forest, the mountains, then the sky.
"Astrum. That will be your name." Caltha said. Not sure whether he wanted it or not, her eyes widened at his reaction. He was smiling shyly, his eyes evaded her gaze.
"Okay." Astrum said, accepting his new identity.
He looked so innocent despite the earlier killings, Caltha thought as she smiled back at his answer before leading him further. "And one more thing, don't tell anyone I can heal, okay? Let's keep it a secret between us."
As they stood at the entrance of the city, she noticed Astrum grew motionless and stood behind her a few feet away.
"What's wrong?" She didn't need an answer. His expression told her that he was not ready to bathe in society as he hid by an alleyway. He looked around, defensive, while clutching his spearblade close.
Caltha heard a familiar voice. When she turned to look, her guardian was already making his way towards them with worry filled eyes. "Crolis."
"Thank Vellojah you're alright. What did they do to you? Are you hurt anywhere? How did you escape?" Crolis knelt to inspect her of any injuries.
Caltha pointed at Astrum. "It's all thanks to him..." She turned to look at Astrum hidden behind one of the stone buildings. "He has nowhere to go, can he stay with us?"
Crolis was staring at the boy for quite a while. He narrowed his gaze. His soft look slowly turned into a frown while eyeing Astrum. Caltha didn't like the atmosphere that Crolis was building. There was something in his gaze that wasn't right. "Crolis?"
"We can't take him with us. He better find someone else to take him in." Crolis said before looking at the boy. "I don't know who you are, but I appreciate that you helped her." He dragged Caltha with him.
Caltha looked at Astrum from her shoulder while following Crolis. "Thank you for your help!" With that, they were nowhere to be seen as they trod further away.
Stranded in a foreign place, Astrum held his spearblade tightly and pressed himself on the wall of the nearest stone building. He was eyeing the people passing by. He's never seen a lot of people before and his eyes watched in amazement.
But that amazement quickly shifted when he saw a group of people fighting and arguing over the last stock of food on a market stall. The one who was holding the item was being beaten by a few people, asking him to surrender it or he'll regret it. Another slapped the one kicking the poor man, she needed it more to feed it to her children. Another man was trying to grab the item from the beaten one.
Astrum wondered why people treated each other that way. Was the outside world that dismal? He didn't know. In fact, he didn't know anything of the outside.
"Saihme?" He called out, a hint of uncertainty in his adolescent voice. Unfortunately, Saihme hadn't showed himself up. His mentor.
He took a step back and hid behind the stone building. He observed his surroundings, it was getting dark. The streets were damp and that gave him the option that he couldn't sleep outside. He wondered what his mentor would do in a time like that. Then he found himself taking a look back at the commotion. He wanted to know how things would conclude.
Before the conclusion was met, he felt a warm hand on his shoulder and was soon being offered a home to stay in exchange for his service by a man. He couldn't remember how the fight at the market ended, but he found a place to stay as the prize.
"Somehow, I will try to regain back everything that once belonged to the people."
There was no hesitation in his heart when he said those words since it was only the beginning when he smiled with only a young boy as his witness.
The Wet City
Five Years Later
On Accounts of Vicinage, Sovereignty, and Elements
The Wet City, situated in the wet wasteland, was not a sight for pleasant vicinity. Not the houses built of rubble, thin bamboo and thatch roofs, not the smelly streets and bridges, and not even the ones living there. The Wet City comprised of five districts.
District One were the suburbs, District Two lingered the central plaza area, District Three was the market or business district, District Four was the residential area of the common folk, and District Five was the area along the port.
Mostly, wastelands are dry and barren where water was scarce, but not this particular wasteland dwelling where it seemed like an abandoned city on a muddy mountain side that bear no food and clean water to drink. Not even the rivers that run off the mountains could provide them with a decent cup of potable water, but was only good for washing things off subtly.
Only a few of the people who dwelt there kept up decent appearances. These few are what they call Archons, the ones in charge to sustain their survival in the vast expanse of the wet and barren wastelands. There are six Archons in the Wet City and one in the Barren City.
The Barren City was as dry as its name sounds. Where water and mist was abundant in the Wet City, the Barren City had the sun shining upon them.
The one person to blame for the state they're in was the former High King of the Mainland, King Ciryh, who died in the war between Flesperia, the Mainland’s superior kingdom, against the Wasteland Rebellion.
Just as the Wastelands had two separate domains—the wet and barren wastes—and a few number of Archons, the Mainland was divided into four kingdoms, and in each kingdom ruled a King. But among the four was a superior kingdom where the High King settled, the King of Kings. The north-eastern kingdom was named Obsidia. The north-west, Elesvier. The south-west, Clawde, and to the south-east, Flesperia.
Each King settled were blessed with an element including their closest relatives—siblings, spouse, children, and first cousins. Most children born of royal blood sometimes introduce a new element. Some Kings would prefer to pass on the previous element to their heirs to preserve it. Originally there were only six pure elements. When their heirs were born, so did sub-elements of the pure ones expand the web of abilities.
In some circumstances, there are some of them who aren’t blessed with any element. They thought it a bad omen that an element couldn’t guide them especially if the child was next in line for the throne.
No one in the present had ever seen a pure element now. It seems as though they just disappeared and were forgotten to be passed on. Aside from the original four elements, Shadow and Light were the other two that were very rare.
Majority despised High King Ciryh, and the current High King was no different. No words can express the wastelanders’ abhorrence towards the line of High Kings who have wielded such power that could destroy beloved homes and precious lives.
For as long as the current High King does not lay a hand upon them they are at peace, but they are also trapped in this dreadful place they called home since the days of undocumented yore. Not all peace can be considered quiet for there will always be people that would seek the waves of being boundless once again.
"Where in Vellojah's name has that rascal gone to?"
Angry was the voice who demanded it. Several people answered as Crolis passed by but none gave a decent answer as to where his quarry concerned itself.
It was a pleasant morning when the day started, but not too pleasant for him the moment he knew his belongings were robbed. Robbed by the very person whom he took in, clothed and fed all these years.
It was a belonging that was given to him by his twin brother. The feeling of betrayal was not new to him and he would give the right punishment to those who have done wrong.
"Nence, are you sure about this? I don't think Crolis will be pleased with what you're about to do, I fear the worst about this."
Prominence almost rolled his eyes at his friend's whining. He did not ask for Kofi's opinion of what Crolis would do. His friend just kept reminding him that taking a peek on women while bathing was not a good idea in the early morning.
"I told you earlier that if you're not interested you can just walk away and go cower to wherever hole you came from." Prominence had his offensive ways of convincing his feeble friend in participating to his schemes. Being just a boy, he wanted to take part of multifarious activities and its ilk.
"You even stole Crolis' telescope." Kofi said while looking around for any signs of his worst fear. The withered grass was muddy and tall and he could only see them swaying as the wind blew past them.
From the distant river, they heard women's laughter. Prominence positioned himself down on the ground while peering through the telescope. Despite the fog that almost covered the view, there was nothing stopping him from doing so. And before he could even see anything, the vision he saw was nothing but black. He thought that the lenses just zoomed too much that what he could see was one of the women's dark clothing. "Crolis' telescope just isn't working right. I can see nothing wherever I move it."
"Ugh, Nence?" Kofi said.
"Why? Do you know how to fix this?" And without any idea, the telescope was snatched from his hands. From the ground where he lay, he knew who the person in front of him was just by feeling the man's presence. He was relieved that it wasn't Crolis.
"I don't know how to fix this, but I know how to make trash out of it." Astrum said while pulling the boy to his feet.
Astrum appeared quite young, his voice no longer the adolescent pitch but grew a mature baritone. The streaks of youth were evident in his eyes rendering him to adulthood. He was no older than Crolis who lived before him by perhaps a decade, but was a good few years older than Prominence and Kofi. He looked like an older brother when standing together with the boys.
"You won't be telling Crolis, won't you?" Prominence said with a look on his face as if begging the man to say yes. He knew this man and what he does around the Wet City. He was someone who Prominence favors so much.
"I can't really tell. Crolis was really mad this morning and was searching for you around the city. Besides, isn't this his most favored possession? You keep telling me about this telescope of his." As if trying to threaten the child, Astrum added a smile while he shrugged.
Prominence was relieved at that. The moment he saw Astrum smile, he knew he was saved. Whatever he do to try and count the number of times he was saved by this man, he just always failed to do so. Trouble had never befallen his mischief ever since they met. It was why he liked him.
Astrum led the children back to one of the city districts, District Three, where news of Crolis trying to find Prominence rushed like an avalanche. Prominence worried about that since Crolis was not in good terms with Astrum. Crolis always suspected something was not right with that man who just suddenly came into their city one day having no recollection of anything to share. He had no name and no background.
He disliked Astrum more when he became a servant of one of the Archons. Astrum freely lingered here and there whenever he wanted and does the Archon's dirty work, not knowing that many of the people are plotting things to ruin his superior.
Although Crolis was considered an Archon by many if only by name, his authority was nothing compared to those who have directed the people to obedience. That was why some of his followers have abandoned him and served the other party instead.
Drawn by the burden of being a leader, it was hard to sustain for the living of the people especially their loyalty. Those who have turned their back on him have experienced a life of luxury. It was the type of luxury where the unjust rules and they take for granted the weak. Where power is, immorality always lies.
Prominence could feel the hateful gazes of the people as they passed by. It was not directed to him, but to Astrum. Mere whispers as it may sound, he heard a lot of unpleasant comments about Astrum. When he can no longer stand the insults, he picked up a stone and held on to it fiercely and turned to face the people. Ready to throw it.
"How could anyone of you say such things? You don't even know what kind of man Astrum is!" Prominence said.
Astrum looked behind him quite surprised when Prominence spoke in chafe. If only the boy hadn't done that then there won't be a crowd gathering out of curiosity as to what the commotion was all about.
"And how could you, a child in the house of Lady Caltha, do such things as following this Archon servant? Do you not know that he could just be using you to get to Crolis and might just murder him in his sleep?" An elderly woman spoke out of the thickening crowd.
“That Archon dog will never be welcome here, his master should just leash and cage him!” One other cried.
People in District Three couldn’t wait to voice out their thoughts the minute they saw a servant or two of one of the heated Archons. At least it was only in District Three…and maybe a few more where his Archon had ties.
Kofi grabbed Astrum's shirt from behind, afraid that the crowd might devour him if he got separated from him.
Prominence stood his ground while gripping firmly onto the stone. He did not notice that he was already gritting his teeth out of the infuriation. “You, all of you are the same, don't you people know that the one who really does—"
Astrum held Prominence's shoulder allowing him to stop saying anymore before taking the stone from his hand while offering a small smile. "That's enough."
He did not look to anyone from the crowd, he just led the two children away quietly. Neither Prominence nor Kofi said a single thing after then. They saw someone spat on Astrum's shoe and eyed him with loathing. But the man did not flinch or do anything violent. He simply walked past them knowing that he was not welcome in certain areas of the Wet City, especially that district.
When they were clear of the crowd and the hovering scowls of the people, Prominence couldn't help but say things. "Why did you do that? Why didn’t you do anything? You could have told them!"
"Nence, keep it down." Kofi said in a small voice.
When Astrum did not answer, Prominence positioned himself in front of him, stopping him in his tracks. "How can you allow yourself to be treated that way by the people you're helping?"
Astrum sighed heavily and knelt in front of the boy. "There are just a lot of things that people don't understand, including you. That is why I need you to keep it a secret. If you continue to do the same I would greatly appreciate it because sometimes you don't have to say it, you only have to do it."
Convincing a young boy was pretty hard, especially one as hard headed as Prominence. But as he was looking at those dark crimson eyes of the boy he knew that he also wanted justice for his own.
As they neared the house where Prominence lived, Astrum told Kofi to return to his home ahead. He asked Prominence to keep silent and that he let him do the talking because he knew that no one in that house would listen to the reasoning of a child, except for one person.
"What do you think you're doing here?"
They immediately knew that voice without even looking. Crolis was approaching out of the gate that stretched on all sides and curves of the house. That thing he said wasn't directed to anyone but Astrum alone. When he was close to them, the tension only grew more terrible that the servants wandering about the yard wanted to see what the tension could bring about.
Astrum offered a smile to Crolis. Not a kind smile, but one that threw insults. "Crolis, I thought you were running errands for your followers today. How has it been?"
"I did not ask a question to be answered by another question. What are you doing here?" Crolis shifted his glare to Prominence whose head was lowered while trying to hide behind Astrum.
Astrum held the telescope freely on one hand to distract Crolis from looking at the boy. And when he succeeded, he only saw more anger in those green eyes of the man.
"You...What did you do to him?" Crolis referred to Prominence.
Astrum feigned innocence in his voice as he spoke. "What, this boy? I thought I could make him useful as my assistant and let him sneak around your house for some tradable items." He lifted the telescope as if examining it. "I heard this was one of your treasures so I asked this boy to take it to see if it could be traded with the merchants. Unfortunately, they found its value worth nothing."
Prominence couldn't do anything but keep silent like what Astrum asked. He couldn't do anymore than just stand there because of his stupidity for stealing something that was not even important.
Crolis began to approach them and grabbed Astrum by the collar of his shirt as rage filled his morning for the insult he gave at his brother's gift. "How dare you use him as a tool to your detrimental schemes. People like you make me sick to the core of my being."
Astrum's smile widened lopsidedly. He always heard things such as those almost every time the people see him walking freely in the city. “The feeling’s mutual, ignorant fool." He noticed people are gathering around them. "I see you want to make a bad impression of yourself as a leader."
Crolis released Astrum's shirt and glanced a bit at the gathering crowd before glaring at him. Astrum was holding the telescope freely as if reaching it out to him. Without a word, Crolis snatched it off him before turning his back away and headed to the house while calling Prominence's attention. When the boy did not even flinch, his voice was like thunder. "Nence!"
Prominence's grip on Astrum was tighter as he feared his guardian would harm him. But then he always knew that Caltha would not allow that to happen.
"You better go." Astrum whispered to the boy behind him and Prominence obeyed despite his fear. Then he called Crolis' attention before the man could disappear into the house. "Give my regards to Lady Caltha."
If only the crowd hadn’t emerged, Crolis could have drawn his blade and slashed his anger out on Astrum. Although it was colder than any other day, he could feel the heat rise in his body. The fool even asked him to send his regards to Caltha. He swore to himself that the next time that happen it might just be a battle field.
When he saw Prominence enter with such gloom on his face, he stormed towards him and grabbed his shoulders to face him. "You, what do you think you're doing dealing with that man?"
"He did that to get me out of harm's way." He did not intentionally mean that harm was Crolis, but some other dire consequences had Astrum not stop him from doing what he did.
"Harm? That man knows nothing but harm. For once could you just listen to me and stay away from him. From now on you are not to linger the grounds outside of these walls without supervision." Crolis began to step away and made his way toward the guest hall.
"That doesn't seem to be fair." The boy argued.
"At least you are not restricted to go outside." Then he was gone from the boy's sight. When he entered the hall, he noticed someone stood there. He bowed a little and greeted Caltha politely before apologizing for the noise he must have caused while reasoning with the boy.
Not that he feared Caltha would be mad at him, she was always gentle and he would do anything not to spoil her pleasant mood. The greatest wish he had for her was to see her smile for once because no one in the house ever saw her do so.
Caltha was now around the same age as Astrum, and she grew up to be respectful and appeared like a summer bloom. Crolis respected her because she was entrusted to his protection by her departed parents. It was a debt he had to repay for their kindness towards him.
Dressed in a flowing purple one-piece that reached just above her knees, Caltha approached him. "I heard Astrum was here a moment ago. Whatever was his business here?"
Crolis noticed the slightest sound of joy when Caltha mentioned Astrum's name and he was not happy about it. "Caltha, that man may have saved you a time ago, but you should not act so fondly of him."
"Why not? If it wasn't for him, you know I would be a slave across the country by now."
That might be true, but still for Crolis he was never convinced and he always felt something was not right about that man whom Caltha bestowed the name Astrum. His thoughts were arguing with each other as to why seeing him seemed like a familiar feeling from long ago where his memories couldn't reach.
It was as if there was something tugging him to remember, but he convinced himself that it was only the famous phrase of déjà vu visiting him. Of all the people to experience it with, he wondered why it had to be that good-for-nothing Archon servant.
There are still things wanting to be seen.