A loud laugh echoed back and forth through the black walls of the mountain. A laugh that was still present along those black walls after he dematerialized in thin air.
Jean studied physics of all aspects. He’s cynical, egoist, and careless. He wasn’t tall, neither short. He’s got fair skin and dark black long hair that fell randomly across his face. His hair covered his dark brown eyes that were lazy but deep.
Jean believed in alchemy but didn’t care much about it for life was much simpler than that in his eyes. At least until that day came.
Senna, the girl he loved, was his classmate for so many years. She was the one person he trusted and felt great around. The bond between them was so strong to be broken by ordinary life routine. And true was that. Everybody failed to understand how those 2 were so connected that they don’t even need to speak their minds out loud.
The way their eyes sheen when they walk together made everything around them seem darker. The joy in his voice when they spoke, the warmth of his aura that could be felt miles away when he stood around her. It was all so different from his cold, quiet nature and lazy subduing eye.
His heart was stone cold, harsh, and unyielding that he wouldn’t blink if the world was set on fire. But when she’s around, everybody could swear that this solid shell that covered his heart would melt as if hit by dragon’s fire.
Senna knew about this nature, and only she knows how hard is dealing with Jean for it wasn’t an easy task to get close to him. She always felt safe around him, she felt his sweetness and warmth in every action, every smile, every bar of chocolate, and every flower. He seemed to always match a flower with her cloth every day. Senna was 100% sure she wouldn’t speak a word of what she’s going to pick, and yet he always got to match it up. And even that proved how deeply and strongly connected were they.
Senna had to wait for him every day for more few minutes while he gets her those flowers, for she loved how his hands would thread through her long red brown hair leaving the flower between its threads.
That day, Jean got to their meeting point and didn’t find Senna standing as she always did. He waited for an hour in a calm demeanor. He wasn’t the patient type but he’d wait forever for her sake.
Jean felt distressed for a second and was hit by a wind that gave him a bad feeling. He rushed to her house. As he did he found the hearse already moving away. Jean was stunned and couldn’t move a toe, the flower fell from his hand and already felt dead too.
Jean never thought that the day he’ll have to wear the black mournful tuxedo in her funeral would come; Sadness filled his heart and his eyes flowed sadness in tears. It never crossed his mind that there is more in life than ‘ordinary routine’.
Her death was a sudden, and it stunned him to no limit. It was hard to realize the simple truth; that in a second she was gone. He went to her apartment for he needed to linger among their memories lying in each and every corner.
Her room was as neat as it forever was, her sillage still lingered as if she was still sleeping in her bed. She had a corner in her room that held each and every flower he got her. Flowers of all colors that he saw them all grey and dead.
A flash back hit his mind upon looking anywhere in the apartment. A rush of memories ran down his mind and body along with a chill that was mournful rather than cold.
He stood there for some time in silence. Few minutes later, he turned and pulled the door to closure slowly his hair covering his eyes and few tear drops that weren’t apparent until they flowed down his cheeks. He walked away and disappeared.
He went far away refusing to let go of Senna; choosing the path of magic to take. He knew magic was real but was never sure if it could bring Senna back.
His brown eyes were determined rather than vacant; determined to defy death. He sought a sorceress far at the mountains. It wasn’t easy to find her or the place, but he needed a point from where he could start the path he knew would be full of trickery and no guarantee that it will prosper.
He entered the mountain that wasn’t dark due to absence of light, but rather due to absence of life. He walked on for several hours down a corridor that seemed to be getting narrower and colder as he walked on. It was getting more difficult to move and breathe, but he endured and pushed himself forth but in a slower pace.
After a few hour of difficult saunter, the corridor opened into a large hall with walls lined on both sides by ominous looking statues of ugly gargoyles. At the very end of the hall he found the sorceress.
She was seated on a throne of black granite. Her pose was relaxed and careless; one slender leg crossed over the other beneath a flowing robe of dark black material that seemed to flow gently as a calm stream of water. She had one elegant hand threading through the long smooth tresses of her silvery hair like star light. He knew at once she was expecting him beforehand; it was evident from the way her silver eyes shot him and the smirk that curled her soft lips.
She was a breathtaking sight to behold, but there was a haunting aura around her that sent a haunting chill down his spine. But that failed to impress him and before she could start her welcoming greeting his riposte stunned her. He seemed impatient but calm. She couldn’t see the details of his face clearly for it was dark and his hair covered most of his face. He asked her to teach him magic. A moment of silence took over the dimly lit room. Jean waited for an answer in a silent steady stance with his arms crossed.
Finally she blinked and rejected granting him apprenticeship. He didn’t say more, turned his back, and began to walk away. “Wait” she whispered in a cold-queen-voice and 2 books landed by his feet; Ancient magic & Necromancy.
He picked up the books and left. The fact that she knew which books he needed didn’t impress him either. No more words were exchanged.
It took him a year to read the books; getting familiar with the rules, conjuring, and rituals. It took him another to master the art described in them before he could start experimenting.
He spent a week searching for a safe secluded spot to carry out what he planned. He didn’t yet know the magnitude of what he was about to do.
Jean looked at the mirror for he needed to see his own face one last time before starting this. He was just a little bit pale, his brown eyes still as determined and deep, his black hair still covering some of his features. He pushed it away to take a precise look for a moment; he still looked young as he always did.
The place he was searching for soon was not a problem. He conjured a secret scroll that held a map to a mountain that wasn’t located on any other map.
The rituals of the conjuring exhausted him for the terms were extreme; he had to draw 3 interconnecting pentagrams with his blood from a fresh wound. Normally, a non-deadly wound wouldn’t be fresh and bleed for the time needed to draw all 3 pentagrams together. The wound had to be inflected with a conjured dagger that infuses the sorcerer’s mana* into the wound to prevent its closure. And of course, the dagger had its own rituals.
He headed to the mountain in the map and he knew for such a place to exist without people knowing about it, it had to be protected and hidden by a magical barrier. The map showed the presence of a door that can permit access to the mountain without the barrier being broken. It requires a skilled magician to find it with ease; where a good one is well aware of most, if not all, of the magic spells and can easily predict the door’s exact location. Jean wasn’t yet that much of a good magician, but rather a smart one. He knew that for a door to exist it must have relatively less mana infused into it than the entire barrier. Thus finding the door wasn’t a hard task except for the walking along the mountain’s diameter.
Beyond that door, it was much darker, neither colder nor warmer but was definitely different. He looked at the mountain: It was elemental black and had few visible cracks that were filled with something Jean couldn’t tell was snow or silver by just looking at it. He looked at the skies, but it felt to be beneath him not above.
It was still dark regardless of the full moon that seemed larger than usual. He walked carefully and stridden. There were no signs of life except for countless trees and plants that were relatively tall. There were different types of plants, species of which he knew nothing of. The plants and the trees’ branches moved against the wind with ease. The movement seemed so intimidating but regardless of how it felt he seemed calm. His eyes were rigid; there was no mark of hesitation in them as if challenging the trees and plants to try harder. The trees seemed to accept the challenge set by his brown, glimmery, abyssal eyes. Suddenly, he felt watched and haunted by eyes he couldn’t see. He stood shaky for a moment but it was soon all gone as the image of Senna hit his mind.
He lurched. The mountain appeared to move away and he was not getting anywhere closer. He stopped for a moment and felt as if hypnotized. He cut himself and did feel the pain; it proved he’s awake. However, the blood drops flied upwards. He threw a small knife forward targeting a tree, and as the knife left his hand it was no longer visible. Few seconds later he heard the knife piercing a tree trunk but couldn’t actually tell from where. He turned to the right but it felt like it’s his left. He stopped. Some seconds later he started to notice how everything is actually inverted. Or felt inverted. He could see the moon beneath him, but was sure he looked up. Up was down; down was up; front was back; back was front. That explained how the mountain could be moving away.
Jean remembered then about a spell of such nature that messes with person’s perception making it one of the hardest mazes ever made and not ‘actually’ made. He read about it and knew how to break the magic within it. To go through it eyes must be closed and not opened under any condition, and the path shall be shown in blindness.
Few minutes later the path was clearest and a route appeared to him that was especially made to avoid the spells put to protect the mountain. He walked in a quick pace, missing the full moon would only cause him to wait for another lunar cycle.
He entered the mountain. It was hugely vacant. It was dark and cold. The walls, however, appeared clearly black and felt as smooth as silk when touched. The ground was routed too with short black pillars on the sides of the paved way arrayed in an arbitrary fashion. There were other tower-size pillars reaching the walls of the mountain.
In the center there was a black isle, surrounded by shiny liquid silver that was the only source of light. As he approached, another black pillar started to grow towards the isle making a bridge. As he stepped on the pillar and started walking, the stillness and coolness of the silver beneath him sent an anxious chill down his toes. He shivered, but walked steadily.
The isle wasn’t big. Only flat and vacant till the moment he landed on it. Part of it started to elevate slowly and shed its black colour turning silver. As it did, Jean felt overwhelmingness that he couldn’t tell its source or nature. Few seconds later the shedding and elevation stopped. It was a silver table; very shiny metallic silver with 4 sharp edges. It was cold, and that was apparent from the air around it that seemed to freeze and fall. It had a special charm that he almost forgot why he was there.
Almost instantly, he opened his eyes widely. A small book appeared in his left palm; a book he conjured to manipulate and conjure magic. It was prodigy that a magician of his age to make such a creation. Especially that it was the first of its kind.
The book was palm-size, navy blue in color, with 3 incomplete red thin circles with their openings not aligned, and a short sword at the top of the book not touching any of the circles. The 3 circles indicated life, death, and what between them; a medium where he could contact the afterlife. The air around him shifted, a little bit vigorously that it was clearly visible whirls. The circles on the book rotated till their opening met downwards. The short sword fell down to pierce all 3 circles. The book opened in what seemed random pattern but it was actually obeying his will. The whirls got even faster. His hair started to fly randomly around where his eyes were now easily seen. He started the incantations and as he did the whirls’ sped and magnitude increased that particles of the liquid silver started to levitate and slowly amalgamate with the whirls around him. A small rift seemed to open only slightly to permit voice passage. A growling voice spoke in a vague tongue. No words were understood. Jean cried “I command you. By the power descended from my ancestors upon me. The power I thrived to cause what I want to be. A power deeper than the ocean and berserk-er than the waves of the sea. Return who was, is, and will forever be for me.” The whirls turned to a tornado. The silver coalesced within the air was now revolving rapidly around his right hand and all over his hair and head. The gate closed as the silver touched him; His hands, hair, and eyes were all turned to silver now.
On the table before him appeared Senna; in a black dress laying on her back. The conjured book disappeared. He intended to move quickly but couldn’t. He halted for a moment; his hair was now silver threads thus felt heavier. He couldn’t feel his hands, only a cold metal sensation. He moved regardless. He wanted to cry of happiness, but his silver eyes were dry. Jean started to shake Senna to wake her up. She woke up but didn’t recognize him at all. Her eyes felt charmed and absent. She didn’t speak a word, just stood up and started walking out of the mountain. Jean tried to grasp her hand but he didn’t feel it. His left hand being a vessel for the conjured book hence proved futile. She didn’t react to the cold metal sensation of his silver hand either. She kept walking until she was no longer visible.
He stood mesmerized. A smirk took over his lips followed by a loud laugh that echoed through the mountain’s wall. The book in his left hand reappeared and opened in the same fashion, creating a complex ripple that he disappeared within.
Mana: It’s the magician source of energy used to manipulate or create magic.
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