Chapter 1: Uninvited Guest

“A long day of work, isn’t it Michael?” asked one of the Watchers who stood tall, in front of the enormous gates of The Misgerdion Palace of The Royal City of Misgerdia. “Things have changed; the empire has expanded a lot in these few years, so have the people ruling it. I miss the good old days, when Watchers were glorious hunters; now reduced to only guard the palace and do community service in the name of Zeora! World is a crazy place these days Heworth.”, said Michael, the other Watcher who stood along the palace gates.

-“I thought so…. it was a long day of work afterall!”, laughed Heworth

-“How was your day?”

-“Same as usual, seeing birds, standing in the sun, feeling the wind… Quiet well actually.”

-“At least you were spared from doing the petty chore for distributing the new budget revenue for the supplies in the army dormitory. It’s worse to be in a corridor directing young insolent fools about economical management, when you know they won’t get a thing in their brains!”

-“Lucky me! Ha ha!” smiled Heworth, “Say, can I ask you something?”

-“Yes, of course.”

-“Zeora, do you believe she exists?”

-“That’s a very difficult question, lad. Zeora is our hope, our salvation, our punishment; and our renaissance. An entity, that can’t be questioned. No one knows if she exists or not. But as long as people have faith in her, the empire will have something to thrive for. It’s the only thing that gives the masses something to believe in, the sufferers to keep on living and the sinners to do no evil. Zeora doesn’t even need to quantify in terms of the living. If Zeora didn’t exist, then this world has no meaning. She’s the symbol of peace. ~ This, my boy, would’ve been an answer of any Watcher back in those days where we lived and died for rulers who were just and kind, but now if you ask me this, I would say Zeora is just an instrument that is being used to manipulate the image of the Kingdom into whatever those idiots with a crown on their heads wish to make. Faith, they call it…. fools like these have made a barrier in the name of Zeora; A barrier which prevents the poor from killing the rich, all in the name of faith! If this so called Goddess still exists, she wouldn’t have let these devils corrupt our land!”

-“So she isn’t real?”

-“Oh she’s real, alright! There are individuals who were blessed with the prophecies which were descended by Zeora herself.”

-“The prophecy of Azazel?”

-“Taking his name is forbidden.”

-“I was always told that, but no one answered why!”

-“Prophecy of Azazel, or to say, The Prophecy of the Defier….. Its better if someone more ……”. As Michael said these words, he was interrupted as he sensed a presence of some powerful force that was approaching towards them.

“Did you feel that?” asked Heworth, as he gazed upon the long shining stairs at the entrance of the Palace. A beautiful maiden wearing a glimmering white gown with edges and embroidery made of gold. Her irises were gold, as if they resembled the shining sun. Her hair was blonde, intertwined with golden and brown strands. Her beauty was unmatched to any other woman on the land, for she was not an ordinary woman. Michael realised who she was. She was Lt. Gen. Arimes zel Duertos,The commander of the Zenis regiment.

-“Hail Zeora!” by saying these words both Michael and Heworth bowed down to welcome the Lady of Honor. As she came near to the Watchers, Michael whispered…

-“My Lady, I apologize to interrupt, but by the order of the king no one is supposed to enter the palace without the consent by The Elders Great Council.”

As Michael said these words, he was terrified at the site of Lady Arimes. Well he had a good reason for it to. She was a Grand Archmage of I’riana.

Student of the renowned University of Dark Arts and War Alchemy of the I’rianian Kingdom and having graduated as a Master Archmage at the age of 17, Arimes zel Duertos was the youngest and the most talented Archmage of her era. She was then quickly recruited in the first Imperial regiment as a Commander in cheif of the Cura Medical regiment. This post was not held too long by her as she insisted that she is better off in the battlefield killing people rather than being a healer. Later on, she was transferred to the most lethally dangerous combat regiment of the Royal Army; The Zenis Regiment. The Zenis Regiment consisted of only 10 members who were given impossible tasks by The Elders Council and were highly classified missions. Arimes quickly climbed the ranks and became their leader in a time span of just 3 years. Although she had achieved her success through her sheer desire of war and her unrelentless hard work, very few knew that she was also the heir of the Royal Family of Duertos Zelberg. Though the Royal Family of Duertos Zelberg was one of the most integral parts of the legislation of the Kingdom of Mira, after the election of the Royal Family of Eldrich Volzeris as the next rulers of the Kingdom, the Duertos were appointed as the administrators of the military force of the Kingdom. For these reasons the Duertos family segregated and separated themselves to accommodate different regions of the Kingdom and their existence was kept under strict secrecy. Initially there were three brothers who were the current heirs of the Duertos family; – First was the Commander of the Necromancers, Warriors of the West; Morpheus zel Duertos, whose only daughter was Arimes. Second was the Commander of the Paladins, Warriors of the North; Maximus zel Duertos, who has two sons Reedus and Romulus. The third and the last was the Commander of the Watchers, Warriors of the East; Mobius zel Duertos, who didn’t bear any children. All of these Commanders together with their armies were denoted as “The Triad of Holocaust”, representing their deadly strength against their enemies. With a bloodline of such fatal Warlords, Arimes never experienced what it was to be a normal hume in this world. She had started training for Weapon Arts since the age of 7 and was trained to be a Master of War from her childhood by her father’s Secret cult; The Nephilim. The Nephilim was a near to extinct race which was spared by the Commander of the Necromancers; Morpheus zel Duertos, on one condition that they would swear their lives protecting his only daughter, Arimes.

Only the members of “The Triad of Holocaust” knew about the Commanders, their histories, their heirs and their families; as all the clans had taken oath to never harm or indulge in conflict with each other, no matter what the circumstances may arise.

And all of this was known to Michael Tesla, one of the senior most members of The Watchers, who was now appointed to guard of the Misgerdion Palace.

“I answer to no council. I see you’re a formidable Watcher. But my orders are concerning an investigation implemented by the Zenis Regiment. Let me pass.” ,replied Arimes with no emotions on her face as she blankly stared at Michael, with her hair covering half of her face.

Heworth raised his guard and questioned Michael, ”Is it normal for someone to enter the primary gates without the front squad escorting her?”

Michael looked at Heworth and replied, ”She doesn’t need one.”

He turned towards Arimes and replied, “I have my orders ma’am. I can’t let you through! But if you insist I’d ask the inner gates authority to deliver a message to the king that the Zenis Regiment would like to have a word.”

“Oh, so that’s how it goes, huh? Well then it was nice talking to you….”, as she said these words she stretched out her hand and faced her palm towards Michael’s head.

“Go to the front gates, tell them to lower the barrier of the stairs, then head straight home and Heworth…… keep the kettle burning tonight and take care of my sheep…” , said Michael as he knew it as his imminent doom to refuse an order from the Military Commander.  Heworth walked forth terrified at what Michael had just said but all he could do was follow orders. And while he walked past Arimes he looked back at her and smiled..

“He eats sheep stew whenever he wins and I’ve cooked most them. None of them survived… I meant the sheep.” , said Heworth as he descended the steps.

Arimes was in shock, she had never heard such fearless words against her in her entire life. But it was justifiable, as Heworth knew that Michael was no ordinary Watcher. But never the less Arimes was ready to attack and charged up a bolt of lightning in her palm and then looked at Michael.

She was surprised to see that Michael did the same but his bolt was far greater than hers. He smiled. And then Arimes finally understood that it was a battle she couldn’t win.

Michael lowered his arm and accepted the outcome.

“Why drop your guard?”, asked Arimes.

Michael just said one thing as Arimes was ready to fire the bolt. “You should do the same… You might not be the part of the triad but still your ‘his’ daughter. I swear he’d kill me if I even laid a scratch on you. You are just as thick headed as your father.”

Arimes was shocked to hear this. “You knew him?”, as she lowered her arm as the lightning bolt dispersed.

“Knew him?? Ha ha! I trained him!”

Prologue

“Hear ye! Hear ye! By the order of The Great Elders Council, I hereby invite all the nobles of our esteemed Royal City Of Rabensphere for the great occasion of the coronations of our new elected king, Sir Derlin von Eldrich and our new princess, her Highness, Miss Aldia von Eldrich. All nobles accounted for the rank of our royal esteemed guests, as for the last ‘Recruiting Royal Family Act- Seed 1274 z.l.’ is invited for the ceremony. The ceremony will be followed by the royal ball as held for the past 17 years after the appointment of The Elders Great Council. The Royal Coronation will be held at The Royal Palace on the eve of last day of winter. None other than the listed nobles of the royal family will be allowed to the ceremony. If done so, strict action will be taken against the individual who chooses to do so. All Councils of the 9 nations are invited, discretion is to be followed with dignity. May we all be guided by the light of Zeora.”

~ By Order,

Lt. Gen. Arimes zel Duertos,

Commander of Zenis Regiment,

Head Organizer of 67th Coronation.

Aloud and in full glory this announcement was made in the centre of the Fountain Plaza of the Royal City of Rabensphere. The Fountain Plaza was not only one of those places where there were announcements and sermons held, but also a place where anyone, irrespective of their caste, creed, or royalty could meet and interact with each other. The Kingdom Of Mira had appointed a new king and the coronation was to be held at the nation’s second capital city, The Royal City of Rabensphere. This announcement was not new to the citizens of Rabensphere as there had been an elected king in the previous year, Seed-1289 z.l. of the ruling, since The Elders Council was formed 17 years ago. After the death of the former King Sir Allant Novel de Gestal, and treason by his son, Consul Derwont de Gestal, the heir to the throne was to be elected from the remaining Royal Families from the kingdom. From these, only 2 families had the anticipated fame to stand as the rulers of the kingdom. The Royal Family of Eldrich Volzeris of the North and The Royal Family of Duertos Zelberg of the West. And so the king was elected from the Royal Family of Eldrich Volzeris, the 14th generation bloodline, Sir Derlin. Sir Derlin had a daughter from his late wife Wiz Elizebeth. Though the Eldrich Family won, The Duertos were provided with taking care and supporting the kingdom by all means necessary. The Royal City of Rabensphere was politically secular and maybe this was the strength behind the uprising of the Kingdom Of Mira to such a large scale. But in that crowd in the Plaza, amidst the entire clamour, just after few minutes after the announcement was made, there was commotion! It was the Imperial Guards who had caught two men…….

“Gotcha, you muggers”, said one of the guards.

“We knew we would get hold of you two here, you have given us too much trouble in these past few days.” said the other.

One individual from the crowd that was assembled around questioned, “What have they done?”

“What have they done!” the guard exclaimed, “Ask me what have they not! Pick pocketing, shoplifting, stealing fruits, and not only that last night they spiced up the evening meal of the knights pantry and gave us all a hard time finding solace for our throats from that excruciate burning soup!”

“They call themselves professionals in this sought of work, and get off the hook just because their mentor is the Great Migelo.”, taunted the other guard.

“Ha ha!” laughed one of the accused. He had black medium hair, brown complexion, and short built, rough stubble. He carried his cocky attitude with him as he wore his dark baggy pants, Gliger boots which were made for street fights. A white shirt with collars torn, and black metallic gauntlets till the tips of his fingers presumably for making his punches more brutal. He also wore a black thread around his neck; at its end was a silver ring with some engravings in an ancient language. This was Gladius.

“What’s so funny?” asked one of the guards.

The other accused replied, “Thanks for the praise metal head, but could we know why you have caught us now? All our past legendary deeds were accounted for by our mentor, so we are clean. On what basis are you arresting us now?” The other individual was fair, well built, muscular. He wore specs made of a gold frame that suited his broad jaw line and long woven black hair tied to a pony tail with his rough French beard trimmed slightly at the edges. He wore a royal Caradian jacket, over a red silk shirt with leather leggings and soldier boots. His name was Regas Russoni.

“I didn’t laugh because of that Regas.” Spoke the other accused, “I found the ‘Professional’ part funny.”

“Idiot has a point. Let’s go, we’ll catch them later.”, said one of the guards.

“I’ll get you one day…. you Scumbags!” exclaimed the other, as both the guards walked away and the crowd took its leave.

Well, they were the kind of professionals that you dare not muddle with. Regas and Gladius were the charismatic individuals who would get caught up with most of the small petty crimes, but were spared because their mentor was The Royal Chef of Rabensphere, Migelo Russoni. Regas was Migelo’s son, while Gladius was a war orphan. Not much was known about Gladius, only that he grew up fighting with street gangs and was surprisingly also a scholar who was studying at the University of Winhelm, Rabensphere’s most acclaimed institution. His education was supported by himself as his street fighting would credit him with lots of private contracts which would give him lucrative offerings. But fighting was not the only field which interested him, it was one of the oddest of hobbies that he had expertise in. And that was thieving. Regas was his classmate and his best friend, and both Regas and Gladius, were in the mentorship of Migelo Russoni, who, apart being the Royal Chef, is also a professor of Arachnian History in the University of Winhelm.

“We must take our leave too, Gladius. Father would be upset if we don’t return to our duties on time.” said Regas.

“What’s with that oldie all of a sudden, lately he’s kind of strict with his timings.” replied Gladius.

-“Well, didn’t you hear? The Royal Coronation is coming up and father has been given the responsibility for preparing the grand feast for the occasion himself.”

-“Wait a minute…. You’re invited?”

-“Yeah… you dumb ass! That ‘oldie’ you call is the Royal Chef…. and the Royal Chef is appointed from the Royal family!!! You should’ve known that!”

– “How the hell would I believe that! No royal Noble fights for concession on a 2 gil ticket of a chicken fight show and drinks Alvirian coffee while pissing on a sheep shaped toilet just because he thinks the coffee rejuvenates the sphincters, while the sheep dignifies inner peace! ”

– “Ha ha! You always get so mad whenever there’s an event which I get to attend while you strum your guitar all evening.”

– “Boo Hooo…. so caring of you, Noble blood! Now let’s go, before the old man gets furious and swears on my life’s mistakes.”

As this conversation concluded both started walking along the plaza’s exit until a man from the crowd bumped into Gladius as he walked pass him.

Gladius turned to see who it was, but by that time the man was nowhere to be found.

“What is it Gladius?”, asked Regas who was walking ahead of Gladius. “It’s nothing, you go ahead. I’ll catch up with you later.” replied Gladius as he looked confused and reached out for his pocket as if he was expecting something in it. His doubt was right; the man had dropped a message written on a small piece of paper. Gladius opened the folded paper on which was written:

 

 

‘The more it is, the less you see.

Tell me! Oh, tell me! What could it be?

If you know what it is, then come find me!

I’m above the water and beneath the tree.

~ R.G.’

Gladius recognized the riddle and he had an idea about who would have wished to contact him this way.

“The more it is, the less I see…. Darkness it is. It’s above the water and beneath the tree…..hmmm… Only wind can flow in between. Ah! I got it, the Black Breeze Inn near South Market! But why would Ronald call me there?” thought Gladius.

As he headed towards the South Market of the city he wondered why Ronald Grey would call him; and that too in this kind of secretive manner. Ronald Grey wasn’t an ordinary employer that Gladius had acquaintance with.

Roland Simon Grey was referred as the King of Thieves. He was not only an expert in his art of stealing but also he had made a fortune out of it, so much so that he became an entrepreneur himself and became one of the renowned businessmen of Rabensphere, and also started his own syndicate where he hired people to do his dirty work for him. Gladius was an exception, even though he worked for Ronald, Gladius’s self conscious attitude to do the right thing, always forced Ronald to give him jobs that would fit Gladius’s requirements. But this time, things were different. Ronald never had the need to contact someone in this way, and even Gladius realised something is wrong, as Ronald’s riddle pointed at the Black Breeze Inn…..

Gradients of Archana

A guide to the various forms of Archana used in the world of EZORA.

  1. Mage Art :

Composed of the basic magic structure, this gradient of archana comprises of the basic celestial forms which are used by anyone having the ability to focus one’s Archanian powers to concentric amounts. This encompasses elemental magik as well as advanced combination of the art comprised of millions of spells which are widely used by the Mages, Archmages, Celestial beings and Weapon infusers.

  1. Sage Art:

A very rare form of art practiced only by the ones destined to possess such power. Its use hasn’t been encountered but some are led to believe it’s possible to create universes by using this art form.

  1. Rage Art:

Use of this art form has been forbidden and any relevant knowledge of how to use it isn’t present. This form was only encountered in the continent of Yazara and hasn’t been encountered since the division of the continent by the use of the only known technique in this art form simply termed as ‘Deathbringer’ which is believed to be used by The Dark Lord in the war against Azazel.

  1. Cage Art:

An art form which is used to capture celestial beings or Archanian powers inside hosts such as objects, weapons, signs or even creatures, living or dead. Summoning is an art form which comes in this gradient.

  1. Age Art:

A forbidden art form which is based on the Law of Equilibrium, its use can only be implemented by sacrificing something of equal value. Mostly it is known to decrease the life span of the user, hence the name.