Originally, this is my NaNoWriMo story, however I failed that contest. This story is based on Rhazin, a character from my Scarred Trilogy series, and his downward spiral into evil. The Darkness, an entity inside him trying to take him over, causes Rhazin to kill his King, so now he must complete an event known as the Great Race, hosted by Cain's, aka the Scarred Father, daughter. If he wins, he will be granted the name 'Dower' and gain standing so he may defend himself against his crimes.
Rhazin sat in prison, awaiting his fate.
It wasn't that he thought he deserved it, because he didn't, but there seemed to be nothing he could do. He had been seen killing the king by over a dozen of the most respected members of the Faerein Kingdom. All Rhazin was was a new trainee of an already suspicious Void Mystic user. Of all the powers a Mounseiken could be gifted with, Void was the most powerful and most feared and hated. Now, thanks to Rhazin, it would be hated more. By the Scarred Father, what had he done?
But, no. He was innocent. It had been the darker side of himself. Originally, he had sneaked in to see if Monstroth, the prince of Faerein and Rhazin's friend, was making any leeway in the conference room. When Monstroth had been made to give up his princehood, though... Rhazin's darker half took over and killed the king, Saerein Frae.
A shuffle in the darkness brought Rhazin out of his thoughts. Something seemed to be spinning in the dark corner of his cell. Was that a Voidgate? They were used for traveling long distances by Void users in just a step, but they were forbidden in the castle. There weren't many Void users in Faerein and all of them knew the rule and its penalty: torture.
A figure came from the darkness. "Rhazin," Rhazin's master said, "It's time to get you out of here."
Rhazin watched in horror as his nameless teacher picked the lock of his cage. It was bad enough to kill a king, but to free a murderer was worse. Its penalty was worse than death. After all, any man could claim a moment of insanity or a past reason for murder, but if someone freed a murderer, they were essentially spitting on the kingdom’s rules.
As the lock came free, Rhazin’s horror rose. Off in the distance was the nighttime guard. He was a nice enough man, though serious about his duty. He even had a wife and child at home that he frequently talked about with some of the inmates who were also fathers. For some reason, he simply fell down, his body now lifeless.
Rhazin’s master looked back briefly before rushing toward Rhazin. “Hurry, fool!” He said, opening another Voidgate. Rhazin took one last look into his dark cell and the guard, guilt trying to hold him back, before he walked through the swirling darkness.
Sunlight blinded Rhazin as he fell onto a patch of grass. A thud beside him announced his masters presence. Rhazin just sat there. What had he done? What had his master done!? Now they would both be treated as criminals and probably tortured before given death. Why did things get worse when Rhazin thought them unable to do so?
“Rhazin,” his master said beside him, “You are innocent, right?” The man, of course, knew about the darkness inside Rhazin, for he had it as well. All Void users had the innate intent to destroy and kill. Though none but the Void users and the Sovereigns knew this, it was rumored everywhere. If the monarchs of the land found out…
The Void users might be annihilated.
“Yes, but...,” Rhazin whispered. What could he do to prove that innocence now? His only hope had been to claim a moment of insanity. At least that way his name would be clear after they executed him. But now, they would call him a murderer and a coward. His name would be marked as worthless in his homeland of Faerein. It was hopeless, now.
“There is a way you can regain your name, my student,” his master said. Rhazin’s sight had adjusted just enough to see his master’s hunched form and long black hair. The man had more wrinkles than the Scarred Father ever did in his portraits. He didn’t seem worried, somehow, and that made Rhazin mad.
“What in Cain’s blasted Crime possessed you to do that, master!?” Rhazin yelled, letting his shoulder length black hair spill out over his face. He resisted the urge to push it back against his head, simply because it wasn’t worth the energy. Not to mention, Rhazin felt void of energy at the moment.
“I did that, my student,” the older man said solemnly, “because you are innocent.” Rhazin looked into his master’s eyes. They were cold and emotionless, just like a true void user’s eyes should be. Rhazin’s own were full of anger at the moment. Rhazin was surprised his master didn’t correct him like he usually did.
The older man sighed. “There is still a way to redeem you. It will involve a deadly task and will make you hated among almost all the void users in this world, but it may be your only choice.” Rhazin’s anger subsided and worry took its place.
“What about you, master?” Rhazin asked, standing up. Around him were a few trees next to a pond, surrounded by the seemingly endless expanse of a desert.
Rhazin’s master sighed again and sat against a tree. His black robe looked to be damaged in several places. “I am about to die.”
Tears welled up in Rhazin’s eyes as he fell before his master. The man had been strict on so many things and even tortured Rhazin. Even so, Rhazin had thought of the man like a father. Since he was an orphan, he had never known parents until his master found him and his ability to use the Void Mystic. Monstroth had even given Rhazin money to help him survive the Void training, as everyone knew it was harsh.
“Don’t cry, my student,” his master said quietly, “I have been hard on you, though it was for a good reason, so do not mourn me.” He laughed softly. Rhazin looked up, shocked. That had been the first time he had heard a laugh from his nameless master. “Now, listen up!” his master said sternly, his face growing hard again, “You must seek out Murdos, the only Firstborn still alive, and join her contest.”
“The Great Race?” Rhazin asked incredulously. That was the longest and most ruthless contest in the Scarred Lands. Those who survived and won the race were immortalized in every kingdom on a stone wall. They also received unbreakable Void weapons, weapons with the souls of Void users imbued in them, and masks made by Murdos herself.
“Yes, now go!” he said standing up, “I will hold off investigations through sabotage. I have already had a few offenses, so I will claim I am mad for them letting you escape.” He smiled at that.
“But, master, I cannot…,” Rhazin stuttered. How was he supposed to let his master get killed?
Before he could say any more, a Voidgate opened behind Rhazin and he was shoved through by an invisible shot of Air mystics. Rhazin tried to fight against it and rush back through the gate, but he had no means to fight against a man who could command Air mystics.
Falling, Rhazin saw the ocean below him. He yelled as something moved unnaturally in the water. What was that slender figure?
He was answered as a great serpent burst from the dark waters and toward Rhazin. He yelled again, fear consuming him and preventing any actions he could take.
“Is this really my end,” Rhazin thought as the serpent’s enormous mouth snapped him out of the air. Darkness consumed all.
Rhazin awoke to waves of the ocean hitting him.
With every rush of water came a sharp stinging along the side of his body. Looking down, Rhazin saw several wounds trailing up his leg and torso. It looked like a bite from an enormous crea-
Rhazin jumped up and ran a ways from the ocean. Was the serpent still out there? Why was he still alive? Shaking, Rhazin realized the clothing he wore, which had been a basic brown cloth uniform, was now rags. His hair, though, was swept back almost perfectly. How odd.
The surrounding area contained a vast shoreline next to, thankfully, a forest. He would be worried if it had been a desert. The desert kingdom of Faerein wouldn’t welcome Rhazin anymore. Monstroth probably hated him as well. But, with his new training to become the Sovereign of the Mineral Mystic, he didn’t have time to hate. Rhazin was comforted by the thought and nearly headed into the forest when he noticed a small sack.
No one else was in sight, so Rhazin opened the sack. Not a moment after he had opened the first button, a gust of wind shot out of the sack. Instincts took over and he jumped back and prepared a flame for throwing with his Flame mystic. He had been surprised when he found out he could use Flame mystics. Though Monstroth and his master had been proud, Rhazin was worried he wouldn’t be able to control it and that he would hurt someone. So far, he had done well, though.
The sack shrank slightly as the last of the gust came out. Rhazin snuck closer, not daring to release his flame. As he approached the sack, he saw nothing out of the ordinary. Rhazin decided to take a risk. He opened the other button and looked inside. What sat in the sack brought a smile onto his otherwise gloomy face.
In the sack, on top of fruits and bottles of water, was a letter with the imprint of his master’s seal. Rhazin grabbed the note quickly and opened it. Maybe this was another test and his master was alive and well somewhere. It wouldn’t be the first time.
Rhazin opened the letter and read it. He read it again, the last of his hope for his master’s life dying.
I have sent this satchel to keep you supplied until you can reach a town. There is also money in here as well. Make it last or get a temporary job, for once the Great Race starts, it will be vital. If your smart, you may even make this money last until the Race is over.
I don’t really know what to write other than that. You were a great student, though your emotions must be got under control. Also, be sure to practice daily with your Alchemaic Mystics or else it will kill you. As for anything else, you have done fine.
Though I never had a son, I imagine this is what having one would be like, I suppose. I hope you make it far in life and never lose your sight, Rhazin. By now, I no longer have the ability to stop the Darkness within you. That falls to you.
Alright, I suppose I should wrap this up. I don’t know what else there is to say… Forgive my writing I suppose? I was never good at writing properly.
Jeroha Heron Dominos Karsha
Rhazin, still saddened by his master’s fate, couldn’t help but be curious about the man’s name. He knew his master had been a general and probably had done some sort of act, which Dominos and Heron had proved, but Kersha wasn’t just any name. It sounded familiar…
Then it hit him. Kersha was the name of the man who conquered the ocean serpents and used them to stave off the Great Lizards! His master had been the Hero of the Great War!?
Rhazin laughed quietly. It was no wonder the man stayed anonymous. That sort of fame had a diverse effect. Some wanted him dead, and most everyone else wouldn’t leave him alone without an autograph. He truly had been a remarkable man, then.
“Jeroha Kersha, huh?” Rhazin said to himself as he closed the sack and put it on his back. He would remember the man, with or without the rest of the world. Of that he had been determined. Yet now, it seemed no one would forget that man.
Rhazin head off, still hurting from the serpents bite. Had that thing been under the control of his master? It made since, so Rhazin assumed it was true. He just wished it had a better way to transport him.