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Fantasy Fiction

“You ever just, reached out to something, just for the sake of touching it? Just to know what it feels like. To feel your fingers running over the surface, feeling the texture, the firmness, the structure of it? How nice. Have you ever thought of just how much our fingers do for you? They just might be the hardest working part of the human body. You use them to eat, brush your teeth, dress yourself, turn on a fan when it’s too hot, shut your door to give yourself some privacy. Flip a page in a book, type on a computer, open a door. Shake an elder’s hand, prop up a man who’s down, hold a lover’s hand. Must be nice for you. To be able to do all those things.

Sorry, got ahead of myself. My name is Lyon Tempest, eldest son of the Tempest house, and descendant of the great Maxwell Tempest, the most formidable Proeliator Magus of the last ten centuries. Oh, right. You probably don’t know what that is, do you? Well, in layman's terms, it’s a combat mage. It’s exactly what it sounds like. My family is a long line of mages that specifically honed their magic for combat, and the man that solidified us as such was Maxwell. Most members of my family regard him as the greatest of us, someone to aspire to be and follow. Me? I can’t deny what he did was incredible, but let’s just say his legacy gives me mixed feelings. Not that it particularly matters now anyways.

The need for combative magic has declined since the modernization of humanity, and especially after the peace with The Church was made. They leave us alone, and we keep to ourselves, away from ‘normal’ people. Not to say that we never interact with normal people, but anytime you leave the city, you can feel the eyes on you. The Church has never liked us, and we’ve never particularly liked them. They see us as unnatural, an affront to their god. I can’t really blame them though. I can name several mages off the top of my head that could bring the world to its knees, if they were feeling so inclined. Though, they’d have to contend with the rest of us, and The Church for that matter. Say what you want about those fanatics, but they are strong. The Exorcists alone are a worry. Sometimes I think they really are blessed by divinity. Ah, sorry, I’m digressing again.

Right, touch, fingers. Remember how I mentioned Maxwell’s Legacy? Well, it’s something special to my family’s bloodline. A power that was passed down from Maxwell to his descendants. It manifests in various forms from person to person, but it’s always related to combative magic. My father, for example, his Legacy is a form of summoning magic. It uses raw elemental magic to make a copy of himself, which Father uses for combat. I’ve once seen him conjure more than twenty at the same time and attack simultaneously. It was incredible. My sister’s Legacy involved hardening her body to an extreme durability, so Father immediately began training her in martial arts. She herself has become quite impressive, and training sessions with her have become more painful as of late. I’m so proud of her. She’s really grown up. Though she really does still act like a kid. Heh, she still follows me around sometimes, like when we were little. She always gives me this innocent look when I turn to look at her, like what she’s doing is perfectly normal, hahaha. Ah, I guess I should stop stalling.

My Legacy. Well, let me say this first. Some Legacy’s are internal, like my father and sisters. And some are external. My great grandfather could control fire magic to an unimaginable degree. It didn’t come from within, it came from the surrounding mana. See, the difference is while my father and sister still draw on mana, their magic starts internal, and is then sent outward, while my great grandfather’s magic was completely external. He wasn’t immune to fire, he could simply wield it better than any other mage. My Legacy. My Legacy. My Legacy        Legacy             Legacy…

My Legacy is, unique. When a Tempest is born, their Legacy is already decided. It usually takes some time to manifest, but it is usually fairly quick. I, however, showed no signs for the first five years of my life. Let’s just say, this caused some familial tension. Well, until one morning, when I woke up, and my bed had disappeared. I remember, sitting up, shivering. My blankets were gone, my pillows, everything. I remember clutching my arms to my chest, only to suddenly feel my chest lighten, and watched as tiny bits of ash danced up past my face. I looked down to see that my shirt had vanished from my body, tiny bits of ash tumbling into nothingness. Then, I looked at my hands. It was like someone had dipped them in tar. They were pitch black, a strange black mist reaching towards my forearms. What happened next, I’ll remember till the day I die. I screamed. A maid came rushing in. Crying, I instinctively reached out for her. And, this soul, so caring, so loyal, and so gentle reached back for me. Her fingers touched mine. Then, she was gone.

It was over in an instant. But for me, it was like slow motion. It traveled from where she touched me, up her arm, her skin cracking, like she was made of glass. Then the shards began to crumble to ash, gently blowing away into nothingness. I watched it move across her body, moving under her clothes, ash coming out of her sleeves. I remember staring into her face, the look of concern still there, like she didn’t even know what was happening. Then, she was gone. The clothes fell to the ground in a bundle. I remember standing still for a moment, before falling backwards in shock. I, of course, put my hands behind me to catch my fall. They went straight through the floor. Before I could recover, I had already begun to fall. I tried to stop my descent, but I couldn’t see anything through the ash, and my flailing arms could make no purchase. Eventually I fell into an open space, and slammed off the metal table in the house kitchen. As I rolled onto the floor, I stuffed my hands into my armpits. I remember someone touching me, asking if I was alright. I screamed and kicked my body into a corner, my hands firmly tucked away. 

That’s where my father found me. Screaming at the chefs and the maids to stay away. Father calmed me down. I made him promise not to touch me, then showed him my hands. I remember Father looking at them in confusion, then up at the ceiling, then back to me. He quickly grabbed a spoon, and held it out to me. He told me to touch it, so I did. It crumbled in his hands. Just then, another maid came in to report that she couldn’t find Maria. My caretaker. I don’t really remember what happened after that, as I started sobbing, and buried my face in my knees. The next part of my life was, interesting. I was confined to my room, Father promising to figure something out. The darkness got worse and worse, slowly but surely moving down my hands. I was subject to experiments everyday, trying to find a way to contain my Legacy. Then, three years later, after countless experiments and resources, a ‘solution,’ was found. My Legacy, that dark tar, was highly concentrated, incredibly dense mana. Concentrated raw mana is like a black hole, absorbing everything and everything it comes into contact with, and it was slowly spreading across my body. So, a need to contain it came about, before it consumed me completely. Ten rings, each with an incredible ability to absorb mana, were activated and placed onto my fingers. It was a resounding success.

My Legacy, which had spread all the way up to my shoulders, was now reduced to only my fingers, with each ring sitting at the base of each knuckle, keeping it from spreading any further. However, despite every attempt, nothing could rid my fingers of my Legacy. No amount of absorption magic, object, or spell could permanently rid me of my Legacy. Every solution was always temporary, more often for only a matter of minutes before my Legacy outpaced it and returned. I suppose I should be thankful that the rings keep it from spreading, but everything had changed.

I currently own three outfits. Three shirts, three pants, and a jacket. They were all specially made of a material that has the highest magical resistance in the known world. Father paid an absorbent amount for them. But what he paid the most for was the lining of the jacket’s pockets and a pair of gloves. I think he got a discount, so I suppose it pays to have connections in high places. Well, also to have a son that is a freak of magic. Researchers would kill to study me, and I’m sure the ones that I’ve spoken to paid a pretty penny to do so. The gloves are made of an incredibly rare magical dampening cloth. When I wear them, it prevents instantaneous destruction of whatever I touch. It now takes a couple of seconds for it to be completely destroyed, but I suppose that’s better than no chance at all. Even with these gloves, I still can’t touch anything, except for the gloves, ironically. So I have to have a servant walk around with me everywhere. Opening doors, carrying things, tying my shoes, putting hats on my head. It makes me feel like a child. I hate it. But I can’t do anything about it. I can’t even feed myself. I can never hug my father ever again, I can never ruffle my sister’s hair again, I can never again take someone’s hand to show them I care.

And now? Now I have to burden someone else. Being the eldest son of a mage family, it’s very common for us to be married to girls of other mage families, to forge alliances and influence. And despite my condition, some bastard promised his daughter's hand to me. TO ME. Why? Why why why why? I don’t understand. This poor girl. Everyone tells me she’s lovely, sweet, kind, gentle, and a fantastic mage in her own right, and she is getting married to ME. I’m supposed to marry this girl, my betrothed, and I can’t even put the ring on her finger. I can never hold her hand, I can never give her something from my hands, always someone else’s. The only place, and I mean ONLY place in this entire world, where I could even consider touching her, is in this room, where I’m sitting right now.  With this, ‘Holy Grail,’ and these mass murders and the worst criminals in the entirety of the mages wor-”

***

“Hey,” came a voice. Lyon stopped, the pencil mid word in his hand. “Hey,” came the voice again. Lyon sat up, turning to face the voice. It belonged to a man, clad in shackles and behind iron bars. “What’re you doing?” he asked.

“Writing,” Lyon said, turning back towards the paper in front of him.

“Oh yeah?” the voice said. “What about?”

“Something personal,” Lyon responded. 

“Oh, I see. So, what kinda story is it?”

“What?

“It’s personal right? So, is it like, a biography? Eh, seem kinda young for that. Memoirs? Journal? Story based on your life?”

Lyon sat up.

“Will you shut up? You’ve been talking this whole time, very hard to concentrate,” Lyon snapped. The man drew back, as if taken aback.

“Woah, sorry kid. It’s just you’re the only one to talk to in this place,” he said. Lyon glanced around. The room was pure white, but there were no walls, just miles and miles of empty space, with a number of cells scattered about. There also sat a gigantic machine in the center of the room, which Lyon leaned against. The “Holy Grail”. It was a complicated machine, but at the very top was something that resembled a cup. Lyon could see what looked like steam, constantly pouring over the edge. But it was strange. You’d expect the steam to be pouring out of the cup, but instead it was entering it. Lyon’s eyes took note of every cage, each containing a person or some creature, but each and every single one was unconscious. It was hard to see, due to the brightness of the room, but Lyon could just barely make out little strands of steam emanating from each cell. All except for the man in the cell closest to the machine.

“Why are you awake?” Lyon asked. The man shrugged his shoulders.

“Just different, I guess,” he replied. “So come on, tell me what you’re writing. Come on, I can give you notes.”

“Oh my god,” Lyon muttered. “Tell you what, you be quiet for five minutes, and I’ll talk to you, yeah?”

“Five minutes, huh?” The man said with a cocked eyebrow. “Fine with me. Just don’t go back on your word.” Lyon nodded, and the man sat down, staring at Lyon. They sat in silence for three minutes, when suddenly Lyon stood up, placing his notebook and pencil into a plastic bag. The man in shackles stirred, looking at Lyon in confusion.

“Where’re you going?” The man asked.

“I gotta go, I have a meeting to get to,” Lyon said as he passed the man’s cell.

“Oi,” the man said, “You can’t just leave, we had a deal.” 

“We did,” Lyon started, stopping for a moment. “And you just spoke. Sorry.” The man stood silent for a moment, before a smile came across his face, and he let out a laugh.

“Very clever, kid, very clever!” he shouted after Lyon as he made his way out. As Lyon walked, a light in front of him blinked on, and the white slid open, revealing a grey room. Lyon stepped inside, immediately put the bag down, and took a pair of gloves out of his pocket. As the doors began to shut behind him, a black mist began to appear at Lyon’s finger tips. As the grey room began to change texture, turning into metal and electronics, the mist slowly began to retake his fingers, until suddenly it completely enveloped his fingers, stopping at the rings on his knuckles. Lyon sighed, and put the gloves on his hands, and put them in his jacket pockets. The grey room was now an elevator, and after some time, the doors opened. There stood a woman and a man. The man wore a guard’s uniform, the woman dressed in a fine suit, the crest of the Tempest household on its lapel.

“Hilda,” Lyon said. The woman gave him a polite nod, then reached over and picked up the bag.

“Did you enjoy your time, Master Lyon,” she asked. Lyon nodded, and followed the guard through the facility. 

“A pleasure, Mr. Tempest,” the guard said as he shut the door behind Lyon. Lyon turned towards the bright sky, the city skyline bustling with movement, people passing by him. Some avoided his gaze, while others stole looks at him from a distance.

“Are you ready to go, Master Lyon,” Hilda asked. Lyon glanced at her, then back to the city, letting out a sigh.

“Yes,” he said. “Let’s go meet the poor girl.” Lyon turned, beginning to walk down the street, Hilda following close behind.

October 16, 2021 00:55

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