Chapter 4:

Chapter 0.5 part 2 The night of fun

Age of Ember


Chapter 0.5 ContinuesBookmark here

The Night of FunBookmark here

1 year later…Bookmark here

It was 7 in the morning and Sabrina and Ziggy were sound asleep. Sabrina opened her eyes to the sound of faint giggles. Still laying in bed, her senses slowly honed in to the source of the giggles that gradually became louder. It certainly wasn’t a noise coming from her head as the sound echoed from the hallway. These kids were sure energetic. After letting out a loud yawn, she nudged at Ziggy’s shoulder but it wasn’t until after nudging him several times did he wake up. He was quite the heavy sleeper.Bookmark here

"Ziggy, wake up,” Sabrina whispered, also ceasing from shaking him. “I hear laughing from one of the kids’ rooms.”Bookmark here

“J-ust fi- moore min-es,” Ziggy struggled to formulate a coherent sentence.Bookmark here

"I SAID WAKE UP! CHECK ON THEM!"Bookmark here

Struggling to open his eyes and collect his thoughts, Ziggy tried to speak the best he could:Bookmark here

"A...l ri....ht al.. rig.....t I'm up I'll go ...heck on them"Bookmark here

Ziggy was just not a morning person. Crawling out of bed, he made his way down the hall toward every room. First he checked on Sarah's room first on the right side to find her still asleep. Smiling to the sight of his sleeping child he looked over to the door further down to the left. He could hear the childish laughter from the room he looked toward.Bookmark here

“Those kids have a lot of energy.” He yawned while dragging his feet.Bookmark here

Opening the door, Ziggy was surprised by what he saw. Not knowing whether to panic or be a little excited, he called Sabrina out in a loud whisper:Bookmark here

"Babe, come here! You’re gonna wanna see this!"Bookmark here

Sabrina immediately hopped out of bed, scurrying down the hallway. She stood beside Ziggy to see what he had called her out for. Both of them looked into the room, shocked by the sight of what they were witnessing. They saw Odrian falling through a series of multiple portals and black holes that were scattered throughout the room. He was having the time of his life falling from left portal to right portal, from one to another with so many twist and turns.Bookmark here

“Babe, there’s no way,” Ziggy wasn’t sure whether to be terrified or excited by the prospects of his son’s newfound power.Bookmark here

“Forux in children don’t awaken until about 5 years old.” Sabrina’s eyes were still glued on Odrian who was haplessly thrown through portals.Bookmark here

"Aw, man. I've never thought I had to deal with this." Bookmark here

“What?”Bookmark here

Ziggy placed his hand on his forehead and began to laugh. Perhaps he was indeed overwhelmed by the unexpected development. Sabrina stared at him intensely while trying to hold back her own laughter. They weren’t sure whether these were actually portals or black holes. Sabrina regained her focus again.Bookmark here

"Alright, stop laughing and grab him already."Bookmark here

"Oh yeah, sure I got this... This should be fun."Bookmark here

“Fun? Ziggy not right now. I’ll be back in a little.”Bookmark here

Sabrina walked away with a smile on her face. Ziggy took a few steps back wondering how he was going to get Odrian. Giving up on finding the best method possible he dashed forward into the closest portal starting an endless game of portal. He missed catching Odrian every time. It had been 10 minutes since Sabrina had left and she returned Landon and Sarah in her arms to find her husband having the time of his life. It didn’t seem that he was even trying to catch Odrian any longer. Angered by her husband’s carefree attitude, she walked all the way into the room gently set down Sarah and Landon. Without much processing of Odrian’s fall pattern, she grabbed Odrian out of the air, causing all the portals to vanish in an instant. Ziggy was in mid-flight as he came from the portal from the ceiling and even with his feet breaking his fall he slammed against the wall. With Odrian safely in her arms, Sabrina laughed along with the rest of the children. Bookmark here

"That's what you get! You should've just grabbed him! What if he was in danger?" Bookmark here

"It looked like so fun! I couldn't resist. Plus, you know if things got bad I would've saved him in a heartbeat!"Bookmark here

She let out an exasperating sigh.Bookmark here

"It's like I have 4 kids to raise.”Bookmark here

“Hey babe, we should do this more often.”Bookmark here

"What? Come on! Let’s get ready. We could probably get their Forux appraised. You can get Odrian ready, seeming how you two had so much fun together already."Bookmark here

Sabrina handed her Odrian into Ziggy’s arms. Odrian was still lively as he giggled to the sight of his father. Ziggy was thinking how Odrian wasn’t biologically his child, but the kinship was evident. Ziggy smiled back.Bookmark here

"It looks like it's us against the world today, huh, son" Odrian reached towards Ziggy’s face. Only if parents could have favorites. You’re adorable but Sarah has got you beat.” Odrian continues to try and reach his face. Ziggy decided to give him his finger, only to get bit.Bookmark here

"Ok, you can be the cutest one today. You win."Bookmark here

2 hours pass, they were ready to set out. Standing by the large window facing their front yard, Ziggy looked at his wife and then returned his gaze outside.Bookmark here

"Do you know what the forest looks like today"Bookmark here

The forest that surrounds their home switches weekly sometimes, spawning new areas and sections from other forests or realms. Sometimes it may just relocate all the trees, plants and lakes. Sabrina grabbed his attention, by moving into his peripheral vision, with her eyes meeting his:Bookmark here

"I haven't been out yet… Besides the week just started and we did wake up at the same time... And our location never changes so it shouldn't matter too much. Are you ready to head out cause I am?"Bookmark here

Ziggy picked up Odrian and Landon, placing one in each arm while Sabrina picked up Sarah. They both began to move in lightning speed from tree to tree, until they arrived at the city's edge. They landed on the ground levelBookmark here

"Let's continue," Sabrina hopped from the ground to the rooftops since it would be easier to travel. "And this time don’t land so rough! I won't be paying for roof repairs again."Bookmark here

"I know," Ziggy recalled with a tinge of disappointment. Ziggy said in a much lower, disgruntled tone:Bookmark here

"You're not the one carrying two.”Bookmark here

"Did you just say something smart?"Bookmark here

"What? Me? No?"Bookmark here

Arriving close to the center of the city between a school and shop lied the Forux Appraisal Association (F.A.A). Standing a few stories tall, it had a rotating top that emitted a purple magical energy. Forux, also know as Kogane, is a piece of god given to the universe, which gives most of those but not all within its powers which is separate from magic. All beings have access to magic but it isn’t to say magic is easy to learn. Not all can obtain a Forux but if you have a Forux, it's a part of you and is different from person to person. Based on your race there are abilities such as blast, beams, and etc. a truly confusing system of endless possibilities which are all based on background and other factors. Everyone uses their abilities differently but not one can truly be stronger than the other except those with a Kogane. Bookmark here

Sabrina and Ziggy through the automatic doors, crossing the marble and metal tiled floors. They observed the elegant design of the marble pillars on each side of the room; holograms circled around them displaying the date and time and other relevant information to the association. After absorbing the grandeur of the entrance, they approached the front desk.Bookmark here

"We'd like to get our 3 kids appraised," Ziggy requested.Bookmark here

"Which one would you like to do first?" The attendant asked with her rabbit ears aimed high in her F.A.A standard-issue green and black uniform and all-black mini skirt to match.Bookmark here

"Let us do Landon first," Sabrina suggested.Bookmark here

The associate took out a colorful gem from under her desk. Bookmark here

"Place his hand on top of this and wait a couple of seconds." The employee said invitingly as she began to look at her computer screen. "Landon's is done and his Forux is called Overpower, and his power pool is based on race that is… unknown."Bookmark here

Not seeing any description for overpower, she called her boss. A few minutes later, a half-ogre, half demon man emerged towering over them at 7 feet high. The 3 horns that adorned his head seemed absolutely menacing as his gaze was downcast at them. He was build like a sturdy tank but the all-black tuxedo fit him quite well. And much like his powerful build his voice was equally as strong voice:Bookmark here

"Ziggy Tate?”Bookmark here

“Kroxx?”Bookmark here

“It’s been quite a long time. 3 kids? You must've been putting in work these past few years."Bookmark here

"Hey, my wife is right here," Ziggy was noticeably worried that his old acquaintance would say that in front of his wife. Even after so many years, his friend was still very much the same. Sabrina exchanged a dirty glance at Ziggy that shook him to his core.Bookmark here

"Ah, well, my apologies. Now, follow me. We have to go to the second floor.”Bookmark here

They arrived on the second floor and step out the elevator. A few feet ahead of them was a 15 ft tall crystal, surrounded by much more advanced machinery and metal encased in a durable glass that had a crystalized sheen to its appearance. All these components were connected to a single computer with multiple monitors. Bookmark here

"We use this to find out more about complex powers." Kroxx walked over to the computer. As he accessed the computer, a set of metal stairs appeared leading toward the massive crystal. Where it lead was a pad that was attached it.Bookmark here

"Have him touch the crystal pad at the top of those stairs.”Bookmark here

Sabrina looked over at Ziggy, expecting him to go with Landon in arms. He carefully made his way up feeling the overpowering presence of the crystal. All his life, he never understood what the true power of these crystals were. He had only heard stories of the giant crystals existing. Looking at Landon who seemed just as struck in awe as Ziggy, he began to guide his hand toward the crystal. Once Landon’s hands rested upon the pad, the entire room lit up into an assortment of colors before finally settling on one. One of the monitors began displaying information in regards to Landon’s powers. Although the power pool based on race was still unknown, the overpower now had a description. Everyone, except Ziggy and Landon who were still at the top of the stairs, came to read what the information was.Bookmark here

“So, what does it say?” Ziggy was curious.Bookmark here

“Let’s see here,” Kroxx read it to himself before finally announcing the results. “He will always be one step stronger and one step faster than his opponent, within reason. His strength and speed can't become greater than a target who is a few classes in power apart. There are a couple of unknown abilities. Well…”Bookmark here

Kroxx opened his eyes a little wider, looking at Ziggy who was equally as bewildered. Somehow Sabrina couldn’t quite grasp the precedence of the power that Landon had.Bookmark here

“It would seem that this child may pose a bit of a problem for you down the road.” The manager regained his composure and cleared his throat. “Have the next one touch the crystal."Bookmark here

Sabrina walked toward the stairs to exchange Landon and Odrian with Ziggy. Ziggy felt that whatever Odrian had would outclass his brother somehow. Perhaps the summoning of portals was enough to convince him of this. Ziggy understood, as a warrior it wasn’t just about raw power but tactics. As he held Odrian’s hand on top of the crystal, the whole room turned pitch black and then purple. The monitors began displaying their results: Bookmark here

Power pool from race unknownBookmark here

Forux Dark Plasma manipulation, spatial manipulation primarily black, white holes, and portals but not limited too.Bookmark here

Deeper Description showed an ability called Untrapped (cannot be trapped).Bookmark here

"You two certainly have a lot of problems on your hands.” Kroxx looked at both of them. “But because I know we used to quest together I've got something in mind that’ll definitely help you. Let's just finish this last child first. Have the last child place her hand on the crystal please."Bookmark here

Ziggy held Sarah toward the crystal pad and within seconds the room was filled with a rainbow flash. The monitor displayed her power description:Bookmark here

Power pool from race Xerbian/HumanBookmark here

Forux Holographic manipulation, illusionary manipulation and other complimenting powers. Bookmark here

"It’s not too bad with this one but your house will never get boring.” Kroxx seemed a bit relieved after reading the results. He continued typing on the screen which summoned a few items from a compartment under the computer. “But to help out you out a little I'll give you 2 bracelets. For Odrian, which are metal bracelets with inscriptions from an unknown language that will limit their powers. But they will give them access to untapped potential as they become better able to handle them.”Bookmark here

“Uh, they kind of look like shackles, don’t you think?” Ziggy wittingly noted much to his wife’s disapproval.Bookmark here

“These bracelets will grow with them so no need to worry about new ones. Water can phase through them as well so their skin won't be dirty or not able to get clean they also will allow in light so their skin won't be discolored.”Bookmark here

“And how about Sarah?” Sabrina followed up, whilst listening intently.Bookmark here

“As for Sarah, I will get some contacts made for you and Ziggy to help with raising her and see through her illusions and holograms. You’ll have to get new ones every years however. The contacts will arrive at your home in 1 month.”Bookmark here

"How much does getting these custom made cost?" Sabrina asked, concerned primarily for the cost. Her response was met with laughter, which annoyed her slightly.Bookmark here

“The cost?” Kroxx finally calmed himself down. “It’s already paid for in Ziggy saving my life back in the day. So, I no longer owe you Ziggy! If anything, I'll help them in the future."Bookmark here

“Well, thank you for your help.” Bookmark here

Kroxx handed over the bracelets. Sabrina and Ziggy began walking away with the kids in arms. Kroxx watched as they left toward the elevator while reminiscing on the past. They were wrapping their head around how hard raising their children will really be. It will be a really interesting next few years for them. Sabrina looked at Ziggy with a stern face and said:Bookmark here

"I'm not having any more period."Bookmark here

They both nodded in agreement. Before the elevator doors could shut, Kroxx stopped it from closing. Ziggy and Sabrina looked at him at once.Bookmark here

“Actually Ziggy, there’s something I need to talk to you about.” Kroxx insisted in a more serious tone than before.Bookmark here

“Uh, sure,” Ziggy glanced over at Sabrina. He kept Odrian with him and left Landon with her. “Babe, this won’t take too long.”Bookmark here

“Alright, I’ll be waiting.” Sabrina understood. Ziggy stepped out watching the doors close. Once the doors closed, he turned toward the towering Kroxx. They walked toward the large crystal that had lit up the dim room.Bookmark here

“Ziggy Tate,” Kroxx smiled as he sat against the table. “Never imagined that you’d settle down. You’re a family man now.”Bookmark here

“The times have changed.” Ziggy agreed. Odrian laughed a little during their conversation. Kroxx looked upon him with skepticism.Bookmark here

“It’s safe to assume that Landon and Odrian aren’t yours.”Bookmark here

Ziggy wasn’t sure how to respond to his assumption. He was right. He wasn’t sure who’s kids he was taking care of but he saw them as their own.Bookmark here

“You don’t have to answer that. It isn’t often we get kids that come around with powers like that, let alone at that age. You have to be careful from now on.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, I know. It’s been interesting ever since becoming a father. I still think even now, I’m not quite cut out for it.”Bookmark here

“You kidding me? The kids seem to love you. Considering how we used to work together, seeing this side of you is quite interesting.”Bookmark here

“You got any kids?”Bookmark here

“Me? Pfft. That’s not on my radar any time soon. Between me running the Association and still being out in the field, there’s not much of a place for that. Maybe, someday but for now, I think I’ll keep my word when I say I’ll be watching over your family.”Bookmark here

“Thanks.”Bookmark here

“Don’t mention it. The times are changing. We need to be ready for anything. With abilities like theirs just imagine what they could do.”Bookmark here

“One day at a time now.”Bookmark here

“Right, sorry. I suppose balancing between a father and a warrior is essential. Even then, you have a bigger role than I ever will. And it’s to guide those children to be the best possible versions of themselves. It’s a cruel world out there.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, I remember. It wasn’t easy for us to be where we’re at today.”Bookmark here

“Especially for an Orc/Demon hybrid.”Bookmark here

“What?”Bookmark here

“Hey, Ziggy, you got a lot of women back in the day. I never thought you’d be married. “You were every girls dream back then.”Bookmark here

“We’re passed those times, Kroxx. Do I miss those times? A little. But ever since I settled down, I don’t regret it. And wouldn’t change it for anything”Bookmark here

“I’m glad for that.” Kroxx smiled. He looked at Odrian once more before he continued. “Well, I don’t want to hold you up any longer. It was nice to see you again. We should meet up some time again.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, we should.”Bookmark here

Ziggy reached out his hand for a handshake. Kroxx was a much different person than he was in the past. As they departed Ziggy watched as the doors closed, Kroxx stayed in place in the dimly lit room. Odrian had fallen asleep at some point during the conversation. Ziggy felt strange after their interaction, it was certainly a different time. It wasn’t like how it was before. Ziggy sighed:Bookmark here

“Aw, man, being alive for so long might really be catching up to me."Bookmark here

Veekeeki
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