Chapter 19:

How It All Began - Part 1

The Heroes' Story After Saving the World

These past weeks and months for me have been full of introductions.

I guess due to my work I have a sort of predisposition to meeting new people, but it’s rare for them to stick around.

And they keep coming faster than I can write about them.

However, I realized, despite all this I should now finally take the time to formally introduce myself.

This collection of texts started out as something resembling diary entries. Though that isn’t entirely true either. In any case, now it has become a collection of lots of different people’s stories. And despite what the very first couple of sentences suggest the very first words I wrote to help manifest me writing, this isn’t really my story, is it?

It’s been Babylonia’s story, Crimson’s story, Zenia’s story, Via’s story, Jeanne’s story... There wasn’t much room left for me.

So bear with me, because I am going to tell you the very first of our stories.

The story of how it all began.


Ah shit.

My body was hurting all over.

All I remembered was a loud crash. And that’s what my surroundings looked like as well. I found myself in an unfamiliar building, or rather the remains thereof. Maybe a stable? Sitting in a corner, leaning against a wall, my legs stretched out. Wooden splinters and rubble all around.

A gray cloud blocked out what was in front of me, only letting a few rays of sunlight through.

The high-pitched noise that seemingly had been there all along slowly crescendoed as my vision became wobbly.

I felt like I had to get up or I would pass out any moment.

I stood up and, as if I had just woken up, stumbled towards the light, rubbing my eyes.

I noticed my shirt scratching my chest uncomfortably and upon looking down realized it had torn just below my right armpit. My jeans didn’t fare any better, though I guess that has been trendy for a while now.

The cloud of dust had slowly begun to subside, though walking straight through it still caused me to have a coughing fit. My mouth dried out in an instant. The high-pitched noise had quieted down, but I could still barely hear my own cough.

Which is probably why I also couldn’t hear the angry voice shouting at me to halt.

It really was by chance that I happened to open my eyes just before walking into the blade that was pointed at me.

As soon as I realized that the tip of a sword was being pointed at my throat I choked, stumbled backwards, and landed on my butt. I felt wetness on my behind. Don’t worry, it was just snow. I was outside and the lady in front of me was still shouting.

“Do you have a death wish!?”

The blade was now pointed downward but still mere inches away from my throat.

I couldn’t make out the words clearly, but that must have been what she said.

Her red hair graciously flowed down her back, ending just above her hips. A light headband prevented it from falling over her face. Her round cheeks and the tip of her nose were rose-colored. Despite her mature and confident body language it made her seem a bit childish, but nonetheless dangerous.

“You know, you shouldn’t just point a blade at someone like this. You could hurt someone!”

I really didn’t know what prompted me to react to this situation like that. But can you blame me? Have you ever had someone point a blade at you? How would you react? To be fair, I did use humor as a coping mechanism, but I guess she didn’t think it funny.

“Well, that is the damn point,” she spat at me, slapping the underside of my chin with her blade. The cold steel stung against my warm skin.

“Language, Zenia,” a voice reminded her from a few meters away.

Zenia did not let me out of her sight, though she shifted in response to being called.

A man stepped next to her, clad in the same fur-coated garment that she was wearing. A sword was attached to his hip. His arms remained hidden under the cloak.

“Sirius,” she regarded him in a cold tone. “I found an intruder.”

Sirius‘ eyes were half-closed in a fairly relaxed manner. Or maybe that simply was how his eyes were shaped. In any case, he was looking at the destroyed building behind me.

“So that was what that noise was about.” Among the two, Zenia’s response was without a doubt the more appropriate one. Though I’d rather she not point her sword at me.

My eyes darted between the two. The ringing in my ears was almost gone, so I could finally understand what was being said.

What was going on? In what universe do people still carry swords with them? Why is it snowing all of a sudden? Why are there two white people in front of me? Have I been suddenly teleported to Russia or something?

I finally found the mental energy to properly question my circumstances.

After picking a fight with the lady pointing a sword at me.

Maybe I did have a death wish.

Sirius slowly let his eyes wander towards me. If his eyes were half-open due to relaxation before, his eyes were now half-open in an ice-cold glare.

“A vampire. Just get rid of him Zenia.” Sirius‘ deep voice seemed to reverberate through me as he said that.

I barely managed to gasp as the cold of winter slowly crept up to me.

Zenia rapidly turned around to face him. “What? But he’s not a vampire! He just talked to me in our language!” Then she quickly turned back to me. “Say something!”

“Y- yeah, you gotta listen to her ... and me! Also ... a vampire? Really?”

Sirius proceeded to stare at me listlessly for a few seconds.

“I can’t understand a word this thing is saying. Just look at him Zenia. This unnaturally pale complexion, the bags under his eyes. He’s probably just able to stay outside because it’s so cloudy today.” He clicked his tongue and crouched down on my level. “Or possibly ... he’s an incubus and has managed to charm you! That must be it!” He rapidly kicked himself off the ground. I gave off an embarrassing noise. His sudden change of mannerisms startled me.

“Finish him off! Now!” he shouted.

I just looked at her pleadingly. What more was I supposed to do in this situation anyway.

Zenia lowered her sword. The motion almost imperceptible. Her wavering only apparent to me, who was looking directly in her eyes.

I wouldn’t hold it against her if she decided to kill me anyway. Maybe that would be for the best. I guess, that would make her life easier, wouldn’t it. It would trouble her a lot if I stayed alive, no?

God, I really do have a death wish. I don’t even know this woman.

I sighed and stood up. Slumped over, dragging my limbs along with me. I didn’t have the strength to use my arms like a normal human being, or maybe I just didn’t want to waste what little energy I had left on unnecessary bullshit like this.

Sirius stood motionless, pressing his lips tightly together, waiting for Zenia to make her step.

Zenia on the other hand inhaled sharply, as her blade followed me at the height of my neck.

I looked her in the eye and said: “Kill me.”

Zenia took a step back, retracted her sword and jumped forward to deliver the blow.

I was prepared to feel the blade pierce through my heart and come out the other side. I was prepared for the pain, the cold blade, the warm blood ... if that would even be close to what being stabbed felt like.

Instead, it was a literal blow. I flew back through the hole in the building where I came from, taking a couple wooden beams with me. I saw the stony exterior of the building crumbling in front of me, raising dust to hide everything from my view once more. It was as if someone had hit a rewind button.

My back collided with a stone wall behind me, robbing me of air to breathe.

When I regained control of my body, air in my lungs and tears out of my eyes, I realized it was a clean shot through that stable.

“What’s wrong with you!?” I heard a shout from the other side of the rubble. Even though it sounded so much unlike the man I had just met, it was without a doubt Sirius talking.

“Relax, we’d have to tear down this building eventually. Thought I’d save everyone the trouble,” Zenia responded.

“We still could have salvaged some of it you know. And now we’ll have to pick out the corpse somehow,” Sirius replied, much more composed.

I couldn’t believe it. Did they seriously think I was dead? I mean, I couldn’t believe I was alive either.

This ... was sobering. I could just run back into Zenia’s blade. But ... something was holding me back.

“Let’s leave that to someone else. I think moving some stones could be good muscle training for the soldiers,” Zenia said rather coldly. I heard the snow crunch beneath her feet as she stepped away. Sirius followed her shortly, after a quick “agreed.”

“Besides, we should get dressed for the masquerade ball …”

And thus, I was presented with a small opportunity to get the heck out of there.

Dave Mania