Unknown - Chapter 2
The room was gray, gloomy and void of colors save for a single light that shone from a hole on the cave ceiling down to the single high chair sitting in the room filled with stone tables, chairs and littered with scrolls and parchments of every color and every size.
A lone figure sat in the throne, head leaned to the side with his hand underneath it. He sighed. The huge door at the other end of the room sat quietly. The figure’s other hand tapped on the arm rest of the high chair, bored with the waiting. His staff, twice his height, sat like an obedient guard leaning itself on the arm rest of the high chair. It’s end glowed a faint azure; a strange flame that had never died for over a thousand years. The figure shifted himself and leaned to the other side with his other hand supporting his head. He sighed.
The floor drummed. Dusts flew and dance into the air as if ordered to do so. The figure turned his azure flame eyes towards the lonely door at the other end of the room. The floor drummed again, stronger and louder. Then the walls shook. The protruding rocks adorning the wall rumbled. Some crumbled with the tremor, sending pebbles and rocks and more dusts into the already gloomy room.
The figure sat and waits. His small fingers fiddled with each other like tiger cubs playing with their brothers. He smiled but only before the lonely door banged to life and produced a hideous human with the head and arms and legs of a bear. Its snout raged with azure fire and its eyes burned with anger. The beast walked with his fists clenched. He left a trail of cracked floor and blue fire with each steps he took.
“Bara, you have awakened”, the figure broke the silence and the tremor stopped. The beast halted near a stone table cluttered with scrolls and parchments in front of the small figure sitting on the high chair in front of him. He snarled and growled but gave the figure a bow. The fire in his eyes beggared at the air around them. “Yes, and I am ready for any task, Lord Varoum”, the beast spoke with human clarity. Smokes bellowed from the end of its snout.
“Good, good, that is good to hear”, the figure shifted himself again, pushing his body forward towards the edge of the high chair. He turned around and with painstaking effort, pushed himself down the high chair. He grabbed hold of his staff and took another slow step down the flight of stairs. The bear loomed over him like a giant looking down at a midget but the fire that burned the eyes of the small figure was greater than that of the beast in front of him.
The small figure waved his hand horizontally at the door at the other end of the room and it closed itself shut. The edge of the bear’s mouth twitched but he said nothing. The small figure limped around the bear and stopped next to the stone table filled with brown scrolls. He pushed some of the scrolls away and pulled near him a smaller scroll. The scroll was wrapped around two intricately designed holders made of wood attached to both of the scroll’s ends. The small figure unrolled the scroll and spread it onto the stone table. He gestured for the beast to come near him and look at the scroll.
The beast leaned forward, eyes squinting. “This is the map of the world, Lord Varoum”, he straightened his body into an attention pose. His head held high and watched the line where the wall met the ceiling of the cave.
The small figure laughed. “Yes, this is the old map of the world”, he rolled the scroll back and took another scroll similarly made. He unrolled it and ran his hands down the map drawn on the brown paper of the scroll. “But this. This is the new map of the world”, his voice filled with pride and exhilaration.
The beast leaned forward again and took a look at the map. Unlike the old map, this map showed that the world had torn apart into hundreds of smaller islands, with only two huge continents facing each other at the western and eastern ends of the map.
The small figure ran his hands down each island. “This is the port town of Gulm”, he points to a small island to the north of the map. “This one here is the trading colony of Naresh”, his finger ran to a medium size island sitting near the center of the map. “It is a trading colony for the central lordship of Jorvina”, he ran his fingers into a circle around the center of the map. “The central lordship controls the central islands of the world, you can call it an empire of traders”, he gave a devil smile at the thought.
The beast looked in silence, swallowing down the information dumped into his newly awakened brain. The small figure ran his finger towards the western continent. He points to a dot sitting at the northwestern corner of the continent. “This is the military empire of Kavil. They had the largest company of foot soldiers in the whole world”. The bear nod in silence again.
The small figure ran his fingers towards the eastern end of the map, where the continent was divided by a great river that ran diagonally across the continent. He points to a dot sitting at the upper ends of the river. “This is Hujo, the capital city for the Chancellory of Bing”. He then points to the southern end of the river where another dot sat. “This is Poque, the capital city for the Republic of Hepha”, he paused then points the two dots with both of his hands. “These two stupid nations are at war with each other”, his explanation was simple. The beast nods.
The bear rubbed his snout, his eyes closed, contemplating the information he had just heard.
“The Source is awakening”, the small figure turned his stern gaze towards the bear. The bear opened his eyes and met the small figure’s gaze. “So the seal is showing itself?”, its voice filled with excitement. The small figure smiled. “Yes. And we already have the location for the fist seal”, his voice filled with confidence. The edge of the bear’s mouth twitched. “Where?”
The small figure turned his head back to the map and points at the dot near the center of islands. “Here, in the trading colony of Naresh”. His sharp claw pricked the delicate map. The bear looked at the island. “So you want me to go and take this seal, Lord Varoum?”, the bear looked at the small figure whose eyes already turned towards him. “Yes. I also want something else”, the small figure stepped down from the chair he stood on and grabbed hold of his staff. He limped down towards another table, clustered with parchments. He took out a small parchment of paper, a torn end of a page. He showed it to the bear behind him.
“Can you see what’s written on the paper?”, his question was simple. The bear bowed down and leaned forward. The paper was so thin; light could pass through it without breaking a sweat. He frowned.
“No, Lord Varoum, I cannot read that paper”, he said in disappointment. The small figure smiled and put the parchment back to the table. He took another piece of paper and gently placed it down on the thin parchment he held out earlier.
“It’s good, that means you are normal, Bara”, the small figure dropped down from the chair and went to the next table. Bara the bear trailed behind him. Smoke trailed his snout as he move.
“This...”, the small figure pulls himself up a chair and stood on it. He sweeps the scrolls and parchments on the table and uncovered a small leather notebook lying with its bind strapped. The book glowed yellow, striking the bear’s eyes. The bear behind the small figure puts his bear arms in front of his eyes, protecting it from the book’s glow. His arms felt like it was being burn from the light coming from the book. He stepped backwards.
The air around the small figure crackled to life. He held his stern gaze and took a deep breath. He slowly extends his hand towards the book. Flare shot up from around his arms as it move towards the book. The scrolls clattered on the table began to catch fire. The book rattled, trembling harder the closer the small figure’s hand gets. The small figure grimaced. His hand felt like it was burned from the inside out but he kept extending it closer towards the book. The heat inside the cave began to turn up. Sweat trickle down Bara’s furry head. He wipes it and watch as the floor and tables trembled. Scrolls fell down the tables and chairs flipped on their own.
The book trembled and glowed bright yellow. The small figure clenched his teeth and gave his hand a push, grabbing the seams of the book with his small fingers. The tremor stopped and the fire blazing on the table died. The coolness of the cave rushed back as if called upon. The fur on Bara’s forehead drenched with sweat. He said nothing as the small figure in front of him took the book and unbinds the leather strap. The brown pages in the book throbbed gentle, pulsating as if alive.
The bear leaned himself forward, hands wiping the sweat on his furry forehead. “What was that just now, Lord Varoum?”, his voice was more concerned than question. The small figure looked at him, fingers fiddled with the pages on the notebook.
“It was the book’s protection magic. I still have yet to uncover its secrets so I don’t know how the magic works”, sweat fell down his scaly face. His tiny fingers flipped through several pages of the book.
“Here, can you see this page?”, he showed the book to the bear standing next to him. The bear leaned forward and squint his eyes. He shook his head. “No, it’s blank”. The small figure nods. “I see”, he turned a few pages and closed the book, strapping the leather bind back to its place. The small figure threw the book to the table and took a scroll underneath the cluttered pile of parchments on the table. The scroll unrolled in his hands, revealing a picture of a gauntlet filled with weird and intricate design.
“What is this, Lord Varoum?”, the bear looked at the picture with his eyebrows met. The azure flame that was his eyes turned into a slit. The small figure ran his fingers down the picture. “This, is the first seal”, he paused as his finger touches the picture of a dragon head on the gauntlet. “It is called the Gauntlet of Heroes”.
The small figure gave the scroll to the bear, letting him feel the power hidden in the drawing of the gauntlet. Bara’s eyes melted to the page, scanning every lines, every intricate design and every stones fitted on the silver gauntlet. He smiled then grimace then smiled again. His eyes frowned then relieved then joy then frowned again as his mind burned the image of the gauntlet into him.
The bear looked at the small figure and smiled. The scroll on his hand burned with a bright azure flame.
“I will get this for you, Lord Varoum”, the bear spoke with confidence and arrogance. The ashes from the scroll danced in the air and disappeared amongst the shadow of the cave ceiling. The small figure smiled and nods his head. “Yes, I know you will, Bara”. He turned and makes his way back towards the high chair at the center of the room. The silent room echoed the tap and thump of his walk. He stopped in front of the stairs and watched the high chair staring down at him. He smiled and step on the stairs.
Bara watched the small figure turned around on the high chair to face him. He bowed to the small figure makes his way towards the closed door behind him.
The small figure looked as the door swung open and Bara disappeared into the darkness beyond the door. The wooden door crept backwards and closed itself on its own. The small figure smiled again, devilish.
“Not long now…”, his voice disappeared into the air.