Force of Nature

by

OhOrpheus

Book 1: Chapter 5 - A Mother's Wrath

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Author's Corner:
Man, dialogue and magical fight scenes are tough. This one gave me a good workout. I actually finished this chapter earlier, but accidentally erased and saved it. Took me hours to rewrite -_-. Hope you enjoy.

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Two days have passed since Johan returned home. He rested in bed, drinking water sparingly and eating fish and bread to recover his strength little by little. Chewing pained him due to the fresh cuts and bruises in his mouth, but he savored every single bite; going without food is a great way to remind yourself to be  thankful for the little things in life.

He diligently meditated in his astral form at night time, taking every chance he can to strengthen  his soul and deepen his insight. It could be said that he had an intimate relationship with mana now; his understanding of it was more than superficial. He was by no  means a master, but at least he now knew of a way to work towards his goal of  becoming a mage.

Baldwin sat on a stool by the side of Johan's bed, sharpening his dagger with rapt attention. Seeing how focused he was, Johan hesitated to interrupt his dad but the mood was a little too awkward for his taste. Ever since he came back, the house was quiet and tense; his mother laughed less, and his father seemed to constantly brood over something. Even the flies dared not make a sound.

"Uh, hey dad. Who started this village?" Johan asked.

He flinched out of his brooding, forgetting that someone else was in the room.

"A saint named Jed. He was known by some as the Earth Shatterer, by others as the Wind Walker. This village is fairly young, actually. It was founded about 150 years ago."

"What happened to him?"

"That... I don't know. Jed wasn't very active in the village; he was always running to and fro, taking advantage of every opportunity to acquire treasures or go on an adventure," Jed said with a shrug. "Or at least that's the rumor. He died during one of his adventures. The King's servants found the body and escorted it back to the village, and the villagers buried it at Founder's Rest."

"Was he strong?"

"The stories speak of him splitting a city in two and tearing through the skies like a mad God. They say that he was close to Ascension. Is any of that true? Who knows."

He's a skeptical guy at heart. I like that.

"Do you think his ghost watches over us?"

"Maybe so, Jojo," he laughed. "I personally don't believe ghosts exist, though."

By the next day, Johan was mobile again. He was doing morning exercises with his father in the yard, exerting his muscles with reckless abandon. His muscles were weaker and succumbed to fatigue fairly quickly, but he loved it. He loved the freedom he had. The feeling of being tied to that tree and the bark chewing deep into his flesh was still fresh in his mind. He shuddered.

Johan was doing his push-ups under the guidance of his father when he spied his mother approaching. She walked into the yard with a heavy sigh, her arms crossed.

"He's gone," she said sharply.

"Kieran?" Baldwin asked.

"Yeah. He left for Pyram days ago."

Baldwin grimaced, "Alright then. I guess we'll take it up with Arsen."

My problem was only with Kieran though...

Johan and his parents marched towards Arsen's house. Baldwin hadn't bothered putting a shirt on, proudly displaying the pink scars along his torso like hard earned trophies. For such a large person, his steps were quiet and practiced; his feet hardly left an imprint in the dirt.

Adamaris stomped ahead, leading the group. She wore a loose fitting adventurers outfit: a sleeveless shirt; long, fitted pants; knee high boots; and a leather belt that had numerous daggers attached to it. She stared ahead, lips pursed and brow furrowed. The fingers of her right hand drummed along the hilt of one of her daggers.I have a bad feeling about this...

Johan followed behind them meekly.

"Uh, mom, we're just going to talk to him, right?" he asked.

Adamaris, without turning around, said, "I'll talk to him."

The sun was beaming in the east as the group walked down the winding path toward Arsen's house. Vibrant green brush lined his house. The faint smell of roses wafted through the air. A helper was in the yard hanging wet laundry until he noticed Johan's group approaching. He immediately stopped what he was doing and stared at them with deep suspicion. When the group got close enough, he gathered the remaining clothes and entered the house with a flourish.

Adamaris walked up to the front door and banged three times. Arsen came after a moment, yanking open the door with unnecessary force. He stood there, arms crossed and brow furrowed. He stared at the group, his eyes settling on Johan.

"You don't need to knock so fucking loudly," he snarled.

"Do you know what your son did?" she asked.

"Yes," he spat. "He awakened his golden Glory and is now on his way to Pyram to attend their School of Excellence. What business is it of yours?"

"You know that our children have had problems with each other..."

"Yeah, that Red Fucking Peasant over there attacked my kid in broad daylight! It took everything in me not to beat him senseless!" he roared.

The surrounding villagers heard Arsen's shout and started to gather. They formed a loose circle around the front of his house and shamelessly began gossiping right in front of him. He clenched his teeth and slammed his fist into the door frame, sending chunks of wood and splinters spraying everywhere. The crowd gasped and immediately went silent. Adamaris sighed.

She rubbed the bridge of her nose, "Don't make it sound like it's Johan's fault. We all know that you treat your kid like shit. In return, he treats everyone around him like shit. Like father, like son."

"You..." he sputtered.

"Your son—"

"You fucking bitch!"

"—and his minions attacked my son. They left him in the woods for 7 days," she said through clenched teeth. "7 days of no food or water. What would have happened if we never found him? This isn't a joke."

"The world would be short one useless fucking Red Peasant!"

"Say that again."

Adamaris leapt back, putting some distance between her and Arsen. She loosened her posture; bending her knees, letting her arms relax at her side, hands open and ready to grab a dagger.

Here we go...

"Your son is a Useless! Red! Fucking! Peasant!" he said, carefully pronouncing each word as if he were speaking to a slow child.

Adamaris took a deep breath. All of the agitation and anxiety melted from her face. With a flick of her wrist, a dagger was sent flying towards Arsen's head. He flinched hard, raising his arm in a panic. He began to use mana to strengthen his body but it was too late. The dagger bit deep into his flesh, blood spewing out. He grimaced and wrenched the blade from his forearm, teeth gnashing from the pain.

Giving him no time to regroup, she threw a wall of wind at him. The wall barreled into him, sending him reeling backwards into his house. She darted at him, dagger in hand, repeatedly jabbing. He hastily batted the jabs away with his palm, now strengthened by the mana. He kicked at her shin but she was too fast, she danced backwards then lunged at him, thrusting the dagger at his eye. He slipped to the side and rammed his fist into her face. Her head rocked back, hair flying out of her bun. She was sent sprawling out of the doorway, blood spraying on the ground.

"You stupid cunt!" he snarled, stomping back out of the house.

This... this is amazing.

Johan was standing stiff and wide eyed. He had never seen anyone move so fast before. This was his first time seeing a fight involving mana, and he was instantly captivated. His father stood beside him, a calm expression on his face.

Adamaris stood slowly; blood ran streamed from her nose, painting her teeth a light shade pink. Arsen took a deep breath tensed his whole body; his veins streaked across his arms, bulging from the tension. Sweat formed at his brow and his face turned a deep shade of red. With a shout, he thrust his hand forward and sent a large scarlet fireball streaking towards her.

She raised her hands in a fighting posture and rapidly punched the air. Each punch sent powerful bursts of wind howling toward Arsen. They tore through his fireball, scattering it with ease, and threatened to pummel his body. His face contorted with rage, and he raised his arms to cover his face.

The sound of bones breaking rang through everyone's ear. Arsen let out a guttural scream and was launched back into the house, crashing through a table. His left arm was torn out of it's socket, bruises running along the arm. His right arm was broken in several places, his forearm twisting in an unnatural direction. He writhed in pain, clenching his teeth. The helper watched from the corner, horrified.

Adamaris stepped through the doorway, picking up one of her bloody daggers from the floor. Johan, Baldwin and the other onlookers quickly followed, peering in through the doorway.

"Apologize to Johan," she demanded.

"Fuck you," he forced out through gritted teeth.

He took a deep breath and roared at her, spraying flames from his mouth. She didn't even flinch; she pursed her lips and blew smoothly, a strong gust of wind scattering the flame around her. The surroundings began to burn, creating a thick smoke in the house.

"You can either apologize or die. Your choice," she said.

"Jasper! Deliver the package!" he screamed towards his helper.

Jasper scurried to a back room and grabbed a wide ornate container. He clutched it to his chest and began to leave when a glance from Adamaris stopped him dead in his tracks. He paled and began to shudder.

Arsen clenched his teeth, "Please..."

She snapped her head to him, mouth ajar. Jasper took advantage of that moment to scurry out of the house, squeezing by all of the onlookers at the door.

Arsen inched to the wall like a worm, both of his arms useless, leaving streaks of blood on the wooden floor. A book fell by his side, the cover a drawing of a snake devouring itself. Flames crawled out and burnt it to a crisp. He sat up and leaned his back against the wall, wheezing. The sight made Johan sick; he turned around and dry heaved. The onlookers crowding outside of the door frantically dodged. This is too much!

"What will it be?" Adamaris asked.

"Mom, thats enough—" Johan began.

"Go fuck yourself, bitch" Arsen coughed out, blood spraying with every word.

"You were so polite just a second ago..." she sighed.

With a twirl of her hand a dagger was sent flying into Arsen's throat. It ran deep into his flesh, buried to the hilt. The sound of him choking on his own blood lasted for what felt like an eternity, before he went slack and died. The look of rage never left his face even after death.

Adamaris retrieved all of her fallen daggers, putting them back in their sheaths. She left the burning house, with all of the onlookers frantically making way for her.

"She's so powerful..." one onlooker breathed.

Adamaris approached Johan and Baldwin and gestured for them to follow her. They walked towards their house, leaving the onlookers to gaze at their backs in fear and awe.

Johan followed behind his parents dragging his feet. His eyes were vacant and his face bloodless. The sounds of Arsen choking on blood reverberated clearly though his head, making him shudder. He threw his hand to his mouth and began to heave.

"The first time is always hard to watch, Johan. Don't worry, it'll get easier." Adamaris said. Baldwin shook his head in agreement.

"Why did he have to die?" Johan asked, wiping the spit from his mouth.

Adamaris tilted her head and stared into Johan's eyes, "Why? He disrespected our family and his son nearly killed you."

"So you kill him!?" he said, louder than he intended.

"Johan, what else should I do with people that threaten the people I love? Your father and I searched 7 days for you, only to find you beaten and tied to a tree in the forest!" she said sharply.

Johan flinched and went silent.

"I won't apologize for protecting those I love. I mean, did he sound remorseful to you?"

He kept walking in silence, his body shaking.

"Sparing your enemies will only bring you pain, Johan. In a perfect world, maybe everyone could be nice and forgiving. But this world isn't perfect." Baldwin said.

Johan stayed silent and kept walking. The fight kept replaying itself in his mind against his will. He didn't particularly like Arsen, but he didn't want him to die.

This... this was just murder...

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OhOrpheus

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