"Welcome guardians of light..." The voice called to him him as he descended into darkness.
"Where am i?" He thought as he awoke.
He asked looking around the pitch black ever expanding and endless darkness within which he could see nothing but the lightless void " Am i dead, is this the far lands, because if it is then i am asking for refund because this is false advertising, where is my paradise, i might be a bit edgy but i swear that total darkness and void isn't my idea of a sweet beyond the deathly vale experience".
"You know even in death your just as talkative as usual, and more annoying to boot" Ursa's voice echoed, either from around or for next to him, he couldn't tell.
He could not tell if it came from the right or the left or below and above but that mattered very little to him, she was here, oh he felt like celebrating but then the dark little thought of " She must be dead as well, oh god why" popped into his mind.
"Ptss... Hello... Christian Ddraig if you are giving me the silent treatment so help Deus i am going to kill you... again" she threatened him.
Even though she was scolding him the sound of relief could be heard in her voice and in a way it warmed Chris heart to hear her relaxed and not at all panicking, they both didn't need that right now.
"Well, at the very least my delusions are behaving realistically... this time" Mulengu's voice followed Ursa's from the perpetual darkness " Which given the things said here, has given me a retrospective on the types of friends i have and if i was truly ever sane in my life".
"How realistic are we talking here, because i would be expecting us to throw the mother of all unholy, petty and tantrum's at the idea that it ended like this of all things" Chris had thought about death before after all it was a fact that knights would have witnessed a lot in their line of work but to think that it happen so soon and to them was never a train of thought to him.
"Oh, i had my panic moment internally even though it involved a lot of cursing, crying and a fair amount of begging for an auto resurrection just to get me out of this" Mulengu answered with deep sigh "But it turns out, you can't bargain with death apparently... I think that he is just salty that everyone likes life better ".
"I just spent a good five minutes... I think trying to find the exit" Ursa added and with gravity attached to her voice he could tell that she was definitely serious about what she said.
"How did that work out for you?" the dripping sarcasm in Mulengu's voice could be heard as clear as day.
"No results yet but i am still checking".
"If you find it, be sure to let me know".
Chris was smirking right now at this little exchange. His friends were always the most colourful people he knew, even though Ursa tried to present a more straight man attitude she was just as crazy as they were when she thought no one was looking.
"You know, i wonder what my parents are thinking right now?" the sound of Ursa's sniffles mixed with her voice. It was to be expected as the full weight of what had just happened came crushed upon them, they were dead and there were people left behind.
" Probably thinking that their damn daughter should have listened to them when they told her to quit her stupid dangerous job" she continued as Chris couldn't help but imagine her in tears and it hurt " I can't even remember the last time i visited them at their new home. I haven't even seen the place in a year".
Chris remembered Ursa's parents they weren't hostile to him in fact they very kind to him, Mulengu and Thor. Though it was no secret that they were not too pleased with him for dragging their daughter into a dangerous profession like knighthood and it hurt because Ursa's parents were like second parents to him and to have them be disappointed with him hurt, even though he couldn't blame them.
The last time he talked to Ursa's father the man had begged him to swear upon his life that he would make sure that their daughter returned alive after every mission.
"I failed my promise, i can't even show my face to tell them what happened because i am also dead " that sounded more depressing than he thought it would.
"Then they can bond with mine over the same thing" Mulengu with a slightly chuckle as he clearly tried to lighten the mood and cheer Ursa up.
"I just hope that non of them shall take a piss on my grave" Chris really hoped Mulengu's parents wouldn't hate him, after all he at least held a decent enough relationship with his parents that to think he had tarnished it in death just made this whole thing even more depressing.
"I don't know about a piss, though my dad will probably punch my corpse in the face as he yells at me or am i mistaking him with Thor" Mulengu always had a way of trying to stay humorous for everyone else " ... Not sure, maybe they will both assault my dead meat bag in their mutual hate for my poor life choices".
And it worked as they all burst into laughter Chris began to think about something that had been in the back of his brain since they started talking about their respective families " What about my parents".
The thought of his mother began to make him feel heavy and numb in his arms and legs " My mother... Deus, i was such a jerk".
"What?" Ursa asked him as his laughter suddenly stopped "Chris, what's wrong?".
"She kept telling not to take dangerous missions or not to act reckless because it would kill me and now... i am dead, ain't fate a cruel taskmaster".
"Hey, you didn't want to hurt her" Mulengu tried to comfort him but Chris would have non of it. He knew what his actions and misdeeds were and he would not have them sugar coated away.
"Maybe i did" he never thought about it until now or maybe he never tried to think about it because he feared the answer.
" I have tried so hard to put it behind for so long, but i still feel her hands digging into my skin as she shoves her darkness into me, i still feel the darkness flowing into me as my bones broke, my muscles being torn into minced meat and my blood boiling... but non it was as bad as that face... Deus, her dark eyes, her smile... she was enjoying it... i see it every time i look at her, maybe i am afraid that any second she will just be that monster that thing that shall always be burned into my mind until the day i die... well i am already dead... What am i even trying to say?".
A cold uncomfortable silence joined the darkness making it more disappear inducing and imposing.
"... I know that they are as different from each other as anyone could expect but... i don't know, i have faced her so many times and i can still feel it inside me...fear, disgust...hate?" Did he hate her. The light shade of his mother, the superwoman of childhood who shared a lot with his boogie man.
" I hated my mother so much for the actions of another being who wasn't her... i hated her so much that i rebelled against everything she told me and now i am dead... and my friends are dead and Thor we just left him like that.... i am horrible person".
"No " Ursa's whisper met his ears. Though they were barely audible.
"Ursa you don't have to.." he wanted her to not grant him excuses or spend the rest of her eternity in denial about him if it was an eternity they had.
"No!" her voice shook across the void and it shook him out of his skin" You are a good person, and sure you're not perfect but you don't have to be. We care for you with all your charms and your damn flaws Ddraig... And... damn it i am okay for it to end like this with you my friends, my family... i have no regrets and i am just glad that i had a life with you guys !".
"I might not be a great speaker like Ursa " Mulengu said as he cleared his throat to speak.
"But i share the same sentiment one hundred percent. we all agreed to do this job, to become knights knowing full well what would happen if we got unlucky one day and how we would have died and honestly i have always been afraid to go... like i am shaking like a leaf right now from fear but with you idiots even though we are currently one idiot short, i am not so afraid and if i was alone i would have the knowledge and memories of the wonderful friends i had to go with me".
The warmth and comfort that he felt from their word's was like being cold and alone and then having being gifted a warm house, bed, food and companionship. He felt light and happy though a bit guilty because they were basically saying that they had no issues even though they dead because of his hubris.
"You guys know how to always make me feel better" he meant it honestly, maybe it was the strange dynamic of their relationship. Sometimes they tore at each other but in the end family is family.
"Of course we do" Mulengu said sounding as smug as possible" Though you are a bit of a brooding man lately. It really kills the mood but you know what i mean".
"It does, doesn't it" he asked with a chuckle. He knew that he was quite likely to brood recently and that probably irritated his friends sometimes.
"Of course, more than you think but then again, i am needed here to keep Mulengu and Thor from being more crazy than usual, so a added doss of brooding isn't so bad" Ursa answered teasing Mulengu who always found a way to get himself in insane situations with Thor that also irritated Ursa.
"Hey!!" the person she had mocked shouted back with mock offense " I am also needed here to keep you less dull than usual".
Any person would have assumed those rather childish insults would be offensive to the poor person at the receiving end but instead it was just business as usual as between them and it all ended them laughing in the face of this great darkness for many minutes straight.
"Say" Mulengu asked " Where is the road to the pearly gates anyway. I am kind of sick of looking at well... nothing".
"I don't know, maybe you can call them out" Chris answered as it finally occurred to him that they had been standing or floating in this lightless void for a how long he could not tell, but he knew that it was a long time.
"You two can't be serious?" Ursa asked them though Chris suspected that she knew the answer no matter how outlandish it might have seemed to her.
"Well it can't hurt to try now can it" sure the logic of Chris argument was shaky but it worked. Maybe to reach the far lands they had to walk towards them or seek then out, I mean that's what the apostles preached.
"Sure thing" Mulengu sounded as though he was deep thought over the particular matter before he decided to shout " Hey heaven or far lands or whatever Chris and the rest of Avalon calls you. What gives here, we ain't got all eternity to just stand here... well we do, but i doubt that we can stand each other for that long with nothing interesting to do. I mean, we have to see new sights and meet new people !".
Ursa's moan of irritation could be heard by them for what it was, a pure roll of the eyes conveyed by a single sound " Why did i have to become friends with the crazy people out of any spandex wearing weirdos roaming Tokyo then".
"Come on Ursa, we all know that you love us and wouldn't have it any other way" he teased her and strangely he could almost feel her blushing.
"Oh Ursa, i didn't know that you loved all of us in that way" Mulengu joined in on the teasing "You dirty girl".
"Deus, you guys are the worst" she shot back sounding flustered.
They would have sent back more witty retorts against each other had something not became visible into the darkness. It first began as a little spark of light in the distance alone but it was the most vibrant and eye catching thing in the everlasting darkness.
"What is that?" he asked watching as the light began to grow brighter and brighter pushing back the darkness like a wave of water would against the sand.
The light grew from the tiny spark until it was a great bright light equal to the sun blinding him as the darkness was banished or consumed by it. The light carried with it a warmth that calmed him instead of causing him panic as he felt he should.
The intense light lasted for minutes before it began to slowly tone down until Chris felt it safe to open his eyes.
Even a little foggy his eye's revealed before him a landscape that looked as if it pulled straight out of one of many fantasy books in his parents library or the many high fae lands. He stood upon a hill that overlooked a large flat land with a lash green vegetation, large complex ivory buildings that all created one large castle like structure and a lake so clear that reflected enough light to blind you as it appeared to made of a liquid crystal than water.
"Will you look at that, turns out that shouting worked out well after all " he heard Mulengu's voice behind him " So no pearly gates or streets of gold in sight, what a rip off".
He twirled so fast he might have broken his neck from the sudden increase in his speed. He watched the two of his friends standing as confused as he was but their faces showed gladness from the chance to see each other.
"Now this is paradise" Ursa uttered as she stretched and yawned before she sat down feeling the grass and soft earth and Chris was tempted to join her in her relaxation. He did agree though this place was paradise and he wouldn't ask for more of a place to spend all eternity with those who had moved to the far lands.
"Um guys, what is that?" Mulengu said pointing at the centre of hill they stood upon.
Chris followed his line of sights to something truly extraordinary, a glowing golden crystal the size of a full grown elephant, hovered over the land with an aura of golden energy flowing off it and into the land.
"I don't know" Ursa answered leaning forward to get a better look at the crystal as she walked towards it.
"Ursa stop!" Mulengu called but she just ignored him and began sprinting towards the crystal.
"That woman..." Mulengu cursed under his breath " I guess that we have to go after her".
Chris just nodded before the two chased after their friend and found her not so long afterwards standing in front of the crystal. Up close the thing was even more beautiful and Chris felt drawn to it somehow, like it was calling to him.
"Welcome new guardians...." a warm voice that was both male or female came from the crystal addressing them.
"What the hell?!" Chris uttered jumping back in a reflex while Ursa and Mulengu tried to reach for their respective weapons that they realised they didn't have.
"Did the shiny rock just talk. Because i swear that i just heard it speak" Mulengu asked nervously and fearfully.
"Guardians of light, welcome to the realm of Light for your introduction".
" Did it just say realm of light?" Chris couldn't believe it, the possibility that they were in that place was too fantastical to believe.
"Introduction to what?" Ursa asked as she stepped closer and closer despite Mulengu's pleas for her not to be reckless as the thought " am i really dead?" Popped in Chris head.
"Introduction into the order of the light guardians, champions of balance" the crystal answered.
"Champions of balance, guardians of light, i don't understand?" Ursa asked tilting her head in confusion as she studied the crystal.
"I am beginning to think that we are not in the right place" Mulengu whispered to them.
"You are the guardians of creations light, you are guardian spirits of balance and Forgers of Stars" the crystal answered them or repeated the same garbage it had just sprouted.
"What does that even mean?" Ursa as baffled as the others were from the answers to her question.
"Where are we?" Chris needed to ask this just in case they were truly dead.
"You are in the land before the dawn" the crystal answered " and you have not departed from the land of the living or in layman's terms you have not yet expired from your mortal coils".
"Yes!" Mulengu and Ursa both shouted in relief before they hugged each other and began to jump around in circle with tears streaming down their eyes from the news as they cheered.
Chris let out a breath of relief from the news that he wasn't dead " Thank Deus".
"You have been chosen as members of the guardian order tasked with maintaining balance across your space time region" crystal began to explain " you were chosen through your anointment and gifting of the star forge fragments".
"I don't remember being given those star forge thing's and I think that I would remember being anointed" Chris said while Mulengu and Ursa just shrugged their shoulders as they both didn't remember any star forge fragments as the crystal called them.
As if understanding their confusion the crystal began to glow brightly as three bright golden objects exited it and slowly levitated towards them before resting softly on the ground.
These objects slowly cooled down until their light was nothing more than a crystal connected to weapons, their weapons to be exact.
"Are those?" Ursa asked trailing off.
"Your starforge weapons are the very embodiment of light itself as you are! " The crystal declared with pride in its voice. It reminded Chris of his fathers voice during the knighting ceremony.
Ursa raised her hand reaching for her bow when the bow shot from the earth like a bullet straight into her grip leaving her both with a face of awe and a bit shocked as she didn't have a good magical connection with her bow in order to call it back like this.
"Beware guardians... the twisted darkness is coming and the light must be present bring full balance to the world".
"What darkness?" Chris felt his heart gripped at the thought of the thing that had devoured trillions of world's and caused him deep scaring but most of all what frightened him the most was the possibility that the Phantom King or any variation of that monster could be what was coming "After all he is darkness incarnate".
" An all consuming darkness that wishes to subjugated your world of Jord and bring it to ruin. It has forgotten it's balance and seeks to unbalance creation" the crystal answered vaguely much to Chris frustration.
"Well that was helpful" Ursa sarcastically said as she twirled her bow, something she always did when she was in deep thought about a problem.
"Now select your duty amongst this most noble of orders. Are you to be Magum, Bellator or Dominus ".
"Why should we chose these duties?" Ursa asked.
"My knowledge pool has suggested that granting light guardians power based upon these parameters is most efficient distribution my power".
"My Latin might be a little rusty but.." Ursa looked at at the words " the first one means magician, the second one warrior and the last master".
"So who goes first?" Chris finally decided to ask this question.
"Are we really doing this?" Mulengu asked them a bit nervous.
"Got any better ideas" Ursa answered as he relented.
"Fine, rock paper scissors you guys decides who goes first" Mulengu said answered.
And so a game of rock paper scissors commenced to decide who would pick this class first and Mulengu won the first round, much to his annoyance.
He stepped forward first slowly and stiffly. He stopped mid way and turned to look back at them as if asking "Should i really do this? ".
Chris gave him a thumbs up with his best confident smile though he was anything but confident in this mad man's quest.
"His gonna be okay right?" Ursa asked with a nervous face that wasn't helping Mulengu and Chris's confidence.
"Of course... Of course".
Mulengu took in a deep breath before he spoke " I... i... i choose Dominus".
A glow of light from the crystal erupted followed by his sword materialising in his hand the blade was different though. It now had a completely red crystal hilt with engravings depicting chains interlocked with thousands strange beasts of every size and shape.
"Welcome Dominus, binder of light and master of the chains " the crystal said and Mulengu thanked it before he turned and ran back with harbinger in hand.
Ursa stepped forward next, though she had a swagger in steps as a result of what she saw happen with Mulengu and she spoke with confidently " I choose Magum".
The crystal again glowed as the bow within her hand grew a much longer crystal was now completely purple with all manner runic engravings and hieroglyphs with the center of the crystal depicting an open book with a spinning galaxy at its center.
"Welcome Magum, crafter of the light and caster of its will ".
And now it was his turn, as he walked to the crystal he thought about what the warrior was and how it would help but then he decided that it didn't matter he just needed to get out of here and that meant playing along " I choose Bellator".
He felt a warmth erupt in his chest before it felt more like a voltage of electricity was now turning all of his organs as his sword Lucius-aurora materialised in his hand and it was completely crystal now blue hilt with the engravings of many warriors and weapons from swords to polearms.
"Welcome Bellator, eternal bane of discord and sword of the light ".
" I don't know what any of that even means" he sighed as he thought about the vagueness of this glowing rock.
"Welcome to the guardians of light new recruits" the crystal sounded excited " Enter standard information on your master".
"Our what... oh you mean me?" Mulengu asked as his Dominus class meant master.
"No, i mean your recruiter".
"No one recruited us" Ursa began to explain " We got these crystals by accident from a inter dimensional singularity".
The crystal remained silent before it began to let out a wailing sound like it was screeching in pain. The sound was so loud and painful that they all backed away from it.
The world around them shook as the crystal changed from near blinding bright gold to dark inky purple. The loss of the light drowned everything into the darkness that had been before the light.
"Guys?!" he called for his friends "Guys!".
"I am here" Mulengu answered clearly just as panicked.
"What's going on?" Ursa demanded though Chris wasn't sure if it was a question for him and Mulengu or for the crystal.
"I don't know" he answered her any way and then he felt it, the cold feeling up his spine and the sense of dread as he felt something watching him...was it from behind, was it from the front he couldn't tell but knew that it was there.
It felt very familiar like he knew it and this caused even more fear that his heartbeat was spiking. He wanted to speak but his voice had left him and all that remained was squeak. He wanted to close his eyes and wish it away as when was child but he felt the thing coming closer and closer to him and he felt like an injured animal trapped in a river watching a crocodile approaching it for the kill.
Just it got closer the darkness was torn from him and he awoke in a warm bed, under a roof with an open window illuminating soft light rays upon his body.
He studied his environment that appeared to be a room made from a grey stone with a wardrobe, a mirror, a wooden table and a pear of chairs.
He looked upon himself and realised that he was stripped of his old clothing and dressed in other cloths " These shirt and trousers, I left these back home".
The thought that he was home appeared but it couldn't be, this room looked nothing like his own or any from the palace and knowing his mother he would most likely be in the infirmary with her looking down on him and ready to tear him to shreds.
The door to the room opened and he tried to rise defensively but his bones and muscles lacked all strength and that left him bedridden. From the door a woman very familiar to him entered and Chris felt whatever fear had gripped his heart vanish.
"Little brother, it's good to see you awake" her voice held happiness while her face looked tired and sorrowful.
"Ishtar, where are we and what the hell is going on?"...
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I am a 21 year old law school student at the National Institute of Public Administration. My dream is to one day publish my story phantom ddriag and hopefully get a show made from it.
I also have a youtube account that hundels web fiction content, here is the link https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCFz-mHywXBJnLF8uyofcLAw/videos