Finsternis

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Skygge Vincentus is a noble born dragonkin, and a resident of the City, a titanic metropolis. He is born gifted in the magical arts, which his family finds out early on, and beautiful. These two things make him arrogant, and, through his father and experiences, he learns that those two flaws will be his downfall. After learning that valuable lesson, he tries to live life as peaceably as possible, becoming shy and unable to interact with people. He meets Drache Glacialis and Brann Fortis, who are also noble dragonkin, and they head a guild that is sworn to root out corruption in the City. He lives happily with his new role in life, and spends many years honing his skills. Unfortunately for him, though, he is pulled into a plot to overthrow the City and kill off the ancient dragons. Can he and his friends manage to help save the city? And who is (when I get to this part; dragonkin live long lives) Ara, and what impact will she have on Skygges' life?

Submitted: November 12, 2007

A A A | A A A

Submitted: November 12, 2007

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A A A


Sitting inside his shell, the tiny black creature poked it’s head around his egg. It was warm and safe, but growing ever smaller, and he was drawn irresistibly to the outside world. He jabbed his snout at the eggshell, trying to break free of his oval prison. He continued in vain for many minutes, but then, miraculously, he felt cool air touch his snout. He was almost free. He jabbed again and again at the opening he had made, forcing it to break open farther. Soon, the shell was sporting a hole big enough for him to crawl out of, so he did. He forced his tiny body out of the egg, and suddenly dropped to the soft nest beneath. He cried out, chirping at the cold and sudden open feeling of the room he was in. It was a simple, small room, that held only a nest large enough for his egg and room for him to walk about in. Not that he could see any of it. His eyes were firmly closed, and so he was forced to rely on his sense of touch. He crawled around a bit on all fours, feeling uncomfortable in the position but now knowing any other way to move. He chirped again, louder this time, and a piece of the wall swung inwards. Terrified, he tried to crawl behind his egg, but was picked up before he could move very far. The hands, large, clawed, black scales hands, gently lifted him, and he was pressed against the creatures’ body, which felt warm and safe. He relaxed, snuggling up against the warmth, chirping again, but this time in content. His mother, looking down at him and smiling, carefully wrapped him in a thin blanket and carried him out of the hatchery, closing the stone door behind her. She walked through the house, and every eye was on her and the tiny baby she held. The servants, visitors, and other family members followed, curious of the tiny thing, but stopped when the mother went into the room marked by its intricate decorations. The servants and family returned to their business, visitors to theirs.

“He just hatched!” Annerire exclaimed, walking a little bit faster. She moved to a desk in the middle of a vast library study, where Obsid Vincentus, lord of the Vincentus family and father of the creature being held, sat studying his various books. He looked up from his reading, eyes white as if he were blind, and looked at his new son. He lay curled up against his mother, barely bigger than a dinner plate, and chirped, unaware of anything but the blessed warmth.

“Let me see him.” Obsid asked gently, standing and holding out his arms. Annerire handed the child off reluctantly, and then waited to see what her husband would do. Obsid held the child up to the end of his snout, breathing warm air onto him. The child responded by, somehow, facing his father, looking up at his face, and opening his eyes. Obsid was so startled that he almost dropped him.

“His eyes…he just opened them!” Obsid gasped, his own eyes widening in shock. Children of his kind rarely opened their eyes fully before their first year, let alone minutes after birth. So startled was Obsid by his son opening his eyes that he didn’t notice the color of them until he regained his composure. Lavender. Shaking with excitement, Obsid told Annerire to turn off the lights. She did so, slightly confused, by any questions she may have had were answered soon enough. As soon as the light went out, a pale lavender light shone from their sons’ eyes, illuminating Obsids’ face. Light still off, Obsid made his way to his desk and turned on a lamp. His son didn’t react at all to the change in light, besides looking at the source of it. Obsid held him in his lap a moment, thinking of a name to suit his son. Trying to remember names of famous members of the family, he came up with three; Noir, the blade master; Svart, the archer, and Skygge, the sorcerer. He couldn’t make up his mind, so he decided to test his son.

“Round up the family, we are going to test my new son for his name. Tell Buito and Mork to bring the heirlooms to the chapel. Gather as many servants as wish to come, I’ll bring him with me.” Annerire nodded and left, giddy with anticipation. Obsid held his son close to him for a moment before walking out, taking a side door to the family chapel.

The chapel wasn’t really a place of worship. It was more like a public meeting place, which just happened to be huge and domed. There was one huge table on each side of the room, and at the head of the room in front of titanic stained glass windows depicting the Black One, the patron dragon of the Vincentus family, were two ornate black throne-like chairs. Obsid sat in his, which he rarely did, and set his son down on his lap. Soon, members of the family came pouring in, accompanied by many of their gnoll servants, a few of their elfish cooks, and some of the various guests to the house. All of them watched the tiny baby boy as he squirmed on his fathers’ lap and tried to get down and around. Obsid made sure he stayed in his lap until Annerire came in, followed by Buito and Mork, Obsids’ two other sons. Both of them were identical, being twins, and both carried a different object wrapped in a black silk blanket. They sat the two parcels down, and waited for a minute while the last brother came in. Dunkel, the now second youngest son, came in carrying a thick and heavy looking package, wrapped in the same silk blanket, and managed to set it down without slamming it. Annerire took her spot on her throne next to Obsid, who then stood and set his newest son in the middle of the three objects. The child was confused for a moment and tried to crawl back to Obsid, but Obsid had already sat back down in his throne.

The child looked about a moment, unsure of what to do. He looked a the three parcels around him, studying each in turn. One of them was long and thin, one was a half circle, and the last one was square shaped. The child, somehow drawn to the squared one, crawled towards it. Everyone in the room was silent. He climbed to the side of it and tugged on the cloth on it, trying to see what was inside. He managed to pull off a side of the cloth, and, seeing something underneath, pulled more, until finally he was left with a book twice his size. He explored it’s sides, and, when he found that one side stuck out, he pushed at it experimentally. It moved. Delighted, he chirped and pushed again, but harder. The cover opened far enough for him to crawl under it, and with one last push, he opened the book fully. He sat on one of the mammoth pages, looking down at the words scrawled across it. He read them in his mind, and managed to say the words, albeit garbled. He felt a surge of energy flow into his arm, down into his hand, and then into his fingertips. He raised his arm up, trying to see what was wrong with it. Suddenly, a weak bolt of lightning erupted form his fingers, scorching the high ceiling. He look at his hand in confusion, until Obsid calmly walked to him son, picked him up, and announced: “I would like to introduce the newest addition to the Vincentus family, Skygge Vincentus, and welcome him fully into the family.”

From that point on, Skygge Vincentus began studying the various magical arts. Already mildly gifted, Skygge ate up the training faster than anyone but his father had done before. The teachers he had ended up running out of things to teach him after two years, and the course was supposed to take at least a decade. Obsid, confidant that his son could learn from no-one but himself, took Skygge under his wing, teaching him advanced spells and components, and even teaching him the old draconic language, which Skygge mastered quickly as well. For the next nineteen years, he studied exclusively with his father, who proved to be an excellent teacher. By his twentieth birthday, Skygge was conjuring the elements as well as someone three times his age. This knowledge and power, inevitably, came with pride. He felt like his power gave him the right to command other people, and he used his powers arrogantly. At one point, he almost even attacked a rival sorcerer. They were at a group lesson Obsid was teaching, and the rival in question, a vampire, repeatedly pestered Skygge with questions about his family, his personal life, and how he managed to cast so effectively. Eventually, Skygge had had enough of it, and launched a fireball directly at the vampire, who sat barely five feet away. The vampire was defenseless, and simply froze in place. If Obsid had not been there, Skygge might have killed the vampire. Instead, Obsid sent a thick line of water out towards the vampire, which extinguished the fire before it could do any damage.

“Skygge,” Obsid calmly said, “I will talk to you after the class is over.”

Skygge angrily stormed out of the class, and the vampire, though shaken, was fine.

Skygge was still fuming when Obsid came out to see him.

“Why did you do that, father?” He demanded, glaring at his father, who remained calm.

“You have no right to attack anyone unless you are attacked first, or someone you care about is attacked,” Obsid replied, still calm as ice, “Didn’t I teach you that?”

“Yes, you did, but he was antagonizing me, and I say he deserved it!”

“What you say and think and what is right seem to be different right now, son.”

“I am the best sorcerer in this whole school! I could take out any one or two or even three students here at a time!”

Obsid looked sad for the first time. “If that is all you have learned from me, then I have failed as a teacher and a father.” With that eloquent response, Obsid left, and Skygge could only stand there, trying to decipher what his father had said. It should have been simple for him to come up with a meaning, but he couldn’t.

“Did he mean that magic isn’t supposed to be abused?” He wondered aloud, beginning the long walk home. As he made his way home, he was made aware of how he looked for the first time. He was passing a group of elven girls when they called after him. He stopped, wondering what they wanted. He knew common very well, but couldn’t understand what they were saying. He heard a remark about his face, and, assuming it was an insult, gave up the long route idea, spread his wings, and sped away. His inexperienced wings managed to get him home, where he immediately went to his mother. Annerire, surprised, asked Skygge what was wrong.

“I was on my way home, and a group of elf girls said something to me about my face. I didn’t know what they meant, so I flew home. I thought they were insulting me.”

Annerire smiled at her son, comforting him. “Skygge, you happen to be the most handsome dragonkin I have ever been privileged to meet.”

“How so?” Skygge asked, confused. He had never been complimented on his looks before, and didn’t get it.

“Well, son, have you ever looked in a mirror?”

Skygge hadn’t, and felt foolish for never doing so. Being raised in his house away from other people never gave him a reason to wonder what he looked like. Twenty years after his birth, he finally did so. And he agreed with his mother.

His face scales were perfectly shiny and smooth, fitting together seamlessly. The rest of his scales were just as polished and smooth, and even the pads on the bottoms of his hands and feet were the same black color. His wings, though not very large at the time, still showed strongly defined wing muscles, and the scales there shone like the rest of him. Even his membranes, which should be a pink color like his fathers’, were tinted black, leaving him with a blacked out screen for membranes. His horns, just starting to grow in, were curling back like his fathers’, and his hair, long and white, was always in order and brushed back. He could only agree with his mother, and, soon, everyone he asked; He was a beautiful dragonkin.

Unfortunately, this newfound vanity worked it’s way into his arrogance rather easily, and he started looking down on people he found less pretty than he. He constantly found fault with his brothers who looked relatively plain, and even tormented his sisters, who he barely knew because of their constant leaving. His father ignored the attitude, feeling it would be outgrown. Later that year, Obsid had a nervous breakdown, overwhelmed by his responsibilities as a noble lord. He was hospitalized for a few days, and when he came back he looked weary and spent. Skygge felt terrible for him, because he knew he was a constant strain on his fathers’ health and nerves. Later that week, Annerire suggested the family go out for a picnic in the forests outside the northwest quarter. Everyone though it would be a good idea, and Obsid loved the idea of taking a day off. The whole family took a role in preparing for the event. Obsid planned where they would be picnicking, Annerire would cook the food, and Mork, Skygge, Buito, and Dunkel would carry everything.

They took to the skies for most of their journey, but Obsid had to land because flying was making him too tired, so they all did. They were almost out of the northwest quarter when Skygge bumped into something huge and furry. He jumped back, unsure of what was going on, when the furry thing moved, standing up, and turned towards him. Skygge immediately recognized the creature as a were bear, and an unhappy looking one at that. Skygge was so startled that he only managed to stare at the bear with his mouth open until the bear growled at him.

“What you lookin’ at, scaly?” He rasped, scratching the back of his neck with one massive paw.

“Uhhhhh…nothing, sir. I was just on my way out.” Skygges’ family had caught up with him by then, and they all tried to explain what was going on. The bear nodded and moved out of the way, and Skygge again took the lead. His family moved back to collect Dunkel, who had lagged behind, and didn’t see the attack until after they heard it. The bear, suddenly furious, morphed into his full bear form, and tackled Skygge, who had turned around to see who was roaring. Skygge landed flat on his back, trapped by six thousand pounds of angry bear. The bear slashed at Skygges’ face, shattering and slicing open scales, and Skygge bled profusely from each cut. He screamed out for help, unable to speak the words that would save him. The bear roared again, and slashed downwards, leaving a long and jagged cut that ran form Skygges’ eye to the side of his neck. Skygge screamed out again, and was answered this time. A bolt of ice slammed into the bear, driving it off Skygge, who promptly tried to roll away. He didn’t make it. His family, thinking not of the bear coming back, didn’t get to Skygge before the bear returned. He raised one heavy paw over Skygges’ head, and Skygge silently prayed for a quick death. He never expected his father, who was weary from flight, to fire a ball of fire that sent the huge bear sailing away and into the wall of a nearby store. The bear, dazed, tried to stand, but Obsid had already launched another ball of fire, and another, and, finally, a spike of ice that drove through the bear, pinning it to the wall and killing it.

Skygge was still bleeding when his family got to him, and could barely hear their frenzied words. He opened his mouth to speak, but was surprised to find that there was blood filling his mouth also. He closed his mouth and eyes before he passed out, unsure if he would ever wake up again.

Chapter 2

Skygge woke up some time later in an unfamiliar bed. He managed to look around him, even though it hurt his neck to do so. Everything was white, so it wasn’t anywhere in his house. The air smelled like disinfectant and medicine, which made a small bell ring in the back of his mind. He was in a hospital, but why? Suddenly, the memory came rushing back. The bear. His family killing it. And, finally, him. He had been killed by that bear, he was sure of it. There was no way he could have survived being attacked for that long. But here he was, laying in a bed in a hospital. Alive and well, as far as he knew. He tried to sit up, but found that he was strapped to the bed by thick leather straps running across his chest and legs.

“A guard against seizures, I think.” he mumbled to himself, trying to figure out why his tongue hurt so much. “Maybe I bit it when I was attacked.” He reasoned, feeling a small chunk of his tongue missing as he moved it against the side of his mouth. Yep, definitely bit off a chunk.

He lay still in bed for a while before a forest elf came in to check on him. She checked his temperature, his ability to speak, and his pupil dilation. Once she was done checking up on him, she left, but not before making and odd face while looking at him. Confused, Skygge wondered what she had been looking at. The only part of him showing was his head, and he was still as good looking as before.

Right?

It wasn’t until he was picked up from the hospital by his family that he was told the news.

“You survived the attack, but barely,” Obsid explained on the rented car ride back. “Your face was badly scarred, but you should pull through perfectly.” His father said it so calmly, so reassuringly, and Skygge could only look on with a blank stare. He silently wondered what his father meant, denying his worries until he got home. His family had warned him not to use any mirrors until he was rested up, but he ignored their advice and looked into one as soon as he was alone in his room. When he saw his reflection, he almost fainted. His once beautiful, perfect, shining face was ruined. Long white lines ran all over his face and crisscrossed in places, but the worst scar was the one that ran from above his eye to the side of his neck. It was jagged and thick, and he couldn’t stand to look at himself any longer. He gathered all of the mirrors he could find in his room, even ripping the one in the bathroom out of the wall, and tossed all of them over his balcony, his rage giving him strength. After he destroyed every mirror in his room, he hit the books, trying to find a way to fix the marring lines on his face. No dice. He was left with his scarred face for life. Depressed beyond reasoning, Skygge retreated to his bedroom, closing all windows and covering them with black sheets, spending all his time sitting on his bed staring out into space or thinking about his life. He spent months alone in his room, losing the ability to interact with people easily, and convinced himself that, in his arrogance, he orchestrated the events leading to his scarring.


© Copyright 2017 Lord Shadowsong. All rights reserved.

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