Chapter 8: Beginnings
Daniel sat beside his nephew’s bedside and pondered the reasons why the universe always chose to do harm to the people he loved. People full of hope and love with not a speck of evil in their souls.
It never touched the dark, no it was never the side of evil who had to watch their friends and family suffer. Only those who fought on the light side had to endure this particular form of torture.
Sebastian hadn’t woken since Daniel had bought him home. His chest was a mess of red and black and Daniel had done his best to treat it. His boy had developed a fever, so Daniel was keeping watch. Making sure that Sebastian made it through the night.
If Sebastian dies, I will find you Eric, and this time you won’t slip away without answering for what you’ve done! Daniel remembered his old friend as he had been when they went their separate ways so to speak.
Seventeen years old they had been, two cocky teenage boys with supernatural powers. Of course something was going to go wrong.
Daniel had always been exceptionally ordinary despite his abilities. Brown hair, average height, average family.
Eric had never been ordinary, he had white hair streaked with red and he was tall for his age and thin. His family, well from what little Daniel had heard about them, they didn’t seem like nice people.
That day they’d met at a local park, it was large and they could usually find a secluded spot in which to train.
“Woah Eric! Watch where you’re throwing those things!” Daniel yelped as a stray fireball flew past his face. His companion was usually precise in his aiming but today he seemed distracted.
“Sorry Danny, I just don’t feel like training today” Daniel frowned at his best friends sighed admission. Usually it was impossible to drag Eric away from training. Something must really be wrong.
“Eric? Is everything ok? You don’t seem like yourself” Daniel reached forward to touch his friend’s shoulder but drew it back at the heat coming off him.
“Everything is more than ok Daniel, I found more people like us! They call themselves Elementals, and they have some very cool abilities but…” Eric turned to Daniel and his red eyes were alight with passion.
“They’re not fully in control of their powers. I don’t want anyone to get hurt and they’d be so easy to overpower if we did it together” Daniel’s heart was thumping in his chest and his mouth was dry. What Eric was suggesting… It was murder.
“Eric… We can’t, we can’t kill people just because they aren’t like us. It isn’t fair” Daniel tried to keep his tone gentle knowing that Eric was easily angered. However even knowing that didn’t prepare him for the ferocity of Eric’s reaction.
“How can you say that this is about fairness Daniel? This is about people’s safety! It isn’t fair that some of them will die because these people aren’t strong enough to control their powers but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen!” Daniel hesitated, Eric had a point, but his instinct told him not to go with it.
“I’m sorry Eric but I can’t do this, I can’t hurt people for what they might do. I know I’ve killed before, but those were accidents. I will never do it on purpose” Daniel knew Eric would be upset but he had to do what was right.
Eric trembled with fury miniature sparks of fire flying off him. Even for someone like Daniel who had seen the worst of Eric’s temper, it was frightening.
“If you’re not with me, then you’re against me” the words were tight and controlled but Daniel knew Eric was furious. His anger bubbling and hissing under the surface and soon enough he would erupt.
“Please Eric, calm down, let’s forget about this and go home” Daniel was desperate to avoid a fight if he could. Eric was his best friend and he wanted to keep it that way.
“Sorry Danny Boy but I have to do this and you… You couldn’t stop me if you tried” a glowing orange fire-ball appeared in Eric’s hand. Daniel felt a flicker of fear but squashed it down.
“Don’t make me fight you Eric, please I don’t want us to fight!” Daniel knew when it came down to raw power he was stronger. Eric was more diverse with his though and to be perfectly honest Daniel was the tiniest bit afraid of his flames.
“That is why your weaker than me Danny, you won’t fight unless you have to” Eric hurled the fire-ball at Daniel’s face forcing him to raise a shield of earth in defence.
“I don’t want to do this Eric, but you leave me with no choice” Daniel planted one hand spread flat on the ground behind his earth shield.
He took a deep breath and allowed the green tendrils of his power to sink into the earth. He gave it his frustration at Eric’s stubbornness and let it free.
He heard Eric’s grunt of pain as the ground beneath him opened up and he sank up to his shoulders.
“You know Danny, the same tricks that worked when we were boys might not work as well now” Eric laughed as with a smoke scattering roar the earth split and he was free.
Fire swirled as with a flourish Eric produced something new he’d been working on. A long string of fire fashioned to behave like a whip.
Daniel was scared but determined to subdue Eric, preferably without actually hurting him. He hoped once he’d been contained for a while Eric would calm down.
He sent four large chunks of earth shooting up into the air around Eric and his whip intending to create an earth prison that Eric would not be able to escape from.
Eric flicked his wrist and shattered the floating earth into pieces. Daniel ran his hand through his hair as he tried to figure out another way to keep Eric in one place.
There was the sharp whap of the fire whip hitting solid rock and the shield of earth in front of Daniel broke. Daniel was thrown backwards by the force of the whip and caught several sharp bits of earth with his upper chest and arms.
Daniel hit the ground and groaned, for the earth had caused a deep wound in his right shoulder and his ribs were bruised. Blood trickled down his arm and he couldn’t lift it no matter how he tried.
Daniel was angry, he couldn’t ever remember being this angry before. Eric was his best friend but if he seriously wanted a fight then Daniel would give him one.
Even with one arm Daniel was able to control the earth. Eric was readying the whip, anger causing him to shake violently. Daniel threw a large pillar at him while also softening the earth to make it harder for Eric to dodge.
The pillar hit Eric on his side and Daniel heard the delicate snap of bones breaking. A small part of him felt bad for injuring Eric but the rest of him was hurting and didn’t care.
Despite the pain it caused him Daniel lifted a chunk of rock roughly the size of his father’s lounge preparing to finish off what he’d started.
Eric had yet to move having collapsed on his back when the pillar hit him. Daniel walked towards him and pushed the earth so that his feet and hands were slowly crushed but still the Fire Elemental did not stir.
“I didn’t want to hurt you Eric, but you will hurt our new brothers and sisters, maybe even wipe them out. I thought we were the only ones, and now that I know we aren’t I will fight to the death to save them from you” Daniel lifted the boulder and prepared to crush his childhood friend.
“You will fight to your death, trying to protect them, but in the end…” Eric’s blood red eyes shot open and Daniel howled as a spitting ball of red-hot flames hit his leg. His knee was burning, the skin melting and the flesh turning black.
“Fire beats earth” Daniel clutched his knee and his boulder crumbled as tears of pain ran down his face. Eric rose now free from the earth. One of his hands was mangled beyond recognition and one leg would not bend as he walked towards where Daniel was lying.
“I was always the stronger one, the more powerful one. You never had a chance Danny Boy and now you can be the first to feel my flames” Daniel was sobbing as Eric lifted his hand which glowed like a brand and bought it down on his back.
Daniel screamed and black dots swept across his vision as Eric burned him again and again.
“Please Eric stop! Stop! Please!” Daniel begged for all he was worth. He screeched until his voice was hoarse, but the fire was unrelenting.
It was pain unlike anything Daniel had ever felt and he gratefully escaped into the soothing coolness of unconsciousness.
When Daniel woke it was dark and smoky in the park. He was lying on his stomach, his back was a blistery mess, and his knee, it would never be the same again. Always he would walk with a limp from burnt muscles that didn’t heal.
He’d had a limp as a child, but an operation had fixed it. Now it was back and there was no way of taking it away.
Near Daniel a section of the park was alight. Letters of fire left behind as a last message for the Earth Elemental by his ex-friend who was nowhere to be seen.
The only sign of him was the burning grass that from Daniel’s position read You will all burn. Daniel knew in his heart that his friend would never again stand by his side.
Eric was powerful but somehow, somehow, Daniel had to stop him. If he failed it would mean the end for Elementals all over the world. This was the beginning of a fierce war, and Daniel was determined to win.
Daniel woke as he slid off his chair beside Sebastian’s bed and barely managed to catch himself before he fell to the ground. He ran his hands through his hair and sighed rubbing his tired eyes with the back of one hand.
He should have stopped Eric when he had the chance and he shouldn’t have underestimated him. His knee ached and he reached down to touch the skin that had once been black and blistered.
His injuries at the hands of his old friend meant that he was no longer strong enough to fight him alone. He was to hindered by them and too old for battle. He was forced to stand on the sidelines while younger and less experienced Elementals such as his nephew took on a fight that should have finished over thirty years ago.
Sebastian groaned in his sleep and his arms jerked towards the angry wound on his chest. Gently Daniel held his nephew’s arm’s down so he couldn’t touch the burn while it healed. He moved Sebastian’s hair away from his sweat soaked forehead.
Daniel felt his eyes prickle with unshed tears. His poor boy had to endure the same pain that Daniel had felt all those years ago. If only he could have protected Sebastian better. His mother would have killed Daniel if she could see the way Sebastian was suffering.
“I will be so relieved when this is over Sebastian, when I know Eric can’t hurt us or anyone else ever again”.