Chapter 4 The One Who Knows My Name
The One Who Knows My Name
To his back he sensed a threat. A low growl told him that it was not a man, but a beast. He turned to face the snarling mouth full of teeth dripping with hunger. A wolf, alone, and this far out. How strange it was not with its pack. He must have been crazed and then realizing
that this wolf was not only drooling but also foaming, Althalos put two and two together; summing up that this was a rabid creature. Dried mud clung to its four socks and there was a gash across its chest. Why and where this canine had come from was a mystery. Suddenly the wolf did something he expected, but did not predict to be as soon as it came, the dog lunged forth, gliding over the ground it would seem. Althalos acted quickly whipping out a staff from a magical source and whacking the wolf off to one side like it was nothing. That had done it. The beast was down for the count.
Silence. Eyes searched for what else could be lurking about, but there was nothing. Althalos returned his staff to the nothingness he had fabricated it out of, and turned to look to Annamarie and Latonya.
It had happened just like this, didn’t it. He was struck aside the head and done away with. The ones who had helped that wretched woman do this to him were the very ones who he had grown up and practiced the magical craft with; all those decades ago... He was thrown in a box, carried out into the woods and buried alive. His so called loving mother and fellow companions.
As he stood there looking at them he noticed the expression of which they had upon their face. They were shocked, yet also relieved. It was nice to be looked at like that by his own kind. It was a complete difference from instead always being the one practicing under another
who had more skill. Now he was the one with more skill... But he wasn’t more practiced than them, just different. Understanding a different kind of magic; he was a wizard.
Latonya and Annamarie turned to each other and continued down the path as he started to walk towards them, joining them. They were long gone from the town away from the grasslands, forest and far away from the Witch Hunters. The cold and rainy nights they had known before,
were behind them now. This trail brought them to a more welcoming country.
But this is not where their journey would stop. They would keep on going until they reached the place of which Althalos had come and once had called home.
It was a dark day for him, and he hadn’t known it yet. He walked towards the dining hall like how he had always done; but this time he was held up. Held up by a sudden darkening of all the space around him. The populated bright hallway flourishing with chit-chat and laughter had all grown silent. Then the darkness zeroed in on him and pulled him into it. He couldn’t get out of the clutches of this place. If he could find some way to bring back the reality he knew, this
grand hallway to be, he would. But it was empty, cold and dark... and a gloom hung over him on the ceiling like a dark, blue, energy generating wave. A nebula. The northern lights were of the world he knew and had compared this strange occurrence to; but this was another dimension. A door creaked open and the room drifted over to him until he was inside it. There was a book on two short pillars which supported each half. It was odd, something he would never see in the
world he knew. Where was he... A whisper blew through the room and around, rising to the ceiling. He tried to speak, but he could not move his mouth. He grew frightful of this dark room. This book and the whisper that he could not understand. Then the whisper grew into a chorus of whispers, still he could not make them out, but he was doom stricken to what had happened next! The room floated over to him again till he had been beside the two pillars with the open book.
His throat grew tight, he in fact was filled with a terror he had never known; but he could not make a run for it, he could not move, he could not feel; he could not do anything. The script on the pages began to glow the color of hot coals and then turned back to the ink they were written in. He realized that the whispering had stopped, but the rushing air had not; it had picked up and started throwing the pages in rapid flutters till it reached the very beginning of the book. And there was his name, written there. Althalos.
He was right to be afraid. For this book, the book of darkness had marked him and from then on, he had forgotten his name.
Latonya slowed and turned to Annamarie and took her arm to get her to do the same.
“Annamarie. Do you find something different about yourself now. You had gone there with me. Answering to the devil’s call.”
Annamarie ripped her arm away and then took Latonya’s face in her palms.
“Latonya, I am afraid that you had pulled me into your deal with the devil. But I do not know what had happened back there in the woods for sure... I just know I experienced a lapse of memory. Everything went blank from one point of when I touched your sleeve and the next I am on the ground finding a grave before me. The more that happens with you, the more I come to grips that there is so much that I do not know. I will keep you safe Latonya... safe from all evil and wickedness that is before us. I would readily sacrifice myself to take your place, take the curse from you. But the devil can not have us both. He must leave you and take me if he’s to have his deal. I will not let him take you Latonya!”
A tear rolled down Annamarie’s cheek. She drew her forehead to Latonya’s and took a breath and then she was strong again. Strong, how she always had been. With reassurance, she sent her foot out to take another step forward on their journey and Latonya was right beside
Althalos lingering behind.
Tears... What was it about tears. Had he ever had a tear in his eye as the wizard Althalos, no... Althalos knew no tears, only contempt and justice. No sorrow, no grief... but redemption! It was odd to think that he ever had a different approach to things as how he did now. After crawling out of the ground he knew that he was going to have a new chance at what he once had, but had lost. A hard thing to swallow though, that he would have this on his own. No one else left, but him... it couldn’t be true, could it? No one else... but him, Latonya and Latonya’s beloved bigger sister.
This is not how he’d hoped things would have turned out. He was a tenacious and seeking youth... wasn’t he? Would this have happened to such a driven and resourceful young wizard. Once it wouldn’t have… but now... now there was no telling of what was to come. He was
chasing the lost memory of his old self. The one he was before he lost his name.
It’s getting louder, I can hear it... we will soon be there... The chilling realization of this came over him and he was overcome with these flooding memories once again. He could take no more. He knew the closer he got to his past the closer he was to the uncovering of his
true calling. He did not know whether he’d be himself anymore once he grew nearer to the Book of Darkness. It was there along with all his fonder memories; there to haunt him right along side his past.
Annamarie and Latonya took notice to Althalos as he stopped and gasped for a breath; as if it was being robbed of him. Annamarie moved to brace him as if he was to fall if she didn’t.
“Are you alright?”
“Yes, don’t worry about me, look after your sister. I will be fine, I’ve dealt with much worse.”
Annamarie bent nearer to him and with a sincere and expression of dire importance she whispered so only he could hear. “Much worse than this... don’t under-exaggerate. If you are anything like me, you would tend to under-exaggerate the real truth of the horror you will face.
And you will do this just to push yourself to go through with it; for you know this could be your doom... don’t you?”
She read him like an open book. The open book that stood on the pillars beckoning to him in the broken reality of a room; a classroom he had once sat up straight and attentively. Raising his hand to eagerly give an answer to a question. It was sure refreshing to think back to a time like this even though they were nowhere near a time of such practical sense now; of schedule, discipline and knowledge. Everything now was a mystery, confusion and definitely not in the best interest of a student of any kind.
Though there must still be something to be learned of this moment. This present moment of which Annamarie had reached out to him to reveal she was onto him more than he had realized. It wasn’t like he was trying to hide his story from either of them; he had told them at
the very beginning that he was called by the Book of Darkness.
“It is calling to me...”
“Fight it. Know that you can conquer this and get out alive!”
“I fear you have more faith in this quest than I.”
“Then let my faith be your faith also. I know you are struggling. But you carry on for the sake of me and the sake of my sister. There has to be a way to fight it.”
“Promise me if I am to become a monster myself somehow, that you will take your sister Latonya and run! Get as far away from me as possible. I do not know why, but I do not remember who I was... I am not the same as I used to be... even my name... I do not remember...”
Annamarie straightened him out and collected to her poise as well. Latonya moved closer to them in intrigue and wondering.
“The book had given me a new name, a new identity. It has marked me as its child. It has birthed me into darkness I fear.”
“We must not go through with this...” Latonya said with a frightful thought tracing through her mind; what was to come of this if they did. What was to come of them! In all their wondering and profound imaginings they could not fathom. If they did not keep on towards this
relic, these ruins, they would certainly have no chance. “You must go on without me. Go and retrieve the amulet and save your sister.”
Althalos looked to Latonya and she saw in his eyes that he meant her to be extra cautious now, and it had occurred to Latonya that this was left all up to her now, just as much as to her older sister Annamarie. She nodded to him and understood.
He revealed how much the Book of Darkness had an affect on him, as he was driven to his knees, breathing heavily... as if he had just carried out a task of excursion. Latonya knew he was holding back. Hiding his weakness to the calling of the voices he had spoke of
They would be alright as long as they would stick to his direction. He watched them continue and then fade into the distance to be seen of no more. What was his name? There would have to be a way to recover his name. He felt if he did so he would somehow be freed of the book of darkness tormenting him. There was a man, Levy, he remembered that name from his past. He knew Levy and him had spent a lot of time in the woods practicing magic, competing for just all good fun and games to gain experience and expertise in their craft.
Levy was there... he was there when they put him in the ground. He couldn’t stay here. He would have to turn back and get clear away from the reach, the influence of the darkness calling to him. He would turn around and get a bit of distance from the voices in his mind, though remaining on the path for Latonya and Annamarie to be able to find him. No doubt that would be easier a task for them than it would be for him. His senses and his mind was not in the best of states. He was drunk and delirious on flooding memories and illusions. Things passing through his mind that he did not know were real or the lies of the book. Levy betrayed him. Levy, his most trusted friend. Levy always had to do what was right. Sometimes maybe the right thing to
do, is the hardest thing to do. Maybe he was far worse than he knew. Maybe the book had created this view of his mother betraying him, but it was all a lie taking over his real memories.... He only wished this was true. His mother did not bury him alive, his mother did not imprison him in a coffin. And all the others that he so loved, were not a part of it.
He wandered off into wild imagining as the saturating colors of sunset painted the valley and the sky. He knew what he was to do, if he was ever to get any answers... he should go after the girls and take the risk of being confronted by the Book of Darkness. He didn’t feel good about himself on this, but it was something that had to be done. No. He should rest. He should not make any rash decisions. He was not in any state of mind to be thinking a single clear thought in his head. He told himself this... he made sure to get away from the pull the dark magic had on him. Was he to craft a spell now, how would it turn out... would he somehow be unsatisfied with it. Would he want to feel a more thrilling high of crafting magic that is forbidden.
Levy... how could you...