The Angaran Chronicles: A False Legacy

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Chapter 5

For what felt like hours, Arken walked. All the while the hissing grew into the buzzing crescendo of earlier. Every fibre of his being screamed to give in. That it’d stop the pain and the blood, make him happy. That he would learn everything he wanted to know. But he didn’t, he wouldn’t. He was Arken! He led one of greatest armies the continent had ever seen. He was taught by the best Hunter of the age. Arken had survived a Ritual performed by only one Hunter, usually, it took five or more, a feat no one had ever accomplished before.

He was better than this. He was stronger than this. Whatever the hell ‘this’ was.

Everything, his thoughts, his vision eventually swam into a blur. Every step was a war.

It felt like an age before he found the bottom of the shaft. It took Jaroai only knew how long for him to realise his feet had stepped on stone.

The buzzing was horrific but still, he shook it away and glanced about. In the north side was a cave and the lanterns lining both walls blazed bright white against the dark green of his low-light vision. Even then the light seemed wrong, unnatural almost eldritch in aspect.

Arken felt his jaw clench. His instincts screamed it was the Jaroai, but the locals were mind controlled and nowhere in the millennia since they manipulated humanity into conquering the continent did the Jaroai exhibit this power. If they did they would’ve abused it to hell and back. And as far as Arken knew the paths of light and fire magic just weren’t capable of it. Could it be something else? Something worse? Arken had never encountered a Jaroai. Few Hunters have. His master had once, he’d told Arken the story and Arken couldn’t begin to imagine anything worse. It took six Hunters and two vampires to take it down and only two, one Hunter (his master) and a vampire managed to walk away.

Even so, he started toward the cave. It was insane, stupid and perhaps the buzzing in his brain was controlling him. But he needed to see. He needed to know.


For what felt like hours, Arken walked. All the while the hissing grew into the buzzing crescendo of earlier. Every fibre of his being screamed to give in. That it’d stop the pain and the blood, make him happy. That he would learn everything, he wanted to know. But he didn’t, he wouldn’t. He was Arken! He led one of greatest armies the continent had ever seen. He was taught by the best Hunter of the age. Arken had survived a Ritual performed by only one Hunter, usually, it took five or more, a feat no one had ever accomplished before.

He was better than this. He was stronger than this. Whatever the hell ‘this’ was.

Everything, his thoughts, his vision eventually swam into a blur. Every step was a war.

It felt like an age before he found the bottom of the shaft. It took Jaroai only knew how long for him to realise his feet had stepped on stone.

The buzzing was horrific, but still, he shook it away and glanced about. In the north side was a cave and the lanterns lining both walls blazed bright white against the dark green of his low-light vision. Even then the light seemed wrong, unnatural almost eldritch in aspect.

Arken felt his jaw clench. His instincts screamed it was the Jaroai, but the locals were mind controlled and nowhere in the millennia since they manipulated humanity into conquering the continent did the Jaroai exhibit this power. If they did, they would’ve abused it to hell and back. And as far as Arken knew the paths of light and fire magic just weren’t capable of it. Could it be something else? Something worse? Arken had never encountered a Jaroai. Few Hunters have. His master had once; he’d told Arken the story and Arken couldn’t begin to imagine anything worse. It took six Hunters and two vampires to take it down, and only two, one Hunter (his master) and a vampire managed to walk away.

Even so, he started toward the cave. It was insane, stupid and perhaps the buzzing in his brain was controlling him. But he needed to see. He needed to know.


Arken turned off his low light vision and wished he hadn’t. He’d thought the flames had been white and green, but they were actually pure green and seemed to writhe and whisper, swimming with eldritch runes which warped and broke apart to form again into new ones. But what sent a sudden stab of terror through Arken, what made him tear away his gaze, as he was beginning to understand them.

The blood bubbled from his nose, now and the buzzing whispering grew louder with every step.

Again, time turned into a blur, the blood from his nose flowed like a waterfall, so much so he couldn’t help worry he might lose consciousness.

And the tunnel went on and on. Arken lost count the times he had to stop and regain himself.

The whispering and the buzzing seemed to intertwine, and he started to discern the things it was saying. Despite his curiosity, despite every iota of him screaming he wanted to, he needed to, Arken refused to listen.

Arken snarled like an animal. He needed to verbalise his defiance somehow, but to his surprise, it seemed to work. The voices quietened, and the flames lost some of their intensity.

A few truths managed to penetrate his thoughts. Truths he discerned he needed to know. It confirmed his suspicion that the priest was a living conduit for the mind control, that the cone-shaped thing, was an amplifier and it would not be long before it was completed. Two days, just two days before every town in a one hundred kilometre radius would hear the buzzing in their skulls. Jaroai only knew how long before they would be under its control.

This gave Arken purpose; it gave him strength. He couldn’t give in. He pressed on and on, and the voices seemed to become more and more desperate, with every metre.

He managed to reclaim his mind when he stepped into the vast, perfectly circular chamber. At its centre stood an obelisk so tall its tip scraped the darkness at least fifty metres above, and its width was a good five. It was made from the same alien material as the cone, but green, pulsing veins circled it and into the floor, growing out like the roots from a tree. The same eldritch ruins as the flames and ones Arken had yet to see, short-lived spectres across its surface.

The sudden sound of deep clapping echoed. Arken jumped, and a figure stepped out from behind the obelisk.

The troll stood at three metres. Its arms were almost as long as it was tall as its huge clawed hands smashed together with inhuman strength. Its grinning, lipless maw filled with battered, brown teeth which jutted out in odd, chaotic, angles. Its chest and arms were skeletally thin, but its belly bulged out a good metre from it, like its snout. Its beady eyes jutted on stalks from the sides of its skull. The trolls legs were short, not even a half metre in length. This troll was like all others except for the green veins running through its scaly hide and the runes moving through it. Just like the obelisk.

‘You have done well, little Hunter.’ Its voice was clear, without the growling droll and spluttering syllables trolls were known. ‘You have made it far. I am impressed. The priest almost made it here not too long ago, but he, like everyone, gave in eventually.’

‘Just like you believe I will, I am sure,’ said Arken.

’Just like I know you will, little Hunter,′ said the troll.

‘What is this?’ said Arken, nodding to the obelisk. ‘Why is it here?’

The troll burst into a mocking chuckle. ‘You will know. You will know, everything. True enlightenment awaits you if you just give in. All the universe’s secrets will be yours.’

Arken frowned. He knew the troll told the truth. What could he do with such knowledge? He could use it to create an army with a level of technological advancement that could put him back upon the throne of Hamar, an army that could conquer the continent and bring to heel both the vampires and the Jaroaian religion an army that could cross the seas and take over the scattered continents and islands to the west. He could-

Arken shook it away. If he gave in, he would just wind up another pawn to the obelisk.

The troll shrugged. ‘That was worth a try, I guess. You truly are an ambitious little Hunter, aren’t you? Rare for your kind, but you were a king, I suppose.’

Arken snarled and reeled. ‘Get out of my head.’

‘Or you will what?’ It sneered.

Arken’s replied by bursting into a charge.

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