For as far back as Javen could remember, Gurgan had been taking care of him. He knew nothing of his family or anyone who had been in his life before the Lost Vidian arrived. From Gurgan’s limited and stunted vocabulary, he learned that he was found as a baby in a burned down house in some woods somewhere. Gurgan never wanted to talk that much about the past, and that trait eventually passed on to Javen.
Gurgan was a mysterious, lone Vidian at the time he claimed to have found baby Javen, and in most ways he continues to be. What he was doing before this discovery was unknown to anyone except possibly Alavar who had more secrets than anyone could count. Something in the Lost Vidian’s heart—if the Lost Ones can still be considered to have hearts—influenced him to take in the baby. Maybe whatever remained of his humanity urged him to do this good deed, or maybe he was simply tired to being alone.
And so, Gurgan raised Javen as best he could, feeding the baby on goat milk and eventually teaching him to fend for himself and hunt for food. As he grew, Javen displayed wisdom in his deep blue eyes not normally found in any child. The harshness of the world created a child who was always alert with eyes that analyzed every situation thoroughly.
It was in the year 6931 when Gurgan decided to finally name the child when he was around ten years old. He named the child Javen, giving him the “V” of the Vidian King Vician. It had been seen as an honor to have your name include that letter, but in later life, Javen would see it as a curse. Gurgan had not known exactly when Javen had been born so he had to estimate his age. Thinking on ages and birthdays reminded him vaguely of what his own age could be. When you become a Lost Vidian, age seems to cease to matter. He felt that he had been a little more than a child when he became a Lost One, but he could never remember that past.
A few years later, Javen began to show the ability to use the Darkness. Gurgan had been worrying about that possibility greatly since he of all people was the worst example of how to properly use the Darkness. There was no helping it though. He began to instruct Javen in controlling it, all the time reminding him of the consequences of abusing it by making him look at his disfigured body and the blobs of Darkness on it.
Gurgan had thought that once Javen had learned to fairly control it, there would be no more problems, but he was horribly wrong. Javen was a young man when he decided to explore the world outside of the forests and plains of the nomadic lifestyle they had been living. He had often observed the small Sargenian villages they lived near with his icy blue eyes that saw the details in everything. He say the cheerful children of Light playing in the streets and their hardworking parents making an honest living down at the marketplace. His childish curiousity encouraged him to go closer, become one with the shadows and watch everything at a distance of a few feet.
One night, in the small village of Fastor in the area of Sargenia between Ravilla and Dremun, he spied on a nighttime celebration. The excitement and energy of the celebration distracted him from hiding. He reentered the world of Light, leaving the safety of the shadows and was instantly a part of the festivities. Bright lights and loud noises were everywhere around him as people danced around a bonfire. Young men and women danced around him, and Javen’s blue eyes were bright with the joy of this new experience. The world of Light was truly something full of amazement and wonder.
It was in the middle of all the chaos and enjoyment when one of the young women realized that they had never seen Javen before. The young Vidian had lived a secluded life with Gurgan, hidden away from the people of Light, so he didn’t realize the danger he was in at that very moment. The woman inquired him for his name and if he lived in the city. She had long brunette hair that framed an innocent smile with bright hazel eyes.
Javen knew only the dangers of the animals of the wild and the struggle for survival, not the dangers of a curious woman. He told her everything in a quiet manner with his words similar to the stunted language of his guardian. He talked about his life in the forest living with the Lost Vidian Gurgan. And why shouldn’t he? He didn’t know anything about the quarrels of the Light and Darkness, the inherited Sargenian hatred of the Vidians. His interest in meeting people from outside of the forest of his life drove him to reveal everything.
The young woman was shocked. The once welcoming smile of a social woman transformed into a disfigured face of extreme fear as if his words spelled out her doom. “You’re a Vidian?” she asked.
The word was foreign to him. He didn’t know anything about the world of kingdoms, races, cultures, and political borders. “What’s… Vidian?” he asked, dubious of her reaction to his story.
“You use… the Darkness…. You’re one of the… monsters….”
The words struck Javen hard, like a knife piercing his chest. His heart fell to his stomach. He stood in silence, not knowing what to do or say.
Her next action answered that. She began to yell, screaming at the top of her lungs to guards and people around her saying, “Vidian! Vidian!”
Everybody turned on him then. The once exciting crowd of people enjoying their time with the others of the village turned into a violent herd of menacing stares and gleaming blades. Javen panicked, unable to believe this drastic of a transformation could happen so instantly. He ran, pushing his way through the people while guards chased with their swords drawn. Most people dodged out of his way, afraid of his touch, and those who were accidently touched screamed of being tainted. Why was this happening? It was the first time he had felt like an outcast in this world, and the gods know it wouldn’t be the last.
Soon enough it was only Javen and a herd of over ten guards chasing him as if he were a wild deer they were hunting. They were halfway over a stone arched bridge that led to the southern border of the village. Below the bridge by several feet was a rapid river, rushing dangerously fast. The choppy waves crashed against the sides of the river, enveloping the whole bridge with its splashing sound. Everything was dark except for the distant torches at the ends of the bridge. Javen stared at the dim flames, telling himself that there would be safety there once he left the village.
As he closed in on the end of the bridge, his heart pounding in his ears over the roar of the river, he saw dishearteningly more guards at that end, their silver armor being reflected by the torch light. He felt like crying, like breaking down in the middle of the bridge and letting the chasing guards catch up to him with their vicious intents.
Then he thought of Gurgan, his guardian in this world and his only friend. He had foolishly thought that there were more good people in the world like him, but he was wrong…. For some reason the Darkness was feared by these people, and once they were faced with it they became monsters. How dare that woman call him a monster when all he did was attend their celebration! His anger boiled up inside of him. If they wanted a monster, he’d give them a monster.
He reached down inside himself and summoned his Darkness and, with the assisting help of the surrounding Darkness of the night around them, unleashed waves of shadows in all directions. The guards behind him had been closing in to about only a few feet, and they were instantly pushed back. Some flew backwards a few feet and landed hard on their backs on the stone while more unfortunate ones flew into the roaring river. The night air was deafening with the sounds of the screams of guards being pushed down to their deaths by the mighty waves. Javen heard those terrible screams, but couldn’t resist the small smile that came upon his face as his eyes stared ahead in fury for his next prey.
The few guards ahead of him got the least damage of the shadows since they were the furthest away. As Javen approached he saw the fear in their eyes. One guard looked to be only a few years older than Javen and other guards looked several years past their prime, but that didn’t stop his rampage. Some guards in the shadows shot arrows at him, but he was able to project a shield of his Darkness in front of him for protection. He sent out another circular blast of the Darkness around him once he was closer to these guards. They flew backwards like all of the others, weak against Javen’s power.
Javen paused for a moment to catch his breath while the guards struggled to get up off the grass past the bridge. More guards had fallen into the river to their probable deaths. His anger cooled slightly. “Is this what you wanted?” he asked quietly to the groaning guards.
He began to walk away back towards the forests where Gurgan would be when one of the guards stood and blocked his path. It was the young one, fresh from the barracks, his face still holding the innocence of childhood. “Stop right there!” he said, his voice quivering while he held before him a spear that looked as skinny as he was.
“Why won’t you all leave me alone?” Javen walked deliberately towards the guard, throwing all caution to the wind in his annoyance of them all.
“You Vidians are a threat to our people!” The guard positioned himself to be ready to attack.
“I don’t even know what a Vidian is.”
This appeared to faze the guard as he lowered his spear lightly.
Javen didn’t take any chances though. These people of Light had already shown how threatening they can be. He had foolishly believed in the kindness of the woman in town, and look where that got him. He had to return to the safety of the forest, to the safety of the Darkness. A strike of Darkness left his hand without another word. As sharp as a knife, it pierced through the man’s face and went out the back of his head. The face looked as if a fire had burned through it, flesh melted, bone broken through, blood all over. The young Sargenian fell to the ground with a choking sound as he appeared to choke on his blood.
Javen walked to the disfigured body and knew it was still alive, its heart still beating slightly even though its brain had been damaged. His anger and rage drained out of him as he realized what he had done. He didn’t even know the exact number of people he had murdered simply out of blind fury.
Who was the monster? That was the question he would be forced to consider his whole life.
He ran into the forest, tears streaming down his face, shame boiling up inside. In those few minutes of battle he had turned from a child of the forest to a Vidian.
As Javen grew older, he had learned more about the world outside of the forests. Gurgan told him about the kingdoms, the Ancient Kingdoms of Sarbenia, Vilaria, Dremun, Harvoren Empire, Walra, Vidala, and the many other peoples that lived in the world. It wasn’t too long before Javen realized that there were other people in the world like him, the ones of Darkness, the Vidians. A race of people who had been constantly at war with the people of Light just because they felt there was no balance between their peoples. There were the normal Vidians who could control the Darkness and then the Lost Vidians who succumbed to it. They had been beaten down by the Sargenians and other Light kingdoms ever since they first came in contact with each other. Of course the Kingdoms of Light would see this as their righteous duty; the winners always think they are doing the right thing.
The day finally came when Javen learned about the man who would change his life. He was the man who no one could even remember when he was born since he continued to look the same age no matter how many years passed. The man who was rumored to singlehandedly create the Vidala country.
Vician, ruler of all Vidians.
For some reason, after all the years of life he had lived, this man, this Great Darkness, decided that he and his people had had enough of this suppression. It was during the 6940’s that Vician began recruiting his Army of Darkness in his mission to spread Darkness across the world in the name of the Great God of Darkness, Ziavaxe. And Javen soon learned that when Vician called for his Vidians… they came no matter what.
Javen was a young man by then in his early 20’s. His memories of the night in Fastor still haunted him, but they also drove him to become the master of the Darkness that he was today. Gurgan was less enthusiastic about this approaching war, but as the army grew and came closer to their home something took over him. Something about Vician seemed to rule over all of the Lost Ones in the world, making them lose whatever humanity was left in them. By the beginning of the war, what Vician called his “Rebalancing of the World,” in 6945, Javen was already pledging his loyalty to Vician while Gurgan waited and watched.
The battles began when the Army of Darkness entered Ravilla across the Great Channel from Vilaria. Javen joined and fought, instantly becoming one of the best warriors in the masses. He cut down enemy warriors, some tougher than others, but was never defeated. He and his fellow Vidians destroyed villages, burning them to the ground. Despite all of the chaos though, a small part of his conscience remained. It was on the nights where his companions felt the need to take spoils of war that he began to slightly regret his decisions. The Vidians murdered women and children, took slaves, raped innocents, took the treasures of multiple families while Javen stood aside, refusing to become that much of a monster.
As the Battle of Berania approached over the horizon, the battle that would end it all, Javen became one of Vician’s top men. One night Vician had asked for him to come to his tent as the army was camped. Javen was stunned, confusion and a fear entering him. Vician was the shadowy figure that led everything. Only a handful of people could have claimed to actually see him in person, and even when they saw him in person he tended to wear a black cloak as dark as night itself with his face hooded. In those days, it was the ideas of Vician that pushed the Army of Darkness forward more than his actual image.
Javen walked slowly to his leader’s tent, shaking during every step. Guards blocked the entrance flap, but parted when they saw him approach. The banner of Vidala stood in front, a red three-bladed scythe on a black background. He became self-conscious of his appearance as he walked inside. His dark hair was long and ragged, but he shaved his face whenever he could. Would this legend approve of him?
The tent was dark except for one candle that sat on a table. In the limited light, Javen could make out three figures. There was a man and woman that stood slightly behind on both sides of the man who sat hooded at the table. Javen’s heart beat increased as he could feel the overwhelming energy of the presence of the man at the table. Without even thinking, he fell down on one knee and bowed his head, unsure of what to say.
“Rise, Javen,” said a smooth, deep voice. It was a voice that seemed to control him in a way, encouraging him to do what it wanted. It was the voice that brought thousands of people to war, the voice of Darkness itself.
Javen rose to his feet slowly, still shaking slightly, but the voice relaxed him in a way he could not explain.
“I’ve watched your progress, young one, and I am truly impressed.”
Javen looked towards the source of the voice. The top half of the hooded man’s face was enveloped in shadows. The bottom half showed a thin chin covered in dark stubble. A small smile was on his thin lips, a smile that tried to deny an inner sadness.
“You are one of the best warriors here, Javen. You have a powerful Darkness and will power that I can say about very few others. I have been searching for individuals like you to take a place beside me. If you are willing I’d like to offer an invitation to become one of my top Vidians along with Virok and Bellavar here.”
Javen looked between each of the three figures. The man standing to Vician’s right, named Virok, was a tall, mighty looking man with steel plate armor on with long dark hair that went to his shoulders and bright blue eyes that pierced the Darkness with a sort of secret determination. The woman to Vician’s left, Bellavar, had a beautiful angular face with full thin lips and long silver hair. When Javen made eye contact with her, he felt his heart strings twang.
That was the beginning of Javen’s career as one of Vician’s right hand Vidians. The thought of denying the offer never even occurred to him. As time went on, and battles continued, he friended the other two and trusted them with his life. They shared many good times together when their army was camped. Their friendships helped Javen stay sane during all the chaos and violence around him as they marched closer to Berania.
Then that all changed in the year 6953, the year of the Battle of Berania.
After Zaria was finally conquered and the Army of Darkness began to march south towards Berania, things began to change drastically. Virok slowly became more and more a ghost of his former self. For some unknown reason, he had begun to eat and sleep less until his face became seemingly paper thin and ghostlike. Whenever Javen tried to confront him about this, Virok replied that he had been having nightmares and refused to continue that discussion. His bright blue eyes of determination at the beginning of the war had become a raging sea of indecision and self-contempt as if he was regretting joining the war. Javen didn’t need one of his only real friends in the army to be in this indifferent mood when the biggest battle of the war began.
Bellavar was also changing. She was growing more distant by the day. Her once fairly social attitude that Javen admired and was attracted to soon became isolated and dubious as if she wanted to become a complete ghost instead of look like one like Virok. Javen also began to notice that she was spending the most time in Vician’s tent in between meetings. Jealousy created heartbreaking ideas inside Javen’s mind, but he tried to push them all aside and focus on the missions ahead.
Gurgan was another story all together. He changed and became as monstrous as the other Lost Vidians. Javen rarely saw him any more in the herd of the army, but whenever he did he saw that he was different. He could no longer speak the limited words he knew. Whatever personality he had developed had disappeared the instant Vician started the war.
At the Battle of Berania, the unexpected had happened. The Power of the Nizain which had been mysteriously missing for several years now had resurfaced in King Broniton of Sargenia. The battlefield was covered in corpses and seas of blood, and the clash of steel everywhere ended when Naz Saren, the Sword of Light, was summoned by Broniton. The same thoughts went through every Vidian’s mind. All the hard work and faith and hope they had put into the last almost decade had just been crushed. Javen felt tears come to his eyes as he watched Vician get struck.
At that instant, Vidians everywhere wailed and moaned and shouted. The Army of Light took advantage of this instead of letting them mourn their king. Vidians were cut down in surprise, spilling blood and tears.
Javen stared at Vician from the side of the battlefield where he led his group of men. Their leader was still alive even though blood poured out of his front side like a stream of red water. Broniton lifted his legendary sword once more, readying himself to end this all completely. Javen was sure everyone knew that if Vician died, it was all over. The people of Darkness would become even more suppressed with no hope of equality ever again.
Then, a woman in the dark cloak of Vician’s top Vidians jumped to Vician’s side. She raised her hand and shouted in defiance. Javen thought he had gone mad as he saw creatures forming out of thin air. They were disfigured demons summoned by a witch. Limbs flailing, claws stretching out, green hair bristling on black burnt-like skin, the demons attacked Broniton. But how had this happened? A witch in the Army of Darkness? But no not just a witch…. It was Bellavar!
Javen nearly fainted from the shock. His fellow soldiers urged him to retreat, and he weakly ran with them, his mind lost and confused beyond belief. Bellavar… no it can’t be….
And so the story went. Vician was saved by a witch at death’s gates. But it was not just any witch. It was Bellavar, the woman that Javen had felt close to as much as any friend he ever had. She was gone now, tearing Javen’s heart out as she held Vician close like a lover. Javen ran and ran and ran, escaping the chaos and his friends in the process.
Time passed, days turn to weeks turn to months turn to years. Some pains heal while others stay for an eternity. After the Battle of Berania, Javen and all of the other Vidians left as the army disbanded without the godlike rule of Vician. Javen, for the first time in his life, was completely alone. Bellavar had disappeared with the possibly dead Vician, Virok had vanished in the chaos of the battle, possibly dead, and Gurgan was nowhere to be found back in the forests of his childhood.
He wandered the lands then, keeping his Darkness hidden from the cruel eyes of the people of Light. Where else could he go? With the loss of his friends, his old life was over. A new life had begun, but what could he do with it?
A few years after the Vician War had officially ended, after the few remaining units of the Army of Darkness were mercilessly stomped out, he found himself in Salras. Despite being alone for the past years he had kept himself clean and presentable with facial hair shaved and his hair trimmed short. He didn’t know the reason why he cared, but he felt that he should try to look human to make sure he still was.
One night he was sitting in a tavern in the city, his only companion a pint of ale. Around him the Salrasians were enjoying themselves next to a bonfire in the center of the room, an image that brought back haunted memories. He grew tired of how these Sargenians seemed to always be partying as if their happiness was meant to be a knife to his heart.
Things in his part of the world didn’t stay quiet for too long though. A man with long blonde hair and a youthful grin on his face pulled up a seat next to Javen as he sat at the bar. “Ho, friend, what’s with the sad mug?” asked the man with an enthusiastic attitude.
Javen was instantly alert for danger as he fingered the hilt of his dagger that was sheathed at his side.
The man surprisingly noticed that movement. “Hoo, no worries here, mate. Just saying hello. My name’s Aran. I can’t stand by while there’s a lonely fellow losing his wits.”
Javen remembered that he had been there for a while. He didn’t remember which number drink he was on though. “Sorry,” he said softly as he hesitantly returned his hand to the table and joined it with the other around the pint.
“As I said, no worries, mate. What brings you here if you don’t mind me asking.”
The man’s friendly attitude was shocking to Javen, but it also gave him a small bit of warmth inside. The man spoke with such a pleasant aura that it made Javen feel like he was the most important person in the world. It had been a long time since he had a real conversation with someone. The people he tended to meet were antisocial and hostile. “I’ve just been… a little down on my luck.” Javen could think of nothing else to say about his predicament.
Aran raised an eyebrow and made a wry face. “I think we’ve all been there at some point, pal. My friends and I went to the Abandoned Islands of the East during the Vician War and came back to find our hometown here nearly gone forever. But you know, you just gotta have some faith in Sarben, and anything can happen. We run a general store a few buildings down now, and it’s been going well. Did the war give you trouble?”
Javen felt anger boil inside. Aran’s talk about the war and of accursed Sarben brought back the hatred he felt towards the people of Light, but when he turned to face Aran he foun he could not be angry at him. The man’s eager eyes and friendly smile just drained the anger out of him. “You could say it gave me a lot of trouble,” he replied. “I… lost a lot of friends….”
Aran gave a slight grimace. “Sorry to have mentioned it then, pal.” He put a hand on Javen’s shoulder, making Javen tense instantly. But Javen saw there was no threat and relaxed. Could some of the people of Light truly be good people?
“Well, pal, if you don’t have anywhere to go right now, you’re free to stay at my house.” Aran removed his hand. “I’m sure the others won’t mind.”
Javen let a smile spread across his lips. “I might have to take you up on that offer…. My name’s… Javen….”
The man with the boyish smile grinned even greater than before and stretched out his hand. “Nice to meet you, Javen.” They clasped hands, and that began their friendship.
The two friends that Aran lived with and worked with were a man and a woman named Alben and Levandra. Alben was a thin man with brown hair. He was friendly though not as friendly as Aran. This one was the definition of the distrustful nature of the Sargenians, but as far as Javen could tell he didn’t suspect he was a Vidian.
Then there was Levandra, the one who would change Javen’s life once again. She was a few years younger than Javen with long brown hair and luminous hazel eyes that increased her beauty and her innocence. The idea of “love at first sight” appeared to be true at this moment for Javen. His first eye contact with her and their introductions brought that heart twang that he remembered from his days with Bellavar, but this was different, and he knew it. Something in her eyes showed that she would never hurt him, some sparkle made her look like a perfect angel in his eyes.
Needless to say, they fell in love as quickly as a boulder falling to the ground from a precipice. A little under a year later, they married to the joy of the others and to the friends Javen had made in the rest of the town. More time passed, and for the first time in his life, Javen felt like he had obtained a stable, happy life. He realized that there was a way for Vidians to live amongst the people of Light without constant warfare. He felt that he could reveal the secret of his past to her and not be hated, but he simply could not find the words to tell her.
One day, years later, came where the news of a new general in Berania was announced. Heralds announced it through the streets of Salras, yelling, “Hear ye! Hear ye! The new General Virok accepts his position today under the Great King Broniton in Berania. The Ancient Kingdoms of Sarbenia continue to progess forward after the tragic events of the Vician War. Praise be to Sarben for all of His blessings!”
Javen froze in the middle of the busy crowd he had been walking through. Could it be? Virok was alive? Javen burst out in an enormous grin and was about to scream out in happiness, but he caught the raised eyebrows of the passerbys and awkwardly walked away, shaking with his excitement.
He began to develop plans in his mind to go see him once again, but he was haunted by other thoughts. Why would Virok be a Beranian General? Did he have a similar experience to Javen’s where he realized that there was a way to live among the Sargenians? Something told Javen that could not be true. He remembered those determined eyes of Virok’s. They had always been focused on carrying out Vician’s ideals no matter what. Could Virok still be stuck in the past, ready to finish what Vician could not? The idea terrified Javen. He had just found a peaceful life; He was not willing to give it up.
Later that day, Javen discussed a plan to move to Berania with his wife, brother-in-law, and best friend. He couldn’t think of any really good reasons, but he said that he believed Berania was the safest place in the world. He lied about fears of Vidians returning to start another Vician War, and he believed that Berania would be the one place they could stay safe if that happened again. The others were unsure, but they decided in the end to at least visit Berania. They left their shop in the care of friends and started west to Berania.
They stayed at an inn in Berania for a few days, exploring the city and enjoying its wonders. On one of the nights they stayed there, it was announced that Virok was being honored for his promotion that night. Javen saw that that was his chance to see if the rumors were true, if this was really the Virok he knew and spent all those years with.
As twilight fell over the city, torches brightened up the courtyard in front of the Beranian Castle were the honoring was taking place. Crowds of people squeezed in the square around the water fountain in the middle and up to the bottom of the stairs where guards stood watch. At the top of the stairs in front of the great doors of the castle, stood different lords and ladies of royality around two main figures in the center. Even though Javen was far in the back of the crowd, standing on a hill with his wife and friends, he knew it was Virok, standing their being promoted by the king in front of the herd. The king had been growing older and frail-looking while Virok had stayed the same with perfect posture and the body of a warrior.
It was all so surprising to Javen, unable to clearly understand why Virok would become a general for the army he fought against in the war. Then, he started to see other faces in the crowds… faces of the people he had fought alongside with and even some he vaguely remembered on the other side. No one appeared to recognize each other, or if they did, they made no actions on it. Maybe they all knew by now that starting another fight would get them nowhere.
He noticed something in the shadows, away from the celebration. Actually it was more that he sensed something instead of seeing it. There was a familiar presence, and the realization of what it was nearly knocked him out.
“Levandra,” he whispered in his love’s ear, “I’m gonna go take a piss.”
Levandra made an adorable wry face at her husband’s frankness. “Great to know, Javen,” she replied, sarcastically with that smile that Javen would always remember when he thought of her.
Javen smiled back, kissed her cheek, and went away into the shadows towards the presence. He made his way through the black of the night until the commotion of the crowd was fading behind him. Then he was on an empty street where only the moonlight reached.
The Lost Vidian walked out of the shadows so that he was visible under the white light of the moon. He looked the same as he always had, hunched, red-eyed, and short with blobs of Darkness on him. “Javen….” He said in his rough voice. They made eye contact, and Gurgan began to cry. “Gurgan… miss… Javen….”
Javen lost his composure as well and embrassed his former guardian. They cried with each other, letting out years of loneliness now that they had finally found each other. They were alone in the Darkness like the old days. Gurgan told him that he thought that Javen would come here if he heard about Virok becoming the general. He had been wandering alone, searching for Javen all over the kingdoms, unsure of what to do with himself. After the war ended, Vician’s control over the Lost Vidians ended, and he had returned to his normal self.
It was at that moment that Javen thought that his life was finally stable and perfect. He had friends, a beautiful wife, and the oldest family he could remember. He didn’t know what he would do about Gurgan, but he told himself he would find a way for Gurgan to be accepted with his new family so they could all live happily together.
On that night, the past had returned to Javen’s present, and it brought him true delight, but he would soon learn that some things are better left in the past. That thought would go through his mind when the witch returned to him.