Chapter 1 - Sight
The determined shout of the young boy was quickly swallowed by a strong breeze. Every muscle in his body was tensed, his nose wrinkled and his hand trembling as he held it over a small pile of tinder. After a long and uneventful moment, his body finally relaxed, a frustrated sigh escaping his lips.
“Why will this not work? Come on Talynn, think,” he coached himself, running his hand through his messy brown hair. He took a seat on a nearby stump and pulled a piece of worn parchment paper out of his raggedy tunic. After documenting the details of his latest unsuccessful attempt, he referred back to the well-worn book he carried with him at all times.
The faded gold leaf lettering read The Mages of Aedon. Talynn had read the book cover to cover thousands of times, yet the stories of mages weilding fantastic elemental powers still fascinated him to this day. Unfortunately, the book was a historical piece, not a beginner’s guide to using magic as Talynn has been using it.
Abandoning his attempt at creating a flame with mana, Talynn resigned himself to lighting a fire the old fashioned way. Taking a thin stick, he began rolling it back and forth between his palms, using the friction to generate heat. His village sat atop a high plateau, the wind having a tendency to come in powerful gusts. He used his body as a wind breaker, guarding the precious wisps of smoke that began to rise from the tinder. The wood was about to catch flame when the sheep in the pasture around him began to bleat.
Talynn let out another long sigh, waiting for his unwelcomed guests to come into view. He already knew who they were, not that living in a secluded village with less than fifty residents left him with many choices. Every day after working in the fields, the other young village boys went out of their way to harass him, and today was no exception.
“All right Talynn, time to pay up. Hand over the cloak,” the leader of the group said, his arms crossed in an attempt to appear intimidating.
“This cloak is the traditional garb of a mage, why should I give it to you?” Talynn crossed his arms in return.
“I actually do real work in the fields all day, while you just watch sheep, you lazy wimp. Now hand it over!”
“No! Get out of here, or else!” Talynn widened his stance and stretched out his hand.
“Or what? You’ll use your pretend magic on me? As if!” Aken reached out to grab him, but faltered when he saw a faint blue glow appear in the palm of Talynn’s hand.
A grin lit Talynn’s face, though he was just as surprised as Aken that something was happening. For the first time, he could feel mana flowing through him. He visualized a roaring fire and forced as much mana as he could muster into his hand.
The blue aura grew brighter for a moment but then started to flicker as he lost control. The glow faded away.
“Oh come on,” Talynn looked down, desperately trying to force more mana into his palm. As he looked up, he saw Aken’s fist hurtling toward him in slow motion. He crumpled to the ground, his eyes closed as waves of pain and nausea overtook him. He could no longer hear Aken’s insults, only the sound of his own heartbeat as adrenaline poured into his veins.
Aken stood over Talynn with a malevolent smirk, relishing his moment of superiority before a fist collided with his jaw. Aken’s entourage winced in unison as he hit the ground.
“I’ve told you before, you hit him, I hit you. It’s only fair,” said the new arrival. He was tall, with dark-blonde hair and intense blue eyes.
“You’re lucky Mavence showed up,” Aken said in a low growl to Talynn while struggling to get back on his feet. Though Mavence was young, he had the strength and build of someone several years older than his actual age.
“Why do you always defend this runt, huh? He’s pathetic! You gonna fight his battles your whole life?”
“I’ll fight for him as long as I need to. Now get out of here,” Mavence ordered Aken and his group.
Talynn began picking himself up, his heart still pounding as the adrenaline finally started to subsisde. Mavence helped him up to his feet, but as he opened his eyes, Talynn staggered backwards and fell back onto the ground. Mavence extended a hand to help his friend back up, but Talynn swatted it away, a terrified look on his face.
“You okay Talynn?” Mavence gave him a quizzical look.
“M-Mavence, is that you?”
“Yeah, I’m standing right in front of you. Can you not see me?” Mavence said, his voice still calm but with growing concern. Talynn began to hyperventillate as panic began to overtake him.
“Something’s wrong with my eyes, I can’t-”
"Don't panic. Let me take a look," Mavence said as he stepped closer to examine Talynn's eyes, expecting a corneal scratch or some dirt. What he saw instead managed to pierce his calm demeanor. The iris of Talynn's normally dark brown eyes were now a deep orange that shimmered like the surface of the ocean.
“Y-your eyes... they’re glowing.”
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