Chapter 3 - The Academy of Festel
A couple days after my arrival at the academy, the entrance ceremony had passed and classes had officially started.
The headmaster had given his “motivational and inspirational” speech, and I say that sarcastically because the energy of the speech contradicted with the impression of the headmaster who had a messy appearance at the time and spoke in a mostly monotonous tone. After his speech, the headmaster explained the events that would occur in the oncoming weeks at the academy.
During the first few weeks, I was to attend introductory classes. After these few weeks have passed, there will be a tournament for the first year students so that they can gauge themselves with other students, but I suspect another motive. Once the tournament is over, the academy the first years will then be able to join a team which simulates being in a house. With these teams, students will work together during their time at the academy.
Right now, the class I was attending was an introductory on eternum; how to become one and what happens when you become one. I looked around and saw the students staring intently at the teacher, fully focused on their words and explanations. If they were to look at me however, they would see a near lifeless body. This class would have been intriguing had I not already learned about the eternum.
In order to become an eternum, one must first strengthen their soul. A soul can be strengthened through experience and by absorbing the energy of magic beasts.
In the stories I was told when I was a child, there was a great war between several gods. The gods fought for many centuries, and in the end, there was no clear victor since no god was left standing. In the aftermath of the war, the blood of the gods soaked the land and transformed it into the land we know of today. However, the blood of gods affected the land’s inhabitants as well. Man became able to use magic and animals became infused with the god’s blood, enhancing them and turning them into what we call magic beasts.
After a person has absorbed enough energy and gained enough experience, the diamond on their crest will change into a mark unique only to them. After that person dies, their soul will leave the body, waiting to be reborn again. When the soul takes a physical body again, the person’s crest will have a wing and within that wing contains the memories and abilities of their past life. When the eternum awakens, the diamond on their crest will change back into their unique mark and their wing will no longer be gray once they have fully awakened the memories contained in that wing. They can repeat this cycle until they meet a true death, in which their soul can no longer be reborn. To stop an eternum’s cycle of rebirth, simply kill them before they fully awaken their memory. If they have already fully awakened their memories, then they can be sealed with magic until the seal is broken.
After the introductory on eternum was over, I headed to the hub to travel to my next class.
As I was walking I could hear students talking about the eternum that were currently attending the school.
“Hey, did you know that a member of the House of Crux is attending the academy?”
“No way. You’re lying.”
“It’s true. Trust me, I saw the symbol through the corner of my eyes.”
“It’d be nice if we could get into a team with them. I heard that if an eternum or upperclassmen respects your abilities and talents, they can invite you to join their team.”
“As if they’d invite you. You couldn’t even swing a sword until you were ten.”
“Whatever. I’ll prove my power during the tournament.”
“Do you want to make a bet on who wins the tournament?”
“If I get first pick.”
“If I were to choose, it’d be the eternum we saw with the shield and sword at training grounds. I heard that his stance and skill is reminiscent of the famed hero Elzin who went missing during a quest.”
“Aww man, I was going to choose him. Umm, dang. I don’t know who could beat him.”
“How about that eternum who refused to cast magic when the professor ordered him to.”
“You’re kidding. He’s so cocky. Just because he’s an eternum doesn’t mean he can take the academy for granted. I hope I don’t get in a team with tha-”
The student immediately stopped talking once he saw me and quickly stepped on to a nearby teleport circle with his friend.
What do you know? I guess it didn’t take that long for people to dislike me. At least it’s for the best. Maybe the academy will decide not to put me in a team. I’ll only hold them back.
The class I went to next was for conjuring magic.
At the academy there were dedicated buildings for each discipline of magic, conjuring, spirit, elemental, and silencing magic. Each type of magic was distinct from each other and most people choose to practice at least two different types of magic or one if they choose to practice silencing magic.
“Welcome students, I will be your professor today for conjuring magic. To be brief and blunt, conjuring magic is the best magic you can learn. Amongst all the other disciplines of magic, conjuring I would argue is the most versatile magic of them all. So, if you choose to specialize in a magic, I recommend conjuring magic,” said the professor who then produced glowing particles which started to take shape and formed a blade. “Conjuring magic allows you to create objects using your mana and the better you get at it, the faster you can form the object and increase its durability...”
The professor was an eccentric fellow. With the way the professor spoke about conjuring magic, it was clear they had a passion for it. Through their explanation of the magic, the professor was creating various weapons and once the professor was done with their explanation, the students were urged to try and create a blade or piece of armor. Many of the students tried to create a blade or something but took a long time to form an object. Those who did form an object however, created something that didn’t resemble a weapon at all and instead looked more like a lump of metal that quickly dissipated. Soon the frustrated groans filled the room and one by one the students gave up.
“You, what is your name?” the professor said, pointing at me.
“I’m Zeff. Is something the matter?” I asked.
“Yes, why aren’t you creating anything? If you’re having difficulty coming up with something to create, just look around the room,” the professor said pointing towards the many weapons and armor that were hung on the walls.
I looked around the room and then held my hands out pretending to try and conjure something. I closed my eyes and made a face that seemed like I was struggling to create anything.
After opening my eyes I said, “It seems I have no talent for conjuring magic.”
“Very funny. I may not be a silencer but even I can tell that you didn’t exert mana,” the professor said, whose face wasn’t the least bit amused. “Try again, this time, try to use your mana and not your tomfoolery.”
A few stifled laughs could be heard.
It was worth a try at least.
I held out my hand once more, but then shook my head and put my hand down.
“I’m sorry but...I can’t,” I said.
“And why not?”
“While I do study magic, I don’t practice it.”
“Fine then, you can do neither,” the professor said and pointed at the door.
After I left the class I headed straight to the academy library. The library was enormous, containing several floors and filled with many bookshelves filled to the brim. And, after I borrowed some books on history, I went back to the teleport hub and arrived at where I am now. A floating island devoid of any man made structure.
Near the edge of this floating island was a large tree. The tree provided ample shade and the cliff provided a nice view of the world below. I laid down under the tree and started to read the books I borrowed. The topic they covered was about the Age of Darkness. It was a time when the light of heroes was engulfed in darkness.
Before the Age of Darkness, most kingdoms had their own eternum that were loyal to them. The eternum protected their kingdom’s lands from magical beasts that ran rampant and bandits that preyed on helpless people. These eternum were viewed as the guardians and heroes of their kingdom. Under their protection, order was maintained in the lands and by protecting their kingdoms, eternum gained fame, wealth, and honor. However, the Age of Darkness began when a certain powerful eternum came about. This eternum, which later became known as the Bane of Eternum, would kill other eternum, hunting them, killing many a day. The kingdoms started to take notice and suspected foul play from each other. The kingdoms saw it as an attempt to weaken their forces and take advantage of their weakened state. Tensions started to rise between kingdoms until war had finally broke out. The war raged on and many kingdom’s lost many eternum. During the war, it became normal for eternum to die. Not many lived long and so the kingdoms would wait until their heroes were reborn again. There was a problem however. Some of the eternum that the kingdoms waited for never came back to life. Time would pass on and when there weren’t that many eternum remaining in any kingdom, they started to piece together what had happened. The eternum that were killed by the Bane of Eternum were never reborn.
And in the weakened state of the many kingdoms rose powerful and despicable eternum, the Irredeemables. They were named as such because of the atrocities they would commit that no kingdom would ever forgive them for. The Irredeemables were individuals who sought and used the opportunity to use their powers and run rampant in the lands that kingdoms could not maintain order in. Some Irredeemables took land from the kingdoms and killed many people in terrible ways. The lands the Irredeemables touched were scorched with flames, left with spears that had people impaled on to them, and colored with blood. When the remaining kingdoms finally chose to create an alliance, it was then that they were able to deal with the Irredeemables. The Irredeemables one by one were dealt with and then they too formed a group of their own. They were still overwhelmed however, and they soon retreated to a part of the land where they made a last stand. As it was written in stories and tales, there was a purple flash of light seen and the land had become blighted with chaos energy. Chaos energy was not unheard of at the time. It was one of the after effects of the war of the gods and from time to time, it corrupted magic beasts and rarely people. But, in the land that the Irredeemables corrupted, chaos energy became prevalent and made it dangerous for any to enter or travel through. The Irredeemables then hid in that land of theirs and what became of them is unknown, and the land that they left behind became known as the Tainted Land.
This academy was then founded in the aftermath. It sought to create more eternum, this time, to protect against the Irredeemables should they be reborn again and to also catch them before or after they have awakened.
To this day, the eternum killed by the Bane of Eternum has never been seen again. Nobody knows who the Bane of Eternum served or if there was actually a kingdom that the eternum served. The term Irredeemable is still used for eternum that are evil.
I continued to read the books on the Age of Darkness from sunset to night until I had fallen asleep.
During the few weeks before the tournament, I attended classes like normal until I had become barred from all of them. I was told I could join them once I changed my mind and started to participate in the classes. I didn’t mind it much though. I knew one way or another something like this was going to happen to me. Part of strengthening one’s soul was through experience. This experience was a vague term for a broad range of things. Casting magic, practicing the blade, are some things that count towards experience. But suspiciously enough, during the introductory on eternum, the professor never mentioned experience as being one of the ways of awakening.
People who came from a village like mine most likely didn’t have access to libraries or resources to provide them with such knowledge of eternum, before I knew I was an eternum, there was someone who allowed me to borrow books from them. All it took was for me to ask the village guards and soon they were able to provide me with the books due to the generosity of an unknown person. The books covered a wide range of topics and to this day I still don’t know who lent me the books and, if I ever get the chance to meet them, I wish to show them my gratitude.
But until then, I would have to get through this academy. Having been barred from my classes, I wonder what the academy will try to do next. Because I’m sure they know, I know something I shouldn’t. It was my plan for getting through this academy, but I’m not so sure the academy will let me. I can only wait and see what will happen with the path I chose.