Dawn of the Leviathan

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Summary

When Jean's mundane life is plunged into the depths of a raging storm, new obstacles manifest for Jean and now has one goal- to return home in one piece. Being the lowest of the low and getting accepted into the worst Hunter school was as natural for Jean as fish to water. But stakes have never been this high for Jean and neither has the responsibility on his shoulders. Can Jean reach walk the path of the Leviathan?

Genre:
Fantasy / Adventure
Author:
ZeroHearth
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
1
Rating:
5.0 2 reviews
Age Rating:
16+

Chapter 1 - Jean Roin -The Crooked Mute

The World always operated in a twisted way. Nobody decided which house or family to be born in or what genetic advantage they would inherit. Some called it Fate. But it is how life works, its anomalous nature possessing a curious seductive allure. A grueling uphill battle for some. Yet a simple straight road for others. For some, unstoppable despairing descent. Its random nature was its most defining feature. Every person had a unique hand-tailored story of their own - but sadly, they didn’t get to decide how to start their story. Only the middle.And their end. The journey to the finish is the most bewitching part of life. A bad start does not warrant a horrible ending. There was enough time between the start and finish line in life. Mostly. It could be possible that a story could start in the worst possible way, but with enough perseverance, it could be possible to have a satisfying end. It could be possible to forge a path for a bountiful finish. Certainly. But it would need Blood. Sweat. And Tears. A lot. After all, no one man held dominion over the World. Such power is unattainable. Or at least this is what Jean thought.

This was indeed the way Jean thought as he gazed longingly at a lonely puddle mirroring his reflection as if it is a blurry dream, and he wished it was. His mind kept on reminding himself of his worth, and a faint frown etched on his face - nothing uncommon for him, his whole life had been a frown. He began to make his way out of the Pit district. After some walking, Jean reached the doors separating Pit District from the rest of the districts. These doors were huge, heavy, and dark obsidian yet they could be silently opened with a small card swiped at the bottom of these doors. The whisper like noise when the doors split open never ceased to amaze Jean. With this Jean passed through from Pit District onto the Wyvern District.

He was on his way to The Grey’s Job to keep his stomach from growling, a normal occurrence, and to perform his Black duties. It seemed to Jean that this was just another day in his existence, repeating it’s routine.

As he made his way up from the belly of Nou Wyveria to the doorsteps and streets of the better and higher parts of the walled city- Wyvern District. It reminded him of why the way he lived was possible.

As he turned his gaze to look at the sky, he saw the Towering structures - columns upon columns in rows studded with Golden Ornaments on top of them. Thick Columns made of hard cold steel and walls thicker than the thickest tree barks, each getting thicker with every progressive tower. What was in them, he never knew-no one knew. Another gigantic set of doors manifested themselves as Jean forged onwards, their huge stature becoming more and more apparent with each step. What he could see were Golden Sentinels standing erect in discipline atop these massive structures. He felt a tight knot forming in his stomach and he hoped to unravel this as soon as he could. Their faces had a dark glum look on them as Jean passed below them, their faces contorted in disgust as the tiny spec below them hurried from one column to the other and the sneer moved on from one face to another. Seeing their faces, Jean nervously tugged at his Grey Coat, adjusted his red round glasses, and anxiously fingered the clean scissors hidden inside his Grey Coat.

They reminded Jean why he thought the way he did. They had all the things he wanted. A luxurious status and a masculine appearance with a gargantuan frame draped in golden and owning the coveted Golden Coat- all Jean lacked. His frustration had crept upon his face as he skittered from one doorstep to another and into trash heaps to scavenge for the treasures he yearned for and the things that were unachievable to him. To better his life such as his, was hoping to find diamonds from this filth. One could only hope to find decay and broken things down there. There was only so much one obtains from unneeded possessions - although those don’t wear Grey Coats.

The worst thing was the smell that hit Jean. Every single time. These were strange objects no doubt once alive had they not been charred to the bone. Sometimes their faces were set in an eternal scream that paused to remain but sometimes they had a serene peaceful look on them. He cherished how difficult it was to cleave the corpses of their metal encasings. The strangely satisfying feeling of ridding them of their shells was Jean’s guilty pleasure. He always found a smile on his lips forming every time he removed the findings, even though somewhere deep in his heart he felt like a ghoul. Yet he still enjoyed it. Slowly undoing the clasps from the head and unto the chest and then to the arms and finally the legs. This was a passion-filled ritual Jean took part in every day even though the putrid smells kept on bombarding him. Yet the visceral beauty of it all and skirting through the cold frozen limbs somehow made Jean feel better, someone had it worse than him. It made him feel like removing the wrapping for a new gift - only the wrap is more valuable than the thing in the box. The most interesting part for Jean was that he got to examine the bodies without supervision and, could do as he pleased. He often found strange sigils on the skins of his customers. Some had the head of a Crow seared onto their necks, while some had a roaring Dragon on their chests. Others had beautifully designed insignias on their abdomens, with different patterns of assorted weapons arranged artistically. After that, the only thing remaining for Jean was ridding them of these as well. He liked the feeling of running his fingers over them, it was satisfying. Each day he cut off the pieces of skin that had these on them, it was like building a prized collection. He’d cut them with his scissors and stuff them deep inside his Grey Coat. Then he rubbed a strange layer of an ointment at his incisions. The Black Coat told him that even when a cat shat, it covered it. Su why shouldn’t Jean as well when doing the shameful deed?. Somewhere deep inside him, he wondered whether the Golden Coats’ reactions were justified.

As Jean completed his pilgrimage from one door to another and finally reached the end of the towering pillars, he felt a sense of relief as he clutched his findings close to his chest as if it were a long lost child. Although Jean knew more than enough that finding a mate for him would be like finding a gold nugget in a heap of fuming excrement. “Skrr...Skrrr....Skrrrr” the rustling lured Jean’s attention and he subconsciously clutched his findings tighter to himself ever so slightly as he winced past his red-tinted lens to get a better view. It was hard not to be paranoid when you’ve seen two glaring eyes out of the corner of your eyes catching you in a secret act, only to disappear once you’ve blinked.

Through the dust, he saw his “companions”, the only people Jean could hope to talk to, the Black Company. He saw Coats the same as his but they were colored Brown and instead of the pieces Jean’s Grey Coats were instructed to find, they had amassed a huge wealth of new and unknown findings. With a yearning thought, Jean wondered if he would someday also he could wear a Brown Coat and go to where ever they disappeared only to return in smaller numbers but return with new findings each time, it was a risk but it would be better than this place. But after they passed him and through the rising dust, he saw them. They wore Grey Coats similar to his and their red rims glistened with penetrating gazes and a primal deadly glint, like the mythical Black Shadow in the forbidden forest, stalking its prey, the only thing it can see is its glaring red eyes in a wall of darkness, the final image the prey sees after which the only thing it can see is cold and pitch-black darkness. If one didn’t know better they’d think they would be the demons outside the walls attempting to take over Nou Wyveria. Rumors spread that this was just a story spread by the Black Coat to keep away the Black Company so that he could safely do whatever Heretical actions he deemed fit. But the people Jean saw talking about this, he never saw again.

With another card swipe and exiting Wyvern District, Jean continued towards the Smithy’s cove hoping that a piece of profound wealth slipped through one of the Columns when throwing out their seemingly endless supply of bodies. It was one of the most intriguing questions Jean wanted to know the answer to, it was just like the Black Coat, as mysterious as the Avesial mask on his face and his anomalous stature- and Jean thought he was a deviant.

The Smithy perched over Jean’s findings and peered over the items with an ire of a child playing with new yet somehow familiar toys and it seemed as if he was holding back drool from his soot-stained lips. Jean hoped to find a sign on the Smithy’s face indicating some rare find but whether or not he could see some movement on his face would be impossible as the soot was a wrinkled carpet on his face rising and sloping with his features, hiding any movements except the blazing fire in his eyes. He caressed each item with passion and examined every part of the items, watching that only made Jean more envious, Jean hoped he could be one of those items, it would feel good to be something special, and in his trance, the Smithy’s calls were like a distant lullaby to his ears only to be brought back to reality by a stern solid shake from him. Jean felt a new emotion now, he felt the heat rising to his cheeks turning them from his deathly white hue flowering into a lush bloody red and his heart fluttered like a trapped bird in a giant’s fist, beating against his bony ribcage and it seemed that his heart enough could break through his chest. He didn’t know what this was, he felt as if he should hide somewhere - perhaps hide his head in the ground and never take it out again, but immediately he found himself him looking at the ground under him and tugging at his Grey collar. His answer to the Smithy was his namesake- Silence. He made a note of asking the Black Coat what this was. The Smithy proceeded to give Jean a heartfelt pat on his shoulder and told him about his findings. Jean felt the knot unraveling with each word he heard, and a familiar feeling of ecstasy and lightness came over him - he cherished this moment and if he could live this longer, he would. Knowing the rewards for his work. It made him feel“whole”as the Black coat told him when he first asked. He almost convinced himself that this made it worth it, but as usual, he didn’t find anything special this time. Glumly, he took his boon and the account from the Smithy. Just then the Smithy slipped a small sleek package into Jean’s hand and gave him a slow nod while looking him in the eyes. Jean understood what this meant and replied with the same gesture. A mutual understanding was reached between the two. He exits the cove and finds a place where he could face a wall with his back to the others. It was common to find sick Grey Coats from Pit district - so no one would pay him any attention. He looked around to see if anyone was watching him. No one was. He opened the package. He found a paper rolled up fall into his hands as he emptied the pouch. Eagerly Jean unfolded this and found written in neat handwriting ”Come see me after there are no eyes around to watch”.This time, Jean felt an emotion he never believed he could never feel again. The same he felt when he first found the sigils on the charred bodies, he didn’t know what to do about this. When he asked the Black Coat about this,“curiosity” was what the Black Coat had told him this burning desire was, but he also told Jean that curiosity killed the cat. Whether it was the fact that someone other than the Black Coat had taken interest in him or that he could get to see something new, Jean never know, but he felt obliged to give in to this feeling. He would let it lead him by the hand. Patiently Jean waited until the cove would be clear until there wouldn’t be a single soul around. This felt special.

After the Cove was clear of all things living, he entered and found the Smithy gesturing him towards the door. With thundering heartbeats, he walked into the dark room and heard the Smithy close the door behind him. But when he turned he found himself blind and alone in this room. Only a small ray of light penetrating through the curtain the Smithy put over the door behind him. He put his ear to the door and heard the Smithy’s talking with someone and then gradually he heard the commotion build up but there was an audible distinct cough here or there. It sounded like a strangled whistle. There had been unexpected customers. Sighing, Jean looked around the room once more and thought he might find a small lantern with a small enough glow so no one becomes aware of this place. He fumbled around in the darkness and hoping he didn’t knock something around found a table. This might be where the Smithy possibly studied, Jean thought. He then felt the table and found it to be bare but stumbled upon a drawer. With a screeching noise, he opened the drawer. He hoped this wasn’t loud enough to draw any attention. With trembling fingers, he felt around the drawer for a lantern but felt something unmistakably familiar. He could feel the familiar patterns, the same kind he felt somewhere else, he knew he felt them this morning too, running his fingers on top of them, but this time they were cold hard steel. In a moment of panic, he hurriedly slammed the drawer shut quickly as he could hear the hinges of the door creaking in protest, hoping he didn’t make much of a sound.

He felt the Smithy’s eyes creep up to his and he didn’t want to meet them, but reluctantly he did meet them. The Smithy walked towards Jean and he could feel himself choking as the Smithy came closer and closer to him. And then he went to the cabinet behind Jean and swung open the door, took a hefty black roll, and handed it to Jean. It weighed as hefty as it looked." Take this to the Black Coat and tell him, The Smithy sends his regards”. With a shy nod and cold relief, Jean accepted this request and exited the room.

He went to the same wall he went to before and looked around to make sure no eyes were watching. And then he sat down on the cold ground with and sighed a sigh of relief. Peace at last- and some rest. He pulled out a pristine leatherbound book from his coat, flipped it open, and wrote the things in the wrinkled papers he wanted to ask the Black Coat when he gets to meet him again. The strange feeling he experienced today, the events that occurred today, the strange encounter with the smithy, he wrote this all down, but in a different section.

This was Jean’s section.No one would get to see this. It made Jean feel better to have someone to just talk to besides the Black Coat. But the best thing about the book was that this was the most submissive being he ever knew. Jean could take out all of his hatred, his envy on this -and it would never rebel. It made Jean feel good. Having absolute dominion over something. It felt good. It was the only other thing that Jean cherished. He would rule over these pages as he saw fit. This is what they must feel like- Jean thought. And it had a strange way of reflecting Jean’s existence. Ruled over as the owners saw fit. Ruled over by an absolute iron grip that could be felt through the streets of every district. Or at least Jean thought, there had to be other districts. Jean and the people of Pit district together with the Nobles couldn’t be the only people remaining in the whole world. Then it would be as if Helkeep was empty, and the once Noble Dracnei were all in Nou Wyveria, ruling it. Jean wanted to believe that this was not the case. But something about the walls around Nou Wyveria suggested that this could be the case. Whether it was to keep the world safe from Nou Wyveria or to keep Nou Wyveria safe from them, Jean never knew. After all, talking about this would be Heresy. And no one wants to be branded a Heretic.

He sat there waiting and decided to ponder upon more real and intimate things rather than grand thoughts. He wondered what it might feel like to be the Black Coat as he waited for his Wingdrake to arrive. Having control over a large number of people was equivalent to being a Leader of any small Village. Having plentiful food instead of rationed bowls of soup and warm baths - all of these Jean had never felt the pleasure of before. He did bathe once a month, albeit not a private warm one but a Black Company-wide bath. Their sheer number cooled the heat from the huge pool they bathed in. But it helped in keeping The Legio Wyveria’s expenses to a minimum. Though Jean never understood why the capital they were loyal to was so above them, sometimes Jean felt as if it was a myth. Almost none of the Black company had ever seen it except the Black Coat himself. Jean also didn’t understand why he wore a mask, could he be so hideous that he felt the need to hide his face? Jean couldn’t say and neither did all those around him. It never occurred to them and Jean didn’t need to as well. It was better to stay away from being the point of attention, it was better to stay in the shadows and silent, that way he wouldn’t need to throw whatever of life he had left.

After this moment of peace and pondering in the warm cove, Jean headed out into the cold winds and to the belly of Nou Wyveria- towards the familiar Pit District and the Black Company’s Gathering hall. To report the findings he sold and the various finds he had been instructed to find by the Black Coat. Hanging from his Wingdrake and disappearing into the mist and cold winds and onto much-needed sleep.

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