Betrayal Is Inevitable | The Gifted Series: Book #1

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Chapter One-The Beginning | James Nightfury

I stood alone, quietly observing my surroundings, which were near indescribable. Veritas has been attacked and the chances of there being any survivors are zero to none. I stood upon the highest cliff on the outskirts of the city observing what was once a sanctuary for the Gifted, be covered in a blanket of flames and sorrow. The iconic buildings came crumbling down, homes melting away into nothing; the city itself was becoming a fiery wasteland.

I felt a mysterious, yet familiar, presence approaching. I turned to the sight of two ladies covered in different colored robes; one as white as snow, the other as black as a crow’s feathers.

“What do you want?” I said, with anger in my voice. “You witches don’t have anything better to do than to poke around in my head?”

“Don’t fret, my child. In due time we shall meet face to face, but for now, this is the way we will conduct our business until further preparations are in order. As a friendly reminder, you will address us as Lady Light and Lady Darkness and nothing more,” the Lady of Darkness said.

“Right... I’m assuming you two came to try and fill my head with more of your lies and tricks? You should already know I won’t be tricked that easily.”

“I assure you this is no trick, this is the inevitable fate, in which Veritas and the Gifted have been given.”

“This is our fate? Yeah, right. This is not how things are going to end. I’ll make sure of it.”

“You talk a big game, Nightfury, but you have failed once again, in the attempt to stop the inevitable. What more do you think you could possibly do? Just give up. You will never be able to save them all and you will not stop Veritas’ doomsday. Your heroic actions will only lead you down a path of pain and agony until you, too, face the same fate.”

I looked over my shoulder at the rising flames and smoke-filled air. The screams of the innocent were so loud that they soon reached the outskirts. I could hear the pain in their voices.

“Do you hear that? The delightful screams of pain, fear... They’re suffering because you weren’t strong enough to save them. To think, you’ve witnessed the destruction of your beloved home a countless number of times and you still continue to fight a lost cause.”

“That’s my job as the Protector of Veritas. I was given this role by the King of Veritas himself, and I’ll see to it that nothing ever happens to our home or it’s people. That’s a promise.”

“I admire your loyalty, but now is the time to think of the future; your future. Join us, James Nightfury. Your will is strong but each day it grows weaker. I can make you stronger beyond your wildest dreams.”

“I’ll never join you!”

I reached for my golden sword that sat at my hip and charged forward towards the two witches. A purple aura covered the ground and multiple skeletons began to rise from out of the ground. They surrounded me and I slashed through each one that stood in my way. I leaped forward into the air, with Lady Darkness in my sight, just standing there with her head down.

I went in for the kill, but I was suddenly stopped mid-slice. I spotted green chains wrapping themselves around my arms and legs; they grew tighter the more I struggled. To my surprise, Lady Light was the conjurer.

“So naïve.” Lady Light said as she commanded the chains to lower me to the ground.

“What are you doing?! Aren’t you supposed to be helping us; since when does light side with darkness?”

She stood quietly then slowly started to approach me.

“The last time I helped someone, I got bullets fired at me and a blade shoved in my back. That day, I gave up on humanity. Even when given a clear path of light, you-Gifted and Mortals-still decide to take a shortcut through the path of darkness. Murder, greed, lust for power... betrayal; these are the main causes of your upcoming destruction. Lady Darkness speaks the truth. If you don’t submit, the destruction of Veritas will only be worse.”

“So that’s it; you’re just going to side with her and kill your own kind for the crime of one person?”

“One, you say? No, no... my betrayal runs deeper than you could ever imagine. Many believe my death was the result of a random act of violence, but I assure you the attack was well planned out.”

“Well, what do you want? What can I do to make it right?”

She stood in silence for a moment.

“You’re willing to do whatever it takes?”

I thought it over for a moment, then nodded.

“Fine...let’s make a deal. If you can find my killer and put an end to their life, I won’t take part during doomsday. Survival isn’t guaranteed, but at least I’m giving you what I was denied: the chance to live another day.”

“You want me to get revenge for you, and all I get is a greater chance of survival? This deal is one-sided.”

“Is that a problem?”

I sighed, out of frustration.

“I don’t really have a choice, do I?”

“Wrong... You always have a choice, whether you decide to take it or not, is your decision. I’ll be seeing you soon, James.”

Lady Light vanished without a trace, along with the chains around my arms and legs that kept me bound to the ground. Lady Darkness stood at my side; her body covered with a purple aura.

“Well, well... isn’t that quite the surprise. You actually managed to stir a little conflict into our original plan. Fortunately, for you, Lady Light is more forgiving than I am; she’s given up on everything, but she still believes in you for some reason. She may change her mind in the end; I’m prepared for that possibility. All it takes is one of us to set the destruction in motion. Remember this night well and cherish your final days; darkness will soon consume you all.”

Without warning, I felt the ground underneath me start crumbling away. I tightly gripped the hilt of my sword as I pierced it into the dirt. The vanishing surface left me hanging. I took a look down below me and could see an army of skeletons crawling out of a spiral of darkness. They were piling on top of each other, slowly creeping closer to me until I finally felt their bony hands grabbing ahold of my body.

Lady Darkness revealed her heels from underneath her robe and dug the heel into my right hand, forcing me to have to support myself with only my left. I hung on for as long as I could, enduring the pain in my hand and the overwhelming weight of the skeletons attempting to pull me into oblivion.

She raised her leg slowly with a sinister chuckle.

“Farewell, James. We’ll be seeing you real soon.”

“Wait, no!”

She swung her leg swiftly. The weight of her foot was almost too much to bear as it smashed into my face; I instantly lost my grip on my sword. I clawed at the ground, desperately trying to keep myself from falling, but the skeletons overpowered me and pulled me down into the deep dark depths of nowhere. I plummeted into a mountain of bones, which seemed to be the only thing in sight.

Everything was quiet. I was surrounded by darkness; alone and helpless, with only my remaining positive thoughts to keep me sane. If I don’t prevent doomsday, Veritas, and the rest of the world, will fall into the same state.

A light suddenly appeared in the distance; without a second thought, I respond to it.

I struggled to stand as the mass amount of bones shift underneath my feet. I rushed towards the light, constantly stumbling over broken limbs and shattered skulls. The light seemed to get brighter with each passing second. Just as I see myself about to make contact, I suddenly feel weightless with nothing but air underneath me, and I start to fall downward.

Aside from the air rushing through my hair and into my ears, I could hear my name being bounced around in the darkness, like an echo.

James...James....James... and then the light consumed me.

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