The End of Two Worlds
By Chris Cohron
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The moonlit skies lit up the green plains of Etherosia to a brightness that could make the colorblind think it were daylight, but luckily nobody present was. The various budding flowers and massive oak trees blew in the wind and echoed the sounds of the spring night, the various beast that inhabited the place sending their calls out in to nature's soundtrack. Things were tranquil, as they always were before the end.
Jess had been wandering around town now for about an hour, and still he couldn't figure out where to go. He had been looking for the church for some time now, but every attempt to find the place of worship led him to places where prayer wasn't heard. Ellan'Vyr was a rather large city, maybe the largest in the land. It housed many new people, as it was where most chose to start their lives at due to its massive population. It also had the largest shopping territories and crafting guilds, so any item could be found with almost relative ease.. for a price. Greed had long since been a driving force in the economy since materials became rare from the massive harvesting of them. It seemed almost everyone had obtained the ability to do so, making prices shoot up for those who couldn't. It was natural though, throughout history it was that those who had power where also the ones who gained power.
The main focus of the city, however, was not the economy. It was the St. Losam Church, home of the elusive Right Hand guild. The Right Hand guild, more commonly called 'Righties' by the commoners, was the most prestigious group in the land. It required massive dedication, that to which normal people could never give without great sacrifice. Some thought the sacrifice small though, for family and friends were not important enough when placed in the shadow of the Right Hand. Some had been known to leave their duties for weeks at a time if it meant joining the company of those such as Tremedor and Zylian, the two most powerful warriors the land had seen since the beginning of times. Not a single fighter walked the plains that hadn't heard of the exploits of these two, who could be seen fighting off evils at every hour. Their twin blades, Strake and Queen, had been copied and made in to swords that only members carried. They were the epitome of true to heart warriors, and their guild choice spoke this even more clearly to those who would doubt their skills without. The Right Hand was the premier group in all of Etherosia, and Jess had set his heart on finding it.
After another half hour of wandering through the busy streets Jess decided it would be best to ask directions, even if it meant swallowing his pride about being a guy who didn’t ask for them. As anyone knew, the best place for information would be the place where normal people asked, the tavern. He wandered down the main street and watched the sides for a suitable place, his hand ready to attack with his ancient sword if a sign of danger appeared. The city was safe enough, but thieves were not limited to backwater establishments. The thought of losing the emerald he had fought so long and hard for was not one he wished to experience first hand yet again. He was small for a human, but large for an elf. He was a half-breed, his parents being of both races also. He wore a black cloak which covered his iron chainmail for the most part, but it still clanked together as he bounced through the stinking streets. His boots were of Elvin make allowing his feet the best protection from elements that money could buy. They had been looted off a corpse though, so it wasn't his money that had to be given. To top off his look was his hair; long, white, and wavy. A lot of girls commented on his hair being the best in the land and had also earned his nickname amongst his friends, "Pretty Boy". Too bad none of them were there, they had all ditched on him to go to a party on the other side of town.
The first tavern he came to was a rather small one going by the name of "Blitzers and Blitzed", a bar that usually brought in fighters and thugs, not an artistic type who enjoyed casual conversation. There were no artistic types there at that moment, nor would there be which turned out to be a good thing. A preachy fighter is bad enough, no need to involve preachy poets. Jess tried to ignore the preachy fighter, and succeeded for the most part. He settled in on a bar stool and was approached by a shopkeeper as soon as he was fully off his feet.
"May I assist you with anything?" the bartender asked through natural actions. It was his job, and he did it well. As soon as the words left his mouth a menu appeared before Jess, listing all of the available products. Alcohol, food, potions, anything that would be useful to a brainless basher, save a club perhaps. Not interested in anything offered, Jess politely declined and went about his business in the other corner of the tavern, hopefully the more civilized.
"The end is coming is what I'm saying. I heard it from an inside source!" a young girl proclaimed from her crate that she was standing upon.
"Yeah, right. Keep talking like that Elysium. But a quick question. Will this be before or after the attack you said would occur on the Otra Outpost by a massive army of necros?" The guy walked off before the girl could answer his question, but chances were he didn’t really care to hear the answer anyway.
Jess walked closer in to the crowd, who had given up on listening to the girl talk for the most part. They all looked like accomplished adventurers, maybe one of them had even visited the church and could offer directions. He stepped in only to be cut off by the girl who had leaped from her crate.
"You believe me, don't you? That the world will end soon?" She looked right at him, which made him a little nervous. Girls usually didn't pay him much attention, being the silent type that he was.
"I guess it could happen..." He gave in, he just couldn't tell her no. He couldn't ever tell a girl no.
"Ha! See, I knew you were different from these barbarians!" She stuck out her tongue to the others in the room and returned her focus to Jess. "Yeah, they say the world will end by the end of the week. Everything we have worked for, all this time here, wasted. I know that I won't be happy when it happens but I guess there is no avoiding it."
"Yeah, me either." He looked over at the other guys in the room, many of whom were whispering and laughing amongst themselves now, probably at him. He suddenly felt a little insecure about asking for directions. He would at least try and save his last shred of dignity from these guys. He started to turn away but she jumped in front of him again.
"My name is Elysium Ecaep, master of Ki. I am a philosopher too, but my friends don't really like to bring that up. Might scare off new people, ya know?" Jess was already scared, this girl had nothing to worry about. He took it in stride though, at least he should be nice to her. He gave her the once over without drawing too much attention to himself. People were often picky about strangers looking at them closely. She was a half-breed like himself, only slightly smaller and younger by the look of it. She wore simple blue robes with a starry pattern embroidered within it. Her hair was long and silver with strands hanging over her pointed ears, hiding them from sight. A red ribbon graced her hair to give it the schoolgirl styling needed to pull off her cute attitude. Her eyes were what Jess noticed though, a sparkling teal that seemed to reflect everything in the room, only making things appear more beautiful than they were originally. He stopped there, realizing that if he kept this up there would be a poetic type in the room after all.
"I am Jess Nicda, a blade." He probably could have thought of a better way of presenting himself than just his job, but he was at a loss for words without his usual group. It was better that they weren't here though, they would have kept him from joining The Right Hand. It took up too much time, they would tell him. What else did he have to do though?
"Good to meet you Jess. So what brings you to Ellan'Vyr? Come to peddle your crafts like all the other people in this place?" Jess didn't answer. He knew that if he said something about the guild he would be laughed out of the place, which wasn't on his list of things to do at the moment. "Ooooo, the strong silent type... my favorite!" She suddenly threw her arms around him for a hug. If he had been nervous before then now he was petrified.
"Well, look at who we found here!"
Everyone turned to see the owner of those powerful words walk through the door, his eyes set on one person in particular. He gripped a large battle-axe in one hand and a mace in the other. He was a minotaur by the look, and the smell, of things. He stood taller than most everyone in the tavern, given that most people had already left by the time he made it halfway across the room.
"What do you want Fliz? Come to beg forgiveness for provoking me?" Elysium motioned her hands in a blur that nobody could make out, a sparkling coming from their paths now. Her pupils faded in to oblivion as she intoned in what seemed to be Elvish. Suddenly a white aura flared from her and hit the minotaur by the name of Fliz, who simply laughed as it fizzled away upon contact.
"Your little sleep aura trick won't work this time. You still owe me that amulet back, and I am not leaving without it!" He raised his weaponry in to the air and snorted his nostrils in a most uncivilized way. "Now if your neck is attached is up to you!"
Jess had been in situations like this before with his normal group. A member would be attacked by someone who could take them on with no problem. Usually they would all add together their strengths and tackle the opponent as a team. This was different though, Elysium didn't have a group and she certainly wasn't strong enough with Fliz having some sort of resistance to her powers. He knew what he had to do, and his hands moved without thinking.
"Elysium, stand back!" Jess said as he dove forward, sword drawn and enchanted already. The crowd cleared as the charging boy wielding the lightning sword mounted an attack against the minotaur. Fliz noticed the new threat and switched his mace out and used the spare hand to get a better grip on his axe. He parried just in time to avoid being a head shorter. He countered the attack with a quick bump from the handle of his axe to Jess's unprotected head, which connected and knocked him off balance.
"Jess! Heads up!" a robed figure said as he dashed through the door. He chanted in ancient tongues for a split second and fired a red bolt of energy toward Fliz, wrapping around him and paralyzing him just long enough for Jess to recover and deal a deathblow to the incapacitated brute. He crumpled to the stone floor of the tavern, his possessions spreading where his body once stood.
"Klone, nice of you come." Jess stood up and made eye contact with his newest savior and oldest friend. He picked up a bag filled with coins and threw it to Klone, who tossed it back.
"Jess, don't pay me. You started and finished the kill, I only offered an assist spell to help quicken the pace of battle. You know how I tire from watching you physical fighters brawl." He grinned and walked closer, picking up the enchanted mace from its former owner and stashing it in his bag.
Jess put the bag in with one of the newer warriors things and approached Klone, who was still going through the pile of items on the floor. "I thought you were going to that party?"
"Nah, not much of a social event for me, ya know? The others went though, probably standing on the wall like we would be if we were there. You know how things are, we social outcast aren't too fun to be around unless we are on a wall. Plus, I knew that Chelsea would ask about you when I showed up and you weren't with me." He smiled at Jess and made his way to the bar, not giving a look to anyone else as he marched.
Chelsea was the girl that had gotten away from Jess, and he hadn't ever forgotten it. He had every chance to ask her on a date but he couldn't get up the nerve to. He was already nervous around girls when it didn't involve dates, and with Chelsea it was twice as bad. He would stutter every time he spoke to her. It hurt him to think of her even to this day, but he had found his escape here. Here she didn't exist. Here.... this was where he belonged.
Klone walked back over, a goblet full of ale in his hand, and turned his attention to Elysium. "So who is this damsel in distress you attempted to save.... I mean, you did save?" He laughed, still focusing on Elysium.
"My name is Elysium, thank you." She walked away from him and closer towards Jess, who was drinking a healing potion to regain his composure. She kissed Jess on the cheek, which caused him to blush and spill a little of the potion on his robe. Klone couldn't help but laugh, but at least the laughing was coming from someone whom he knew and could pay back later.
"Well Jess, I think its time we got going. We have that.... business... to take care of. See ya around, lady." Jess knew what Klone was talking about, and he wished that he wouldn't have planned it now. Still, he was expected to be there for the rest of his friends. If he didn't show people might call him a wuss, and that was the last thing he wanted.
"Ok, Klone. I will be there in a minute." Klone bowed and left the room, which was slowly returning to normal after the fight. "Well... I guess I need to get going. It was, umm, nice to meet you Elysium." He looked in to her eyes once again, except this time he thought she noticed.
"When will I see you again?" She looked so much more calm then she was when Fliz walked in, almost a completely other person. Suddenly Jess felt he had known her longer than he had know Klone, or anyone else for that matter. He couldn't tell her he didn't know, she deserved more of an answer than that.
"Tomorrow, same time. In the Vallendale Plains. There is a flower garden with a lot of trees there... meet me then." Jess turned away from her and walked to the door where Klone was standing. The two of them walked back out in to the blistering sunlight of the bustling city, not looking back.
"Dude.... you know the rule. No dating girls you meet here. We all follow it."
"Yeah... I know."
"Good... meet me in thirty minutes."
And in a flash Klone was gone. Two seconds later Jess disappeared in the same way.
It had been a week since the brawl. Jess had gotten stronger since then, and he looked it. He had been hunting in the plains for a while now, there were many beast that would become problematic if not dealt with so he was helping society at the same time. It was important now too, he had joined the Right Hand. Klone had thought it would be best for him not to, saying it would take up too much time he could have spent with the group. He didn't really care about that though, he hadn't in a while. His life was all he really wanted, one he could live without fears and worries. This was his life, yet he didn't even have control over it either. Being a Right Hand gave meaning to his life, and that was all he needed. His hunt had lasted 11 hours now, but he didn't care. All he cared about had gone away, and the chances of it coming back had come and gone a week ago. Still, the map to the gardens had stayed in his mind even after Klone ripped it up. All this kept repeating in his head as he killed yet another beast. An endless cycle, that is what it was.
"You know, usually a guy who makes the dates has a problem with girls being late."
Jess turned around and saw her, the same one from the tavern. The same one who had been in his dreams ever since that night. It was odd for him, he hadn't ever been this.. obsessed.. about someone, especially someone who he didn't know. Elysium was there, really there, and he was speechless.
"No crafty pick-up line, no telling me how hot I must be or something like that... what's up? You are a guy, aren't you?" she looked at him with her hands on her hips as if waiting for any of the above things offered responses to be said, but Jess didn't supply them. Instead he did the only thing he knew how to do, he stood there waiting for the next move. He didn't have to wait too long. Elysium pulled Jess over and kissed him right where he stood, in the middle of the moonlit skies which lit up the green plains of Etherosia to a brightness that could make the colorblind think it were daylight, but luckily nobody present was. The various budding flowers and massive oak trees blew in the wind and echoed the sounds of the spring night, the various beast that inhabited the place sending their calls out in to nature's soundtrack. Things were tranquil, as they always were before the end.
From nowhere Klone appeared, as if he had been spying the whole time and waiting for his chance to strike. He walked forward with a ball of fire in his right hand and ice in his left, his standard combat position.
"Jess, I thought you would follow the rules. No emotional attachment... that’s the group rule. I had hopes for you." Klone threw a ball of fire, but it simply fizzed out before it hit him.
"No, I knew the rules. But they don't mean anything. There is more to life than just things like this. We aren't different, you just want us to be so that you have a reason to act the way you do." Jess threw his sword he had recieved from Klone when he first became a fighter in to the ground, impaling it almost to the hilt in to the soft grass. As he did so the earth trembled and the sword disappeared, along with everyone's weapons too.
"No! I spent all of my time on that sword..... and I wasted it by giving it to you. I should kill you now for that!" Klone's eyes flared a purple color and he started to chant. He was preparing to use his most powerful skill to kill both Jess and Elysium.
The sky started to bellow out voices in tongues that no person had heard before. The birds stopped singing, the wind stop blowing, and the moon simply disappeared. Finally the voices spoke a language which all of them knew, or rather their master's knew.
"Due to lacking player-base, this server is now closing down for its final time. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and wish every player the best of luck in finding a new server to which enjoy the game. Please note that all character names, custom weapons, and buddy list will be deleted from this server's mainframe. Again, we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.... Repeating..... Due to......."
Klone looked in to the air and cursed the voice in the air, his aura he had been building dissapating around him. "You have got to be kidding! You mean all of my work... gone?" He fell to his knees and disappeared just as the sword had.
"Well... I guess this is it." Elysium clutched Jess who returned the notion. "I have a confession... the reason I came here wasn't to just kiss you and be friends... I just wanted to see if you knew him. The one that I was supposed to know. I guess I won't be able to figure it out... I wanted to give this to him before I left. He helped me out when I first started, and gave me this from our last hunt before the war." She produced a small ring from her robe, not even enchanted but still shining with something else, some hope. Jess remembered the ring from so long ago, he had given it to one of the younger fighters so that they would have something to remember him by once the clan wars were over. He tried to speak but nothing came out, it was too late.
The two stood there, face to face while the world came to an end around them. He remembered reading it now, and then hearing it from Elysium later that day. The world really did end, in more ways than one for some people. Jess had finally found the person who made his life better, someone who gave him the power he felt when he was bashing with his friends, the courage it gave him to stand up to people like Fliz, and the heart to know right from wrong. And as the connection to the server was lost, he lost Elysium too. In the blink of an eye she was gone, almost as soon as she had appeared in front of him a week earlier. Soon he would do the same, but now he knew that his days of following Klone and the others to vandalize the other kids cars just because they felt they were better were gone. No longer would he be the guy who had to play just to feel important. Now there was a meaning. He had his own life, one where he was courageous, strong, and heroic. He didn't need his sword like Klone did. He didn't need to be a bully anymore like Fliz was. He had his own, real life, and it would start by asking out Chelsea.