Dale and Feng finally reached the northern gate after racing back to the city at full speed. Immediately upon entering, Dale could tell that something was wrong. The guards standing at the gate were shifting about, nervously. Passerby’s walked quickly by, not talking. Dale glanced around, subtly bothered by something that he couldn’t quite place. The fading sunlight beat down on his head as he looked around vaguely.
“Ah!” Dale said, finally noticing. Previously, when he entered the city, he could hear the laughter of kids, running back and forth. Everything was silent now, as if a great dark silence had blanketed the city, forcing out cheer and mirth.
Dale and Feng quickly made their way towards the Main School, blending in with the crowd and avoiding talking to people. Feng looked around curiously, wondering what could possibly have happened, to cause such a change so quickly. As Dale and Feng walked by a large square, they saw a small crowd gathered towards the center, with a crier standing in the middle.
The duo walked towards the crowd, listening to what the crier said.
“-thank you! Again, all citizens are reminded to stay indoors! A large force of monsters from the dead lands has broken through defenses, and is progressing towards Cordanna. However, be aware that we are perfectly safe here, as long as you stay put. Legion, the elite knight fighting force, has gathered, and will man the walls. All citizens, please stay indoors, and do not attempt anything dangerous. The enemy forces will arrive here tomorrow, thank yo-“ The cried droned on, repeating what he said earlier for the newer people still arriving in the square.
“Must be a sucky job, having to repeat what the Lords tell you on corners.” Feng observed, not really helping the situation at hand.
Dale smiled at Feng. Recently, Dale had started feeling much better. He wouldn’t say he had come to terms completely with his newfound knowledge, per se. But, especially after corresponding and writing to his grandpa, Dale would say he had a good grasp of himself. He wouldn’t break down like he did last time, not again.
“You’re not wrong. Imagine just standing there for hours, doing nothing but read or write. Sounds pretty boring.” The boys moved past the square, nearly arriving at the Main School. As they arrived at the front gate, they saw a vast hubbub of students, making their way back and forth. Some were trying to leave, others trying to enter, and a large crowd had formed.
Dale recalled that one of the schools large-scale branch tournaments had been planned for a few days from now. While neither Dale nor Feng were participating, many of the other students who obsessed over their spot in the rankings were. As a result, the school was packed in with many visiting students, as well as regulars.
Dale and Feng elbowed their way through the crowd, moving past the frantic practitioners. They made their way back to their dorm, retiring to their rooms. As Dale closed his still broken door, he noticed a small slip of paper on his desk. He flipped it over, reading,
“Come see me ~Lem”
Dale flipped it over again, looking to see if he missed anything. He couldn’t think of any reason Instructor Lem would want to see him, and assumed it must be because of the force of monsters coming from the Deadlands. Dale quickly changed his clothes, getting out of the sweaty and dirt stained outfit he wore fishing. He walked past Fengs room, looking to see if he was inside. Feng, however, wasn’t inside either. Dale shrugged, wondering where he went off too, and walked outside. A sense of urgency still filled the air, as he walked past clutches of scared students. The majority of student cultivators were eager, and ready to help defend the city. They didn’t really expect any large-scale force to pose a threat, especially now that Legion was in the city. Dale agreed with these students’ opinions. After all, it wouldn’t be incorrect to call Legion the main army of the entire Kingdom of Morn. If therein arose a situation they couldn’t handle, well, it’s best not to think of that, Dale thought with a sigh.
Dale arrived at his teachers small home, and knocked on the front door. Instructor Lem came out to greet him, a worried look on his face.
“Quickly, come in!” he said, closing the door behind Dale. He had a nervous air about him, and kept glancing back and forth.
Dale looked at his instructor, saying, “Is this about the force of monsters that’s coming to attack Cordonna?”
“What? No, nothing to do with that.” Instructor Lem smiled, though a strain of stress was still visible, “I’ve been doing some research on bloodlines, after you told me about the events of your past, and those strange pools of power you have.” Instructor Lem pulled out an old looking historical scroll.
“According to this scroll, Divine Characteristic’s – Study of familial relations and heredity – by Itzwo Sanderson, the pool of energy you described is exactly what Lords Bloodline users have. Your friend Feng must have one as well, though it would be difficult to sense into before the Gold Core level. I’m not certain why you can sense yours yet however, and I can’t explain why you have two pools of energy. From your rapid progress, I can only assume that you have two Lords Bloodlines. One in Aura, and one in Time.” Instructor Lem started to become more agitated, his hair swinging back and forth as he motioned.
“However. It is impossible to inherit more than one Lords Bloodline. According to the research I’ve done, and I am fairly confident on this, Lords Bloodlines can only be inherited respective to gender of offspring. Therefore, you inherited your fathers bloodline, which is reasonably plausible. And somehow, you have an Aura Lords Bloodline as well.” He kept glancing at Dale, and then away.
“I’m afraid there is only one possibility. Certain types of creatures are born with Innate Lords Bloodlines. These include Dragons, Phoenixes, Titans, Mermaids, Faries, several types of Fire Lizards, Corridor Worms, Plasma Wyverns, and many more.” He began, seeming to calm down as he went into teaching mode.
“However, after cross referencing unique characteristics, and your specific Aura type, I came to a result of only one possible creature for you Dale.” He continued.
“You are a Titan.”
“What?!” Dale said, going into shock. He had a deep trust for his Instructor, and accepted his words as fact, but his body refused to believe them.
“A Titan? Sir, aren’t Titans supposed to be gargantuan behemoths? I, I’m not even average height!!” It was true, Dale was a little short for a 10 year old.
“In that, I’m not a hundred percent certain either,” Instructor Lem said, shaking his head, “Titans aren’t born on the massive scale that they can transform to. Titans have a unique body that can transform without having to train their soul to a massive extent. They are born with ridiculously powerful strength and regenerative abilities. It is know, however, that Titans have a certain Infancy period, and will only awaken to their true strength after their body finishes growing or reaches the Golden Core stage.” Instructor Lem tapped on the scroll he was holding, indicating his knowledge source.
“I wager that when you grow old enough, or reach the Golden Core level in cultivation, your body will awaken, and you will hopefully gain control over your powers. Your mother must have been a Titan, or a partial Titan, in order for you to have inherited her ability. Titans are born with Innate Aura Lords Bloodlines, and this is always passed on, regardless of the gender of the child.”
“It’s just a hypothesis at the moment, but I believe further training will result in you finding out on your own.” Instructor Lem began nodding, confirming to himself. All of a sudden, his eyes blazed, and he looked at Dale intently.
“Dale you must never let anyone know that you are a half Titan, if you can help it. In era’s long gone, history tells of days where Titans slaughtered mankind, and were regarded as monsters. To this day, whenever a Titan is reported, cultivators from all 6 habitated continents are informed, and will go out of their way to kill them.”
Dale nodded, still in shock about this revelation. He wasn’t sure if he believed Instructor Lem, it was a bit farfetched. Him, a Titan? It couldn’t be true. He lived as a human his entire life, he was certain he was human. But how else did he explain the massive pool of energy, swirling in his body, giving off a majestic and terrible Aura.
“Instructor, I think I need a moment to think, if you don’t mind.” Dale walked out, not hearing what he said, his mind in a daze.
“What does it mean to be human?” Dale said under his breath, as he walked through campus. “I don’t know! Argh! I can’t be a Titan, right? Titans are giant monsters, and I’ve been a human all my life. I-I just don’t know.” He struggled, controlling his emotions as best he could. Dale was already unsteady because of the emotional trauma of his past, and now added on to it, he was told he wasn’t even human. His current state was nearing collapse. Tears formed in the corners of his eyes.
Suddenly, out of the blue, Feng tackled Dale, completely disregarding the somberness of the moment, “WOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Whats up Daaaaale?” yelled Feng, as he ran into Dale.
Dale looked up at him from the ground, completely taken by surprise. Then he started laughing, uncontrollably. Tears streamed down his face, as he laughed so hard he cried. All of his pain, and worry, and confusion, he laughed it away, sitting there on the floor looking at Feng.
Feng stared back at him in consternation, not sure what was going on.
“Uhh, you alright bro?” Feng said, slightly miffed. He felt like Dale was laughing at him.
“Ye-ye-yes. Ahaha. I’m good Feng!” Dale smiled at him cheerfully, “What about you?”
“Yep, yep, solid here. Principal Warren wanted me so he could tell me practice with him was cancelled for the week. Did you know he’s a member of Legion? Apparently, they’re going to exterminate that monster group that’s nearing the city.” Feng talked excitedly, quickly forgetting about his ire. He seemed more excited about not having practice then he did about the upcoming battle.
“I hope we get to see the fight! It’ll be so cool! Legion is the most powerful force our kingdom has, those monsters won’t stand a chance!” Dale said, energetically.
Southeast of the Capital, 12 hours away
Fire crackled in the air, burning in several nearby houses. Grunts and screams echoed in the fading evening light. Beastly warriors walked to and fro, gathering up food and weapons, while shades directed others to clean up, or set camp. The howls of thousands of Attributed Beasts sounded, as they crawled through the outskirts of the town.
Wrath lay crouched, silently brooding in the open square of the town. His ruby eyes rested on a large crystal, embedded in the ground.
“Hmm, thisssss rock is notttt from this landdd.” Wrath muttered to himself, staring at it. When Wrath and his army arrived at the town, it had already been sacked and destroyed. Large chunks of the town had simply disappeared, and Wrath assumed it had been the large Space dragon that one of his brethren had sighted. He sincerely hoped they didn’t have to fight it, as fighting any of the Upper Dragons was a royal pain.
Dragons are split into two main classes. Upper Dragons and Lower Dragons. Upper Dragons were practioners of Time, Aura, Life, or Space. Lower Dragons used Fire, Ice, Sky, and Earth. Upper Dragons used mysterious techniques, and were much more difficult to deal with than Lower Dragons.
A shade walked up to Wrath, it’s proud demeanor sharpening the darkness in the area. Wrath looked at it for a moment, and then released part of his Aura. The shade trembled, falling to its knees, rapidly bowing, and pulling back its own aura. The light returned to normal.
“Whatttt is itt?” asked Wrath, curious.
“Great Lord. The humans have retreated to their capital city, and are awaiting us. May I suggest we circumvent the Capital, and continue attacking various settlements, forcing them to retaliate and giving our position a-“
“No. We attack tomorrow, when we arrive. We must take the city.” Wrath shook his head, causing the wind in the area to swirl rapidly. The shades and various monsters didn’t know about the real mission behind this excursion. Their real goal was to grab the Fire Lord kid, and bring him back alive. Any other result would cause Wrath eternal pain.
Wrath returning to his lumbering rest, observing the odd crystal formations that covered part of the ground. The shade departed, returning to its brethren. Howls claimed the night, as darkness won its fight against daylight, and reigned supreme.
Dale woke up feeling refreshed, not a worry in the world. After talking with Feng last night, he had come to the conclusion that he would deal with discovering his race when he grew older. Right now, he just focused on his training. Dale slowly meditated, running energy through his veins, and finding himself an inner peace and calmness.
Suddenly, and at this point predictably, Feng barged in, moving past Dales broken door. Dale looked up, as Feng entered.
“Morning Dale! Ready for breakfast?” Feng said, a huge smile on his face.
“Yeah! Food is good!” Dale agreed. Who doesn’t like food? He thought, simplemindedly. Everything in the world seemed so much more understandable now. The boys made their way to one of the mess halls.
“Heeyo!” called a familiar voice, as they walked out of their dorm. Kyle was standing off to the side, with the ever-present Jerome at his side. “How are you lads holding up?” They joined them, walking towards one of the student mess halls. It was mid morning, nearing noon, a bit late for breakfast, but not too big a deal.
The boys walked in to one of the halls, grabbing food off the side. Dale grabbed his regular biscuits with jelly, and a slice of ham. Feng grabbed a huge chunk of what looked like pure meat.
As they munched their way through a well deserved meal, Kyle began talking to them.
“So, are you guys going to watch Legion man the walls?” he said, gesturing with his fork, “Because if you are, I have a great spot ya’ll can join Jerome and I at.”
Jerome nodded, eating his meal of biscuits and gravy quietly.
“You see, I’m friends with one of the tower guards, and he agreed to let us on the wall, a minute after the battle starts. It’ll be at the southeastern gate, the one east of the Relent Inn. You know it?” he continued.
Dale nodded. It was the same gate they had entered the city through.
“Good! You guys are free to join us, just walk up the stairs and look confident. If anyone asks any questions, say you’re hear to help Kyle!” Kyle stood up, nodding at the duo. Jerome obediently followed him, as Kyle left, waving back at them.
Feng started talking the moment they left, “That Jerome guy is always so quiet.” Dale shrugged.
“Anyways, dude this is great! We get front row seats to see Legion fight against a small force of monsters! Won’t that be awesome!?” Fengs eyes were shining, imagining future glories.
Dale nodded, agreeing. He was looking forward to seeing what this kingdoms true power really was.
Suddenly, a bell rang out, starting an ominous clanging, and a voice yelled,
“MONSTERS SIGHTED TO THE SOUTH! MAN THE GATES! THE SOUTH, THE SOUTH!”
A louder voice joined him,
“LEGION TO YOUR POSITIONS!"
"WE ARE UNDER ATTACK!”