Aeon 7: An Unexpected Burst
Jove had a little time on Saturday to read the next few sections of Aeon. He had skimmed the index and this chapter caught his eye. He made a point of getting at least that far.
The story had some interesting parts. Wyatt, the mentor character, had deliberately antagonized James in an attempt to get him to burst. Well, â€˜become activeâ€™, the story didnâ€™t use the word burst. What drew Jove into the story was the relationship between James and his childhood friend Leon. Leon was a negator, like a null, and it was implied that Leon had prevented James from using magic. Jove was reminded of his father and wondered if they both hid each other. Jove wondered if his father would blame him, as James blamed Leon in installments two and three, and if that would turn to forgiveness, as it did in installments four and five.
Aeon 6: The Surrounding Darkness described a failed attempt to get James to become Aeon. It ended with James, Wyatt and Leon being sucked into the magic world. There they were surrounded by magic eating shadow demons that bore an odd resemblance to the plot Jove had planned for his Lucid game on Tuesday. That lead into this chapter, where Jove hoped James would finally become Aeon.
Wyatt was not discouraged by the previous disaster. His barrier held the shadow creatures at bay and the bat seemed oddly confident despite the cracks that had started to appear. He stood over a small cooking fire and tasted a stew he was preparing. â€œItâ€™s almost ready.â€
James asked, â€œWill that help me ignite my spark?â€
Wyatt nodded, â€œYou canâ€™t bring out your magic if youâ€™re too weak to stand. This is just dinner.â€ He shrugged, â€œWeâ€™ll all need it if you awaken. Otherwise, it wonâ€™t make much of a difference.â€
Leon seemed the least confident. The leopard still blamed himself for the previous barrier falling. â€œTell me again what these things are.â€ Nervously the leopard gripped the hilt of Zanipolo, his rapier, and drew comfort from the dangerous magic within.
The bat sighed. â€œYouâ€™re a neg. You suppress magic, but it comes back. The shadows are thaumavores. They devour magic and it does not come back. Only Aeon, the destined warrior, can revive magic they have eaten.â€
â€œAnd Iâ€™m supposed to be Aeon,â€ James said. â€œOnly Aeon was supposed to be here in the sixties, when it would have been possible to stop this war.â€
â€œYes.â€ Wyatt started to dish up bowls of food. â€œI know you are worried, but the fact they are here before your magic is active proves you are the chosen one.â€
James rolled his eyes. â€œJust like the fact Leon took fencing in college proves heâ€™s my protector? Or that my awakening hinges on his belief in magic?â€
With a grunt, Leon got to his feet and started walking towards the barrier. Tears filled his eyes but refused to flow. â€œYouâ€™re here because of me. I ruined your life.â€ He waited until James started to object and cut the fox off. â€œYou need to be in a â€˜heightened emotional stateâ€™ in order to become active. The situations weâ€™ve made arenâ€™t real and you know that. We have real danger though.â€ He paused in front of the barrier. â€œYouâ€™re my best friend. Iâ€™ve been suppressing your magic for years. Youâ€™re here because of me.â€ He drew the rapier and drew a semicircle in front of himself with the blade. In response, the translucent spotted armor James saw earlier reappeared.
â€œLeon, what are you?â€
The leopard stepped forward, the armor sliding through the barrier like it wasnâ€™t there. Several of the shadows stopped their relentless assault and took note of something close enough to sense. Leon readied his blade. â€œCome on then.â€
James tried to push through the barrier, to reach his friend, but was held back. He watched, helpless, as a tide of shadowy claws and nightmare images met a whirlwind of shinning steel. His shouts could not reach out and the sickening noise of steel hitting flesh could not reach in. James sunk to his knees and watched the silent battle. His friend fighting with his childhood fears.
One shadow towered over the others. A giant sized hand swept through the fray, tossing the lesser shadows aside and knocking Leon a dozen feet to the side. It leaned forward and howled at the leopard with a crimson maw and cracked orange teeth. James knew that shadow. He saw it once in a forgotten dream. It…
James was on his feet again and pounded at the barrier. â€œWyatt, drop the barrier!â€
â€œYou canâ€™t save-â€
â€œDrop the barrier!â€ There was no hesitation or doubt in the order.
Suddenly the noises of outside returned and the barrier fell. James stumbled forward. â€œHey, you!â€ He shouted at the large shadow. â€œItâ€™s me you want! Iâ€™m here!â€
Leon struggled to stand. â€œJames, what are you doing?â€
â€œLeon, it wasnâ€™t your fault.â€ Funny, he was supposed to be panicking so that his magic would awaken, instead there was only clarity. He smiled back at Wyatt, â€œI can restore what these things eat, right?â€ Not waiting for an answer, he walked forward, arms outstretched in acceptance of his fate.
A black bolt of silence lashed past James to strike the big shadow. â€œGet out of there. You canâ€™t activate if your dead!â€
The beast snarled and the other shadows swarmed towards the the bat. They were met by the blades of silence that James saw him wield before. Leon tried to make his way to James, but his legs refused to run.
The large shadow reared back. James closed his eyes. There was the fear. The slight concern that he might be wrong. â€œSeems the only way out is through.â€
With a loud crash the shadow engulfed the fox with one bite. Leon dropped to the ground, only the magic of the sword held him up. Wyatt paused just a moment to take in what occurred and that hesitation was enough for a shadow to rake claws down his back.
The large shadow laughed a hideous dark laugh. â€œYou are doomed.â€
It howled again. Although, this time the light inside itâ€™s mouth was white. Wyatt dropped one of his spell blades, stunned. â€œThe same shadow,â€ was all he said.
It reached back to crush the bat, but it never got the chance to strike. A small patch of blinding white light erupted from itâ€™s shoulder. A voice seemed to come from the patch. â€œI knew it was you.â€ It snarled in pain. A second patch burst from its chest. â€œMost awakenings come from fear or pain.â€ A third. â€œThis is my heightened emotion.â€ A fourth. â€œResolution.â€ Frantically, it tried to hold the light in as it started to come apart. â€œDetermination.â€ The other shadows had begun to cower in fear, confused by what they saw. â€œMy magic.â€ More and more light erupted. â€œLost to time.â€ The creature was terrified and uncertain. James felt sorry for it for a moment. Just a moment. â€œI want it back.â€
A flare of pure white light consumed the large shadow creature. The smaller ones fled back into the shadows of the magic world. The light formed into a ball and descended slowly. James stepped onto the ground as it vanished.
Mouth agape, Leon stared at James. James looked at himself, to find a fourteen-year-old fox instead of the middle-aged man he expected. â€œWhat, what does this mean?â€
Wyatt blinked and fought back a laugh. He guessed, â€œThe prophecy wasnâ€™t completely wrong?â€<< TS41: Seconds || TS42: Primal Burst >>