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The Heirborn’s Destiny

The End, The Beginning, and Everything In Between

By Victoria CagePublished 10 months ago Updated 7 months ago 9 min read
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[This is a short fantasy/sci-if concept, there is no continuation afterwards. It is an idea that I briefly explored in one sit-down writing sesh.]

Behind him lay a thousand knights of the Ruby Army, slaughtered like lambs. Since their births, they had been given a sword to serve the Royals, and they died holding those same blades. For him, they were torn limb from limb. For the Crown. The stench of fresh carcass filled his nostrils. He had to swallow hard to keep from gagging at the wetness he felt on his skin. He couldn’t think of his journey with them, or the friends he had made among the soldiers. It was always going to come to this. They knew it. The Crown knew it. He knew it.

His bones ached from trembling so hard and a migraine wracked his brain from the smell of death. Squeezing the last of the tears out of his eyes, he opened them. In front of him lay something worse than the rotting men behind him. The cavern twisted and narrowed into one point. It was as if a giant poked his finger through the cave and swirled it around. Even the “fangs”, as he called it, that hung from the tops of the cavern jutted out from the ground in certain points, as if it truly had been swirled. In the center was a perfect circle of white light. It was silent; ice had formed around it, turning the cavern fangs into icicles. He could feel the cold from where he stood, although there was no breeze.

“Well—boy?”

He didn’t turn in the voice’s direction. Its pinchers, wide enough to rip a man’s head off, clicked together as it spoke, using the Captain’s voice. It breathed heavily and shifted on its back in the carnage. It wasn’t the only one the men had faced, but it was the last to die. And dying, it was; the stench of their kind was stronger than his. They had entered their world without warning, wiping cities clean off the realm. No one, not even the Magic Council had known where they came from. But once his “talent” was discovered, they sent him and thousands of men to find the source of the creatures. But as he stood there, staring at what they had been searching for for so long, he could do nothing but quiver in fear and long for his mother.

“You’re here now—Heir Born. After so—so long.” The deep, raspy mimic of the Captain continued. “What is your plan now?”

He was afraid of the creature as much as he was to speak. They prayed on fear and twisted your mind. As much as he’d like to move away from it, that would mean stepping closer to the bright light. He stayed put; his eyes held the white circle as if it would disappear if he blinked.

“Do you know what is beyond that light, boy?” It cackled and gurgled at the same time, choking on its own fluids. He heard it flail and twist around in the bloody cavern floor for many heart beats before it stilled. At first, he thought it had finally died, but it came back in whispers, “you will be turned inside out if you step through—there.” It coughed and spit something out with loud rasps, giggling through the fits with its clicking pinchers. “I wonder how you taste...similar to your mother, I suppose.”

He flinched and nearly turned, but abruptly stopped himself.

Excitement raced through it at his reaction. “Yes. We all share the same memory, boy. Heir Born. I remember her fondly.” It heaved a wet breath and spit. “Didn’t fight back, that one. Stalled us for her offspring. Her little boy.” It squealed a cackle filled with what sounded like mucus. “Blue eyes. Pretty eyes. Tasty eyes.” It started the chant rasping and coughing.

He turned to face it in one smooth motion, watery eyes narrowed in focus and the cackling stopped in surprise. It lay on its long, snake-like back with its many broken legs squirming in the air and its swollen, leaking green eyes watching him upside down. Thick black pinchers like a spiders’ were covered in red and twitched as it breathed. A long, green gash slashed through the entirety of its snake body, exposing its organs. Captain Dread did that to it.

It resumed its laughing, its insides pulsing. “You have her eyes. Blue eyes—” It cut off in a throat ripping scream, its back bending upwards while its legs flailed.

He felt heat roll off himself in waves while he focused on killing it. With a swift twerk of his head, it twisted in half and splayed its entrails across the rocky walls. The heat died away slowly and he realized what he had done. The silence he created was worse than the taunting before. He turned away before he could lose himself in the carnage and stared forward. If he found nothing beyond the cavern, men would have died for nothing. But if he found the nest, there would only be one thing left to do.

His thin fingers wrapped around the ring that was looped through a leather strand, hanging from his neck. His thumb rubbed the crystal embedded into it, but it didn’t bring him comfort this time. Straightening his shoulders, chin held high, he took his first wobbly step forward. A memory slashed through his vision of a brown haired woman smiling lightly and wrapping bandages around his palms, saying, “tell your father I would like to speak with him. He knows not to take you out to the horses yet!”

He took another step. A bearded man with rippling muscles, and a white scar across his cheek frowned at him, a faded leather book gripped firmly in his fist. “Boy, you know we do not have nearly enough to pay for books. I did not know I raised a thief.”

He stumbled on the third. A big, plump boy clothed in lace and fine silks gasped in horror as he was thrown back by an invisible force and tripped over a well. He tumbled over backwards with a squeaky scream. A crowd had gathered, stumbling over each other in order to get away from him.

A shaky whimper escaped his lips with the fourth. A council sat around him in high, black chairs. A circular symbol made of gold was etched onto the floor: a ring surrounding two feathered wings with a lightning strike cut through them. They all had different faces, the council, whether it be thin, dark, or pointy, but they all wore the same expression of judgement. The man seated in the middle folded his hands together and looked down at him with black eyes.

“Hunt the ones that kill us. Save our kind. That is what you were made for.” He remembered the Master’s words all too well. This is what he was made for. Pulling the heat into him once more, he sprinted toward the circle of light. A scream erupted from his throat as he felt the cavern crumble under his power behind him. Chunks of the ceiling—the fangs as well—collapse into the rocky floor below, erupting in stones and dust. Wiping tears out of his blurry vision, the Heir Born ran into the burning white light.

He was weightless, nothingness in the blank void. He wasn’t certain he was still running or even alive. But he pushed forward, sobbing.

It seemed as if someone had snuffed out the candle, because suddenly the white was gone and he was surrounded by black. He blinked to clear the spots from his vision but they didn’t go away, even when his eyes adjusted to the dark. It was cold here, but it was a metallic cold. His boots touched steel, he believed, but he couldn’t be sure.

A sliver of green light opened in front of him, then widened slowly into a rectangle. A dark skinned girl stood in the doorway, a year or two older than him. Her brown eyes were wide and she held one of her metal arms in front of her as if it were a weapon. Wild black hair was pulled poorly into pigtails and she was dressed in the oddest outfit; a sleeveless white suit and cape with a high silver collar that reminded him of the arch duke’s. Silver trimmed her skin tight pants and boots.

A realization that she must be a royal came to him. He kneeled and placed a hand over his heart.

She looked startled, even more than she had been, and took a nervous glance behind her shoulder. She muttered something he didn’t catch under her breath and turned to him. “Iri loi deeligo?”

He blinked at her in confusion, “Apologizes, High One, but I do not understand.”

She reached for a gold collar around her neck and pressed a button. “Did you come from there?”

He followed her gaze to an empty circle outline slowly spinning in the center of the dark platform he kneeled on. Hesitantly, he nodded.

“Stand.” She beckoned him quickly.

He did as she commanded, “High One, I do not know where I am or if I’m in the same realm at all.”

“Don’t call me that.” Her thin eyebrows arched into a frown. “I’m Maraline, or Em for short. And you have just landed in the thick of the Nasties.”

“The—What?”

“The Nasties.” She raised her metallic hands to form pretend pinchers. “That’s why you came from there, right? To kill them?”

He nodded and bit his tongue before he could say ‘High One.’ As his eyes trailed down, he noticed a black coat and helmet she had in her other arm. She noticed his stare. “Take off your bloodied shirt and put this on. I’ll get you out of here.” Before he could reach for it she leaned back, her eyes flashing a hint of red. “You are sworn to kill them?”

“It is what I was made for.” He held her stare and hoped his tears from before didn’t stain his face.

“Then welcome to the Last of Us, the universe’s army of survivors hell bent on killing Nasties.” She flashed a toothy grin. “Stick with me and maybe we’ll get to see the end of this.”

science fiction
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About the Creator

Victoria Cage

I’ve been a storyteller for as long as I can remember. Every chance I could get I was either writing, drawing, or telling anyone who’d listen my stories. Throughout high school I self published three books on Amazon. Enjoy my short stories!

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