Chapter 2—Chaos and the Portal
1023 A.D. Truce Canyon
When Kain regained consciousness, several things popped into his mind at once. One was the fact that he was standing, even though he felt like he’d been asleep. The second was that he was in the middle of a canyon. The third was that there were soldiers ten feet away from him, brandishing swords, crosswbows, and axes.
“Huh?!!” Kain felt his legs try to go out from under him, but he got a grip on his mind and kept standing. “Wha…where am I?”
He looked down and was shocked to his very core. Four hideously mutilated corpses, soldiers from what was left of the uniform, lay before him on the ground. Then Kain noticed that he was holding out his sword—and that it was covered with blood and gore.
“What’s going on here?!” Kain had to clutch his stomach to keep from retching.
“You tell us, boy!!” shouted one of the officers, the leader, judging from the stripes on his uniform. “You…the son of the King of Guardia…just killed four of our own soldiers. Are you mad?!”
“What are you talking about? I haven’t done anything! I was just in Lacan’s classroom, and…now I’m here! I didn’t kill these four men!”
“He truly is mad!” said the commander. “You were reported by the students in the Truce School of Combat. You killed your teacher, Lacan, and you fled into this canyon, and when we tried to arrest you, you assaulted those four—“
“But…I didn’t!! Wait…what did you say?”
“Enough of this…let’s detain him,” said one of the officers to the commander.
”Did you just say…Lacan is dead?!”
The commander stared at him. “Yes! You killed him!! You slit his throat with your sword, as he lay helpless on the ground!”
“Don’t you think that if I killed him I’d remember it! This is obviously a trick! I’ve been drugged! If a single one of you is loyal to Guardia…” he looked at the squad of twenty men, “Then leave here and report to my father, the King, and tell him of this treachery which they are trying to use against me—“
“The King was the one who ordered us to go out here and get you. He wants you detained, so we can figure out what made you do these horrors. This is no trick. The only treachery performed here was by you.”
Kain was speechless. This was impossible! One second, he was in the School of Combat, the next he was in Truce Canyon, alleged with killing his master and assaulting his father’s own personal guard?
“Tell me, then…what possible motive would I have for doing such things?”
“Insanity,” replied the commander without pause. “Alright, enough of this talk. If you do not put down your sword and come to us, Kain, I will order this man to put a bolt in your right arm. He is a very good shot. I would not suggest resisting.”
Kain stared at the soldiers, his mind telling him that all this could not possibly be happening, but his eyes and ears telling him differently. He couldn’t do anything; His back was to the canyon walls, and there was no way he could get past twenty soldiers unharmed. He had no magical power, like his father’s.
Blinking the tears from his eyes, he began to put down his sword. Then, a scream from one of the soldiers: “He’s summoning magic!! Kill him!”
The commander cried, “Wait!”, but the soldiers were frightened into action.
Kain had no idea what they were talking about; he was doing nothing. He saw the soldier by the commander raise his crossbow. Time seemed to be at a standstill. Kain lept out of the way, he heard the ‘thwing’ of a crossbow shot, a half-second later he felt a great rending pain in his shoulder and went down onto the ground with a cry of agony.
“You idiots!! Don’t shoot him! DON’T SHOOT!!”
But the soldiers were not listening. Another crossbow bolt plunked into the ground right by Kain’s head. He scrambled to his feet, and then it was that he saw what the soldiers had been talking about.
It appeared to be a circle cut out of the very air in the canyon. Streaks of blue lightning flashed inside a black void. It hovered two feet above the canyon floor and did not waver. It had a very uncanny feel to it, but Kain had seen the magic of Lucca, as well as his parents’. This didn’t feel like magic. Kain felt as if it was somehow pulling him to it, pulling his heartstrings and whispering in his ear, ‘Come to me.’
He looked back around, ducked as another crossbow bolt flew at him, saw it go into the unearthly circle. He neither saw nor heard the bolt hit anything on the opposite side of the portal—for that was what he now knew the thing to be. A portal—a Gate. The same kind of Gate that had transported his parents into time, seventeen years ago.
He knew now that he had no other choice. He could either stay here, and be shot, or jump into the portal, and be sent to the unknown. For a moment, his heart wavered, but then he remembered a part of one of his poems. A poem called Chaos.
‘If I ever were to have a choice
Between two fates, death and a journey beyond death
What would I choose?
Chaos or a greater, infinite, unknown chaos?
But, there can only be one answer.
Through Chaos will I go, to a journey beyond death!’
Kain sheathed his sword, looked into the eyes of the soldiers, looked into the eyes of the commander. Then, turning his back and running towards the portal, he cried: “Through Chaos will I go, to a journey beyond death!”
As he jumped into the portal, the only feeling he had was one of a strange non-gravity. He span backwards to look back at Truce Canyon, which now was only a circular picture on the wall of this great black tunnel. He saw a soldier shoot a final crossbow bolt. The arrow flew into the portal, straight at Kain—but then slowed to a stop and drifted along in the anti-space.
Kain looked into the eyes of the commander once more, as Truce Canyon, and everything he had known to be reality, drifted away.
Then, once again, he fell into darkness.
To Chapter Three
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