Heart of Darkness

A short story independent of The Crystal Tower universe. A sole entry I hope you enjoy!

 

If mature in Darkness, then trustworthy is not,

But trust will get me nowhere…

If mature in Darkness, where there is no light,

Then guide me, you are Hope and I am blind.

 

The endless realm of Solitude.

Darkness…

Her eyes fought to find the light, the Hope she desperately needed. But the fight was futile, riddled in desperate attempts and fruitless endeavors. In the midst of that consuming dread, the harmony in her heart weakened with every heartbeat, and left it awash with sadness. A chaos that destroyed her sweet memories. Fear poisoned her essence.

In Darkness, where there is no Light, she stumbled to the ground and cried.

The salty taste of her tears was the catalyst that crumbled her desire to live. Such loneliness should not condemn any soul. The nature of such solitude was unknown to her. She knew only happiness, love. But like the shattering of glass, it all fell apart. Now, she remained in such void, where there was no past, present or future.

The girl lay, her tears never stalled, for an eternity. But after one eternity of such misery, she gave way to madness, her mind was lost, it would never come back. Her memories were gone, like burnt ashes that were swept by the wind. In the final eternity, she lost herself. She was no more.

And from the ashes that were her memories, there grew a presence. It matured in Darkness, and in Darkness remained. The Heart of Darkness awoke, the melody it was greeted brought forth an emotion it could not bear. It brought forth pain, a pain unlike any.

The presence took a step forward. “Why do you cry?” it asked in a voice that echoed, startling the lost soul.

“I no longer remember why I cry, I only remember the sorrow I feel,” the girl answered, now sitting on the ground.

The girl tried desperately to find the source of the voice, the presence that had spoken. A fear came forth, the unknown entity sat in front of the girl, seeing her features even in the dark. A most beautiful Angel sat before it.

“What are you?” the little girl asked.

“I was born from this Darkness and I heard you crying. It made my heart ache.”

“How can I trust you of you were born from that which I cannot escape?”

“Where do you want to escape?”

“I do not know.”

“Then take my hand, I am the Heart of Darkness, I am the memories you have forgotten.”

“But if you are memories, then you are no heart!”

“The heart keeps the greatest memories.”

“But you are Darkness, not Light!”

“Then trust will not be enough.”

“No,” the little girl answered.

She took the entities hand. If such memories matured in Darkness, then they were Hope.

“Is this trust?” the entity asked.

“No, you are hope, and I am blind.”

“Then I will guide you to the afterlife, and together, we can play games in paradise. You see the light?” the entity asked.

The little girl looked forward, and at a distance away, she found what she sought, she found the light.

She turned to the entity, a boy her age.

The boy smiled a sweet smile. “Your death will ache in your mother’s heart.”

The little girl smiled and nodded twice. She looked forward, and together, they walked to the Light, to play in paradise for all eternities combined.

Copyright © 2013 by Javier Duenes. All rights reserved. 

The Cover That Almost Was

I had a change of heart, I think. I know that little saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but now, I think I will, just for once, because I really am that self-conscious.

My cover has the theme simplistic going on, it’s a great cover in my opinion, since the story deals so much with Darkness, it’s hard to think of anything else getting into it, I mean the cover is black for crying out loud. But I think I can relate Darkness in other forms. I will soon change the cover of The Crystal Tower: Edelix. It will retain the theme simplistic but to a lesser extent. I love the cover I have now, but I am judging the book by its cover, and I feel a change is for the best.

But enough of the update, I want to share the cover that almost was….

TADAAAA!

            Front Cover Finalised

It started as a cool idea. That is the best I can come up with, I know sad, but I am a guy! (My defense isn’t strong! By any means!)

The idea came to fruition. And it all was rainbows and sunshine.

Until doom spelled my downfall.

I was told that the character in the cover resembles Harry Potter a little too closely. I was adamant against the similarity, I mean, Harry Potter has a wand and only uses the sword of Gryffindor in the Chamber of Secrets and The Deathly Hallows. But for crying out loud, he did use a cloak for the longest! J.K. Rowling, thanks for making Harry human and prone to cold weather!

Anyway, I couldn’t use the cover. Harry Potter is a character known worldwide, and the similarity would only assure trouble. I didn’t want to get sued, so I discarded the concept with a heavy heart. A REALLY heavy heart, I think I cried some the night I decided to rid myself of the concept.

So, I tried several other concepts, none of which enthused me in the slightest.

Then came the dream… (Ominous, I know!)

I held The Crystal Tower: Edelix in my hands. It was hardcover, the jacket was all matte black, and the title was imbedded silver, and O it was beautiful! I woke up immediately and wrote of the concept on my iPhone notes.

I guess, now I realize that the current cover would work for the hardcover, the beauty in simplicity was breathtaking, it woke me up, but not so much with paperback. The reflective nature is bothersome, and it lacks that punch that the story has.

I guess this is all I have to say, tell me if you think the cover’s character resembles Harry Potter, I already know it does, but I should be flattered I look like Harry Potter, I am the one in the cover!

Elesliel part four

Warning: While this story is independent from the plot line of The Crystal Tower: Edelix, it is recommended reading the book first, HOWEVER, you do not need to read the book first to enjoy this short insight. Remember, the first goal for these stories is to broaden the world and the mythos, and the second goal is to add content to the book.

              The storm had long been left behind, and the sky was almost clear as they rode through a verdant grassland. Elesliel knew they were almost close to the Kingdom of Aladar, that they needed to ride for at least seven hours to find themselves in the lush grassland that surrounded the Kingdom of Aladar. The land that surrounded the kingdom was said to be almost mysterious, that at some point, the beauty of the land before the kingdom appeared as if a new realm was suddenly accessed. It was of course, a legend. The Kingdom of Aladar was in the same realm as all other kingdoms on Edelix, but the magic of the crystals was vast and unknown, and the Kingdom of Aladar was known for its magnificent crystal moons, and how the kingdom was constructed alongside crystal creepers that rose from the ground. The energy and magic in the kingdom could, perhaps, cast some sort of magic that allowed the land to be so beautiful without known boundaries, and access to that beauty was never known because one never knew where such beauty began.

            But such magic was hard to understand, the power of the crystals was simply too grand to ever comprehend, especially for some elf, or any man.

            As the hours wore on, they came to notice the beauty of the land before them. None had the slightest idea when they had entered the land, but now that they had, they knew the kingdom of Aladar was closer than before. On the horizon, they noticed a hill that ran for quite a while. They could not see the kingdom yet, but Elesliel knew the kingdom would reveal itself once they were on the other side of the hill.

            He turned to his companions, nodding once to them. He then turned to his Horned Steed; “ride with haste, another night out here would not be in the best of interest for any of us.”

            The Horned Steed neighed, understanding, and hastened its step. The arduous endeavor was accepted fully by all three companions, they wanted to rest inside the walls of the kingdom, and so, they cared less that their backs hurt and their bones ached due to the fast riding.

            As they neared the hill, their bodies lost all interest in the pain that coursed through them. Instead, a shadow of terror seeped through their very veins, and made them tremble before the sight.

            Ten riders appeared aver the hill. Ten assassins that smiled their most cruel smiles.

            Elesliel had no idea what to do. He concentrated, stopped his Horned Steed, and grabbed his staff. His other two companions did likewise, and each took their weapons, readying for attack.

            The assassins rode forward. The three companions had only reached the base of the hill, before they stopped to face their opponents. They didn’t move further, they didn’t move back. As warriors and trained magicians of the Academy, they didn’t back down from enemies, else they would show cowardice, and cowardice had been something removed from their systems by their masters.

             “What is your business?” asked Elesliel, now focused. His terror long gone, replaced by anger.

            “You dare ask what our business is? You are no one!” answered one of the ten riders.

            “What I am or not, you are enemy. Unless your bidding is of aid to our king, then we will not see you as enemies. But if your bidding is for King Xious, then you are enemy, and we see you as a threat to our king.”

            “Very well spoken, young elf. Do not quarrel with us, you will not live. As our token of respect to your bravery, we will allow safe passage. In the end, you will die, but for now, enjoy the remaining days that my king has offered.”

            Elesliel knew he could not win the battle against ten foes, ten formidable foes. He was smart, he accepted their offer with a single nod.

            He turned to his companions. “Do not speak,” he finished, and they met his glare with rage. They made their way forward, leaving the assassins behind.

            “No cowardice greater than this have I ever shown!” said Alestair after traveling for quite a distance. They rode steady, the kingdom was in sight and the three sun’s were still casting their light.

            “I have learned from my master that cowardice is a disgrace to man and elf, that one should lay their life to their enemy if fighting with cowardice, because either way, you end your life. But he also thought me of intelligence. Our meeting was not but chance, they did not have a reason to kill us, and even though we do have reason, we are on a quest to do something that is beyond us. We could not fight them, it was not our battle to fight. They will find their end at the hands of our king’s allies, unfortunately, it is not our hands. What I was asked to do I could not compromise, too many lives would be at stake if I never joined the Kingdom of Aladar’s medical support. And hear me, we would have died. What little cowardice we have shown was for the better of the people, and we will bring about our redemption in battle, when we face our enemies and we defeat them in the name of our king.”

            Elesliel rode with haste, a tear rolled down his cheek. He would bear his shame, not having faced the assassins that were after his king was a disrespect to his beloved queen, but he knew the queen would have rather had him help save lives that were at stake. He had known her, she loved her people.

            He entered the wall of the Kingdom of Aladar, followed by his companions.

Copyright 2013 by Javier Duenes. All rights reserved.

Prayers to Azurah

Warning: While this story is independent from the plot line of The Crystal Tower: Edelix, it is recommended reading the book first, HOWEVER, you do not need to read the book first to enjoy this short insight. Remember, the first goal for these stories is to broaden the world and the mythos, and the second goal is to add content to the book.

Many times she wondered what was the cause of her child’s death. When she gave birth to her most loved, the child died, never opening her eyes, or breathing a single breath. The pain of losing her daughter burned within her, it made her forget what else loved her. She forgot to love those that loved her, and in time, the ones that loved her forgot to lover her. She didn’t care for their love, though. Her love belonged only to her daughter, who now lived in paradise.

She walked outside her small hut. The ocean waves rolled over the soft sand, and washed away. A tear rolled down her cheek. Like every evening, she cried for the loss that had consumed her five years ago.

After countless nights of sorrow, she left everyone behind. She walked away from the Kingdom of Felia, and she never looked back. She came to find the ocean, and she built a small hut, where she lived for three years, alone, always remembering her dead daughter, wondering what she would become.

She made her way down to the ocean, allowing her feet to disappear under the warm waves of water. Her tears fell faster as she stood there, looking at the sunset.

She looked inside a pouch she carried hanging from her neck. From within, she took a blue crystal, whispered to Azurah, and lifted the crystal. The night let the light from the crystal shine bright. She knew Azurah was looking at her, acknowledging her because her crystal glowed bright. Only when Azurah looked did the crystal shine.

“My Goddess,” she began, he crying never ceasing, “Why did my daughter have to go? I can no longer bear the pain in my heart, it is too much. And for the first time, I have doubt about love. If I had not loved my husband, I would never have had my child, I would never have known the pain I now know. If love can destroy, why is love sought everywhere,” she fell to her knees, the water covering her legs. She stayed crying for an hour. The pain too much to bear.

She looked up, and found herself staring at the most beautiful woman. She donned a beautiful garment, her feet never touched the sand under the water.

“My child, your loss aches my hear. For five years, I have listened to your prayers, and until today, you never asked why it was she had to go. Her essence was weak, her pain too great. I took her to my kingdom to live a happy life, I took her to give her the opportunity she would never get here. The realm of mortals would have been her curse, and in time, she would have died. Now, however, I see my error. It was not my decision to make, it was yours. I never thought your pain would be as great, I only thought your pain would be worse if you held her for years in your arms, only to have her slip from your embrace, that, I could not allow. But it was your choice, and I never gave it to you. I am sorry.”

“My Goddess, you only had good intentions in your heart, for that I am thankful. And you are right, to have her slip from my grasp after years of having her in my embrace would have destroyed me. I thank you for allowing her an opportunity. The choice you made was the right one.”

Azurah smiled at the woman who knelt on the waves of the ocean. “Still, your pain aches my heart, and I wish to give you an opportunity. Come with me to my kingdom, leave this mortal realm behind and join me, so that you can be with your most loved.”

The woman looked at Azurah, she was crying rapidly, the tears in her eyes made her vision blurry. But what she was offered had been her greatest desire. She knew she no longer belonged in the realm of mortals, and knowing that, she accepted.

Azurah gave the woman her hand, and together they stood.

The lifeless body of the mother who lost her most loved fell into the water, a light shot into the sky, towards the Kingdom of Life.

Copyright 2013 by Javier Duenes. All rights reserved.

ELESLIEL part one

SMALL UPDATE, A CHARACTER’S NAME HAS CHANGED, lORD ADUR IS NOW LORD ALLAIN. THE CHANGE COMES DUE TO A CHANGE IN THE MAIN STORY, THE PREVIOUS NAME ADUR, DID NOT SIT WELL WITH ME, SINCE IT WAS BORN OF FRUSTRATION AND CARELESS CONSIDERATION. CONSIDERATION HAS SINCE BEEN FULLY GIVEN, AND THE FRUITION OF THE CHANGE IS MOST WELCOME. ENJOY!

Warning: While this story is independent from the plot line of The Crystal Tower: Edelix, it is recommended reading the book first, HOWEVER, you do not need to read the book first to enjoy this short insight. Remember, the first goal for these stories is to broaden the world and the mythos, and the second goal is to add content to the book.

Throughout the City of the Elves, uncertainty was evident in every pair of eyes that met his gaze. The sky had darkened ever since the king of Edelix had left on his quest to retrieve the four crystals of the queen. And the sky darkened further when lord Allain left for the Kingdom of Aladar. Yes, uncertainty was what clouded everyone’s eyes.

Not wanting to spend more time than needed outside, he quickly flashed his silver card to the woman that had sold him an intricate wizard’s staff at the Academy. He took one look at the magical weapon one last time and nodded his head, it was perfect.

Once he finished his ordeal, he put on his hood, warming him up noticeably, and walked outside to the bitter cold. Not once in his memory had he experienced such dreadful weather. And he was elf, in his early twenties, which was actually a long time, since he aged slower than human standard.

Regardless of his age, he could not think of a time, coming to the conclusion that never had he experienced such awful climate. And worst, it tempered slightly with his casting abilities. He shook his head in disgust and entered the Training Hall of the Academy.

It was late, so there were still trainees in the hall, following the instructions of their masters. Classes were always held at sunrise and before twilight. Those with the rare talent of dark magic trained after midnight. He had the talent, so his training always begun at midnight, but he had been summoned to come earlier by the High Mage Councilors, the elite group who ran the Academy. He frowned as he noticed a young boy casting a spell and bouncing off a wall, injuring several. He walked faster to his destination, leaving the Training Hall behind.

He walked down several corridors and into the dungeons, where he walked to a classroom down a very long corridor.

“Only a strong step could bring you here as fast as you did, Dr. Elesliel,” said a man sitting behind a large wooden desk, his eyes on the young elf that had entered.

“Master, you do not have to call me doctor here, I was your student after all, and I don’t like the title leaving the hospital,” said Elesliel.

“Ahhh, but you still call me master, even though you are no longer my student!” said the old man.

“I will always honor you, master, remember, you thought me all I know regarding magic and you wrote my recommendation for medical school, I owe you much more than I could ever hope to repay.”

“You owe me nothing, Elesliel, you were my top student, and I heard you even had the honor of attending to our king! I am very proud of you!”

“Thank you master, but it was nothing major, he was simply in stasis, he may not be fully elf, but he is our queen’s son, so he was bound to have some of her rare talents.”

“Indeed, Elesliel! So what brought you here this early, your classes do not begin until midnight, and are you not supposed to be at the University?”

“I actually arrived here later than I intended, I stopped to buy myself a new staff, my old crystal seems to be faltering some, so I thought a complete upgrade would be convenient. As for the University, I am excused. Anyway, I was summoned by the High Mage Councilors,” he said, frowning slightly at the mystery, “I came to see if you knew anything, but judging by your look, I doubt it.”

“You are correct, I do not know what they want with you, but it must be important, they do not just summon anyone without important reason.”

Elesliel nodded, looking over the features of his old teacher. He had aged since he had been his student, some wrinkles were starting to be more predominant, and his eyes were now less gleaming than they were before. Still, there was a slight youth to him, one most elves retained till they aged considerably.

“I guess I will make my way to the Councilors, I’m slightly curious as to what they want.”

The old man stood from behind his desk and made his way to Elesliel, giving him a hug, and accompanying his student to the door.

Elesliel made his way back up from the dungeons, smiling some at the fact that the City of Elves was quite advanced but they still had old dungeons at the Academy. A renovation would benefit the dungeons, because the rest of the Academy was renovated. But he quickly banished the idea, having old dungeons was slightly magical.

After several minutes of walking, he turned the last corner, arriving at the Councilor’s Hall. Two guards stood protecting the large, sliver door. The guards took one look at him and let him into the hall.

Never had he seen such a beautiful hall, thousands of books were stacked on bookshelves that covered much of the walls, the gold and crystal chandeliers that hung from the ceiling were spectacles all on their own. The movement of the sky painted on the ceiling. It was all very beautiful and breathtaking. How every inch was magical and educational was beyond inspiring. He felt a surge of power within him.

Thirteen cloaked figures stood over a large, black table that dominated much of the north of the room, the table stood a step over the floor Elesliel walked, and the councilors sat behind the large table, in intricate black crystal chairs.

They nodded towards Elesliel, and Elesliel gave a respectful bow.

“Elesliel, level eight warlock, Doctor at the Windsor Hospital, thank you for coming to meet with us,” said a male councilor, his voice a little raspy, but strong enough to be heard throughout the hall.

“I would never deny my presence to such high and esteemed witches and warlocks,” he replied, bowing once more before their presence.

“Perhaps we are high mages, but you are not so far behind, quite impressive you are a level eight spell caster yourself,” said another member of the councilors, a woman with dark skin.

“Thank you, however, I am wondering why I have been summoned.”

Another member sighed, this time a male mage. “Haste. Is there no way we can teach other elves that their lives are longer than humans. But still they haste, without the need…” he laughed, and the other council members laughed along with him.

Elesliel only managed a smile, wondering whether to feel embarrassed or not.

Finally, a member of the councilors saw his confusion and decided to speak. “Worry not, young elf, we are simply old and do appreciate time, but it just seems to us that others do so much in so little time when they can afford to spend more time than they actually do. But I guess you are not used to the idea, you do need to save lives, and time for you is of the essence. Regardless, we have summoned you here because we want to promote you. You see, after our king left the city, we knew the elves would assist the inevitable war that is to come, we need you as our primary health man.  We want you to travel to the Kingdom of Aladar and begin working with their doctors to set up an emergency clinic for our wounded soldiers. Who better than you to represent the Elvin Nation?”

Elesliel thought for a second. He then nodded slowly, agreeing. “I am honored to have been considered, and more honored to have been promoted. I will take the task and I will not disappoint. However, I need to ask permission to leave the city.”

“Our primary lord has left not long ago, as you know. Lord Allain will not be back soon, however, his second in command has agreed to allow you to travel outside the city. He also agrees having an emergency clinic with someone of your standing as our representing elf is most adequate. You will leave when you are ready. Our second in command has also agreed to allow two more to leave the city with you, and we have chosen, they are trained guards, level seven mages,” replied another councilor.

Elesliel frowned slightly, it would have been preferable for him if he had chosen his traveling companions. But the stern look on all councilors told him they were not willing to change their minds. “I will make haste, I do know of King Xious’ plans and his willingness to move fast.”

“Very well, come to the Councilor’s Hall when you have prepared, your two companions will also be ready,” said another member.

Elesliel bowed one last time and walked towards the door, which opened to let him out.

He was glad he had bought another wizard’s staff, he would need it if he was to travel to the Kingdom of Aladar. He was glad he would leave the City of Elves, he had always wondered what the Kingdom of Aladar was like.

To be continued…

Reviews are welcomed!

Copyright 2013 by Javier Duenes. All rights reserved.