Since I had already finished this chapter I'll post it along with my prologue.
Disclaimer: I don't own any characters of the "Tales of" series except for my Descenders.
-Chapter 1: Birth-
Warmth. That was the first sensation which washed over him. A lovingly, never-ending warmth from which he didn't want to wake up.
A voice broke through the dream-veil which ensnared him. He involuntarily shuddered as the voice brought a chill in the warmth and he could feel the warmth receding.
"Your world, Terresia, it needs you! Wake up already!"
He frowned. The voice was pulling him awake, he suddenly knew that he had been sleeping. But he didn't want to wake up. If he woke up then...
"Go my children. The world needs you."
The soothing voice calmed the turmoil in his soul and he knew that he was needed. He had to wake up... NOW!
"I love you..."
C'mon, wake UP!"
As if lightning had surged through his body he was awake and acutely aware that he couldn't move. Something held him in a tight grip and he struggled to get free. During his struggles he heard a ripping sound and fresh air and light surged into his surroundings. He realized that he was tugged into the fetal position and what ensnared him seemed to be some form of semi-translucent membrane.
The outside air which brushed against his skin cooled him but awakened the need in his body to breath and to do that he had to get out. Continuing his struggles the membrane tore apart and he felt himself falling. He landed flat on his stomach, the moss on the ground cushioning his fall with a wet sound, the coolness of the air and the ground seeping into his body he could feel his frantic and erratic breathing subside into a slow and steady rhythm in unison with his heart-beat.
The creature looked at the prone body in front of it on the ground. It had watched fascinated as after his plight the two buds on the root had glowed with stored Mana and then the left one had suddenly opened. Inside had been a semi-translucent ball in which the outline's of a body had been visible. After it continued shouting out to the form the ball had ripped apart and the body had dropped in front of it on the ground.
It focused on the form on the ground: it seemed that the dominant species on Terresia was human-like, like a lot of the worlds it had visited.
"You alive?" It asked with concern both in his voice and on his face.
It was that voice again. He felt how his body let out a groan while he tried to gain control over his limbs but they felt so stiff. After a few seconds, though, he seemed to have gained full control of his body and managed to shakily push himself off the moss-covered ground. When he opened his eyes a cat-like face filled his whole field of vision and with a startled gasp he stepped back, his shaky legs giving out under him and sending him on his behind.
"Phew, you're finally awake." The thing said letting out a sigh of relief. When it noticed the look on his face it gave a sheepish smile.
"Ha ha, sorry. I didn't mean to startle you like that. I should have remembered that as a new-born Descender you'd still be pretty confused and unstable on your legs."
He gave the thing a puzzled look while simultaneously appraising it. It didn't look dangerous and he believed that it had been concerned for him. Shaking slightly he got back to his feet, standing more or less steadily on them and started to look at his surroundings. As if that had been the missing key to unlock information in his brain he could feel several of his questions answered: he was at the roots of the World Tree, Terresia, his mother, and he was it's Descender, born just now to save everything living here.
As that realization sunk in he turned back to the flying cat-thingie and asked one of the few questions which hadn't been answered by mother:
"Who are you?"
It had watched the boy carefully as he had taking note of his surroundings and the look of realization on his face. So he knows where and what he is, that's good. It started appraising the boy itself: he was tall, at least one-seventy, probably a bit more, his short dark-brown hair seemed to spike in every possible direction but what drew it's attention the most were the eyes: they were of a dark-amber color which almost seemed to glow, bordering on the color of gold, and seemed to radiate calmness and warmth even in his confused state. A good Descender, born from powerful Mana. Exactly what we need to destroy this beast.
"Who are you?"
The question pulled it back to the here and now and it looked up to see the boys eyes fixated on him.
"I'm Mormo! I was the one who asked your World Tree for your birth, thanks for answering my call." Mormo exclaimed happily. The boy brightened up and returned the smile with one of his own before extending his hand.
"My name's Seth, Descender of Terresia. Thanks for waking me up."
Mormo looked at the hand before flying closer and resting one of his paws in Seth's much larger hand.
"Nice to meet you, Seth." Mormo said, shaking Seth's hand before continuing:
"You're probably a bit confused why I called for you but don't worry, I'll explain everything as to the best of my knowledge... which isn't much." Mormo admitted the last bit ashamed. At Seth's puzzled look he hurried on:
"You see, I'm a Descender as well, only from a different world and World Tree. My home is called Yaoon."
Seth was even more confused now. Why would a Descender from a different world come here to awaken me? He wanted to speak his mind when a ripping noise filled the air before a wet thump, the same sound he had made when landing on the floor, drew both of their attentions.
Turning around both Descenders saw a girl laying on the ground. She was clad in the same red leather armor that Seth himself wore, which practically only protected the intimacy of the wearer.
Mormo had a confused look on his face but Seth recognized the figure and he instantly rushed forward, kneeling beside her and laying her head on his lap.
"Hey, Reia! Are you okay? Wake up." He said while shaking her lightly but the only sound coming from her was her even breathing. He could hear Mormo fluttering beside him but that didn't concern him at the moment.
"Hey, it's okay. She' only asleep." Mormo assured him. Seth let out a sigh of relief and upon seeing Mormo's questioning gaze he told him:
"This is Reia, she's my sister."
Mormo could feel his mouth drop open. He had never even heard that it was possible for a World Tree to birth twin Descenders. This was just another proof of how high the quantity and power of this worlds Mana was. Freeing himself from his stupor he addressed Seth:
"We better start getting out of here. The inhabitants of the World Tree are hostile at the moment. They feel the danger to your world and want to protect the World Tree."
Seth nodded once before laying his sister gently on the ground and walking over to where he had fallen from his cocoon. He bent down and picked up the object which had fallen with him from the bud: a apparently brand-new battle-ax. It was only a basic weapon without any enchantments to strengthen it but it would have to suffice for the moment. Slinging the weapon on his back he returned to Reia and picked her up bridal-style, while resting her head on his shoulder in order to make it more comfortable for her.
Mormo watched silently until Seth had picked up his sister.
"Come on, let's get out of here. I'll explain what's going on on our way out of here."
Seth nodded once and then at first shakingly and later more sure-footed followed his Descender-colleague through the roots of his birth-place.
Mormo had been silently leading the way until Seth had managed to walk properly and now he was flying backwards in order to look at Seth while explaining the situation to him.
"You see, I came to your world in pursuit of a terrible beast. This beast-"
At that moment Mormo was interrupted by a frightened human scream filling the air and reverberating of the walls.
Both of the two companions instantly perked up at the sound and only exchanging a quick glance they both dashed down the corridor they had been currently walking through. Seth was able to keep up a quick pace although he was encumbered with his sister. At the end of the corridor it opened up into a circular room with several exists but what separated this room from others of its kind were the two human beings inside.
Cowering against the opposite wall was a girl with short pink hair wearing what appeared to be a white and black dress. Standing in front of her was a man clad completely in black armor, holding an ax, similar to Seth's own, in one hand and with the other pushing the girl further against the wall.
"Let go of me!" The girl shouted, desperately trying to free herself from the iron-clad grip of the taller man.
"No can do, sweetie. Lord Ganser's orders are to execute and banish all spies found in and around Ailily. He he-he, although no-one will complain if we two could have a little fun, right? I'd just might let you live, he-he."
Seth could see even from his vantage point how the girl's green eyes widened at the man's implications and he could feel rage burning through his veins. He quickly placed Reia against the plant-covered wall and jumped into the middle of the room, his weapon practically flying into his hands. He gripped the ax tightly with both hands and shouted out:
"Back off from her, you creep!"
The soldier whirled around on the spot, resting his visor-hidden gaze on Seth.
"Wha-? Where the hell did you come from?"
He raised his weapon threateningly and tilted his head to the side in thought. At this moment Mormo flew up to Seth and hovered at the right side of his head. If the soldier was surprised by Mormo's appearance he didn't show it but he walked up in front of the two and said in a low and slow voice:
"Humph, never seen the likes of you around town. More spies, maybe?"
Seth narrowed his eyes and tightened the grip on the handle of his weapon until the white of his knuckles shone through the skin. Since the helmet only covered the upper part of his opponents face he could clearly see the man's smirk at his next words.
"It doesn't matter, really. I'll just get rid of you all."
The soldier didn't waste anymore time and with a yell swung the ax in a wide arc at chest-level. Seth quickly crouched down under the swing and while his opponent had to recover his stance from the target-less strike Seth struck with a vertical swing of his own. Unfortunately he underestimated the armor of his opponent and his weapon rebounded off the soldier's chest-plate. Taking his chance the soldier swung his weapon in a diagonal fashion but was blocked by the blade of Seth's ax. Sparks flew through the air as the clang of the two metal blades impacting filled the cavern and Seth had to release one hand from the handle of his weapon in order to shield his eyes.
Seeing this the soldier rammed Seth with his shoulder, forcing the air out of his lungs and throwing him a few feet back. He didn't give his opponent time to recover and instantly pressed the attack. Seth suddenly found himself hard pressed to avoid the deadly blade of the ax so he had no choice but to fall back. As expected his opponent instantly followed up, a victorious grin plastered on his face. Seth narrowed his eyes as he reached deep into his core and drew upon his reservoir of Mana. His right hand started glowing in a white light and upon the shocked expression of realization on his opponents face Seth gave a small smile before throwing his hand forward with a shout:
A blue shock-wave of energy raced across the ground and smacked into the soldier who gave a pained grunt and staggered back a few steps. That was when he found himself hard pressed as Seth swung his ax in wide and powerful arcs, denting his opponents armor and nearly knocking his weapon out of his grasp twice. After another powerful swing the soldiers ax was knocked out of his grasp and he could only stare in shock as his weapon slithered across the ground before looking back in front to see Seth in front of him, ax held high above his head, the whole weapon glowing with Mana.
Seth prepared himself for the final strike and swung his weapon down with all his might, shouting the name which would unleash the energy of this arte:
The energy gathered at the edge of the blade when it crushed against his opponents chest-plate, which finally succumbed under the stress and split open. As he continued the attack in an upwards swing the energy lashed out, smashing into the soldiers exposed chest with the force of a sledgehammer knocking him three meters into the air before he crashed down motionless on the ground.
Seth exhaled slowly, his entire pose relaxing as Mormo came fluttering in front of him.
"Wow, that was amazing! You sure are a strong warrior, Seth."
Said boy only gave a weak smile before turning towards the girl who still cowered against the wall. Sheathing his weapon he approached her, worry etched into this face.
"Are you okay? That guy didn't hurt you, did he?"
The girl seemed to snap out of her stupor and stared at Seth, at the moment at a loss for words. Then she seemed to pull herself together and gave a happy smile.
"No, thanks to you I'm fine. If I hadn't forgot to bring my weapon I could have avoided this but- LOOK OUT!"
The sudden outburst caused Seth to turn around in time to see the soldier back up again, his left hand clutching his chest while his right held his ax high above his head. A murderous smile had formed on his blood-stained lips when he swung the weapon down with all his might.
Seth realized that he didn't have enough time and room to either dodge or draw his own weapon to block the attack. So it was the only thing he could do when he steeled himself for the future pain and a counterattack. The soldier's weapon landed with a thud on the ground and it's wielder grabbed at his neck but his hands weren't able to stop the flood of blood already pouring out of the clean and deep cut through his throat. He coughed and made a few gurgling sounds before he simply fell forward with a heavy thump on the wet moss and remained to lay there motionless in an ever-growing pool of his own blood.
When the soldier had slumped to the ground the person standing behind him had become visible: dark-brown hair which was held together in a loose pony-tail and spiked out just like Seth's, amber-colored eyes which radiated none of the warmth like her brother's did, instead they were as cold and hard as the steel of the dagger which she still held at her eye-level, or the previous neck-level of the soldier, a single droplet of blood hanging from it's tip before succumbing to gravity and landing with a plitsh on his armor.
Reia slowly relaxed, twirling the dagger twice in her hand before returning it to it's sheath strapped to her left leg and resting her right hand on her hip, the ghost of a smile playing at the corner of her lips.
"Just in the nick of time, right?"
Despite the gruesome image Seth couldn't help but chuckle in order to relieve his body of the tension before he broke into a full grin and rushed forward to embrace his sister who was taken completely by surprise from this behavior.
"Hu- Wha- Let go of me!"
"I'm just glad that you're awake. You had me worried."
Seth complied to her demand and released her. Stepping back he let his gaze travel up and down her form, checking her for any injuries. Just as he was about to say something he was interrupted by a man running into the room, a bow slung to his back and long blue hair held together in a strict pony-tail.
"Kanonno! Are you alright?"
All four living beings in the room turned to the new-comer. The pink-haired girl brightened up upon seeing the young man.
"Chester! Yes, I'm fine... these people here saved me."
The man stopped in front of the group and let his gaze travel over the girl, not unlike how Seth's own had traveled across his sister. Upon seeing that she was uninjured he let out a relieved sigh then turned towards Seth, Mormo and Reia.
"You saved Kanonno, for that you have my thanks. My name is Chester, Chester Barklight. Who might you be?"
Seth stepped forward and offered his hand which Chester took without hesitation.
"Nice to meet you, Chester. My name's Seth and this is my sister Reia. Our small com-"
He was interrupted by Mormo fluttering in front of his face and practically beaming at Chester and the girl announced:
"And I'm Mormo! Nice to make your acquaintance!"
Chester flinched back only slightly from the sudden appearance of Mormo but then took the offered appendage. At this scene the pink-haired girl couldn't help but start giggling and going "aw, how cute" which caused Chester to blush in embarrassment and Mormo to beam even more.
Pulling himself together again Chester looked over the threesome of them before stating:
"Hm, I haven't seen you in town before and I don't think I've ever heard of your names... Are you by any chance refugees?"
At this Mormo grew a bit upset while Seth exchanged a worried glance with his sister.
"First 'spies' and now 'refugees'? What the hell are all you people talking about?" Mormo almost shouted in Chester's face. He backed up a bit and held up his hands in an apologetic way.
"Okay, okay. I'm sorry. But if you aren't refugees then where'd you come from? You're obviously not from the area."
The question left the group dumbfounded for a moment. Mormo had no problem of telling them that he was from a different world but neither Seth nor Reia knew enough about Terresia to come up with a suitable region paired with a believable excuse how they got here.
"Um, well, from ...ngh. My head!"
Seth interrupted himself and grabbed his throbbing head with both hands while his sister quickly lowered her hand in which she held her dagger she used to knock him on the head, with the handle of course.
"Actually, we don't remember anything. The first thing we knew was when Mormo woke us up over there. I think I lost consciousness again because the next thing I know Seth was battling that guy in the black armor."
Reia managed to say this with an apologetic, sad and unsure face, as if she had trouble recalling just that bit. Seth and Mormo both looked at her with confused looks... hadn't she been unconscious back then?
However, neither Chester nor the girl seemed to notice Mormo and Seth staring at Reia, instead they both wore concerned expressions.
"... I see. That's really unfortunate. There have been a lot of people with amnesia arriving lately. The shock and horror of what the Devourer did too cruel for them to remember."
The girl looked the most troubled of the two.
"You, too, huh? Nothing before you awoke here in these ruins near Ailily..."
Chester cast her a worried glance before perking up at a distant clicking sound. His gaze hardened and he addressed the assembled group.
"We'd better get out of here before we're spotted again. Let's go home, Kanonno. Our mission's finished here anyway."
"Right. Um, my name's Kanonno... I don't recall anything else either so I hope I'll see you soon."
With that Kanonno turned around and headed for one of the exists, closely followed by Chester. Before leaving, though, he turned around again.
"If you guys have nowhere else to go, look for a man named Kratos in town. Tell him you're there because of Ad Libitum, he'll understand. See you later!"
With those parting words the two of them sprinted down the corridor before being swallowed by the twilight. The three of them stared at the corridor for a moment longer.
"Aaaaaaaaand, they're gone..."
Mormo exclaimed in an obviously annoyed tone. Reia just continued looking in the direction they'd disappeared into and Seth had a worried look on his face. Mormo shook his head to clear his thoughts and then turned to the siblings.
"Well, they're right in one thing: we'd better get out of here and head for town. That'll leave us enough time to answer the questions we can at the moment," he gave a small smile, "besides, I'm interested in learning more about your world as well."
Seth and Reia looked at each other and after nodding once in confirmation the threesome headed down the corridor Chester and Kanonno had taken. They had a job to do and a world to safe.