September 12, 2004
The numerous clouds made the sky black as night above the streets of Triton
Avenue. The chilling rain it brought made every inch of the neighborhood soaked,
and the strong and angry wind deafened the sounds of the nearby waterfalls and
the mill, which was perched on top of the high, purple-stoned cliffs above. It
was a scene where peace and chaos seemed to mingle together, but where nature
reigned supreme above it all. But for the Storm wizard standing in the center of
a small arena, these occurrences didn't even phase him. The storm wasn't the
reason why he seemed occupied.
Please tell me that you’re not outside in Triton Avenue… Ah who am I
kidding? Of course you are.
The Storm wizard smiled at the comment. With his eyes closed, he tilted his
head towards the sky and breathed in the air around him. The blue hat he wore
fell off his head, leaving his snow-white hair to be barraged by the rain. The
raindrops were like sharp, cold needles on his skin, but he easily ignored it.
His navy blue and black jacket and pants had already been soaked for about half
an hour now.
You don’t hear me complain to you whenever you hang out in Colossus
Boulevard during a blizzard, he pointed out to the voice in his head.
True, the voice responded, but I don’t have to deal with a
little issue called lightning! You realize that it's basically suicide to just
stand around with lightning all over the place, right?
He mentally chuckled.
I’m not crazy, Victoria. At my level, I’d quickly get killed if lightning
hit me. That's not the case though, is it? All that’s happening now is a tiny
With the rain still bombarding him, he titled his head back down, keeping his
eyes shut. He then held his right palm in front of him. A small zap was
heard and he clenched his hand around the wand that had appeared in mid air. The
Storm wizard didn’t need to look at it to know that it had a lilac-colored
handle, and that on its tip was what looked like a small, blue globe of a far
away world called “Earth.”
Now, can I please practice in peace?
No voice responded, and the only sounds the Storm wizard could hear was the
deafening howl of the wind and the heavy rainfall slamming into the water of the
river, which surrounded the small arena like an ocean around an island.
…Just don’t get into trouble, Stephen.
Stephen smiled triumphantly.
I’ll take that as a “yes” then, he said to the voice. The voice when
silent and he could tell that the presence in his mind was gone.
Stephen barely had time to practice his spells recently. Since the school
year was almost over, studying for the upcoming exams was more important at that
point. But even for someone like Stephen, who was fairly quiet and preferred to
study than to socialize with others, he felt that if he did not take a break
soon, he would go crazy. So when he heard that a storm was coming on Sunday
afternoon, he jumped at the opportunity.
With his eyes still closed, Stephen started to wave his wand in smooth,
graceful motions. As he moved, he could feel his Mana slowly move through his
arm and to the tip of the strange wand he held. In front of him, he could feel
the powerful electrical energy of his Storm symbol on his cold, slick skin. The
charge from the symbol tickled the hand that held the wand, making his heart
race with excitement. He felt powerful as he began to flick his wand to cast the
“I knew you’d be here.”
Stephen’s arm tensed as he froze.
He suppressed a growl from escaping he throat.
Lowering his arm, Stephen turned around slowly and reluctantly. Opening his
dark blue eyes, he gave the uninvited guest an empty stare.
“Well, well. If it isn’t Jonathan Duskglade. What brings a thing like you
The man called Jonathan was standing near the bright, round teleporter that
was on the ground near the arena. His long cloak and the hood that was on his
head were completely black. Stephen was unable to see anything else of him. In
fact, if not for the blinding turquoise light of the teleporter behind him, he
would have been almost invisible thanks to the darkness.
“Tut tut,” he answered. “Respect your elders, Stephen Darktalon.”
Stephen’s eyebrows arched up.
“You’re only older by five years. I seriously doubt that you count as one,”
“But I am still older than you,” Jonathan stated cheerfully. “Not only that,
but I am also much stronger than an Initiate of your level. You should
still be ‘friendly’ to me. You never know what could happen to you.”
Stephen tried to show indifference to his comments on the surface. But at the
same time, he was beginning to bite the inside of his cheek out of irritation.
He was unable to see Jonathan’s face, but he could tell that it had a sickly
happy grin plastered on it.
“I didn’t realize that Ghouls had to be treated with respect here. After all,
I thought all they were good for was grunting and carrying a spade. Not to
mention that they smell horrible,” Stephen said.
He tried to suppress a smirk when Jonathan stayed silent. But after a few
seconds, Jonathan’s shoulders began to shake and he shook his head. The shaking
turned into chuckles, which caused Stephen to raise a white eyebrow out of
Great. What’s the foul Ghoul gonna do now?
“I’m sorry, but your attitude amuses me greatly,” responded Jonathan after
his chilling chuckles subsided.
When Stephen didn't respond, Jonathan let out a slightly dramatic sigh.
“But to be honest, I feel horrible for you. I thought that your parents
would’ve taught you manners when you were little. It looks as though they didn’t
do a good job at that.”
The chaotic noises around Stephen seemed to be silenced as he suddenly felt a
tight knot form in his chest. His eyes barely widened with shock but his jaw
still involuntarily clenched to the point that it was noticeably uncomfortable
for him. Even though the rain had made his skin cold, he could feel his face and
palms begin to heat up from the newfound anger and humiliation that was
beginning to build up within him.
Calm down. No need to get upset at this moment. Breathe, he thought to
himself as he took deep breaths through his nose and made a fist with his left
hand and tightly clenched his wand.
Why does he do that? Is he really that senseless..?
“Oh, that’s right,” Jonathan said as though realizing something important.
“You wouldn’t even know if they said that to you.”
He sighed, this time far too dramatically for Stephen’s liking.
“What is it like to have amnesia? Because I would think that it would be a
horrible fate for someone to live with. Especially for you.”
At this, Jonathan took off his black hood. He was young, but his cheeks were
beginning to look hollow, which gave him a skeleton-like face. Yet somehow, the
face was able to show what would have looked like genuine concern to almost
anyone else. But behind his semi-shaggy black hair, which was beginning to get
damp from the rain, Stephen thought his grey eyes had a glint of something very…
Evil? Sinister? Demonic? He didn’t know. Whatever it was, he blamed it for the
sudden burst of electrical energy that was now rapidly flowing throughout his
“Hmm. Well, this is odd,” Jonathan stated, blinking and looking curiously
around his head. “It feels like lightning is coming, but I thought there wasn’t
supposed to be any.”
Stephen gripped the wand in his hand even tighter, but it only made him feel
furious. He felt his self control begin to fade, but he didn't care anymore
about that. As his grip tightened, the wand began to form a purple electrical
current around the orb on its tip. More of Stephen’s Mana was slowly and
subconsciously being drawn towards the object in his hand. The large amount of
energy started to become less orderly and more chaotic in the blue orb, leaving
some of the purple electricity to escape and emit small sparks, which zapped the
wet ground near his boots.
Stephen glance to his left to find a collection of maroon-colored sparks
appear out of thin air. As soon as they had come, they vanished. In their place
was a girl with short and straight black hair. Her bright and innocent grey eyes
and her light skin was all that was visible of her, since her entire outfit
matched the color of the darkness that was still around all of them, although he
thought that he saw small patches of navy blue in the mix.
“Jacqueline,” Stephen whispered.
“Ah, little Jackie,” Jonathan said in an affectionate tone. Stephen glanced
at him to see that his face now showed a very big and childlike smile.
The girl didn’t acknowledge them as she looked up for a second, raised her
arms, and began to wave them around elegantly. In front of her, a bright, maroon
Balance symbol began to take shape. When she stopped moving and the symbol was
completed, the light was strong enough to be considered blinding to Stephen. But
when she waved her arms swiftly away from the symbol, it vanished.
A warm gust of wind came over all of them and tousled their hair as a golden
bubble appeared from the ground and swiftly surrounded the entire arena. The
rain immediately stopped, and instead, golden lights fell softly from the edges
of the bubble. Stephen began to feel powerful energy flowing through the air and
in him. And when one of the golden lights fell on his cheek, it was absorbed by
his skin and an even bigger rush of energy rushed through his veins.
“So this is Power Play,” Jonathan stated, his eyes showing great
As the wizard called Jacqueline was patting her hair, she her head to him and
gave him a big grin.
“Yep,” she answered him cheerfully.
“Interesting. I don’t see too many Balance people use it.”
“That’s because it helps the enemy also. That's never good,” Jacqueline said
Jonathan rolled his eyes and his smile grew wider.
“Well, it looks like I gotta go. See you back at home Jackie.”
“’Kay then,” she replied while waving at him.
He nodded to her. He then turned his attention to Stephen again. Even though
his expression wasn’t threatening in any way, Stephen still noticed a feeling of
anger inside of him when he looked at him.
“I’ll see you around then?” Jonathan asked.
Stephen stayed silent as Jonathan was engulfed in grey and white lights and
vanished from sight. When he was gone, Stephen and Jacqueline looked at each
“You’re not the kind to just randomly appear where her brother is,” he said
to her, not as a question, but a statement.
Jacqueline blinked as though confused.
“Really? I would have thought sisters did that a lot. Doesn’t Victoria do
that to you occasionally?” she asked innocently.
Stephen stayed silent, vacantly staring at her. He patiently waited. After a
while though, her smile fell from her face and she softly sighed.
“Geez, I can’t lighten the mood now?”
“I want to know why you’re here,” he said calmly, ignoring her
“I think you already know, Stephen," Jacqueline said, her expression suddenly
Stephen stayed silent, which gave him an exasperated sigh from her.
"Do you have any idea how worried I was? I could feel the tension all the way
from Olde Town. It might not have seemed like much if I was the only one to
notice it. You know Stephanie Star? She was all the way in the Commons and she
was Whispering to me, wondering why she felt like a storm was coming. And Nora
was nearby and she started to get jumpy when she began to feel the electricity
you were releasing in the air.”
Stephen bowed his head slightly and stared at the ground in front of him in
case his face showed the slight embarrassment that he felt. He said nothing as
he slowly bent over and picked up his blue hat, which was still in a puddle. The
water was still cold when some drops dripped from the hat to his hands.
“Hmm, I didn’t know Necromancers were jumpy people,” he said.
Jacqueline rolled her eyes.
“Well, I think she was kind of pulling my leg on that one, but I'm pretty
sure that she was still worried…”
Again, Stephen didn’t reply. Instead, he looked up and stared at the golden
lights that were still cascading from the edges of the glittering bubble around
them. But even though the spell shielded them from the cold rain and strong
wind, he could smell the scents that came from the weather outside.
“Look, Stephen,” Jacqueline suddenly said. "I know he can be creepy, but he
really does mean well. I don’t know what he said to you that got you upset, and
you don’t have to say anything about what you two talked about with me. But just
give him a chance, okay?”
For a second, Stephen was too shocked from her request to breathe, which woke
him up from his semi-trance. Taking a deep breath through his nose, he tried to
relax his muscles that were now stiff again. When he finally calmed down, his
eyes turned towards Jacqueline.
Jacqueline could think of many emotions that she thought that she saw in
Stephen’s eyes: Depressed, angry, nervous, bitter, conflicted—and yet, at the
same time, they looked very dull. She couldn’t decide. But no matter how she saw
it, for some unknown reason, his gaze made her feel scared and a little
helpless. This didn't bode well for her, and she was worried about his response
to her question.
“Tell me something: How does it feel to know who you really are?”
Jacqueline blinked. She did not expect Stephen to ask her such
a—strange question out of thin air. At the very least, she believed that
she would have to endure a nasty argument with him. But the lack of anger, along
with the odd question that he asked her, left her utterly confused. And to make
matters worse for her, she was so surprised that she was left completely
dumfounded and unable to respond.
“Because if you think about it,” Stephen continued, seeming to ignore her
silence, “you would probably say that you feel pretty good about having this
knowledge. Or maybe you’d say that you never thought about it and are completely
indifferent about the fact that you know your name, where you came from, who
your family is, what you love, what you hate, what kind of morals you were
taught when you were young—” Stephen seemed to notice that his voice was
becoming considerably louder with every word, so he stopped himself and rubbed
his temple “—I could keep going on.
“But I don’t have any of that. At least, not much of it anymore.”
Jacqueline woke up from her state of semi-shock after hearing Stephen begin
to talk. She tried to ask what he meant, but was interrupted by him.
“You wanna know what I meant by that,” he said matter-of-factly, his eyes
becoming cold. “Well then fine! I'll tell you."
Jacqueline watched as Stephen fell silent for a moment and his feet shifted
nervously. She knew that whatever it was he was trying to say, it was tough for
him to get it out. After a while, he huffed to himself and began to talk
"Because of an… accident that happened to be before I was ten years old, I
can remember almost nothing from my past. Nothing at all. Back then, I didn’t
know who my parents were, and I still can’t recall anything about them no matter
how many times Victoria tried to help me remember; I couldn’t remember what I
learned besides basic necessities like my language and social manners; I
couldn’t remember the history of Mooshu, the homeland that I was once apparently
"Heck, I couldn’t even remember who Victoria and Nicolas were when I woke up
from the incident! I probably would’ve left them behind because of that. No,
scratch that. I did try to leave them once! The only thing that stopped
me was the fact that Victoria kept pleading for me to stay with them. I'm pretty
sure that I never saw her cry so much before…”
With a quiet zap, his wand disappeared from his tight grip. He then
began to grip his hat with both of his hands, which were starting to visibly
shake in front of him.
“As you can imagine, I don’t feel just one emotion over this— this amnesia.
I’m angry at whoever or whatever caused me the memory loss. I don’t know how it
happened, since no one will tell me. Probably because they knew that I would try
to tear them to shreds...
"I also feel so agonized because I feel that it’s a great dishonor to my
family that I lost the memory of every one of them. I’m always confused because
I have no idea if I’m still the same person or not. It might not seem important
to others, but it is to me.
"But you know what the worst one is? The worst part is that I feel completely
guilty about the fact that I almost left the last of my family behind. All
because I thought that they were total strangers! It especially didn’t
help me that during the year after my accident, no matter what I did and no
matter what I said that possibly insulted them, Victoria always stuck by me. She
took care of me even when I told her to get lost, and she always stood by me and
comforted me no matter how many times I tried to punch her in the face…”
Jacqueline gulped when she felt that her throat had gone dry.
“But that’s what sisters should always do. They should always be by their
siblings’ side,” she responded weakly to him.
Stephen chuckled, although it seemed forced and creepy to Jacqueline. Even
from the distance between them though, she could hear Stephen let out a
staggered breath. His face was still wet from the rain, but she thought that she
could see a stray tear roll down his pale cheek.
“I’m sorry Jacqueline, but even if your brother was genuinely trying to
comfort me, I don’t want pity from him,” he said bitterly. “If there’s anything
I’ve learned it’s that when it comes to my past, I despise pity from others.
That is something I can’t stand.
“…Besides, I don’t trust him. I don’t care if he’s your older brother
or if he’s one of Victoria’s friends, because I don’t trust him—”
Stephen’s eyes suddenly became very dark “—And I hope I never will. There’s just
something that just doesn’t feel right about him. Something evil…”
The tingling sound of the falling golden lights around the two was all that
Jacqueline could hear after Stephen fell silent, who was staring at the hat in
his now bone-white hands with the same dark look. But she knew that she probably
would have been unable to take anymore of his harsh and sobering words. Her mind
was far too full of abstract thought. Some of them involved her contemplating
the things that she realized that she had taken for granted until he had spoken
up. Now that she thought about it, she realized that if she had no idea who she
was in life, then life itself would be meaningless. But mostly, her thoughts
involved feeling pity and sadness that she now felt for Stephen, knowing full
well that he would never accept them, especially from her.
Jacqueline jumped and squealed out of surprise.
Jackie , the voice continued, where’s Stephen? My Whispers aren’t
reaching him. Do you know why he isn’t responding to me?
Who is thi...? Oh, Victoria. Hang on a sec, she responded.
“Yes Jacqueline?” he asked questioningly.
“Your sister’s wondering why you’re not responding to her Whispers. Did you
block them out of your head or something?”
Stephen sighed. She thought that she heard him mumble "I can never get enough
peace around here." He closed his eyes, and as soon as they completely shut, he
I guess she’s pretty upset with him.
Jacqueline chuckled to herself when every few seconds, Stephen would flinch
slightly, probably due to the fact that Victoria was yelling in his head. But
after a few moments, his lips began to curve upwards, and he started to chuckle
to himself. The sight began to give Jacqueline a warm and comforting feeling
inside of her.
He really is lucky. Now I know why Victoria is so protective when
it comes to hi. She might act a little strict with him, but at least it’s
because she loves him to death. I don’t think he truly realizes how
fortunate he is to have such a person in his life. I wish my family was more
She blinked a couple of time to wake up from her thoughts, and then turned
her head to acknowledge Stephen’s presence.
“Victoria is still complaining about the fact that Tyler still calls her
‘Ed.’ She wants you to tell him to quit it. Apparently, he’s taking great
pleasure in bugging her with the nickname still.”
“I don’t think I can do much about that,” she said, shrugging. “The little
bro can be hard to convince.”
“Oh, how pleasant for me,” he responded sarcastically, but still
chuckling. “Well, I have to go now since she won’t take no for an answer now.
See you later, Jackie.”
Purple and yellow sparks enveloped him with a loud poof! When the
sparks vanished, so did he, leaving behind a confused Balance girl.
How did he get so... Cheerful all of a sudden? And did that kid just
actually call me “Jackie?”
Running her hands through her black hair, Jacqueline sighed.
Stephen Darktalon, you’re one strange young man.
A second later, maroon sparks surrounded Jacqueline and like Stephen, she
The Power Play spell around the arena stayed active for a few minutes longer.
But eventually the golden bubble and all of its bright lights faded away,
leaving the harsh storm to batter the ground with its chilling drops and the
howl of the wind to penetrate the silence once more.