Genesis Scrolls Round 3: {The Book of Enlightenment Chapter 7: The Dawn of an Adventure}

Name/Pseudonym: {raulonastool}
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DISCLAIMER: This is the final chapter of a short series. The consolidated version of 'The Book of Enlightenment can be found in the #stories channel of the Loot discord

Xedho firmly grasped his torch as he approached the forest. He stopped for a moment to release a shaky breath and clutched at the amulet around his neck.

“You better be alive,” he muttered before continuing down the path.

He carried an old quarterstaff on his back. It was his weapon of choice, given its superior reach and that he didn’t have the nerve for the mess swords make. Since he left the Village Guard all those years ago, it had been collecting dust in his bedroom.

He slowly crept forward, feeling for level ground before picking up his pace. The acrid smell of smoke stopped him in his tracks. A bird darted past his face, causing him to duck. Followed by another, then a third, and a fourth in quick succession.

Xedho was quickly disoriented as all manner of creatures flew, ran, and crawled by him, escaping a nearby fire. Between the exodus of critters and thick black smoke, Xedho lost his torch and sense of direction. He stumbled backward several steps back before colliding with something rigid and warm.

“What in the…” he exclaimed as he turned slowly.

He swallowed hard, and it chased a chill down his spine. , Standing before him was a hooded man carrying a young girl on his shoulder.

“Woah! Sorry about that, friend. I didn’t see you there with all the –”

The man lifted Xedho into the air by his collar and threw him down like a used bread cloth. Xedho coughed and rolled onto his side, wincing from what was likely several cracked ribs. The baker was a large man and had never been handled that way in battle. He withdrew the quarterstaff from his back and used it to stand. The hooded man continued forward through the smoke.

“Hey,” Xedho managed to yell out through a cough. “What was that for?”

The man disappeared into the smoke, and Xedho chased him, his mouth and nose covered to prevent any more smoke inhalation. When he entered the forest trailhead, the mysterious man grabbed him from the back collar of his shirt and tossed him to the ground.

“You have to stop doing that,” Xedho muttered as he got back to his feet, “What is your problem?”

The man took the sleeping girl off his shoulder and gently laid her on the grass. He unsheathed his “Grim Grasp” katana, releasing heavy black smoke that swirled with the grey from the fire.

Xedho readied his quarterstaff and sunk into his fighting stance. His heart rate instantly tripled as he hoped years of peace hadn’t softened his training from the Village Guard.

“Hey, I think your scary sword there must have caught on fire.”

The hooded man ran toward Xedho with his sword raised. Xedho pivoted to his right, creating an advantageous angle, and swung the quarterstaff at his chin. His hands vibrated from the thunderous strike, but the man didn’t react.

“Really? Not even a flinch?” A startled Xedho leaped backward to create distance between himself and his hardy opponent.

The man swung his katana at Xedho. He ducked underneath, pivoted to the left, and slammed the quarterstaff at his face with all the force he could muster. This time the blow spun the man off his base, causing him to stumble and remove his hood.

Xedho froze in terror at the sight of the man’s face. The blackened skin on his forehead and scalp contrasted the pale complexion of his cheeks. Fresh blood streamed down his face from the dark pits in place of his eyes.

As the man slowly approached him, Xedho backed away and tripped, falling on his back.

“Die…” the man croaked, raising his katana.

Just as he was about to bring the blade down on him, the point of a sword exploded through his chest, raining blood down on Xedho. Even without eyes, his face betrayed his disbelief. The man’s body slumped to the ground, revealing Artemus standing triumphantly behind.

“Are you okay?” he asked Xedho.

“Yeah, I think I got some of its blood in my mouth,” Xedho responded, spitting to the side. “Pwahhh.”

Artemus helped him up and pulled him into an embrace.

“You had me worried, running off like that. I thought I was going to have to rescue you again.”

“This time, I rescued you,” Artemus said with a smile.

“Don’t celebrate so soon,” Mordecai interrupted. “This fight is far from over.”

They turned to see their undead enemy returning to his feet.

“Who’s the old guy with the book?” Xedho said, readying to fight once more.

“That’s Mordecai. He’s some kind of magician,” Artemus replied

“Wait, Mordecai? As in the Genesis Adventurer?” Xedho turned to the old man in amazement. “Oh wow, master Mordecai it is an honor to meet you. My wife and I live by the teachings in your letters!”

Mordecai smiled, “Thank you for the kind words, young man.”

Artemus looked perplexed, “Genesis… Adventurer?”

“Divine’s sake, Arty, read a book. This man is one of the most famous people in all the realms. What is he doing with you –”

“Watch out!” Mordecai warned.

They narrowly slipped the sharp edge of the katana, which cracked the earth beneath them.

“Xedho! Let’s over-under,” Artemus commanded.

Xedho nodded and swept the back of the man’s legs with his quarterstaff. Simultaneously, Artemus dug his short sword into the center of his rib cage, causing their undead enemy to crash to the ground with a thump. Xedho kicked away the katana and held him down with a foot on his chest.

“Chop off his head!”

Artemus looked down at the monster in front of him. He thought of his friends and how this was the last thing they would have seen. Artemus brought his blade up with a ferocious yell, ready to deliver it with all his might.

“STOOOOOP!” Felicity’s scream stopped time in its place. Artemus couldn’t move a muscle. Even the crows’ cawing and the burning forest’s crackling had ceased to make a sound. He could not turn his face but saw a crying Felicity standing beside him through the corners of his eyes.

“Please don’t kill my father,” she said softly, “He’s all I have left.” Her eyes rolled into the back of her head, and she fainted, falling to the ground.

The flow of time returned to normal, but Artemus remained frozen in thought.

Is this thing her father?

Before reacting, the enemy grabbed Xedho’s leg and swung him towards Artemus. The two fell to the ground while the hooded figure jumped to his feet and went to retrieve his katana.

“Heavenly Gale!” A powerful gust of wind lashed out of Mordecai’s grimoire, propelling the katana forward further away from the man. A weakened Mordecai coughed violently. “This cursed body of mine can’t wield magic like it used to.”

The man rushed Mordecai, pulled his limp body from his cart, and dumped him on the ground. His fists crashed into the old man’s face one after the other. Artemus and Xedho tackled the man and tried to pin him down, but he wrestled them off. He kicked Artemus in the stomach, knocking him back several feet. Then he grabbed the back of Xedho’s head and slammed his face into the ground several times, rendering him unconscious. Artemus tried to get back to his feet but struggled to fill his lungs with air beneath his broken ribs. He fell to the ground and could only watch as the monstrous enemy walked toward him with murderous intent.

“Artemus,” Mordecai called out, “Take good care of Felicity and see that she makes it home safely. She needs you –”

His grimoire floated into the air as golden light enveloped his body. The brightness was unbearable, and Artemus averted his eyes. The char-faced man changed course and walked towards the old man.

“So this is where my adventure comes to an end,” The light around Mordecai pulsed brighter and brighter as he walked forward.

“Mordecai, no –” Felicity cried out.

“There’s no need to worry, child. Your father and I are going to get some much-needed rest.” Mordecai gave Felicity a hopeful smile. “I leave the future of the realms in your hands, young adventurers. May the light illuminate your souls.”

The light around Mordecai pulsed even faster and brighter. His grimoire flipped to its final page.

“Divine Twilight,” Mordecai uttered in a serene tone.

An explosion of light irradiated from the book, turning the dead of night into midday in an instant. When the light stopped, and Artemus finally opened his eyes, Mordecai and the enemy were gone. All that remained was the glowing grimoire.

Xedho regained consciousness and sat up slowly, “What happened?”

“They’re… gone,” Felicity said, sobbing softly.

A struggling Artemus stumbled towards the grimoire. As he approached, its light flickered and dimmed, revealing a glowing rune on the front cover—a symbol resembling the rising sun.

Artemus frantically flipped through the book, looking for answers, but it was blank. Every page was a clean sheet of parchment, except the first. Inscribed to the top of the page was only one sentence:

Where one story ends, another begins.


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