Author's Note: This is the first part of chapter 7. I couldn't think of how to finish what I had after the ending here so I instead opted to upload this now rather than postpone even more.
If you've paid the slightest attention to my journals or my profile entries you'll know my current situation. If you haven't and are interested, it shouldn't be too hard to find it from where you are now.
That's all I have to say. Enjoy.
Chapter Seven: The Story of Torgos.
A valley town close by Passaj by the name of Torgos.
The group had spent the past week in the local inn of Torgos, renting the cheapest rooms. It was a Sunday now and the weather was stormy. The wind had been banging the windows for two days in a row now and the rain was torrential, pouring down at unpredictable intervals. Both locals and travelers were forced to remain indoors even when it was calming down in fear they might be caught outside in the rain. The downtown part of Torgos had been flooded, it's residents seeking refuge in public domains such as the hospital and the town hall.
Matthew woke up in his bed to a calm awakening. He didn't often have that. He was more often than not plagued by nightmares every few nights or else some other reason would wake him up such as monsters.
But ever since he first woke up in the inn it had been a peaceful life for him. He even felt content with it. All his friends were here with him and they were enjoying each day as it came, not worrying about any problematic foes or mountain passages. He shuddered at the very thought of climbing across the mountain pass, he never had liked the idea. But he knew it would not last and as soon as the weather stopped for a good amount of time he would have to call for the continuation of their travels. But at least for now, he enjoyed the peace and quiet this town, even in it's stormy weather, gave him.
His room was on the second floor of the inn. There were four floors in the building, the second one had the cheapest rooms as it was closest to the always noisy bar. The third held the expensive rooms as it was in between any battering by the winds and the noise from downstairs. The fourth was more expensive than the second but significantly cheaper than the third floor rooms.
The room was well-illuminated from the outside and he did not need a candle to see. A few days he had found Karis sleeping on his lap when he woke up which made him realize the fact that he liked her as more than just a best friend. He realized he wanted more than just friendship. He warmed up at the simple thought of his feelings for her and chuckled to himself as he got out of bed.
He yelped weakly as he stepped on the cold floor and lifted his feet off of it to quickly put his boots on before walking.
After putting on some clothes he went downstairs to get a price inclusive meal in the inn's lower floor tavern.
The wind pounded the windows as he went through the door into the tavern. He looked around the spacious, people-filled room. He noticed a large stuffed deer head stuck on the wall as a trophy and decoration. He hadn't seen it before, and was uncertain why he hadn't. He shrugged it off and peered through the room. It did not take him long to find Tyrell and Amiti amidst the crowd of people eating, drinking, talking and cursing. He walked over to them, greeted them with a wave and took a seat on one of the two remaining seats around the table.
"Hey guys, where are the others?" he asked as he waved his hand at the waiter to get his attention.
"Hey Matthew. I know Karis went outside. Apparently she had to give something to someone in town and it couldn't wait until the rain was over. But you'd have to ask Amiti about Rief." Tyrell casually remarked and nudged his head to Amiti.
Amiti joined into the conversation, "Mm. Rief is not feeling very well actually. It did not sound very bad to me but he wanted to stay in bed – just in case." he informed them, inciting a worried frowning look from Tyrell and an even more worried one from Matthew.
He shrugged it off as he remembered the conversation they were in. "Elements no, he's not falling sick today. We can't have anymore delays the way things around going. Amiti, can I count on you to do what you can as his roommate, that he doesn't go sick?"
"Sure." Amiti responded. The group ordered a meal when the waiter finally arrived. Tyrell decided to go for the house cheese complimented by the cheapest bread on the menu, he was careful with his spending coin.
Amiti looked at the rough menu for a moment before ordering a house cheese as well with some salads around it. Matthew thought for a moment, before deciding to go with some of the slightly more expensive loafs of bread with some butter for taste.
Matthew nodded at Amiti as they resumed the conversation and looked back to Tyrell as he put his elbows on the table. "So, when is Karis coming back? Did she say how long she would be out?"
Tyrell leaned back in his chair frowning his face like he always does when he thinks he just heard something more stupid than himself. "She went out an hour ago and no she didn't tell me. Does it matter anyway? She'll be back."
Matthew thought to himself and wanted to answer Tyrell but he noticed someone looking at them attentively. Disturbed he turned around to face him but the man did not look away as he had expected.
"Uhh... Old man, can I help you, or something?" He asked, wondering what reason the man could have to be so interested in looking at them.
"No, I can help you, young boy." The man glared at him for a moment and he realized that the man hadn't been keen on being called old. " You said your friend went outside in this rain, right? Then I suggest you hurry up and find her." Matthew looked at Tyrell and Amiti but neither of them understood it either and they simply shrugged as the old man babbled on. "Ten years ago, during a storm much like this one something horrible happened. I was there, the only one to see it too... Dana, the old waitress at this inn went outside to pass on an order for new chairs to the local carpenter back when everyone hadn't specialized yet... The town was still small and personal back then. Just like how the guards were-"
Matthew interrupted the old man whom had completely forgotten what he was talking about. "What? Old man, get to the point! We don't have all day."
The old man shook his head a few times and sat back into his chair, thinking and seeming ever more senile. "Who's Dana again?" The old man asked.
Tyrell's arm twitched in irritation. He wondered if the old man wasn't simply wasting their time through senile old banter.
He sighed, and opted to help the old man help them with whatever was the point of his story. "Dana, the old waitress remember? Ten years ago?" He suggested with an irritated tone.
The old man immediately lashed back with his head on laughter for whatever reason. "Bwahahaha! Of course, of course! Ah, Dana, yes I remember now. She was delivering the order to the carpenter, whom she was also in love with – love of the town I'll tell you, neither dared confess! - and he took her on a walk to the center of town, a 'business trip' he called it." The old man took a sip of his drink to clear his throat before continuing. "But it didn't go quite well. It had been raining on and off for a few days and it started pouring again, heavier than ever too! I was walking by at that moment with a raincoat on, pretty much everybody had one with them just so they would not get caught out in the rain, the carpenter was sharing his with Dana, might I add, very cheesy. Anyway, I saw this weird glowing things just above the square near Stonestreet, just a block away from here too, that they were walking to. The two of them were too engrossed in their talking to notice. Suddenly the thing started sucking stuff in. I tried to yell to them but by the time they noticed me, they were swooped up, just like old man Bertrand's market stall, bless his soul. Straight up into the sky and poof, gone."
The old man sighed and took it easy for a moment from his story.
Matthew turned to Tyrell whom nodded faintly, they both recognized what the old man had meant by the vortex. No doubt it had been a Psynergy Vortex. And if there had been one there ten years ago then there could be one now again now that they were returning to Weyard once again. And if it had been large enough to devour two grown people wholly, then the dangers it would cause for an adept were horrifying. "Old man," Matthew started talking as he turned back to him. "I'm afraid it's fairly certain that Dana is dead if she was swooped up into that vortex. I hope you don't think she's still alive." The old man looked at him with a preset judging on his face, making him feel as if he had just said something even madder than what the old man was spouting.
"What are you talking about. Dana came back, I mean, she wasn't herself but she came back." Matthew turned his head to Tyrell for a moment, whom shook his own in disbelief.
"How did she come back? Where is she?" Amiti added to the conversation.
"Well, she had lost her memories and ended up taking to the road two weeks later. Sold everything she owned, she did. Don't know what happened to the carpenter though. She didn't even remember him when she came bacl."
Matthew quickly stood up from his chair. "Thanks old man, I don't know if the vortex is back but if there is a chance then Karis is in danger." He turned to Tyrell whom was just about to say he was coming as well, but was cut off by Matthew. "No. You stay here Tyrell. I'm sorry, but you're best suited for this. If Karis comes back before I find her, send some fire into the sky. Neither I nor Amiti can do that. Amiti nodded at Tyrell, backing Matthew's up.
"Fine. You go, take my raincoat so you don't get soaked, yours' ripped after all." Matthew nodded at him and then bee-lined for the coat hangers and the door, going outside the moment he had Tyrell's rain coat on.
Irony willing, in full view of everyone Matthew tripped and fell the moment he came outside, apparently not as prepared as he should have been for just how wet and slippery it was outside. He crawled to his feet and quickly ran around the opposite building towards the square first of all.
He ran the entire way, though it wasn't so far to begin with. The entire way he felt uncomfortable, a sickening, draining feeling. He'd felt this before, but he only remembered one such occassion.
Matthew turned around to corner of a building to the plaza when he felt a sharp pain throughout his body. He staggered, to the wall and tried to regain his bearings. When he looked up he saw it through the pouring rain and lightning. The vortex was there and it wasn't asleep.
Slowly he could feel his psynergy trickling away, even though he was at well over thirty meters from it. This vortex was even bigger than they had encountered in the cave near Tyrell. Much bigger in fact... It was huge, floating in the sky and visibly sucking the air around it into it. A nearby chair was slowly lifted into the sky and went straight through the vortex, engulfed wholly.
He knew that even though she might just as well be here, she did not have to be. Torgos was larger than this square alone and she could be anywhere throughout the entire city. But something, a gut feeling, told him he was right in coming here.
He carefully moved nearer to the square, resisting the increasingly strong pulling bursts from the vortex. He looked around, hanging on to the wall with one hand. But he did not see anyone, or anything for that matter, through the horrendous downpour.
He was considering back tracking to look for Karis elsewhere, but then again, he came out here specifically because he was worried about the vortex catching her off guard. He then heard a voice behind him. He didn't recognize it though. He was so deep into his thoughts that he only noticed the person calling for him when he or she was halfway through speaking. And even then the ever so heavy rain blurred everything to an unrecognizable mess of sound.
Matthew turned on his feet. He had to clench his eyes tightly as the rain was now blowing straight into his face, pelting it hard enough to force him to raise his other arm in front of his head to protect himself.
It was Tyrell. "Matthew. Putting the giant vortex aside for now, I already shot up five flares! Karis is back at the inn, she was all the way across the town from this square!" Tyrell semi-yelled to him over the rain. "But, what are we going to do about that?"
Matthew glanced behind him, saving his face the pelting rain. He had no idea what to do, neither of them did. Only their parents understood how to remove vortexes and they had never taught them. And even if they had, this might just have been too much for them nonetheless.
"I don't know, let's go back to the inn, we'll talk there!" He yelled back.
They both quickly retraced their steps to the inn, coming back completely soaked. Matthew had a raincoat on, so he wasn't bothered, and neither was Tyrell whom vaporized the water straight off of his body and clothes. The fun of being a Fire Adept...
The two of them sat down at the table with Karis and Amiti.
Tyrell gruffly interrupted, not caring for the present conversation. "I brought him back. Like I said, he hadn't noticed the flares."
Karis snapped towards him like only she could. "Oh really, or is that, like I said, it just didn't work in the rain because they weren't large enough? I warned you about that... Besides, we're talking here!"
Matthew sighed, he had to tell them both about the vortex and he didn't have the time to wait with that either. "Umm, everybody listen. There's a vortex close by. In the town, just above a square not three streets away." Karis looked at him, first in confusion before turning to a light dye of shock. He didn't give her a chance to talk so she just nodded as he continued on. "Now I don't know what we can do, it's the biggest vortex any of us have probably ever seen and... Well, seeing how we don't even know how to deal with vortexes to begin with, I'm not sure if there's anything we can do here."
"So what you're saying is," Karis said, "that we should do nothing and pretend there's nothing there, despite the fact that if anyone can stop it it's us?"
The wind pounded and pulled on the building harder, stronger almost by the seconds. The rain was now falling at an incredible angle as lightning struck ground closer than comfortable.
The young prince adept shifted back and forth on his seat during the awkward silence that ensued. Finally he spoke up, no longer being able to handle the curiosity he had.
"So, what is a 'Vortex' anyway?"
Everyone else at the table looked at him as if he'd just asked where he could find some mud for his mud pie. After a moment though they remembered that it was only obvious if he didn't know anything about them. Tyrell cut to the chase and was the first to respond, "Well they're like big swirly things that will suck you dry." He sat back against the back of his chair with a smug look on his face, probably overestimating how well he had done his explanation. Karis only narrowly prevented herself from giving him the usual smack that she does when he says something stupid.
Matthew, breathed out loudly to catch attention and coughed twice to make it even more obvious.
"What he was trying to say, was that the vortexes are dangerous psynergy sucking things. They swirl, yeah, and they suck your psynergy out. But they also suck things close by in, not just psynergy and as far as we know touching one is... Deadly, the old man's tale aside." He eyed down for a moment, noticing the plates had apparently long been moved away by the waiter. He continued as he rose his head again "That's all we know. Our parents know more, but they never told us anything about it."
Amiti nodded a several times throughout the explanation, taking it all in more easily than they'd imagined. After all, vortexes aren't your everyday story material.
Before anyone could continue however, a sudden shock shot through the building, causing glass to fall to its untimely demise on the floor as well as causing the mounted deer head to slip out of it's position and fall onto one of the bartenders, injuring the man. Several others, including customers, sped to help him and quickly carried him back whilst a mob of others ran outside to see what was going on.
None of them had even stood up yet when the second shock hit the inn. The windows shattered under the pressure and the old timers still on their chairs were quick to fall off of them, all but one, the one whom had warned them to begin with. The old man stood up, and quietly made his way outside, not a soul minding him.
Karis yelped as the second shock hit them, grabbing onto the table to not fall off. Tyrell even had to stand up to brace himself on his legs, his chairs sliding straight out from under him. What everyone had in common during that moment though, was the realization. It was caused by the vortex. The vortex had grown, It now extended so far that they could feel it from the inside of the inn. As if on cue, the three adepts looked at their leaders whom responded like a well trained sergeant to troops in trouble.
"Tyrell, get Rief, bring him to the northern exit of the city. Take the long way so you don't get near the vortex. Keep him safe." Matthew barked.
Tyrell nodded with a much too soft 'on it' for the noise and screaming going on around them to actually be eligible, but it didn't matter. He rushed towards Rief's room, quickly out of both sight and mind alike as the remaining adepts turned to what to do next. Matthew quickly asserted that they had to see the vortex in person to know what to do and the three of them promptly made their way to the square
They went through the massive amounts of people running back and forth through the city streets. People were everywhere, some injured, though most were fine for now. One unfortunate woman had fallen from the top floor window as she was looking outside after the first shock. Two men were lifting her up to carry her away as they passed.
It did not take them long to reach the plaza. What they found there, struck fear into their very beings. What could be considered the anti-adept had grown to two times the size of before. The closest house had been almost completely ripped off of it's foundations already, only a few logs clung on to the ground, swirling madly at the rhythm of the vortex.
Amiti looked at the scenery with a terrified face. "This... This is horrible. This is the vortex?" He asked, knowing full well that there was nothing else that could be it.
"Yeah..." Matthew answered. "But it's grown... Within those few minutes it became twice the size. Wait, if it's that fast... Elements, it's going to overtake the entire city if it doesn't stop growing!" Matthew panicked at the realization. They were the only ones whom knew what these vortexes did. "Amiti! We have to warn the townspeople! Go to the town hall and warn the mayor to evacuate, pull some princely strings if you have to. Karis, come with me, we're going to try to save as many people as we can." He gave the orders fluidly and expertly. He had really come a long way since the start of their journey.
Amiti yelped a nervous 'okay' and quickly made his way to the town hall. Karis and Matthew circled around the square, warning everyone they came across to head out of the town.
A few minutes passed before the city bells tolled, the sign to evacuate the city. In a panicked rush, everyone but Karis and Matthew made their way out of the city. By now, the vortex had grown to the size of a large fountain. It had already destroyed all the houses around the square by now and the actual square was all but gone.
Only Matthew and Karis remained to face it now...
A dramatic 'To be continued' implying a cliffhanger which is totally unneccesary but still done without a care for the wishes of the readers.