'Soul of the lost, withdrawn from its vessel. Let strength be granted so the world might be mended.'
…A voice? Was this the afterlife? No, it couldn't be. I was killed in the fog, one's soul could not escape the fog.
…But the voice was female, and sure as hell didn't sound demonic. And as she spoke, I began to feel. Not emotions, I have no idea what she is babbling on about. I mean I could feel arms, legs, a body.
'Soul of the lost, withdrawn from its vessel. Let strength be granted so the world might be mended, so the world might be mended.
I tried moving. What was meant to be a slow rising of my arm turned into it shooting right up.
…I can see. At first I thought it was just black, but no, this is the ground, some sort of black glass with rippling golden symbols.
I tilted my head to my arm. It seemed to glow, and it felt… Well, I could feel it. But something was off. A warrior had to feel familiar with their body as much as they needed to with their weapon, They needed to know the weight of each limb, how much force needed for a solid strike that wouldn't leave one vulnerable.
I shot up… Damn, I didn't mean to do that, now my head aches.
'Where am I?' Turning my head again, I saw the person who I assume had been speaking before. A woman, dressed in black, her eyes obscured by what looked like candle wax. 'Who are you? What am I doing here?'
'This is the Nexus.' She spread her arms. I looked up.
Damn, this place is huge. I can see staircases leading towards the top, which would have towered over the demon that had gotten me into this mess. Gold and blacks were the primary colour of the area, made from some sort of shiny stone.
…Yeah, this place must have taken a long time to build.
And yet, it was so empty.
Were there others? My gaze began a sweep of the area around me. My gaze was drawn to a glowing blue man. But he turned his gaze down the moment he saw me looking at him. There was a man who, if the beating metal on an anvil was anything to go by, is a blacksmith. He didn't even seem to glance up at me.
…And one other, a man who did not fear my gaze. He stared at me with a smile. A weak smile perhaps, but it seemed genuine.
With that done, I turned back to the woman. 'And the Nexus is… where exactly?'
'The Nexus binds the land of Boletaria together.' She turned.
'That doesn't answer my question!' She ignored me, and kept moving. 'Hey, stop right there, damn you! I want some real answers.
With my blade at her neck, she finally stopped. 'Very well, you died. I know now how, perhaps you fell many a demon, perhaps cowering you were slaughtered by the first demon or madman you found. What I do know is that I saved your soul from being consumed, I snatched you away to the Nexus for a second chance at life.' She shook ever so slightly. Afraid? I brought the blade closer to her neck. No change.
It wasn't fear, it was impatience. She had a blade to the neck, and she was impatient?
The blade tightened further, before I released it with a sigh. 'Then what do I do next?'
'That is up to you, but perhaps you should talk to the others. Be warned, thou canst escape the Nexus, not truly. Try to escape if thou desire, but it is pointless.'
Not that it mattered, even if I got out of here, I wouldn't know where to begin.
She walked away, heading up one of the two staircases I could see. I turned to the one man who had looked at me happily, giving a polite bow before coming up to him. 'Hello, who might you be?'
'My name is Thomas.' He brought his hand out in invitation, I accepted the gesture.
'Your friends don't seem as pleased by me coming here as you do.' I whispered, making no motion towards those I spoke of. He probably knew who I was talking about.
'Oh, do not mind them. One is all too engrossed in their work to care about much at all.' He pointed to the blacksmith. 'And the other… well, he has lost hope. It's usually best to ignore him.'
'I don't suppose you could tell me much about this place?'
He frowned, putting an open palm on his head. 'Aahh… Not much, really. This place is called The Nexus, that woman in black told me that much. From what I understand, this place may well be the one sanctuary in Boletaria.'
'The ONLY… Are there others around here?'
'About three others who don't seem to be here at the moment. A magician and a couple of priests. I do hope they're not at each other's throats elsewhere…' He craned his neck to look at the surrounding area. '…I should probably mention it to the woman in black.'
With that, he hurriedly ran… The opposite staircase the woman had started going up the last time I had seen her. Aahh well.
Thomas had recommended I not speak to that other man. But he may know something about the glowing thing. I eyed his blue form. I got the feeling he was watching me out of the corner of his eye as I advanced towards him.
'Hello.' Was the rather curt reply, he didn't even look at me when he said it.
'So, what's your name?'
'ok…' Now he was really bugging me. 'My name's'
'Look!' He spoke suddenly, loudly, his voice quietened when he continued. 'Just stop beating around the bush. Ask me what you have to, and leave me alone.'
'Well, for starters, why are we glowing?
'because it isn't flesh that forms us, but rather a construct of our soul. He sighed. 'To be blunt, I don't understand it entirely. But the point is we are currently not flesh and blood, although we are far from invulnerable. Indeed, this form is far weaker then a true body.'
Well, that was confusing. Then again, I never was into magic. 'Alright, well, what should I do next?'
'Well, Soul Hunter.' He gave a… grimace? A failed attempt at a smile? I'm not entirely sure. 'I can call you Soul Hunter, yes? It is the reason you came here, I imagine. No other reason one would come to this accursed land. If you seek souls to strengthen yourself, you should try one of the archstones. He waved behind him, where a stone slab reminiscent of a tombstone lay. A knight was carved upon it. Blade down in a resting pose. 'May as well get that out of your system, if you're lucky, you might survive the ordeal and be able to return alive.'
Well, Thomas was certainly right. But at least the man had some information. I walked over to the "Archstone", as he called it. The man watched me as, hesitantly, I stretched my hand out and…
The world twisted and warped around me.