Chapter One: Fifth
Heros stood in awe of Eos Tower. The height of the massive tower represented the adventure he knew he was getting himself into. Tightening his grip on his plain wooden longbow he gathered the courage to continue towards the entrance.
The tower was one of two massive, sky-scraping towers that held up the town of Temporis in the sky. Eos Tower and its companion on the other side of Temporis, Helios Tower, were shrouded in mystery. No one knew how they'd been built, or even Temporis itself, but they had been there as long as anyone could remember. Temporis rested between the one hundredth floor of each tower, but the towers went even higher than that. Both towers could be used as a passage to the continent below, but few people had ever dared climb above the one hundredth floor; those that had were never heard from again.
Heros wasn't sure of himself. Go back now, he kept telling himself, before you get yourself into real trouble. He had almost turned back a few times already, but Heros only had to remind himself that he'd never hear the end of it back at the Adventurer's Guild to keep himself going forward.
Heros stopped again, desperate for any excuse to prolong the perilous journey that surely lay ahead of him. He self-consciously looked down at himself, swatting at his thighs to straighten out his lackluster black tunic which covered down to his calves. Then he adjusted his thin silver sleeveless chest piece which he wore as protective armour over his tunic. Lastly, he knelt down and placed his bow to his side, his shoulder length brown hair falling to the sides and front of his face. He fiddled with his black boots and made sure the makeshift laces were securely tied. Knowing he could delay no more, he reclaimed his bow and stood tall, puffing his chest out to instill himself with confidence.
One step at a time Heros continued climbing the stairs leading to Eos Tower's entrance. As he began approaching the last of them, he could see a small group of people appearing. He felt certain these were the other adventurers the strange old man from the guild told him about.
"A band of five," Heros remembered the old man's words, "and you must be the fifth. Yes, yes, five must enter for the seal to open. Five must enter to conquer the tower's trials. Only then will the five reap the rewards."
And there were the four others, standing outside the tower's opening as if they'd been waiting for Heros to arrive. Cautiously he approached the group.
"Hey," one of them called out. He was a tall man, taller than Heros, and muscular with his head cleanly shaved. He had a sword strapped around his back that was nearly as tall as the man himself. He was dressed peculiarly, his lower half being covered with loose-fitting tan leather and his upper body hardly covered at all by a plain white tank top. "Are you the fifth?"
Heros knew this was his last chance to back out. No! his insides shouted. But against all his better instincts, "Yes I am" is what came out of his mouth.
"I'm Force," the same man added. He pointed to another man who was wearing the simplest of garbs, a plain brown robe and hardly sandals enough to cover his feet. "That's Evek."
"It's a pleasure to meet you," said the smiling Evek. Heros couldn't help but think, what help is this guy going to be?
"So you're the fifth, eh?" Heros' attention was snapped to the new speaker, a man to his right. He was a little shorter than Heros, about as tall as Evek, but dressed much differently. He was clad in dark leathers, goggles strapped around his head that rested under his black-as-night hair on his forehead, and a terribly disheveled piece of fabric that was clasped around his neck as a cape. "I'm Mise. Stay out of my way." Heros thought he was talking awfully tough for someone who didn't appear to have any type of weapon, but he kept his thoughts to himself.
"Don't mind him," added the only woman, standing right next to Mise. She was wearing similar clothes, except they were a tighter fit, had a small slot for a sheathed dagger on her right side, and her cape was shorter. She and Mise looked a lot alike; Heros was able to tell them apart only because the girl's hair was strikingly blonde, and she wasn't wearing goggles like Mise was. "You can call me Vol. Mise and me are twins, so don't worry if you mix us up. Happens all the time." Heros just nodded.
"Well?" Asked Force. "And you are...?"
"Sorry," Heros quickly apologized. "I'm Heros."
"You're late, Fifth." Mise retorted, as if he didn't even listen to Heros state his name – or didn't care. Mise turned his back to the group and began walking slowly towards the tower's opening. Rolling her eyes, Vol followed after giving Heros a pat on the back.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Heros!" Evek said before turning to keep up with the twins. "Wait up!"
Force took a step closer, and placed his hand on Heros' shoulder. "I can tell you're a little nervous. Scared?" Heros didn't even have a chance to answer. "Don't worry. I can tell you've never done anything like this before. It'll be over before you know it, just stay behind me." Force smirked, gesturing towards his massive sword. Then he turned and began walking towards the tower.
Heros hesitated. He checked his bow's string and made sure there were plenty of arrows in the quiver strapped to his back. But then he knew he could stall no more, and began jogging to catch up with the other four.
At the base of the tower was no door, only a large piece of the wall missing leading to the innards. The others had already entered, though he could hardly see them because of how dark the inside was. Mise and Vol seemed to vanish completely with their dark clothes.
Heros knew this was only the beginning of what was sure to be his most spectacular adventure yet.