|Series||RECKLESS by Pixichi|
|Previous||RECKLESS, Chapter 15|
|Next||RECKLESS, Chapter 17|
|← RECKLESS, Chapter 15||Chapter Chronology||RECKLESS, Chapter 17 →|
Before too long, Reaver stood outside of his manor. Although the mischievous young man who was dating his beautiful daughter had been exactly right, he would have never admitted it. For the past week he had been charming and loving a long-haired noble who lived down the street from him, named Jezzabell. Even though he knew that he had Connie back, she was still brainwashed, and old habits tended to die hard for Reaver. It had been a week since he had seen Victoria, and he felt a tad guilty for not following through to show up the day after like he had told her. But his activities with the dark-haired Jezzabell had kept him distracted, and furthermore, Reaver had no wish to see that Ben Finn character again. What does she see in that runt? Even if she did denounce her crown and title, my little girl could still do better than that! He murmured as he pulled out a small golden key and unlocked the door to his home. Troublesome frantically jumped forth in such an unexpected manner, that Reaver pulled his pistol out of reflex. He had it aimed and cocked and only Troublesome's pitiful plea snapped him out of his blood lust, and prevented the shot that would have ended her life.
"Troublesome! I could have killed you, what are you doing downstairs?! I told you to guard Connie!" He let the wolf feel a knock from his cane. Troublesome in turn put her tail between her legs and whined. Reaver couldn't figure it out, Troublesome was usually so obedient. But then he noticed the shards of broken glass at his feet. Reaver looked upwards and saw that they were from one of the upstairs windows. He rushed into the house and ran up the stairs to the bedchamber where he had carefully tied up Connie. But she was nowhere to be seen. Troublesome offered another whimper and Reaver realized now just why the wolf had been acting so out of character. He almost felt bad now for whacking her. But not quite.
"Where did she go?" He demanded from his pet, as he continued to stare in disbelief at the chewed ropes that were still tied to his bedposts.
"To Obsidian Keep." Came a voice from the darkened hallway. Reaver pulled his pistol and whirled around to the source of the voice. He saw before him an older man with white hair that was midlength and flowed in waves down to his shoulders. A matching long white beard and moustache covered most of his face. He was dressed in a red and white robe, which had many satchels and gems attached to it. In his wrinkled hand, he held up one of the gems from his belt. It was glowing black. His green eyes seemed to sparkle and smile, even though he was frowning.
"Obsidian Keep? What's that?" Reaver asked, more concerned about where Connie was than the fact that there was a strange man inside his prized home. The old man stared long and hard at Reaver before speaking in a gravely, yet jolly voice.
"It's a dark and malevolent castle whose homeland seems to grow bigger and more sinister every year. Its located at the far end of the kingdom. Very dangerous place that is." Reaver felt a cold wave of dread run down his spine. The far end of Albion, that was where Wraithmarsh was. He hadn't ever wanted to go back there, but now it looked like he was going to have to.
"Yes...and who are you, exactly?" Reaver asked, again raising his pistol at the intruder.
"The names Axel. Pleasure to meet you Reaver."
"How did you know my name?" Reaver asked the man. Axel just smiled.
"I'm a Will user.I can read minds you know." The old man's eyes continued to gleam.
"Oh, well I should have guessed with all the dangly pretty things on your belt there." Reaver added with a chuckle.
"Don't worry, I mean you no harm. I've actually come to assist you." Axel commented with a wheeze.
"Assist me? In what?"
"Finding your wife."
"I don't need any such help."
"Oh I can see that. You skill users are all alike. So full of yourselves, so vain, so unable to admit defeat." Axel chuckled.
"Watch your tounge old man or I'll take it." Reaver snapped annoyed.
"Yup you really are a blunt one. I heard that Reaver had more of a colorful personality. Why so dull?"
"I don't feel like discussing it thank you very much." Reaver began to pace his bedroom.
"Alright, if you're going to be nasty about it, then I'll just leave. Maybe then you can explain to your son why both his mother AND his sister are gone." Reaver grumbled reluctantly, remembering that Xaiver held Connie prisoner, and was after Victoria now. As much as it would hurt his pride, he knew that he stood no chace of defeating the warlock without a will user by his side.
"Yes, yes, alright! My apologies. You're a will user, and I could use your help in finding my wife and saving my daughter." Axel yawned loudly and then laid down upon the bed.
"I'm feeling a bit too tired now. Perhaps tomorrow." Reaver turned and glared at the old man resting atop his bed as if nothing important was happening. Never mind the fact that he was in intruding in Reaver's home, or the fact that only he seemed to know of a way to save the industrialists family. Those things seemed to matter not to the ancient.
"Do you simply delight in taunting me? My daughter is in trouble, as is my wife." Reaver explained. Axel just shrugged.
"You're an ex-pirate. I'm sure that once you head out to sea, you'll find your wife eventually." Reaver raced over and grabbed him.
"I don't have that kind of time! Listen, you speak of a place out in Wraithmarsh called Obsidian Keep, so you must also know about a warlock named Xaiver correct?" Reaver asked. Axel's eyes narrowed.
"What about him?" He asked coldly.
"He has my wife under a spell, and he wants my daughter too. If you're a will user surely you must know about how evil and powerful he is, and why I cannot allow that to happen. I would rather die than let that happen, do you understand?" Reaver explained.
"Then kill yourself. You still have your pistol on you do you not?" Axel replied sourly. Reaver's green eyes gleamed as that of a cats, and he took out the gun and pointed it directly at his head. Axel looked up concerned as Reaver's thin finger cocked the hammer in place and then pulled the trigger.
"NO! I was only-" Axel lunged forward to try and undo his words, but soon found that it was unnecessary. The bullet exited the pistol at point-blank range, but then slammed hard against a sinister wall of dark energy, which protected Reaver from his own suicide attempt. As the bullet clicked across the marble floor, Axel let out a sigh of relief and sat back down again, although he was extremely curious about what he had just witnessed. Reaver slowly put the gun away. He had a look of sadness and a small smile on his lips.
"If it were only that easy...I would have done it 20 years ago..." Reaver looked blankly ahead, remembering the tragic night that Connie had died.
"How, did you do that? I have never seen that spell before." Axel asked.
"It's not a spell, it's a curse. For centuries, I was Xaiver's lackey, unknowingly. My inability to die or be killed stems from that very dark piece of my history. He needed me alive." Reaver explained. The way that he spoke made the old will user think hard, and then without warning, Axel stood up and stroked his beard.
"I am a user of white magic and I have long been Xaiver's enemy that regard. There is not a will user alive that is a fair match for him, save me." Axel replied slowly. Reaver was both shocked and relieved by the words.
"You are truly as powerful as Xaiver?!" Reaver asked the old man.
"That is the truth." He replied. Reaver scoffed. Axel looked at him, perturbed.
"What is it?" He asked.
"It's just that you don't really look the part. You look like nothing but an old heap of ancient bones in a dress to me, no offence." Reaver replied.
"I don't really look the part now do I? I guess I'll just have to show you then." The old man replied. Axel walked over to the window and stood directly below the light of the moon. He closed his eyes and began to chant some sort of ancient sounding tune. He squeezed his eyes tighter and tighter as Reaver watched in awe. Using will was the one thing that he had not done in his long and full life and would and could never do. He had an unspoken respect for will users because of this. Axel continued to chant as thick sweat poured down his brow. The will user seemed to glow and the words from his lips became almost seeable to Reaver as they flowed forth from that unseen place in the ancient ones soul. Finally, Axel fell away from the spell, and a sheer white light engulfed the two men. Reaver closed his eyes as the spell took effect. A moment later, Reaver felt his feet sink into the soppy wet ground. He knew the smell, the mixture of rotting earth and stagnant water. When he opened them again, Reaver gasped in disbelief coupled with frozen terror. He was in Wraithmarsh. Reaver tried hard to make his feelings invisible, but in the presence of a will user, he knew that unless he ceased to think, that was useless. The two men began to make the long lonesome trek up to Obsidian Keep. Axel led and Reaver followed cautiously keeping watch for any of the various creatures known to pollute the area. On they walked, past the lonesome bridge and the old windmill, and into the area known to outsiders as the drowned farm, although Reaver knew it as something very different. As they passed his old home, Reaver could see the Shadow Court in the distance and was shocked at how big the place had grown over the last 36 years. Reaver started to run towards the foreboding castle.
"I need to get there. Xaiver has gone too far this time." Axel stopped him in his tracks with a freeze movement spell.
"What are you-" Reaver started.
"You can't kill him, not even I can. A power such as the one that Xaiver possesses can only be halted, and never completely stopped. He will be in this world forever." Axel explained.
"No, I have to kill him!" Reaver roared as his memories came flooding back. Oakvale. Camillia and Opal. And now Connie and Victoria. No, he could never allow that to happen again. He fought hard to break free of the spell, but it was useless.
"Let me go, damn you!" Axel thrust Reaver down and then stared into his green eyes.
"You need to hear this before you proceed. If you continue to charge blindly ahead, you will be a greater fool than you were the day that you first trusted that monster." Axel's voice was strict but calming at the same time. Reaver decided to listen.
"Alright. What do you want old man?" He replied reluctantly. Axel dropped the spell from him, and it scattered off into all corners of the marsh, like frightened mice.
"There is only one way to save your family." Axel began.
"How? How do I stop Xaiver, if he cannot be killed?" Reaver asked impatiently. Axel handed him a small book of incantations. Reaver skimmed through the pages which were thick with ancient letters of what all he could tell were from some sort of dead language. He handed the book back to Axel, who took it slowly with a puzzled look.
"You don't want to save them then?" Axel asked confused.
"Of course I do!" Reaver yelled.
"Then I take it that you cannot read it." Reaver looked away.
"No." He muttered under his breath. "And to tell you the truth, I'm not too keen on being back in Wraithmarsh either." Axel nodded and sighed heavily.
"It's because of what you were part of is it not? You are afraid of losing your family again aren't you?" Reaver answered him with only silence. The elder moved closer and then placed a hand on Reaver's shoulder.
"There is good inside of you, despite what you think."
"No there isn't. Not since Connie."
"Regardless of what you might think, you've been acting like your old self since you met up with your daughter. This I know." Axel stated. Reaver's eyes seemed to grin back at the words.
"Perhaps I have."
"I will help you. I will say the spell that will trap him here," Axel patted the book, "hopefully forever, but these days you never know." Reaver looked up at him.
"Why are you helping me? You don't even know me." Reaver asked. Axel smiled again, a look of mild pity on his face.
"She never told you did she?"
"Your mother, did she never mention my name Victor?"
"I was a friend of your fathers. We both apprenticed at the same guild for centuries. He was a will user as well, and when your mother gave birth to you, he told me that he had seen a vision. He announced with great pride, that the greatest skill user of all time had just been born." Reaver stepped back as if he had seen a ghost. It was indeed possible, he had never met his father because his mother had been a prostitute.
"My father was a mage? But I am the Hero of Skill, not a will user. I don't understand."
"It's hard to explain. All we know is that a hero is required for a chance at creating another hero. But as for the new heros abilities, well that parts kind of a grab bag." Axel winked. He was amazed at Reaver's lack of surprise.
"Why were you not amazed by my news?" Reaver chuckled.
"I've been alive for over 300 years, my wife died in my arms and then tried to kill me two weeks ago, my daughter is as headstrong and reckless as I, and I hate animals but have a pet wolf. Not much surprises me anymore. I grow tired of this world, just as everyone else does." Reaver explained.
"Lets get going. Are you ready to save her?"
"Yes. Just let me do something first." Reaver replied and headed back around to the front yard of his old home. There, he fell to his knees before two large rocks. Anyone else would have just seen them for what they were, but to Reaver, they were something far more important.
"Cammilia, and Opal. I am so sorry for what I have done. You were both taken from me, because I foolishly trusted a friend, who turned out to be a very evil and dangerous enemy. He killed you both in cold blood and made me watch. I swear to both of you, I will NOT allow that same thing to happen to Connie and Victoria. I, Victor Ashfield, give you my most solemn oath." Reaver rose to his feet and turned to Axel. Axel looked into Reaver's eyes and was alerted when he saw nothing.
"Let's go. This nightmare ends today." With that, the two men entered the front door of the great castle.