• Published 7th Jan 2013
  • 1,104 Views, 47 Comments

Power's Price - Crimson Lionheart



When a Scholar messes around with ancient beings he must save a world much older then his own.

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[Prologue] A world of Brass, Steam and Talking Books (RE)

[Author Notes- In the beginning, the story is set in an alternate, steam-punk universe. If you think I should add the tag, just comment below. Vulgar language throughout]


I yawned and breathed in the dry, musty air of the library. I looked around and saw a pile of books I had to read on my right and a mountain that I had already read on my left. I have been in this library for close to 2 days straight scour the books for any mention of the ‘Abyssals’. My ears heard the light snoring of my friend somewhere in this ancient library. An old man walked up to me carrying a small pile of books.

“Here is the rest of the books you asked for sir,” he said weakly as he placed them on the bench to my right

“Thanks Alfred, go get some rest. You don’t sound too good,”

“I’ll be alright. See you around Arin.” He said as he turned around to go back to his room

“Later Alfred,” I said as I turned back to my book. The room turned silent except the snoring from Maria and the light hissing from the steam in the various contraptions around the room.

I found my sleeping friend leaning against a bookshelf behind pile of scrolls, still wearing her leather armour and her unsheathed sword was laying beside her.

"Pffft, so much for being a body-guard," I whispered. She looked kinda cute when she was asleep. Her hair was in a pony tail with a few strands deliberately left out on each side of her fringe. A few light snores escaped her mouth. She was about 16 and buff as a bear. A little soft-spoken but not afraid to give me an ear full She could hand anyone their asses if they messed with her, and worse if they mess with me.

My dad hired her to look after me before he left for war. That was 2 years ago. I don't know what was going through his head, hiring a 14-year-old girl to watch me. It hit me right in my pride, hiring a 14-year-old girl to watch a 15-year-old boy. He said something about being less conspicuous and that there is no men in the area to watch me. I am kinda glad he did, I have really love having her around, it feels like my brother is alive again, I don’t feel so lonely anymore, but it feels....I don't know....like more, better?

I realised that I was crouched and staring at her while I thought of this and quickly made my way back to my desk. I sat down and began reading my book again.

--20 Minutes Later--

I heard a faint yawn from behind me but continue to read." You still reading? I thought you would have left by now," her voice still hoarse from her sleep, but still as sweet as normal. I spared a quick look to see her get up and retrieve her sword.

"Nah, I wouldn't leave you here like that," I said nonchalantly as I turn my eyes back to my book and continue to read.

"Oh, Arin, since when have you been such a gentleman," she stated with a thick coating of sarcasm, her voice clearing and turning sweeter.

"When am I not a gentleman?" I asked with an equal amount of sarcasm.

I could see her face contort from a sweet smile to a thinking face. "That time you pushed me into Mr Mac's bog, the time you spiked my drink before dangling me head first out the front of the town hall or how about that time you got that rock and stuck my armour to the cannon?"

"It was a magnet."

"I don't care, it was my favourite suit and I still haven't gotten it back yet. How do they work anyways?"

"Magnets?"

"Yeah."

"I don't know," I said truthfully, how the hell do they work?

"Wait," she said, returning to her sarcastic voice, "you found something that you don't understand and you aren't going 3 weeks without sleep until you find out everything about it?"

"That only happens when I find something interesting. That is just some random rock."

"What ever."

I returned to my book.

--1 Hour and a Half later--

“What do you have planned for the rest of the day?” Maria asked, breaking the silence.

“Umm, what I am doing now. Why?”

"Because-, I was...wondering, would you....maybe....like to go the....theatre....with me?" I look up to see her cheeks flaring red.

"You might want to quiet down a bit, the Arenians might hear you," I was almost proud of the level of sarcasm I put into that statement. She went redder when I said that. It wasn't even that hot.

"Do you want to go to the theatre tonight?" She blurted out with a speed that a teska bike would be proud of.

I placed my hand on my chest and put on the most ridiculous face I could possible wear. "Oh my, I never would've thought that you would be such the gentleman." She looked shocked until she saw the layered sarcasm I put on the sentence. When I saw her face contort into one of rage, I put on a straight face. "Besides I thought you didn't like the theatre," I stated, confused. I used to love going to the theatre and I dragged her with me every time. I still haven't heard the end of it.

"I do, I mean, I don't....but...ugh. I give up. I’m going to get something to eat. I'll be right back," She said before standing up and storming out of the room, muttering something about being stupid. Well fuck you too.

I looked back to my book to see I was up to the last page. I quickly scanned through it finding nothing on the Abyssals. All this searching and I haven’t even found something referring to them, not even a paragraph.

I closed the book I had in front of me and threw it to the summit of Mt. Dissertation(The rough pile of books that were useless). I reached for the next book to find it locked on the side that opens up. The title said “Damnatorum Anima”. I then pulled out the dagger from my belt and began picking at the lock.

--10 Minutes Later--

“FUCK IT!” I reach around for the gun on my back and slipped the cylinder out. I reached into my belt pack and pulled out a 2 inch long bullet before sliding it into one of the 6 barrels and taking a shot into the lock, blasting it clear off and making a loud bang that bounced off all the brass in the room.

“Alfred is going to kill me.” I open the book to the first page and see that it is empty. I check the next and the one after that, still empty. After checking about 30 pages I leant back in my chair and said more than a few...vulgar terms to myself. I felt an unnatural chill run up my spine as the books pages began to turn towards the middle of the book. When it was around the middle, it stopped turning pages.

Why are you reading my book?

I looked around for the voice, but I can't see anyone in the room.

Don't ignore me boy. Why are you reading my book?

Ok, I have gone insane from too much studying.

Speak to me!

May as well.

"Ugh.....Hi." I said, feeling like a complete idiot.

So you can speak. Answer my question. Why are you reading my book?

"I need to learn about the Abyssals"

Do not confuse needs with wants.

"Fine then, I WANT to learn about the Abyssals" I put as much emphasis on 'want' I possibly could.

The Abyssals are not creatures from this plane, but another. They are humanoid in nature but have an ever-changing culture. I cannot tell you any more for I have not met one in a very long time.

"...That's it?" I say in disbelief. 2 days of searching for a 30 second description of them.

There is another way to learn more.

"How?"

I could give you the chance to learn but you must do it yourself. But where I will send you is dangerous and only the strongest will survive.

I looked to my arms. Although I had some brawn, I wouldn't call it strong and I am nowhere near the strongest.

I can help you with that, give you the strength of the half-bloods, but at a price. Save the Abyssals. Save the Queen. Save the plane. That, is the deal.

I thought about what is happening. A talking book is giving me the chance to travel to a whole other plane of existence, study the things that have driven me crazy for the past 3 days, get some unknown strength and become the hero of not only a nation, but an entire dimension. "Deal!"

Close the book and grasp it with both hands.

I did exactly as told. I stood there for about 20 seconds and nothing happened. I just stood there. Eventually I began to notice the book was getting warmer and warmer. After a minute, the book was beginning to get too hot to hold on.

This may hurt a bit.

A pulse of heat rushed over my body before ensnaring me in a blanket of flames. I could feel it everywhere. It was like I was burning alive, but my skin was still pristine. It felt like being locked in a burning house. My heart and head felt like they were in a furnace and my back felt like there was lava pouring over it, making intricate and detailed patterns all over it. I couldn't think, I couldn't breath, I couldn't hear and I could barely see past the flames. Throughout all of this I held he book as if it was my life line.

When I finally got over the shock, I began to scream. Not a girlie 'Ew, it is a spider' scream it was a 'I am burning alive and going to die scream'. I could feel the flesh on my toes and fingers begin to peel back, exposing the bones to the raging fire. I was in an excruciating amount of pain. I dropped to my knees and resigned my fate. I was outsmarted by a book. I knew the lock was on it for a reason. By now, my skin had been pealed back to my elbows and knees. I just kept screaming, even though I couldn't feel anything now. I was numb and running out of breath so I rolled to the ground and just stared at the doorway. I felt the fires intensify but I was out of breathe, so I silently screamed to myself. What I saw next made my heart jump.

Maria came running back in through the door and just stared at me. If I was to die now, at least it would be in the company of the most important person in my life. She ran to me with tears in her eyes and tried to touch me before pulling away from the heat. I feel slightly better knowing that the last moments of my life would be with her. Her tears formed a boiling puddle at her knees as she desperately looked for a way to help me.

I saw her get up and run into the next room and come back with a bucket in her hands. She splashed it on me but before the water was even completely out of the bucket, it had evaporated. I saw the hope leave her eyes and turn to sadness. That caused me more pain then what anyone would've inflicted upon me. I reached my bony hand towards her.

Then I blacked out.

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