Black Halo: the Witch and the Guardian PREVIEW Part 1

Hello Everyone!

If everything goes as planned the revised version of the novel should be released on 12/9/2015!

I decided to post a chapter or two from the revised version of the novel everyday until release so everyone can get a taste of what it’s like.

After the release of the revised version of the novel, I’ll do a discussion piece of what changes were made and why we made them.

Enjoy! Feel free to leave me any comments, questions, and complaints that you may have!

ARAMIRU OUT

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Prologue

a Recorder’s Search


“Kalin?” the Witch called to her redheaded follower. He turned his head towards her as he gently held her hand.

Master Raina,

It’s hard to imagine the world of before. Before magic, the Great Calamity, and the Witch. What remains of the past provides us with only glimpses, but never the whole story.

From the ashes, we were left with only children’s tales passed on from generation to generation regarding the fate of the Old World. We’ve all heard it at least once in our childhood from either our parents or grandparents. With the passing of time and shifting narrators, the tale naturally shed the light of its truth and garnished itself with embroideries. I am, of course, referring to the tale of the Witch and the Guardian.

Even with the variations it has seen through the cycles of storytellers across the world, the core of the tale remains the same. It always begins with the time of the Old World when men built the world with just their hands. And then one day, without warning, the Light appeared. A mysterious light that could be seen no matter where a person may be. And with it came magic and the Witch.

 

“If things were not the way they were, where do you think we would be?” The Witch looked out to the vast ocean with a cold gaze. At the end of the horizon, the Light.

 

The tale is never clear on why the Witch started her war against humanity. Some iterations say that the Light gave birth to the Witch to carry out its will, believing that the Light and the Witch were both a judgment from the gods who ran out of patience for mankind’s arrogance and foolishness. Some variations say that the Witch was just a bitter woman who was granted enough power from the Light to spread her anguish throughout the world. And then there are those that simply claim the Witch to be a creation of pure evil that came as the shadow to the Light.

 

The Witch’s follower couldn’t find an immediate answer to such a question out of the blue.

 

No matter who the storyteller, one fact remains the same: the Witch is always the enemy of mankind. Even during the infancy of magic, it was said that she wielded unimaginable powers which dwarfed even the greatest of man’s inventions.

Beyond the children’s tale, whispers among those wiser of what truly happened say that the Witch planned to do this with a device of catastrophic powers—the device that ushered in the Great Calamity and, with it, the end of the Old World: the artifact only known as the Black Halo.

 

“Probably somewhere with less fire, less blood, and less of all of this,” the follower replied.

 

No one’s certain on the specifics of its powers, but the magnitude of it is clear from the ruins of the past. If the Witch had had her way, there would have been nothing left. Despite that, the tale of the Witch and the Guardian is that of courage and preservation. The tale ends with a brave hero who challenged the Witch in a grand and desperate battle for the fate of the world. Before the Witch could realize her dream, her blood soaked the hero’s blade and she fell unfulfilled. The people may have faced the Great Calamity, but at the end they had rebuilt their civilization with the newfound gift of magic.

It is the duty of the Guild of Recorders to preserve as much as we can of the history and passing times for the future. It is our duty to prevent losing the world once again. Perhaps it is due to my youth, but as a member of the guild I cannot help but continue pursuing my curiosity on this tale that I was told of as a child.

 

“But I’d like to think that at least somewhere, at some time, we would have met.”


 

 

 

 

 

PART ONE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1
A DREAM OF THE WORLD’S END

She never called for the sandman, but he came for her anyway. To most, this might not be a notable event, but for Kiara it always was. When she awoke from the uninvited slumber, her body was drenched in sweat and her eyes were moist with tears. Her dorm room was still brightly lit with the light she hadn’t turn off and she was lying on the floor beside the bed that she couldn’t reach in time. Kiara grabbed onto the bed sheets and pulled herself up. She sat on the bed, burying her head into her hands. Her hands trembled. And her eyes forgot to blink.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

It wasn’t the first time she had had an episode after a dream nor did she expect it to be her last. But these dreams were always more vivid and memorable than the ordinary ones.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.

She glanced at her novelty cat clock on the wall, and the cat mocked her with a stupid grin on its face as it playfully swung its tail left and right. He told her it was almost twenty minutes after midnight. She had been dreaming for a few hours. It was already long past lights out, and it was unlikely that anyone was still awake. The polite thing to do would be to wait ‘till tomorrow before she alarmed the Director. The reserved thing to do would be to just shut her eyes once more, but this time go to sleep by her choice.

Breathe in. Breathe out.  BREATHE IN. BREATHE OUT. BREATHEIN. BREATHEOUT.

But the visions were relentless. The room became smaller and smaller as the clicks from the vile cat grew louder and louder.

 

Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.

 

She had to go.

The light from Kiara’s room lit the dark hallway as her door violently swung open. Kiara walked briskly, restraining herself from sprinting or stomping. As she breezed through the hallway, the lamps between the doors of her dorm-mates dimly lit and acknowledged her presence even though the dorm-mates themselves were deeply asleep. The remnants of her dream refused to leave her mind.

The Witch stood before a colossal gate at the peak of a grand white staircase. The gate slowly opened, and the blinding light from beyond flooded the room. The Witch stepped into the light, and the gate closed behind her.

Kiara reached the stairs that led to the lounge below. The lounge, lit only by the fireplace left burning through the night, was bright enough to reveal the piano and the pool table with the balls neatly organized inside the wooden triangle. Someone had forgotten to put away the blankets on the sofas in front of the television.

“One of your oracles is up and frantic, Nancy.” A man with a lingering accent reported to his boss through the telephone. There were watchful eyes all around the facility and this man was in the room center of them all. He had his legs up on the tables where the monitors revealed all that the watchful eyes could see. One hand resting behind his head and the other on the phone, he watched as Kiara descended the stairs too hastily and recklessly. Her feet tangled at the last couple of steps and she finished her descent downstairs by falling. Her landing didn’t go unnoticed by those sleeping in the rooms nearby but they dismissed it quickly and returned to slumber.

The aged man tried to hold his laughter, but it managed to squeeze past through his clenched teeth.

“Which one, Yuri?” The female voice on the other end of the call was sharp and agitated.

“It’s the one that sees forwards and not backwards,” Yuri replied no less playfully than before as he scratched on his rough five o’clock shadow. He knew he was probably the only person who can get away with such behavior given that he had known her since she was a child as her father’s friend. He liked to exercise the privilege whenever he could.

“You should get to her soon, Nancy. She’s in such a hurry she decided to fly down the stairs.” The call ended without a reply. Yuri placed the phone down on the table and united the freed hand with his other hand behind his head as he continued to amuse himself watching the frantic girl.

After some moaning and groaning, Kiara dragged her body to the bathroom. As she opened the bathroom door, chilly air scented with lemons and oranges escaped from the darkness. Heaters were off. Power conservation was in place for the night. Her body gave a quick shiver as her bare feet touched the cool tiles. The wall adjacent to the door was dimly lit with the soft light from the touch screen pad. She placed her finger over the ON icon and the subsequent burst of light made her cringe. The whirl of the heaters coming on, and its gentle warm breeze immediately filled the room. The rows of sinks, bathroom stalls, and the shower booths revealed themselves with the light. These were all luxuries to help them forget how far they were from their homes. The bathroom seemed larger without other girls going through their morning and evening routines. The quietness felt strangely lonely this evening.

Her breathing had calmed down but her heartbeat still echoed through the empty bathroom. Kiara placed her hands under the faucet and it let loose a flow of clean cold water. For a little while, she simply let the water slip through her fingers. The visions of the dream were still clear. She cupped her hands to catch the cool water and splashed it across her face.

 

Some time has passed since the Witch entered the gate. Kiara knew as if the dream had whispered it to her. She now stood in various parts of the world and saw firsthand the world being tested for its survival. Mother Nature violently struggled as if she battled for her life. Earth split across the globe, gusts of wind swept across civilization, endless rain drowned all those that couldn’t fly, and rocks and fire rained from the sky to bury all that was remaining.

Mankind retaliated against Mother Nature with wars and drew blood from one another to survive. Dead bodies blanketed the streets. Children that were left without families and left with blood in their eyes chose to continue their parents’ war.

Civilizations decayed into anarchy, and Mother Nature never forgot to remind mankind how small it was. For every scar that mankind gave her, she eviscerated them with all of her wrath. Even beasts, familiar and foreign, rose against mankind to save their place in the crumbling world. A miasma of death blanketed whatever was left. The world as it was once known was no more. No more since the Witch entered the Light.

 

Warm tears mixed with the cool water drizzled down Kiara’s face. She looked toward the blinded windows in dreadful anticipation. Even if she couldn’t see it, she knew it was there. Kiara left the bathroom and headed for the padded doors that led outside. The doors were always a bit heavy, but especially during night when it was windy. She put her shoulder against the door and pushed. Chilly and dried up wind of the desert greeted her outside.

It was there. Over the horizon of the night sky was a thin line of light piercing skywards. She walked further and further away from the building and closer and closer to the Light. It’s been there since all this began. It was a silent but constant reminder to the world that change will come. No that the world already had changed. Kiara’s legs crumpled and she fell to her knees, her eyes still attached to the Light. Somewhere in the world she could also be watching the Light—planning to make what Kiara saw in her dream come true.

“Kiara?” a gentle, familiar voice called out to her from behind. She turned her head to find Ms. Jones behind her. Ms. Jones was still dressed in her lavish office attire and had her arms crossed to fight the chilly desert evening. Her eyes permeated with concern.

“I was told by security you were out here. What’s the matter?” Ms. Jones carefully asked as she approached closer.  Ms. Jones crouched down and placed her hand on Kiara’s shoulder. The Director’s warmth slowly dissipated Kiara’s anxiety but stirred her longing for someone to let her know that everything will be alright. Kiara’s tears ran freely down her eyes as she embraced Ms. Jones. The Director gently patted the crying child’s back

“What’s wrong?” Ms. Jones asked once more.

“It’s the Witch, Ms. Jones,” the Oracle-That-Sees-Forward answered through her tears. “I think she’s going to do something horrible. I think she’ll be the end of us all.”

Ms. Jones looked beyond the crying teen’s shoulders and saw the Light piercing the skies with the unanswered questions it held. She wondered what value the answers may have. Until then, Nancy regarded the Light as a puzzle for a bored mind to ponder about. The Witch, the Light, and the Gifted were all probably part of a grander scheme, but Nancy’s aim was to simply find her place within that vast plan. But her instincts were never silent and whispered to her that her greater ambitions were going receive their calling. Her instincts told her that today was the day her curiosity will grow into something more.

“There, there…” Nancy gently patted Kiara on the back. “We won’t let that happen, Kiara. That’s why we’re here.” The Director gave a small kiss on her student’s forehead.

“Tell me more, Kiara. What did you exactly see?” Nancy asked as she embraced the oracle tightly against her chest. Her eyes were set on the Light as the child spoke softly in her ears of the dream of the world’s end.

 

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