From Bones to Birth: Apprenticeship (Chapter Six)

by Daniel Kwadwo

Saun was a city famous for being one of the few places that allowed those who inhabited it to journey underground, into the depths of the earth. This was seen as a great problem almost anywhere else as the earth held some of the worst and most powerful monsters in existence. 

Nevertheless, Saun was too courageous to deny its warriors the chance to fight and gain acclaim against the worst the earth had to offer for no other reason than fear of death. So, across the city were multiple entrances to different sections of the underground world. What the world collectively called the abyss. Saun used some unknown method to make sure the monsters would not crawl to the surface en masse. 

Unknown, at least, to Jomcara. 

The boy had made arrangements for his mother and his friends. They were staying together in a home in Saun, and he had made his way into one of the entrances of the abyss himself. His master in history was also an archeologist, and as his first assignment wanted Jomcara to give a report on what he could find about history from studying the abyss’s first few layers. 

She’d called it a place brimming with historical value, and wanted to know his capabilities. Also, she’d been right to mention that he intended to visit anyway to make use of his skills as a soldier. 

After about 12 hours walking into the Abyss, the fun began for the boy. In a dark hole of gray stone Jomcara sliced a monster in half with the Amentia Prodromous. A wight. 

Strange creatures born from the corpses of people left in the depths of the abyss. Like zombies, except where you’d expect chunks missing from their bodies there was slowly growing black and gray stone. 

Jomcara hurried along when he heard a group of shadows of war coming. Strange creatures that manifested from the abyss like the rest, but fed on and could smell the presence of conflict. They were particularly annoying because they grew more powerful the longer one fought them, and could alter themselves to better be able to kill their prey. 

Killing them was always a form of training in self-restraint and thinking capacity. Hence, Jomcara hid in a collection of broken rocks nearby as they ran past him. He waited a full minute, and then jumped up, grabbing onto stalactites and slipping between them, like a bat flying through the air. 

While he did, he prepared a primacy under his lips. Eventually, the young boy heard the group of shadows huddled together in a place further beyond him, and his heart grew glad. When he was right above the shadows of war, with a word, the spell was complete and a blast of fire erupted from the ground beneath the shadows. 

They were wispy and strange things, these shadows. They weren’t biological creatures; they were monsters made of smoke that curled and flowed into the shapes of living things. Men, animals, whatever could think and breathe. Some suspected they were monsters born in the realm of fire that had somehow entered Ameth Cerul’eve Halloul. 

There might’ve been some truth to that, for Jomcara’s spell of flames hadn’t had much of any effect in harming the shadows of war, but it did blow them into the walls and send them tumbling around. 

With that, he striked. 

When he jumped down he swung the larger half of the Amentia Prodromous in a massive cut that killed 5 of the monsters. They bled some strange deep orange fire instead of blood, and cherry red hot embers began to fly from their corpses as they burst apart into ashes and embers. Some of them, leaving piles of ash as their dead bodies imploded, which glowed with a yellow white light from inside, and emanated tendrils of black smoke. 

The fight with the others was relatively easy, since these ones were young and no warrior worth their salt was allowed into the abyss unless they knew not to enter a long fight with their kind. By the end of it sweat was on his brow and he took a long swig of water from his canteen before moving on. 

His dark cloak helped him avoid detection as he hid from the minotaurs deeper inside; large creatures with bodies similar to men and the heads of bulls, except with four horns instead of two. They had arms nothing like a man’s, they had black pillars of stone-like flesh and bore claws in their hands instead of fingers of the exact same kind evil witches use. The veins of their arms strained as if barely able to contain their savage power, and they glowed with a harsh silver and red light from the cracks riddled throughout their stone-flesh. 

Their eyes were hidden under a large head of fur but their feet were the strangest parts; they were incredibly silent. 

Except in combat, these creatures could never in their lives make much of a sound. Their hoofs were golden. Each one of them and they possessed a strange magic to them that made it so these ferocious horrors wouldn’t so much as wake a young girl from their rest if they were to walk by her bed. 

But Jomcara was used to avoiding such creatures, and so the only times they ever engaged with him in combat were when he was feeling the urge to engage in slaughter. He gripped his blade with a deep and throbbing glee, and gave a wide, great smile to the back of a minotaur’s neck. 

Maybe the minotaur’s could keep silent as the grave, but a Cureight could kiss a man and drink the water from inside his mouth without him noticing in the first place. The grave had to be watchful, or else-


-it would never notice it had lost its head. A minotaur’s head fell to the ground but Jomcara caught it and took it away, hiding it in the shadows with himself as the body flumped to the ground. It was impossible for Jomcara to hear the Minotaur’s notice, but the boy was far, far away before they could even have the chance. 

Laughing his ass off in his head, he considered going back to the minotaur’s and having a bout with them, but he couldn’t fight them at his best there. He could possibly trap them though…aaaaand the thought was out of his head faster than you could say “goodbye!” As he walked on and eventually came back to Saun.

Alright, let’s review; according to Rose unless I hit the part with all of the fields or below I can’t be touched. 

When he reached a bit deeper the first thing the boy did was find some rocks to hide behind and pull out a notebook. 

The masterful adventurer in the making’s log, day 1 of the great odyssey of the mage! That’s a great title for a beginning adventure in the dungeon! I like it. To begin my first impression of the abyss is that it’s just about everything I heard. This place is a huge nest of every monster you can think of! Packs of kobolds, wights, and grimm wisps all attacked me the second I came out of hiding, and each and every one of them were all several times stronger than what I’m used to on the surface! If these guys were what people had to face back in the old days it’s no wonder all the stories from back then sound so terrifying and epic when the good guys won. 

That said, I’m really curious about this place. How is the abyss giving birth to all of these monsters? What kinds of magic can some of these things use? I know after being here for literally the first time that there’s a whole host of magical tricks and tidbits just waiting for me to find them out! I had an idea that mom said I shouldn’t try until I got more comfortable in Saun…but, she also told me opportunities don’t come twice. If I see it then for her and Clemencia, I’ll reach for it. 

It’s just like what the priests would say back home in Mangrath: ‘Few blessing’s are more splendid than to be. To simply live and live as honestly as one can, being true to their desires and never manipulating the words of their inner voices. To go beyond the constraints of animalistic nature and reach for what one desires without thought given to the self it needs not, and thought given to the desire it needs not.’ – I forget what the exact meaning was, but I remember it actually being pretty literal, and having something to do with not looking back! 

Sooooo it looks like even the priests are telling me to take some risks! How else am I supposed to take care of mom? Much less Clemencia?! That girl loves shopping like a maniac. No wonder this is the 2nd prayer we said before all of those fights…

Anyway, it’s about time to get greedy. Lady Demeter, Lord Jeremiel, may you both gladly accept this offering set at your feet as you watch over me.  And may I reap well with your hands guiding my Scythe. Amen. 

Jomcara closed the book, got up, and took his Scythe off of his back. He did a couple of practice swings with the monstrous thing and when he felt good and warmed up? He walked down deeper into the abyss’s maw.

“Alright. Time to start the hunt.”

The moss covered green walls of the abyss’s deeper reaches spat out a fresh shadow of war that began walking through the caverns with its senses strained; listening for even the slightest hint of pr-


The shadow leapt down the hallway, bounded around a turn and dashed forward at…are you ready? Are you shaking in your seats?? Are you absolutely vibrating at the speed of sound for the miraculous spectacular hidden behind this single corner of a dark and damp pile of rock?! 

Here you go! The Shadow turned the god given, almighty and fabulous corner and got an even more fabulous prize ooooooof: A whole lot of nothing!!! All that the damned abomination of nature saw were some shifted rocks on the ground far ahead of it. 

That pissed it off more than a little, but pissed off turned to confused real quick when it was suddenly looking at the ceiling suddenly. Confused turned to very confused when it realized it couldn’t feel its limbs anymore. 

And very confused turned to a huge eureka moment when just before its body turned to ashes, it realized it’s head had been cut off.

A large group of 34 kobolds were following a scent from a piece of cloth. One kobold at the very back felt a tap on its shoulder, turned its head, and had its throat crushed before it could yell out. Another tripped over something and suddenly started falling down, but it couldn’t even manage to squeak anything out as one hand snapped its maw shut and the other crushed its skull before it realized it hadn’t been falling down, but its legs had been cut off. 

One was cut in half. 

Another simply vanished with none of the other kobolds noticing. 

This is getting kinda fun! -said an anonymous voice from nowhere.

And finally one singular kobold…decided to slip away from the pack, and walk behind a boulder. 

The things it saw before it died do not bear mentioning here. 

Finally, the last kobold reached the place where the scent was strongest. One of the floor’s many large open plains of grass. Here it found a crumpled pile of clothes sticky with blood in the center. It cheered! It had smelled the same scents in the pile before but they were all too thin beforehand to chase, but with this? They would be able to retain the stink of the filthy beasts running amok in the underground, and feast! It heard the approaching footsteps of other monsters and turned towards its allies, as with these remains they could follow all of these scents to begin a massive slaughter.

Or at least they could if the kobold had found anybody behind it. 

It let out a whine as it hadn’t heard, smelled, or seen a single one of it’s fellows leave. Which is kind of hard to do when you have 33 other people walking right next to you. 

Nevertheless, here we are. Soon a hoard of shadows and other abominations all came into the room to join the lonely kobold. There were over 350 monsters here, all told. Instant death for any normal combatant and an intense challenge even for those of some merit.

The only way to handle an army of monsters like that? 

“…these many soft wishes and dreams, this menagerie of possibilities called people only the Gods can fully see…”


“…let us sing once more of sunlight.”

Immediately, a brilliant bright blue ball of fire that shone with a blazing sapphire light strong enough to light up the entire cavern appeared, hovering above the center of the cavern. All of the monsters were blinded for a moment before they collectively turned their attention towards it. 

Which may not have been the best idea as the second they laid their eyes on it, their bodies all caught on fire. Every monster combusted like they’d been turned into living fire bombs. Blue flames that burned hotter than the fires of hell ate their flesh with the hunger of a starving dragon, mercilessly gorging on them until nothing but ash and reagents remained. They went completely berserk and the floor turned into a mosh pit of bodies ripping at each other in confusion and pain. If they were smarter, and not dying, they might’ve been able to focus enough on a strange scent in the air of sour berries that was slowly getting stronger throughout the cavern. And maybe the fact that it made the flames burn even brighter the stronger it got. 

At that point it was just a perpetual death machine as the screams attracted more monsters, who then looked at the bright blue ball and more torches to help the effort of lining a certain person’s bank account with some hefty numbers to support the growing needs of a family man. 

What few didn’t were mysteriously chopped in half by a weapon that seemed to be selectively hunting down every monster that didn’t get with the program from the shadows. What few of them there were in a place lit up literally like a bonfire anyway. And although there were nearly none, a small number of the monsters quickly regrouped and attempted to run out of the cavern in a large hoard. Flames licking at their backs or not.

Couldn’t have that. 

“By my order, sear the earth!”

This voice echoed throughout the cavern, and despite their pain, monsters were monsters. Each of them that had enough parts of their body left to do so turned towards the exit where the voice had come from. This was a mistake.

At the exit, right in front of the group of retreating monsters, a massive fireball exploded into the cavern. A final tidal wave of crimson water that washed over the monsters and released them from their pain by making sure there was actually nothing left of them to feel said pain. Except ashes.