Craters: Equilibrium - first chapter
320 days ago
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Kane had looked forward to this
day, the day he will take the entrance test to enroll in Craters Battle
Academy, to be trained as one of the warlocks that had protected the Grand city
of Lufein from the dangers beyond Auro’s Gate, the dangerous mountain range that
is separating the main land from the unexplored wastelands of the North.
away the golden locks of hair from his turquoise eyes, he smiled to himself. He
washed himself and put on his plain white shirt and black pants, hiding the
shirt under a fur collared black coat, his prized luxury, to match his black
pants. Staring at the mirror, he laughed softly to himself. “You finally did
it, Kane, you have finally reached sixteen.” he said, pulling on his black
fingerless cloth gloves.
He opened one of the drawers below the mirror and took
out a common hunting knife, looked proudly at it, tested a few swings and stabs with it before he put it back in its
small sheathe and keeping it in one of the pockets on the inside of his black
other orphans at Oaken Orphanage cheered as Kane made his way to the main
entrance. He looked around for Raina, he wanted to tell her that he will come
back as soon as possible, but she is nowhere to be seen. This could mean his
last day at the orphanage, the orphanage that had been looking after him for
the past twelve years after he was found. Kane bade goodbye and went down the
forest path that leads to Craters Academy.
Battle Academy is a highly advanced school, both in technology and in magic.
Every year, they will send a group of Warlocks to seek out children with a
natural talent with magic across the land. They came to Oaken Orphanage four
years ago and picked Kane out of the rest. Some who are not chosen might enroll
in other, lesser, battle academies.
Kane approached the massive gates along with a few other ones that he met along
the way, he felt a bit nervous. This is far different than hunting rabbits in
the forest. He walked under the great arc that supported the tunnel, he felt
small compared to the size of the tunnel. The tunnel is wide enough to let ten
full-grown men pass through easily shoulder to shoulder without bumping into
each other. It is so tall that even if Kane grew twenty times in height, he
would still be able to walk through the tunnel without any problems.
Academy Gardens stood at the end of the tunnel, but something today made it
different from any other day of the year. The gardens are filled with animals
of different kinds, but few enough to not block the newcomers’ way to the
walked past the animals, who seemed to pay no notice to him. The animals are
staring at the entrance tunnel, as if waiting for someone’s arrival, which is
not Kane’s. Kane kept on walking, following the path that cut through the crowd
of animals. He heard a flutter of wings and turned around, he saw a black bird
about the size of a full grown eagle flying towards him. The bird has
red-tipped dark feathers and has massive wings. It landed gracefully before
Kane’s feet, its deep blue eyes staring into Kane’s blue eyes. Kane could feel
a bond forming between the bird and him as time passed.
reached out his hand straight, opening it with his palm facing the ground,
inviting the bird to perch on his shoulder. The bird let out a chirp and with a
flap of its great black wings, it flew up to his shoulder. The bird is heavier
than Kane expected, as he nearly stumbled on his side.
He reached the
end of the garden, where there is an open door with a man in green cloak
standing beside it. The man had a snake coiled around his shoulders. He looked
at Kane as he passed.
“Ah,” the man
smiled at Kane, “that’s a fine familiar you got there.”
“May I know what
kind of bird this is?” Kane asked. “I have never seen one of them before.” he
said, stroking the bird’s feathers.
here are different from the ones you see outside the academy.” the man waved
his hand over Kane’s head, referring to the other animals in the garden. “You
see, these animals are born with exceptionally powerful magic flowing in their
veins. What you got there is a very rare familiar indeed. It is called a Black
Phoenix, hard to come by, even harder to bond with. You must be quite a Warlock
to be chosen by this familiar.” he ushered Kane through the door. “Go on, Craters
the massive doors, Kane was amazed by what he saw beyond the door. People of
his age showed up in hundreds. Each with their own unique animal familiars. He
is lost in the massive crowd till a female voice caught his ears.
back!” the voice said and Kane felt something furry brushed past his legs.
“Watch out!” the voice called out again. The next thing Kane knew, he is sprawled
on the floor, his familiar standing on the floor. Turning around to see who
knocked him over, he saw a girl lying on the floor beside him, groaning.
The girl is
golden haired like his, and hidden behind the golden locks of hair, lies the
prettiest face Kane has ever seen. Light blue eyes, complimented by her angelic
face. She wore a sea-blue coat with a grey singlet underneath. She had a
necklace but Kane is unable to see it because it is tucked under her singlet,
revealing only the chain. Other than the necklace, she wore no accessories.
The girl stood
up, rubbing her elbows. “I am so sorry, my familiar saw a bunny outside and
went after it.” She said and Kane felt a furry animal brush past him again. It
is a young wolf cub, around the age of four months, with grey and white fur,
with eyes so adorable that anyone would have wanted to hug this small creature
once they laid eyes upon it. “Are you here for the exam too?”
She smiled as
Kane returned her a nod. “My name is Lyra, what’s yours?”
answered. Just as he finished his sentence, Lyra grabbed hold of his arm and
pulled him to his feet. Kane was too surprised at the moment to do anything.
“Come on! The
exam is about to start!” she said and led him across the hall, never once
stopping to ask for directions, she seemed to know this place well by heart.
Lyra dragged him
to a great hall with a round platform in the center of it, surrounded by five
different relics, each representing one of the five primal elements. One is a
white feather, representing the element Air, a smooth black rock represents the
element Earth, a globe of molten lava represents Fire, a goblet filled with
shimmering liquid Water, the last is a sparking metal, which represents the
fifth element Lightning.
are going to stand on that platform one by one and our respective elements will
light up. The brighter a relic glows, the higher your affinity with the
element.” she explained. “Hmm… today the relics are a bit brighter than
was not long before Lyra got called up to the platform, she stepped onto the circular
platform and two relics lighted up steadily. An announcer announced the
results. “Lyra Zephirion. Element of Lightning and Water. You may now proceed
to the next phase.” Lyra moved to the side of the platform and picked up a
magic bracelet from the table beside the platform.
This is the
moment where you would not want to mess up with, Kane remembered from what Lyra
told him when she is waiting for her name to be called. The moment the whole
academy will assess your magical powers.
bracelet intercepts the magic flowing through your veins, changing it into
electrical energy that powers the shield generator beneath the great monolith,
which is located at the far end of the hall where everyone present can see. The
shield generator will be able to lift the monolith based on your magic. The
stronger is your magic, the more energy is supplied to the generator. Those who
generated enough to lift it just by five inches is enough to be hailed as a
powerful warlock, the highest ever recorded being eight inches. Those picked to
join Craters Entrance Test usually lifted it around three to four inches, five
to six being less common.
strapped the bracelet around her arm and the school fell silent as the monolith
steadily rose from the shield generator. It rose with a deep groan as its
weight fought against the runes engraved on it to keep it upright. It stopped
at last, quite a few inches off the shield generator.
A man in purple
robes, robes enchanted to allow the user to pass through the shield, walked
over to the monolith with a foot rule. He knelt beside the monolith to measure
how tall it was lifted. He got the results and stood up, “Lyra Zephirion, seven
and half inches.”
Though the man stood
up straight, the monolith is still towering over him. A murmur rippled across
the audience as the result is announced. Lyra took off the bracelet with a
smile on her face, and the monolith hit the ground with a loud thud, and walked
off the platform proudly to the second exit opposite where they entered,
joining the other people who took the test. The audience, almost immediately,
The next few are
far from Lyra’s record, being only able to lift it between four and five inches.
“Next is Kane
Erzalos. Please step onto the platform.” the announcer spoke over an amplifier.
Kane walked out
towards the platform, and the whole hall fell silent. Why? Because one of the
relics is already glowing brightly, as soon as Kane walked out into the open.
The metal orb is sparking violently, glowing even brighter with each step Kane
took towards the platform. A second relic, the black rock, lighted up when Kane
was just two paces from the side of the platform. When he reached the center of
the platform, the metal orb is so bright that the hall could no longer see the
shiny surface of the orb.
the announcer tried to hide his amazement without success, “Element of
Lightning and Earth. You…..you may proceed now.”
Kane walked over
to the table, the relics remained glowing even as he left the platform, where Lyra left the bracelet and strapped it to his arm like the
way he saw Lyra did. The Monolith shot past the first few inches in a matter of
seconds and continued its ascent in a slower, but still steady pace. The
monolith’s ascent seemed to take longer than expected, rising higher than the
others could have ever imagined. It is lifted off the ground high enough that even the audience could clearly see the gap between the monolith and the ground when
it finally stopped moving.
The warlock in purple
robes approached the levitating monolith to receive the result. He stopped
midstride and stared at a gap for quite a while, eyes slightly widened, before
leaving to where he came from. He returned with another ruler and confusion
rippled across the hall. The results are definitely not expected by everyone
here in the hall.
rulers are enough to measure the height. He stood up and spoke, “Kane Erzalos…...
one foot and two inches…… the highest ever recorded in Craters history.” as
soon as he said it, Kane’s familiar let out a screech, spanning its wings to
heard across the hall, before them is a sight to behold. Relics shone bright
enough to light up the hall on their own and the monolith floating higher than the
academy’s best warlocks could ever manage. “Silence please.” the warlock who
had been watching Kane beside the announcer raised his hand and the hall
returned to silence as he wanted. The warlock wore a white cloak with a golden
sash tied around his waist, he seemed to be someone of high importance. “Kane,
you may proceed down the corridor now.” said the white warlock after the hall
Kane took off
the bracelet and the monolith came crashing down, sending vibrations across the
hall as it made contact with the ground. He left the platform and the glow soon
faded as he made his way towards the corridor.
The other people
in the corridor stood aside to let him pass, all but Lyra. She is waiting for
Kane at the end of the crowd. Kane walked through the crowd, nervous with so
many pairs of eyes following his every move. He hastened his footsteps and went
by the crowd in silence, never stopping around to look around.
called out to him after he came out of the crowd. “I didn’t know that you are
so powerful!” she exclaimed.
“I didn’t know
either.” he replied.
strongest warlock in the academy! Can you believe it?”
“No.” he shook
his head. “I don’t.”
noticed Kane’s familiar. “Nice bird you have there, what’s its name?”
“I have not
given it one yet.”
smile faded, replaced by an expression between shock and amusement, “It is
still nameless? You do know that names have power right? It’s like the third
rule of magic!”
As a matter of
fact, Kane knew nothing about magic. “I don’t know anything about magic or
“You have never
learned magic before?” she exclaimed, leading Kane out of the crowded corridor
and into the Circle, the center of Craters Battle Academy. It have eight exits,
each leading to a different department of the academy. “But you still have to
give it a name, Kane.”
“What do you
want me to call you, black phoenix?” he stroked the bird’s feathers. It let out
a chirp and took flight towards the garden. “Let’s follow it, I think that it is
going to show us something.”
The bird led
them to a patch of soil under a big tree, where there is little to no grass.
The bird stood there waiting for them to come.
“What is it you
want to show us?” Lyra asked.
The bird replied
with a soft chirp and started scratching the ground. But then the alarms blared
all around the school. “We are under attack! Quick, back inside!” Lyra ushered
Kane back into the school, but it is too late.