Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Part VI--Janosh

This is a lengthy post. Well, longer than the others, anyway. It's the most-worded part of the story...

-------------------+----Part VI----+------------------------
Yesterday came suddenly...

Janosh stood in a grove deep within the Trails, the shadows cast from the tall trees offering him solace from the burning sun. His orders were simple: wait for Pralis to return, and in the meantime, practice his Blessing. Janosh forced the thoughts of food and flesh from his mind and focused. He would have to be prepared for when Pralis returned.

He opened his good hand in front of him, palm up. Suddenly, the hand was surrounded by an orb of fire, burning wicked and bright orange. He smiled, still awestruck at the ability. In a flash, he tossed the fireball at his target: his old cell phone. It was hanging from a tree about twenty feet from him. The ball struck the phone, which instantly burst into flame. Soon, the flames were licking up the tree limb, consuming the wood at an alarming pace.

After watching for a moment, Janosh formed another sphere around his hand, this one formed from water. He let it build for a minute, gathering strength from his environment, and the sphere of influence grew. Soon, his entire body was surrounded by the sphere. He cast the large waterball at the burning tree, and the flames sputtered out of existence. Around him, the grove seemed to moan. Much more water, he thought, and I would have sucked those trees dry.

Janosh laughed aloud at his newfound powers. The pain in his stomach rumbled loudly, ending his momentary happiness. “Where are you, Pralis?” he asked to empty grove. The man had business to attend, and strictly ordered Janosh not to leave the grove until he returned.

He made his way over to a large rock and sat slowly. A lot had happened over the last day, and Janosh realized he was tired. He vaguely remembered his life before Golian woke him, doing mindless office work for a company with a name he’d forgotten. He remembered Shannon, though. He could see her in his mind, her beautiful dark hair, her matching dark eyes. Hating himself, he wished that she was there with him, only so he could feast on her flesh.

He cleared his mind. He missed Shannon, but she would be better off without him. He was different now. In just the few hours since his Metamorphosis, his skin had started to grey. His left arm was removed below the elbow, but he didn’t know how or why. In addition to his physical changes, his mind was drastically different than it had been. It was almost as if Golian had gone in and flipped a switch, changing everything he knew and thought possible to a world filled with mystery and intrigue. A world with a visible god.

He did not know what to make of Golian. Pralis insisted that he was to be worshipped, that it was him who gave the Blessings in exchange for servitude. After questioning why he was chosen, Pralis said that he was dying and that Golian interceded to save his life. In exchange for his life, Janosh was to serve Golian.

Eventually the old man returned. He sauntered into the grove, shabby and disheveled. “How did your training go, Janosh?”

“It went well, Pralis. The Gift is amazing.”

“Yes, Golian is a merciful and generous god. Present yourself then.”

In an instant, Janosh was up from the rock and poised for an attack. He formed a shell of fire around his hand and threw it at Pralis. At the last second, the old man brought up a protective barrier of water around himself, and the fireball was extinguished as soon as it hit the shell. Before Janosh could react, the man had thrown the orb at him and he leapt away, barely dodging the damaging waterball. It slammed into some trees, drenching them.

Janosh threw a series of fireballs at Pralis, but the old man blocked them all with ease. Soon, Janosh was exhausted, and Pralis took the offensive. With a quick burst of wind, the old man snagged the young convert and threw him against a nearby tree. The boy collapsed on the ground, breathing heavily.

“You’ve done well, Janosh, but there is still much to learn.” He laughed heartily. “You are a fast learner, eh? Golian has blessed you indeed, child.”

“How did you throw me like that?” he asked, rising and wiping the dirt from his back.

“Our Gifts belong to a set of skills called Earthing. As the name implies, these skills are all rooted in the Earth. Thus, any natural trait the Earth exhibits, we should be able to manipulate and use. As with the two most basic elements, fire and water, you can use whatever is in your sphere of influence. When you form a water shell, you are draining moisture from your surroundings. Even the air itself is affected, as you no doubt can feel the humidity change in this grove. And when you use fire, you are leeching heat from your surroundings. With enough heat, flames are born.

“The next two elements are wind and gravity. It was wind that I used to toss you. This skill is particularly useful, as it forms no visible shell around the user, though I am sure a shell is still around us. Windballs are tougher to aim, but you don’t need as much accuracy with them. If the air is still, then the windball is weaker, but can still be formed. Too much, though, and you’ll find yourself ripped to pieces.”

They were walking toward an old convention center, situated near the entrance of the Trails. Janosh was eager to learn all he could about the Gifts, the Art of Earthing. “What about gravity?” he asked.

Pralis cast a glance at Janosh and shook his head. “Gravity is the last of the basic elements. It also casts an invisible shell. It’s quite difficult to use, and building the gravity sphere is a draining process, as you literally strip away the strong force that is pushing everything down. A little gravity goes a long way, from letting you hold something down to crushing something through pressure manipulation. Be wary when you are using this skill, Janosh.”

They stopped outside the entrance to the facility. “As I told you last night, you must be aware of the consequences and reactions from Earthing. Everything has laws and rules. Physically, you can construct an infinitely large sphere, as long as you have the elements to draw from. If you are in a desert, I imagine your ability to form a water shell will be weak or nonexistent, while your fire source will be significant. Do you understand?”

Janosh nodded, his dull eyes eager. “I understand, Pralis. How many elements are there?”

The man contemplatively stroked his mangy beard. If it weren’t for the bloodstains, deformed skin, and dead stares, the conversation would almost qualify as a typical discussion between normal men. “I do not know, Janosh. These are the basic ones Lord Golian taught me, but there are others, too. Each one of the Apostles has a unique skill, and only they are able to access it.”

“How long have you been Earthing?”

“I, I don’t know for sure.” Janosh thought he could sense sadness in Pralis’ voice, but the old man continued on. “I vaguely remember discovering it before my Awakening, but I cannot put a fixed time to when that happened. All I know is Golian saved me, named me Chief Apostle, and blessed me with the Gifts.”

“I don’t remember much either. I remember work. I remember Shannon. That’s about it.”

“Who is Shannon?” Pralis inquired.

“We were to be married.”

“Ah, I see.” Pralis turned and grasped the door handle. “This building is our operation center. The Apostles all report back here. You are the last, Janosh. You will meet those who are here and receive your instructions from Golian. After tonight, you will know your purpose.”

With that, he walked through the door, and Janosh followed behind.


marky said...

Wow. Earthing you say! Great idea, executed very well. This has the makings of a very, very good book.

Who will stand against such flesh feasting monstrosities!?!

Oh, and have you played Infamous yet? I highly recommend it if you haven't. I'd give it a solid 8 out of 10 on the game play front.

Krista said...

I agree with Marky this does have the making for a great book! Good Job Once Again!

logankstewart said...

Thank you both. I'm working with a different, yet oddly similar, type of zombie.