Spellslingers Origins: Aiden, Part 1
Chapter 1: The Flame Brawler
“Aiden has his defenses up! He's blocking the attacks of Rognin! Can he handle his assault?”
Aiden was backed against a titan of a man—the champion mage brawler in the area.
“I've got you now!” Rognin exclaimed, his fists charged with lightning. Aiden smirked, knowing this was his opportunity. He ducked under the attack and made a swift uppercut consumed with fire; the attack surged and delivered a powerful blow to Rognin. He cried in pain, flying back into the air and landing on the ground.
The judge began counting when Rognin hit the ground.
“One, two, three, Aiden is the winner!” He lifted Aiden's right hand into the air. With a smile, Aiden began gesturing with his hand, rallying the crowd's support.
The tournament organizers went to give Aiden his pay.
“Well, Aiden, you've won yet again, and this time you've earned your biggest pay yet. Congratulations,” the tournament host stated. “You should come back in a month. We'll have a special event that you may be up for, and the cash reward will be ten times this amount!”
“Thank you, kind sir,” Aiden replied melodramtically as he bowed. “That sounds fine with me. You offer me money and a fight and I'll always accept!” He took his money.
The pudgy host took out a scroll. “It'll only take your magic signature to sign up. We'll put you in a fight with our undefeated champion. If you win, you will be set for life!”
Aiden's eyes filled with excitement.
“Sure, let's do it!” He touched his hand to the parchment paper of the scroll. The fire from his hands lit, and the glow of a runic-like signature formed onto the scroll.
“Well, that covers it! I'll see you in a month, Aiden.”
“Yeah, you will,” Aiden confidently smiled. His friend Tye approached him.
“Hey, Aiden,” he said.
“Don't you think it's about time you dip out of these underground mage fights? I mean, you're doing really good, like really really good, but I don't want to see you get hurt.”
“Listen, Tye I really appreciate it. You're my best friend and you've always got my back, and I yours. However, I've already been through far worse than what anything this place can put me through.”
“You've got a point there, man. It's just you already have enough money now to pay off your entire academy experience, plus enough to get one of those fancy auto chariots.”
“You're right about that. I'm still not a huge fan of that name. It sounds kind of off to me.”
“I know, right?” Tye agreed.
“Well, let me get signed up for the next fight, and then we'll get on our way to our favorite spot—” The two began to speak in unison, when naming their favorite spot, “—Dragon Underground!”
Chapter 2: I'll Have Milk
The enriched brown tones with warm candle light made Dragon Underground a nice and relaxing setting for anyone.
“So, kid, you sure you don't want some beer in your belly?” a gruff man from behind the counter asked. Aiden looked directly at him, seeing him eye to eye.
“I'm fine with milk.” He then proceeded to take a sip of his milk.
“Suit yourself, kid. Just looks like you need to loosen up sometimes!”
“Oh, trust me, I don't have any problems loosening up.” Aiden hastily finished his milk and set his mug down. “I just choose to relax in other ways. You know, I heard writing is a good way to relax.”
The burly man was puzzled. “Sure, kid.” It was in this moment that he knew he did not understand Aiden at all.
As Aiden turned to glance around, a mysterious woman caught his eye from across the dimly lit room. Her hair was separated into two blonde braids. She glared straight back into Aiden's eyes; her look was petrifying.
“Looks like she might be into you, Aiden,” his friend Tye said as he began nudging his elbow into Aiden's. “Aiden? Aiden, you there?” To Aiden it was as if time stood still. He couldn't look away, nor did he want to.
“Aiden!” Tye called out to him sternly as he shook him. Aiden seemed to snap out of it. “Aiden, are you okay?”
“Yeah,” he responded. “It's just, that girl over there... something's different about her.”
“Yeah, she's actually attractive, unlike most women around here,” Tye joked.
Aiden cracked a smile, pleasured at how silly his friend could be. “I suppose so.” Aiden stood up from his stool. “I'm going to talk to her,” he told Tye as he began walking towards the mysterious girl, whose gaze had never lifted. As he stepped forward, the room stretched further and further, and the other people in the tavern began turning into shadows. Despite Aiden's best attempts, it seemed like he couldn't get anywhere. The more effort he gave it, the more his head starting hurting—and then pounding.
“What's going on?” he said to himself. His head felt worse and worse. He felt the shadows were coming closer to him. He was certain they were going to attack him and kill him. His knees dropped to the floor and he clutched at his hair. His breathing became abnormal; his heart was racing. “I can't breathe,” he thought. “I'm going to die,” he said. He began repeating those words like a personal mantra to himself. Aiden suddenly realized a figure's legs before him. He used his remaining strength to look up, and standing before him was the girl.
“Aiden,” she said quietely, but confidently. She smiled, and it was both charming and alarming to Aiden.
He just heard her repeat his name, “Aiden! Aiden! Aiden!” until he realized it was his friend Tye that was chanting his name.
“Aiden, snap out of it.”
Aiden, with his heart still pounding, threw fire at his friend. Tye managed to deflect most of it, only searing part of his right arm.
Once he had seen what he had done, he came to and picked himself off the ground.
“Tye, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.” Aiden felt ashamed.
The burly bartender leaned in towards the counter and yelled, “Get out of here! We don't need people that act like that in here!”
“Shut your dumb mouth!” Tye responded. Aiden placed his hand on Tye's arm, where he wasn't burned. “Come on, it's fine. Let's go.”
The two friends left the tavern. The door opened to a night sky illuminated by the moon.
“Aiden, you don't have to feel bad about what happened. It's normal.”
Aiden was frustrated. “You think it's normal to not be in control of your emotions?! Sure, I see people get upset—hell, my father is the angriest person I've ever met. But it's not every day I see someone shaking and falling to the floor in a panic. It's not normal, it can't be.”
“Listen, Aiden, we all have our demons to face. For instance, I can't focus on anything. You hand me a book and I'd never be able to read it,” Tye said, trying to interject some humor into the mood.
“I guess you're right, Tye. It's just so embarrassing for me. I don't want to be this way.”
“Who cares what others think? And anyway, it's at least better for you to be the way you are than the way your father is. You have a caring heart, whereas your dad would kill someone just for cooking his food poorly.” Aiden seemed to loosen up a bit. “Yeah, I suppose that's true. I'm glad I've got you for a friend. Most friends I had growing up either became rage heads or ended up bullying me for my... problems.”
“Bully you?” Tye questioned.
“Yeah, they tried, but of course I burned their asses!” Aiden pushed Tye's shoulder lightly, and the two laughed.
“Well, it's getting late. I suppose I'd better head back to the guild,” Aiden said.
“Alright, sounds good, man. I'll catch you tomorrow,” Tye replied. He began walking back to his place on the other side of town.
Aiden turned west towards his academy, and looked up into the sky. “I wonder who that girl was?” he thought. “I've been doing good for so long, but when I saw her, it's just like I lost it all again. Never again,” he promised himself.
Chapter 3: The Big Fight
A month passed, and all the while, Aiden trained. Every single day, he trained to become stronger—not because he believed he needed to be for the upcoming match, but because he was devoted to growing stronger as a whole. When the big day arrived, he was in the underground mage arena once more.
The announcer, with a giant runic amplification glyph in front of him, began to speak, his words five times as powerful.
“Welcome one and welcome all to the night that you have all been waiting for! First up, we have our local champion, the fire fist himself, Aiden!”
Aiden was jumping back and forth to keep his blood and adrenaline up, preparing for the fight that was about to happen. He raised his hand and the crowd raved with excitement.
The announcer turned to face the other side, where the challenger would walk in. “Now, we have the champion from the land from afar. The Masher—Prodigium!”
The ground began shaking from the weight of this champion that no one could see from around the wall. With every step, the crowd grew more excited, and Aiden, for the first time in his adult life, felt nervous about a fight.
“Alright,” he said to himself, questioning what he would eventually see.
Then, there it was. A massive monster came lumbering around the corner, its arms a good ten times the size of Aiden's. The creature was covered in dark blue fur, with glowing red eyes and two twisted horns, and metallic cuffs with chains on each arm.
“What is that thing?” Aiden was bewildered. Tye looked on nervously from the crowd.
Once Prodigium cleared the corner, he took a mad dash towards Aiden.
“Woah!” the announcer exclaimed. “It looks like he's going for the any means necessary approach!”
Aiden thought to himself as the beast lunged forward, “Oh well, fire tends to have the same effect on anyone with flesh—it burns!” Aiden used his maneuverability to dodge Prodigium's attack and formed fire on his fist, delivering forth a powerful blow.
“That should be enough to knock you on your ass,” Aiden grinned.
The beast's eyes locked onto Aiden. From Aiden's position, he could smell what seemed like century-old mildew. The beast breathed heavily and raised his arms, going for a power strike at Aiden.
“Watch out!” Tye shouted.
Aiden barely managed to dodge the attack. The ground beneath shattered from the weight of the blow.
“One attack like that and I'm done for. I'm going to need to keep my distance,” Aiden thought to himself. He channeled the fire to his fists and began punching out flames, attempting to launch them onto the creature, but the attacks were anything but accurate.
The embers swirled around Prodigium as he hulked forward, going in for another attack. Aiden kept dodging and attempting to use range as his ally, but unfortunately he wasn't skilled at projecting his fire. Any attempt Aiden gave it would always be too weak, be incredibly lacking in accuracy, or often times, both.
The monster managed to close the distance between itself and Aiden after several of these unsuccessful blows. Aiden looked up with fear in his eyes. His breathing became erratic. He continued dodging as best he could, but he was losing energy. Prodigium landed one good punch on Aiden and broke part of his rib cage, knocking the wind right out of him. Aiden collapsed to the ground.
The crowd had been excited for this fight, but at this point, they too were growing anxious about Aiden.
“It looks like this my be the end for our local champion, folks,” said the announcer.
“That's enough!” a voice from the crowd bellowed. The girl from Dragon Underground with the blonde braids walked forward. “Prodigium, you can stop now,” she said. The hulking beast looked back at her and put his arms down. He began walking toward her.
“Aiden can take the prize money. We don't need it. Just remember who won tonight,” the girl said.
Aiden, barely holding himself together, yelled, “Who are you?”
The girl turned to face him. “You'll be seeing me again, don't you worry.” She smiled back at Aiden, then turned and continued walking, exiting the arena.
Aiden went to stand, but his injuries were severe. Tye came directly to his aid and said, “Hey Aiden, let's use that money you've collected to pay for your injuries for once.”
The two spent the night in the hospital. Aiden was bandaged up in bed, zoning out as his friend waited by his side.
“I wonder who she was,” Aiden wondered aloud.
“You mean the girl from the fight?”
“Why worry about it? You have better things to worry about than her. You could have been killed tonight, man.”
“Yeah, you're right.”
Aiden closed his eyes, trying to rest, but he couldn't help but feel drawn to this girl. He constantly puzzled over who she could be. Why did she begin showing up all of a sudden?
Eventually, he began to dream, recalling a flashback...
Stay tuned for Part 2! In the meantime, don't let your dreams be dreams. You can continue reading our other wonderful stories here:
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