Chapter Cover

AUX 1 : Tessa Vivuk - Character Sheet (End of Ch. 30)

AUX 2 : Tolan Morndelen - Character Sheet (End of Ch. 30)

AUX 3 : H̵̱̎͌͜e̶̘̥͙͑̀̈́̈́i̷̺̤̊̋͘ ̸͍͍̠̲͂͛̃̀Z̷̳̑͋̏͘h̴̠͖͚͆̑̔͐a̶̪͎͎͐́͠ó̵̢̒͌ ̸̫̤̮͊̉͂̊-̴͖̿͝ ̵̢͚̌̒̈́͜C̶̢͇̞̣̾́h̸̖̖̦̪̑̔̉̋ã̶͇̲̯̣̽r̶͕̄̍͜ä̴͚͕͓́̾̃̎c̵̣͎͕̈́̔͐͘ͅẗ̸̤́e̶̦̝͓͇̿r̷̦̝̯̐ ̵̠̝͎̬́S̴͕̘̱̃̀̾h̴̛̗̬͜͝e̵̝̞̓̈́̽͛ę̵̞̪̆̈t̵̮͕̦̓

AUX 4 : T̶̬͍̳̳̫͐ơ̵̧̨̜͒͛̒r̸̢͖̥̤̝̟̂̈́͊́̓͝g̷͉̺̹̫͉̥͆̊̓̅r̴̛̺̪̳͖̔̎̿̕͜á̴̖̫ķ̵̨̮͎͎̼͛̈́̀̌̔̈́ ̵̼̱̙͑̑̈́͝͝-̸͓̝͌͝ ̶̨̢͕̦̞̩̿C̶̡̰̗̫̰͙̉͝h̶̛͍͉̞̘͍̣͊̃ä̴̪̍̊͒̂r̵̡̛̻̹̫͈̳̀̐̆̚͝à̶̖̺c̶̤̜͙̗̤̬̊͋̈ṭ̷̣̎̃̎̇͛͝è̴͚̮͜ͅͅr̶͖̦̣̺̝̪͗ ̴͇̳̗̳̾̔S̴̙̞̻͇͘ḥ̵̝͉̘͌́͛̿͋e̷̢̦̰̼̍e̴̩̓͌̑̔t̵̻̗͈͍̩̉̈́

Chapter 0 : The Hero and the Dragon

Chapter 1 : Dreams From Propaganda

Chapter 2 : Running Blind

Chapter 3 : Unmet Requisites

Chapter 4 : Not a Coincidence

Chapter 5 : Kneel to Fate

Chapter 6 : Saved and Sabotaged

Chapter 7 : Apprentice of Bastards

Chapter 8 : New Lessons to be Learned

Chapter 9 : Drilling in the Basics

Chapter 10 : Fanatic Extermination Preparation

Chapter 11 : A Few Moments Before Chaos

Chapter 12 : Never Wanted This

Chapter 13 : A Little Bit of Green

Chapter 14 : The Resistance

Chapter 15 : In Through the Front Door

Chapter 16 : Conversation Between Villains

Chapter 17 : Seeing What's to Come

Chapter 18 : Spark Amongst Flames

Chapter 19 : Everything Starts with a Big Bang

Chapter 20 : The Gun Goes Off

Chapter 21 : Miniboss Meeting

Chapter 22 : The Starting Light

Chapter 23 : A Convenient Opportunity

Chapter 24 : Unapologetically Breaking a Promise

Chapter 25 : No Rest for the Wicked

Chapter 26 : But It Was Me...

Chapter 27 : Second Verse Same as the First

Chapter 28 : Ritual

Chapter 29 : That Lesson Paid Off

Chapter 30 : 30. The End of the First Story

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Chapter No3:Unmet Requisites

The days passed by slowly, as Tessa couldn’t do much more than wait to arrive in Faethun. Stuck with nothing better to do, she comes up with an idea to keep herself somewhat distracted. Taking out a journal, some ink, and a quill, she writes an entry. With there being so little documented on the specifics of becoming a Hero and the smaller details about their lives, why not chronicle her adventures? Might even be fun to look back at how things started one day. 5 Valnir, 756 of the Aeonic Calendar. Year of Bryndor. It’s a sunny Iboraday with slight overcast, as I’m riding along with a caravan to Faethun. A few days have passed since graduation last Feohtereday, and I still find it hard to believe that I’m no longer a student of Unity Academy. I miss my days as a student, but only just. I know I can never return to being a student, but I’m looking forward to the days to come once I join the Heroes’ Guild. Right now I pass the time wondering what Sylvie and Aavron are up to. Are they both already home, or still traveling like I am? Twice in the last couple days I’ve thought about hopping onto another caravan and returning to Solis to see mom and dad again, but I need to accomplish what I’ve set out to do. Hopefully everything is alright at home. I’ve heard no news about Solis yet, so I guess that’s a good thing. Maybe when I return home, it’ll be just like when the Heroes came and saved everyone 10 years ago. That would be the best kind of homecoming, wouldn’t it? Anyway, the more the caravan approaches Faethun, the more nervous I become. Perhaps it’s just me doubting myself, but I hope joining the Heroes’ Guild goes smoothly. Most of my things are still back at the dorms, to be transported when I have a residence in Faethun. All I have on me right now are some traveling clothes, my graduation robes, some Valins, and a couple of other miscellaneous things. May Aeon’s light guide and aid me in becoming a Hero. - T. With the first entry written, Tessa set the diary aside and shifted focus to writing some letters to her family. The least she could do was tell them how she’s doing. 5 Valnir, 756 of the Aeonic Calendar. Year of Bryndor. Hello Mom and Dad, I graduated about four days ago as of writing this. Thank you both for your letters and I hope you’re both doing well. My diploma is with me as I’m headed for Faethun to join the Heroes’ Guild. I’m sorry that I couldn’t come home immediately, but the first chance I get after becoming a Hero I’ll be on my way back to Solis to see you both. Maybe I can take you both out to that fancy restaurant we went to before I left for Unity Academy, but I do really miss Dad’s homemade black lizard steak sandwiches and Mom’s fireberry pie. If all goes well, it shouldn’t be long before I’m able to visit. It’ll probably be a few days before I can send another letter, but I’ll let you know where I’m staying first chance I get. With love, Tessa With all writing done for now, Tessa tucked everything into her satchel and watched the sun and clouds pass by. The wooden wheels of the wagon creating and the occasional rock giving the wagon a shake. And as she watched the sky blue expanse, Tessa thought to herself. What is being a Hero like? I know it’s a rewarding and glamorous life, but also a hard one. What will I have to do? What monsters will I face? The wyverns from ten years ago were powerful, but what else is out there? Tessa reached up at the sky as if to grasp something, then yawned and let it fall. Her eyelids were growing heavy from how she could only wait to see what trials and tribulations she’d face. Well, guess I can only wait and see. The days of riding along continued until Tessa woke up. It’d been a week, and now the caravan is passing through a checkpoint. Each wagon movedmoving a short distanceshortly and then stoppedstopping as guards checked each individual merchant’s papers before letting them continue. It was slow, taking around an hour, but once the wagon started moving again, Tessa became giddy with excitement. I’m finally here! The bumpy dirt road changed to a smooth brick one as the wagon crossed over a deep moat and through a stone gateway. Tessa was now entering Faethun, the city at the center of everything. She stared out the back of the wagon, eyes sparkling as she tried to take in every sight she could. Unfortunately, the wagons pulled off to a side road after making it inside the city. Allowing everyone onboard to disembark and so the merchants tocould tally their goods without disrupting the flow of traffic further in. A minor setback to Tessa sightseeing things, but she could do that plenty on her own time. Once the wagon she was riding in came to a stop, the merchant at the front of the wagon called to her. “A’right missy. Last stop, Faethun. Time ta hop off.” Tessa responded, “Okay! Thank you for the ride. I’ll be off in just a moment.” “No worries, take yer time. Got’s ta check ma inventory.” Tessa checked her belongings, accounting for everything in her satchel. Then, taking hold of her staff, hopped out of the wagon’s back and stretched. The ride had been rougher than she expected, but she was finally here. Now she just needed to get to the Heroes’ Guild, and asked the merchant she’d been riding along with for directions. “Um, excuse me?” The merchant popped his head out of the wagon. An inked quill in one hand and a board with papers on it in the other. “Hm? Need somethin’ lass?” “Could you give me directions? I’m looking for the Heroes’ Guild. Would you happen to know where it is?” He pointed to the road that they were just on. “Head down tha main road we came in on, an’ follow it until ye see a large fountain at tha center o’ a plaza. From there, look for a building made o’ white an’ gold. Tha’ss tha Heroes’ Guild.” Tessa looked in the direction he was pointing, then turned back to thank the merchant. Bowing slightly. “Thank you, sir. Have a good Feohtereday” “You too, lass!” Returning to the main road, Tessa followed it and witnessed several things that made her even more excited to be in Faethun. There was a dwarven mother pushing her children out the door with a broom so she could clean the house. A blue dragonling, wearing a suit and bowtie set of apparel, was outside of a tavern flipping a sign from “closed” to “open”. Tessa couldn’t resist staring in awe at her surroundings. Weapon and armor shops. Blacksmiths hammering away at custom orders in the open. Restaurants selling strange meats and vegetables to their customers. There were also plenty of people walking up and down the road in varying sets of armor. Swords, axes, hammers, and more strapped to their hips or backs; depending on the weapons’ size. Eventually, Tessa found the fountain the merchant had mentioned. It was massive, easily comparable to at least a two story building. All around its base were carefully maintained flowers, with droplets of water on their leaves and petals from the fountain. And they’re arranged in a way that forms a continuous and repeating rainbow all the way around the fountain. The beauty alone mesmerized Tessa to a standstill, but she was here for something else. Shaking her head for a moment, Tessa remembered what she was here to do. There’s plenty of sightseeing I can do later. Now, where is the Heroes’ Guild building? From where she stood at the fountain, Tessa wandered a bit. Her eyes slowly scanning for the white building the merchant mentioned. A building made of white and gold . . . And just when her eyes were passing over a couple more buildings, she spotted it. It was a bit aways from the fountain, but certainly stood out. Green trees lined a custom pathway that led to two marble staircases, both followed the edge of a fountain and ended at the entrance of the Heroes’ Guild. Running down the pathway, Tessa slowed as she came up to the fountain. Tessa curled her arms inwards before shooting them out and dancing in a small circle. Squealing with glee the entire time. “I’m finally here!” Her excitement flushed out, for now, Tessa made her way to one of the two staircases and began the climb up to the entrance. With every step she took, she noticed one more detail about the Heroes’ Guild. Its windows had the clearest glass and most polished gold she’d ever seen. The drapes and curtains looked to be spun out of silver. Little wisps of light floated about the building and around plants. And as she came to the top of the staircase, there were six marble pillars holding up a mural carved out of marble. It depicted the Great Six gods and their respective champions. During her training, she had to memorize the gods’ names. But her constant curiosity in Heroes had also led to her memorizing the champions’ names as well. In the center was Aeon, god of light and justice, with his first champion Felzan just underneath. To Aeon’s right was Myrin, goddess of protection and earth, with her first champion, Gala’Cea. On Aeon’s left was Valgor, god of trade and deals, with his champion Bragza. Right of Myrin was Hassir, god of the night and wind, and his champion Lucielle. And, lastly, are the twin gods Solari and Firlorn on the far left. The god of fire and crafting beside the goddess of water and artists, and their champions, Solstice and Eclipse. As Tessa stared up at the mural, the guards at the Heroes’ Guild’s entrance gave Tessa a weird and concerned look. Looking at each other, and taking a careful step away from Tessa, the two began arguing through whispers. Starting with the guard on the right. “You figure out why she’s here.” “Me?! I handled the last nutcase, now it’s your turn, ‘Rightie’!” “If you call knocking the guy out ‘handling’, then I had it worse having to drag his the body out the door. You talk to her, ‘Leftie’!” Suddenly, Tessa piped up. The guards clanking to attention in their full plate armor. “Excuse me, may I enter? Please?” Rightie responded, “Y-yes miss.” Using one arm each, Rightie and Leftie opened the large pair of wooden doors leading into the guildhall. An artificial and cold breeze hit her face before quickly settling down, and Tessa now saw the inside of the building. A long, red carpet greeted her first. It leading all the way to a desk where an androgenous looking person was filing papers left and right. Walking inside, Tessa saw floating spirits wandering about the sunlit room and luxurious furniture and art decked all over the place. It appeared to be more like a palace than a guildhall. Tessa thought, This really is the pinnacle of success in the world, isn’t it? But she didn’t let her mind wander too much as she was now at the Heroes’ Guild’s front desk. Now much closer, the person was working at a quick and rhythmic pace. Opening, filling, closing, and filing away forms and ledgers without even looking up. Tessa waited for the clerk to finish what they were doing. But just when one thing ended, another began. She’d have to be the one to start things. “Um. E-excuse me?” The clerk’s hands came to a dead stop, freezing in place before raising its head. The clerk adjusted its glasses and looked at Tessa coldly. “Yes?” The clerk’s voice was masculine, but incredibly distant and seemingly uncaring. Tessa’s body shifted around in place, her stomach full of butterflies with how she wanted to make the best first impression she could. He wasn’t one for beating around the bush, however. “Well, what is it? Speak up now.” Tessa stammered, trying to find words that are currently all over the place in her mind. “U-uh, y-yes, I-I-I-I’m here to join the Heroes’ Guild!” Tessa’s body instinctively stood at attention. Her back straightening and feet coming as close together as possible. Arms parallel and at her sides. The clerk’s eyes narrowed before closing as he took a moment to take off his glasses and wipe some dust off them. Putting them back on, he gave Tessa his full attention. “I see. Just a moment then, I must check something.” Leaning down and reaching for something underneath the counter, the clerk pulled out a large and thick ledger. Placing it just slightly off-center of the counter, it opened itself and flipped to the current date. Then the clerk’s eyes scanned it up and down, searching for any scheduled appointments. Finding nothing, the clerk’s eyes returned to Tessa’s. “It seems you do not have an appointment.” The clerk paused, something in the back of his mind gnawing away at his thoughts. This situation felt familiar, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. He wondered what it could be, but continued with his duties while thinking about it in the back of his mind. “No matter, this happens from time to time. One more moment, please.” Putting the appointment ledger away, he took out a form and readied his quill. “Now, let’s begin again. What is your name, age, gender, and date of birth?” Tessa closed her eyes and took a deep breath. It was happening. It was finally happening. “My name is ‘Tessa Vivuk’. I’m sixteen, female, and was born on the 13th of Shindor.” The clerk jotted it all down, his eyes smoothly moving from left to right. The quill gliding across the paper with ease. “Your class and focus?” “I’m a cleric, of Aeon, and am trained in healing and support miracles.” Tessa wondered just what was being written on the sheet as she responded to his questions. The clerk’s hand and quill looked to be writing much more than what she was saying. What should have been a couple of short sentences or blurbs of information was being scribbled down furiously. Looking at his glasses, Tessa could kind of see that the clerk was writing many more details than what she’d said. But none of it was legible through the reflection. Then came one more of the clerk’s questions. “And who recommended you?” Tessa’s mind hit a wall. Her eyes squinting ever so slightly while her head leaned to an angle. “‘Recommended’?” The moment Tessa’s question filled his mind, the clerk came to a dead stop. His hand lifting the quill and freezing in place as he grasped why this scenario was so uncomfortably familiar. But as a representative of the Heroes’ Guild, he must complete the required inquiries before turning away any potential member applicants. “Yes.” The clerk’s eyes narrowed as he adjusted his glasses with his free hand. A brief reflection of light hiding his piercing gaze. “Which Hero, former or current, has recommended you to the Heroes’ Guild? And if they did not provide a name,” he paused for a moment to glare down his nose at Tessa, “you may provide a memento given to you from one as an equivalent.” Tessa’s dreams of success, prestige, and heroism came to an immediate halt. The door she aimed to open and walk through with a mere pull of the handle was now locked. Her mind desperately searched through what information she’d learned about Heroes and the Heroes’ Guild, but none of it had mentioned anything like this. No stanza in any bard’s song nor published passage by any scholar held mention of the one key Tessa needed to open the door before her. Realizing this, Tessa’s gaze slowly drifted to the floor as she quietly admitted to having nothing of the sort. “I-I don’t… have any of... those.” Hearing her admission, the clerk’s stare slowly relaxed. “I see.” Setting his quill down, the clerk raised his now free hand and snapped his fingers. Almost immediately, the guards from outside now stood at attention inside the building. Leftie spoke first, “You called for us, Sir Cygnus?” Tessa’s head spun around, caught off-guard by the guard’s near instantaneous and silent appearance. Taking his glasses off for a moment to rub the bridge of his nose, Cygnus affirmed this, “Yes. Please escort this girl out.” Rightie confirmed their orders, “Yes, sir.” Tessa turned back to the clerk and tried to bargain with him as the guards approached her from behind. “W-wait! Please let me prove myself! I’m meant to be a Hero! Please!” Leftie put a hand on Tessa’s shoulder, “Come now, it’s time to leave.” “B-but I’ve come all this way! I’m a graduate from Unity Academy! Surely that must mean you can give me a chance t-” Cygnus cut Tessa off, now glaring at her with an icy stare, “‘To’ what? You admitted to not having a recommendation from any past or present Hero. Thus, you are ineligible to become one regardless of any documentation or proof of ability you may have.” Tessa tried to protest, but could only stammer. Now struggling slightly against Leftie’s grasp on her shoulder. “Please! There must be some exception! Any kind! It’s been my dream to become a Hero!” Cygnus’ face scrunched up in on itself, the girl before him trying this patience. Even baring his teeth ever so slightly in annoyance. “Listen and listen well. Only those chosen by Fate itself may become Heroes. The Great Six influence who has the grand fortune of becoming a savior in the world. There are no exceptions.” Cygnus continued, but bit back the words he wanted to say before speaking further, “You are ineligible to be a Hero. Now, remove her from the premises immediately. I must resume my work.” Rightie put his hand on Tessa’s shoulder, aiding Leftie in restraining her. Rightie felt sorry for the girl, but rules are rules. “It’s time to go.” Tessa didn’t know what to do, nor did she want to give up here. But soon enough, she was being dragged backwards. She reached out to the clerk, pleading and begging that the clerk give her some kind of chance. But all of it fell on deaf ears as he resumed the work she’d interrupted. And as the doors shut before her eyes, the dream she’d spent so much time and effort into making a reality now fell from its perch and smashed upon the ground. All while the clerk’s words echoed in her mind. “You are ineligible to be a Hero.”