Hm, this isn’t the ideal situation for me. Let’s see, house liquidated and sold after being ruined. Parents are now missing. Younger sister is completely unresponsive but alive. Oh, and I’ve been feeling weird lately. Oh right, and dying, that wasn’t pleasant either. At least sitting on this bench in Mistral Lake is peaceful enough.
Oh right, I’m just some person without any other context. My name is Kexel Fraeore, the son of a family of no great importance, as we tended to keep to ourselves. Mainly, we moved into Mistral Lake due to the security provided by the Mistveil Dominion, and the fact a city over the lake is unique. Parents were a pair of University researchers, with bellora Fraeore being a geomancer and Dorrion Fraeore as a Pyromancer. They tended to take on extended trips for research purposes, and left me alone with my younger sister, Iliana. Though it did get lonely, they provide for us, and bring back souvenirs from their trips.
So, I mainly spent my time playing housekeeper and caretaker for the home here. No great training for being a master something, no tragic event while I grew up, I was just a child who cleaned, cooked, did his work, and played with his younger sister. Admittedly, this last part was oddly exhausting. Iliana was a handful to care for alone. Somewhat rather have done and enjoyed cooking, but I could not let her get lonely or upset.
Luckily, my mother finally granted one of my sister’s wishes, and got her a cat. This energetic ball of midnight fur and claws was dubbed Neyah, or as Iliana would call it, “The Captain of the guard for the high Queen of Mistveil.” Ah the dreams of a child. This tuna eating savior finally gave me a lot more time to work on other tasks. Neyah usually played with Iliana while I had more free time to read. Granted, most stuff was about elemancy and other topics related to magic of some types. All very dense books and articles, but manageable when one has time. Everything was interesting, and I had fun imagining being able to do a few things like that. Nothing like chucking about the elements with one’s very hands.
However, my interest never did quite develop for trying my hand out with elemancy or the other magics. I was perfectly fine staying within the dominion’s territory and making a living as a baker. The stories my parents told of their travels were great stories, but my sister was more interested at the idea of traveling out compared to me, and that was perfectly fine. She can go and become the great mage while I go and make her food for the travels. I never found myself that courageous, athletic or willing for that type of lifestyle. I rather read, cook and eat sweets.
But as I said, recent events now made this impossible. It all started with one present my younger sister got on her 12th birthday as I was an adult. Mom brought back a decorative iron necklace that she found with my father on a trip to a strange series of ruins. The thing was somewhat plain, being an iron chain that held a pendant made from the same material. The jewelry was embedded with gems of various types, including a strange black and red ruby in the center of the pendant. All pretty things for a young girl to squee over and talk to her cat about.
But strange things sort of began to occur. I was studying under a baker within the communal kitchens, working on baking pastries and other foods. Routinely, I’d return to the house looking off. Shadows seem to be moving, and Neyah looked panicked, running around with the necklace as Iliana looked somewhat dazed. Each time, I’d notice that the iron necklace was looking cracked? Thought iron was harder than that. Things would settle down, Iliana would take her necklace back, and the shadows started acting weird. Meh, maybe it was my imagination, it wasn’t a constant thing.
Aaaaand then came the nethers, a cowering Neyah and my sister happily controlling the stuff while wearing the necklace, which was a lot more cracked. So, I did tell my parents earlier about the odd things going on with Iliana and her necklace, but the one time I showed them the strange state of the jewelry, it was perfectly fine. However, when I came back home this time around, she was actively controlling the substance as if she had some practice with the stuff. I promptly walked out, calm down, ate an apple and decided to go back inside. The nether throughout the home were being controlled, actively cleaning up the home. Granted by destroying anything messy but still. Iliana seemed to be happy at her new control, but her body started to look wrong, darkening and looking slightly corrupted. The necklace was around her neck again, the iron completely pealed away to reveal an odd dark substance with glowing red gems. Ominous looking yes, but Iliana was still responsive to me. That’s good, she still had her faculties in order. Neyah was tugging on my pant leg, pulling me towards the door, looking completely panicked at everything going around.
I was entirely worried, as all this was bad news. No way a child should have any ability to do what she was pulling off on her own. It takes training to even mess around with this stuff, yet she seemed to have a mastery over it. Maybe it’s that thing around her neck? I don’t know, most of those hooded robed folks keep such information on their magic under wraps.
Well, my parents were out for a few weeks when all this started getting bad. I wrote to them about the wrongness my sister was emitting, and that she seems to be a sorceress. Oh, and their gift looks like some cursed artifact, that was important too. I did not hear back from them, however. That is worrying yes, but now I had to deal with a child with too much power. Of course, she was doing well to not publicly display her power outside of the home. Keep this low key here, some people might be interested in this stuff, rather not drag the pale guard this way. All thoughts I probably regret thinking of.
Time continued to pass, my parents never came back from their last trip, and I’ve been growing to get used to the creatures now wandering about the house. The Mistveil Dominion does employ nether creatures as part of the guard force, those watchers are a dead giveaway. However, it’s been interesting getting a chance to safely observe a few spirits floating about the home as servants. Kind of wish they stopped melting and breaking things, but nothing important was touched other than my favorite pan. I spent a bit of time experimenting with the entities floating around, and the various types of nether decided to take temporary residence. Even witnessed their capabilities when hostile with a few demonstrations of their ability for pest control. Though bone cleanup was a thing after these, gruesome of an aftermath.
Iliana slowly began to shift her personality. She talked to me and anyone else a lot less. She mainly just played around with controlling nether entities and playing with them as people. Neyah had been completely ignored, and the cat was spending more time with me. She also spent a lot less time outside, as her body began to react to the constant contact with nether. She was still herself whenever she did interact with me, being cheerful and wanting to talk. But she would lose interest suddenly and wander back off to being alone. At the insistence of a sad cat, and my own concerns with the bodily and personality changes, I decided to approach the guard about what’s been going on.
I unfortunately did not get the chance. One day, while I was working on a large emberberry pie for Iliana, I heard a window get smashed. Then a second window. Then a whole number of windows crashing. I’m pretty sure a wall came down somewhere. A panicked scream of my sister could be heard while a cat ran into the kitchen, I was in. Peeking out, I saw what was going on. A battle between incorporeal and solid nether throughout the home. Huh, how did those get in here? Iliana was blasting back things with what she could, gathering minor nethers into a defense against everything attacking. Some of the guard noticed the stray blasts and nether tearing the home apart, and a call was made for an attack. This place quickly became a warzone.
I’d like to say I was heroic during this entire thing. I’d want to say I picked up an iron knife and pot, and charged into the hoards, cleaving my way through the shadowy masses to my sister…. I’m pretty sure an overweight flour-covered person would have been melted in seconds.
I, however, did the next heroic thing. Taking cover behind the kitchen counter, cuddling Neyah while hoping nothing noticed me. I peeked out of my counter at Iliana, seeing her taking off the necklace, and trying to throw it away. She looked absolutely scared at it, and tried to drop it, only for her body to stop doing so. She kept backpedaling from the inbound creatures, while some Mistveil guards were trying to cut their way through noticing the corrupted artifact seeming to now be possessing Iliana.
Now Iliana was backpedaling into the kitchen, directing creatures this way. Not good. However, it looked like Iliana was losing both battles with the nether and throwing that pendant away. Neyah kept headbutting my leg, seeming to turn towards Iliana who was approaching. She seems to be eyeing the pendant still in her hand and turn to nod at me. I think I know what she was planning. And well, if the cat was planning to do something suicidal, I had to join her. I can’t let a cat show me up. And it was important for my sister to be ripped away as far as possible from that thing.
So, as the dumbest thing we both would ever do, we charged at my sister. I shoulder check Iliana from behind, lifting her off her feet as I carried her back as fast as a flour covered young man could move. Neyah leaped into the pendant, ripping the cursed thing out of her hands. Dear gods, I think we were going to accomplish-
NO wait everything went horribly wrong, that’s what happened. Now, separating the pendant did snap my sister back to full attention. However, something I did not know. Whatever that pendant was made of, it’s not meant for untainted flesh. This became obvious while I ran, a pained and surprised meow was followed by horrific yowling. Unfortunately, the yowling was cut off by a loud thud and gargled noises, after being stomped from what I can tell. Then my impending doom decided to charge behind me, heralded by heavy stomps ad my sister screaming in terror, flailing her arms behind me. This was bad. But maybe if I run around the kitchen, cut through the sitting room and-
I promptly trip over a broom. I tumbled down to the ground lack a sack of flour, my sister thrown from me. Then I was crushed by ceiling rubble like a sack of flour…being crushed by the ceiling. I’m sorry, hard to think of something to describe my bones being smashed into powder. In fact, I somewhat appreciated that nice nether demon putting me out of my misery with a head stomp. I’m pretty sure it even nodded at me understanding my situation, but that might have been my hallucination due to agony.
Dying was a very strange experience. I had no control of my spirit, feeling as if I was floating away somewhere. I thought everything was over, until the floating turned to a harsh pull downward. Okay I’m not sure if that’s normal, but I haven’t died before. Strangely, the pulling sensation felt as if something tiny was yanking me downwards, and actively preventing me from moving. IN a way, I felt as if a tug of war briefly occurred, my spirit as the poor rope before the tiny entity won. I ended up in some strange area, the tugging from the tiny entity pulling me along. All I can remember at this point was going up to a surprised and small dark creature. It leaped up and grabbed onto me, my spirit dragged in yet another direction. The last sensation I could feel was something hugging my uh, leg would it be. It did not let go and felt as if it was dragged along with me.
And then I woke up to a surprised group, some hooded figure nodding at me and wandering away. I eventually I was informed on the aftermath of what occurred. After I was the sticky pastings of a demon, the guard fought their way to my sister, pushing the nether away as the nether tried to grab her rather than kill her. They tried to put the pendant back onto her, but only managed to touch her with the pendant. Unfortunately, this was enough, the object reacting badly as Iliana feinted from a sudden shock. But that’s all they managed. The guard cut back the creatures, and forced them to retreat and vanish, along with the cursed object.
I was told that my sister was alive. However, her body is now completely unresponsive to any attempts at waking her. As well, it seems that she was suffering from severe tainting, why she was able to handle the nethric object. She was put under observation, but this required me to sell the land and home to afford a very extended stay.
I feel entirely guilty about this. I originally saw the signs something was severely wrong with that object of hers, but I didn’t bother to tell anyone persistently. I should have contacted someone earlier before, well, whatever just happened here.
But hey, no house, barely any funds…. I have free time to do something about it now. But sitting here depressed is not going to make anything better. It’s time to be proactive and figure something out!
Huh, where did all this motivation and self-confidence come from? I’m not exactly feeling sad about all this. In fact, I can’t even feel the sensation, or maybe it feels like I’m being prevented? Hmm, odd. I’m not going to complain, it’s not like I can stay here now, so best to head out and look for some answers to a bunch of questions. But wait, what exactly is my plan?
1. Figure out how to not completely flail in public.
2. Find housing and move my sister’s body there with a caretaker.
3. Find whatever happened to parents.
4. Get sister back onto her feet again.
5. Find tuna. Wait, why did this even cross my mind, I don’t even like fish. Or I thought I didn’t.
6. Generally, see what the rest of the Lost Lands have to offer and write everything down. Might be a way to get a few stories down to read to Iliana when she’s awake.
That should do for now. Now if you excuse me, I need to go satisfy this craving for fish that is entirely new to me.
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