2007; the age of magic, gods, and monsters has long since passed. Now it’s the dawn of the Hegels. Across the world men and women who had the ability to summon Geists were becoming an increasing occurrence. Many didn’t know how to respond to this strange new phenomena. Some thought it was an elaborate hoax. Others believed it was promotion for a movie or possible television series. The governments of the world were divided across the board on how to handle it. Torn between covering up the issue for public safety and acknowledging the still unnamed new species. There was one group that took it upon themselves to ensure that the Hegel species wasn’t welcomed with open arms. The Church of Zeverious was a religious group founded by a Gerasimos Zosimos to honor his late father Magnus. They believed that any who believed in and could find their god Zeverious would find enlightenment and the answers to the universe. Something many people desired but many more simply saw it as a cult. The Zeverians weren’t afraid to antagonize the Hegels and were believed responsible for a number of disappearances…
Gen Yun was a Hegel born in Switzerland. He was a kind and gentle man who treated everyone he met as an equal. But after his Geist manifested for the first time at the age of 22, he was chased out of his home by the Zeverians. For four years he searched with no safe haven without their presence. But each place was the same and never lasting long. After a long journey he found his way to a place known as the Etenian Valley in Slovakia. It was an often forgotten place named after the Fallen Kingdom of Etenia. It was believed to have been named by descendants of the kingdoms original inhabitants. There was nothing of particular value about the place and yet Yun found himself drawn to it. Tired from a long hike up the mountainside to get to the valley, Yun takes a break to sit and admire the view. An ambient fog seemed to always permeate the valley. It was a sight to behold. The fog shimmered a rainbow of colors. The grass appeared to glow and the forestation seemed endless. A waterfall was visible from the opposing mountain pouring down into a river below. Yun didn’t want to enjoy the view alone and summons his Geist Azure Master. Azure master was a monk that bore the color of its namesake. Its masculine frame a contrast to the lean frame Yun possessed himself. Even its long straight hair paralleled Yuns short and smooth black hair.
“It’s beautiful isn’t it Azure?” Yun says aloud.
“It is.” Azure Master replies. Compared to many Geists, Azure Master was capable of full speech and actively engaged in conversation.
Pulling back the sleeve of his jacket, Yun checks his watch. “17:00?” He says in thought. “We should probably find a place to set up camp. Don’t want to get caught out at night.”
“Okay.” Azure Master replies before being banished.
Were it not for Azure Master being capable of full speech, the hike would’ve been a quiet and lonely one. Though part of Yun didn’t mind the quiet. It was peaceful and it let him bask in nature without distraction. Yun searches for a place to set up camp but gradually finds himself walking deeper and deeper into the valley.
“This place is odd…” Azure Master says as it reappears by Yuns side.
“What do you mean Azure?” Yun asks.
“I’m not sure…” Azure Master says unsure of itself. It could sense something off but not quite put its finger on it. “I’m sorry.” It apologizes.
“It’s fine Azure.” Yun says reassuringly.
“There!” Azure Master says pointing towards the forest ahead. With its great vision, Azure Master could see a faint shine coming from behind the thick greenery.
“Wonder what that is…” Yun thinks to himself. Trusting in Azure Master, he heads towards the light. It must be something amazing to be visible through the shimmering fog.
Azure Master kept its eyes focused to see through the fog and trees. The pair continue their walk until they reach a river and found the source of the light. A single fine crystal that mesmerized Yun. He picks up the crystal and is astounded to find how light it was. The crystal shimmered like the fog and felt as light as a feather. Putting it into his coat pocket, Yun finds more crystals scattered by the river like a trail. Curiosity compels him to follow the crystals. The river as their guide they come across a lake connected to the waterfall. The shore and lake itself had a number of large crystals jutting out from below the surface. Each as beautiful as the one Yun found. Yun wondered how they didn’t realize the spires were there sooner. As if responding to his thoughts the fog begins to lift. His view now clear, Azure Master spots a ruined temple in the center of the lake. Yun never heard of a forgotten civilization in the Etenian Valley. His excitement rises at the idea of being the first to make this discovery.
“I feel like an explorer from all the games I used to play.” Yun says gleefully. Aside from the massive crystals there were smaller ones that were flat and could be used as steps to get across the lake. “This is when the ambient music would kick in. A mellow violin and maybe some pianos. Probably a flute or harp.”
“Nerd.” Azure Master snarks.
“What’s wrong with that? We have the most fun you know. Comics, video games, movies…” Yun says nostalgically. “Man…I really miss going to conventions…We’d probably make a really cool Zeit cosplay.” Before he was forced into a life of wandering, Yun was openly nerdy and a frequent cosplayer. Zeit was a favorite of his. A super hero who fought with a power almost identical to Geists. He could use cryokinesis to freeze things and chronokinesis to stop time. Azure Master could see why Yun would want to do it but he shakes his head at the idea.
“Wait.” Azure Master says as he floats in front of Yun. He could see from the ruined temple ahead that there was someone approaching.
“Who’s there?” Yun asks while standing his ground. Walking out from the temple was an elderly woman in her 80s wearing mountain gear. A soft smile was on her face. Yun had mixed feelings at seeing her. How would she respond to his Geist? Did he really not discover this place first? “Um…I…come in peace.” Yun blurts out. Instinctively he puts his hands up and recalls Azure Master to his side.
“Why would I think you wouldn’t?” The old mountain climber says casually. “Did you have unsavory plans for this old woman?” She asks with a chuckle.
It took everything Yun had to block out the unpleasant mental images he was getting at her comment. There are some things he didn’t want to ever think about… “Well…no…it’s just…”
“You having such lewd thoughts is shameful…” Azure Master mutters to itself.
“What? No! You know I wouldn’t…” Yun stammers.
“My, who is that blue friend of yours?” She asks.
“Uh, I call him Azure Master. Cause you know…he’s azure and taught me stuff…pretty unoriginal.” Yun answers with a nervous chuckle. He didn’t want to do anything to make the old woman fear him unintentionally.
“It’s a lovely name.” She replies.
“Thanks…So you aren’t scared of him? “Yun asks.
“Not at all.” She responds.
“Yun…” Azure Master says lowly.
“Right, so…may I ask you a question now?” Yun asks meekly.
“Of course there’s no need to be shy.” She says smiling warmly once more.
“Why are you here? It wasn’t easy getting here even for me. Did you climb here on your own?”
“Of course I did. I just come here from time to time. The crystals help me clear my mind.” Her eyes solemn and longing.
“You know what this place was?” Yun asks.
“I do…” She begins. “Hundreds of years ago there was a great battle. Many heroes gave their lives to stop a dangerous evil from claiming their home.”
“The heroes who died were people like you…people with those ghosts.”
“Amazing…” Yun responds engrossed by her words. “It’s kinda cool not being the first person with this power.”
“There were so many things different back then…even more that hasn’t changed sadly…” She laments. “What’s your name child?”
“Gen Yun. You can just call me Yun. What’s your name?”
“My name…I’ve completely forgotten it. Ohohohoho!”
“Maybe she’s senile…probably shouldn’t trust her stories too much.” Yun thinks to himself. He was so into the story he didn’t consider it might be a tall tale from an old women.
“Do you think it bad of me to forget such a simple thing but remember that silly story?” She asks.
“Not at all.” Yun replies. “It’s okay to forget things from time to time. Makes remembering them all the more special.”
“You’re a kind young man.” She praises.
“Thank you mam. I try to be.” Yun answers sincerely.
“Why did you come here Yun?” She asks
“I don’t really know…I felt…drawn here. It’s weird, I’m not sure why but I felt compelled to come here. Wasn’t like I had anywhere else to go so I just ran with it.” Yun answers with a shrug of his shoulders. He never had any reason to question where he walked so long as he didn’t get any innocent people in the crossfire if he was attacked.
“Thank you for the answer. Please, I have something to show you.” Turning her back to Yun she returns to the ruined temple.
“Be careful.” Azure Master says.
“I will Azure.” Yun responds. Outwardly he didn’t show any signs of stress but internally he was already in battle mode. He didn’t believe the elderly mountain climber would do anything to harm him. But he had learned long ago to not judge books by their covers. Gentle souls can hide dark intentions and sinister intentions can mask a warm heart. Yun walks across the crystal platforms to make his way to the ruined temple. He catches up to her easily. “You wouldn’t happen to be a serial killer going after wayward travelers would you?” Yun asks semi-jokingly.
“Couldn’t your ghost protect you if I were?” She asks playfully.
“Um…maybe?” Yun says followed by a nervous laugh.