When the boy woke up, he saw a ghostly light coming out of the spring water, climbing up to the sky like a spear. It was an afternoon in June, in the year 931 of the Fourth Age. The sun was shining all across the clear sky, shading its light all over the indigo seas of Eastern Vanjer. The world seemed to be at peace.
The boy watched the light, and he did not understand. It was silver like a pale rain of autumn, with flashing little rays. When he had fallen asleep on the grass at the edge of the spring, in the midst of the jungle, that strange light was not there.
The surrounding place was full of thick trees becoming increasingly darker. The humidity had also grown. Mold and grass seemed to have spread. At the top of a ridge of rocks, between two spiky stones, there was an arch, from where the beautiful waterfall descended gracefully into the spring.
That strange light was coming out just where the waterfall was falling. Filled by curiosity, the boy decided to find out what it was. He got into the water, swam to the site, and plunged his thin hand to the depths, dipping his fingers between the smooth stones, scattering the ground, until he stroked an unexpected round object. It was partially buried in the underwater soil. The boy stared at it. That ghostly light was coming from the object, and its light was blinking every time his fingers touched its rounded form. The boy knew he wouldn't be able to take it out of the water easily. It was stuck. So, he dipped both of his hands deeper to pull harder, and harder, and harder. After several violent tries using the full weight of his body, the object finally came out of the water. Then, he saw it. In his hands was shining a dark and ominous sphere, with the size of a fist, but another light was flashing wildly inside. While he was starting at it, the sky darkened with swirling clouds of a black storm, just like when the rain cries over the graves.
The boy looked at the sphere, and he felt a thrill in his heart. He brushed it with his hand: the crystal was cold; and the spring water, once hot, had also cooled down. But the boy was in love with the beauty of that object. A flash of gold within it, like burning fire, greeted him from the inside of the crystal. And then, something strange happened. A sequence of unknown characters appeared from the dark depths of the sphere, each one fading after the next appeared.
"Ni... dân," the boy whispered, even though he had no idea how that doomed name had come to his lips. Seduced, he noticed the flames dancing in the soul of the black object. That name was still coming to his mind, in rough whispers, in words of horror. "Nidân" he finally repeated firmly.
Between the belt of the jungle trees came a grown man. He was wearing a humble dress. The dress was made of silk, and it was black as night. He was wearing it almost from head to toe, with a gray cape of thick cloth covering him like a lord, and also boots as dark as ink. Below his neck was a necklace with an orange light. It seemed as if his clothes were specifically chosen to attend a particular event.
"Son," he called calmly from the edge of the spring. "It is time. Come on, it's getting late. Your mother must be worried, and you know we must not make her wait for dinner."
But then, the expression of his face suddenly changed. His lips turned into a crooked grin. The wrinkles of his frown darkened, sullen and whipped by a terrible grudge. The boy looked back, and saw his father coming to him, slowly getting into the spring, entering the water without even caring about getting wet. The boy noticed that his father wasn't letting him out of his sight, just like a hunter staring at his prey. This was a stare that he had never seen on him. All of sudden, there was a paranormal fog hovering over the land.
"Look, Dad!" he said, a little bit frightened. "Its name is Nidân."
That name... as old as the world itself; old, known, but also unknown. In his eyes, the boy discovered that his father had heard that name before; of course he must have heard it, if he ever dared to say that he knew something about history. The pale color in his angry face confirmed it. Suddenly, the man jumped with three strides and reached his son in the water. The boy saw him higher than ever before, and stared at him with fear as his father watched him back from above. With a wild maneuver, his father snatched the sphere out of his hand.
"Where did you get this? Answer me now!"
The boy saw his father taking a deep look down to the depths of the dark sphere. Inside that beautiful black crystal, there was the dance of that latent and violent flame, hitting the transparent walls that kept it trapped. And then, he and his father heard a long and sinister voice calling from the inside, a voice barely understandable, but terribly menacing. The spring water vibrated, softly at the beginning, then stronger, and louder, and louder. The boy felt as if he was about to meet an ancient horror. He will not be wrong.
"Navish ugimniûn yl ameriâ yl iâvris" whispered the Shadow within the sphere.
The boy trembled, and when he sought his father's eyes, he discovered they were turning dark, flickering, as the first rain of spring, and pierced like when the moon is crowned by a frosting of stars.
"Dad..." he called, cowering, because he had never seen him like that. His father did not answer. "Dad!"
"You..you know what is this?" he finally answered, with his eyes as sharp as javelins.
"No. I don't know, Dad. But I know his name... He told me"
"His name? For the four moons, doomed boy, tell me now what you heard."
"He told me his name, Dad. And then I saw a black fire. He also said Black Magic, although it was in a language that I don't know why I could understand, because I'd never heard it before, Dad... but I'm sure, that was the meaning of that word. In my head I know what it meant."
"Black Magic?" repeated his father, pale like a ghost. "God damn it boy, tell me where you found this thing. Tell me now!"
"Here, under the water, Dad... Below the waterfall, see? Here I found it. But now is mine, dad, it's mine forever."
"Yours?" the man repeated as he hardened his fists.
"Yes, Dad... It's mine. It is mine, and no one else can have it. I must take care of it with everything that I have. It's mine."
A trembling silence shook the spring. The boy saw his father looking at him with an unprecedented fury. He had never seen him so congested with anger, angry as if he was facing his deadliest enemy. His good father had always been sensitive to him, very friendly, loving, caring and kind, but why was he going this far?
"It's not yours!" his father suddenly shouted, and then he slapped the boy so hard that the impact threw him under the water. "Do not say nonsense, silly boy. This will not happen again! Come... for the four moons, get up now, come, and let's go. Give me your arm. Give me your damn arm, I said! That's right... come on, hurry up."
The boy came out of the water shaking with terror, but in his hand, in his tiny little hand, he found out he had picked up a pointy and sharp rock from the bottom of the spring water. How? He didn't remember.
"I want to stay!" he cried angrily. "Where are we going, Dad? Let me go, let me go!"
"Do you want me to slap you again?" the man snapped strongly as he was dragging the boy out of the spring water. "I won't say any more. And you, listen, you will never return to this place. Do you understand?"
The man kept the damned sphere in his pocket. He looked side to side, and with a single swipe he pulled his son out of the spring water, then he hurried to leave the place. The boy looked over his shoulder one last time as he dropped the pointy rock, and all he found was the darkness closing behind him among the darkened trees.
Since then, fourteen years have passed; fourteen long and quiet years, until one day...
Merci pour la lecture!
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