<AN> so this chapter got glitched, not sure if it effected the chronological order of these chapters, please tell me if they are out of order!
Zack laughed, Black hair waving in the wind. “You? A General?” Zack laughed again at Joshua’s ridiculous dream. “Oh, and I’m gunna single handedly fight a war.” Zack and Josh lived in a iron exporting rural village on the side of a mountain known as Lone Peak. “It could happen! If dad brings in a little more money from the mountains, I’ll be able to afford some classes at the military academy.” Josh spoke back.
Zack sat down next to his friend, “when I gave you that tag,” Zack said, gesturing to the dog tag hanging around Josh’s neck “I didn’t think you’d take it so seriously to base your entire life off fulfilling the rank I put on it.” Josh stared flatly at Zack, “I’ve always wanted to join the military, and climb the ranks to the very top. You gave this to me as a birthday gift.” Zack raised an eyebrow, “is that right? Eh, my version was close enough.” “What? No! I sound like I’d follow you to death in your version!”
Zack peered around and got a good look at his surroundings, they set at the bottom of the mountain, five trees had grown naturally in a circle, and four hammocks had been strung in between four of the trees. Josh called it the fortress of four, Zack called it a getaway. Only him and his close friends knew it’s location.
Zack continued to back his version of the dog tag story. Josh got progressively more upset. Zack peered up at the sky, noting the suns position, then abruptly stood up, “welp, I’m off!” Zack said with a wave, walking off toward the village. Josh pouted, crossing his arms. “All that talent and potential. If I was as lucky as him, my ‘crazy’ dream wouldn’t be a dream at all...”
The village was to small too have a full time teacher, so instead the entire village pitched in and the adults would teach the kids about something they were good at. Oh, and when no one wanted to teach, they forced the teens to watch over the kids for a while.
Of all the teens, excluding Zack, Charlotte was the only one who never seemed to get very angry at the kids (Zack never got mad at anything, he was too lazy).
Charlotte smiled down at the class, which varied slightly in age, with the oldest being eleven, and the youngest being six. There were about twelve kids. They were being extra difficult and loud today, likely because they were discussing everyone’s favorite topic- magic. “Magic is classified in the TTT system. TTT stands for Talent, Trait, Tool, and it’s the most basic form of classifying magic. Now, can anyone tell me what Talent magic does?” All the little hands in the class shot up, prompting a smile from Charlotte, “Jack.” She said, a very excited Jack jumped out his chair and shouted “talent magic makes you better at stuff, like my pa’s death lift buff!” Charlotte smiled “uhh, yes, it increases a person ability to complete a human task, but your fathers Talent is a dead lift buff...” Jack shook his head while sitting down “death lift sounds cooler...” Charlotte readdressed the class, “okay... what about Trait magic?” A child with horns sticking out of her head, Magie (lovingly called Diny) shot up, “ooh! Oh! I can! Trait magic is magic that gives you extra stuff when your born, like my horns!” Charlotte smiled “good job Diny! That’s exactly right, Trait magic is magic that gives you a physical augmentation that increases your physical capabilities in some way. Know who can tell me about Tool magic?” The door burst open, and Zack’s head popped in, “Oh! Ooh! I can!!” Charlotte, stared flatly at the sixteen year-old troublemaker. “Okay Zack... what is Tool magic.” Zack flung the door open, grinning ear to ear, speaking in a ‘fancy’ voice “Tool magic allows one to do something otherwise completely impossible, allowing feats such as telekinesis, flying and-“ Someone in the class shouted out “make the armor!” Charlotte sent a pleading look to Zack, who’s grin only grew larger. “Zack please don’t use your metakenesis to make a suit of ar-“ metal began sweeping through cracks in the floor, rising up and climbing on top of itself to form a suit of armor.
The class lost its collective mind. Diny rammed her head into the armor, Jack started shouting ‘death lift,’ the other male classmates tackled the armor, while the girls screamed. Zack’s grin entered catastrophic levels of length. “Gotta go bye!” He said, running out of the class. Charlotte almost lost her cool. Almost. “At least take this suit with you! Da- darn it Zack!!” She stuttered on the second half, catching herself before she said something in front of the kids. The armor liquified and slipped back in through the floor, disappearing into the ground. The class collectively ‘awww’ed sadly. Jack walked up to and pulled lightly on Charlottes skirt. He looked up at her and said “you almost said damn it.” Charlotte facepalmed.
Metakenesis, the power to manipulate metal with your mind. Zack can move, reshape and redefine the properties of any metal within a two thousand feet from him. If any metal is within one thousand feet, he can sense it’s presence. Zack wondered how different his life would have been had his Tool not developed when it did.
Magic develops in either a passive or aggressive manor. Passive development occurs when someone has a want or need that they need filled, and after wanting/needing the same thing for a long time, a magic ability would develop to help fulfill that desire. Aggressive development occurs when someone is put in a life threatening situation, and an ability develops in an instant to help deter the immediate threat. Generally speaking, magic is helpful in someone’s life, and it’s rare to develop a useless ability... which is why Zack’s was so werid. He had all his needs met, and only wanted an excuse to be lazier. His magic developed randomly when he was ten, rather early, and had been exceptionally weak. When he first gained his ability, he could only glide a penny along the floor, and could only do it if he was less than a foot away. And unlike many others, his magic continued to grow exponentially stronger, with him now, six years later, being able to lift cars from hundreds of feet away, alter the properties of metal, and (by rubbing to pieces of metal together) heat it up.
Zack was snapped back to reality as he approached the ring of hammocks. ‘Huh, guess I walked here out of habit’ he thought quietly to himself. He laid down, whistling a tune as the wind rocked him lightly. It was so secluded here, a war could break out and Zack would be none the wiser. The only way anyone would ever find this place was through extensive searching or by following someone who knew where it was.
Zack heard footsteps approach, and peeked open one eye to see Charlotte approaching. The sun was just beginning to set, and it was getting a little cool. Zack held an arm and invited Charlotte into his hammock. She defiantly pouted and sat on her own. Zack, not caring, shrugged and rolled over, closing his eyes. “You know, you really gotta stop being such a troublemaker... with that power of yours you could really, really, help people.” She said to him.
“Yea, yea yeah, you’ve told he before.”
“I just want you to try a little harder”
“Na, sounds like to much work.”
Charlotte stood up, and sat next to Zack, who opened an eye to peer up at her. Looking down at him, she whispered softly “Would you do it for me?”
Zack sighed, “when you put it like that... I don’t really have a choice do I? Okay, I promise to try a little harder... starting tomorrow.”
Charlotte giggled, laying down and snuggling up close to Zack. “That works for me.” She said as she slowly drifted into sleep in Zack’s arm. Zack just listened to her breathing, and enjoyed the warmth, until his eyelids grew heavy...
Zack opened an eye to notice Charlottes absence. He didn’t think much of it, while not a morning person, Charlotte got up at least two hours earlier than Zack on average. He almost drifted back into sleep, but his eyes shot open when the first hints of smoke hit his nose. Zack shot out of the hammock and and peered out towards his village. His heart began to beat rapidly. He ran as fast as his legs would carry him. “CHARLOTTE!” He screamed her name, his voice breaking as he went. As he rushed into the center of the village, he had to fight to keep his stomach as he stepped over... don’t look down.
Among the bodies there were no kids, that’s good right? No kids, no teens, just adults. That’s okay, Charlotte and the others are teens, their fine. “Charlotte... anyone...” he called out again, losing hope. Zack noticed that the village hall’s door had been busted open, and blood pooled at the entrance. “H- hey, is anyone there?” Zack said, pulling the door open “Hel-“ Zack fell back, he lost his stomach, he and he started sobbing uncontrollably.
In front of him lay Josh, hands beaten purple, face first in the ground with his neck twisted to an unnatural angle. The blood on his hands signified he put up a fight, his fists clenched tight. Zack noticed it due to his ability, but in Josh’s hands were...
A pair of dog tags, slightly sharpened and covered in blood.
Zack forcefully lifted his eyes to peer beyond Josh, maybe his sacrifice had meant so- Zack barfed again, beyond his, hanging from a support beam, were twelve ropes, each with a kid attached. The teens lay at their feet, some with bloodied knuckles and others without. Everyone he knew was there.
Everyone except Charlotte.
They had taken her hadn’t they? Zack cried and cried, why? Why? why? Who would do this? Zack took another look at Jack, he pried his dead friends hand open to take the tags, and noticed that something had been carved into his hand, ‘AFAF.’
Zack withdrew, his breathing grew faster yet again. Jack bragged about how powerful AFAF was. About how it kept both the Altheans and the Eltheans safe. The only reason Jack would carve that into his hand was if they were responsible. And the only reason an Althean special force group would be attacking a Elthean village
Was if war broke out.
The west had invaded his east. And he wasn’t happy. A little boy cried out, “Even if it kills me, I’ll find you. Okay? Charlotte, I’m coming.” And with that, a man arose, and walked out of the village. It was tomorrow, and by God, he was going to keep his promise.
“Lies have power, whisper loudly enough and you can start a war.”
ICE stared at the screen in front of him. His arms and hands covered in thick white bandages, right up to the sleeve. A gas mask masked his face, with scars peeking out from the corners. He wore cargo pants, a Kevlar vest and a trench coat. The only parts of his pale skin visible was on his face, as everywhere else had bandages. He reached down and picked up the carton of gasoline sitting next to him. He dumped it on the desk, computer, and filling cabinet. As he finished poring the gas, he pulled a lighter from his pocket. Before he lit it, he reached for his radio and said, “evacuation order six is now in effect.” He lit the lighter and dropped it in the room. His office sat in flames seconds later. One by one, his other officers did something similar. Together they walked out of the building. A helicopter picked ICE and a couple other high ranking Elthean officers up. Gunshots soon ripped through the air as the small Elthean defense force began to desperately attempt to pause the Althean advance. As ICE stared out over the battlefield, he spoke quietly to himself, “they tried to set the world on fire, but they didn’t realize we were the flame.”