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True Heart ch.2
Chapter Two: Into Engala, a hero is born.
Memories flashed through Axel's mind when the darkness overtook the light. The first ones were of him when he was younger and his parents were still together. They were happy memories, but they also filled him with sadness and sometimes anger. Then the memories flashed to when his parents became divorced. These were memories he'd rather not see for they brought him pain and only reopened wounds that he learned to cope with. Memories sliced through his minds eye to when he was thirteen and being beaten up by a group of jocks. "NO!" Shouted Axel as he sat up bolt right. He was sweating and his vision was blurry, all he cold see and feel was that he was in what seemed to be his room and he was in a bed. He wasn't wearing his glasses and he was in his t-shirt and pants. So he must have been asleep the whole time. "So it was just a dream." Axel said sighing with a sense of deep relief.
"I'm afraid this isn't a dream, boy." Said the same dry voice from the church.
Axel's heart leaped into his throat as light pierced the darkness of the room. It seemed that a door was being opened and from Axel could tell a cloaked figure was standing in the doorway.
"Who are you? Where am I?" Were the words that Axel wanted to say but he was too stunned to form words. The blurry image of the green-cloaked man walked towards were Axel was resting and placed something on a table that rested next to his bed.
"Here," said the man, "these are your glasses. I modified them so that they'd be of more use."
Axel leaned over to the bedside table and grabbed the glasses. He placed them onto his face and clear images replaced the blurry world he was seeing. "Th-thank you." Axel said adverting the old man's stare.
"You're welcome," said the old man who had now pulled up a chair and was sitting next to Axel's bed. There was an awkward silence as Axel just stared at the blanket. And trying to comprehend that he had gone through a door that had transported him to another world. Axel finally broke the silence but still kept his eye glued to the blanket.
"So this is another world?" he asked the old man.
"Yes, you have entered the world of Engala. You're not in Massachusetts anymore." The old man said with bit of humor in his voice. This eased Axel up a little bit, enough so that he looked at the old man to find his hood was down. He saw dark gray eyes along with long gray hair tied back. The man had a long, crooked nose that jutted out from his face; a gray beard could also be seen, as it too was long and wild. In short this man looked like Gandalf when Bilbo first met him.
"Engala?" Axel repeated, "is't like Narnia?"
The wizard laughed at this. "No, boy or should I call you Axel."
Axel was about to speak, but the wizard like man cut him off. "Your wallet spoke for you," He said referring to his student I.D. Axel was about to speak again and again the gandalfin man cut him off. "Yes, I was also the one who stole it from you." He said in his dry voice as a slight smile crept onto his aged face. This made Axel smile and brighten his mood a bit.
"You probably already know what I'm gonna say, but I'll say it anyways." Axel said to the old man.
"Go ahead, it was getting quite dull reading your body language." Said the old man with a cunning smile.
"Okay then, you already know my name, but what's yours?" he asked.
The wizard like man didn't answer right away for he was thinking how to respond to Axel's question. "I am called Othniel, the Gate Keeper of Engala." He replied.
The reality dawned onto Axel if this world was real then from what he read in fantasy books there had to be a way out.
"Othniel," Axel said to the gatekeeper.
"Yes?" Replied the aged wizard.
Axel chose his words carefully and tried not to let hope grow inside incase there was no way out at all. "Is there a-,"
He was a cut off by Othniel who answered his question, "A way out? No. Not from the door you entered."
Hope crashed like a plane inside of Axel's heart despite his effort to not get his hopes up. "Oh," Axel said downcasted as tears welled in his eyes knowing that he wouldn't see his mother, who'd be worried sick about him and mostly he'd miss Melody.
Othniel saw the glistening in Axel's dark green eyes and tried to consol him. "You are chosen Axel, you will leave when your task is over."
Axel turned to the wizard frustrated more than ever and upset that he couldn't go home. "I don't want to be though!" he cried. Tears trickled down his face as he spoke again. "I want to go home, try and rebuild my life and, and…" He couldn't finish his sentence even if he wanted to. His shoulders heaved up and down and his nose and eyes ran like rivers. Even though he was a seventeen year old he was tiered and frustrated at what was going on. A look of compassion was on Othniel's hard face, he felt for the boy. It wasn't by his will that he was chosen for the task at hand.
He reached out and put a hand on Axel's shoulder, "Look me in the eye Axel and I will tell you the truth." Axel controlled himself long enough to look into the old man's gray eyes. "There is a way out all you have to do is follow what is given to you." He said to the teary youth. He then magiced a handkerchief and gave it to Axel to dry his eyes and to blow his nose.
"Th-thanks," Axel said, as he blew his nose on the piece of cloth. He sighed deeply trying to get himself in control. After a few minutes Axel stopped shaking and composed himself. "Okay so what do I have to do? Kill some dragon? Or destroy an evil ring?" His voice sounding congested.
Othniel was little confused at Axel's reply; "The dragons in this world have been extinct for thousands of years. And in all my years I've never heard of an evil ring."
"It's from a book. Oh never mind." Axel said giving up on trying to explain what he said. "So am I being sent on an epic quest?" He asked trying to keep on the positive side of his situation.
"In a sense you are." Othniel said picking up the used handkerchief and burning it in thin air.
Axel looked a bit confused, "What do you mean 'In a sense'? You said I was chosen, but for what?"
Othniel sighed, "Young people today, they want to know everything." Othniel took a deep breath before replying to Axel's questions. "I will be generous and will answer one of the questions that you asked. But you might not like the answer."
"Please just tell me." Axel said getting a little impatience with the gatekeeper, but still longing to know.
Othniel pulled out a small wooden pipe, lit it and put it in his mouth.
"You were chosen because you needed this world," he gestured to outside of this room and to the door. "And in return this world needed you too." Axel was about to ask another question, but was cut off by the wizard. "Ah! I'm only answering one of your questions. The rest you'll have to figure out on your own." He said as blue smoke steamed out from his mouth and nostrils. Axel sighed in defeat. He took another deep breath and focused on the positives of this. He finally was in a world of fantasy, something he had been dreaming about ever since he could read. And from what he read people who traveled from different worlds got amazing abilities. Othniel then interrupted his thoughts again.
"Yes," he sighed, "just like in all the books you've read you gained some power since you are from Earth."
"Like-," Axel started but was again cut off by the wizard.
"Like Herculean strength, an increase of speed, able to use some of the Deep Magic like most wielders of magic." Said the wizard lazily as smoke trickled out of his mouth and nose. Axel was now getting annoyed that Radastan was not just reading his body language, but his thoughts too!
"Can I please complete a simple sentence!" Axel yelled in frustration, then just remembered that this old man was a wizard and could turn him to ashes. "I mean…can I please complete a simple sentence?" He asked in a more polite, but still frustrated voice.
The wizard gave his cunning smile, "Yes you may, but I haven't had this much fun in years."
Axel sighed and pushed his glasses up. "Whatever…" "So if I'm in a fantasy world do I get a special class? Like Warrior or Paladin?" He asked the wizard who continued to smoke from his pipe.
"That will be my judgment. I'll have to access from your memories and your will." Said the wizard as he got up from his chair and placed a withered, but firm hand onto Axel's head.
"Wait! What the he-," Axel shouted in protest his voice though was silenced. Not by the wizard but by what was going on. He felt his eyes widen and then he was again looking at his memories. Instead of them slowly flashing by in a chronological order they just streamed by. Axel's eyes watched past events whirr past his eyes, he could barely keep count of the millions of things he was seeing. After what seemed to be a lifetime the quick, rapid-fire flow of memories stopped and Axel found himself panting as though he ran a great distance. He opened his eyes and brushed aside the strands of hair that covered his face. He adjusted his vision to see that Othniel was now sitting back in his chair smoking his pipe.
"What just happened?" Axel said panting and feeling very exposed like a snail without its shell.
Othniel blew a stream of smoke and then a couple of smoke rings to follow it before he answered Axel. "I was looking into your past. You have a strong will, but I see lots of pain and some rays of happiness." Said the wizard in his dry, crackling voice.
"And that means…?" Axel said waiting for an answer from the old man.
"It means I have to think about a class to put you in." Said the old man who was in deep thought. You could tell because the blue tobacco smoke didn't just emanate from his mouth and nose, but from his ears too! Finally after much thought the wizard pulled his pipe out from his mouth so that he could speak clearly. "You are to be deemed a Gun Knight because of the hidden strength in your heart."
"A what?" Axel asked making sure he heard clearly.
"A Gun Knight." Repeated Othniel.
"Is that like a-," Axel started, but was then cut off by Othniel.
"Gunslinger? No. You hold great potential in you like a gun locked and loaded. And like a knight wanting to protect others. Hence Gun Knight." Explained the Gate Keeper, he then leaned back on his chair and placed his pipe back into his mouth. And as Othniel spoke those words Axel felt a change come over him. His clothes changed. From the black Old Navy sweater to an off white turtle neck shirt that had one sleeve longer and with a metal shoulder guard and the. The jeans that he wore turned to heavy canvas shorts that were attached to cream-colored canvas pant legs. Naked hands were then covered with coarse canvas, fingerless gloves. His Converses, which were on the floor right next to his bed changed also, they went from average Chuck Taylor's to battle-esque boots. And finally a long and heavy looking sword appeared. It had the appearance of a rifle and a katana combined. The rifle blade hung in mid air and Axel looked at it with awe. Othniel's worn face formed a smile at Axel's expression. "A weapon worthy of a knight." Axel grabbed the weapon and found it being light as a feather, even though is looked like it weighed about one hundred pounds. "Probably because of my new found strength." He thought to himself.
"Not exactly," creaked the dry voice of Othniel, "your blade is so light because your heart is not as troubled and partly because of your great strength."
"So it depends on my heart?" Axel said now wondering how the ticker in his chest provided this boost of strength. A clock somewhere in the darkness of the room chimed. Othniel looked in the direction of where the clock was. He grumbled as he got up from the chair he was sitting in. He turned to Axel who now was out of the bed and was putting on his battle tech Converses.
"Axel, this is where I must go now." Said the wizard.
Axel turned to question him by "go", but it was to late. Othniel the Gate Keeper was gone and so was the house and room that Axel had been in for what seemed like the past couple hours. Axel noticed that the outside world that he was in seemed like Earth, but at the same time it had these unearthly qualities to it. The sky was an unnatural blue, but the grass on the ground was green and the sun, bright as ever. Engala appeared to be like Axel's home world, a home away from home in a sense. Axel shielded his eyes from the brightness of the sun so that they could get used to the light of the outside. Our hero now established looked to his left to find a wooden fence that extended for miles. Parallel to the fence, on the ground was a dirt path that too wounded its way down and over the hills as its wooded counterpart. Axel also saw separate from the path and the fence, was a tall oak like tree. Axel hopped over the fence onto the dirt path and walked over to the tree. Carved into the tree's skin was this, "Welcome to Engala, where your story begins."