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Arcane Awakening

2

Chapter 2: A Madman’s Revelation

70

1

The man looked at him with confusing eyes.  It seems anyone he talked to thinks of him as a madman.


As he glanced around the makeshift tent, he caught the wary eyes of the other beggars. 


One of them, a grizzled man with a weathered face, named Harwin, seemed particularly unsettled by Eldor’s odd behavior.


Harwin leaned closer. "No matter how I look at it, you’ve gone mad," he muttered. "Did all that beating mess up your head?"


Eldor’s mind was still reeling from the shock of his transformation. Memories of his life as a powerful warrior clashed violently with the frail, starved body he now inhabited as he conversed with Harwin. 


"So, what you're saying is, I'm a beggar?" he asked, more to himself than to anyone in particular.


Harwin stared at him. "Did you get hit too hard? A beggar asking if he’s a beggar? What kind of nonsense is this?"


Eldor's eyes darted around. "Is it true? Am I really living in a place like this? It can't be true."


Harwin sighed, clearly frustrated. "Are you blind? Just look at yourself."


"Don't I have a name or something?"


Harwin rolled his eyes. "Since when do beggars have proper names? They call you Rin. It’s a name that fits someone like you."


Eldor winced at the crude name,. "Rin... sounds like a beggar’s name," he muttered, disgusted.


Harwin’s scrutiny deepened. "What’s gotten into you? You’re acting strange, even for you."


Eldor’s mind raced. "And my age... am I around sixteen?"


"Since when do beggars keep track of their age?" Harwin scoffed.


"That makes sense," Eldor said absently, though nothing about his situation made sense. The dissonance between his past life and his current reality was too great to reconcile. He needed more information. "Then, what year is it?"


"Beggars don’t count the years, just the days that pass by. You ever seen a beggar with a calendar?"


Eldor rubbed his temples. "Then I have one more question."


Harwin groaned, exasperated. "You’ve been asking a lot already. What now?"


"Do you know who the Shadow King is?" Eldor's voice was steady, but there was a tremor of urgency.


"The Shadow King? You were mumbling about him earlier. Why do you want to know about some old legend?" Harwin's expression shifted to one of wary curiosity.


"Just answer me," Eldor pressed.


"Of course, I know him," Harwin replied. "Everyone knows the Shadow King. He was the ruler of the Obsidian Realm, defeated a hundred years ago. What’s this got to do with anything?"


Eldor's mind whirled. 


The Shadow King—a name from ancient battles he once fought. This timeline didn’t match his own. 


"Defeated a hundred years ago..." he echoed, the weight of Harwin’s words sinking in. Could it be that he was not only in a different body but also at a different time?


Harwin’s eyes narrowed. "Why do you care about the Shadow King? You got some kind of obsession with old stories now?"


Eldor shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts. "It’s nothing. Just trying to make sense of... everything."


Eldor's head was spinning. He stood amidst the squalor of the beggar's camp, grappling with the staggering revelation that he was not only in a different body but also a century removed from his own time. 


The world he had known was long gone, buried under the sands of a hundred years.


“What?” Eldor's voice was a raw whisper. “A hundred years have passed since the Shadow King was defeated? A century? Are you serious?”


“That’s right,” Harwin replied with a tone of impatience. “A century. What’s it to you?”


Eldor grabbed Harwin by the collar. “Tell me the truth. Don’t lie to me.”


Harwin yanked Eldor’s hands off. “What good would lying do me? You’re in shock. Maybe all this is finally getting to you.”


Eldor scratched furiously at his head, trying to make sense of it all. 


Harwin’s words hammered into him Eldor's mind raced. He wasn’t confused by the beating; he was grappling with the sheer impossibility of his situation.


“A hundred years…” 


“Yes, a hundred years,” Harwin repeated. “The old tales say the Clans fought the Shadow King atop the Obsidian Peaks and ended his reign a century ago. It's history.”


Eldor sighed. He raised his eyes to the sky, hoping for some solace. But all he saw was the tattered ceiling of the beggar's tent.


The world had moved on without him. He was a relic, a ghost from a bygone era.


Eldor's thoughts turned to the beggar who had beaten him earlier. The man's aggression and authority suggested he held a high rank among the beggars. 


Harwin, too, seemed more knowledgeable and commanding than his current condition might suggest. 


The Beggars' Guild had always been a rough hierarchy. Even in his old life, Eldor had known the Guild as a network of information, its members more aware of the world's undercurrents than many in the higher echelons of power.


“Alright, alright. One hundred years,” Eldor muttered, trying to steady his thoughts. “That means... everything has changed.” 


Eldor took a deep breath, pushing away the rising tide of despair. His mind drifted to his old comrades, his mentors. “The Lumina Academy...” he murmured. “What happened to them?”


Harwin looked at him with a mix of curiosity and skepticism. “Lumina Academy? Never heard of it. You sure you’re not just making up names?”


Eldor’s heart raced. “The Lumina Academy! One of the Nine Great Academies! They were among the most powerful!”


Harwin’s expression shifted to one of disbelief. “Nine Great Academies? What nonsense are you spouting? The only great sects I know of are the Ten Clans, and none of them are called Lumina Academy.”


Eldor's world seemed to crumble around him. The Nine Great Academies had been the pillars of his world, the bastions of power and knowledge. If they were gone, then what else had changed? “The Ten Clans... who are they?” he asked, dread pooling in his stomach.


Harwin sighed, looking at Eldor as if he were a madman.  


"Hear this, all. The Ten Clans are the Pyreborne, the Windweavers, the Tidecallers, the Stonecrafters, the Skyseers, the Shadowdancers, the Beastspeakers, the Wildcallers, the Earthshapers, and the Wayfarers, who walk between worlds. These are the major powers now. No Lumina Academy among them.”


Eldor’s knees nearly buckled. The Shadowdancers—a minor group in his time—now counted among the great powers? And the Lumina Academy, was nowhere to be found? 


“Everything I knew... it’s all gone,” he whispered.


The Lumina Academy, his beloved sanctuary, had vanished into the shadows of history. “Lumina Academy isn’t part of the Ten Clans? No, that can't be. How could it be forgotten? But you... you’ve never even heard of Lumina Academy?” He shook Harwin by the shoulders, desperation lacing his voice. “How is that possible? Do you understand what you’re saying?”


Harwin winced. “Hey, calm down! You’re making no sense. What’s so special about this Lumina Academy anyway?”


Eldor’s eyes burned with intensity. “Special? They were one of the mightiest academies! Even if the world changes, how can such a legacy just vanish?”


Harwin sighed, rubbing his temples.  “Look, maybe there was a Lumina Academy once, but not anymore. The stories I’ve heard said they fought bravely against the Shadow King, but their best warriors fell. After that, they couldn’t recover. Those are just stories by the old people.”


Eldor’s breath caught. “Lumina Academy... fallen? No, that can’t be right.” If the Lumina Academy had truly fallen, what else had changed in this new era? 


“Believe it or not, that’s what I’ve heard,” Harwin continued. “But if you want to know more, you should ask someone who deals with this kind of history.”


“This beggar is feeding me lies!” he spat, pushing Harwin away and pacing furiously.


Harwin threw up his hands in exasperation. “Why would I lie to you?”


“No! I need to see for myself!” Eldor declared, his resolve hardening. 


“Where do you think you’re going?” Harwin called after him as Eldor turned towards the tent flap.


“I’m going to find the Lumina Academy!” Eldor shouted back. “I need to see it with my own eyes!”


“If you don’t come back by evening, the Guildmaster will make sure you regret it! You can’t just wander off on some wild chase!”


But Eldor was already out of the tent, his mind set on his new mission. He couldn’t stay there, wallowing in confusion and despair. He needed answers, and the only way to find them was to seek out the remnants of his old life.


As he stumbled through the beggars’ camp, he grabbed the arm of a passing merchant. “Lumina Academy,” he demanded. “Do you know where it is?”


The merchant looked at him in surprise, then annoyance. “Lumina Academy? What are you talking about? There’s no such place. Get your hands off me!”


He released the merchant and moved on, asking every person he met, but the answers were all the same. No one knew of Lumina Academy. 


No one even recognized the name.


“This can’t be happening,” 


Just as he was about to give up, an elderly woman paused, squinting at him with a flicker of recognition. 


“Lumina Academy? I think I’ve heard of it. They were famous long ago, weren’t they? Fought valiantly against the Shadow King but then... they fell apart.”


Eldor’s pulse quickened. “Where? Where were they located?”


The woman shook her head. “I don’t know exactly. Somewhere far from here. Their name still echoes in old stories, but they’re no more.”


“No, no!” Eldor shouted, his voice carrying through the camp. “I need to see it with my own eyes!”


The woman backed away, startled by his outburst, but Eldor paid her no mind. 


This was the moment Eldor’s fate was sealed, the moment a spark ignited into a blazing fire. 

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