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Arcane Awakening

7

Chapter 6: Echoes of the Past

 

 

“Who are you, and what are you doing in Lumina?”

 

Eldor’s pulse quickened. Could it be? Was there someone else who still cared about the academy?

 

“My name is Eldor. I’ve come to see what remains of Lumina Academy.”

 

A figure emerged from the shadows, stepping into the dim light of the courtyard.

 

It was an older man, his face lined with age and experience, but his eyes sharp and filled with curiosity. He wore the tattered remnants of a Lumina Academy robe, a sign that he, too, had once been part of this place.

 

“I’m Marcus. Now that you see it. You may leave”

 

Eldor grasped Marcus’s hand. “I’ve come to help. We can’t let Lumina die.”

 

“Lumina is dead. Only the forgotten souls remain here,” Marcus face was filled with doubt over Eldor whose clothes perfectly fit the state of the current Lumina academy

 

“Forgotten perhaps, but still hoping,”

 

Marcus gave a surprised reaction. How could a beggar carry out this conversation with him. He, a scholar and the current pillar of the Lumina Academy,

 

His expression became serious but hopeful. He turned around and walked away.

 

Eldor followed Marcus into the ruins of the academy.

 

As they walked, Eldor couldn't help but notice the signs of neglect and abandonment. Tattered banners bearing the academy’s crest hung limply from the walls. Broken chandeliers lay scattered across the floor, their crystals dulled and tarnished.

 

Marcus led him to a small chamber off the main corridor. The room was sparsely furnished, with a few rickety chairs and a wooden table, but it was clear that Marcus had done his best to keep it clean and livable.

 

“This is where I spend most of my time now. It’s not much, but it’s home.”

 

Eldor sat down. “Thank you. It’s more than I expected to find.”

 

Marcus chuckled softly.

 

“I suppose you’re right. Lumina has seen better days, that’s for sure. But we do what we can to keep the spirit of the academy alive.”

 

Eldor nodded.

 

I came here hoping to find some remnant of the old Lumina. But I didn’t expect to find it like this.

 

Eldor leaned forward, his curiosity piqued.

 

“What happened? How did Lumina Academy come to this?”

 

Marcus sighed deeply, his eyes reflecting the pain of old memories.

 

“It’s a long story. After the Great Conflict, when thousands of our mages fell, the academy struggled to maintain its position. Without its strongest wizards and leaders, Lumina was vulnerable. Our enemies took advantage of our weakened state. They attacked, and one by one, our defenses crumbled.”

 

He paused.

 

“The Shadow King’s forces were relentless. They destroyed much of what we had built, and many of our students and teachers were lost in the fighting. Those who survived fled or went into hiding. By the time the dust settled, Lumina was little more than a shell of its former self.”

 

Eldor’s heart clenched at the thought of his comrades and mentors, the proud warriors and scholars who had fallen in defense of the academy.

 

“And you stayed?” he asked, admiration in his voice.

 

What a rude brat. Why do I feel that he is not showing me an ounce of respect?

 

Nonetheless, he replied.

 

“I stayed. Someone had to. I couldn’t abandon this place, not after everything it meant to us. I’ve spent the years since then trying to preserve what little we have left, hoping that one day, someone would come back to help rebuild.”

 

Eldor felt a surge of determination. “I’m here now,”

 

Marcus’s eyes was filled with skepticism. Who’s this beggar trying to convince?

 

“You really think so? Do you think we can bring Lumina back?” he asked, just trying to amuse Eldor.

 

“I do. Lumina is more than the buildings or the grounds. It’s about the spirit of Lumina, the knowledge and the values we held dear.”

 

Marcus smiled. Indeed, Lumina is more than just the decrepit walls, more than just the ruined academy.

 

Somehow, a glimmer of optimism broke through the years of sorrow.

 

 

Eldor stood frozen in the middle of the main hall of the once-grand Lumina Academy, his mind reeling from the shock of what he had just witnessed.

 

The decay and neglect were far worse than he had imagined. Each step he took forward seemed to reveal another layer of destruction and abandonment.

 

Eldor followed Marcus deeper into the academy.

 

They walked through the vast, crumbling halls, past classrooms that had once been filled with eager students and vibrant discussions. Now, they were empty, their desks overturned and their walls covered in a thick layer of dust.

 

“It’s hard to believe this was once a place of such power and knowledge,” Eldor thought.

 

Marcus then said,

 

“We fought hard to protect it, but in the end, it wasn’t enough.”

 

They reached the central courtyard, the heart of Lumina Academy. Eldor remembered this place well. It had been the training ground for countless warriors and mages, the epicenter of learning and discipline. But now, it was overrun with weeds and littered with the remnants of long-forgotten battles.

 

Eldor's eyes were drawn to the center of the courtyard, where a grand statue once stood—a statue of the first Archmage of Lumina, who had founded the academy. Now, it lay toppled and broken, its pieces scattered across the ground like forgotten relics of a bygone era.

 

“Where is everyone? Where are the students, the teachers?”

 

Marcus sighed deeply.

 

“Many left when the attacks began. Others… didn’t survive. The few who remain are scattered, trying to hold on to what little they can. But the spirit of Lumina, the essence of what it stood for, that’s what’s truly been lost.”

 

Eldor clenched his fists, anger and frustration boiling up inside him.

 

“How could this happen? How could such a powerful institution fall so far?”

 

“Time and war are relentless. They leave nothing untouched. But the foundation of Lumina is strong, and with time and effort, I believe we can rebuild.”

 

Eldor took a deep breath, calming the storm within him.

 

They continued their journey through the academy, Marcus leading the way through the maze of corridors. Eldor’s eyes scanned every corner.

 

As they approached the grand library, Eldor’s heart skipped a beat. This had been his sanctuary, the place where he had spent countless hours studying ancient texts and honing his craft. But as they entered, his heart sank. The vast rows of bookshelves were empty or collapsed, the scrolls and tomes that had filled them either gone or turned to dust.

 

“It’s empty. All that knowledge, all those years of history and learning…”

 

“Not totally empty. Some of the books were saved, hidden away for safekeeping. But yes, much has been lost.”

 

As they exited the library, Eldor noticed a faint glow emanating from a room down the corridor. “What’s that?” he asked, pointing towards the light.

 

Marcus smiled, a glint of excitement in his eyes. “That’s something I think you’ll want to see,” he said. “Come with me.”

 

They hurried down the corridor and entered a small, unassuming room. Inside, Eldor saw a glowing orb suspended in the air, its light pulsating softly. It was surrounded by intricate runes and magical symbols, glowing faintly in response.

 

“This is the Heartstone,” Marcus explained. “It’s one of the few remaining sources of pure magic left in Lumina. We’ve been using it to keep the wards and protections around the academy active, but its power is fading.”

 

Eldor approached the orb, feeling its warm energy radiating through him.

 

“It’s beautiful. All is not lost. There’s even a spark of magic left.”

 

Marcus nodded. “Exactly.”

 

As they stood there, bathed in the soft glow of the Heartstone, Eldor felt a sense of purpose.

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