Realm Shifter: The Paradox of Immortality
- Genre: Fantasy
- Age: 18+
- Status: Ongoing
- Language: English
- Author: Casmir E. Cas
The sound of an explosion yanks me to life, a partial deafness following. My eyes crack open to a seemingly soundless world, bright rays of light forcing their way through my pupils. I groan, squint, purr, just to get the glare off my system. But another boom echoes, blasting open my eardrums. My eyes widen in response, hot air filling my head at the scene that greets me.
Chaos. Absolute chaos. Humans in a frenzy under hot noon, screams tearing down the sky, slashing swords, battle cries. A sudden rush of adrenaline forces me to my feet, my body seemingly heavier than usual.
I pass around a glare of confusion. How I have found myself on a sandy beach is something I cannot explain. Another explosion echoes from somewhere close by, forcing me into action. I limp away, aiming for the sea. Perhaps it would be a good idea to hide in the water until it’s all over.
However, as I yank myself on, an opaque figure suddenly appears in front of me—towering height, raven-colored skin, and bare chest. My gaze traces this outline upwards, my heart pounding against my ribcage at the right of his lizard-like face and golden-yellow eyes. Goodness gracious! I veer around and take flight, not knowing how my bones steadied, and my strength came back to me.
Arrows whistle by, the winds whispering in my ears, both mixing to create music for the moment as I dart through space, leaping over obstacles, bodies, and weapons. However, a sudden stinging sensation on my nasal bone sends me stumbling backward and landing on the ground, knife-life aches tormenting my skull.
“Where am I? Where the hell am I?” I hear myself wondering aloud through the pain. An even sharper ache in my stomach follows as this enemy boots me hard. It feels like my guts are about to explode. I grunt, caring less about the attacker since I do not want to behold those horrifying eyes again.
I must rise, I must survive.
I jump to my feet and thrust into another sprint, propelled by my will to live. If there is anything I learned in life, it is survival. My grandmother, Ameera, taught me well. But again, an object trips me, and I plunge into the sand face-first. How perfect! Now I’m finished.
Gradually rolling over, I catch sight of this being hovering over me, looking like an ancient Pharaoh in beastly form. The temperature of my blood rises, and some weird dryness corrodes my throat. I try to scream, but my voice box constricts. I see his shimmering blade glinting under the sun just before a powerful wave sweeps across, flinging him away from me.
“Hell! This is hell!” I scream, tottering to my feet again. But even my shouting is swallowed by the noise in the chaotic tableau. I simply continue to wobble away without bearing and before long, my eyes stumble upon a helpless girl assuming the same position I was in earlier. Standing over her is another dark soldier wielding an axe.
“Help!” she screams, kicking nothing but thin air. Within me, an urge rises to help her; I wish I could. But that would be foolish. Very foolish.
“Damn it!” I cuss as her scream echoes again, piercing my conscience. I halt, glancing around in search of anything that could serve as a weapon.
“Sword. Sword,” I mutter like an incantation, but I can only find a pointy stake on the ground. Without a second thought, I pick it up and swivel in their direction… Then it hits me. What a stupid idea, attacking a warrior two times my size with a wooden stalk. If that’s not a death wish, I wonder what is.
I am about to turn away when her high-pitched outcry rises once more, propelling my body into drastic action. I can’t explain how, but I find myself diving at the soldier from behind. The next thing I know, my stake drives into the lower region of his vertebral column, and he freezes like a statue. I land on the ground, followed by the sound of a thud confirming his descent and my triumph.
But I lay still, panting, staring blankly at the sky. It’s probably the last thing I see before I die anyway since I have just killed myself for a girl again. When will I learn?
Some vistas of memory swiftly flash by me. I remember being pushed off a cliff by a damsel, my pathetic scream searing the air while I plunged into nothingness. I remember the color of her eyes: light gray, enchanting. And her hair, curly and black, floating in the wind.
For some reason, a sad feeling washes over me, tears welling up in my eyes. Maybe I was betrayed, and now I am dead and in the afterlife. I don’t know which is more terrifying, the fact that I cannot fully remember what happened before and after that fall or the harsh reality of being in the middle of this hell.
The loud honking of a horn vibrates the air, singeing me back to actuality. I groan, forcing myself to sit up. But while my gaze scans the expanse, I see these dark warriors begin to sink into the sand, one after another, and disappear within like they never even existed before. The hairs on my skin spike. This new phenomenon makes my skin crawl. I have never seen such a thing before. I touch the sand below me and press the ground to see if it is sinking, but no, it remains as solid as ever.
My insides cringe and goosebumps spread all over my body. I quickly lay on my back again with my pupils dilated. I will play dead. I will shut my eyes and pray that when I open them, I will be in my grandmother’s dining with a plate of venison on the table.
Seconds begin to trickle into minutes, and the pounding of my heart quickly becomes the only noise in the expanse.
This must be a dream, a horrific nightmare. I mumble in my heart, but the gritty sand beneath my skin, warm rays of the sunlight kissing my body, and the sensation of sweat dripping down my brows debunks the lie.
My eyes peel open, the cloudless sky’s blue covering my visual field, just before a beautiful face invades it, peering at me with similar gray eyes—like the one in my memory—but darker, way darker. Her crimson-red hair is rosy, synchronous with the color of her lips, and the few freckles on her nose spread as she pulls her lips up to the side.
“Blue eyes,” she muses, with an expression of bewilderment, then veers around, beckoning on her folks. “Come and see! Blue eyes!”
Now, I am even more confused than before. Having such an iris hue is not supposed to be a big deal, especially where I am from, which consists of diverse races, tribes, and colonies. Before I ponder any further, several pairs of similar eye colors join her. My eyebrows pucker in a puzzle. All their heads are bald, so it is difficult to tell the females from the males. However, the pretty one stands out; her silky skin is shades lighter than the rest. Her hair is a major distinguishing factor.
“He numbed a Son of Dragon!” she reports, as more faces keep entering my field of view.
“No one has ever done that in a thousand years…” a scrawny, drawn-out voice replies in the background, then murmurings and whisperings take over while they scrutinize me as if I were an alien.
At intervals, they pass their stare to another object of regard. So I trace it, sighting a familiar dark being laying somewhere beside me. His chest rises and falls, signifying that he is alive. Perhaps paralyzed and unable to sink with his mates
Then, a sudden hush prevails, the faces dispersing, paving the way for a chubby man to take eminence. He ogles at me, his face ridden with piercings, corals, and tattoos. His pale-orange robe is stained by dust and dirt. Even partly torn by the side. His cheeks are almost sagging, and his lips remain darker than the rest of his body. My muscles stiffen as I maintain eye contact with him.
“How did you arrive here?” he inquires, straight to the point, his voice cranky.
I sit upright. “I do not know, I swear,” I plead. “I don’t remember everything.”
He folds his arms. “You lie, stranger. You trailed the Triangle of Mortality from realms beyond, didn’t you?”
The name rings a bell in my head. The Triangle of Mortality? On second thought, if I admit its familiarity, it might spell doom for me.
“Never!” I lie, and then an awkward silence follows, his stare searching me like a butcher’s knife in dead meat.
“…It is only a myth,” I hear myself add, then I pause. It’s as if the sentence dug itself out of my memory and pushed right out of my mouth. I swallow hard. I’m screwed.
“Myth, huh?” He nods. “Yet, here you are.” He pinches his nose between his fingers and turns to leave. “Seize him!” he commands, striding away.
“Wait!” I yell. “I mean no harm. I am but a friend!” My plea falls on deaf ears. A rope is flung at me, several hands holding me down as I struggle to prevent being tied up like a goat.
“No! Don’t do this! Where am I?” I cry out even more, my strength waning.
“You’re in hell,” a feminine voice replies, reinforcing my fears while the rope is wound around me.