Reforging The Broken

Chapter 7, The Ceremony / Krin

In the distance, the mountains continued to loom larger and larger with each passing day, a testament to how far the group had come in just a few days. As always, the three travelers had set up a campfire and tents, cooking their afternoon meal over the fire. They were currently enjoying some hearty fare, which included freshly caught roast rabbit, boiled potatoes, and various fresh vegetables. Of the three, the boy was by far the most ravenous of the bunch. His stomach kept growling no matter what he ate or when, much to his embarrassment.

The boy stared at his empty bowl with hungry eyes, too shy to ask for another serving. Aatazaz took the initiative, holding out his hand for the empty bowl. ”Are you still hungry? There is plenty to go around. ”

The boy nodded nervously. ”If its alright with you guys. Thank you very much. ”

Aatazaz refilled the boys bowl three more times before he was finally full. Alessia couldn help but look at the boy with wonder, her mind trying to rationalize where the hell he put all that food. She also noticed that his body was changing at an alarming rate. In just five days since he had started training under Aatazaz, he had put on a pound or two of muscle. His triceps were beginning to show through his thin arms, while his legs began to bulk up in places. Before, she didn think he would be able to lift more than two pounds of weight. He hadn even been able to wield her sword, a Hypodianite weapon engraved with runes to make it lighter.

Now, Alessia could see the beginnings of muscle appearing all over his body. He was still skinny, but he was growing everyday. Under her gaze, the boy felt his ears and cheeks redden.

”Sorry . . . ”

She quickly waved both her hands back and forth, dismissing his statement. ”No, don worry! You can eat all you like, I was just surprised. How big is your stomach? ”

The boy fiddled with his thumbs. ”I don know . . . Im just hungry. ”

”Your body is adapting to your training. ” Aatazaz said, resting his massive arm on the boys shoulder. ”You
e going to need all that food. As she said, you may eat as much as you like, there won be a shortage as long as Thornpest is with us. ”

Behind Aatazaz, Thornpest opened one eye upon hearing its name. Aatazaz threw a piece of meat. Its jaws snapped into the air, devouring the flesh in an instant. It closes its eyes again with a satisfied look before returning to its nap. The beasts usually slept all day after their morning journey, recovering their spirit for the next morning. Between their hunger and sleeping patterns, the boy and beast weren all that different.


A few hours later, Aatazaz and the boy were sparring under the evening sun. Just like before, the boy had yet to even graze Aatazaz. The old man perfectly parried, blocked, and countered everything that the boy could throw at him. He hadn even drawn the axe from his back, nor did he use his spirit to empower his body. His battle experience shone through with his technique alone.

They had been fighting non stop for almost thirty minutes, but the boy was only winded. His physical health was improving by leaps and bounds in such a way Aatazaz had never seen. His ability to push himself to the absolute limit every single day was astonishing. Perhaps this was an effect of being Soul Broken, or maybe the torture he went through completely destroyed his sense of pain. Aatazazs instincts told him it was most likely a combination of both.

Aatazaz, who had been lost in thought, came back down to earth as the boy stabbed his weapon towards Aatazazs abdomen. His speed had increased since they started training, but it was still slow in Aatazazs eyes. Using one finger, he pushed it off course to the right, causing the blade to cut nothing but air. Unable to stop his own momentum, the boy stumbled past Aatazazs side. Aatazaz was going to simply let him fall like always, but to his surprise, the boy managed to plant his foot in the ground and hold himself upright.

Then, the boy pushed off this foot, spinning back around to Aatazaz while smoothly and efficiently transitioning all the strength of his legs into the tip of his blade. For a moment, the boy looked like a human/sword tornado.

His technique was gorgeous, surpassing Alessias skill by far. The only problem was the lack of power behind the blade. The boys body was still weak and he had no magic power due to his broken soul. Technique, while important, could only bring you so far.

Aatazaz moved his feet as he took a step back with his left foot. The blade passed by his face harmlessly. The boys eyes widened in shock. With a smile, Aatazaz clenched his right hand into a fist and praised the boy.

”That was good. ”

Then, he stepped forwards with his left leg, slamming his fist into the boys chest like a battering ram. The boy gasped as all the air left his lungs, his body flying backwards only to crash into the ground a dozen feet away.

From behind Aatazaz, Alessia frowned slightly. ”Was that really necessary? ”

”He can handle it. ”

For a few seconds, the boy simply laid on his back facing the sky, his diaphragm spasming. For the next few seconds, try as he might, he simply couldn get his lungs to expand. Eventually, he began to suck in air with deep breaths like someone who had been drowning. As soon as he did, the boys arm shot up to cover his mouth to stifle his coughs. Aatazaz watched as he rose to a kneeling position.

”That spin move was superb, seamlessly transitioning all the momentum of your fall into one powerful slice. ”

The boy shook his head. ”It didn feel right. ” The boy looked at his hands. ”It never feels right. Somethings missing. ”

Aatazaz remained silent. The boy looked at his hands again, clenching and unclenching them.

”What . . . is wrong with me? Why do I feel so off? Its like Im missing something. ”

Aatazaz looked grim, his voice deepened with seriousness. ”I was wondering when you would notice. ”

The boy looked upwards in alarm. Before he could speak, Aatazaz raised his hand to stop him.

”Its better for you to realize it yourself. ”

The boy looked up at Aatazaz in dismay. ”What? I don , what do you mean? ” Alessia had come close to them, sensing the sudden mood change. Her face was painted with worry. The boy switched his gaze to her, searching for answers. Alessia only shook her head.

The boy looked lost.

Aatazaz knelt down and took the boys hand, placing it on his chest. The boy could feel his own heartbeat, yet to settle down from the sparring session.

”Close your eyes and take deep breaths. Quiet your mind, listen to your body. Let your heartbeat slow down and allow your muscles to relax. ”

The boy was confused, but obliqued, closing his eyes and steadying his breathing. He would inhale deeply, hold it for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly as Aatazaz instructed. After a few minutes, Aatazaz spoke again. His deep voice sounded unusually soothing.

”Look deep inside yourself, not with your eyes or ears, but rather with your heart. Listen to it, let it guide you. ”

Aatazaz then placed a hand on the boys chest, sending a pulse of spirit throughout his body. At first, the foreign energy source alarmed him. It felt familiar, but also completely different. It was a strange sensation, but eventually, Aatazazs spirit settled deep inside his chest. There, it began to pulse in tune with his heartbeat.

The boy didn understand why, but this felt familiar. He had done this before. He fell into himself, the sounds and sensations of the world began to fade away.

The wind seemed to die down and grow quiet.

The earth beneath him faded away.

The suns heat vanished.

All that remained was the steady beat of his heart.


When he awoke, he was in a room of never-ending darkness. In front of him, there was a small red sphere of light. It expanded and contracted with rhythm, emitting the same sound as his heart.

Bump bump . . . bump bump . . . bump bump . . .

It slowly began to float away, and the boy chased it. All around him, he sensed images, sounds, and feelings from events he didn remember. No matter if he moved or not, they all drifted past him as if floating down a river.

In one of them, he was being tortured. Boiled oil was dumped on his hand. A bloodcurdling scream, and then an unimaginable feeling of pain. The boy brought his hands to his head, wishing for it to be gone. He could feel insanity lurking at the edge of his consciousness like a predator waiting for the perfect opportunity. He didn know what to do. Darkness began to flood his vision and he began to get lightheaded, but then, he heard it.

Bump bump . . . bump bump . . . bump bump . . .

He looked up and saw the sphere again. The boy reached out for it, and once he touched it, the pain of those certain memories began to fade. For a moment, he could see the smile of a certain white haired girl.

He got back up and began following the red sphere once more. As he did, another memory passed. In it, he was facing off against a boy who had black hair and similar facial features to himself, the only difference being his striking amber eyes. He looked to be twelve or thirteen, a young boy about to become a teenager. He was smiling, standing over him victorious with a sword in his hand.

A name popped into his head. Liam.

Then, two figures entered the scene. One was a man, and the other a woman. They congratulated Liam, giving him praises. The boy couldn hear exactly what they were saying, but he could tell by their faces and body language. In the memory, he climbed to his feet. He didn approach the three of them, only looking at them from a distance. They didn scorn him, or call him names, but they didn look at him either. It was as if he didn exist to them. When the two adults left, Liam turned around, gazing at him with indifference before walking away.

This memory also hurt, but not physically. The pain from this memory was much worse. He felt cold. He felt alone. He felt insignificant. The boy forged onwards, not letting himself be consumed by the memories as he did before. The red sphere had snapped him out of it, but there was no guarantee it would save him twice. He followed the glowing orb, not knowing where he went, or what he found, but he had to follow it.

Eventually, the stream of memories stopped. The red sphere also stopped. He suddenly noticed the scenery had changed. No longer were they in black nothingness, but rather a large, circular room.

At the center of this circular room was an orb, about the size of a basketball. It was broken, shattered into thousands of pieces. It looked like it should have fallen apart, but the shards of the orb remained bound together by . . . something.

The boy took a step closer and reached out his hand. Before he could touch the shattered orb, his hand was forcibly stopped. Encircling the broken orb was a glowing purple barrier, resembling amethyst. The boy put the palm of his hand, feeling this barrier. After a moment, his whole body began trembling. His eyes widened and his breath quickened.

”What . . . is this? ”

While his memories were sealed, he could still feel the divine power in this barrier. If one repurposed the mana inside this spell for destruction, an entire country could be wiped off the face of the earth in one single attack.

Every shred of instinct inside his mind told him that whoever made this barrier surpassed anything he could even imagine. It was as if his very soul was responding to this energy with fear and awe, instinctually understanding its power. He tentatively took his hand off the barrier and stared at it for another few moments.

The red pulsating sphere hovered close to him. The boy reached out his hand, touching it. Instantly, he was flooded with all he had learned in the past about the soul and its functions. After it had transferred all the knowledge, the red spheres beats grew weaker as if it had strained itself.

For a few seconds, the boy was silent as the information hidden deep within his mind was uncovered and reprocessed. After minutes of contemplation, he took his hand away from the red sphere and returned his gaze to the shattered orb encased by the amethyst barrier.

Understanding shone in his eyes.

”Im . . . soul broken. ”


Aatazaz stood as Alessia watched quietly from a few feet away. The boy remained sitting, his eyes closed and his breathing steady. A slight breeze blew through the area, causing a few strands of his hair to move.

Alessia looked at Aatazaz. ”Why couldn you just tell him? ”

Aatazaz took the boys limp body in his hands and began walking towards the tents and campfire. ”From the way he talks about and looks at the world, he has lost a great portion of his common sense. Even if we told him his soul was broken, only by seeing it and feeling it will he understand the true severity of his situation. ”

Once they got back to camp, Aatazaz set the boy down next to the fire so that he wouldn get cold. Aatazaz sighed with relief. ”I wasn sure if a Zoahin awakening spell would work on a human, but it seems the process of awakening is universal. ”

Alessia looked at his peacefully sleeping face and couldn help but smile with nostalgia.

”I remember when you guided me to make first contact with my Inner Self. ”

”You were quite the handful back then. ” Aatazaz said with a similar nostalgia-filled smile.

Alessia suddenly frowned. ”Whats that supposed to mean? ”

Aatazaz looked at her with a chuckle. ”You were too talented for your own good. If a normal person is this campfire, you were like a bonfire Alessia, so full of energy and will. I was always worried you might burn yourself out before you could learn to control the flame within. ”

”Was I really all that? ”

”You made contact with your inner self when you were only eight years old. I don know if you realize it, but mixing magic with an eight year old tends to not go so well. I remember when you got so angry you accidentally burnt our hut to the ground. ”

Alessia went red. ”I . . . had forgotten about that. ”

”Youve come a long way since then, Alessia. Im so proud. If your father and mother could see you now, they would cry tears of happiness. ”

Whenever he spoke about her parents, he got a far away look. Sometimes, when Alessia saw that look, she worried for him. However, he wiped away her worries with a smile and spoke.

”Now then, the night is growing old. Sleep, Ill keep watch over the boy for now. ”


The boy opened his eyes, the suns morning rays peeking through his tents flaps. Normally, he would have gotten up to prepare for the day, but after gaining the knowledge about his soul, he couldn find it within himself to move.

His listless eyes stared at the top of his tent, like the eyes of a corpse. All he could think about was his broken soul, the image of the cracked glass globe burned into his memory.

The red sphere, whatever it was, had returned a part of his memories. He could remember learning about the soul and how it functioned for humans. Understanding the soul and how it worked was the first step to awakening, a process where children learned to connect and use the power that lay dormant inside them. They would meet with their Inner Self, often called the personality of the soul. When children encounter their Inner Self, often they are shown a vision of what they truly want and desire. This revelation and understanding of who they truly are and what they wanted to be allows them to awaken the power of the soul. In humans, this power is Mana.

Human souls gather the raw energy of the world, refining it into mana which it then uses to keep itself alive. Most souls produce more than they consume, creating an excess of mana which can then be used to cast spells. The stronger a soul is, the more excess mana it produces.

His soul was broken, meaning it couldn produce mana. Without a continuous supply of mana, his soul should eventually die. The only reason he was still alive was because of that strange, awe-inducing spell that encased and nourished his soul. There was no such thing as a perpetually active spell. Eventually, whatever was inside of him would run out of mana and he would perish.

He was essentially already dead.


After two or three hours of full sprint, Snowball was completely out of spirit, forcing them to set up camp for the rest of the day. As they set up everything, Alessia and Aatazaz noticed how lifeless the boy had become. His eyes were that of a corpse, his shoulders drooped forwards, and his feet dragged across the ground.

He had just started to get better too, training with Aatazaz everyday to regain some strength. While he wasn as manic or hysterical as he was back when they had first found him, his apathetic body language and expression was definitely a step backwards. It was obvious the boys realization of his souls situation was hitting him hard.

Alessia walked up to him, placing a hand on his shoulder. ”Im sorry we didn tell you sooner. Aatazaz thought your mental condition was too unstable to handle it back then. ”

The boy was silent.

”I just want you to know that . . . theres still hope, so don give up. Once we reach Krin, well find someone to help you. You won be this way forever. ” Alessia released her hand and began to walk back to camp.

As she left, the boy felt tears run down his cheeks.

She had known all along that he was soul broken and still strived to help and support him. Even though he was nothing but vermin living on borrowed time, she still believed in him. She invested her time into someone who already had one foot in the coffin. Despite all this, she still chose to save him. She did none of this because it would benefit her. She did all of this for his sake, because it was the right thing to do.

He now fully understood the depth of Alessias generosity; the depth of her righteousness. Her soul was too perfect, too brilliant for this world. Not only did she look like an angel, but her soul was that of an angel as well. The boy didn know why he had taken so long to realize it. The reason he was putting forth effort in the last few days was because of her.

His heart beat widely. His fists were clenched so tight that they went white. His eyes refused to dry up. In his head, the boy made a promise to himself.

I promise . . . if I ever get the chance, Ill make it up to you. Even if it kills me, Ill repay your kindness one thousand fold.

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