Lineage : Anathema to Divinity
Position : None
Faction : The Ironheart Pact
Posts : 227
Guild : Silver Wolf
Cosmic Coins : 100
Dungeon Tokens : 0
Experience : 2,035,084
First Magic: Rollins & Schwartz-Brand
Second Magic: Heaven God Slayer
by Rodadnuf 7th February 2022, 5:18 am
The old man, Timόtheos, was still there. It was now a quarter to midnight after Tim had dusted the isles of books and mopped the floor. It took the young man an hour and a half to clean all but the floor space near the old man he had helped find a book earlier while Tim was sorting books. Tim saved the spot for last; he didn’t want to disturb the old man while he was reading. And it looked like he was right doing so.
Timόtheos was slumping down as he was reading the book and made some very short hiccup-like noises, wait— was he crying?
‘Yeah, I can wait a few minutes.’ Tim decided.
But something was happening to the old man as he was crying. His back suddenly became broader, his hair turned from his silver into a bundle of raven locks and his voice became less hoarse. Tim wasn’t dealing this on his own, like hell he was. He needed to call another staff or a mage or—
“Grrrrr!” A spirit wolf suddenly materialized beside Tim, growling at the old man.
It was one the guardian spirit wolf found around the territory of the Phoenix mountains. It was curious of the light magic Tim had used when he first arrived at the guild and stuck with him since. Its ethereal mane wreathed a faint blue hue as it walked in front of him.
“Hey, shut up-!” Tim hissed.
“Who goes there!?” The old man, or just ‘man’ in this instance, snapped the book shut and turned around in a panic. The library wooden chair screeched as he moved.
The wolf was about the same height to Tim, but trying to shut the ghost-animal up made Tim stand out. Timόtheos was looking at him, brows furrowed and at a stance. Tim noticed he was tucking the book beside him.
“Oh, it’s you Tim.” Hadn’t he noticed? Tim kept up his best poker face and walked closer to him.
“Sorry, I don’t know how to keep this guy in line.” In fact, he hadn’t even given the spirit wolf a name.
“No, it is quite alright, dear boy.” Timόtheos waved dismissively. “More importantly, have you been cleaning this entire time I was reading?”
“Yeah, mind if I mop around your table? I saved your spot last- privacy and all.”
“Oh! Please, I will move to another table while you work.”
Tim nodded and got to work, but not before giving the clingy spirit wolf a look that said ‘what’s with the aggression?’ But the ghost mutt only gave him a stoic stare. The young man started working, ignoring the wolf still sitting attentively between the area he was mopping and the table beside it where Timόtheos had moved.
A few minutes passed while Tim was thoroughly cleaning the place up. He looked at the wolf, it hadn’t so much as moved its spectral muscle. Timόtheos was still reading the book. It was far from a thick book, how many times had he re-read the thing already?
“What’s that book about anyway?”
“A tragic tale, I am afraid. One about betrayal.” His voice became strained, but it looked like his answer wasn’t just a haphazard review.
“Right, is it some fancy magic book?”
“Far from it, why do you ask?”
Tim cleared his throat as he spoke. He made his next sentence as placating as possible. “You see, while you were reading earlier. Well… you looked a whole five decades younger all of a sudden”
The man snapped his neck at Tim, but he tried to meet his surprised look the same way someone did it to Tim the first time he came into the guild. It was a look that helped him think clearly, something this weird individual might desperately need.
“Don’t worry,” Tim took off his flat cap to emphasize. From the way his skin was now ink black all over, he guessed it was already midnight. “You’re not the only freakshow around. But I will have to tell the staff about you. I don’t have the position to just ignore something magical like this unless you give me a reason that won’t make me take you as some demon looking for trouble. Alright?”
Timόtheos didn’t give a reply, not at Tim’s question anyway. “You… inherited it.”
He stood up and walked towards the young man. The wolf, as if on cue, jumped between them and growled. Timόtheos didn’t pay the wolf any mind and walked through it. The man touched Tim’s cheek and let a single tear roll down his cheek. “You inherited this from me, did you not?”
Timόtheos proceeded to tightly embrace Tim. “I am so sorry if this curse had given you grief, dear boy. If I had the power to take this away from every single one of you, I would have done so already.”
Tim hug the man back, his thought instead crawled around the last sentence Timόtheos uttered. "You… you’re ‘him’?”
Timόtheos waited for Tim to finish his work. The young man darted his gaze at his forefather. The thought still didn’t feel like it could be real. He set the thought aside and gave the floor one last stroke before he stopped. The job was over, but this was just the start of a very headache inducing meeting for the young man.
“Look, Timόtheos, before you say anything.” Tim set the mop aside, the wolf grabbed the mop with its mouth and walked away. Tim noticed the sudden relaxed disposition of the ghostly animal but settled with dealing with the man first. “I have a million questions to ask. Just one of which is: are you trying to set me up to some elaborate prank?”
Tim raised a hand before the man could answer. “First, prove it to me. Give me something only you would know.”
“Hemera told me about a descendant who rejected her. Someone who understood my curse completely to morph that understanding into overturning her advances. I thought I would see another mirror of myself in you, Tim. Someone who lashed out at the world because of this.” He held his hand out and, sure enough, it was the same inklike hue as Tim’s. But what stood out was it was leaking out of him! Exactly like overflowing ink, Timόtheos’ nightlike was dripping down the floor forming a pool of shadow as if it was water.
“Disgusting, is it not? If your curse had been allowed to mature, it would also gain this.” Timόtheos pulled out a cloth and wiped his hands, letting the nightlike shadow stick through his handkerchief. “You had been living more than two decades, yet your curse had not fully matured. No, it would be accurate to say they have matured but have been controlled. This had not been done in this fashion before.”
“Control?” Tim laughed dryly. “How the hell did you deduce me ‘taking control’ when I look like a walking tar golem!”
“Trust me, dear boy. Those who did not have the will to control their curse ‘did’ become tar-like monstrosities. Mages have been sent to kill them too, all without the knowledge of our curse.”
“I made an effort to comfort them before they claimed their eternal rest. Every one of them throughout the years.” Timόtheos’ voice was almost a whisper. “Such was my penance; I even took form of a mortal in the brink of death to remind me of the pain I will keep causing throughout time.”
Tim had enough. He shrugged the man’s hands off and walked away. He did not need any of this. He wanted to know at first, but now he understood. There was an arrogance to these ‘gods’ and their ‘children’. He was right, as always. Anything about his lineage he would learn? It’ll soon lead him to a story of selfishness on top of a pile of corpses.
Other people who had his curse had it worse than him. Tim thought of it, but it never occurred to him how sickening the effects would become.
“If you really felt anything other than some morbid curiosity to your lineage, Timόtheos, you would have given the only decent thing someone would do. You would have let yourself die all those years ago. You’re immortal, aren’t you? How does making your body weaker a good way to atone? you can’t die!” Tim scoffed, walking away from the library. “Penance? What a joke. I’d rather you killed us off, stopping the problem entirely.”
The young man didn’t even give a second look back. The wolf rematerialized as he walked, but Tim stopped it. “Don’t even bother, we’re going.”
The job was done and the night was still enough for one last job. Tim would rather move to that job than deal with something he had little say on the matter. He went to the guild hot springs.