I woke up in the middle of a field, the scent of wild grasses and an untamed wind filling my nostrils.
“Hey, are you just going to lie there forever?”
I opened my eyes, and the image of a young woman surrounded by the soft browns of overgrown grass filled my vision. Judging by her appearance, her long, windblown hair a deep brown, her dress plain and unadorned, she was a commoner girl, though the knife that hung at her waist, which was wrapped in a sheath speckled with jewels, signified that perhaps she was something more.
“HEY!” She said, waving a hand in my face, “You gonna say something?”
“Sorry,” I said, sitting up, “I guess that was a bit rude of me.”
“Hmph.” the girl said, extending a hand to help me up, “I’m Lana. you?”
Taking her hand and standing, I opened my mouth to speak, however, when I tried remember my name, my mind presented a blank slate. In fact, I found that I couldn’t remember anything, save the conversation with Aphrey.
“That’s….. I can’t really remember..”
The girl groaned, “Aah! If you can’t remember your name, I’m going to give you one you hear? Your name is Allen, you hear? Allen!”
“I hear you, I hear you,” I laughed weakly, “Allen, huh? I guess I’ll accept it, at least until I remember my old name.
Looking around, I attempted to get a feeling for the location. The field I was standing in seemed to be situated in the middle of an inter-crossing of landmarks. Directly in front of me, was a mountain range which dominated the horizon, it peaks jutting into the clouds, like some dead titan, waiting for a meal to fall into it’s vast maw. To my left, was a vast forest, it’s deep verdant hue casting a sharp contrast against the blues, grays and browns of it’s surroundings. Turning around, I saw the grass field extending out into the horizon, and finally, across from the forest was a small hamlet, the white and red buildings standing out against the grass fields.
“Hey! Allen! Heeey!” Lana was yelling again, trying to get my attention, “Would you stop doing that? I’m trying to talk to you!”
“Ah, sorry Lana, I was just getting a feel of the land.”
“What a weird person,” Lana remarked, then sighed, “Yeah, that’s our town, Brighton. Since it seems you don’t really have anywhere to go, I guess I could ask Dad if he’d let you stay.”
“I’d be glad to ta-”
“But don’t blame me if he refuses you, you know!” Lana burst out suddenly, “I promise nothing!”
“Y-yeah, got it.”
We headed towards the village, and as we walked, I asked Lana about herself. From our talk, I learned that she was the sole daughter of one of the local merchants, and while her family didn’t hold status, because of her magical power, she could apply for a noble title if she wanted.
Magic. The word awoke the feeling of something powerful, mysterious, and otherworldly. Images of men and women wielding balls of flame, ice, even the powers of nature itself, even one of a man no younger than myself with enough power to kill a dragon flashed through my head. There was no doubt that I wanted to use this awesome power, so I made sure to learn all I could of it from her.
Magic, in this world, was a rare thing that only a few people were born with, and for all it’s power, since almost no one had it, and everyone’s affinities for magic were so specific, it was a very impractical thing to try and learn, to the point where magic users were forced to either split their time between regular combat training and learning magic if their magic was powerful but complicated, or if their magic was simple, they might apply to a school and learn magic full time. As for Lana, both paths seemed to be the same. Her ability, [Manifest], was an ability that allowed her to create anything that she could see in her minds eye, and was the source of the knife around her waist. As such, since the requirements for use, and the skill required were so high, she had decided to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a merchant.
As we were talking, we had entered the village, and were already at her house before I had the chance to ask about any of the important parts of magic.
“Dad! I’m home!” Lana called out, walking into the house.
“Ah, Lana,” rumbled a deep voice from somewhere within the house, followed after by it’s owner, a rather tall yet bulky man, who managed to both give off the impression of a successful strongman, yet at the same time have features which were round and smooth, as if he had been eating an extra serving of a very large dessert each night. His face was wrapped in a thick beard, the kind of which would make a band of vikings jealous, and through it all, his eyes peered, wrapped in wrinkles that gave the impression that he was a man who laughed often. This however, disappeared after his eyes focused on me, his entire existence turning into a thousand sharp knives, each pointed at me, as if he had become a one sided iron maiden powered by bloodlust.
“Who’s this, eh, Lana?” the man said, giving a sharp nod in my general direction, “I don’ remember seein ‘im round these parts.”
“This is Allen,” Lana said, pushing me forward, between her and her father, “I found him out in the fields with no memories. Can I keep him, pleease?”
Oi oi, it’s fine to reveal some things, but please don’t go telling everyone all my secrets. Especially since I’ve only got the one.
“No memories, eh?” the man said, looking at me again, then extending a hand, “Well, I guess it’s okay if ‘ee stays ‘ere fer a while. Ahm James. James La’caser.”
“Allen. Thank you for taking care of me.”
“An’ don’t even think o layin a finger on Lana, you hear?” James grolwed, pulling me in close. Judging by the cheerful look on her face, this was either a common thing, or she hadn’t heard a word
“Y-yeah,” I said, “I’ll remember it.”