What Lies Beneath

By Theron Hood (Sun Valley High School)

For years, my best friend Vexen and I have lived in our peaceful, serene village. That contains most of the elf population left on the planet. It is right on the edge of a vast, lush evergreen forest. We all hide in seclusion from the modern human world and avoid the legendary Tattooed Man. We can’t reveal ourselves because humans could take advantage of us.

The Tattooed Man was the only human to ever find us and he took our magic and twisted it into a weapon we have never seen the likes of. 50 years ago, he happened to stumble upon one of our villages, in need of help. Elves instinctive helpers so, we nursed him back to health. Some were weary of him and warned of possible trouble, but some thought he could be the test to see if humans were ready for us. We taught him some basic and then advanced magic and he picked it up quickly. Something went wrong, though; The Elder Elves never tell the whole story. We know what happened: he branded our forbidden black magic onto his arm to always have it with him. He then wiped out 100,000 of us for shunning him. For this reason we are never to leave the village because of fear that he may find us.

Vexen and I have always been slight trouble makers. In Magic Arts Academy we always play small little pranks in class. Vexen usually takes the blame because he laughs more and louder than me. I consider myself the mastermind behind all of our antics. One day, I managed to convince him to go into the nearby forest even though it’s off limits; it was a day that I’ll never forget.

“I really don’t feel like getting a detention, Demyx,” he whined. I turned him around and pushed his back while his feet held the ground in a light protest saying, “Oh, come on don’t be a wimp.”

I know he hated that word.

Vexen is a little bit of the “play it safe” kind of guy. If our class is having battle practice skirmishes he will stick to small, pathetic non-lethal spells. He’s skinny, timid and what some may call a wimp. To tell the truth tons of people call him that.

“Look, we won’t go in that far,” I assured him. Two hours had gone by and we were dreadfully lost. During the long walk Vexen had complained.

“What the hell? Where are we, Demyx?” he asked. I didn’t want to tell him the truth, but I had no clue where we were. Without even thinking I said, “Don’t worry, what we came for is right up here.” A hill started to form in the path ahead of us and we began to climb up. Once we got to the top the first thing I did was jumped down. I turned around to assure Vexen the jump was safe but, a wooden door embedded in the hill caught my eye.

“Whoa, come check this out. There’s a door here.” I yelled out. The door was all wooden and looked rotted. I was dying to know what was inside; Vexen had something else in mind.

“I’m getting a bad vibe from this place, Demyx.” He said as he looked around nervously. Ignoring every single word he said, I knocked hard on the door. He grabbed my hand and asked, “What do you think you’re doing? In case you haven’t noticed we’re elves. Nobody can know about us!” The door creaked open, almost seeming as though it would break from its rusted hinges. We stepped back out of suspicion and fear.

From the shadows stepped out a man. The tall figure was covered in a brown, tattered cloak only revealing his hands and a scarf only showing the upper half of his face. His eyes had midnight black scleras and canary yellow irises which struck fear into my heart. His hair was a chocolaty brown, swept back with a strand hanging in his face. I could see Vexen trembling so I spoke up, “I’m so sorry sir. I thought this was someone else’s house.” We began to walk away but he jumped in front of us. His dark eyes darted back and forth between Vexen and me. Finally, in a raspy voice he spoke, “It’s amazing, for years I’ve been searching, and now two of you just show up at my doorstep.” Before I knew it he lunged for me, revealing an intricate tattoo on his right arm. Luckily, I dodged it and I screamed, “Let’s get the hell out of here.” Vexen ran like a wildman. Thinking fast, I cast a flare spell to keep the Tattooed Man discombobulated. Holding my hands with both palms open I screamed, “Thasi.” A flare shot out of my hands heading straight for the man’s face.

I caught up to Vexen in a burst of speed. “Vex, did you see that?”

“Yeah, it was a black arts tattoo,” He replied. Breathing heavily Vexen pushed out the words, “Can you believe the Tattooed Man was only that far away from the village?”

“I don’t understand how our patrols never found him.”

“Yea, I kno-,” Vexen was cut off as his leg was strung up by a trap. The Elven Centurions jumped out of the treehouse surrounding us, weapons ready. In unison they spoke in Elven, “Shai kyr saesi?”

“Demyx Cyr, of the House of Nutali! The Saryr Tal is following us!” I screeched. The Centurions laughed together, one of the said, “The Tattooed Man is just a legend, little one.” In a flash, the Tattooed Man appeared behind the laughing guard. He placed a hand on the guard’s head and red lightning emitted from his arm. Red lightning spiraled around his head and blood spouted from all of his orifices. One by one, he dropped the Centurions like flies until he left them in a pile of lifeless husks.

“Now, it’s you and your friend’s turn, so pray to your pathetic god because you will soon be joining him,” he said with a menacing laugh. Following his sick orders, I began to pray for my life. The clouds turned a slate, gray and began to contort as if a hurricane was going to form. Suddenly, a beam of light struck down upon the Tattooed Man creating a massive gust of wind. The dirt in the air began to settle revealing him strung up in the light.

Trying to move, but stiff as a board he said, “You can’t be using this magic you’re too young. What trickery is this?” And he was correct it wasn’t me. Then, Elven Elders appeared in another beam of light. In godly voices they spoke in unison,”Demyx, Vexen, you have done a great thing today. One of our greatest enemies has been drawn out because of you. You have our-” The Tattooed Man interrupted, “I will slaughter you all!” His body began to disintegrate starting at his feet, red lightning was projecting everywhere from his body.

“Mark my words, this will not be the last of me! I will massacre the rest of your race!” he screamed in agony. And in a red flash, he was gone as if he was never there. The beams of light were sucked back into the dark, gray clouds. Vexen, still hanging asked, “So….we’re not in trouble are we? And can someone get me down?” The Elders laughed, but I knew what would happen once we got back.

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