The Unlikely Story of a Hero
Book 1: World at end — possibly
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Journal Entry Number 01
Because the Great Text is a record of all happenings in this universe, beginning at its inception — and because there are also extremely important ancient rituals in the book, such as the Rites of the Watcher and of the Keeper — which I will surely discuss later in more detail —it is full of information, and can be a struggle to get through. I have tried to read through the text on multiple occasions, and always end up drifting off around page 200. Admittedly, I am not quite sure if I will ever have the time to actually finish the book at all — and although the Council requires that the book is read in full, I would really recommend reading my journal instead — which is what you are doing now.
You see, I am not from this world. I was ordered here on assignment from the Grand Council many years ago to protect the balance between this world and the others. I am not well versed in the history of this place — and so I wouldn’t dare make any claims as to which events led to me being selected by the Elders, but what I do know, I can certainly tell you:
This world was filled with peace, and beauty — and its people were a fabulous race. But somewhere along the way, there happened a proverbial fork-in-the-road, which led to a much needed intervention. And so, the Council selected a “Watcher” to live amongst the people here, and assure that all of the problems were resolved in accordance with the agreement between all four worlds, known as The Treaty of the Four.
That Watcher is me.
The selection process went rather smoothly. I had to apply through the Ministry of Change; of which the Grand Elder himself is head Minister. To be honest, I believe that fate was the determining factor in deciding my presence in this world. While the details of my application are sometimes exaggerated, it is true that I found myself in the wrong queue when waiting to fill out my forms to be considered for a position in maintenance at the High Consulate. For this reason, many of my people call me the fortuitous Watcher, of which — I am proud to say — I am the first. Nonetheless, I am the Watcher of this world, and one of only 4 watchers in the universe. Of course, I was sure to ask the committee of Watchers — on multiple occasions — if they were confident in their decision, to which they always answered “the ancients never make mistakes.”
And so here I am.
Watchers are the most important people in the universe. We can manipulate entire environments, produce tremendous energy to incapacitate or destroy our enemies, and can even stop time — to some extent. Because of our unbalanced power, our roles are regulated by the committee, of whom we meet with every two weeks. We are also required to provide updates and progress to the Grand Council twice yearly. While I have missed several committee meetings due to my lack of remembrance, I am happy to report that I have never missed a Council meeting — and I have only been late seven times. My Chief Elder, Drak, has made it woefully clear that even though seven times may seem reasonable, it is still seven times more than the other Watchers; who all share a perfect attendance record.
Drak has become sort of a friend over the years. He informed me that the Grand Elder — who I’ve never actually spoken to myself — mentioned me by name; which is very unheard of. Apparently, after I stopped the great flood in the Eastern Region, Drak was told by Ensa (a High Elder); who was told by Jenja (who is the Grand Elder), to tell me to “please refrain from involving himself in environmental matters.” So, I guess he didn’t really mention me by name, exactly — but he was clearly referring to me.
Each of the four worlds is powered by an Energy Crystal, unique to the world it resides in. All four crystals are connected through the “Energy Force” — a name I have been petitioning to change, because it sounds really ridiculous and childlike — and each Watcher has selected a native of their assigned world to be the Keeper of the Crystal. In my case, I chose a scientist named Steve Jones — who many of the Elders and committee members deem to have been a bad choice. Steve really is a great guy; but I’ll admit — sometimes, he doesn’t seem overly committed to his role; which is extremely important.
You see, upon arriving at this world to perform my duties for the Council, I was given a maximum period of 30 days to find a Keeper. So, when Steve told me that he was a data scientist, I naively thought that he was making important discoveries that would cure diseases; and was dedicating his life to improving the overall well-being of his people. As it turns out, a data scientist is something entirely different, and I’m still not sure why the Information Technology people of this world (as Steve calls them) decided to use a word like “scientist” to describe a position in the technology industry. It really is very ambiguous.
Anyhow, Steve and I have been wonderful partners in the mission to protect this world. I really try and speak with Steve at least once per week, although, he is sometimes busy. I guess the people of this world really, really love their data. Although it does sometimes seem as though Steve is uninterested in his position as Keeper, he is extremely loyal to me; and to his home world. In fact, he once gave the Crystal to a woman that he met at a bar because — as he said to me — he felt as though the “bad guys” were following him. Unfortunately, I neglected to mention to him that only the Keeper was authorized to handle the crystal. And so, after checking on the woman the next day, and finding her dissolved into a pile of white ash from which she could not be recovered, Steve took the crystal back — promising to never let anyone else touch it again.
Both Steve and I have had fairly simple jobs to this point. But, I just received a notification from the Council that our world is in grave danger, and that I must prepare for an attack against the Energy Crystal. And so, today is the day that I entrust Steve Jones — Data Scientist, with his full and absolute powers as Keeper of the Crystal. I’m still uncertain as to how he will react; as he is supposed to be going to a LAN party later this evening, and never likes when I visit him before those. While I would really prefer to wait until tomorrow, I unfortunately do not have a choice in the matter, which is why I am on my way to see Steve right now.
Journal Entry Number 02
I just left Steve’s apartment.
As I anticipated, he was not happy to see me, as he was preparing to leave for his LAN party. Unlike other parties — which seem to be very flexible in their nature — a LAN party really cannot begin until all members of the group have arrived; or at least thats what Steve says. Nonetheless, I forced myself inside his apartment, as the fate of the world appears to be at stake, and depends on Steve assuming his role as Keeper of the Crystal. When Steve asked me why I was there; despite him telling me “please do not come around anymore,” I explained to him about the oncoming war, and how we would need to prepare for battle; probably against dark forces — although, I’m still not entirely sure about that last part.
Now, the process of granting a Keeper his or her powers is very archaic. The first instance of the ritual can be traced back directly to the original Grand Elder, Manos, who is said to have constructed the Energy Force itself, in order to provide a powerful connection between all four worlds. To perform the ceremony, the Watcher is to recite the Duties of Power to the Keeper — which come from the Great Text, and state:
By the powers of the four known worlds, and under authority of the Grand Elder — creator and protector of the Energy Force — you are hereby entrusted with the full and absolute power of Keeper of the Crystal, and will henceforth be regarded as such; in your world, and in any world in which powers are drawn from the Energy Force…
Of course, there is much more to the text than just that, and before the news of a potential war — and of the impending attack on the Energy Force came to light, I was beginning to study more of it, so that I could be prepared for a situation like this. But alas, it did not happen in this way, and I do not see how the committee — or the Grand Council for that matter — could place any blame on me for that. I was, after all, in the middle of resolving a very important incident which involved the illegal trading of livestock, when all of this happened.
Anyhow, once the extent of the Duties have been recited, the Keeper will then accept or decline, at which point — if he or she accepts — the Watcher will explain the responsibilities to the Keeper, as well as the powers that will be instilled unto them. Once this task is complete, the Watcher is to perform an ancient chant of sorts, and then place his or her hand on the shoulder of the Keeper while reciting the words “Gamara Magasha.” After this, the transformation of the Keeper begins.
In my haste, I failed to provide any of this information to Steve. In fact, while he was searching for a pair of socks, I saw a window of opportunity in which I could begin the transformation. And so, while he was hunched over his laundry basket — furiously rummaging through piles of dirty clothes on the floor, I casually rested my hand on his right shoulder, and recited the ancient words.
Something that I wish I had known previously is that the process can be quite painful, which is apparently due to the fact that during the ritual, the Energy Crystal actually infuses itself with the Keeper. There is most likely something in the Great Text that references this, but as I’ve already mentioned, the book is very long, and I have yet to read it in full. Had I known that Steve would be writhing in pain for nearly ten full minutes, I may have developed a solid strategy beforehand. Notwithstanding, I did what I had to do. Although my approach was unconventional and potentially ill-timed, I am in no position to defy a direct order from the Council. Drak has made it extremely clear that the Elders and the committee find me to be a hapless leader, and that all of my second chances — and third chances — have expired.
The process itself was fascinating. Immediately following my reciting of the ancient phrase, Steve’s body jerked backwards, and he fell to his knees; shrieking for help. His apartment beamed with light, as the Crystal fused itself into his chest, causing his body to emit hues of bright blue and orange. It really would have been a moment to remember — had it not been for his piercing screams. I knew better than to interfere with the ceremony, as it is an intimate affair which takes place between the Keeper, and the Energy Force. Therefore, as Steve was inheriting his powers, I made two sandwiches — one for me, and one for him, as I thought that he may be hungry when all of this was over. In my defense, it was clear that the transformation was taking a toll on him, however, in hindsight, a sandwich may not have been the best choice for expressing my sympathy.
My responsibility as Watcher is to oversee the ritual, and ensure that it is completed in full. During my observation, I could see Steve’s new powers taking shape — and could tell that he was becoming stronger than before. Although it was patently obvious that he was in extreme pain, he still managed to muster up enough spirit to threaten my life several times. I attribute this — of course — to the extreme agony he was facing, and nothing more. Besides, a Watcher is far more powerful than a Keeper, and so I was never really in any actual danger.
The events that transpired next are still fuzzy in my mind. Therefore, I will recount them to the best of my ability — but cannot guarantee that every word of what I say next is completely accurate.
First, Steve began to calm himself. It seemed as though the Energy Crystal had completely infused itself into him, and his new power had subsided his pain. Immediately following this, he scanned the room — attempting to pinpoint my exact location. Although the grin on my face gave the impression that I was satisfied with with the success of the ritual, Steve’s demeanor looked much less so. I could tell that he was indeed aggravated, and so in order to calm his mood, I held up the plate I had made for him, and declared, “I’ve made you a sandwich.”
While it is understandable that Steve did not show gratitude for my gesture — as he was almost certainly unhappy with my lack of transparency — I did not expect for him to concentrate a beam of energy towards my head in a fit of rage. Of course — being a Watcher — I was able to easily deflect his attack, sending the beam through the wall, and into the adjacent apartment; which happened to be occupied by an elderly gentleman. Although the man was killed during this unfortunate accident, I can assure you that his grandchildren were not in his presence today, which is a relief.
Surprisingly, Steve took to his powers very quickly. While I was able to deflect his first attack, his immediate second attack caught me off guard, and sent me hurling through the air. Had it not been for his stainless steel refrigerator — which he has told me was very expensive — there may have been several more casualties today. I believe my consciousness was only interrupted for a minute or two at most, and when I awoke from my dazed state, Steve was hovering in the air — peering through a giant hole that he had produced in his exterior wall.
As I pulled myself from the tangled mess in his kitchen, Steve asked me what I had done to him. As any responsible Watcher would, I explained to him that he had accepted the role of Keeper several years ago, and that this was a necessary step in ensuring that we protect his world. Apparently, Steve didn’t know the ramifications of his decision to be Keeper of the Crystal — which is exactly my motivation for creating this journal. I also found out that Steve thought I had been making everything up since the moment we had met, and I was just some “creepy guy” who was happy to have a friend.
Anyhow, Steve and I talked for quite a while, and we both decided that it would be best to give him a couple of days to come into his powers. Although he has confirmed with me that he understands his role as Keeper, and what he must do to protect this world; he just needs a “little bit of space.” So, as Steve takes his time and searches for a new apartment, I will be busy constructing our plan — that is — once I meet with the Council tomorrow.
Journal Entry Number 03
Having been stationed in this world for some time now — I’ve become rather well versed in the conversational language of this race. For instance, one thing that people here love to do is put “ratings” on everything. To give an example, someone might ask “on a scale of 1–10, how was your dinner tonight?” Of course, the other person would then give their answer, which would signify their pleasure — or displeasure — with the meal. Typically, an answer of 1 means that the experience was terrible, and each accumulated number thereafter signifies slightly more satisfaction — all the way to 10, which means outstanding.
I would rate today’s council meeting as a 6, which signifies that it really wasn’t too bad, but it surely could have gone better.
Upon entering the Council’s chambers, it was apparent that they were discontented — probably due to the oncoming war and such. As I moved toward the front of the room, I could see many of my former schoolmates — some of which were now working for the Council, and some who had come simply to gather more information as to what was going on. Drak was there, of course, and greeted me in his normal monotonous fashion. I mentioned to him that he should work on his personality, however, he thought it best that this wasn’t the time or place to do it.
Normally, a Council meeting is attended by very few people. Sitting in the front of the room is a transcriber, whose job is to take notes on the meeting. Directly behind him or her is a member of the committee of Watchers; and behind that person — at the very front of the room — sits two High Elders. Of course, the Chief Elder of the Watcher is also there; in my case, Drak. Meetings usually only last about one hour, and consist of the High Elders giving orders, while the Watcher bows and humbly agrees with everything said.
This meeting was much different.
Not only was the entire population of the committee of Watchers in attendance, but also, all of the High Elders, including the Grand Elder — Jenja himself! I will admit, I had a different image of the Grand Elder in my mind, however, I was honored to meet him nonetheless. After the introductions of both the committee and of the Elders — which seemed to take an eternity — we were all invited to take a seat. For the first minute or two, Jenja stared at me; saying not a word. You can imagine my confusion, as I have never been in the presence of the Grand Elder himself, and so, I figured after some time that he might be waiting for me to speak.
And so I did.
“Thank you for having me in your presence today Grand Elder Jenja,” I said. “And also, thank you to all the Elders and High Elders; as well as the entire committee of Watchers, who are also here today.” I was then sure to voice my concerns, so that they were heard by the Grand Elder himself. “I would first like to request the progress on my petition to change the name ‘Energy Force’ due to the undeniable fact that it sounds very childlike,” I explained. “I think if we moved forward with a selection committee, we could decide on something much better.”
Apparently, when the Grand Elder is in your presence, the common etiquette is to say nothing until he speaks. Of course, I did not know this, which is why after pitching my petition directly to Jenja, the entire room was filled with blank stares in my direction. I looked at Drak, who seemed disappointed with my lack of knowledge — but I couldn’t have been expected to know everything before coming into the meeting, as I’d never had an experience like this before.
What happened next will be talked about for years to come. It was unprecedented as far as these meetings go. The Grand Elder stood from his chair at the front of the room, and walked toward me, remaining silent — his black eyes fixated on mine. As he moved, those in attendance scurried out of his way in order to clear a path. He had a strange and powerful aura about him, and it seemed as though he may burst into flames at any moment. I began to think about all of the people that would be injured if that actually happened. Some people would even die — no doubt. As a Watcher, I would probably survive unscathed, but I cannot be sure, as the powers of the Grand Elder are undoubtedly great.
Eventually, Jenja stopped in front of me. He was much bigger — and looked much more important — up close. His stark white hair seemed to beam with a strange glow; and I could have felt his presence, even if I hadn’t actually seen him in the room. Looking into my eyes once again, he placed his hand on my shoulder and finally spoke, saying:
“I believe — for the first time in our great history — that the ancients were wrong in selecting a Watcher. Nonetheless, we will get through this — all of us — together.”
Can you believe it? The Grand Elder himself actually touched me!
When he finished speaking, he walked back to the front of the room, whispered a few things to the High Elders, and left the meeting. After a few minutes of deliberation between themselves, one of the High Elders finally spoke to me. “Do you understand the magnitude of the situation that your world is currently faced with?” she asked me. Of course, I answered truthfully, telling her “No ma’am, I do not, however, I do know that there is a great war coming, and that Steve and I are fully committed to performing our duties as both Watcher and Keeper.”
She looked at me deeply — her eyes seemingly full of regret, and stated “The Grand Elder is concerned that you lack the understanding of the importance of your role as Watcher in the upcoming war. Our goal is to ensure that your world — and the Energy Force — is well protected. As such, the decision of this Council is to send you to the planet Kwansit for some much needed training. Please notify the Keeper of the Crystal, as he will be in attendance with you.”
Because I haven’t talked to Steve in a few days, I told the Council about his resistance to the tasks of Keeper of the Crystal. I also told them about the LAN parties, and how he may be reluctant to travel to a new world — for fear of missing the events which he seems to love so deeply. “If I could just have a little more time,” I asked them, “I’m sure that I could get Steve to agree to this training.” I was going to say more, until Drak stepped in on my behalf, telling the Elders “They will both be ready to go tomorrow great Council. Please forgive this Watcher, as past events on his world that have transpired appear to have hindered his ability to complete his training.”
With that, all of the Elders stood up, and left the chambers. The committee followed afterwards, who were then followed by the transcriber. Once they were all gone, the room burst into chatter, as everyone stood from their seats. Some pointed in my direction, while others gave sly looks and cackled to their friends and family. I will admit that I am still unclear as to what the result of the meeting actually was. However, I am excited for Steve and I to start our new training, as I feel it will bring us closer, and give him a better understanding of his role, and how to use his powers.
As the room began to clear out, I could hear remarks coming from the crowd. Some said that the Energy Force was doomed. Others said that the ancients could never make a mistake, and that this was all being blown out of proportion. I even heard one woman say that all of this talk of war was just a facade to distract the people from a bigger issue — the decline in the quality of food in my home world. While I haven’t had a proper native meal in quite some time, I feel that maybe her situation is unique, as I’ve found that even the worst food in my home world is better than the best food in Steve’s.
Lost in thought; I struggled make sense of it all. What did the Grand Elder mean when he said that the ancients had made a mistake? Why had he just walked out of the room without another word? And, why wasn’t I given an update on the petition I created? Perhaps, all of this is connected in some strange way.
Breaking my thoughts, Drak grasped me by the shoulders — his grip firm and solid. “We must go now,” he said to me. “I have a lot to tell you before you leave for training.”