Depredation Of The Divine

Chapter 1 - Jegar Horax

In the small town of Dunstar the guards who were working to earn a living for their families were jogged awake by the gentle sun’s rays. Those bleary eyed guards could easily be singled out from the warriors who had cultivated that were there to fulfil the towns quota. As elites they would never dare drop their guard, always maintaining a watchful vigil for any beast foolish enough to stray to the city walls and its imminent death.

The town slowly awoke with the arising sun, maids laboured doing the nobles chores and the poor broke their bent backs trying to provide for themselves. Cries soon arose as the youth of the town came out to cause mischief and enjoy their carefree lives. A particular bright eyed youth with tousled hair emerged from his family's dwelling. A one seven year old Jegar Horaxs strolled out of his residence savouring the feeling of the morning light kissing him tenderly upon his sun bleached skin.

Curly chestnut locks bounced upon his forehead as a pair of bored hazel eyes scoured the surrounding street for amusement from a defined face. As if a light had been lit Jegars previously dead eyes started showing signs of life upon finding a poorly dressed youth strutting the down the cobbled pavement surrounded by four other older youths. The younger boy was obviously bought up in an impoverished family. His clothes looked as if they were hand me downs that had seen generations of use and his scrawny frame suggested slight malnourishment.

Like a predator stalking its prey Jegar started to prowl after the group as they roamed Dunstar’s limited number of roads. As he saw the group slip down a side alleyway between two houses obviously taking a shortcut Jegars eyes grew brighter knowing that the moment he was waiting for had arrived. Quickening his steps Jegar hurried into the dark alleyway. Checking there were no other people present in the confined alleyway Jegar shouted out and identified his quarry "Tern"

Starting, the young youth leading the scraggly band of boys quickly turned about as he heard his name getting ready to run if need be, but upon seeing Jegar was the one who called him a sadistic smile broke out onto the boy named Tern’s face. The illegitimate son of the towns biggest crime syndicate Tern was no stranger to a back alley brawl or having a weapon pulled on him, despite not having even reached the age of seven yet. Forged in the fires of the streets Tern was made of harder stuff than a lot of those so called pot-bellied guards up on the towns walls were. "What can I do for you Horaxs?" A sneer was plastered over Tern’s young face which was replicated eerily well by the goons surrounding him.

A smile light up Jegars face as he got the intended result. "Nothing snot rag just wondering how your bruises are looking from the beating I gave you last month" the comment had the effect of twisting Tern’s sneer into an explicitly wonderful expression in Jegar’s view. With a tip of the head from Tern two of his underlings started menacingly advancing towards the younger boy.

"I ain't got time to be beating you Horaxs, fuck off or I'll make sure you ain't bothering no one again" the callous threat made Jegar chuckle before he launched himself at the two boys coming towards him. As if shot from a bow Jegar got up close to both of them before they had the time to react. He punched the bigger of the boys square on the chin dropping him quickly. Before he had time to turn to deal with the other he was hit sideways into the wall. A bright rabid light was burning in Jegar’s eyes as he turned around to face the second lad. Unnerved slightly by that look the youth stepped back. Becoming frenzied Jegar ran at him and hit him in the stomach as hard as he could. As the boy fell over a knee was planted accurately in between his eyes cleanly knocking him out.

"Come on little boy" Surges of adrenaline pumped through Jegar’s system making him feel more alive than his ever been before, this is what he lived for, the fights and brawls. With a burning sense of invincibility he beckoned Tern to come to him.

With a sinister smile Tern slowly stepped forward "this ain't gonna happen like last month Horaxs, pops treated me to a little gift that'll leave you black and blue" saying so Tern suddenly flew forward. Surprise was evident on Jegar’s face as Tern’s speed far outmatched his own. Normally he had the physical jump on the little mobster it was only Tern’s ferocity that made it a close fight. Jegar could only watch in shock as Tern’s fist struck him square in the nose sending him sprawling to the floor. Blood flowed down his face as he looked up at the smug boy who looked as if he had finally plucked a thorn from his side. Without any mercy Tern started kicking the fallen Jegar till he was black and blue all over.

Finally he grew bored soon after Jegar stopped making noises every time he was hit. Turning around the victorious youth lead his friends out of the alley. One of the last things Jegar heard before he slipped unconscious was one of Tern’s friends laughing and saying "Shows how strong cultivators are, you've only been practicing for a month and you can already beat the crap out of Horax" Curiosity laid claim to Jegar’s heart as he wondered about the strength of these cultivators before the flickering flame of his conscience slipped underwater and was dowsed.

A frigidly cold shiver ran through Jegar’s body as he slowly got up. The dim morning light that had illuminated the alley as he was beaten had long ago transformed into a crisp bright afternoon light. A smile was, despite his injuries, still present on Jegar’s bruised and beaten face. Elation filled him every time he thought about the power that Tern was able to display, a thirst for that same power engraved itself deep into Jegar’s persona.

If one was to inquire about the small Horax clan in the town of Dunstar they would be told that the Horax clan was a rather weak and meagre farming clan that might possibly produce a cultivator every decade if lucky but could very possibly starve through a particularly rough winter. As well as the name of the patriarch of the clan Melrune Horax there was another name that was closely attached to the clan, Jegars. The young individual was well known throughout the town for being a strong fighter having gotten into brawls with most of the towns youths. Having such a reputation displeased his mother however his father and the clan’s elders looked upon him with a more favourable gaze seeing him as a young talent who could potentially bring glory to the clan in the future.

Jegar slowly rose to his feet supporting himself against the bricked wall behind him. Sorely limping he began the journey back home where he could lick his wounds and recuperate. The limping boy drew more than a few looks from the surrounding citizens in the streets, however the locals who were aware of Jegars reputation looked on with smiling gazes.

A roving patrol of guards caught sight of the limping lad, instantly bemused grins lit up their faces. Jegars antics were something that most of them had broken up once or twice themselves. Mocking raucous cries erupted from the lot “Bite off more than you could chew hey Jegar?”

“Finally got that deserved pasting eh?”

“Tern looks pretty smug today Jegar”

The captain of the squad soon restored order to the rowdy bunch before giving Jegar a bemused look “better luck next time kiddo”

Jegar responded with a grin and a nod of thanks. Throughout his long journey home Jegar sparked amusement in the eyes of the countless adults watching him. He was the personification of their boisterous childhoods and for that the residents loved Jegar despite their children coming back home roughed up occasionally because of him.

Making it back home to his clan’s street Jegar quickened his pace to get home. He soon stumbled through the threshold into his house. It was a single storey building with five rooms that were sparsely decorated apart from the bare essentials required for living. His home was vacant at the moment as his parents were both out working on the clans fields tending to the crops, the clans livelihood, he himself being an only child meant he was home alone currently. Limping into his room he fell onto a pile of blankets on the floor that sufficed as a bed. Lying there blissfully he soon fell into the warm embrace of sleep.

The clattering of items snapped Jegar back to wakefulness. Groggily blinking the sleep and blood out of his eyes he gets out of bed with a low moan. His limp had become a lot more pronounced since he had fallen asleep, his face was drastically swollen and cracked in places turning a bright blue and a deep purple around his right eye which was fully shut.

As he entered the kitchen gruff laughter greeted his arrival “I heard today that Tern’s punk of a dad gave him quite the cultivating technique, The Raging Iron Bull if I heard right. So if I was you I wouldn’t make too much trouble for him” His father’s amused deep voice advised him. A six foot tall bear of a man sat by a roaring fire, deep laughter lines were carved into his face surrounding a pair of wise deep set eyes that reflected the glittering fire light, thick facial hair hid the man’s neck that was practically as thick as Jegars waist. The man’s body posture suggested he commanded respect but seemed open and gentle simultaneously. Ragged hands that had obviously been worked hard beckoned for Jegar to come closer.

Limping over to his father Jegar stood before him awkwardly. Before his father he felt ashamed he had lost the fight and under the gentle but stern gaze of the women cooking across the room he felt ashamed that he was in another fight. His mother stood there delicately with the pose of a noblelady, her thick brown locks fell flawlessly down her back. The gaze that was making Jegar awkward was from two tender eyes that bespoke love and charity. The women's graceful air was disrupted by her hands that were cracked and chapped a quality that showed how hardworking she was.

Wincing from the giant hands that were washing away the blood from a cut on his eyebrow caused his father to chuckle "Don't laugh Juggar it's not funny at all and you, you foolish cretin if you hadn't been so badly battered today we could be testing you fighting potential right now" the stern words caused Juggars smile to become even wider. Jegars eyes opened in shock at his mothers words and he turned around with his jaw agape.

Everyone in the clan knew Jegar wanted to become a warrior and fight for a living but in fact his ambitions had changed slightly after fighting Tern he now longed to become a cultivator. But his parents knew not of this and so using a few of his fathers connections, whom he had from his devious childhood, had proceeded to get Jegar a private testing for his fighting potential. Normally this is done on the first day every new year and only thirteen year olds are allowed to be tested. But because of Jegars infamous reputation his father had managed to persuade a close friend to allow him to be tested early.

Wiping the smile of his face but allowing it to remain in his eyes Juggar responded "Arine don't fret my dove, fights are a part of every warriors childhood, besides Kenith will personally come here to test our boy so it's no hinderance"

Seeing Juggar's mirth filled eyes Arine's temper frayed. Sometimes she condemned living in a house with two brawlers "Do you really think it's alright for Kenith to see Jegar in such a state?" Her soothing voice turned a little shrill as she snapped at her husband.

"He's seen me looking far worse dove" His wife's irritated response only served to fuel Juggar's mirth. An observer could easily tell where Juggar got his pronounced laughter lines from. Arine just clicked in the back of her throat and turned around, annoyed at her husbands tricky tongue.

Jegar threw his father an elated grin, joy surging through his heart at the thought of being able to see how far he would go in the future. Winking at his son Juggar felt proud as a father looking at his young boy. If it turned out that Jegar had good cultivating potential then it was very possible that he would be allowed to participate in the cultivating lessons before the age of thirteen, something which had only happened once in the past century. That great figure had gone on to become a rank one cultivator, powerful characters in any kingdoms arsenal. But even if Jegar had no cultivating talent Juggar would still be proud of his sons strong fighting spirit, something he valued in any man.

Two clear knocks sounded on the family's door before Kenith Grundun proudly strode into the threshold. This man was in charge of the towns training program for cultivating candidates. Cropped blonde hair crowned a middle aged handsome face and a square jaw, eyes that spoke of youth but also the seniority of age and the weight of responsibility stared out under bushy eyebrows. The Grundun clan was a relatively strong power in the town of Dunstar being second in position to the Fierach clan who were the overlords of the area. As far as terms of seniority goes in the Grundun clan Kenith was an elder, the youngest elder in the clan, he was an elder of the second strongest clan in the Dunstar meaning he's a very influential person indeed whose words could cause change.

"Kenith" a smile lit up Juggar's face as he strode forward and embraced his old friend smothering him in his bulk. After breaking up he quickly led Kenith through the house to the kitchen where Arine and Jegar were.

"Juggar you old dog how are you?" Kenith responded with a charismatic chuckle.

"Not to bad my dear friend" Juggars hearty laugh came deep from his chest.

"That's good to hear Juggar, it really is. It's good to see you Arine as well, you look as radiant as ever" Kenith smile was bright and spread to his eyes as he said so. Arine just tilted her head towards Kenith and smiled sincerely at his heart felt compliment. Then he turned to Jegar "I've heard all about you getting a hiding from a pup younger than yourself, you're lucky he beat you so hard otherwise I'd inflict some damage for you losing" jested Kenith. Jegar just grinned sheepishly in response. "Juggar I won't be able to stay long this time round, places to be and what not so let's get this going" Juggar nodded in acknowledgment.

After receiving the all clear from Juggar Kenith took out a opaque fingernail sized crystal. The crystal had a bizarre way of reflecting light that made it fade from ones vision, if you didn't realise it was there you could very easily not notice it. In a singular smooth motion Kenith reached out and nicked the scab on Jegars eyebrow drawing a single drop of blood which dripped onto the crystal. Jegar didn't flinch at all from the pain which drew a smile from Kenith as he admired the boys fighter traits.

The drop was absorbed completely into the crystal turning it a scarlet red that was dazzling to behold. The tension was palpable in the air as time passed. With every single passing second the smile on Keniths face faded slightly. After twenty seconds had passed the crystal began to grow slightly luminescent and shone very slightly but one had to look very closely to see it. Disappointment flashed across the faces of Juggar, Kenith and Arine however it was quickly buried by all three of them. Juggar fell back down into his wooden chair by the hearth with a heavy sigh.

"I'm sorry my friend, Arine look after yourself" clasping Juggar on the shoulder apologetically Kenith turned to leave before stopping momentarily before turning and giving Jegar a wink "don't let it get you down to much my little fighter, some things aren't meant to be"

Since Jegar could remember he loved getting into fights, there was only one thing he enjoyed more and that was winning them. Everyday life bored him, there was nothing that could make him come alive apart from a ferocious brawl, as the adrenaline got flowing he felt as if his existence had meaning, he felt as if he belonged and standing triumphant felt even more proper and right. Jegar was no fool he had caught the look of disappointment that flitted through his fathers face but he had hoped he was wrong. However Keniths condolences confirmed his suspicions and tore him apart. He wasn't talented enough to enrol in Dunstar's training program. He didn't posses enough talent to become a solider let alone a heavenly cultivator. The power that Tern had displayed would never be able to be replicated by him. This realisation had crushed his young heart because to win fights he needed power but to posses power one needed talent something he lacked apparently. Despite his tough exterior Jegar was still a seven year old child and to have his dream crushed in a moment wasn't something a seven year old was physiologically equipped to deal with.

As soon as he heard Kenith close the door Jegar allowed a single tear to fall down his face before he turned around and as fast his limping legs could carry him ran out of the house. "Jegar" Juggars rough voice carried after him as he dashed away.

"Let him have some time" his mothers deft hands pressed down upon Juggars shoulders forcing him back into his seat as he went to chase after his crestfallen son. "He needs time to be alone right now and sort things out, let him have it. Last thing a proud boy like that wants is to cry in front of his father"

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