[So this is a short story I made with the structure of being like a chapter in a book. The book- which I want to but probably don’t have the time or creativity to make- focuses on a young magic user named Harmony who draws her powers through a spiritual connection to the World Core of magic. She, after the death of her mentor, loses her magic and has to learn to cope with her grief, find her purpose, meet new friends, and maybe save her city from impending doom. This little bit takes place near the very beginning when she meets one of the core side characters, Jude.]

She could sense the figure a few paces behind her- like a strange otherworldly force showed her its location. But she wasn’t going to approach it. It was too far away. It could run. Instead, she continued striding down the street at the same pace until she sharply turned to the right into a line of shops and pressed her back to the inside wall. She could feel the presence approaching, different from other passersby who were walking in that same direction. She had to be patient. It was growing closer and closer and closer until-

Relying purely on instinct, her hand shot out and took hold of the arm of one of the people turning the corner. A guy, about the age of a college student, whipped around to face her and immediately held up his free hand, preparing to punch the girl in front of her- in which Harmony let go and jumped back. There seemed to be recognition in the man’s eyes upon realizing who was before him. 

Harmony quickly regained her composure. Fear was replaced with anger as she spat, “What’s your deal? Why are you following me?”

Now that she wasn’t fearing for the structural integrity of her face, she was able to properly analyze the man before her. He was rather slim with a paleish complexion- yet looked like he could pull off a good eight pull-ups. His hair was short, black, and shaved to the side, yet the front hung in his face at the right. He sported multiple piercings on his eyebrows and ears and his wardrobe consisted of a black sleeveless turtleneck, combat boot, and ripped jeans. He could likely pass as your typical goth except for the most startling parts of his appearance: the colorful tattoos covering his face and hands, all beautifully detailed and inked ranging from a thorned vine of roses along his arm to a set of rings on his hands to a transgender flag heartbeat on his shoulder.

His expression was suave and business-like as if he was dealing drugs at the back of a convenience store. “No need to get hostile,” was all he said.
“Well, I don’t like people following me like a creep. Why don’t you explain yourself, or I’ll make you leave,” she huffed, raising her hand cautiously to her earring. Despite her words, her chest was pounding with anxiety. What if this man actually attacked her? Would she have the reflexes to properly fight back?

The goth simply gave a small amused smirk and said, “You definitely live up to the name of the great Illia, don’t you, Harmony? To be honest, I thought you would be older.”

Harmony froze. Questions filled her head, but they weren’t loud enough to drive out the pain that had hit her at the sound of the familiar name of her mentor. She had refrained from even thinking about her because the memories only brought pain. So she shoved it away and focused on the questions. “How do you know my name?”

He shrugged in response. “I did some digging. Your mentor wasn’t exactly obscure, y’know. The famous Illia Everheart.”

She ignored the daggers pressing into her mind. Questions. Focus on the questions. “What about it? Why are you following me?”

“Direct. I like it,” he chuckled, “Perhaps I should introduce myself. Jude Cardinal, owner of Arcane Inks.” He smoothly pulled out a business card from his back pocket. It was bent and beat up, but the contact information was still clearly visible along with a large logo of a skull of mystical fog and the words “Arcane Inks” written in graffiti font.

“Okay…” she said uneasily as she took the card and scanned it.

“I’m a wizard specializing, but I’ve been doing some digging on more powerful magic styles and my research led me to Everheart which led me to you.”

Harmony didn’t like where this was heading, but she slowly nodded. “Okay,” was all she could really say.

“So I was wondering…” 

Oh no. Not this.

“Can you teach me world core magic?” he asked with a pleading yet cool smile.

Yep. She knew the words before they even touched his lips. She felt her posture grow hunched and anxious and her hands went to fidget with the crystal around her neck. “Oh…” In an instant, she pivoted and briskly started off the way she came with a quick, “Sorry no.”

“No?” he said, perplexed, starting off after her, “Look I don’t mind the age gap. Even if you aren’t as strong as Illia, even a little bit would help.”

“I’m sorry, sir. I can’t help you,” she simply squeaked, quickening her pace.

Jude groaned annoyed and slipped in front of her to block her way. “I won’t take no for an answer. You have no reason not to mentor me.”

“I have plenty,” she huffed, “Now, please get out of my way.”

“Not until you agree.”
“Sorry, can’t,” she said, annoyed, trying to step around him to no avail, “You’re blocking the sidewalk, you know.” She felt a headache building up, and it wasn’t helping her stress.

“Harmony, please.”

“Stop calling me by my name. It’s weird. And no means no. I won’t mentor you,” she said, narrowing her eyes.

“Why not?” he demanded.

Immediately, she snapped at him under the pressure. “BECAUSE I CAN’T-” But before she could finish her sentence, she stopped herself. This man didn’t deserve her emotional baggage, and she didn’t need to explain herself. “Because…I just can’t.” 

Jude seemed to understand this more. His annoyed expression was now one of solemn surprise. 

“I wish I could help you out, sir,” she sighed, “But I can’t. I’m not as amazing as my mentor. I’m not…as good as I’m made out to me.” Or good at all.

The man’s expression softened a bit. A bit of that smile returned and he repeated, “I’m fine with even learning a little.”

“You’ll find nothing of value with me,” she muttered, head lowered to the ground. She hated how helpless and pitiful her words came out. 

Yet pity never showed in his eyes. “Well you are the only world core magic-user in this city- maybe even in the whole region. It’s better than nothing.”

Somehow those words made her feel even worse- as if she had let the world down and allowed her magic to fade away from the world. But, she still didn’t want to touch it again. “No, it isn’t. You’re wasting your time with me.” She glanced up at the tattooed man, but could barely keep eye contact. She was too filled with shame as she mustered out. “I don’t use magic anymore.”

“What?” Jude asked, stunned.

“I’m sorry,” Harmony muttered, “Have a nice day. I hope you can find someone that can properly help you. With that, she stepped around him and began to walk away. Her hand slipped into her small satchel and retrieved a cloudy green crystal, already knowing how he would react.
“Hey, wait!” Jude called.

He ran after her with his spindly legs in long strides. Harmony merely glanced back at him, eyes clouded with hopeless misery. She held the gem to her chest and murmured an incantation with a light movement of her other hand. For a second, she glowed a faint blue before popping out of existence, leaving Jude to grasp only air.

She hoped that would be the last time she ever saw him.

[Just barely 5 pages]

(4/10/22) I made this specifically for this story. I think it came out good except for that crooked line which is definitely not bothering me. Don’t be fooled. this ain’t romance. Tattoo boy is strictly gay-
(4/4/22) Here is the 2nd concept art of Jude- drawn on the back of my math exam study guide. I designed all the tattoos meticulously, and I’m very proud of this!
(4/7/22) And this is my best drawing of Harmony- made on the back of my chemistry notes. You can see the trend here.


The amazing owner of WRandR!

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