Chronicles of a Soulborn: Chapter 1

Chronicles of a Soulborn: Chapter 1

in which our protagonist chooses his own identity and has an otherworldly experience that he cannot explain.

Tomorrow is my Naming Day. I still haven't decided on a name, and quite frankly I've never had a problem with the name that I was born into, but my father insists that this is an important tradition: a time at which I chose my own identity and way in life. In other words, it's not just about choosing a new name, but also deciding who I want to be.

Both of my parents are farmers. Our family has been known for generations to breed some of the best horses in Elyria. In fact, the Duke himself currently rides one of our fastest Thoroughbreds and many of the nearby Barons rely almost exclusively on our horses for their cavalry (some still prefer a good War Trison, but who can blame them). We also raise cattle and chickens and grow wheat and barley, though we have hired hands to help with most of that. Having grown up on a farm, I've always been comfortable around animals; it would probably make sense to continue developing those skills.

While they are both farmers first, my parents have a smattering of other interests that they have passed on to me as well. My mother is an experienced hunter and trapper. She has taken me with her a couple of times into the Crimson Forest to the south of our village, so named after the red oaks that grow there, to hunt for rabbits and foxes and, when in season, elk. My father, on the other hand, has done some work on the side as a scribe whenever folks in our village needed a contract written up or something like that. He taught me to read and write from an early age, and while I'm nowhere near as good as he is, I've learned enough to be able to start keeping our farm's inventory.

Of course, I have other options as well. Just because I've grown up on the farm doesn't mean that's what I have to do. There are a number of experienced tradesmen in town who are always looking for young apprentices. Most of them are rural trades like leatherworking and blacksmithing, but if I was interested I could travel to Delnoch to the north. It's a much bigger city and has a larger selection of trades to choose from, such as carpentry or even candle making, although neither of those really sound interesting to me. And now I'm just rambling.

I know that I don't have to decide right now what I want to do with the rest of my life, I just have to decide who I want to be known as for the rest of my life. It just seems like the two go hand in hand, so it's appropriate that I can't figure out either.

I had the strangest dream last night. I was exploring a vast library, but I didn’t have a body. Instead, I was just a wisp of blue smoke floating around wherever I wanted. The strange part was that it seemed perfectly normal. There were other wisps of smoke of all different colors floating around as though there were other people there, and nobody seemed bothered by the fact that they had no body. I walked, or floated I guess, up to a specific closed door. I didn’t know exactly what was behind that door, but I was certain it was where I needed to go. Just as the door began to open, I woke up.

The sun was finally starting to peek over the hills, so I got out of bed. I went over to my dresser to pick out some clothes and found my first present: a set of new clothes with a note that read “Happy Birthday” from my parents. They weren’t anything fancy, just some brown work pants, a white cotton shirt, and dark brown leather boots, but the quality was significantly better than I was used to. My family has always been very self sufficient and all of my life my parents have made my clothes for me, but these looked tailored as though they had been made by a professional in town. I slipped them on and headed out to start on my daily chores.

Even though we have hired workers to help with most of the farm work, there are still chores for me to do. After milking the cows, I brushed the horses and let them into the field to run around for awhile. Next, I went to the chicken coop to gather the eggs. As I was putting them into my basket, I saw a sudden flash of light and I was back in that strange library from my dream the night before. I was standing in front of that same door, reaching out to open it, then - flash! - the vision ended...and I was standing in the chicken coop with broken egg all over my new boots.

After cleaning up the mess I’d made, I took the remaining eggs inside. My mother was in the middle of cooking breakfast, which was a relief, because after doing my morning chores I was famished. In our family when it is someone’s birthday, that person gets to pick whatever they want (within reason) for breakfast and I had picked beef steaks and eggs. Mom was just flipping a steak and Dad was putting the finishing touches on a new contract the mayor had requested when I walked in.

“Good morning,” they both said as I entered.

“Morning,” I replied, setting the basket of eggs down on the table. “Thank you for my new work clothes. They’re really nice, although I’ve already soiled them a bit.” Looking down, I explained, “I dropped one of the eggs on my boot this morning.”

“Oh, no worries,” my mother replied. “They are work clothes, after all.”

We enjoyed a hearty breakfast and I cleaned up the dishes before we started in on presents. It is traditional on a child’s Naming Day for his parents to give him gifts to help him start his own journey in life. I didn’t really need my own farming equipment since there was already plenty around the farm, and if that’s what I decided to do in life then it would be readily available for me to use. Instead, my mother gave me some trapping supplies and a skinning knife and my father gave me a brand new quill, ink, and some parchment.

“Thank you,” I told him before taking my new belongings back to my room. When I came back out to the kitchen my parents were both sitting at the table with expectant smiles on their faces. When I realized what they were waiting for, my stomach sank. With all of my chores and the excitement of breakfast and presents I’d almost forgotten what came next.

“So,” my father began, “what name have you chosen for yourself?”

“Well, I…” I started, but I didn’t know what to say. I still hadn’t decided on a name and being put on the spot like that certainly hadn’t helped. I wiped my suddenly sweaty palms on my pants. My vision started to blur as the room began slowly spinning. I tried to sit down at the kitchen table but my legs wouldn’t move. I then did the only thing that a mann in my situation could be expected to do. I blacked out.

I was no longer in my kitchen. Instead I was back in that strange library, existing as a wisp of smoke, hovering in front of that door. This time I didn’t immediately wake up but instead pushed the door open and moved into the room. As the door closed I found myself inside of what looked like a large study. There were shelves full of books and scrolls lining the walls and the room was lit by the warm glow of several braziers. The room felt familiar and safe even though I don’t remember having ever seen anything like it before.

I drifted further into the room and came to rest on a small platform which occupied the very center. I remained there for what felt like hours just...what was I doing? Meditating? No, contemplating. I was contemplating my life, but not the life I had already lived up to that point. I was contemplating the life that I now wanted to live; who I wanted to be, what I wanted to do, where I wanted to live.

I suddenly felt that my time there was complete and it was time to leave. An unknown source of light caused the room to quickly grow brighter and brighter until the light drowned out the room completely and all I could see was white everywhere. That’s when I woke up on the floor of my kitchen with my parents kneeling over me.

“Are you okay, son? What happened?” my father asked, helping me to sit up. According to them I was only out for a few seconds even though it felt like my dream had lasted for hours.

“I’m fine,” I replied, but I wasn’t fine. Something felt...different. I felt different. I felt awake. Like, truly awake for the first time in my life. More importantly, I suddenly knew who I was. I whispered, “Kamin”.

“What was that?” my father asked.

“Kamin. You had asked what my new name is. It is Kamin.” I was still trying to make sense of everything that had happened, but I finally knew who I was and it felt amazing. The future still held a lot of mystery and uncertainty, but it now also held wonder and excitement. I couldn’t wait to get started with my new life, for it was certainly a new life that I had woken up to, not just a continuation of my old life under a new name. I didn’t know what that meant, but for some reason it felt amazing!

The rest of the day passed without any incident. After breakfast my father wanted to take me into town to run some errands, but both my parents were concerned about my blackout. I assured them that I just hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before and was just really nervous about having to choose a name, but that I was fine now. So my father and I went into town and he bought me some new maps from the school of cartography. While he was a good scribe, my father didn’t know much about map making and always purchased his maps from the school.

“I know that you already know your way around town,” he told me, “but these maps will help you find your way around the county you ever decide you want to travel. We’re here in the town of Bris,” he said pointing to the map, ”and to the north is the city of Delnoch. From there you can easily travel to many other towns and cities in the county since it’s a major hub for commerce. A lot of travelers pass through there.”

My father had taken me to Delnoch many times before so I knew my way pretty well already, but I had never traveled beyond that. Looking at the map and all of the surrounding settlements, my heart started racing with excitement. I had lived my entire life on the farm and never really thought much about leaving, but since my experience that morning I suddenly realized how big the county and indeed Elyria itself was and how little of it I’d actually seen. The deciduous forest surrounding Bris was beautiful and would always feel like home, but I’d heard stories of exotic lands like the marshes where the ground was always wet and homes had to be built on stilts to keep them from sinking, or the semi-arid deserts to the far south where water could only be found deep underground most of the year, or the tundra to the north where cold temperatures were so common that trees practically didn’t grow at all! What kind of people lived in those places? How were their lives different from mine? I was of course familiar with the various tribes of Mann. There were even some Kypiq and To’resk living in Delnoch, but I couldn’t begin to imagine what it was like to live anywhere other than where I had grown up.

On our way home, my father and I stopped at a few other shops. He picked up a crate of new horseshoes and bridles from the blacksmith, bought some ink at the general store, and traded hides for some sort of package from the fletcher. I hardly noticed any of this, though, because I was too busy studying my new maps, trying to decide where I would one day want to visit first.

When we returned home, I helped him unload the cart. I carried the crate from the blacksmith out to the stable as my father took his new ink inside, which left the package from the fletcher. I took it inside not knowing what it was.

“Where should I put this?” I asked.

My mother waited for my father to come out of his study, and then replied with a smile, “Open it. It’s for you.”

I set the package down on the table and unwrapped the brown paper around it. What lay inside took my breath away. It was an exquisitely crafted shortbow made from some sort of dark red wood that I’d never seen before.

“It’s beautiful,” I exclaimed.

“It’s made from the strong red oak of the Crimson Forest. The wood isn’t naturally red, of course, but I had it stained to symbolize its origin. Do you like it?”

“I love it!” I replied.

“The world can be a dangerous place, Kamin. Even the Crimson Forest is home to some fearsome creatures if you venture too far into it. It’s good to always be prepared to protect yourself if the need arises, but you’ll need to learn to use it first.”

Everything that had happened to me today, holding that bow in my hands, reading those maps earlier, made me feel like a completely different person. It all started after I’d had that dream about the library, and while it was exciting, it also frightened me a little. I decided to tell my parents about my dream and the vision I’d had when I blacked out.

“Mom, Dad,” I started, setting the bow down on the table. “Something happened to me this morning.”

“When you passed out?” my father asked.

“Yes, and before that too. I had a dream, sort of, though it felt like more than just a dream. I was in this library…” My parents sat very quietly as I told them all about the library, about being made of smoke, about seeing all of these other disembodied beings, about the strange door that led to the smaller room, and about my experience inside.

“That’s what happened when I collapsed this morning, and when I woke up I felt completely different. I felt alive for the first time. Not that my life up to this point had felt meaningless,” I rushed to assure them, “just that I felt...different. I don’t know what it all means.”

My parents looked at each other and my father took a deep breath. “From what you’ve described, it sounds like you’ve been given...a soul.”

“A soul? Like a spirit?” I asked.

“Sort of. All living things have a spirit, but for whatever reason, some menn on their Naming Day receive a soul. It’s a special kind of spirit that goes on living long after you die. Nobody really understands why some menn receive one and some don’t, but one thing is for certain. You, Kamin, are special. And I don’t mean that in the way that all parents think that their kids are special. Receiving a soul is a very special gift. Very few people receive one, and those who do are called Soulborn.”

Soulborn. I had heard the name before but I thought it was just something from a story.

“So what does that mean, being a Soulborn?” I asked. “Are you saying I have special powers or something?”

“Not exactly,” my mother chimed in. “Soulborn aren’t mystical creatures, but they do tend to learn things faster, make friends and enemies more easily, and rise above the challenges of life in a way that can seem supernatural. Not all who have souls go on to greatness, but without exception, those who change the world and shape the future of Elyria, good or bad, are Soulborn.”

This was a lot to take in. I thought my dreams had simply been my subconscious self trying to deal with the stress of my Naming Day, but now I’ve learned that I’m different, that I’m special, that I’m...a Soulborn. And yet, as my parents were explaining it to me, I knew that they were right. It would be as if someone explained to me that I’d grown up on a farm or lived in Bris all my life. Despite being new information, it seemed intuitive, like I should have known it all along.

As mysterious and uncertain as my future may have seemed before, I was now, more than ever, eager to find out what lay in store for me.


Chapter 2

10/3/2017 12:36:51 PM #1


10/3/2017 2:40:02 PM #2

I haven't read it yet but i'm soooooooo excited GAAHHHH!!!

Update Post read

Wow, nice write-up, I really like how you tied the whole spark of life/Soul concept to the story, was a good first chapter to lay a foundation for future ones!

Alt text - can be left blank

10/3/2017 2:57:28 PM #3

Posted By StrawHat at 09:40 AM - Tue Oct 03 2017

I haven't read it yet but i'm soooooooo excited GAAHHHH!!!

This one just sets the stage. I've already started on chapter 2 which starts to introduce other characters. :)

10/3/2017 3:01:30 PM #4

Great start, I look forward to future chapters.

10/12/2017 4:01:09 PM #5

Great start keen to read on.

Just a lonely peasant on the road looking towards a distance future with the sweat on my back and a tear of cloth in my hand a family crest it must be. A adventure will i have, I dream of dreams my destiny awakens me.

Friend Code: A48E0C

Log in to post