Heart of Darkness

Written By: Kaleb Durstine

Heart of Darkness

Ages ago, in a time long forgotten, the world was filled with amazing creatures and peoples. Magic, love, war, and passion raged wildly as time relentlessly moved forward. It is in this world that the tragic story of Kaval Karthadin, a renowned wizard.

Magic was always a passion of Kaval since a young age, and he spent countless hours in study and practice to perfect his art. He was an active researcher, developing new magics and artifacts of power to use for the good of his nation's people or the harm of its enemies. His free time was dedicated to the love of his life, a beautiful and kind woman named Keira. He shared seven years of his life with her, and life was grand.

The more time Kaval put into his research, the more he uncovered and the more powerful he became. But magic is not a finite thing; there is always more to learn, more to discover. It was in this infinity of possibilities that Kaval formed an obsession with revealing all of magics nuances, even some of the darker ones, which led to tensions in his relationship. Keira felt that the more power he unearthed, the more he began to change. She asked him to stop his ceaseless work, or at least reduce it, but he would not listen. Their relationship grew tentative, and became very tense. In the heat of an argument, Keira offered Kaval an ultimatim; give up his obsession, and live the rest of his life with her, or she would leave him to his studies.

Kaval wanted her to stay in his life, but he couldn't abandon his life's work. He was devastated by Keira's loss, but turned his grief into fuel for his obsession. He left his home and made his lair in the ruins of an old dwarven city at the base of a mountain. He had to believe he made the right choice. He couldn't have lost it all for nothing.

Every discovery and every bit of progress prolonged his descent, encouraging him that he had made the right choice. As the months wore on into years, Kaval realized that he had made a grave error, though he refused to accept it. On the verge of insanity, he turned to ancient and dark magics, and infused his soul into a large onyx gem, shaped like a heart. No longer living, but not quite dead, he continued his research. He no longer needed to eat or sleep, and instead used all of his time to further his works.

Time wore on, and his body, no longer living, began to decay. His clothes became dirty and tattered. The halls of the old dwarven city quietly sounded with his shuffling footsteps as he tirelessly pursued his passion. Days wore on into weeks, weeks to months, and months to years. Kaval wasn't sure how long he had been gone, but it didn't matter to him. He was furthering himself. He learned of things no other researcher could claim to have the slightest notion of.

From time to time, Kaval would walk to his main chamber at the deepest part of the dwarven city. There, the onyx gem that held his soul, shaped like a heart, rested, surrounded by protective runes and inscriptions. Kaval would simply stare at it, feeling a strange connection to it that went beyond his unnatural tie. Its shape reminded him of something, someone, perhaps, that had once been important. He couldn't remember,though. Eventually, all he would see was the thing keeping him going; the thing allowing him to continue his research unhindered by mortal constraints. And he would walk up to it, and run his emaciated, decayed fingers slowly across its smooth edges. Across the onyx gem. Across his heart of darkness.