Chapter 1 – Feather of Hope

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Atlas had always wanted to stay normal and enjoy the comfort and warmth of his family.

One day, when Atlas was 9-year old, his mother was inside the labor room to give birth to his siblings.

Outside of the labor room, he could hear the people talking to his mother from time to time to appease the pain she’s feeling.
The medical team said, “You’re doing fine and you’re doing great, Ma’am. We’re almost there, just a little push.
They continued, “Breathe in and breathe out.”
“It hurts,” the patient cried. Hearing his mother screamed for help, Atlas was scared as to what might happen to his mother. And he was also confused about his contrasting feelings. Since he was glad that he was going to be a big brother. But at the time, he was scared because his mother kept on screaming for help.

Only allowed on

A 6’5-foot-tall muscular man with long golden hair, not far from Atlas, walked back and forth outside of the labor room.
The man tried to open the door of the labor room but stopped halfway through it.
He said, “Dad, please stop. It’s making me dizzy.”
“What do you know—now, would you look at that!” His father’s voice was really deep and strong. He seemed to see Atlas’s hands. They were shaking and sweating at the same time.
“Why can’t we go inside, Dad?” he asked. He hid his hand behind his back.
He sat down near him and said, “The gods are looking for your old man… I can’t—I tell you when you grow up.”
Atlas stood up and said, “But, I’m big already!”
“You sure are. Look at you, big and strong, aren’t we?” said his father while ruffling Atlas’s hair.
Annoyed, Atlas slapped it away. “I’m already 4th grader, and I’m going to become way bigger than you are since I’ll be a big brother soon!”
“You sure are excited. How about we play your favorite game after this?” He asked. Laughing with his son’s antics, he grabbed him, had him sat on his lap, and hugged him tight as gentle as he could.
Altas’s trembling stopped. His father was really warm and reliable.
He continued, “Dad.”
“Yes,” his father said, “my boy, do you have anything you want to tell me?”
“I’m scared,” he said. “I don’t know why.”
“It’s okay not to know everything, Son,” he said. “But what are scared of?”
“Mom will have to work thrice to look after us,” he said. “I don’t want Mom to get exhausted.”
“Why am I not included?” he asked. “You rascal—”
“Dad’s strong but Mom isn’t. She’s… she’s not how she used to be.” He looked confused and his hands started to tremble.
His father peeked at Atlas’s eyes and laughed. “My boy’s worrying about his mother—”
“She getting weaker, and I can see it.”
“What do you mean, Son?”
“The green lights are fading.”

“But yours are spreading all over the place, Dad! What is it, and why is spreading?” His eyes were shining like stars in the night sky. He tried wiggled to jump out of his father’s embrace. But his father’s embrace was quite strong. He had to give up. Soon the brilliance in those eyes faded when he saw how serious his father’s expression.
“Dad?” He tugged his father’s clothes.
“Stay here and be a good boy. And don’t do anything, okay?” His father had him sat down. He ruffled his hair once more and hugged him for a minute. Then he went inside the room without waiting for his answer. “I don’t wanna do this. But I just can’t… stop the inevitable.”
A second passed, he looked back again at Atlas who appeared very confused.

“Just stay right there, I’ll be right back—and oh, don’t worry about Mom. Dad got this!” He smiled at him.
“Okay,” said Atlas. His face was very stiff and bland. ‘Did I do something wrong?’ He thought to himself.
Meanwhile inside the labor room.
The cries of the patient didn’t stop when another person came inside.
“Honey—ah!” the beautiful woman noticed him and screamed, “what are you doing here!”
“Please don’t bother us, sir. You can watch at the side, sir. But please don’t do anything,” said the nurse, who was currently assisting the operation.
Ignoring his wife, Atlas’s father said, “I won’t do anything, Doc. But can I please hold my wife’s hand—”
“Braum—how could you! Get out!” His wife’s cries went on.
“Sir,” the doctor said, “your wife doesn’t want to see you.”
Braum said, “I won’t do anything, Doc.” Then he looked at his wife. “Honey, would you please calm down.”
“Braum,” she said, “don’t you dare get near me!”
She seemed to be crying rather than being angry. He walked. And when he got closer to his wife, he smiled, held her hands, and said, “It’s a good thing I got in time—a good thing, Elise.”
“Why did you get here, Braum?”
“I know everything, Elise,” he said, “You don’t have to hide it from me. We don’t have much time, honey.”
“I don’t know how found out,” Elise said. “But they would find this place if you do something.”
“I know,” Braum said. “But this family is all we got. Please.”
“Honey, don’t do this,” she pleaded. “I can go but you can’t. They need you.”
Braum smiled wipe the tears out of her beautiful face, “I’ll be back, and I know you’ll be a great mother to our three little angels.”
He snapped his finger and a ball of light expanded out of his body and surround the entire hospital. People around him stopped moving, except for Elise who seemed to be choking down a cry.
Atlas, who was outside of the room, saw that the people had stopped moving. He, as well, never moved an inch just like what his father said.
“Unseal the ancient seal,” Braum said. Mnemonic of different kinds started to glow and formed a chain of tattoos around his body. His upper body started to burn as the chains moved around igniting everything it touched—leaving only his bare upper body which looked like it was chiseled by an artist from ancient times. He sat down and started to pray. “Forgive, Braum, for sinning.’

Meanwhile, in a distant place, a gigantic humanoid creature with a slit on his forehead woke up. The space around him trembled as he moved. “What is this—” it said, “–so this is it. I finally found you, Braum!”

“My boy, come here,” Braum said. “Look at your lovely sisters, aren’t they simply the cutest?”
“Yes,” Atlas agreed, “they are.” He offered his hands but it was ignored by the twins who were sleeping close to Elise.

“Look at you,” Braums said. “Look at your eyes.” Braum laughed at his son.
“Don’t worry they’re tired,” Elise said. She ruffled Atlas’s head as usual. She added, “Aren’t they the prettiest, Altas?”
“Yes,” Atlas agreed,” they are. They’re my sister after all.” He nodded his head repeatedly.

The two adults looked at each other and laughed.
“Of course they are,” Braum said. “Who do you think your mother and your father are?” Braum treated the matter as of course.

“You silly little boy,” Elise said. “You’re finally acting like a kid at your age.
“When you’re big you’ll need to protect your dad’s back, aright?”
“Yes,” he nodded. “I will also protect our family, and then mom will be happy right?”
“Of course, Mom will be happy if you can look after Emma and Elsa, the new additions to our big family.”
That day went on like that…

Atlas wanted everything to stay the same—a strict but loving father and a very gently mother who were always there for them.
Atlas’s parents were the type of parents who did everything they could for their children to a fault—to a fault indeed… And, yes for some good reasons the gods had made his life as normal as possible. Although it was short-lived, he’d enjoyed it very much.

The sudden tragedy of his mother and the disappearance of his father. Everything could never be the same again.
Since then Atlas had always agreed to the saying good things wouldn’t stay the same for much longer.

A few years had passed. Atlas was having a good day with a cup of coffee when out of sudden someone whispered, “Look within yourself and tell me what you see.”
The beautiful blue sky got ripped apart like it was made from cotton.
“Look within yourself and tell me what you see,” whispered the voice again.
“I see nothing.” He looked around in askance, “What do you want?”

Meanwhile, the people outside his house took their smartphones out and started taking photos of the strange phenomenon above. While some ran as soon as they saw the red flashes of lightning intersecting from one another the other ones begged for every gods and goddess they know to save them.
But he knew that no one except for themselves was capable of saving their own lives in this situation.
Chills ran immediately through Atlas’s back when he saw what was happening outside. Unknowingly, his body started to move and run outside before he knew it. He shouted to the people who were trying to take photos to run. He cursed them inside his head for being stupid and ignorant.
Unfortunately, they weren’t able to hear him. Or maybe they chose not to believe him.
“Look within yourself and tell me what you see, Atlas.” The voice inside his head kept on reminding of a vague memory he had as a child.
He grabbed his head and shouted as memories of the distant past kept on flooding back.

At the center of the park, a kid pulled the black suit of his father. “Dad, Dad, what is that light? It looks beautiful.”

Braum kneeled on one knee and scrambled the boy’s hair. He said, “No matter what happens— remember that Dad loves you, okay?”
The boy smiled. “Yes, Dad”

“Dad will give you a gift, aright?” he said. “You need to treasure it.”
Braum gave him a golden feather, and said, “Keep it with you at all times, Atlas. It will help you when you needed it the most.”
Atlas received it and stared for a very long time.
“Uh-huh, magic? Where did you hide this Dad? Dad? Where are you? Dad?” The poor little boy had been shouting for his father to come out, but it seemed that his father had vanished into thin air as he received not a single sign of answer from his search.
In the sky above, an angelic man, who was covered with silver armor and mnemonic, displayed a sad smile. “I’m sorry my child but your old man has to go.” He pulled a sword made out of light from his back as his eyes blazed with battle spirit, and with a swish, he confronted the cracks in the sky that were about to split the world open.
“You shall not pass–Light of Judgement!”
“Look within yourself and tell me what you see.”
Atlas was immediately brought back to reality. Looking around, he knew that everything would be too late if he wouldn’t be able to figure out a way of this situation.
Rumbling noise echoed outside. Beams of light passed through the small fractures of the skies and went straight to the people below.
Atlas snapped his finger and a white light expanded out of his body and surrounded the entire city. The people outside seemed to stop moving as if they were on pause—no, every single thing stopped moving!
“Feather,” he said, “of hope, it’s time… for you to come once more.” Atlas placed his hands on his chest. A golden light flickered out from his heart—pulsing and emitting tremendous power. It was exponentially flushing energy across his body—strengthening every single fiber of his very existence.
Then, finally, the feather came out and shone with the grandness of a king—the sound similar to a church bell rang from time to time.
Overflowing with light and power, the small feather gradually transformed into a sword in front of him. “Atlas Nightshade will you bear the burden?” “Yes, I will. I will bear the burden!” He tried to grab to the hilt of the sword but there was some kind of force that propelled his hand from reaching it.
“Show me your determination, oh, great Atlas,” the sword hummed as it propelled him.
Atlas screamed and muster strength that he could have never dream of. He strengthened his determination. Once again, he forced his way to grab the hilt.
When Atlas grabbed the sword, he felt the world around him. He felt the world became serene.
Waves of powerful energy burst out from the collision of the hand and the hilt of the sword.
“Clink, clink, clink!” His body started to float up. He stretched his arms and legs while the light and energy from the sword spread across his body. It forged a heroic black armor around his body.
He snapped his fingers and time in the area flowed once again.
“God’s shields–protect thy people!” He stretched his hands to the sky. A beam of light burst as particles above the sky formed a massive dome that covered the people from imminent danger. The people around were shaken to their core, “What is that?”
The dome blocked the vast array of lighting. The explosive sounds continued to ring forth as more lightning struck the dome.

‘I always wanted to be normal. And for some good reasons the gods have made me live a normal life. Although it was short, I enjoyed everything,’ He thought.
Gripping the feathered sword tightly, Atlas swung it at the sky. He chanted, “Light of Judgement!” A massive explosion followed suit. It ripped the sky apart and closed the fractures…

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