When that which was once bound to the earth takes to the sky, And that which was bound to the sky takes to the earth, The giant among giants shall open his heart, The serpent’s gaze will turn to ancestors long forgotten, The sins of men long past must be paid in blood, A trial taken, A warning given, A gift rejected, The wronged descend, Excerpt from “The Dreams of Grundvald the Mad”
Chapter 1 Gifts “Alright students, that about wraps it up for your last week of classes. Remember, you may have graduated high school, but this is nowhere near the end of the road. You must strive to better yourself. I hope to hear great things about you all later on when you guys move unto your careers after University. I am proud to have had the opportunity to teach you all.” Mr. Gomez said to the class as the last bell of the day rang. ‘Class is finally over! Summer Vacation here I come.’ Ray thought to himself with no small amount of eagerness as the rest of the class replied with several variations of “Thank you sir” and “We won’t let you down teach”. Ray himself was amongst them, after all, Mr. Gomez was an alright homeroom teacher and had been for all 4 years of the time he spent at school. A tall, Hispanic man with broad shoulders, an athlete’s physique with a head of black hair always neatly combed back, it was little wonder the man was extraordinarily popular amongst the female alumni. However, it was the man’s relentless devotion to his students that ultimately won the admiration of all the students under his care. Ray could not fathom himself having graduated without his teacher’s unyielding support throughout the years. Ray loved his baba, but a formal education did not seem to be something that his baba had in the past, although this was all just a hypothesis as the topic was something that was always sidestepped and never fully broached. As the students filed out of the classroom in their own separate cliques, Ray made his way over to Gomez’s desk, staying just out of the way to let the girls finish hugging their teacher goodbye. As he watched the surprisingly organized line diminish, he could not help but feel some melancholy clench his heart. Ray had never been an outcast per say, but his friends Ezekiel, Hannah and Roberto had left school just after exams were done, due to having received scholarships and needing to make arrangements for their leave. He had already said his goodbyes of course, but it would be the first summer vacation in his near memory that he had spent without them. Heck, not just the first summer vacation, but his first birthday without them. His friends were dear to him since they had been the first to not mind that he was a Mestizo boy with an adoptive Asian father. All the other neighborhood kids had been ruthless in their teasing about it. But not them, no, they were fascinated because his father represented stories outside of the usual folklore they would hear at their parent’s laps. He still remembered how Han would hem and haw whenever they would bug him for a story, Ray pretending to be the dutiful son by halfheartedly trying to convince his friends to do something else. When Han inevitably conceded, he’d act like he might as well make the most of it and settled in with them to listen. He took a quick glance at the mirror in the classroom, examining himself as he had been doing quite often as of late. He was of average height, being somewhere around 5’8”. Although his father would regularly train him in some self-defense techniques, he remained remarkable plain in the body type department. Not necessarily too thin yet not fat in any measure either, the best way to describe him would be well fed. His caramel skin a feature of being Mestizo, he was a good example of his ethnicity. His friends weren’t the only ones that had made plans to move.