• There is a legend that is known throughout the Arcia Reigion. The legend of The Harbinger of Doom. The Harbinger is an object that is said to bring the most terrible luck upon the owner, getting worse the longer it is possessed. The worst luck it can bring is death. The only way to be rid of it is if someone willingly accepts it. Nobody believes the tales of old anymore though, much like the young lord Ephraim. He would soon realize however that some legends were all too true.

    Ephraim was a kind person, loved by all in the town of Bruma. He would often be greeted by even the lowest of beggars. His father, Alcard, was the leader of all Arcia. Since Alcard was extremely busy, Ephraim was often caring for his sickly sister May when he didn't have any prior engagements. Ephraim was taking a walk through the streets of Bruma, when an old beggar woman addressed him. "You there, boy!" , she cried out. "Do you believe in fate?". Ephraim was surprised and hesitated to respond. "No, I don't. I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my own destiny." "We shall soon see if that sentiment will change.", the beggar replied. "Here, take this, I want nothing to do with it ever again!", she shreiked as she thrust an item into the lord's hands. "What are you--", Ephraim cut himself off when he saw what he held. It was a beautiful black crystal, which seemed to give of a radiant golden glow. When he looked up the beggar was gone. "Why is it that everytime I take a walk, I meet the most unusual characters?", Ephraim asked himself, as he pocketed the black stone. As he headed back toward the his father's castle, he could have sworn he heard a low humming. Ephraim thought it was just a small insect, so he brushed the air, tripping in the process. After recovering, he felt a slight pain, and noticed that he had scraped his hand. He bandaged it once he entered the main hall.

    Picking up a tray of food and water, Ephraim headed for his sister's room. After given permission to come in, he greeted May with a warm smile. "How are you feeling?" he asked. "I feel fine, brother. Oh, what happened to your hand?", May inquired. "Oh, I tripped coming in, I'm fine th- Argh!", Ephraim cried as he tripped on a rug, dropping everything on the tray. "Brother, are you sure you're ok? You're usually not this clumsy." May stated. "I'm fine..." he replied, wondering what was happening. "By the way, I aquired something interesting. Would you like to see it?" Ephraim asked. He reached into his pocket, taking out the crystal. "Huh? The glow seems to have gotten darker." Ephraim thought as he looked at the black stone. "Ephraim, it's beautiful! It almost looks magic, where did you find this?" May exclaimed. "I don't think you'd believe me if I told you. Oh, no, I'm late for my sword lessons!" He put the crystal back in his pocket and ran off. "I'll have a servant bring you your food! I'll see you after my lesson!" Ephraim cried out. He definetly knew he heard a humming sound this time. As he wondered what it was, he slammed into the main doorway. "Are you alright, my lord?" asked one of the servants. "I'm fine, I have to go." Ephraim replied as he ran towards the training grounds. He carried a feeling within him that something insidious was happening.

    On the way to the grounds, Ephraim showed several acts of clumsiness, knocking down goods, hurting himself, and knocking other people down, to name a few. Each time he knew he heard a resonating hum. When he got to the grounds, his trainer Cyrus stared at him with a stern look. "You're late.", Cyrus scolded. "Sorry, you wouldn't believe what's happened in the past couple of hours.", Ephraim apologized. "Do you think I care about how your day went, boy? Go grab a training blade.", Cyrus demanded. As Ephraim ran to the weapons, he once again heard a hum, and it seemed to be much louder than before. "Did you hear that Cyrus?" Ephraim asked. "I don't hear anything, and you will refer to me as Master when we are training!", Cyrus shouted. "Sorry, Master.", Ephraim muttered. After grabbing a sword, the training ensued. Their mock battle was a whirlwind of strikes, parries, and slices. "You're getting better!" Cyrus shouted. "Maybe you're just getting slower, old man!" Ephraim mocked. Ephraim soon wondered why the training blade felt heavier than normal. He then landed a blow, however instead of a resounding "thud" like usual, a crimson streak flowed out of Cyrus. As his trainer fell to the ground, Ephraim stared in horror. He had grabbed a real blade instead of a fake one. As a plethora of squires rushed to the scene, Cyrus was quickly taken to the town doctor. "What the hell is wrong with you!" one of them cried out while trying to stop the flow of blood. Ephraim tried to speak, but no words came out of his mouth. He dropped the blood-stained blade and ran back to his home.

    Along the way, Ephraim bumped into his friend Seth, son of the town's doctor. "Ephraim, what's wrong? You look like you've seen a ghost!" Seth remarked. "Seth, praise God, hurry back home and help your father, I think I've killed Cyrus!", Ephraim confessed. "You did what?!" Seth exclaimed. "There's no time, just go!", Ephraim yelled as they ran in opposite directions. In the foyer of the castle, Ephraim found May taking a walk through one of the corridors. "Brother, what's going on? Everyone keeps running about and shouting about Cyrus." asked May. Regaining his composure, Ephraim consoled his sister. "Don't worry May, everything is fine, just go back to your room and rest." Afterwards, Ephraim lied in his room, thinking about what had happened throughout the day. Everytime something bad happened, he heard a hum, especially when he harmed Cyrus. Taking out the crystal, he was shocked. Instead of a golden glow, the light had faded to an almost sickly green. Did the crystal have something to do with this? Not wanting to take any chances, Ephraim threw it out the window, which happened to be quite high up. Assuming it had shattered on the ground, the lord closed his eyes and slept a dreamless sleep.

    The next day, he awoke to a disturbing sight. He cried out as he discovered the crystal sitting next to him. How had it gotten back to his room, and why didn't it break on the ground below? Furthermore, it no longer glowed. However, it was giving out a deep hum. He heard a crash and, looking up, narrowly avoided the shield that hung above his bed. Something was definetly amiss. Recalling hearing something about this before, he headed to the castle's library and looked in a book named "Legends and Myths". Finding a legend about the Harbinger of Doom he read it. Everything was happening to him as stated in the legend. However, when it stated, "the only way to be rid of the Harbinger is", the next page was gone. Yelling out in frustration, he threw the book, hearing a loud hum as he did so. He covered his ears, but still it rang in his head. When it was over, he heard a servant crying out to him. "Lord Ephraim, please hurry! May's sickness has gotten worse!" The second she mentioned May's name, he was already rushing to her room. When he got there, he was presented with a grim sight. There lay his sister May, already dead. At first, he felt like crying, but he soon started cursing the legends and yelling into the sky. "Are you happy now God?! You have taken from me one of the only reasons I live!", Ephraim screamed. Ephraim had not noticed, but Seth and his father were already in the room, and were now restraining Ephraim, thinking he had gone insane. Ephraim continued to shout and curse about legends and fate, cursing God as his ranting continued. Then the noise came again. He wrenched the crystal from his pocket and cried out in utter fear.

    The Harbinger was now glowing a deep purple. It was now not only humming, but insidious voices whispered from it as well. As Ephraim screamed for the noises to stop, Seth struck him and knocked him unconcious. Finally, King Alcard had come and saw his son in such a wretched state. He asked for him to be taken to his room. When Ephraim finally came to, his father was standing over him, with a look of pure hatred. "Cyrus passed away yesterday evening. His injury was dealt by your hand, as I am led to believe. And now my beloved daughter is dead. You should have been there! Instead a servant told me she found you in the library reading about legends all morning!", the king cried out, using a tone of utter disgust. Ephraim had no words to explain his actions and simply listened. "Roy and his boy Seth told me that you were ranting about fate and harbingers, throwing things about like a madman! I have nothing else to say to you. Be gone from my sight and from this castle.", Alcard stated. "Father, what are you talking about, I'm your only son, who will take the throne?", Ephraim asked. "As far as I'm concerned, I have no son. Guards!", Alcard exclaimed, and guards came and dragged Ephraim out of the castle and tossed him into the streets.

    A week had passed. Ephraim had been reduced to such a state that nobody recognized him anymore. He was simply viewed as the town loony, preaching of fate and legends.Of course, the Harbinger appeared beside him after he was cast out. and at this point, it seemed to have a
    mind of it's own. It was making him hurt himself, people throw rocks at him, and now, after having a man steal all the money he had left, Ephraim had finally snapped. "Why do you torment me, you damned stone?! Have I ever done anything to you?" Ephraim exclaimed. A page from a book floated on the breeze. Noticing the word "Harbinger", he grabbed the page out of the air. Reading it, he discovered how to make the curse stop. Looking into the streets, he sees Seth, and runs toward him with the intent of giving him the Harbinger. He knew it was his friend, but he couldn't take the curse any longer. But before he reached the street, the stone glowed a pitch black, and the sounds were worse then ever, nearly breaking his eardrums. "AAH! Make it stop, I don't want to hear it anymore!" Ephraim cried out as the voices spoke to him. "You can't escape from fate." "Fate is destiny." "Legends don't die." "Do you wish to die? We can make it so." "Don't be silly, messing with this poor man is so much fun!", all of these voices cried out to Ephraim, taunting him and conversing about what to do with him. He recognized one voice as the beggar woman, and he realized that the beggar herself was part of the Harbinger. "God, have you forsaken me?! Please, if you still wish to bless me, do so now! Make it all stop!", Ephraim cried out. And so it stopped.

    A few days later, King Alcard was conversing with one of the servants who happened to have a young son, only one month old. "So you're sure you want this for your child? He may never know that you're his mother." "It doesn't matter to me. Please make him into a great king, this is all I want for him.", the servant replied. "I see. Thank you, now someone may rise to be king after my death. It is a shame what happened to my son. Found dead in an alley you know, with that stupid crystal he so enjoyed waving around lying beside him.", said Alcard. "What did you ever do with that gem anyway?", asked the servant. "It's strange, but when I looked at it, it captivated me so that I just had to keep it. It had a crack down it's middle though, and that wouldn't do. I had it melted down and used the liquid ore to decorate the hilt of my sword. But I digress. You're dismissed." As the servant left, Alcard thought to himself, "It's odd though, how ever since I decorated my blade with that stone, it gives off the strangest glow..."