The Soul Snatcher: Chapter I

Updated: Sep 13

Chain of Three Jewels

Five decades after Olrin was last seen, the Vernakulan World was ruled by a ferocious Conqueror named Aelius. After waging wars for nearly four decades, Emperor Aelius united the entire known world under his rule except for a few tribals.

Blessed with wealth, health and power, Aelius never hoped to even expand his kingdom. However due to the circumstances, the Hunters chose him and helped him in uniting the world under one rule. Without any desire for it, he did become the second world emperor after Olrin himself but in the journey of doing so, he spilled a lot of blood, burying young men, and wiped off a few communities entirely.

Even after many war crimes, a few scholars proclaimed Emperor Aelius to be Olrin’s reincarnation and the symbol of wisdom and justice. Their reasoning was based on their belief that no one can succeed in uniting the Vernakulan world except for embodiments themselves. They declared that Olrin left his form to be born as Aelius himself as most velators preferred to be ruled by one of their own rather than an embodiment of Creator Vernakula.

However, Aelius didn’t share any powers held by Olrin and he even denied being a reincarnation of the embodiment. Over the years, without the virtuous embodiment, the dark forces in the world grew and the Emperor Aelius couldn’t control them even after many attempts. Plagues, hunger, evil manifestations, & human sacrifices prevailed. Though the Emperor punished the criminals as harshly as he could, the forces of evil didn’t stop. Fear didn’t work against them as it worked against common criminals.

Before situations went beyond his control, Aelius summoned the Blessed, a name for those velators who were born knowledgeable and commanded them to instill faith in the corrupted societies. The Blessed, born with magical abilities, suspected that the immoral embodiment Archen himself could have been corrupted by the four brothers before they were captured.

When they mentioned their suspicion to the Emperor, Aelius asked them to use every resource at their disposal to confirm it. He even offered his support to find the truth and the Blessed continued their effort with more resources now at their disposal.

However, even with their combined power, the Blessed couldn’t trace Archen and when they sought their mother, Creator Vernakula, they could never hear from her. Left with no other option, the Blessed decided to follow a Noble Soul immediately after its death to meet Archen himself. This was because Archen received every soul after it’s mortal form died to send it either to his mother or offer a rebirth.

Though the Blessed didn’t know anyone who possessed a Noble Soul except for their Prince, they didn’t want to ask the Emperor to sacrifice his only son who was conceived after years of prayers, sacrifices and rituals.

Their Prince, called Saviour, was elegant and an exceptional warrior. When the Prince was fifteen years old, he fell ill and with every passing day, his health worsened and eventually, he was bedridden. Neither the healers nor the Blessed could cure his illness and the Emperor tried everything in his power to save his son. He had already lost his wife to an unknown sickness and couldn’t afford to lose his son too.

However, after failing to find one other Noble soul, the Blessed mentioned to the Emperor that the Prince was their only option and after a lot of thought, the Emperor consulted his son before deciding on the matter.

Accepting the Blessed’s request, Aelius couldn’t forgive himself. Though his son was glad that he was being helpful, the Emperor wasn’t. That night while he was resting in his private chamber, a guard entered to inform about the arrival of his minister Glinda.

Just a moment later, Glinda, a lean old woman entered the chamber before bowing.

Leaning back in his chair, Aelius asked, “What is it, Glinda?”

As the guard left, she replied, “It is about our prince, Emperor.”

Observing the Emperor being silent, Glinda continued, “The Chain of Three Jewels which will help the Blessed to seek our Prince after his demise has been found. According to our scouts, the Knights of Merk are holding it.”

Confused, Aelius said, “Then command the Knights of Merk to submit the chain.”

Hesitating for a moment, the minister replied, “They have defied your command, Emperor. The Blessed warned us that they might serve Archen.”

Not bothering about it, Aelius closed his eyes before asking, “What do we do when someone in our ranks defies our command, Glinda?”

With a smile, Glinda replied, “I sent three battalions to the Merk Emperor. I think we will soon have the chain at our disposal.”

Disappointed, Aelius asked again, “Is that what we do to the ones who defy us, Glinda?”

Realising what is expected of her, Glinda replied, “I will ensure that the captured Knights are burnt to death before our people and be made an example of.”

Now Aelius turned to her before nodding his acceptance and Glinda bowed before leaving.





This contribution is edited by Sreekar Ayyagari & illustrated by Nisha Yadav.



This novelette is available in paperback & ebook.

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