Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Here is another story I've though of, just the beginning. I have big plans for this, lots of fantastic twists, but as I said, I probably wont get around to writing it all out.
Six small sets of blue eyes gazed out as the patin'Talis held his arms up. The young girls would come once a week to the temple to learn about their history and their people.
"and Talis spread wide her glimmering sapphire arms, allowing her heart and being to pour out into the hard land formed by Rang." At this, the Patin likewise outstretched his arms, and the blue light filtering through the ceiling of the temple suffused him with an ethereal glow. The eyes of the children were wide with wonder.
"The being of Talis is the spirit and the law of the land. Under her heartfelt touch the lands cooled, the oceans rose and shade was cast down from the mountains. Order was put into place to govern the life that would come, for the goddesses had all planned this world's creation and each devoted the nature of their beings to infuse their new world.
"After Talis gave her gift to the land, the emerald goddess joined the goddesses of sapphire and ruby. From her being poured forth all that lives in the land. The greenery of the forests, plains and brushland, the animals and fish in the oceans and birds of the skies. Creatures to live under the law of Talis and on the red lands of Rang."
One of the girls wrinkled her nose and stuck her hand in the air with a question. "Yes, little one?" inquired the Patin.
"Who was the emerald goddess? Did she have a name?"
"I was just getting to that" winked the Patin, "the three goddesses joined their hands and descended down to their new world. When they landed, they scattered through all the realms, leaving their legacy stones buried deep in the ground, and infused the peoples with purpose, drawing them to the goddesses' chosen sites. At these sites, the people gathered together to find large piles of stone, and the cry of a newborn infant. The people used the stone to build temples to the goddesses, and lived around them, raising the infant as their Patin, since each child wore a necklace with the purest of stones in it, resembling the goddesses." At this, the Patin smiled as he touched the sapphire through his robe. It had been passed down through the Patins, and he now wore it, to teach the people of their goddess.
"The first word each child spoke was the name given to the child, and to the goddess who gave it as a gift. Here," the Patin, arms once again extended, looked up and motioned to the building they were in "is where Talis came to rest many years ago. The people of Talis built this very temple and constructed this great roof from the abundance of sapphire stones in the ground."
The temple was a small structure when seen from outside, but on the inside, it seemed massive. The lofty sapphire ceiling cast blue light through the whole place when the sun shone. The planes and angles of the roof were built just so that as long as the sun was above the horizon, the light was caught and reflected down.
"The temple of Rang was built to the north, in arc'Rang, right next to the mountains. And the temple of the emerald goddess was built far to the east, across the vast oceans. The first people of Talis remembered that they saw green streaking towards the oceans even as Talis struck the ground here. The people of the emerald goddess have never travelled across the oceans to arc'Talis, and the name of their goddess has never reached our ears."
At the mention of the people of the emerald goddess, the Patin caught movement to his right. He looked to see Elena emerge from their quarters below. He couldn't help but smile at seeing her, and remember that day so long ago when he first found her, bundled in a rich cloth matching the grass at his feet. The man who brought her was quite odd. He didn't speak a word, and left the child with the Patin. What was most odd was that there was no colour to this man. Whether in his clothes or skin or eyes, he was all shades of gray. The Patin adopted the girl as his daughter. She was an infant, just shy of a year past her birth, and while he was thinking of a name to call her, she looked up at him and squealed "Elena," pronouncing it with odd clarity for one so young, but she kept repeating the word, so the Patin gave it to her for her name.
She was a delightful child and grew over the past sixteen years to be a wonderful young woman. She was one of the few in the tribe without the pure blue eyes of Talis. Instead, hers were emerald in colour. . .
A City Torn Asunder
A crunch beneath my feet, this soil is too black to be rich.
Rich, though, is the air, with a hesitance to call it such.
Rich not with oxygen, but with a blackness to mar the city at my feet.
With a tainted sharpness, the gloomy light glances off the freshly scored stone pillars,
they, in turn, chafe the sky, a stubborn rebuttal against the carnage around them,
all that is left of this place; my home.
The sun's light is dim, though not from Earth rolling over in sleep.
From Earth rolling over in the pain of shattered hills and firestrewn plains.
From the war that wracked this city; my home.
This devastation, pounding in my head, resonant with the blood in my veins,
speaks of such a great loss, that all I had built is now torn asunder.
That all I have ever been lies broken, beneath my feet.
A tattered garment here, there a broken, headless porcelain doll,
these memories, of a child wearing a new dress, carrying a new doll,
are as broken as the promises made to protect from this.
As broken as my heart, as I gaze upon this.
These, deception's daggers, a misleading false-heart,
Have taken a toll on the city entrusted; my home.
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Today the peasants of Littleport Coast find the Benevolent Mastermind doing what he does best. Strolling the streets and being beneficial to them! In very clever ways no less.
He knows all the people of Littleport Coast, the children, the elderly, and everybody in between. While walking alongside Tommy Of The Eastern Half, the Mastermind saw the Taco Scorpion slinking along an alleyway, peering out with that creepy fourth eye of his. He had no third eye, just the normal two of everybody else, and a fourth one off to the side.
The Taco Scorpion. Arguably the least intelligent villian ever to claim the title. The Benevolent Mastermind, the kind of guy to give prestige to the intelligent, disdained the Taco Scorpion. His villiany was ever simple to see through and overcome. He was barely worth the glance down the alleyway to acknowledge him.
Quickly forgetting the encounter, the Mastermind and Tommy Of The Eastern Half walked along the cobbled roadway towards the Eye Doc. He lived on the shoreline, right by the dock. Long ago he had painted an eye on the dock, and jested about his "Peering Pier" because he was the "Eye Dock" he told people. What a clever man.
Tommy Of The Eastern Half needed glasses. He loved to read, and he read at night. "Of course," cautioned his mother, "reading in the dark can lead to eye strain which develops over time, leaving the reader short sighted."
After explaining the young boy's plight to the Dock, the Benevolent Mastermind bid him a good night and molded the residual temporal medium around his consciousness, so he could sleep for a few hours without time actually passing.
The next day, the Mastermind woke up to a very strong distress signal, coming from the bowels of the nineth floor of the local Best Western hotel. In less than 2.71828 seconds, the Mastermind was there, in the dank cell, with the cold dripping noises, and with the Taco Scorpion. He wasn't dressed in his usual shabby attire, but rather in a Spiderman costume that a child might wear on halowe'en.
Sighing, the Mastermind addressed the Taco Scorpion, "What is it you want, eh? I can see through your every ploy. There is no hope for you. Why do you persist?"
"Not so fast, oh master of minds." sneered the Taco Scorpion, "This time, not even you, a man of honour and intelligence will overcome me!" and he proceeded to press a series of buttons on the wall nearest to him. The ceiling opened up and a cage descended! Inside was a maiden! Trapped by the wiles of the Taco Scorpion.
"Here is the deal, Mastermind. I will ask you a question..." At this, the Mastermind sniffed haughtily, and accepted the challenge, but the Taco Scorpion hadn't finished his sentence "... I will ask you a question, and you have to give me the WRONG answer, and I'll let the girl go. If you answer wrongly, by which you say the correct answer, she's mine, and there is nothing you can do!"
At this, the Mastermind remained confident. All he has to do is find the right answer, which is the correct answer, not the one to use as the wrong answer thus making him right... he needs to find this answer and answer anything else!
But it wasn't such a simple task.
"Ok then," said the Mastermind, "ask your question. If I give you the correct answer, by answering wrongly, you can take the girl and go."
But what did the Taco Scorpion have in mind?
"Here is the question, oh smart one: If I were you and you were me, am I me, or you?"
This indeed was not an easy question. But our Mastermind is not so easily stumped! He sits down to ponder, his thoughts connecting every which way.
Past tensively, he reverses the identity of self and the second person. "If I were you" means his identity is equivalent to my own, in the past. Wherefore mine is his, and neither of use is exclusively the other, or the self. In the present though, the identities have elapsed, and I am not me anymore, but I am him. He is me, and the identities have become exclusive. So at this point, the verdict is I am him, AND he is me. Both conditions are true. But now neither of us is both, we are exclusively the other and self has become obsolete.The argument becomes a cycle, where each is the other, and both and self are meaningless. So, the question of whether he is I or I am him, is both paradoxical and and nonsensical...
Oh no! What has become of our hero? He sits, entirely befuddled! Confounded! Mysitified! Perplexed! Vexed and chagrined! He is unable to come up with an answer, so he does nothing but think, as the Taco Scorpion cackles maniacally and runs away with the maiden!
Oh no! What will become of her? What will happen before she is found again?
The Taco Scorpion is on the loose, and we can only hope that there are some other superheroes close by who can save the day!
In the not so temporally awkward present, in a location not too distant from here, the people were roaming the streets, when unbeknownst to them an evil to rival the goodness of the superheroes put the final threads into place on his Tapestry Of Maleficent Deeds (TM). Soon the world would know peril! Soon! What pitiful deeds the people abhorred would seem luxurious.
From the bowels of the earth this sickly plot unfolds. The rotting odour of death permeated the fog which rose in the streets this morning. The tails of mist seemed to snag the clothes of the unwary as they walked the roadside. Soon the public learned that the safest place was home. Inside their nice comfortable abodes, while the fog was outside.
But this is exactly what the yet unnamed evil guy wanted.
By midday, the sun was blackened out of sight. The people were afraid, huddled in their basements and attics, seeing their loved ones waste away in the pale light of energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs. Who could save them? So they would lament. But indeed, who?
Oh so little did they know though! So little! Things were only starting to get bad...
They would feel, first. Feel the vibrations in the boards beneath their hands as they sat, squeezing fearful fingers to stillness underneath their bottoms. The tremors of notes emanating from somewhere underground. A dirge rose throughout the city, undertones of loathing, the darkest music imagineable. Perhaps the wails of otherworldly beings, perhaps the cackle of evil as the harbingers of doom were finally released. The scent of decay slips, now, through the slightest of cracks, filling the homes of the not so safe.
What could grip their minds but dread? Could they suspect anything worse? No, they thought. Death himself would have to knock on the door to instill more fear. Little did they suspect, this was the next chapter in their plight. Screeches, scratches, pounding, a chaotic rhythm that could only harmonize with the dirge of the unknown. Something wanted in.
Luckily for the townspeople, this day happened to coincide with the birth of the Benevolent Mastermind. He who values the public, saves the afflicted, rescues the scared and astonishes all who see him. How does he do it? Well, if he were to explain it, it would involve you needing a calculator, and me (the narrator) needing a scientific dictionary just so I spell everything right. Basically, he retains the unprecented ability to exceed relativistic speeds, morphing the very fabric of the space-time continuum to his whim, placing mesons, tacheons, electrons, positrons, other bosons and fermions into place to produce superviscous antidotes to unheard of ails.
If, for some reason one of those tactics doesn't work, he can usually get away with confusing the bad guy to no end. It's quite stupefying to see him in action.
So, back to our story, the Benevolent Mastermind, albeit a newborn, is proportionate to a grown man and striding purposely through the fog of death we have come to be acquainted with.
"What is this?" he exclaims "an aggregation of dihydrogen monoxide particles precipated around ambient dust particles forming a mostly opaque substance slightly more dense than atmospheric air and having the odour of ozone and decaying loam? What a simple problem to solve!"
Momentarily, he constructed a device, not unlike a bug catching net, with a very fine mesh. The handle itself was an air freshener, with remote traces of chlorofluorocarbons. In his right hand he wielded this. In his left he held high-impact short-blast-radius electromagnetic pulse grenades, for surely this uncouth sound was merely the audible byproduct of vibrating diaphragms present in craftily placed cassette players.
Off he travelled through the city, swinging the net, capturing the moisture in the fine mesh, taking it out of the air, and the chlorofluorocarbons present reacting with the ozone particles, reducing the odour and toxicity of the air, for the air freshener also compensated for the smell of plant decay.
Oft he came across such craftily placed cassette players as he predicted, and a flick of the wrist, tossing an electromagnetic pulse grenade, silenced them.
Suffice it to say, in short order the city was returned to normal. At his behest the public gained the confidence to once again leave their homes, and they all beheld in wonder this new superhero. Dazzled mainly by his great looks, they cheered for the Benevolent Mastermind.
The city was safe!
Thursday, March 29, 2007
(This isn't too well thought out. It was written on the fly, so I may go back and edit it)
Through the grogginess of just having woken, I had the feeling something wasn't right. It was warm, no, hot. Unnaturally hot. It was spring, and in spring you should be waking up to frost crisped grass and misty breath.
The black shirt on my back spoke of no such cool though.
My first instinct was to reach out to the Power, draw Saidin into me to highten my senses. But I didn't. Who knew what could be going on in the Black Tower? Better to be safe than, well, dead.
So I was laying on my pallet, eyes closed, listening. I heard no unordinary sounds. Just the rustle of a breeze against the outside wall, the snoring of the other Dedicated and the faint crackle of fire. Who would have a fire lit at this hour though? It was none of my concern. I slowly opened my eyes to my surroundings. I saw the familiar wooden cabin I had been living in for 2 years. Thick timber walls painted black, a dirt floor littered with humped shaped; those would be the other Dedicated, sleeping on thin straw mats. There was a glow illuminating the small room though. The glow of a fire that must have been right above me. The source of the heat, the thing that caused me to wake up.
Realising there no immediate danger, I shifted to look up. Sure enough, there was a small fire burning near the ceiling. I had no idea how it got there, but there it was. I drew on Saidin and wove Earth to snuff the fire. What happened next was very much unexpected. As soon as the weave hit the heat of the flame, it erupted. The weave snapped back at me and the fire started to grow. Very quickly. The paint on the wood began to peel as tongues of flame snaked down the wall and across the ceiling, popping and throwing sparks when it hit the waterproofing pitch. So I wove Water and Air to suffocate and extinguish the growing flame. Again the weaves snapped back and the fire grew faster.
My mind started to panic, so I summoned the Void, reducing my mind to a cold processor, untouched by feeling or circumstances. I gave a shout and rolled to my feet, shaking the other Dedicated awake. None of them would wake. It was as if they were dead. The fire had covered half of the sloping ceilieng and the enitre wall by my pallet, it was bright as day. I had to leave my friends, to save my own life. That's what they had taught me in 3 years here. Rule number one: protect the Dragon Reborn at all costs. To do this, you must be alive, so protect yourself at all costs as well.
I ran out of the open door, barefoot and clad in black trousers and a black shirt. The same as I wore every day and every night. The grass was slippery with dew, but I ran, shouting that there was a fire. It was the dead of night and the sky was very black. It took a while for my eyes to adjust but with Saidin I could soon see every detail as I ran past. My shouts clashed against all the black buildings, but no one came. I kept running, and shouting, towards the M'Hael's house. Surely he would be able to do something.
I was wide awake by now, and I wondered how the fire got there, and why I couldn't put it out. There were no easy answers there. I could have been really tired and messed the weaves up, but that was unlikely. Over the past 3 years, there wasn't a single day, not a single hour even when I hadn't used the Power. The weaves were a part of me and putting out a simple fire was child's play. Unless it was sustained by someone else holding the Power. I had been taught how to invert weaves so they couldn't be detected, so it may have been an inverted weave. But who would do that? Maybe a Soldier who had just been shown inversion, and wanted to pull a prank, but there's no way they could sustain a woven fire in those conditions. There were no easy answers.
The grass thinned to a dirt walkway, and I saw the M'Hael's quarters just up ahead. Then I felt a surge of the Power, a very strong weave from somewhere to my right, Fire, Earth and Spirit. This one wasn't inverted and I saw the ground ahead of me start to tear apart. Heated dirt and rocks began to give off their own light as they were churned up by the weave. Then from my left, another weave exploded into the air, this one Earth and Air. It was the same weave I used to give flight and accuracy to my arrows. The same weave I had never taught anybody. Nonetheless, someone was using this weave to propell rocks towards me very fast.
I couldn't run forward anymore, so I turned around, ignoring the pain as my heel was gouged on the dirt.
I wove strands of Fire to vapourise the rocks, and turned towards the weaver they came from. Suddenly the air thickened and I couldn't run. Pain covered my whole body as my skin heated up. I saw boils start to form along my arms and grow larger and larger. Behind the veil of the Void, pain was meaningless, but I could feel the pressure of it trying to break through. Some of the boils began to pop, spewing boiling liquid onto my clothes. It burned through quickly, revealing a network of boils on my chest as well. Then the liquid ignited, spreading fire across my body. The pain became very intense across the Void, threatening to shatter it.
The ground behind me was still breaking up, the gap widening and getting closer to me. Shards of rock were being shot into my back, and the dirt beneath my feet heated up. The boils, blackened by the fire, stopped growing and began to crumble, oozing molten fluid down my appendages.
I tried to keep my sanity, but the pain finally shattered through the Void and ravaged my mind. I screamed and instinct took over. I lashed out with weaves of Earth and Air, trying to sluice the fluid off my body and trying to kill the weavers to my left and right.
The weight of the air lifted and I slumped to the ground. Hot rocks pierced my skin as I crawled away from the advancing gap. I wove Air to draw the heat away from my skin and I was able to stand up again and summon the Void.
I was tired now, exhausted, but I pressed through it. I released Saidin so the channelers wouldn't know exaclty where I was, and I ran behind one of the buildings beside the path. I felt a tingling on my skin, just then. Saidar. Female channelers. At this point, I realised I didn't have much of a chance of surviving, so I stayed in the cover of the building and slowly retreated, listening for anything.
Nothing changed as I got further and further away.
The sun was finally starting to creep over the horizon and light up the sky. I still held the Void to block the pain of my broken skin as I walked. I followed the path towards the stables by the main gate, hoping to find a horse or something, and get out.
I stepped into the stable doors... and I had stepped into broad daylight. I looked at my arms and the boils were gone! The pain receded immediately and I took in my new surroundings. The house of the M'Hael greeted my eyes, in front of was the M'Hael himself and a couple other Asha'men, noteably Davian Telkeres and Ky. They were looking at me, as were many others standing off to the side.
I walked towards the M'Hael and when I reached him, he opened his right hand, revealing a colourfully inset pin, in the shape of a dragon. He reached up and pinned it on my collar, opposite the silver sword of the Dedicated. "Congratulations, Ralkien Malfouri." he said. Simply and formally.
"Thank you, M'Hael." I replied, "I choose the Dai Madhi'in." The Battle Seekers. I made the choice a long time ago, that my Squad would be the ones on the frontlines of Tarmon Gaidon. The Last Stand of mortals against Shai'tan. Led by the Dragon Reborn himself. And now, I was an Asha'man. Highest ranking male channeler in the land, next to the M'Hael and the Dragon himself.
What an honour!
Sunday, February 18, 2007
In your love, destroy me
I hate this.
This, this sin.
This, my own self.
For what this sin has made me,
for what I always have been.
This sin that is part of me,
that is me.
You say you hate this,
You hate the taint,
that mars this beauty (as you call me...)
In your love, destroy me.
In your love, shatter me,
may there be nothing of myself left,
that everything that has been, or could ever be,
is completely obliterated.
And also, Lord,
in your love, make me.
This is what we both want.
This is what we've both been aiming for.
I don't know why we keep missing.
Whatever the cost; my life,
or everything except that.
Lord, in your love, break me.
To my knees,
that I may never stand (on my own) again.
Monday, February 5, 2007
I share a gaze with the moon,
its radiance almost dull in contrast to the sun.
I close my eyes and feel the sun sink behind me,
its distant tails of flame alighting my bare arms,
a memory of the scorching day.
The fiery residues trace along the clouds,
following the curves of the roiling cumulus.
Throughout the fading sky, through the cloudy gaps,
twinkle shifting stars in myriad orange, blue, white,
a testament to much more than another tomorrow.
A warm breeze gently flows,
like a salve along my reddened skin.
The sound of waves crashing soothes my ears,
a mist off the ocean makes for a sweet breath,
an overwhelming tranquillity.
I embrace this moment,
this fleeting instant,
a wishful eternity.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
An Abstract Concept
Oh, oh no... are you hurt?
Wow, look... look at that... I can see your... your heart.
and look! Look at that! This red stuff, it's beautiful!
Look at it, the richness of it.
What is it? It's coming out of your heart, there are three lines, jagged lines.
The red is coming out of it, those lines, it's coming out of the lines.
What's that? My knees... uh-oh, theres red on my knees!
Look! it's all over the floor It's everywhere...
Unless... wait, it's coming out from you...
Do you... do you, need it?
Should it be still inside you? Look it's coming out! Fast!
I don't think I can put it all back in, maybe you will make more.
Do you really need it? If it's gone, will you... will you... die?
I can't stop it from coming out.
It's probably almost gone. I don't think that is good.
It should be inside you.
Maybe... those lines! Somebody should fix those lines!
How long have they been like that?
A long time?
Didn't anybody notice?
Why didn't anybody fix it?
The red... it's still coming out.
Nobody ever fixed it?
What? Nobody ever wanted to?
Why would nobody fix it? If the red is gone, you might... die.
Somebody should fix it.
I can try, but I can't put the red back. (Why did nobody fix it?)
I hope it's not too late. (Did nobody notice?)
I don't want you to die... (Did they want you to die?)
Ok, I'm going to try to fix those lines.
Oh look! The red! It's on my hands now!
This is exciting!
Oh... right, I have to fix you.
What? It's too late?
I'll fix it.
If your heart stopped moving like that it would be easier.
It's beating all over the place.
This is hard!
Oh, never mind, it's slowing down.
What will I fix the lines with?
Oh, I can fix it now, your heart stopped beating. I can fix it now.
There you go!
I fixed it!
The lines are gone. See? It's better!
Now you can make more red. You won't die now!
Come on! Wake up!
I fixed it! You are ok now!
Was I too late?
Now there's red all over me.
And you, it's all over you too.
Get up! Look! It's cool!
Your heart... it still isn't beating. Should it be?
It was before, before I fixed you, it should start again right?
It shouldn't be stopped?
But... it's still stopped.
I was, I was too... late, wasn't I?
No, I'm sorry!
Saturday, January 27, 2007
We were out in the fields, we almost always were; it was safe. My friends and I were playing. We were kids, thats what kids do. We had played in this same field as long as I could remember, it wasn't very large but we had long since divided it up into sections, depending on what game we played.
This day we played Catch The Chicken, there weren't any chickens in the actual game, but we would have teams, one bigger than the other. The bigger team was the Chicken team, the Catchers had to catch all the Chickens. There was a part of the field that was uneven, it was right next to the forest; there were deep holes and large rocks. In Catch The Chicken, this area was the Chicken Pen. The rest of the field was divided into the Crop, where the Catchers had to run through the pretended farmer's crop and Catch the stray Chickens and return them to the Chicken Pen, and the Catcher's house, which was some fallen trees where we could sit and rest; countless people had rested on them and their surfaces were smooth to the touch.
This day, I was a Chicken, along with five other boys, and there were three Catchers. Two of the Chickens were caught and sent to the Pen. O yes, I forgot to tell you, we were smart Chickens, we could open the Chicken Pen from the outside and free all the Chickens if we could get there without being caught. I was running to the Pen to free my fellow Chickens, flapping their 'wings' and squaking to imitate their part. One of the Catchers was chasing me, he was a faster runner than me, but I ran hard that day and managed to stay one step ahead of him, until we closed in on the Pen, and he slowed down - it wasn't smart to run in the Pen, because of the rocks and holes. I hadn't realised how fast I was running and the shouts of the other boys assailed me and told me to stop running before I killed myself.
I turned my head away from watching the Catcher just in time to see the ground slope down right in front of me with a hole where my foot would land. As fast as I was running, if I would've taken a longer stride I would have stumbled, a shorter stride would have put my feet too far behind me and put me flat on my face. I wasn't quick enough to think of either of these things anyway, but a panic grasped my mind, and chills ran down my spine as I knew my ankle would be wrenched in a fraction of a second. My pulse quickened in that instant and I could see every detail of the hole my foot was about to enter; every blade of grass, every tiny pebble of dirt at their bases. I closed my eyes so I wouldn't see my foot get ruined. My foot came down, on flat ground, my body still carried forward, I lifted my other foot; it came down, I was still running, and I opened my eyes and forced myself to slow. I watched the pitted land as I ran over it; rocks seemed to flatten and other holes filled themselves up for a few paces until I stopped running, staring in awe. The other boys apparently hadn't seen and were continuing the game, all the Chickens were freed from the Pen and the one Catcher in the Catcher's house came running out to help regather the Chickens.
Ten days later...
I woke up, but at the time, I didn't know I was awake. My vision was murky, clouded with fuzziness, and everything moved as if in a dream. That's what I thought it was; a dream. I tried to move, but my body wouldn't respond, I tried to lift my head, and pain lanced through me, up my spine and attacking the base of my skull. The world I saw through my veiled eyes lurched and my mind felt like it was collapsing in on itself.
The pain didn't recede. I laid in agony, time lost its meaning, I may have drifted off to sleep several times, the only difference was the pain. I don't know if I was awake or asleep at one point, but I felt like I was about to die. I needed to find a way to get rid of the pain, to buffer myself from it. The only thing other than the pain I was aware of was a picture I had seen in a book. There was water, so much water in this picture, and it flew off a cliff and fell into the abyss below. In my mind, I made the pain flow with the water. I managed to sluice it off my mind and it fell away from me into a chasm with no definition, no way to be filled, and no way for the pain to come back.
My vision was still muddled but I could make out general shapes. I believe my mother came to see me and left in a rush, then she came back, with another women, the Wisdom I thought. My mother stayed most of the time, I think, but the Wisdom left; she seemed unable to do anything to remedy whatever was wrong with me.
The only change I noticed was my vision clearing up, I was still sluicing all my emotion into that river as it flew into the chasm. Across my buffer zone, I could all of a sudden feel cold, no longer was pain etching my mind. The image of the void and waterfall vanished and I could see my mother patting my forehead with a damp cloth. From that moment on, the pain was gone.
Age thirteen, later that year...
It seemed lately, that the other boys didn't want to play with me. The weather was perfect, the field was green, but they all seemed able to come up with some excuse to be absent.
At first, after the incident a while ago, the other boys hadn't changed, not right away at least. I don't even know if they noticed what had happened, even when I was home almost that whole day. They still wanted to play with me though. Until I started to win. At first they laughed along with me, but I kept winning. I don't quite know how it happened, I wasn't the fasted runner by far. It didn't depend on the game either, I would win Catch The Chickens, Casting Stones, Sticks and Stones, whatever we played, I seemed to win.
After a while it became evident the other boys didn't want to play with me. I was sick for two days during the summer, but it wasn't like before, no splitting headaches, no high fevers, just a normal sick. After those days I couldn't find my friends anywhere. They would either be home, but unavailable, or simply 'away' doing a chore, running an errand whatever. They wanted to avoid me.
There were still some people I could be friends with, people that hadn't played in the field with me. I started to play with my brothers, they played dice games a lot, and one of their friends played with some cards as well. At first I would watch, but eventually they would let me play too. At first they joked about me being cursed, I would roll the Dark One's Eyes time and again. They laughed at first, but as soon as I started to win, the same thing happened as before. They shunned me, they said a little boy shouldn't be playing with dice.
At this time, there was only one person special to me. Her name was Sarah. Either she didn't notice the obscure way things happened around me, or she didn't care, but we didn't talk about it. Even at this young age, I thought - hoped - that I would be with her for life. It seemed that we would, we would always have fun together, go for walks late at night until our parents were worried; we spent a lot of time together. It was she who introduced me to the world of books. We would often read together, stories of far away lands, mythical lands. Shara, past the Aiel waste, the Blight, where men fought bravely day after day, the Shining Walls of Tar Valon, where lived Aes Sedai. We would sit enthralled for hours, not uttering a word, our presence with each other and the stories were enough.
As I said, we would walk, mostly for the sake of being together; being alone, together. When we walked, it would be her taking me to places. She had several secret places, places she never told anybody about, places where she could be entirely alone. I was amazed that she could find so many inside a city, but living near the edge of it as we both did, she managed. We would sit for hours underneath an old unused wagon, or a dead-end alley that was clean but never visited by people, simply sit and talk, and be together.
But she wasn't available all the time. Like normal people there would be days, sometimes weeks, where her parents would take her somewhere, or when she became sick, and there was nobody for me to be with. The magic of the books weren't enough during those times, I had to find another way to keep busy. At first I would sit alone, training my mind to summon the River, sluicing my emotions into it as it flowed into the depthless chasm. Whether the River raged or swept calmly by, the emptiness brought peace to my mind.
Also, along the years I had started to learn to use a bow. At first I could only use my brother's bow, as he taught me. Later, I had saved my allowances and managed to buy my own bow and practiced with that a lot. Flowing along the River brought calm and also brought concentration. The depth of the chasm seemed to reach beyond me, so deep, reaching past my eyes to the target. And instead of feeding all my feelings into the River, some I poured into the arrow. The chasm would call the arrow, lead it to the target, as I loosed it and it flew straight and true.
After years of practice, the long hours when I couldn't be with Sarah, loosing arrows became something I could identify with. I became very good, and it was calming. Whether there was strong wind, rain, or any element of nature, I could point an arrow into the air and loose it. The chasm led the arrow to the target. The more I practiced, the better I became.
One day, Sarah and I were walking, we headed towards the field I used to play in. She led me across the field into the trees. I questioned our destination in my mind, but said nothing. Aburptly we came into a small opening, barely 2 paces across. I hadn't seen it as we approached, but from inside, the forest was visible in nearly all directions for a small distance. Sarah released my hand, cross the clearing, bent to retrieve something and returned. I opened my mouth to ask her what he was doing, but she pressed her finger to my lips after I said only her name. She pressed something into my palm, something warm. I looked down at it, it was an oval stone, deep blue-green in colour. Instantly it reminded me of Sarah's eyes, which I had spent many hours gazing into. I looked into those pools, those beautifully deep pools of colour, and said, "Sarah, it is beautiful, thank you." I realized I was grinning, Sarah had small smile on her lips, and water in the corners of her eyes. She wrapped me in a hug, and I returned it. We sat there and talked for a long time that day, until we could barely see each other in the failing light. She led me back out of the forest and he hugged once more before returning to our homes. That whole week, I never saw her.
A few days later a bunch of black clad men, called themselves the Asha'man, came. I hadn't seen them but word spread almost as fast as they apparently appeared. They were testing just about every male in sight, claiming to be recruiting for the Dragon Reborn. Me being the misfit I had become, willingly submitted myself for testing, hoping I'd fit in. I sought them out and was tested. They said I would be able to learn to channel, something about being born with a 'spark' and told me to go through a gate, they called it Travelling. I asked there was time to say bye, the reply was a curt "Little." I hurried off to find Sarah, but as had been the case of the past few days, she was not to be found, though I searched everywhere I knew.
I returned to the Asha'man, all I had was a book in my hand, and the stone Sarah gave to me in my pocket. I would never be found without that. Especially after that day. I pressed my hand against my pocket to make sure it was there. I would treasure it forever, for who she was, for what she was; to me. I hoped I would see her again, and I still hold that hope even though years have passed, and my life has changed much.
A tear slipped from my eye as I stepped out of the gate. I was in a large place in the middle of nowhere, a bunch of men surrounded me, wearing black. I began my training that day and have since moved from Soldier to Dedicated. I aspire to the Dai Mahdi'in, the Battle Seekers, and will be raised to Asha'man soon after my training.
I loved to dream. My dreams were filled with such things of beauty, things of majesty, things one could only dream of. In my dreams I could fly from the Aryth Ocean to The Spine Of The World, I could fly above the Atha'an Miere, and I could fly above the Great Blight. I would soar effortlessly through clear cloudless skies. The joy of it would warm me. I wish I could still dream this way, but dreams have changed. I have changed. This is my story...
The wind whipped through my sand-coloured hair as the ground swept by below my feet. Nations passed under me, Dragonmount reared on the horizon. I was free. The darkening sky wove beautiful cloud shapes as I spun my gaze away from the ground. The dusk air chilled my skin as I glided through it. The warm sun beamed down upon my back. I rolled in flight, closing my eyes to let the sun embrace me, but a chill as if from midnight incarnate held me. I opened my eyes with a gasp and my body felt torn apart. The sun no longer shone as it descended, and at the evening sky's zenith was a darkness to absorb all light. From the chilled air came droplets of water which froze to my skin as I plummeted, my wings failing me. The time has come to fulfill your legacy... ahh my child, your time has come.
I still fell, twisting in midnight's embrace. My eyes heralded trees that swept towards me. I could no longer fly, only fall. Tree's limbs scratched the now heartless sky, grasped upward as if to catch my body. The tips of branches like daggers pierced the sky as I fell. The voice crooned, You will fall away from this life, into vast darkness. Embrace me.
I squeezed my eyes shut tight, but they felt like beading out. I felt only the cold, like frozen pins in my body, I knew I would hit the trees soon. I opened my mouth and shrieked, blood-curling terror as the trees stabbed into my body.
I was wide awake. In my bed. The darkness was still there, the cold was still there, but I was in my bed, lying wrapped in my blankets. My body convulsed, the pain was still there too, like daggers ripping into my back. I reached behind me and my heart almost stopped as I felt my back. Big bumps of cartilage stood out, running parallel the length of my spine; from my shoulder blades running down my back. Terror struck my mind, and I curled into a ball. The pegs holding my bed together creaked and I froze. If anybody saw me like this... my mind shuddered, but I dared not move more. The bumps were still there but the daggers of pain receded. After a while of trying not to think about it, and shifting in my bed, I was able to fall asleep again.
I shivered awake the next morning, my nightclothes sticking cold to my body with sweat. I remembered with terror the night before and it was minutes until I worked up the nerve to reach behind me. I held my breath and felt my back - the bumps were gone. My skin felt very dry, but the bumps were gone. What is happening to me? What was that? I can't let anybody find out... that voice... I didn't want to remember that voice, as cold as death itself. I was so scared that day, in case somebody might have found out. I stayed away from all my friends. I found some places where I could be completely alone, places where nobody lived.
That first night was only a memory after a while. The details of it escaped to the back of my mind and I was able to convince myself to talk to my friends more - not about that night though, never about that night.
That first night was only a memory, until it happened again. I had the same dream, and when I woke up the daggers of pain stabbed into my back. The pain didn't go away this time though, but I dared not scream. The darkness of my room played on my mind and I started to make things up that weren't there. Unable to fall asleep again, I got up and went to one of my spots, deep in the forest where nobody would find me. The pain still lingered and tears crept down my cheeks. In the clouded moonlight I could see very little, but enough to notice small bumps along my arms as well, and something else... my skin didn't look right. It wasn't the bumps but in the moonlight I could see colour, my skin was a dark blue, and very dry. Terror laced my veins and my body shook. I wanted to scream, but if anybody saw me like this...
Come home, Sarah.
I jumped at the voice and looked around, surely nobody knew of this place, and then the realization struck. That was no ordinary voice, that was the voice of death, from my dreams. But was it here? It couldn't be.
This life will fall away... Embrace me.
That voice came inside my head, like in my dreams. I could restrain myself no longer, death was inside my head telling me to embrace it. I screamed, and the sound pierced the night. I heard people moving around, saw lights turn on through the foliage. I had to get away before they found me, like this. I ran. I don't know which way at first but I ended up at my house and got back to bed, shivering. The running let me forget about the pain, and I slept.
Come morning once again the bumps were gone and my skin returned to its original colour. The only difference was my hair. It was very light, sand-coloured only months ago and now it was turning darker, almost unnoticeably, but definitely a darker shade.
This time the fear stayed with me, the memory did not fade. I had the dream more often, and each time it was worse, the pain was not as sharp, but the bumps were larger and my skin darker. It all faded by morning, all except the voice. Cold as death it whispered any time I though of telling somebody, when I thought I couldn't handle it anymore. It whispered when I wanted to be with my friends. It was always whispering in my mind, and I couldn't escape it.
There was one small comfort left to me. His name is Ralkien Malfouri. We had been friends since we were... well, as long as I can remember. We were never the best of friends, but as close as children get. Since the first time I had the dream though, I had avoided him; if he found out... I didn't want to lose another friend. But recently, even though I have been avoiding him, I've noticed other people avoiding him. He didn't play with his friends in the field as much, sometimes I didn't see him at all for days. When I was thirteen, I was a year younger than Ral, I decided I would befriend him again. I was tired of being alone, and the voice in my head wasn't very comforting.
Ral and I did become friends again, thank the Light. It seemed he was as lonely as I, but I wasn't about to tell him what was happening to me. When we were together I was happy, I could forget the voice, forget the nights when I woke with fear driving my heart, fear of the voice being right, that this life would fall away and that only darkness would be left.
Ral seemed to be very happy too, I would walk with him often and show him my secret places, I would take him to the library and we would read for hours about all sorts of things. Ral liked to read stories about places I could fly to in my dreams. We would also read books about the Old Tongue, and laugh as we could never pronounce the words right. We tried anyways and could remember some words. We would call each other mi cue, my heart. I don't think it is a direct translation, but that made it even more special to us.
Once when we were walking, when I showed him the last of my secret places, the one deep in the forest by the field. I retrieved a rock, one I had found and kept. I held it in my palm, it was oval shaped and flat, about the length of my thumb. It was a murky green, and almost seemed to swirl in the light. It reminded me of a picture I saw in a book once, a picture of a pool inside a cave, as if in the heart of a mountain. It looked like water, so clean and deep. I looked up into Ral's eyes, eyes as deep as the forest around them. He was about to say something, so I put my finger on his lips and pressed the stone into his palm. "Ral, keep this. From me, remember me. Forever. Mi cue." I whispered.
He stared back into my eyes, "Sarah, what...?" he glanced into his palm and caught his breath. "Sarah, it's beautiful. I... thank you." He smiled as I wrapped him in my arms. If he only knew... I thought. I was planning to run away, to be rid of everything, and I wanted Ral to remember me. A tear slipped down my cheek and I wiped it away before he saw. I would spend as much time with Ral as I could before I left, but I couldn't stay forever. We spent a long time there, just sitting and talking. Ral told me I was beautiful, that he could be with me forever. My heart shattered, because I knew we could never be. He told me that when he looked into the stone it was like gazing into my eyes, and he blushed. I will remember that bittersweet day forever.
That night I dreamed again, but it was different. I was flying over the world, but the sky was dark the whole time. Flying beside me were other things, almost indistinguishable in the faded light, but they looked like giant bats. They flew closer to me and I felt their dry skin rub against mine. Then they started to sing, a haunting song, a song that reached into my soul and gripped me. The voice crooned in my mind, Come home Sarah, embrace me... This time there was no falling, the group of bats flew with me through the night singing to me, and the voice whispered.
The next morning I woke up, my whole body was dry, and chilled. In the morning light I saw my hair hanging in front of my eyes, it had turned a very dark brown, almost black. That day I stayed away from Ral, that whole week I stayed in my secret places, and Ral never found me. I cried myself to sleep every night out of misery. Every night I had that dream again, where I flew with the bats.
I went to the library to see if I could anything about these beasts, I remembered seeing a picture of something like them once. I found a book, it was a soldier's diary, apparently from a very long time ago, possibly from another age. I read through it as he described the battles he fought against Shadowspawn, him and the army he fought with. His king was Aemon and he rode with the Red Eagle into every battle. The soldier was very proud of his land and he fought valiantly. In one of his entries he described the enemy, the Trollocs and Myrddraal, and large human-like flying bats. Draghkar. The description fit perfectly with my dream. Shadowspawn. That scared me and I left the library, hoping nobody saw me.
After that week, I went to find Ral again, but he was nowhere to be found. I searched everywhere, I even asked people if they had seen him, people he knew. Most of them walked away, but one said, "He left. He has been gone for two days. Some Asha'man came, they took him away, to be part of the Dragon Reborn's army."
The news hit me as hard with emotion as the first night I awoke to being a mutant. Ral was gone. Not only that, but he was recruited for the Dragon Reborn. That meant he could channel the One Power. That meant I would never see him again.
That night, I wept long before I was able to sleep, but when I did sleep, I dreamed again, but it was different. I flew with the Draghkar through dark skies again, but this time, I flew above them and I lead them, and they followed. Anywhere I flew, they flew behind me, always singing. I realized I was flying over the Blight, over top of Shayol Ghul itself and the Draghkar fell away. Compelled by their singing I followed them down and lighted on the slopes of Thakan'dar. I looked up to see a man standing there, with caverns of fire for eyes. He opened his mouth to speak and there seemed a furnace behind his mask, a yawning depth of unquenchable fire. He smiled, and without moving his lips, I heard, Welcome home, Sarah.
I woke instantly, shivering. I shifted in my bed and felt something. Something other than the bumps. I reached behind me, starting from my shoulder blades and extending down my back were two thick columns of cartilage with large flaps of skin stretching between them and similar branches of cartilage jutting out near my shoulders. They were so dry, yet strong and flexible. More than skin, I realized, wings. The branches were jointed, and folded in half, and the skin was attached from along the length of them to the runners along my back.
It was still night, nobody was awake. I got out of bed and packed some of my possessions in a small bag. I grabbed some food and left. I ran away from my house, left Aringil, and kept running. My wings shifted underneath my shirt, the dry skin chafing. I flexed the muscles lining my back and spikes of cartilage lining my wings ripped the fabric of my shirt. I flexed harder and my wings ripped free. I spread my wings into the air, but they were too weak yet. I tore my shredded shirt off and wrapped myself with my wings to keep warm. I didn't feel the cold much though, I knew I should be shivering but I was almost warm.
I kept running and hiding, and running more. I think I had gone north, and followed the river. After months I made it to Kinslayer's Dagger. I had read enough books to be able to survive, but the practice was different than the theory. A few weeks after that, my wings developed and the coldest night's air no longer bothered me. I thought often of Ral, and what had become of him, I missed him dearly, and I wondered if he ever thought about me. Even if he did and we ever saw each other again, things would be different.
About a year has passed now, since I've been living in the Dagger. My hair has turned black as pitch and my skin as well is dark as a week old fire's ashes. I have learned to survive though. The voice still whispers to me, tells me that I am home, but mostly I can ignore it. Someday I will find Ral again, and until then, I look forward to it.
Mikale raced up the stairs of the Tower using Thought to give flight to his steps. Feet pounding, heart pounding, mind pounding; he racked his brain for answers, where did the clouds come from? The Spirit has no wielders of Thought, so what was that thing that had entered the High Chamber? The sounds of war echoed along the stairwell. There were only largs, wolf like people created by the Spirit, down there, or did the Spirit have some new dreads? Not a pleasant thought. He focused on reaching his brother’s chambers. Not long after, he burst through the tall red doors only to find his brother asleep. He rushed to the side of the bed, shook him awake and whispered, ‘What was that? You must’ve felt it, even in your sleep. It nearly gave me a headache.’ His brother sat up, and only then did Mikale see the misty look in his eyes, as though he had just died. ‘Guldrak! What happened? You look like a dead man!’
Guldrak replied in a deep, raspy voice, ‘Ahh, you must be Mikale, hmm?’
‘You’re not my brother!’ Mikale gasped, stepping away. ‘Where’s my brother? What have you done with Guldrak?’ The thing laughed, that gurgling voice said ‘Your brother is no longer, and this war is OVER!!’ Mikale then realized what had happened, and quickly summoned Thought. ‘No!!’ he yelled as he lashed out at the Spirit who had infested his brother. ‘Dayne’ he Thought, ‘please hurry, you’re our last hope.’
* * *
Dayne paused as he scrambled along the bank of the Tainted river. ‘There’s another boatful of largs heading to the Tower, keep down.’ he whispered as Zak crept up beside him. ‘Aye, I’ll go tell the others.’ Zak replied before slipping off in the opposite direction. Dayne shook his head as he kept moving, careful not to be seen by anything on the river. There must be a legion of dreads at the Tower, with another boatful passing by every few hours, how many did the Spirit have at its disposal? It didn’t concern him though, as long as Mikale and Guldrak could hold off the onslaught with the Whregs, a stunted race of things kind of like humans who were excellent warriors, and the Makarios he left behind. ‘Dayne’, Dayne stopped dead, ‘please hurry, you’re our last hope’. That was Mikale, but why? He should have been able to hold off any number of dreads until tomorrow, so why? Dayne reached out to the place between worlds. He searched, using Thought, to find the essence that is Mikale. He found it, a bright light in the figure of a man. The light flickered. Dayne reached out to Mikale, ‘Mikale what’s happening?’ Dayne felt a small prick in his mind as Mikale reached out to him, ‘Dayne, you must hurry! Go now! There is very little time!’ and the light winked out, Mikale was gone. Dayne reached out to where Mikale just was, nothing. Franticly he started searching the place between worlds, and remembered what Mikale said, ‘There is very little time.’ Dayne returned to his body, there was a lot of urgency in Mikale’s Thought. Dayne wove his way through the undergrowth back to Zak and the others. He reached them a little ways away from the riverbank. ‘Mikale is in trouble, something happened, we must hurry’. Zak nodded and signalled the score of Makarios they had brought to follow quickly. Dayne led them through the maze of trees and brush that suddenly opened up onto the black shoreline, it smelled like something just died but black sand was all that reached his eyes for leagues in any direction. ‘So that’s the Heart of the Dead eh?’ Zak said as he stepped onto the black sand. ‘Yup, and it’s our duty to destroy it,’ Replied Dayne as he summoned Thought. ‘You all ready?’ The other Masters of Thought nodded as they arrayed themselves on the beach. ‘Ok then here goes.’ Dayne said as he turned to the black mass near the horizon. He struck out with Thought and felt the 21 people beside him do the same and the Heart of the Dead burst open with a brilliant white light. Slowly the light expanded, covering the roiling black island, and contracted, creating a dome over the highest point in the center of the island. The rest of the island broke apart, spreading into the sea. ‘The binding of the light.’ Zak breathed as he sank to his knees. ‘That’s it for us.’ Dayne said heavily, ‘The Spirit will have a message sent to the nearest army of dreads, and we’re done for.’ Just as he finished saying this, he heard the sound of largs charging not far off.
Michael woke up in a cold sweat. He remembered his dream vividly; he had had it before, numerous times. He also had a headache, but that always happened after that dream occurred. He yawned and got up, and after dressing he stepped outside into the bright sun cresting the horizon on his right. His dad was already up, tending the horses. The town of Burnesh stretched out before him, it was not a small town, nor was it very large. There were carts on the dirt road already, most likely heading to the market. He buckled on his boots and walked over to his father behind the house. ‘Hey Dad, I’m going to take Silver for a ride over to Kane’s place, ok?
‘Ok.’ he replied. He saddled the horse and in minutes he was heading over to his friend Kane’s house. His house was not too far off, it only took a couple minutes riding. Down the lane that Michael lived on, further into the city he went. Kane lived just off the main road, and he arrived there a little later. As he rode up to the house, he saw Kane saddling his own horse by his barn. Michael shouted and Kane looked up,
‘Hey Michael, I was just about to go riding, you want to come along?’
‘Sure.’ Michael replied.
‘Ok, but I’ll be a couple minutes.’
A while later they were out in the country north of the town. They raced to see who could reach the forest first. Kane’s stallion Thunder was a faster horse, but he didn’t always win. They were neck and neck when they had to slow to enter the forest, and so declared it a tie. As they walked the horses along the loam-covered path, Michael started talking about his dream. ‘I had that dream again, the one of the War of Legends-’
‘Ya,’ Kane interrupted bleakly, ‘Me too, I can still feel the headache fading away, they’re getting worse every time.’
‘I figured you had it too, we always have them the same nights, but do you have any idea why? I mean, I’m more than a bit sure that nobody else has them, I don’t know why I know that, I just do.’
‘I’ve thought that too,’ replied Kane, ‘but I haven’t yet thought of why we have them.’
‘It’s a strange deal, but I think I know why you both are having these re-occurring dreams.’
Kane and Michael both turned around so fast that they nearly fell off their horses. Behind them was a man from their village, some people thought he was crazy, but others knew him to be very knowledgeable about many odd things. Michael and Kane dismounted. ‘What do you mean?’ asked Kane curiously.
‘Well, for starters I’ve been able to accurately interpret dreams for as long as I can remember,’ he said, ‘and I think you should know something about yours. I’ll start form the beginning, you said something about the War of Legends, did you not?’
‘How long have you been eavesdropping?’ asked Michael.
‘Long enough,’ said the old man. ‘And if you want me to share my knowledge with you, you should keep your mouth shut unless I ask you a question.’
‘Very well,’ replied Michael, ‘I did say that the dream was from the War of Legends.’
‘As I thought, now I probably know more about that war than anybody else in the town, maybe more than anyone alive, but I wouldn’t bet on it. If you wouldn’t care to share both of your dreams with me, as well as you can remember, I may be able to shed some light on what you don’t know.’
So, in turn, Michael and Kane shared their dreams with the old man who listened intently. After they had both finished, he stood there deep in thought and finally looked up at Michael and said ‘Right, that which you described to me was the turning point in the war, the Spirit was losing by that point, but after he had control of the Tower of Guldrak, he gained the upper hand. With the body of Guldrak, all he had to do was lash out with Thought to destroy the rest of the opposing forces and have the largs invade the Tower. He didn’t destroy all of his enemy though, a large number of Whregs escaped, and some of the swordsmen did too, there were also some prisoners taken, most of those were Makarios, and the Spirit forced them to teach him to use Thought.’
‘And my dream?’ Kane piped up.
‘And your dream,’ mumbled the old man, ‘ahh yes, after the binding of the light was placed on the Spirit’s home, his essence was bound there, but part of his mind remained in Guldrak and controlled him. The ones who placed the binding of the light, Dayne, Zak and the other Makarios there, were destroyed by the army of largs they heard charging, just before you woke up.’
‘What exactly were…or are, largs?’ asked Kane.
‘Well, there’s a long story to go along with those.’ said the old man, ‘Mainly they have the appearance of wolves, but they can walk, at least most can once they mature. They are constantly under the control of their master, the Spirit, as are all dreads, minions created by the Spirit for its own purposes. Largs used to be humans, in a sense. They have the spirits of humans at least, when a human dies, one devoted to evil, the Spirit will make reborn their soul and place it in the body of a wolf. After time, the mind adapts to the body and the body changes also to fit the mind. At the point where they can stand, deftly wield a weapon in their wolfish hands and are fully capable with their bodies and minds, they are mature, the Spirit will use only those for building his armies.’
‘Are there still largs, roaming this world?’ asked Michael.
‘Yes and no.’ replied the old man, ‘not in this part of the world but there supposedly are largs in the Heart of the Dead and across impassable barriers, but nobody really knows for sure.’
‘Well.’ said Kane, ‘those stories are enough for a day, I came here to ride!’
‘Me too!’ said Michael.
‘Very well,’ said the old man, ‘I’ll be around town if you ever want to talk to me some more, about anything.’
As Michael and Kane got back on their horses and rode away, they did not hear the old man say ‘I think you’re in for more than you could ever dream.’ and he smiled as he walked back down the path.
Later that same day when Michael got home, he dismounted and walked Silver to the barn behind the house. When he entered the house his dad was fixing supper for the both of them. ‘Hey Dad,’ Michael said, still breathless from his ride, ‘Kane and I saw the old seer in the forest north of town, I never knew the old man ever left his house.’
‘In the forest you say? Hmm he can barely walk, I wonder what he was doing way out there?’
‘I don’t know but he startled us pretty good, that man knows a whole lot about the history of our world, more than we’ve ever learned at school at least.’
‘Yes he does, when I was still young he would journey across the lands, some said he went all the way to Ayesmith.’
‘The city of the Makarios? Wow I bet that would’ve been quite the experience.’
‘Hey Michael why don’t you go pick up some things at the market before it closes, I’m running short of butter and rhaem powder.’
‘Sure’ he replied, and headed back out the back door when his dad tossed him a silver coin.
When he stepped out from behind his house he felt a slight easterly wind blowing. He turned left and headed toward the market. The day had been quite dry, and dust and sand from the hard packed dirt road started its flight as the wind picked up. Not far down the road Michael had to hold his arm up against the wind to see where he was going. He could feel the sand flying past in the powerful wind and then he felt… nothing. He thought it quite odd that the wind would just stop completely. He lowered his arm and gaped in wonder…the town, all the houses, buildings, even fences, any and every sign of civilization was gone, even the road, all he could see was vast desert in every direction with the sun blinding his eyes from a completely clear sky. Only moments before the sky had been littered with dark clouds that spoke of rain and likely more. Confusion set in, Michael scanned the horizon looking for anything at all when he saw his shadow, at least lacking any other thing in sight it had to have been his, but it definitely didn’t look human. It was long, and the sun was still quite high in the sky, and it had tentacles of darkness coming out of it. The tentacles moved as Michael stood stock still, occasionally lashing out seemingly at nothing. Then the shadow seemed to morph into something else, a discernable thing, splitting apart, making different shapes. These things filled Michael’s mind, nothing else seemed to exist, the desert was gone, the hot sun on the back of his neck, gone. Black shapes flitted across his mind as he lost consciousness. The shapes became images, reminiscent of his dream, the look in Guldrak’s eyes, the shapes seemed to represent the feelings he felt, fear, confusion, the shapes changed, he saw a village, not Burnesh to be sure, the buildings were all made of hardened clay bricks and the people walked around swathed in cloaks hiding from the constant sweltering heat it would seem. One person stuck out, Michael watched him in his mind, something looked familiar about him, he turned and his face was visible for a second, it was Michael! As the recognition dawned on him the shapes changed again, all but the one representing him, he was standing before a throne of sorts, his view changed without seeming to move and he saw the person atop the throne, it was Guldrak, his dead eyes staring, boring holes into Michael’s soul, affixed in terror, Michael stood, not moving and was struck down by something he couldn’t see. He fell, through the ground, and, falling, he could see beneath him cities sprawling among nations, the world as Michael knew it, but covered with a blanket of darkness; dread, fear was everywhere. He suddenly felt heat, as he was falling still he looked to his side and there was fire, all around him, raining death on the cities below. Michael slowed as he fell, the fire racing past him. The nations of the world were blackened, decimated by the fire, only rubble remained. Michael suddenly plunged the rest of the way downward, ever increasing in speed. Heading towards the blackened ground, nearer, nearer, and he finally hit.
Michael awoke to blackness. He couldn’t move, he was wrapped in heavy blankets in his bed. Hearing the noise from him shifting his dad entered the room, ‘Michael what happened? Are you all right?’
‘Ugh I don’t know what happened, the wind picked up out of nowhere, almost blinding me then everything disappeared.’ He had a queasy dread feeling creep up his back as he remembered the look in Guldrak’s eyes, he shivered at the thought but the feeling didn’t go away. He suddenly felt really thirsty, he couldn’t work any saliva up in his mouth, ‘How long ago did this happen?’
His dad replied, ‘You’ve been laying here for two days and a bit, this is the third morning.’
He felt fine; surprised, hungry, and thirsty, but fine. ‘I need something to eat,’ Michael groaned. He unwrapped himself from his blankets and got up, he fell back down almost right away, dizziness warping his vision.
His limbs hung, feeling very tired, his dad said ‘I’ll get you some food, just lie down a bit more.’ As Michael lay there he could smell the food his dad was making, he had to somehow find out what his vision was about, as incoherent as it was he felt that there was some meaning behind it. His first thought was to get to Kane and do something…what, he did not know. His dad interrupted his thoughts by pushing a bowl of porridge in front of him, he could smell cinnamon in it, just the way he liked it.
His dad watched in silence as Michael wolfed it down, when he was finished his dad said, ‘Do you wan-’
Michael interrupted, ‘Sorry Dad but I’ve got to go see Kane, I think he may have something to do with this.’
‘This probably sounds messed up but I think the dead War of Legends is about to spring back to life, I had a vision of my brother on a throne, his body was dead but his mind was alive, though possessed by the Spirit,’
‘Michael, you don’t have a brother.’
Michael remembered then that he didn’t, but he felt such a connection to the character in his dreams that he could swear they were the same person. Abashed, he scrambled for a response, ‘I don’t understand this much either but I feel I need to do something, soon.’
He already felt rejuvenated, the warmth in his stomach spreading throughout his body, his mind was clearer too. He donned his boots and stepped outside his room and turned to go out the back door.
‘Michael…’ It was his dad, ‘be careful ok?’
Michael paused, ‘Ya Dad,’ and he left, walking around the house once he was outside. He turned left, heading toward the centre of the town, wary of strong winds. His long legs carried him quickly and not long after he was surrounded by crowds of townsfolk, some he recognized, most he did not. He squinted ahead and could see the road branching off that Kane lived on. Not watching where he was going he bumped into somebody. Michael staggered but the older man hadn’t budged, ‘Sorry,’ Michael said.
‘No need,’ came the reply. The man lifted his hood and Michael saw that it was the seer. ‘I was just out to find you, good thing you bumped into me eh?’ he said.
‘Yeah, I guess,’ replied Michael, ‘listen, I was heading over to Kane’s house to tell him about a vision I just had, would you also want to hear it? Maybe you could interpret it for me?’
‘Just had my boy? Your father said you have been unconscious for days.’
‘You know my father…?’
‘Quite well, yes, his father was a good friend of mine when your dad was just a little kid, missed him dearly when I ventured the world, but for now tell me of this vision.’
As Michael walked alongside the seer towards Kane’s house he related his vision as clearly as he could, stumbling as he searched for words to describe the emotions. ‘I remember hitting the ground, they say in dreams you waken before you die, but I died. I woke right after the fact, though, to find myself in bed…’ his train of thought derailed as he saw Kane’s house a ways away. It stood starkly out from its neighbours; there were no lights in the windows, one of which was broken. Michael bounded away from the seer and hammered on the door breathlessly.
When the seer reached him he had concluded that nobody was home who could open the door. ‘Step aside, if you will.’
Michael complied and gawked as the seer produced a key and entered the house. ‘How could you have a key for this house?’ The seer winked and a flabbergasted Michael soon forgot what he just said.
Disarray met his eyes everywhere he looked but it was the faint scent of blood that rooted his feet. The seer broke the silence by stepping forward, Michael followed him. They heard a muffled sound like wind scraping along the interior walls of the house. Michael glanced to his left thinking that’s where it came from. ‘I think I heard…’ Michael turned towards the shredded couch on the far wall of the living room. He navigated past some debris littering the floor and reached the piece of furniture. He slid it aside to reveal a hole in the floor he had known existed for a long time. He lowered his face to it and heard the hoarse wind. He retreated almost instantaneously, the scent of blood strongly wafting from the hole. He lifted his head above the relocated couch and started at the seer’s face very near his own. ‘The basement’ he whispered.
The seer nodded silently as Michael pointed in the direction of the staircase. The wind seemed to pick up as they descended, reminding him of the wind that knocked him out days before, the stench of blood was also increasing. ‘Be careful, there is blood on the stairs.’ the seer cautioned. What? thought Michael, I can’t see anything down here, I guess being a ‘seer’ enhances physical perception too.
‘Why don’t you wait upstairs, I’ve seen enough in my life that whatever is down here shouldn’t be anything I can’t handle.’
Michael nodded in the darkness and started back up the stairs, he didn’t know what to think right now, chaos reigned in his best friend’s house and this ‘seer’ was turning out to be a lot more than Michael thought he was, and he couldn’t discern if that was a good thing. He took a few deep breaths and looked up from the spot he found on the floor when he heard the stairs creak. The seer ascended the set with a downcast look in his eyes, ‘Michael… Kane’s family, they are all dead, some stabbed, the rest strangled. Kane himself is unconscious, with bruises on his head and a gash on his right arm beneath his shoulder. I won’t be able to move him, I’ll need your help to get him upstairs.’
Michael followed him back down the stairs. Questions flooded his mind, but he was physically shocked into complete silence. They found Kane near one of the brick outer walls, and with the faint light streaming through a far window Michael could see blood pooling at his friend’s side. It took a few minutes but they were able to haul the body upstairs without doing any more external damage.
The clattering drew Dani's eye to the other side of the oaken tabletop. Her phone, set on vibrate, was ringing. It skittered along the table and fell to the floor with a smack. Dani quickly put down the lipstick and scooped up her cell. She read the small display screen and flipped the phone open to be greeted by a picture of Mikaela.
"Danielle! I hope that wasn't your new floor!" Her dad yelled.
"No! It's fine!" she called back. She didn't want to anger her dad. He just paid a lot of money to get her new hardwood floor installed. She loved the sheen of it in the sun's rays, filling her bedroom with a golden colour.
"Hey Mika! What's up? How did that piano thing go?"
"My recital? It's later tonight, I hope it goes well! I still can't believe you aren't gonna come!"
Dani rolled her eyes and retrieved the lipstick, looking once again into the large mirror on the wall. "You know it's mine and Jared's anniversary, he's taking me out for the evening. I can't say no to him and you know it." Her green eyes looked back at her from the mirror; the left one slightly lighter than the right. She wanted to get contact lenses to fix that, she hated her eyes. But Jared liked them, or so he said. Bright One he called her. My Bright One, we have to go out tomorrow night. Be ready at 7 for your dreams to come true.
The thought of his voice made her spine tingle in delight. She had no idea what he was planning, but she wouldn't miss it for the world.
"Bring him to my recital! You'd both enjoy it," she teased, knowing Dani would do no such thing.
Her bedroom was feeling so warm of a sudden. Smacking her lips to even out the make-up, she strode to the window and opened it; her blue skirt swishing against her calves. A gust of cool air swept in, raising goosebumps on Dani's arms. The sky was darkening, the orange and red glow of the sunset striking the autumn leaves in a beautiful spectacle. Her stomach fluttered, and not for the cold air, she couldn't wait for Jared to pull into the driveway below in his slick black convertible he loved almost as much as her. Though he would never say such a thing, she never saw a spot of dirt on it.
She glanced at her wrist, the sparkling false-silver watch telling her it was only 6:54 p.m.
"Oh, Mika, he's so wonderful, I don't know I'd do without him."
"You'd come to your senses is what. Don't you ever get tired of mooning over him?"
"No sooner than you would get tired of your music. We each have our own passions in life... and Jared is mine. I think we might get married." She smiled at the thought, his pretty face gazing up at hers from bended knee as he searched for the words to match the small box in his hand. She would say yes, of course. It all seemed like a fairy tale sometimes, and we will live happily ever after.
"Well, I need to get back and practice once more. Wish me luck and have a good night with Jared."
"Good luck Mika, tell me how it goes all right?"
"I will. See you at school on monday?"
"Same time, same place."
"Ok." The phoneline went dead, and Dani flipped the cell shut. She walked back to the mirror and set her phone on the table. Taking a deep breath, she placed her hand across her stomach to settle the fluttering. Is that what he meant? Will he propose tonight?
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sharp blast of a horn. She glanced out the window to see a small black car pull into the driveway. The roof was down and the back seat was filled with roses. Her breath caught and the butterflies started all over. Oh Jared she thought as she descended the stairs to the main floor, and it was the last coherent thought of the night as she let a grin fall into place upon her lips.