4248 Words
The yard was empty except for a couple hundred gravestones scattered around the place covered with a blanket of frost, he looked up into the sky, it was dark but the half-moon gave enough light along with the few scattered stars, he loved the stars there was something about them that just relaxed him. He found his three favorites all in a row believed to be called some three great kings, he suddenly felt alone, betrayed, distressed as if something was eating him up. A horse’s cry pulled this attention, how could he be so stupid! You are running away from killing beasts not telling the stars your story moron! He couldn’t believe himself, and shook his head tucking his sword into his pants, walking cautiously towards the horses looking all around for any movement. “Some life this is running all the time!” He mumbled under his breath as he saw a man in between two horses grooming the chestnut color one whistling a happy tune. Drathis wished he would just shut up, how nice to be so ignorant. “Oi mate?” The guy said cheerfully with not a care in the world, Drathis just smiled back envying his lack of knowledge. “I was told to come stretch these boys’ legs,” Drathis said patting the chestnut lying through his teeth. “All righty then have fun.” The guy said placing a well-used saddle on the horse and taking something from next to him “Here, he likes apples, name is Bay, he’s a good horse.” “I’ll look after him,” Drathis said trying so hard to sound pleasant with a fake smile, fake accent. Drathis climbed onto Bay pocketing the apples, the horse was restless, Drathis knew then he had to get out of there fast before he joined sword to fang again. Another guy appeared from around the corner with a bucket, Drathis strapping himself in with the help of the other man too busy to be paying attention and suddenly noticed a movement, he whipped out his sword aiming it straight at the shadow with outstanding speed, the shadow dropped the bucket and took a step back, the other guy strapping Drathis in jumped back with fright. “Oi mate, we don’t want no trouble.” He said raising his hands in surrender. “Nor I, so move out my way so I may leave this place, and if you were wise you would do the same,” Drathis said keeping an eye on them both. The guy with the bucket by his feet stepped aside slowly saying “I have seen frightening things happen in this village lately, that’s why, uhm, I’m coming with you!” The boy seemed brave but had a slight tremble in his voice… Not brave enough. Drathis lowered his sword and slipped it back in place taking the horse’s reins, they like leeches, never know when to stop hanging around, why do they group so, he thought clearing his throat. “No, you not!” Drathis said firmly turning Bay out of his place and kicking him hard in the side, it reared back and took off forward passed the men out into the night, racing past rows of gravestones after the next picking up momentum. They raced down a lane passing houses, shops, fields the finally into dense forest. Drathis had not looked behind him, he tried once and got flashbacks of his last fall, and gripped onto Bays reins tightly to prevent from falling, he shuddered and tried again with his sword in his left hand, he looked over his left shoulder, his body so tense he might c***k into a million pieces. Thankfully there was nothing, he looked up above and at both sides, but saw nothing and sighed watching the village lights fade until they were one small glow. “This is a living nightmare!” He shouted aloud. After what felt like hours he slowed Bay to a trot taking in his surroundings… He had no clue where they were, they hadn’t passed another village or anything alive for that matter. The forest was thicker than before and getting darker by the second, still, he admired its untouched beauty, green moss covered the floor thick and rich, wildflowers had sprouted up in every pool of moonlight, that managed to break through the forest roof. He tilted his head back half expecting to see birds in the branches, there were none, what happened to them? He pulled Bay to a stop and hopped off standing silently trying to hear for any birds call… There wasn’t one, not a movement in any direction, not even beetles. The silence was absolute. “Something’s not right…” He spoke over his shoulder addressing Bay. Suddenly feeling peaceful as if he didn't have a care in the world, he looked down at the rich green earth, he could just lay down on the soft bed of moss and relax for a little bit. Had the moss always looked so beautiful? So inviting? He went down on his knees stroking the sea of moss. “Bay come feel here, it's…” He stopped looking at bay with lazy eyes. The horse was down and making no attempt to get back up, but that wasn’t the worst part… The moss was moving, actually moving up its legs like a snake sinking him into the ground. “BAY!!!” Drathis shouted jumping to his feet ripping out a few layers of roots swallowing his ankles… “Get UP you useless mule!” Drathis snapped stomping over to it slicing its legs free. “You weigh a frecking ton, I’m not picking you up! Get up! Now!” Bay looked at him through the corner of his eye not willing to give up his resting place. Grunting Drathis stomped to his rear end and gave it a nice big flat hand slap. With a couple of snorts, Bay was up shaking his head left to right. Drathis was about to climb back on when his eye caught the ground again, it was stunning! Why not just lay down again I don’t see a rush anymore, Bay nudged Drathis with his nose snapping him out of it. “Yeah, definitely time to go.” With that, they were back on track, no strolling, more like catapulting through it. Looking more closely now, he noticed a skull half hidden in the moss, and unnatural humps. He knew one thing for sure, this was no ordinary forest, he would keep in mind once he was out of it for the future. Adrenaline still pumping in his veins. he turned the horse a sharp right to where heavy shadows started to fall, they would run along the mountainside when dawn came to hide in the shadows After what seemed hours Drathis reached down into his pocket and bit into an apple he had taken for the horse, its juice ran down his chin and off into the wind, finally something to fill his stomach. The sun was rising, he watched its rays of light from behind the mountains begin to shine upon the tops of the autumn colored trees, he could see most of the forest from where they were and hadn’t realized they had climbed so high, he finally decided to slow Bay making sure of his surroundings, no moss insight. In front of him was a river rushing, he wasn’t sure how he was going to cross it, perhaps he would follow it upstream. Bays head went down to drink and Drathis jumped off aching at the thighs from the long ride, he sat next to the horse leaning against the closest shady tree. What am I to do? I’ve gotten myself into a complicated situation… He sighed watching the horse turn around and eat some grass on the banks. Drathis took his sword out watching its carefully crafted blade glisten in the sun, its jewels reflecting in all different directions, he ran his fingers over its designed spikes, he was still fascinated by how light it was considering its great size. He had stolen a most powerful weapon, was that why the queen never let it out of her sight? It had some sort of magical, what’s the right word here, power? Life? Is that what kept the queen looking youthful through all these years? Was the blade a rare unexplained power? How was it used? Drathis laughed to himself, all this was such a mystery, he knew he was strong and quick, it was easy for him to stay hidden from one queen, but the question that troubled him the most was could he do it against six other kingdoms? He wasn’t sure, he had planned his escape so long and now breathing in the fresh air he couldn’t contain his excitement, he was free! Wasn’t he? An image of him in an open field surrounded by thousands of enemies covered in metal plates on top of creatures closing in screaming with weapons risen, popped in his head then faded, his heart skipped a beat. Why did he keep having these vivid visions? All that mattered was keeping the sword away from evil, and the queen was evil! Was it evil itself? Who can I take it to? Will they die from its touch too? Or was it only non-magical beings? Would anyone recognize the sword if it was seen? The village didn’t seem to, what if the queen notified the rest of the kingdoms about him? But then again how would he know? Every living breathing creature could be her spy! She has that kind of persuasive power. Drathis suddenly felt tired, a million questions, no answers. It was too much for him to work out right now. Resting his head against the tree he closed his eyes, traveling back to his escape, finding himself much younger then, caught by the Black Maser guards, being dragged into the dungeon. * * * It was a cold and dark place, a frightening whole filled with rotting souls, only eight he had begged them to reconsider locking him up, but after the first week, he knew things would never be the same again. He had caught his first glimpse of the queen through his bars the first night. She had been in a heated discussion with her guards and kept pointing to his cell. Drathis somehow knew the queen had found out he was not human; why else would she ever enter the filthy place? Within moments he was chained and dragged to the very first cell at the entrance of the Black Maser prison to be watched. The only logic he could place it with was the fact that his brother's body had been removed from the stabbing spot so soon, the soldiers must have realized what Gareth was and informed the queen they were brothers. Nope, there was indeed no hope now that he was getting out. Several months past and Drathis was sure he would lose his mind, left alone with his thought and the howls of hundreds of prisoners. His brother stayed in his mind and he wept most nights, for him, for what was, for what his life now was. No matter how he coped he still felt the chill of death in the walls, it had disturbed him deeply, but now it was becoming familiar, like a wild wolf near a village; first, it would retaliate, bite, growl, hunt. But after a while, it seeks the village for the kill, no matter the village's pitchforks it would risk coming knowing the taste of blood. Years may pass before it becomes approachable, man guarded by weapon still hesitant, wolf baring fangs just as uncertain learn to be meters apart minus a deadly blow. Until the wolf becomes used to it, knowing its limit, slowly changing to adapt to the human’s ways, becoming tamer, learning it will be rewarded, eventually depending on the village for his fix, one could almost say domesticated with a wild streak. That’s what the stone walls were doing to him, they were becoming home. He had tried everything to escape, using the fighting skills Gareth had taught him against the guards, but there were too many and he always ended up back in his cell with something broken or bloody. He had tried to steel small weapons and hide them but with the queen’s close watch they had always found it. Queen Dimas was ruthless. She would come once a week trying to pick his brain, in the beginning, he had retaliated but that didn’t stop her, she had a knack for potions Drathis couldn’t always resist. Dimas had pushed him to his boundary any way she could, constantly pushing beyond his body's limit till he brought up, or passed out every week for eighteen years. He would wake up stiff and sore unable to release his frustrations, It had been forever since the b***h had let him out in the yard to exercise. He laughed at the thought, well why would she? Dimas knew he wasn’t a mere teenager anymore, he could hold his own against most of her guards now and that seemed to disturb her, ah, but try giving him a sword and he'd bloody well show her disturbed. Eighteen years, he fought against them, he knew she wanted to know if there were more like him, he didn’t know, she didn’t believe him. She wanted to know how he got his powers, he didn’t know, she didn’t believe him. She wanted them drained from his body and devoured for her own gain, he didn’t know how, she didn’t believe him again, he stopped caring. She had really tried it all to get his power from within before killing him, he remembers begging her to stop, feeling as if his very soul was being tested to leave him. But after years he had learned, that no plea would stop her, she would slice him in two if she thought that was the way to devour his core. He remembered his last year as clear as glass, he had awoken with a dream of escaping; he had often dreamed of escaping, but this particular dream actually held a solution. He nearly kicked his own butt at the thought of it, the cell had three walls of rock, no window, and the front was mostly steel bars framed by 10-inch-thick wood, the door was also lined with wood, practically unbreakable. He had watched them unlock and lock his cell three times a day for more than a decade and knew the guard’s routines well. So he set his plan in motion. With a small rock broken off his cell wall, less than the size of his palm he chipped away at different parts of the wooden frame only three times a day, when the guards swapped shifts, he chipped, when they brought food for the prisoners, he chipped, when they all slept, he chipped. He wasn’t trying to get through the wood, after all, what good would that do? He couldn’t fit through the frame, and even if he did make a whole it would take months on end to make a big enough one to put his hand through, no, he had a different idea. He would chip away roughly half an inch thick and two-inch-long pieces and surveyed who was watching him, the brief times he was truly alone he would chisel away forming the picture in his mind, watching the same cell door open and close so much, he had a perfect image of how his cell key looked. In the early hours of the morning when everyone was in their deepest sleep, he would test the generic keys he carved in the locks, many fitted, none turned. Determined not to give up he kept shaving the wooden frame in different places of his cell and returning the failed keys back in the wall, rubbing it with grime afterward to hide the fresh wood beneath. The day after his twentieth year in prison he shivered as goosebumps rushed over his skin, the hundred and eighty-third wooden key had turned the lock. His cell glided open. Taking a deep breath, he stepped out, keeping to the shadows, past the sleeping guards, up the only staircase, and bumped into two soldiers still awake. The men grabbed him yet Drathis was so excited he let off a burst of energy turning the one man to dust as the other bolted. * * * * An arrow soared through the air. He woke to its sound, diving to the side as it just passed his ear sinking into the tree behind him. Taking a moment to gather his thoughts, he crouched on his toes picking up the sword slowly, scanning the land for movement. Narrowing his bright green eyes he spotted figures jumping from tree to tree about three hundred yards off. They can’t be humans, aiming is too good, not an imp, they don’t stay in this country. Another arrow came straight for him perfectly inline to hit him in between the eyes, he couldn’t run or dodge it in time, so with wishful thinking he lifted his sword, hearing it make a clinging sound then bong as the sword smacked his head with the impact then fell to the ground. His blood began to boil, What the bloody hell are they shooting at me for?! I’m not a damn animal! He jumped up into the tree above him as another came soaring towards just missing his ankle. Suckers! He sat dead still watching them come closer he hated things below him especially enemies it made fighting quite, difficult. His knuckles turned white around the hilt of the sword. Looking now for a ride out, of course, Bay was nowhere to be seen. Drathis smacked himself on the forehead when he realized how dumb he was for not tying him up. The group of maybe seven or ten surrounded the tree looking all around, Drathis heart started racing as one bent down touching the ground where he had been catching a nap. They wore navy Blue hooded long coats that tied to their armor on the shoulders, they had black gloves made out of leather with silver spikes and their faces were too well-hidden to see even the slightest hint of skin. The one said something but they spoke too soft for him to pick it up. Two with bows and arrows already started walking away from the tree then the rest followed, and Drathis exhaled staring after them. He stood up slowly just as something blurred past him cutting through the leaves at him, pinning him to the trunk. Losing his footing he braced for the fall but instead hung awkwardly, looking up he noticed why, stuck by two arrows that had scraped his leg at the top of his thigh and went right through his pants deep into the tree. Seriously?! Was I on their land or something? Couldn’t I get a verbal warning instead! Drathis grunted trying to pull loose, he only had two options, one, to drop the sword and pull free, or two, sink the sword into the tree above him, pull free then climb back up to fetch the blasted thing, both risked leaving him half nude. Dropping his sword Drathis grabbed at the two arrows trying to pull them out, the more he pulled the more his hands cut and slipped off them, they didn’t budge. One of the hooded bastards below turned his head slowly around and up, looking right at him, he could feel the hostility rolling off them and was quite sure were he to see their faces it would have been hard as stone, nothing seemed to surprise them or interest them except killing him. The hooded soldier turned to face his sword on the ground dismissing him like a fly. Drathis snorted at his lack of empathy and went back to get his leg free. The arrows were made out of some type of stone with rough edges, it hurt his fingers and only managed to rip his pants a bit more, if he had to he could rip them right off, but decided to wait until one came up so he could punch the lights out of him pull himself free and steal its pants, waiting? He didn’t have to as another jumped up to where he was with ease, he threw the guy a punch but it was blocked with the gloves they wore. Drathis roared as he retreated. He had punched exactly where the spikes on their gloves were sinking deep into his knuckles. The soldier pulling the arrows out with some type of magnet and Drathis fell straight out the tree flat as a pancake. Ooomph! Jumping up he was surrounded by them, twelve against one? Hardly seems fair. Drathis mouth twitched a smile, his sword was a few meters in front of him by one of the i***t's feet, he could lunge for it and dice them from the ground up, but he couldn’t seem to get a set reading off them, either their armor was blocking who they were or there really was nothing under the hoods. “Any reason why I’m being classed as the prey today?” He circled slowly examining each one for any hint to his million questions. The two in front of his sword looked at each other, one nodded as the other bent down to pick up the sword. “I wouldn’t do that if I was you.” He grumbled, nostrils flared, he was ready for a fight, if they died touching it or didn’t he would make sure the circle would break. Mid reach the soldier brought his hand up to his face and showed Drathis a fist, then as if he had all the time in the world raised his middle finger and held it. “That’s it! back up!” Drathis growled marching straight for him. The soldier didn’t pay attention bending down slowly, grabbed a hold of the sword, and almost instantly a bright red light exploded sending the hooded figure flying through the air, crashing to the ground a few meters away, skidding to a stop leaving a blood trail behind. Drathis jumped back his eyes that of a stunned owl. The rest had broken the circle and those, who were standing next to the poor soul. Panic circled him, they had broken the circle pointing fingers at each other shouting in a language he did not recognize. Drathis raced for his sword bent to retrieve it, hesitation can change the outcome of almost anything. Blinded by fear he stood frozen for the moment, expecting to see him have the same fate. two soldiers were on him behind pinning him down locking his arms with effort behind him, he rolled, kicked, bit, cursing their existence to get free hands squeezed tighter and tighter around the top of his arms like a snake squeezing the life out of him, he dropped to the ground landing in his hilt. Again he was face down in front of these men, hatred erupted inside him as a hand grabbed his hair pulling him up to his knees, he tried again to get free roaring with anger as they pulled placed more chains around his hand and arms pinning them straight behind him tying them with iced locks. The rest closed in on him shouting in their language all at once. He didn’t recognize it, but from what their gestures were he knew they were demanding answers. Drathis stared at them trying hard to give an expressionless face, playing dumb. One tore a piece of cloth off his coat and picked the sword up with it tossing it in a bag attached to one of their white horses, carrying the lifeless body from earlier. He looked up at them his eyes flaming with anger; he loathed them for doing this! "I will have my revenge! Do not for one second think you have won!" The three shouting at him got frustrated and started kicking Drathis in the stomach, he buckled over; each kick was like an iced arrow. He clenched his teeth wincing. “What the hell do you want?!” Drathis snapped in the most unforgiving voice. The guy shouting grabbed him by his hair and lifted his head to the sky, Drathis gave him a look that stated clearly he was unbreakable! With that the man hit him over the head with the butt of his sword, eyes rolled back and he fell like a doll to his side.
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