Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Humble Origins, Part One

The blade shone in the torchlight as it thrust forward, and the boy screamed, running towards the assailant, but he seemed to be moving in slow motion, his feet pounding the cobbled streets far too slowly, and all of a sudden the blade was ripping through flesh, and muscle, and bone, and then the tip reappeared, sliding out of the mother of the child like some sinister serpent, half a second before it twisted, violently. The boy heard a gurgling sound, and he realized it was his mother's breath, her last breath, maybe, and then he realized his hands were warm, and he looked down to see them covered in crimson blood, and holding the sword that had run his mother through with a death grip. He could see the neatly severed head of his father on the ground, and then it rolled over, turning to face him, and the expression on his face was half horrified and half a gleeful grin. “Your fault, son,” it hissed at him, and he finally awoke, bolting to a sitting position in his small bed.

His lithe frame was covered in a sheen of sweat, and he gasped for breath like a fish out of water. Dim sunlight trickled into the small room—barely more than a closet—through the shuttered window, and he knew that, though it was obviously early, he would be getting no more sleep.

He swung his feet over the side of the bed and stood, before his stomach lurched, and he flung open the shudder barely in time. Thick yellow-brown fluid, bitter to the taste, erupted from his mouth, flying towards the ground. Finally, after a small lifetime, it ceased, and he stood there quivering, gripping the window frame with both hands.

He finally returned to his bed, wiping his mouth with a scrap of cloth sitting on the nightstand, next to a half-gone candlestick. He didn't know how long he sat there, but eventually there came a knock at his door, and it opened to reveal the face of his uncle.

Good, you're already up.” He gestured with his head towards the rest of the house. “Get dressed. You said you wanted to train, now's the time to start.”

The boy nodded, grateful. His uncle hadn't actually agreed to teach him anything, and he hadn't been hopeful. “Thank you.”

Don't thank me, now. Thank me when your muscles are screaming.” The door shut, and he stood up again, putting on a pair of simple leather leggings and a white wool shirt. He opened the door and walked towards the back yard—a rare commodity in Onegas, capitol city of the Vigilant Empire.

His uncle was already there, wearing a chain shirt over his tunic, putting a steel cap on his head. He nodded his head towards a bench on the far side, and the boy turned his head to see a smaller chain shirt and cap there, as well as an old iron sword.

Put them on,” his uncle said, and the boy nodded, slipping the uncomfortable metal shirt over what he already wore.

Aren't we going to use wooden swords first?” he asked, putting the cap on his head. It was too large, nearly obscuring his vision, and uncomfortably heavy.

His uncle turned his head and spat, his saliva thick and brown with chewing tobacco. “No. We didn't use practice weapons in the ISS, and we're not going to use them here. Draw your blade.”

The weapon felt strangely heavy in the boy's hands. “Now what?”

Now you defend yourself,” his uncle said, drawing his own blade, a shining steel sword with a faint red glow of magic surrounding the blade. “You rethought your position on your name, yet?”

The boy shook his head solemnly, and his uncle thrust forward. It was a slow, deliberate thrust, and even the untrained child easily batted it aside.

Your parents gave you that name,” he said, circling his small opponent deliberately. “Some would say that you do them a disservice by changing it.”

Others would say that a man has the right to pick his own name, Uncle Rial,” the boy responded, before he had to hurriedly swing his sword up to block the sweeping blow his uncle executed. He stood there, grunting with exertion, trying in vain to hold his uncle's blade back. Inch by inch, his sword was pushed closer towards him, his uncle obviously not tiring in the least.

With a display of power, his uncle pushed forward all at once. The flat of the boy's dull sword smashed into his face, and had it not caught the edge of the helmet he wore, it surely would have broken his nose. “Even more would say that twelve years old does not make you a man,” Rial said, as his nephew tumbled to the ground. “All the same, you're right. It's your choice to make. Now, get up, 'Stryke'. We're far from done.”

Sunday, February 12, 2012

An Update

In case some of you were curious.  Currently, I am without my computer, and until I can find the funds necessary to repair it...well, I'm pretty much out of luck.  So, please pardon my disappearing act--hopefully I'll be back soon.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

A Fireside Tale, Part One

The forest was quiet—to the untrained ear. To those in tune with nature, however, it was a veritable symphony of sound. Birds called to each other. Wolves urinated on trees, marking their territory. Insects carried about their duties, finding, eating, and collecting food. And, nearby, a branch snapped under the hoof of a proud stag.

Fifteen feet above the forest floor was a man, kneeling on a branch. He was hard to see in the foliage—his skin was the same shade of green as the foliage, and his hair and eyes were a dark black. His armor was also colored in the tones of the forest.

He was decidedly not human.

He was killoren, a race of fey that was perhaps equally the most and least understandable of all fey. They were humanoid in shape, but they were tied to nature in ways that were inexplicable. They were guardians, protectors of nature. This one, however, was not a protector. Not anymore.

The stag drew nearer, unaware of the being above. The killoren's breathing was undetectable, timed perfectly to coincide with the breezes that passed through the woods. The stag took another step, and the killoren leaned forward, dropping blade first on to the hapless beast. The tip passed through fur, flesh, spine, slicing into and out of the creature's neck with almost no resistance.

The beast was heavy, but manageable. The fey lifted the animal over his shoulder and winced with pain, blood seeping through the bandages wrapped around his chest, under his tunic and armor. He began to walk through the woods, looking for a clearing. After about a half an hour, he found one—a large meadow, with a stream running through the opposite side. It fit his purposes quite well, other than the group of tribal tents he could see near the stream.

Hells,” he rasped. He hadn't been particularly cautious, stepping out of the trees in broad daylight. He frowned as he saw three figures near the circle of tents take note of him, two of them pointing in his direction. A few more joined them, and eventually raised their hands in greeting.

The killoren sighed and began to trudge towards the tribe. He wanted to reach back and check that his sword was clear in it's sheath on his back, but he refrained—it would be blatantly obvious, and wouldn't send a particularly friendly message.

Hail,” one of the men said as the killoren drew close. They were humans, and obviously a fairly primitive group of them. “I am Ezul. Do you come in peace?”

The killoren's eyes darted around the tribe, taking in each tent, each scrap of clothing worn by the members. They seemed to have no particular clan symbol, not that he could see. “I do,” he answered eventually, his voice raspy. “I am Forsaken.”

Ezul exchanged a glance with the man next to him. “Who was it that abandoned you, friend killoren?”

The killoren shook his head. “You misunderstand. My name is Forsaken.”

My apologies, friend. I've never heard of one of your people using a word in the Common tongue as a name.”

Forsaken frowned. “It isn't common. I—” he was interrupted by a bolt of pain as he tried to shift the stag's weight on his shoulder. He grunted, falling to a knee, and the the stag slid off his shoulder, falling unceremoniously to the ground. The world tilted sideways crazily, and everything went black.

A/N--I know, this is pitifully short, especially considering how long it's been since I posted.  Still, it's something, and hopefully it whets the appetite for more to come.

©2011 Cerebral Vomit DESIGNED BY JAY DAVIS