Tragedy of the Raven Part 1, Chapter 7
By Prince Nightmare
Leigh!! Krischtiahn called out the door for his niece. A young child came running from the Temple yard, her dark brown hair tussled up in an unkempt way. She was small for his age, but her gray eyes were sharp and she moved with a quick, easy grace. Yes Uncle Kris?
Krischtiahn sighed. Liegh... dont call me that. My name is Krischtiahn. I know its easy just to say Kris, but it makes you sound like a half-wit.
Liegh nodded. Im sorry Uncle Krischtiahn. Did you call me?
Krischtiahn nodded. Ever since your mother died, God rest her sweet soul, I have taken good care of you, have I not?
Liegh nodded. She had heard this lecture a thousand times and had memorized it.
Krischtiahn beckoned her over to the stool next to him. The girl sat quickly and listened attentively. You know why we have to pretend you are a boy, dont you?
Liegh nodded. So I can learn to fight like a warrior and avenge my mother and fathers death.
Krischtiahn smiled. Thats right. Do you remember who killed them?
Leigh sighed. She hated this part. It made her remember her mother and father. Magus the Black killed them. My father died while fighting the Mystics, and my mother died from grief.
Yes... and do you know what your sacred duty is to them?
The girl answered quickly. To destroy all users of magic left in this world. Including the son of Magus...
You learn well, child. Go play outside now.
Liegh scampered off, Krischtiahn watched her. He had been raising her as a boy ever since she had come to live with them. The Einderesch didnt allow for females in their ranks, and he secretly believed that only someone with his bloodline could ever destroy the spawn of Magus. He pinned all his hopes on the girl.
Outside, Liegh slowed her run to a fast walk. Sometimes she hated her Uncle. True, she had always wanted to learn to sword fight, but he was so weird about how he wanted revenge. She didnt totally understand who Magus the Black was, all she knew was he was dead... She missed her mother and father terribly, but she didnt see how killing more people would make it right.
She stopped by the Temple armory and grabbed one of the wooden practice swords. Sir Rennard was there. He grinned at her.
Hi there, young man. Here to practice with me?
Liegh nodded. Of all the Hunters, Rennard was the nicest. She liked to practice with him even though he wasnt the best with a sword. He was still only a boy himself, only 10 years older than her. Most of the Hunters seemed like old men to Liegh. Rennard was someone she could relate to better.
Ok, remember how I showed you how to hold the handle? Yes, thats it, but dont hold it up too far...good
And so began the lesson. Liegh was exceptionally gifted already. She seemed a natural at fencing and really excelled with a bow and arrow. It wasnt long before she had picked up on Rennards fighting style and was matching him blow for blow. Liegh had learned from her Uncle that every man has a unique style of fighting. Once you figured it out, you could learn to anticipate his next move, and then you had the upper hand.
Wow! You are getting really good! Rennard said, breathing hard. I bet youll be able to whip me pretty soon.
You think so?! Liegh asked, excited. Rennard nodded and she beamed. Want to practice tomorrow with me?
Yeah, why not? How about the same time tomorrow? Ill meet you right back here.
Liegh grinned and nodded happily. She placed the wooden sword back in its spot and then ran off, waving at Rennard as she went. She had chores to do now, like go to the well and fetch a fresh bucket of water, and then she had to brush the horses.
Her Uncle had promised to give her a horse of her own once she passed the Tests necessary to become a Hunter. She couldnt wait. She dreamed of having a horse all her own... a gray one that would match her eyes. Liegh wanted to be the best Hunter ever, even if she was a girl... and even if she really didnt hate anyone enough to kill them. Maybe I wouldnt have to kill them, she thought to herself, I could just catch them and bring them to jail...
She reached the well that was up the path from the Temple. Sighing, she began her daily chores. Liegh decided to bring up the subject of a gray horse later that night. Maybe her Uncle would remember what color she wanted and when the time came, hed know.
Far to the north of Guardia there lies an ancient continent called Gebenhahn. It is a harsh land of snow and ice, with dense forests of huge fir trees... here roamed the wolves and the barbarian savages. Strange beings long extinct to Guardia still lurked here, and there were even a few warlocks, necromancers... and wizards. Time in Gebenhahn did not matter. The forests and people had stayed the same for longer than anyone could remember. There was a legend in this land of ice and snow; The Legend of Vahryiah, the Warlock.
Once there roamed a strange warlock whom the people said was the son of a frost giant...and that his father was Loki himself. He lived in the deepest forest of the land, where only dire wolves, bears, and stranger creatures dared survive.
His name, they said, was Shivah, and he could change into any shape he wanted.
Sometimes when children came up missing, the people whispered and nodded Shivah changed into a wolf and ate the child at night...
When a young man fell sick without warning and died, the people knew Shivah had changed into the wind and blew the frost into the mans lungs to kill him.
When the snows became so bad that people starved, it was surely Shivah cursing them because he was angry.
Very few had actually seen him in his true form. Those who did said he had eyes like the frost... light blue and cold... and hair a sliver blonde that looked like it too had been frosted. They say he traveled with a black wolf who was twice the size of any normal wolf. He wore the finger bones of his victims around his neck for a decoration, and had a sword made out of pure white metal that had strange powers.
Guardia never bother to send the Einderesch after him, for they had never heard his name whispered. How could they? No one from Guardia went to Gebenhahn and ever returned alive, and no one from that far northern plain ever went south. The two continents were almost entirely ignorant of the others existence.
One day, however, a hunter and his boy were tracking a wolf. They came upon a strange man in the forest. He was sleeping, hanging upside down from a tree. The man knew it could only be the evil warlock himself. So he ran back to the village and found a shard of a strange rainbow shell... it was said that the shell could overcome all evil. He sharpened the shell and made and arrow head out of it. Rushing back to where the warlock slept, he shot the mage, who fell from the tree, dead. But his soul wasnt taken to Loki. It was carried away by the giant wolf. And it was said that the voice of Shivah had cried out in the wind I will return to avenge my death! And my wrath will be as no one has ever seen before!
A wolf howled from the distance. It was a faint sound that was almost drowned in the blizzard, but they heard it. Gildah cradled her young boy. She stroked the boys silvery blonde hair reassuringly. Sevean, her husband, was out tracking the wolf. . They were dangerous creatures when they were starving, and this winter had been very bleak. Sevean had gotten caught in the storm, but she was not worried. Sevean was the best tracker in the village
The child whimpered. Im scared! That wolf, he wants to eat me!
Hush now, your father will get him, and then I will make a new scarf for you from his tail.
But the boy would not be comforted and only continued to cry. He wants to EAT me! I know he does.
Quiet! Gildah scolded her son Vahryiah angrily. Be a man about it. The northerners had little sympathy for weakness, and none at all for cowardice.
The wolf howled again, this time closer. Gildah shivered despite herself and slowly reached for the long sword by the bed. The sturdy hut built from tree logs and mud would certainly be enough to keep any wolf out....
She heard a mans voice cry out... Sevean! He was just outside the door, screaming terribly as the wind howled. He pounded on the door frantically, Vahryiah clamped his hands over his mouth so he wouldnt scream. Gildah jumped up to let him in, but just as she reached the door she heard the terrible sound of the wolf snarling... and then bones crunching. There had been no scream, only a sickening thud as Seveans body had hit the snow. Blood leaked in from under the crack in the door and Gildah could hear the wolf breathing heavily.
She grabbed the long sword and frantically stood in front of Vahryiah. It was stupid to think the wolf could break through the heavy door....
The sound of the wolfs breathing faded, and then it was silent. He went away, Vahryiah... hes gone... she was about to say more when there was such a loud noise at the door she shrieked. The bolt came loose as the wolf rammed to door again
Gildah thought hysterically the wolf must be mad! Hungry or no, wolves dont ram doors down!! This has to be a nightmare!
The beast hit the door again and the bolt tore loose from the walls. The door creaked open slowly, the swirling blizzard silhouetting the huge beast. It was twice as big as any wolf shed ever seen, and was pitch black with eyes like liquid gold... The wolfs fangs dripped blood as he snarled at her.
Vahryiah screamed in terror for his mother. He rushed in front of her just as the wolf leaped. Gildah, forgetting everything but her fear, slashed at the wolf... and instead hit her son in the throat.... his crimson blood splashed everywhere as his eyes went wide. The wolf landed on Gildah and snapped her neck with a single crunch of his huge jaws.
Vahryiah fell to the floor, his blood gushing from his jugular. He felt so weak...
The wolf turned. His red tongue lolled out of his mouth, dripping with blood. The boy wanted to scream but everything was fading to black... he felt the warm tongue of the wolf licking the deep wound on his throat. He felt warm and tired... he wanted to sleep but the wolf wouldnt let him because he kept licking.
There was a bright flash the color of the sky just before dusk. All of a sudden Vahryiah didnt feel tired anymore, and he was cold because the door was open and the snow was blowing in the house. He knew he should be dead... he had butchered hogs before and knew that when you cut the great neck vein the animal would surely die... but he wasnt dead...
Vahryiah stood up. The wolf whimpered and licked his face, and the smell of blood was everywhere. He began to cry... he knew he was supposed to be dead and he wasnt.
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