—A 'Fable' Fanfic—
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Author's Note: I found the word "whingeing" in my
computer's thesaurus. It's a real word that I just
learned. Go ahead, look up "whinge"!
My computer says "unfrightened" and
"unalarmed" are not words. That makes me unhappy.
- - -
"I never asked for this!" I brought my fist down upon the table, rattling the dishes on it. Defeated, I propped my elbows on the table and ran my hands through my hair. "I never asked for any of this…"
"You may not have asked for it, but you did invite it," Satiyen said.
"No, I—" I stopped myself. "I never meant for this to happen," I finished lamely.
Satiyen snorted. He leant back in his chair. "Nobody ever moved into the future by whining about the past."
"All I want is to see her again," I murmured. "Just to tell her that—that I'm sorry."
Satiyen looked at me sharply. "Did you not hear what I just said, boy? Kan'i is gone, and sooner or later, you'll have to come to terms with that. But until you do, I don't want you to come whingeing to me about it!"
'Boy'. I almost laughed. If only he knew how old I really was…
I grabbed the mug before me and took a long draught of the liquid inside.
"That boy," Satiyen murmured to himself, eyes toward the tavern entrance.
"What's that?" I said, following his gaze. Through the entrance, I could see a boy outside. He was brown-haired. He had very large feet, but was otherwise unremarkable. He was facing sideways from our perspective for a moment, but then he ran off. "What about him?" I asked.
Satiyen shrugged. "There's something about that boy, but I'm not yet sure what it is."
I narrowed my eyes and tilted my head inquiringly. "What do you mean? He doesn't seem like anything special at first glance."
"At first glance, no," Satiyen said. "But then, you've never been very good with the Will, now, have you?"
"You mean it's magical?"
Satiyen shook his head. "No, but my prowess with the Will gives me a bit of a sixth sense, and it itches like mad whenever that boy is around."
I pushed my chair back and stood up. "As far as our earlier conversation goes," I said, "I will find a way back to Hyrule, Satiyen. Sooner or later, I'll find whatever strange path leads to the place, and I'll go back."
"You do that," Satiyen said. "You do that, and good luck to you. I hope you find your way back to Hyrule. With any luck, you'll decide to stay there, so you won't be able to cry on my shoulder anymore."
I smiled wryly. "Ha, ha. I'm serious."
"Ha, ha. So am I. Did you stand up to leave, or just to be dramatic?"
I waved at him dismissively, and started for the doorway. I paused halfway there, though, as a disturbing instinct took hold. Cautiously, I loosened my blade in its sheath, and looked back at Satiyen. He'd become nervous as well. He was staring to the doorway, and even as inept as I was with the Will, I could feel the magical energy gathering around him.
Nobody else in the tavern had noticed anything. I hoped this would mean that it was nothing. I knew it wouldn't.
I looked back to the door, and slowly approached it, staying out of a direct line of sight from the street.
As soon as I heard the faint, distant cry, I leapt for the doorway, slamming my back against it. I peered around the edge of the doorframe. I couldn't see anything, but I kept watching—there, up the road, a group of unfamiliar men, waving their swords in the air and running this way.
Some of the swords already had blood on them.
"Bandits!" I repeated the call, since no one in the tavern seemed to have noticed. "Everybody stay in here, and keep your heads down! Don't panic!"
They didn't seem to hear my second and third announcements, though, since several people ran screaming out the door (only to be promptly skewered on crossbow bolts and arrows), and almost none of them kept their heads down. Satiyen was beside me in an instant.
"Rule one of avoiding a large-scale panic," Satiyen hissed, "never tell people not to panic!"
"Sorry," I said. "What do we do?"
"I don't know," he said. "I've a bad feeling about this."
"How bad of a feeling?" I snapped. "I had damned well better survive this!" I peered around the doorframe again. The bandits had split up and some were entering buildings. It would only be a matter of time before they came into this one. "What do we do now?" I asked.
Satiyen grabbed my hand. I felt a tingling sensation throughout my body, and then he pulled me out into the street. I ran along behind him, scared out of my mind.
"You idiot!" I cried. "We're going to be—"
"Shut up," he said. "You've got a physical shield around you; they can't touch you as long as I maintain the shield. Now, come on, don't lag behind, boy!"
I looked around as we moved. Two bandits noticed us and shot arrows at us, but didn't even wait to see if the shots connected before moving on. The first arrow bounced off as cleanly as if I'd been wearing armour. The second slowed strangely as it approached Satiyen, then dropped listlessly to the ground. We kept moving.
"Where are we going?" I said then.
"We're going to that boy's house. I'm positive he's got something to do with this." He didn't look back.
"That boy—Satiyen, why don't we just get out of here?" I looked back. There wasn't anybody following us. Ahead, I saw several houses. He pulled me to the last one on the left side of the road. We stopped some distance back. A handful of bandits were just now approaching it. One smashed in the door. I heard a woman scream, and the bandits flooded the place. I moved toward the house, but Satiyen pulled me back.
"Don't," he cautioned. "They'll kill you. This isn't just an unsystematic raid."
"But, Satiyen—" He released me and stared coldly down at me.
"Luseik," he said flatly, "if you want to go and get yourself slaughtered, I won't stop you. But I can promise you that you will not be able to take on those bandits alone."
"Then help me."
"I wouldn't even risk that much. I'd be willing to bet that they've got a few tricks up their sleeves. It won't help anybody if we go and get ourselves killed."
There was another scream from inside the house. I stared at the house and shook my head.
"There's got to be something we can do," I said.
"We can find that boy. He's at the centre of this story. I'm sure of it."
"I wish you could be more than sure of it," I replied, looking back to the house. I heard the angry shouts of the bandits, and another female scream.
Satiyen took my hand again. "Let's go," he said. "We can't do anything here." Oakvale began to shimmer and shift, and then the world went away.
- - -
When the world returned, I stood in a cold village, on a stone pathway. Satiyen was gone. This was my first indication that something was wrong. The second indication was that I saw no people in this village, though by the light, it seemed to be midday. As I walked down the pathway into the village, I received confirmation of my suspicions when the world darkened around me.
Who… are you?
I spun round and peered about, but saw nothing save the buildings and the street.
"I'm Luseik," I said. "Who are you?"
I know that name. You cannot be Luseik.
"What do you mean?" I called, staring around. "I don't know who the Luseik is that you know, but that's my name."
Luseik was a god. You are no god. You are but a mortal man.
"I never professed to be anything but a man," I said indignantly. "I didn't say I was a god. I just told you my name."
And yet, the strange voice continued, seeming to ignore what I had said, you do feel like him. Perhaps the Creator has done something without informing me.
"Fine, whatever," I said, my patience thinning. "Just let me get back to the real world."
I shall ask the Creator what you are. Be warned, imitator of Luseik—
"I'm not imitating anybody."
—that it is dangerous for a mortal to wear the skin of a god. You, of anyone, should know this.
"What are you talking about? Piss off, will you? Leave me alone."
There was a blinding flash of light and a sudden thunderous crash, and I found myself on my knees, panting on the quiet village street. I saw a woman walking down the street away from me, and a blue-garbed guard staring at me as if I were some sort of demon—but then, I had, most likely, just materialized out of thin air, so perhaps his astonishment was warranted. I got to my feet. Satiyen was still nowhere nearby. As I stared about myself, I saw the blue glow of a Cullis Gate up the road a ways. I headed for it. Off to my left, there was an unimpressive building bearing the mark of a blacksmith's shop. The sign hanging out front read "Hook Coast Blacksmith", but I had never heard of Hook Coast, so it didn't help much. I continued to the Cullis Gate.
Stepping atop the glowing stone, I felt its power wash over and through me. For an instant, I thought of returning to Oakvale, but I wasn't sure if it would be safe. I didn't know how much time had passed. For all I knew, the bandits might still be there, might still be ravaging the place. I fingered the hilt of my short sword, sheathed as it was at my waist, and made my decision. I willed the Cullis Gate to send me back to Oakvale. Hook Coast began to shimmer and shift, and then the world went away.
I found myself, quite abruptly, standing in the Oakvale Cullis Gate. I loosened my blade in its sheath and ran toward the village, but stopped in my tracks.
There were no bandits.
There were no damaged buildings.
And there were villagers walking about, unscathed and unworried.
How much time had passed since the raid?