Hi there, this is Stolidd. This is the first FanFiction that I've ever created, and I hope you all like it. I plan to make this a large piece of work, probably creating three full "books,"and for now this is probably only the first half of the first chapter (I guess I am just jumping the gun in excitement to posting something and hopefully getting feedback!) Enjoy!
Chapter One: Dreams and Revelations
"Quietly…slowly…" he thought with his bow drawn, arrow notched and held in place by his forefinger. A minute breeze rustled the leaves of the trees encircling the man garbed in leather, as he moved inaudibly, avoiding fallen twigs and leaves as he crept ever forward. Around him the forest seemed tranquil, despite the wind, and the man knew that if he rushed he would risk making too much sound to remain hidden. And yet, after what seemed like countless hours, the man was tired from moving so deliberately; he just wanted to head back to camp and rest, unmoving, and frolic with consciousness as he slipped in and out of sleep. The man mentally shook his head and thought to himself, "Focus."
Now crouched down slightly in a low brush, the man inched forward at an even, painfully sluggish pace towards the small animal taking a swallow of water from the nearby brook. After a few more steps, the man stopped and elevated his bow slowly until he was in a comfortable position to shoot. The animal lowered its neck once more to take another sip, unknowing of the hunter who was not ten yards from it. Simultaneously, the man closed his eyes and vindicated his mind as he inhaled a small breath through his nose, preparing for the inevitable happening that was about to transpire. With one last exhalation, the man snapped his eyes open and reared up with one rapid motion, reaching his full six foot frame as he dragged back the forty-pound draw of his bow, eyes fixated fiercely on the animal, as a raptor would on a field mouse. The animal, alarmed at the abrupt motion from a before seemingly vacant brush, panicked by hesitating. The hunter smiled, satisfied at his guess to the response of the animal, and let the string of his bow roll off his fingers, liberating the arrow from his clutch.
The head of the arrow hit the animal directly in-between two ribs, piercing the flank and diving through the animal's heart before it could let out a single squeal in defiance to the hunter's dexterity with a bow. The man, previously motionless, walked naturally towards the motionless animal, happy to be able to move at normal stride again for the first time in hours. "Finally," he thought, "I can go back to camp and get some rest, maybe cook a pork chop or two from this pig." Almost simultaneously, the pig dissipated in a waft of smoke, leaving behind four small pieces of uncooked pork. The man picked up the pieces of meat and stowed them away in his a leather pouch at his side, keeping mental track of his day's progress.
"Not a bad day altogether, I'll be able to gross a decent coin with the amount of meat I've collected," he thought as he shadowed aside the brook that he knew would culminate in a small creek a touch northwest of his campsite. As he sauntered, he began to reflect upon the long day he now deemed was concluded with his last haul; his stomach interrupted these thoughts as it growled and twanged with hunger. "That is, I'll make good coin if I don't end up eating everything I have," the man thought flippantly as he raised his bow over his left shoulder, and threaded his body in-between the shaft and string until it rested securely across his midriff at a diagonal. The sun created a small shimmer of orange and yellow light that radiated the forest with a sensation of warmth and contentment, and made the brook glimmer with what seemed like pink and yellow dancing flowers across its unobtrusively babbling coat of liquid.
The night was darker than the previous few; the clouds were covering the always full-moon. The hunter didn't mind the coverage as he lay on his back next to the campfire crackling and shooting random sparks into the sky that would burn fiercely before going black and dissipating without its mother's warmth. The stars peeked through the clouds, all of them bright despite the Hunter's proximity to the fire; the stars were always vivid. After all, this is what the Hunter loved most about this world's night sky: stars that never stopped shining, leaving him a vast sky to look at as his stomach purred with the consummation of finally being filled.
As the fire's tentacles started to retract into its roaring body, the Hunter's eyes started to slowly close. Shadows seemed to elongate as his eyelids became heavy and began to collapse like an iron gate defending the walls of its keep. Unconsciously, the man started to hum a small tune he had picked up at the pub back in his home village as a new-spawn. The memory of the sweet melody reminded him of the lovely barmaid named Aileen who he had become fond of throughout his years of frequent visits to the pub. She had been the one who was always humming that same tune. Blackness enveloped the Hunter as in his last conscious breaths, his heart sank with longing and sadness at the memories of his lost home, and a rekindling of a long-burning passion to once again find it and settle down for good. "Someday…" he thought, as his eyes closed fully, and he finally relented to sleep.
"Aaaaargh!" a man yelled as his sword arced with ferocious velocity, landing against the blade of an axe that blocked its path. Sparks showered the two men in combat, one wearing brilliant armor with a blue-teal tint, the other clad in majestic golden steel.
"This is madness Nyim'sh, and there is no justification for your deeds!" the man in gold shouted, axe raised ready to once again sway the direction of the blade. "Please, there is no reason to fight!"
"I have every motive Ad'eh! How can you two persist to betray me and feign as though your actions are not dishonest?" Nyim'sh yelled as he swung his sword once again, targeting Ad'eh's waist. The golden-clad man overturned the blade of his axe, and switched its shaft into his right hand, then swung down to repel the sword. With another cascade of sparks, the head of the axe deflected the sword and rebound back into a rotation, as Ad'eh reversed his grip yet again, and in the same fluid flow brought its head down from above his opponent's right shoulder. Nyim'sh was not staggered by the man's fluidity; with just as little effort, he allowed the blade to maintain its submission to momentum and carry his body into a full twist, using the weight of his swing to complete his revolution and bring the blade of his sword upwards to reunite with the axe-blade and impede the deadly strike. In the standstill, both mean took a step forward, bringing the joining of the two weapons down and in-between themselves, allowing them to lean in close to one another without fright of losing their heads.
"You are making a mistake Nyim'sh; there is no dishonesty in our correlation. I am confused by your accusations and sudden strokes!" Ad'eh was shaking as the two men struggled to not allow the other's strength to overtake the cessation. "Now please, will you stop your foolish acts and allow us to make peace?"
With a sudden push, Nyim'sh released the weapons from their bond and swung his blade into a pointed position, then lunged forward at Ad'eh's heart. Ad'eh dragged his axe downward; the underbelly of its edge nicked the sword, throwing its momentum to the right. Ad'eh relented to the deflected upward motion of the axe and barreled its flat top into the face of his outraged opponent, as the motion of his blade carried him helplessly forward. There was a crack as the flat top axe connected with bone, and a roar as Nyim'sh staggered rearward, readjusting and maintaining his stance despite the powerful hit he just received. Blood began to flow freely from his two nostrils.
"You continue to lie through your teeth Ad'eh! Why must you be a coward to the truth?" Nyim'sh reset his position, and with a noticeably more collected stance swung his blade once again towards Ad'eh's waist, but this time shifting direction mid-swing upwards, halfway through its arc. Ad'eh was taken by surprise at the sudden shift and raised his axe to block; the blade of the sword was too fast. Ad'eh staggered backwards clutching his face at the small bleeding tear of flesh the tip of the sword had clasped in its deadly swing. Without a second of delay, Nyim'sh took advantage, and started to run towards Ad'eh, sword raised and ready to once again lunge. Ad'eh, now angered by the sole fact that he had received such a blow, raised his axe, knowing that this would be the final strike. The two rushed towards each other in fervor, barreling over dirt and gravel, both content in making this final swing the last chord of their opus. The axe-head raised, the sword blade lunged forward and both men roared as their weapons struck their targets, sending a pulse of energy outwards that created a brilliant flash that overtook the entire surrounding. The ground shook violently, and the edges of existence itself began to grow fuzzy and unclear, as a large and terrible voice shouted one word over and over; a name:
"Aaaaahhh!" the Hunter screamed as he awoke, startling a bird nearby. Sweat rolled down his cheek as he hoisted himself into a sitting position and looked around. He was in his camp, the fire long dead but a few coals burning dully, and the sun beginning to peek over the horizon. The Hunter released an audible sigh of relief, and stood up, stretching his stiff muscles and enjoying the warmth of the sunlight on his face.
"What a dream," The Hunter said aloud to himself, darting his eyes around camp to ensure everything was still accounted for. "I don't often have vivid dreams, but that one was a real kick in the pants." As The Hunter started to break down his camp, he couldn't help but wonder what might have caused such a strange dream.
"And that voice calling out at the end," he pondered, as he packed the pad of sheep's wool he had slept on, finally stuffing it into his pack. With one last heave, the Hunter lifted his pack over his shoulder and started heading in the direction he knew would return him home.
"That dream, I wonder…" the Hunter began to think as he shielded his eyes from the rays of the sun now over the crest of the horizon, boasting its warmth and light to the world before him. Shaking his head suddenly, he chuckled at himself, achieving a curious look from a nearby squirrel. "It was just a dream. No need to dwell on it." With clarity replacing curiosity, the Hunter started to whistle the tune he had fallen asleep to the night before, returning his mind once again to his lost homeland as he walked towards the village he now knew as his abode.
The peaks of the mountains still had snow blanketing them in a sheet of white powder. The snowfall was several weeks past, but time in these mountains seemed to elapse slower than the rest of the world, especially so in the valley the range encompassed. The vale was green and verdant with life as the run-off from the surrounding mountains converged into a few waterfalls along the north-western range that gushed down like an open wound, pooling itself ultimately into a large lake. The naturally slight V-shape of the valley permitted an abundance of room for all life, including animals that partook in the lake's serene waters, the copious collections of tall trees that fashioned a number of forests that spotted the landscape, and finally the sprawling village located slightly to the east of the inner point of the V along the northern range, humming and vibrant with the vivacity of its near-hundred inhabitants.
This village was called K'far, named after the original founder of the valley, or so the Hunter had been told. All he knew was that this place was one thing to him: a home. He looked down on the beauty of the valley, breathing deeply inwards and then exhaling with contentment. This place had been home to him for many sunlit days and moon-filled nights, and held many memories of happiness, fellowship, and community. The Hunter couldn't help but smile on-top the southern peak he stood on, as he remembered the first time he had appeared in the village, in search of sanctuary from the creatures of the night. Little did he know that he would wind up spending a lot of time here, eventually becoming a member of the community, and helping do his part in whatever way he could; in this instance, hunting.
With one last overlay starting from the top of the opposing peaks and ending on the path leading to the village, the Hunter directed his eyes down the mountain he was atop of, reluctant to tear his gaze away from the beauty of his home, and set in motion threading his way through the trees and stones. As he carefully made his way downwards, memories began to appear in his mind's eye of how the villagers reacted when he first walked into K'far, clothing torn and mind nearly shattered with paranoia. He remembered their faces of shock, fear, and uncertainty as he stumbled along the main road; the villagers did not often see new people due to the elusiveness that the surrounding mountains cast upon the valley. When there was the rare occasion of a new-comer stumbling into the valley, the villagers were kind, but cautious –caring, but separated. After all, who knew what a new-comer would bring to the village; The Shattered enjoyed following lone wanderers…
The Hunter reached the bottom of the mountain and stepped out onto the even ground of the grassy plain, entering at last the emerald valley. He could see the grass wave long crests in the wind, and a sheep looked up plainly at the new-comer before returning to its meal. A bird flew overhead, almost in joyous song of the return of the hunter as it flew west. Eyes finally adjusted to the now level landscape, the Hunter looked towards the north-east, seeing the top of the trees on the rear side of K'far, back-dropping the top of the bell tower in the middle of the city. A smile drew along his lips, knowing that in a day's quarter, he would be home.