The Soldier802Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡXDGfxoDdwq
The weather was harsher in the north, as it always was. The wind howled over the land like a growling pack of wolves. It was constant up there, and yet the heat was the same as anywhere else. A canopy of clouds filled the sky. Samuel Ford could see them now. In front of him were ginormous stone structures, peaked with blankets of snow, that clawed and the clouds and the sky. He had arrived at the Northern Peaks of Noveria.
Ashley was beside him. She insisted on accompanying Sam on his mission to track down Garn, and to be honest Sam was glad she had come. Now, together, Sam and Ash watched Garn from afar in the rocky terrain of the mountains.
Sam just couldn’t figure out where he was going or what he was doing. His road seemed aimless and lost. They followed him deeper into the mountains still until at last Garn stopped. He stood at the bottom of a gulley that was devoid of sunlight. The dust was a pale purple and the trees were weak and shrivelled. He appeared to be waiting, but for what?
Then something happened – something that neither Sam nor Ash could quite comprehend. A dark, red misty light was miraculously conjured out of nothing. It swirled around through the air like black smoke. Somehow Sam could feel the presence of another being. It made his skin crawl. Something evil was happening here.
Then he saw something or someone crawl out of the smoke – feet, and then legs, a cloak, and soon an entire body was walking ominously towards Garn. Sam remembered the stories he was told as a child, about magic and wizards and sorcerers. It was said that the power was abolished long ago before his time. But there were also legends of people who still secretly possessed magical abilities, even without knowing it. Deep in the Morroak desert there were supposed to be members of the djann who could manipulate the world. The same was said for the creatures that dwelled in the Eldar Forest, and the remote islands of the Great Sea. Of course, these were legends, and as it was said, magic had been abolished. But if it were true that Garn could somehow use magic again, then it only made sense that something supernatural was getting involved here… or rather, Sam was getting involved with something supernatural. Could magic truly exist?
He had no doubts, but he knew that if it did exist he would be in trouble. Everyone would be in trouble. The person standing before Garn reminded Sam of a shadow. The cloak he wore was long and dark – the back of it dragging along the dust. His hood concealed his face in darkness, and the edges of his hood and cloak were lined with a white strip.
Sam realised that the two were speaking to each other, but he couldn’t hear them from where he was. He had to get closer. Stealthily and carefully, he and Ash scurried down the rock face, edging closer and closer to the others without being seen. Sam pressed himself up against a tall rock. He didn’t dare risk getting any closer now, but at least he could listen.
“… Everything is going according to plan.”
That was Garn’s voice.
“Excellent. Tell me, how goes the war? I hear the djann are becoming much more ruthless of late.”
“The Djann and the Taellians are at each other’s throats as was arranged. They are becoming more desperate, just like you said they would.”
“And the others?”
“The Surians are already spent from fighting with the orcs in the east – I saw to that. Soon they’ll be forced to bring their armies south to deal with the djann – that is if they want to retain their treaty with the Taellians. As for the Raetaii, well, they can’t hide in their corner for much longer. The djann are forgetting who they can trust, and it won’t be long before they sever their relationship and march for Eden as well.”
“You have done well, Garn. Noveria has become filled with perfect chaos. It won’t be long before they destroy themselves, and when they do our army will be ready.”
“That’s all well and good but what of the assassin?”
“He is merely a boy to us. A boy who does not yet know what he is capable of. I’d like to see what he does. He may serve as a great ally to us one day, and then again he may pose as a threat. The decision is his – if he becomes a nucience we’ll kill him, but not just yet. You are not to be afraid of him – however you will not underestimate him. I grant you more of my power. Use it to lead our army across Noveria, and under no circumstances are you to harm the assassin.”
Suddenly both figures stopped and turned their eyes down the gully, away from where Sam was hiding. There was a gruff voice calling out. “Who goes there!” it shouted. “Hey you, yeah I see you. You shouldn’t be up here.”
The cloaked man turned away and spoke to Garn. “They’ve seen me. Deal with them.”
“With pleasure.” A wicked smile stretched across Garn’s lips and, as if it was with the wind, the cloaked man vanished. Garn was alone now, save for a group of villagers led by a stout fat man with a second chin and a bellowing voice.
The fat man waddled over with difficulty to face Garn. “Where’d your friend run off to! Hey, I’m talking to you!”
Garn just stood there quietly. He shot the man a ravening glare. Sam saw his left hand light up in a terrifying array of red smoke and black sparks. He was going to attack!
The fat man seemed to notice the change in Garn’s hand as well but it was too late for him to react. Garn dashed his fist through the air and a powerful was forced towards the villagers. Sam sat there horrified and with wide eyes. He could see the thin red lines of energy that had been manipulated by Garn, and black sparks bounced against the mountain rock.
Red energy? Sam knew of blue energy. Did such an evil force exist?
The answer seemed clear as the fat man was hurled violently onto his backside. He rolled across the ground like a potato. The other men who were there immediately attacked – one of them drawing a sword and swinging forcefully at Garn’s head. Garn dodged the swinging blade with unhuman speed and caught the man’s arm before collecting more red energy in his fist and uppercutting the man in the jaw. The poor fellow was thrown high into the air and then crashed down near the fat man – dead or unconscious, Sam couldn’t tell.
Another man charged at Garn from the other side with a meat-cleaver-type weapon. He swung the blade with all his might, but then it stopped. Garn had spun around and caught the sharp edge of the weapon in the palm of his hand. Sam’s heart paused. There was a look on the face of Garn’s attacker. It was half a look of fear, and half a look of utter disbelief. Garn just shook his head and smiled.
“No. No. No.” He uttered diabolically.
Garn yanked the weapon out of the other man’s desperate hands, gripped the handle in his own and then…
Sam looked away. He saw Ash pale and sickened with worry. I should help them, he thought, but how?
Sam, we have to help them,” Ashley stuttered. It was like she had read his thoughts.
Sam just shook his head mournfully. “There is nothing we can do.”
He took her hand and together they rushed back the way they had come. It felt like they had wondered for miles and miles into the mountains, even though it wasn’t really that far. Whenever he closed his eyes he saw the image of Garn just as he had taken that meat cleaver. He could tell that Ash saw the same – it was written all over her face. She had a look of despair.
This whole situation with Garn had gotten so much bigger than he had first thought. It was time for him to return to Taelliwey. They would help him deal with this. They had to.
Sam and Ash walked well into the crimson night before setting up camp – far away from where they had been. The last thing Sam saw before he fell asleep was Ashley’s face, still bearing that troubled look.
“We should have helped them,” she said grimly.
Sam fell asleep agreeing that she was right, but it was too late now. He was now forever burdened with this memory.ns 126.96.36.199da2