following story is a work of pure fiction and contains homoerotism as
ol’ medieval bow-and-sword action. If either of
these offends you, you are under legal
to read stuff like that or it’s illegal where you
live, you’d probably better push this little,
in the top left-hand corner
of your screen and leave now.
Otherwise I hope you enjoy the story.
you go on reading, I have to state a few things. If you don’t want to
to skip this paragraph, but don’t complain about
me not having told you afterwards. I
my hands of it.
there won’t be any explicit sex… at least as far as I’ve planed it. I
to finish it, you’ll have to use your imagination.
Hey! No scowling! This is the fantasy-
after all, so I can call for some fantasy from
your side, too, can’t I?
like any halfway talented Hollywood
director I’ll try to make
up the lack of explicit sexual
with some action and violence (and a hopefully
exiting/interesting plot, of course…*g*)
this is my first story on Nifty… my first “real” story at all, to be
continuous English text I’ve ever written, to
be even more honest. And as English is
my native tongue, please be clement.
I was/am inspired by several sources. When I think it might be
of them e.g. due to copyright, I’ll do so at the
end of a chapter.
but not least, everything written in italics is meant to be
by no/a single/very few present
character(s). An example? Oh well, why
It could be a foreign language none of the
currently involved characters is able to speak.
you, as (almost) omniscient readers, will of
course understand every single word. Direct
to give it a flashy name. So I don’t have
to bother making/looking up words, and
don’t have to bother unravelling them. Deal?
Oh, yeah, if I feel funny enough to let
use some kind of telepathy, that would be
written in italics, too.
actually a reedited version of chapter one. So if you didn’t read it
confronted with less typos but some additional story-stuff. If you
feel free to do so
again and spot the changes, if you want. When you find all of them,
a prize. *g*
that should do it for the moment. Still there? Nice. I already like
you ; )
by lunarsangel 2005, all rights reserved)
I – Red Leaves
carefully studied the face watching him from the calm surface of the
It was a handsome face, at least in his
opinion. Nose, chin, ears and lips, all smooth
well proportioned, making him look a bit younger
than he actually was. Most people
believe him being twenty years old, much to
his own annoyance. He was a man and
accountable for his deeds before law and God.
The Almighty knew that he was willing to
this responsibility. He looked into deep green
eyes, gleaming with determination, but his
black hair, still wet and messed up, betrayed
his ambition to appear perfectly reputable.
being especially content with the present, his thoughts drifted to the
everything he had left behind, back in Dunburgh,
his hometown. Not that there was
to muse about.
six years had passed since he talked to his father or mother for the
it seven? He didn’t know for sure and furthermore
he didn’t care. The final words he
exchanged with his master Almaric a week ago
weren’t of the nicest kind, too. Being
focused on his studies, he had no one back
there to be called a friend. At least not
but no real friends. And the city itself? Well,
about a conglomeration
of cut rocks and carved wood and
calling it ‘home’
had seemed quite
foolish to him.
is going to last forever and embosoming
only increases the pain of loss.’ He
agreed with other
people’s opinion without reservation. But this quotation from ‘The
of Mankind’, a
controversial book well known among the philosophers of the western
simply hit the
single maple leaf touched the so far motionless surface and caused his
reflection to be
by concentric ripples. His thoughts being
disturbed as well, he turned his gaze to the
above, searching for whatever caused the leaf
to fall off in late midsummer. The
figure of a blackish bird, maybe a magpie, took
to the skies marking its farewell with a
caw. It was the first remarkable noise this
morning apart from the gurgling of the little
creek nurturing the pond.
else caught his eye. The rising sun let its first warm rays seep
branches and turned ordinary insects into little
wisps of light, dancing among the
slightly reddish leaves. Autumn was slowly but
steadily approaching. Soon the trees
Firewood forest would be clad in a bright red
garment, the apparent origin of its name.
watched the mesmeric dance for a while, before resuming his task of
there won’t be much I’m going to miss.”
Vincent muttered to himself, finally putting
end to his pondering.
He stood up slowly and winced when he felt a sharp pain in his back
maybe sleeping in a warm, soft
bed.” he added sullenly, throwing an angry look at
root which must have
been the cause of his restless sleep. Vincent took a rough towel from
wrapped it around his head and started ruffling his hair through the
A single beam of
sunlight was caressing the flexing muscles of his bare back, somewhat
the ache. His
hair being relatively short, the task of drying it was quickly done.
accident during his early training
taught him that long hair, at least concerning his
wasn’t only very
bothersome to tame every morning but could also be hazardous.
half of it had burned
away completely. After the first shock eased up, he had decided
get the other half cut,
too, and keep his hair shorter from then on. He had waited some days
tease his master and, of course, for the sake of dramatic effect. After
had admonished him
several times, he finally went seeing the barber.
smiling at this ambivalent memory,
Vincent stuffed the damp towel back into his
He picked up his
woolen shirt from the
forest soil and pulled it over his
slender, nicely defined torso. A trail of dark hair led down from his
black linen cloth of his trousers. Spending most of one’s time with old
and parchments won’t
very likely give you a woodcutter’s build, but Vincent had to
care of enough
chores, involuntary tasks assigned by his master, to prevent him from
too chubby or
sure not to leave anything of importance
behind, grabbed the
of his backpack and
made his way from his shelter through the undergrowth back to the
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
hanging branches, mainly maple, lime and
beech, heavy due to their dense foliage,
the road almost
appear like a tunnel of dusky twilight, as they mostly shielded it from
midsummer sun. Tree
trunks supported the ceiling of leaves like randomly placed
masterly authenticity, their roots breaking through the roads’ soil.
in between the trees
were filled with thick, lush undergrowth: Stinging nettles, haws and
small bushes barred
the wind, making the air a bit close and sultry. A woodpecker could
heard in the distance,
adding his very special sound to the forest’s unobtrusive song.
Vincent paid not much attention to
his path and its natural beauty. What would have
quite appealing to
the willing observer could only casually gain his advertence. The
growling of his
stomach was just too prominent to obtain less than his full regard. He
himself for taking
along only so few supplies from Dunburgh. But visiting the villages
Shalting and Millford,
both not further than a day’s walk from the city’s walls, were his
journeys thus far.
So he was hardly to blame, was he?
And now he
was alone on this solitary
road leading right through the Firewood. Once it
been the main
connection between Thurbin Castle
and Dunburgh, but since the Royal
Route provided a
comfortable way to bypass the forest in the south, nature had
claimed it back.
studies, Vincent had certainly
read some books about plant life in the Western
of Branduria Kingdom,
his homeland, the duchy of Grenshire, being part
But relying on
what he remembered, he could only tell which herb or plant better not
eat… if he was lucky.
So he had decided to leave anything not clearly identifiable, by
it already seen at
the market someday, untouched. This reduced the extent of Vincent’s
present-day meal a lot, some meagre wild
strawberries being all
he gathered so far. The fact
tasted quite sour and
their flavour couldn’t match with the strawberries he knew didn’t
to better his mood at
he would reach a woodcutters’
settlement by the already nearing evening,
to the mossy signpost
encountered roughly one mile ago.
sudden movement in front of him brought
Vincent rudely back to alertness. He
dead in his
tracks, when he realized the tip of a spear pointed at him, only ten
from his chest. Its
bearer wore a broad grin, as well as his goblin sibling standing next
armed with a large
knife. Both were clad in light, loose fitting armours made of rough,
leather. Their sharp,
yellowish teeth were plainly visible and as disturbing as the green-
over their bony faces. The two were roughly one foot shorter than
him being nearly
5’9’’, as their long, pointed ears extended even somewhat above
Despite of this apparent disadvantage, their
narrow, rusty-brown eyes
belief in having found an easy prey.
short moment of shock, Vincent reached
for the dagger he carried on his side.
“Dont’cha move human.” the spear-holding
goblin hissed, making use of the Branduran
tongue with a heavy,
“Befor’cha even touch yar sheath, I pierced
yar chest with yis spear of mine.” To
his words, just
in case they could be misunderstood, the goblin wiggled the slightly
spearhead in font of
his victims face.
slowly drew back his hand. Now the
other goblin, a few inches taller and
older than his
fellow, started to speak, even less intelligible as he spit
“Wise shinking, boy. Cha don’t look all shat
poor,” he pointed at Vincent’s dagger,
yis lil’shing looks pretty costy, so if we
pleashd from what we get, perhapsh we let cha
Now gif us all cha haf. But no foolishy, do cha
of the fear seizing his heart, Vincent’s
pride would not allow
him to simply obey
imp’s scornful demand.
“In your stead, I’d go back where you belong.
WHAT, pinkskin?!” the smaller goblin cut him off, now clearly getting
stab us with yis knife of yars?! Try it and be
so dead before cha even blink!”
ignored the irate outburst, took a step back and closed his eyes.
darkness surrounded him, no light, no noise, no distraction. He
silence and quickly found the secret place he
was looking for. Reaching out, touching
he sought the one pattern desired right now. Others were trying to
way out into his
conscious mind, from where they had been banished an indefinite time
to keep them under
control. Repelling the unwanted, he went on, unwavering. After some
had passed, may it be
hours, days or just the blink of an eye, Vincent discovered the
of his search.
He embraced it and withdrew from this place, coming closer to reality
The pattern quickly
expanded, growing tendrils like a vine, filling him up and taking
almost everything he
was. He felt his fingers move in delicate, almost invisible gestures,
to be performed
singly by a human being. His inner voice chanted words of an
tongue, to no
one but himself, yet their meaning remained a mystery to him. By
energy was flowing
through his body, drawn from unknown spheres. The pattern itself
getting weaker and
weaker under their surging influence, finally loosing control of him.
he was able to gain
control over his own body and mind again, forcing the enfeebled
back into its dark
opened his eyes and saw the two
goblins staring at him, ready to attack, when he
loose of the energies.
bold human seemed to ignore Jizirg’s
warning and actually dared to move. But
of drawing his
weapon and dashing forward to attack, he backed away. Most
the sod was trying
to get out of his spear’s reach. With a quick glance to Lirmak,
was tightening the grip
on his weapon, too, Jizirg decided to go for an attack. He turned
to the human, who
suddenly opened his eyes wide, held out his right hand, his fingers
apart as much as
possible, shouting three strange words:
Jizirg was engulfed by searing flames,
bursting forth from the humans
palm. The pain
was overwhelming. He heard horrible screaming but wasn’t able to
whether it was
Lirmak’s panicked voice or his own.
two goblins howled in agony, stumbled and dropped squirming to the
they hoped to
smother their burning rags, but maybe they were simply unable to
anymore. Vincent was over the bigger goblin in a flash. He pressed
boot on the creature’s
chest and drew his dagger. With a swift cut, he sliced the green-
last years withered leaves beneath. He turned to the smaller one
put an end to his
suffering, too, only to find him already dead.
still feeling slightly dizzy
from the spell he just had cast, the cynical part of
blinked, did you notice?” he muttered,
before wiping his dagger clean of the other
dark blood on Jizirg’s
clothing. He sheathed the blade, leaned against a nearby tree
took in a deep breath.
a short time the adrenaline
had subsided and he had calmed down. Still leaning
the tree, Vincent lowered his gaze from the
rustling branches above and glanced over
the two dead bodies. Thin bands of smoke rose up
from their still smouldering clothes and
blown away by a light breeze.
didn’t know for sure what exactly they were. Most certainly goblins,
or trolls as well. He had only heard vague
descriptions of these creatures so far, mainly
drunken travellers or grey-bearded storytellers.
There was no way for him to identify
faultlessly, at least not from this distance. So
he took a closer look.
the first time Vincent recognized their slender, almost childish
built. The heads being
bit too big to match their bodies only emphasized
this likeness. He shuddered and turned
with disgust, partly of himself. Any desire for
further investigation was gone.
were intelligent creatures, although one could debate on the degree of
had put an end to the life of two sentiment beings,
a rather sad premiere. But did he have a
If he had tried to fight with his dagger, he
would definitely have been no match for
two. Hell, he had only used it to slice his
bread and greens so far. And now the mere
of reusing it for this common purpose again,
after blood was spilled on the blade,
him feel sick and definitely not hungry anymore.
turned his back on the scorched bodies and resumed his path, walking
continued to ponder.
tried to warn them, didn’t he? But they wouldn’t listen. He would
have told them that
wielded a weapon far more dangerous than any
dagger. He would have given them the
to retreat. But now it was too late.
apprentice of Almaric he had learned the fundamental secrets of magic
and now, disappointed by his former master,
Vincent was on his journey to bring this art
perfection on his own. He knew it would turn out to
be a hard quest for sure, those two
bodies probably not remaining the only victims to
be left behind on his path, as a result
opposing him. It might be a cruel thought, but most
likely he had to get used to it
He had to numb himself to scenes like this,
the faster the better.
he’ll become a Changer, a magician the world would remember. Respected
allies and feared by his foes. Being one of the
Eight Great Paths of Magic, the Art of
was the key to alter the fabric of reality
itself, causing space and time to bow to
will. Just a few moments ago, he made air to
become fire and one day he might even be
to change the person he was, getting rid of those
been walking for maybe half an hour, when something else caught his
his sombre thoughts. Was it just a dark
cloud in the meanwhile reddened sky or
it…smoke! The smell of burned wood was
unmistakable. Shouldn’t he have reached a
by now? It could be a bonfire. No… the
gloomy cloud was too large. He sped up
pace and suddenly heard distant screaming. Then
realization struck him like lightning.
started to run.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
and its roughly two dozen houses, leaving out some barns and
were bathed in reddish light. Unfortunately the
fast approaching sundown wasn’t its
source. A barn in the northern part of the
settlement was ablaze and two neighbouring
had also caught fire. Several men, most
certainly the owners, were desperately
to put out the fire, but most of the villagers
either fought the plundering goblins or fled
them, trying to hide somewhere within the
settlement or to escape into the woods.
stood there for a moment, shocked and stricken with fear. He had
left the road,
closer to the village through the adjacent
undergrowth to get a better view. He still
a chance to withdraw. No one had noticed him yet,
neither goblin nor human, so he could
back into the deceptive safety of the forest. But
this would mean spending another restless
with roots and twigs poking in his back and
he cursed himself inwardly. Hell, why did he decide to travel through
He could have easily made his way westwards,
passing the border to the Earldom
Cathings, and avoid all this trouble. It would have
been just another day’s walk from
But despite his resolute decision to abandon
his place of birth, it seemed to take quite
to leave one’s homeland behind.
But there was no sense in regretting his
past decisions now, so Vincent focused his
on what was happening ahead.
as he could see, the fight was kind of balanced: the sturdy woodcutters
prey for the more numerous little devils. Perhaps
his intervention could decide the battle
guarantee him a remarkable reward. And right now,
a warm meal and a soft bed, perhaps
bath in between, appeared very remarkable to him. If
he wanted respect, why not start
it right here and now?
decision was made, but this time, he would be the attacker, not the
catch him off guard.
Vincent let himself sink into deep concentration, seeming to last
only for the blink
an eye. This time he sought a throughout different
pattern and found it with ease. He
his eyes and extended his arms in a slow,
pushing motion. Still concentrated, he
the words once chosen to release this magic’s
o calvis irest wavin!”
in front of him flickered slightly for an instant, then everything
back to normal. With a content smile, ignoring
the hint of light-headedness, Vincent
the concealing undergrowth and neared a gap
between two houses.
smile faded quickly, when he saw the havoc already caused by the
close range. Still hiding in the houses’ shadow, he
peered on the road that winded though
settlement. Smaller fires caused by thrown away
torches burned in front of some homes,
doors were torn open. Vincent sincerely hoped
that the inhabitants were able to flee or
still fighting elsewhere.
took notice of someone lying on the dusty street. The man, who could
his grandfather, was dead. The black-hilted knife
jutting from his back left no doubt
that. Just when he wanted to avert his eyes,
Vincent’s gaze met the panic stricken face of
elderly woman. She was hiding behind a pile of
logs, not too far from the dead. Her watery
pleaded him to go away, as if she feared he could
be discovered. Vincent realized
could spot her easily from his position. He
was not nearly that well hidden and
probably draw someone’s attention soon. A
goblin’s attention in the worst case. Then
dead man’s sacrifice, leading the attackers away
from his wife’s hiding place, would have
in vain. Sudden anger came along with this
insight, defeating the last remainder of doubt
hesitation, but also wiping away the necessary
caution, considering the still present light-
which usually should have worn off by now.
dropped his backpack, stepped out of the shadow and hurried towards the
centre, where most of the fighting took
not more than a hundred yards, two goblins, perhaps another fifty
the approaching human and prepared to attack.
Vincent saw them, too, as they cocked
shabby crossbows and aimed at him. He stopped
running and started to concentrate, as
first goblin pulled the trigger of her weapon. The
bolt shot through the air with
speed, directly towards its target.
the female goblin’s surprise, the projectile was repelled in midair,
maybe in a
from Vincent’s chest. It flung backwards and
fell to the ground.
the slight shimmer in front of the magician faded, he opened his eyes,
his left arm and pointed at the two archers with his
index- and middle finger. His clear
was heard by several people hiding in houses
qulet o misar!”
who dared to watch witnessed two tapered crystal shards appearing from
Glowing with a deep-green inner light, they
seemed to be a pair of sharp-edged
maybe ten inches long. Closer examination
was impossible, as the shards headed
their two targets in an instant. Flying even
faster than the crossbow bolt just a few
before, they left nothing behind but a trace
of greenish light.
goblins screamed in fear and turned away to flee, as they were hit in
did not pierce their armour yet exploded in a
bright flash of energy, killing both of
felt no desire to check on the result of his magic. He held his
eyes closed to fight
upcoming, surprisingly strong dizziness. Now
finally realizing its cause did not help
it. Never did he expect hunger and the
continuing lack of sleep having such a
influence on his spellcasting. He had to
recover real quickly since the fight wasn’t
yet. He could already hear the approach of more
bare feet, so he forced his eyes open.
his slightly blurred vision cleared up, he
saw five new attackers only thirty yards
Although he didn’t feel ready for this at all,
Vincent decided to go for one of his
magics and closed his willing eyes once
time it took him some real effort to bar the unwanted patterns from
their imprisonment. He knew there was not much
strength left. After this spell, he had to
some place to rest for a while. Maybe he could
hide with the elderly women… sitting
keeping his eyes closed for a moment or two…
perhaps even get some sleep… at last…
pulled himself together and focussed back on his task just in time.
would be a deadly mishap.
after what seemed like an eternity to him, he found the pattern and
the moment of relaxation, as it took over his
body and mind, although Vincent knew
must not allow himself to let control slip away
goblins were merely ten yards away, when he reopened his eyes, raised
over his head and spoke the concluding words, his
voice slightly trembling.
odenasa in vailass veles.”
turned his face away, his head throbbing fiercely, as a dozen or more
of brilliant white light illuminated the
area in front of him. He heard the goblins
in shock as their eyes were blinded. At least
for the next few hours they should pose
threat to anyone.
vanished quickly and Vincent wanted to check his surrounding, hoping to
way for a safe escape. He overestimated himself this
time for sure and truly regretted his
not to run away in the first place. He looked
through his daze, his vision being
heavily, and made out a vague figure ahead.
was kinda lucky. The Dark One had to favour him for sure. Just
when the human
summoned his magic, he tripped and fell. So,
cause he didn’t look into the terrible
he did not have to share the pitiful fate of
his yammering, fleeing comrades. Now he’d
the weakened sorcerer who was barely able to
stand anymore. No big deal. He’d slice
stomach and then bring head and belongings to boss
Steelhand… after taking the human’s
of course. He’d certainly gain an additional
lifted his short sword, aimed and stabbed. A magical force
knocked the surprised
back, causing the air to glisten, but also
causing the sorcerer to tumble. So the human
had some tricks left. However, Urgath was sure
he’d pass out after a few more of his
was pushed back and almost fell. By now he had recognized the
figure as an
willing to attack again. His magic had saved
his life once more. He groped for his
and unsheathed the blade. He could have the
hint of a chance, if only his protective
kept on working until his eyesight began to
goblin went for another attack, but was repulsed by the shimmering
took his chance but missed by far, his enemy
being much too agile. Two exchanges of
blows followed, spell and dexterity preventing
damage on either side.
already panting, backed away and felt a cold shiver running down his
he could sense the magic rapidly fading away. His
enemy, already attacking anew, was
by the last remaining energies, distracting
his blow, but not causing him to miss.
was right. He got him. Magic was gone. One nice cut into his left
upper thigh. His
was screaming in pain and had even dropped his
weapon. Urgath was having the
hand. That was a fight of his liking. One more
slash and he’d be finished.
his blade again, he suddenly felt a
sharp pain in his back. A whimper emerged
throat as his world grew darker.
was still wincing from the pain and held the gash on his thigh
with both hands.
was oozing through his clutched fingers. He
expected the next, maybe final stroke,
he saw the still somewhat blurred figure of the
goblin fall to his feet. A white-feathered
stuck out from his back. Unbelieving, Vincent
through the remainder of the daze he could discern the person standing
away, down the road, still holding a bow in its
vision was getting clearer from heartbeat to heartbeat and though he
to make out any detail yet, Vincent was sure to
see the most beautiful boy he could
The slender young man wore trousers of a
dark-red colour, topped by a white shirt.
mysterious silvery shimmer surrounded his torso.
was his face that caught Vincent’s attention. Just… angelic… no other
it better, framed by shoulder-long, brown
hair. He couldn’t believe that he
himself handsome, when he watched his own
reflection in the small pond this
Comparing to this stunningly beautiful being…
indeed, Vincent stared at the figure that seemed to approach slowly.
realize the movement to his left nor did he
hear the agitated call of the running young
he was gazing at. Exhaustion and pain were simply
too much for him.
dazedly wondered why this person would probably shoot him, right after
life, as he watched how the stranger stopped
walking, took an arrow from his quiver, drew
bow and finally aimed at him.
already expected his life to end here and now, so he would rather die
boy than being killed by a rusty goblin blade.
The archer let loose of his arrow, when
hard hit Vincent’s left temple. Once again
darkness surrounded him.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
alone in silent blackness.
Oddly enough this place seemed somewhat familiar.
how did he get here?
First fragments of memory came back, as he tried to remember what
The goblin… the
silvery shimmer… an arrow pointed at him…
pain followed by... nothing… and finally awaking in this darkness.
his reason would not leave him
right now. He had to think clearly. Dull pain…
hit him could not
have been the boy’s arrow. Strangely, this thought bestowed him a
he heard the faint echo of a
voice. Not more than a melodic succession of
somehow… Could it be his inner voice, finally gotten beyond his
with a will of
its own? The voice seemed to get closer, as he felt the slight pressure
on his chest, a
hand, barely touching his skin.
“…therefore I call upon your aid, Lady of Dawn. Show your mercy
this mortal man back
into the light. Don’t let pain and sorrow seize his
heart and soul. I beseech you…”
slowly opened his eyes, the
eyelids slightly fluttering. He felt the straw-filled
the thin linen sheet covering his body. He was lying in a bed.
But despite his
earlier longing, this was of no importance to him right now, neither
he notice any detail
of the inn’s bedroom and its wooden furniture. On a chair next to his
sat a young man. The
archer. The one who saved his life.
hand was gently touching
Vincent’s bare chest, his left enclosed something
from a golden
necklace. The boy’s eyes were closed, his full lips moving in a fluent
strange yet melodic psalm. Vincent didn’t dare to move, as he feared to
him away like a shy
bird or at least disturb his beautiful chanting. Instead, he examined
face bowed over him
less than two feet away from his own.
cheekbones were in perfect
unison with his nose and smooth chin. Like strands
silk, his straight
auburn hair was adorned by natural highlights. It fell loosely to his
and due to his
slightly downcast head, even somewhat over his forehead. There
no way this boy could
be older than seventeen or eighteen. Against his effort Vincent
not suppress a
shiver of delight.
praying boy fell silent. Vincent
regretted his lack of composure and the interruption
the chant only for a
brief moment, as the boy opened his eyes to have a look at his patient.
were of a light hazel
colour and Vincent was convinced to see even a hint of gold,
from the candle which lighted the room from his nightstand.
smile spread over the boy’s face
as he drew back his hand from Vincent’s chest.
finally woke up.” he stated
relieved, “I already began to worry. This drub on
head was meant to
kill you and it almost did.” Then the boy’s face lit up a bit. “But it
my sorrow was in
stared at him, captivated by
his eyes and enthralled by the young man’s voice.
desperately wanted to
say something, thank his saviour or introduce himself, just anything
not appear like a
complete fool. But the words refused to leave his throat. So after a
silence the boy went
introduce myself: my name is
Enorín.” Another awkward moment of silence passed
Enorín’s smile grew
bigger. “You’ve got a name, too?”
Vincent broke his paralysis.
“Sorry… I’m Vincent.” The roughness of his own
surprised him, so he
cleared his throat. “How…?” he started to ask, but his voice
goblin came from one of the houses to
your left. There was no way you could have
him in your state.
But he did not notice me either…” Enorín answered kindly and
Finally it made sense. “Thank you… for helping me…”
loosened and wandered around
the room. Back and left side of the bed were
to the walls. To his
right, behind the chair Enorín was sitting on, an oaken wardrobe
into the room
bisecting it, its front facing the bed. At the left wall, about two
the bed’s end, a
wooden door most probably led to a corridor. And at the outer wall,
opposed the closet’s
side and the bed, a window opened directly above a small table
another chair. It was
dark outside, stars and moon barely visible in a clouded night’s sky.
bringing me here.” Vincent
finished his sentence. “It’s already dark outside?”
followed Vincent’s gaze and
corrected him. “It’s dark again. You overslept a
day.” He met
Vincent’s still weary eyes, concern reflecting in his own. “You must
nodded briefly not knowing what
to answer. So Enorín continued “But I didn’t
you here in first
place. Some of the villagers did.”
the recent events returned
gradually. The settlement, houses afire, the plundering
and the fighting
attackers…?” Vincent asked.
defeated or driven away.
Some men still working in the woods saw the
and returned just in
time. Apparently the goblins did not expect so much resistance…
especially no one with
your abilities.” Enorín added with a respectful undertone. “Some
the villagers claim to
have witnessed quite impressive things.”
Vincent would have been
flattered by such a comment, but hearing it from the
who actually saved his
life made him feel slightly uncomfortable. So he quickly tried to
the topic. The
attackers’ identity he already had suspected being verified, he got a
point to do so.
“I met two
straying goblins not far
from the village. They ambushed me… but raiding a
village… Do you know
what they wanted?”
sure. They looted a
food-storage in the northern part of the settlement…”
which was set afire?” Vincent
interrupted. Enorín nodded and went on.
fire was put out, they found
much of the supplies missing. Fortunately winter’s
away.“ He sat back, unconsciously combing through his hair with his
his own surprise, Vincent
caught sight of Enorín’s delicate, slightly pointed ear,
so far had been
covered by the silken hair. Abruptly he realized the strangeness of his
name. Could it
really be? First
goblins and now even an elf?! Vincent felt like
of his childhood suddenly came true.
barely able to pose his question. “You… you’re… an elf?”
quickly put his hand down and stood up. With a shy smile he muttered,
half right,“ before looking straight into
Vincent’s eyes, “but you’d better get some more
now. Tomorrow we’ll have enough time to talk.”
the one hand Vincent still felt very
tired and didn’t doubt he would be sound asleep
no time. But on the other hand he did not want
Enorín to leave. He was as curious as
and furthermore he enjoyed his simple
to lengthen their talking, hoping to make him stay a little longer and
answers. “Wait! Where do you go?”
half-elf, already touching the doorknob, stopped and turned back to
look after some of the villagers. Like you, they
were injured yesterday.” His face took on a
expression. “I fear some of them are beyond my
skill to heal. The gods’ mercy may be
slowly opened the door, the old iron hinges slightly squeaking. Now
delaying him any further would be incredibly
selfish. With a hesitant nod he showed
understanding and turned around to blow out the
candle. Darkness spread in the room as
as the smell of burnt wick when he lay down on
his pillow. A few moments later Vincent
the door shut and while he listened Enorín’s
footsteps fading as he walked down the
sleep embraced him anew.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
have been quite nice to be roused by some bird’s song or the first warm
light, but neither was granted to Vincent.
Although the sun had already risen and
than one bird was chirping outside, it was the
almost painful grumble of his stomach
woke him up at last.
there for a moment, stroking his belly and trying to gather his
of his stomach was certainly no surprise. He
hadn’t eaten a thing for two… no, three
Well, aside those awful strawberries, of course.
Virtually by instinct he turned his head rightwards and
wooden plate on his
A loaf of sweet bread and a mug of fresh
milk were waiting for him to wake up.
Addressing a silent thanks to the Almighty, he took the bread
to wolf it down
away. Once in a while he paused but only to take
a gulp from the mug. Soon the whole
was polished off.
satisfied sigh, Vincent sank back on his pillow and took in a deep
glanced at the chair, still standing next to the
bed. Relieved, he found his boots beneath, his
neatly folded clothes on the seat and
especially his backpack atop. It contained his
precious possessions… his only possessions, to be
feeling of relief was quickly replaced by shock: His clothes on the
was almost naked! A quick peek under the sheet
confirmed his misgivings. He solely wore
underpants. So who had undressed him? Hopefully
not Enorín… or hopefully yes? He
shrugged off the thought as well as the
upcoming images and decided to get up.
reached for his trousers and noticed something else: the black fabric
the left upper leg. But why?
missing fragment of memory returned. Vincent quickly jerked away the
stared at his thigh.
was gone. He couldn’t even make out a scar in between the light dusting
How could this be? The patch on his trousers
proved that all this hadn’t simply been a
Vincent sighed in resignation. One more
thing he had to ask his new acquaintance.
could barely wait to talk to him, to see him again. He thought about
to die for, as he finally got out of bed and put
his trousers on. In fact Enorín had rescued
And he really seemed to care about him. Vincent
pulled his shirt over his head. But
Enorín told him he took care of other wounded,
too. So his concern was not part of a
treatment. He had simply been nice to another
casualty. There was nothing special
that at all. Probably…
shook his head. These thoughts would lead to nowhere. This whole
he had gotten so familiar with didn’t do him
any good lately. During all these years
himself had been his favourite interlocutor, never
criticizing, always compromising. But
now, these mental monologues only created more
and more confusion.
on his boots, made of soft, almost black leather, grabbed his backpack
to the small table. Vincent looked out of the
window, putting his backpack on the other
bedroom being on first floor, he had a good view over the already busy
This window had to be pointing northwards,
because he could make out some men
and working wood to repair the burnt barn.
The remainders of its charred walls
tall, like the gloomy figure of a black rib
cage. Vincent’s gaze wandered along the street
as he watched some other villagers passing by
in silent haste. The recent events had
their evident marks, physically as well as
emotional, but these people could not afford to
this affect their daily routine. To his right, the
still reddish sun had risen completely above
line of proud maple trees seaming the settlement.
time for him to get to work, too.
turned around finally noticing the other half of the room. Its back to
which faced his bed and the door, stood
another oaken wardrobe of similar style. It
faced a bed and an additional window pointing
eastwards. Next to the window stood a
sturdy table with a big bowl and some folded
towels on it. Single rays of warm morning
seeped into the room through the closed
curtains, falling on the bed’s linen sheet and the
it was late midsummer and nights still could get pretty warm, he wore
watched Enorín’s bare chest heave and sink.
During the night the sheet had slid low
to expose his well defined, hairless torso up
to his abs. His hair was falling loosely
the pillow. Even… or especially sleeping he
took his time to observe every detail. Only God knew when he would get
to behold such beauty. But this thought was
immediacy followed by feelings of guilt. It
not right to stare at another man like that. He
had to distract himself, do something
At best he’d eventually get started with his
actual intent for this morning.
grabbed his backpack, put it on the table and loosened the tied
his towel and quickly checked his belongings.
Nothing seemed to be missing. With a sigh
relief, he took a rectangular package, wrapped in
soft, black cloth tied with a silvery cord
placed it on the table. After stuffing the towel
back, he put his backpack on the floor and
down. Carefully he loosened the knot and unpacked
was bound in dark blue leather and engraved with winding silver
only eight inches high, six inches wide and two
inches thick, nothing compared to most of
tomes. But it was his very own. Usually he
would admire its artwork, the fine lines
their masterly precision, but this time something
far more admirable was lying not more
sixteen feet away from him. Vincent stole a
glance of the peacefully sleeping figure
he concentrated on his task again.
a while it was necessary for a magician to recapitulate his spells in
under control. ‘Know your foe!’ as Almaric would
have called it, a wry smile on his
face. Doubtlessly they had their good times,
too. But now Vincent was on his own:
Almaric to remind him of his duties and admonish him of his omissions. He had to act
according responsibility. And regarding what had
happened lately, he knew it was more
necessary to dedicate some time to his spellbook.
was grateful that the pattern he needed right now belonged to the Art
would perform its task and retreat without any
resistance afterwards. He didn’t know why
patterns behaved so differently from those
belonging to the Art of Changing or Bringing
used otherwise. He didn’t even know why they showed
any kind of intelligent behaviour
all. Lacking proper explanations, Vincent simply
had accepted it.
started to concentrate and reopened his eyes a moment later. Placing
temples, he silently muttered the concluding
fasos in nel nera.”
the letters on the opened books’ page in
front of him began to reveal their
hidden from the normal eye. Vincent relaxed a bit, but retained
concentration to keep
the spell working. Like he already had expected: no problems at
Sometimes he could really
envy any Seer for the apparent easiness of their Path.
page he carefully studied all
the secret details and hidden particulars which
help him to discern the
patterns later on and told him how to keep them at bay. He sat
in silence for almost
half an hour, slowly flipping the pages back and forth, when
Vincent for a while, not
sure whether to disturb his concentrated reading or
But as he had to get up
sometime, Enorín decided to make his presence known.
morning. Glad to see you up
looked up from his spellbook, a
little bit surprised but retaining concentration. Of
he had expected him to
wake up eventually, and this time he would not act like a fool.
smiled and returned the greeting.
“Good morning. Guess it got late yesterday?”
nodded, a slight grin spreading
on his face. “Indeed. Usually I’m quite an early
Pushing the sheet away
he got up in one swift movement and went over to the window
his bed’s end. Pulling the
curtains apart, he finally let the sun enter the room. Enorín
deep breath, closed his eyes
and fell silent for several moments.
watched him carefully. The
sunlight, giving his soft skin a golden hue, and his
messed up hair made him
almost look like a statue. Only his silently moving lips
this impression… and
the fact he solely wore his knee-long underpants. His
was definitely in better shape than himself,
still slim yet muscular…maybe a few
taller… just perfect. With
an inner sigh of delight, Vincent tried to focus
back on his
finishing his morning prayer,
Enorín reopened his eyes and turned to the washbowl
on the low table to
his left. He splashed the cold water upon his face twice and
through his hair with
still wet fingers. Sparkling drips of water were running down
neck and torso, as he took
one of the towels to dry his face.
got Vincent’s attention for
sure. Completely captivated, all concentration
to keep up his
visionary magic was blown away. He did barely move until Enorín
the towel and met his
gaze. Blushing he stared back on his book and its meanwhile
half-elf moved to the wardrobe to
take his white shirt and deep-red trousers from a
He dressed, put on his
soft, brown leather-boots and went over to Vincent, who
to be absorbed in his
reading. As the other chair was still standing next to Vincent’s
Enorín stood slightly
behind him and peered curiously over his shoulder. His mere
let Vincent’s heart
skip a beat.
short moment of confusion,
Enorín decided to ask. “Excuse my ignorance, but
is this? I mean, I can
read the letters, but it doesn’t seem to make any sense.”
up and turned his head to face Enorín, happily stopping to
because it doesn’t make any sense, at least not in any language I know.
some kind of cipher. What counts is the pattern
behind the letters.”
can decipher it?” Enorín asked half fascinated half surprised,
as he went over
Vincent’s bed to get the second chair, without
breaking eye contact.
without um… magical aid.” Vincent answered somewhat reluctantly as he
talking openly about this topic. The arcane
magic was not forbidden in Branduria
In fact it was officially treated with
respect and even promoted to a certain extent,
least compared to what Almaric had told him from
other distant countries. But magic was
a topic most commoners would frown.
fear what they don’t understand and they always try to destroy what
reasonable citation from ‘The
Way of Mankind’. But Vincent was sure this
to Enorín. He wasn’t
even human, to begin with. So he continued.
“Once in a
while it’s advisable for a
mage to have a look at those patterns, just to refresh
understanding of his
spells. Probably it would work without this effort, but I won’t dare
placed his chair opposed to
Vincent, sat down and eyed the blue hardbound book
a questioning look.
don’t know much about magic,
and I certainly don’t want to offend you, but
are not that much
that’s going to change
soon.” Vincent stated with a sly grin. “As soon as I get
I’m going to visit a friend of my… former
master. His name is Cardac. I
hope he can help me
aware of the strange pause in
Vincent’s statement, Enorín decided not to go into it
now. There was something more important to
That’s weird. I’m headed there, too! If you
want, we could travel
considering all those goblins around here…”
Vincent was really caught off guard.
Despite his intent to appear more eloquent this
he could only nod
approvingly, before answering several moments later.
that would be… great, I mean…
just fine. I’m really not looking forward to be
by those imps at
night. And four eyes will see more than just two.” he clumsily
the obvious to
distract from hopefully far less obvious reasons why he welcomed this
know it’s none of my business, so you don’t have to answer… what could
want in Thurbin Castle? I
mean, I didn’t even know your folk existed. Well at least
legend or fairytale. And now I’m sitting right
here, talking to you!”
still smiled yet
studied the human critically without his notice. They had warned
about telling a human too much… as well as they
had warned him about so many other
But they could not make him stay. He had to
see it with his own eyes… And what he
right now, was the honest curiosity in Vincent’s
face. He was convinced that it would
do no harm to share at least some information.
questions,” he began as his honest smile returned, “I don’t even know
Enorín’s gaze wandered to his right. Framed by
the window the silhouette of
towered the treetops in the distance, below a barely clouded sky.
moment of silence passed.
how about that: firstly, I’m not an elf. My father was human just like
me what your fairytales would maybe call a
half-elf.” He looked back at Vincent and
again to let this piece of information sink in.
“Secondly, the elven people does exist outside legend. I guess
living proof. They
from the world of men and their affairs a
very long time ago. At least considering
standards. And thirdly I’m not really headed for
But from there I can
the road to the City of Grenshire,
nodded slowly, absorbing the facts which actually raised only more
leads there. It’s the duchy’s capital after all. But I don’t assume
the reason you want to go there…”
quite. I want to see St. Eustace Cathedral.
It’s supposed to be really
stifled a small laugh of surprise. “You travel all this way just to see
I also hared it’s a grand building, but…”
want to get to know human culture. I simply owe it to my father. So
with the idea for several years now and a short
while ago I came to the decision to
leave. But I had to begin somewhere. And being
a priest myself I thought a human
would be a proper starting point…”
a priest?!” Vincent could neither
believe it nor hide his shock. Enorín looked
different from anyone he would suppose to be a
priest. He sat back in his chair, staring at
half-elf in disbelief.
Vincent’s honest reaction amused Enorín. “You seem to
have more problems
a priest than being no human.” he stated, trying
to keep a serious face.
Suddenly realizing that he might have offended his new friend,
quickly tried to
I’ve no problem with either. Not at all! Really! It’s just... so many…
once. I think I’m just a bit overwhelmed. And…
well, you don’t exactly look like a priest…
least not like any priest you’d meet at St.
cause I’m not priest of any human deity.” The warm smile was back again.
shock. Vincent swallowed hard, his thoughts were racing. He was
pious person. Since he was old enough to decide on
his own, he had no longer attended
But his whole life, he had been told that
there’s only one god, the Almighty. Merely
the existence of other... deities seemed
other hand he had also heard tales of priests performing miracles. And
scarless, recovery was no miracle, he didn’t know
what else deserved this name. By now
was sure his healing was due to Enorín. And that
meant he could barely doubt the
of his… deity, too.
noticed the confusion in Vincent’s eyes and hoped further explanation
grateful to humbly serve Melyanna, the Lady of Dawn. Thanks to her
mercy, I was
to take care of you.”
Vincent was regaining his composure. Hell, he was a magician himself!
unearthly powers could be called his daily
routine. So how on earth could such news
him like that?! He took a deep breath to calm
noticed that. Thank you... or her… Melyanna… very much.” A sheepish
on his face. “Sorry, but I’m not used to be
exposed to… divine… miracles…” He
his shoulders. “I don’t even know how to
thank you properly.”
think this was just fine.” Enorín reassured him kindly.
“Hopefully I can meet
expectations, too.” he continued, getting
more serious again.
extent? I’m sure you did all you could to help them.”
slightly shook his head. “No, that’s not what I mean.” He looked up,
“They want me to hold the funeral
Enorín had managed to surprise his new friend. And again, he
noticed and went
to explain. “Their… cleric has fallen victim to the
attackers. So there’s no one who could
the dead orderly. They saw me praying for the
wounded and now they believe me to be
ministrant of your god or something like that. But I
don’t know anything about your
rites! And I don’t think anyone wants me to
perform an elven Song of Parting…
wouldn’t be the right thing to do after all.”
Enorín was still smiling, Vincent could see the helplessness in
them I’d sent a priest as soon as I have arrived
in Thurbin Castle
but they insisted on the
taking place tomorrow. It would take too long
otherwise. And of course they are
could understand Enorín’s dilemma and felt surprisingly
affected. Usually he
care much about other peoples’ problems, but
right now it was different. Was it only
of Enorín? Be that as it may. It didn’t change
the fact that he wouldn’t be of great help
I’d really like to give you some advice, but I’ve only been to a
still a child then. I can barely remember the
event let alone any prayer or sermon. But I
tell you whatever I can recall, if you want.”
face lit up. “Thank you, that’d be great. The cleric’s widow already
me the proper texts and tell me about the
procedure, but if I get some information from
first, I won’t appear completely ignorant. I only
wonder why she doesn’t do it herself. She
to now everything necessary…”
shook his head. “Women aren’t allowed to become priests or to perform
was Enorín’s turn to look surprised. “That’s… strange. Seems
quite unfair to
there any reason?”
shrugged. “I don’t know for sure. I’m not the most competent contact
questions. It’s always been like that, I
seems that I’ve much to learn about your people… and even more to
expression fading, Enorín’s smile returned.
right now I’m hungry. I think I’ll go down and get something to eat.
ahead. I’ll come after you. Just going to finish this one fist.“
on the dark hardcover of his spellbook.
nodded and got up. “See you downstairs!” he called from the corridor,
the door behind.
carefully wrapped his book into the black cloth, retied it with the
the bundle back into his backpack. He got up and
walked slowly through the room,
the other window. Looking at the wandering
clouds he began to ponder.
really be? They would be travelling together, sharing company and camp.
hand he was more than happy. He would have someone
to talk to, someone who would
to him. He would be close to the most
fascinating being he’d ever met. He was finally
the chance to find a real friend… or even more?
the other hand there was worry. Not
because of the perils, which might await
considering last days’ events. They could be
overcome by some means or others.
rather feared this new friendship could be
spoiled by his feelings. What if Enorín
his secret glances? He was sure he wouldn’t be
able to hold them back for long. Damn!
what use is any arcane power if you’re not even
able to control your own feelings and
of wind caused the lush maple leaves outside to sway and rustle. A
was torn from its twig and danced through the
air. Vincent watched it casually, still
in deep thought. The leaf finally landed on
the windowsill as his thinking led to an
He simply had to try to do his best, wherever it
might lead him.
pulled off his shirt and turned to the washbowl on his right.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Famous last words:
Finally finished. Wow…that’s a great feeling *g*. And you made it here,
cause now you can tell me, if it was worth the
like the story, please drop me a line (email@example.com).
If you think it’s
you can also tell me, but use a kinder choice of
words, okay?! Please send anything dull
insulting to firstname.lastname@example.org.
feedback is probably going to determine
the next chapter is posted. So? Won’t you
eventually start typing?! ; )
else to say? Two protagonists introduced, some more to come. Mage and
guess who’s next. Or just wait and see.
concerning language(s): the spelling of the Goblin speech was on
correct me in this case. ; ) But if you found
something else worthy of your to constructive
feel free to comment on that, too. I’m here
to learn *g*.
magic spells are not written in italics, as their
meaning maybe will be revealed later on.
an actual language, believe it or not. Okay, an
actual imaginary language, to be honest, but
better than nothing!
And what’s so bad about the metric system, hm? It took me sooo much
out what those guys measure in feet and inches.
Geez, I sincerely hope my calculation
correct and my protagonist’s not a dwarf now… ; )