The Sword of Dargraal
Part One: The Weaveress
Backup from: http://www.orion.boden.se:80/
It was midnight and the city layed in silence. It had been a hard day for most people while others have had it quite pleasant. The townwatch went out on their routine route around the citystreets. Only a few lit lamps and fires gave some light for those who still strolled the streets, drunk or sober. Some guardsmen wandered along the citywalls with crossbows, ready to defend their home from invaders. There had been two raids made by goblins over the last few days. What could have driven such foul and stupid creatures into that kind of madness? Not even the city-elders had an idea. Outside the citywalls animals prepared to begin their hunt, while others went sleeping inside warm and peaceful burrows. Locusts were playing their joyful and neverending music, frogs and toads sat in the ditches by the small muddy road that led to the eastern citygate, singing their song of life, and a swarm of nightflies flew past the city, sending light on those who witnessed their rapid flight. This was a special night in Chronopia.
Drew woke up from a long nightīs sleep. He had been working hard and went to bed real late. He stretched his arms towards the roof and yawned as the sleep left him. He opened his eyes and looked around, his mother had already awakened and was preparing their breakfast. It smelled of oat-porridge and newly baked bread. The day started as days usually donīt start, but Drew saw no fault with it, he was too unaware of the sounds of the World. He got up and dressed himself in a tunic of blue cloth and a pair of trousers of worn leather. By the table he quickly ate his food and two slices of bread. Why he ate so fast he couldnīt quite understand, but it didnīt harm him. His mother sat down beside him with a slight troublesome look. "A guard was killed during the night." Drew almost dropped his slice of bread. That was news he normally didnīt care to hear, but this time he felt as if he had to hear about it. "Oh, how did it happen?" "He guarded the southern gate along with four other guards. Suddenly he was found dead by his friends." "Who killed him?" "They donīt know. They donīt even know the cause of the death." Drew felt a chill wandering down his spine and he had to shake it away. His mother went inside their cramped kitchen to dish their plates and spoons. Drew felt that he needed some fresh air or he could loose consiousness at any moment. He stepped outside and found the street full of people. Ofcourse, this wasnīt an unnatural sight, but there was an unknown atmosphere over the whole thing. Drew walked up the street towards the white-marbled fountain to try to get something to wash down the porridge with. He had to make his way through the vast mass of people that were between him and the fountain. Suddenly he accidently bumped into a large man with long, black hair clad in studded leather and with a small sword sheathed by the waist. The man turned to face him. His face was as expressionless as a face can be. He took no notice of Drew and turned to face another direction. The crowd began to loosen up and he could walk without trouble to the fountain and lap up some fresh water. He threw an eye at a man standing on the opposite side of the fountain. He was clad in a white cloak that covered his face, and he wore a fine silk garment under it with sleeves of deep blue. This combination of colors had to mean something, but Drew didnīt recognise them. An old man walked up to the stranger in white and talked with him for a moment, whereafter he kneeled before the stranger who laid his hands upon the old manīs head and closed his eyes. After a few seconds the old man stood up and he looked more energic than before. He gave a goldcoin to the stranger in white and smiled while he walked down the street. What had the stranger done to him? Was the stranger a weaver? There are three golden rules that must be followed within the gates of Chronopia: No weapons of any kind may be held in public. Sheathed weapons are okey to wear, but not to use. The other rule forbids the usage of sorcery within Chronopia, and any weavers found are taken to interrogation and, most of the times, jail. The third rule is a kind of subrule to the first one and it allows the cityguards to wear weapons at any time. This is a so called "safety precaution". Drew began to wonder if he was to shout at the guard that there was a weaver in the city, but he found no reason why to give away this stranger in the white cloak to the guards, he had helped that old man with something. And thereīs nothing more precious than true friendship.
Then suddenly, Drew felt an ill feeling sweeping over him. Something or someone was staring at him. Not born of this world. He quickly looked around and found that the whitecloaked stranger had disappeared into the crowd. Then he saw the man he had bumped into just a few minutes ago. He was staring at him with wide open eyes and his hand resting on the hilt to his sword. Drew started to feel a little scared and turned to run the other way, into the crowd of people. He looked back several times while pushing people out of his way with his elbow. There was no sign of the scary man with the black hair. Drew felt relieved and slowed down his running to walking. He stopped outside the doors to the Moonshade Inn. Should he enter in hope that the man wouldnīt follow him. He could always ask his friend, Morgan, to help hiding him, but Drew decided to continue down the street. Morgan was, by the way, out of town with his father. Probably in Heirlon, buying something in need for the inn. Lost in his thoughts, Drew stepped on the toes of a young girl who cried out in pain, for she wore only a pair of sandals that didnīt protect her feet from Drewīs thick boots of soft leather. Drew quickly removed his foot from the girlīs and straigthened himself to look more noble than he could ever be. "Excuse me young lady. That was very clumsy of me." Drew smiled at the girl who, at first, looked a little startled but then she beamed a smile at him. "Apology accepted young man. You should try to be more careful when walking around." Drew smiled at the young girl and he blushed slightly. "My name is Drew." The girl before him smiled and told him her name was Arin. The youngsters waved goodbye to each other before they left in their own direction. Then Drew remembered what he was running from. That scary man with black hair.
He quickly scanned the street, but there was no sign of the man, but Drew didnīt feel safe though. He began walking home to his mother. It had already grown noon in Chronopia. Time runs fast at some occasion, while in other it slows down. Thatīs why the city has got itīs name. Drew entered through the door to his home. His mother met him in the kitchen. "What have my little boy done this day? Tried to solve the murder?" His mother was still like sheīd been a million times before when he got home and looked all full of eagerness. "No mother. Iīve taken a walk through the city like all other days. But time went so fast and here I am." Drew went into his room and layed down on his bed. He felt so tired. Maybe he should go and get a "refreshment" from that mysterious man in the white cloak. He rubbed his eyes and looked out through the window. Then suddenly he froze and sat still for almost five minutes. Outside his house, in a dark corner, that scary man with black hair was standing, looking at him. Drew felt afraid and closed the hatch to the window. And just as his mother told him it was supper he rushed to her and babbled. "You, you will never believe me, never. Today, when I was walking. This horrible, large man started to follow me all around town. And right now, heīs standing outside the house, staring as only he can stare." His mother sighed and told him that it was just his imagination. "And what about that time when you thought you saw a Shadow Beast in your room? That was imaginations too." Drew sighed and looked down in his potatoe-soup.
During the night, Drew was dreaming horrible dreams of a man who was not a man, but a man with an oxīs head. The man was speaking to him with a demonic voice. "Listen to me Drew. You have been chosen to carry out a mission for me." Drewīs slender shape was standing before the horrid beast. At first it shaked itīs head, but when the creature promised him all the Worldīs fortunes he nodded. Drew screamed. What had he done? "Good my child. Join damnation and be free from all that can harm you." The creature took Drewīs hands in his and Drew felt a warmth flow through him. Soon he had lost all his good will. His eyes became dark and full of despair. His mind was empty, but a small memory of the mission he had to carry out. He had to destroy a man clad in a studded leather armor. A man with long black hair. Drew remembered that he had seen the man before.
He woke up from his terrible dream and sat up. Like a zombie he stood up and walked towards the front door. Suddenly his mother grabbed his arm. "Why are you up in the middle of the night?" Drew took no notice of her. His mission to kill the man with the long black hair still echoed in his mind. He turned to face his mother. "I must do my mission. Itīs my destiny. Lord Ahaz will destroy me if I fail." Drewīs mother looked at him with a questioning look. "You must be sleepwalking. Wake up Drew, wake up!" She began hitting him in the face and when Drew felt pain he became almost crazed. First, he screamed in agony, whereafter he took a knife that hung in his jacket and stabbed into his mother. The blood splattered all over the room. But Drew took the knife and walked outside. Where could that man with the black hair be? Drew heard a voice in his head telling him that his prey were located in the bar at the Moonshade Inn. Drew started to walk towards the inn with his knife hidden well under his bloody tunic. When he came outside the doors to the huge building called the Moonshade Inn he heard music from within, and laughs. His mission echoed once again in his mind. He entered and the sight of an ongoing bardīs show met him. He scanned for the man and saw him sitting by a corner-booth. He had to trick him. To get him outside. Drew cought his attention and waved at the man to follow him. The black haired man stood up and started walking towards him. The trick worked. Drew went outside and the man came shortly after him. "Stop boy. Turn around and drop the knife." Drew was surprised to find that the man knew he had a knife hidden, but did as he was told. "Ah. Young ones are often victims of the seducers powers. To create pawns of war he says. But itīs truly nothing more than another life being slaughtered." Drew heard a voice in his brain: "NOW!" He quickly picked up the knife and stabbed at the man before him. But he was too slow and found himself brutally kicked down by the man in studded leather. "Yield to the light damned!" The man drew his longsword and pointed it at Drewīs cheast. "You will never again walk upon this earth, pawn of war." He raised his long blade above his head, but before he had a time to strike, a surprise assault made at him from behind made him a little groggy. "You will not slay any more people!" It was Arin. She was holding in a large stick. She walked over to Drew who stood kneeling in the dirt. The man with black hair regained his full senses and saw what was going to happen. "No girl! Donīt go near him!" But it was too late. Drew stuck his knife in Arinīs leg and she cried out in pain and she dropped her stick on the ground. The strange man ran up to her and sent Drew sprawling with a powerful bash. Drew fell to the ground with a large thud. Arin looked up at the man who was holding her. "What is wrong with him. Why did he attack me?" "Heīs not among men anymore. Heīs the devilīs disciple. A pawn of war and a doll, hanging in the threads of Ahaz." Drew got on his feet, still holding his bloody knife in his hand. "You must die stranger. My lord has told me that you must die. And you too young girl." Drewīs eyes turned red and he roared at them. People had come out from the inn to see what could cause such an unnatural sound, and people stood watching from within their houses with their candles lit. Arin stood up on her aching leg and she tightened her grip around her stick. The stranger took up his sword which he had lost on the ground. Drew snarled and growled at them. Suddenly, Arin was attacked by a shadow which hit her extremely hard. Drew laughed at her, but he stopped laughing as the man in black hair threw some liquid at the shadow, which dispersed quickly. He had to be a witchhunter. That part was clear to him now. He was facing an opponent that could easily dispatch him. He had to flee, but that would be seen as failure to his lord and then he would be sentenced to eternal pain. Drew had only one choice, to fight and die for his master. He raised his knife, and screaming, he jumped forward to stab the black haired man in studded leather. The witchhunter avoided his sudden lash and swung his sword to cut Drew in the back. Drew went silent on the ground, bleeding awfully. Arin gasped for breath as her wounds made her weaker. The shadow had caused severe damage to her. She fell to the ground. The witchhunter sheathed his sword and carried Arin into the inn. Later, next day, she woke up. She was hot as a stove and fever had gotten her. The witchhunter sat in a chair beside her bed. "How are you feeling Arin?" "A little weak and feverish, mr....." "Geric" said the man. "Geric is my name and I come from the west. Iīve received the mission to cleanse an evil source known as the "Dargraal". That boy, Drew, was that source." Arin nodded a little and asked for water. "Do you know that I can see that you have a magical aura around you, Arin?" Arin looked at Geric with a questioning look. "A magical aura? Do you mean that I can use magic?" She was getting excited and the heat from her fever made her even more tired. "Yes Arin. You can cast magic, but first you have to be thought how to. Follow me back to Avelorn when you feel better." Arin nodded at him and he smiled, whereafter he went outside. She felt proud of herself. She, a weaver. That was more exciting than the encounter sheīd faced the day before. Tired she fell asleep.
First version from 24.03.2008. Last Version from 24.03.2008.