Darkness. I wonder what people think when they hear the word. Is it the absence of light? Or maybe evil that resides in the hearts of everyone around us. The meaning of the word can vary from person to person and although it's usually associated with dangerous and evil things, one person told me darkness can sometimes help people. This person said that darkness can balance people and make them stronger, darkness can be necessary in building a person so that they know, even when they feel weakened by their darkness, they need to be strong, they need to survive till tomorrow or else, they might never know what's out there besides darkness. If they don't fight through it, they won't get to see the wonders of life and all it's worth.
This person I was speaking to said that in a way, darkness can help everyone and for some reason, no one can recognize it's beauty. They said, even though it bring hardship, it's hardship that shapes us as people. Darkness is something that will be recognized as a bad thing, for ages and onward, however, we must see to it to let other's know that it's much like the moon. The sun may guide us through the light of day, however you may not see it or look directly at it. Though the moon, it will stick with you through your darkness and guide you through it while letting you see a glimpse of it's true beauty along the way.
You should know that while going through troubled times people like you and me can not seem to stop worrying. We humans, creature, living beings are very complicated in this manner. When in a situation that you cannot control, we get tunnel vision when seeing our surroundings and we can only look straight at the problem. So when people only see the problem and not the answer, you panic and fear what may come. Know this friend, your darkness will not last forever but when your in the dark, look around you, and you may come to notice just how necessary it is to learn from what you don't understand.
So now I ask you, has your definition of darkness changed?
The first ones to help you up are usually the ones that know how it feels to fall down. -Unknown
This chapter will be a little gory.... -A
Chapter 1, A Long Road Both Ways
Rain, age 10
I ran into the kitchen with a scarf around my neck as I hit my face into the soft cotton. My mother, whom was making dinner, turned around to look at me. She bent down and smiled.
"Now what are you doing with my scarf?" She said in a teasing tone. I laughed and hide my mischievous smiled. I was about to talk when my father walked down the hall with a grin on his face.
"Yeah, what are you doing with a scarf? It may be fall but it's not cold enough for that, how about wearing a light cloak for the rain." He said gesturing to the window behind us. My mother nodded and looked out the window to see dark clouds hanging over the house and the houses around us.
The trees outside were whipping around when gusts of wind blew past them but we all seemed untouched by the disaster happening outside. "Hey dad, we'll probably have to do a lot of work in the field tomorrow won't we." He nodded.
"Yes we will but for today, we can enjoy the time we have relaxing inside." I nodded and smiled while my mother went back to stirring the pot that sat atop of the wood stove.
I sat at the table enjoying the peaceful silence as my father read the book he received from our neighbour two houses down from us. He's a family friend so when my father asked for a book to borrow, he was very kind as to give it to him straightaway!
Our house, that was lit by the fire and candles around us, was pretty bright but still made me quite tired, when the rain began pouring down on us relentlessly it seemed as if there and then, was the best moment in my life and that I should treasure it.
Reflecting on all our family memories together was nice to keep me from getting bored. I remember learning of the floating city named Casoren, that my parents came from. They said that everyone there was very special and the city could float above the clouds by magic. The stories were fun to listen to and interesting to learn about. Apparently I lived there for a short period of time when I was smaller but we had to leave.
Mother had explained how having abilities was normal there and that even if they are frequently used there, I am not allowed to use them here unless I control them. So father taught me how to use them, since I was around five years old. My mother said I had a very rare and unique ability, she said I was special and should use it wisely.
My father says that the ability to control shadows and darkness is a very rare but dangerous so I must master it because darkness is very where and most of the time cannot be stopped.
I enjoyed training with my parents so I took on the task of learning and helping them cultivate the fields when I was able. The neighbours are nice but I don't usually talk with them, this small field town is great and peaceful.
"Alright!" My mother said with a smiled. "Dinner time!" I nodded in an excited manner. Stew is the best especially since it's made by mother.
I ran to the cupboards to fetch the bowls and returned with the three of them. I placed the wooden bowls with spoons in their respective places around the table before waiting to be served along with father who was to my right.
We started eating and not long after I saw a light shine briefly from outside. My father smiled to my suspicious face before excusing himself from the table. I turned to my mother with hopeful eyes.
"Mom? Do you mind if I keep the scarf even if it isn't winter?" She nodded with a smile stretched across her face.
"Why not." I nodded and thanked her repeatedly before she took my bowl and hers before scrubbing it with water from the bucket beside her.
I saw my father creep out from the hallway in front of us. He walked slowly toward my mother before a metallic object way shown behind him. I recognized it as a small knife.
"Dad?" I questioned with fear coating my words, what does he plan to do. My mother turned around and gasped at the knife in his hand.
"Fredrick?! What do you-" Her words were cut off by a knife being planted into his stomach and being twisted around.
My father whispered angrily into her ear. "They said they would let me go back if I killed you." Her eyes widened as did mine. I was confused as to what was happening. The situation didn't make sense after all, not to long ago we were having- oh wait. The light I saw. Was it some sort of signal?
Mother collapsed onto the ground coughing up blood when my father turned to me with the bloody knife in his hands. He was shaking slightly with tears in his eyes. Muttering words under his breath, he repeated. "This is necessary. I'm doing the right thing. This is necessary. I'm doing the right thing." His eyes were wide and looking back in forth between my mother whom was, what I would assume, dead and me, who was alive for now.
I stepped back a few steps when his angry eyes looked at me with fury. "This is your fault!" He shouted at me and charged. Running at me with the bloody knife I quickly stepped out of his path and he ran past me. My eyes stared at him with a mixture of fear and worry. I heard a whisper from behind me.
"Run! Run child! Run as far away as possible!" My mother yelled as loud as possible, I stepped towards her almost robotically.
"Mom." I said as I crouched down next to her. "Mom. Why- why are you bleeding?" I jaw clenched as my vision became blurry. A few tears streamed down my face.
"I love you child, but now you have to get away from here. Away from your father!" Her eyes flashed to the man standing behind me who I could no longer recognize as my father. She was angry but was in no shape to fight him or use her ability.
"But mom. What about you?" I said already knowing the answer but I am unable to accept the fact of abandoning my mother to die here on the kitchen floor in a pool of her own blood.
Her face turned to horror when I heard footsteps coming towards me. She pushed me out of the way when she screamed out. "Run! Now! GO!" I fell onto my backside and looked at her before looking to my father.
"Your killing her. You killed her. She's dying because of you." He shook his head.
"No. This is because of you. If you hadn't been born-" My hands shook, my vision made the room spin and tears fell down my face. I can't, I- I can't.
"No!" The shadows around me went straight for my father impaling him and suspending him in the air with a column of darkness.
He spewed blood onto the floor turning the tile beneath us, red. Looking down to me he whispered a last cruel sentence. "You- You're a demon, a demon child." His body went limp and my gaze flipped to my mother who was still half conscious.
I ran to her side and tears fell from my eyes onto her face. "Mom!" She smiled a sad smile.
"Don't be sad. The rain falls, do you think it's sad? No because it helps the plants grow beneath it. So don't cry because even when you fall you can still make great things happen. You'll be o-okay." She coughed and smiled. "My beautiful boy, don't listen to your father-" Tears slipped from her face.
"It's okay. You'll be okay." I whispered, I was still denying the fact that it might be possible for mom to leave me. "You'll be okay."
She shook her head. "I won't but you will. I- I need you to run away, okay? I love you but it's time for you to go." Her voice grew softer.
"I love you, mom. Please don't go! I need you!" She laid her head back onto the floor.
"I love you." Her eyes closed and tears fell from my face. I screamed and cried before wiping my tears away to look around me.
The people in the woods will probably come to check on my father. I looked to my left to see him on the floor and the shadows, gone, almost as if they were never there. I looked outside to see it to be pitch black outside. The sun was still up not to long ago...
I ran to my room and grabbed my small leather bag before putting some water and a smaller blanket inside. Putting on my shoulders, I went to the cloak hook and grabbed the black cloak before wrapping it around me. It's better to wear black when wishing not to be seen.
Stepping towards the door, I hesitated and looked back. My mother and father were still in the places they were seconds ago, if they don't go out to the field tomorrow, someone will probably come and find their bodies. I took in a breath before turning back to the door and pulling it open.
"Goodbye." I whispered before running out into the long chilly night with only the moon to guide me.
13 years later
I stood in front of the bounty board staring at the options before turning my head to the wanted posters on the right. One person from the local raider group is worth about one hundred gold... He's been seen carrying two swords, a broad and short. He's probably strong.... Nah, never mind. I'm not here for money so I'll leave soon anyways.
Turning around, I began walking to the nearest pub, you'd be surprised at how much information you can get from those places. The gravel path made a crunching sound under my feet as a few towns people turned to look at me out of suspicion. This wasn't a small town and they have their fair share of visitors but I can understand that a person dressed in black would be quite strange but what can I say, it's easy to move around in the dark when you're not dress in yellow with a bright sign in your hands say 'Hello! I'm right here.'
Although I do think the hood is kind of over kill... I pushed it back before entering the pub and stepping towards the counter. The place wasn't all that busy but the bartender was helping someone out. I took a seat on one of the counter seats.
The bartender came up to me after handing the crying man beside a bottle of something I couldn't read from the distance I was at. "What can I get you?" He questioned, his voice was surprisingly deeper then I expected. It sounds like he's trying to make it deeper. Ah, more suspicion amongst the people.
I smiled up at the guy and shrugged. "I just need information before leaving the town." His eyes narrowed and he scanner me over before nodding.
"What information?" I tapped my hand on the table, once I see if anyone knows the name I'll have to get out of here quickly...
"I'm looking for anyone who knows how to make magic stones or has them." He raised his eye brow before chuckling.
"Did you have a drink before coming here? I think you should leave because you're clearly slightly out of it." I shook my head. "I'm completely serious." I said in a calm voice. He turned around while shaking his head. Clearly he doesn't believe me like everyone else I've met. I still need to find those stones though.
I sighed. "However if no one knows of any magic stones, maybe is there someone who knows the name 'Casoren'?" He paused and spoke but didn't turn around. "Casoren?" He question. I raised my brow and the, now drunk, guy beside me turned his head slightly to listen.
"Yeah." I stated.
He cleared his throat before turning around and nodding to the door. "Nope, never heard of it but now I have to take out the garbage we've suddenly collected." I nodded.
"Well, good luck putting out the garbage. I'll be leaving now." He nodded and turned to the drunk man.
"Leave two silver behind before you leave, and you'll be okay Jacob. It wasn't meant to be if your horse left." The man sniffled before nodding.
I turned around and went for the door. The wood floor creaked as I walked with a swift pace. Pushing open the door, I made my way around the back of the pub where there was a small stone fence like wall. It wrapped around the back of the pub and there was a compost pile a little farther down the hill behind here.
The bartender who couldn't have been older then me was standing with a sword sheathed on his belt and he looked to me with narrowed eyes. I raised my hands jokingly in surrender before speaking.
"I'm just looking for information, I swear." He nodded.
"How do you know that name though. Who are you?"
I didn't think I was so suspicious but apparently I'm more so than I thought at first. "My parents, they told me about it and about my name, I find that it's better that the person who asked, should tell their name first. Just a precaution that I've taken from the road." I smiled to lighten the situation. This guy is way too defensive for someone who wouldn't know something. I'm trying to make friends but this is tougher then I thought.
He looked around for a second before sighing. "I'm Sam and you are?"
"Rain." He cocked his head to the side in question. "Rain?" The name came out to be a question.
"Yup." I confirmed.
He frowned before relaxing his shoulders and taking a seat on the bench behind him. "Alright... Well, I don't know anyone who has magic stones but I do know about Casoren. My parents where historians and researchers. My grandparents on my father's side were too. I guess it's a family trait because I learn quite a bit as well."
I nodded but sighed sadly as well. "Oh well... I guess you can't help me out then." I was about to say my goodbye but he stopped me.
"Wait. I have a question. Why do you want to find magic stones?" I looked to the wall. Well, I guess it couldn't hurt to tell someone....
I shrugged. "I need a teleport crystal. I know they're rare but I really need to find someone who can either make them or has them. I just really need to get to Casoren." He frowned and thought for a second.
"One problem with that though." I looked to him. He continued. "To use a teleport crystal to travel, you must have already been there but when going to Casoren, the legends say you must have the blood of their people as well." I nodded.
"Yeah, I know. That won't be a problem." After all, I was born there... He scoffed at me.
"That's a lie, did you kill one or something? Nah that not possible, they haven't been to earth in centuries." I stayed silent. "No." He stated. He gave me a stare.
"You're joking. You can't be-" I stepped back. If he tries to kill me, I won't have any choice... "And if I am? I questioned. He frowned before examining my face.
"Oh. I was just thinking that's pretty cool." I nodded slowly. "That's not the only thing though. I was also thinking maybe, just maybe, you might know where my parents are or seen them?" I frowned, his parents?
"Parents?" I voiced my thoughts. He nodded. "Yeah, they disappeared to look for the crystal and the magic stones. They wanted to see if their theory was right, they never told me what the theory was though, nor did they tell me where exactly they were going. It's been six years since I've seen them last."
Six years.... "I don't see a lot of people when I travel. I normally stay off roads and sleep in trees but when I enter towns, I sometimes see people. However, I don't think I've seen researchers where I've been, only mercenaries, merchants, thieves and other people who travel often in the woods. Sorry."
He nodded and sighed. I looked to the sword at his side. "You any good with the sword?" He looked down at his belt before looking back up. "Yeah, I guess... I'm better with the duel swords but I left those inside. I haven't taken them off the rack in a long time... Since the first raid to be exact." I nodded.
There are a lot of towns in this eastern part of the country, that have trouble with raiders. Though, I do wish to help them, I don't have time to stop every raider in the country. I try my best though.
I was thinking if Sam was any good with a blade, may he could help me... He seems to know a lot so it could come in handy with trying to find the crystals... "Hey, Sam. Are you busy in the next couple of years?" He looked to me in confusion.
"Huh?" He said when he couldn't find anything else to say. "I was wondering if you wanted to come with me. Maybe you could look for your parents along the way. I've been alone for awhile and it'd be nice to have some company. So? How about it?"
He looked back at his pub before shrugging. "Sure, why not. I don't plan to be a bartender my whole life so, sure."
I nodded with a smile. I guess I will have a new companion for my trip. Who knew I would find anyone here that knew about Casoren. This day has been very eventful. Eventful indeed. Now I just need to find that crystal. Find the crystal, get to Casoren and finally find some answers.
Someone once said that there are two ways to live. Living as if there are no miracles and living as if everything is a miracle. -Unknown
Chapter 2, Wanted
It's been three day since Sam and I left the village. We decided to head for the main kingdom of Ciel to find some information and although I've already been there, I think we could probably do another look around to see if I missed anything.
Dressed in a pale grey cloak and rough brown boots, Sam looked tired, after all he hadn't gotten any sleep in the past couple of days. The first few days sleeping in the woods, you usually don't get the much needed rest. It takes around four days to get accustomed to the hard ground but we should be arriving in the capital soon.
Sam told me a little bit about his grandparents and how they were now settled in the outskirts of the city, I had suggested maybe dropping in to see them, because you never know when you might get back from a long journey. It's always best to say a good hello and goodbye before taking off somewhere.
"Uh, I have a question." I broke myself from my thoughts to turn to Sam. "Yeah?" I motioned for him to continue.
His voice turned to a slight whisper. "So, how much longer do you think they're going to follow us for?" My back stiffened slightly when I realized I had gotten too relaxed now that I have someone to journey with...
I looked a little bit to the trees and listened. It's faint but there is the loud of breathing and every so often a crunch of leaves. I wouldn't have noticed if Sam hadn't told me but there is someone behind us.
"I don't know." I whispered back before continuing further explanation. "It's a single person and based on the heavy breathing, they're probably just as tired as you." He nodded.
"So, what now? They couldn't possibly follow us to the city, could they?" I shrugged.
"Maybe but they don't exactly seem like that much of a-" I was cut off from my explanation when I felt the air around us shift, a projectile.
I willed the shadows around us to change the course of the arrow slightly but not too much that it's noticed by the archer. After that I quickly took a dagger from my pocket and threw it at the tree they were hiding behind.
There was a sudden gasped before the person came out of hiding. "They told me you were fast but I didn't think you would notice me that quickly." The voice was female, a person dressed in a green cloak with a covered face, stepped out into the light.
She's new. A new mercenary that is. You can tell from the way her bow is shaking, her accuracy isn't bad because I had to change the direction of the arrow but this isn't someone who has killed another before. The arrow probably would have grazed by cheek but it's wasn't an arrow that had any malice or killer intent. Either way, our location has been found out so we will have to get moving soon.
I turned on my heels and began walking away in the opposite direction. Sam hesitated before turning around and following me. The girl behind us sounded confused before she yelled out for us to stop.
"Hey! Wait! Where do you think you're going. If you take another step I- I'll kill you?" The last statement came out as a question.
My right foot paused mid step and I turned around half way to speak. "You won't kill me." I said calmly. "However, if you would like to try, you may shoot again."
Sam looked between me and the girl behind us nervously before whispering. "Umm, what do you think you're doing..." I smiled at him in a reassuring way before looking to the girl to hear her answer, Sam didn't calm down though.
"And you'll just let yourself be killed? I can't believe that, you must have something up your sleeve." I nodded and smiled at her assumption.
"Indeed. When walking with your back turned to a weapon, one usually has something to keep themselves from dying. It's your lucky day though, I won't stop you from shooting me with any weapons but I still don't think you'll do it." This person doesn't look like a killer, it's almost like she's radiating fear but I can't tell why yet.
Her face turned sour. "So you're looking down on me? Is it because I have a light bow that you think it won't be powerful enough to kill you?!" She yelled. This outburst didn't surprise me, however her assuming I was looking down on her, bothered me...
I shook my head to deny that. "No, it's the fact that you don't have any blood on your hands. That's why I don't think you'll kill me."
She stopped and her face froze in surprise. Sam looked at me in curiosity. I sighed and grabbed my bag from off my back before opening it up by the leather string.
Pulling out the water bladder, I slowly walked over to her with it in hand before offering it to her. She looked down at the in suspicion. Before I sighed an took a drink from it without touching the bag. "It's not poisoned." I put it out for her to drink.
She grabbed the bag and drank from it before handing it back slowly with narrowed eyes. "Why? Why did you offer me water?" I raised my eye brow as if to say 'Seriously?'
I shrugged. "Why does anyone offer water to others? I thought you looked thirsty and maybe you could tell me why you want me dead." She looked to Sam, then to me. Sam's hand was hovering over one of his blades but he knew not to pull it out without a reason.
The girl in front of me sighed. "Fine."
We took seats on logs in the surrounding area to rest and talk. I need to find out why she wants me dead and how much she was paid for my head. Once I find out all of that, next I have to decide whether to let her go off or to kill her... This is one of the hard parts of running and hiding.
"My name is Amelia." She said before pulling down her hood and taking off her cloak. I nodded and smiled. "Rain. My name is Rain." She looked up at me through her lightly curled brown hair.
"So another name to put to the face. Do you have a real name?" I nodded.
"Yeah." I paused. "But, I left that behind me along time ago." My voice lowered an octave before I shook my head and continued the small interrogation. "Alright then, Who hired you and for how much? Also, How did you find us?"
Amelia sighed. "Okay, let's see... Well, I saw you three days ago when you passed through the town of Yeel. You had been looking at the bounties on the board but you left soon after. When you did, another guy came and put up a wanted poster that had your face on it, or at least it looked a lot like it." Wanted Poster? Why would I- Oh. Maybe they caught up finally.
"Did it looked like they guessed my face or were they certain it's what I looked like?"
She shrugged with an uncertain look on her face. "Don't know. I think it was a guess because they said you had a long sword as well as a different pair of clothing. The face was similar but it's almost like they had to age the face of a child. Why?"
I shook my head. "It's nothing, please continue." She nodded, still slightly confused.
"I took the poster and- Oh right I took the poster!" She rummaged through her belongings, which was more like a few pockets, and pulled out a folded piece of paper.
Unravelling it, there was a picture of a man who looked similar to the one I see when I look into water. It was me but it's almost foreign when looking at it from a wanted poster. The clothes were different and so was the weapon but it was me. It was similar to the face I had when I was a child. I guess whoever drew it knew me when I was young- My eyes skipped to the bottom of the page and my jaw clenched.
I handed it to Sam and stood up quickly. "Dammit!" Why? How? I didn't do what they said.
I heard same 'oh.' from behind me before I turned around and slid down to the ground with my back against the tree. Amelia looked confused but I knew that I wasn't seeing things, at the bottom of that page it says.
"This man is wanted for the murder of both his parents Fredrick and Mina Souls, as well as the destruction of villages and towns this man has passed through." Souls? Oh so it's a made up last name but the destruction of towns? How would I manage that? Raider did that, not me... "He is armed and to be considered very dangerous, if possible, to be captured alive but it is not necessary." Underneath was the description of what they think I'm carrying on me and also where I might be heading.
Sam looked at me and pushed my arm to get me to stop thinking about it to much. "Is any of it true?" Amelia asked with a very serious tone in her voice.
"One part is." There was a sharp inhale. "My father."
Sam nodded but Amelia grabbed her hood. "So it's true. You are a murderer." I shook my head in denial.
"No! I didn't say that." Sam sighed and looked at Amelia with some serious looking eyes. "Let's hear him out, there's probably a good reason for this."
I nodded. "It was self defence. My father attack us in a moment of insanity. I'm sure you can guess what happened next but it was self defence, I swear on my life." Sam looked surprised at my pleading tone and so did Amelia.
"Oh." Was the only thing she could say in response. "Yeah..." I whispered.
Switching from the gloomy situation to a smile I broke the air of sadness around us. "It doesn't matter, that was thirteen years ago. Now is the present and we need to get going." I've decided to let her go. There's no point in killing her.
I stood up with my bag and nodded to Sam but Amelia stopped us. "Wait. Where are you guys planning to go?" She asked. I looked to Sam and he shrugged, so I told her.
"The capital. Why?" She nodded.
"May I come?" I was about to say no but she continued. "You can use a bow for a lot more then killing. Besides I'm heading back to the capital anyways. My sister is there." Sam put a hand on my shoulder and leaned forward with a smile.
"Sure you can! We could always use another pair of hand, right Rain?" I was about to protest of I received a elbow to the stomach in response. "Sure..." I said. Well, it's only till the capital... right?
We packed up out things in record time before beginning our walk again but it didn't last very long because we ran into some more trouble. When we got around two kilometres away from the last resting point, I began to listen more to the surrounding so I wouldn't be surprised if anything happened like last time.
I took a drink of water and fixed my shoe but when I finally got up, we found ourselves surrounded by more then fifteen armoured raiders. It was then that I realized we had made one hell of a mistake. We walked, voluntarily might I add, straight into the local raider's camp site.
"Just when I thought we were in the clear..." I sighed a heavy sigh. These raiders aren't under equipped and they out number us... I looked to Sam who had his sword drawn and Amelia who had an arrow mounted. If it had been just me then I would be on my way but I can't do that. Not here, with them at least.
I gestured around me as I spoke. "Don't you guys think that more then fifteen raiders is a tad bit over kill for three people?" A voice from behind spoke up before the the raiders parted to let the person through.
"I find it's better to overestimate your opponent then underestimate. Less casualties." I nodded at the older man in front of me. He had a sword at his side and he was dress in chain armour.
His hair was going grey and his face was stone cold. "That's quite wise, and to explain our situation, we are currently passing through to go to another town, would you grant us safe passage?" He sighed.
"Normally I would but there a circumstances that can't allow me to do so right now. So, it's your choice young man, are you going to fight and have the chance of death or will you come with us?"
I shrugged nonchalantly when Sam and Amelia looked to me. "Are you guys in a hurry?" I asked. Sam shook his head but Amelia nodded.
"Yeah, sorta. I told my sister I'd be back in a week, it's been four days since I left." I nodded.
So she had three days to get to the capital. If we get taken it won't be hard to get out but it might take a day. Putting up a fight here would be unwise because of the difference in numbers and weaponry. To add to that, I don't know Amelia's full skill set with a bow nor do I know if she has any other weapons. Sam could probably take on three but I don't know a lot about him either. This situation is not in our favour but we aren't in any danger, yet.
"Alright." I whispered to her then spoke to the leader in front of us. "Alright! We'll hang around here for awhile but if my comrades get hurt in the slightest, there will be hell to pay." I tilted my head to the side with a smile spread across my face.
"Ok?" The leader nodded and accepted the terms.
"Take them away." He motioned to a few guys beside him.
One minute I'm looking at him and the next I'm out like a light.