|The Legend of the Knights of Dahrvi
Author: a thousand slimy things PM
Khemworld: This is a story of friendship, sacrifice, and vengeance, that ends in the birth of two titans - heroes bestowed with godlike power and immortality. Also, there is an obvious, though innocent, reference to 'Brokeback Mountain'.Rated: Fiction M - English - Friendship/Fantasy - Words: 2,167 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 05-28-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3026685
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Mynas was the ninth son of Marvir of Tolbare, a rich Wagramese landowner and cattle breeder. Most of the land surrounding Tolbare belonged to Marvir, and most of the villagers worked for him. He had his own small retinue of trusted warriors.
Morvir himself used to be a mercenary. After years of accumulating loot, he had enough to buy the land and cattle to start his business. He then married the daughter of one of his oldest mercenary friends, for both her money and her great beauty. They seemed to suit each other perfectly, for soon the village was filled with their offspring.
As the ninth son, Mynas was not destined to inherit his father's wealth. What he did inherit was the mercenary spirit, alive in both his parents. He intended to become a great adventurer. He dreamed about coming back to Tolbare to spend wintertime in the warmth of his father's house, and sitting in front of the hearth, telling stories of his exploits.
He started training by fighting his mother's chickens. He soon advanced to battling goats and tracking cats. He suffered his first battle-wound from one of his father's rams, a great old beast that remained Mynas' arch-enemy for the next several years.
When the boy was thirteen years old, he was sent up Mount Brokklav to herd his father's sheep, accompanied by one of the villager's sons. It became an early occurrence for Mynas to spend late spring and most of summer up the mountain, watching over the herd. As soon as he was able to lift his father's old shield, Mynas took it with him, along with a rusty sword. He practised whenever fancy struck him, which was most of the time.
Back in Tolbare, some of his father's warriors would instruct him in the art of war. Thus Mynas grew up strong and rearing for battle.
Juin was the fourteenth (though only six of them were from the marital bed, and to those Juin did not belong) son of Lord Jinsey Zion, a high official in Ryezarian court. Jinsey Zion was Lord of the hall of Chaz-Hu [Mammoth's Tusk], which stood over the village of Chaz-Shi [Mammoths' Valley], but he spent most of his time in the capital city.
Juin's mother, Lord Jinsey's housekeeper in the capital, died soon after the boy's birth. Lord Jinsey could not be bothered to take care of his newest son, so he sent him to the Temple of Jien-Nyx on Bon-Hu [Mount Tusk], which towered over Chaz-Shi village.
The priests lived off of what the villagers gave them, and of what they gathered and hunted in the forests of Bon-Hu. They led busy lives: they taught the villagers about herbs and useful potions, performed funeral, marriage, birth and coming of age rites, acted as doctors and prayed to Jien-Nyx for good weather.
Juin soon proved to be a quick learner in the art of herbology. He laso learned Wagramese, for Bon-Hu was a border mountain and it was not unusual for a Wagramese hunter to chase his prey beyond the dividing line. Juin had little magical talent, but managed to learn the art of reading the wind to gain knowledge about the present and the near future.
What he excelled at, however, was hunting. By the time he reached the age of fifteen, he was easily the best hunter in the temple. He would disappear in the woods for days, or even weeks, at a time, and come back bearing skins and meat in abundance. He was blessed with Lo-Fai [eagle-sight], the priests would say, and the bow was meant for his hand.
They met when Mynas was seventeen and Juin nineteen. Mynas left the herd to his helper in order to try and hunt down the wolves that had been killing sheep under the cover of night – winter had been harsh that year, and the animals were starved.
Their meeting was not a peaceful one. Juin shot a wolf, his arrow flying mere inches over Mynas' arm. They almost came to blows, but Juin shrewdly offered Mynas the dead wolf. His gift was accepted, and the two of them talked. Mynas expressed the wish to learn Juin's language, and Juin saw no reason to refuse. They arranged to meet every few days in Mynas' camp.
"I will be able to find it even if you relocate. I'm an excellent tracker," Juin said.
"If you keep boasting so, my friend, you will end up tutoring me in the art of tracking, as well," replied Mynas.
Juin did keep boasting, and soon Mynas was leaving the herd to his helper in order to prowl the woods with his new friend. Together, they managed to hunt down many wolves, thus keeping the sheep safe.
One day, they encountered a young but sizeable bear. Juin noticed it before it noticed them, and showered it with arrows, but could not bring the beast down. Luckily, Mynas had his sword with him. As the bear lunged for him with it's jaws wide open, Mynas thrust the sword into its throat, killing it. He tore his arm open on the bear's sharp teeth, but saved his own and his friend's lives.
"You did not tell me you were such an excellent swordsman," Juin said, as he bound Mynas' wound.
Mynas laughed. "What are you saying, my friend! It was but a lucky stroke. Any one could fit a sword into a bear's open mouth."
"Perhaps, but you cannot fool my eyes. I saw you hold the sword in a sure grip, and your feet moved as if you were dancing."
"Thank you. I have much to learn yet."
"Could you spare some of your time in teaching me?" Juin asked.
Several years passed. Mynas and Juin spent every spring and summer together, watching over sheep, hunting and sparring. Their friendship grew and solidified.
When Mynas was twenty one, his father decided to hold a tournament for young warriors. Rumours of bandits having taken residence on the edge of his land had reached his ear, and he wanted the villagers to know their way with a sword or bow.
"You could send them all home crying in the archery contest," Mynas told Juin that summer.
Juin, ever sure of his aim, readily agreed. They arranged for Juin to come back to Tolbare with Mynas once summer ended.
Unbeknown to them, the bandits had raided the village during Mynas' absence. They did not manage to take much, but killed Marvir's fourth son along with one other young man and young woman from the village. The bandits were Ryezarians, and bore all the characteristics that Juin did.
In his excitement, Mynas did not notice the villager's tension as he introduced his friend. All seemed to go well up till the moment when Juin made good of his word and bested all in archery. The villagers rallied against him, proclaiming him a cheater. Some swore they had seen him among the bandits during the fateful attack.
To Mynas' mounting horror, Juin was imprisoned in the basement under Marvir's house.
Mynas pleaded with his father for his friend's release. "He was with me all through summer," he said.
"Each and every day, from dawn till long after dusk?" Marvir asked.
Mynas did not reply, but his silence was answer enough.
"I am sorry, son," Marvir went on. "I do not think your friend is guilty. But the people want justice, and I have to give them something before they decide to hunt the bandits down and more of them die."
Mynas recoiled from those words as if stricken. "What happened to the brave mercenary whose deeds were enough to fill my whole childhood with dreams of honour and glory?"
"He settled down," Marvir said, looking pointedly at his round belly and soft slippers.
That night, Mynas packed all his belongings into a sack. They weren't many. He strapped his shield to his back and his sword to his hip. He stole Juin's belongings from Marvir's study. Then, he crept into the basement and broke the lock to Juin's prison with one mighty blow of his sword.
"What are you doing, friend?" asked Juin upon his release. "You will be disowned, at the least."
"I will not suffer my honour in exchange for a place in my father's house. I have brought you here, promising hospitality. I cannot allow you to suffer for my father's complacency," said Mynas gravely.
They did not have to fight their way out. Nobody appeared to have heard the lock being broken. Later, Juin would say that Mynas' father must have allowed them to leave. Mynas refused to believe him.
They went to Juin's temple, only to find all the priests slaughtered. Nothing of value had been left, except for some well-hidden private stashes, which Juin promptly emptied. He had all the priests' bodies dressed in white and laid on a great pyre. He himself pulled on a white robe, and bid Mynas wear one, as well.
A little before dawn, Juin threw a white shawl over his head and started the fire. It burned white.
"The fire feeding on the holy wood, Numei, does not touch those who yet live," he explained, walking so close to the pyre that by all right he should have burned as well.
The two of them stood there until the fire burned out. Once it did, Juin spread his hands and whispered the words. The wind picked up, carrying the ashes away. Juin gathered a fistful of ash into a small pouch, which he tied around his neck.
"I must have revenge," he said.
It took them months to track the bandits to their lair, but once they did, they made sure not a single one escaped.
Juin took a pinch of ash from his pouch and released it to the wind.
"It is not tradition, but I intend to hunt bandits as long as there is whiteash left to spill. What say you, Mynas?"
Mynas, who had tasted blood for the first time in his life, smiled. "I shall follow you, and once all your ash is spilt, I will find us another sport."
Their hunt lasted many years and took them all over Ryezar and the neighbouring countries. The mountains, especially, were full of prey. Mynas and Juin did much good during that time. They rescued those who were kidnapped, avenged those who were killed, returned that which was stolen. They got drunk on adventure and found pleasure in danger. They became legends.
One day, they walked into a grove to rest and drink from the stream flowing by. They laid down to sleep away the hottest part of the day. When they woke up, they found a woman standing over them. She was dressed in dark robes and hooded, but barefoot.
"I am Dahrvi, disciple of Amkh," she said in a clear, melodious voice.
The men stood, and inclined their heads.
"What do you want with us?" asked Mynas.
"I wish to reward you for the years you spent bringing justice to the land."
"How?" asked Juin.
"I will give you immortality, and the power to continue your work, along with the title of Knights of Dahrvi."
"What would you take from us in return?"
"Two things: your loyalty for myself, and your names for my Master."
They considered this.
"It seems a small price to pay. Shall we go on nameless for ever after?"
"No. I will give you new names, if you agree to our deal."
"I agree," said Mynas.
"I as well," said Juin.
Dahrvi smiled. Her teeth were two rows of needles between dark lips.
"To you," she said to Mynas, "I give the name Ventis. And to you," she looked at Juin, "the name Crim. Now kneel, my knights, and I will give you power beyond your imagination."
When they arose, they were men no more.
This is my attempt at a vaguely myth-like style. It's mostly backstory of a couple of characters I might use in another piece.
I might come back to pick at it later, since I'm a Grammar Nazi when it comes to my own stories.
Please review if you'd like! I'm especially curious if I haven't dumped in too many weird-looking names at once, and whether the ending isn't too rushed.
Rating is confusing. I decided to play it safe, but it seems a little redundant. Also, can someone tell me why sex is more of a taboo than death in our culture? I mean, both are natural occurrences, except one is pleasant and the other not.