|Apprentice of the Dark
Author: Ty Dee PM
Two powers have fought since the beginning of time; the Immortals, creators and guardians of all life and light, and the Patrons, the bringers of those inevitable evils of life. When his best friend is chosen as the vessel to the Immortal's will, Liam finds himself in the middle of a conflict beyond reckoning, and the lines between what is good and what is right begin to blur...Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Adventure - Chapters: 19 - Words: 43,325 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 01-16-13 - Published: 07-29-12 - id: 3046006
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A young man sat on a horse as it trotted east down the Ridgewood path, down the path to the village after which the path was named. He had scraggly brown hair that trickled to his shoulders and a handsome face. A sword hung from its scabbard off his side. The youth looked up at Ridgewood. The village of Ridgewood stood overlooking the forest Dreunfeng. The Ridgewood path wove up a steep cliff face, winding back and forth past small houses built into the side of the plateau. Their front doors stuck out even from a distance, rectangles of bright brown against the mess of grey rock and green moss. Most folks, however, lived at the top of the path on the ridge that Ridgewood was built upon.
A modest settlement, the Ridgewood path served as the main road through the town, where business vendors declared the merits of their wares and farmers offered their goods. The town's inn boasted a large wooden sign that hung from above the doorway. Beyond the main road smaller side roads led to smaller wooden shops and hovels. The town looked as if no forethought had been given to design. Beyond the main road the low buildings were a mess, lining curving dirt paths that seemed to have been built and expanded only as needed. The village's most prominent feature, an ancient stone abbey, protruded above the rest of the wooden buildings. The large stone chapel sat higher than most of the surrounding trees, its bell tower twice the height of the surrounding structures. The largest structure on the plateau, the abbey was confined by a large stone wall.
The abbey was the most ancient building of Ridgewood, having stood for nearly a century. The chapel within was frequented by the townspeople who asked the Immortals for their graces and blessings. The chapel stood in the middle of the abbey. Built behind the building was a long living area where the sayers for the Immortals slept and ate. Around it were small, one-building rooms. They served as classrooms, where the sayers taught the village youths when they were in worship. Outside, decades of foot traffic had worn away the grass, leaving hard dirt pathways to and from each of the buildings. The sayers, who took care of the abbey and the spirituality of the followers of the faith, took in children from the street. Theirs was a life of hard work, worship, and compassion for each child of the Immortals.
The young man at the foot of the hill was accompanied by a small boy several years younger than him with sandy blonde hair. The boy exclaimed relief at the sight of Ridgewood. The young man gave a sigh as he looked up to his home, glad to have returned. His horse gave a sigh as it wearily eyed the steep dirt staircase before him. Townsfolk shouted greetings from their doorways as the man and his companion ascended the path to Ridgewood. The two waved their gracious replies with grins on their faces. The village was alive with its citizens going about their daily routines; people walked by, carrying water or wood or goods, beggars sat in their perpetually miserable states, and children followed close behind their parents. It was not a particularly large town, but it certainly was lively. Everyone seemed to know everybody and everything. The pair made their way to the abbey, passing through a flock of sheep on their way.
They arrived at the tall, stone wall of the abbey, where its wooden doors sat open wide. Within the gates children ran about, scurrying to and from the small wooden buildings that served as the village's class rooms. A group of boys sparred with blunt wood swords. A balding monk, donning a plain brown smock, read aloud to a group of young ones. A girl with flowing blonde hair knelt outside the largest stone chapel with her fingers in the dirt, tending to the flowers. They painted an impressive pallet of red and creamy yellow, an exquisite bouquet of vibrant beauty. The girl looked up as young voices shouted greetings to the newcomers. Her sparkling blue eyes grew wide with excitement and she stood. She exploded into a brilliant smile as she ran toward the two companions. The older of the boys had barely dismounted his horse when he was assaulted by the girl's embrace.
"Liam!" She cheered, throwing her arms around the young man. The young man named Liam laughed and wrapped his arms tightly around the girl. "You're home!"
She let go of Liam and looked to his young friend. She hugged him with excitement, wrapping her arms around the small boy's shoulders.
"Hello, Claire," said the small boy, partially smothered by the girl's embrace. He pulled himself away from her as a group of youngsters formed around them. Claire laughed as they hopped and danced about with excitement.
"They've missed your magic, Evlein," she said to the young boy. He smiled as he looked upon his crowd of admirers. He cupped his hands and whispered gently into his palms. Much to the delight of the children, tiny sparks flew into the air and burst into a dozen sparkling butterflies. The rainbow of fiery insects, each a shining color of the rainbow, fluttered off through the abbey. The crowd dissipated as they chased after the magical conjurations, squealing and laughing.
"You truly are a talented young man," remarked a voice from behind them. The three of them turned to a woman who bore features remarkably similar to those of Evlein. She was his sister and his elder by nearly ten years. They shared a sharp nose and even sharper eyes. "I'm glad to see you have returned safely."
"You worry too much, Risa," Liam said, smirking. "He was with me the whole time."
"That was what kept me most worried," Risa said, a hint of humor touching the side of her mouth. Evlein embraced his older sister and Claire turned to Liam.
"How was the journey?" She asked eagerly. "How was Cadderbridge?"
"The boys will have to wait to regale you with their stories," Risa interrupted Liam could speak. "Reverence is about to begin."
Liam and Evlein grabbed the reins on their horses as she shepherded them forwards towards the chapel to join a small crowd pushing through its large wooden doors. Most of the village neatly filed themselves into the chapel, from the elderly to the youths, who tagged along ruefully, clinging to their mother's skirts.
"Later," Liam said to Claire, winking. She smiled a response as she disappeared through the doorway into the chapel, and he grinned. It was good to be home.