Radiance gone astray,
Into the shadows we depart,
Enter with no regrets or wishes,
If for a single second, if for a single desire,
Your mind starts to waver,
Diminish into the shadows.
Keeper Council Library
Drops of rain fell freely from the heavens. They soon turned white falling lightly to the earth. There was no warmth, only the feeling of frost. Winter was a frightening time. The chill itself seemed alive. Of course, winter always would end and spring would come. Just as time would start and end, humans too share the same fate, death. And on this day, the person known as Arhan Turnheart would no longer exist.
The ground was craved in six feet deep. Standing next to it was a boy covered in snow and dirt. His hands were sheltered in a bloody brown layer. He dragged and pushed Arhan's body down the hole. Arhan still wore a grin. A thin coating of frost softly covered his corpse.
"Fool. The dead don't smile." He shoved a mountain of dirt into the dark gap and hiked off. Even after a while his home still had a lifeless feeling. The young man took one look at his surroundings and dropped to the floorboards, exhausted. His house was the size of a hut. Two bunks lay on the opposite sides of the room.
Large gusts of wind blew on the door causing the fifteen year old to jerk up. He rubbed his eyes opening them slowly. Nothing appeared to be out of order. He closed his eyes again. Another loud thump came waking him up completely. He mumbled something before covering his ears.
"Is anyone living here?" The voice bypassed the door. The boy stood up in anger and shook the door open.
"Yes!" he screamed. "What is it that you want?" The man looked surprised but merely took out a pair of glasses and a piece of parchment.
"Arhan Turnheart has been selected to join the Keepers Council." He took out another parchment closed with a red seal.
"My brother?" he asked showing little interest.
"Yes." The man repeated handing him the parchment. "The certificate," he simply stated. The certificate contained Arhan's name.
"Where is he now?" The man politely asked. He was a messenger.
"He's not around," he answered quickly. "I can leave a message. I'm his brother, Damacles Turnheart." He quickly regretted saying his name.
"Why would you say that?" He raised an eyebrow. "Unless you want to join?" Damacles turned his head, "I want to know why my brother joined." The other man looked troubled.
"That…" He put on his cap. "is something you will find out when you join."
"No." Damacles replied. "I don't plan on joining any of the Seven Guilds."
see." The man took out a paper. "If you ever feel like joining…"
He shoved it into Damacles's hand and walked off.
"Persistent." Damacles turned the paper over:
Keeper Guild, 7th Guild.
Apply at Minute Devil's Haven
Damacles crumpled it up and tossed it to the ground. The Keeper's Guild was one of the best in the Seventh Guild who controlled the empire. They did not accept people lightly…. unless the quality of the guild was dropping. That he doubt.
Damacoles walked to his table frowning. Food supply ran low. He placed an overcoat on and walked out the door. His hut wasn't near any villages so he was required to walk for a few miles before reaching one. He arrived at the village around sunset to his disappointment. The white moon had appeared over the skies.
"I'm camping out here then." He strolled to a nearby supply store. There was the smell of wooden dust as he slowly walked in.
"Is the store open?" he asked. No sound came except for the occasional flicking of a flame.
"I'll go then," he mumbled upset. There would be no food for tonight.
"S-Sorry." The voice cried out.
"It's okay…" Damacles started. "It's your shop anyway." She was an odd one. Damacles found it impossible to keep his eyes off her. Her hair was strange enough. It was a pale green and blue in the middle and at the end of the strands were green beads. Her dress was cut in half. Her skirt and shirt were the same color, a pale yellow.
"I-Is something the matter?" she asked breaking the spell.
"No." He replied sheepishly. "I'm here to buy some meat and bread." He paid for the food and dragged the sack he placed the food in.
"Would you like to stay for the night?" She asked suddenly.
"Pardon?" Damacles asked feeling a little weird. "Listen…I don't know you very well…"
"The hotels are full sir. I am merely helping you." She looked nice enough.
"It's alright," he assured. "I'll just rough it out."
"It's winter," she whispered gently. Damacles gritted his teeth.
"Look. I don't need your help nor do I want it."
"Well come back if you need to." She said walking off to another room. Damacles shrugged and marched out.
He regretted what he held soon after stepping outside. The winds were massive and intense. The air he breathed in was damp and chilly. He dragged himself under the roof of an abandoned cathedral dwelling and sat there, petrified of the cold. It seemed to be a lengthy time as he sat there. He didn't know how long it had been but he found himself in a warm area when he awoke.
"You up already?" A blur image handed him a glass of water.
"T-hanks!" He said. "Even though I had declined earlier…"
"Declined?" Damacles looked up to see a different person.
"Wrong individual." He answered.
"I see..." She replied. "I found you outside the shrine."
"Shrine?" He looked surprised. "I thought it was deserted."
"My family has guarded this shrine for over 100 years. I assure you it's not abandoned." She answered satisfied with the expression on his face.
"Thank you." He realized he owed her a debt. She had saved his life, somewhat. "I'll be going now."
"There's a blizzard. Tell me your name and I'll try and contact your family members. We have a way of finding out where anyone lives if we have their name." She smiled.
"I'm Damacles L-Calaelin," he answered. He almost told her his real last name.
"Okay, I'll be right on it." She exited the room swiftly. Instead of lamps they used a special type of flame to light the place up. It wasn't bright just lit well enough to see around the whole room. The floor was not carpet or wood but a thick layer of metal. Damacles placed a hand on the wall and felt the coldness it held. Metal probably. This place reminded Damacles of a jailhouse.
He went up slowly, missing the warmth of his bed and walked to the table in the middle of the room. There was a crest of a flower on the table's edge.
"1st Guild…" He picked up the crest. It had the color white embossed on the crest.
"Hey! That's mine!" She grasped it from his hands roughly.
"That's what my fiancé gave." She said rubbing hard on the crest.
"Fiancé?" He asked surprised. "You look a little young to be engaged."
"When do you suggest I marry then?" She demanded.
"I was thinking more of the lines of 40." He smirked. "Who's your fiancé?" She gazed at him menacing.
"Why would you want to know?"
"Just want to know who'd marry someone like you." He answered. She stood up, apparently angry.
"Don't make fun of Arhan Turnheart!" She yelled out. Damacles sweared her cheeks became redder.
"Arhan Turnheart?" He asked casually showing no emotions.
"Yes, the Crimson Knight." She bragged. Damacles nodded and merely walked back into his cot.
"What are you doing?" She demanded. "I though you wanted to contact your family."
"I'm sleepy," he yawned. The girl took one glance before shutting the door loudly. Damacles stared up at the ceiling. He didn't hear about any fiancé. He never even saw his brother with a young woman. During the last few months his brother always went home late. The final moment he saw him was today when he had been found deceased outside the backyard. Damacles sensed lukewarm tears forming around his eyes. He didn't know how to end them.
He awoke and saw the whole extent pitch black. The mood was eerie. It was nighttime, he assumed seeing how he didn't have a window. He would escape now. As his mother once said, "If you don't know them, don't trust them." He grinned. Damacles missed the nagging he was forced through everyday until the last six years.
He managed to glide outside without difficulty. Most were asleep and the front door was practically next to him. He felt around his waist until he found a razor-sharp tip. He revealed a long jagged blade, around the size of his arm.
He forced his way down to the snow. He had his food supply already as they left it in his room. He wasn't going to go home. Not until certain matters were cleared…
The word fiancé nagged him throughout the hours of darkness. His own brother didn't even tell him. The road was stretched and narrow. They never seemed to stop. They sky was beginning to grow lighter already. Luckily he wouldn't have to ask for directions to Minute Devil Haven. He remembered those quick visits he used to have with his father back then. Quick but unpleasant. He remembered fancy dinners and dances. Manners wouldn't matter in the battlefield. What mattered were spirit and reflexes. Intelligence, what good would that be if your neck was snapped in half before you could think of a plan?
He pasted through a couple of amethyst mountains indicating he was soon to be at the Guild soon. He was in awe at the sight of the city. He stood on the top of a ledge. Below was the actual city. There were many trees scattered about. At the peak laid a grayish fortress. No doubt that was where the 7th Guild's Council laid, the place of his destination.
He was an explorer; he knew it the day he was born. Damacles continued a steady pace down the mountain. The woods were extremely deep. He could hear his own footsteps crushing dry leaves in the sand. He didn't know what happened next. It was too fast. A man pushed him aside slamming him into a tree. His left arm was scratched. A girl came next and rushed away before he could even catch his breath. He gradually stood up and took a few pants. As he suspected, the woods weren't very safe.
The sting in his arm subsided quickly enough. He had entered a deeper part of the forest. He scowled. His last experience here wasn't an enjoyable one.
"Halt!" A strong voice shouted. It sounded feminine but you could never be certain.
"What if I don't?" He questioned biting his lip.
"You're not getting out here alive," she alleged. There was a hint of sarcasm in her voice. Before she could react Damacles reached for his blade jabbing her in the stomach with its hilt. He didn't have to reflect on it though as a sharp arrow came through his direction barely missing his vital points.
A spear wielder!
He gripped his blade harder and swung it towards her. It scrapped a bit of skin off but she ignored it and stabbed her spear through his hand. Blood spurted out in large amounts. He flinched at a new pain as another blow from the spear came knocking him down. His sword slipped easily as if he had on oil. Another sharp pain inflicted his back as his surroundings grew dark to him.