Chapter 1- The Gift

Once upon a time, in a rather dangerous place, there lived three races. The first were human, a simple and dwindling race. They made little fuss, and lived their lives quietly; however long or short those lives would be. The second were a devious and evil race of demons, only content when chaos ruled. The third race was powerful and proud. Dragons would have rather not been bothered by either of the opposing races, making the hierarchy relatively simple. The demons terrorized the humans, and the dragons did whatever they saw fit. However, one hot summer day, this simplistic way of life would be change, as all things do. It is at this point our story begins…

"Demon!" a voice shrieked, sending the tiny human civilization into a panicked frenzy. A human sized specter attacked in the middle of the village, slashing away making bodies and blood fly everywhere. No place was safe; despite the panic of this particular village, this same scenario occurred often to human villages. A demon would invade randomly, slaughtering men, women and children, often, as in this case, until there was no one left alive. The fight built to a raging climax, but the end was the same; battered corpses littered the ground which the demon named Gorsuo stepped on like so many pebbles. Blood painted the ground like water after rain. Gorsuo breathed in thick smell of blood and heat as he squinted at the sun. Even he had to admit that the sun was radiant, even if it was bright and brutal with strange heat. Turning his gaze forwards, the plains came into view looking like great emeralds gilded with the most beautiful weeds he had ever seen. What a shame he could only look at these things for a short time. The demon secretly wished something utterly perverse; that he could be a human and be surrounded by these things all the time. No, no, humans were weak like garbage. The specter sighed and lay down in the grass, instantly killing the soft green material. What a shame.

"You're killing the grass." And resonant voice stated in an annoyed voice. Garsuo looked around, catching a large shining form.

How long had that dragon been there?

"When you stare at me like you have no brain, it annoys me. Get up and go back to that stinking hole where you belong." A large golden eye caught the sunlight, giving the dragon a slightly malevolent glint in its glare.

Garsuo continued to stare. It wasn't as if he could answer. He had no mouth with which to speak. The dragon shook his head and snorted at the mute demon.

"You waste my time. I came down here to eat, and you killed all the humans. I'm not going to eat your garbage. If that isn't enough, you even have the nerve to make the ground ugly. Get out of my sight."

Now, Garsuo was not a stupid demon. There were very few demons strong enough to hurt a dragon and he was not one of them. Not willing to challenge this particular foe, Garsuo traveled towards the forest where he could hide and maybe enjoy himself a little longer. Of course he was more comfortable in the darkness of the trees, but he missed the bright color of the grass, and the odd pain of the sun's heat. As Garsuo walked around, he sensed a presence. Another dragon?

No, that wasn't it.

He was walking around the soft dirt and tree roots when he saw it. By a mossy cave entrance rested a sharp knife of some sort stuck in a bolder thick with moss and vines. Had it been there long? Surely not, he had been roaming these lands for years and he had never seen it. But there it was, clearly covered in enough nature to have been there as long as he had been alive. Who had placed it there? Why was it there? It was interesting and beautiful like the sun. In fact…it was gorgeous; a power like the sun had come down to earth and was trapped by time. To normal eyes though, its make was just as ordinary as the rocks that surrounded it. One had to feel out the dangerous, radiant energy under the surface like a sleepy aura in order to see its true beauty.

Was it alive, he wondered? It was breathing…no pulsing—almost calling out to someone. Lazily, heavily yearning for completion, this weapon waited.

I don't feel like that. Garsuo thought to himself. Sadly, he knew that the call was not for him.

So who did it call out for?

Garsuo headed back to Hell, thinking that maybe the sword belonged to some demon. Unfortunately, word spread among the lands, both high and low, of a mysterious weapon bound to stone. All races assumed the weapon belonged to someone of powerful strength and the challenge to pull out the sword became a game of power struggles. Who was the most powerful? Who would have the great warrior able to free the weapon from the stone? From which race would they come from? Dragon or demon? Which race would come out on top? So, the challenge began!

Demons scuttled from the bowels of hell and dragons flew down from their caves to try their hand at freeing the blade. Even some humans dared to attempt, despite the mocking from the other beasts.

Fights sparked and blood was shed, even while candidates attempted to pull the sword.

The competition continued for weeks until the demons and dragons became bored with the sword. They were even so courteous as to allow the humans to continue with the sport. The thing was probably no better than a stick anyway…

One by one, the strongest of human warriors strained and pulled at the sword, but it would not give. They needed a leader, to deliver them from their horrible fate as fodder for dragons and demons. They, of all the races needed this power, to avenge their people and defend themselves against their enemies.

Eventually years passed by and the sword revealed itself to be a cruel joke. Either no one was strong enough to hold it, or it was just useless. The warriors abandoned it, and it became just a place for the imagination of children to wander. Specifically, a child named Chenen wanting to test his resolve. He came out on a journey of sorts, to explore the myth of the mysterious sword in the stone.

"Chenen! Che! Wait! I'm outta breath!" shouted a little sun browned girl with hair that hung in greasy strings. The boy just huffed and grinned.

"This is why girls have to have babies and sit around all the time! Can't keep up!" Che laughed running through the trees. They were supposed to collecting fire wood; and they would, eventually. Why waste valuable adult free time doing what they were supposed to do anyway?

"You stupid rock head! I'm telling your mama when we get home!" the girl yelled, trying her best to keep up, even though she was thoroughly winded.

Che just kept running and laughing, knowing that his own pregnant mother would be too tired and cranky to even care. Lary, the little girl, started to slow her pace when she noticed that they were getting eerily close to the forbidden cave area. Dragons and demons were known to lurk there at times and that spelled doom for small children like themselves.

"Come on Chenen, you know we're not supposed to play here." Lary warned, beginning to back away from the tree's opening to the cave area. Chenen sighed heavily leaning on a tree and puffing up his chest indignantly.

"You're such a fraidy girl! You can run home to your mama! Maybe you stopped sucking on her breast too soon, huh? Baby!"

"I am not! You just don't have enough brains to stay out of trouble!"

"That makes you pretty stupid for coming with me all the time!"

" Shut up!"

"You first!"

They both stared at each other for a long moment, breathing hard and listening to the thud of blood against their temples. Then laughter broke out. They were both being silly; no matter what, they were going to have their share of trouble today, as long as it meant having fun.

In an unspoken truce (meaning Che always got his way), Lary followed Che into the clearing where the caves were, wondering what games they would play that day. Maybe some other mischievous children would be there and they could play a group game!

No such luck.

All that awaited them was some crusty old sword stuck in a rock.

"Hey, isn't that the mysterious sword?" Lary warily stepped up to the boulder, avoiding the sinister looking puddles the pooled around it.

Che gave the sword a skeptical look, trying to see the 'mysterious' part of it.

"Ain't nothing special about this thing. It'd probably break on a piece of fruit."

Lary gave Che a dirty look. " There is too! My da said he felt it when he tried to pull it out. He said it was evil, that's why nobody can pull it out!"

"Your da couldn't pull a turnip out of the ground." Che smirked. Teasing Lary always relieved boredom.

"Shut up, before I kill you dead!" Lary lunged at him with a stick, and Che grabbed a rock to throw.

"Tit sucker!"

"I told you I'd kill you!" Lary screamed trying hard to get a good hit in.

"Come on and do it, mama's lil' baby!" Che laughed, and made to run faster when he heard Lary scream-

It all happened so fast…

She had climbed on top of the boulder to jump him…and slipped on the moss. Then she was on the ground, looking all wrong.

There was a bit of blood on the rock. She was on the ground. Her eyes wouldn't close; like they were trying to absorb everything…and they looked so wide…to wide. Why was her head turned that way?

"Lary?" Che said softly, stepping a little closer to the disturbing thing on the ground. No, that was his friend…

"Lary!" Che shouted shakily this time, running to the twisted body. She was dead, neck broken from the fall.

How could he go home without Lary? He knew this was a bad idea, but why did Lary have to be like this? Dead! Why couldn't his dad have found out and just beat him? Why couldn't him mom just scold him in the end, like usual? This was not supposed to happen!

"Lary! Lary! LARY! Wake up, this isn't funny! Lary!" Che couldn't go home without her! He couldn't. Couldn't!

There, there now child. Everything will be as it should.

"Who's there! Answer me!" Chenen cried out in fear. The voice was near and far! It was frightening.

Peace child. Draw me out of this place.

"Lary?" Che whispered hopefully. Maybe this was a dream. He would wake up, and Lary would be angry with him for wasting time and being lazy…

You foolish child. The other is no more. This is fate. She was fated to die for my sake. Now draw me out.

Who would say such a horrible thing? Che looked for the person, trembling with a steeping brew of fear and rage. Draw me out? As crazy as it sounded, it appeared the sword was…speaking to him.

"I'll never do anything you say!" the boy's refusal was the only thing he had control over, so he held onto it stubbornly.

Do not be foolish. Draw me out, and I will bring her back to life.

"You…will?" Che could feel a sliver of hope begin to grow inside him.

I will never lie to you. You are my master, and I will serve you well.

"…Thank you." Lary was going to be all right! With that in mind, Che quickly climbed up to the boulder and gripped the hilt of the sword. It slid out easily, like it wasn't even connected to the rock. Che looked at it a moment, and suddenly he noticed it-

It was stuck to his hand! He couldn't get it off! In fact, it seemed like it was melting into his hand—disappearing into his skin. It stung like hot water and Che tried to fling the sword away, but it wouldn't stop. Then the sword was out of sight and everything around Che, seemed quiet.

"Lary?" The sword said it would bring her back, Che thought, looking for a dirty looking girl with a kind face.

Lying there, in the mud beside him, was a grubby looking girl who was very much alive. Yet, she had this look in her eye that was unfamiliar.

"Lary!" the boy shouted with joy and ran to the girl now sitting upright in the grass.

A howl of pain rang throughout the trees, sending numerous perched birds into flight.

This girl was certainly not Lary! She couldn't be! She bit him…he was bleeding!

"It hurts!" The girl screamed, her eyes wild and her mouth dripping with blood and flesh.

"Lary! What's wrong with you! Please stop it!" Che screamed back in terror, holding his arm where she had bit him savagely. A voice laughed in Che's mind.

This is what you call black magic child. I told you, the girl had been used for my sake and you forced the rest of her pathetic essence back. Her soul has been fouled and will forever hunger to be whole again. Always be careful what you ask for.

And so the first sorcerer and witch where born.

No one really knows who left the sword there or why. All that is known is that humans opened Pandora's mythical gift of hope, and all the despair that came with it.

Tis I the author! Hope you enjoyed this chapter.