All was still in the green valley, people were just starting to wake up and start their chores. Most days I wouldn't have been up so early but today was an exception, it was my birthday and I wanted to soak up every last moment of it. I walked bare footed thorough the grass, my feet trampling the morning dew and creating a path away from my house. I was a lucky kid in my eyes, I was just turning twelve and it was going to be my first day of being an apprentice forger. I walked towards the ocean water, staring at what I had become over the years. The water was a murky green but there was still a small hint of reflection.
There I was standing at five foot five, wearing my favorite white linin shirt and black shorts. My black hair had grown down to my eyebrows and my eyes a deep brown staring back up at me. I knew that working at a forge would make me stronger since till now I hadn't been worried about looking tough. I guess you could say I had a medium build if you were being nice. over the years I had spent almost all of my days working at the docks with my dad trying to make him proud but no matter what I seemed to do he always treated me like an outsider in my family.
A soft womanly tone broke the peaceful silence, "Avgerinos Exypnos get inside this moment you know you have to start on your chores before noon."
"I'll be inside in a moment." I looked down at the water one last time before running back into the house.
I walked into the house looking around at the newly furnished room. We had just moved into a dock after our old home was burned to the ground by a passing army. I walked past the first room into the dining room, "happy birthday son, are you ready to get to work we can't be slow just because today is special." My dad said not looking up from the taxes in his hand. My dad was a pale man but built like a bull, he was a very knowledgeable man who had taught me from a young age about every myth and legend that we followed. He was around two hundred pounds and standing at six feet. He had bright blue eyes and a stern face. I always looked up to him but I was never as good as he wanted in his eyes.
My mom looked at my dad and said, "Cant he have a little bit of time off before going to work, he has so much to do today anyway a few minutes won't hurt will it?" my mom was a nimble woman with black hair and hazel eyes, her skin like mine was darker than normal from living in a more southern place than we did now. She had first lived on an island that was small but all around her were enough fish and fresh water to keep us alive for generations, but one day there was a storm and her and her families were washed into sea. She said it was on the verge of death that she met my father and fell in love instantly; I was born nine months later when they had arrived in this town south of Athens.
My dad wasn't kind to the idea of slacking off but instead he walked out onto the deck by himself muttering, "rotten kids if I we were his age I would have been beaten to death."
I ran outside chasing my dad after giving my mom one last hug. My dad and I walked down the dock towards the boats when we reached the first boat my dad looked around and slapped his head. "We forgot the clean supplies back at the house, I'll go get them you stay here and see what you can do, and I will be back in just a few moments."
I walked around the dock looking for anything I could find that need our attention immediately but there didn't seem to be anything wrong with the first boat, I started to walk towards the second boat but as I approached it a group of men ran past me yelling and screaming. I ran towards them since I knew if anything got damaged my family would be the one that has to pay for it. All the men on the boat seemed to be filled with fear as I walked up to it. The men on the boat kept looking at the sky and pointing towards a few black dots that were moving across of it. At first I thought that they were just birds. In that case why were they so scared if birds but then I noticed that they were way bigger than birds and they had no wings?
Something was flying towards the dock. I squinted my eyes trying to block the sunlight and once my eyes adjusted I saw giant rocks flying towards me. I started to run towards the house to tell my mom and dad to run but as I took my first step the first rock hit the house, large pieces of wood flew out in all directions. I covered my face as wooden splinters flew towards me; I looked up at the house but there was nothing there, the whole house had been leveled and fire was covering the land around it. I turned towards boat and ran.
A loud crackling sound echoed through the air as my past burned around me, each step got me closer to the ship, I was about four feet away from the ship when a blast of hot air pushed me back to the middle of the dock. I looked up as another rock collided into the ship. The boat exploded sending splinters in all directions, I covered my eyes but a burst of pain exploded in my leg and saw that there was a piece of wood around ten inches long sticking out of my leg. , I looked down at my leg and gripped the splinter, I pulled out the piece of wood and looked back at the sky. Another rock was heading straight towards me. I turned to the water and sent a silent prayer to the gods before diving into the water. As my body connected with the surface of the water, a large shock wave pushed me down deeper into the water; the shock waves appearing from the rocks pushed me to the bottom of the shore. I managed to hold my breath until the shockwaves stopped. I swam upwards; all the while wooded planks and dead bodies sank to the bottom of the shore.
When my head appeared above water I looked around, the whole landscape had been flattened and scorched by the rocks, giant splinters and bodies were scattered around the area. I walked along the burning plane looking for any sign of life but all that had been living was now gone. I yelled out for help, and waited for any sign of reply, but there was none. I yelled again but to no avail. I ran to my house along the water, the other houses had been fortunate compared to my home. The whole building was scattered, there was no wood left in the proximity, only stone which seemed to be half melted. In the middle of where my home was there was a giant marble column, the column was black as night with pictures of the gods. The pictures were different though, the pictures were of the gods as slaves.
I saw my reflection in the column it was stunningly clear. I reached out my hand and touched the fine marble. As soon as my hand made contact with the stone, my sight flashed, my knees weakened and it was impossible to keep my body from collapsing. I hit the ground as stiff as a board; I couldn't move my joints, it was as if I were wrapped in rope. In my mind a voice entered. The voice was deep and cruel, containing so much hatred my face started to snarl. The voice said only a small phrase, "The son of death will die when the enemy is dead."
I slowly regained my control over myself. I sat up and looked around me; there was nothing that was left for me and no one to help me. The scariest part wasn't even the rocks but the phrase that repeated itself over and over in my mind. After staying at the flaming plane left by the rocks from above I decided to head to a city where I could earn a stay.
People started to appear all around our small village looking for a sign of what had happened, one of the men on the horizon pointed towards me. My instincts kicked in and I ran, my feet pounded against the ground, like I was running for my life. I turned towards a tall hill; the direction that I hoped was south. There was no way that the men would have thought that I would have done something like this.
I ran towards the tall hill on the south side of the village, the hill was large and on the top you could see all surrounding areas. I reached the top of the hill, I was all alone and scared out of my mind at the moment. Most times I had never even past this part of the hill. I walked a few steps down the hill then I stopped, I looked to my left than my right. This was the farthest I had ever been from home; little did I know what was in store for my future.
When I reached the town I went to the nearest lodge named the burning spear. It was the only lodge that accepted you if you were a bandit, a mercenary or even a part of the royal family. Inside it was dark and damp; the walls were decorated in a very strange way. On the left side of the door the walls were a deep blue color. There were perfectly trimmed chairs and a neat fire. Many men sat around the fire in expensive clothing always checking their pockets to see if anything was stolen. The smoke from the fire rose through a very complicated type of roof; it was probably to keep the area from getting wet from the rain. On the right side of the door there was a normally decorated area, the walls were plain white a little bit chipped in parts, there was a large group of people sitting on wooden chairs, looking at a large fire, in this area of the tavern, the people were all dressed like me, they looked like normal towns people. In the far left corner there was a small group of beggars sitting on the ground looking at little fire that was almost all ash. In the last corner it was completely full; there was lots of rustling and fighting. n the corner of the pub I saw many men wearing shirts that were identical, I had a feeling that they were a part of an expedition; I noted that this was what I was going to ask about. I worked my way towards the bar which was already filled with people though it was only midday. The people in the lodge were giving me looks of admiration and curiosity. I Once I reached the bar keeper he said," Beat it kid I don't serve children in my pub."
"I'm not looking for a drink; I'm looking for a job." I responded with complete confidence in my voice. Most of the people around the bar turned their attention towards me, when I noticed this I felt like running out of the bar instantly.
When I said that the bartender took his eye of the mug he was cleaning and looked at me. His face was completely oily; I could clearly see my self in the reflection off his cheeks. His skin was a red like a ripe apple but as shiny as pure silver. The man looked around as if he was trying to find out the fastest way to get away from the situation. The man looked at the uniformed men in the corner and got a huge grin on his face. It seemed he had found a plan to get me out of his sight for the rest of his day. He said very quietly," I know that a group of men are heading to the city far south of here, they are all assigned to a ship captain who is trying to explore the world. You should go with them they might be in need of a few more hands."
With that last sign of interest in me he returned back to cleaning his mugs. I took his sign and left the lodge, the docks were across the town. I walked through the crowded street hoping that there was anyway for me to get out of this area. I headed towards the docks to see men everywhere filling boats with supplies. I walked around the docks for a few minutes trying to find any sign of a boat that would be in need with some help. I walked up and down the dock a few times before I saw the large group of men from the tavern walking towards me. I turned around to start running away, but then I noticed what they were walking towards. Behind me a new ship was coming onto the docks. It was a huge ship that would have been as big as my towns dock and all the ships docked in it. It was pearl white trimmed with gold with the name "Gift of Poseidon "on the side of the boat. There was a large trimmed sail that had a trident painted in the middle. The boat looked like a magnificent peaceful boat except for the head mast. On this mast there was a sculpture of a main chained to a rock, the man had a whole in his chest and all the birds would fly towards the whole and eat anything that was inside it.
"A beauty isn't it", said the man in a uniform on the deck. My first thought was he was just another person who was admiring the beauty of the ship until he said,"My boat is looking for some hands of all ages to get it ready for departure as long as you do not get to sick and your not scared of water we will hire you. Would you be interested?"
"How do you know I want some work?" I asked.
The man laughed in a very jolly way, he patted me on the back and said, "Everyone in the tavern knows that you want to work for money now if you're not interested in my work I can find another man."
My response was a simple yes, but in my mind I was jumping up and down and running down the streets. At this very moment I needed to look as mature as I could, I walked onto the ship with the captain; the inside of the ship was like any typical boat except that it was huge. On each side rows of straw beds were reaching from wall to wall. I looked up and saw that the boat had many levels. The captain walked towards the closest ladder and started to climb. I climbed up after him.
We reached a level where all of the food was stored; all around there were rats running. I looked at the food and almost threw up. I turned back towards the captain and he was laughing. He said, "This is only the food for the rats your job is to kill the rats before they run out of food. If the rats are anywhere else, you must go kill them."
I looked at the captain like he was joking but he was dead serious. The captain grabbed a sword from the wall and tossed it at me. I grabbed the hilt in the air. It surprised me that the sword felt so right. A rat ran pass my foot I stabbed downward skewering the small rodent. The ship captain looked stunned, he look at me and said, "It looks like you will be done with the rats soon enough."
He grabbed my swords out of my hand and threw the rat into the waters below. He threw the sword back at me; I caught it in the air again and twirled it in my hand before returning back to the rats. The captain looked at me and laughed. I knew this would be hard work but my trip was only starting.