Hi there! It is so nice to meet you! I hope you enjoy my story. In this i've included the Prologue and the First Chapter. If you like what you've read drop a review or a message! I'd love to chat. Anyway, enjoy!
His two attackers moved in quickly, like lightning jumping cloud to cloud they closed the gap between them in a flashy instant, swords drawn, blades moving.
Gresha whooped and as the two stabbed at him, their silver blades flashing white in the moonlight, he threw himself down and rolled out from under them. He leapt back to his feet a moment later, once more putting a few feet between him and danger, but this time his own sword was up and he was prepared to fight back. After all, why wouldn't they follow him to try and take advantage of his retreat?
But instead, they remained where they were, just watching as he bled there, panting.
Gresha tried to look into their eyes, to try and see what they might be thinking, but their faces were covered by an odd, colorless mask.
They looked less like people and more like porcelain dolls, bodies thin and unnatural behind long, black robes.
"What… are you things?" Gresha asked through a grunt, ignoring the warm pain in his bloodied side. "You don't look like, Nightmares… but mm," he grit his teeth, wincing. "Y-you're not human either."
"What they are is of no concern to you." Called out a familiar voice. It was dripping in authority and screamed entitlement. It came from the darkness behind his attackers, but it seemed to be getting closer with every moment.
"Gresha Caldweathers." It continued, "By order of our Lord Regis, you are under arrest for crimes against the Capital. Forfeit your weapons, or forfeit your life."
"You're kidding me." He bit down on his bottom lip and straightened out, "what crimes?"
The voice's owner appeared in an instant, as if conjured up by his question, and offered him a deceptively friendly smile. Gresha knew at once who it was, and he narrowed his eyes in anger.
Commander Haden lowered his head in mock respect, before straightening out and approaching him. There were no trees to hide behind, so the moon beat down on them with all of its force and strength, throwing a pale, silver glow across the normally green grass. In that stunning light, Gresha could make out the Commander's thin, bony features. He'd always been a lanky, sickly looking man, but there was a callousness in the way he talked and the things he did that spoke of a reckless confidence.
"You have one more chance, Gresha. Throw down your blade, or prepare for death."
He shook his head and pulled his sword up. It was so heavy, more than he remembered. Or was it that he was losing his strength, becoming weaker as the wounds ate his energy? He couldn't tell anymore.
"I've done nothing wrong." He told the Commander, blue eyes narrowing. "I-I've committed no crimes."
Commander Haden shook his head.
"I am not here to judge you, boy." He fixed his dark green gaze on him through long, fiery red hair before shrugging, as if this was all some casual game. "I am merely here to capture you."
"I'm not going with you." He told him immediately, "I don't care what you think I did… I'm not going anywhere with you."
"I already knew this." The Commander chuckled. "That was why I never intended on bringing you back. See no matter what you say, and believe me I knew what your answer would be, on this night, you die."
"Do I?" He asked, concentrating on lanky man in front of him. "For some made up crime? I knew you were pathetic."
If his words hurt him, the Commander didn't show it.
"You are misguided, Gresha. See, Your gift." He said, his body beginning to pulse with a faint, purple light, "it belongs to the Capital. And since you insist on running away with it, then you leave me no choice but to rip it free of your pathetic shell and wait for it to blossom in another, more understanding body."
Gresha spat on the floor.
"Our gifts are blessings from the Ancients. I don't care what those before me did with this power, and I don't care about the plans you have for it. It is mine, and that's that. I am free to go where I please, when I please. And I'm going to Paradise."
The Commander shook his head.
"Truly, truly misguided."
The Commander suddenly thrust his hand out and Gresha prepared for whatever may come, threw up his arms.
But he didn't see anything, nor did he feel anything. That was a relief… but it was also a danger. There are people like him and the Commander who have unique gifts and powers. There have been those who can chain a mind like a dog, or conjure flames from nothing. No two people have the same power, and as a result people do their best to keep their gifts a secret.
His secret was well known, but the Commanders? Nobody knew what he was capable of.
"Gresha." He said again, staring at him as his hand remained pointed at him. "You could have had so much… if only you would have listened."
He said nothing and relaxed, slowly waking the power inside him, rousing it to action. He wasn't going to just sit here and wait. He was going to attack, and as he prepared to do so, he let that power flow free and wild, a deep heat that lanced its way through his veins, warming his muscles and scorching his nerves.
Whatever the Commander had planned, it had better be str—a force unlike anything he'd ever encountered hammered down onto his head, slamming him like a rag doll face first into the floor.
"You should not have run away." He heard the Commander say, almost smugly. "You should have stayed where we told you to stay… like a good dog!"
Gresha was just beginning to pull himself out of the ground when another indomitable force slammed down on him, cracking him back into the floor with a sickening snap and a senseless pain that left him dizzy and nauseous. Every wound he'd earned fighting those masked creatures reopened, and he lost the will to rise.
Instead, he just laid there in the dirt, panting for breath through crumbled, broken ribs.
"If you can talk." The Commander said, looming over him. "I will permit you to do so. Otherwise, this is where you fall."
He wasn't sure if he could talk, but he tried anyway.
"Interesting choice for your last words, Gresha." The Commander sighed. "Let us hope whoever inherits your power, has a much more respectful attitude."
For me to fall here. He thought to himself, closing his eyes as he felt the winds around him thicken. How… pathetic.
Whoever gets this power. He sighed his final sigh, and smiled. Keep it away from the Capital… and go farther than anyone else has ever gone.
You can do it… Paradise is waiting.
_The Trash Knight_
"So, listen." Levi cracked a million-dollar grin and leaned in close to the Guard. "You're a smart guy, right? We both know this was an unavoidable accident, an accident that the Ancients themselves couldn't prevent. So, let's just put the spear thing down, and go on with our day. Yeah?"
The Guard, a bull faced man with chubby cheeks and a thick black patchy neck beard, furrowed his brows and gestured to the overturned cart. There were fruits from all over the world piled all over the place, joined by cucumbers and squash and even some fish! Most of it was smashed though.
There was also a man lying unconscious in the shattered remains of the merchant cart.
It was a real mess.
"You threw that man into that cart!" The Guard shouted, jabbing at the destruction with a stubby finger. "I saw it with my own eyes!"
"Yes. Yeah, see, that did happen." Levi tried to explain, "but the truth is, he left me no alternative."
"Yes." Levi sighed in relief, thankful someone would at least hear him out. For some reason, authoritative figures didn't take his side very often, let along give him the time of day to explain a delicate situation. "Now what happened was, this man here." Levi pointed down at the unconscious brute. "I owed him some Coin. Not a lot, just a minor amount that I was in the middle of getting for him. And then all of a sudden! He goes wild and lunges at me! Thus, I did what any self-respecting man would do, and I threw him into this Merchant's cart."
"And how is that an accident?"
"I did not know the cart was there. So, you see? Unavoidable at all corners. Now if you'll excuse me. I'll be going now."
Before Levi could move, the Guard reached out and tried to yank him back by the shoulder. Levi wasn't a body builder by any means, he wasn't even quite a man yet, but he knew how to handle himself.
The moment those sausage fingers clamped down on his shoulder, he instinctively twisted out of his grip and like any criminal would do, he threw himself into a frantic sprint
"Stop!" The Guard cried.
Levi didn't listen, but he did reach down and snatch up a few fruits before really getting into it, swiveling and winding through the cluttered market with the sleekness of a garden snake. The town wasn't big or anything, it was mostly just the market place but on a bad day, running through it was as difficult as running through a wall.
The thing about walls though, well, they have cracks and Levi knew where they were. He slithered through the openings between wagons and stalls, avoiding heavy traffic and diving into the crowd to blend in.
Before he knew it, the market was behind him and he was safe and sound behind some trees. From there he could see the main town, the colorful tents decorating the town square, all of them surrounding the large, blue Barrier Crystal jutting up from the ground. The Inn was in there too, but it was usually too busy, so most people camp out or seek refuge in the townspeople's homes, assuming they were kind enough to let them.
All in all, Bethelas was a nice place with a horrible feeling.
The forest dominated the land to their south, so the village rode the tree line, a long slender expanse of scattered homes, farms, and a huge grouping of campers. Plenty of people came this way, it made the town the perfect place to peddle goods before continuing on toward the more industrial sections of the country.
He used to love this place, but lately he was having a hard time finding positive memories of it.
Things were changing. He wasn't sure why, and he wasn't sure how, but he could feel it. In a sense he didn't understand, this boring little place was getting worse and worse every minute. Building up with some strange, dangerous pressure that at any moment was going to explode.
He wanted to get away from it before it did.
After all, there was a huge world out there just waiting to be explored, a wild unmapped world full of odd and fantastic things. One needed some sort of power to survive out there, a gift from the Ancients that'd allow them to survive when others would fail. Those like that were famous, and the stories they told always got people excited.
He heard tales of Floating islands with odd cities on them, mountains made out of pure gemstone and crystal, tribes of people with animal ears and tails. He yearned to see those things in person, to experience them.
But he wasn't rich enough to buy any powerful escorts, nor was he skilled enough to survive out there. He lacked the necessary strength to combat the waiting nightmares too.
No, he was stuck here. Imprisoned in Bethelas as if it was some kind of jail. After all, what was he supposed to go do? Run off and conquer the unknown? Adventure through a world whose natural laws didn't make sense? Search for treasure and fame?
That sort of life wasn't for people like him.
As far as he was concerned, he didn't matter, he didn't make a difference.
His parents figured that a long time ago, that's why they didn't stick around.
It was why nobody else chose to pick him up and give him a home.
It was why his teachers stopped trying to help him.
It was why the community didn't trust him enough to give him a job.
He just wasn't any good.
"This place." Levi whispered to himself, fishing around in his pockets for one of the fruits he stole, "this place is the worst."
Taking a wet, crunchy bite from that juicy, red skinned fruit, Levi tugged his gaze from the far-off Market and focused forward. He may have hated the place with an ocean's worth of certainty, but there was one reason for him to stay, one reason to not outright give up and move on.
Levi decided then to head there and followed the path, lazily ambling about as the sunlight poured down, beating the grass into a heated glow. Despite the warmth, the wind was gentle, allowing the sturdy trees to throw their shade about undisturbed. Levi was thankful for that and enjoying the cool shadows wrapped around him, he continued to enjoy his snack.
It wasn't long after he'd finished the juicy treat and abandoned its seed in the grass that he came upon a familiar cabin. It sat sturdy atop a gently sloping hill and stood guarded by a white, knee high picket fence. A thick and luscious garden spilled out between the wood and home, bursting with vegetables and flowers, there were even some animals rummaging about. He spotted a tiny brown field mouse instantly, and a gray hare right after that. They probably visited the place often to fill up their stomachs, and though he was tempted to keep looking, his gaze drifted up the moment he heard the door creaking open.
In the doorway, a mischievous smirk spread across her freckled cheeks, stood Elicia Hallwhet.
Levi wasn't very religious, but if he could picture a Goddess, it'd look just like her. She was the nicest, kindest person in the entire town and carried with her a wit sharper than any dagger. Petite and nimble with freckled, cream colored cheeks and long golden hair, Elicia tugged at the hem of her sundress before venturing further outside her home.
"Hey you." She crossed her arms and stopped halfway short of where he stood. "I heard you got into some trouble."
Levi twitched. "And how would you know something like that?"
"News travels fast when you have connections like me." She snapped her finger with a giggle, and from the sky flew down a bright, thick feathered Blue jay. It landed right on her shoulder, and without hurting her, it skipped close to her cheek and bowed its forehead against it.
"Spying on me?" He asked with a sigh. "That aint fair."
"It's not my fault that my friends like to people watch." She replied, turning her nose up at him. "Just like it's not my fault, that I can understand what they say"
He laughed at that and ran his fingers through his messy, black hair. "Playing innocent? You know that won't work on me."
Elicia stuck out her tongue.
"If you don't like being gossiped about, perhaps you shouldn't do something worthy of gossiping about."
She shook her head and moved closer, only stopping when she was close enough to reach out and touch. "I'm not really mad. Okay? Just, worried. I want you to be careful."
"Yes." She reached up and flicked him on the forehead. "There are Soldiers lodging in town tonight. And Father says that they're here looking for something, maybe even for a few days."
Levi raised a brow.
"Seriously." She urged, narrowing those beautiful, sea blue eyes at him. "Don't do anything that can draw attention to you. Pissing off the Town Guard is one thing, but angering the Lord's men can get you hurt."
"I'll be careful." He said, sensing the sincerity in her tone. "But only if you promise to stop spying on me with your little… friends."
The Blue jay on her shoulder chirped and flapped its wings before settling.
Elicia laughed immediately.
"What'd it say?"
"You wouldn't like it."
"Now you have to tell me."
Elicia just shook her head and leaned in, quieting him with a kiss.
That kiss made him forget all about his hate for the town, and his hate for the Bird.
It made him forget how useless he felt.
It made him feel like he mattered.
It made him feel like he could do anything he wanted, and for a time, he thought that settling down here in the village, might not be so bad after all.