The Messenger

The Messenger

As the men charged into the dark, gloom of the forest to engage their opponents, Kendrick became separated from him and Nathan suddenly found himself faced with two men. Without hesitating, he let his seemingly supernatural reflexes take over. As the man on his right moved first, aiming a gutting blow with a large axe towards Nathan’s stomach, he leaped back and held his hand aloft, as a surge of white–hot flame erupted from his palm and engulfed the mercenary attacking him. Nathan then drew his rapier and spun to face his second adversary, a tall, dark skinned swordsman, who, contrary to what Nathan had predicted, seemed undeterred by the mystic flames that had claimed the life of his comrade moments before. The man performed an aggressive lunge, aimed at Nathan’s throat, who, instead of reacting with a parry and riposte as expected, dropped and rolled with astonishing speed, under the blade and towards the large warrior, where, in one fluid motion, he brought up his slim, razor like sword, and thrust it into the man’s heart. He stayed in his crouch for a moment and watched the soldier’s ebony face strain in utter surprise and bewilderment as he looked down upon the boy, who had been standing in front of him a split second before, crouched below him, holding a blade that speared into his chest. Nathan then withdrew the rapier and the mercenary crumpled to the floor: dead. Ensuring that his company were victorious, Nathan took a minute to study the faces of the men he had slain and vowed never to forget them. He then stood and turned to find Kendrick.

Although he knew that mercy was not an option towards his enemies, he also acknowledged that these men were only following orders, and therefore he found it important to remember them individually, rather than let them fade into the chaos of battle. Also, it was all that prevented him from becoming a cold hard killing machine, like Valdred or Deskon – a thought he truly feared.

Upon reaching Kendrick, he immediately realised something had occurred. Half of the men were circled around the old Magician, who, Nathan realised, had a mighty eagle perched on his forearm. The bird’s plume was a pure, sleek, untouched white; the yellow-cream of its beak which was a long, fearsome arc, caused a subtle but striking contrast in colour. Its golden eyes were piercing, aflame with intelligence and pride. The eagle’s feet were the same colour as its beak, but ended in deadly black talons. It was undoubtedly the most beautiful creature Nathan had ever seen, but most surprising of all was the rich magical presence he felt emanating from it. The magic was alien to anything he had sensed before and seemed to touch something innate, but profound within him; Nathan immediately knew that the bird was ancient and powerful and he fixed Kendrick with a questioning look. “What is this creature, where is it from?” His voice revealed how awestruck he was with the eagle. Kendrick smiled at his tone, “This is Indulath, she is a messenger from the Elves; they have welcomed us to their forest”. “Nathan!” the old man exclaimed suddenly, rare excitement leaping into his voice, “We’re at the border of the Haven of Glathundure, and King Selbencar never left!” Nathan’s reaction reflected Kendrick’s excitement, and he almost leapt with relief and joy, as did the other men in the company. The journey had been treacherous, and riddled with loss. Worst of all, the endeavour had been uncertain. But now, their hopes had been fulfilled - they had found the forgotten kingdom, and for a short time at least, the company could rest. Even Deskon flashed a smile, an expression that looked awkward and ungainly on the former assassin’s face, but Nathan appreciated it nonetheless.

However, behind the excitement of the moment, the grave significance of this achievement was not lost upon the young warrior. Soon, soon he would have the vengeance which had consumed him for so long. Either that, or he would perish in the attempt.

The End

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