Changes

Chapter Two;

Changes

As Kelly walked through the trees he thought to himself about the longest winter of his young life. The snow had finally started to melt in the lower valleys and that is where his travels had taken him today. The Sabre Valley was his destination today. He guessed that if he kept up a good pace he could be at the entrance to the valley before nightfall. He planned to set camp before the sun set so that he could have a base of operations from which he could begin his search. Rumours had been told through the fringe lands for the past few months about a force of ten thousand strong being lost in an avalanche in the valley. Kelly’s treasure hunts had taken a turn for the worse in the past few months and the pinch of being poor was beginning to affect his lifestyle. He thought that if the rumours were true he could make a sound profit off of this find. But he needed to be the first one into the valley in order to gat to the good loot. He planned his venture carefully, the snow in the valley would still be quite deep and most of the competition would be waiting for warmer weather.

Upon reaching the Sabre Valley he was not pleased to find the snow to be far worse than he had hoped. He found a good clearing where he would set up his base camp and began to clear snow. He wondered to himself whether or not he would be able to find anything buried under this much snow. The valley was about twenty miles from end to end. This would be a long job without the snow. As he worked on his camp hope hoped that he could find something before the others began arriving. He would need some sleep, it would be a long first day.

* * *

When Kelly woke the next morning the sun was barely peeking over the ridge. He gathered his gear and started walking into the valley. His snowshoes were leaving a good trail for him to follow back to camp. He made it to the base of the valley before the sun was directly overhead. He knew that if the rumours were true that it would be around the halfway point of the pass where he would find something. If he traveled ten miles through the snow he would have to set a temporary camp in the middle of the valley. He thought about his money problems and decided to proceed.

Kelly noticed as he walked through the valley that there were no signs of life in the snow. No animal tracks, no birds flying in the sky, not even so much as a tree sprouting through the snow. Kelly was beginning to gat a bad feeling about this place. He could feel the death surrounding him as he trudged on.

At this point the began to think about the ten thousand men who may have died here. Soldiers just following the commands of their superiors. They died trying to expand the holdings of a handful of noblemen. Kelly thought of what it might be like to have that kind of blind obedience to anything. He had survived most of his life being loyal to his own future. He served the needs of his mother until her passing two summers ago. He looked up to his brother as a youth until his brother tried to kill him. Every time Kelly had served another everything fell apart around him. So now it was all about his own needs. And right now he needed money.

He found a small hole in the ridge wall that would make a good camp site for the night. It was past dinner time so Kelly set up his little camp and prepared his meal. He noticed the temperature was far colder than it should be this time of year. The snow should be melting, he thought to himself. But as he looked at the snow he realized that it wasn’t melting at all. All day long he had walked under clear skies with the sun beating down upon him. And still the snow held it’s grip on the valley. Kelly was beginning to think that much death had cursed the valley. He began to smile to himself. Most of his competition would run screaming at the first signs of a curse.

Kelly woke in the middle of the night with the feeling that he was not alone here. He quickly drew his blade and poked his head out of his cave. The snow was a lot lower than it had been when he went to sleep. He saw a group of soldiers huddled down behind some trees. He decided to stay low and quiet and just watch. The men were discussing something that Kelly couldn’t quite hear. Two of the men rose and ran across a clearing to disappear behind another group of trees. It was then that Kelly realized the strangeness. There were trees.

One of the men in front of him stood and turned towards Kelly. It was as if the man were looking right through him. He approached and walked past Kelly and began to climb the rock face. When he made it to the top he began to move something atop the ridge. The rest of the men in front of him began to pray. Then he heard them.

An army the size of which Kelly had never seen began to come into view under the light of a blood red moon. Ten thousand soldiers Kelly thought. He realized he was watching the scene of what had happened here. He was about to watch ten thousand men die.

He quickly went up the rock face to where he had last seen the man moving whatever was up there. The man was still there preparing his trap. He had jammed a barrel full of oil into a small crevice in the rock wall. He stood with an unlit torch in one hand and a broad sword in the other. The sadness Kelly saw it the man’s eyes was causing him to feel sad himself. He noticed the man’s shield leaning on rock a few feet away. It was the coat of arms for the Crimson Knights. Kelly then realized he was standing before Koryis Killemoff, leader of the Crimson Knights. If it weren’t for the fact that he was about to watch this man die he would have been honoured.

During the war Kelly had heard so many stories about the heroic acts of Koryis. The stories were so amazingly ridiculous the he hadn’t believed most of them. But he was standing here about to watch a handful of men take out an entire army and end a war. Kelly realized at that moment that nothing was impossible.

Kelly stood in awe as the army came fully into the trap. The first explosion came from the ridge ahead of them, the second from the ridge behind them. They were trapped now and they never did figure out what was coming until it was too late to react. Just before Koryis blew his barrel to send a mountain of snow and rock into the valley below he looked right into Kelly’s eyes. “Help us Kelly Savage, do not leave us here.”

Kelly woke in a cold sweat. He looked around and realized he was in the loft on his farm. He had never left home, it was all a dream. Kelly jumped down from the loft and ran into town.

The End

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