Chapter 5Mature

             Duncan and I walked for several days down the highway towards the Korcari Wilds. It was a land of forests and swamps, uninhabited, save for the Chasind folk, along with the various creatures that made their habitat here. The wilds extended south, in to an uncharted, frozen wasteland.

            Duncan led the way along a dirt path, going deep into the Wilds. He had given me a Grey Warden longsword to use in battle.

            “Do you even know where you’re going?” I asked him.

            “All Grey Wardens can sense darkspawn,” said Duncan.

            “Is that because of the blood and the ritual?” I asked.

            “Yes. The blood we drink makes us immune to their taint, and makes us able to sense them wherever they are.”

            “Forgive me if I question what the outcome of the ritual may be,” I said to him. “Drinking darkspawn blood sounds quite dangerous.”

            “I’ll not lie to you,” said Duncan. “You could very well die in the ritual. But, somehow, I believe you are strong enough to survive.”

            “We’ll see,” I said to him.

            Duncan turned us away from the main path, into the trees. We manoeuvred our way through, when, about twenty metres ahead, we saw a clearing, and the party of darkspawn we had been looking for.

            “It looks to be a group of about two dozen,” said Duncan, in a whisper.

            “Two men against two dozen monsters,” I said. “I like this already.”

            “No need to be smarmy,” said Duncan.

            We both looked ahead to further examine our odds.

            “The short ones are Genlocks,” said Duncan. “The taller ones are Hurlocks.”

            “I take it that twelve-foot-tall beast with the horns is the ogre?” I asked.

            Duncan nodded, his eyes still focused on the clearing.

            “You go from one side, I’ll go from the other,” he said. “We attack at the same time.”

            “Sounds bloody brilliant,” I said to him.

            Duncan said nothing.

            “And speaking of blood,” I said to him. “What are the rules on blood magic?”

            “We allow our mages who practice blood magic to use it if they deem it necessary,” said Duncan. “And as long as they don’t misuse it.”

            “Sounds good to me,” I said.

            “We’ll move in now,” he said. He crept towards the right side of the clearing. I followed suit, moving to the left.

            I sat silently for a few moments, taking in the look of the darkspawn; monstrous seemed like an understatement.

            Duncan let out a war cry and charged in. Every darkspawn became alert. He cut down Genlocks as they rushed towards him.

            I simply walked out into the clearing, my staff in my left hand. Several darkspawn noticed me and closed in. I raised my staff in the air, and slammed it down. A ring of lightning came out from beneath me, and the Darkspawn fell dead on the ground. I drew my sword.

            More darkspawn rushed in. I parried one as it attacked me, and smote it on the head with my staff, caving its skull in. As another tried to attack me, I hacked off its arm, kicked it back, and with a wave of my hand, set it on fire.

            Duncan and I both continually cut down darkspawn, until we made our way towards each other and stood back to back. There were now a dozen Darkspawn left.

            “Have you ever seen real blood magic in action?” I asked him.

            “Once or twice,” he said.

            A Genlock came rushing at me. I deflected its swing, and impaled it in the gut. Its blood began trickling out of the wound. That was all I needed.

            I withdrew my sword, levitated the Genlock into the air, and forcibly withdrew every drop of blood from its veins, it shrivelled, and I let it fall to the ground. The blood hung in mid-air like a dark red cloud. I made it disperse into separate tendrils, which rushed towards the necks of several darkspawn that had surrounded us. The tendrils wrapped around their necks, squeezed tight, and cut through, decapitating them. I then drew blood from those bodies, and shaped the blood into dagger-like shapes, which I sent flying towards the remaining darkspawn, impaling them. They all fell dead.

            Only the ogre remained. It roared at us, standing its ground several metres away. I sheathed my sword, gripping my staff with two hands. I kept the ogre focused on me. Duncan went around to the side. The ogre began moving towards me.

            I charged my staff with magical energy, and as the ogre charged, I thrust my staff forward. I hit the ogre square in the head, knocking it back. Its skull was cracked, and blood was visible on its head.

            Duncan charged from behind the ogre, jumped up, climbed onto its back, and stabbed it with his sword and dagger. It roared in pain, and shook him off.

            I drew my sword again, and ran my hand along the blade, charging it with magical energy. My eyes were glowing red. I swung my sword forward, towards the ogre, and a red magical arc swept away from the swing, moving towards the ogre. With ease, it slid through the ogre’s neck, and decapitated it. The massive body collapsed to the ground.

            Duncan stood up and retrieved his sword and dagger from the ogre.

            “Impressive skills,” he said.

            “You’re pretty good yourself,” I said as I took a glass vial out of my pocket and filled it with the ogre’s blood.

            “It is time for your Joining, then,” said Duncan. “You have indeed proven yourself worthy.”

The End

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