"Anden" a voice softly coaxed me from sleep. "Get up, we leave for town in ten minutes."
Two deep ocean blue eyes awoke to the soft pulse of the light rain against the old shack. They awoke to the dim sunrise light. A slim breath of wind escaped through the small window inside the faded scarlet room. The glass was old and had fallen into disrepair. Miraculously the pane was still clinging to the frame, and until that final gust knocked it off, the cheap landowner would not get a new one. I collected myself, gathering my essentials, and prepared for the day. He often said unto me that 'Just as the sun rises, so does your spirit. It shows through your eyes." That was his way; answer my questions in ways that left me even more confused than before.
We first went to the butcher after I ate, whom treated me as a small child. He was the male version of an overly- affectionate grandmother. I asked him as many questions as possible, mostly ones I knew he couldn't answer, for fun. He had gray hair, pale white skin. He was tall, big bellied, and although healthy-ish, Looked sickly and snored like a sailor. I knew this because we usually arrived to him asleep with his knife in hand, a mutilated animal severed between its grip. He had a foreign curled, long moustache as some sort of comedy relief, or so I thought was its intent. Either way it could make a diagnose mental retardation for even the wisest philosopher with the mere glimpse of it upon his lip. When I was younger I would play 'how far can I stretch this' with it.
"I don't like it. Don’t like it one bit!" He boomed, silencing my mentor's softer voice with its echo. " You know what? I knew he was going to come, he was going to find you one day."
He proceeded to calmly and cleanly cut the head off of a living chicken. 'Keeps them fresh' He used to say. You see, when you cut off a chicken's head, they stay alive for
several minutes longer, panicking and running around as fast as they can. Looks like I found my new best friend for the next few minutes. My eyes spent the next few minutes trailing the flailing headless poultry while the two adults conversed quietly. After awhile, Bryan the butcher, his name was, stopped mid-sentence, looking at me, he smiled his last smile. I was half caught between listening to my mentor's apparently serious talk with the butcher and my dead poultry, which was now slamming itself into the counter repeatedly. Bryan nervously peered over his shoulder, toying with the stump of his left index finger. He lost it as an apprentice, but the knife that took it is ironically the only knife he used from then on.
"… Is not happy" Bryan spoke up. "… wont hold back…"
"Nor would I expect otherwise. I cannot hide forever. And neither can he."
The chicken ran full speed into the wall. I admit, despite the growing stress in the room, I laughed hard. My mentor's eyes met mine, and the softness returned to his face that had long been replaced with worry. I triumphantly displayed the dead chicken with my bare hands, holding it upside down by the leg and a grin played across my face. "He will make it, if I fail. My soul will protect him."
"But what about the soldiers. Meph-"
"No utterance of the name. Not in his presence." My mentor hurried on. "Now we must prepare, if it come to my end."
Bryan took the deceased chicken and proceeded to skin it as I stared curiously at the work. It was a relatively fast process because of the expert hand at which the butcher
worked. My mentor handed him the money, but Bryan refused, saying, "It’s on the house. I expect you both back here in one piece tomorrow."
As I began asking him what he meant, My mentor hurried me to the door, took a long ,full look at his friend and said, "Goodbye, my friend, pray that I see the in good
And with that, he left the room. I took one last look at my friend, smiled, and followed my master out. But as we left a tear rolled from the old butcher's eyes, the first and only time I ever saw him cry.
Wandering around the streets of Arghan, I was not a welcome sight for many of the people there; most were under the suspicion that my mentor and I were partaking in witchcraft of the highest sort, voodoo dolls and spells on the local crops. Just about the only places we were allowed to enter peacefully were the butcher's place and
"Look, Anden, It isn't easy to say this." He spoke up. "I won't be around for long.
You need someone to watch you, someone who wont go against what I've taught you."
"Huh? Where are you going master?"
"Just… somewhere far away soon."
"Will I see you again?"
He stopped and kneeled down to me, grasping my arms and taking a long, meaningful look in my eyes. Then, smoothly and just as impassionedly as his movements were passionate, his voice dully lit out a quick "No." Then, just as he had before, continued onwards to Granny Nina. The look of love he gave me, for that one instant, will be with me for the remainder of my time on this world.
The walk itself was a short, straight line down the street. Looking onward, he added "At least, not for a long time. This may be our last day together, boy."
Needless to say, the walk was a quiet one until we arrived. Granny Nina's house was ancient, half of it still being stone, painted lime green with vines of grapes, to which I haven't the slightest clue as to what purpose they served.
"wait here," he sternly advised. He had been acting unusually serious as of late, mysterious and unpredictable. It was a few hours before my mentor reappeared through the old house, carrying two vials and a jewel I hadn't seen for quite some time. It was just large enough to be fitted into a ring or a necklace, maybe earrings as well. It belonged to a man whose dying wish was to entrust it to my mentor. My mentor always used a cloth when carrying the jewel, and has never touched the deep blue and green stone, flawless in every way and seeming to shift colors based on the temperature and humidity. My mentor, when I asked about its shifting color, told me it was a living stone, a very powerful key. He often told me that he was waiting to give it to the rightfully chosen person to wield the stone, touch its warmth, the chosen one of the stone.
Silently I relapsed the passing day during the damp walk home. We returned home rather early in the evening. Upon arriving, He broke the solemnness.
"Anden, make a fire for us, I'm going for a walk with an old friend. Take care to roast the chicken as to not have any blood."
With a sigh, I agreed to the terms. I got up from where I was sitting and left the house to look for wood while he disappeared into the tree line. I took the training axe and found a sickly tree, dying with every day. I took the axe to it an embedded the head halfway into the trunk. Having physically trained for years under my master, I was strong enough to carry him three miles to town and back. Within a few strokes I felled the tree, and in no time had the logs I needed. Gathering up the main of the wood, I built a great fire, and using the limbs created a forked spick. As I gazed at the blazing chalky embers, it seemed as if it were too calm. The breeze began to pick up slowly, the moon appeared in the early sunset, a hazy yellow. The forest had never been so quiet as I wondered whoever could he mean by an 'old friend.' The wolves began to sing, sounds of branches being broken in the distance followed by long silences. I felt breathing down my back, cold shivers breaking me into a sweat as invisible eyes shot daggers into my soul. Just as it became as calm and quiet as the night had given yet, just as my anticipation overflowed, materializing behind me, was him.
"Beautiful night, eh? Just out for a stroll, and saw your fire there."
I backed around the fire, hand by my hilt. "Get away old man!" I warned, drawing my
"Woah, boy settle down, settle down, I was just on a walk here and just happened to see your fire. Just came for a little talk."
With each passing word his voice seemed more comforting, yet the fear that I was not yet introduced to this shadowed figure's face, as the voice didn't sound any bit
"Taking a stroll, three miles out of town? I think not." I raised the dagger, peering through the tongues of flame.
Two monstrous white teeth shown in a smile that made a heart cringe. "Well, I live out here in the country"
"We own all the land within a half mile from here. No way you just happened to
"Smart boy." his teeth disappeared once more. "well, since your so nosy, I'm
looking for a man named Mephisto. A little birdy told me he lived here with a child."
Deep inside my heart did I feel that he knew who I was, and how to kill me. "I don't know a body named Mephisto, or anything like it"
"Well, I figured as much. I'm sorry about shaking you up like that, but you might want
to put that away, maybe hurt yourself." He calmly and innocently finished with a chuckle. "And we don't want you getting hurt yet now do we!"
"what do you mean, 'yet?'" but just as I spoke, he backed away, the light glistening
off his smile.
I did what came naturally from the fear and anger inside me. With a sweeping motion I dug embers with the magic, and thrust the flames through the strangers position. But just as they connected to him, he disappeared, and I was alone again.
I stayed alert until my mentor came back from his walk, well into the night. The fire had become embers for the most part, but the fire seemed warmer and safer now that he was back. I told him about the events that occurred, smudging on my use of magic. Instead of scolding me about not thinking before I acted, which I was prepared for, he surprised me by merely sighing and taking a longing look at the fire. He silently took from his pocket the cloth holding the stone, and was deep in thought. "Let's just see…" was all he could say. He motioned for me to come to him as he heated the stone under a warm fire, having not touched it. He then took the pan upon which the stone was situated, glaring a fierce bright green. With the pan steaming where it touched the stone, he instructed me to pick it up. As I touched the stone, it became blood red, merging with the skin that contacted it. The pain upon which it bore into my right hand was unlike any pain I have ever experienced. Black blood perforated my arm, shining
against the firelight. I was in a deep scream, the burning inferno setting fire to my hand and turning my skin black. I could no longer feel the right side of my body. With more haste than I have ever seen him enact, my mentor swooped down upon me with his cloth, dove his hand into the flames of my arm, and gathered the stone. Deep scars from the fire burned into his skin as if they had been there since the moment he was born. All at once the pain ceased, the burning stopped, and my feeling regained slowly. The only remnant of the stone was a mark- a crucifix- to which still decorates my palm to this day.
With deep sorrow in his eyes, my mentor looked upon the stone, unmovable for
many hours. This memory is imprinted into my dreams for my entire existence. I
re-live it each and every night. The burning, searing torment, the pain and
suffering of my life facing me all at once in a fiery inferno, it will remind
me each and every day until I find the chosen one of the stone. This prophecy I
once sought to explain my dreams, I found on the eve of the lunar eclipse, my
twentieth birthday. but it is for another time to tell.
he said calmly, as a branch broke in the distance. "we should go
Hastily he waved
over the fire, causing it to die immediately and used one of the flame tongues
around his finger to light the way to the shack. More cracking of branched
could be heard, as if heavy underfoot were settling this way. Once inside, I
watched as my master hid the cloth underneath a floorboard. Heavy rushing could
be heard at a distance. My mentor turned pale.
upstairs, now!" He whispered, urging me through the hidden space in the
walls. "Climb up, and wait for me for a few days. There is water already
provided, just do not make a sound!"
With one last glance
I saw my mentor through the hole in the wall, and climbed up the small, cramped
corridor by way of rope. He replaced the boards, and sealed them with magic.
The next several hours were painful, the sounds of crashing and yelling, of things
breaking and my mentor yelling, first enchantments then at the guards for
capturing him. I, for the first time since the death of my parents, wept until
the ceiling boards were soaked.
I cannot tell you
how many days I lay upon the floorboards, silent as the house itself and just
as still. It was usually custom to burn the house of a criminal, yet it- and my
life- were both spared. The night the house was searched, I fell into a deep sleep,
the remnants of that dream shall comfort me even in my darkest days. It was
just starting to rain- pour, in fact- several hours after the sounds ceased. As
I lay, soaked, I heard a crack of thunder that was louder than anything else I
have ever heard. The noise was piercing, singeing even. For the split second it
lit up the world, I could see the small room I was in. But when the next one
hit, I wasn't there at all. Even the ground and the air seemed different. I
realized that my eyes were closed. Hesitantly I opened them to reveal a sight
the likes of which I couldn’t imagine. Between the soft waves of the grand
lake, absorbing the sunrise, it emerged. Each wave harmlessly coasting past his
figure. The brash untarnished sandals last left the water. A low chorus could
be heard. Beautiful music gave unimaginable color to the bleak land. The water
shown in forty different hues, the life slowly gathering around his feet. The
man, completely dry, sat opposite of me, smiling. His body was covered in a
haze, his features perfect; from his blond hair to his blue eyes. As he
inclined himself to an open chair beside me, I felt a warm feeling encompass my
body- an aura of peace came from the glowing man.
"Are you sad, young one?" he asked, "You always weren't the one
to show emotion. Hard egg to get through to, but I did it!"
He chuckled at his
comment, then continued, "Well, lets start with introducing myself. My
name is Harem, and of course I know your name. I've been your guardian since
before you were born. Since that day the prophecies had come, I was one of the
chosen to guard one of the children that they pertained to."
"I'm here to
help you, Anden. It will be ok."
"Help? You want
to help? Where were you when they killed my parents? My master? Where were you
when I suffered daily, when I was on the streets?"
because I must protect you, child. I will be with you until your twentieth
birthday. Child, I am here to show you that there is more to your time on this
world than you think. My lord and master, the father of creation, sent me
"I don't care!
I want my parents back!"
With a sigh, and
deep sorrow in his eyes, he thought for a moment. "Listen," he
cautiously and lovingly spoke, "I know that your life is rough, that it is
hard to deal with. My time on this world was a lot like yours."
"Your time on
this world?" I questioned, confused.
"I was a man
once too, back hundreds of years ago. I once was a great hero in my country,
respected by all. But I lost my parents twice, and the love of my life. All
three still roam this earth, suffering under the hand of witchcraft, the hand
upon them and many more were killed. Only by way of the most extreme techniques
did the original bearer of fate take me out of this earth. You see, in order to
take me off this world, he had to step down from the enforcer of the fates of
each man. He had to then choose a soul to take his place, and he had his eyes
set upon me for what I had done."
I rubbed tears from
my eyes, looking up to meet his. "What did you do?"
"I had a pure
heart amongst the shadows that tried to consume me… I became powerful enough to
bend fate, and many people tried to use me to bend their fates. But I held on
strong, until the day that a shade murdered me."
fate-less, immoral, soul consuming leaches; they feed off of one's happiness.
Fighting them means certain death. Only the power endowed by God may destroy
one, the unlimited power that only angels are given. We are, however, among
God's servants, and he is never known to forget his servant."
"I'm so tired.
Why am I so tired…"
Fate's eyes lit up
in shock. "How could they… they shouldn't… they can't… no."
Worry played across
his face and confusion across mine. "What's going on?" I spoke as my
eyes began to drop.
Anden, stay awake! Do you hear me? Oh Lord, have mercy upon his soul. This
I began to mumble
something about not worrying.
I won't be able to speak to you for a while, ok? When you wake up, you must
leave. Take the forested passage till you reach Arghan. Do not drift along your
way! I must go…" he shouted, but I could barely hear him. "I won't let
them get to you. Not now, you aren't ready yet… too soon… Goodbye Anden,
goodbye my child! Peace be wi-"
Then I woke up