Kalt opened his eyes and shot upwards.
He was in a warm comfy bed in a stone room with red velvets covering the walls and a roaring fire at the end of the room, there was a door to his left and a window on the right with magnificent patterns in the glass of red and gold designs.
A sharp pain hit Kalt in the head and he rubbed is forehead and noticed that there was a bandage on his head as well as his arm, Kalt looked over himself and found that there were bandages all over his body.
Kalt fell backwards and his head hit the pillow and it felt like he was in a dream, in his head it seemed as if everything that just occurred happened a long time ago.
“Eight hours and thirty-seven minutes ago to be precise” said Xectix making Kalt jump.
Xectix was peeling an apple at the side of his bed sitting on a stool and his eyes were puffed up and red as if he had just been crying.
“Where...where am I...?” muttered Kalt as he rubbed his forehead trying to grasp what happened to him.
“You’re safe, that’s all that matters know, I am sorry I had to put you through teleportation without any time to prepare but I’m afraid there was no time.”
Xectix finished peeling his apple and took a bite into it with a pained expression on his face while Kalt rested his body and tried to remember what happened, everything came in flashes and parts which Kalt did not understand.
Kalt looked at Xectix and asked “what happened... to everyone...what happened to my home?”
Xectix continued eating the apple that must have tasted to sour for him because his face was distorted and he looked like he was eating a pile of mud while staring at the fire when he replied with a heavy tone.
“Yuit... I’m afraid Yuit is gone boy, the bandits burnt it to the ground, the bandits also found the lake where the villagers where escaping and killed everybody down there. As far as we can tell, you’re the only survivor. The country guards showed up with a detachment of heroes as quickly as they could but the bandits had already gone and all that was left was ash and rubble of the houses and burnt bodies.”
Tears began drooping down Xectix’s face as he finished with the apple and threw the core into the fire.
“I’m so sorry Kalt; I was walking away from the town when I noticed the flames and ran back as fast as I could but I just wasn’t in time to save your family...”
Kalt laid there staring at Xectix. He couldn’t believe his family was dead, he began crying softly and his small whimpers were the only sound in the room aside from the fire crackles, Xectix said nothing and just watched Kalt too ashamed to speak.
The silence and crying carried on for a long time as the weight of everything that happened crashed down onto Kalt and made it almost unbearable, he began thrashing around throwing a tantrum.
Hitting the pillow with his head, kicking his legs around, even punching Xectix just for being there, however Xectix did not react and just sat there waiting for everything to take its toll on the little boy who had just lost everything.
Kalt eventually became tired and fell quiet lying down on the bed with his face buried in the pillow, he pretended to be dead, like his family, so he could be with them again. Soon even the young child realised what was impossible and sat up to look at Xectix with a scared expression of a lost boy.
“What will happen to me now?” he asked with a quiver in his voice as Xectix stared at him with an unblinking gaze.
“That boy is up to you. Your life has been torn apart, everything you knew, everybody you knew are gone now. So what are you going to do now?”
Kalt sat there confused over what he wanted to do, he didn’t know anything without his dad, he felt vulnerable without his mother. He was alone and sad but above all else he was angry. Angrier than he had ever been, at the people who did this to him, at Xectix for not saving his family, and he knew deep down he wanted to make them all pay somehow.
“I can see your thoughts boy, and I can offer you a solution” Xectix leaned over and patted Kalt on the shoulder with his smile on his beardy face.
“If it’s vengeance you want, then I can help you get it. If it’s strength to never feel weak and powerless again, I will help give it to you. If you ever want to find those bandits and make them pay for killing your family, then you will need the training only we can give you.”
Kalt was trying to understand exactly what the old man had said as Xectix leaned back onto his stool and faced the door. “Ok Druff you can come in now” he called out.
The door slowly opened and a man stepped inside.
Kalt looked at the man from head to toe, he was a middle aged man with a goatee on his face and a ponytail in his black hair, and he had green blank eyes and pointy ears and was reasonably tall. His clothing was very royal looking in gold and scarlet robes and very silky sleeves with expensive looking boots, it took Kalt a few moments of staring at the man to realise two important things about him.
He wasn’t a man, he was an Elf, and he was blind.
“Hey he isn’t blind!” Xectix suddenly blurted out, Kalt blushed very heavily and sank back to his covers, the Elf walked forwards and store at Kalt with his blank eyes.
“Indeed, I would be blind but thankfully I can see energy waves emanating from beings” said the Elf in a deep but lulling voice.
Kalt didn’t really know what that meant so Xectix deciphered for him after hearing his thoughts by explaining it as the Elf could see him even though he was blind. Xectix then stood up and went over beside the Elf and began to speak to him. “This is the boy Druff, the only survivor I think. I want to enrol him in the academy, I want him to become a hero so he can take his vengeance.”
The words Xectix just said repeated themselves over and over in Kalt’s head. 'I want him to become a hero… was it true? Could it be possible? Me? Actually becoming a hero?' Kalt shook his head and stared at Xectix in disbelief.
Druff the Elf stood staring at Kalt and then to Xectix and then back to Kalt. “He doesn’t look like he could be a hero to me” Druff said blankly, making Kalt’s heart sink.
“I know but somehow he evaded all the bandits, wasn’t caught in the fires and survived a particularly cruel beating from one them and was still able to yell at me by the end of it” said Xectix sternly. “If that isn’t hero potential then my uncle didn’t marry a monkey” Druff looked at Xectix with displeasure on his face.
“Even a wild animal can pull off miraculous deeds to survive impossible situations” he said stiffly.
Xectix’s expression did not change as he replied. “I suppose the one thousand, six hundred and seventy-eight people who died tonight weren’t as good as wild animals then huh?”
Druff took a deep sigh and looked back at Kalt who was sweating from anxiousness “Xectix you know how much I value your undeniable wisdom... if you say this boy can be a hero. Then I will train him.”
Kalt smiled with glee and a rush of adrenaline went through him but this changed very quickly when he started coughing in pain. Xectix hurried and patted Kalt on the back and started mumbling some words that Kalt found unintelligible, soon after Kalt felt something warm coming from Xectix’s hand on his back and his coughing ceased.
“Be careful boy, you breathed in a lot of smoke, it will take time to heal. Me and the Healers have done all we can for you but you have to take it easy for a while” Xectix said while moving his light green glowing hand around his back until Kalt’s pain vanished. He carefully placed Kalt on his back and stood up to head over to the door.
“We will meet soon Kalt, I will make sure your training will be successful, but until then, take care of yourself and don’t let the bed bugs bite.”
Xectix spoke with a smile on his face and turned to walk out of the door but turned back to look at Kalt with a very serious look on his face. “I mean it Kalt, don’t let them bite they can tear chunks off, happened to me once, that’s why I sleep with several armed guards in my chambers sometimes and…“
Xectix walked out of the door and could be heard talking to himself as he walked away leaving Kalt and Druff together in the room.
Druff came over the Kalt and spoke very seriously to him with his blank green eyes unblinking. “Are you sure you want this boy? Training to be a hero can be an arduous task and I can’t guarantee survival, let alone becoming one.”
Kalt felt a shiver crawl up his spine from this scary Elf but didn’t look away. “Yes… I have to be a hero, mum wanted me to be one, so I’ll do it for her” Kalt said with as much confidence as he could muster in his voice.
Druff turned around and smiled. “Focus on healing young one, then we can see if you’re fit to be one of us. You have a week until your training starts. Goodnight” Druff strode to the door and closed it quietly behind him and the faint footsteps could be heard going away from the room.
Kalt stared at the door for a while and lay back onto his bed with flashes of his family’s blank and bloodied faces in the rain. Tears swelled in Kalt’s eye as he slowly cried himself to sleep.