Chapter One: Charred Ashes
Fire was spreading from house to house, consuming the wood as the kindling it was. Had one looked closely, there were bodies littering the dirt paths; most had fatal wounds and if they didn’t, they were charred beyond recognition. There was next to nothing left in the once populated village. Death has visited, collecting the souls of the departed.
A light drizzle had begun, Mother Nature herself mourning the lives of the individuals that had been lost. The water, however, had done nothing to stop the sole survivor’s tattered shirt from soaking in his own blood; the surrounding flames failing to relight the spark in his now dull emerald eyes. Rain matted his messy brown locks to his head, covering the shallow gash that he had obtained some time before. His black breeches dripped water onto the blood soaked ground, a tear at the thighs showed another shallow gash spilling blood to join the runoff. A blade remained strapped to his back, an empty sheath hanging off his waist.
He didn’t notice the smoke of his village being slowed nor the alarms echoing in the distance. The only thing he noticed was the sword point punctured in his twin’s chest and the blood stained hilt that remained in his hands.
“Forgive me,” the teen mumbled, jerking his sword clear. He stumbled past the limp body, flinching as his free hand brushed the golden hilt of the sword strapped to his back. Panting softly, he leaned against the pillar of the gates to his village, his sword slipping into its sheath.
He knew he couldn’t stay at the boundaries, not with the relic entrusted to the Protectors strapped to his back and the hilt of a blood stained sword hanging at his waist. They had probably already mobilized and the closest neighbor was maybe half an hour away by horse, if that long. He supposed he was lucky that the village was located at the edge of the clan grounds, at the entrance of the wilderness.
The teen pushed off the wall, standing shakily before stumbling past the gates. He was half-conscious when he crossed the boundaries. He wasn’t thinking when he continued into the foliage. He didn’t hear the rustling of the foliage as the animals scattered from his path. He didn’t notice the swirling scenery as he forced one leg in front of the other. He didn’t even feel himself hit the ground.
The tension was thick within the clan grounds. Even the new members could feel it as their commander approached the training area. The senior members frowned gently, watching the long strides and taking in the furrowed eyebrows. Members cleared from his path, their eyes following his every step.
The head of the Liaru clan, Ewald Lorstorm, was younger then the position would’ve suggested, being no older than of 28 perhaps 29 summers. His chocolate eyes, normally warm and understanding, had hardened into a cool glare, a hand running irritably through his short auburn hair. His sword, strapped to his waist, was easily accessible for the swordsmaster, and normally, its familiar presence would be enough to ease his nerves. Not this time.
He caught the gaze of a golden haired male, moving quickly to the edge of the sparring arena. His junior turned, an eyebrow raised as he took in the disheveled state of his commander.. “Isidore, would check the eastern boundaries and two miles past? I fear that our time of silence is over.”
Sapphire eyes met chocolate before nodding. He swept past his superior and long time friend, walking into his tent a ways away. Grabbing the blade that lay atop his mattress, he strapped the sheath and steel to his waist before hooking a bow and a quiver of 24 razor sharp arrows to his back. Absently he pulled a tunic over his bare chest before grabbing a black cape.
His progression through the camp went unnoticed; being completely armed didn’t faze the members of the clan as much as it would have with different clan. A soft neigh drew his attention, a hand patting the mare as his attention turned towards his captain.
“Speed be with you Isidore. Travel safely.” The blond nodded his gratitude, swinging onto the horse and with a quick nudge was out of the clan grounds. Clansmen jolted at the thundering horse; each of them turning to stare as one of their senior members stormed past. They swung to meet the eyes of their commander, some curious, others worried. He shook his head gently, calmly waving his hands for them to continue their activities. If his gut was correct and something did indeed happen, he would tell them then. “Good luck Isidore.”