The sun is beaming down on my face. It’s nice to have a Mage with me, though he’s not that strong, so I have to carry everything. I’m sure we’ve been walking for three days and my axe is getting heavier. The scar has been pulsating for some time, so Ratin said we should buy something called ‘Root Oil’ if any merchant is selling it. That or we find something called ‘Torch Plant’ and it’s found in the ‘Dark Forest.’
‘Black Forest, Schamm. Not Dark,’ the Mage corrected with a joyful tone in his voice.
‘Is it that big a difference?’ the expressionless face of the warrior turned towards his friend.
‘Well, no. It’s like comparing a 7-year-old boy and a 30-year-old soldier when it comes to swordsmanship.’
‘Which one’s which?’
‘The Black Forest is the boy, my friend.’
Schamm crosses the word Dark off the page.
It’s found in the ‘
Dark (Black) Forest.’ I’ve heard of that place before. Ratin told me that it’s full of some small, white creatures called ‘Slithers.’ They’re a pain in the *** if there’s lots o’ them. Apparently, there’s an iron wall that was built around them, to keep them at bay called The Gates of Peril. We’ll be headed to the nearest country, which seems to be ‘Paiurej.’ The countries of the south sure have weird names. After that, we’ll go to the Black Forest.
Weekly Log 35 Final.
As night fell, the two set camp. Being stronger, Schamm had the duty of setting up the tent and unpacking the food, while Ratin looked for a good spot before hand and helped with making a fire.
‘Oh… come on! Not even a spark?’ he shouted.
His friend approached him from behind. ‘Are you sure it’s not because you’re an ice Mage?’ Ratin frowned.
Nights in Sarahi were extremely hot, twice as hot as the days due to the sand. Legend had it that Mahen was once ambushed in the middle of the desert by some of his students. In a fit of rage, he cast a curse upon the land, burning the skin off the non-righteous. Schamm, even though he had killed many people in the past, wasn’t affected and neither was the Mage. Funnily enough, a fire still needed to be made in order for food to be prepared. Ratin was quite amused by this. He found pleasure in making jokes about the obvious.
‘Mage, you say you know a lot of things.’
‘Yes I do indeed, no question about it,’ Ratin interrupted.
‘Tell me how righteous you have to be to go through here,’ Schamm said as he took a bite of a Moor leg.
‘I’ll answer with a question. Have you heard about the Treasured Antiques?’
‘Not much. Just some rumours here and there about how they’re rare and powerful.’
‘Well, you got that part right. See, there are a few of them that require for the wielder to be righteous. Righteousness, along with Power and Intellect, are three things that stand at the base of every person. I know you’re smart enough to realize I have more intellect than you, while you have more Power than me.’
The warrior wanted to talk back but agreed with his friend. ‘And how do I know how Powerful I am?’
‘You don’t. There’s one exception, though. One of the Treasured Antiques is a mask. The Mask of Revealing. The wielder can see the statistics for all of the three categories merely by looking at someone.’
I wouldn’t mind having meself one o’ those. If there was another thing Schamm learnt in his ****** life was that things rarely ever went well if he assumed the potential of his enemy. After all, he didn’t much look like the Schamm he was no more n’ three years ago.
‘You’ve told me you been in a lot of places. Did ‘ya find any people with Treasured Antiques?’
Ratin looked at his yellow bracelet for a bit. ‘Well… It’s been quite a while since then. And my response to that question is that you’ll find out with time. I know you’re not the type to try to find out things you’re not interested in so it’s no point telling you now. Hey, catch!’
The mage threw his piece of meat at Schamm. ‘I’m full already, and I know your stomach is a bottomless pit. I’ll go rest. Can you take the first watch?’
‘Don’t worry. I’ve got to ask though, how much time have you spent training as a mage?’
‘Oh, quite a lot. But I’m still a bit more than an apprentice,’ the Mage smiled, looking into the distance as though he was reminiscing distant memories. The red line that separated the sky from the endless desert seemed infinite. Small winds carried grains of sand, making it look like small diamonds were floating in the air. After quickly snapping out of it, he continued ‘I’ll talk to you tomorrow if you have nothing else to ask.’
‘Not tonight I don’t. May the spirits bless your dreams.’
‘Thank you, friend.’
Getting extremely bored, Schamm decided to look at his first entries again.
It’s about time I left. The world calls for me. I find the need to explore as much as I can and forget the same about my past. I know the battles I’ve been through have made me learn a lot, but now it’s time to leave that lifestyle behind. I’m to meet a man named ‘Ratin.’ He too wants to explore the world, but he is on the lookout for some things. He didn’t tell me yet, but I don’t need to know and don’t care as long as he’s going to have my back as much as I’ll have his, though I’m not sure. He seems at least 10 years older than me and if he’s got any muscle he’s hiding it well. I ain’t seen many wise people in my time, but from the little that I have, I sense great knowledge from the man. Maybe he spent all of his life studying. At least I know I won’t die from poisonous fruits. It’s two in the morning now and I must rest for the journey ahead. Hopefully, I’ll be able to write here every week. May the spirits be ever in my favour.
He had spent the last 6 hours reading, finally realizing it was his turn to sleep. With his eyes closing, he went into Ratin’s tent, moving his leg a bit at first, calling his name while whispering. Wake up now, you… Wait. The warrior noticed that something was providing light from under the covers. What the…? It was his friend’s bracelet. It radiated in yellow, green, black, blue, white, purple and then yellow again.
Upon touching it while the colour was yellow, he felt a soothing sensation going through his body, slowly, making him a bit sleepy. He then put his finger on green. This time it was as though he would get goose bumps, feeling like his hair was somehow… growing. He took the finger off, tried to place it on black, but Ratin was waking up. Schamm put his companion’s hand back under the blanket and then pushed him in order to wake him up.
‘Mmm… Yes, yes, I’m awake. Goodness me, you were waiting for me to wake up. Thank you dearly, but you should sleep too. You’re my bodyguard after all,’ the mage smiled while getting up.
‘Don’t worry. It’s fine. Good night.’
A dark room. Dreadfully dark. His feet were wet and he was cold. So cold it stung his thick skin.
‘Anyone?’ his voice echoed thousands of times, making him feel as though his ear drums would burst at any second.
Somehow, he could hear water splashing somewhere to his left. It was getting faster and closer. Without even meaning to, he swung in that direction, realizing he had his axe in his hands. It felt as though it weighed twenty times as much as before, the swing almost making him fall. He bellowed as loudly as he could, his ears being assaulted once again, his lungs trying to stretch in order to accommodate the amount of air getting inside them, his axe finding its mark.
It’s lodged in something. Something like… wood.
The warrior mustered all his strength and with a loud scream he pulled the axe out. His ankles started hurting, his neck feeling as though he was being choked by someone. Disoriented, out of breath, his feet lost the strength to stand up by themselves, giving in to the suffocation. Soon enough, Schamm met the cold water, getting into his ears. Brain freezing cold. He started looking everywhere he could for support, but silence was the only one that greeted him. Silence and solitude, the mind’s combo that lead to madness. His head started feeling like a ram was bashing at his temples, the walls of his sanity caving in.
Nothing came to his mind. He simply existed, until a feeling of intense fright washed over him. He had never felt this scared in his life, not even in the siege of Graywool’s Wall. He could recall it clearly, with a distinct lack of fright and much more vigour. People talked ‘bout it like it was some sorta miracle. I guess it was, for me to escape alive outta that **** hole. It was easy to say he hadn’t felt scared at all except for the times he fought in the arenas of Ulrag or dealing with Sleepers when he was alone.
Voices whisper around him but at a long distance at the same time. They speak of distant lands and times when he was not alive. Battles hard fought between kings, but not on the battlefield. Schamm couldn’t understand what they meant. He tried to get up, but he hurt all over. His abdomen felt as though there was an elephant sitting on him. Come on… I’ve been through worse. And, in truth, he has. This time, though, he couldn’t muster the effort to get up.
He turned face first into the water, trying to lift himself up with his hands. Slowly does it…
Schamm got pushed back into the water with extreme force. Such unbelievable, undefendable, spine-chilling force. He could barely breathe and moving anything of his was now a far away heaven in comparison to the **** he was going through. It was as though he had been thrown by Galluk from the top of the arena onto the hard concrete ground all over again. Not that it would make any difference on what he landed on.
I can’t take it anymore… I give up. As his eyes closed, he felt something touching him. He reopened them. It’s morning.
‘Are you okay? I heard you moving in your tent and even almost shouting once.’
‘I’m fine. It was just a nightmare.’
The warrior stood up and grabbed a flask of water. He drank a bit and poured the rest onto his face, shaking off what he dreamt last night. The cold water reminded him even more of the feeling of anguish as if it was seeping from another world directly into his mind. That dream… do the spirits show me peril ahead?
By the end of the day, they had managed to reach Pairuej. Exhausted and with their supplies running low, they decided to buy a room at a brothel, in order to go to the market for food and Root Potions. Counting their last Gold pieces, they realized they only had 2870. To put it into perspective the average piece of bread cost 2 Gold.
‘We need to sell something or get a bounty,’ the Mage suggested.
Schamm nodded in agreement. He hadn’t gotten in a fight in some time and even though his instincts were telling him it was wrong, he couldn’t help satiate the need to kill.
Looking at his axe, there appeared a weird symbol on it. A circle. I’ll just have to get it back to normal at a blacksmith. Even before going to sleep, though, Schamm couldn’t forget one name that the spirits whispered. Sarb Valege.