Eric brought his hammer down oh the metal he was banging into a sword. In fact, it wasn’t just a sword, but his latest creation – a Dalos. Dagger-Long sword.
It was a long sword with a dagger on the other end. The long sword was made of light metal – iron coated aluminum and the dagger was full iron, to help balance out the sword.
He wasn’t sure it would work, but he hoped so. Eric was sure a new style of fighting would have to be learned to fight with the Dalos, but he thought it would pay off.
He raised his hammer to strike again, when he heard a knock on the door. Leaving the Dalos-to-be piece of metal, Eric walked to the door.
After opening the door, he saw a man in a war uniform. The man was quite tall, taller than Eric. He had red hair and brown eyes, unlike Eric’s brown hair and green eyes.
“I am Aigin, a captain in the Delentalon army, and I’m in search of blacksmiths who can make swords for the army. I can pay you fifty deynars per sword. I’ll be back in thirty day for all the swords you have made till that time. Deal?” the man put his hand out to shake.
“Deal.” Eric shock Aigin’s smooth hand with his callused and rough one.
“Then I will be back in thirty days.” Aigin said, then left.
Eric work the day away, and went to sleep exhausted.
When he woke up, Eric was sure it was morning, due to the fog and the quiet. But, once he looked out the window, Eric could see that the two suns were far past the horizon, yet the sky was grey.
Weird he thought. Eric got dressed, attached his sheath to his belt and chose the sharpest sword.
Walking outside, he noticed that there was no one on the streets. That explains the quiet Eric thought.
After looking around the town, Eric found that everyone was asleep in some weird slumber. Eric decided to search another nearby town, but before he could pack to leave, he saw movement. Eric moved to the spot, trying not to disturb the quiet.
When Eric reached the spot, he detected more movement farther up the street. Again, Eric crept down the street, still trying to keep quiet. This went on for a while, until the figure appeared down the other side of the street, from which they had come from. The human-like shape flit from shadow to shadow, only saying still for a few seconds at a time.
Exasperated, Eric called out, “Who are you?! Show yourself!”
The figure stopped moving and turned its head, as if it hadn’t known Eric was there. Then again, Eric reflected, maybe it hadn’t known I was here.
Then, a voice hit him from all sides, as if it was coming from inside him, yet it was forcing its way in. Eric cringed away from it and sank to his knees, pressing his hands against his ears.
“Do you really wish that?” The voice hurt his hear, penetrating his hands and attacking Eric’s ears. “Do you really wish to see my true form?”
“No!” Eric cried out automatically. He stood up, shaking, and pulled out his sword, “But can you at least show some form? And why are you here? Why are all these people asleep?”
The shadow-like figure took out a hand and seemed to take off its hood, causing the darkness to flow away. Now Eric was looking at a skeleton in a cloak, with fire for eyes.
Eric’s last hopes of this being a dream vanished – even his subconscious didn’t have this much of an imagination. Eric stared at the hypnotizing, fiery eyes and waited for more answers, his conviction that he was going crazy growing every second.
“I am a messenger, sent to you with an anonymous message. As to why these people are asleep, I cannot tell you.”
The fact that he still felt calm unnerved Eric. He felt that he should be panicking, but all he did was ask; “What is this message?”
“Ah, and here we hit a snag. To receive the message, you must be subjected to a test.”
The ground under Eric’s feet opened and he fell through into a room with a hallway leading out. The end of the hallway was shrouded in darkness. Above him, the ground – or roof – closed up and the only light source became the single torch on the wall, the flames flickering coldly like the skeleton’s eyes.
Eric took the torch from it’s holder and moved it to show more of the hallway leading away. There was nothing except dark, cold, rough stone forming the passage.
Holding his sword in his right hand, and the torch in his left, Eric walked quickly and quietly down the corridor, always checking around corners before rounding them, but Eric didn’t meet anything but two forks, where he went right both times.
Eric now jogged through the maze, turning left, right, right again, his pace growing faster as he went, until he broke out into a run, panicking that he won’t make it out. He turned a corner, hit a dead end, and doubled back. Again, he had to turn back, and he turned and chose a completely different path. The silence unnerved him. I should be able to hear something other than my feet and heart, he thought.
At last, Eric could see light at the end of the hallway, and though his legs ached, he quickened his pace. But as he got nearer, Eric could see that the light was flickering, and was not like the light of the outdoors, which remained steady, however dim it was. Eric slowed to a cautious walk. It could be a creature of fire, he reminded himself, however much he wanted to just run to it, just to see light other than from the torch.
Eric turned the corner and found himself face to face with the skeleton. The skeleton didn’t speak, but just gestured to the ladder behind it, and Eric, shaking with exhaustion, climbed it to the world outside. He crawled out, and almost fell against a tree, but steadied himself and sat down. The skeleton appeared in from of him, and the voice hit him again. “Your warning has been given. Join him.” Eric slumped sideways and hit the ground, unconscious.