Prologue

Reads: 91  | Likes: 2  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


A short story that I've written as an exercise, in the form of a prologue. I do hope you enjoy it, and let me know your thoughts of it.

Submitted: April 28, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 28, 2018

A A A

A A A


Prologue

A winter’s night was upon the land of Demarya. The moon was floating somewhere beneath the horizon, absent from sight, and a sea of mist covered everything, casting an even deeper shadow onto a hollow darkness. A perilous night, one to behold from a safe shelter with the comfort of a strong drink. No one in their right mind would risk traveling out there, besides mad folk, of course. The great woodlands bordering the land of Teje’a to the east stood proud against the gusting winds; the storm that had started at nightfall was still raging on, its murky clouds pouring endless rain angrily onto the earth. Northwest of the Teje’an border, in a neglected forest, the Circle of Noor has summoned a powerful man to a meeting. The reason for which, as was dryly mentioned in their parchment, was to inquire regarding a recent incident. The man had been well on his way since the previous night, when he first received the message. To ignore the summon would be an unwise act of grave insult; the Circle’s influence in the region was significant and undeniable. From the first moment he broke stride, the man was certain that he would have to wait for their representative, having just finished taking care of an affair in Tanberg, a small village not far to the west of the appointed forest. He reckoned that the envoy would surely have to cross the border, considering the Circle had no headquarters in Demarya, and that they wouldn’t send just any agent that happened to be around for him, not with the matter at hand. Time will tell, though. The Circle’s summon was delaying his own plans, so he very much liked to be done with the meeting swiftly, but the further he ventured into the forest the more he realized it might not end as soon as he wished. The trees were grown tightly close to each other throughout the whole area, unnaturally so. They were so damn cramped in one place, that he could swear they were virtually a solid wall. Not to mention the undergrowth was copious and dense, too. It was becoming an increasingly tough task to reach the secluded meeting location, as he was wriggling through small openings over and over again, half of the time having to twist and bend his back at odd angles. He even caught himself cursing at a tree more than once, those that grew in the wrong place, that is, where his head hit their blasted branches. The constant rain wasn’t encouraging either, forcing him to reignite his damp torch countless times, though he had known worse conditions before in his life. And so he pressed on, wet to the bone, bruised by vegetation of all things, and with his back aching terribly, yet undeterred in the slightest. It was a prolonged struggle, but determination eventually carried him to more welcome ground, much less dense with growth. Where there were fair gaps between them, the trees up ahead were hedged with tall thorny bushes. Some of the bushes were bearing white circular flowers—the largest flowers that he had ever seen in his life—the rare flowers were delicately decorated with vivid purple marks, too. He couldn’t help but stare for a few moments, it was truly a blissful spectacle of stunning beauty. The more common bushes were plain green and not at all flowery, but just as sharp. Pretty or not, the bushes’ thorns could easily give the unwary traveler a severe cut, and ward off intruders and the like. It become apparent to him that without any knowledge of the convoluted paths around, it wouldn’t be possible to find a safe route through the bushy maze to what lies beyond. It would have troubled him, but earlier he had memorized the scribed instructions from the Circle’s parchment, just before he had burned it to ashes. According to their writ, if he sticks to the right side around here, he would shortly stumble upon a series of marked stumps, which will bring him to a narrow detour past the bushy maze. After that and about a tenth of an acre of some more twisting between those lovely trees, he should turn to a hidden passage, which will be obscured by a single dangerous-looking yet harmless Scenia bush, of red color and strong unpleasant scent. True enough, his memory was keen, and their instructions valid. In the next hour or so he reached the key pathway, which ultimately led to a small clearing among evergreen oaks. Though the oaks were fairly tall, they were dwarfed by the great pines that engulfed their margins. A windowless hut stood in the midst of the clearing. It had a peculiarly short stone-made chimney, and several crows were eyeing him from what little height they had atop it. A chimney meant a fireplace, so odd or not, at last he could dry himself. The man breathed a sigh of relief, then approached with eagerness as the crows scattered into the forest. The hut had but one lockless door, so he invited himself in. There wasn’t any presence inside, as he expected. Two objects took space in the sole room of the hut: an ordinary brown, wooden chair and a plain stone fireplace that was built into the far wall. The man looked at the chair with a grimace that implied that the crude thing wasn’t appreciated by his hurt back. “Ah, I’m being foolish”, he muttered under his breath, then turned to what’s more important. Fire. Before long, the fireplace was lit—he always found it was easy for him to light things up—the first to catch fire were two handfuls of twigs and acorns, burning with a relaxing crackle, and after a bit of time, so did the few logs that he borrowed from the covered stash outside the hut. Now, the wait begins. He knew well enough that it’s not going to be a friendly meeting, regardless of how it would conclude. He sat down in the chair, which indeed turned out to be awfully uncomfortable. The brown wool cloak that he wore since he set off from Tanberg was still on him, but not against the cold—he was mostly dry by now, as the warmth of the fireplace had spread nicely in the room—it was for the two long curved knives that rested within concealed patches in his cloak. The blades will come in handy if matters will turn into a violent clash; the Circle’s intent was yet unknown, so precautions were in order until he hears the word of the envoy. Even though he was a master with the blades, his hands were more than adequate when it came to slaying a man. But despite his skills, he knew it would be foolish to forget that the Circle’s agent might be a trained killer as well. All will be revealed when I’ll peer into the man’s eyes, he thought arrogantly. His own eyes were blue as the hues of a lake and quite unsettling in their nature, a fact that he learned quickly as a boy. And a fact that he valued highly as an assassinator. “The eyes are the voice of the soul, as father used to say,” he spoke aloud with pride, yet his voice sounded hoarse by the end. Could they’ve really sent someone to try and end me? The unwanted thought struck him mid-sentence. An immense fury was boiling in his stomach, but his face showed nothing save for a mild frown. A man who reveals his emotions without restraint is a man soon to be dead. It was an old saying that he embraced since he could remember himself. However, his left hand was expressing a good measure of his emotions, shaking uncontrollably in his pocket as he was pressing it intensely hard against the knife hilt, the very same knife that he used when he butchered his own father. “I’ll not die here today”, he grumbled fiercely through clenched teeth. For a while, indignation flooded his mind, body and spirit, and he saw nothing else of this world. When his nerves finally died down he drew the blade from its sheath, moving the weapon close to his eyes. His look was as cold as steel as he was seemingly measuring an idea. A dangerous idea. Moments later, he dismissed it with an unpleasant smile and breathed a small laugh, attempting to shake off the chill that had spread in his guts. I must be focused when he comes. He put the knife back in its place, and tried to ease his mind. Soon. Time elapsed as he watched the remainder of the logs being slowly eaten by flames, coughing from time to time to clear the smoke from his throat. The occasional roaring thunder didn’t bother him. When will this bedeviled envoy finally... Suddenly as if in answer to his thought, there was a rustling noise outside; someone was rapidly approaching the hut. Tud, Tud, Tud. A quick muffled patter on the door was followed by a brusk entrance of a black-clad figure. The newcomer stood at the door for a minute while inspecting the room, then removed the cloak’s hood to reveal long light brown hair that encompassed a female’s face. When she entered, the man had sprung to his feet in such haste that the chair had dropped to the floor. Abruptly, he realized that he was gaping at her, then hurriedly shut his mouth. One of her thick, bright eyebrows was raised in question. “Greetings, are you the one they call Meshyer?”.


© Copyright 2018 Protesqu. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Fantasy Short Stories