Chapter 1: Prologue

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 405

As the sun rose over the village, the hunter’s eyes scanned the rich undergrowth. He had been awake since before dawn and longed to curl up amongst the few soaked vegetation and sleep. He normally wasn’t permitted to hunt yet, nor was he permitted to be on his own like this as children of five years such as himself were not allowed to leave the village. But his elder brother was leaving for the Academy today, in the hopes to become a Paladin. And so the young hunter was tasked with bringing back food for his farewell meal. The hunter paused when he saw a rabbit poking around. He drew his bow and notched an arrow, aimed and fired. He hurried to his latest kill, withdrew the arrow and threw the freshly killed rabbit on top of the pile.


 He looked over the several killed rabbits and decided it was enough. He put each rabbit in a burlap sack and left the forest. The boy enjoyed the feeling of dirt between his toes and couldn’t wait until he was given his Trial in two years. If he passed he would begin training to become a warrior of his village. He hurried to the wooden gate and was allowed inside by the guards, wearing their fur armors that the boy longed to wear himself. Once inside the gate, he ran to a small wooden hut and went inside. His mother was over a fire, putting carrots, potatoes, and onions into a calderon.


“ Alvard, you’re finally back,” she said in her thick Shodorin accent. 


Alvard simply nodded. He remembered one day he asked why he didn’t have the accent the rest of the village had. His mother had told him that it was because she hasn’t given birth to him. Rather she had found him deep in the forest, abandoned.


“ You needn’t worry, my little cub. I have always seen you as my own.” she had told him with a strange smile. “ That is why I gave you the tribal name of Alvard Kai-An, Alvard the Unknown.”


A mountain of a man walked into the main room as Alvard removed the rabbits from the sack and nodded with approval.


“ Alvard, remember to skin your kills and give thanks to the All-Makers for their lives.”


“ Yes father.”


Alvard took out the dagger he always kept strapped to his tunic and began to do as instructed, muttering the prayer he had been taught since he was a newborn.


“ For the bounty, you have provided, we thank You. For the thrill of the hunt, we thank You. For the rich reward, we thank You. And I release the spirits of your children back to you and thank them for their sacrifice. May their spirits guide me in all things and be assured my life was worth their death.”


As Alvard prayed he began to skin each rabbit with his father helping. His other took the skinned rabbits and chopped them up. Alvard looked at the small pile of rabbit skins with pride. Years of practice and hunting trips he had shadowed had paid off this morning. Just then his brother arrived in the room and glanced down at the pile of furs.


“ You did well, for your first official hunting trip.”


Alvard’s chest swelled with pride as he looked at his brother’s kind blue eyes. His brother, Thervor Hun-Ish, Thervor the Fortunate had never treated Alvard badly despite the fact most did to adopted siblings. Thervor has taken it upon himself to prepare Alvard for village life as soon as Alvard was old enough to understand what his brother was trying to teach him, despite that usually being the father’s job. 


The meal was ready in a couple of hours. The family dug into rabbit stew as well as fresh bread. No one said much, despite it being the last day Thervor would spend at home. After the meal, Thervor and his father stood up. Alvard did as well, knowing he had to leave the house whilst his parents gave Thervor their blessing. It was a Rite of Passage in the village that was kept secret, so much so that even the younger siblings were not allowed to watch. Alvard nodded to his brother than ran outside to find his friends.


Alvard found himself uninterested in the games he and his friends played. He was more curious about the blessing and what exactly it entailed. Oh, how he wished he dared to hazard a look! The only thing stopping him from attempting to spy was the fact that if he were caught it was instant banishment, there would be nothing anyone could do to stop it. As it turned out, Thervor has left the hut after what seemed like an eternity. After he gave his mother one final hug and bowed his head to his dad, he walked to Alvard, with only a staff and a knapsack. 


“ Alvard” Thervor said kneeling down so he could look his little brother in the eye “ this is goodbye for now. It’ll be years before you see me again and when that happens, I’ll be a Paladin-Apprentice.”


Alvard’s throat tightened. He was happy for his brother but he couldn’t help but wish he was staying.


“ I do hope the spirit of Saxros resides in you as well. That way when you’ve hit sixteen cycles, you too can join the Academy.”


Thervor placed a hand on his shoulder and smiled.


“ Be sure to write to me little brother. And May our paths cross again.” He stood up and with a bow, Thervor turned on his heel. He stopped at the village gate and after a few words from the village Heasman, he was gone.


Alvard kept to himself for the rest of the day. He already missed his brother. He wanted to write to him already but knew it would be a moon before it was even possible. The journey to the kingdom capital was a long one from the village. As the day passed by, Alvard just sat in the shadows, thinking, wondering if the spirit of the Guardian of Magic, Saxros did reside in him and wondered if it were possible to see. It was only the sound of a bell, near the end of the day that made Alvard escape his own thoughts. The warning bell. It was only used when an enemy patrol had been spotted!


Alvard leaped to his feet as the peaceful mood of the Shodorin people turned to one of anxiety and fear. Warriors took up arms. Loud frenzied yells and cries split the air that had been tranquil only a minute before. I got to get home!


But Alvard never got the chance. The village gate was forced upon and hostile warriors wearing chain mail armor descended upon the village. Alvard did the only thing that he could think of. He hopped into an empty crate and closed the lid, hoping none of the warriors would think to look for him there. He lay uncomfortably, weeping silently as he listened to the sounds of battle. The yelling, the begging, the pleading, the crying. It was too much for Alvard who covered his ears the best he could.


Suddenly it was quiet. Alvard’s hesitantly removed his hands, was it over? Was everyone okay? The kid to his crate was removed and a female’s face appeared above Alvard’s. She yelled something in a language Alvard had not heard before. She roughly grabbed Alvard’s arm and pulled him out of the crate. 


Alvard was forced on his stomach as he felt rope being tied around his wrists. He tried struggling but the female warrior’s strike upside his head left him light-headed. Alvard was hailed to his feet and dragged to the front gate with the rest of the village children, all in the same predicament as Alvard, wailing for their slaughtered parents. His whole village had been slaughtered, anyone over the age of nine killed mercilessly. Blood turned the green grass red and served as fresh paint on the buildings that weren't set ablaze


To ensure the kids didn’t try to run away, armed warriors were assigned to watch the kids and were too eager to dish out punishment. As Alvard was forced to move, he caught a glimpse of the center of the village, where his parents were about to be beheaded. Alvard’s last sight of his parents was the fear on their faces and with an ax descending upon their heads.


Submitted: February 13, 2020

© Copyright 2022 Renegade96. All rights reserved.


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