The streets are alive with the usual amount of life and energy. Locke couldn’t help it, a smile forming as Zell came walking over. He took a look over himself, clean and confident. A small boy walks y with a handful of flowers Locke calls him over and hands him a gold piece, pulling a single rose free, and then walks over handing it to an eager Zell. “It’s beautiful Locke.”
Finally feeling the courage build inside of him he lets his feelings free, “You’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen. That rose is nothing compared to you.” Zell’s arms wrap tightly around Locke’s neck. He could feel every sensation the velvet like caress of her cheek against his, her curves pressing into his chest, the softness of her dress between his fingers.
“Oh Locke. If only you didn’t let me die.”
“What?” Locke leans back, looking down at Zell. Her head lolls back, with lifeless eyes staring back at him, and a mouth gaping wide in terror.
Locke holds her still form, blood spilling from unseen wounds, his panic swelling inside him. Then without her lips moving, with a mouth frozen open in agony, Locke hears her voice, it’s just a whisper. Leaning closer he’s able to make out her words, “You let me die.” The volume of her voice waivers, so Locke moves even closer, trembling as his fingers run against her slick and blood soaked dress, “now you can come with me.” Her head snaps, jagged teeth protrude from her mouth, then she pulls Locke in quickly clamping down his throat. Locke tries to scream, but he finds soon he can’t even breathe, tighter it squeezes, his air dwindling. Locke puts up his arms but his attempt to push her away is feeble at best, his body weakly fighting her attack. His throat sealing shut with each painful second that her sharp teeth puncture their way into his jugular.
Virrus shutters, as Locke screams himself awake. “Are ye done now? Shouting in yer sleep, right before we set off ta war. Yer no good with yer timing.” Locke runs his hands down his face, the sand of sleep rolling free from the inside corners of his eyes.
“Virrus,” Locke turns his head and scans a nearby plate of food, pulling an apple off. Sitting up he rubs his thumb over the surface and loses himself in the its red reflection. “I have a bad feeling about this.”
“Aye, don’t we all lad. I don’t think any a man goes inta war with a good feeling. I’d swallow it down and get ready ta do whatever it takes ta clear the city, cause anything less might getcha killed.” Virrus takes his bag and slings it over his shoulder, tying its strap to his jacket, then grabs his staff and walks to the mouth of the tent. “You best eat, store some food in your gut. Good chance it may be the last thing ya ever eat.” Virrus turns his head till he can look Locke in the eye, “it might be the only thing that you eat till it’s all over.” With that he exits the tent, and leaves Locke, who wastes no time in feeding his hunger.
Drill is outside the hut, a pair of gold and silver bracer’s and shinguard’s bound to him with symbols and marks on them. He adjusts the band of black material hanging over his right eye, “Hey Virrus, they had only a little armor that isn’t made of wood. I grabbed these, but no one can tell me what magic is on them.” Virrus took his arm, scanning over the runes and engravings, a smile slowly stretching out.
Before he can speak a warrior steps up and slams his wooden staff into the ground at their feet. “It is time, we leave for war stone walkers. Come now, you three will take the lead.” Hearing the commotion Locke fumbles his way out, tossing his coat on with a pear clenched between his teeth. The warrior sneers at Locke, “Try not to die too quickly.” Then the soldier storms off to join the others.
Locke takes a bite and catches the pear as it falls from his mouth, chewing loudly. “He means me doesn’t he, he’s telling me to not die too quickly isn’t he.” Drill grabs Locke by the shoulder in a reassuring manner.
“I’ve taken the time to grab you this belt from their armory, it looks magical—well good luck.” Drill turns and marches towards the assembly of soldiers. Locke stares at the belt and then raises an eyebrow.
“You know, armor from an armory sounds like a better bet,” Locke mumbles to Virrus who eyes the belt.
“It seems that lad now has an eye fer magic.” Virrus lays a hand on Locke’s shoulder, “yer best bet is to put the belt on, it might save yer life.” Virrus walks past Locke, Locke takes another look at the metal belt and then puts it on, following Virrus to the crowd.
Near a warped tree, that seems to twist in on itself, the shaman runs his hands over it, whispering and chanting, the gathering chants one sound over and over again. The wood creaks, its twisting branches bending together, the center of the trunk bowling inward and turning into a dark mass. The shaman shakes, trembling as a light peaks from the center of the darkness, and then the chanting comes to a stop. “It is time,” the shaman speaks and all the Forest Tribe leans in, embracing his words. “Rynarr,” on hearing his name he takes a step forward, “You! You are chosen by him to be the wielder.”
“With great honor,” Rynarr states, while bowing and taking the broken sword, it’s blade broken in half. He loosens the sheathed sword at his side, with a loud thud the giant wooden blade that was nearly the size of Locke fell to the dirt.
Locke was scanning the crowd, for anyone as confused as he was feeling right then. “Um, Virrus? Why is he leaving the big sword and taking the broken one? It’s not even made of wood like all their other ones.”
“Nevermind. Ya no idea how powerful that piece of mangled metal is, I know men who’d kill an entire nation ta hold that relic he’s got right now.” Locke leans towards Virrus to ask another question but Virrus lifts a hand, leaving Locke to sigh in contempt.
Rynarr hoists the relic into the air, the Forest Tribe cheers and he shouts over them all, “Now the portal holds open! Let the stone walkers pass through and lead this army to victory!” Locke takes a big gulp and follows Drill and Virrus to the tree. Without hesitation Drill walks through. Virrus turns his head and nods to Locke, nervously Locke nods back. Virrus passes through the center of the tree and vanishes. Locke takes a deep breath, then checks the army behind him, their bright eyes all burning into him, then turns back and takes a step in. His body feels the tug, his insides lurch forward as he falls towards the center of the tree, slipping towards the portal back home.
End of Part VI
(As a reminder, I’ll be posting every 2-3 weeks from now on. Again, thank you all for reading, I appreciate every person who takes time to read my stories. Much love and keep coming back for the next installment or brand new short story.)