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Prelude - Act I

by Michael Mayr 5 months ago in Fantasy
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An Angry Young Man, and a Frightened Young Woman

The house and barn were ablaze, she could hear the animals, screaming as they died. She could see her father dead on the ground. His skull was crushed by their leader’s hammer. However none of the field hands were to be seen, they had either fled or more likely been butchered. Her sisters were crouched behind her as she brandished a pitch fork in a vain attempt at defense. Hard, dirty and ugly men surrounded them. Surrounded them and leered. Though the worst by far was their leader – her father’s murderer – a large man in dark armor, which looked smokey gray in the shadows from the fire, wielding a massive hammer, larger than any sledge or maul she had ever seen, her father’s brains and blood still shown wetly on it in the fire light. However, the worst part about him was his face even in the light from the burning buildings she could see the skull paint and filed teeth. His eyes glittered like stars in his black sockets.

The raiders slowly advanced on them in a contracting circle – she knew what was coming and even considered killing her younger sisters to spare them from the suffering this scum would inflict upon them…however, suddenly there was a noise that distracted them all. No, that was not quite right, not a noise but a presence…

A dark figure could be seen in the flickering fire-light, mounted upon the most enormous horse she had ever imagined. The horse slowly walked toward the circle and everyone went silent. How had he approached with no one noticing?

Brutal. She thought that was the word that best described the rider. Brutal. At least seven feet tall he was both brutally muscled and brutally ugly. In the blazing firelight his face was a deep yellow-tan and his lanky dark hair was tied back in a braid. His face was scared and his nose had been broken many times. He was helmless but he wore brutal black plate armor with spiked gauntlets and pauldrons that were ornate rage-filled screaming faces. The only thing that was not brutal about the rider was his sword – a large single-edged battle blade, forged from obsidian-black steel and carved with glowing blue, red and white runes, the backside of the blade had numerous rings. Even in the flickering firelight this blade was beautiful, it must truly be a masterpiece of the swordsmith’s art she thought.

The leader of the raiders shouted at the newcomer: “Oi! What are you about you?! Move along, there is nothing for the likes of you here but death!” The rest of the raiders laughed and jeered at the newcomer. Many shook their weapons at him.

Oh Skarrigg. How they laugh at you…how they disrespect you…do you feel their contempt? Their scorn…the dark, seductive voice in his head sneered.

“Shut up.” Skarrigg said out loud – more to the voice in his head than the raiders.

Skarrigg. Skarrigg. Skarrigg. As always I feel your hatred, and it is intoxicating…but you have stepped off the path…again. And why? To avenge murdered girls? To save others? Do you think these same girls will not hate you? Look at the young tigress there, trying to defend her cubs. She is more afraid of you than her future rapists I’d wager…ignore this scum and get back on the path… Skarrigg. Only two more stones to find.

“I said SHUT UP!”

“Ha! You talking to us bucko? Shut up is it? Kill this fool and bring me his pretty sword boys!” Commanded their leader. The first six charged the newcomer and his mount. The newcomer said one word in an archaic tongue she could not understand. The sword exploded with a sound like water poured on hot steel and it radiated a mass of billowing steam. At the same time he jumped from the horse and landed amongst the raiders with astonishing speed and grace. He swung the great blade in a horizontal slash catching the first raider – a dirty looking shaven headed man with a heavy beard, armed with a round wooden shield and a spiked club – in the right side of his face. The sword literally sheared the raider’s head in twain just under his eyes. The hapless man stepped forward two to three more steps and collapsed without a sound. The second raider, a thin, balding man with a sickly pallor to his skin stabbed at the newcomer with a short hafted spear. The newcomer batted the spear aside with a dinner-plate sized buckler strapped to his left wrist. He then followed up with a powerful downward chop splitting the spearman’s head from crown to sternum. The raider dropped his weapon and tried to grasp the air in front of him with both hands as the newcomer used his left foot to kick him off of his steaming blade. He then swung his sword at a third raider armed with a pair of hand-axes and sporting an impressive Mohawk. His blow caught the raider across the abdomen, the raider screamed in agony and horror as his innards spilled to the earth and the surrounding flesh both burned and froze as he fell, his dying eyes wide in disbelief.

The leader screamed out loud: “MOVE!” As he hefted his maul two-handed, it burst with coruscating lightning, and he charged the newcomer shouldering aside his own men to get at his target. The newcomer sidestepped him, catching yet another raider in a fatal blow. Chopping his right hand from his body and slicing his throat apart like paper with a backstroke. The leader screamed in frustration swinging his maul from right to left catching one of his own men – assumedly by accident – crushing his chest and frying the corpse with a burst of electricity. He then charged the newcomer again with a great overhand strike, the newcomer attempted to deflect it with his buckler but a second burst of lightning seared him across his left arm.

Stupid Skarrigg! Stupid and careless! Chided the voice.

“SHUT UP!” Skarrigg screamed as he swung his sword at the raider-leader who hastily blocked the blow with the head of his maul – fire, ice, lightning and magic flared against each other in a burst of multi-hued light which pushed both combatants apart. The remaining raiders – only seven now – took their time to move in, except for one: a waxy complexioned man with a pox scarred face and long unkempt brown hair. He loaded his crossbow and fired a bolt at the newcomer which ricocheted from his left pauldron catching his ear and leaving a blood-filled furrow across it. Waxen faced man quickly tried to reload his bow but was stopped short by a pair of enormous iron-shod hooves crashing into his back. The dual impact not only slammed the man into the mud but shattered his neck, spine and skull.

The strangely silent but gigantic and murderous horse was enough for two of the raiders, who turned tail and ran. The leader screamed after them: “cowardly scum!” This distraction nearly cost him his life, as the newcomer renewed his assault. In fact it was only the interference of another raider – armed with a small round shield and heavily flanged mace – that spared him from being cut down. That interference did cost this raider his life however. The newcomer’s black steaming sword easily shattered the small wooden shield and shorn through the arm beneath it. As the man fell to the ground screaming the newcomer silenced him with a solid kick to the face which crushed his skull with an audible crack.

The leader rained several blows at the newcomer, the second caught him in the left side with a burst of lightning. The newcomer grunted as he felt ribs crack even though his armor shielded him from the worst of the hit. BACK UP! The voice screamed. As the other raiders again tried to move in and again another fell to a pair of iron shod hooves. This caused the last two to back away from both horse and man and also caused their leader to chide them savagely “cowards! Bah! I will finish him myself! Watch the nag!” As he charged the newcomer with the hammer held for a killing overhand strike.

Again the newcomer side-stepped him to the left but this time he brought the steaming black sword down in an overhead chop of his own, and sheared through both of the leader’s arms just under the elbows – the maimed man fell to the ground on both knees screaming in rage as well as from pain as he glared at his two severed arms still gripping the now useless hammer. The newcomer pivoted on his right foot continuing his stroke and caught one of the remaining raiders – a small yet muscular man in studded leather armed with a pair of matching punch daggers – through the throat. The blade being both burning and freezing seared the wound, so there was surprisingly little blood as the raider rolled across the ground desperately trying to breathe through his ruined windpipe. Skarrigg ended his pain and horror with a quick chop that separated the man’s head from the rest of him.

The last raider – an ugly and dirty man with bad teeth and a crude spider tattoo on his left cheek dropped his shield and battle axe as he raised his hands. “Mercy sir. I surrender. Easy now.” The raider kept his eyes on both the rider and the horse – it turns out he should’ve watched behind him as well. The newcomer watched the tines of a pitchfork burst from the front of the raider’s face as the girl screamed a scream of hate and rage while driving the fork through the back of the last raider’s head. She tried to pull the fork from the dead man’s skull but it broke where the wood met metal.

My. Chuckled the voice. She is indeed a tigress. If you fail me Skarrigg I can always recruit this lovely child and her beautiful hatred.

“Huh.” Was the only reply Skarrigg gave as he turned to the maimed bandit leader. The man glared at Skarrigg with a burning hatred and then it was then that Skarrigg noticed that the ‘skull mask’ was not merely paint but an actual tattoo. Impressive…I guess, Skarrigg thought to himself.

The bandit leader snarled “FUCK YOU!” And an instant later his head was struck from his shoulders by the steaming sword. After which Skarrigg leaned heavily against a nearby post . The hammer had struck hard and he felt a sharp pain with each breath. He walked painfully toward his horse to retrieve a healing draught.

The girl timidly spoke: “My lord?”

Without turning to her he snarled: “I am not your lord! I am no one’s lord! Do you understand that?” His voice was as brutal and as ugly as his face.

“Then who are you?” She asked.

At this question Skarrigg remembered who he was and from where he had come from…

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Skarrigg was the son of an ogre chieftain and a captured human woman. Degraded, tortured and humiliated all his life, his heart was filled with hatred and rage. Being smaller than full blooded ogres his was a life of pain, fear and degradation. For ogres were brutal, sadistic and cannibalistic. Most captives did not long survive the constant rapes and torture. Surprisingly his mother had survived and had given birth to first him and then his sister Vorella. In his darkest hours the only warmth he had ever received was from his mother and his sister.

Skarrigg’s sire was Orlock. A powerful and sinister being even for an ogre. Orlock stood well over 10’ tall and despite a massive bread basket he was packed with powerful muscles. His hide was a deep, dark and dirty yellow. He was completely bald. His right eye had a purple iris and a white pupil – a hue unique to the ogre tribes from ancient times, before millennium of inbreeding and mutation. The left eye was a white void, a memento from a duergar warrior whose skull Orlock had crushed with his bare hands. Of all the ogres that Skarrigg hated, he hated Orlock the most.

Eventually his mother had sickened and died – luckily Skarrigg was able to whisk away and bury her body before the ogres ate her. After that it was only Vorella and he. And eventually his father’s lust turned to his daughter. Such an abomination was common with ogres. In fact, Orlock’s “personal guards” were his favorite brother-sons or nephew-sons. Of course Skarrigg had tried to protect her – but to no avail.

“Weakling whelp! You dare challenge me?” Orlock hefted him by the throat with his left hand. He slammed Skarrigg into the cavern wall three times and threw him onto the ground. “Grab him! And cage him! You wanted to protect that half-blooded slut? Watch. Watch as I give her to my boys. My true sons, you half-human piece of shit!” The other ogres dragged Skarrigg to a cage and hung it on a hook attached to the ceiling. He was able to cover his eyes, however, he would never forget her screams. And he was not able to whisk her body away…It was in this moment that Skarrigg vowed to kill his sire. In fact, he vowed to kill them all.

Less than a month later heroes came to the tribe’s holdings on Hook Mountain in an attempt to put the tribe to the sword, starving and still locked in his cage, Skarrigg watched as his father led the tribes remaining ogre warriors in a desperate defense. After a bloody and savage battle the humans lay dead as did all of the ogres – save one. Skarrigg’s hated father. The massive ogre sat with his back against the wall bleeding from a dozen wounds. The worse was across the left side of his abdomen. He used his left hand in a vain attempt to hold in his intestines which were in real danger of spilling out of a huge rent in his side.

During the fight Skarrigg’s cage was knocked from the ceiling and the cheap metal split open granting Skarrigg his freedom. Skarrigg cautiously approached his sire. Bodies both ogre and human littered the cavern, blood and viscera turned the dry dirt into mud. The big ogre was slowly bleeding out but Skarrigg noticed that he still had a tight grip on the massive ogre hook in his right hand. This enormous weapon was coated in the blood and brains of the last warrior he had killed. That warrior’s rent corpse lay next to Skarrigg’s right foot, along with a beautiful black steel sword. Skarrigg reached down and picked up the blade. The moment he held it aloft he felt the heat and cold radiate from it as a thick steam poured seemingly from the sword.

Skarrigg heard a voice: rich, sweet, seductive. For a second he wasn’t sure…was it in his head or his ears?

Oh what do we have here? Yes... Oh yes... I can feel your hatred. Your rage. I know you Skarrigg. I know you and all your dark despair. And it is delicious…

“Are you…are you the sword?” Skarrigg fearfully asked.

The sword? This sword of power you hold in your hand? Perhaps Skarrigg, perhaps. Take up the sword. Feel its power? Take it up and avenge yourself on your tormentor.

Skarrigg stared at the blade in his hand and then turned toward Orlock. He noticed that his father stared at him with his baleful purple eye. “It figures. My last son is you half-blood. Huh. I never noticed that you have my eyes, the purple eyes. I never noticed.” Orlock spoke weakly.

Skarrigg looked at his father in abject hatred before replying. “Vorella had them too.”

Orlock looked confused, “Vorella? Who by Vaprak’s moldy nuts is Vorella?”

“My sister. Your daughter. The one you gave to the pigs you called sons. The ones whose bodies I will piss on.” Skarrigg snarled.

Yes… the voice said. Embrace your rage Skarrigg. Give voice to your pain. Kill him. Avenge her. The voice purred in his mind.

“She had a name? I didn’t know. Shit. Do you have a name too?” Orlock asked only half mockingly. “What name do you have half-blood?”

“I am Skarrigg. You bloated piece of shit.” Again Skarrigg snarled.

“Skarrigg…a strong ogre name for such a weak half-blood…did I give you this name?” Orlock tried to laugh but started coughing with blood coming to his mouth. “So Skarrigg my half-blood son. Are you going to try to kill me, eh? I killed my father. And he his. However, I don’t think you have the stones.” Orlock coughed again.

Skarrigg. It is time. Take your vengeance. Remember every pain, every humiliation. Use your hatred. The voice purred.

Skarrigg screamed and brought the sword down. Orlock tried to parry with his ogre hook but the sword struck true severing his right hand. Orlock screamed and cursed “You fuck! You half-blood fuck! I will be waiting for you in the beyond! I will see you there and eat your purple eyes!”

Skarrigg brought the sword down again and again – suddenly everything was red…everything was red...EVERYTHING WAS RED! His rage was unleashed, all the years of hatred and pain and anguish were released at that moment. When his rage was sated he looked at the mangled corpse of the tyrant who had terrorized him his entire life.

Good Skarrigg. Your hate makes you powerful. Your rage enables you…

“What now?” Skarrigg asked.

Now my child. Now you can come with me. And together we will fulfill your destiny.

“My destiny?” Skarrigg asked, confusion in his voice.

Yes, my child. You will be a great warlord one day. But first you must complete two services for me. At the neck of the dead man at your feet you will find a bag containing four red gems on a chain – take it. Around the remnants of your so-called father’s neck you will find an identical gem – take that one as well. There are four more and we must find them together Skarrigg. Once all of them are found you will need to take them to a special place. That is the second service.

“What is the first service?” Skarrigg asked.

My child. You must pledge yourself to me. Fully to me.

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”Your parents?” Skarrigg asked the girl.

“Dead. My father was killed by the man whose head you took. My mother died from a fever two seasons back.” She replied.

“Is there no one else girl?” Skarrigg asked, his tone neutral.

“My mother’s brother and his family. They own a spread about twelve hours from here.” The girl said grief starting to creep into her voice.

“Then I will see you and the two babes there in the morning.” Skarrigg said.

The path Skarrigg, the PATH. Remember you have pledged yourself to me. And I did not take you into my service to rescue wayward lambs.

Skarrigg ignored the voice. “What is your name girl?” He asked.

“Annaquette” she replied shyly.

“Well Annaquette, take your children…” he started.

“They are my sisters.” She interrupted.

“Then take your sisters and rest away from these bodies. My horse will need to feed.”

“But my father, I need to bury him. And there is no feed, those men you killed burned everything-“ she started to protest.

“WE killed. The men WE killed. You killed that bastard with your pitchfork. Own that. It belongs to you and it makes you stronger.” Skarrigg stated.

Ah Skarrigg. All this time together my son and I never knew you were a philosopher. The voice mocked.

Skarrigg looked at his sword in anger and snarled: “I am NOT your son!”

Annaquette looked alarmed and took a step back. “My lord?”

Skarrigg looked up at her, his eyes ablaze “I am NOT your lord. I am no one’s ‘lord’. How many times must I tell you this?”

Annaquette responded: “So I ask again: what should I call you?”

If you must speak to me at all, call me by my name: Skarrigg”. He responded.

Despite her grief and fear, Annaquette’s interest was piqued. “Skarrigg? That is an unusual name. Is it ulfen or perhaps kellid?”

“Ogrish.” Skarrigg replied simply.

“Ogrish? I have never seen an ogre before.” Annaquette responded cautiously.

“And pray to whatever uncaring gods you mumble too that you never do. Trust me, the filth on the ground here were gentlemen compared to my father’s race.” Skarrigg said darkly. “But enough prattle and pleasantries. I will put your father’s body into the fire. You must rest and it would be best if you did not watch the horse feed. It does not eat grain.” And with that Skarrigg walked away.

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Interlude: The Sword

The sword was finely crafted of obsidian-black steel – a large single-edged battle blade in the eastern style, carved with runes in Aquan, Auran and Ignan invoking the Elemental lords Imix and Cryonax both of whom claimed descent from an enigmatic being known as The Elder Elemental Eye. The backside of the blade had nine rings: three golden rings forged by azer weapon-smiths on the Plane of Fire, three silver rings forged in the City of Glass on the Plane of Water and three final rings forged of a fine white metal mined from the sky islands of a Djinni pasha on the Plane of Air. Called the Steaming Sword it combined the powers of Volcanic Flame with Arctic Ice and once activated gave off a thick steam and a hissing sound…like water on hot coals. No one knew who had forged the Steaming Sword – or if that is what its original name even was, but the blade had become legendary as the Steaming Sword. And so the Steaming Sword it was now called.

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Annaquette dosed with her sister’s tightly wrapped around her. She dreamed of fire. Not the fires of her burning home, but lines and torrents of flame. It tore across semi-human monsters wielding crude weapons and with painted faces. Faces painted like skulls…the monsters roared in pain and fear…they tried to outrun the fire, but the fire…it chased after them. And Annaquette found great satisfaction in that. The fire devoured them and Annaquette smiled. And then she was astonished to find the fire had a source…and that source was her…but all was as it should be.

After the burning monsters screamed their last, Annaquette realized she was not alone. There was someone else here. She turned and in the shadows of the fire light night stood a man. Annaquette could not see his face, it was hidden in shadow, as was his form, but she could see enough to realize that he was huge, larger even then Skarrigg – who up until now, was the largest man she had ever seen. He stared back at her and she felt his approval. It was then she realized that he was winged, six great black feathered wings, and he had a horned helm…no not a helm…but…

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Annaquette woke with a start, it was nearly dawn and the sky was the red before the blue shade of early morning. The house, barn and outlying buildings were burned to the ground…and it was this that reminded her of what her sisters and she had lost. She looked up and saw the black horse, she feared it…it was unnatural, the way it looked at her. No animal should stare that way.

That was when she noticed the blood on the grass and the chewed bones. The raiders that Skarrigg had slain. Their bodies were not intact – they had been devoured. Then she recalled what Skarrigg had said the night before: It does not eat grain. Her thoughts were disturbed when Skarrigg walked up beside her. How can someone so large and clad in steel be so quiet?

“Wake your sisters soon. I have taken what things of value this scum had. I want to be to your uncle’s and on my way again before nightfall.” Skarrigg said as he looked upon her.

In the light Annaquette noticed two things. That Skarrigg’s skin was indeed a dark yellow and that his eyes were purple. Purple irises with white pupils. She had never even imagined eyes like this before. And despite his savage and brutal countenance his eyes were beautiful.

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They rode in a wagon attached to the great black horse – though Annaquette doubted that it was a horse. The girls were silent, numb with shock. Annaquette was quiet keeping her own thoughts and Skarrigg drove the wagon.

So Skarrigg my son, and you are my son, for who has given your life more purpose than I? Who has shown you more love – that bastard that you butchered, or I? What do you plan to do my son? Become a farmer? Settle down? Maybe wed the pretty little Annaquette? Make babies, hmm? You should know that even generations later, the ogre blood manifests. Madness and mutation that would be your legacy. No my son, a life of bliss was never destined for you…

“I will return to the path by nightfall. I will regain the stones as I have promised.” Skarrigg responded.

Yes Skarrigg my son, I know you will.

Annaquette was getting used to her savior’s habit of speaking to himself. Was he really the blood of an ogre? That was astonishing. Annaquette tried to doze off, though her thoughts kept going back to her nightmare…

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They arrived at her uncle’s farmstead by late afternoon. The clouds were starting to thicken. Her uncle, a simple, blunt man and his two sons – twin dullards, were still in the fields. Annaquette had realized that she had not seen her uncle’s family since her mother’s death. And that she had not missed them either.

Her uncle’s wife was an unpleasant and ugly woman. She had a great wart on her left cheek with three black hairs growing from it. Annaquette had grown used to her withering glare and dagger sharp tongue – though despite her grief she enjoyed the obvious fear on her aunt’s face when she regarded Skarrigg. But she noticed something else too…sideways glances from time to time…was that a look of lust that Annaquette saw in her aunt’s eyes? Well, well, well Annaquette mused, auntie Ugleena, you are a surprise after all…

About an hour later her uncle returned. After he heard the story of the farmstead and her father's death, Skarrigg addressed them all.

”These girls are your kin. They will now live with you.” After which he opened a small bag and started piling coins and jewelry on the table – more than could fit in the bag! The last thing he placed on the table was the raider-leader’s maul which he had with him all this time.

“This is the gold and valuables from the raiders that I took. Along with this hammer, which is a powerfully enchanted weapon. This should be more than enough for you to feed them and care for them until they are grown.” He stated matter of factly.

My uncle’s wife spoke first: “But my lord” – Annaqutte winced – “what if the raiders’ return? What if they followed you here?”

Surprisingly Skarrigg did not lose his temper. “That would be doubtful. They are all dead or they have run off. Also, the wagon is yours. I will sleep in your barn for several hours and then I must be on my way.” Skarrigg turned to go, but then stopped. “One last thing. I have given you more gold and wealth then you have ever had. More than you have ever imagined. If I return here and I find that you have mistreated these young ones in any way…I will not be pleased.” My uncle’s face paled at that as Skarrigg left the house.

After my aunt silently took my sisters and me to an unused bedroom. She disappeared. My sisters gave into their grief, cried for a while and both fell asleep. It started to rain and after an hour or so I went to the window, I noticed my aunt hurrying back from the barn, she seemed to be walking…odd…I laughed, well again Auntie Ugleena, you ARE a surprise

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Skarrigg began strapping his armor back on. And saddled the horse. It was time to go.

Well after playing the hero and then rutting with that great cow of a woman it is about time we were off.

“I just needed to do what needed to be done.” Skarrigg replied back to the voice.

What!? Riding that ugly farmer’s wife NEEDED to be done?

“You know what I mean!” Skarrigg snapped.

Yes…you are trying to save your sister again…did you know that you are called Skarrigg the skull-splitter? I wonder what those who gave you that name would think if they saw your softer side. Skarrigg the savior of orphans!

“Must you torment me always? I will get back on the path and then I will find the last of the damned stones! And you, YOU will make me the warlord you said I was destined to be.” Skarrigg answered grimly.

Yes my son I will. But tell me, what will you do when you fulfill your destiny? The voice asked slyly.

“I will gather an army. I will gather an army and lead it back to Hook Mountain. I will seek out every ogre tribe there and I will put them to the sword. I will trample their very memories into the dirt. I will do as much as possible to put an end to my father’s godsdamned race”. Skarrigg replied grimly, his eyes ablaze with hatred and distant memories.

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Annaquette woke from the dream again. It was late and it was still raining. She knew Skarrigg had left hours before. She rose from the pallet and passed her sleeping sisters as she went downstairs. The maul was still on the dining table. Apparently her uncle was overwhelmed by today’s news and had left it there.

She approached the weapon that had been used to crush her father’s skull. She stared at it deep in thought.

Annaquette heard a voice: rich, sweet, seductive. For a second she wasn’t sure…was it in her head or her ears?

Oh what do we have here? Yes. Oh yes. I can feel your fear. Your rage. Your despair. I know you Annaquette.

“Are you…are you the hammer?” Annaquette fearfully asked.

The hammer? This hammer of power? Perhaps Annaquette, perhaps. Take up the hammer. Feel its power.

“I cannot lift this hammer! It is almost as big as me.” Annaquette protested. “And how do you know me?”

I have always known you, my child, and I saw you stick the fork into the back of that scum’s head. That was righteous by the way. Very righteous. And as to the hammer, well, life is full of surprises my child. Try it and see…

Annaquette reached out to touch the hammer, she tried to lift it but as she touched the hammer it changed in her hand. It contracted from huge maul to a slender curved dagger, serrated on one side of the blade with glowing blue runes. Annaquette dropped it in surprise yet it was still a dagger. “It changed!”

No my child. It did not change. Well…not technically. You changed it. It reacted to the power within YOU.

“Power? I have no power within me. I am just a farmer’s daughter…a dead farmer…” Annaquette replied sadly.

Yes my child, you are indeed a farmer’s daughter. But not everyone in your bloodline was a farmer. Some of your ancestors were beings of…power…I will show you this power. I will show you how to achieve your destiny.

“My destiny? My destiny is to stay here with my little sisters. This…this is insane…this cannot be real!” Annaquette protested.

Oh my child. Have you not met Skarrigg, a half-ogre warrior? Do you think it was mere chance that a dark and grim slayer of men such as he rode by your burning farm when he did? And still you doubt your destiny? Do you doubt your own dreams even?

“My dreams – what do you know of my dreams?” Annaquette asked.

I have always seen your dreams child. For your dreams are premonitions of your destiny.

“They just started today after my father was killed!” Annaquette exclaimed.

Oh no my child. They did not. Think…remember…

Annaquette’s mind reeled – the voice was right! The memories flooded her mind…memories of burning fire and violence and a shadowy six-winged and horned man with a halo of fire… she had merely forgotten them…

“Skarrigg…what do you know of him?” Annaquette whispered.

He is on a great doom-laden path. And it is your destiny to aid him on his path. But to do that you must be with him. You must leave this place behind and…follow him.

“How?” Annaquette nearly sobbed.

Simple, take the dagger, it will serve you well. Take some food and a horse. I will guide you. And together we will unleash the power within you and fulfill your destiny. But first, you must do one service for me.

“What service?” Annaquette replied.

My child. You must pledge yourself to me. Fully to me.

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Fantasy

About the author

Michael Mayr

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