DRAFT II OF ‘THE TALE OF LIO, DREK AND THE STONES’ (CHAPTER I & CHAPTER II)

THE TALE OF LIO, DREK AND THE STONES
CHAPTER I (DRAFT II)

The coldness strikes my face. The hoodie covers my head. It’s said that the warm of the body enters and exits through the head. I am alone in this forest. I need to find a place to sleep. Great, now the lightning and thunder also strike. Look, a cave! The lightning reveals it in this mountain. I now have a place where I can rest. Outside is pouring, found this cave at the perfect time, just when the weather started getting worse. Now I will rest…

There are colors in the sky. Red, yellow, blue and green, dancing and whirling against each other. A beam of light descending from the heavens. So beautiful… I need to get closer, inspect it. It’s like I am getting bewitched by it. An obsession that grows. I need to see the place where the heaven is descending into our world. I get closer but I’m still far away…
Is it the heaven coming to Earth? The end of all ages? The last moments? It feels as if there are answers, but I need to be closer in order to reveal them. No sun nor moon, just the stars. And behold! The stars are coming as well. The whole sky is dancing while coming to our world. What can a sinner like me do? Just getting closer and further under the dance. The light is colored into the sky’s colors. Red, blue, yellow and green. The beam is thick and it seems that I will manage to get to it in time, before it ceases.
If this is the end, I will then have no regrets. All my life I’ve been struggling by myself to have food, clothing and survive. The waste lands are no place for weakness. Eat or be eaten. If there truly are gods, I will demand for them to live in this world and walk into in my shoes; go through the struggles. Then and only then – can they judge me. Whatever I’ve done before, I’ve done it to survive.

This war, the great war of our age, is not meant to be won. There are no losers. The kingdoms are dangerous these days. It makes the wastelands look friendly. And I know that there is nothing friendly within the wastes.
It’s morning now. Time to get up and hopefully exit the mountains until dawn. There is a path that not many know of, but I’ve travelled these parts before. Bulur – the path through the mountains of Rertar. I am familiar with these mountains and forest. Me and Drek used to rob merchants travelling this place. The sun cannot break between the mountains, only after noon I will be seeing it. I need to eat something ’till then.
I’ve still gotten dried bacon. I will eat it as I have no time to spare for hunting. Not now, not until I’ve met him. I remember to this day, how we used to steal apples and pears from merchants in the towns of the kingdoms when we were just kids. We used to outrun them by hiding in right places. The trick was to know the place, so one can get shelter from being caught. And be fast too. We had much fun doing so and life was so much simpler back then. Why do people have to grow up? No sharp mind, either be priest or philosopher, has the answer. I think nothing. I simply don’t know.

The bacon was tasty. Now it’s noon and the sun will ”fall” soon on the forest on this side of the mountains. I should arrive to where I’m needed.
What’s that? There is a sound coming from the bushes, maybe ten or fifteen feet in front of me. I grab my sword with the right hand and draw it slowly and carefully from the sheat. There is movement! Something is there, something big. Shall I get closer? It may take me by surprise. But if I don’t, it can still jump on me. Perhaps it’s something swift. What then? I listen carefully and take gentle steps. I won’t scare it. It could be an animal. Or worse: a troll. More movement from the bush. I am right in front of it, with my sword pointing towards it. I am ready.
Nothing comes out. But there is a sound. Definitely an animal. Big one, perhaps a deer. I hit the sword against the leafs and it moves again. I take aside a bit of the bush with my bare left hand and see it. It’s a deer. Looking closely, I can see it’s wounded by an arrow into the right leg. It’s bleeding and it means that someone is hunting it. I take out the arrow and inspect it closely… I can’t decide what is chasing the animal. It could be humans, elves, trolls or centurions, but it looks more improvised and therefore untraceable. The deer is stuck into the bush. I won’t kill it. I let it be and continue my journey. Now I know that I am not alone, I’ll be careful and surprise the hunter, or hunters as they probably won’t know there is someone else than themselves in this place.

The rays of the sun are penetrating the forest’s thick trees. The trees are all tall and got a lot of leafs. If one does not know this location, one could get lost. My journey heads East. I’ll take another look at my compass. Yes, I am travelling East. I am on the right path. Just need to proceed.
This place could still be dangerous. Many of the wastelands used to hide here. That was before the trolls, elves and centurions made appearance. Now a days there just aren’t that many that dare to hunt or gather here. Fruits of all kind can be found, some more mature than others. Those nearest the tree tops are sweeter than those reachable from the ground. It’s because of the sun. Here is a cherry tree. I will gather some and have with me. When eating fruits, you cannot go wrong, but if you are eating something poisonous. I know by now almost all kind of fruits and swamps so I know what I can and what I can’t eat.

There are whispers in my head. Quiet ones. A language I don’t understand. It seems as if there are a couple of “somethings” speaking to each other. It could be at least 3 different whispers. I do not recognize them. They are strangers to me.
-What do you want from me?
I need to make them stop. They are draining on my powers and tires me out. And right now, that is the last thing I need. I will check out my compass again – still heading East. Soon I should be out of these places and into the kingdom of Almur. There is this little town – Segath – in which I will meet him, at the pub.
Segath is at the edge of the kingdom and one of the towns where war has yet to make appearance. That’s why we’ve chosen it as place for our meeting. It’s been a couple of months since I last put my foot into one of the kingdoms of men. War is not my thing. War is ugly.
I know there are people that are pure evil and there are those that have too little choice, but I’d rather be one of those than become a murdered for the kings. It’s just not worth it. Why would they get my loyalty? What is there to gain? To rape and kill women and children? They do no wrong to me and pose no threat. I don’t understand how people are rezoning. The soldiers pledge their lives for the kings’ sake and they don’t get nothing in return but perhaps food and some money. Dirty money. Blood money. It’s just not worth it.
I must admit that I’ve longed to see him. My friend. My best friend. I wonder what adventures he’s been up to. What lands has he travelled? Who has he met? It feels like there is a lot to catch up for old times’ sake.

It’s evening by now and I am out of the forest. I can see the town downwards these hills. Everything is green. What a beauty, Segath shines like a pearl in the evening sun. It’s not that huge of a town, but it got a lot of “life” within its walls and only got one gate. I am reaching closer with every footstep. The moment of truth is here: has he made it? I’ll wait a couple of days; perhaps one whole week.
Now I am in the town and heading to the tavern. I can hear the music from outside. I take my steps inside and look around. I do not see him. I walk around the pub, no sign of him.
“- Is there anyone with the name Drek in here?” I ask the barman. He got a gray and long beard and mustache. He looks like a stereotype of barmen.
“- No, sire. Not that I know of. Can I serve you something?”
I take forth my bag with money. I’ve got gold and silver.
“- One alle” I tell him.
“- We got cold and perhaps the best alle across all four kingdoms. You can’t go wrong.” He said while he blinked. I met his eyes and I feel that there is something with this old man. He is kind and gentle. Perhaps never done anyone any wrong. I think that he can see goodness in me. Even though I feel as I do at times, perhaps I am not the sinner that I feel I am. And that gives me hope. Hope of a fool; to meet everything with kindness. Not my style. But it’s contagious.
“- Here you go” he said and served the drink.
“- Thank you”, I said without realizing it. Why did I say that? Ahh… it got to be contagious, just as I thought. I like this man and would probably not do him wrong. “- Whom are all these people?”
“- Some are town’s folk. Other are strangers on their path to only gods know where. Better not to ask. A lot won’t like to have strangers interfere with their business. Be wise and stay by yourself. Wait until your friend arrives but don’t try to make new friendships. With most of these people, it wouldn’t last.”
“- If I am not mistaken, you offer sleep place as well?”
“- Yes, I do.”
“- Do you have any free?”
“- As a matter of fact I do.”
“- Good. I’ll take a room.”
“- Go upstairs and into the one numbered seven.”
“- I’ll just drink the alle, then I will go to the room… If anyone asks after me, send him up.”
“- And under what name do you travel?”
“- Lio, sire. Just Lio.”

I am now in my room. The alle got me drunk. This bed feels so light and soft. It’s warm. Where is he? I hope he shows up soon enough. He’s probably just running late. Something might have gone into his path. Or the weather was just as bad as it was for me and slowed him down. I have done my part. Best he’s done his.

The stars… It’s so beautiful! The colors are astounding. It makes me wanna drink them up

“- Shut up!”
“- You are all alone! You and that… thing you carry.”
“- Shut up!”
These voices won’t cease. I’ll go and get some breakfast. I am hungry and still tired. I’ll never forget that man’s expression. Death… He suspected nothing and made me promise I’ll take good care of the stones. Little he knew that it was the purpose to why I befriended him. I won his friendship and his heart. I knew not that he was dying, but he was. And in his final moments, he gave them to me. He trusted me… He trusted me to protect them with my own life if needed. A couple before him did that. So they got to be valuable. I understand what it does, not how. That makes them worthless to me. I could sell them, but I won’t gain nowhere near what I am offered by the quest giver. He is waiting. And so am I.
I see my favorite food: egg and beacon. I’ll have a little of that. Perhaps even cheese and some bread. And a wine to top it up. Tasty, well cooked. I enjoy the flavors, it’s dancing in my mount just like the colors and stars in my dreams. They complete each other. After I eat this, I will take a bath. A long and warm one. Just to enjoy life.

I hope he will arrive today. I don’t want to stand at this place one week. Sure everything is good, but I have to fulfill my quest. I will take a walk around the city and go to the square. There are the shops and booths filled with everything one would need, actually. Spices, fruits, green food, clothes, armors, jewels, perfumes, swords and shields, shoes and boots. The war has driven up the prices. I won’t but anything but some spices. Spices from Wahl, the faraway lands. It’s definitely worth it. If I stay here until tomorrow, I will go outside of the walls and into the waters nearby. It’s been a while since I dipped my feet in a river, lake or sea.

Now I am going into my room. It gets darker and the people drunker. I wish no attention. Just in and out when the time is in. It knocks on my door. “- Who is it?”
“- Drek!”
“- Drek?!” I hurry to open it and here he is: Drek. “Finally, you made it!” I said while hugging him.
“- Don’t get too excited yet, Lio… We’ve got a problem…”
“- What can it be? Don’t you have it?”
“- No, that’s the problem… I got really close, but they took the jewels under the protection of some soldiers. And… I am not you, I am no match for the soldiers…”
“- Shit”
“- Yeah… shit.”
“- I’ve done my part… I got the red stones.”
“- They are worth nothing to us. And without the other jewels, they aren’t worth nothing to him either.”
“- Where did they go?”
“- Rormath…” he told with a sad face expression.
“- Rormath? What are they doing in the wild?”
“- Only the gods know.”
“- Good thing I have a favor to request from Barbar. He owes me one. And he and only he can track them down in the wastelands. We will be getting our hands of them soon enough. We start our journey tomorrow.”
“- Great! I was thinking you will be mad at me.”
“- Mad? No, I know you did what you could. It’s good you did nothing foolish and jeopardize our mission. You’re a thief, not a warrior. He is waiting, so we have no time to spare. Tomorrow… we will go straight to Rormath and talk to Barbar. Now sleep… In the morning we’ll have breakfast. I suggest that you get up early and join me. Here are some coins… Go downstairs and pay for a room for yourself. See you in the morning.”

THE TALE OF LIO, DREK AND THE STONES
CHAPTER II (DRAFT II)

The city is behind us and we need to get through the wilderness one more time. Nothing scare me longer and few are the things that surprise me. Nothing is impossible. Trust is hard to gain outside the realms of kings’. On the other hand, there is no war out here. Maybe, just maybe, the folks of the wildlands aren’t wilder than those in the kingdoms.
“- Where will we find him?” the young thief asked.
“- We’ve got to head North. He is there, somewhere.”
“- I know you know him. But he isn’t that keen of favors… But that you already know.”
“- He won’t cross me… He is a man of words. If he promises something, he keeps his promise and does not break it.”
“- You know him better than me, that thing is sure. I trust your words.”
“- Don’t you worry… If I would’ve felt danger, I wouldn’t take you as my companion.”
“- So we are companions now? That I can live with” Drek said happily.
It’s clear that he seeks recognition. Anyone would and probably also could manipulate him into doing their dirty works. Not me though. I liked him from his first breath and promised his mother I would take good care of him. I shelter him from the wickedness and perversion of the waste folks. He will be no foot soldier for some corrupt and twisted leader that strays away from the right path. No one. Not even Barbar. Now he came to my mind – Barbar. He is big and handles the battle axe very well. Few are those that can look him straight into the eyes. I am one of those. He never was my leader, but I helped him gain his power. And I got a favor to collect now.

My only fear are trolls. I can handle one or two but three are too many. Drek got a bow. And he is actually pretty good at firing them arrows. He could easily take on one or two smaller trolls. But bigger ones… well we’ll just have to wait and see.

I’ve met smaller trolls a couple of times. It ended up with us beheading them. Bigger trolls I have met while in the Legion and it took battle axes to kill them. They can become eight or nine feet tall. They use to hide into caves and under the ground in the forests. Their smell expose them. It’s not pleasant.

Centurions are interesting creatures. Wise. Half human, half horse. They are kind and helpful. I met their kind only two times. The first time down at the flood of Ombular at exactly that spot where the 4 smaller rivers combines into the flood, on the shore. They drank from the water and bathed. They aren’t that wild; they can speak our language. They were 4 and greeted me. I posed no threat to them. We spoke and exchanged stories. They told me the tale of their creation. It was Zamzar, the god of the humble that created them. And the god gave them a long and healthy life. Centurions train the wild elves in the art of the bow and arrows. The two races use to share forests and resources.
The second time was when I was in trouble. I got attacked by 4 thieves and got knocked to the ground. When they were about to end my life, a couple of centurions ran and scared off the thieves. It was one of the few times that I’ve tasted ground

We’ll go by the path of Mortar. It’s much safer. No trolls go that North. It will be cold but as there is no snowfall, we’ll be doing fine.
“- So how did you get them? The stones?”
“- I befriended their master. It wasn’t easy but he trusted me.”
“- You haven’t killed him, have you?”
“- No, I did not. You see, he was talking about their power openly, to all of those that listened. So they got curious. I got curious. He held them in a red bag by a necklace. Never went anywhere, or slept without them. No one could have taken them. So I plotted
As everybody got curious, I offered him my services until the day he would die. Little I knew that it was that soon that the big day would arrive. Otherwise I would have waited for a couple of months more and then I would’ve slain him. The stones must get to him, remember?”
“- So it was pure luck that you’ve got them?”
“- A coincidence. Just in time when I was preparing to meet and update you about the process. Either a coincidence or the skies are going mad.”
“- The skies?”
“- Yeah… From what the old men told, they could control weather… It’s bold to claim it but he did not seem like a man out of his mind. No craziness in sight.”
“- Did you see him using them at any time?”
“- No, I did not. So one cannot be sure of their powers. But I suspect that they need to be made whole, by joining them with the jewels that now have refuge in the wildlands… But that’s just my own speculation. Perhaps we’ll find out or never know.”
“- It doesn’t matter. He knows why he needs them. Maybe there truly is something special with them.”
“- He is a wizard, Drek, everything is special to them.”

I was born in the waste lands. It’s my home. Barely lived in the kingdoms. I know them inside and out. I know how to trace almost every creature that is passing. I know how to fight with the sword. I know how to shoot an arrow. I know how to hunt. I’ll hunt today and preparing Drek as well. He will shoot our dinner.
“- Do you remember?”
“- The first lesson of hunting?”
“- Yes. Say it!”
“- Don’t move and be quiet.” He is catching up fast. Swift learner. It’s good for him to know the art of hunting. He’ll become a straighter shooter and will soon pick up how to trace a wounded creature. “- All creatures besides troll bleed red. Trolls bleed black.” I tell him while he is on his stance with the arrow on the bow. He holds it as he should. He already knows how to shoot, but it’s good practice. “Have you ever met one?”
“- A troll?”
“- Yes, a troll.”
“- No, I can’t say I have.”
“- Someday maybe you will.”
“- Lesson number two”
“- Wait until your target gets closer and does not move.” There is a rabbit ten feet in front of us.
“- Release, now!” It hit the target. The poor animal had no chance to escape death. It was its time. Like everything in life, nothing is certain. One morning you can wake up, the following you possibly won’t.
We are skinning the rabbit and grill it. It’s our evening meal. It tastes good but there is not a lot to eat as it was small. Yet, our stomachs have something to work with. It’s good for the health. Empty stomachs are unhealthy. In the morning we’ll have beans. Beans are good; they won’t get spoiled by heat or cold. They can last a couple of months, some of their kind even longer. There is also lots of fruit everywhere. A few apples can be taken in the backpacks and be eaten when there is not much to eat. That’ll be in North. There is not as much wild food as it is here.

His mother was a fine woman. She used to give me food and clothes. Myself I have never had a real mom nor dad. He was 7 and she was 35 when she died by a sickness. I was only 14 but had to promise to take good care of him. I’ve gave him everything I could. Now he is in his early 20s and I am 30. I made a thief out of him. A skilled one. Those skills are needed in order to survive. Well, that and handling weapons. I want him not to kill anyone, so I am and was training him to strike trolls and only trolls and there is, of course, the hunting of wild. I don’t know why I began thinking of her again. I’m sure he misses her. He was just so sad when she died and needed comfort. I was able to provide him with that and we started to travel with the adult men and women of our group. To learn the fine art of survival.

The journey will take a two to three weeks. First we’ll pass Bulur – the same way I got to the meeting. Then we will travel on the shores of Ombular, the flood that goes straight to the Northern Sea and finally we’ll deviate from the river throughout Mortar. Keep it that way and we’ll soon arrive to Rormath, the settlement where Barbar has his seat.

I’ve never give much of a thought to the future. Will I marry? Will I have children? Will I live in the wild? Will the kingdoms be safe? I am unsure of what I want. But right now I feel like in the next twenty to thirty years I’ll still do what I’ve done in the past decade. I will hunt down magical items across the realms. It’s my business and I am good at it.
The Staff of the Warden is the most expensive item I’ve retrieved – I got two hundreds gold coins for it. The Great One of Ambur was the one needing it. My first quest was something minor: a glove that could turn the wearer invisible. Both of the items have found a new home. I got help from Drek to steal them and as I saw him getting better at it, it was when I decided to make a thief out of him. It’s been already ten whole years.

Big wolves could be a problem. But that’s the reason to why we should go on the shore of Ombular. They usually don’t’ make an appearance there. And even though they are violent, they are more scared of us than we are of them. Fire easily scares them. So we should have a torch fired up when we are in the North. That’s their place.
I am unsure of what I’d rather meet: wolves or trolls. Wolves are swift and have strong jaws, yet trolls are more human- alike and have weapons, just like we – men – do. I do not know what the lesser evil between these two would be.
“- Come to me…” a voice told me.
“- What are you? Where are you?” It responses not.
“- Drek, do you hear voices at times?”
“- No. Why, do you?”
“- No, just wondering…” I lie. It’s better to do so than to make him believe that I’ve gone mad. Ever since I got the stones, the voices have started. They do not speak at all times but when they do, I get a bit scared. What if it’s too powerful magic to be yielded by a simple warrior as I am? I personally haven’t encountered it, but I’ve heard stories of magic that not even the mightiest of the magicians could handle. It corrupted them. I think that there are is a message with every story, so it’s not that I believe the stories, it’s more what they speak of, what they represent, what it could teach us.
A lot of the culture of our people, the struggle to survive, the beliefs, the wizards, the kings, the other races, they’ve all been influenced by tales and myth, by those stories that we tell our children in order to pass on our knowledge to future generations. Those stories have shaped and molded us and we shape and mold them. We teach and learn, narrate and listen.

There is no light in the sky but the moon’s. All the stars have faded, there are black stains where they used to be. They’re all gone…

When the jewels are all found and we’ll give it to the Great One, it would be time for the two of us to head home. Home sweet home. Nothing beats the feeling of being the master of your own place. It’s a tent but it’s my home. We travel at times to discover new places, to gather food and hunt animals. There are other groups that do the same. We have no dealings with most of them.

The winter was rough and cold, wonder if the summer will also be rough and warm… There has been no winter like the last one in the last fifty years. At least that’s what we’ve been told by the old folks. I know that I haven’t experienced it from what I can reckon.

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THE TALE OF LIO, DREK AND THE STONES – CHAPTER II – Part II (DRAFT I)

There is no light in the sky but the moon’s. All the stars have faded, there are black stains where they used to be. They’re all gone…

When the jewels are all found and we’ll give it to the Great One, it would be time for the two of us to head home. Home sweet home. Nothing beats the feeling of being the master of your own place. It’s a tent but it’s my home. We travel at times to discover new places, to gather food and hunt animals. There are other groups that do the same. We have no dealings with most of them. Having a group whom you can trust means everything in the wilderness.

The winter was rough and cold, wonder if the summer will also be rough and hot… There has been no winter like the last one in the last fifty years. At least that’s what we’ve been told by the old folks. I know that I haven’t experienced it from what I can reckon.

*****

THE TALE OF LIO, DREK AND THE STONES – CHAPTER II – Part I (DRAFT I)

CHAPTER II
PART I

The city is behind us and we need to get through the wilderness one more time. Nothing scare me longer and few are the things that surprise me. Nothing is impossible. Trust is hard to gain outside the realms of kings’. On the other hand, there is no war out here. Maybe, just maybe, the folks of the wildlands aren’t wilder than those in the kingdoms.
“- Where will we find him?” the young thief asked.
“- We’ve got to head North. He is there, somewhere.”
“- I know you know him. But he isn’t that keen o favours… But that you already know.”
“- He won’t cross me… He is a man of words. If he promises something, he keeps his promise and does not break it.”
“- You know him better than me, that thing is sure. I trust your words.”
“- Don’t you worry… If I would’ve felt danger, I wouldn’t take you as my companion.”
“- So we are companions now? That I can live with” Drek said happily.
It’s clear that he seeks recognition. Anyone would and probably also could manipulate him into doing their dirty works. Not me though. I liked him from his first breath and promised his mother I would take good care of him. I shelter him from the wickedness and perversion of the waste folks. He will be no foot soldier for some corrupt and twisted leader that strays away from the right path. No one. Not even Barbar. Now he came to my mind – Barbar. He is big and handles the battle axe very well. Few are those that can look him straight into the eyes. I am one of those. He never was my leader, but I helped him gain his power. And I got a favour to collect now.

My only fear are trolls. I can handle one or two but three are too many. Drek got a bow. And he is actually pretty good at firing them arrows. He could easily take on one or two smaller trolls. But bigger ones… well we’ll just have to wait and see.

I’ve met smaller trolls a couple of times. It ended up with us beheading them. Bigger trolls I have met while in the Legion and it took battle axes to kill them. They can become eight or nine feet tall. They use to hide into caves and under the ground in the forests. Their smell expose them. It’s not pleasant.

Centurions are interesting creatures. Wise. Half human, half horse. They are kind and helpful. I met their kind only two times. The first time down at the flood of Ombular at exactly that spot where the 4 smaller rivers combines into the flood, on the shore. They drank from the water and bathed. They aren’t that wild; they can speak our language. They were 4 and they greeted me. I posed no threat to them. We spoke and exchanged stories. They told me the tale of their creation. It was Zamzar, the god of the humble that created them. And the god gave them a long and healthy life. Centurions train the wild elves in the art of the bow and arrows. The two races use to share forests and resources.
The second time was when I was in trouble. I got attacked by 4 thieves and got knocked to the ground. When they were about to end my life, a couple of centurions ran and scared off the thieves. It was one of the few times that I’ve tasted ground

We’ll go by the path of Mortar. It’s much safer. No trolls go that North. It will be cold but as there is no snowfall, we’ll be doing fine.
“- So how did you get them? The stones?”
“- I befriended their master. It wasn’t easy but he trusted me.”
“- You haven’t killed him, have you?”
“- No, I did not. You see, he was talking about their power openly, to all of those that listened. So they got curious. I got curious. He held them in a red bag by a necklace. Never went anywhere, or slept without them. No one could have taken them. So I plotted
As everybody got curious, I offered him my services until the day he would die. Little I knew that it was that soon that the big day would arrive. Otherwise I would have waited for a couple of months more and then I would’ve slain him. The stones must get to him, remember?”
“- So it was pure luck that you’ve got them?”
“- A coincidence. Just in time when I was preparing to meet and update you about the process. Either a coincidence or the skies are going mad.”
“- The skies?”
“- Yeah… From what the old men told, they could control weather… It’s bold to claim it but he did not seem like a man out of his mind. No craziness in sight.”
“- Did you see him using them at any time?”
“- No, I did not. So one cannot be sure of their powers. But I suspect that they need to be made whole, by joining them with the jewels that now have refuge in the wildlands… But that’s just my own speculation. Perhaps we’ll find out or never know.”
“- It doesn’t matter. He knows why he needs them. Maybe there truly is something special with them.”
“- He is a wizard, Drek, everything is special to them.”

I was born in the waste lands. It’s my home. Barely lived in the kingdoms. I know them inside and out. I know how to trace almost every creature that is passing. I know how to fight with the sword. I know how to shoot an arrow. I know how to hunt. I’ll hunt today and preparing Drek aswell. He will shoot our dinner.
“- First lesson: don’t move and be quiet.” He is catching up fast. Swift learner. It’s good for him to know the art of hunting. He’ll become a straighter shooter and will soon pick up how to trace a wounded creature. “- All creatures besides troll bleed red. Trolls bleed black.” I tell him while he is on his stance with the arrow on the bow. He holds it as he should. He already knows how to shoot, but it’s good practice. “Have you ever met one?”
“- A troll?”
“- Yes, a troll.”
“- No, I can’t say I have.”
“- Someday maybe you will.”
“- Lesson number two: wait until your target gets closer and does not move.” There is a rabbit ten feet in front of us. “Release, now!” It hit the target. The poor animal had no chance to escape death. It was its time. Like everything in life, nothing is certain. One morning you can wake up, the following you possibly won’t.
We are skinning the rabbit and grill it. It’s our evening meal. It tastes good but there is not a lot to eat as it was small. Yet, our stomachs have something to work with. It’s good for the health. Empty stomachs are unhealthy. In the morning we’ll have beans. Beans are good because they won’t get spoiled by heat or cold. They can last a couple of months, some of their kind even longer than that. There is also lots of fruit everywhere. A few apples can be taken in the backpacks and be eaten when there is not much to eat. That’ll be in North. There is not as much wild food as it is here.

His mother was a fine woman. She used to give me food and clothes. Myself I have never had a real mom nor dad. He was 7 and she was 35 when she died by a sickness. I was only 14 but had to promise to take good care of him. I’ve gave him everything I could. Now he is in his early 20s and I am 30. I made a thief out of him. A skilled one. Those skills are needed in order to survive. Well, that and handling weapons. I want him not to kill anyone, so I am and was training him to strike trolls and only trolls and there is, of course, the hunting of wild. I don’t know why I began thinking of her again. I’m sure he miss her. He was just so sad when she died and needed comfort. I was able to provide him with that and we started to travel with the adult men and women of the tribe.

The journey will take a two to three weeks. First we’ll pass Bulur – the same way I got to the meeting. Then we will travel on the shores of Ombular, the flood that goes straight to the Northern Sea and finally we’ll deviate from the river throughout Mortar. Keep it that way and we’ll soon arrive to Rormath, the settlement where Barbar has his seat.

I’ve never give much of a thought to the future. Will I marry? Will I have children? Will I live in the wild? Will the kingdoms be safe? I am unsure of what I want. But right now I feel like in the next twenty to thirty years I’ll still do what I’ve done in the past decade. I will hunt down magical items across the realms. It’s my business and I am good at it.
The Staff of the Warden is the most expensive item I’ve retrieved – I got two hundreds gold coins for it. The Great One of Ambur was the one needing it. My first quest was something minor: a glove that could turn the one wearing it invisible. Both of the items have found a new home. I got help from Drek to steal them and as I saw him getting better at it, it was when I decided to make a thief out of him. It’s been already ten whole years.

Big wolves could be a problem. But that’s the reason to why we should go on the shore of Ombular. They usually don’t’ make an appearance there. And even though they are violent, they are more scared of us than we are of them. Fire easily scares them. So we should have a torch fired up at any time during our journey.
“- Start a fire, boy. We’ll need it.”
I am unsure of what I’d rather meet: wolves or trolls. Wolves are swift and have strong jaws, yet trolls are more human- alike and have weapons, just like we – men – do. I do not know what the lesser evil between these two would be.
“- Come to me…” a voice told me.
“- What are you? Where are you?”
“- The fire… I am…” The fire that Drek started? Isn’t it impossible? Yet, the elder ones of our group used to tell stories and fairy tales about people and wizards out of the extraordinary, whom talked to the nature, animals and everything that there exists. I guess it could be possible. Now it’s quiet again. No voice, whisper or fire talking to me. Still, I have to ask him if he also hears, or ever heard, at least one voice.
“- Drek, do you hear voices at times?”
“- No. Why, do you?”
“- No, just wondering…” I lie. It’s better to do so than to make him believe that I’ve gone mad. Ever since I got the stones, the voices have started. They do not speak at all times but when they do, I get a bit scared. What if it’s too powerful magic to be yielded by a simple warrior as I am? I personally haven’t encountered it, but I’ve heard stories of magic that not even the mightiest of the magicians could handle. It corrupted them. I think that there are is a message with every story, so it’s not that I believe the stories, it’s more what they speak of, what they represent, what that could teach us.
A lot of the culture of our people, the struggle to survive, the beliefs, the wizards, the kings, the other races, they’ve all been influenced by tales and myth, by those stories that we tell our children in order to pass on our knowledge to future generations. Those stories have shaped and molded us and we shape and mold them. We teach and learn, narrate and listen.

THE TALE OF LIO, DREK AND THE STONES – CHAPTER 1 (DRAFT I)

The coldness strikes my face. The hoodie covers my head. It’s said that the warm in the body enters and exits through the head. I am alone in this forest, all alone. I need to find a place to sleep on. Great, now the lightning and thunder also strike. Look, a cave! The lightning revealed it in this mountain. I now have a place where I can rest. Outside is pouring, found this cave at the perfect time, just when the weather started getting worse. Now I will rest…

There are colors in the sky. Red, yellow, blue and green, dancing and whirling against each other. A beam of light descending from the heavens. So beautiful… I need to get closer, inspect it. It’s like I am getting bewitched by it. An obssesion that grows. I need to see the place where the heaven is descending into our world. I get closer but I’m still far away…
Is it the heaven coming to Earth? The end of all ages? The last moments? It feels as if there are answers, but I need to be closer in order to reveal them. No sun nor moon, just the stars. And behold! The stars are coming as well. The whole sky is dancing while coming to our world. What can a sinner like me do? Just getting closer and further under the dance. The light is colored into the sky’s colors. Red, blue, yellow and green. The beam is thick and it seems that I will manage to get to it in time, before it ceases, if that even it’s the case.
If this is the end, I will then have no regrets. All my life I’ve been struggling by myself to have food, clothing and survive. The waste lands are no place for weakness. Eat or be eaten. If there truly are gods, I will demand for them to live in this world and in my shoes; go through the struggles. Then and only then – can they judge me. Whatever I’ve done before, I’ve done it to survive.

This war, the great war of our age, is not meant to be won. There are no losers. The kingdoms are dangerous these days. It makes the wastelands look friendly. And I know that there is nothing friendly within the wastes.
It’s morning now. Time to get up and hopefully exit the mountains until dawn. There is a path that not many know of, but I’ve travelled these parts before. Bulur – the path through the mountains of Rertar. I am familiar with these mountains and forest. Me and Drek used to rob merchants travelling this place. The sun cannot break between the mountains, only after noon I will be seeing it. I need to eat something ’till then.
I’ve still gotten dried bacon. I will eat it as I have no time to spare for hunting. Not now, not until I’ve met him. I remember to this day, how we used to steal apples and pears from merchants in the towns of the kingdoms when we were just kids. We used to outrun them by hiding in right places. The trick was to know the place, so one can get shelter from being caught. And be fast too. We had much fun doing so and life was so much simpler back then. Why do people have to grow up? No sharp mind, either be priest or philosopher, has the answer. I think nothing. I simply don’t know and philosophy is not my thing.

The bacon was tasty. Now it’s noon and the sun will soon ”fall” on the forest on this side of the mountains. I should arrive to where I’m needed.
What’s that? There is a sound coming from the bushes, maybe ten or fiteen feet in front of me. I grab my sword with the right hand and draw it from the shead. There is movement! Something is there, something bigger. Shall I get closer? It may take me by surprise. But if I don’t, it can still jump on me. Perhaps it’s something fast. What then? I listen carefully and take gentle steps. I won’t scare it. It could be an animal. Or worse: a troll. More movement from the bush. I am right in front of it, with my sword pointing towards it. I am ready.
Nothing comes out. But there is a sound. Definitely an animal. Big one, perhaps a deer. I hit the sword against the leafs and it moves again. I take aside a bit of the bush with my bare left hand and see it. It’s a deer. Looking closely, I can see it’s wounded by an arrow into the right leg. It’s bleeding and it means that someone is hunting it. I take out the arrow and inspect it closely… I can’t decide what is chasing the animal. It could be humans, elves, trolls or centaurions, but it looks more improvised and therefore untraceable. The deer is stuck into the bush. I won’t kill it. I let it be and continue my journey. Now I know that I am not alone, I’ll be carefull and surprise the hunter, or hunters as they don’t know there is something more than themselves in this place.

Look at the rays of the sun. It’s penetrating the forest’s thick trees. The trees are all tall and got a lot of leafs. If one does not know this location, one could get lost. My journey heads East. I’ll take another look at my compass. Yes, I am travelling East. I am on the right path. Just need to proceed.
This place is dangerous. Many of the wastelands used to hide here. That was before the trolls, elves and centaurions made appearance. Now a days there just aren’t that many that dare to hunt or gather here. Fruits of all kind can be found, some more mature than others. Those nearest the tree tops are sweeter than those reachable from the ground. It’s because of the sun. Here is a cherry tree. I will gather some and have with me. When eating fruits, you cannot go wrong, but if you are eating something poisonous. I know by now almost all kind of fruits so I know what I can and what I can’t eat.

There are whispers in my head. Quiet ones. A language I don’t understand. It seems as if there are a couple of “somethings” speaking to each other. It could be at least 3 different whispers. I do not recognize them. They are strangers to me.
-What do you want from me?
I need to make them stop. They are draining on my powers and tires me out. And right now, it’s the last thing I need. I will check out my compass again – still heading East. Soon I should be out of these places and into the kingdom of Almur. There is this little town – Segath – in which I will meet him, at the pub.
Segath is at the edge of the kingdom and one of the towns where war has yet to make appearance. That’s why we’ve chosen it as place for our meeting. It’s been a couple of months since I last put my foot into one of the kingdoms of men. War is not my thing. War is ugly.
I know there are people that are pure evil and there are those that have too little choice, but I’d rather be one of those than become a murdered for the kings. It’s just not worth it. Why would they get my loyalty? What is there to gain? To rape and kill women and children? They do no wrong to me and pose no threat. I don’t understand how people are resoning. The soldiers pledge their lives for the kings’ sake and they don’t get nothing in return but perhaps food and some money. Dirty money. Blood money. It’s just not worth it.
I must admit that I’ve longed to see him. My friend. My best friend. I wonder what adventures he’s been up to. What lands has he travelled? Who has he met? It feels like there are some things to catch up. At least for old times’ sake.

It’s evening by now and I am out of the forest. I can see the town downwards these hills. Everything is green. What a beauty, Segath shines like a pearl in the evening sun. It’s not that huge of a town, but it got a lot of “life” within its walls and it only got one gate. I am reaching closer with every footstep. The moment of truth is here: has he made it? I’ll wait a couple of days; perhaps one whole week.
Now I am in the town and heading to the tavern. I can hear the music from outside. I take my steps inside and look around. I do not see him. I walk around the pub, no sign of him.
“- Is there anyone with the name Drek in here?” I ask the barman. He got a gray and long beard and mustache. He looks like a stereotype for barmen.
“- No, sire. Not that I know of. Can I serve you something?”
I take forth my bag with money. I’ve got gold and silver.
“- One alle” I tell the barman.
“- We got cold and perhaps the best alle in all four kingdoms. You can’t go wrong.” He said while he blinked. I met his eyes and I feel that there is something with this old man. He is kind and gentle. Perhaps never done anyone any wrong. I think that he can see goodness in me. Even though I feel as I do at times, perhaps I am not the sinner that I feel I am. And that gives me hope. Hope of a fool; to meet everything with kindness. Not my style. But it’s contagious.
“- Here you go” he said and served the drink.
“- Thank you”, I said without realizing it. Why did I say that? Ahh… it got to be contagious, just as I thought. I like this man and would probably not do him wrong. “- Whom are all these people?”
“- Some are town’s folk. Other are strangers on their path to the gods know where. Better not to ask. A lot won’t like to have strangers interfere with their business. Be wise and stay by yourself. Wait until your friend arrives but don’t try to make new friendships. With most of these people, it wouldn’t last.”
“- If I am not mistaken, you offer sleep place aswell?”
“- Yes, I do.”
“- Do you have any free?”
“- As a matter of fact I do.”
“- Good. I’ll take a room.”
“- Go upstairs and into the one numbered 7”.
“- I’ll just drink the alle, then I will go to the room… If anyone asks for me call me.”
“- And under what name do you travel?”
“- Lio, sire. Just Lio.”

I am now in my room. The alle got me drunk. This bed feels so light and soft. It’s warm. Where is he? I hope he shows up soon enough. He’s probably just running late. Something might have gone into his path. Or the weather was just as bad as it was for me and slowed him down. I have done my part. Best he’s done his.

The stars… It’s so beautiful! The colors are astounding. It makes me wanna drink them up

“- Shut up!”
“- You are all alone! You and that… thing you carry.”
“- Shut up!”
These voices won’t cease. I’ll go and get some breakfast. I am hungry and still tired. I’ll never forget that man’s expression. Death… He suspected nothing and made me promise I’ll take good care of the stones. Little he knew that it was the purpose to why I befriended him. I won his friendship and his heart. I knew not that he was dying, but he was. And in his final moments, he gave them to me. He trusted me… He trusted me to protect them with my own life if needed. A couple before him did that. So they got to be valuable. I understand what it does, not how. That makes them worthless to me. I could sell them, but I won’t gain nowhere near what I am offered by the quest giver. He is waiting. And so am I.
I see my favorite food: egg and beacon. I’ll have a little of that. Perhaps even cheese and some bread. And a wine to top it up. Tasty, well cooked. I enjoy the flavors, it’s dancing in my mount just like the colors and stars in my dreams. They complete each other. After I eat this, I will take a bath. A long and warm one. Just to enjoy life.

I hope he will arrive today. I don’t want to stand at this place one week. Sure everything is good, but I have to fulfill my quest. I will take a walk around the city and go to the square. There are the shops and booths filled with everything one would need, actually. Spices, fruits, green food, clothes, armors, jewels, perfumes, swords and shield, shoes and boots. The war has driven up the prices. I won’t but anything but some spices. Spices from Wahl, the faraway lands. It’s definitely worth it. If I stay here until tomorrow, I will go outside of the walls and into the waters nearby. It’s been a while since I dipped my feet in a river, lake or sea.

Now I am going into my room. It gets darker and the people drunker. I wish no attention. Just in and out when the time is in. It knocks on my door. “- Who is it?”
“- Drek!”
“- Drek?!” I hurry to open it and here he is: Drek. “Finally, you made it!” I said while hugging him.
“- Don’t get too excited yet, Lio… We’ve got a problem..”
“- What can it be? Don’t you have it?”
“- No, that’s the problem… I got really close, but they took the jewels under the protection of some soldiers. And… I am not you, I am no match for the soldiers…”
“- Shit”
“- Yeah… shit.”
“- I’ve done my part… I got the red stones.”
“- They are worth nothing to us. And without the other jewels, they aren’t worth nothing to him either.”
“- Where did they go?”
“- Rormath…” he told with a sad face expression.
“- Rormath? What are they dointg in the wild?”
“- Only the gods know.”
“- Good thing I have a favour to request from Barbar. He owes me one. And he and only he can track them down in the wastelands. We will be getting our hands of them soon enough. We start our journey tomorrow.”
“- Great! I was thinking you will be mad at me.”
“- Mad? No, I know you did what you could. It’s good you did nothing foolish and jeopardize our mission. You’re a thief, not a warrior. He is waiting, so we have no time to spare. Tomorrow… we will go straight to Rormath and talk to Barbar. Now sleep… In the morning we’ll have breakfast. I suggest that you get up early and join me. Here are some coins… Go downstairs and pay for a room for yourself. See you in the morning.”

TROAR

Male TROAR reassembles the likeness of a boar, but bigger, ’till the stomach of a grown up human.

It travels on all its four legs. Their bodies are either gray, black or a combination of both. There are sharp piles on their back and on the sides.

Troars’ mounth are round with big teets, like a human finger’s size.

It has 4 eyes: 2 on their face, just above the three holes which it breathes with and one of each part of its ribbes.

The females hatch.

CHAPTER I – DRAFT I

CHAPTER I – DRAFT I

There was a big man coming to the city. The place was swarming with folks of all society classes even if it rained. Little rain won’t stop the folks from their tasks. The man had a gray cloak. He had wide axles and was tall. Few would put a fight against him, but with a blade of any kind. He came through the gate leaning on his staff and the soldiers immediately noticed him. A man of his statue was impossible not to be noticed. The two at the gate noded their heads at him. He noded back. His long and white hair sticked out from the cloak’s hood. With his staff in the left hand, he walked slowly into the city. There was movement from folks and horses. Because of his height, he would easuly be seen through the crowd. He was at least two heads taller than the tallest of the crowd.

The man went towards the city’s square. There was a pub where he could recruit some fine arms. It was pouring but the cloak held him warm and dry. The cotton from the finest shores of Wahl – expensive but of superior quality.

He arrived at the square and noticed the traders and town’s folks gathered. The crowd was shown merchendise from Wahl, probably and other far corners of Goth. Merchendise from the kingdoms and from beyond.

The man noticed one slave trader that had a youngling, most probably in his early twenties. It was the last slave of the day. At the sight, he felt something within; his powers raising. It would do so if he was nearer the fountain, but the fountain was nowhere near this city.

Strange”, he thought, then he gazed at the slave, ”It must be him”… ”But why?”.

The youngling was not big and too young to know of major labor. Or duties No one wanted to buy him, but the man in the gray cloak.
”20 gold coins!” he shouted. The crowd became quiet. The trader shouted:
”Sold! To the man in gray!” and pointed at him in laugh.


He took the rope around the slave’s hands and the one around his neck and pulled him like a hound. The man in gray protested:
”There is no need for rope! Just cut it and set him free.” The slave owner did so and the youngling went to the man. His hair was black and wet. The man in gray told him to follow him:
”You are mine now”. The young man answered:
”What keeps me from running away?”
”Nothing… nothing at all. Just follow me to the pub and you get to decide what you’ll want to do next.” Prior to noticing the powers geting stronger, he would not deal with slave traders to not encourage them to do such business. But now he wanted the young man to follow on his quest. There was something special with him, magic doens’t just get stronger by nothing. Something must cause it.
”Okey, that I can do”.
”Good.” he said slowly ”I’m grateful you don’t just run away.”

In the pub, the old man ordered two wines, one for each of them. Then the man got up from his chair and went to the rangers that sat at their own table. After a while, the young slave could hear them talk:

What’s at stake for us?” One of them asked the elder.
“A path to greatness. A chance for you to gain knowledge and prove you’re worth your title as great hunters and rangers. ”
“So no money?” asked another.

I wish there was something I could speak of to you that would change your mind. But I cannot. Why not try to see it for yourself? I can guarantee you that you won’t find it dissappointing. As of money, there could very well be some… for some…”

While he said this, his eyes pierced through their souls. Honesty and hope filled them up. His eyes radiated that much needed honesty that they desperatly did need to see.
“Spare us of your efforts, old man” one ranger said. “We are not in need of quests or adventure.”
“But I am”, another one said. One that was sitting at nearest of the other tables. “I will follow you”.
The old gray- haired man smiled and looked at him.
“Good”, he responded, “A brave one. What exactly are you expecting from me in exchange?”
The stranger from the table stood up and walked the two steps between the table and the old man.
“A share.” He said.
There was noise in the inn. Folks were shouting and drinking.
“You are a fool for following this old man!” one of the rangers told him. “He got no money. There won’t be any either. ” By now, the couple of rangers that were standing by the old man scattered across the pub.
“But there will be” the gray haired said. “And lots of it!”
“How do I know you are telling the truth, old one?”
“Because I am a wizard. ”


The ranger now took a step forth and stirred the old man in the eyes. The other ranger, the one who accepted this mission stood now a step back. He putted his left hand on the ranger stirring at the self- proclaimed wizard but the other ranger picked it off with his right hand and raised it along with the pointing finger.


“You are not a wizard, you’re a liar” the starring ranger said. “Why would someone lie like that?”
“Can anybody do this?” the old man asked and suddently there were fireworks between his hands that exploded. In the noise going on, with all the music and dancing, no one noticed, but a few that saw the fireworks.
“A wizard! But it can’t be! There hasn’t been any for CENTURIES!” The ranger said as he now stepped back from the old man. “It can’t be!” he spoke.
“Welcome to our town, Great One!” the other ranger said.
“What is your name?” The Wizard asked.
“Rumir. What’s yours?”
”Merek”.

At the same time as the dealings were done inbetween the ranger and the wizard, the young slave got into some kind of troubles.

The people in the inn witnessed how one of the rebellion provoked the young man. He was taunting with ”You’re a slave”. Nimbo did not knew how the rebel could know about him being a slave, but it was very possible that he was seen in the cage earlier during the dat by this fool. Before the rebel could take forth his blade, Nimbo’s blood got warmer. The anger took over. His fist hit the rebel to the ground and knocked him out. He was unsure over how he should feel. The songs have stopped. In his normal condition, he would have never done it. But now it was done. The whole inn looked at the visitors and some of the folks there were threatfull. The old man urged the youngling to leave the building and continue on their own the adventure, togheter with the ranger. Beyond the walls and into the wilderness. Otherwise, the rebel’s comrades would show up and it would not end well for either one of them.

One man got up and took his blade: ”-You will pay for this!” he shouted. The old man in gray lifted his hand with an open palm and pointing towards the man with the sword. He whispered some words in a language unknown to the others in the place and when the man tried to come nearer Nimbo, the old man held him at stance, presumently with magic just so that he could not take any further move. Like an invisible shield. The others were surprised.

– A wizard!” One man in the inn shouted. The wizard looked at Nimbo and said ”-It’s time for us to go.”

The youngling, ranger and the wizard left the building and would go beyond the walls, in a claimed by the old man, quest.

-What was all that about?” Nimbo asked. ”You’re a wizard! No wizard has been seen in the last couple of hundreds of years. How did you do that?”

– It’s not important now, is it? We are on a journey. I am glad that the two of you join forces with me and accept an adventure.”

– What if I go? What if the ranger does not want to fullfill the quest?”

-Then I would be alone, I guess. But the two of you would never leave me, now would you?”

– No, yet we want answers. Why did you bought me from the slave dealer?”

– Because I feel magic in me when you’re around. And that could come handy in time.”

– Magic?”

– Yeah, you see you could be something special if you only want. Magic rests in you. No wizard was able to harvest their power and fill their potential without a guide. Wizards train wizards.”

– So i will becoma a wizard?”

– You could… if I am not wrong. And I am often right.” the wizard told him while their eyes met, while the wizard smiled.

The ranger spake after a while, just when there was sillence between the two others.

– A wizard, huh? I could not choose to follow on a journey with no better man. I have seen many things in my life. Trolls, alves, ghosts, djinns and forbidden or unknown places, but something like this, I have never witnessed.”

IDEAS

Painter
Blommor i håret
Angul
Grobak
“There is no such thing as magic. Those are fools’ tales”
Imrat
Lancial – a flower
Dayla
Natrafia
De vill hålla magi hämlig
Servants
Mother of jewels
“Sa ai Lumina sa vezi tot ”
People of the past
Magiker rådet
Wyatt
Eneru
Folk som har förmågor träffas vid magins råd.
Om rådets uppbyggnad och uteslutning
Asznee
Holodnik
Adamant
Tattoo som hjälper mot magi
Hamera
Axotna
Antun
Duvnak
Tamida
De ansluter sig
Troll Wars
Cum sau raspandit trolli in lume
Sefii triburilor
Cazane cu foc
Welcome to my lair
Taul Magur
Djur som växer upp likt plantor
Inid
The missing god
Azek
Iolsirb
Vissa livnär sig på lögner
Cialu
Trollar istället för orcher. Vissa gigantiska, vissa mindre
Drunor