The Happenings I
Series The Happenings by Azaelia Silmarwen
Chapter 2
Writer Azaelia Silmarwen
Chapter Chronology
Previous The Beginning
Next Journey to the Pilgrim
The Beginning Chapter Chronology Journey to the Pilgrim

Chapter Two: Ten Years LaterEdit

Ten years had passed since that terrible night, no…“terrible” didn’t even begin to describe it. During those ten years I lived at Bower Lake’s Gypsy Camp…still living with the pain of my sister's death. Every night I saw Lucien kill her and every night I remember my survival. The chance I was given to revenge Rose’s death.

I still don’t know how I could have possibly survived that night. Being shot just below the heart, then falling out of the top tower’s window, plummeting down a cliff, only to hit one of the roofs of Bowerstone and then hit the pavement and to survive with the majority of my bones broken…it was just not possible. Anyone else would have died, but not me. Maybe it had something to do with having Hero blood flowing through my veins like Lucien said, but then…why didn’t Rose survive?

The strange lady with white eyes, Rose and I met previously that day, found me and took me away from Bowerstone, bringing me to Bower Lake. It was a place where I was safe. It was a place where I was safely away from Lucien. It was a place where I could heal. And most of all, it was a place where I could plan and train for my revenge. Anyway, I awoke several days later and the first thing I noticed was that I was in pain. The second thing I noticed was someone's horrible breath breathing on me. The dog from the streets of Old Town had watched over me ever since that night, never leaving my bedside, or so the strange lady named Theresa, told me as she nursed me back to health. She also told me about Lucien fleeing from Fairfax and that he believed me to be dead.

It took me over a month to gain my strength, strength to get out of bed anyway, but over time the pain from Rose’s death became my strength and my grief became will. The will to revenge the death that I saw every night in my dreams, my nightmares. During those ten years, I trained to avenge Rose and now…that time had come!

I stood on the bridge inside the Gypsy Camp, admiring the view, as I waited for Theresa. Currently, I was wearing a horrible, light brown pauper blouse with a disgusting, patchy and unflattering, brown pauper skirt and boots. The first chance I got, I would be ditching this outfit. Honestly, nobody wore clothes like this anymore…not even beggars! Oh, I also had my hair pulled back in a loose ponytail. My dog, Storm, who had remained by my side faithfully over the ten years, was currently lying down at my feet enjoying the sun. I have to admit, I wasn’t completely honest then, seeing as faithfully didn’t even begin to describe his loyalty. He protected me, comforted me, listened to me, and above all…he was now my closest friend.

‘Ah, there you are,’ said a quiet voice next to me, startling me from my thoughts. ‘And your faithful friend too.’ Theresa added, when Storm barked a lazy greeting. ‘Many years ago I promised you that I would help you revenge your sister’s death.’ Theresa said, turning her attention back to me. ‘That day has come. Today, you leave the safety of this camp and seek out Lucien. The journey will not be easy.’

I gave her a look. I didn’t need her to tell me that it was going to be dangerous. The man had already proved that he would do anything to get what he wanted, even if it meant killing the innocent!

‘There is a chest near your caravan,’ Theresa continued, ignoring the look I gave her (she normally did). ‘I have left a few things inside that might prove useful. Meet me by the gate when you’re ready to leave.’ she added, before walking off.

I looked down at Storm, who looked back up at me wagging his tail.

‘Race you to the caravan,’ I said before running off with Storm chasing after me.

We wove in and out of the gypsies and chickens, something I was surprisingly talented at. In the end, Storm ended up beating me. He sat on the caravan step looking happily up at me.

‘Savour your victory, my friend, for I shall be victorious next time!’ I laughed, bending down to pat him. I return he licked my cheek affectionately. ‘Shall we see what Theresa left us, boy?’ I added, hopping up and opening the chest.

It was actually quite disappointing.

The first item I pulled out was a rusty longsword. Honesty, a rusty longsword? An item that farmers use to protect their crops from Hobbes, but not for a warrior like myself! Well, at least it was better than nothing. Sighing, I sheltered it on my hip, with a distained look on my face, before turning my attention to the other weapon present in the chest. A ranged weapon…and it was as disappointing as the longsword. It was a light splintered crossbow! Out of all the ranged weapons in Albion, it had to be a crossbow! I hate crossbows! I preferred pistols and rifles! Besides, this crossbow is one of the most pathetic crossbows ever made with it being slow and clunky…and it doesn’t even do that much damage.

Swinging the crossbow onto my back, I looked back into the chest and found something quite satisfactory. Dog Elixir, a potion made to heal the wounds of any dog, and as a bonus, it keeps their coats shinny, nose cool and their breath smelling like daisies. I looked down at Storm debating whether to give him some now, for his breath, but I decided against it and put it in my magical satchel (it was a small bag that could carry anything within it). I then pulled an ordinary garden spade out of the chest. I stared at it blankly, before I said to Storm, ‘How is this supposed to prove useful? Does she expect me to do some gardening or something?’

Storm just cocked his head to one side and looked at me. I was beginning to think that it was for something really obvious, but I didn’t know what. Shrugging to myself, I put the spade also in my satchel and pulled out the next item. Smiling, I examined the collar of holding.

‘What do you think? Want to wear it until I can afford to get you a new one?’ I asked Storm, who barked in agreement.

I fastened the collar around Storm’s neck, before pulling out the final item, which was a placebo health potion. A health potion I use to take, once I hit my teens, after brutal sword practices with a retired guard, who was a good friend of Theresa.

‘Well, the chest is now empty, so we might as well go and meet Theresa, but first, I’m getting rid of this horrible top. When I’m hunting Lucien I want to be comfortable.’ I said to Storm, dropping my belongings outside my caravan and going inside to change. I knew going around in my bra would be frowned upon in society, but the blouse was just not practical for fighting or anything else I would end up doing. Emerging from my caravan, I shoved the blouse in my satchel, before picking up my weapons.

‘Come on Storm,’ I said over my shoulder as I headed towards the gate. Along the way, many of the gypsies wished me luck, especially those that remembered me as a child. Theresa was already waiting for us at the gate.

‘Now, come with me,’ was all she said, when we came to a halt in front of her.

‘Open the gate,’ someone yelled as Theresa to face the gate. ‘Good luck!’ he added to me as we exited the camp.

‘Take this,’ Theresa said, handing me a strange seal, when we stopped at the end of the bridge leading to the camp.

I looked at her questioningly.

‘It is a powerful artefact,’ she explained, ‘one that all heroes carried. It will grant you access to places others cannot go. It will also allow me to talk to you, when necessary.’

I didn’t know how this small seal would allow her to talk to me, but I let it go. I figured that I would find out soon enough.

‘Now, look down towards the lake.’ Theresa ordered, and I obliged. ‘The seal will allow you to enter that tomb. In its darkest depths lies the Chamber of Fate. When you come out, you will be stronger, much stronger. Now go.’ she said finally, before heading back towards the camp.

I stood there staring at the tomb in silence before Storm startled me slightly by barking and running down the path.

‘Storm? What is it, boy?’ I yelled, chasing after him.

Halfway down the hill he stopped, turned and looked at me, before starting to dig. I stood there watching him as he repeated the same action over and over again. Look at me, look down at the spot he was digging, looked at me again before starting to dig once more. After a few minutes, it hit me. I now knew what the spade was for! It was digging up treasure! I quickly took out the spade and began to dig in the little hole Storm had made. After three shovels of dirt, I saw something red in the hole. I quickly put down my shade and grabbed the item, which turned out to be…a rubber ball. Feeling as though I had just wasted my time, I chucked it over my shoulder and continued down the hill, shoving my spade in my satchel as I went.

Just as I was about to reach the bottom of the hill, Storm came racing past me and knelt playfully in front of me with something red in his mouth. Something that looked a lot like…

‘I should have known.’ I muttered under my breath, taking the ball - with much difficulty - out of Storm’s mouth. ‘I’ll play with you later, Storm, but right now I think we should get to that tomb. Come on, I’ll race you again. Not that it will be fair,’ I added, thinking of all the things I was carrying and as a result, Storm won yet again.

‘Okay, you win again,’ I sighed, before adding, ‘you won’t beat me in a swimming race to the island the tomb is on, though!’

Storm wagged his tail enthusiastically and ran into the water with me and man was it cold! Nevertheless, we plunged through the water, determined to get out of its icy clutches. I quickly hoped out of the water and turned to encourage a struggling Storm along.

The moment Storm was out of the water he shook his coat dry, sadly he sprayed it all over me.

‘Thanks for that, Storm,’ I said dryly, but when he bowed his head, I bent down and gave him a hug. ‘It’s all right, boy. I know it was an accident.’ I said, before turning my attention to the tomb door.

‘Hmm, Theresa said that the seal will allow me to enter,’ I mused, getting up and examining the door. In the exact middle of the door, I saw an indent. Upon closer examination, I saw that it was roughly the same size and shape as the seal Theresa gave me. Heart thumping, I unattached the seal off my skirt and slide it into the hole and turned it. To my delight, I heard the clunking of the unlocking of locks and I pushed the door open, retrieving the seal as I went.

Once Storm and I were inside the tomb, the door swung shut behind us. Luckily, there were torches burning inside, producing light.

‘Lovely place,’ I muttered, looking around before I looked down at Storm who was standing between my legs shaking. ‘Hey, it’s all right. Nothings going to hurt you, not while I’m here.’ I said gently, bending down to comfort him. Once Storm had calmed down, we headed down the hall that looked like it headed to a dead end.

‘Do not be alarmed,’ came Theresa’s voice, when we were halfway down the hall, scaring the crap out of me, which resulted in me scaring Storm. ‘I’m speaking to you through the Guild Seal.’ My heart rate began to slow down and I stopped looking around for Theresa. ‘You will need to jump through that hole to continue.’

I looked ahead and saw a hole in the ground at the end of the hall and I cautiously looked down. It was several meters deep!

‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’ I said, looking around for another way.

‘Don’t worry, the water at the bottom will break your fall,’ said Theresa’s voice.

Hesitantly, I looked over the edge once more, before picking up Storm and jumping down the hole. Theresa was right, the water did break our fall, but it was freezing cold…colder than Bower Lake! I swarm to the shore with Storm on my back.

Reaching the shore, I put Storm back on the ground and headed through an arch way that lead to a small ledge. I stopped and looked around. We had come to an open area with bones scattered everywhere, and by the looks of them, I’d say they were human bones. Next to me, Storm was alert and growling at some unseen enemy. I quietly drew my sword and leaped lightly off the ledge.

I began to move forward cautiously when I noticed the ground in front of me begin to move. Storm went lower to the ground, ears back and teeth bare. Whatever the enemy was, I was going to find out soon. Maybe it was some kind of troll or some other monstrous beast, or maybe it was…giant beetles? A group of giant beetles had broken to the surface buzzing angrily at me. Here I was expecting something much more…deadly. I put my sword back in its sheath before taking the crossbow off my back and lazily shooting every single one of them. After all, they were only giant beetles…they weren’t even the bloody red one that never seem to die!

Shaking my head, I praised Storm for warning me and headed through the cavern, crossbow ready for anymore pests that might get in my way. It was a good thing that I did keep my crossbow at the ready for I ran into another group of beetles before I entered a small room with a rock bridge that lead through a gate. Guessing that I needed to go through there, I headed towards the bridge when something yellow shot out of a rock and stopped in front of me. It was a flit switch.

‘You’ll need to shoot the switch to go any futher,’ came Theresa’s voice once more, and like the last time, it made me jump, though not as bad. This was going to take some getting use to.

‘I know that!’ I muttered angrily.

I knew all about the different flit switches; switches that were yellow and had a Cross Hair on them meant that they needed to be shot, blue with an upside down sword needed to be hit, and red switches with a lightning bolt on them needed Will.

Anyway, I shot the switch and the gate opened. Walking through the gate, I walked into, yet another, group of beetles before I was once more in the freezing cold water. I made two pit stops on my way to the other side of the lake inside the tomb. The first stop was on a stone platform where I found a skeleton with a piece of paper in his hand.

Curiously, I took the paper out of his hand and read it. It was a letter to someone called Harriet about the skeleton's voyage with two other men, Brendan and Drake, and how he planned on poisoning their water supplies. The bottom of the letter was signed Erik. Wondering if he did end up poisoning the other two, I put the letter in my satchel - who knows, maybe I could get some money for it - and continued on to the second stone platform (my second pit stop). On the second stone platform I found another skeleton, Brendan, only this time instead of a letter to a loved one, it was a diary entry and it to spoke of the voyage and how he too was planning on poisoning his companions. Slightly bewildered at their behaviour, I pocketed the diary entry as well.

When I made it to the other side of the lake, I hurried along the hall and I came across a third skeleton.

‘Let me guess, this must be Drake.’ I muttered, while Storm cocked his head to one side.

My hunch was correct. In the skeleton’s bony hand was a crunched up suicide note, which read:

A man can only be pushed so far before he breaks. Five nights without sleep while those villains scheme behind my back, losing a foot to a giant beetle, that never ending attack of hiccups…well, it was all worth it, for I have found it.

Yes! The treasure is mine. Who knows what great Hero made use of this magical gem? All I know is neither Brendan nor Erik will ever get their hands on it! I am planning on poisoning them both tonight. Then I’m throwing the gem into the lake and poisoning myself too. Just in case!

Nobody makes a fool out of Drake Morton!

‘You’re right, Drake Morton,’ I said, putting the note away. ‘Nobody can make a fool out of you considering as you did a brilliant job of it yourself!’ I shook my head at his actions, thinking that he must have lost his mind. ‘Come on Storm. Let’s get to our destination.’

  • *

After fighting, to my annoyance, even more giant beetles (this place seriously needed to be fumigated or something), we made it to another room only this time there was a big, yellow, locked door and a small circular, raised platform in the middle of the room. Figuring that the platform wasn’t just for decoration, I went and stood on it, waiting for something to happen. Above the door, a flit switch lit up and glowed yellow…I shot it. It zoomed to where I was standing and turned blue…I hit it. It zoomed over to a corner of the ceiling and turn yellow again…I shot it. It then zoomed into the door and the door unlocked.

Smiling slightly, I left the room coming to a paved hall. As I was walking along it, Theresa spoke to me.

‘Beyond these broken doors, holds the Heroes Guild. For centuries, this academy trained the most supremely gifted sons and daughters of Albion, bonded together by the blood the flowed in their veins. Once worshipped by the people of Albion, the Heroes became feared and hated. No man today remembers the night the Guild burned, and now it lies forgotten.’

I walked into the room beyond the hall and looked around. By the state of the place, I could definitely tell that it had been forgotten.

‘But the Heroes are not all gone…you are here, and the same heroic blood flows through you. Look around at these walls.’ she continued. ‘Your forebear, one of the mightiest Heroes that ever lived. At a young age he suffered a devastating loss, from which he never truly recovered. But when the world tried to crush him, he fought back. He grew strong, strong enough to shape the world as he saw fit. You must do the same.’

I quickly looked behind me as a light flared. In the middle of the room was a circle, an identical to the one that Rose and I had stood in for Lucien. It brought bad memories of that night back to me.

‘The Guild has reacted to you,’ said Theresa. ‘Step into the light and discover the true power of Heroes.’

I swallowed my fear and did as she asked, with my only thought being of making Rose and my parents proud. The moment I stepped into the circle, the light surrounded me lifting me into the air. I could hear Storm’s worried barks, but they were drowned out by the pain I soon felt. It felt as though moulting, hot lava was pouring through my veins and I vaguely heard Theresa telling me that my blood was awaking. Thankfully, the pain stopped nearly as quickly as it had started, and I felt more powerful than before.

Storm walked over to me and licked my hand, still worried about my wellbeing.

‘I’m all right, Storm. I’m all right.’ I said, smiling down at him and rubbing his head gently. ‘What do I do now?’ I asked out loud, hoping Theresa would answer.

'Use the Cullis Gate at the end of the room to go to Bower Lake.’ Came Theresa’s voice.

After I fixed the Cullis Gate, Storm and I travelled back to Bower Lake, unfortunately, where the Cullis Gate was located also happened to be where a big family of giant beetles were residing.

‘Typical,’ I muttered before summoning my Will pushing them all away from me before I drew my sword and smashed them. Once the last of the beetles had been destroyed, I took in my bearings - I was on top of Hero Hill - before jumping down the side of the cliff - it was much faster than walking down the path.

‘Make your way to Bowerstone, I will meet you there.’ said Theresa.

I wasn’t happy about that. It was now night-time and I was tired, wanting nothing more than to sleep, but I did as Theresa said. After all, I might as well get use to less sleep. I doubted that I would get much sleep for now.

I hurried along the road to Bowerstone, only to find my path block by two carts, a barricade and a guard.

‘What’s going on?’ I asked the guard. ‘Why aren’t I allowed to get through?’

‘Apologise citizen. The road to Bowerstone is closed due to bandit activity. I’m afraid that as long as the bandit Thag is alive, the road stays closed.’ The guard replied. His speech sounded as though he had rehearsed it.

‘Fabulous,’ I mumbled furiously. The guard heard me.

‘If you’re in a hurry, you could always take care of Thag yourself.’ he said, taking in my impatience, crossbow and longsword.

‘Right, I’ll go do that.’ I huffed, before walking back down the road to where the bandit camp was, muttering about how useless guards were until Theresa interrupted me.

‘So, the road to Bowerstone is closed. It would seem that Thag has been capturing traders on their way to Bower Lake camp. He is a danger to all and must be dealt with. With your new power, you should be able to defeat him and his gang and continue your quest.’

‘Shouldn’t you say “I will be able to defeat them” not that I “should be able to”?’ I asked, but I got no reply. ‘Thanks for the lack of confidence.’ I added bitterly, coming to a halt outside the camp…the gates were open. Bandit fortresses didn’t usually leave their gates open.

Theresa must have found it unusual to, for she said, ‘Keep your wits about you, it may be a trap.’

Drawing my sword, I walked stealth like into the camp and looked around…not a bandit in sight. I walked even further into the camp when someone yelled out from a cage, ‘Look out, it’s an ambush!’

I whipped around and realised that he was correct. All around me, bandits were jumping out for the trees ready to either kill me or capture me to sell me as a slave. All I knew was that they weren’t going to succeed.

Flinging my crossbow off, I shot the bandit closes to me. This enraged the other bandits and they all came running at me. This was exactly what I wanted, and I didn’t mean it sarcastically. The retired guard that taught me to fight had passed on all of his knowledge and tips. One of his tips about fighting was to get your enemy angry, which made them blind with anger, which makes it easier to defeat them. It turned out that he was right. The battle didn’t even last five minutes, but I knew that they were just a warm up. How did I know that none of them were Thag? For starters, the captured gypsies were still tense and the main evidence was that Storm was standing on the porch of a small cabin barking and growling at the door.

Big, muscular and wearing what looked like a stag on his head. He took one look at Storm and harshly kicked him off the porch.

‘STORM!!’ I cried, before facing Thag angrily. No one attack my dog, otherwise they would regret it big time, and this bandit couldn't afford to take anything else away from me!

I held my sword in front of me, indicating that I was planning on fighting him…to the death.

‘No one defies Thag the Impatient!’ he declared. ‘I’ll gut you myself! I’ll give you three seconds to prepare yourself. No, wait; two! NO, sod it…NOOOW!’ he yelled, drawing his own sword and charging at me. I now knew where he got his title.

Anyway, his attacks were messy and I was able to block every single one. My plan was to wear him out, except with the combo’s he was doing at the moment, it would be hours before he wore out. Okay, that was an exaggeration, but not by much. As a result, I decided to make him even angrier. I insulted him, was annoyingly cheeky to him and instead of blocking his attacks, I dodged them making it look as though I was dancing.

Eventually he began to ware out as dawn started to arrive. I knew it was time to attack. With a few carefully planned combos, I disarmed Thag and with a final blow I beheaded him.

While I stood there looking down at my fallen enemy, Theresa spoke to me.

‘Well done. I will tell the guards of Thag’s death. With the threat removed, the road to Bowerstone can re-open.’

Nodding my head, I looked around for Storm and saw him limping painfully over to me. I swiftly when to his side and gave him some of the dog elixir. It took a few minutes for the elixir to take effect, but when it did, Storm was up and running once more, acting as though he hadn’t been injured in the first place…something I was thankful for.

Once I was one hundred percent sure that Storm was all right, I went over to the cage. I recognised the two gypsies immediately. I had known Garath and Regina since Theresa first brought me to Bower Lake camp.

‘Garath, Regina, are you all right?’ I inquired, going up to the cage door and trying to open it. ‘Where’s the key?’

‘Thag keeps the key to the cage in his hut. It’s in a chest.’ answered Garath.

‘Thanks, but you could have just said that it was in his hut in a chest.’ I said, running off to fetch it. Why couldn’t Garath just answer questions simply?

I found the chest all right. How could I not of? It was huge and the first thing you saw as you entered the cabin. It wasn’t even locked and I contained only three items; the key to the cage, travel-ready beef jerky, and a bag of gold. Pocketing the bag of gold, I looked around the rest of the cabin and found another bag of gold in the corner of the cabin, which contained only one gold - what was the point of that? -, and on Thag’s bed was a grubby journal. I curiously skimmed through its pages and didn’t find anything interesting, unless you count bad spelling and grammar, until I got to the final entry:

Grabbed sum mor traders today. Bunch of sorry weeklings, but Lusien don't seem to mind that. Longs he keeps paying wot do i care. Ben a while since he sended his boys around tho. He beter hurry up with that kash!

I couldn’t believe it! Thag had been in touch with Lucien…but why? I put the journal in my bag making a mental note to talk to Theresa about it.

Walking outside, I threw the jerky at Storm, who happily ate it. I didn’t want to carry it around. I hated meat and fish with a passion. Anyway, I was halfway to the cage when someone came running over to me.

‘Oi Lady!’ he said, coming to a halt in front of me. ‘Don’t even think about letting them out!’

‘Why?’ I asked, reaching for my sword. I knew he was the slave trader, Dick.

‘Those slaves belong to me. I paid for ‘em.’ he answered.

‘So?’ I said, drawing my sword.

‘Look – I don’t want any trouble.’ Dick said quickly. ‘Give them to me and I’ll make it worth your wild!’

‘No, don’t listen to him!’ cried Garath, will Regina begged, ‘You wouldn’t do that to us, would you Sparrow?’

‘Shut up!’ yelled Dick, before looking expectedly at me.

‘If you’re waiting for me to give you the key, you’ll be waiting there for a long time.’ I said coldly, walking over and unlocking the cage door, leaving Dick completely and utterly stunned.

‘Ah, thank you so much!’ Garath said joyfully.

‘I…can’t believe you did that!’ Dick said, still gaping like a fish.

‘We’re free!’ Regina cried, embracing me in a friendly hug.

Garath nodded in agreement. ‘Free to wander the paths and byways of the land, no master but the wind itself. Time stretched out before us like…like…what’s the word I want Reg?’

‘I don’t know, and it’s Regina!’ Regina huffed. She hated it when people called her “Reg”. ‘Right, I’m going now. Thanks again.’

‘Ah yes, thanks,’ added Garath, hurrying after Regina.

So now it was just Dick and I, excluding Storm who was currently eating the jerky. He knew that I was aware of the threat and he knew that I could handle it, so he just focused on his food.

‘You just turned down hard cash!’ sad Dick, still trying to come to terms with what I did. ‘You’re a nutter you know that? A nutter!’

‘At least I’m a nutter with my morals right.’ I said coldly.

‘You’ll pay for this.’ he snarled, running towards me, sword drawn and looking like a mad-man.

Sighing, I pointed my crossbow at him and shot him before he could even aim one blow at me.

‘By the way, Dick…you’re wrong. I haven’t turned down any cash.’ I said, picking a bag of gold out of his pocket, before putting it in my own moneybag. ‘Ready when you are, Storm.’

Storm promptly ate the rest of his jerky before following me out of the camp.

‘Meet me at Bowerstone Market by the clock tower. There is something you must see.’ Came Theresa’s voice from the Guild Seal.

‘Sure thing.’ I said running back along the path to Bowerstone.

I came to a halt though when the guard that had been guarding the road spoke to me.

‘Apparently someone killed off that bandit leader, so its safe now. I’d love to shake the hand of the bloke who did it.’ he said, walking off, not noticing the look I was giving him.

‘Yeah, that’s right. Automatically assume that it was a bloke, 'cause it’s impossible for a girl to do something like that!’ I muttered angrily. Storm barked in agreement. ‘Well, come on, boy. Let’s go meet Theresa.’

By the time we reached Bowerstone it was noon and both Storm and I were exhausted and just as we were about to enter Bowerstone, I noticed a Bard running towards us.

‘Hey, it’s you!’ he cried in excitement. ‘The Hero of Bower Lake!’

This got my attention. Had the news spread that quickly of my Battle with Thag? Or had he just gotten me confused with someone else? The latter of the two was unlikely.

‘Ronland’s my name. I’m a Bard see? And that’s the song I’m working on. It’s…well, it’s my first one. I’m just starting out. Listen to this… “The Hero went to Bower Lake and gave the Thag a belly ache!”.’

Well, at least it rhymes. I thought.

‘Er, that’s all I’ve got so far.’ Ronland said, looking uncertainly at me. ‘But maybe if I walk around Bowerstone with you I’ll get some inspiration?’ he added hopefully.

‘Sure. Why not?’ I said.

He positively beamed. He reminded me of a child that had just found a huge Christmas present under the tree. ‘Thank you!’

I nodded to him and walked into Bowerstone. Next minute I heard Storm’s whimper in pain then growl. I whipped around and saw what Storm was growling about. Some villager had kicked Storm and yelled ‘you filthy animal’ at him, before he went and kicked him again. That made my blood boil.

I marched over to the man, well aware that Ronland was taking in everything I was doing, and slapped him that hard that he fell over backwards.

‘What the hell was that for?’ he demanded. Everyone that was around went quiet to watch what was happening.

‘WHAT DO YOU THING IT WAS FOR, YOU IDIOT? YOU ATTACKED MY DOG, AND FOR WHAT REASON? HE WASN’T HURTING YOU! IF YOU EVER COME NEAR MY DOG AGAIN…YOU WILL REGRET IT!’ I bellowed, before storming off towards the clock tower, with Ronland and Storm trailing after me.

Upon reaching the clock tower, my temper subsided and I looked around for Theresa. She was nowhere in sight…but then I heard her voice. Sadly, it was coming form the Seal.

'I have bad news.' She said. 'I'm afraid I'll be delayed for a while. In the mean time you should buy some new equipment and prepare for the challenges ahead. But you'll need money. If you need money, there are jobs to be found. I believe that the blacksmith has an opening.'

'Or I could just steal it,' I said casually.

'If you must,' came her reply, though she didn't seem too happy about it.

'Theresa, I was joking!' I told her. I couldn't believe that she fell for that. I wouldn't have the guts to steal.

Sighing, I turned to Ronland. 'Do you think you could give me a tour? I haven’t been here in years.’ I would prepare for my journey later.

He willingly agreed and showed me all the different shops in Bowerstone and told me some interesting history and facts about Bowerstone. Eventually Theresa arrived, so Storm and I left Ronland and went to meet her.

‘I apologise for the delay,’ Theresa said to me, once I was standing in front of her. ‘Events are moving quickly indeed. Think about your life. All the places you have been, the people you have known, all the things you have done. How many moments, how many memories? Thag and his men – they had just as many, but now they have none…because of you. Do you feel the weight of responsibility yet?’ When I didn’t answer she continued, ‘Come,’ she added, walking down the street in the direction of the augments store. ‘The world is better off without Thag – and certainly Bower Lake is in your debt. But to really see the impact of your actions, you need look no further than Bowerstone. It has changed much since you lived here – especially Old Town where you spent your childhood. Never forget, that even the simplest choice can have far reaching consequences.’

We came to a halt next to the augment store and I looked around. The street was quite deserted.

‘Look,’ said Theresa, pointing out to sea where a strange building could be seen. ‘That is where Lucien is now, the Tattered Spire.

'The Spire was intended as a conjurer for all the magic in the world.' explained Theresa. 'Granting the kingdom ruler a power so great he could bend reality to his will. On the day it was completed, the first wish made, a light bloomed inside though its nature could not be darker. Albion shattered. Centuries of civilization was wiped out in moments. Its people erased from existence. Some say this way the first wish, an end to a hollow and corrupt world and for a purer one to take its place.

‘And now the Spire rises once again, by Lucien’s hand,’ concluded Theresa. ‘Lucien found documents which foretold the coming of one who would stop him using the Spire. That is why your sister died…and that is why you will face him. The cards have shown me this. Here…’ Theresa handed me the fate cards and I accepted them mutely. I now knew why that terrible night happened. ‘Each of the three Heroes you see in the cards is a step on the hidden path to Lucien’s downfall, and the life force of Heroes – will itself – is the key to the Spire’s power. Lucien’s agents’ search the land even as we speak. You must find the three Heroes before Lucien does…because you are the fourth; the one who will bring his downfall.’

I nodded my understanding.

‘I have seen a vision of a holy ritual in Oakfield. Salvation, though bittersweet, is delivered by one of incredible strength. Speak to the Abbott of the Temple of Light and see what you can learn of the Pilgrim. The road to Oakfield is dangerous – good luck.’

‘Thank you Theresa.’ I said, before heading to the Cow and Corset, Bowerstone’s local tavern.

Once inside the tavern, I walked over to the barman and booked a room for four nights. I assumed that I would be ready to head to Oakfield by then. Walking to my room, I dumped my equipment on the floor before flinging myself on the bed, falling asleep immediately.

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Written: June 2011