“... You Jaderail Enos Sunder are now deemed traitor to we Drow. From this night, the night we free you into the upper realm, your name shall only be enemy. If you return to the Underdark you shall be destroyed. The path we traveled these 30 days to bring you above shall be watched and guarded. In another 30 days we will send forth a raiding party of great might, if you are found in their night of destruction you shall be destroyed. May the ever changing seasons and sudden weather drive you to madness. May the ungodly sun blind you, may its heat burn your skin to the bone. This has been decreed by the Goddess Herself, may she always watch over us, and all the great houses have denounced you. On this night you are as the dead.”
There was a chill wind blowing here on this night, open to the sky as I now was. The sound of parchment crinkling was as subtle as the wind while the Priest rolled the official proclamation back up, a low evil chuckle coming from deep in his throat. “Well, that’s done. Now the soothsayers can truly say that we did our duties.”, he says into the darkness. The Sound of cold steel being drawn echos from within the cave.
Cold laughter chases me down the mountain.
The Priest’s magic is weak, I had studied him on our long trek from my homeland, his two guards are young, and more than able to put a end to my days. So I run, I run like all of the nine hell’s are on my heels. The Priest soon fell behind, his age telling, but I barely gained any head on those blood thirsty guards of his. How I made it off the mountain and into the forest below only the elder Gods know.
I ran until I could not run any longer. I ran down a cold mountain stream, hoping to hide my trail from my pursers. I used the deep moon shadows under the trees to hide myself. Nothing I did seemed to help. Every time I stopped to catch my breath, these two were not far behind. Every time I paused in my flight they gained just that much more on me. I was weakened from weeks of poor rations, they are younger and well feed. I was making rash decisions on the run, they were simply being methodical and relentless. My lead had faded to nothing, only the shadows were left as a defense to me now. Soon I would be spotted, that was clear to me if not yet to them. Soon death would visit this night, and the odds were not in my favor. I do not fear death, but I do not welcome it either.
Slow deep breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Become stillness, one with the tree, I am not here only the tree exists. Pick a foe. The one to the right. Yes, closer, closer, become as the deep dark places, still as death until just the right moment.
React! Flow into rock across the water, and boulder takes breath. Stop thinking flow as trained too do, now into bat swoops the night…
... and the sword fills my hand. Flow into Mantacore Sting, and the heart stops. Keep moving, the other surely heard the grunt of air and the body thump into the ground. Free the blade, use the tree as a shield, keep it between myself and him until I’m ready. Deep slow breaths. Assume a challenge stance, the Scorpion ready to strike. No choice this time, now I will have to fight for my life.
Now comes the end. Either I survive this night or he does. One way or the other it is a ending. They planned my end up on the mountainside, to leave my body open to the elements and whatever beasts that walk this world outside the under realms. They planned not only to remove me from the Underdark but to set my soul free far from the passages and caverns my inner self would find comforting. Now I face that end.
I hold my pose as he spots me. I reach for the inner peace my masters taught me all warriors feel, thought must become instinct. Action and reaction must flow, thinking will slow my sword hand. The sword will guide my hand more than my hand will guide the sword. Tonight skill is all that will tell. Were my masters better than those of the clergy? Will the last son of house Sunderian stand or fall? All this flashes through my mind as he bellows a challenge of his own and charges. I hold my pose, I seek my emptiness. I seek to become only the sword.
With a clash of steel on steel I meet his first blow. The strength of it shocks my arm and drives me back. I hold my calm, that inner thing that lets me react without thought. He rages at me. Demands that a traitor such as I should accept my fate. I use the time to gather my strength as the feeling returns to my punished arm.
He feints several times, I avoid and block all his blows. I stay silent, he rages on. My strength is at its limits and he can tell. He gloats about how my death will raise him in the eyes of the Dark Queen. I watch his every move, I watch for those subtle tell tells that will allow me to avoid his next attack.
It dawns on me, his tactic is to wear me down. To give me just enough time to believe I can stand against him as he slowly but surely overcomes me. His blows are not even at full power any longer. They are simply to force my strength lower as I defend myself. I must find a way to turn the tides soon. I block yet another attack, I can see no weakness in his style. I see no opening…
He is skilled, he handles his weapon well, that I must admit, but disciplined he is not. Only a fool would try to push is foe into a rage with his words. I try to ignore his raging mouth full of venom and spite as we circle each other looking for a weakness in each others defenses. Try as I might I soon fail, I am not a traitor to my people. I am not a failure to my house, and I will not lay down and die. He pushes me too far. Rage floods me. I seem to drop into some black place, only he and I exist. In this darkness I find that perfect nothing the masters spoke of so often, our blades begin a dance of death as not seen here before on this night.
The black void seems to guide my sword arm, I am no longer thinking in forms and counter forms. I strike out as my will guides me, his blows are soon all defensive. He is no longer the aggressor with the upper hand, facing a defeated foe. I slice my way into his defenses, I send his blade into positions that leave him open for longer periods. He is no longer raging at me…
He seems stunned for but a moment, then collapses at my feet. The rage fades from me, with this goes that void of nothing. All around me I notice for the first time this night the sounds of the night. The low singing of some night insects or maybe other creatures of this upper world. I feel for the first time in my life totally alone. I sink to my knees, all my energy spent. Alone here in a new world, but alive. I do not know how long I stayed down on my knees, it seemed to last forever to me in my despair.
The singing of what must be some sun heralding bird brought me to myself. I drag his body over to lay beside his companions. My people named me traitor, they call me enemy. And now I find myself reduced not only in their eyes but in my own as I am reduced to robbing from the dead to better my chances of survival in this upper land. This new world I will now be forced to make my way in.
I vow to myself that those who have brought me to this level of existence will pay by my hand one day. They had better live up to there vow to destroy me because I will never stop trying to go back and destroy them.
And that my friends was the end of the Prologue.
Here would have been the place the story took a pause for the next chapter to be posted in one Full run just as the Prologue has now been done. This would then allow you to post your comments all at one time until I posted the next full chapter. At this time I’m still working on the First chapter, which I just now noticed I titled the Second Chapter by accident that has now been corrected.
I hope that you enjoy reading the full thing at one time as it was intended up to this point.
And Now to get on with it… I have Reserved several posts to finish chapter one with as I wish to get all my past work posted at once. The new renders are still WIP’s but I should be posting live by the end of this weekend. So until then, the rest so far…