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#399571 - 06/13/08 03:48 PM A Tale Of FA's, Chapter 11: Loss & Salvation
RazorFoot Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/01/04
Posts: 2064
Loc: Seated at the computer, DUH
Chapter 11: Loss & Salvation

The soft amber light of dusk began to impugn with the somber shadows cast from the few ornate hangings of the Great Haven of House Harlan. Along its smooth, gray, time worn marble walls hung an assortment of shields, bearing the coat of arms of the warrior kings who had ruled the separate clashing nations which were later unified under one lord. The room was an amalgam of each of those diverse cultures brought together as a tribute and remembrance for all that had gone before the new age came to pass. For although these had each been magnificent kingdoms, the constant bloodshed and despair had brought turmoil to that disjointed and segregated land.

At one end of the Great Haven, stood two massive doors of wood and steel. In times past, the Great Haven had been used as a retreat in times of battle, a sanctuary to protect innocents if the fortress walls should fail to turn back invaders. None had ever been able to breach those immense walls but ere that should happen, six feet of marble and those same massive doors of steel and wood would provide many days of safety to those sheltered within. At the other end was the Altair Supremis, an enormous slab covered with an exact miniature representation of the lands of Lima and Lama. Seated at the head, in a high backed facsimile of the golden throne in the Hall of Kings, was Dereck the Red.

Dereck the Red was no child of fortune born of high lineage to some glorified nobility. Having been born to simple folk but bred for slaughter, he was a walking contradiction to that which he had fought to achieve.

As a child, he had been orphaned when his farming village had been set upon by raiders from the hills to the east. The raiders descended on the small peaceful village like a swarm of hungry locust, devouring everything in their path. Not for wealth or gain had it come to pass, but for mere sport.

The reaper’s scythe cut a path of carnage through the center of that humble borough leaving in its wake shattered lives never to be reconciled. Being a mere child of ten, Dereck could do naught but cling to his father as the blistering heat from the flames bit at his back. His eyes pressed tightly shut so as only to hear the exchange of steel. Over and over the sound echoed till suddenly, silence. Dereck felt a slow, warm stream cover his face and eyes, felt his father drop to his knees, and fall still before him. He opened his eyes, wiped the scarlet flow from them, and caught site of an image forever burned into his soul. There, before him, was the cleft body of his hero, his guardian, his father. The body had been cleaved from head to hip from the massive blow of a two sided great axe still protruding from the wound. Dereck looked up and met the eyes of a grinning raider. His eyes full of pride and accomplishment.

“Boy, I am feeling generous today. Fetch my axe and I will let you live. Do not delay long or my mood may change. Quickly now, there are more skulls to be cleaved and the others grow close to my tally.”

Dereck kneeled beside the remnants of his father’s body, hand shuddering as he reached out toward the double sided halberd imbedded deeply in the lifeless form before him. He pulled at it gingerly, half from the sick feeling filling his insides at the sight and half from the thought of causing his father more pain, regardless of the evidence of his eyes.

“Hurry boy, I lose my patience and my lead. If you farm folk were made of sterner stuff, my tally would hold up far better and far longer but you people shatter as easily as glass against stone. Hardly any sport to be found here. Bah, out of the way youngling, I waste good sport bothering with you.”

The last memory Dereck would have of that day would be the image of a sandaled foot smashing into his face. When his senses would return, a day had past and the village yet smoldered. Black cawing vultures had descended to attend to the flood of carrion the once quaint town had become. Of the entire village, only Dereck and a few others had remained. Some had found salvation hiding under the bodies of others, feigning death. A few women and their children had sought shelter outside the village in a small cave, well hidden by foliage. This was all that remained.

A fortnight had passed since the onslaught. The few survivors had spent their waking moments burying the dead and trying to piece together the remnants of their shattered existence there on the plains, none of which left them in any state to prepare for what followed. As was his custom, Trevek the slaver followed behind the raiders, finding good fortune for his acquired trade whenever he did. A shattered town’s folk put up little resistance against the whips and shackles of his men. Most, having been half starved by the time of his arrival, whether from inability or despair, almost welcomed the few scant morsels they were fed to keep their strength up in exchange for their freedom.

Trevek saw himself as a business man, trading in a commodity, nothing more, nothing less. He had no illusions about what he did or what he was. Though formerly of the land of Wansum, Trevek found fortune following the raiders in the land of Lama. With war and controversy a constant in these lands, business was good. Once he had a large enough inventory, he would journey to the areas bordering the Escrima wild lands. Here, there was a king’s ransom to be made for those dealing in slaves, willing to raise swords as mercenaries, or for those dealing in other ways of the flesh. Brothel owners were quite plentiful wherever mercenaries were about. Although he was skilled with a sword, Trevek found the ways of the trader less life threatening and far more lucrative.

Dereck found himself chained and carted, traveling far from home. Tears and pain his only familiar companions for weeks. Without friend, family, or purpose, he found himself uncaring on the slaver’s block being auctioned off to whom ever would have him. As it was, he was sold for a pittance to a letch of a man. With hope all but a wisp of a memory on the wind, Dereck gave no thought or care to the horrid fate that awaited him. As the man drug him by his ponderous chain, Dereck stumbled and fell, too weak to rise again, wishing only to pass on from this existence to the next.

The man’s yells meant nothing. Neither did the whip striking him repeatedly. Dereck crawled into a ball and wept. The man, growing tired of his new slave’s seeming resistance, thought it easier to purchase anew than continue dealing with this burden. Reaching into his tunic, the letch produced a small dagger, raising it to deliver a killing blow. As his hand descended, it was stopped and held fast in a grip of iron.

“What right have you to interfere with me and my merchandise? I own this waif and I will do with him what I will.”

The stranger released the man’s wrist, looked him square in the eyes with a gaze that would chill stone and spoke. “What price did you pay for this “merchandise”?

“Twenty coppers and goat and lest you seek to double that, you should leave me be with my property before I call the city guard to have done with you.”

“Fine, I will give you two silvers for your property and your troubles. Now go before I set you upon the slaver’s block, toothless and witless, though in truth you are decidedly one and fast approaching the other on your own. Now go!” With that, the man bit into the silvers and scurried back to the slave block, not wishing to miss what his new found wealth could acquire.

“Boy, can you hear me? Rise, no harm will come to you now. You are free to do as you will. If you have some place to travel and a means to get there, leave quickly or the same fate will follow and I do not know if there are other’s with my fool hardiness towards silver to save you. If not, you are free to follow me as long as you wish and on your own terms. I am White Dragon or so men have named me. I call no man, woman, or child my property and only few my friends. I earn my living by this steel at my side and if you wish, I can teach you to do the same for as long as you work hard and follow instruction. Life is hard as stone but with instruction and hard work, you can be the hammer to crush it beneath you and shape it to your will. What say you young one? The open road or the path of sweat & steel?”

Dereck pushed his body up from the dirt and raised his head. “I choose the path of steel sir. Teach me to be strong”. With that, Dereck, exhausted, blood stained, and weak, forced himself to his feet. The man extended his broad, battle scarred arm and hoisted the child up and into the saddle with him and rode towards the city gates.

Days became months, months became years, and Dereck became a man, a warrior, and a leader. White Dragon had been true to his word and forthright in his teachings. He had taken Dereck in, treated him as a son, and taught him the ways of steel. Each day had been the same as the one before. Mornings found him running through the plains and valleys till he thought his heart would explode through his chest. Mid day brought books, tomes, and manuscripts on logic, strategy, and philosophy. Afternoons were filled with mastery of the sword, axe, shield, dagger, and bow. The evenings were filled with moving large stones from one place to another, then back again. Dereck, now a man of twenty summers, was of massive build, keen intellect, and veteran of countless campaigns. From ruin, he had found his destiny. He would be a leader of men and one day and find his own path to greatness.

This he had accomplished by sheer force of will, strength of sinew, and by the power of flesh and steel. He had united the lands through hard fought battles, gaining one foothold to build upon another. In the end, the land was whole and the people happy, though many lives had been lost in the process and for that he mourned. Knowing his own loss and feeling the memory of it daily, he knew the greater good was worth the price to be paid and could only hope that his people felt as he and could someday forgive him in their hearts.

It was time and the War Counsel was beginning to filter in to the Great Haven. A strategy must be formulated to stop the advance of the monster that swept across the land like a wildfire before it tore asunder all he and his people had built. Dereck lowered his brooding head upon a massive fist and eyed his counsel with deep concern.
_________________________
"The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be."

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#399572 - 06/13/08 06:18 PM Re: A Tale Of FA's, Chapter 11: Loss & Salvation [Re: RazorFoot]
JoshuaMonjin Offline
Member

Registered: 10/13/06
Posts: 427
Loc: Fallon, Nevada
Whee!! More good stuff RazorFoot
_________________________
Jikishin kore dojo nari

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#399573 - 06/14/08 02:05 AM Re: A Tale Of FA's, Chapter 11: Loss & Salvation [Re: JoshuaMonjin]
jasperdaman Offline
Member

Registered: 12/20/06
Posts: 367
Loc: Australia
Trevek is a bad man....

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#399574 - 06/14/08 10:59 PM Re: A Tale Of FA's, Chapter 11: Loss & Salvation [Re: jasperdaman]
aikiuke Offline
Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 144
Loc: Illinois
man, I thought you'd be burnt out on this by now... lol

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#399575 - 06/15/08 07:19 AM Re: A Tale Of FA's, Chapter 11: Loss & Salvation [Re: aikiuke]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
That's right...'House of Harlan'.

(harlan pulls out the mead, and favorite movie '13th Warrior' )

Fun read, Razor. Thanks!

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#399576 - 06/18/08 07:22 AM Re: A Tale Of FA's, Chapter 11: Loss & Salvation [Re: RazorFoot]
JasonM Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 2502
wow..I just came across this and I am floored. Awesome stuff razor. Now I have to play catch-up and read ch 1-10.
_________________________
90 percent of good abs is your nutrition

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#399577 - 06/18/08 10:42 AM Re: A Tale Of FA's, Chapter 11: Loss & Salvation [Re: JasonM]
JasonM Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 2502
Man, it is up to 42 pages. I put chapters 1-11 in a word doc so I can read it on my way home this afternoon. :-)
_________________________
90 percent of good abs is your nutrition

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#399578 - 06/18/08 10:56 AM Re: A Tale Of FA's, Chapter 11: Loss & Salvation [Re: JasonM]
RazorFoot Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/01/04
Posts: 2064
Loc: Seated at the computer, DUH
Just a quick footnote (Pardon the minor pun as any note from me is a Foot note).

I try to incorporate as many actual Fighting Arts user names as I can into the stories to make them more interesting for the readers here. If at any point in time, you object to the character I have created using your name or the path they are taking in the story, let me know and I will change the character's purpose, mission, or goal to better fit what you would like your character to be. Please keep in mind that there has to be some evil characters to offset the good guys or the story is pointless and without conflict. Just send me a PM and I will modify the character or change their motivation to try to compliment what you would like your character to be.

Please know that this story is completely fictitous and the only source for the character's motivations or dimeanor is my imagination alone. Any resemblance they may have on the actual user that bears the screen name is completely random, accidental, incidental or what have you.

I am open to any and all feedback either here or by PM (If you wish to rip me a new one for something I have written though, please use PM as a courtesy to me and the other readers. Thank you).
_________________________
"The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be."

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#399579 - 06/18/08 03:57 PM Re: A Tale Of FA's, Chapter 11: Loss & Salvation [Re: RazorFoot]
Dereck Offline
Prolific

Registered: 10/04/04
Posts: 10413
Loc: Great White North
Scottie, you do me proud ... probably way more then I'm entitled to.

The more I get to know you the more I find we are so much a like. I grew up reading so many fantasy novels and I also used to write many a story with characters I created such as Draylon, Hunwolf and Wraith Black. I would write the stories and my buddy would draw the characters, landscapes and such; he was a fantastic artist. We had created a whole world still sticking to many of the same breeds as many know such as Humans, Elves, Dwarves, etc. I should forward you some of this as I know I came across some of it when cleaning up not too long ago.

I think you are doing a fantastic job. My thanks and appreciation for using my name as a character.

_________________________
"IF I COME ... I'M BRINGING THE PAIN WITH ME"

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#399580 - 06/18/08 09:25 PM Re: A Tale Of FA's, Chapter 11: Loss & Salvation [Re: Dereck]
JoshuaMonjin Offline
Member

Registered: 10/13/06
Posts: 427
Loc: Fallon, Nevada
Razor, don't worry about it if you ever use my name. I am in touch more or less with my inner "Darkness."
_________________________
Jikishin kore dojo nari

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