Chapter 9: Sources of Power

Chapter 9: Sources of Power

A Chapter by Sairek Ceareste
"

"This is it. I'm really doing this..." He thought to himself sternly, as he looked back at the castle one last time. "The bird is finally becoming free from the cage it was once locked in..."

"

 

 

 

 

Sairek stood quietly with Nayleen behind his right side, as the main gates slowly pushed open for him. He gripped his staff at his right side tightly as the gate creaked some, before suddenly letting out a strange screech he had never heard the gates even make before. Both he, Nayleen and everyone else around winced or covered their ears at the sound.

 

"Sweet lands! It's never done that before, why did that happen?" Sairek questioned in distaste

 

"You bent one of the hinges yesterday morning Master Apprentice. It screeches now until we can get it repaired." One of the guards said, opening the gate extremely slowly so the screeching was at least to a minimum.

 

"...Oh... uh, right..." Sairek muttered quietly, blushing in embarrassment. He glanced towards Nayleen who was muffling a laugh. The Prince just rolled his eyes. Sairek took steps forward, leaving the castle with Nayleen once the gates were opened just part way enough for them to slip on through, carrying bags of food and other stuff on her back or waist. When the gates closed with the far from inconspicious screech, she plopped all the stuff on the ground.

 

“Alright, I am so not carrying all of this!" Nayleen complained. "I don’t mind carrying more than you, but I am not carrying all of it!”

 

“You don’t need to carry any of it.” Sairek replied, barely glancing back at her with his head, and them smiled slightly. “You know, I’ve been planning on doing something like this for a long while… would you think I could run away with supplies weighing me down my back?”

 

“No. Knowing you, I would expect you to run away without anything.” She answered with a blink of her eyes.

 

Sairek glanced back giving her a dull look. "...That is... not what I meant...” he muttered.

 

“Well speak up then!” Nayleen urged him

 

Sairek fully turned towards her. His left hand went up and cupped the gem that held his hood together. “This is more then just decoration and more then just a memento my mother left for me. This thing, ironically, has more magical powers than I can conjure up right now... as much as I don't like to admit that an inanimate object is a better spell caster than I am, it's the truth. Just watch, step away from all the stuff."

 

Nayleen blinked slowly, but side stepped off out of Sairek’s vision. Sairek still cupped the gem, as his cape began to flap some. His eyes fluttered closed extremely slowly. His lips were barely moving, muttering quiet enough that Nayleen couldn't hear. The child then lowered the head of his staff to touch the gem, which a light burst from the gem at the contact. Sairek then had lift his staff away after a period of time and pointed the weapon at the supplies. The staff head glowed with the same light the gem had just produced. And soon, the bags of supplies did as well. Before long, they simply vanished with a flash that didn't seem to produce any light. Sairek soon breathed out a sigh, as the magical energies came to a rest. He slowly turned around, his breathing a little bit ragged as his face showed some strain.

 

“W…What did you do?” Nayleen asked slowly.

 

“Try lifting the gem on my hood.” Sairek said to her. Nayleen blinked at the response, but walked over to the gem, and tried to cup it with her right hand. She was able to touch it, but it would rise. She used the effort of both hands and with such great effort, slowly managed to cup it in her hands. The more she pulled, the more relaxed Sairek felt, until she at last dropped it and with a yelp, the boy fell flat on the ground in result. The gem of his hood dug a small, but deep hole in the dirt when he did.

 

“P…Please do not… drop it like that… again…” Sairek muttered, as he slowly began to push himself up with his hands.

 

Nayleen’s eyes were wide, both with curiosity and at how difficult the gem had been to lift. Sairek managed to push himself up onto his legs again.

 

“All the supplies... they are inside my mother’s jewel now. However, the weight of the supplies hasn’t diminished any… Still, I rather hold on to them in one concentrated area, than the weight be separated evenly between both of us. There’s no need for both of us to be worn down.”

 

Nayleen snorted and crossed her arms. “You can barely stand, how do you plan to walk?”

 

“I’ll be fine. I just need to get used to it. The strain is hard at first, but it will be easier as time goes on. It just takes time for it to settle. The spell will help my body with that somewhat when it eventually lightens the load." Dusting himself off a little bit, Sairek stood at ready as he looked towards Nayleen. "Now, we already spent enough time just standing here. Shall we go?”

 

Nayleen sighed. She didn’t seem to agree with this, it would seem. Sairek slowly crawled his way forwards anyways.

 

Sairek kept his promise though. By the time they had left the walls that surrounded the village, Sairek was walking just fine; although he still wore the strained look on his face. Either way, this pace was faster then Nayleen would argue with for having as many supplies as they did.

 

“So,” Nayleen began. “You’ve went to Lamen from here before, how long did it take you?”

 

Sairek thought for a moment, but then gave a lazy shrug. “The prediction would be inaccurate that way. We were riding in a caravan and there were a few other soldiers escorting us. We don’t have the luxury of horses, which is kind of ironic but I guess mages don't really ride on mounts, but anyways, it had taken us all day and the funeral was held in the next morning. It may take us a few day and nights before we reach there if we keep up a good pace. We will most likely have to camp the first night, but by the second night if we don’t get interrupted and keep a good pace going, we can rest at an Inn. If we rise early that morning, and don’t run into anything problematic, we will make it to Lamen by late evening, just in time to get an early night’s sleep.”

 

“…If nothing goes wrong…” Nayleen repeated. Sairek nodded slowly.

 

“You traveled here by yourself… how did you manage? I mean I know how you kept yourself from starving with minimal supplies to not weigh you down, but... I guess what I'm trying to ask specificallyis what did you do to stay safe?” Sairek asked. “The castle has been empty for at least the past month with guards trying to handle the situation of bandits and the such, let alone the monsters that have been crawling around lately, which happens now and again...”

 

“Well, the closer I got to towns, and especially the castle, the better it became. It wasn’t too bad really. But the start was rough. I know there are a few highway men and such at times, but I didn’t encounter any. I guess even self-proclaimed tough guys are scared of the monsters roaming around the countryside. Many merchants are hiring bodyguards to help escort them to places in some areas.”

 

“Well, some monsters are tougher than others. Monsters have always been wandering around, some more peaceful then others, some are passive unless provoked and some are just outright dangerous to even be near.” Sairek explained, before glancing towards her. “So, what did you do when you encountered them?”

 

“I ran.” Nayleen admitted with confidence. “Monster or person, I kept out of sight from everything. Time matters right now. I get nothing for killing a monster if I have to fight to do it and there’s no reason to really put my self at risk to do so. And, well, I don't really feel comfortable having to kill another person, even if they are a bandit. That said, if I had no choice, I would. It's either their life or mine.”

 

“Yeah, I can understand that.” Sairek said, looking at the long dirt road ahead of them. “So you didn’t come from this way then?” Sairek asked.

 

“No, I came from the forest at the side of the castle, over the mountain; basically the direction we were in before. Like I said, I was trying to stay out of sight and I'm good at keeping my direction in forests. If I was out in the middle of a place like this, not only would I hide, people would be wondering what a kid like me was doing out alone.” She replied to him in response. "With you next to me though, well, it's different. Looks like you're just on business and I'm just company."

 

"Yes, except you don't really make up a platoon of elite guards glued to my backside..."

 

The two were now climbing up a hill, a rather steep one. Sairek seemed to struggle a bit due to the weight that he was holding with his jewel. Eventually, Sairek was slowing to a near stop and panting from the effort. He collapsed on one knee with his staff holding up.

 

“Bah… Why did father have to give us so much…?” He muttered weakly as he wiped sweat off of his forehead with the tail end of his cape. He looked up in surprise when he felt Nayleen hold both of his hands and with a great pull of effort, she pulled him back up on to his feet and then began helping him up the hill.

 

“Man, I feel like I’m dragging a fat garbage bag… You’re really even heavier than before with that thing!”

 

“…Usually someone doesn’t tell a Prince that they’re like a fat garbage bag…” Sairek muttered, his face blushing a little bit. But he still chuckled at the thought. “But when you think about it, that consensus isn’t that far off at all.”

 

Nayleen rolled her eyes, before the hill was eventually more gently rolling, and Sairek informed that he could handle the hill by himself after some reassurance.

 

They had been walking now for about 1 hour, but Sairek couldn’t lie to himself about the fact that he felt exhausted. He told Nayleen eventually the weight would become easier, which was a fact, but he didn't know how long it would take himself. He had practiced before with this spell with the gem, but not with this much weight. He didn’t want to stop though; they had the whole day ahead of them to still travel. Sairek mentally groaned that he would feel like this, perhaps much worse, by the time they would be stopping for the night.

 

Soon, the sound of a crackle of lightning boomed, so loudly, both Sairek and Nayleen flinched from being startled. Sairek looked around at the sky and turned around behind them. Heavy storm clouds were brewing and edging closer quickly. He heard Nayleen let out a frustrated sigh.

 

“Well that’s just great.” Nayleen mused angrily. “We just started, and already we’re going to have to take shelter from a storm. We’ll get sick traveling in the rain in the open like this.

 

“There’s no real cover out here…” Sairek muttered in annoyance. "I mean, there can be a couple caves or acloves around, maybe a giant tree may suffice but that could be a long ways off still. None of these trees around here would really help in a storm..."

 

"Keep an eye out. Looks like we may be taking four days to get to Lamen instead of three." Nayleen muttered.

 

To make sure they didn’t get caught in the brewing storm, Sairek and Nayleen moved as fast as they could together. Admittedly, with Sairek’s fatigue, he wasn’t going much faster, but it couldn’t be helped. Perhaps the rain would be a blessing in disguise for letting him rest for a bit though and let the spell ease up. Sairek lead the way, soon eventually going off the path after a couple more hours to a small foliage of spread out trees. Nayleen could see a little hut that was alone by itself. It was surrounded by a small moat of water, although the water wasn’t very deep at all. It had a small bridge to allow people to cross without getting their feet wet. It looked pretty, but it was rather small. By this time, the spell wasn't hindering Sairek nearly as much be he was visably winded.

 

Sairek blinked as the first drop of water came and landed near his eyes. He glanced up and within the next few seconds the downpour soon began. Sairek quickly pulled up his blue hood, trying to protect himself from the water as much as possible. Nayleen unfortunately, had nothing to protect herself with. Both of them jogged up to the door of the house, and Sairek knocked on the door with his staff. The two were breathing hard as they impatiently waited for the door to open, but unfortunately for them, it didn’t open. Sairek turned the knob of the door and pushed. To his surprise, it actually came open.

 

“You're just going to walk in?” Nayleen questioned curiously. Sairek glanced at her, offering a shrug. "I'm Prince; I'm allowed to walk into any place I want pretty much unless father says so otherwise." He explained and soon grinned. "And, he's not around." Hastily moving himself inside with Nayleen following behind, he closed the door behind them. Sairek pulled his hood back, and soon collapsed down on the floor against the door. It felt too good just sitting down after that much burden on his body; even though the items were still inside the jewel.

 

“Hey…” Nayleen muttered quietly. “This place is kind of weird, don’t you think?” She would have asked.

 

Sairek wanted to close his eyes, but looked over to her. “Why do you say that?”

 

“Well, just look at it.”

 

Sairek gazed the entire house back and fourth carefully.

"It's empty." He noted in a stale tone as he glanced up at Nayleen. "Why is that so weird? Maybe the people living here moved out."

"Well, it's dirty, like it has been used a lot. If it hadn't been, there would be layers of dust, the thicker the dust, the longer it would have been abandoned. I don't see any dust at all. Just... smudges of dirt."

 

Sairek slowly pushed himself up onto his feet, walking away from the door in the middle of the house, glancing around a second time. “You seem to be right… This place seems to have been abandoned for a long time… but the outside seemed to have been in just fine shape. In fact, the outside looked to be as inviting as poss--"

 

A strong chilly wind blew. Sairek flinched as the cold gripped his bones forcing him to shiver. He then slowly gazed at the door. It was wide open. But he swore he could have shut it behind him as he came in. No, it was shut; he had just been leaning on it not even half a minute ago.

 

"...ible...?" Sairek finished with uncertainty in his voice.

 

Nayleen began walking over towards the door and then a small clunk was heard. She blinked, before she let out a yelp. Sairek spun around to her, seeing she was stuck in a net trap that was hanging out from the ceiling.

 

"Okay, that’s it! Who’s big idea was this!?” Nayleen yelled angrily, as she pulled out a dagger from her left waist, and began hacking at the net. Sairek soon heard the door slam shut from behind him. He spun around yet again, emerald eyes widening as three men stood at the doorway. Each of them wore smirks on their faces. Sairek brought his staff up near him ready as he grit his teeth angrily.

 

“Well brothers, it seems this new trap of ours works after all! Our first catch is a little girl, and of all things, the Prince himself! I can't believe our good luck!” The middle one bellowed, as all three of them began to laugh. They looked to be triplets; each of them bald, looking maybe mid or late 30’s. They all wore leather armor, which was standard for bandit and thief armor, since it was light but effective in protecting the wearer in combat. And more importantly, quiet.

 

Sairek heard a soft thud from behind him, as Nayleen finally cut her way of the net. With a little bit of scrambling, she strode beside Sairek, clenching her teeth angrily. But despite her anger she managed to quietly whisper to Sairek. “What are we gonna do? We’re out numbered and I don’t see any other exit besides the door they’re standing in front of…”

 

“So that only leaves the option to fight.” Sairek said back calmly, not even bothering to whisper.

 

One of the men at the door whistled. “Fight eh?” He let out. “You sure you kids don’t wanna give up quietly without gettin’ yaselves hurt?”

 

Sairek’s eyes sharpened angrily. “I assure you, even one with as simple magicks as me will be more than good enough.” The boy retorted.

 

“Yeah, and don’t take me so lightly either!” Nayleen barked angrily after Sairek finished his own retort. By now, she pulled out the second dagger at her waist, both of them ready to be used as she held them up in stance.

 

“Can I teach ‘em brother? Can I?!” One of the men spoke, the only one who hadn’t spoken yet until now. The other two grinned, as the middle one signaled him off. He excitedly stepped up, as he pulled out a falchion from his waist scabbard. An eager grin was on his face.

 

Sairek tilted his head towards Nayleen, whispering quietly. “Their confidence will be helpful to us… I will rush in first… Stay here until you see a chance to get him from behind, let him think we're doing this one versus one. If we down him, we can fight this two on two. Mind you, my magic is not very good, and most of my spells are close ranged...; do not expect support from me from much of a distance. Hopefully the durability of my staff catches him off guard… To fool him, I'm going to open up with one of my spells and force him into a melee fight; that should give you the chance to jump in.” Sairek's pupils trailed off towards the man who was grinning ready to begin cutting the other two.

 

Nayleen simply nodded, only letting out a quiet “Mmkay”. Sairek moved himself forwards at the signal that she indeed understood. He held his staff with one hand, the head of it near his face as his left hand covered the head of the weapon. He shouted out “Balinzer!” loudly and moved his hand away from the staff as the head erupted in a giant flame that Sairek controlled to make any physical damage done with the staff a bit more painful, or release it into a jet of fire if he wished, by not spraying out the flame, but rather keeping the head a lit with the fire.. The bandit let out a shout as he swung the falchion down towards Sairek. The boy quickly rolled sideways out of the way to the mans' side, and Sairek countered with a swing of his own towards the man’s ribs using the flaming side of his weapon. The bandit dodged out of the way by quickly stepping back and stepped forwards again to perform an upwards slash with his sword being down at the floor from his first swing. Sairek swung his staff around, parrying the sword and knocking it away with the tail of his weapon. Sairek was still on one knee at the ground from his roll. The man swung his sword around for a downwards cut. Sairek held the staff with both hands, and held it out to intercept the falchion. Both weapons locked; the falchion didn’t even damage the staff. Sairek gritted his teeth as the man used all of his force to try and push Sairek down. But with only using a one handed weapon, despite the man using his two hands; there was on way a sword would be able to slice through a Yggdrasil staff, let alone force Sairek to give away.

 

“Gah… Why does this kid know how to fight with his staff so well!?” The bandit growled angrily, as the two weapons shook somewhat with effort, each trying to overpower the other.

 

“’Why? That's because I think its fun to use a staff.” Sairek answered with a smirk on his face, his emerald eyes lit up in amusement.

 

“Is that the only reason?” The bandit spat out.

 

“What, you’re not satisfied with my answer?” Sairek taunted in a sly tone as his eyes turned more serious. "It won't be long... I will smash that little blade of yours into dust."

 

The bandit growled at Sairek’s confidence; getting frustrated with the boy's words. Something Sairek wanted the bandit to do. Nayleen soon dashed to the bandit’s side while all of his attention was concentrated on the young prince that was mocking him.

 

“Watch out brother!” One of the bandits yelled, as Nayleen lashed her left hand to attempt to slash the bandits' back, or waist. The bandit tried to pull away, but the moment he began, Sairek maneuvered his staff around, the head of the staff that was lit smashed into the man’s groin. His eyes went wide, before squeezing shut, roaring out in pain, as Sairek’s bunt with his staff ceased the man’s efforts to dodge Nayleen’s daggers. Blood was spilled on the man’s entire right waist as the daggers cut clean right through the leather. Before the man could fall down, Nayleen lashed her other dagger out; slicing through the man’s right arm. He yelled out again, as he dropped the falchion since the arm that was holding it had been severely damaged now.

 

Sairek pushed himself back up to stand on his feet again. He smiled at Nayleen seeing that she took down the bandit with relative ease due to his distraction. “Wow, you’re really good at those.” Sairek complimented. "It's not easy to slice through leather armor so cleanly like that."

 

Nayleen let out a bit of a laugh. “Leather is made out of the hide of animals; something I've been cutting since I was four.” She replied, giving a wink. "You're not so bad yourself; you're really good with that staff in melee combat."

 

Sairek chuckled, before turning to look at the two remaining bandits. His eyes gave a dangerous look towards the two as he listened to them converse to each other. The fire on his staff still burned brightly as he brought it up ready to fight some more.

 

“Hrrgh…” The first one let out in frustration. “Seems like we underestimated these two brats, haven’t we?”

 

“Seems so,” the other one replied. “Guess we should take one each?”

 

“No, they work as a team, we should too…” The other one replied.

 

“Your brother requires immediate attention to his wounds,” Sairek began heatedly. “I would suggest you two go get him, and slip away before something else happens..."

 

“Hmph! You’re too good to just give up boy! Do you know how much a ransom for you would be worth?!” The second one spat. Sairek shook his head, closing his eyes, trying to calm himself down from the anger he was feeling, but the words he spoke revealed it to its fullest.

 

“How pathetic... how disgusting you two act! You would rather try to subdue me rather than save the life of your own brother? How much has greed consumed you to care about me more than your own family?"

 

Sairek opened his eyes and clenched his teeth. He strode over to the falchion on the floor, he reached down and grabbed it. He soon leaped over to the now unconscious bandit and knelt down on the floor to one knee. He positioned the blade over the man’s throat; inches away from cleaving it off. Sairek's head had lift up to look at the other two.

 

“Clearly, you wouldn’t mind if I brought this sword down on him, right!?” Sairek threatened in a raised voice. Both of the bandits’ eyes were wide. Sweat had begun pouring down their faces at the stress of the situation that had quickly turned against them. “No no! Stop!” The second bandit shouted.

 

“Then hurry up and help him before he dies, and leave me on my way...” Sairek ordered, his voice a dangerous hiss. The bandits hesitated, unsure.

 

NOW.” Sairek ordered again. He was gripping both the sword and staff so tightly, that his knuckles were pure white. "I am giving you the the opportunity to save him for nothing in return! Quit standing there and help him and redeem the bit of humanity you trio have abandoned long since, before personally strike with my own!" The first bandit quickly ran over and began dragging his brother away from Sairek as the child lifted the sword up from the man's throat. The boy soon stood up, he tossed the sword up as if it was nothing but garbage before slapping it away to the side with his staff, knocking the blade off the hilt and shattering it into two seperate pieces when it collided against the wall. The flame on the staff extinguished seemingly by itself.

 

"...It's not dust, but it will do..." He muttered quietly yet it was loud enough for the other two bandits and Nayleen to hear in the dead silence. Sairek half turned towards Nayleen. “We’re leaving. I already wasted enough time here. Let’s get going.” Sairek said to her… although it seemed more like an order, as if she was his subordinate. Nayleen hesitated for only a split second as Sairek marched past the three and to the door boldly. Nayleen jogged after him. Despite the fact it was still storming out, Sairek went outside anyways back towards the path. Nayleen still followed after him. The rain easily washed the blood on her daggers away before she sheathed them. She hugged herself from the chill of the rain; after all, she didn't really have the warmest clothing.

 

Sairek marched on for a good five minutes before he soon eventually slowed to a stop, staring down at muddy ground. Nayleen jogged up beside him.

 

“…I don’t get it…” Sairek mumbled after staying silent for a few seconds. Nayleen didn’t say anything, but Sairek continued on anyways. “How can the thought of money control people in such a way? Why am I 'worth' more than anyone else, we are all equal, are we not? Every human being is priceless; not just Kings and Princes...”

 

“That’s just how some people are, Sairek -- they are stupid. That’s why we have kings and such, to make decisions for them because they can’t take care of themselves.” Nayleen said. "And those who make decisions are valuable, because the people would be lost without such a person to give order for those who can't and to keep the others in check."

 

“…It just makes me really angry. I guess I shouldn’t be bothered about it." He sighed. "But I can’t help it at the same time. It just annoys me. ...No, annoyed is the wrong term for it… It frustrates me. It’s been a long time since I felt my blood boil as it did back there.… It took every ounce of my patience to stop just attacking those two; but attacking them wouldn't have saved that man from dying. I'm sure my fathers' men will find them and apprehend them soon enough. Who knows? Maybe it may be enough to change their ways, or at least think about what they are doing. I don't believe no one can be completely lost from salvation.”

 

Sairek looked up to her with his emerald eyes and let out a sigh. “I’ll be honest… Thinking back to how I felt then… I feel scared that I was that enraged… I wanted to kill them, to be frank.”


"Why didn't you?"

"If I killed them, they wouldn't understand any better. I'm too young to have blood on my hands for my kingdom. No, it wouldn't have even been for my kingdom. It would have been nothing but senseless killing. Even the most notorious criminals are apprehended, they get a fair trial, before they are sentenced to punishment. Only the most notorious are tortured before put to death, if the keeper of the flaming lands doesn't want them first."
 

Nayleen crossed her arms and tilted her head quizzically. “You had a similar outburst earlier, you little potty-mouth. I’m surprised a little guy like you is using such naughty language.” She poked at his side teasingly. Sairek blushed, embarrassed. “Well, um… not all the guards in the castle use the most appropriate language all the time when not addressing someone of higher command than them…” He muttered as his head fell to look back at his boots.

Sairek began walking forwards after a moment of silence, and Nayleen followed. She let out a ‘hmm’ out loud in thought. “Well, I have heard some rumors of people, when they get reincarnated by the tree, assuming that reincarnation itself is even true, that sometimes a deep part of a person will stay with them in the next life. Soooo, say for example, you hated bandits a lot in your previous life for whatever reason, then you die eventually and get reincarnated, you may still have a deep hatred for bandits.”

 
"Some people believe in reincarnation, others don't. There's separate religions for each." Sairek said. "In the end though of each religion, it's all just theories, but they're all connected to the tree. Some hang on nothing but belief though. Others hang on a bit more science but even with that said science that they hang on, it is just theory crafting with no actual proof."

 

The two traveled in the storm for a few hours, deciding to not look for any cover except for temporarily stopping at a small cliff that protected them from the rain briefly. Sairek used the location to unload all the items, and search for proper cloaks for the both of them so their clothes, as well as themselves, specifically for Nayleen. Although he really couldn't afford his royal clothes to get soaked if they did come across anyone else, either. The main reason though was simply so they didn't catch a cold, and could stay comfortable and warm. Sairek soon collected the things in the jewel and unlike the first time, he didn’t seem to have much difficulty lifting up the items again. By the time the storm had lifted, night had fallen and the two were looking for additional cover to camp up in for the night. The area had become much rockier, surrounded by shorter than average mountains and tall cliffs, but it was mostly steep hills that went up and down, up and down, it gave Sairek a headache at times. The Prince spotted a reasonable alcove that would shelter them from the harsh winds that occasionally came at night. Nayleen applauded him at finding such a good spot, which made him beam a smile as if he was a little child who just got complimented on doing a good job despite the task they had done was rather simple.

 

They both went to the area, as they both took off the soaked cloaks. Nayleen gathered patches of dry grass and nearby dry sticks for a fire around the alcove, but there were not many. Sairek lit up what they had to sustain the fire with his magic. At least it couldn't burn out unless Sairek let it go. They both huddled close to the flame as they were still both wet and cold from the storm despite the cloaks. The area they were in was not very dry, but it didn’t take nearly as much water damage as any other areas had, but since the area was more dirt then grass, it was pretty muddy here and there and didn't leave a comfortable amount of space to camp.

 

“So, this is the life, huh?” Nayleen said, as she smirked towards Sairek. “This is really what you wanted? Get rained on, attacked by bandits, walk a few miles, then get rained on some more to camp under a cliff full of mud?"

 

Sairek looked towards her, smirking lightly. “I believe it still beats being locked inside a giant brick box all day. It's a small price to pay for freedom. But you better be a good girl, because I have all the food on me."

 

“Yeah, but I bet you can’t really hold on to it for very long, can you?”

 

“You got that right… I can’t set it down either. There’s almost nothing but wet grass or mud around us. I can’t let almost all of the stuff to get muddy or wet or it will be all useless."

 

“Why not just take the hood off then and put the gem somewhere else for now?" Nayleen asked.

 

“Two reasons for that…” Sairek began. “The first being that the jewel and I are connected to each other in a sort of… magic channel, I suppose. It’s hard to explain, but to put it simply, if I take off the jewel, the magic becomes harder to keep connected due to the distance; it will put more strain on me. As it is right now, it's only inches from where a person's soul is located; in the middle of the chest inside a person near the heart holds one half of the soul, the other half is connected to the brain, or conscious. This is the closest to the link one can possibly have it. So as far as keeping the channel up, it's as easy as moving my arms."

 

“Well, I guess that’s reasonable enough. No point in carrying the stuff if it becomes useless anyways, and I doubt balancing the weight on top of your head is a good idea. What’s the second reason?”

 

“...That my hood which the jewel is attached to is actually attached to my shirt. But my cape is underneath it. So to remove the jewel, I would have to remove my entire shirt. Sairek blushed a little bit. "Not only would that be cold to sleep like that when it's wet everywhere, but that would be... be... um..."

 

"Cute!" Nayleen chimed in.

 

"Yes...  W-Wait -- I mean no! It would be embarrassing!" Sairek said all flustered. "I mean, I got pajamas with me but I... uh..."

 

Nayleen couldn’t help but burst out laughing. “Woooow, the kind of clothes people like you need to wear! Why can’t they just give you a simple shirt and pants? Looks matter that much?"

 

Sairek twirled his staff in his fingers as he listened to her, completely humiliated now as he looked down at the fire to avoid her teasing gaze. “Well... originally, these didn't have the hood and cape attached, but when I put it on this morning, they were. I think my maid must have done that for me; when I was getting dragged by the cape for example last night, I couldn't do much because it was putting pressure on my neck and leaving me helpless. If I was to be pulled like that again, it would just slip my shirt off and I wouldn't be held in that position again. The same would happen if my hood was grabbed..." Sairek said, trying to reason with her that it was for a reason. He didn't really notice it before... until he tried to get dressed. He was wondering why half the outfit was together, and he struggled trying to pull the stuff off. "And, well..." Sairek continued. "I have to admit that I do like how it looks on me… But it is more then just for looking good; it’s actually combat armor as well. That’s why it has the ankle guards and everything. It’s heavier than it looks which is why it feels like I am very heavy. It was a work out wearing these clothes around at first. I can move fine normally in it now, but when it comes to running long distances, it will exhaust me very quickly. Aside from that, I’m also carrying all this stuff; I have my work cut out for me as far as weight goes.”

 

"So that's why you was so freaking heavy when I tried to haul you over that wall... That was why I had studied your weight." Nayleen muttered before shifting some. "But all that weight must be good for your muscles, it's like weighted training clothes. Is that why you’re so handy with a staff when it comes to close quarters? He's a big bad bandit, but you was able to hold off easily against him when your weapons were locked.

 

“This staff, ironically, is made out of a piece of root from the Yggdrasil tree. It’s not very easy to cut, break and it doesn’t even obtain any sort of marks when on fire; Yggdrasil bark doesn't burn. If anything the bark absorbs the fire, as it is after all one of the main elements of the Ether we mages use. The material isn’t invincible of course, but from what I hear, it may have taken days or even week to just cut a piece of root off this size. And that’s only just for me. I admittedly feel honored that my father did that...”

 

“Yggdrasil staffs are the best staffs, aren't they?" Nayleen asked him. The boy nodded as he looked at his staff. "Since the Yggdrasil tree is made to suck in the Ethereal like a sponge does water, the staffs can naturally draw in the energy. To Ethereal, the staff is like the sponge while to the staff Ethereal is just water. The talent needed to concentrate and order the staff to draw in the energy isn't any different, however, the process of doing so is faster by ten-fold. Admittedly, all my spells are only as they are because I can draw energy in so well with this staff."


"Y'know, I rarely see any metal staffs. All of them seem to be made out of wood. Why is that?" She asked.


"From what I've read, wooden staffs essentially have Ethereal in them, while metal ones don't because they are not organic. You can still draw in the energy to cast spells, but only because you are the one drawing it with a metal staff into a concentrated area. In the case of wood staffs, you are drawing the energy to either you, or the staff. I choose the the latter method; it is simply easier to draw it to the staff because a Yggdrasil root is easier to draw the energy to, rather than me. Metal staffs are more useful for people with my kind of style, but obviously a staff made from the tree itself is the best for any magician no matter what their style is."


"If a metal staff isn't organic, why use a metal staff when you could just use a sword or something?"

"Do you remember seeing what I did with 'balinzer' where I lit the head of the spear? You can't really do that with the tip of a sword. I mean, you could, but it wouldn't really do you any good. And a sword isn't really the best defense. There's many more spells that can do things like that. Besides that, a metal staff is much more durable then a steel sword because the mass is thicker. Staffs can handle the pressure of spells, while if a sword used those spells; there's a chance it might break from it's power when it's released. Of course, this doesn't apply to all spells. There are some people who use spells by themselves offensively while using a sword and a shield for defense to protect themselves with spell casting, but they are hard because some spells require two hands. Balinzer needs to use two depending on how you cast it, like when I concentrate it on the head of my staff. It could be projected from the hands or projected from the staff itself, though. You could even project it outside the tip of a sword if need be. It's a very basic spell though..."

 

"Wow, that's rather interesting." Nayleen whistled. "Other than having a staff from the Yggdrasil tree, it seems like you need to be careful about what kind of staff you want to use in battle, huh? Since magicians like you would use a metal staff, I guess that would also explain why that guy was so surprised you attacked him head on. It just looks like an ordinary wooden one to me; not a Yggdrasil staff."


"These staffs are incredibly rare, so it's not surprising for someone to assume I'm using an ordinary wooden one. Wooden staffs are of course not very expensive at all, it is essentially just a carved stick and so they are extremely common as well. Find a good sized stick on the ground, do a bit of carving, and you have your wooden staff. Or don't carve it at all, you can use a stick as a staff if you have to. It will work just as well. There are some different ones, such as some made out of bones, but for the sake of my stomach I'm not going to explain about that..." Sairek muttered


"I can agree to that..."


Sairek soon let out a yawn, as he stretched himself out some. He felt a little weary, so he positioned himself to the side of the fire and lay himself down on his back as they were laying on top of sleeping bags, with another two layers of cloth underneath to make sure the bags didn't become muddy or have mud sink in easily.

 

“Don’t you fall asleep on me now, I want to eat my food soon.” Nayleen warned. Sairek couldn’t help but chuckle. “I won’t, not yet anyways.” He responded back. He closed his eyes, listening to the fire crackle at his side. It was quiet for a few minutes before Nayleen finally spoke up again.

 

“I’m curious. How did you train yourself to be a magician up to now?”

 

“Apprentice." Sairek corrected. "I'm no magician yet, for sure. Studying up on how to be one and then just trial and error until eventually I cast my first spell. I never actually got a mentor until a few months ago. To be honest, I liked doing it by myself better than getting someone to teach me; I could learn at my own pace. So I don’t really often go to him unless I'm curious about something. It's more like free lessons that I can decide to go to. I'm not the only one who he trains. Even so, I will almost always consult a book on the information I may need. Of course, I only know how to cast four spells properly... Four spells is good for my age, but I wish I would have tried to learn spells that were a little more... well, useful…”

 

“Well, you should pace yourself. There are hundreds, if not thousands of different spells. And that’s just spells alone. There’s stuff like Webs, and Rituals.” Nayleen pointed out.

 

“I never got any Webs to work and I dare not try a ritual. If I can’t even cast a spell right, then a ritual is too dangerous to even consider.”

 

“What makes rituals so dangerous?”


“They're random, and they're basically making pacts or deals, that’s why they're so dangerous. A large majority of rituals are basically signing pacts to the underworld. Only a handful of rituals are exceptions that don't require pacts to the underworld, but, failing those ones are fatal too, because you are making a pact with yourself…  In our world, magic follows two different kinds of types. The normal spells like the ones I use are convertive magic. Rituals are pact magic. You trade something from you, in return for something to be done to the one you are doing the ritual for. Sometimes, setting up rituals can take several hours, perhaps even an entire day and night; and making one mistake can cost you dearly. Since with pact magic, you are making a deal… well, if you break that deal by making a mistake, the underworld is not very forgiving. In the case that the pact is with yourself, making a mistake means the ritual will only effect you. For example, if I wanted to turn you into a frog, I would have to turn me into a frog as well. If I make a mistake, I will turn into a frog, or perhaps something else, or I may fall to a fate even worse but you however would be untouched by the magic. Rituals tend to be.... bittersweet revenge, I guess you could say. That's why the underworld likes it when we do them."

 

Nayleen blinked slowly; all this information was a lot to take in. "So anyone can cast ritual magic to make anyone fall a terrible fate just because they feel like it, even if it costs them?"

 

"No. Despite the underworld being the underworld, the only time the underworld will accept a "good" individual is when that person is the one making the pact, when the deal may be to go to the underworld when you die." Sairek clarified. "Secondly, they must be guilty of the thing you accuse them of to even preform the ritual on a person. Rituals are like doing vigilante justice, with a hard price to pay. If they're not guilty as you attempt to charge them, the ritual will fail and only you will suffer."

 

“Well, you sure know your stuff, don’t you?” Nayleen complimented. “What made you become so interested in magic at such a young age, anyways?”

 

“I think it’s in my family’s blood. Father used to be a magician at war, and my grandfather was one before then too, even my great grandfather and so on so fourth. They were all in war, but I don’t really like using the magic to harm people… I want to use it to help people and bring them ease. But that said, I do want to protect those that matter to me. As future king, I do not have much of a choice in the matter. Whether I have to use my combat skills is questionable. To know combat skills though is a must for a King, so therefore as Prince I will be learning how to fight. Every King knows how to fight one way or another, whether it be by sword, bow, lance, staff... most would maybe begin starting at my age though, usually later. Father had me start as soon as mother died."

 

Sairek finally slid his eyes slowly open, as he looked at the night sky for a few moments. He then slowly turned his head towards Nayleen.


“What about you?” He soon asked.

 

“What do you want to know?” She questioned back.

 

“Hmm… Well, why is it that you use daggers? And not a bow, or something?”

 

“Well, as you can guess having a house right next to the Yggdrasil tree, the area that I live in is kind of off by itself. You will see that of course when we get there. Anyways, since town is no where nearby, we hunt for our food. I’m quite handy with a bow too, just so you know, but I always had to help skin the animals. Call me sick of you want, but skinning all of those animals has helped me know just when and where to strike with my daggers for the most pain. I know where most of the human’s muscles are. I can paralyze an opponent, or outright kill them if I need to, whether it be painless or slow and painful. Thankfully, I've not need to have gone that far yet.”

 

“…And with all the hunting, I suppose you’ve gotten good at sneaking around too, right?”

 

“You catch on quickly my little Prince.”

 

Sairek’s face flushed a little bit with color as he looked back up at the sky blinking. After a few more seconds, he sat himself up and pushed himself on to his two feet, using his staff to do so.

 

“Well, I want to go to sleep soon because I really do feel tired…” Sairek mumbled.

 

“Guess that means I get first watch then?”

 

“I would appreciate that if so. Last thing I want to do is be on watch and then pass out and leave us vulnerable.”

"I want my food first!"

Sairek let out a sigh but a smile stayed on his face. "Fine, fine. You can have your food if it will make you happy."




 



© 2013 Sairek Ceareste


Author's Note

Sairek Ceareste
Last edited on: January 14th 2013 [One entire year, o/]

- Refurbished the entire text, once again, fixing typos, changing dialogues, descriptions, etc

- Added specifically better and more clean explanations at the end of how spells are cast.

Changelog: [January 14th, 2012]

There were so many typos in this chapter, I would not be surprised if I didn't get them all. This chapter was -way- longer than I remembered it being! And it was just flooded with typos, argh!


Changelog:

- Fixed as many typos, grammar problems, etc as I could find.

- Lots of the text has been severely modified to be clearer.

- In earlier chapters, Sairek's hood and cape were separate from his shirt, but in this chapter they are attached; this has now actually been explained why rather than omitted.

- The descriptions of the house has been changed (inside of it).

- Sairek's battle plan, as well as descriptions during the fight have been modified to become a little bit more clearer.

- Sairek's argument after the fight has been modified to fit in more with his character.

- All discussions via dialogue of all topics discussed by Sairek and Nayleen after the fight have been heavily modified to make it easiest to understand each topic and follow along. Also made it clearer for readers to understand which one of the two is talking when going back and forth between dialogue.

- Fixed the problem with some of the text becoming grey for no apparent reason (I honestly don't know why that keeps happening).

My Review

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Reviews

@Chris

Yes, he is speaking differently because he doesn't need to act like a prince in front of Nayleen. He can be Sairek who is Sairek; not Sairek who is the Prince of the kingdom. You can also say that Nayleen's carefree style may be rubbing onto him slightly at this point. He will however regain that nobility like before when he meets other people in different towns. He still carries that noble structure around him, but being alone with Nayleen he feels a little bit safer about who he is. After all, she acted very casual to him throwing an F-bomb out loud when trying to escape the castle.


Also like I said, wasn't spell checked; and still isn't. I wanted to know if the actual chapter itself as for as context was good before going on with spell checking and stuff. There are some things I still will probably clean up. I may have changed the way Sairek spoke a little too much more then intended; I will have to see.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago


No complaints about this chapter, but it seems like Sairek's dialogue is different now. It doesn't have that noble quality. I mean, it makes sense because he's out of the castle and with a girl around his age, so he probably would simplify his speaking, but I wasn't sure if this was intentional or not, so I thought I would point it out.

One thing to point out:

Sweat had begun pouring down their faces in fear.

Don't think sweat would begin pouring down their faces that soon. Maybe beads of sweat would form, but I don't think it would be pouring off of them.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago



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Added on September 28, 2011
Last Updated on March 6, 2013
Tags: Fantasy, Elixer, Ethereal, The, Action, Adventure, Romance, Mystery, The Ethereal Elixer
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