Dravid

Dravid

A Story by Gregory Hill
"

A short story I wrote, still needs a lot of help I know so if you could give any suggestions that would be great, Thanks!

"

If only I had been able to stop them. If only I had even tried. But I hadn't.

“Dravid!” My mother smiled at me with her enchanting blue eyes. Though just the wife of a simple village carpenter, she looked and acted as if she was a queen. She always said 'better to be poor and act like royalty, than to be royalty with poor actions'. Always with that smile. Today it was different. Her normally careless and loving smile was clouded with worry. I knew she didn't want to frighten me, but by hiding her fear it made things worse.

“Please, stay in the house my dear, we will be back soon.” As I looked up into her eyes once again she smiled, this time a little more like normal. Maybe things wouldn't be so bad. Father was already outside readying the horses.

Something inside me lurched. The Dream stirred. In my mind I saw them.

The midday sun was glinting off my silver mail. I could feel the sun beating down on me, but I remained cold. Hard. Snarling, my head tilted, a pair of my soldiers were standing just below the platform on which I was standing, in the middle of our village square. Waving a silver-mailed hand, I commanded the two soldiers to step forward. Between them they dragged two figures up the ramp to the platform. As I looked at them, I felt like crying out. My parents. Never before had my Dreams contained anyone that I knew. Yet I could not control myself�"or who I had become.

Looking cruelly down on them, I opened my mouth. My voice was rough...overbearing, “These children have betrayed our gracious father.” Who? That was my Father. I knew the King wished to be called Father by his subjects, but my parents didn't approve of it.

“The punishment for such disrespect to our father, is death.” My parents looked ahead with determination and set their jaw. Leaning down, I whispered, “Finally. The last who stood in our way.” With that I flourished his sword, and smiled. The blade fell. I Forced my eyes open.

“Dravid! Are you alright?” My mother looked worriedly down at me. Though my Dreams had never taken more than a few seconds, they always left me stunned and out of breath. I had told my parents about them. Always dreams of evil taking place. None of it had ever happened though. They were just Nightmares. Weren't they? I couldn't let my mother go now though. I just couldn't.

“Mother, you can't go,” I pleaded, tears coming to my eyes, “I don't want you to get hurt!” My Mother started, drawing back slightly. But a moment later she leaned forward.

“Dravid, everything will be fine, we are just riding into town. Be a brave boy for Mama, you have to look after the house for a while. I know you can do it for me. Please?” Maybe it was the look in her eyes. Maybe it was her ever comforting smile. Perhaps it was my pride at being old enough to take care of the house. Maybe I just didn't want to believe. But I didn't complain any further. As my parents rode down the lane waving, somehow I knew. I would never see them again. Hours later, some sixth sense told me to run. Moments after escaping to the woods, a group of soldiers carrying torches, no, not just any group. I had been their leader. In my Dream. After searching the house, and reporting to their all-to-familiar commander, they flung their torches. As they arced into the air I almost screamed. I watched as my home burned. My as my life crumbled before my eyes.


Breathing heavily I bolted awake. For a moment I though that it was just a dream. Then reality hit me. It had been seven years since that day, yet I had not forgotten. I couldn't forget. Even with the Dreams of pain, suffering nearly every day, my parents death was the largest in my mind.

After my parents death I was taken in by the innkeeper, David, and his wife, Elenor. They were kind enough to me, but I never was able to grow close to them. My experience with my first parents, and the constant Dreams kept me from it. Their son Maert, however, soon became my friend.

“Dravid, Maert, breakfast,” Elenor called from the kitchen. I swung out of bed and glanced around the room, it didn't have the best furnishings in town but far better than some. There was an aged teak dresser in the corner with a pretty, yet plain porcelain vase sitting on it with day old flowers. Being an innkeeper's wife, Elenor, felt the need for keeping all rooms presentable even ours. Maert's bed was under the window and the morning light became partially blocked as he sat up and yawned. Maert was seventeen, while I was sixteen, so he though of me a bit like a younger brother.

“Lets head down,” I said, hopping out of bed and pulling my pants onto my legs. “If we don't hurry all the good ones will go to the guests.” With a smile Maert got up and stretched.

“I'm coming, don't worry,” Maert ran out the door, “Don't take too long!”

“Hah, I'll be there before you,” I said, sprinting down the hall after him.


After breakfast, David came into kitchen where we had been eating. He was a tall man, a bit heavy, but not as much as most innkeepers I had seen in nearby villages. He seemed to notice us for the first time, something was worrying him. I noticed he was carrying the legs from a table, the top was resting inside the door. It was one of the ones for diners of the inn who wanted a small spot to have a drink before getting on with the rest of their lives. It looked like someone had torn it apart pretty well.

“Ah, just the two I was looking for, Jack threw a shoe this morning and I need one of you to take it down to Master Ketlan. The other one of you can piece together this table and try to make it presentable again.” David had a tired look on his face, even though the day was just beginning. Usually there wasn't much trouble, as not many people came to the village, but this probably meant that the soldiers were around. Everyone was on edge when they came into town- there was always trouble.

I quickly volunteered for taking Jack, our horse, down to the blacksmith, after all, Kiara was probably around. Maert smiled at my enthusiasm and agreed to fix the table. Little did I know that that choice would change my life.


Though our town was not a rich one, we weren't too bad off either. There was David's Inn, The White Swan, Baton's Livery, and Firden's market; made up of lower merchants and peddlers during the summer and clothes made by Firden's wife during the winter. And then there was the Smithy.

Master Ketlan was rumored to have been a Master smith, possibly even working for the King. Yet he had given up all that so that he could raise his daughter. After this the more daring village women would comment under their breath that under the King's influence was no where to raise a child and Ketlan had done right by her. In a small town rumors tend to run wild and end up much larger than the reality, yet this one seemed a little more than gossip. Master Ketlan's work was, after all, much better than anything brought into town by merchants, much to their surprise, and he had always been protective of his daughter when soldiers were around. He usually stayed out of their way and kept to the house when he got word they were nearby.

Rounding the corner or Baton's Livery, right next to the smithy, I immediately heard voices. Two soldiers, dressed in their shining uniform of black and crimson, screamed at Master Ketlan.

“-and you will sacrifice to your loving Father, the King, whatever he asks of you. Whether it be family, weapons or your very soul. Do you understand? Our Father does not take kindly to disobedient servants.”

A spark rose into Master Ketlan's eyes and he gripped the shaft of his best hammer. Had he been a man prone to rash actions, I would have feared for the soldier's life, instead, Master Ketlan gave a deep sigh and released the handle and seemingly forced his hand to his side. With obvious restraint he opened his mouth.

“I live to serve my Father, take anything you want, I can have weaponry ready by tomorrow; my wife is dead and I have no other kin.” A soldier, who seemed to be in charge sneered- a nasty sight, yet somehow familiar.

“Very well, Vishnat, collect anything useful here, we will be back tomorrow for the weapons. Do not fail your Father.” As they turned to go I heard foots on the steps leading to Master Ketlan's house. The backdoor of the smithy swung open and Kiara was standing there.

Kiara's eye's reminded me of my mother's, enchanting blue and almost never full of worry. I suppose that was one of things that made her so attracting to me. The memory of my mother's eyes brought a stab of pain and guilt. I hadn't done anything. Maybe I could have saved them. Why didn't I try?

Hearing Kiara's entrance, the leading soldier turned back, opening his mouth into a grin. I knew why he seemed familiar. I had been him that day. The day he killed my parents. The day he ruined my life.

“Well, well, what have we here. You said we could have anything we want did you not?”

Kiara. The man that had ruined my life and mercilessly slaughtered my parents wanted Kiara now. He would never take anything from me again. Never.

Leaping forward in a berserk fury, I seized Master Ketlan's hammer and drove it into the man's scull. The crunch that resounded seemed was disgustingly satisfying.

I had done it. Ended this, once and for all. He would never take anything from me again.

Fists seized me around the neck and I remembered the other soldier, Vishnat. Vaugely I heard him calling for others. For a moment I saw shining metal coming around the corner. Master Ketlan's voice. Kiara's pale face looking down at me. Then everything went black.

Even in death, the soldier had succeed in taking one more thing from me. My freedom.


---------


I woke in hell. Close enough anyways. Flames flickered on the decaying mortar wall and as I lifted myself onto my hands and knees, shuffling the age old hay, it released a sticky, bitter smell. Scrambling up, I turned around and saw the cause of the flames. Far down the hall, past stolid iron bars, was a furnace. Not like the small one that David, the innkeeper, had been so proud of. No, this furnace could easily fit a score of men inside. If they had a death wish, that is.

A panel of glass allowed the huge flames to dance down the hall, not so much cutting through the darkness, as giving it life. There no other light source in the corridor, not that I expected any. Not with the quality of my cell. That's what it was, wasn't it? I had nearly forgotten. I had killed a man. It did not matter that he had slaughtered my parents, or what he would have done to Kiara. He was a man just the same. The hammer sinking into his scull had been so...satisfying. No! It was repulsive, it hadn't felt good. I had just done what was necessary. It wasn't something I had enjoyed! Was it?

Stumbling back, I hit the wall. Black, decaying mortar oozed onto my clothing but it didn't matter. In my Dreams, I had killed men, women and children many times. But this time, it was really me. But he had deserved. Not only what he had done against me, but what he might have done against countless others. Had he hurt people? Did he enjoy it? Or was it just his job. Did he have a wife and children, perhaps still waiting for him to return home. . . or grieving him. . . cursing my name.

Closing my eyes, the thoughts became images, spinning through my head. His wife weeping, the children, their lost expressions and sunken eyes. I had done it to them.

It was hours before I could fall asleep, and when I did, I would much rather have stayed awake.. My dreams were not filled with the soldier's family. No, much worse.

The midday sun was glinting off my silver mail. I could feel the sun beating down on me, but I remained cold. Hard. Snarling, my head lifted. I had had this dream many times since my parents death, but this time something was different. Kneeling before me were my parents...and the soldier. They looked up at me, and they set their jaws. As I pronounced the twisted words about our “Father”, their determination hardened. Involuntarily I lifted my sword. The last who stand in my way. As my sword came down, darkness once again enveloped me.

A thousand images of death and slaughter flew in my mind's eye. Yet one by one they faded. One by one, until only one image remained. My parents. Looking up, accusing me. Then even they were gone. I was abandoned. For the first night since my parents left, I was truly alone.

--------------

I awoke to the sound of keys in my cell door. A heavyset man, dressed similarly to many of the soldiers, if a little dirtier, was fumbling with a ring that must have held hundreds of keys. Finally he seemed to have found the right one and the cell door swung open.

“Up,” he commanded, “ We don't have all day, and you have a visit with the King.” For the first time I noticed the other person. He was tall, with spotless black clothes, a thin bladed sword swinging at his waist, and a look of disdain for his meager surroundings. From what I had heard, the King had a group of elite soldiers that guarded him and were his only real contact with the lesser ones under his command. This man fit that description fairly well. He was obviously not used to commoners like me.

As I stood-up, the guard seized my arms and slammed a pair of shackles on them. They were gleaming in the torchlight, untouched by the filth and rust that was all around, untouched, that is, except by the guardsman's hairy, grease covered hands.

“Move,” The guardsman pushed me through the door and locked it behind us. The man in black was still looking at me. It was a look I could well have done without, he seemed to be weighing me, seeing every ounce of worth I might have. When he spoke it was in a thick rasp that reminded me of a snake I had once seen, just before it devoured a rat whole.

“Nothing so special that I can see about you, but our Father never picks in vain. Come along, you wouldn't want to keep him waiting.” With a dark chuckle and the first hint of a smile I had seen him make, he strode down the hall. The guardsman shoved me forward and I stumbled ahead to catch up.

----------------

As I was lead into the King's chambers, which were the size of the village square, I looked around in amazement and awe. In the rare moments when I had imagined the King's rooms, I had assumed they were laden with gilt and finery the like of which I had never seen, and they were, yet it was much different that I would have thought. Black tapestries and wicked-looking weapons hung from the walls with shelves with thousands of books covering every wall in between the hangings. There were huge glass vials with bubbling liquids in them and thousands of scrawlings in chalk on the floor in the shape of stars. Yet the most frightening thing was the huge chandelier hanging in the middle of the room. It was carved intricately from aged mahogany and held hundreds of candles, from each of them glowed...darkness. There was no other way I could describe it. It was as if they were glowing brightly with light, but instead what emanated was a shroud of darkness. A voice sounding like the rustle of dry leaves broke into my reverie.

“A rare artifact indeed, that chandelier cost me dearly to create.” For the first time I noticed him. The King was standing in the middle of the room at a podium, with a large book open in front of him. He was facing away from me so I could only see his black robes and a dark cowl pulled over his head, yet he seemed familiar. As he turned around I felt an icy fist gripping my chest. His face was wrinkled as if with age and his back had a slight hunch, yet I knew. It was him. The one that had killed my family, the one that I had killed. I was too stunned to speak, how had he survived? Why did he look as he did?

“I suppose congratulations are in order. I haven't been killed for. . . oh, a century or so. Barkath! You may leave us.” The man in black who brought me bowed swiftly and strode out the door, closing it behind him. For a moment I wondered at this. Leaving me alone with the man I had killed, and most likely wouldn't hesitate to kill again. Then I looked at that man, the man I had killed, yet was standing before me. Maybe my own safety was a bit more at risk.

“I am Javdath, a necromancer, one of the last of my kind. The legends about us are almost all false though. We cannot call up legions of dead, nor do we have absolute power over life and dead. If we did, then the world would be a much different place. What we can do, however, is much better. We can control our appearances, though it takes time, after you killed me I reverted to this state, it will take a year or so to look like my old self. But that is beside the point. I have a story to tell you. Sit!” He pointed a extravagantly carved chair immediately next to me. I sat almost without realizing it, though a bit uncomfortably with my hands shackled behind my back. “In the past eight centuries, only three have been born, two were burned when their towns began to realize what they could do. But the third was more powerful than the others. He killed the entire village that wished to slaughter him and left in search of training. Other necromancers attempted to sway him to follow them, yet he always knew he was better than them. He stayed with a few for a time, and learned a great deal, but in the end he killed all seven of the remaining necromancers in the world. There was no one to stand in his way, so he decided to set up a domain that would encompass the world. The last three hundred years he has been working at this. Then, seventeen years ago, another child was born with the gift. I could sense his presence and set up the capitol of my domain here, where I could sense him near. Though we can make estimations on the area, we can not know exactly where those with the gift reside so I waited for a sign that it was awakening. Yet in the time I was here I came upon resistance, a couple of white magicians who knew me for what I was and decided to make their every effort be towards tearing me down. I myself dropped the blow which ended their insolence. But as they died I sensed it, one with the gift was watching the execution. I believed it to be their son, but when we searched their house, we found nothing. I had never encountered one born of white mages with the gift so I hoped for the best. But unfortunately, life is not so helpful as all that. Still, for someone so young to be able to watch my actions he would have had to have been close. When you Dream, you inhabit the body of another necromancer for a short time, unless you are exceptionally strong, you can simply see through their eyes. It is the only way to truly kill a trained necromancer. Even so, to even harm a necromancer you need to have the gift.” With that He was silent. It took me a moment to realize...It was me. He had killed my parents, I had been in him when he did it. And I had killed him.

“I see you know who you are. You will become my vassal, you will serve me and I will teach you of the arts. You do not have to do it voluntarily, but it will be easier on you, so I give you this chance.” Looked up at him, for a moment I considered it. Then I cursed myself for even thinking of it. This man had killed my parents, I would never serve him.

“Never,” I spat at him, even though he was much too far away for it to hit. As the saliva splashed on the darkly gilded floor, he smiled.

“As you wish.” I could feel him gaining control of my body. I was much to weak to fight his power though. A moment later, everything went black.

--------------------

As my senses returned I tried to look around, but then I realized I didn't have control of my body. I was in our village square and a crowd was gathering. The King's body was was beside me, as if in a trance. My body turned towards the people. In my head, the Javdath spoke, “Kill them all, and you may have anything you wish. I teach you to do more things than you have ever dreamed of. Anything you desire could be yours, with one thought.” As the words bounced through my head a wave of thoughts swept over me, little things, things I had always wanted. I could do whatever I wished. I might even become powerful enough to one day kill Javdath and the world would bow to my every whim. I could have the power to change the world for good, at just the sacrifice of a few people. It was for the greater good, wasn't it? I felt control of my body coming back, Javdath was letting me choose. I could save everyone in the world from Javdath's evils, just one little thought. Javdath had left the thought in my head. A string of words, I knew if spoken they would end the life of any mortal I wished. It was like absolute power. I opened my mouth. And Javdath smiled in satisfaction.

Femcme tlanta chent othar benghy fyhdok-” Maert had appeared in the crowd, he had a strung bow in his hands with an arrow nocked. Lifting it he aimed at Javdath. He fired.

The arrow bounced harmlessly off of Javdath, but he was stunned for a moment, a simple villager had tried to kill him. Maert. Maert, my friend. Maert, who I had grown up with. He attacked my master. No! He attacked Javdath. The one who killed my parents. The one who I was serving. Javdath raised his hand and uttered a word, Maert flew back, slamming into the pavement with a crunch. He didn't move. I had made my decision.

Turning around, I seized for control of Javdath's body. He had had a smug smile on his face, but it vanished immediately. He countered my probe and a battle of wills began. I was much weaker in necromancy, but I would not let him win. He couldn't win. Yet he was gaining ground. His hundreds of years of inexperience was pushing forward, even in his weakened state. I searched for something I could use to fight him, something I could use to wipe his hideous body off the face of the earth. As I delved deep into my soul I remembered what Javdath ahd said about my parents. White mages. Did I have some of their power? Could I cleanse our village of his evil? A brilliant flash of white erupted from me. It spread over our entire village, getting brighter and brighter. There was a searing pain, and then, darkness.

-------------------

Maert lay there, on Master Ketlan's bed. They had brought him here after the fight. He had several broken ribs and his left arm was hung at an odd angle, but other than that things didn't looks so bad. Looks, however, can be deceiving. Vaneta, the village's ancient herbwife, said that he was bleeding inside. If we do not drain it, he would most likely die, yet if we do drain him in his current state, he would be certain to die. No one here had the proper skills to do it safely. Maert seemed to know he was going to die, no matter how I tried to reassure him. He started coughing badly, spitting up blood. A growing spot of darkness on the white sheets. As I stood to call Vaneta, who was downstairs resting, he seized my arm with a strength I did not expect. It was my fault this had happened, if I had been stronger. . . been able to win without his sacrifice. . .

“Dravid,” Maert's voice belied his strength, it was weak and his breath came in ragged breaths, pausing to spit out more blood. “It wasn't your fault. I did what I could. You did the same.” He smiled as if he could read my thoughts. “I've felt worse.” He tried to laugh, but more blood just emerged. “Take care of Kiara and our parents.”

He looked at me, green eyes locking with mine. His nails dug into my forearm, but I ignored the pain. With one last cough, his hand fell, but his eyes stayed locked with mine. A smile crept onto his lips. And he was gone.

How could I have let it happen? Another person had died on my account. I had power, I could have healed him. I could have killed Javdath before it became necessary for his sacrifice- but I didn't. I was going to kill everyone I knew, and all for myself. Bile rose to my mouth and I fled through the door. Kiara had been standing there, in the doorway, and as I pushed past her she called for me to wait. Her voice gave me wings. I would never be the cause of harm to anyone I loved again. No one would ever suffer because of me again. Never.

© 2010 Gregory Hill


Author's Note

Gregory Hill
Any help would be great, I understand it has a lot of grammatical things so please point them out! I am not too great of an editor with my own work.

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Added on June 17, 2010
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Author

Gregory Hill
Gregory Hill

Fallbrook, CA



About
Hi all I dont like writing about myself so I will be brief. I am 16 and I live in Fallbrook Ca. How much more brief can you get? I have some songs I like on here: more..

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