At Fate’s End – Prologue-

Now now, here comes what I have been waiting for. The plot of the story had been in my mind for a very long time, and now I have decided to write about it.

At first, I was wondering, what if it was not a good story? So I hesitated to write it. But then after I watch and read more fantasy-based materials, I have decided that I should really work on this. This story is about duty, responsibility, love and lots of emotions.

People usually say that emotions are the weakness for a human being. Well, I might as well exploit that then. It is going to be a hard ride this one. So, stick with me and join me on this long journey, and I will bring you, into my fantasy world.

With my cup of coffee and my handy laptop, let me type away into the midst of adventures.

Regards, Haise Ken

Art by Francesco Lorenzetti



Prologue

To the very west of the Lands of Tyremos, there stood the Camillia, a small but strong house. Not much war was happening lately in these lands for the past decades, or maybe centuries. The last war was too long for anyone to remember.
        The last war was the invasion of the Dragons – the ancient beings. Nobody in Tyremos did really have the full story about it. All that was known was that thirteen dragons, each of them emitting bright luminous light, as bright as the Sun during the day and as shiny as the Stars during the night. They came one day without notice and started a massacre as they soared through the sky of Tyremos, and left the Lands painted in blood red, as blood flowed like rivers.
        In the midst of the war where more than half of the population was lost to the hands of the ferocious Dragons, the humans found a new ability – magic. With their newfound powers, the Dragons were then defeated by Tyrium, a mage that practices the strongest magic during the war, which led the people of Tyremos to victory. This was also the reason that Tyrium became the King, where absolute power made him the Ruler of the Lands.
        The Lands were currently under the possession of King Tyros, the descendant of Tyrium, residing in Ash’s Fall. It was peaceful these land were as Tyros gained the throne. People did not starve and of course, people then trusted him more. Everyone in these Lands would do his bidding no matter what of its concern. With this, Tyros gained a lot more might and defense against the forces from the Outerlands – residents out from Tyremos.
        Speaking of defenses, as the King feared that one day the Dragons might return, he then built a large and humongous wall that surrounded the Lands of Tyremos like in a circle. It was called the Reach. Nobody knew what was on the other side of the Reach.
No one knew.

Gran was one of the soldiers that were posted to the Reach. To be considered, soldiers who were posted to the Reach lived mostly a carefree life. Nothing had ever happened.
        As usual, Gran woke up as the second candle went out, and it was midnight.
Decades before the invasions, the scholars in Ash’s Fall found a way to keep track of the time by crafting candles that would burn out every two hours, by simply called it the Candle, it became a very useful tool in everyone’s life.
        Just as Gran woke up, two consecutive banging can be heard from his quarter’s wooden door.
        “Sir, it’s your turn to keep the watch!”
        “Yes,” Gran replied, in a disgusted manner, “I will get to it soon.” This is boring, he thought.
        Gran gradually rose from his bed and stood up. His eyes gave a quick sweep across his quarters.

His quarters were considerably tiny compared to his usual one in Camillia. Small tiny room with nothing but a simple wardrobe that could only fit in some of his uniforms, a rack for his rusty weapons and a table but no chairs. He thought to himself, not even a window? Maybe windows were considered luxurious at the Reach.
        He walked towards the table slowly while trying to snap himself out of his muddiness from his sleep. He lit up another new Candle so he could keep track of the time, even though he did not for most of the time.
        He picked up his sword with a firm grip, thoughts that went through his mind was his good time serving in Camillia, hunting down deserters and executing people that caused problems to Camillia. Like there was once, a group of bandits tried to rob some local taverns, but Gran stopped them all single handed. Those foul mannered robbers got executed by him one by one. Regarding why was he being posted by Camillia, he had no choice. He gave a sigh and sliding the metal in his sheath and tightened it around his waist.
        Gran walked towards the door and unlocked it, only to be greeted by the soldier that was knocking on his door repeatedly and the shivering wind that blew.
        “This cold already? For god’s sake.” Gran blew into the air, reaffirming the temperature with the vapour.
        “It is, Sir. Seems like this winter is going to go hard on us all.” The soldier nod in the presence of Gran as he came out from his quarters. “I will go and rest, Sir. It is still a long night.”
        “Off you go, then. Thank you for waking me.” Gran gave a tap on the soldier’s shoulder, but his eyes still fixed on the dark sky.
        “Sir, do you need a drink from the canteen? I will bring them for…” The soldier asked.
        “No, I don’t need any,” Gran intercepted, “Go on then, hurry.”
        The soldier shook, and replied “Yes sir!”, then scurried away into the canteen, just beside Gran’s quarters.

The Reach was almost like a barrack with nothing but soldiers. In front of Gran’s quarters was a big black wall, almost in complete darkness if it was not shone partially from the flickering flames from the torches. And before the walls, there are stairs made from grey cobblestones, up to a wooden elevator. The elevator had been tied to a few pulleys with sturdy chains and to some sort of mechanism that does not make any sense to Grant.
        It was never his area of expertise.
        The Reach was covered in thick snow, and the howling sound of the icy gale could be heard. For Gran, this was the thickest snow Gran had ever seen at the Reach. Gran sighed again while making his way through the snow. The cold snow made Gran uncomfortable as his legs were freezing.
        “Bloody hell.” Gran cursed.
        After the struggle that seemed like an eternity, he made it to the man-powering elevator. “Sir,” one of the brutes asked with a smile, both palms rubbing together to produce heat. “Back to the walls again?”
        “No doubt,” Gran gave a nod and a grin, “A man should get back to his job, isn’t it?”
        The brute kept silence, only with a nod back. Gran stepped into the elevator as the brutes started to turn the gear that activated the pulley. The elevator began to rise as a screech traced from the old iron pulleys. Gran looked down from the elevator, the sight of flickering torches started to shrink as the elevator continued to rise gradually. The surrounding of Gran went into complete darkness before the dim brightness could be seen again at the top of the wall.
        On top of the wall, there were only a few soldiers on watch including Gran. They greeted Gran but he only replied with a silent nod, expressing a friendly gesture. He coursed his way around the walls, trying to remind himself how high the wall was again and again.
        Gran stood at the edge, eyes locking onto the dark cold sky. There’s nothing on the other side but only pure darkness and of course, a bright crescent hanging in the middle of darkness. What is there for us to watch then? Gran took a deep breath. What am I doing at the Reach? He then let out a great and deep sigh.
        That was the question Gran had always been asking himself. He still can’t figure out why would Bert, the King of Camillia, the right hand of the King of the Kings would send him here? But no matter the wise, he ought to follow the orders given.
        “You shouldn’t try to sneak up on me.” Gran uttered, “Minerva.”

A shadow froze under the burning torch behind Gran. “Goddamn it.” A woman, also in a uniform with blazing red hair with a touch of brownness, revealing herself from the shadow. She appeared to have a paler skin compared to the women of Tyremos. She was carrying two wooden jugs, that she tried to balance them as she walked towards Gran.
        “I didn’t come to scare you,”
        Minerva stood beside Gran and handed him one of the jugs. “I came to offer you a drink.” She started to take a sip from her own jug.
        Gran took the jug and smelled, “Ale?” Gran smiled. “Don’t you have something better to offer?” And he took a sip too, allowing the strong hint of heat from the drink to linger around his mouth before swallowing.
        “We don’t have better stuff at the Reach, Sir Granerost Falder.” Minerva spoke in a mocking manner. “Still thinking about Camillia?” Minerva finished up her jug of ale.
        “No, not really.” Gran turned away from the edge, continued to drink his ale.
        Gran first met Minerva went he came to the Reach about a month ago. Not every soldier did really welcome him. They greeted him only because he came as a Commander of the Reach, but not Minerva. Minerva really treated him as a friend, as a family.
        “Oh, come on,” Minerva laughed. “I know you do!” She gave Gran a shove. “Bored, aren’t you? That’s the life you get for coming to the Reach.”
        Gran kept silent. It’s true you know, the boredom was killing him from the inside.
        Minerva spoke after a while, “Gran, do you really believe that this wall has been built to keep us safe from the Dragons?” She turned to Gran, expecting an answer.
        “Well, who knows? It might as well be.” Gran answer, not really knowing the answer.
        “Or do you think it was something else but not the Dragons?” Minerva asked again.
        The question startled Gran. He had never thought of the possibilities ever. The Lands of Tyremos were peaceful, what would come to distort their peace that lasted for what seems like an eternity?
        “I don’t know, but it is possible.” Gran refuted. “But that just gets more boring though.”
        Minerva sighed. “It sure does, brother, and don’t you think that the sky is darker tonight?” Minerva mesmerized into the dark sky for a moment, “I did better get back to work before that old man grumbles again. See you at sunrise” Then hastily paced away.
        Gran smiled, “See you soon. ” He took Minerva’s words into his mind. He pondered, gazing into the cold sky as if he was drawn into it.
        It did really seem like it.
        The sky did grow darker.
        Gran murmured, “It is going to be a long night indeed.”, then gave smirk while brushing his wild hair.


© Haise Ken


To read next chapter >> Chapter 1

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