The Morning Before the Meeting

Part 1: https://seventhchronicle.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/this-world-is-a-dangerous-place/

“Its important, you must come!” interjected Raven, before Ohris had a chance to answer.

“I agree, I’m worried Ohris, I heard the Masters talking, they have plans for us, and I can’t imagine they are good for us.” Adroit calmly stated.

“Alright, alright I’ll come, but for now I have my last advanced combat  lesson with the Bloodied” Ohris replied with an audible level of contempt.

The Bloodied was a monstrous man, notoriously know to have endlessly committed vile acts for the lords of the Houses that any sane man would have refused. He was a remarkably skilled combatant, undefeated from a young age. He towered over most men, the majority of his face hidden behind a mane of black matted hair and a mask of a fully grown entangled facial hair accompanied by web of scars. A fearsome sight for anyone, especially a child. He had been travelling the country in search of work after slaying the newborn twins of Lord Gost from House Bask under the order of Lady Unna from the House Redrock. Unfortunately for the orphans of Black Wood the Masters desired the services of such a remarkably skilled combatant and had hired him to assist in a level of combat training unseen at the orphanage for some time.

Ohris had left the great hall and preceded left through a small door hanging desperately to its hinges, he continued down the dark corridor, the floor was littered with the remnants of what was once a dark velvet red carpet that had been worn and withered to its current state of disrepair. The floorboards wearily creaked as if they were unhappy someone was calling them into action. Ohris was accustomed to the complaints of the old orphanage, his legs lead him through the twists and turns of the aging building without a thought until he emerged into the light of a pale morning. Before him lay a small square field, at the far end stood the Bloodied and his four assistants. These assistants were old companions of the Bloodied, men who had at times fought by his side.

As Ohris approached the low voice of the Bloodied boomed “you’re late”.

“Fractionally” Ohris murmured.

The Bloodied looked over the boy disapprovingly, a turn of irony Ohris thought to himself, “Your task is to defend yourself against these four, succeed and you will have passed your training.”

“Very well” Ohris replied coldly, he walked over to the side of the field picking the wooden practice sword he had always favored before taking his place in the center of the four assistants and adopting a stance he deemed appropriate. Holding the blade in his left hand he it raised above his head, placing his left foot behind the right allowing his weight to rest predominantly on the left, compressing it like a spring readying himself for the battle to come. For the first ten minutes no one moved, Ohris had decided to react rather than engage, he was surrounded and outnumbered, throwing himself at his opponents would only spell disaster.

Patience was not a virtue possessed by the first two who made their move. From opposing corners two assistants rushed forward sprinting toward Ohris. Ohris seemed unfazed by their charge unnerving the assistant approach his front, this assistant made his first and only mistake, hesitating within striking range, Ohris seized the opportunity with dizzying speed. He launched his attack unleashing the force held within his left leg. He spun around bringing his blade down in an arch crashing into the knee of the assistant bringing him to the ground in a wave of agony. Ohris continued through one swift movement stepping behind his incapacitate opponent turning to his right, he effortless removed the crippled assistants training blade and threw it with expert precision, the blade connecting with the neck of the second assistant who collapsed were he stood.

The other two assistants were stunned, unsure of what to do next, they had just witnessed two seasoned warriors disarmed and disabled by a sixteen year old orphan. Ohris, not one to pass up opportunity capitalized on their confusion. He bore down on the remaining assistants, closing the distance between them rapidly, he slid the last few remaining feet, unleashing his left arm he drove his blade into the stomach of the first assistant, rolling over his back landing in a crouch, spinning the blade before thrusting it behind him into the second. With the blade still facing down in his grip Ohris took a step forward rising as he did striking the first assistant in the jaw, throwing him onto his back.  With a sense of finality he turned behind him to face the last of the Bloodied’s companions bringing the practice blade to bear on his neck. As the dust settled Ohris remained the only man standing, dispatching his foes in a flurry of strikes lasting a matter of moments. The occupants of the field remained silent as the minutes passed, Ohris had not moved, starring quietly at the ground before him, reflecting and contemplating his every action. The Bloodied’s mouth began to move, before it was able to form a word Ohris threw down his sword, turned away and walked towards the orphanage.

“I assumed I passed” he shouted back without so much as turning his head.

The Bloodied’s blood boiled, insulted to the point of humiliation by a mere boy. Surprisingly, and entirely out of character, the Bloodied kept his rage in check, after all he would not receive his payment if he struck the boy down.

As Ohris arrived back at the orphanage Bison was waiting for him. A boy of small stature, Bison held a stout physique due mainly to the fact the masters of Black wood had deemed him talented in the manipulation of metal and had sent him to the orphanage’s forge shortly after he arrived. Bison was rare, at least in the eyes of his friends and the other orphans, he had fleeting memories of his parents, arriving at the orphanage shortly after his third birthday. His parents had died in the siege of castle he did not know, nor could he recall the name of it or its whereabouts, he had been sent to Black wood as no one had come to claim him.

“Everything is ready for tonight!” he exclaimed enthusiastically, obviously excited by the prospect of escape.

“Not so loudly” Ohris barked back, “do you want the masters to catch wind of it?”

To the orphans surprise Master Crothos answered in Bison’s stead, he had obviously been expecting Ohris’s imminent return, “catch wind of what?” his voice pierced the air, as if his very words were daggers trying to penetrate their secret.

Bison began to tremble, but Ohris remained calm, he was constantly dealing with the masters in one way or another, this encounter was nothing new to him.

Ohris once more was faced with a choice, allowing him to take his destiny into his own hands, will he tell the Crothos of the planned meeting, betraying his friends in return for favor with the Master? Or will he do what he can to mislead and trick the Master, protecting himself, his friends and the meeting? Vote below in the comments to decide.

“This World is a Dangerous Place”

As the vote stands, a story will be told about a hero in a fantasy realm, this hero will be an orphan.

 

 

“This world is a dangerous place, uncompromising, the lords of the great houses care little for the plight of the people, we are dispensable”. This was the sermon delivered daily by the master of Black wood orphanage.

The orphanage rested upon the border of the idyllic Black wood forest, situated next to a gentle stream, a body of water nearing the end of a journey that began in the violent rivers which followed the contours of the land stretching from the desolate frozen north. The black wood hummed with the life of a dawning spring, it was scented by tall grass, lavender and the damp moss that intricately laced the ground. But, this was as far as idyllic could stretch, the building itself lent considerably to the left, the rotting wood creaked and moaned under the pressure of its own weight.

In the great hall, the very picture of neglect, Master Crothos continued to educate the amassed orphans on the perils of the wider world in his distinctly dull and monotonous tone.

 

“You children, are not worth the bread you so ravenously devour … the very fact your parents abandoned you into my care, is testament to your worthlessness.” He preached.

 

Toward the back sat three friends, distinctly disinterested in the demoralising venomous rant Master Crothos was currently engaged in. The tallest of the three seemed to be dominating the discussion, he was sprawled across the bench they were occupying. Possessed with a level of confidence far superior to that expected of a Black wood orphan, he had chosen the name Adroit. Unexpectedly muscular this boy of sixteen defied everything Black wood had come to stand for, for the three companions. The second boy, also sixteen, appeared much smaller than he was, hunched over, shrunk by the repeated beatings he had suffered at the hand of the orphanage’s commander of discipline, Master Ratch. His dark hair lay flatly on top of his head and a scar ran across his vacant face from the top of his right eye to the bottom of his left jaw. He had been given the name of Ohris after the God of misfortune and pain. The third of their company stood out the most, she had jet black hair, worn always in a bun. She was unnaturally elegant and of a slight frame, leading the other children to assume she was the orphan of a highborn. She was slightly older, reaching seventeen, an age rarely seen at black wood, as the orphans were sold at the age of sixteen to the local farms and mines.

 

“So, what do you reckon about this meeting?” Raven questioned, she was often the one to draw their discussions to the more important issues.

“What meeting?” replied Adroit.

“Why do you always forget these things?” Raven chirped obviously displeased with the forgetfulness of her friend, “Bison’s meeting, remember? He is coming of age as well, we need to decide whether to run or not, before we are all sold to different farms, the mines or at the very worse to an army of a House”. A tremor of panic clearly audible at the mention of service in the forces of one of the seven houses.

“When and where will it be?” asked Ohris.

“Tonight, after lights out, behind the abandoned barn.” answered Raven.

“I’m in, you wont see me fighting for any high and mighty lord” Adroit defiantly boomed, “what about you Ohris, are you coming?”

 

Will Ohris join his friends at the secret meeting behind the abandoned barn? Or will he let the Masters of Black Wood decide his fate?

 

To the Next Step

So having boldly stated my intentions: to write more, I thought I would try something I have never done before. I am going to attempt to write an interactive story. The one small hiccup being you need a good few people to read what you write for this to occur. As it stands this will likely be a tailor-made story for my self-professed number one fan …. my older brother.

 

Here is to hoping that is not the case. Hopefully, as this story evolves, I may attract a growing number of people to the workings of my, at times, over active imagination. Hints, tips, criticisms and interaction are all encouraged in the near future when I get this off the ground.

 

I am going to restrict the genre to fantasy or Sci-fi, I know them better than any others and I am more comfortable within those realms. But there are a few things that do need to be decided, they are as follows:

 

Sci-fi or Fantasy?

Hero or Heroine?

Orphan living on the streets or Son/Daughter of a rich high-born family?

 

Hopefully I will get a few answers to the questions posed. If not, I’ll choose and start the adventure. The first installment will be arriving shortly.