Heavy booted feet marched past near my head. The sound startled me and I stirred to my feet, still groggy from my slumber. I slunk into the shadows trying not to arouse any attention. The day to day routine of an orphan had become pretty natural. Stealing morsels of food, begging for change, and dodging the town guards was an everyday occurence.
As I stepped onto the cobblestone sidewalks of the street I saw many people in the great city of Medievia. So diverse was the population, people dabbling in the mystical Arts and others that concentrated on the skills of combat. I felt hungry all of the sudden and realized that it was time to obtain some food. Near the street corner there was a nice cart, full of breads, pastries and fruits. I decided that it would make a suitable breakfast. I glanced around checking for guards and I waited until the owner of the cart wasn't looking. I sprang forward and stealthy grabbed a hot loaf of bread just as the merchant shifted to check on his goods. The man noticed my theft and immediately shouted an alarm to one of the town guards. The heavy booted feet I had heard before now became more and more frightening. They came quickly down the street. They had gleaming armor and awful big swords. Now it was imminent that I was to be caught, I turned to run. Suddenly I was enveloped in dark purple robes and I caught the spicy smell of spell components. The world went black...
Shooting straight up in my bed, beads of cold sweat ran down my head and neck. The dream that had plagued me so had come again. It had been recurring for many years now. I wiped the sweat from my brow and peered around the room. It was the same homely place I have seen for a few months. The fire blazed warmly and I snuggled up into the warm, bearskin blanket I had wrapped around my body. The owner of the house, Samantha and one occupants, Kelan were the ones that saved me from the life of orphanage and suffering. They gave me a clan and a home they brought my miserable existence back to focus. The figure in my dream with the purple robes was actually Kelan, who at that time was a powerful magic user. Standing up and looking around I equipped my weapons and strolled out the door.
Feeling particularly lazy, I decided to take the easy way out and cast a spell that took me straight to the central square of Medievia City. I had decided that I should go to my clan town and check to see what was going on in the clan. In order to get there I must use the magical portal placed there by Vryce himself. The portals were a remarkable gift given to mortals by the gods. If one concentrates hard enough the portal will take them to any clan town of their choosing. I stepped into the portal with the thought of the Guardians of Justice's clan town in my head. The world faded from view and mist surrounded me. I felt light as air, floating through this mist-like existence. The world began to get blurry and fade back into view. I saw that I was at the waystation of my clan town.
Opening the grand doors to my clanhall and entering, I met with Sintenjiin, Metis, Relin and Kelan eating breakfast and discussing some politics that didn't sound particularly interesting, although the meal was probably quite eventful with Kelan attending it. As I walked in they greeted me with hugs and warm welcomes. I helped myself to an apple and some crystal clear water. Day to day clan life had become pretty natural, since I had been in the clan for about half a year. I was progressing quite nicely in my skills, [though] not nearly as experienced as Relin, Sintenjiin or Metis who were veterans of the clan and experts in most of the fields of battle and mystical Arts.
"How goes your day, fellow Guardians?" I asked.
"I think I can speak for us all when I say that we are having a fine day," Relin answered.
Metis approached me and gave me a tender kiss on the lips. My day just got a little bit better. For a while now, we had been making gestures back and forth to each other. Who knows what will come of this attraction, but I would hope it would become something more.
"Why is that?" I inquired.
Softly Kelan said, "Well I have heard three good jokes today, and I met a cute girl in town, so I am having a pleasant morning." A slight smirk came across his face. A snicker came from the group sitting at the table. Kelan had always been the facetious one of the clan. He had a sarcastic or funny remark to anything anyone said, one of the reasons that he has become one of my best friends. He was the one that saved me from the guards and took me in. We have become to have a relationship like brothers.
"The time has come, Rhishken, for you to test your skills and pass a test for the clan. Every member before you has undergone a test to prove themselves to the clan. Your test will be to retrieve the legendary Heartstone from the cliff where Dahnakriss is holding it as a treasure. All that I will give you is a partial map of the caverns and this orb," said Relin.
"My esteemed leader, and friend, I will begin on this quest today!" I exclaimed.
I studied the items that Relin had given me. The map looked as though it was a thousand years old. The yellowed parchment had frayed corners and was written in a flowing script. The orb, however, was much more exciting. It was a clear glass orb, filled with a swirling green mist. About the size of a small melon, it pulsed with power. I packed these items into my griffon hide pack, said my goodbyes, and left the clanhall.
I wandered out of the clan town and used my powers to call a dragon. Only having done this feat a few times, I still marveled at these magnificant creatures. Gracefully landing, a gleaming silver dragon peered at me with a friendly look.
With a deep, majestic voice the dragon spoke, "Where dost thee wish to fly?"
"My lord, would you take me to the cliff where the master thief, Dahnakriss resides?"
"Aye, I know of the place. I will take ye there in the quickest time," the great wyrm replied.
He lowered a wing and I mounted the beast. Instantly he shot off the ground and we were airborn. The flight seemed to take only minutes. Feeling the dragon shift and start circling, I held on tighter. The dragon landed and I dismounted. I bowed deeply, to this mostly respectable of all creatures. The dragon nodded and took flight again, disappearing over the horizon.
Before me stood a cliff face riddled with openings and narrow ledges. I moved closer to the cliff and saw what seemed to be a small opening leading to an underground cave system. I descended into the cave and noticed numerous claw marks and scratches along the wall. Shrieks and grunts seemed to eminate from the very walls. I began to walk as silently as possible, not wanting to meet the source of the shrieks.
Unsheathing my dagger, I proceeded along the passage cautiously. I came to a part of the passage that seemed to slope down steeply almost as a slide. Figuring that this might lead to other unmentionable creatures, I decided to use the orb that Relin had given me. Grasping it in my hand, I raised it above my head and concentrated all my energy on it. The orb started to glow in my hand, and some of the green mist inside began to swirl rapidly and extend to envelope my body. A resounding white aura surrounded me and cast a glow about the room. I proceeded down the slimy shoot.
As I reached, the bottom of the slide, I noticed there were hideous three headed creatures nested here. There were two, each with one head of a goat, a dragon, and a lion. Immediately, I slunk back into the shadows, hoping they wouldn't notice me. Fear gripped my heart and all I wanted was to run, but I kept my head and moved out of the room swiftly. Entering another cave, I found it to be littered with bones and debris. The creature that did this must not be friendly, I thought. I glanced at my map and I followed the cave in the westward. Walking along the cave path, I came upon another more frightening beast. It was a large lion-like creature with sharp fangs. Readying my dagger, I snuck up behind it and plunged the dagger into the creature's back twice. Howling in anger, the creature turned and knocked me down with a large paw. Shaking it off I got back up and cast a spell that shot a colourful spray of light from my hands and the beast turned its eyes away and growled. Seeing that I had it stunned, I pulled my sword from its sheath and struck the beast down for a final blow. The creature moaned in agony as its life force was expended. I followed the path onward.
I rounded a bend and the cave came to a dead end. I was befuddled on what next to do. Searching around the back of the cavern wall, one of the rocks seemed out of place. There was a slight deformation on one of the sides. I grabbed it with my fingers and pulled with all my strength. It revealed a small passageway that opened up to a spiral stairway and a small landing. I decided to explore down the hallway first. It was lavishly decorated although a little run down as though it wasn't used particularly that much. Walking down the hallway I went to the last door on the left. I entered the door and walked down a corridor. At the end of the passageway was another door. I opened this door and to my amazement a humanoid made of a pure amber substance stood at yet another door leading to a bedroom of sorts. Stealthly I crept past him and entered the room behind the large golem. I started to hear sounds of chanting and muttering coming from the west. The room I found was some sort of workroom. Strewn about were tools and jars of all shapes and sizes. A single door inscribed with magical runes and strange carvings seemed to be the source of the chanting. Slowly, I opened the door, fearing what might be on the other side. Peering into the room, I saw a figure enshrouded in black, hunched over a spellbook with his back turned to me. This was perfect time to catch this evil wizard off guard. I ran up the wizard and with all my might plunged my dagger, not once, not twice, but three times into the back of the mage. He made a horrible gurgling sound and collapsed at my feet. A glint of emerald dropped from his hand which sparked my curiosity. I picked up this shard and packed it away in my pocket. Seeing no other exits, I made my way back to the stairwell.
Ascending the staircase, I came to a door that seemed to radiate heat. I examined the door and noticed that it had a triangle shaped slot in the middle. I retrieved the shard of emerald from my pocket I placed it in the slot in the door. It began to glow and smoke and then crumbled to dust, the door swinging slowly open. Smoke and heat permeated the room, at the farm end a mass of pure heat and amber moved towards me. I began to panic and look for a way out. Right before the golem was on top of me, I dexterously slipped beyond him and recalled to memory the chant of a spell. I chanted 'Vas Ort Grav' and a bright yellow energy expanded from my body to form a shimmering shield that protected me from the horrible creation. A door led onward deeper into the lair. It was charred black and menacing to look at. Opening the door, I saw that it led to a small room containing an obelisk surrounded by glass-like ice and stone. On a pedastal in the center of the room rested a stone of deep red in the shape of a heart, that seemed to light the whole room. I approached it with fascination and awe. Could this be it, the item that was said to bring life to the dead, and the item that would induct me into the elite of the Guardians of Justice? I grasped the legendary Heartstone and felt its power. It coursed through my limbs and body. It numbed my senses for a moment. A feeling of pure ectasy flowed through me, and I knew that this was it. At that moment the walls of the room seemed to glow slightly and stepping from them was an exact duplicate of myself. I shook my head once and looked again, now there were three. I recalled to my mind a spell of teleportation, I quickly chanted the words, closed my eyes and felt the power of magic take me from that accursed place.
As I opened my eyes, I saw that I was standing in a valley between the mountains. The cliff in which I had recently been, was now far away. I thought to myself that it was too easy. I didn't even have to fight the master thief Dahnakriss to get the powerful artifact. He had escaped another day, but there will be others when I will be more powerful and have greater numbers with me. But that is another tale for another time...