The rain was falling softly and quietly as the night went on. There were no clouds and the moon was out yet it’s light shined dimly onto the streets. There weren’t any slices of wind in the air. The trees did not even whisper and no life was at sight. The amber streetlights were pelleted by the rain which looked like tiny spirits were hovering past.
I reached my hand out to see how the rain really was. Tiny drops of water landed onto my hand. It wasn’t cold, just wet. And the feeling was soothing. It almost felt like the rain was washing away my suffering and my anxiety. I dragged the window in more and then rested my elbows on the window till.
The sight of the rain in the air mixed with the feeling of the small droplets landing was, amazingly to me, calming. I stayed there, enjoying the rain for a first in a long time. No thinking, no rushing, no planning. Just myself and the weather and the peaceful sight of rain.
And for a second, I was delighted. Not in the exciting way but in the joyful and yet sorrowful way. For some reason, for I cannot tell, my mind had stalled from the sight. And when it was kick-started again, the thoughts rushed in. The situation I was in, the rushing I needed to do the day after, the anxiety, the suffering and, of course, the frustration.
I cannot tell you where all this frustration comes from but it has always been there. From my years of infancy to now, the pinnacle of my life so far. It could have been numerous things. Or it could have been the gradual build-up of unfortunate events.
But whatever the cause, the anger, the pure hate was there. And worse off, the exhaustion followed it. For nights would prolong as sleep would fleet away from me. As I laid my head onto my pillow, I would wait until the land of dreams would welcome me. Most nights, it didn’t. And others, I would wake up, in pain or aching.
I did it again. Instead of just enjoying myself, I was pondering and wallowing at my own pain and past. I sighed. When will the day come when I am free? The day when my body stops aching? Or when my mind is at rest? When I don’t need much to satisfy myself or when I get to just enjoy myself without my ghosts following me? Will I ever be strong enough?
Will the day even come?
But Servaustus did not have the time to enjoy the calming sights. He took a quick glance on the streets, readying himself for the restless night. He never finished his preparation.
He heard a scream just before he was closed his window. It was a high pitched scream and moreover, it sounded desperately like from fear. He grabbed his Angel Scythe and leaped over the window, landing after dropping the three story building. After rolling into his landing, he stood up, ready to sprint to the source of distress.
What creature lurked in the dark in towns? As he reached his highest speed, he listed them all in his head. Vampires, trolls, werewolves, these were the most well-known ones. But there were others that stalked the night for prey.
It didn’t matter. Servaustus was going to find them all until he gets what he wants. Until he finds him.
Servaustus woke up at the silence of the night. He clicked his left hand and the candles around him awoke with light. He laid in his bed, his left hand draped across his forehead. Why did he wake up? He was not restless and he wasn’t thinking too much.
Whatever the reason he woke up, he raised himself from the bed, gathering his pipe as he did so. He walked over to the window, opening it to its fullest. He gazed upon the stars while fiddling with the apparatus in his hand. As he did so, he pondered about the past. He thought of the sleepless nights with Lectus and of course, Leben. Those days were filled of endless joy and breath-taking fun. He smiled at himself, feeling much warmer than he was before.
He looked at his pipe as he began to light it. He breathed in the smoke deeply as the amber lit a bright red. He watched as the puff of smoke wisped into the night, slowly growing weaker before eventually disappearing.
He remembered a particular night with Lectus and Leben. They were at the barn at some field at the time. This was before they were able to go for the jobs to gain money. They had a small fire then and though it was cold outside and raining, the inside was warm enough for them to not need blankets. That night, they spent it talking of what they wanted to do when they grew up.
“I want to just travel around the world, see the wonders of the world, meet amazing people. Help the people, learn their stories, become something more than just a stranger” Lectus explained. He was gazing into the fire, almost as if he was entranced, as if he could see that future in the softly burning flames. He looked at Leben for a short while and when Leben looked up, he quickly looked over to Servaustus. “What about you guys?” he asked. Leben answered after a few minutes of wondering. “I don’t know. I want to know what happened in that fire. Find my family, maybe. I would not want to give this up but I’d like to know what happened to them. I’m quite happy at where I am. With you guys.” She smiled at Servaustus and Lectus.
Servaustus looked at Lectus and knew it then. Lectus was as readable as an open scroll. Servaustus knew that Lectus loved Leben. He did not really care much in this world other than them being together. This made Servaustus think more of himself. How did it make him feel? Knowing that Lectus loved Leben.
He didn’t care. He loved both of them equally. They were family to him. They were the only thing that mattered to him. His friends. No, his family. The only one that he knew.
Leben and Lectus both looked at Servaustus when he did not answer them. “I don’t know. I never really thought about it.” That was the truth and he wasn’t quite sure how he should feel about it. It made him feel lost for a brief moment before he was reminded where he was. He was with his family. That was what mattered.
They left it at that. Not really sure what to talk about, they just stared into the fire, unsure what the future brought for them. It could have happened like what they wanted. Lectus becoming a traveller as he helped the people of this country as Leben learned what happened to her family. If only they knew what the future brought for them.
They sat there, in the warm barn as their shadows flickered across the entire barn. The gentle rain fell softly around them, almost like the Rain gods wanted to just listen to the fire crack quietly in the barn. For Servaustus, he was content at where he was. His life was exactly what he wanted. For Leben, she at comfort. She was with the two saviours of her life and they cared for her where nobody else would. Lectus, however was excited. The small conversation had awoken his desire for travel. That was when he decided to become a warrior to travel. If only, if only he learned to run when he needed to.
The night was quiet and there was not a single cloud in the sky. Every star that could been seen was shining ever so brightly and it looked like the gods decided for a beautiful peaceful night. The moon was at its fullest, sitting in the night to illuminate the entire town.
The town itself was brimming with excitement but nevertheless quiet. Taverns were full of travellers from across the country, bars were filled of hard-working farmers and softened soldiers while couples had long but fulfilling walks around the calming streets.
Despite all this liveliness, Servaustus’s tavern was quiet as it was on the outskirts of the town. He could make the tavern more fulling but he would rather not before his quest reignited. As usual in this hour, Servaustus had his window open, looking into the night as he enjoyed his Minotaur steak.
As his window was facing into the shining moon, his entire room was bright enough to see his surroundings quite well. It wasn’t any different as it was yesterday since he did not really stay in the room long. He mostly left it during the day and did not return until late night, when people would return to their houses and enjoy themselves at their safe haven, surrounded by their families and friends.
He gazed into the night and under his breath he called for his lord of animals. “Yes? Did you call me?” the Fox said. Servaustus answered quickly “Give me the word for better vision and then you can leave me. And thank you.”
The Lord obeyed and drew the word for Servaustus. Before he left, he had something he wanted to say. Servaustus noticed this and was intrigued. “Yes, is there something you’d like to say to me?”
He answered “You really shouldn’t be staying here. You should go out and find another reason to stay here. Lectus is not here and you should know that. You will not like what you find when you find him. The Lords are currently gathering more information but rumours have already been spreading of his power.” He seemed to hesitate as he said these things, clearly unsure how his companion would react to this piece of news. He bowed his head down, almost sure that he crossed the line.
Servaustus turned to the Lord, his face expressionless. “Thank you, you may leave now.”
Volpe was slightly taken aback. He was expecting something else, he was not sure what reaction but it certainly was not the calming expression he had received. He quickly disappeared as he smiled to himself.
Servaustus was alone by himself again. He now had the word for vision. This word was more powerful though. It was infused with magic and is usually only used by those of the Lords. It was not often when humans would gain this power. Usually, only those cunning enough to trap a Lord, were able to gain this power. Servaustus did not need to though. He had an…. interesting relationship with his Lord.
Servaustus was pondered over his companion’s words. Of course, he wouldn’t like what he’ll find. He knew what Lectus was doing. He knew what inhumane and hellish acts he was doing. He knew full well on that he wouldn’t find Lectus here. But there was something he needed to do here. And he has put it off long enough.
He slowly mouthed the word “Yighter”, the word he needed for better vision. His vision magnified the world around him as everything became clearer. The stars were brighter and he could see that every star was different coloured. And not just the difference like blue and yellow, but like the difference by the shade of the colour.
The moon became more magnified and he could see that there was spots on the surface in different sizes. He could also see that there was a small shadow on the surface but his eyes were not accustomed to the enhancement and were beginning to strain. Just before closing his eyes and relieving his eyes of the magic, he looked into a bar and saw there was trouble beginning to brew.
He closed his window, wore his battle garments and walked out his door. Just before leaving the inn, he lifted his spell, allowing the small business to resume. Almost immediately people started to enter. He wanted that inn to grow but he also wanted peace every so often. But of course, the night was unforgiving for those who wished harm into others. Especially when Servaustus was not in a forgiving mood.
He walked over to the bar, ready for a big brawl.
Servaustus had arrived at the bar and immediately knew that the trouble was just beginning. A group of soldiers, clearly intoxicated were at the centre of the bar, singing and drinking to their hearts content. Even though they weren’t wearing their uniforms, Servaustus knew that they were soldiers, for their badges of valour were still showing. “Why were soldiers doing here in an empty side of the city?” he questioned himself. He retired to his room and sat the chair next to the window of his room. He took out his small dagger and started polishing and sharpening it. When he finished, he put the dagger under his pillow. He always had one under his pillow. And he always woke up with it in his hand.
Servaustus woke up, hearing pounding from his door. He was covered in a thin layer of his sweat and the small dagger in his hand. He felt something wet on his hand. He cut himself. It was not the first time. “Great, another nightmare and another night of no sleep” he thought to himself.
“Sire? Are you okay in there? We have customers complaining about screams being heard from your room! Sire!?” a loud yet polite voice said from beyond the door.
“I’m okay. Just a nightmare.” Servaustus replied to the voice. He opened his door and gave the worker 2 small bag of coins. “This is for anybody that complained. And here is something for the tavern for having to deal with it. Sorry for the troubles”
The man looked at the 2 bags in disbelieve. When he heard Servaustus coughed, he looked at him with joy and turned around quickly, scared that Servaustus would change his mind. The man didn’t even look back at him.
How could he just live like that? Content with making barely any money… then again, I never lived like he did and he never lived like I did. Nobody would understand him like Leben and Lectus did. Where was Lectus? What was he doing?
He sat near the window again and took out his scythe. It was as long as he was but he was not a tall man so it would be considered smaller than a farmer’s version. The blade was coloured blue that always shinnied differently when covered in blood. It was a weapon that Servaustus happened upon when he finished the quest for an acquaintance of his.
He ran his hand around the inscriptions on the handle. “Refario” it said, the engravings stained with his blood as usual. No matter how many times he cleaned it, it was always covered with his blood. That’s just how it worked. A sacrifice was always needed for it to work. Blood for blood. A wound for a wound. After a long time with the weapon, he just got used to it, so much that he just wrapped it in a large crimson cloth to cover the blood up, always being questioned by guards.
Damn. He was being too nostalgic again and was thinking back of Lectus and Leben. He was still thinking about them when he started hearing the silent clicking, coming from his door. He gathered his gear and jumped out the window with his weapon drawn. Almost immediately after rolling farther away from his landing, he heard the roar of a man coming from his left, where he saw a man with his scimitar ready to cut him.
Servaustus saw the killing instinct in the man’s eyes. His face was scrunched and it looked like he was both angry and frightened. A desperate man given a death sentence for a chance of redemption. A man who needs help from someone strong. Someone like himself. But that would have to wait until he has calmed down and dealt with the others attacking him.
Of course, the others were just minions to say, they were not as revealing as their comrade was since they had covered themselves head to toe. In total there were 5 of them, nothing Servaustus could not handle. Only problem was he did not like killing people who were not thinking straight. So he folded his weapon, making it into a short staff instead.
Almost immediately after doing this, the men stopped their tracks, weary of why their target was sheathing his weapon. They did not get to think for long. He dashed quickly behind the closet man and before he could even register the movement, Servaustus swung his staff across his assailant’s legs, forcing him into the air and receiving a blow to his abdomen. When he landed on the floor, he curled up and put his hands where he received the blow as if it would take the pain away. It did not.
His few aggressors saw what had transpired and immediately stopped running towards him and took a defensive stance. Servaustus took a long look at his enemies. He first looked at the man without a mask. At first he would have thought he was the leader but he clearly was just a hiring since, he was holding his weapon awkwardly and was not standing like the others. He must have been a last minute addition to their team. He was taller than Servaustus but also thinner, Servaustus thought it might be malnutrition but then again, he was not paying enough attention. His quick glance showed him that he did not have any other weapons other than the small dagger he was holding weirdly and was bearing no armour whatsoever. He was clearly from the lands south of DeuCilUfier, a mix of tiny jungle areas and mostly deserts. Servaustus never knew how people survived in such extreme conditions.
The one next to him was an even taller man but this one was also donning bulky gacim armour. His gacim armour shined under the two moons, illuminating his two shoulder pads and his chest plate’s emblem. A screaming chimera was printed on it as though to transfix his enemies with horror. It didn’t work on Servaustus. What Servaustus did become more cautious of was the battle axe that his aggressor was handling onto. It was being weaved around the air, almost like a predator eyeing its prey.
The next man that Servaustus was about to scan had darted towards him having readied his sword for a stab at Servaustus’s arms. Servaustus side stepped and pushed the running man to his right. Already with motion, the push caused the man to divert to a dark alleyway. The last thing that Servaustus saw of him was him dropping his sword accompanied by the sound of curses.
Servaustus had only turned towards the rest of his enemies before he heard the man he had just pushed scream. The scream was familiar as Servaustus heard it many times on that night. It was the scream of true fear and absolute pain.
After a few moments, a creature emerged from the alleyway, a creature that Servaustus was very familiar with. It stood on its four legs and each foot ended with claws the size of a child’s arms. Its back had two lines of spikes that trailed from its tail to its head where a large mane of spikes surrounded its head. But the true horror came from, like many creatures in this world, its large open mouth. Servaustus could see pieces of meat hanging from the two layers of dagger teeth. It jaws had two large tusks curving upward and downward, almost like an axe. Its eyes were blood red and it was very hungry as it eyed the men in front of it. It looked like a hybrid creature from a different world.
Servaustus noticed the men to back away slowly while under his breath, Servaustus started calling for Vöx, his fox companion. Just as he called on him, he heard his attackers fleeing from the site. All of them ran except one. And Servaustus was right. The one that stayed behind was the unmasked attacker. He was inexperienced. Luckily for him, Servaustus was there to help him.
The Lord of the Forests
Vöx was Servaustus’s companion, not something that is common in this world although he knew there were others like him, he never met them. He had met Vöx when he lifted his scythe in an ancient temple. In the world of Vöx, accordingly to him, whoever was able to lift that weapon would have to be accompanied by the fox-like animal as the wielders companion. At first, Servaustus had tried to distance himself from his forced “friend” but after a few years of questing and travelling together.
Servaustus still remember the quest that he truly began their genuine friendship. Although he failed in the end, he never really cared about his follower and never noticed its presence. Fortunately, during a quest Servaustus received serious wounds and crawled into a cave. Just before losing consciousness, the last thing that his mind was able to comprehend was a dark red blur moving closer towards.
When his mind was finally awakening, he noticed that he was warm and that his face was being pricked at. When he opened his eyes, he saw that Vöx had curled up around him, completely surrounding him yet feeling more like a caring hug from the animal. He was also much larger, clearly after growing overnight. Or whatever amount of time he had been unconsciousness.
As Servaustus started crouching over, although they were caked in dried up blood, he noticed that he had scars over where his heavy injuries should have been. “I did my best to heal your wounds. I am not adept to healing magic since I am the Lord of…well, in your world, Lord of Volpes, I do not have the talents” the fox said.
Servaustus was confused. Lord of Volpes? He became more intrigued of his healer and this must have shown on his face as the animal began answering his unspoken questions. “I am part of a council of…certain beings. In this world, we are called Lords of the Forest. You may call me Vöx, Volpes or Ilit. I have many names but I prefer these titles. Anyway, each Lord governs certain aspects of life but usually focuses on only one aspect and will therefore gain its appropriate type of magic and its knowledge. As the Lord of Volpes, I have more knowledge in the elemental blocks of magic and can control these blocks easily.”
Again, Servaustus was confused by what the so-called Lord said. Vöx, Volpes, Ilit and blocks of magic? “How come I never read any of this?” he asked the mysterious creature.
“There are several reasons. There are no more than a few hundred Lords scattered in this…world. We also take different forms and our form depends on which world we are in. Another is that only a handful are like myself who has decided to focus on this world in this era. Right now, your world is heading towards uncontrollable chaos. Not metaphorically. The residing Lords of the Forests have noticed changes in this world balance. A decade ago, someone has begun unbalance the magic in this world and death and darkness is beginning to…outweigh life and light. We have therefore decided to step into the world of mortals and choose certain mortals to help us. And you are my chosen hero”
Servaustus retorted the Lord immediately. “I am not a hero and I will never be one. I’ve already told you when I found that scythe.” He then started thinking of what the being had just explained to him. “Wait, you said a decade ago was when you noticed the changes?”
Previously, the Lord had been watching the mortals’ reaction but now its gaze showed the increase of interest. “Yes, that is indeed what I said. And I have not chosen the wrong person. Only a few mortals would be able to lift that weapon and only one could use it as efficient as you. And before you begin asking more questions, we should continue your mission. After a few more days, your contract will be void and since you are still slightly injured, you will take longer to arrive there. Like I said, I was only able to heal your most severe wounds”
After finishing the quest, Servaustus began learning from his companion of the workings of, accordingly to the creature, this world. Just like a few nights ago, he would ask the Lord for advise on magic and how to call for certain skills. On other nights, he would call for it if he was expecting more trouble than he could handle. Nights like this.
Vöx had appeared just in time as the horrifying monster seemed to ready itself to leap towards Servaustus. Almost immediately after seeing Vöx, it seemed to try to flee but the Lord somehow knew this was the case and had already began chanting something in an unknown language. Just before the creature was about to vanish into an alleyway, it fell onto the ground screeching into the night while clawing the air as if fighting off something constraining it. It disappeared after a final and long scream and a few specks of light flew into the night where the hybrid disappeared.
With the threat gone, Servaustus looked at the man that had attempted to attack him. “We should leave this place while there are no more Ammits” the Lord said as it walked towards Servaustus. “There are more?” the man asked, his face paling at the thought.
“There can be. Is there somewhere close that you would think is safe?” Servaustus asked. The man nodded and reluctantly began escorting them. As they started following the once attacker, Vöx stayed behind. “Can we trust him? He did just attack you” it said.
Servaustus looked back at his companion. He was not sure anymore. He was not sure of anything anymore. Ammits do not just appear out of nowhere. They could only be summoned. Someone wanted him dead. And Servaustus might just know who it was. Might.
He followed the man with caution as if a pair eyes were following him into the night.
The Night Ends
After they entered into the man’s house, a gentle female voice sounded from deeper in the building. “Scipet? Are you back? How was your day in work?”
“So his name was Scipet? I really should have asked his name while we were walking here” Servaustus thought to himself.
“Mati? Where are you?” Scipet said. A laugh was heard coming from their left. “Hehe, I’m in the kitchen. I’m still cooking and I was just about to-” Mati came out of the kitchen and stopped what she was saying, having noticed they were not alone in their house. “Oh, sorry, I didn’t know we had company. Are you Scipet’s friend?” she asked. Servaustus moved his head back a bit, surprised he was called a friend. He has not been called that for a long time even with Vöx and it felt strange especially since he travelled alone most of the time.
Servaustus answered her while removing his leather boots. “I’m an acquaintance of Scipet’s. I…He invited me when I helped him out when we were working together. Sorry for the intrusion”. She was about to answer when she seemed to be reminded of something and she quickly exited the room. Servaustus looked back at Scipet and asked him an important question. “She doesn’t know, does she? That you took such a…. dangerous job for once.” Scipet looked down in shame, unable to handle the stare from the man he had just attempted to murder a few hours ago. “I don’t blame you for what you did. You probably didn’t know you were going to kill somebody. You have your reasons. Just make sure that those reasons are the right reasons. Like your wife. And the baby you’re about to have.”
Scipet immediately looked at Servaustus in shock of what he had just heard. The disbelieve showed on his face and he voiced it as well. “How did you know?” he asked. Servaustus was use to people not believing what he said. Time would always prove him right. He was good at noticing things. Which is why he being such an adept fighter as well. “Your wife is taking very short breaths and let me ask you, is she sleeping the usual amount of time?” he asked the confused man. Scipet nodded.
“She still looks tired despite sleeping the usual amount of time.”. Another nod confirmed what Servaustus said.
“Also, she has a slight swell on her abdomen. I don’t know if she just looked like that or was it something else but it’s just a guess. Give it a few more weeks. Hey! Where are y-” Servaustus stopped midsentence as Scipet ran into the room Mati was. He heard the couple talking and then he heard laughter from, what he presumed was, the kitchen.
Mati and Scipet was entering the room and Mati was laughing while they were doing so. “Scipet told me your name is Servaustus. Such an interesting name. Here, you shouldn’t be just standing there, come in. We have enough for all of us so will you be having dinner with us?” the young woman asked.
Servaustus looked at the couple. They looked happy. Content with each other. Scipet was a good man at heart. He had only made a mistake at a moment of weakness and distraught. “Unfortunately, I cannot stay. Tomorrow’s work calls for me and I was only meant to escort Scipet to his home. These streets are dangerous when walking alone.” He answered the kind woman.
“Are you sure you cannot stay? We do not mind. You are after all our guest,” she said to him. Scipet nodded to Servaustus in a way to confirm what his wife had said. Before he could decline her, she walked back into the kitchen and when she returned she was holding a small box in her hand, ready to hand it to Servaustus. “Well, if you must decline at least accept this. It is nearly Vánoce and I would hate you to be alone at this time.”
Servaustus was taken back while accepting the gift. He had not noticed that it was Vánoce. He could not believe it. He shook his head to express to turn her down. “No, I am afraid I cannot stay for too long. I still have ways to travel. However, I would like a few words with Scipet if you do not mind. It involves tomorrow’s work.”
She nodded, turned to her husband and kissed his cheek before walking away. Scipet turned from his wife to Servaustus, turning from smiling at his wife to a face of dread when turning around to Servaustus. Servaustus swiped that look of dread from his face when he began talking, “don’t worry. You are not in trouble. We still have that gang that hired you to kill me. Knowing you have failed they will probably kill you and your wife. I will deal with that. Just a few more things before I leave. Firstly, I don’t want to hear you doing anything criminally, am I understood?”
When Scipet nodded, Servaustus continued, “Secondly, there is a small bag on money under your bed. Don't ask how it's there. Just accept it. It will last you long enough for the next few months. Go find an honest job and take care your growing family. Love them. And talk with her when something is on your mind.”
Scipet had his mouth gaped, looking as if he was trying to engulf an entire apple. Before he could begin questioning anything Servaustus kept talking. “Lastly, in the future, I may need your help. Nothing dangerous, just need somewhere to stay. I will not be a threat to your family.”
Scipet looked down and was deep in thought. “Thank you. For everything you have done for me. And I am so sorry for trying to kill you. It’s unforgivable but know this. You will have somewhere safe to be if you need it. You can count on me. I owe my life to you.”
Servaustus had already started putting his boots on when Scipet was talking. He did not know why he took them off to begin with. He just did it out of habit. When Scipet finished saying what he was saying, Servaustus threw his cloak into the air and it weaved around him.
Servaustus looked at the empty street. He had a long night to find his other killers and then he had to…deal with them as well. He began calling for Vöx. H should have the location of their base by now. Hopefully. It was the end of the night.
I stood there while Servaustus was walking down that street. I guessed that he still hasn’t noticed me but I’m pretty sure that he knows something is odd. It didn’t even really matter since I was just watching him. I couldn’t believe it though. He just let that man (Scipet, was it?) live. Especially since he had just attempted to murder Servaustus. What a kind character.
I looked around. I still couldn’t believe I was here, in a different world. With magic. Magic. And I was able to control it! That was one of the reasons that Servaustus couldn’t see me. I don’t know if Vöx could so I should be more careful. He did say he was a Lord but still…On Earth, it was seen as a god. A myth. A legend in mythology. In Japan it was called Kitsune. I wonder if there are any other gods here. I would like to see if Zeus or Ra.
I looked back into the street that Servaustus had walked down on. I wonder…what was he planning to do with the people that tried to kill him. Would he give the same treatment to them? Or would he just…incapacitate them? Or maybe torture?
Ah, so much more to know from this world. Time will tell.