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The Sorcerer’s Sword – Part 2





















































Jack Cee









































Copyright © 2016 by Jack Cee

All rights reserved.

ISBN: 9781370856411

Cover Design by Plumstone Book Covers.

To find out more about the author visit: www.jackceeauthor.wordpress.com

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.







Chapter One



"Shut up! Shut up, all of you! For Spirit's sake!"

Rahin put her hands in front of her ears, although she knew it would not help, to try and shut out the voices screaming in her head. She closed her eyes but could still see the horrors Spirit was showing her. Newborns being smashed against walls. People trying to get away but being slaughtered at every turn. Blood flowing down streets like coursing rivers.

"Oh, please. Please, make it stop."

To try and calm herself down she started to rock back and forth as she sat on the floor of the cave. Why was Spirit showing her all this? Had it not tortured her enough?

"What do you want from me?!" She shrieked in exasperation at the ceiling, at the walls, at nothing.

All she got for an answer was the echo of her own voice.

Number One, her dear sand dragon, came and lay down beside her. She lay down next to him as she was so exhausted she could barely stand to sit upright. He licked her face with his slimy, sticky tongue and eased somewhat the pain of the burning fever plaguing her.

Sighing, Rahin asked herself why she still bothered to try and scare the visions away. She knew that she could not escape them, no matter how hard she tried. Spirit wanted her to see what it wanted her to see and she had no choice in the matter.

The visions persisted until sundown, when Spirit apparently decided that she deserved some rest and made them go away. Rahin thought briefly that she should eat something as she hadn't done so in days but the exhaustion took over before she could find the strength to rise from the cave floor. She fell asleep as the last rays of the sun disappeared over the tree tops.

Number One woke her up the next morning by rubbing his head against hers. She felt a calmness as she awoke that she knew only Spirit could give and she received an instruction: to open her father's notebook and read his second vision.

It had been three winters since she had come to this cave but Spirit had told her for all this time to stay away from the book, that she was not yet ready to learn the rest of what was written in it. Now the moment had come. She opened the notebook and began to read out loud:

"Shortly after my beloved wife had passed, killed by vicious criminals, I decided to acquire a sword for my own and my child's protection. I gathered some money I had saved and made my way to the marketplace. But as I arrived, Spirit told me to turn around and go into the desert. That there was something there which I needed to see. So, I obeyed and walked out of the city.

The weather was still at first but as I went further into the sandy dunes a wind began to blow. Softly, initially, but then harder. Soon, a violent sandstorm was raging all around me. I hid my face inside of my turban and prayed to Spirit to not let me be buried alive by the sand.

Suddenly, I felt cold. Not just the kind of cold you feel further north when you forget to put your coat on before going outside. No, this was the most ravaging, icy cold I have ever felt. I began to shake so violently that I fell to my knees and when I looked up I saw that it was no longer sand blowing around me but snow.

The blizzard was so thick that I could not see where I was so I began to panic. I tried to run but could not move fast because the snow went up to my knees and the wind sent me one step back for every two steps I took.

I cried out, asking if there was anyone here, but got no response. So, I continued until I saw a figure further away. I asked it for help and it came slowly closer. When it was just a few steps away from me, I saw that the it was not walking but hovering above the ground. It was wearing a strange blank silver mask with no features and black and silver robes which blew menacingly upwards in the wind like the wings of a gigantic bat.

The figure began to chase me. I tried again to run but fell head first in the snow, pushed downwards by the furious wind. Quickly I turned on my back, only to see the mysterious being hovering right above me.

I heard someone, a child, calling my name and looked in the direction from which I had heard it. A group of boys were playing, kicking a boll between them in the snow. One of them was Ezlen, my closest and dearest friend and in this vision he was still a child. He pointed to something behind me and said:

“The sword! The sword will destroy the evil one!”

I turned my head and saw that there was a sword in the snow, its hilt just sticking up above the surface. With the little energy I had left, I crawled as fast as I could and grabbed it. In the same moment, I felt the evil one’s skeleton fingers around my throat. He squeezed them into my flesh and blood began to drip, tainting the white snow below me.

I prayed to Spirit to give me strength and I hit backwards with the sword. A scream was heard and when I turned around I saw that the one Ezlen had called evil fell apart as dust which blew away in the wind.

Relieved, I sat up in the snow and took a deep breath. I closed my eyes and when I opened them gain I saw that I was back in the desert. Looking down, I saw that there was no snow anywhere on me and when I touched my neck the wounds were gone.

But the sword was still in my hand. I noticed that it was a finely decorated weapon with complex patterns on the grip and fuller. The pommel was shaped liked a crown and golden. The cross-guard was golden as well and had precious stones embedded in it, two smaller one on each side and a large one in the middle. Underneath the larger gem were two golden dragons, facing in opposite directions but their tails intertwined.

I thought that I was still inside of the vision as I had no weapon with me when I wandered into the desert and I had never seen this sword before. It was then that Spirit gave me knowledge, as it does with a deep feeling of peace. It told me that this sword was in fact real and of crucial importance. That it was the only weapon that could overpower a great coming evil. What that evil was or where the sword came from, I would not get to know. This knowledge was for others who would come after me. My purpose was to keep and guard the sword until my last day, when another would take it into their possession and bring it to its destiny."

Rahin put the notebook down and felt not quite surprised by what she had read. She had suspected that there was something special about the sword ever since she had seen in her vision what it had done in Djeen's hand. Then there was also what had happened by the pond when she had tried a spell on it but it had burned her, permanently scarring the inside of her right hand. It had been as if the sword itself had refused to be used by her in this manner. As if it had been waiting for someone else.

Wherever the sword was now it was probably with Djeen. Rahin did not know exactly where he was but she had seen visions of him wandering in the mountains of the North. In time, Spirit would guide her to him.

She stood up from the cave floor and got out of her clothing, a gorgeous yellow and gold dress she had bought in a village near Ily after having been released from the prison. Outside, the sun was shining over the new morning and the fresh forest air gave her new life. She took a deep breath and dived into the lake.

The water was a clear as the blue sky above and she could see without trouble the rainbow coloured fish swimming all around her. Bright green algae danced in the current, caressing her body as she swam by.

On a rock by the waterfall, she found the toiletries she had left there the day before. When she grabbed a bottle of scented oil, Spirit gave her a message; as it does without words.

She was now free, it told her. This very day she would be allowed to leave this place. After three winters spent in this forest, she was ready at last to carry out the mission that had been given her.

Rahin took a bar of soap and a razor knife. She proceeded to shave herself. Her arms, legs, stomach; all over. When she was done she looked up the tree tops and the waterfall, gazed over the lake and the soft grass surrounding it.

She took in this place which had been her home, and her prison, for three whole winters and she grabbed her long black hair. Cut off a chunk of it, about half, and let it fall into the water.

Finding the feeling strangely liberating she kept cutting off more, until the length was about the size of her thumb. She massaged some soap into her remaining hair and shaved it all off. Slowly and gently, to savour the symbolic moment when she cleansed herself; released the past and started anew.

When she was finished, she dived into the water to wash off the hairs that had stuck to her body. She swam until she felt clean and sat down by the shore. A warm breeze blew from the north, from the direction in which she would travel.

Somewhere up north, in the wild mountains, was Djeen. Now she just needed to find him. And guide him to his destiny.





*

"Master! Master!"

Viktr awoke to the sound of his servant calling for him and knocking loudly on the door. He stood up, still half-asleep, from his bed and began to change from his nightshirt to his regular clothing: a white and bronze doctor's robe.

"The Republican Guard is here," he heard the servant say from the other side of the door. "They say it's urgent."

"Tell them I'll be right out."

Viktr took his bag of medicines and tools from off his desk and hurried out into the hallway. Two republican guards were waiting for him.

"Your presence is requested in The Golden Village, doctor. There... has been another one."

The soldier needed to explain no further. Viktr followed them outside, where a chariot was waiting for him.

They arrive soon at The Gold Gate as Viktr's villa was located near it. As a simple doctor, he was not considered worthy enough to live in the Village itself but the senators appreciated his services enough that they still wanted him to be close by.

The chariot stopped in front of senator Lonz's residence. Bazk, leader of the Republican Guard, was waiting for Viktr by the gate.

"Doctor! Glad you could make it so quickly. Although, I wish it was under different circumstances."

"As do I. I have been told that there has been another one."

"Yes", Bazk said and nodded. "But I feel I need to warn you: this one is... different. Follow me."

The silence inside the house was eerie. Not even a whisper was heard as they walked down the hall and into the dining room. There, they were met by a truly bizarre sight.

Senator Lonz, his wife and their two children were sitting around the dinner table. Face down into their bowls of soup. Freshly picked white hibiscus flowers were strewn all over and around the table and the dead.

Truly, this one was different. In the previous four white hibiscus murders, only the senator himself had been murdered and not his family. There had also been only one flower left at the scene; on or close to the body. But tonight's murders were similar in the regard that a strong, fast acting poison had been used.

Viktr walked slowly around the table. Took in the scene, made a mental note of every detail. He felt an ache in his heart when he looked at the two children, both of who he had helped deliver. As a doctor, he witnessed the circle of life and death on a daily basis. But there was nothing natural about dead children fallen face first into a bowl of tomato soup. It was such an abomination, such a crime against everything pure and true.

He put on his thick leather gloves and turned to Bazk.

"May I...?"

"Yes. Of course, Doctor. Do whatever you need."

Viktr moved the body of the senator, sitting him up in his chair. Which was trickier than it looked due to the stiffness of the corpse. With a napkin, he wiped the cold tomato soup from the senator’s face and began examining him. He noticed the colour of the lips, the bleeding under the nose. And, as he parted the eyelids, the greenish discolouring in the white of the eyes.

"What are you doing with my brother?!"

A man had entered the room. From his clothing Viktr could tell that he was someone of the upper class but not a senator. With a face distorted by tears and anger, he rushed towards him. Bazk, both to stop him and calm him down, put a firm hand on the man's shoulder.

"It's okay. He's a doctor. He is helping us determine the cause of death."

The senator's brother simmered down but continued to glare at the doctor with suspicion.

"So?" He asked impatiently.

"Well," Viktr said, "the same poison was used as in the other murders: Zatum leaf poison. If it is of any comfort... It was a very quick death. It was over before they could feel any pain."

The man nodded and dried his tears. He kneeled beside the body of the youngest child, a little girl who had only lived through six winters, and took her cold hand into his own.

"Who could this? What kind of monster?" He asked, sobbing.

Viktr knew not what to say. What could you say in the face of such horror? Did any words even have the power to ease this grieving man's pain? Thankfully, Bazk answered.

"We will find out," he said as he looked with determination over the dining room. "We will find him. I promise you that."





*



The sun was setting over the soft green hills and a much longed-for freshness could finally be felt in the dusky air. The sheep were grazing peacefully, the little lambs pressed closed to their mothers, while the dogs watched over them. No howling from wolves had been heard in days and Yurat felt somewhat confident that they would not be bothered by them tonight. A lone mountain panther might still try to take its chance to steal away a sheep from the heard. But the dogs would probably smell and chase away any intruder away before it had any opportunity to do any harm.

After having completed his daily count of the herd and finding to his satisfaction that no sheep were missing, Yurat walked up to the tent at the foot of a small hill. He opened the fly sheet and crawled down next to Tomeer, greeting him with a kiss on his hairy butt cheek.

"Hi, there," Tomeer said. "I've missed you."

"I was just out counting the sheep."

"I know. I've just been waiting to do... this."

He grabbed Yurat's leather loincloth, pulled it down and kissed his cock. Right then, the barking of dogs was heard.

"Oh, Spirit! Why now? Stay here, I'll take care of it."

Tomeer grabbed his spear and ran out. Leaving his lover alone in the tent with his newfound arousal.

Yurat lay back and closed his eyes to rest an instant after a long day of walking and herding. He opened them again with a jolt when he felt someone lying next to him.

"It's okay. It's me," Tomeer said. "False alarm, out there. Just a small mountain fox, nothing to worry about."

Yurat felt his eyes getting heavier and his cock getting harder again. He wondered which one of his needs would end up winning.

"You want to sleep?" Tomeer asked.

"No, I'm fine. I just..."

He let out a yawn and blushed. Tomeer smiled.

"It's okay. Get some rest," he said and lay down next to him; rubbing his stubbly cheek against Yurat's. "We have all the time in the world."





*



Viktr had always enjoyed Ily's book market. Loving both reading and knowledge, he loved few places more than this one. But as he walked today among the stands, he felt a certain sadness over the loss of what this place once had been.

Before the Justice Party had succeeded in their plan to pass a law to tax all books sells, this market had been something truly different. From best-selling authors to the wisest philosophers in the Republic to small children selling short stories written on cheap sheets clumsily tied together with string, all had been free to share a wide range of works and ideas. After the tax had been passed, many sellers had disappeared. Mostly people from the poorest classes who could not afford to pay it and still make a profit.

Another, in Viktr's eyes far more sinister, consequence of this tax was that the state now had control over who got to sell at the market. Only those deemed to have ideas and works worth spreading were given a license. Those considered to have opinions harmful, that is to say contrary, to the beliefs and values the state wanted the public to hear had to now take their business elsewhere.

While the tax was originally an idea spawn by the Justice Party, the change had been welcomed by most in the senate. The great book market of Ily had long been, with its free market of unconventional and controversial ideas, an annoyance to the ruling class. And now they had finally found a way to take control of it.

Behind a small wooden table where books and pamphlet about medicine were displayed, Viktr found his old friend Trak. The old man had been one of his teachers at the Academy of Medicine and they had been friends ever since. Nowadays Trak was retired but he would often be selling at the book market to make a little extra money in addition to the meagre pension paid to him by the city.

"Viktr!" He exclaimed when he saw his former student. "How are you doing? And how are the kings of our grand city doing?"

"I am well. And Ily hasn't had kings in a long time, you know. How are you?"

"I am very well. Oh, but our great city has kings! Now they just call themselves senators."

They shared a laugh over their shared disdain for the Ilyian authorities and Viktr sat down on the edge of the table like he would often do when he came by to see his old friend.

"Something seems to be troubling you, Viktr. Do not say no, I can see it in your eyes."

"Yes", he said with a sigh. "You must have heard by now of the recent series of murders in The Golden Village. After each of them I was asked to come in and determine the cause of death."

"Oh, yes I have heard. How tragic. A whole family decimated in the last one. Those poor children!"

Trak shook his head with tears in his eyes. He had always been a deeply emphatic person, which was probably why he had chosen the path of medicine. Viktr felt comforted to know that there still was some compassion in the world.

"Well, there are some things about these murders that the public has not been informed of."

He spoke now in a low voice, to avoid attracting attention. Leaning closer, he whispered:

"Such as... white hibiscus flowers being left near the bodies."

The old doctor sat back in his chair. Frowning and scratching his beard like he often did when thinking.

"Do you know what it means?" He asked.

"No, unfortunately. That's why I came to see you. I don't know anyone who knows as much about plants and botany as you do. I wondered if maybe you had of idea of what it could mean."

Trak rubbed his chin and pondered for a moment.

"Well, the white hibiscus is not a symbol of anything as far as I know. And it has no specific properties that would be relevant to all of this. I can't..."

He stopped, as if he had suddenly thought of something.

"There is one thing but I doubt that it really could have anything to do with these murders."

"Let's see."

Trak brought his chair closer to Viktr. He looked around a bit, making sure that no one was eavesdropping on their conversation.

"Do you remember the story of the great Brock?"

"How could I not?"

The story of Brock, the legendary founder of the Ilyian kingdom, was one of the very first children were thought in school. History told that a long time ago the young and ambitious chief of a small tribe set his mind to conquer as many other tribes as possible and unite them under his rule. He made it his life's work and overtook forty-nine other tribes. Ily was then founded as the capital of his kingdom. The city now called "The Jewel of the World" had then been the first metropolis in history.

"The books speak of him in great extent," Trak said. "But they say very little about his family. Especially his wife. Brock was as known a bachelor for most of his life as he was focused on always conquering new territories and had very little time for such things. When he got older he realised that he would not have an heir to take over his kingdom when he passed away. So, he asked his brother for his daughter’s hand. This was of course at a time when it was still common place to marry one’s relatives. His brother agreed and gave him his youngest daughter, a beautiful young maiden of only sixteen winters. She soon bore him three children: two girls and, most importantly, a boy who would inherit his kingdom. Then Brock reunited with Spirit and his son, Brock the Young, took over as king of Ily. But it is said that his mother always had an interest in Ilyian politics and was a great influence on his rule. Her name, I forgot to mention, was Fayanna. Do you know the meaning of that name?”

Viktr knew only a little Old Ilyian but enough to understand the meaning of fa yanna.

White hibiscus.”





*



Rahin was used to turning heads. Wherever she went the colour of her skin and the way she dressed always attracted people’s attention. And sometimes their malice. It hadn’t been any different as she had travelled northward in the Republic. On the contrary, the further north she went the more people took their time to look at her. With even a few coming up to her to touch her hair or skin, almost as if to check if she was real.

Although lately it hadn’t been Rahin who had caught the most attention but her sand dragon Number One. Such animals were probably a rarity so far up north and judging by people’s reactions it was likely that most of them had never seen one.

Number One did not seem to mind, if he noticed at all. And Rahin felt relieved to not have to be the centre of attention for once. Which she unfortunately often ended up being against her will by simply being who she was.

Among those who were the most curious about Number One were children. In every town and village she had stayed in there was always a group of kids following her around, wanting to ride on her dragon’s back and play with him. She let them most of the time, which made Number One very happy. Sand dragons were mighty beasts capable of breaking a grown man in two with a single bite. But being pack animals they had a natural instinct to protect youngsters and never hurt children.

Quite the opposite, the dragons’ worst fury was usually reserved for those who did harm to little ones. Something the man Number One had cornered against the wall of the Village House had apparently not been aware of. Having beaten a boy for stealing a cabbage from his stand, he had triggered the protective instincts of the dragon and would soon, unless Rahin stepped in quickly, be his next meal.

“Number One! Stop this immediately! Don’t make me tell you twice!”

She hurried among the merchants' stands and squeezed herself past the crowd gathered around the scene. Number One was still closing in on the poor man. Drool dropping from his scaly grin and unto the dirt floor. Rahin put herself between him and his intended victim.

"I said: stop this at once! Stop! Out!"

She pointed towards the entrance and stomped her foot furiously to get her point across. The dragon shook his head, let out a disappointed grunt and obeyed her order. Avoided to look into her angry eyes before he made his way through the terrified crowd who jumped aside at his passing by.

"I'm so sorry," she turned around and said to the merchant. "Are you okay?"

The man stared at her with eyes wide open, mumbling something in a local dialect she did not understand. A woman ran out of the crowd and took him in her arms but he still shook like a leaf. His face was as pale as snow.

"Oh, father! I was so frightened!"

The woman gave Rahin a furious stare and when the sorceress looked around she saw that so was everyone else. From the elderly ladies with their canes to the little children in their mothers' arms. All saw her with disdain.

A man came towards her. From his long beard decorated with the finest jewellery as well as his elegant clothing, Rahin concluded that he was someone of authority in the village. Perhaps even its leader.

“I think it is best,” he said, “that you leave this place. It has become quite obvious that you do not belong he…”

“They’re coming! They’re coming! Hurry!”

Children shouting outside. The people’s faces, who had just a moment ago stared at her with anger, now lightened up and cheers and laughter filled the Village House. All ran out to greet whatever it was they had been celebrating and waiting for all day. Only Rahin and the bearded man were left behind.


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