The camp fire was smoldering when the dark haired man woke from the dream. Rays of sunlight peeked through the canopy of ancient trees. Images from the nightmare jumbled through his mind. Why had it changed now? Could the foretelling of the Yol’Nog be true? Was the end so close?
The barbarian sat up to his knees and rested a hand on the ground. Closing his eyes he whispered a prayer to the morning wind. A cool breeze replied, rustling leaves along the forest path. Images from the dream ran back through his mind. Fire roared all around the village. The inn his father took him as a boy burned to the ground. The unnatural wind from the north. The light haired girl with the strange blue eyes. A gruff voice broke off his meditation.
“So this is how the mighty Kelpim, the Chosen, spends his time. Tell me, Pim, does the wind ever talk back?”
The barbarian opened his eyes to face the taunting voice. Leaning against a nearby oak was a man who nearly mirrored Pim in appearance. His long dark hair fell loosely behind his back, and his muscular arms were folded across his bare chest. Pim eyed his clansman. He hadn’t heard from the elder’s in months, maybe Braken brought a message.
“We were all taught the same, Braken. The wind is constant, always moving.” Pim kept his eyes on Braken, and took a step toward his weapon. Leaves rustled in the trees overhead. “There’s been a change in the wind. Did the elders send you with a message?”
Braken eased off the tree, and grabbed the hilt of his broadsword that had been behind him. He sauntered closer to Pim, shaking his head. “Pim, the Elders have sent you on a fool’s quest. Their prophecies are fake. The child doesn’t exist.” His grey eyes locked with Pim. “You’re right about the change, though. Galik Greybull has made his move.” Braken pulled the cover off his broadsword. The blade was covered in dried blood. “The elders are no more. Galik sends this as proof. Your quest for the child is over. I’m here to bring you home.”
Pim stared at the black blade. Rage was coursing through his veins. “What has Galik done?” His voice shook. “He slaughtered the elders? They’ve been our people’s guidance for generations! What are you a part of, Braken? Do you forsake the wind? My journey is more important now than before. Without the elders, the child is our only chance to survive the fires.” Braken scoffed and walked closer to Pim.
“You’re such a fool.” Braken stopped a couple feet from Pim, a gentle breeze moved through the clearing. “You talk of fire and destruction but you don’t see as Galik does. Galik has had a vision, Pim. A vision of fire, and of flames. The valleys to the south will burn, leaving them ready for us to conquer. Our people will pour out of the Teral Mountains like an avalanche and we will crush the Tyrian kingdoms who drove us into hiding. Galik has already begun to unite the clans. You can come back with me, or add to the filth on this blade.” Braken hefted the broadsword with both hands, readying it to strike.
Pim mulled over Braken’s words. Galik has had the same world-ending nightmare that plagued his nights. The clans were uniting to invade the southern lands. The elders were gone. Pim closed his eyes and felt for the wind. The clearing grew still.
“Galik is a fool,” Pim spat as a rush of wind blew through the trees. He stared into Braken’s eyes, watching as realization struck. Braken’s muscles strained with effort, but his body was clenched in place. Pim’s hair blew wildly in the squall, as Braken stood untouched by the wind. Braken’s mouth twitched as words were locked behind his jaw. Pim reached over and grabbed his axe, hefting it to his shoulder.
“Galik dreams of war, and riches. He thinks to hold a flame in his hand and not be burnt. The child will stand at Hadrian’s Peak. I was assigned this task for a reason. I’m sorry it came to this, Brother, but nothing will keep me from finding the child.” Pim raised his heavy axe, his dark hair blowing in the heavy wind, and brought it down through Braken’s skull.
If you stumbled onto this story, or have no idea what’s going on, check parts 1-3 here: