Novel The Last Dukes’ Memoirs

Discussion in 'Community Fictions' started by ThePundit, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. ThePundit

    ThePundit Well-Known Member

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    Hello!

    I'm writing a story called The Last Dukes' Memoirs. It is a new version of my first novel - Tryst City of Scholars. Gonna need some tough love coming from you guys. Please read this not too perfect novel of mine. Anyways, join me on my journey as climb the ladder to become a better writer.

    You could also read it at https://www.scribblehub.com/series/60544/the-last-dukes-memoirs/stats/.

    You could also read it at https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/27634/the-last-dukes-memoirs.


    [​IMG]

    Sypnosis:

    There was a crudely recorded era that had always baffled a great number of scholars, philosophers, biographers, and historians all over the Eudorian Continent. According to the remaining ancient scriptures and old text from that era, it was an era where the earth bled crimson, a time where heroes, kings, and gods fell from their lofty thrones. It was a period where lives were like grass waiting to be stomp. The historians called it the "Era of Tragedy". The scholars and biographers termed the period as the "Lost Era" due to a lack of historical evidence of its existence, raising doubts of its authenticity. But nevertheless, many considered the era a certainty.

    The recovered scriptures and text told a great tale of a tragedy, a lost century. A bloody period of perpetual strife among war gods, powerful heroes, crafty nobles, dreadful demons, mighty dragons, beautiful elves, forging dwarves, deadly beastkins, vagabond humans, and many more.

    Though no matter what the people call it, the ancient text simply called the blood-stained era as "The Dusk".

    Genre: Word Building, Adventure, Action, Comedy, Medieval-like, Fantasy, Drama, Romance

    Table of Contents:

    You could read advanced chapters in scribblehub or royalroad.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020 at 12:11 PM
  2. ThePundit

    ThePundit Well-Known Member

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    The beautiful moonlight fell from the stellar skies, dancing on the visage of an old mysterious book. Its gentle beams passing through the window made of forest glass, catching a glimpse of the shadows of a little boy of around six to eight years.

    The cute kid had his ash-grey hair swaying in the wind every time he flipped the antique pages of a book. His big blue eyes focused and seemingly charmed by the unreadable wriggly letters and mosaic-like rough sketches within. Yet, if you look deeper you would see shining letters dancing and prancing like ants, performing in front of the little boy as if they were alive.

    In one moment he would smile. Next, he would pout. Then, he would sniff as if he was ready to cry at any moment. His face was also full of different emotions; sorrow, happiness, anger, hope, helplessness, love, fright, and many others. His expressions too vivid for a young boy of his age. It seemed like he had seen the lives of many people, a big contrast if we compare it with his young age.

    From time to time, he would try to touch the moving letters on the book, sending the wriggly line running away from his touch. The letters in the wooden book were acting as if it was among the living.

    All of a sudden he whispered in a soft childish voice.

    Then, the letters stopped. Slowly... forming a group of words.

    “Duke Fellington’s Memoirs…”

    His eyes engrossed by the letters and vivid images appearing one after another in front of his eyes. It was telling a story, a story from a very long time ago. A lost era, only known to the wise few.

    - The Year 1007, Spring, The Dusk – Had the Gods Forsaken Us-

    Tis season was supposed to be spring, a season of warmth and joy. It’s unfortunate that there were no flowering plants or trees in sight nor could I feel any of this season’s warmth at all.

    I couldn’t help myself but sigh with a heavy heart.

    I only saw corpses from all races blooming in blood, like roses in a dull soil, their petals fell.

    It’s a spring of blood.

    I saw busy coachmen with their wagons driving not the living but the dead.

    It feels stifling to see these comrades in the army being thrown in the carts reserved for the dead.

    A few days ago, some of these men were even bragging, talking about drinks and all.

    Some did even claimed that they could drink the strongest beer in Maxim without even getting drunk at all. Of course, that's a lie alright.

    We were still boasting with each other just a few moments ago, promising that we would drink our fill together after this war was over.

    Yes, it was now over.



    Over for them.

    The battles still raged everywhere.

    Heroes fell, gods fell, nobles and even kings fell one after another.

    The hopes in my heart were like a flickering candle flame in the middle of a windy night.

    Thus, I decided to write my heart out.

    To free me from this burden of the heart.

    I, Lord Bach Von Fellinton, the last duke of my line.

    I decided to write my words on this old heirloom as proof that I existed once upon a time.

    Well, perhaps the reason I decided to write these things was also to ease and alleviate some restlessness and fears that are slowly growing in my heart.

    The first sentence I built and inked on the first page though was….

    Had the gods forsaken us?

    ♠♠♠♠♠♠♠

    - The year 1008, Fall, The Dusk - Vagabonds-

    Ten years ago, it started.

    No one knows what really started the war, nor what will end it.

    The Great War bore death, disasters, famines, and poverty.

    I’m still among the living as of now, standing along with a few brothers and sisters as we thrive to survive.

    We marched to these unknown lands where the last bounties of nature remain untainted.

    We survived through scavenging and foraging the forests where the arms of war still cannot reach.

    Since many of the once fertile lands of Eudoria are now barren earth.

    We decided to build a frontier of sorts in these lands.

    We welcomed the survivors who were able to run away from the war and arrive safely at this place.

    Giving them little food, a warm blanket, and a not so beautiful place to sleep.

    Well, at least it made them a bit happy.

    For I deeply wish to give other people the smallest ember of hope that I could give in these dark times.

    The last bastion perhaps?

    I was titled Duke at the age of 18 before this dark era came to fruition. Though, it is only an empty title now.

    We were like leaves slowly falling from the thick branches of a dead tree, dripping like rain from a cold windowpane.

    Waiting for our inevitable end.

    No land, no riches, and no hope in sight.

    All guts, but no glory.

    ♠♠♠♠♠♠♠

    -The year 1097, Winter, The Dusk – the First Duke’s Slumber

    I feel so numbed, so tired, and so lost.

    My eyes blurring, lips chilled and parched, my back hunched, arms and fingers shaking…

    Maybe the years are starting to creep its embrace towards me.

    Ah! It’s time for my successor to take the mantle now.

    I could still teach him a little bit more.

    I would probably not live for long.

    A few years? A few months? Well, who knows?

    The gods perhaps? Are they even still alive?

    Anyway, that darn brat dared not to give me any grandchild at all!

    I wonder what the heck my child’s brain was made of to be this stubborn.

    He’s as stupid as I am when it comes to making our own decisions.

    A damning proof that my blood runs deep within his veins, the kid is indeed my child.

    Though, as a father, I really worry about his future.

    Hmnn. It’s decided. I’ll at least give him time and a nice repertoire of ladies to choose from before I die.

    Fleeting memories came and go.

    My century is gone, just like that.

    It passed like a breeze. It came and it went away.

    I'm not a powerful warrior like my son which could last a few hundred years more.

    ...

    Though...

    I believe I fought a good fight.

    I could hear my bosom friends, silly brothers, cute sisters, and my beautiful wife shouting and calling for me on another shore.

    Will my old man welcome me? Will he say I did a good job?

    I'm tired.

    Perhaps, my duty has finally ended...

    ♠♠♠♠♠♠♠

    The little boy did not understand most of the contents and images that were shown in the first part of the short narratives. Reaching his tiny hands to grasp his chest, he gasped. He felt the small beats of his heart skimping as if something was resonating deep within him.

    His tiny heart lurched. Maybe he should have called his sister and brother before opening the book.

    Feeling woozy and dizzy, the little guy almost closed and sealed the book. Such vivid imagery. Perhaps the story was too much for the tiny child.

    In thought, he wondered about the stories read by his caretaker. It was funnier and happier. There were flying dragons, drunk dwarves, heroic humans, smart-ass lords, and fluffy beastkins.

    Why? It was an answer only she knows.

    Still, the unique feeling pushed the little guy to read further, he felt forced to do so.

    The first century of the Dusk was covered in mist, only two things were assured.

    There was a war of an unimaginable scale.

    And there was death in its midst.



    ♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠

    - The year 1099, Summer, The Dusk – Succession-

    Before he took his last breath, my father called for me and spoke with tears slowly flowing down his cheeks like rice buds from the stalks falling in the granary, it was full of his wishes and dreams.

    In whimpers, he asked.

    He asked me how I feel right then.

    He asked me would it be okay for him to leave first.

    My father seemed to be worrying too much about me.

    My mother is gone.

    I have no sons nor daughters.

    And he was about to leave me.

    He asked me with glassy eyes to find a wife though and build a family.

    He even voiced out a few unmarried girls excitedly while gasping in short breaths.

    He told me that he had a list of wonderful ladies, asking me to at least give it a look.

    "..."

    But I do not wish for such a thing.

    I decided to thwart the thought from my mind.

    I do not want them to be born in this era were anyone might die in a snap of a finger.

    Though I am already 63 years old, he still worries too much.

    Unlike him, I could still live for a hundred years more.

    For my passion for the arts of the divine allowed me to have longer longevity.

    I also look younger compared to my age.

    Besides everyone in this bastion of ours is my family.

    They are my fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters. I wouldn’t really be...lonely.

    But that does not mean, I would not die though.

    Perhaps in a battle to defend this last bastion, I’ll one day fall.

    Oh. He also gave me an old memoir, its pages made from the now obsolete scribe tree. A very rare magical tree which produces rough paper unfettered by mother time.

    He told me to read it.

    He told me to continue it.

    And thus I will.

    ♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠

    -The year 1109, Fall, The Dusk - Remembrance-

    I missed my father.

    My father was the smartest guy I knew.

    He toiled and burned his life for the remains of humanity.

    Along with the last living survivors, he established this paradise in hell.

    In exchange, he lost his chances for a longer life as he forsook the divine arts for those who wished to live.

    His talents obscured and lost with the passing of time.

    To give the lost a glimmer of hope in their hearts.

    As I skimmed around all his logs in the memoir, I cried and laughed.

    I never thought that my strict nagging father was so fluffy inside to the point that I cringed.

    He did not even forget to list the names of all the unmarried ladies in the bastion in hopes that maybe I would change my mind.

    I’m still here protecting this bastion along with some of my father’s sisters and brothers-in-arms.

    Not for long though.

    We all felt it.

    Like a lull.

    We were just waiting for the final battle.

    Maybe in a hundred years or so.

    It will come.

    Definitely.

    I must prepare.

    ♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠

    -The year 1153, Fall, The Dusk – Funny Little Girl-

    Today…

    We lost someone dear. Two pillars of the last bastion.

    A man and his wife, the bastions most powerful scouts. They were my dear friends in years.

    I did not shed tears.

    Numbed by the number of passing deaths I saw in my lifetime.

    They orphaned a little girl.

    She was just nine years old.

    For her, I felt wretched and sad.

    For the first time, I decided to break one of my taboo.

    I allowed someone to call me father.

    Though, it seemed like she hates it.

    So, she called me Uncle instead.

    Such funny little girl.

    She’s like a cat, so easy to provoke.

    Though, she’s too mature for her age.

    That’s more acceptable though, due to my divine arts my looks are still the same as I was a young adult.

    After all, it's not a boast to say that I’m really talented at practicing the divine arts.

    Even my father and everyone in bastion acknowledged that fact.

    Perhaps, she even sees me as a great older brother.

    Well, It’d make me feel less of an old geezer.

    Hmnn, perhaps I’ll teach her my arts and my ways on how to become strong.

    ♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠

    -The year 1183, Spring, The Dusk – Hope's not lost -

    They are here.

    I’ve been waiting for this moment for almost a hundred years.

    Proudly standing behind me, the bastion’s last army silently looked towards the upcoming enemy.

    We’ve done all we could.

    It was a preparation for a hundred years.

    Behind me, lies the last bastion of humanity.

    I heard earth-shaking roars continuously vibrating throughout the sky. Seas of monster horde which end I couldn't see.

    I am currently sitting on a chair on the top of the towering walls as I write, my table covered by the strategies we were about to implement possibly any moment now.

    Still looking young, as if time was nothing but a word to me.

    Beside me was my feisty adopted niece, until now she refuses to call me father.

    I couldn’t help but grin every time she lashes out at me when I call her little shrimp.

    She matured enough to think for herself though.

    And well, she indeed became a…very fine lady.

    I could see that she was ready to die with me.

    The problem was… I am not ready.

    I am not ready to lose her…

    ♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠

    -The year 1183, Fall, The Dusk – A Bellyful of Laughter-

    This might be the last time I would write in this memoir.

    I already decided to pass down this memoir to my adopted daughter.

    I’ll force it to her.

    Just like my father asked me.

    I would ask her to read it.

    I would ask her to continue it.

    Anyways, I would also add my seal as my gift to her, my successor.

    I would probably stay here till the end.

    The soldiers in the army all knew that this might be the last. Thus, their wills were left to their families, friends, and brothers.

    The months of testing and light skirmishes would be ending soon.

    We already established a cave system with the help of all the races especially the last remaining dwarves and gnomes to allow everyone a slim chance of survival. We also developed some edible scrubs that could grow there in the cave through the help of the elves, and along with some livestock brought by the beastkins, and some magic items necessary to live there.

    I decided that the last batch of people to retreat to the caverns must prepare and go now. Including those who didn't wish to remain here and those who didn't belong here

    I asked my soldiers who were the people that we still need to send to safety. After the not-so-loud commotion, the old veterans were the ones who earned the right to call the shots. But I heard almost all decided to stay. Those stubborn young ones who wished to stay were shooed away. They were knocked out by the old soldiers and were loaded in the carriages going to the caves like logs for delivery. They were gently gagged with clean cloths while their movements sealed by tight ropes.

    The moment I saw those sleeping boys, I couldn’t help but show a thumbs up.

    Haha. Nice one old guys!

    The last reverie is about to start.

    I could hear the rumbling sounds of the marching beast army, it seemed like all their preparations were complete.

    The great party is about to begin.

    Oh! Perhaps Rosalyn would be reading this later once she arrives at the cave. So, I wrote something extremely important in another paper.

    I think she would be shocked, thinking about it I could not help but burst in a peal of hearty laughter, a bellyful of laughter.

    My adjutants were even giving me worried looks.

    Perhaps, they were wondering if I finally lost my mind.

    So, I wrote my thoughts nakedly.

    No more pretending anymore.

    The inked brush on my hand waltzed wildly on the piece of paper.

    I decided to protect her till the end.

    It’s time, I gotta start moving my ass off.
     
  3. ThePundit

    ThePundit Well-Known Member

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    ♠♠♠♠♠♠♠

    -The year 1184, Winter’s end, The Dusk – The Duchess –

    Every time I close my eyes, I always see the last finest hours of the bastion.

    I remember the images of crazy monsters rushing through the fortified walls, roaring as they crashed like waves into the solid bricks created by the dwarves and gnomes.

    The bastion’s hundred-year-old walls started to crumble, slowly falling from the sheer weight of the monster tide.

    Soon, death filled the four corners of the last bastion’s walls.

    The soldiers were already in blood-lust, competing with the beasts in terms of savagery as they roared along with the beats of the war drums, boosting their morale and will, knowing that this would be their final resting place.

    Their swords, spears, bows, and spells slaughtered every monster it met.

    The more they kill the safer their remaining families would be.

    I was ready to die with them and him, any time and any moment of that day.

    As long as I was with him, it would be bliss. Even in death.

    Yet, he pushed me away. That damn geezer.

    I still vividly remember what that douchebag asked me to do last year during the war.

    He stuffed my mind with things about righteousness and the things about hope.

    He ordered me to lead the remnants of the races away to safety.

    I knew we were battling on two fronts, one against the beast horde and other against time.

    I fell in a great dilemma.

    I knew this order was for the greater good. An order I couldn’t go against. But deep in my heart, I still wanted to remain.

    And he knew that…

    I couldn’t help but sigh every time I remember that moment. It was bittersweet.

    Still, I forsook my deep wishes for the many. I carried his cross for him.

    On our parting, he gave me an old-looking yet well-maintained memoir as a parting gift.

    He said it was from his father, the founder of the last bastion.

    He told me to read it when I arrived at the caves.

    He told me to write my thought freely on it just like the two of them.

    Along with it was a box, he said it was his seal and his divine art which must be kept for the future generations to come.



    And it was also for me.

    It would serve as a beacon for me and the others.

    Anyways, I knew he would make me his successor.

    Though, it was the duty that forced me to lead the remnants to safety.

    Not him.

    I mean it…

    We marched away from the last bastion. Though, it was more of a procession for the lost. I saw it all. I heard crying children on the bosom of their mothers. A shivering pregnant women weeping as she peeked from time to time at the last bastion. Mothers praying for the safety of their sons and daughters to the gods, not knowing that they had already fallen.

    Despite that, the carriages’ wheels continued to turn and move, there was no turning back.

    This lady carried it on her heart, the burden of the living as well as his own share of the burden.

    It is winter now, yet it’s warm, no snow fell from the sky.

    ♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠

    -The year 1184, Spring, The Dusk – The Duchess Fellinton’s Ring-

    We continued the journey which lasted for a month. When we arrived at our destination at that time, everyone was already anxious and tired. We were warmly welcomed by the hearty dwarves and the intelligent gnomes upon our arrival.

    Before we entered our new home, I saw many weary eyes still peering at the direction of the last bastion. They were hoping for a sign. Hoping to see the smiling faces of their husbands, their friends, their sons, their daughter, their brothers, their sisters, and their Duke.

    I decided to wait. No…

    We all decided to wait.

    We waited until the sunset, till the skies were robbed of its brightness. Until the night breeze and darkness blew the light in our burning candles.

    It was already getting cold.

    Thus, I strictly ordered everyone at that time to settle in with the assistance of the gnomes and dwarves.

    One more month passed, our lingering hopes were already fading. There were no more messengers coming from the last bastion. Perhaps, it had already fallen.

    Until one night, few of the young scouts managed to find someone around the dead forest, nearby the edges of the cave.

    Purple patches of bruise covered the body of the man, signs of dried blood covered the dry grasses around him. One of man’s arm was teared-off in a brutal manner. Perhaps, chewed off would be a better term.

    His face pale as a sheet of paper, dried tears mixed with dust could be seen trailing in the sides of his still wide-open eyes.

    His body lying like a twig along the dead branches on this cold dark forest.

    It was one of my brother-in-arms, a promising soldier in the bastion’s army.

    I remembered that he was one of the most trusted soldiers of that guy.

    I lowered my knees to the ground, then I gently closed his eyes. I grieved.

    He had already passed away for quite some time.

    I noticed that his remaining hand was grasping something tightly, as I open his stiff fingers one by one, a crumpled letter fell to the cold earth.

    Slowly, I opened the wrinkled paper.

    And…

    My tears fell…





    I ran immediately to the cave, forgetting everything.

    I looked for the locked box containing his seal and art.

    Sobbing silently, I opened it, I saw the book of his divine art, his seal…

    And a ring, a tiny paper tied to its upper shank coiling like a snake, too scared to let go.

    My finger’s trembling, I slowly opened it.

    “My Dear Rosalyn,”

    Wait for me. I knew you love me… Will you marry me?


    Gently, I lose my grip on the letter from the departed messenger. I bit my lips till it bled. It landed on the ground, the words within were written on glimmering blood. My warm tears flowed uncontrollably, it fell like white snow on a wintry night.

    “My Rosalyn”

    I’m sorry… I would not be able to stay with you till we grow old…






    So he knew…

    Yet, this damn jerk decided to make me cry till his last.

    This stupid guy didn’t even allow me to say goodbye.

    Until the end, he’s still a bastard.

    ♠♠♠♠♠

    -The year 1244, Spring, The Dusk – Beauty Blooms in Death-

    Gazing at the old mirror beside my table, the time had been too kind to me. No wrinkles nor age spots could be seen.

    My looks were the same as before I led the exodus of the last remnants here.

    But so as my feelings for him.

    My yearning heart still burning, full of incandescence. My hope lifted up my will to continue and hold on.

    More determined than ever to safeguard what he had left to me. I promised myself to live his share till the last.

    I also look at the logs of my predecessor and the buffoon. My father-in-law is a man of wit and words while the buffoon was still a buffoon in his writing. Though, it seemed like the two loved to use one-liners instead of paragraphs. It’s really manly. So I decided to put more descriptions and words for my successor later.

    Counting from the fall of the last bastion, forty-nine years had already passed and only a few things had changed.

    Life continued for me, the remnants - and the beasts outside.

    Though the number of encounters and skirmishes with the beast horde was starting to dwindle fast. Aside from the few preys falling to our traps and ambushes from time to time, there was none.

    It’s a piece of very welcome news for everyone.

    Still, my consciousness tells me that it never hurts to be more cautious, especially in this era of chaos where dangers lurk in every shadow.

    After all, I saw and experienced some events that only a few know.

    I decided to write it on this memoir, as a warning to those who would inherit this book, if there's any.

    It happened in the year 1227, Mid-spring of this era. An era of blood and gore.

    We were curious and scared of what was happening above the ground. After the fall of the last bastion, the information we were able to get from the outside world slowly declined to nil.

    Information was a lifeline for everyone here in the cave systems, especially in this rapidly changing world.

    So I, along with the other leaders and elders agreed to send some scouts for a reconnaissance mission. We commissioned five elites for the operation. Thinking that they could give us a better view of what’s really happening outside.

    We called it “Operation Seeker”. We hoped to seek light and hope.

    Fully geared and well-supplied, the scouts started their journey to the vast wasteland.

    Then, we waited and let the days take its course.

    Until one day, they returned from the long journey.

    It took three months before they decided to end their mission.

    I sighed in relief after I saw there weary and dirt-covered faces.

    We allowed them to take three days of rest so that they could relax while arranging all the information they had accumulated.

    And it took us that three days to realize…

    That it was a mistake we never intended to make.

    The first day passed with everything still fine.

    Early morning of the second day came, three of the scouts fell asleep, never to wake up as eternal slumber embraced them whole. Their lifeless bodies covered with patches of violet, creeping like ivies as it entwined the corpses. As fast as we could, we isolated the remaining two. We burned the dead ones as fast as we could, not willing to take chances. An epidemic spreading around the cave-dwelling would be the last thing we want.

    Wasting no time, we decided to seek clarity of what was happening and what did they really see. The two scouts also agreed as colored bruises slithered in their skins.

    Narrating what they discovered one by one, their encounters were just what I expected to hear.

    Rotting corpses of beast and man alike sprawled in all places their eyes could reach. Caws and Kraa’s of crows echoing in chorus throughout the now lost lands as if declaring their dominion over their new home. They saw towering beast mowing the ruins of civilization, seeking for any possible survivors in this no-man’s land.

    They roamed to seek the living only to find death across the land. Yes, even in the last bastion…

    Their narration ended with no clear answer.

    I questioned them whether they knew what made them sick.

    Instead of hearing any answer, blank stares were their response. They didn’t know.

    Along with the others, we nitpicked each of the details of the information they gave, none of us slept due to anxiousness.

    Yet, the conclusion we sought never came, we couldn't see any patterns nor details that could explain what was happening.

    The night came carrying the reaper's scythe, another scout had succumbed. His corpse cremated just like the three before him. From five, we were down to one.

    The third day came.

    Early in the morning, the sentry guarding the last scout’s isolated room sent a letter asking me to immediately go to the isolation room. The last elite was asking for me, claiming that he now remembered the cause of their current predicament.

    I was curious…very curious at that time.

    My steps light as the wind, I arrived at the isolated room where the man stayed.

    The man wished to have a talk with me alone with no barriers, walls nor other people between us.

    Respecting his will, I granted it, though with some assurances.

    My body shielded by a white aura originating from my divine arts, I entered the isolation room, my slow and deep steps echoed across the room.

    I saw deep scratches on the walls tainted with blood, some clipped nails stuck on it.

    Looking around the place, an image of a man crouching on one side of the room welcomed me. The man’s face twisted in extreme pain, bulges of veins could be seen all over his body. The violet patches were like a sloth slinking towards his left cheek, his suffering revealed to me in its full glory.

    The man took a deep breath and looked at me. He mumbled vague words about a field of white lilies they found after running away from the towering beast. Grating his teeth, he told me to be wary of those flowers. And watch him…

    Yes, watch his disturbing suffering…

    I asked him why he was only telling the story now.

    Yet, no answer came.

    I saw him spasming and writhing on the ground, the shadows of death slowly dragging him to the dark abyss. I felt like he was fighting something deep within him.

    I asked him whether he wished for a painless death.

    Yet, he replied with a sobbing no.

    He then shouted the word “watch” unceasingly like a cornered beast on its death throes.

    The patches in his cheeks wriggled upwards to each of his eyes. The moment the patches reached his eyes, I felt his pulse weakening.

    Then the man took a deep breath in difficulty, it sounded like a gasp of an old dying man. Gathering his last straws of strength and will, he then uttered.

    “It made us forget.”

    He had lost his breath upon finishing those words.

    I can’t describe what I really felt that day.

    If you asked me I could say it wasn’t anger, pity, nor shock…



    It was pure, unadulterated horror.

    After his death, I saw tendrils of a plant rising up from the ground gently coiling around his body.

    Stalks of a familiar plant gently grew and appeared from the now coiled corpse.

    In a few moments, a beautiful white flower bloomed from its shoots.



    Lilies, a symbol of hope, purity, and innocence.

    It’s beauty, so beguiling.

    I felt an extreme yearning coming from my heart as if someone was calling me to give it a light touch.

    Hairs all over my body shivered in caution, signaling danger. My instincts screamed as if it knew of the screaming peril coming. It was a parasitic monster.

    Yet, I stood there. I was stunned, mesmerized, and charmed.

    I knew I was its prey.

    Step by step, I strode like a wild rabbit walking into a wide-open hunter trap.

    I couldn’t help but grimaced in terror and helplessness. That was the second time I felt so vulnerable ever since the fall of the last bastion.

    The moment the stalks blossomed, the white aura emitted by my divine art roared in wrath, like a dragon appearing without any notice it slammed towards the innocent lilies.

    Awaken from my stupor, I saw a wicked sight.

    The white lilies turned black, it’s stems and leaves now looking like patches of innards stuffed together to make a grotesque art. Each of the flower’s petals showing writhing faces of suffering, pain, wrath, helplessness, sloth, envy, greed, and death. There I saw a familiar face, it was the man who just died, his eyes hollowed and mouth opened wide as if screaming to be freed from his curse.

    I retched after getting a whiff of the stench coming from it. The smell seemed to be coming from a rotting mountain of corpses with maggots and worms feasting all over it. That was the first time I ever smelled something so abysmal. I felt the acids of my stomach rushing to my esophagus then to my mouth, its sour taste sensed by my tongue.

    I retched.

    Alarm bells rang all throughout my brain as I gathered the most powerful white flame I am capable of. It seemed like that the divine art I practiced abhors it to no end. It was calling me to burn and exterminate this appalling creature to the crisp of inexistence.

    This creature must not exist!

    Taking a deep breath, I gathered all of my white divine aura in my palms. I could feel an intense flame roaring in my hands, the white flame in my hands was extremely livid as if it was throwing insults and curses at the malevolent flower. This was the first time that the flame aura I gained from the bastard’s divine art acted like a sentient being. Drops of sweat formed at my eyebrows as I closed my palms and balled it into a fist. In a few moments, I gasped as the flame in my fist changed its color from clean white to deep violet. I felt deep awe and reverence rising within the depths of my heart. Then, I felt at ease.

    Then I heard a whisper of a lady…

    “Burn!”

    I felt shocked as I look around the small isolated room to look for the source of the voice. Yet, there was no one around.

    My soul was telling me to follow the plea of the whisper.

    Fearing that I would lose control of the great flame, I gritted my teeth and threw the most powerful blazing punch that I could at the monstrosity. Fortunately, there were no booms that occurred as I smite inexplicable creature to its death. I could even hear my heartbeats galloping in a rhythmic manner, it sounded like a war drum due to fear that it would affect the cave system.

    The lilies, no – the monster screamed like a banshee on its death throes as the white and violet blaze engulfed its existence.

    All of a sudden, I felt the violet blaze was sighing in relief. I put my hand at my head thinking that I might be feeling a bit disillusion. The violent blaze was still continuously scorching the demonic flower to crisp as if it was making sure that none of its ashes shall remain.



    I puked my guts out after the ordeal.

    My heart was still stumping hard as I felt death brushing over me.

    Not even on the battlefield of the last bastion did I saw such a horrible existence.



    I now understand what happened to them as silence returned to the room. Only a few flickers of violet flame continued to burn on the ground.

    I gave one more look at the ashes of the monster and my comrade.

    Striding away from the isolated room, I decided to tell the tale only to a few of my trusted men.

    For fear isn’t what we need right now.

    But hope.
     
  4. ThePundit

    ThePundit Well-Known Member

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    ♠♠♠♠♠♠♠

    -The year 1298, Fall, The Dusk – Dreams and Wishes -

    Three hundred years had passed since the start of the war. Three hundred years since the first duke wrote on this paper. Three hundred years since the burning of Elvenfield and the World Tree – The cradle of the elves and fairies. Three hundred years since the fall of the great Maximus – The capital of the human empire. Three hundred years since the fall vast Orcus – The lands of the orcs. Three hundred years since the downfall of Runemar – The center of the crafting world, home for the gnomes and dwarves. Three hundred years since the ruin of Levastain – the kingdom of the beastkins. Ah! Three hundred years since we all lost our homes.

    Few streaks of white hair now flow on my hair, my face now concealing a few lines of furrows. It made me feel a little peeved. If I wrote and say only a few, I mean only a few okay? I couldn’t help myself but itch to pinch away those white streaks of mine. But in the end, I am always stopped by the dwarves and elves, saying it was a sign of great wisdom while the other said it was beautiful. On the other hand, the beastkins and orcs were telling me that these white hairs were a sign of authority.

    Authority my ass! It’s a responsibility! And it’s very heavy. I’m gonna torch the asses of these beastkins and orcs one day.



    I knew long ago that I wasn’t as talented as that guy in terms of mastering the divine art, he was a freak of our era. A wonder of a generation. My age was catching up with me. Anyway, for people like me, age was just a number.

    Who am I kidding anyway!

    I still looked young and cute not counting the few white streaks in my hair.

    The population in the cave-systems was growing like a mushroom as time passed, the jolly kids kept popping out everywhere as I looked at my window. It seemed like the few years of peace had contributed to the increase in our population, hastening the need for more homes and goods. So I along with the elders from different races decided to extend the cave again, a project that literally bore us a new great view.

    With the aid of the dwarves and gnomes, the subterranean dwellings had increased in size once again. Yet, all the races longed for one more thing, they wished for their children to see the sun and the sky. They felt the children need to know that it was light that belongs to them not this dark mossy cave.

    Thus, with everyone's help, we engineered and developed a way to make it come true.

    Above the roofs of the cavern now lies a massive hole connected to the dull sky outside, its aesthetics satisfying the fairies and elves. It’s an enchanted architectural craft built through the joint efforts of all the races inside the cave-dwelling. The dwarves and gnomes even praise it as an architectural wonder.

    The great success proved that the races could work together for the greater good; the dwarven blacksmiths crafted the tools for the groundwork; the gnomes invented the runic blueprint for this ambitious plan, the humans contributed their art and magic to serve as foundation; the beastkins’ shamans inked their totems to strengthen the magic array that would serve as protection of cave-dwelling; the elves and the fairies deployed their mythic art to camouflage the cave-systems, and the Orcus tribe doing the odd jobs that required manual labor and muscle power.

    At the end of the construction, they forced this duchess to name the giant hole in the middle of the dwelling. Well, this proves that this old woman is still popular among the young ones. I felt a little glad. I looked at the big hole in the sky thinking of a nice name. At first, I decided to name it the “big big hole” as it should be. But due to scathing looks given to me by the elves, fairies, dwarves and the gnomes, I decided to call it the “Heaven’s Stairway” instead. Soothing the nerves of some grumpy old ladies and old foggies. What’s wrong with calling it a big hole right? It’s a pure and nice big hole in my eyes.

    Maybe before I die this cave system would become a massive metropolis where races co-exist as one big family. A place where races don’t even matter.

    Glancing outside through my old window, I felt a breeze of fulfillment leaping out of my chest. I could see the little children of different races playing and laughing together, the little ones carry no burden on their backs, running as fast as the world allowed them too. Mothers taking care of chores, gossiping about each other’s husbands and in-laws.

    On the other hand, the men were working hard, budding seeds, planting crops and growing livestock. It was a sight to behold, never did I thought that the apocalyptic war could bring everyone together with their differences set aside.

    I wasn’t able to see such sight during my life in the last bastion. Perhaps, not even during the time of the first duke.

    In our time, there were only death, war, famine, and fear as if our lives were only wilted grasses on the ground waiting to be stepped on and crushed.

    I think the gods witnessed our misery, granting us this peaceful solace. For this place was a great blessing for those who sought refuge that day.

    If only that stubborn old man settled with me here instead of staying in that bastion. Maybe, my life would be bliss right now… Perhaps… Perhaps not.



    Age tends to make women more emotional…

    You know as of late, my dreams kept repeating and repeating a certain setup. It was a situation that I wished deeply in my heart. At first, I could only see a man waving at me, on another shore.

    I thought it was just some good old nightmare. I thought that the old reaper was waiving at me. Yet, as my dreams continued every night, the man’s visage started to become more and more vivid and familiar. Wide shoulders of a bulky man, a long loose chestnut hair fluttering in the wind, his strong hand continuously waving at me. A cheeky grin masking his face. So cheeky I want to slap it with all my strength. I want to send those pearly whites of his flying away in the shoreline.

    The dawn would then came, burdened by the litters in my dream, few tears staining my face as I open my eyes from my creaking bed.

    Even just for a few moments, at least this dream and wish of mine came true.

    I never felt so glad as I wake up for another day…

    Thus, I write this passage to share a bit of my happiness to future generations.

    I believe that we still have hope and a future.

    ♠♠♠♠♠♠♠

    The little boy with an ash-grey hair looked at the images appearing at his mind, he felt that he was in the midst of every letter and at the center of every image. At first, the kid wanted to help the old grandpa in building the bastion. But he failed since he couldn’t touch anything. Then during the fall of the last bastion, he wanted to tell the shiny man to go with the beautiful sister to the caves. Yet, neither his whispers nor shouts reached him.

    He watched the beautiful sister writing every night on the old grandpa’s book with tears in her eyes. He wished to comfort the beautiful sister by petting her head like what his mom and dad do to him every time he was sad. Yet, he couldn’t touch her.



    He couldn’t.

    That he finally understood.

    From then on he knew that he was just a bystander, a watcher. A spectator in a place unknown. An observer with tied hands. He stood still, watching everything happening yet unable to touch anything, unable to do anything.

    ♠♠♠♠♠♠♠

    -The year 1299, Spring, The Dusk – Weeping Heavens –

    Last night, in the middle of our slumber, an abrupt ear-piercing sound boomed like peals of thunder during a storm, the deafening echoes surged throughout the vast lands of the Eudorian Continent. At first, we thought it was just a storm. Yet after looking above the Heaven’s Stairway we were dumfounded. There were three pillars of light bursting out from the once dark sky, its luster purging the dimness of the starless nights of the Dusk. Then, the night turned bright, painting the sky with hope and anticipation. A series of intense vibration drummed all over the caverns as spatial rifts appeared in the sky.

    I thought it was the end. They finally found us.

    I heard the rumbles and crackles originating from the rifts, I could not help but gasped as the hairs on my skin stood up due to instinctive fear.

    I ordered an immediate evacuation.

    I thought that the end was extending its hand towards everyone. Hoping for a chance of survival, I along with other old ones immediately gathered together to form a last stand as we cast the biggest magic shield we could produce in a short time, wishing to at least give the little ones a few minutes to evacuate to another area.

    All of a sudden, three circular domes emerged from the sky. I witnessed three silhouettes controlling the very essence of gravity as their dainty feet drifted in the air. In contradiction to their divine presence, sets of chains bounded their hands and feet while their mouths gag by a black mass. I could feel that those chain were very heavy. So heavy that I wouldn’t even be able to lift it away from the ground.

    In a moment, I saw the heavy chains cracked as each of its pieces slipped down from the sky, turning into moats of lights before it could even plunge to the now hard and barren soil, the once-great land of Eudoria.

    We finally saw what the pillars were.

    They were three ladies.

    I could see the two of the three doll-like ladies, their eyes observing everything as they stood in the sky.



    The first lady was garbed in long white-satin robe her eyes blue as the ocean. Dangling from her shoulders, the damsel’s light blue hair sashayed with the cold night breeze. She was looking at me, no perhaps she was looking at everybody. Her gaze carried a soft gentle whiff, like a mother looking at her beloved children. It felt like a warm embrace was coddling me, evoking beads of tears to fall from my aged eyes. It felt like I saw my long-dead parents from her gaze.

    I looked around and saw other oldies sniffing along with me. I knew it! It wasn’t just me. There was something more in them than meets the eye.

    Damn, I almost thought that this old lady’s age was acting up again.

    The second damsel was a little girl clad in white armor. I couldn’t help but think that she looked silly in such attire. Her eyes were like red rubies in harmony with her long crimson hair. Unlike the lady in satin, she carried a passionate aura. Her presence was like a burning coal in a long winter night, heartening and soothing. She was like a burning hearth on a cold snowy night. An unending bundle of warmness that I so dearly wished to hug before I sleep.

    I would love her to be the daughter I never had.

    Unlike the first two, the last dame had more chains and manacles sealing her movement. Her eyes were also covered by a thick black cloth as if preventing her from seeing something. A few minutes passed, the chains and the black cloth disintegrated into flakes of light, freeing the lady from her captivity.

    Her eyes were like clear purple lilac blooming in the night, containing images of innocence and deep love… as well as pain. Her deep-black hair whirled along with her purple silken flared gown.

    The moment her bindings dissipated, the other two cast their moist gazes at her. Their lips gently slipped as if they were trying to find words of comfort to say yet were unable too, their eyes dropped into a corner, sorrow and forlorn weighing on their gaze.

    Three hundred years…

    Echoing throughout the heavens, those were the first words we heard from the lilac lady. Her tears sliding from her cheeks like rain, it carried the burden of the three centuries of waiting and helplessness.

    Upon saying that, we could all tell that she was weeping.

    Hearing her peals of sobs I couldn’t help but gasped, my heartfelt tight and full as if acknowledging the release of her hundred years of frustration, anger, and helplessness. The feelings I locked deep within my heart bubbled up to my eyes.

    My old tears were rekindled by her, my memories flashed like it was just a few days ago. My 155-years’ worth of memories drizzled in my mind. From the laughing young ones of the cavern, the hard-working cave-dwellers, the always hopeful elders, to the warmth of my mom’s hug, my dad’s big back, and that buffoon’s hearty laughs.

    In just a few seconds, the reminiscences passed by like pitter-patters of rain.



    I cried…

    No, we cried. We felt like we were about to be released from our dark prisons. The prison called “The Dusk”.

    The lady’s tears swept my old burdens away.

    She then uttered in a firm voice. Two sentences that I would never forget. Thus, I decided to share it with you, my successors. The last miracle of our era. For it was the end of that age as well as the start of a new one. It was a sad whisper and a frightening roar.

    The first one was…

    “I’m sorry I am late.”

    The second one was…

    “Let the Darkness Tremble!”
     
  5. ThePundit

    ThePundit Well-Known Member

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    I had a good hunt today. I managed to catch a yummy looking fowl as well as a rare dear. I guess it accidentally separated from its herd after being hunted by a predator, maybe it was a bear or perhaps a pack of wolves. Well, thanks to them I managed to catch a good game. It seemed like we would have a sumptuous dinner of venison meat tonight. Thinking about whether my wife would stew or grill it, I couldn’t help but drool.

    Oh, maybe I’ll sell a little to the other villagers. I’ll also give a bit to our overworked old chief, my sister, and my in-laws. I’ll also ask my wife to smoke some of the meat, saving it for my later hunts. Then I’ll tan the deerskin and make hunting clothes to combat the cold during winter.

    Anyways, I heard that a new lord will come today. Should I also give him some? Hmnn, never mind. The others will think I’m sucking up to the new lord. Some of the old people here could really be petty and nasty at times, they’ll never even let such simple gossip die down.

    I am worried about our old chief. The old chief would have a lot of explaining to do. This village had at least 500 people and only a few people are working to sustain the village, just enough to provide the village with enough food for the last winter. Aside from that, most of the working villagers were the old people or middle-aged men like me. Though, the village has a lot of young dimwits who don’t want to work or so slow at work. Forcing them to their jobs had been a real pain in the ass, I’d rather do the job myself rather than wait for those slowpokes.

    Will the new lord maintain the old tax rate? I hope it stays the same. As long as we have good food on the table, that’s good enough. If the new lord increased the tax rate a lot of villagers would definitely starve. After all, the number of the last few years' harvests was dwindling and getting meager and meager.

    It even forced the village elders to look for outside help but to no avail. Adding coal to the fire, the young dimwits don’t even understand our predicament. Their heads were only loaded with romance and heroes. They won’t even care about the tilling and farming preparations for the next winter. If you beat them up, they’ll do their work for a few days. Then, they would return to their usual ways.

    Thinking about such things gives me a big headache. I’m really bad at thinking, I’d rather go and hunt. I’ll leave the thinking matters to the old chief and the others.

    The village of Lother could be considered as a young village, as compared to its counterparts in the other regions. Thirty years ago this place was just a little hamlet roughly prepared by young soldiers during the monster subjugation of the great forest of wilderness. My old father even wears his old shabby army uniform from time to time, telling thrilling stories to those who were not born yet at that time. If it’s children, he’ll tell heroic stories.

    If it’s a young man or a young lady he’ll tell stories of tragedies during the campaign, scaring them until some of the youth wet their pants. I wonder what’s going in the old man’s mind. My old man just loved teasing the young ones. He also tends to reminiscence his experiences in the army.

    I once heard from him that this village was just a little hamlet before. It was once used as an army camp thirty years ago. The army commander of that time knew that monster subjugation missions usually take more than a few months, if things go south it would even take a year to complete. The commander knew that they would need a makeshift resting camp, temporary shelter and home for the tired soldiers.

    My old man always told us that the commander was a kind man. The commander also wished to improve the soldiers’ lives after the war since most of these young guys were considered a family burden. The commander knew that his soldiers were mostly second, third, and fourth sons that wouldn’t inherit any of their parents’ properties. They couldn’t be even married off like young girls, troubling their poor households.

    Instead, they would only add expenses and problems to their families. Their families would eventually let them become independent once the firstborn son officially inherits the house, throwing them away in the street, leaving them with nothing aside from a few clothes and coins.

    Some would be able to find a job, but the majority would have nowhere to go, traveling from one place to another until they find a good job. One of them was my old’ father, he said he’s family wasn’t rich so the family was forced to throw him out of the house after his parents died and his eldest brother inherited the house.

    Since they couldn’t stay, most of these young men forced themselves to apply in the army or enlist in conscription orders for monster subjugations and wars despite the high possibility of death, thinking that they might be luck out in the army. At least, they would not starve and would have some savings for themselves.

    Feeling pity for his soldiers, the commander decided to build this little camp to at least let the young guys have a place to settle in after this monster subjugation. He knew that most of his soldiers had no place to go back to at all.

    According to my old man, the little peddlers and merchants eventually smelled the sweet scent of profit after monster subjugation took longer than the commander’s initial estimation due to the tenacious nature of monsters in the forest. The

    The peddlers and merchants knew that the army would require more rations aside from what the kingdom provided. The merchants and peddlers opened their shops thinkin’ they could get some rare monster materials to sell in the capital. They brought their coins along with their families, gambling for a chance to get big transactions.

    Some succeeded while others lost their capitals eventually forcing them to stay in the army camp and lived there to at least recover a few coins to start another venture. After all, the materials from strong monsters were a common ingredient used to create potions, medicines, and even weapons.

    As the subjugation of the forest of wilderness progressed, my old’ man also told us that the number of dead soldiers also increased due to the fierce battles with the monsters. There were even a lot of cases reported about a number of undead appearing in the forest due to improper burial of the dead, damaging the morale of the tired soldiers.

    The event even forced the commander to write a letter of request to the King and the Priestess much to his annoyance. He requested a dispatch of clergies to deal with the dead and a few gold coins to build a new church. It was also to bless the souls of the deceased, preventing them from becoming undead.

    The request of the subjugation commander had unknowingly caused the little hamlet to officially become a village. The place finally had a little market, a good number of soldiers that wished to live here, and a brand new chapel.

    Upon the end of the subjugation, the makeshift camp eventually became a village called Lother Village, after the name of the kind commander, General Lother Hayes Mills.



    I ran back to the village with deer on my back and the fowl tied on my sides. I thought I should at least look at the new lord. It would be troubling if I don’t know his face. I wonder if he’s an old man just like the village chief and my father.

    “Oh! Higgs, you caught a big one today. Eh, ain’t that a dear! Oops, my drool. Damn! You’re really in luck today,” It was an old man with a shepherd’s cane. He was herding some animals to graze in the pasture.

    “Ol’ Gil, it was a good hunt. It seemed like the dear was accidentally separated from its herd, making it easy to hunt,” I answered, behind my back was the dead deer, I raised the sides of my mouth in pride. “How about it ya’ want some?”

    “Eh, really? Yal’ give me some? The shepherd answered, his eyes full of questions.

    “Well, I’ll want some of yar’ goat’s milk and cheese in exchange.” The burly hunter scratched his cheeks. “Ya’ see, my wife and the little guy in my house loves milk. And I love yar’ cheese. It’s very tasty.”

    “Fine! Ya’ really know my stuff, Higgs.” The shepherd said as he touched his nearly bald head. “But I’ll only have little cheese, about the size of a fist. Is that alright?”

    Hearing the old shepherd agreeing with my barter offer, I grinned and whistled like a child. The old man’s goat cheese was one of my favorite foods even when I was still a child. Well, the little boy in my home also loved it.

    “Alright!” I almost drooled as I answer, I think the cheese would definitely go well with this meat. “I’ll go to yar’ house later after I butcher the deer. Prepare yar’ cheese alright! Hahaha.”

    “Suit yar’ self,” the old shepherd smiled, his eyes still glued at the deer meat. “See ya’ later, I gotta move to another place now.”

    I waltzed my way towards the village until I eventually reached the village plaza. There were a lot of villagers in the plaza today, both the old people and the lazy younguns’ were gathered here, their curious eyes fixed at the village’s main road. The new lord would finally arrive today. I could hear the buzzing gossips of the villagers about the new lord.

    I’d rather bring this deer back to the butcher first than listen to this gossips. I hate chinwags, their murmurs sounded like flies to my ears. I even get an urged to slap them dead. They were so annoying. The forest was much more peaceful as compared to this place. They were whispering with each yet their voices were loud enough for everyone to hear. It’s so irritating.

    Well, I guess I’ll at least wait a little bit more until I see the shadow of the new lord. My eyes are good enough to see him from afar. Well, it would give me a few stories to tell the kid later. After that, I’ll go to Butcher Gan and asked for his help.

    ♠♠♠♠♠♠♠

    The thin flickers of light signaled the cry of the new day. The chirping of the birds and the boisterous noises coming from the running kids heralded the coming of springtime for the village of Lother. The young kids chortled and giggled as they play around the village’s wooden fences, picking branches from the nearby tree to play princess and the night. They were as free as the doves, making the village more alive with their innocence.

    The main plaza of the Lother Village was buzzing with the sounds of laughter and whispers from the chattering of the villagers. A mixture of anticipation, hope, and nervousness could all be seen in the eyes of the men, women, and even children.

    “I heard that the family of the Knight Brooks would be transferred to this village today.” The lanky village carpenter Zaan spoke: “I believed he tasked by the Lord Baron to further develop the wilderness.”

    "The forest of wilderness, though full of danger, is also full of unique plants, animals and monsters. “The village carpenter added. "When I went to town, I tried selling a unique plant that I found in the forest and it fetched quite a nice price there. I also overheard that this village will be the knight's fee from Baron Gisvon."

    Suddenly, a young child shouted; “Daddy! I was the one who picked that plant up”. Inviting the laughter of the villagers.

    “Hahaha, Brat! What's yours is mine. I’m your father. You hear that young’un!” Zaan, the head carpenter of the village had his thick cheeks reddening a bit like a ripe fresh apple. “Just wait, hmmp, you're gunna get beaten with my wooden stick latter.”

    Hearing what his father said, the little child immediately pouted and ran after the group of children playing nearby, apparently trying to avoid further angering his petty father.

    On the other side of the plaza, a few elders were chatting with each other as they waited for the arrival of the new lord. They were assigned by the old chief to welcome the Lord and to lead the crowd.

    “I wish the new lord would not take to much of our harvest.” An old fat elder murmured, his tone showing a few of his frustrations. “If not, many of us will definitely not last for another winter. The damn fields are not producing enough harvest for us!

    “Damn old man, you’re cursing us!” A skinny old man tried to avoid the jinx as he cursed the guy. “The goddesses would definitely take you first next winter first.”

    “What did you say!? The old fat elder’s face turned tomato red. “You bag of bones! You dare!? The goddess would definitely take you first!” They'll need your wood-like skeletons to warm their hearth next winter!”

    “Bah! Who will need this bag of old bones?” The skinny old man laughed. “Your fats would be good enough to let the fire in their hearth burn throughout the winter.”

    “Shut up!” The fat old man huffed. “Are you cursing me to die in anger!?

    “Haha, guess? A witty look appeared on the face of the skinny old man. “Anyway, how about we get your lazy grandson to help in the fields?”

    “Trash! I’d rather till the fields all day than convince that no-good kid to do farm work.” The fats in the old man shook. “His laziness would kill me faster than talking with you!”

    Clak... click, clack. Clack.

    The sound of horse hooves suddenly clamored around the street, silencing the chatting old men. It also invited the expectant gazes of the people nearby. Sitting on the strong horse, was a muscular bearded man. He has brownish hair, blood-red pupils, and a manly face. His gaze was sharp as an iron, but upon looking closely it was also full of passion and warmth. The knight’s posture resembled the noon itself, firm and fiery.

    There were almost 30 horses in the knight’s contingent; 10 horses were used to transport provisions, 8 horse for the wooden carriages behind, and the rest were ridden by the esquires and the knight’s family.

    The villagers were enamored after seeing their new lord and the knight’s escorts. It seemed like they were curious and a bit intimidated by the appearance of the knight.

    Although the knights were one of the lowest ranks in the nobility, a noble was still a noble. Their appearance could still be considered rare; they could mostly only be seen during wartime, territorial campaigns, and in big cities. The last time the village saw a noble was a few years ago during a surprise inspection by the Lord Baron.

    “Halt! Halt!” shouted the knight in a booming voice. “Haha! At last after a week of the journey. We already arrived at this fief of mine. See this, my beautiful lady? This land is ours as promised by the Lord Baron.”

    Behind the proud knight, was a beautiful lady. The lady had unique silver hair draping down her slim waist. She had an oval-shaped face that would seem to fit a man’s palm. In the eyes of the villagers, she was like a goddess, a rare beauty. Though the lady’s attire was like a knight, it only made the lady more charming and endearing.

    Sounds of choking and pain could be heard from the men of Lother. It seemed like the pinches of the village women have awoken the men from their stupid stupor. They lowered their heads because of the sheer embarrassment and excitement.

    Seeing her husband’s playful grin along with the word “darling”, triggered a little tiny bit of embarrassment from the lady. Setting that aside, the lady chastised her husband while giggling a little, her eyes now looking at the curious villagers.

    “Levo, stop that. Introduce yourself to the villagers properly.” The charming lady gazed at the burly man. “Look at them they are already gawking at us. Please explain to them what we came here for, introduce our little guys along the way.”

    “Villagers of Lother! Hear me. I am Knight Levo von Brooks! Knight of Baron Gisvold and your new lord. The village of lother was awarded to me by the baron upon my merits.” The knight announced loudly. “Behind me is my wife, Madame Annis von Brooks, and the 3 behind her are my children bore of her. Hey, little guys do introduce yourself!”

    Hearing the words Madame and wife, many of the men gulped hard in fear and lowered their heads deeper. They never thought that the lady was actually the madame. They remembered the terrifying stories spread by the traveling bards about villagers getting beheaded along with their whole family after getting caught having dealings with a noble’s wife.

    Meanwhile, the eyes of the women dilated then rounded upon hearing the words bore and children, they also never thought that the madame actually managed to bore three children and still look like that.

    “I am Liszt von Brooks, the eldest son of Knight Brooks! I’m 10 years old. A pleasure to meet you.” The grayish haired child said. It seems like the little guy with baby fats in his face managed to inherit his father's sharp red gaze.

    Then a little silver-haired girl firmly walked near towards the madame’s side. She curtsied at the villagers and said;” I’m Ciera von Brooks, firstborn daughter of Knight. I’m 8 years old. A pleasure to meet thee, acquaintance.”

    The little lady resembles her mother more. The villagers believed that she would definitely be a beauty when she grows up. Her eyes were shining with curiosity and wittiness.

    Lastly… The villagers tried to look at where the third one was but to no avail. Then suddenly, a little one shyly strutted at the front of the villagers. Mumbling a little, the little boy said.

    “I ’m, I’m. hmm. My name is Klive and I’m the youngest! I’m..hmnn wait let me count.”, counting with his tiny fingers he proudly added; I am 6 years old. The boy had a striking grayish hair and blue eyes, seemingly inheriting both his parent’s looks. He looked rather clever, amusing, and full of life.

    Seeing the funny little lord, the tension in the air slowly dissipated into nothingness. There were gawking and weak giggles coming from the villagers. While some of the curious children eyed the gray-haired little boy while hiding behind their parents. Hearing the peals of mirth in the air, the little lord pouted and hid behind his mother again, his blue eyes peeking a little at the villagers.

    “Lord Knight! We are at your service!” said the villagers in a loud and clear voice, their knees and heads lowered on the ground. It was something they had rehearsed a few days ago under the instructions of the old village chief.

    Looking at the villagers, the Knight grinned at the villagers.

    “Stand up! Bring us to the village head. Lead us to his house!”

    The villagers bowed their heads towards the knight in agreement. It seemed like what the old chief taught them about etiquette had been put to good use. Their actions gave the knight a good impression.

    “Yes, Lord Knight!”

    Thus, signaling the arrival of the family of Knight Brooks.
     
  6. ThePundit

    ThePundit Well-Known Member

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    The news about the arrival of the Knight and his contingent quickly spread throughout the village. It triggered the curiosity of the whole village. The villagers gingerly talked about the affairs that happened in the village plaza.

    There were some young men bragging about what they saw to the young ladies of the village. They puffed up their chest as if they were a protagonist of a heroic tale, adding sweet nothings to their every word. The young ladies, on the other hand, giggled sweetly in turn, triggering the young ones to brag to point of insanity.

    The village elders were looking daggers at the naive youths, some even shouting at the young brats to help in tilling the fields. Nevertheless, the hoarse shouts just fell into deaf ears, the young ones still ever busy with their bragging. They would just shout ‘okay’ or ‘I’ll go later’ to the elders then eventually forgetting it altogether in a few minutes.

    This was a daily happening in the village of Lother.

    Meanwhile, the married women of the village gossiped like disturbed chickens about the secrets of the Madame’s beauty. Wishing to learn how the Madame maintained her beauty after carrying three children. After all, no women wished to be neglected by their husbands. Wanting to become beautiful was something inherent in every woman.

    Thus, they decided to ask the maids serving the Madame later. Perhaps, they knew how the Madame’s managed to keep her beauty.

    The other villagers and elders discussed the village issues discreetly. They were thinking about the new changes that the newly assigned lord might implement. They also planned to raise some issues about the village. Though, some of them ambitiously dreamt to become one of the lord’s stewards by showing their worth.

    ========= Village of Lother – The Commander’s Manor==========

    After establishing his merits through the regular monster campaign enforced all over the country. Knight Brooks managed to earn the trust of the Baron and the current King of Rutherford. His exemplary courage and wit in battles earned him a rich award from the Baron and a fief from King. During his three years stint in the monster subjugation army, he led a lot of victories and conquered a lot of lands that were once infested by monsters.

    He also saved a lot of soldiers which included the Baron. The knight earned the admiration of many people, some of them even decided to follow him to his new fief. He was then awarded a fief, the village of Lother. From then on the former landless knight became a pioneering knight, the knight had finally succeeded through grit. It was decided that the knight would facilitate the development of the wilderness near the village.

    (1000 Acres = 4 square km)

    “The village of Lothar is around 2000 acres alone.” The white-bearded elderly village chief seriously reported; “Aside from that, the size of the forest of wilderness is still unaccounted due to the presence of dangers caused by wild animals and monsters. Still, the forest of wilderness contains abundant resources of nature… though fraught with danger. We currently have about 73 families living here, a total of around 500 villagers. We also have self-learned carpenters, forest foragers, hunters, farmers, few militiamen, etc.”

    The village chief was trying his best to get the new lord recognized the exact value of the village. He knew that a simple snap from the new lord would affect the lives of all the villagers.

    The pangs of passion coming from the old man received the nod of the other village elders. Knight Levo was also continuously nodding along with them, acting as if he understood the explanation of the old chief.

    The look of approval from the knight truly appeared genuine.

    “Lord, what are your plans for the village. Should we expand to the wilderness? Plant more crops or focus more on foraging?” One of the elders asked. "How about the trade and caravans? Would you implement a new policy or continue with what we have?”

    “..”

    The questions carried the hope of the villagers for new ideas for the development. The people seemed to be expecting a lot from the lord. Yet, looking at the dumbfounded face of their new lord. Their gazes wavered and dimmed a little.

    It seemed like the knight does not know much about land management.

    Seeing that face, the village head thought that the lord… was indeed more of a warrior than a manager. Something common to new lords originating from the military, they were nobles but had zero experience in managing lands. They were good at wars and battles but bad in managing their lands. Streaks of disappointment immediately flashed in the elderly village head's face. But nevertheless, he immediately hid it from the knight and everybody in the room.

    “Kuhumm, that’s enough let me handle this, Levo,” The madame intervened. “Let's first start with the introduction. He is Knight Levo von Brooks, my husband. I’m Annis von Brooks. I would be the one assisting my husband in issues about the management of the fief, policies, taxation and land distribution. Now, introduce yourself and your duties to your new lord.”

    The wise look of the madame alleviated some of the worries of the village elders especially the old chief. The eloquent introduction of the madame was rather effective.

    In turn, the villagers introduced themselves one by one.

    “This old man is called Bose, at your service lord Knight, I am the current village chief. I’m responsible for overseeing the whole village. Accounting and distribution of harvest and yields are something I also handle. I am also the one who received the sealed letter of the lord Baron.”

    “Lord, I am Zaan, the head carpenter of the village responsible for building and repairing houses, sheds and tools.”

    “Higgs! Sir Knight. I’m the head hunter of the village. I scout the forest and wilderness for resources needed by the village. Hunting wild monsters to prevent monster overruns is my responsibility. We also foraged foods such as vegetables and berries from the forest from time to time.”

    “Gil, my lord, I am the herder. I take care of the domesticated boars, goats, and cows of the village. I usually bring them daily in the nearby grassy hills.”

    “Sean, my liege…”



    The introduction took a lot of time during the meeting. It seemed like the madame was trying to get as much as possible information from village elders. The focal point of the meeting focused on the villagers and their jobs. Then the madame's questions revolved around goods, peddlers, and skills of the villagers.

    After the initial show of anticipation, the long introductions and queries dwindled some of the village elders' interest.

    Some of the elders wondered why the Madame insisted on knowing such tedious thinks. If they were in her position they would rather talk about the new gossips coming from the nearby town. Going home and lazing around would be more interesting than remembering such wearisome things. That’s what the ladies and women do in the village.

    Forcing to keep their eyelids in check from sliding down, they nodded continuously to each of the introductions. Feigning attentiveness was their answer to this dreary experience, some of them even couldn’t wait to return home.

    Well, anyway it’s rare for a village to have a lord presiding over it. Usually, the management of the village was left to rot in the old chief’s hand.

    The usual routine was to follow the orders of the chief, then finish it. Though they thirst for new interesting things, most of them don’t even put a little effort to do something new. As long there was food and water in their tables, all things were good and well.

    Never did they thought that noble couple was actually watching their every movement, yes, everything. From the elders' room-exploring eyes, soft yawns, and even their unsettling fidgets.

    Nevertheless, the meeting still continued. The madame only showed a beaming smile after each introduction.

    Catching a glimpse of the madame's calculating grin, the attendants of the Lord’s family smiled wryly. The maids shuddered. The esquires’ shadows were now nowhere to be seen. Upon seeing the madam smiling, the esquires’ immediately told the attendants that they would patrol around the manor until the meeting ends.

    The gentle smile of the madame was a bad omen. A simple simper carried the most devilish plots they knew in the knight's household.

    The elders had offended someone that they should not.

    ♠♠♠♠♠♠♠

    A few minutes had passed from the aspect clock inside the meeting room as the meeting continued after the elder's introductions. The temperature inside the old manor turned warm after the fireplace was lit up.

    According to the letter of the Lord Baron, the lord would focus a lot on the current status of the village. The available coins in the village coffers, the harvest's yields, illnesses, infrastructures, manpower, and issues which might need immediate attention. This was the standard question that should be us by the new lord according to protocol when they received their new fiefs. Though, only a few of the new nobles really cared about this.

    "Ahem, the assembly today would be a simple question and answer," the madame said. "Remember I'll be the only one asking questions. You guys would just answer, as simple as that. Do you get it?"

    "Yes madame," the elders replied in chorus.

    "Ciera, please do write up all their answers in a paper," The madam walked towards to the little lady then patted their head intimately. The eight-year-old lady’s eyes shone as she purred in delight.

    The old chief and the elders threw a surprising look at the little lady, their bored eyes had found something interesting. The villagers' curiosity had been tickled by the young girl. Most of the eight-year-old brats in the village would usually play around the village like noisy critters. Those little kids don’t even know how to write their names.

    Hearing her mother's request, the little lady leisurely strode, a proud smile held in her adorable face. Carrying a piece of paper, a bottle of ink, and a newly cleaned writing brush, she sat at a chair near the oak wood table. She tried to imitate her father who was sitting straight at the nearby chair. She then looked at the villagers, waiting for the answers that she would write.

    "Okay elders, let's start with the first question." The madame’s eyes turned a bit sharp. "How much do we have in the village coffers?"

    "This Old Bose answers madame. We currently have 2 gold coins, 73 silver coins and 202 copper coins, all Rutherfordian."

    “Oh, where did you get those gold and silver coins?” Madame Annis asked, her eyes showing a bit of interest as she waited for the answer. It was rare for a little village to have gold or silver coins since the currency was only used in big towns or cities. She knew that the villagers only barter goods with other nearby villages. The peddlers and passing merchants would also only barter their goods rather than release their hard-earned silver or gold coins. It was stupid to pay the villagers gold or silver since most of them would only keep it as heirlooms rather than spend it. At most, they would only pay copper coins for goods.

    “Madame, the gold and silver coins were earned from the carcass of a dead monster. Last year, we found a dead magic beast in the forests.” The village chief Bose answered. “I knew that monster parts are worth a lot in the capital so we brought it to the village and sold it to a passing merchant. The merchant had no goods in his hand to barter with us, so he paid us gold and silver coins instead.”

    “Hmnn, you were indeed lucky. Alright, what's the current status of the animal husbandry and the past season's harvest?”

    "We have 4 oxen along with two calves; 73 domesticated boars distributed throughout the households; 22 sheep with 5 cossets; 7 goats with 2 kids; 63 egg-laying hens and an unknown amount of chicks. The figures were based on the last census before the winter." The old chief answered quickly.

    "For harvest; it's mostly lentils, beans, onion, parsley, peas, coleworts, and others. Most of them are already pickled in a salt brine before the arrival of cold weather in order to last longer."

    'What of the illnesses? Are there any epidemics? Do we have any doctors or herbalists here?

    "None madame, aside from fever, coughs, and indigestion due to overeating. We have no doctor nor herbalist, but this old man knows a little due to my experiences in the town."

    “The infrastructures?” Manpower? The knight butted in. “Are their former soldier’s in this village?”

    "This little manor, the deep wells, and the stone and wooden walls in the outskirts are all we have Lord." It was built by the army en route to the forest of wilderness for a monster campaign a few decades ago."

    Unbeknownst, a glint of coldness, arose from the madame's eyes peering pointedly at the elders. There actions and faces were gently crossed out with red paints in the madame's mind. In her eyes, the fidgets of an adult man were not so nice to see.

    “As per the soldiers, we once had a lot of soldiers but they are already in old age.” The village chief answered as he scratched his head. “Most of them loved to patrol all across the village to reminisce.”

    Hearing the unperturbed exposition of the old chief, little Ciera's hand waltz with her feathered pen dancing throughout the dull paper. Nearby the knight and madame, Liszt proudly looked at the broad shoulders of his parents. Whilst, little Klive played with the dust-laden mahogany table after failing to keep his back straight and chest puffed, unlike his father and elder brother.

    "As per manpower, aside from those people in here. We only have another 207 people working in different areas; most of them are middle-aged men and old ones who don’t wish to retire." Sighing, the face of the old man was cast with shadows. "Please, punish the incapability of this old man."

    To properly feed a village who focuses on planting, at least half of its population must work to assure a stable supply of food before the first snowfalls. Considering the size and age of the farmers, it was a miracle that the village even managed to survive past this winter.

    The old chief then looked at the other elders. The elders, on the other hand, also looked at the old chief as if encouraging him to tell something.

    “Well, we also have a lot of young ones.” He then scratched his head. “But most of them are lazy bums?

    “Lazy bums?” The knight raised his eyebrows upon hearing the explanation of the chief.

    Creak!

    The villagers gasped in surprise as they looked at the knight, they saw the crushed arm of the oak wood-carved chair.

    “Why?” The knight threw a piercing gaze at all the elders in the room.

    The villagers lowered their heads as they gazed at their feet as if it was an unfathomable abyss. No one dared to look at their new lord as sweat poured at their backs. They felt they were standing in front of a predator, the hairs in their backs stood.

    In the Kingdom of Rutherford, lazy people were something every lord loathes. It would be fine if they were nobles or rich merchants who could just sit while others run their businesses, but if they were not? That would be a very different story. In some fief, some hot-headed nobles would even whip the slothful ones in front of their whole domain to set an example.

    After all, the founder of the kingdom instilled the word hard work as one of the greatest virtue of the kingdom. It was known to be one of the reasons for the economic success of the kingdom after the war. It’s even written in the ‘Analects of the First King of Rutherford’, a book revered by scholars all around the Eudorian continent.

    A few moments later, the knight sighed and simply looked at madam. He then looked at the crestfallen old village chief. His brows and hair were graying white, his back arching, and the wrinkles were starting to take over his callous palms. He doesn’t look like someone who’s lazy.

    His looks were earned through farm work and paper works.

    A stifling bout of silence loomed all over across the four sides of the cold room. Some of the faces of the elders paled, they knew that they had failed in disciplining the young ones. So, the punishment was inevitable. They thought of their sons, daughters, and grandsons that would undergo whipping. Their faces crumpled and their scalps went numb.

    They doted heavily at their children and grandchildren unlike those in the towns and cities. They were willing to take over the work of the sloths despite their old age which made the young ones to become like this.

    Until...

    Achoo!

    Suddenly, a sneeze from little lord broke the silence, all the people present stopped and looked at the child tinkering a dusty wooden chair. Even the young lord and young lady, Lizst and Ciera, awkwardly glanced at their little brother.

    “Eh?”

    Seeing the focused look of everyone in the room, the child suddenly found his courage to boast.

    Innocently scratching his tiny nose, the child slowly stood up and proudly looked at the people in the meeting room and said.

    "Don’t worry old grandpa. My father and mother will solve all your problems away. You see, I even saw Uncle Baron, Uncle Rich, and Uncle King begging my father for help. Also, they'll... mnhnn- mhnn…

    “…”

    Hearing the scandalous tale of the young kid, the people in the meeting room smiled wryly, blowing away some of the seriousness in the room. The maids and attendants sweated upon hearing the words of the little kid especially hearing the ‘king part’. When the esquires who had just returned from their patrol heard it, they immediately walked away again to excuse themselves, their aim now was to patrol the whole village.

    They wouldn’t dare to return until they’re sure that the meeting was already finished. Nevertheless, they never forgot to cast a gaze at the kid whose mouth was now covered by the big hands of his burly father.

    "Stop it Klive! Return to your seat and wait. Hmnn... Anyway, for the last question, any issue or problem that requires our immediate attention?"

    For the final question, a not so old man took a step forward and answered. He peeked at the Lord. Though, hiding his sight immediately when the Lord looked at him. The Knight was enamored by the gingerly old man. Thus, he repeatedly glanced at the old man, teasing the nervous old dud.

    "Th-this Ol-old Gazz will an-answer the query Madame;" Biting his tongue, the old man stuttered inviting mirth of nervous cackles from the lord and the attendants. “The village is currently experiencing problems with the-the weakening land and lower yields during harvest. We already did our best to find a solution but still to no avail. We ask for guidance from the Madame and th-the K-knight!"

    “Alright, we will look at it.” The knight answered in a deep voice, he then closed his eyes. “As per the slothful ones, I’ll put my judgment for later. Remember, the first king once said ‘we shall show no mercy to the sloths’.”

    ♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣

    The meeting concluded after a short message of encouragement from the knight and the madame.

    The elders' shadows receded swiftly from the place as if they were veering away from the sun. They ran to their homes, bringing the warning of the new lord. Only the old chief along with his family remained to make arrangements for the knight and his contingent.

    The knight’s contingent was given hospitable single-story houses prepared for village guests.

    On the other hand, the knights family were asked to stay at the village chief's house, it was the biggest house in the whole village aside from the old manor. They were asked to stay here for a day since they were still going to clean the old manor.

    The old man and his family told the knight that they would sleep in one of their empty houses. And like the other elders, the old chief immediately excused himself and ran back to his eldest son's home to share the latest news.
     
  7. ThePundit

    ThePundit Well-Known Member

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    Tired from the whole day of work, the golden ball of fire rested and tinted the sky with tangerine orange. The silhouettes of the birds witness the heavens changing its color and view. The moon slowly crept up to take her place, sending drowsy spells to the sun's brightness, the night came.

    “Levo, what do you think of this village?” Madame Annise picked a chair to sit on, her eyes gazing at the burly knight sitting in a barrel-like chair. “What’s your impression of the villagers?”

    “That’s a good question,” the knight replied as he sits in a wooden barrel as if it’s a throne.

    The knight fell into deep thought. At first glance, the village seems to be functioning well. But after meeting them there was a little sense of incoherence among them. They lack passion, no purpose perhaps is a better word.

    “The whole village seems fun to me. The main issue is they have no goals to speak of. Every time you asked a question, they all tend to look at the old beardy.” Knight Levo tapped his fingers at the table while his other hand touched his chin. “And that ain’t funny, they are too dependent on one person. And don’t get me started about the lazy ones.”

    Though, the knight seemed to be a little dull about management issues it doesn’t mean he was dumb. He got his senses to plow him through. The knight was highly perceptive of the atmosphere, capable of sensing and capturing the minute changes in the faces of the villagers during the meeting.

    His sharp instincts could tell if something was wrong or even if someone was lying. One of the things that helped him earn his own fief aside from being a good soldier in the battlefield. And maybe it’s also the reason he managed to have such a beautiful wife. His senses were mostly right.

    In wars and campaigns, sharp intuition was considered as something extremely valuable, a luxury. It saves lives, saves time, and saves coins. Oh, another thing, it also once saved the butts of some rich greedy merchant, a few noble lords, and even a royal during the campaign.

    “You’re right, it looks like we must instill some discipline especially the men and the youth. Hmnn…How about letting them train with one of your esquires?” The madame suggested, an unnoticeable smirk sidling on her face. “If they’ll lack a goal, we will give them one.”

    “Fine by me!" The knight agreed as he grinned along with his wife. “That’s a little bit better than whipping. Whipping leaves quite a bad taste in my mouth.”

    “As for us, our main goal to make this village better for our kids.” The madame walked nearby the window and looked at the three moons outside, her eyes shining along with its light.

    In the Kingdom of Rutherford, the common punishment for idlers and other petty crimes according to the law was whipping. Nevertheless, the first king also gave the nobles some leeway in the punishment decision, they could punish the crime with forced labor or other services for three months though with once meal a day.

    “I will also slowly prepare and add some new things for the village.” The madam added. “Then, we will call another meeting with the old village gramps.”

    That very night, the first order of the Lord came down written in bold red paint. His words were sent to every household in the village with the help of the old chief and the elders. All those lazy bums were told by their elders about the possible punishment of whipping after the meeting. The elders even exaggerated the story until it evolved from simple whipping to death by hanging, causing the young ones to have one sleepless night.

    -All villagers without work in the village except for children, women and the old ones. Be at the east village outskirts at dawn. Latecomers will be PUNISHED!-

    The news spread like wildfire in the night, bringing nightmares to those who knew they had sinned. They knew that they couldn’t lie under the oaths of the kingdom if they are brought under trial. The first king’s oath will mark those who lie. Then, death was the next step for a mere villager.

    ♠♠♠♠♠♠♠

    “Damn! What does the Lord want this early? I still feel so sleepy. I’m starting to miss my bed already.” One of the yawning youth annoyingly said. “Father! Do you know what does the Lord wants us to do?”

    The villagers were all feeling grumpy and odd. The old chief never told them to wake up this early. They were only told to finish the work they were assigned to. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, all they need was to finish things when they feel like it. Most of the villagers who were gathered in the outskirts today were those who were indolent, those who only knew how to take advantage of the kindness of their old parents or brothers and sisters.

    Though they don't want to follow the orders of the Lord. They felt forced to after hearing the word punished. After all, they heard gossips from nearby villagers that it was always better to get to the good side of the Lord. The late-night gossips that spread throughout the village last night also gave the slothful villagers something to fear. Some of the villagers even barely had barely slept due to nervousness, a few even dreamt of a whip and a gallows, sending their superstitious families in panic.

    Some scary stories and songs were even circulated around by traveling poets. Narratives about villagers getting whipped, a tragedy of family who all faced guillotine or stories about hanging and whipping after not heeding the lord.

    The villagers don't have a habit of taking chances.

    Anyway, who wants to get his head cut off or get hanged? At least, if they were going to be punished today, it would only be through whipping. What're some few lashes if compared to the shadows of some nearby gallows?

    Clack..clak..clack..

    “Pshhh! Shut up, boy!” The father of the youth angrily whispered to his son, his voice hissing in agitation. Despite his misgivings about being called early in the morning, he still knew that offending nobles means paying up a price. “Someone is coming, he may hear you!”

    Suddenly, a loud and powerful voice came crashing down from an amiable middle-aged-looking man. The man was sitting on the back of a hulking horse, his back straight like a war spear, his eyes shining as his lax gaze landed at the villagers. The villagers then tried to look for any signs of a whip in the belt of the man for a more reasonable assurance. Seeing the affable look of the man, the villagers signed in relief. There was no whip on his side. It seemed like the Lord wasn't going to make them do something unreasonable.

    “Attention! Good morning men of Lother.” The loud yet charismatic voice was coming from one of the esquires of the Lord. “My name is Davin, esquire of the knight, I am assigned by the Lord last night to drill and train you on how to become proud and true men.”

    Hearing what the esquire had said, most of the villagers paled.

    The word "training or work" was something that these men of Lother loathed to hear.

    Having no hands-on-ruler for a long time had dulled the meaning of training for the villagers. As the idlers increase in the village, the village's prospect for further improvement also dimmed along the way. No wonder the old chief looked so old and haggard. For an old man, handling a mouthful of these man-childs was indeed a backbreaking task.

    The village was lucky enough to not meet any monster attacks, unlike the other outrun areas, keeping their peace despite its close proximity to the forest of wilderness. Nevertheless, this peaceful environment could also be considered as a double-edged sword. Though it could bring prosperity, too much of it could destroy any nation's foundation, like a termite it would slowly eat up the foundation and building blocks of a good nation. The foundation called "man".

    Seeing the lackadaisical faces of the villagers the esquire's sharp brows jerked as his furious voice boomed all across the village outskirts. No wonder he was sent here by the lord. These foolish villagers don’t feel any sense of danger, treating the monster-infested forest as a mere backyard. If something dangerous came crawling out of that place, the esquire wondered how many of these goons would survive.

    “What the heck! The f*@k! I hate those faces! You maggots. When I say the word drill you smile! When I say run you’ll smile then run! When I say crawl you’ll grin while crawling!” The esquire shouted in a frenzy as he continuously swore right at the dim-witted faces of the villager. “Dumbasses! Where are your balls? If I still see any of such faces. I promised you, I'm gonna squeeze those little willies under your pants until you become new ladies! You hear me!”

    Gehkk..Yes..

    Yes, sire…

    “…”



    After being cursed for their unseemingly faces, the villagers were shocked. They never thought that the affable looking esquire toted such a beastly mouth. The villager's paling faces shifted its hue to various colors after being showered with the esquire's flying saliva. These villagers were already very used to being scolded by their elders and parents. Yet, this was the first someone dared to curse them like this. At most, their soft-hearted elders would at least scold them and beat them up a little, then they would be let go.

    Huffing a little after releasing a few pints of his saliva, the esquire slowly mounted off his sturdy horse and walked to a nearby seemingly hundred-year-old tree.

    It was an oak tree.

    With one look you could already tell how tough it was, its ambitious branches reaching towards the sun, swaying with whistles of the wind its leaves moved.

    Gazing a gargantuan oak tree, the muscles in the esquire's thin arms suddenly squirmed. A metallic sheen could be seen on its surface. He took a stance, his fist clenched on the sides of his waist. His two feet were a meter apart as he was shifting his weight to his fist. He then threw a swishing jab towards the unsuspecting tree.

    Bang!

    His arms suddenly struck the innocent tree, a crevice gingerly appeared on its body. Like sliced tofu, the trunk of the oak splintered into two, and with a creaking sound, it fell to the ground. Slowly but surely...

    The once-proud oak tree was no more - it was now as good as firewood. With one punch it was a goner.

    The esquire then stood straight and stretched his hands upward. He then took a peek at the villagers who were watching.

    Seeing the hard tree falling, the villagers' jaws almost fell on the ground. The esquire then drew his sword. The villagers couldn’t help but take a step back, fearing that they would be unknowingly hacked into half. The esquire then walked towards the fallen tree. He then carved and sliced a piece of the oakwood into a ball of wood, just enough to fit an adult's hand.

    The esquire then cast his gaze at villagers. He then squished the carved wood into powder with no mercy, the creaking sounds made the villagers gulped in fear. Some even covered their precious family jewels with their hands as if they were feeling pain. Many of the men buckled their legs to protect the thing below their waist, their faces white in shock.

    The pale and stupefied faces of the lazy guys made the esquire grin. He finally managed to establish his authority by using the good Madame’s way. It was really a very effective way, even the soldiers in the army knew of its effectiveness.

    “Alright, men let's start the practice. So if I say! Drill!?” The esquire Davin bellowed imposingly. “If I see any stupid bums lazing around, I’m going to squeeze their balls just like those carved wood.”

    Hearing the word “training and squashed wood”, the villagers immediately put on their best smiles. It was a sight to behold. They stood scrambled and stood ramrod straight. Then looked at the esquire with their best smiles onboard as they shook in fear.

    “Good men!” The esquire nodded.

    Yet, if someone saw the villagers’ smiles they would instead be horrified. Their smiles were so twisted like they were coerced to eat horse manure fertilizers. Some were cramped, some were crooked, and some were just… mind-boggling wonders. The villagers now knew how fearful and savage the kind-looking esquire was.

    “It seems like you finally understood a little part of what I mean,” Davin nodded his head, his tone back to being soft and kind again. “Any questions before we start?”

    The villagers looked at each other’s eyes as if confirming something. One of the villagers, then stepped forward to raise their collective concerns to the esquire. The villager asked, his voice shaking, betraying the straight face he was trying to maintain.

    “S-sir Esquire, would we be punished and whipped today?”

    After hearing the question of the villager, Davin stood still and stared at the eyes of each villager. He could see the fear in each of those eyes. He then smiled and asked the brave man.

    “What do you think?”

    The man was in dazed not expecting to receive a question instead of an answer. Nevertheless, the man gritted his teeth and answered in a whisper-like voice.

    “No Sir, we will not be whipped!”

    “Brave answer! Alright, since you claim that you would not be whipped, then so be it!” Davin clapped his hands.

    Sounds of relief echoed in the eastern outskirts of the village. Today had been really stressful for the villagers, they felt they were riding a very unreliable mule through a muddy road. One time it would go fast. Then sometimes it would go slow like a turtle.

    “You see, the Milord said that he hated whipping people.” The esquire added in a firm and loud voice. “Nevertheless, he ordered me to discipline you men until you’re like soldiers. From today onwards, I’ll treat every one of you as soldiers. Do you hear me!?”

    “Y-yes, yes. Sir Esquire!”

    “Then let’s begin!”

    The drills for the villagers especially prepared by the knight and the madam. The knight might have spared the villagers from the whipped but they were not spared from the rod. The start of the drills began with a bunch of shrieks coming from villagers and roars coming from the esquire. The sounds echoed throughout the eastern outskirts of the village.

    Unknowingly, the angry yells of Davin eventually reached the ears of the other villagers near the outskirts, scaring those who lived nearby.

    Thus, a new myth was formed in the village of Lother.

    It was said that in the eastern outskirt of the village lied a monster with a beastly mouth, unsettling many villagers.

    The villagers near the outskirts even forced the old chief to release an announcement to warn of its danger.

    But that’s another story for later.
     
  8. ThePundit

    ThePundit Well-Known Member

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    The village's ticking clock of aspects continuously turned, sounding rhythmic in its every beat, the shrieks and groans from the villagers serving as its accompaniment. With Davin leading as the conductor, the villagers in the east outskirts crafted a passionate music composition using the villagers’ howls and squeals. It was a masterpiece, deserving of great applause from the village elders.

    It was already the middle of the afternoon when the training of the villagers finally came to a halt. From the village outskirts, groans of tiredness and pain could be heard. You could even hear soft whimpers and sobs drifting through the wind, speaking for the injustice they the villagers had experienced.

    At long last, the villagers were allowed to go home and rest. Though, they were asked to return again for another session the next day after tomorrow.

    Picking themselves up from the grass, the laborers... Erm, the villagers, slowly walked towards the village staggering to their homes looking like rags, their legs feeling cramped every time they took a step. Their eyes hollow, it seems like the light in their eyes were sucked away by a certain monster.

    The other villagers who saw them were dumbfounded upon seeing them. Just this morning, they saw them energetically grumbling about this so-called drill. Now, they looked like refugees from a war-torn kingdom, running away from the vestiges of chaos and war.

    Upon arrival at their homes, most of the unfortunate villagers all fell to their beds as tiredness overwhelmed them. Shoulder's stiff, legs-shaking, the villagers drowsily lied in peace. Entrusting their whole being in the caressed of their beds, they slept.

    Later that day, some villagers had nightmares, waking up in cold sweat taking their time to cry due to the baffling experience. Though most of them want to speak up and tell the tale, no one dares, and no one will.

    Davin's warning had done its work. Some important information should not be spread in a casual manner, especially those that could cause panic and unrest.

    ♠♠♠♠♠♠♠

    The villagers had to undergo a very effective body exercise under Davin’s instructions. Continuous running to the hilly village outskirts, deep squats, crossing back in forth through the waters of the feet-deep stream, picking up different sizes of rocks then building it up like a wall in the riverside covered the villagers training menu. Drips of sweat fell ceaselessly to the parched grasses in the eastern outskirts, it swayed along with the whispers of the wind, asking for more.

    Toiling like slave laborers with pickaxes and shovels, that's what the villagers felt like.

    “Ain't this supposed to be training? What's with the running? Are we only playing? And damn that rock mountain!”

    At first, Davin thought that these sloths could immediately be used for farm work as the madam had said. Unfortunately, the bunch lacked both discipline and body fitness. They were like sheltered ladies, their bodies cushioned in fat and few muscles.

    If you do not keep an eye on them, they’ll even slack off in just a jiffy. They even lacked the stamina, huffing like a dumb roe after a few laps, giving the esquire so much disappointment.

    Working out as if their life depended on it, the villagers panted and puffed both in distress and exhaustion as the vulgar taunts and threats of Davin accompanied them until it felt all-natural even without the esquire's roars.

    Most of the villagers didn't notice that the esquire had already sneaked to the forest of wilderness. Though some observant villagers witness it, thus slowing down there training to what they deemed as manageable and acceptable.

    Later in the morning, they finally saw the thin shadow of Davin again. The esquire was ferociously laughing, he was running fast towards the eastern outskirts of the village, leaving a trail of dust behind his back. The villagers felt baffled after seeing the esquire running towards them like an idiot. They wondered what was happening to Davin.

    “Hey, Bob?

    “What?”

    “Did Sir Esquire finally lost his mind?”

    “Bah! He’s already a crazy man in my eyes after making me do this.” The villager smashed his fork in the ground, but after seeing Davin running towards them, he picked it up in just a jiffy whistling as continued to what he was tasked to do.

    After a few seconds, the villagers heard a rumbling sound from the ground. The sounds were getting louder and louder, it was like a rumbling charged a cavalry. The villagers then saw a big shadow trailing behind the esquire, it was also sending a big dust storm behinds its path.

    The beast was ginormous in size. Its dark tusk alone was equivalent to the size of an adult man. The black hide of the beast abhorred light making it looked like a dark shadow as it ran. Its eyes were blood-red like the monsters of the night. The sharp teeth triggered an ear-grating sound as if it was chewing on hard rock, its saliva splashing on the ground as it ran after the esquire.

    A crazy man and a crazy boar. It’s one heck of a chase.

    The monster was called a Deviltusk boar, a mature one at that. Based on its massive frame and long tusk, it could be rank a Rank 3 - Deviltusk boar. A rank 3 Deviltusk boar, were known as horde leaders of boar stampedes, staying in the front of every stampede, leaving a lot of villages and farmlands under its mercy.

    In the Kingdom of Rutherford alone, many of its attacks had been accounted resulting in disastrous damage both to the livelihood of commoners and nobles alike. Their stampedes were considered as one of the most devastating monster attacks in the kingdom.

    It left a lot of people with no home, no food, and no economic ability to survive. It’s also one of the common causes of human migration in the region as well as a major cause of monster subjugation conscriptions.

    Some accounts of lucky survivors were written by the old chief for the villagers’ awareness. It was announced throughout the village to serve both as a warning and a reminder just last year. According to the tales of the passing survivors from the devastated villages, these monsters were capable of destroying stone houses, ramming fields, and even tearing and eating a man whole.

    These monsters rampaged in their village, thus their village was no more, forcing them to look for other ways to live. The descriptions of the survivors about deviltusk boar were well-detailed, making it easier for the villagers to acknowledge it as a threat.

    In the end, the old chief surmised everything in few words.

    If you see one, run.

    If you can’t run, hide.

    If there is nowhere to hide...

    Your great-grandparents were just going to get you sooner than expected.

    Isn't that great?

    The villagers looked at the esquire who was running towards them, they even saw the esquire flailing his hands at them. No… perhaps he was waving at them. Anyway, who cares? Feeling mocked, the beat roared speeding up in anger as it tried to trample Davin.

    The faces of the villagers paled, they started sweating buckets after seeing the massive existence running towards them. The villagers huffed and dragged their bodies in all directions despite their fatigue. Most of the youth even pissed their pants as they shook in fright.

    Others fled to the goddess knows where place, screaming at the top of their lungs, asking for help as they staggered due to painful muscle spasms. The villagers both big and small bawled in grief as if it was the end of the world. Some lost consciousness while others played dead thinking it would make them safe from the beast, forgetting the advice of their old village chief

    The east village outskirts were covered in panic and terror. Witnessing such an action pack event was their first-ever since they were born in this village. They only heard stories of this devil spawn from a passing survivor from the nearby village.

    The rumbling sounds from the ground were enough to weaken their already buckling knees.

    The esquire continued to run towards the villagers. All of a sudden, Davin ran towards the direction of a massive old tree, the big devil tusk boar still rushing towards him. He then took a big dive towards the side of the big tree, shifting his momentum along the way.

    Unfortunately, the big devil tusk boar was incapable of such feat with its four legs running in full strength, its mere size and weight did not even allow it to change direction. It continued to rush towards the tree until…

    Bang!

    Another innocent tree had been shaken to its core, the devil tusk boar swayed from side to side as if it had drunk a few liters of ale in the nearby pub. It shook its head continuously, groaning as it puffed air from its snout. It was disoriented, seeing stars with its every step.

    Davin stood nearby, huffing a little due to the chase. He then walked towards the sides of the beast, the sounds of his step hushed and silent. He then threw a vicious punched to the monster’s snout.

    Grr…Roar!

    Seeing the man who dared to punch its snout, the devil tusk boar burned in fury and pain. The boar hoisted its back straight and charged again towards the man despite its injuries. But this time the esquire did not evade, the esquire took a deep breath then charged towards the boar barehanded. The very sight of it sent the villagers who were hiding in the nearby tree scream.

    Ohh! Bang!

    Davin grappled with devil tusk boar with his strength alone. He caught the boar’s two long tusks. The force of the boars charged pushed him a few meters away as he caught the boar’s tusk. All of a sudden, the esquire’s arms shone in a metallic sheen.

    The esquire then bellowed. With his two hands, he plucked and tore away the devil tusk boar’s long tusks sideways, bathing the east outskirts in monster’s blood. The boar then whined and groaned in pain, the sounds of its cry were like the shrieks of a domesticated pig, trampling the ground in anger as if it was a bull.

    It was still alive, a testament to its monstrous vitality. If it was only a normal boar, it would already be on its last breath. The esquire then charged again, his aim was the snout again. He circled around the boar, as he avoids being trampled to death. He jabbed it again and again until the boar’s snout was bloodied all over.

    The esquire dared not hit the other parts of its body. He knew how hard those dark hides were. The monster’s hide was a great ingredient in many high-end armors in his father’s town, the mere news of it would send the merchants scrambling to get a piece of it.

    Bang!

    At last! The monster finally fell to the ground. It was still huffing and puffing, bloody red steam rose with its every breath. The esquire then jumped towards the back of the devil tusk boar. He took out a thin-thread from his waist and circled it around the boar’s large neck. He then jumped at the back of the still struggling boar.

    “Huff! Could you please stop mopping around? The little guys are panicking you see;” Tightening the rampaging beast's air pipes like a snake, the Esquire Davin pulled the string constricting the beast’s airways tighter. “Just stay still and be part of the menu! Hahaha! Dumb pig! Be my Lord’s dinner die!

    Blood slowly appeared of the thick hide of its neck, its dark-colored tongue dangled. Its breath was getting deeper and faster. A sign of desperation from the monster, it seemed like it finally felt death clasping over its neck. It struggled in desperation. It tried to roll over on the ground yet it failed.

    Davin’s stranglehold kept the beast on arm's length as he mounted its back. The monster roared in desperation as it tried to stand up. Unfortunately, the esquire struck the monster's backbone, putting pressure to prevent the beast from standing again. With booming sounds, he steered his patella to the monster’s spine in succession, thwarting the monster from moving from its spot.

    Bamm! Bamm!

    The devil beast’s mouth frothed, pungent saliva sprayed as its tongue dangled to one side struggling to get a breath of fresh air as the esquire continuously struck its spine.

    Roaaar...Uhoookk!

    Thus, the once fearsome beast breathed its last, with a grieving sound it fell to the ground with a thud. Its tough hides were no match to the amiable-looking esquire.

    Releasing his deadly hold from the dead Deviltusk boar, the esquire gallantly stood straight and tall. Like a mythic hero in a story, he glanced at the unsightly villagers.

    “Hey, doesn’t this pig look healthy and yummy? I bet the Lord would love to have a feast tonight.” The esquire huffed in deep breaths after the ordeal, he was covered in dust, dried blood, and soot, his appearance was far from the respectable esquire a few hours ago. Despite that, Davin still asked the kneeling villagers as if nothing happened, calming their nerves a little.

    After saying those words, the esquire pulled out a dagger from his armor vest. It was a dark dagger, you could even feel a murderous aura coming from it. Though, a few chips and cracks could be seen on its edge. Nevertheless, the dagger still emitted a mysterious glint on its serrations as if it's capable of cutting rocks like soft butter.

    Davin then glanced carefully at the eyes of the villagers, emanating intense after bloodlust which the esquire himself didn't notice. The villagers then went to the esquire and kneeled, thanking him from saving their petty lives.

    “Dumbasses, do you now understood why I was tasked to train you?” He jumped down from the boar’s back and looked at the villagers. “Could you imagine what would happen if that beast went down to the village?

    The villagers gulped in fear. They imagined what would happen to the village. The village would be destroyed, many of the villagers would be dead. Though, some cursed him in their hearts for bringing the boar in the eastern outskirts.

    “That damn boar was about to act on your village tonight.” The esquire then sat cross leg in the grass, he then closed his eyes as he stabilizes his breath. “Imagine what would happen to your wife, your mother, your father, your sons, and your daughters if I was not able to lure it.”

    The very image of the catastrophe sent shivers to the silent villagers.

    “The esquires, attendants and everyone in the knight contingent is for the lord alone.” The esquires suffocating bloodlust receded like an ebb until it was no more. “If a group of these beast goes to the village, we’ll all protect the lord and his family. I wouldn’t even send a second look even 500 or more of the villagers get massacred.”

    Hearing what the esquire, many of the villagers paled and fell in the ground.

    “We will not be able to save any of you for we are few.” The esquire opened his eyes then looked at the sweating villagers.



    “You must learn to save yourselves.”

    The esquire then stood up and walked towards the beast’s carcass. With patience, the esquire then slowly drilled the strange dagger at the mid-line of the neck of the beast. The monster's blood spilled on the grassy forest ground, spraying it dark red. The sounds of the knife tearing the flesh of the dead beast intimidated the men.

    Looking at the dagger, the esquire, and the dead boar; the villagers gulped in relief and fright.

    “I hope no one would tell their family about what happen here until the Lord says so.” He then added seriously. “The next training would be held here again, at the same time, the day after tomorrow.”