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RUNEWORLD

I was Ayden! The Greatest Warrior in all of Runeworld! I thought dreamily. Truth was, I was thought of as a clumsy worthless miner, good for nothing, and had a black hole for a future. The dull, ringing bell toll echoed through the deep shafts, indicating the end of the shift. I shuffled out, shoving my way through, and took my first whiff of fresh air! I walked down the rows of camels, looking for mine, a distinct 2 hump with a tartan saddle. I walked down to the end, and began checking along columns. I frowned, as my camel was nowhere to be seen. Suddenly I saw my camel, being roughly tugged along by Gerome, my recent friend.

“Gerome, err… what are you doing?” I called
Gerome swore, and ran off into the distance. I mounted and rode off back home.

I sat down on my straw , which sagged under my weight. It would be a first to get it traded in after I become a full warrior. At least one that wouldn’t stab my in the back with rotten straws! I looked longingly at the tall, noble tower rising out of the skyline, where tomorrow I would be 18, old enough to sign up for a position at the academy.

I looked down at myself. Torn pants, damp, soiled shirt; I was a pitiful thing. I poured myself some cold, putrid water from my battered kettle, and gulped it down. At least it eased my throat.

I lay down horizontally, shifting my weight, until I found a position that wasn’t uncomfortable; I’d never really be comfortable, though (after several hours of nervous rolling and shuffling) I finally got some sleep.

I woke up suddenly, sweating, and peered out the curtain. The sun was still young, and a changed into clothes I had left by the cupboard. I raised my sword and had a few slashes at the dummy. Today I would compete with many others for a position at the warrior’s academy. I went outside, weaved the door shut and mounted, heading for the ever-growing tower.

To my dismay, there was a great long line of people. They were all slashing at a rock, which was barely scratched. Finally it came to my turn, and I gathered up my energy, shifted my weight from leg to leg, and brought my blade skilfully down at the rock with my full momentum. A waterfall of bright sparks skittered and bounced away, and a slither of rock fell away and slid across the floor.

The judge’s pen hovered above his clipboard, ready to determine my future. He tapped his arched finger on the paper. He scribbled something down and walked off. He whispered to a dark man, someone who wore power like a cloak, and pointed at me. He nodded twice, and walked back towards me.

“Quite Impressive… come with me!” He walked swiftly away. The judge led me to the mysterious man, who up close looked commanding, broad and tall.

“OK young man, let’s see what you’re made of eh?” he asked menacingly?
“Uhh” I began

He pulled out a long blue dwarven sword and daftly stabbed towards my unprotected chest. I leapt backwards and groped for my sword. I checked my sheath. It was nowhere to be found! I jumped to avoid a low slash. “ You know, your mother and father worked for me too. I sent them off, but they never came back. They were cowards.” He taunted. I felt rage at those words; I never knew what became of my parents. “Even they couldn’t stand your presence,” he continued. He swung at my face; I ducked, losing several hairs. He seemed to be enjoying my suffering; I hated his smug, rich figure, his slick hair, and his wealthy presence. He fought with great cunning, precision and skill. I wouldn’t be able to tire him out, one strategy I’d learnt whilst training. Beads of sweat rolled down my face, and I started breathing heavily. It would be fatal to make a mistake now.

His blade swung towards me, taking a deep gouge in my arm. I grabbed the blade, and slowly, but surely brought my fingers to my palm, oblivious of the blood streaming down my hands and onto the polished floor. His eyes widened, astonished. The blade shattered in my hands, the dull blue shards falling to the ground with a shatter. I grabbed the man with my bloodied hands and lifted him up in a furious rage. He smiled, put his hands on my arms and sent a wave of fire blasting across my arms. I dropped him and rolled on the ground instinctively. The man raised his hands, and the flames vanished, my body completely healed.

“Your talent is astounding, but you’re too unpredictable..” He commented.
“So…” I started
“Wait until you’re older, learn to control your rage, it is of no use at this stage, you’d be dead before you got to use it!”
“How many…”
“You will know. Train, young one.” He said, a look of dismissal on his face.

I returned to mining several days later, using the rock to train, I swung at the rock with a sword I didn’t hold, reducing the rock to rubble in mere minutes. A promotion was pending, which meant a noticeable pay rise. The bright, ringing bell toll signalled the end of shift, again. I walked through a passage, a guest of honour one might say. I breathed fresh air, and walked over to where Gerome was putting his hand out, offering to give me a boost onto my mount. I accepted, and rode off home.

I sighed, and sat down, leaning on the door. I wasn't satisfied, I felt an insatiable urge for an adventure.
I climbed my mount, raised my sword and screamed my warcry , heading towards Barbarian Village.

I arrived at the village, the village dark and deathly silent except for the clanging of metal. Riding down the hill, I notice the clanging had ceased. I heard leather on wood, and the door swung open to reveal a muscular figure, shadowy in the darkness.

“Stranger, why do you come to these parts?” he asked softly.
“Hello. My name is Ayden, and I have heard of conflict in these lands.” I began.
“Indeed, but it is of no interest, stranger, a child like you could not live a single day. You should leave.” He grunted, coldly.
“It is my business, for my parents are believed to have perished here.”
“Ayden?”
“Yes…”
“Ayden Hyandyn?” he queried, suspiciously.
“Yes, how did you know?” I asked
He ran towards me, arms wide open, and threw a hug around me.
“Oh, it is you son, I can’t believe it!” He said, happily.
“Father…”
He welcomed me inside, the room lit by glowing shades of red. There were smashed tables, broken chairs, far different from the comforts of my recently refurbished mansion. But I felt a sense of home, and sat on the box by the makeshift fire. He began with an introduction, what happened to him only a few months after my untimely birth.
“When your mother bore you, we took you home and vowed not to rest until we were ensured of your safety. However, several months later our small village was attacked by a horde of Barbarians, and only the best warriors of the time survived. Your mother and I were among the best, but soon later your mother died of the battle wounds. I grieved, and I stayed in this small cottage for several years.” Tears rolled down his face as he told of the horrific attacks. Suddenly he stood up, sword by his side.
“What…” I started

I heard a roar of thundering footsteps, and ran outside. Several archers stood, along with a number of warriors. The barbarians smashed forward with relentless fury and strength. Their axes dug deep into our men’s flesh, I winced as they screamed, dead before they fell. I grabbed my Runite Long Sword, its blade glinting blue; feeling the energy pulse through my body. Yelling, I closed in onto the incoming horde. I stabbed my blade into the closest, feeling the warming elation of battle.

I struck again and again, until the blood of the enemy stained my hands, seeping down to my elbows. I swung at the empty air, exhausted, and to my relief the usurpers are no more. Suddenly a figure rose out of the unsettled dust and marched towards me. He charged towards me, his weapon held out like a lance. I anticipated, and prepared as he closed in.

I sliced through the thin leather of another, he raised his huge axe, and I dodged nimbly aside. A sudden shock and pain in my ribs stunned me, as he raised his boot for a second kick, and I went flying backwards, skidding along the ground, and crashing into a wall. My sword skittered away, burying itself at a shallow angle into the humid earth. The barbarian smiled devilishly and placed his foot on my ribs, stepping down. I gasped for air, as the barbarian suddenly crashed to the ground, his eyes glaring, and my father stood tall. The barbarian picked himself up.

“Harman, it’s time.” He called to my father.

Kid, why couldn’t you just stay safe?” the barbarian moaned.

Groaning, my father sat down onto the cracked pavement. He stabbed his sword hilt deep into the cracks.

“Remember, he is my son, and he bears the abilities as I, indeed maybe greater” he replied.”

“And you son, visit the druids, they may have a quest for you.” He said to me, handing me a battered, stained map.

I stared at the map for a few moments, and anticipated the long journey, that would lead past the great town of Falador. I stashed the map away in my backpack, as well as some buns and spare change for the long road ahead. I thanked my father, and began the journey towards the ancient druidic circle.

I followed the path away from the Barbarian Village, past the huge mountains of the Dwarves, and soon after passing Falador, I arrived at the small town, Taverley.

Arriving at the Taverley Inn, I was welcomed by a kindly figure, and booked a room. Looking around, I saw several loud, roaring Dwarves, and a mage sweating and focused. He chanced a glance at me, and created a small, magical fire sphere. “Follow me,” the innkeeper requested. I was lead to a small but comfortable room, and being handed the keys, I lay down on the small bed, and removed my belt, laying it down on the floor. I pondered over the day ahead.

I heard a rustling noise outside, and prepared to pull my sword out of my belt, but the door shattered and the tall mage stood outside the door, palm facing towards me. A small blue ball of energy appeared, enveloping his hands. “Purchai Marsalin!” he roared. The blu bolt of energy rushed towards me, and I held my arms out in front of my face, the bolt exploding on my arms, sending fire, which sent me flying backwards, tatters of fabric from my sleeves floating around the air. My back slammed against the wall, making a huge crack. Footsteps echoed through the hallway, and the innkeeper appeared, with a rusty hatchet raised. Suddenly I heard a twang, and the innkeeper fell to his knees, several crossbow arrows stuck into his back.

The ranger stood in the doorway, aiming his crossbow at my exposed body. He loaded a bolt, and fired. A raised my sword for a backhand slash, but only met thin air, the bolt disappearing in a rush of flames. I held up my hand.

“Who are you, and why are you here?”

To be Continued...