June 15, 2013 at 11:30 pm #145
Chapter One – The Desert Encounter
“It has been said that in order to understand where one’s future lies, one must look first at where one has been. In this case however, what kind of story does that leave us?”
The Sun was burning hot. The waves of heat floated up from the sands like invisible blankets of smoke seeking the final sages of their quick and innocent lives. “God I hate Lexack.” He was nothing more than a dot in the eyes of a hawk passing above the blistering earth. Raising his arm, the man wiped away the days of sand, sweat, and now mud from his brow. He had been in this desert for far too long. With a sigh, he lowered his arm past the scruffy composure of a beard. His little breather was over and with a determined stare in his eyes he proceeded through the desert one solid step after another.
His name was Azgad, and for as long as his tale was being written, he had been searching this planet over for his daughter. Her age, appearance, even her name had been forgotten over the years. All that remained was an empty void in his life that felt like he lost a part of his soul. The last fading memory he held was that of the unique, almost signature shade of dark blue irises that composed her brilliant eyes.
Lexack was the barren desert faction of the Dolthor Republic; a rebellion party against an even more radical centralized government movement. The Dolthor Republic was well known for its open door attitude and absentminded sense of law and order. Why Azgad was looking for the beautiful princess here, we will never know. We like to believe that fate had something to do with it.
Before we continue though, let’s talk more about Azgad. You know those bed time stories that started off as an exaggerated version of the truth, then turn into a local legend, old woman’s myth, and then eventually just a child’s fairy tell? Well, that’s Azgad, except with no exaggerations. He is known simply as Azgad the Hunter. At one point in history he was feared by many and many sought to hire him for their own bounty needs. In truth however, he is nothing more than a desperate father who gave up his fortunes to find the last living member of his family, his daughter. After several years the few who supported his pursuit lost hope and withdrew their finances. In spite his zealous attitude however, his name soon became nothing more than that of a wandering nomad. That was at least until he caught his first lead in almost half a century. They say that when he was done with the room, there was no way of identifying any of the bodies. They say he walked away with out a scratch, and with only a name; Tyken!
The ground was nice and solid as Azgad lifted his face from it. He was in such a perpetual thought that he didn’t even see the small yet potent object protruding from the ground. Thousands of miles through bare desert canopies and he still managed to trip on the two inch trap. Wiping the sand from his face, Azgad slid back ad rested on his knees. This was as good a time as any to take a break. After a few moments he finally decided to investigate the deviant little thing. First it started as simply wiping away the sand, but half an hour later he found himself with a nice four foot hole and, to his surprise, a sheathed sword in his hands. After clearing off the dust and dirt, he found the scabbard to be painfully simple, while the hilt was uniquely beautiful. There seemed to be a balanced mix of entwining pearl and a black velvet buffer between the precious pearl and the hard steel. He was ever so tempted to pull the blade from the sheath, but even the slightest touch to the swords hilt would send an intense wave of energy through his body. Being the wise man that he was, he kept the blade in its place of slumber. After fitting the new sword awkwardly in his belt, Azgad stood back up and continued his journey through the ever so unforgiving desert.
Night took forever to fall, yet it still came too soon. There was all but a glimpse of bliss as the temperature fell from the triple digits to none. The desert being, well, the desert, Azgad didn’t even bother looking for fire wood, but as sure as the darkness creeping about him, there was a cozy little camp fire right in front of him. Azgad had the innate ability to control fire. This element flowed through his body as rich as his blood. Any where from sparking his own flame to controlling an entire forest fire, Azgad, through diverse and intense training, was a master of his element. Out of the corner of his minds eye, his eyes shifted to what was now a soft buzzing coming from the hilt of the pearl laced sword. There was so much energy resonating from this weapon that it disturbed even Azgad the Hunter. Calmly he did his best to divert his attention by pulling out a small lyre. With in minuets the music filled the empty air around him, and peace was close to being set. Half way into his third song though, the lighting quick senses of the hunter felt another presence. In fact, there was a full multitude of beings now painfully present and steadily getting closer. Setting down the gold plated, cheap metal lyre, Azgad moved his hand over to clasp the hilt of his own majestic blade. By the time he was up and ready, a small horde of strangers had already surrounded his little encampment. There at the top of the sand dune, the supposed leader of this rag tag gang presented himself. With a ruff face and a ridiculous smirk, he noted the hilt that Azgad was holding. “Silly man,” he spoke, his voice was shrill and ratty “don’t you know not to bring a knife to a gun fight?” Then in rapid succession he pulled out what seemed to be a firearm as weathered and sand beaten as its wielder. “You’re Dead!”
The stark ring of metal to metal scratched through the air just after the explosion from the gang leader’s pistol. To the amazement of all around, there now stood a man, covered in dirt and dust, holding a blade that sang sweet harmonies and glimmered with a soft tint of sky blue. Before their minds could process much more the blue tint of the blade began to mix with the dark red of blood. Slowly, inch by inch, the man let the razor sharp edge lacerate the jugular of the gang leader. It was a cruel and grotesque way to kill a man. Fear instantly sunk into the rest of his crew, and before their, now deceased, leader’s body collapsed on the sand, they were scrambling in a frantic furry to remove themselves from the situation. All but one man left after this. Azgad, the Hunter, was going over the sudden actions of this man in his head. Piece by piece he tried to collect his mind. From the shattering of the sand below his feet, where in this man, as quick as lightning, erupted, grabbed the pearl laced hilt of the mysterious sword he had found earlier that day, and still managed to split the bullet in half, ultimately saving Azgad’s life.
A wave of air passed through the dunes. Azgad was completely perplexed with how this man did what he did. He looked him over, or at least was trying to, and then it hit him. Azgad, master of Fire, has only now realized that the flame that he had sparked during the setup of his little camp here, was gone. The only light that fed his eyes were that of the moon. How, how could he have missed something that was so intertwined with his essential existence? The man turned and walked towards Azgad now. He moved so lightly and gracefully that the sand beneath his feet didn’t even sink in. He left no footprints. Was he a ghost coming up from his grave that had been buried by the desert?
“The sheath.” His voice was silver and clear. Azgad looked about, then picked up the humble and gangling looking piece of leather that the pearl laced blade was once contained within. A shock of energy emerged from the blade, and with it a came a small flash of light. In this light Azgad could see the drops of blood being expelled from their hiding place upon the steel of the blade. Then, inch by inch the man slowly sheathed this blade. As the tint of blue from the steel began to disappear, so did a soft and calming tune that seemed to melt and intertwine with the sub-conscious. Once the blade was gone, the man spoke again. Azgad was doing his best to look the man over. His course and dirty hair was in his eyes, effectively covering the top of his face. His clothing seemed to wrap itself about his figure, the only bit of skin showing was the lower half of his face. Even his neck was wrapped up to the bottom of his chin.
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