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Flash Fiction Series – The Calling of a Myth (Episode Five)

A bit late, but finally got around to publishing this new episode :-)

 

Episode Five

‘I have been told that the two investigators are at the military post near the city gates,’ informed Xander as he perused a fruit-laden market stall outside the tavern he was staying in. ‘I suggest we make our way there now.’

Justine retied her mass of blue hair into a ponytail as she watched people going in, out and past the tavern. A horrid silence had befallen her after the silver haired Evenian divulged the gruesome details about the Dark Blade assassins and what they were about. She had been shocked into silence by stories of these agents performing despicable tasks such as the killing of children, raping of girls barely of the legal age, and the slaughter of entire families. What made these tales worse was the fact that half of them were performed just for fun. The nauseated feeling she felt set in was still hanging in the pits of her soul.

As they both hurried down the cobbled paths toward the front of the city, Xander eyed his companion’s discomfort. ‘I’m… sorry; sorry you had to hear such stories, but you must know what we are up against if you are to decide whether or not to help me.’

Justine gritted her teeth as she hesitated to look him in the face. ‘I… I just… I can’t imagine the mentality of such acts – it’s sick!’ She kept her attentions on the road in front of her, a troubled sense of determination bleeding out into the street from her presence.

Xander lowered his head and bit his lower lip hard. ‘Nothing about their mentality is understandable; I, of all people, know this.’

***

Tenrian removed his green hood as he entered the office of Captain Relphea, the officer in charge of the city’s guard posts. Fiona followed closely behind her comrade, her face stern and tight-lipped.

Relphea looked up from her desk and the paperwork she was scribbling on. Her long black hair cascaded around her neck like a curtain that revealed nothing of what it hid. She wore a captain’s insignia on the chest of her dark grey and gold uniform, a position that was hard to obtain unless someone was willing enough to work for it. Relphea had been nicknamed ‘The Unwavering’ due to her seemingly unshakeable resolve in getting things done.

Fiona addressed the captain, cautiously avoiding the piercing stare of her strong blue eyes – something she always did as she felt a certain degree of discomfort around her superior. ‘Captain…’

‘Fiona, Tenrian; what news from the latest attack?’ The captain’s voice was solid and unnaturally calm; a tone that could break stone without any resistance.

Tenrian folded his arms and weighted himself on his left. ‘We came across something, at long last, that could give us a clue as to who’s instigating these raids.’

Relphea put her quill down and leaned back in her chair, an expectant look on her face.

The hunter reached down to his thick leather belt and detached a small pouch, opening and placing it on the desk in front of the captain. ‘We found this residue around a wound on one of the corpses at Pisca – I believe it to be a rare and exotic poison.’

Relphea arched forward to inspect the sample of the poisonous leftovers, but quickly recoiled from the pungent smell that wafted up her nose. She covered her face; her eyes closed and near watering point. ‘And the barbarians have used this? Unusual…’

‘I do not believe the barbarians used this,’ Tenrian explained. ‘I suspect that someone other than a barbarian was involved here, and I think the same person has had a direct involvement in the other raids.’

The captain eyed him with an indistinguishable scepticism. ‘Who exactly?’

Fiona ended her silence. ‘Ma’am, I’m afraid we don’t know that vital piece of information, but the evidence before us at the scene led us to conclude that someone could very well be motivating these tribes to attack the villages under our jurisdiction.’ She fell mute again as she caught Relphea’s stare.

After a few moments contemplation the captain stood up from her seat, signalling Tenrian to cover up the foul smelling poison residue, which he did so swiftly. ‘I will have you leave the evidence with our alchemists on your way out. Until we have an answer I am afraid you two will be twiddling your thumbs, so use this time to relax and have a break.’

They were dismissed with the wave of a gloved hand.

***

‘You’re looking rather nervous,’ remarked Xander as he leaned against one of the sandstone pillars outside the guard post.

Justine scraped her nails against one another idly, her eyes fixed on the entrance as they waited for the two investigators to emerge. ‘I hope you’ve been told correctly, Mister.’ She could feel the presence of her Evenian counterpart all around her as if he was the very air that she was breathing.

‘Relax,’ he cooed. ‘I’ll do the talking.’ He flicked his silvery mass of hair out of his eyes before tapping Justine on her shoulder. ‘What made you decide to come with me anyway? Was it idle curiosity? Or is there something else?’

Her breath wavered as the question sank into her mind like water into a sponge. ‘I…’

Xander unfolded his arms and turned, still looking at the back of her head. ‘You…?’

Justine huffed to herself and hung her head. ‘I suppose idle curiosity is a part of it…’

‘But?’

Her eyes closed. ‘But… I dunno. There’s something about this situation I really don’t like. Maybe I’m looking for some kind of truth.’

‘What is it about the situation you don’t like?’ He moved so he was in front of her. ‘Tell me – you can trust me.’

She lifted her head cautiously and looked at Xander’s face before her mouth opened to say what was on her mind. It was then that her eyes darted to one side as she observed two figures, which were not dressed like the other soldiers, exit the guard post. One was a blonde haired woman with an exquisite set of light flexi-armour and a dark blue and silver cape; the other was a man judging by the build, with a dark green hood and tight-fitting green tunic that had two thick, brown leather straps crossing diagonally over the chest, a single silver chest plate, dark brown trousers and boots. Justine assumed it was the two Xander was after.

‘I believe they are the two we’re after,’ said Xander as he turned his head and watched them trudge off into town. ‘We’ll have to tail them.’

‘Why not just go up to them? It’d be much easier, not to mention quicker,’ suggested Justine.

Xander shook his head as they made their way after the two investigators at a safe distance. ‘Doing that in front of everyone would cause unnecessary attention to be had. It’d be better to approach them in a more deserted place.’

Justine raised an eyebrow. ‘Oh yes, because that wouldn’t put them on edge.’

‘Just… trust me, OK?’

They followed the two figures down a variety of crowded streets and wide roads. It seemed as if they were toying with them, or maybe just sightseeing aimlessly.

It got to a point where Justine became uneasy. ‘I suspect they know we’re following them.’

‘You reckon?’ Xander pulled his hood up and kept a sharp eye out.

‘Well they’ve been wandering around the city now for the best part of half an hour and they aren’t really stopping to look at anything or talk to anyone.’ Justine was beginning to let her nerves overtake her, her heart beating furiously like a caged angry cat.

They saw their targets take a sharp turn into a side street and they pursued as quickly as possible… only to find an empty passageway.

Xander clenched his fists together as he looked behind them, up into the air, and then began to check the dark shadows in front of them.

Justine, on the other hand, had begun to let her nerves get the better of her. ‘I can’t see them anywhere,’ she exclaimed in a soft panic.

‘How did they elude us so quickly?’

It was then that Justine breathed in sharply, her eyes turning towards Xander. ‘They’re still here…’

A sudden scuffling of feet, unsheathing of metal, and grunts of painful confrontation ensued until Justine was pressed up against the wall with a gloved hand over her mouth and a knife against her throat. Xander had been kidney punched by a metallic fist before he felt the tip of a longsword pressed against his chest.

‘You’ve been following us for over half an hour,’ Fiona growled firmly, her voice never once losing any control in its command. ‘What are you after?’

Xander had his hands nursing his side as he looked up at the ferociously resilient warrior woman. He slowly removed his hood and gazed into her eyes. ‘We’re here about your investigation.’

Tenrian glared at Xander from within the refuge of his green hood as he held the shivering, blue haired girl firmly. ‘What do you know of our investigation?’

With a tearful quiver, Justine spoke. ‘He… knows who’s behind it all.’

 

What’s Been Going On…

Hello all,

As most people on my Facebook will know, my life is finally going through a positive streak after months and months of agony. I have recently secured a new job that actually pays well – enough for me to stand on my own 2 feet! I am currently awaiting the contract to come through the post and then after that I will be employed full time by a globally recognised company (not going to be doing any name dropping by the way). This, of course, means that I will be going through a period of adjustment and sorting my life out at last. I will do my best to write, read, blog post and #walkcast as and when I can. I thank you all those people who have shown their support and who have made me feel truly blessed by their kind words :-)

Speak to you all soon!

Andy

Flash Fiction Series – The Calling of a Myth (Episode Four)

There was a bit of a delay in posting this, but here it is. Hope people enjoy it :-)

 

Flash Fiction Series – The Calling of a Myth

Episode Four

The Capital was a hustle and bustle soup of market traders, entertainers, beggars and black market merchants. The sheer noise from the immense crowds was enough to raise the dead in a furious show of revival.

Justine followed a hooded figure with her dark, chocolate eyes as it slipped out from a doorway on the far side of the plaza. Any other person would not have noticed such a thing amidst the sea of people, but Justine felt the barrier that covered this person’s mind – it was stronger than any other mental ward she had ever encountered in her time as a psychic mage. Curiosity soon got the better of her.

As she waded through a variety of shoppers, traders and tourists, her mind was constantly projecting toward the one she could not touch. Her pursuit was becoming more and more frantic. She was not overly keen on coming back to Netheryn after this escapade. If this person was who she was tasked in finding then her first question would be why.

Her trail guided her down a side street that was scattered with a few dodgy dealers who obviously peddled wares that had either been stolen or ‘relocated’ before their initial destination could be reached. Either way she had never been one to enter into such a dark market that bred out and out mistrust and deception.

Another turn led into an empty alley.

The shrouded psyche faded into nothing.

Justine felt her heart skip a beat as she skidded to a halt, the scraping of her shoes echoing through the cobbled ravine. Where had her target gone? She glanced from side to side and then behind her, insecurity and paranoia gripping her chest like a deathly claw. She was suddenly fearful of what was going to happen next, regardless of it being good or bad. Her run of adrenaline had bled dry and she was now beginning to shake, the palms of her hands sweating with anticipation. What had just happened?

She did not hear a thing before it was too late.

The hooded figure came out of the shadows and wrestled her up against the opposite wall, an exotic looking dagger flashing in one slender hand. The blade was pressed against her neck with enough force to hurt, but not break the skin. The other arm was pressed dominantly across her chest to keep her against the cold brick façade behind her. She felt a warm breath from beneath the hood softly stroke her cheeks without malice or murderous intent.

‘Who are you?’ said the attacker in a calm yet aggressive tone.

Justine did not know what to make of this person. ‘I… I…’ She clenched her teeth and tried desperately to regulate her breathing. ‘My name is… Justine.’ She winced as the man exerted more force with the weapon.

‘Why are you following me?’ he asked in the same manner.

‘I was ordered to seek out a man that was apparently immune to mind magic.’

‘You are a very good psychic mage, Justine,’ said the man sincerely. ‘I had to adjust myself at the right time to give me this advantage.’

She locked eyes with his as best she could given the fact his face was mostly hidden. ‘Adjust… yourself?’

The man laughed casually, the arm he had across her chest relenting slightly and giving her some space to breath. ‘As soon as you hit my barrier I knew you were there, watching me like some vulture hanging over a dying animal. Who sent you?’

Justine swallowed dryly as she felt a desert form in her mouth. ‘M… my teacher – Lord Mage Velkus.’

‘Who does he work for? Where are his loyalties?’

She felt the dagger dancing on her neck menacingly. ‘W… with the School of Magic as far as I’m aware.’

‘West of here? The school in the middle lands?’ There was an air of franticness in the man’s voice, almost eager.

Justine nodded fearfully. The hold on her was released and the dagger sheathed in her attacker’s belt. She massaged her neck before coughing, sharp pain shooting up her throat.

‘I am sorry, Justine,’ the man apologised as he removed the hood from his head to reveal silver hair, sharp stubbly features and a pair of crystal-like eyes that stared directly into her soul without relent. ‘My name is Xander.’

‘I was told that you are someone from a long lost warrior tribe that used to reside in the northern lands before the freeze four centuries ago.’ Justine steadied her breathing enough to calm the rest of her body down.

Xander raised an eyebrow. ‘I’m afraid you are misinformed, lady. I am an Evenian.’

Justine was immediately dumbstruck.

‘The Evenians were a secret breed of people from every corner of the realm – we are trained and enhanced both physically and magically.’

‘I… I’ve never heard of the Evenians.’ Justine licked her lips before biting her tongue.

‘You’re not supposed to hear of us – we are a secret and we strived to make it that way. We’ve played a hand in the formation of this world as you know it for centuries.’ Xander looked to either end of the alley. ‘I am one of the last few Evenians in this land.’

Justine hesitated. ‘Why are you telling me this? You’ve just had a dagger to my throat and now you’re giving me your life story…’

‘You are unaware of the fact that I have seen your mind, obviously.’

This took Justine by complete surprise. A psychic mage was trained to detect and repel any intrusion into their minds, but she had not felt a single thing attempt to breach her mental defences. ‘How?’ she asked with a shrill voice, shock radiating from her.

‘My training allows me to completely block all sensory abilities and reflect them back at whoever is directing them.’

She was still dumbfounded.

‘But, unfortunately, time is of the essence. I need to return to my lodgings. If you choose to, you can accompany me and I can tell you more.’

‘But… why? Why would you divulge such information so easily?’

Xander breathed heavily through his nose. ‘Because I have seen your heart, Justine… and your soul.’

Flash Fiction Series – The Calling of a Myth (Episode Three)

Here is the next exciting instalment of my flash fiction series. Hope you enjoy the read :-)

 

Flash Fiction Series – The Calling of a Myth

Episode Three

Something intangible shifted in the coolness of the air that filled the musty drawing room like a tempting mist of perfume. A heavy breath resounded from a dark-skinned figure, attempting to mask a sense of stressed thought.

‘Why are you here?’ the figure asked slowly in a deep male voice. In one hand the man swilled a crystal glass of whisky. ‘You’re supposed to be dead, gone from the world years ago.’ He fiddled with a silver earring in his right ear anxiously.

A second figure emerged from a corner, nothing but a few tufts of silvery white hair poking out from beneath a light grey hooded jacket. ‘You must know that I was never dead,’ said the hood. ‘Surely you’ve heard of these raids going on along the coast? I am after the instigator of these atrocities.’

The other man sipped his whisky and refilled the glass. He turned and addressed his counterpart with a deep set of brown eyes that could break stone with one angry stare. ‘Xander, why does that concern you? I’m… I’m still trying to grasp the fact that you’re alive and that you, obviously, faked your death all them years ago. You must’ve died for a reason – to disappear. So why, in all that’s sacred have you decided to surface for such a trivial matter? I’m sure the investigators can handle whatever it is that’s going on.’

Xander pulled his hood back to reveal a pale, sun-deprived face with thick brown stubble sprouting around a sharp jaw line. ‘Katso, my dear friend; the investigators of this land have no clue as to what’s behind these attacks, whereas I do.’

Katso placed his glass onto an oak dresser and rubbed his forehead, a heavy sigh coming from the tension in his chest. ‘How do you know this?’

‘The person behind this is the reason why I disappeared.’

‘Who is he then?’

‘You mean she.’ corrected Xander with a troubled glance to the decanter of whisky on top of the dresser. ‘Pour me a glass, would you please?’ As Katso obliged his request he grabbed a chair from a nearby table and sat down.

Katso took a seat opposite his old friend and stared at him stoically. ‘Then tell me about this woman you assume is behind these raids.’

Xander shot a warning glance at Katso. ‘I’m not assuming anything; I know she is responsible. The reason I faked my own death was because she found out who I was and what I’m capable of.’ He took a long swig of whisky and hummed with a distant satisfaction befitting someone who had been away from the luxuries of life for too long. ‘This woman, I don’t know her name, is one of the foremost Dark Blade assassins in the land.’

‘The what?’

‘Dark Blade assassins – they’re an old established guild that strive to be an eternal secret in the world and its history. They have been playing a hand in anything political for centuries, as well as having their own agenda for things concerning the world. These attacks are a mystery in terms of why they’re being influenced by one of the assassins, but needless to say they are more than uncalled for.’

Katso pursed his lips and huffed, rubbing his short black hair with a rough hand. ‘So what is it that you are wanting me to do?’

Xander smiled softly. ‘I knew I could rely on you, friend. I know you have many fingers in many pies and I would appreciate it if you could find out who the assigned investigators are for me.’

‘What for?’

‘I am nowhere near powerful enough to fight this assassin one-on-one so I need help in doing what needs to be done.’

‘But what makes you think the investigators will be of any use in a fight?’ Katso topped up his glass.

‘I have heard along the grapevine that they are a highly skilled duo – a male hunter and a female warrior.’

‘You heard this did you?’

‘I have visited a couple of the decimated villages and spoken with the locals; and a few have mentioned these two people from here in the capital along with their stirling reputation.’ Xander drank the last of his whisky and placed the glass onto the table. ‘Can you help me?’

Katso mulled things over as he swirled the whisky around in his glass, his eyes gazing on the hypnotic rhythm intently. ‘I can have a word with someone, but I doubt I could arrange a meeting or anything.’

‘That’s fine. Just find out their names and where they might be and I can do the rest.’ Xander stood up, the effects of the whisky having taken a swift hold on his legs. ‘Boy, you can tell I haven’t had the good stuff in a long time,’ he chuckled.

‘What are you doing this for?’ asked Katso as he stood up with an ease, indicating that he was attuned to the impact of the spirit.

‘What do you mean?’ Xander glanced sideways at his friend as he stifled a belch.

‘I mean all this good deed stuff… what reason do you still have? Your kind are somewhat forgotten about these days.’

Xander’s gaze drifted across the room contemplatively. ‘Forgotten…’ he mumbled.

‘Yes forgotten. You would be surprised how quickly people moved on since you all disappeared.’

‘We weren’t here to be prominent in the world – we were here to do what had to be done.’

‘Xander, my old friend, things have changed over the years. The Evenians have no sway in this world, regardless of how prominent or not they once were.’

‘Things that are happening in this world that need our attention once more,’ Xander stated as he stood stoically. ‘We Evenians may not be high in numbers anymore, but they day we stop making a difference is the day we are all dead.’ He shot a firm, fiery glance to his friend and clenched his jaw. ‘Send a messenger to the Yearning Maiden Inn when you’ve found out where those investigators are – I am staying there in the meantime.’

Many people had never known how big a part the Evenians had played in the moulding of the world as it was now. They, along with the Dark Blade assassins, had made a point of being a group whose true purpose in history was secretive to the end. The only difference between the Evenians and the Dark Blade was that the Evenians were sworn protectors and upholders of what was generally believed to be righteous, whereas the assassins had no trouble with breaking moral and ethical standards wherever they saw fit.

As Xander left Katso’s residence with his hood replaced to hide his face, a searching mind was scanning the crowds outside. Katso had his place right on the edge of the business district of the city, so bustling crowds and loud noises were ideal for a swift and silent approach or escape.

The minds of everyone in the plaza were being probed by a highly skilled telepath overlooking the anthill-like scene with relentless intent. The mind hit a brick wall as it touched an impenetrable void of thought. This was it… that was him.

#Walkcast Number Four – Weather, Water, Changes, Relationship!

Here is #walkcast number four! ENJOY!

#Walkcast #3 – Music, Alcohol, Social Acceptance and Stereotyping

Check out #Walkcast #3 for your enjoyment!

Andy Wood – Walking Vlog #1

Here it is people. Hope someone enjoys it! Special shout-out to Lisa and Buddy for this!

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