To the Heart of Darkness
The hills were bare, but the countryside was breathtaking. Davin trod the foothills of Khalar, the peaks were a wonder in Entar, a wonder he wanted to protect. He was seeking a passage through the mountains, a way to the Wastes. There he would meet Zyrphath, and they would seek the darkness he had beheld. Despite this, all was quiet, and Davin was aware only too much of this.
He paused, mimiking the consumption of water from his canteen. Since his powers had began manifesting, his necesity to consume water had seeminly dropped. What was next? Would he no longer crave Valgardian steak, cooked in butter? Would he no longer desire the Andunese late harvest strawberries? These were questions that would have to wait. The manifestation of the shadow creature had reveled some truths to Davin, and the answers were in the horrific ruins of Loriath.
A voice from behind. "You keep dark friends, Dragon..."
Davin spun, but he already knew who had spoke. Behind him stood the Midnight Falcon. A man of mystery, but a part time mentor to the swordsman, though even Davin could not remember how he became such."Zyrphath may at times use questionable methods, but he moves things forward in the world, he assists me and assists my lady."
Falcon's lips curled in a slight smile as he simply held up his hand as if to give some for of reassurance. "I have no quarrel with with your shadowy friend, at least not for now. Twas merely a comment. From what I here he may have helped you come to terms with your own darkness..."
Davin was shocked. No one survived the the dark encounter in the fortress. The bloodbath had left the fortress a gory terror, that over time would likely get a reputation as people explored. Not only that, even if Falcon had been there, he could surely only speculate on what had happened to cause the slaughter."How could you..."
Davin uttered through his shock. Falcon simply held up a single finger with his smile widening slightly. "Information is but one of my skills and assets."
He replied to Davin. "But I am not here to talk about your current issues, you are resourceful, and will figure them out."
He paused, sitting down on a nearby boulder. Davin remained where he was saying nothing. He had been hoping to keep the shadow creature from as many people as possible. "I am here to talk about what you could become..."
He stood, his hand falling gently onto the hilt of the longsword at his side. Davin's eyes narrowed. Was he about to attack? A strange line of conversation if he was.
If Raven saw Davin's body language change, he ignored it and continued. "I am going to give you a choice here. If you agree to hear me out, know that this is a one way street, as your answer to my question could spell death."
Davin tensed a little. Falcon smiled and wagged his finger at him. "You are likely the finest swordsman I have ever witnessed, Dragon, but have no delusions. You cannot beat me."
Davin relaxed a little, but was still wary. The raw confidence of the mysterious swordsman rang true to him, but if needs be he would try an escape."I say this now not as a threat. If you do not accept my offer, the likelihood is you will perish. Not by my blade, but your own power will tear you apart."
There was a seriousness to his expression that Davin judged to be genuine. "Very well Falcon, I accept..."
Davin swallowed hard. It felt like he was losing his freedoms, and the path of his life was narrowing. He hoped that this would not impinge on his quest with Zyrphath to the Wastes.
Without further prompt, a young woman descended from the loose canopy of trees above, Davin had no idea of her presence. She wore loose fitting tunic and trousers, and clearly had a short sword in a scabbard, strapped horizontally across her lower back. She had black hair held up with a ribbon. She was an attractive woman, Davin though, but she eyed him with a steely gaze."This is Raven..."
said Falcon with an matter of fact tone. It had not really occurred to the swordsman, but Falcon, himself included, named everyone after animals of some sort. A peculiar habit, but one that Davin thought would be made clear soon. "She like you, and even I have the ability to channel our great spirit in order to perform feats of a more supernatural nature."
with this sentence, suddenly pieces started falling into place. What he had assumed to be a side effect of the terrible magics of the Lich of the Tundra, were in fact something else. No wonder this mysterious character had taken an interest in him so soon after this ability had manifested."We are members of an organization called the Spirit Blades. We are what are called Myrmidon. Once we were a prolific organization, now known to less, we are a group that attempts to guide the course of Eldanar as a whole."
He paused to let the information sink in. Davin was surprised, but accepted that perhaps his abilities would be explained more fully. He felt like there was perhaps a test coming on. He kept his mouth shut, his senses heightening. "Your awakening abilities show you have the potential to join us..."
With a nod from Falcon, what Davin expected happened. The woman before him tensed and with a crackle of the familiar energy that Davin experienced, she was gone. Suddenly there was a short blade at his throat. Davin had never been caught in such surprise before, he almost felt embarrassed.
Falcon continued to talk as if nothing had happened. "Our nature is volatile, but with training and ascension, it can be controlled."
He paused and looked a little speculative. "Because of this, I am afraid that if you do not want to join us, I must eliminate the potential threat here and now."
Davin almost felt angry, he was really given little choice. How would they even anticipate if he simply lied. Falcon waited patiently for a response, but Davin felt flustered, so much to digest and produce an answer in such a short time. With a sigh, finally he spoke. "Not that I have much choice...I accept"
A smile crept across Falcon's face. Davin looked puzzled, but the blade at his throat dropped away. He did not dare look around, rather kept his gaze on Falcon."How do you know I am not just lying?"
Davin finally asked, his curiosity getting the better of him. Falcon smiled again before responding. Davin wondered how other people perceived this mysterious man. He guessed some could find his light heartedness an irritant, but for some reason the argent knight found this nature of him trustworthy. "You may now see this as an irritant, or even perhaps maddening, but with time, you will hear the voice of peoples spirit, their will...some might even say their consciousness."
Davin looked puzzled once more. "You mean I will be able to read the thoughts of others?"
The very idea gave him chills. Was he to become some form of sorcerer? "Nothing of the sort..."
Falcon replied shaking his head with his smile broadening. "It is difficult to describe, and will become clear to yourself. It is more analogous to tasting over hearing. You get a complex impression, and must untangle it for yourself. With time, you will be able to manage to hear when you wish...now you are likely overwhelmed when in crowded places."
It was true, sometimes it was painful. He wondered why it was never in effect around the shadowking. Perhaps his mysterious power prevented this ability."It comes and goes..."
He finally said. He turned sideways, now very aware of the mysterious woman who accompanied his sometimes mentor. She stood with her blade still in hand, held back hand limply. Had he not been taken by surprise, he wondered what effect that short blade could really have were he ready. "Ironically, the desolation to which you travel is the perfect place for you to train this ability, as you have opted to train with our organization..."
While outwardly he showed nothing, he wondered exactly how the Midnight Falcon knew where he was headed, but thought better than to ask."Before you can begin, we must trigger a recognition in you..."
Without warning once more, the female companion was upon Davin. This time he had scant time to pivot and draw his own blade, though it did not clear the scabbard. He caught her short blade on his partially cleared blade with a cold ring of steel. Davin unleashed his own ability leaping rapidly backwards with a crackle of energy, freeing his blade and steeling himself for the next attack.
What followed was a flurry of attacks, energy dancing off the body of his opponent as he barely managed to deflect. When he could muster his own reserves he could send a riposte with his own underdeveloped talents. Steel rang on steel and the woman pushed the offensive, despite the disadvantage of her blade. In the background he heard the voice of the Midnight Falcon."Admirable. Your skill with the blade is a sharp as ever. You cannot beat Raven, but many have died at her blade. You repel her with efficiency."
Davin could not tell if this was matter-of-fact or complimentary. In fact he could not even focus on the words for too long as the barrage of blows continued, even became more intense as she flitted from place to place, attacking from any angle. Davin's defense held, but even still, there was no avenue to pursue an attack himself. "Indeed, I needed you to focus your mind, and given your prowess with the blade, this seemed to be the most appropriate method..."
Falcon's voice seemed to have much more clarity this time, but Davin was too busy frantically deflecting and dodging blows, the combat becoming much more acrobatic, to notice. "Reach out a listen, not with your ears, but with the same power you use to hold your opponent at bay..."
Despite not paying huge attention to the words, he absorbed them. It was only then that he noticed that the combat was now entirely a motion using the distinct power he had recently discovered to be that of the Myrmidon. He had never been able to sustain it for this long before.
Suddenly, as if from nowhere came a voice "Can you hear me?"
Davin knew straight away. It was a female voice, and he knew it came from his attacker. With little idea of how, he tried to 'think' back "Yes"
Suddenly the battle ceased, the female referred to as Raven simply sheathed her weapon and sauntered off to lean on the closest tree. Davin collapsed onto a rock, aware of how tired he was. Above him, Falcon loomed, his grin ever apparent."You did well Dragon...better than you think. You heard Raven's voice, and responded. Of course the entire time I spoke to you in conflict, I was responding to your spirit, not your ears..."
Davin panted, more tired than he had been in a long time, and a feeling of draining or sapping of his strength. "I thought...you...said we could...not read...thought"
Davin struggled to issue. Falcon only smiled once more."You cannot steal the thoughts from another head, but we as Myrmidon can also commune with our will over our voice. It is key to understanding this ability. Raven has just shown you the key to unlocking this power."
With a pat on the shoulder, Falcon turned to move away. As he strolled down the path he spoke."Try to find your inner voice on your journey to the Wastes. If you succeed, when you return, we will begin the real trial..."
With that Davin was alone. There was much to process. He sat, recharging his energy as he awaited Zyrphath.
As the two Myrmidon walked the path in apparent silence, they held council unheard by all. "Master Falcon...this Dragon, he does not seem fit...he is erratic in spirit. His real heritage could be a blight on Entar."
With a nod, the response came into the head of his student "He is needed. He will be a power for change. Lady Ataleu's ideals for change are admirable, if we can guide them, then we can do so for the benefit of all Entar..."
No further words were spoken as the two Myrmidon disappeared back from the foothills of Khalar into the Valgard countryside.