The Kings War
If you’ve not read Chapter 1, begin by clicking here.
The wizard sat by the fire, his hands clasped in his lap.
A crude circle had been drawn into the dirt surrounding the wizard, the guard whispering an incantation beside it.
The prisoners were busy packing supplies back into the wagon, the sun had risen and it was time to move on.
Jerry and Aaron sat locked in the cage that had previously housed the wizard. It had been reconstructed and would serve as their prison until they could be tried for their crimes.
“Do you remember what happened?”
Jerry looked at Aaron. The smaller man was lying on his side.
“Not really, it’s all a blur.”
Aaron stared at his finger. It now featured a long scar, but he couldn’t remember it ever being injured.
“The wizard did something to me. To both of us”
Jerry knew that Aaron was right, but he didn’t want to believe the demon had controlled him.
The guard cracked his whip, the wagon lurched forward.
The horse pulled the wagon away from the campground, and away from the wizard that sat hunched inside his dirt circle.
The wizard stayed inside the circle for hours, but for the wizard it may as well have been days.
Eventually, two hands reached into the circle from behind, grabbed his wrists and placed them in handcuffs.
Immediately a tingling sensation began to flow through the wizards body from the handcuffs, his eyesight reducing to the size of a pin prick. Within a moment he was gone.
The wizard woke up inside a dark, wet cell. Mould covered the walls, its pores filled the air. This was nothing like what he’d expected.
The king had proclaimed that wizards serving in the royal army would be housed in the finest accomodation, this was nothing more than a prison.
He’d never answered the call, so perhaps this was his punishment. But his intuition knew that this was the fate of all wizards, whether they’d answered the call, or their call was answered by force.
“Why would they house us in the finest accomodation when they see us as mutant savages?”
A voice mumbled from the shadows.
A bare foot emerged from behind a shadow in the corner of the room, seconds later the rest of his body slowly formed behind it.
A wizard sat on the other side of the cell, tired and barely visible. He looked almost like a mirage, the wall behind him was as clear to see as the man himself. He was fading into nothing.
“Don’t be frightened young man. Wizards walking around inside of your thoughts are the least of your problems in here.”
The wizard looked up in contempt at the shadow wizard addressing him. He replied,
“I am not young; and judging by how you look, neither are you.”
He was right. Though barely visible, the faded wizard looked as baby-faced as a teenager.
“Looks are as deceiving as kings proclamations.”
The stranger coughed, sending dust barreling into the sunbeams leaking from the window high up on the wall.
“Keep your eyes open”
The stranger warned,
“Things are not as they seem.”
With that the door to the cell burst open, light flooded the room from outside.
The wizards eyes burned, he raised his hand to shield them from the light. He looked down at his cloak, it was covered in dust for the first time.
His eyes grew wide, his power was already beginning to fade.
“Which one of you is Tyche?”
The wizard looked up from his cloak and into the direction of the intruder, his eyes running with water as the light continued to burn him mercilessly.
The intruding man looked down at the wizard with a steely eyed grimace.
“Come with me.”
Tyche was picked up bodily and hoisted out of the room.
He looked back at the faded wizard as he was carried off, worry filling his heart as the cell door slammed shut.
Jerry and Aaron continued their journey in the cage for several weeks.
They’d grown very accustomed to their crouched positions by the time the journey ended. So when the moment came that the cage door was cracked open and they were thrown onto the ground, their bodies cracked and moaned audibly.
The two men were led into a dark room and sat on a long bench.
Surrounding them were dozens of other men, each of them trying on helmets and fighting each other for unbroken chest-plates.
“Is this prison?”
Jerry managed to squeak.
A loud bellow filled the air and an enormous man sat behind him.
“You wish fellow fighter!”
The man placed an arm around Jerry and gave his shoulders a good natured shake.
“Prison would be a luxury compared to this slice of hell. You’ve been assigned a place on the kings army. My name is Joe, and my job is to keep you alive.. for as long as possible.”
Aaron finally looked up from his scarred finger, then looked around the room. He remained silent.
The room was dank and smelt like used candles. Shin plate and spears littered the floor around them. The walls were adorned with broken swords and half-split shields.
“You need to hurry up and pick your armour from the scraps.”
Joe’s eyes glinted from the candle light as he spoke.
“These pieces of metal and leather will be the difference between your living and dying in a few days.”
With that he lifted himself off the bench, shaking it as he stood.
Joe then strode over to where two other men were fighting over an unbroken spear.
He towered over both of them, grabbed both of their heads with his hands and smashed them together. Their unconscious bodies crumpled to the ground like paper.
“Find your weapons little fighters”
He shouted back at Aaron and Jerry,
“You’re about to begin your first day of training. It’s war time now, and you’re on the front lines!”