quickly from the sleep-induced lethargy, I began moving with purpose. The
first thing I noticed was how little time had passed. Caitlynn was still on
“I need you to do me and favor and not ask
any questions,” I told her,” I need you to build a fire near where we’ll be
digging. We’re going to need to see while we dig tonight.”
She looked at me as if I were crazy, but
apparently trusted me enough to just shrug her shoulders and set off on her
task. While se set about gathering wood, I went to Jason and gave him a
gentle shake. “Jason,” I said softly, “I need you awake. We’ll be digging
tonight and leaving as soon as we have what is ours.”
He slowly blinked his eyes open and looked
at me. “Why?” he asked.
“We do not have time for questions right
now brother,” I told him, "I will explain while we dig.” At this he also
shrugged, then walked off to get the shovels we’d brought with us.
I then walked over and knelt beside my
wife, who was starting to stir because of the noise we were making. “What is
going on Jonathon?” she asked me. Looking around quickly, I lowered my voice
and told her, “I know where Darius is, and it’s close; much closer than the
Wastes.” She did not even ask how I knew. A deeply spiritual person, she had
a fairly good idea. She just gave me a knowing look, and I could feel my
face getting hot. She only asked, “What do you need me to do?”
“I need you to water down the horses and
prepare them for a long, fast journey. We will probably need to get new
horses at some point, but I would like to be able to put that off.”
With a nod she was off on her task. I then
walked over to where Caitlynn had a decent sized fire going, and Jason was
already hard at work digging. “Caitlynn, I need you to scout around, see if
there is anyone nearby that would notice our work.”
Caitlynn was gone before I had finished my
sentence, but I knew she’d heard me. I also knew that she was already cranky
because she was tired, and that I would have to tread carefully to keep from
making her even angrier at me than she already was.
Grabbing a shovel, I walked over to Jason
and began digging myself. “Darius is nearby,” I told him while we worked.
Jason nearly dropped his shovel at that, and stared at me for a good minute
or so before he managed to croak, “How?”
“You would not believe me if I told you
brother,” I said, “So I am asking you instead to trust me. Darius has
already been awakened, and is near River’s End.”
“River’s End?” he gasped, “but that’s…,” he
“I know. We’re going to need to have a good
long talk with Eben Baruch, and find out why he violated our commands,” I
told him. I only hope he hasn’t filled Darius’ head with garbage before
we get there.
What could be worse than a man touted as
Khaldun’s savior choosing inaction? I could not think of anything then, and
sincerely hoped I would never find out.
After my revelation, Jason began to dig
even faster. Off all the Kohan, I may have had the most mutual respect with
Darius, but Jason treated him like the second coming of the Creator. I can
understand Jason’s feelings though, since before the Cataclysm Darius had
always played a central role in Kohan society. After the Cataclysm, knowing
that Darius was not ‘awake’ filled our mortal soldiers with dread, though
those Javidans who had sent his amulet off were confident, because even if
we failed, one day Darius could return and set things right.
In what seemed like no time at all, we had
the crates unearthed. Calling the others over we used the shovels to open
the tops of the crates, which had been nailed shut years ago. We all seemed
to know whose crate was whose, without even looking in them.
Reverently reaching into mine, I pulled out
a platemail breastplate that appeared black in the firelight, but what I
knew was actually a deep midnight blue. As soon as I touched it I saw the
image of the hawk-faced man standing above me, with his sword pointed at my
chest. For a second I wondered if it was a vision or a memory, whether he
was going to kill me or whether he already had. Then I decided it just
didn’t matter. Slowly putting it aside, I glanced around at the others.
Caitlynn was stroking a jet black bow, and appeared to be coming into some
memories of her own. Jason was holding twin short-bladed falchions, and had
the largest, stupidest grin on his face that I’d ever seen. What made it
funny to watch is that Jason usually kept such a tight reign on his
emotions. I’d heard rumors that he had smiled before, even told a joke or
two in the last thousand years or so, but this was the first I’d seen in,
Moving along, I saw that Rachel had already
donned the blindingly white cleric’s robe she preferred. She also held a
crystal staff, with an enlarged tip shaped like a ball, roughly twice as
wide as the rest of the staff. Impossibly, it seemed to be made all out of
the same piece of crystal, and you could almost see the magic pulsing off of
Turning my attention back to my own crate,
I reach in and laid the rest of my armor next to the breastplate. I then
pulled out a large metal kite shield, dyed the same dark color as my armor.
I then came to what I had been looking for; my mace.
With wicked looking spikes coming out of it
in all directions, it looking deadly, but was even more so than it looked.
Long ago a spell had been working into it by Roxanna Javidan; before she
betrayed us. Back then she was the most powerful mage of that age, a
suitable bride for a man like Darius. The spell she had cast on the mace was
nothing short of magnificent. During battle, the mace would flare like a
torch, yet I would not feel the heat. My opponents however, if they were not
magically protected from fire themselves, would feel the full brunt of the
spell. Usually they fell away with a smoking crater where I’d hit them, but
the mace showed me memories of mine where a few people had actually burst
Under my equipment was a large bag of gold
coins, and there were probably enough there to outfit a company or two. It
would certainly come in handy on our trip south, as we would definitely have
to buy new mounts a few times, and we’d nearly exhausted our small supply of
money just getting these four. Now we would not have to rely on people’s
generosity towards Kohan to keep traveling.
Next to the bag of money was a gold
necklace, with my amulet hung upon it. Carefully, reverently, I took the
amulet out of the chest, and slowly lowered the chain around my neck.
Blinded by the resulting flash of light, I cried out and fell to the ground.
In the light were brief flashed of images. Stills from my life flashed
before me, but I was not afraid. This was not the cliché of my death, where
my life flashes before my eyes. Instead it was my curse, and my entire life
flashed before me. From when the Creator brought me into being until today,
I remembered everything I have ever done, everything I’ve said, everything
I’ve thought, and everything I’ve believed.
For the first time in years, I felt as if everything was how it