Prespetarian leapt out of the cave, and heard a satisfying boom
as his powder sack blew. He’d received a tip from the village who had
given him the contract that witches die easier in fire than anything
else. It was his first witch hunt after all, and he only knew that
decapitation killed just about anything. From werewolves to ents, they
needed their head to live. He heard a cut off screech, barely sounding
as if it could belong to a human, let alone a beautiful young woman as
this witch had been. And to be honest, it took most of his willpower to
draw his sword when he did, otherwise she might have seduced him into
lowering his guard before slipping a knife into his back. it was nice of
those townspeople to pay him in advance though.
“See you in hell, satanic freak”, he almost
mumbled as he retrieved the list from his pocket. It was a small slip of
parchment, with four jobs scribbled on in lead. Two were already
crossed off, the hunt for the feline familiar of some witch another hero
had killed some weeks ago, and the killing of the wolfpack that had
claimed some lone-farmer’s sheep stock. He bit down on his wooden
‘leadstick’ and kicked at the rock that had smashed the witch’s head to
make sure no screech erupted. Satisfied with his work, he crossed her
off of the list.
“Vampire attacks in Santrich. Should be able to
get some information from the locals, if they’re not like those damned
Cryendics.” he caught himself talking to himself and quit it. Then the
thought struck that maybe he should have more to talk to than a horse
who seemed to be starting to be annoyed at his presence. He turned,
expecting to Cavallo, then remembered that he’d left him aways back, in
case the witch could hypnotise animals.
The forest was thick, and the air fresh. It was
very refreshing to be out of Faldeak and back into the cold,
fresh-feeling plains of Culanith. It was slightly more difficult to grow
crops in this country due to the longer winters in the north, but the
size of the country and amount of farming more than made up for it,
forming a formidable nation to align one’s self against. But the world
was at peace, after the Aresiandians and Cryendics came to an agreement
on the border, things were surprisingly calm between the two.
Prespetarian lifted one last branch and heard Cavallo snort
with joy before he saw him. His horse, instead of running towards his
master, was trained to follow orders to the death, and stayed put if he
sensed no danger. Prespetarian strode up to his friend and whispered, “interruzione”,
into his ear, signaling he was free from his current position. he
nuzzled his master in the shoulder, neighing with joy as he usually did
when he came back alive from a mission. A few times, this horse had
saved his life, whether dragging his half-dead body from the fight, or
arriving at just the right moment and planting a hoof in his enemies
skull. And though Prespetarian had to admit that training a horse to
fight was an extremely difficult process, it was worth it to know that
you had a beast that most regarded as mindless as a virtual knight horse
at your back when you needed him most.
Prespetarian mounted the saddle and let his
orangish brown hair flow in the wind that passed between the trees. “Ah,
ready to take down a few blood suckers?”
Cavallo whinnied, as if in answer. Why do you even ask me anymore. (Note to self, regard Cavallo’s opinions in mission choice), Prespetarian thought to himself.
The road was more of a wide dirt path, and
considering Santrich was pretty much a community of shacks, he wasn’t
surprised. But he knew that it was pretty far north, and that was where
one had to be cautious of wraiths, especially one such as Prespetarian,
who was constantly in the face of danger. But he went, not thinking
twice about the grotesquely thin, clad black, eyes of burning red ember,
life leeching… Anyway, they continued on their path through the
sunlight, which lasted most of the day actually, considering that he’d
decided to attack the witch the hour before dawn. By afternoon, Cavallo
had slowed gradually from his steady canter to a loping jog.
Cavallo let out an exhausted snort, vigorously nodding his head in the way horses do. Why in the gods names do we have to keep at this all day, you greedy bastard.
“Because we need to get there, and a hero who is punctual usually receives better pay.”
He neighed in retort. And heroes who give their horses a break wake up with their head on their shoulders!
“Alright, alright, we’ll take a break and eat.”
Cavallo whinnied, knowing he had won the argument. Sometimes
Prespetarian questioned his relationship with this horse, but more than
often he found comfort in the wisdom and friendship that this powerful
beast gave him, even more than he valued the use of riding.
He loosened the girth of the saddle and sorted
through the saddlebags. He had the dried meat and fruit in a leather
sack just under his extra bolts, and an entire other bag which had been
full of feed a few days ago for Cavallo. The horse fed hungrily as
Prespetarian set the rest of the saddle against a tree. He made sure
that his crossbow was not loaded, and the bolts were always within
sight. And his steel bracer was always on and his sword in its scabbard.
Cavallo huffed tiredly as he laid down. “That makes two of us, buddy.”
He stayed in a sitting position, his eyes ninety
degrees from where the moon was rising, as to ward off the occasional
passerby that might take interest in a sleeping traveler. It was morning
in what felt like ages, to Prespetarian’s delight. He resituated the
saddle as soon as Cavallo stood from slumber and tightened the girth
around the horse’s muscular midsection. He fed Cavallo a small amount of
grain, as to preserve what little feed was left, and he chewed on a fre
To think about it, though Prespetarian was only
twenty seven years in age, he’d been all over the continent, except for
Taletreth, which was just about the oddest place on the planet. The
inhabitants even more reclusive than that of Cryendic. Only legend could
back up any information about the island off of the main land of Remia.
And legend had it that humanoid wolves, cats, deer, and rabbits were
it’s people. All warriors, and all at mutually tolerating terms with one
They were of once again, and eventually arrived at
the guard post on his map. He tucked the paper back into the saddlebag,
knowing it was straight on from here. “Halt, citizen, state your name
and business.” he almost had to yell to Prespetarian, who was still a
few hills away. In response Prespetarian held up an open hand and waved
it in a wide arc as to signal he would approach before answering. He
quickly made it into a fist and held it tight to show he was of the
royal court. The guard in the tower raised his spear horizontally in
Prespetarian approached, his hand casually on the
pommel of his sword. “State your business and name, sir.” The added
‘sir’, indicated that he was wary of Prespetarian actually being higher
rank than he was. Rightfully so in fact.
Prespetarian tried to keep the superiority out of
his tone when he spoke, because technically he could barely pass for a
citizen since he’d been in Faldeak for almost three months and never
really informed his lordship of his arrival. “I am Prespetarian, hero
class, I’m on my way to Santrich to complete a job.” See, in this world,
hero was a job. It was essentially a person who the hero’s guild would
give contracts, or if they asked for someone in particular, give the
contract to them.
He looked down at the record scroll as he responded. “Very well good si-...”
“Everything alright captain?” He knew what the guard had seen.
“Are you ‘Sir Prespetarian’, of champion of Lady Edeva?”
He sighed. “That I am sir, and what is your name, captain?” He held out his hand and the guard took it.
“Captain Carvring sir, it really is an honor sir.”
Prespetarian could see the surprise on his face at
the sight of one of the highest ranked warriors in the land, barely
older than Princess Edeva herself. But instead of going through the
usual ‘Oh don’t treat me specially, I’m just another man’, he nodded and
asked if he could pass.
“With due respect sir”, Carvring called to his
back. Prespetarian turned to him. “Why are you taking hero jobs for
simple folk when you could be doing it for lords and duchesses? You are
renowned as the best swordsmen in the land.”
Prespetarian smiled. “But I’m also said to be
seven feet tall and have a shield that appears and disappears at will,
Captain.” And with that, he returned to his canter. He came to the
crossroads on the map and saw that Sentrich was straight ahead, as he
had known. But Serevia was east, and he recognized it as more of a small
city than the usual town that dotted Culanith. But he stayed on his
path, and eventually saw the gate in the distance.
There was a makeshift fence around the town, about
eight feet tall. He admired that it was made of splintered wood rather
than solid, as to give the demon’s a few discouraging wounds. But at his
sight, the guard atop the wall yelled to him. “State your name and
“Prespetarian, hero class, here to complete a contract.”
The guard nodded at his answer and began pulling
on the wheel next to the section that was over the gate. The gate swung
slowly and heavily as the guard tugged on the wheel for it to spin.
Prespetarian took a look around, and decided that it best he introduce
himself first thing. There was a pair of children fighting over who got
to be the hero in their game.
“I get to be the hero! Heroes are boys!”, the boy argued.
“No way, Lady Izalda is a woman!”, The girl spat back.
To his left there was a man and his son chopping
wood. Best to ask them, he thought. He approached and made sure the boy
saw him before he was too close, as to avoid scaring the man. “Father”,
he tapped the man’s shoulder and pointed to Prespetarian as he
Excuse me sir where is the way to the leader of this community's house?”
He pointed with his axe, as if it were weightless.
“There's the elder’s den, friend. Just make sure that you don’t piss em
off, they get to that point pretty quick.”
He nodded. “Thank you.” He had already and still
was getting a few glances as he stabled his horse, maybe due to the
crossbow across his back, or the sword at his side. But he rubbed it off
and checked the bracer on his left hand to make sure it wasn’t stuck.
it was a triangular shape on the top of his arm, connected to an average
steel bracer, with the point facing his hand. From one side, a slice of
metal jutted out and instantly seemed to spit out more until it made a
circle with the original bracer. He tested the small shield’s durability
to see if it had worn out from the fight with the wolves earlier in the
week. It seemed alright, so he dripped some oil in the hinges and shut
it by releasing the grip. It was on his left arm, and when he made a
fist and bent down his wrist it sprang into action, and when he moved
his arm that way again with an open hand, it retracted. He left his gun
in his saddlebag, better than no one see him with the sort of weapon
only the military was supposed to have.
He looked up and saw one girl watching him, she
was young, maybe twelve and had short blonde hair. She wore leather
armor, lighter weight than that of Prespetarian’s, but dyed red in
various places, as opposed to Prespetarian’s solid black. As their gazes
locked, she panicked, and fled behind the tavern. And tempted as he was
to go after her, he knew that she would only freak out a little more.
So he went to the elder’s den. There was a guard outside.
“Halt, no weapons in the den.”
“I was hired to use these weapons, so wouldn’t it
be best to show the buyer what they’re paying for?” Without a response
from the confused guard, he entered. There was a semicircle of elderly
men and women, seven in all. And they regarded him as soon as he
“And who might you be young man, and why are your weapons still in your possession?”
“I am Prespetarian, and I have been sent by the
guild of heroes to complete your contract. He held out the slip of paper
that they had sent to the guild as proof.
“We ordered a hero! Not some boy who will kill one
or two and take full payment!” He was more yelling in general than at
“Sir, you have my word that the contract will be done correctly and very thoroughly.”
“And what is that worth? You’re a boy, with the job of a well seasoned warrior!”
“I am Sir Prespetarian, personal champion of Princess Edeva and member of the royal court!”
Another elder cut off his brother before he could respond. “We will pay seventy five royals to see it done, no more.”
“Fifty, vampire jobs aren’t quite worth seventy
five.” Prespetarian stood steadily as he lowered the price of his work
to make it fair. “Take it or leave it.”
The door behind him swung open and slammed shut.
He heard excited foot steps before he saw the same girl that was
watching him earlier take a standing point beside Prespetarian. She
flashed him a huge smile and he grinned in return. She turned back to
the elders before continuing. “Am I too late?! Did I miss it?”
“Ah, next order of business. Prespetarian, this is
Aurelia. At her choosing day, she picked hero from the basket, and so
we promised to ask the next hero who came through if he’d bring her to
the guild to see if she could get an apprenticeship.”
He nodded. “I will do what I can.” He whispered
the footnote to Aurelia. “But while I’m here, we should have some fun of
Her ear to ear grin would’ve broadened if it had
room, but instead she dismissed herself and ran out in excitement,
probably to pack her things. “Fifty royals?”, an elder, female this time
“Fifty.” And they shook hands. “Upon my return, of course.