Tag Archives: Fantasy

Beware of knowledge Which you did not earn

He had earned it, sword stroke by sword stroke, spell by spell, conquest by conquest. It was not something he’d inherited and not something he saw as his birthright.

It was something he understood, and this separated him from the young mogu princes who beheld their domain. Because he understood this concept, he could use it. He could feel it ebb and flow. But they remained above it, seeing what they wanted to see, hearing what they wanted to hear.

— Shadows of the Horde, by Michael Stackpole

This is the difference between owning something and earning it. What is received is rarely valued, not of disrespect, but out of ignorance.

Those who earn things know their intricacies.

Things Stir

Your father taught you little, child. You have lived on this island, blissfully ignorant of the world beyond the sea and the happenings wherein. But there are things waking up under the rising sun… Things that started to wake up before you were even born. Every day, more and more, they stir, slow and quiet, just as you sometimes delay getting out of bed, fighting sleep’s haze with morning’s unhurried laziness.

These beings – monsters, spirits, creatures, gods, whatever you wish to call them – have slept for generations. Their awakening was slow. It was slow, but it is coming to a head. And we poor, small, fragile humans… We’re going to have to learn to live in this new world. 

— The words of Treia the hermit, at the dawning of the last year of Black Ice, as recorded in diaryof Helena, the first Arch-sorceress.

Leaving The Village

Edu joined the group of children gathered in the center of the village. A pair of men wearing bearskin jackets overlaying black leather armor lit torches and distributed them through the group. All the boys there were older than Edu, but none older than sixteen, and all were dressed in shades that mirrored those worn by the warriors. Some had already been going to school for many years, while others had just begun last year. Each received his torch with a heavy air.

Edu’s father squeezed his shoulder. The boy looked back to see his father exchange glances with one of the men, and then, a quick nod. The blacksmith turned his back on his son and went back into the house.

Edu started to turn back. He wanted to go after his father, go back to his mother and his brothers. But before the boy could complete the movement, a hoarse voice called him. The pre-morning silence gave it the clarity of a shout:

“Come closer, boy.”

Edu looked over the man from head to toe. The warrior was younger than his father, black eyes and beard, and curly hair of the same tone. The boy felt a shiver as he noticed the scar running from his right ear to his chin, an ugly, uneven tear. Then his gaze descended to the stamped figure of a tower on his right breast, and then lower still, to the ax the warrior wore at his waist.

“Well!” Grunted the man, kneeling to get more level to the boy. Edu’s eyes had already reached his boots and had stayed there. 

“Do you have a name, lad?”

“Edu, sir.”

“Very well. And you know what’s going to happen, now? Did your older friends and your parents tell you what lies ahead? ”

“Yes, sir.”

“Very well.” The warrior rose and ran his hand through Edu’s hair. “We have to be at school by dawn. After you have made the journey a few times, we’ll entrust you with a torch, but for now, focus on keeping pace with us. Whatever happens, do not stray from the group. If anything comes up, use what your father gave you. Understood?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Right.” The man turned to his partner. “Boris, we have spoken. Are the others ready? ”

“They are,” said the second warrior, a grey-haired man with a mane that covered his black coat to the chest, almost entirely concealing the symbol of his order. His nose was crooked and one of his eyes, half-closed. He made Edu think of an old bear.

“Let’s go, guys! Let’s go to school! Forward, in line, two by two, and do not stray. Move forward! “He called, waving his torch in the air. Two by two, the boys started following Boris, the bear, toward the gates of the village. Boots buried deep into the snow with each step, leaving a trail behind the children.

“You’re coming with me,” the younger man said to Edu, taking his place at the end of the line.