Chapter 10

Heth

 “Again” Ralphon shouted . The knives landed everywhere except the target. Just two knives landed on the tree but missed. The target was a circle carved on a tree just outside the woods.

“YES” shouted Adin raising his hands in the air. 

“Mine’s closer to the mark than yours” laughed Mell. 

“Wipe that grin of your face” Ralphon walked towards the group of children who were backing away in case he hit them . 

“All of you have failed , miserably, “he shouted “In a fight your enemy will not be standing still, waiting for you to strike . You do not have time to aim,  you will not get a second chance like you do here .”

 “Mell won’t admit that I’m better than her ” cried Adin 

“Well thats because you aren’t” said Ralphon with both hands on his waist .

“See , even the chief  knows I’m the best” Mell smirked.  

“I never said so” .

“But mine was the closest to the target ” .

 “That doesn’t make you the best, ” said Ralphon “You will never be the best at something, there will always be someone better than you”. He unsheathed his dagger and turned around quickly and threw it . It landed right in the centre of the of the target.

 “But my knife was close enough ” Mell complained. 

 “Close enough does not do it in battle young lady” . He walked back to the tree and pulled his dagger out and sheathed it.”Now everyone, go back home. We’ll train again tomorrow ” Everyone collected their knives and rushed back home.’Your knife should be an extension of your arm the chief would always say. 

Heth noticed that all the knives had gone except for two.

“Both of you need to go home” . 

“I’m not going back till I’ve perfected my aim” Mell shouted .  

“Neither am I”shouted Adin. 

Both of them ran towards the tree . Mell was the first one to get to the tree. Both knives were at about the same height . Mell ran to the tree she grabbed both the knives wedged into the tree. She threw one of them into the woods several paces away. As soon as she turned around Adin jumped on her and knocked her to the ground .

Ralphon walked towards Heth . Heth handed him his robe . 

“I’m going back, “he said ,he looked like another person entirely  when he put the robe on.It was made of sheepskin and was black as the night sky. It’s sleeves went all the way upto his wrists . It had an open torso and it fell all the way to his ankles.”I have some meetings to attend”.

“Do you want me to go with you ?” he asked.

“No, keep an eye on them. They’ll kill each other if no one’s watching. “. Saying that he turned and walked back to the village .

Heth watched the two of them fight . Mell was on the ground facing Adin on top of her . Adin punched her on the lip and she slapped him. Now they were pulling each other’s hair waiting to see who would cry first. This wasn’t the first time they were fighting and Heth was sure it wasn’t going to be the last.

The other girls from the village would have given up by now but not Mell. Her spirit was unlike any of the girls Heth had ever seen and Adin just didn’t know when to give up. 

It reminded him of the fights he use to have with…

No,he mustn’t think about him

His hand went to his sheath and he rubbed the pommel of his knife.

He’s dead and he’s not coming back.

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Chapter 9

Before reading this chapter just to recap a little 

The three chiefs of Alt go to the Tsarn(house of the wisers) to seek their counsel about the Oracle. 
Lanno

” You must be really desperate to come here” said Foss . The grand master was looking at Tonzo with a stern look on his face, his eyes clearly showed signs of drowsiness . He looked quite thin for his age , he probably would have had a comely face when he was a youth. ” I thought I told you to never come back here didn’t I Tonzo?”.

Tonzo looked back at him and said nothing .

“Go away , I want nothing to do with you”.

“Since when did you start answering your own doors ?”said Lanno trying to suppress the hostility. 

“Well it isn’t everyday that the great chiefs of Alt are at your door now is it ?” with a look of sarcasm .  

“Why are you here?”asked the grand master scowling at Tonzo .” Are you here to take away the rest of what i have left ?”. 

“We’re here for your counsel and nothing else” said Leor . 

“Let them in grand master , they wouldn’t come here if it wasn’t important ” said another voice which came from inside the Tsarn . Suddenly Vern appeared at the door . He was wearing the robe of the wisers which was a red slik robe which had a sleeve till the wrist and the bottom extended till his ankle .The wisers were always barefoot . All three of them were bald . That was the first thing the wisers had to do after they took their vows . Shaving their hair off was a symbol of leaving the old life behind . Three of them had different professions before they became wisers . Vern was a lumberjack , Ruff was a smith and the grand master… What was he ? thought Lanno . 

“I don’t care if the sky is falling on our heads , I want nothing to do with them” shouted the grand master and walked back inside .

He was wearing the red robe of the wisers made of silk . On the back of the robe was the symbol of the wisers which was a hand with the thumb and little finger outstretched and the other three fingers close together . The three fingers represented the three wisers the middle finger being the grand master , the outstretched thumb represented the chiefs and the little finger represented the common villager . Unity, thats what that symbol stood for  thought Lanno. It all ended after he died . 

“Its about the Oracle” blurted Lanno. Foss stopped suddenly and both Tonzo and Leor looked at Lanno.

Did I just say that ?  thought Lanno. “What about the Oracle ?” asked Foss with his back still facing them . “We have found him” Lanno replied . 

He laughed . He turned around and faced them ” Oh did you ? , well I found a kraken in my leek soup today. It was the size of my little finger it was ,and do you know what i did with it ? I put a stick into its belly and cooked it on the fire in the fireplace. It didn’t taste very good though.” He laughed again “This is the most I have laughed in years ” he said. 

Vern just looked at the ground and said nothing. Foss turned away again and walked away. 

“He has the mark “said Tonzo “A Circular stone with three swords piercing it “said Tonzo . 

Foss stopped again and looked at Vern.

Vern was looking back at him. “Could it be?” Vern asked the grand master . Foss turned towards the chiefs “Tonzo” he began “We will look into this matter but do not think for a moment that i have forgiven you for what happened in the past”. Tonzo gave a sorrowful nod . 

He then turned to Vern “Show them in”.

Chapter 8

Lanno

Finally the day arrived . Not that any of them were looking forward to it, but they had no choice.  Lanno got up earlier than usual and went out for a walk. The whole time he kept thinking about the meeting with the wisers ,the guy who apparently was the Oracle, how would they react ?, would they help them or not . Lanno would sometimes be really pessimistic about certain things.  It had been a long time since anyone had even seen the wisers. They would just sit in that old house of theirs either reading or debating the whole time. No one was allowed to enter the Tsarn except the chiefs or wise men from other villages.  

The villagers would leave their leftovers from their meals outside their house . Not because they liked them but out of respect for them. This was a practice followed by all the villages. The wisers were never interested in food , they just saw it as something they needed to survive thats all.

As he kept on walking and thinking about these matters. He found himself outside Tonzo’s house . He knew he would be training at this time . 

He found him practicing his sword skills on a wooden doll in the space behind his house  .

“Can’t sleep huh?”  said Tonzo , putting the sword back into its sheath.

” No” said Lanno. ” Couldn’t stop thinking about today’s meeting “.

“What are you so worried about ? ” asked Tonzo ” It’s me they detest”.

There was a pause. Lanno didn’t know what to say to that, he changed the subject back to the meeting. 

“It’s just that we have never come across a situation like this , I feel unprepared…” 

“No one can prepare you for something like this, and besides you’re being more pessimistic than usual ” said Tonzo.  Lanno laughed “I guess i just don’t want to mess this up” .

” Cheer up. It’ll be fine” said Tonzo. 

“I guess so, I’ll see you at the Tsarn ” saying that he left for home and Tonzo went back to his training. 

Later that morning the three of them gathered outside the Tsarn.  All three of them were were wearing the chiefs robe , black breeches and blue overcoat and  a green scarf. Every chief had to wear this when they when they would tend to village affairs. 

Tonzo knocked the door three times .

“Who is it ?” shouted a voice from the inside.

“We are the chiefs of Alt , Chief Lanno, Chief Leor, Chief Tonzo ” shouted Tonzo. 

“Why are you here?” asked the voice. 

“We seek guidance ”  Tonzo shouted back. 

“The great Tonzo seeks guidance ?, isn’t that something” said another voice which Tonzo knew all too well. 

The door opened and the three of them walked in.

He was the first person they saw , sitting at the heard of the table with a bunch of scrolls scattered around him.  

“Grand Master , it’s been a long time “said Tonzo. 

“Ages” said the Grand Master

Chapter 7

The Oracle   

He found himself in a burning village . 

Screams , that was all he could hear . He saw  people running out of their burning houses.  A woman came running towards  him. She took him by the hand and said ” We need to get out of here son” and started running taking him along .They had almost reached the entrance of the village and suddenly they saw a man towering over them . He just appeared out of nowhere.  His face couldn’t be seen because of his mask . He first looked at the woman then at him. The man began to raise his right fist which suddenly burst into flames . 

When he looked at it closely the flame wasn’t burning the man’s  hand . The woman drew him closer and looked at the man with fear and shouted ” No , I won’t let you take him”.

The man looked at  him,  and from  his eyes he  could tell that he was smiling beneath his mask. “We’ve been looking all over for you ” the man said to him . He pulled the woman away from him with his left hand and  slammed his  right burning fist through the woman’s chest . That was when he woke up screaming.

Chapter 6 

Max

‘Military without borders’ thats what they were . ‘The Unknown’ that was the name of their organisation. 

The reason they were called that was that nobody knew that they existed.  They were only spoken about in whispers .

They were a widespread organisation who had their people everywhere.  No one could ever directly get in touch with them . They would have their intermediaries everywhere.

They were the people who would get them their tasks. 

Max had been with them for almost seven years . He was taken in when he was 6. 

He had never been on a mission.  He wasn’t ready , thats what Clarke kept telling him. Which would make him angry every single time. Still ,he continued to train all those years . He would begin training at dawn till early in the afternoon.  Then after his meal he would wander around the town looking for jobs. Jobs like buying something from the bazaar , lumberjack, stable jobs etc . Basically jobs that would get him his daily wages. 

After his jobs he would go back to to their hideout. Their hideout was below 4 hovels  ,2 on each side of the road . So there were secret passages in each of the hovels which led to the hideout . 

Max was living with Clarke in one of the hovels and posed as his son. 

He walked into his home and went toward  the painting on the wall, he took it down and pulled the lever that was behind it and  a trapdoor opened in the ground to his left . Stairs led down below. When he got to the bottom he found Clarke holding a parchment with a surprised look on his face . 

“Where are the others ?” Max asked . 

“Out on other missions ” he replied still maintaining the look.

“Is everything okay?”asked Max. 

“We’ve got a mission ” he said putting the parchment down. 

Now it was Max’s turn to be surprised “We?”he said . ” Yes we , the others aren’t here and this is a two man job” .

“You think I’m ready?”.

“Of course you are , I trained you after all” replied Clarke. 

“Okay, what is it ?” said Max getting excited .

“Word is that the Oracle has been found in Alt” said Clarke. 

“The Oracle?” said Max with a bewildered face” Wasn’t that just a myth?”.

“Apparently not “said Clarke. 

” So our job is to …?”

“Kidnap him” said Clarke.” We have to kidnap the Oracle “.

Chapter 5

​Seia 

“The wisers ? ” said Mother . “Why would they want to consult the wisers ?. You know they aren’t going to easily help you right ?” .

“I do ” said Father. ” Them and that condescension of theirs. Me and Tonzo have no idea how Leor plans to talk to them . There hasn’t been a conversation between the wisers and chiefs since …”

“Yes I know” replied Mother . 

Damn, thought Seia . The chiefs were serious when they swore never to tell anyone about it . It had something to do with the disagreement between Chief Tonzo and  Chief Ralphon , the partition of the village . Never did the chiefs tell anyone what the cause was. Since then Seia had always been curious and tried to find out the cause by eavesdropping any conversation that the Chiefs had . 

“I know you’re there Seia “shouted her father. Damn, she thought. She crawled out from under the table in the next room and walked into the living room. “How many times have I told you , I know when you eavesdrop “said Lanno.

“But how?”said Seia with a clueless look on her face . 

“I just know” grinned Lanno.” I’ve told you many times , don’t poke your nose into matters that don’t concern you. Now go out and play.”

” I don’t wanna go out ” she said with an angry look on her face . “You will do as i tell you”said her father sternly “Now go.”

She walked to the door ,opened it and slammed it shut behind her.  

She walked to the square and saw the other children playing most of them were her age between 10 and 12 years. All day they would just run around and play with their dolls , which she hated. She didn’t even know half the children’s names except Leor and Dican who were the grandchildren of Chief Leor. 

She wasn’t a very social person in that way, she probably got that from her father.

She walked right past the square and made her way to the forest and found the tree with the ‘X’ mark on it . She reached into the hollow of the tree and brought it out . ‘Mynah’ ,thats what she called it as the hilt and the scabbard both were a mixture of brown and black in it . Girls in Alt weren’t allowed to touch a sword till they turned 13. But Seia being the rebel that she was had started to learn when she was 7 and kept on training till now .She probably was the only 11 year old  in the whole village who knew how to use a sword.

 She found Mynah lying in the armory and fell in love with it as soon as she saw it .

 What was surprising was that nobody report it missing ,must not have been important to anyone.

She kept walking towards the centre of the  forest till she found the clearing where she would practice . And there he was , sharpening his sword. He looked up as she walked closer to him . “I thought we weren’t going to train today  ” he said . 

“Father and Mother wanted me out of the house”she said “Probably didn’t want me listening to their ‘private’ conversation. 

“Ahhhh” he said “Anyway , shall we begin?”.

“Yes” she responded and unsheathed her sword.

Chapter 4

Heth

“Yes Chief” that was Heth’s life in a nutshell.

Chief Ralphon was always his first priority. He could tell Heth to do anything at any time of the day and he would drop whatever he was doing and run to his master.

The sole purpose of his life was to serve his master. 

He would get up early in the morning and get the water ready for his master’s bath while he would be out training. He knew his master’s routine by heart . 

He would wake up early in the morning when it was still dark outside , train till the sun came up. By the time he came in Heth would have had the water readyx for his bath. While he was taking a bath Heth would prepare his breakfast. He’d then eat, get dressed and go to the court house where different cases were presented which he would settle. This would go on till noon. At noon he would come back home and Heth would have his lunch ready.

After lunch he would go to the square to train the children. ” War does not come with a warning ” that’s what he always said . He would make it a point that every single person was ready to fight at a moment’s notice. He made sure that everyone continued their training including women. 

The training would go on till evening after which he would come back for dinner.

He would then go out for an evening walk come back have a snack, something light and go to sleep. This was his routine and he would never deviate from it not even a bit . He was the most organized person that Heth had ever known . This was one of the reasons why he looked up to his master. He would often tell Heth ” Heth , you are responsible for taking care of this house the way I am responsible for taking care of every house in Frenzo”.