|A Baptism by Fire and Blood|
|Series||Hero Chronicles by Amandous|
|Next||A Hero is Forged|
|← None||Chapter Chronology||A Hero is Forged →|
In our darkest hours people see that which we truly are. A noble Hero. A cowardly Fool. A wicked Mage. An innocent little child. In all cases actions are taken. Fate is our guide as we throw ourselves into destiny’s awaiting hands. But there are always the ones who defy fate. Those who carve out their future with their swords and arrows and the powers of Will…
And so our Story BeginsEdit
` Brom looked down at his two young children. He smiled and kissed their heads softly. Theresa’s red hair looked like her Mother’s. Willow had inherited black hair. From where he did not know but he knew that Scarlet loved him as he did her. So Willow was his child. She had pale fair skin and those same almost glowing blue eyes as her Mother. But she was built like him. Strong and sturdy. Though she was a small thing he knew she would grow up strong. He hoped that she would not become a Hero, though he knew it would be her path. She had her mother’s day dreams of a life greater then what she had.
` “When you do leave one day. I know you will not forget about us. I know your heart will always remain here even if you go far away.” He whispered softly to his youngest. She clutched a small wood carving in her hand. It was his family’s crest. He had made it for her. She had cut off all her hair and used the leather cord that usually held it back as a chain for the carving.
` “Brom? Come to bed.” Scarlet said. She was a vision of loveliness in the dying firelight. He smiled at her and she kissed his cheek looking down at the two sleeping children. Theresa was eight and Willow was five.
` “They’ll do wonders for the world some day.” She murmured and he smiled at her kissing her.
` “We need to get Theresa her own bed. It’s time don’t you think?” He asked softly as they moved upstairs to their room. Scarlet looked at the two sleeping next to each other. Theresa shifted in her sleep and moved closer to her little sister, as if having a bad dream. As soon as her arms wrapped around Willow, the red haired sibling calmed into a peaceful sleep. It was as though Willow’s presence kept the nightmares at bay. It concerned her.
` “Yes I suppose you’re right.” She said and they would do it tomorrow. Willow would be six soon. They needed to be separated now. It was time, they were old enough. Oddly, though, Theresa never complained about sleeping with Willow. She brushed away her fears. Everything was fine…
` Willow jumped up hearing her sister scream. She felt phantom hands around her as if to hold her back. She had been dreaming of blades and clawed hands and bands of silken velvet wrapped around her. And that voice. Warm breath canting over her face as it whispered the word ‘Hero’ over and over to her. She raced over to her sister to calm her down. She climbed into Theresa’s bed and the older girl quieted quickly. Their mother came running down the stairs with their father. Willow peered at them fearfully from Theresa’s arms. Theresa was hiccupping in her sleep. It amazed Willow how her sister never woke. Her vivid blue grey eyes remained closed even after the worst of her dreams.
` “Willow what happened?” Brom asked and Willow looked down at her sister. “Another nightmare?” Willow nodded lightly and smiled, though her eyes were a bit tired.
` “Go to sleep then. We’ll wake you in the morning.” Scarlet kissed her forehead and looked worriedly at Theresa who was once more peacefully slumbering. Her nightmares were getting more and more prevalent.
` Willow walked with her sister into Darkwood Weir.
` “I am sure you’re wondering why we’re going into such a dangerous place little sister. I’ll tell you. There are creatures here that are dark and monstrous. There is a large forest on the other side of these marshes and swamps. But those are not the reasons were here.” Theresa said softly and Willow looked at her sister. She would be thirteen soon. Willow had turned ten a few months back. “We are here because we need to find a magic stone.” Theresa said and Willow tilted her head. Willow followed her sister until they came to Darkwood Lake. They saw men going into the Bordello.
` “Theresa.” Willow muttered seeing a rock that was glowing with a hole in it. “Look.”
` “Ah! Now we just need to find something to throw into the hole.” Willow made a questioning noise. A heavy footfall sounded behind them.
` “Now what two young girls, such as yourselves, be doing in a place like this?” Willow blinked several times. She knew that voice only too well. It was the voice from her dreams. The one that chanted ‘Hero’ over and over again at her, mocking her. She turned around sharply. Theresa calmly turned to look back at the man. Her blue grey eyes were blank and uncaring.
` “It shouldn’t matter at all what we’re doing here. Who are you?” She demanded as if she knew who the man was, but was asking (demanding) out of formality. He was tall, dressed in black leather pants. His boots were menacing. A blood red cloak adorned his shoulders. It was frayed at the ends and covered his torso. A hood covered his head. His face was covered in an elegant mask. His eyes were an orange colour and looked frightening.
` “Ah I see you are definitely of his bloodline.” He murmured and knelt down. Willow grabbed her sister’s hand and pulled her closer. She knew that Theresa was older then her, but she felt a need to protect her sister.
` “What do you want with us? We are busy.” Theresa said. He chuckled in a malicious way.
` “It is dangerous here little Theresa. You and your sister might get hurt.” His eyes moved to Willow and she stared into his eyes unflinchingly. She was afraid but she was ready to fight back. “Especially looking so young and innocent. Someone might just sell you off to the Bordello.”
` “We hardly need protection from you. Come along little sister. Mother is leaving today and we should see her off.” Willow had the oddest feeling she meant that he was a threat and that they didn't need to worry about him, that he couldn't hurt them.
` “Do take care little Theresa. I wouldn’t want you to get lost.” He said. Willow looked back but he was gone. She clung to Theresa tighter. She was so scared.
` “Theresa how did he know your name?” Willow whispered softly. Her older sister didn’t answer her right away as they continued on their way home.
` “He is an ancient and dangerous Thing.” She said leaving the rest of Willow’s imagination. The girl’s soft blue eyes widened at her sister’s back.
` Willow was playing on the beach; it had been about a week since her trip into Darkwood Weir with her sister. She blinked at a Ghost that was waving to her. She gave a small wave back before racing off to find her father. She saw him heading off towards Barrow Fields. She huffed and sat on the steps of their house. She needed to ask him about a gift for Theresa. Willow yawned and fell into a half sleep easily.
` “Hey!” She jumped and blinked looking up at her Father. “Wake up sleepy head.” He smiled down at her and she gave him a sheepish smile. “Off daydreaming again? Just like you Mother.” He chuckled and she stood up biting her lip.
` “Have you gotten your sister a birthday present yet?” She blushed and ducked her head. “I thought not. Well I’ll tell you what. For every good Deed I hear about you I’m going to give you a gold piece. There’s a trader in town and I’m sure he’s a present that’ll fit Theresa just fine.” He patted her head lightly and she smiled at him before nodding. As she was passing the bluff that over looked the sea she heard voices. She walked over and saw the blacksmith and a woman who was definitely not his wife. He jumped.
` “What who’s there? Oh you.” He muttered and Willow frowned, turning to go tell his wife where her husband was. “Wait! Ya can’t tell me wife.” She glanced back at him and raised an eyebrow. “There’s a gold piece in it for ya if you keep your trap shut.” He threw it at her.
` “Jerk.” She murmured softly and picked up the piece of gold. Well she hadn’t done anything bad. He did throw it at her. She hadn’t even agreed either. She grinned and raced off to inform his wife where he was.
` “Where is that man?”
` “Your husband?”
` “Yes. When you find him will you let me know?”
` “He’s on the bluff.”
` “Thank you, kind ma’am.” She then raced off. Willow gave a malicious grin as she heard her shouting ‘Wait ‘til I get my hands on him!’ She giggled before noticing the Farmer dancing around. She snorted in amusement and walked towards him. He looked relieved.
` “Oh thank Avo yer here. I’ve erm… Gotta answer the call o’ nature if you know what I mean.” He squirmed. Willow wrinkled her nose in disgust. “I’ll put in a good word for ya with yer Father if ya’d be willin’ ta help me. Just watch those crates and make sure no one smashes ‘em, eh?” She nodded if only to get the good Deed told to her Father. She waited as he rushed off.
` “Psst! Hey!” She looked over at the little bully in training. He was following his cousin’s words like he was a God. “My cousin says that there’s gold in them barrels. Quick! Before he comes back, let’s smash ‘em!” He grinned at Willow. She felt a spark of irritation and rolled her eyes turning away from the boy but made sure to keep the crates in sight at all times. He whined and pleaded with her to smash them but she refused and ignored him. He ran away calling her no fun. “’Ave yer stupid good Deed then.” He had sneered at her.
` “Thank ya lass. I’ll be sure ta tell yer Father what a good job you’ve gone.” He smiled at her and she nodded and headed out. She blinked and looked over seeing Thomas, the Bully, and Jamie, Emily’s friend arguing. Emily was wondering around looking under rocks and things.
` “Oh hello!” She sniffed. “I’m looking for Rosie, my teddy bear. I’ve lost her you see.” She murmured and rubbed her eyes. “If you find her could you give her back to me?” Willow nodded and went to ask Thomas if he knew where his sister’s bear was.
` “What do you want?” He snapped and she raised an eyebrow at him, missing the fact that her eyes started to glow a little bit.
` “Please help.” Jamie muttered pathetically.
` “He’s been hanging around with my stupid little sister and now he won’t give me her stupid bear!”
` “I don’t have it!” The younger boy whined.
` “I’ll give ya some gold if ya get it for me.” Willow looked from Jamie to Thomas before sighing.
` “No.” And she punched him, breaking his nose.
` “Ah! I’m – I’m sorry!” He muttered before running away.
` “Wow! That’s amazing. Here you can protect Rosie.” He handed it over and she nodded lightly before he rushed off. She headed up the hill and over the covered bridge. She headed towards Barrow Fields. Just before the gates, next to the pretty shiny pool of bluish white light there was a small field. Theresa was playing in it.
` “I do hope you haven’t forgotten my birthday, like last year.” She was always brutally honest with Willow. And well everyone. Willow showed her Rosie. “What is that?”
` “Present like this?” Willow asked softly.
` “Not something so disgustingly cute! You know I like sweet things.”
` “Right. Sorry.”
` “Don’t worry about it little sister.” She murmured softly and smiled at her.
` Will returned Rosie and spoke to her Father. He cautioned her that he had heard she done a few bad things. She gave him a simple smile and ran off to meet with the Trader.
` “Well hello widdle girl!” he smiled. He had a strange mustache and a weird accent. “I’m a Trader. I travel the lands buying and selling wares. Somebody told me today was your sister’s birfday, and you haven’t gotten her a present.” Willow blushed and scuffed her toe on the ground.
` “Something sweet.”
` “Well wuckiwy I haff just the fing!” He presented Willow with a wrapped box. “Every girl loves chocolates! And they’re yours for two gold pieces.” She nodded and handed them pieces. He handed her the box. Willow smiled before rushing off. “There you go! An’ wish your sister a happy birfday for me!” He called after her. Willow nodded and waved at him as she ran. She passed a guard who grumbled something but she went to her sister. She panted and looked up at her sister.
` “Oh chocolates! My favourite!” Theresa exclaimed taking the box. Willow smiled lightly and blew her dark hair from her face. “Come on little sister let’s head back. Mother shall be returning for my party soon.” The younger of the two smiled widely and nodded several times. She headed for the gate with her older sister following. “Wa-wait. Something’s not right.” Theresa touched her head lightly. Willow pulled up short and looked back as someone came stumbling into the pathway.
` “Bandits! Run!” An arrow imbedded itself in his back and he fell down. Willow gasped in shock.
` “Oh no! This is just like my dreams.” Theresa whispered. She gripped Willow’s shoulders. “You have to hide!” And then she was gone.
` Willow hid in the small thicket of woods. She watched in horror as her home was burned by bandits. She heard terrified screams and she bit her lower lip, hunkering down on herself as she tried to block it all out. It had to be a dream, just like Theresa’s. She would wake up and her Mother and Father would be there to comfort her.
` ‘Hero?’ The dark voice purred and she gasped looking up. ‘Where are you Hero?’ She looked around but she didn’t see the man in the red cloak. She shivered and looked up at the sky. Night had fallen. She didn’t see anymore bandits. Slowly she uncurled herself from her hiding place and walked, numbly, towards her home. There was a man lying in the middle of the road. She blinked before realizing it was her father. She rushed to him and knelt down. She felt fresh tears rush down her face. She collapsed over her fallen Father and sobbed. She senses, rather than felt someone coming to attack her. Her head snapped up and a bandit ran up the path towards her. She reached for something, anything, that would save her. A bolt of lightning hit the man in the back. Willow gasped and blinked through her tears.
` “Come with me if you want to live.” A rough, aged, voice commanded. She blinked. “They’re all dead. You don’t want to join them do you?” He held out his hand. She hesitated for a moment before giving her own to him. They appeared by a statue. Willow felt her stomach leap into her throat and she turned to wretch violently. “Come on! I thought you’d have a stronger stomach then that.” Willow scowled at him and swung at him. “Save your energy girl. It’s not me you want to fight.”
` “Sorry.” She muttered and he started to walk away.
` “This is the Hero’s Guild. If you’re looking for revenge you’ll require the training only we can provide. My name is Maze.” Most of what he was saying flew passed Willow as she was awed by the sights of the Hero’s Guild.
` “And who’s this?” An elderly bald man with a white mustache asked Maze.
` “A girl from Oakvale. I found her in the aftermath.”
` “Hm. She doesn’t look to be the Hero type.” He murmured and Willow glared at him a bit. He watched as her eyes started to glow with power. Those eyes spoke of ancient blood and unbreakable Will. Those were they eyes of a member of the Archon Bloodline. This was Scarlet Robe’s daughter. One of them anyway. “Come I’ll show you to your room.” She glanced over at Maze before following after him. “You’ll be sharing this room with Whisper; she’s out training, you’ll meet her later.” He told her. She just followed him. “I am Weaver and I am the Guild Master. If ever you should need something come to myself or Maze. It is not often he takes interest in someone.” She just gave him a blank stare. He left her alone in the area with two bed, one she assumed was hers. Willow sat on the bed and cried herself to sleep. She dreamt of screams, fire, smoke, and monsters.