|Series||His True Destiny by Azaelia Silmarwen|
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|Next||His True Destiny: Chapter Six|
|← His True Destiny: Chapter Four||Chapter Chronology||His True Destiny: Chapter Six →|
Chapter Five: Bargate PrisonEdit
The guard ended up coming looking for Rowan, before leading him outside. Once outside, Rowan stood there aimlessly thinking about his mother. He wondered how a mighty warrior of her reputation ended up settling down with someone like Brom.
As he stood there, a man he had never seen before approached him.
‘Can I help you?’ Rowan asked him.
‘You’re Chicken Chaser, ain’t cha?’ he asked.
Rowan blinked. He hadn’t been called that in years. Theresa used to call him that all the time when they were kids.
‘Theresa wants you to meet her at the Grey House.’
‘Thanks,’ replied Rowan, before teleporting to the Grey House.
He found Theresa waiting for him outside, sitting on a fence. She didn’t look too happy.
‘What’s wrong?’ he asked, sitting down next to her.
‘So you’ve finally met Jack of Blades,’ she said.
‘What’s that supposed to mean?’
‘I met him long ago when he burnt down our home and cut out my eyes.’
‘Wh-what?’ Rowan gasped. ‘That was all his doing?’
‘Yes, it was. Know this; he wasn’t lying when he said that he knew where Mother was. He’s kept her in Bargate Prison ever since the night of the raid.’
‘And that’s why he said he longed to unite us all,’ Rowan muttered bitterly. ‘He wanted us all locked away.’
‘Yes. I haven’t been able to get inside, but the Archaeologist knows of an ancient secret passage.’
‘Do you know where he is now? He kind of ran away from me the last time we met.’
‘Yes. I have left the details in a Quest Card at the Guild for you. You have to get Mother out. She’s the only one who knows how to reach the Sword.’
‘The Sword of Aeons?’ Rowan questioned. He remembered reading about it in The Bloodline.
‘Yes. The Sword is everything and it could turn the world to nothing. Mother also has a gift for you; more power than you can imagine. I must go now. Good luck, my brother.’
‘Be safe, Theresa,’ Rowan said, kissing her forehead, before leaving for the Guild. He had to admit that it felt weird being taller than her.
Once back at the Guild, Rowan hurried over to the Quest Cards and began searching for the one Theresa left him. Once he had found it, he read it thoroughly. It turned out that the Archaeologist was currently locked up in Bowerstone North Prison. Not even wanting to know how he got himself locked up. Rowan teleported to Bowerstone, where he made his way to Bowerstone North. The guards immediately allowed him entry when he showed them the Champion Seal.
Once inside the district, Rowan found his way blocked by a sheriff.
‘Ah, Hero,’ he began. ‘Lady Grey told us you would be coming. You’ll find her Grace in the gardens outside her mansion.’
‘Thank you,’ Rowan replied with a fake smile.
He had no desire to see Lady Grey when he was so close to seeing his mother again. It was for that reason that once the sheriff was out of sight, Rowan hurried off towards the prison. As he approached the prison he could hear screaming within. He ran inside and out to the other side and found a nervous guard before a bridge.
‘What happened?’ Rowan demanded, going over to the guard.
‘There was too many of them, we never stood a chance,’ replied the guard. ‘They grabbed the Archaeologist and took him up the hill there. I don’t know what they’re planning to do with him, but I bet it ain’t gonna be pretty.’
‘So who exactly took him?’ Rowan inquired.
‘Them!’ the guard exclaimed, pointing to the bridge as a demon-like creature appeared.
‘This can’t be good,’ Rowan muttered, drawing his bow. He assumed these were Jack of Blades’ minions from whom Theresa and the Archaeologist had been running from.
Rowan shot an arrow at the creature aiming for its forehead. The arrow hit its target but it had no effect. Its skin was clearly tougher than a trolls. The creature merely growled and charged at him. It tackled Rowan to the ground and tried to rip him apart. The guard plunged his sword into its back. This did have an effect. The creature howled and turned on the guard.
Rowan drew his sword and attacked. Even though he and the guard were doing damage to the creature, it did not seem to be weakening.
What is this thing? Rowan wondered.
‘Why don’t you return to the underworld from wherever you came from,’ the guard growled out at the creature.
This gave Rowan an idea. On several occasions he had snuck into a Will lesson, for Heroes of Will, and on one occasion he had learnt about summoning creatures from the netherworld. In that particular lesson, he learnt of a method to defeat these creatures. That method was to use Will. More specifically Divine Fury, which is a spell which channels the white-hot-fury of the gods into concentrated beams.
‘I’m going to attack it with my Will power,’ Rowan informed the guard. ‘While I do that, continue to attack it with your sword.’
‘Got it!’ the guard replied.
Rowan growled as he attacked with the Divine Fury. With the power of Will and Strength, Rowan and the guard managed to defeat the demon.
‘I never want to find one of those again,’ Rowan groaned.
‘I’m afraid that isn’t the last,’ said the guard, nodding to a creature up ahead that was attacking another guard.
Groaning, Rowan hurried off to defeat the other creature. They did the exact same process as before. With that creature destroyed, Rowan and the two guards hurried towards the windmill, fighting off even more creatures as they went. It was when they got to a farmhouse and rescued another guard that Rowan collapsed to his knees and lent his head against a fence post.
‘You okay, kid?’ one of the guards asked as they took in Rowan’s pale, tired face.
‘I just need to rest for a bit,’ Rowan replied with his eyes closed. ‘I never got any formal Will training at the Guild, and I haven’t been using it for very long. That means I tire easily when I use it too much.’
‘When this is finished, you should pick up some of those mana potions, or whatever they’re called,’ another guard informed the Hero. ‘I’ve seen a several Will-users with them. They’re like health potions only they focus on mana instead of health.’
‘Once this is done, I think I will,’ replied Rowan.
He ended up sitting there for roughly ten minutes, before forcing himself to go on and to continue to Goblet Woods. It was in Goblet Woods that they saw it. It was one of those creatures except it was able to summon minions, including a rock troll. Thankfully, Rowan and the three guards met up with two more guards making their fights easier.
The six of them made their way down Prison Path. As they headed down the path they could see two summoning demon creatures and the Archaeologist heading for a boat on the docks. The group picked up their pace, though this was difficult when they constantly had the demonic creatures blocking their way. They only just made it to the docks in time, where Rowan collapsed to the ground, panting. That, of course, happened once the Archaeologist was free from the two creatures with him. The guards were almost in the same shape as him. They were all holding on to the dock railings.
‘You saved me!’ the Archaeologist exclaimed. ‘But then, I’d still be safely in my cave if it weren’t for you!’
‘Enough with the cave already,’ Rowan growled. ‘If I didn’t need your help I wouldn’t be here!’
‘And what is it you need help with?’
‘I was told that you knew a way into Bargate Prison. Is it true?’
‘Of course it is. I know everything, don’t I? That’s why I’m as good as dead if they find me again.’
‘So how do I get into the prison?’
‘There is an ancient route into the prison through the Lychfield Graveyard,’ replied the Archaeologist. ‘A Demon Door protects it, but it hasn’t been opened in centuries.’
‘Do you know how to open it?’ Rowan asked hopefully.
‘No, you’ll have to figure that one out yourself. Now, if you excuse me, I’m not sticking around here. I still know a few good hiding places.’
‘Whatever,’ Rowan groaned as the Archaeologist ran off. He then returned to the Guild, where he sat down on the floor and rested his head against the wall.
‘Here, drink this,’ the Guildmaster said, coming over to him and giving him a blue potion. ‘This mana potion will make you feel better.’
‘Cheers,’ Rowan muttered, before drinking it. For some reason, it tasted like blueberries. ‘I don’t think I’ve ever used so much Will power in my life,’ he said, once the potion was gone. ‘I don’t know how the Heroes of Will can constantly use their Will.’
‘Through lots of practice and use,’ replied the Guildmaster. ‘If I had known that you could use Will, I would have had you training in that disciple too. Maybe you should remain at the Guild and do some Will training.’
‘I can’t. I just discovered that Scarlet Robe is alive. I have to get to her.’
‘Rowan, do you really think that is wise –‘
‘I am not just going to sit back and allow my mother to rot away in some prison!’ Rowan snapped. ‘Nothing you do or say will stop me!’
‘I see you feel very strongly about this,’ the Guildmaster sighed. ‘Very well, just make sure you take lots of potions with you. And when this is over, you will train, is that understood?’
‘Good. Now go to the Guild shop and get the necessary supplies. I don’t want you dying because your mana or health is low.’
‘Okay, okay, I’m going there now,’ Rowan said with a fond smile. The Guildmaster could be such a mother hen at times.
With the necessary potions purchased Rowan teleported to Headman’s Hill. From there he made his way to Lychfield Graveyard. In the Lychfield Graveyard, Rowan went over to the Demon Door concealing the hidden path to the prison. However, just like the Demon Door, Hits, this Demon Door wouldn’t just open up to anyone who wanted to go inside.
‘Leave me alone, you organic pustule,’ it said coldly. ‘I only open for Nostro, the ancient guardian of the door. I will not open for you, and I definitely won’t open for that rancid gravekeeper.’
Groaning, Rowan left the door. How was he supposed to open the Door now? He was pretty sure this Nostro was dead and would be no use to him. He ended up heading for the gravekeeper’s place. Rowan figured that the gravekeeper might know something about Nostro.
As Rowan approached the gravekeeper’s house, he heard two men talking within.
‘You have the whole set? The must be worth a bleedin’ fortune!’
‘Yeah, I smashed open the crypt ‘n’ it was all just lyin’ there,’ said the other man.
‘You’d better hide it to make sure no one else steals it,’ the first man warned.
‘Don’t worry; I’ve got it stashed all over the graveyard. No one’s going to find it. Not even them undead what’s wandering around. Only thing I didn’t manage to hide before they turned up was the helmet. It’ll be alright here for now, and I’m keeping them gates locked till I can sell the lot.’
A twig snapped underneath Rowan’s foot as he got even closer to the front door.
‘Sh! What was that?’ the first man said quickly. He had a note of worry in his voice. ‘Someone’s out there! I better go!’
Just as Rowan was about to knock on the front door, it opened and revealed a snort man with short dirty blonde hair. He froze when he saw Rowan.
‘I thought you said you were leavin’,’ said the other man, coming to the door. He was the gravekeeper Rowan sort. When he saw Rowan, he also froze.
‘Ah, hello,’ he said nervously. ‘You hear on Guild business, are you?’ he added, noticing the Guild Seal pinned to Rowan’s shirt.
‘One could say that,’ Rowan replied, motioning for the gravekeeper’s friend to leave. ‘I need your help opening the Demon Door.’
‘You want to go through those Old Kingdom gates?’ The gravekeeper looked surprised. ‘I tell you, they ain’t been opened for generations. They say that only Nostro the gatekeeper could open ‘em, but old Nostro died a couple of hundred years ago. Now the secret’s buried with ‘im in his crypt.’
‘Do you know where his crypt is?’
‘Course I do. It’s in this very graveyard. I suppose you’ll want access to the graveyard?’
‘Alright, let’s go,’ he sighed, grabbing a key off the hook next to the door and leading Rowan to the actual graveyard.
‘Nostro’s crypt is on the far side of the graveyard,’ the gravekeeper informed Rowan as he opened the graveyard gate. ‘It’s over the river and up the hill.’
The gravekeeper ended up leading Rowan right to it, though it meant that Rowan had to protect him from the undead that were roaming the graveyard.
When they arrived at Nostro’s crypt, Rowan noticed that the door had been smashed open. The Hero glanced suspiciously at the gravekeeper before entering the crypt and looking around. All he could see was Nostro’s sarcophagus. Figuring what he needed was inside the sarcophagus, Rowan pushed open its stone lid only to find Nostro’s skeleton within.
‘Well this little trip helped,’ Rowan muttered bitterly. ‘Now how am I supposed to enter the Demon Door?’
‘My armour, my helmet, my sword and my shield,’ a ghostly voice whispered in reply. ‘Gather them for me and the path I shall yield.’
After a nervous glance at Nostro’s skeleton, there was no doubt in Rowan’s mind that it was Nostro talking to him, he went outside to speak once more to the gravekeeper.
‘Did you find what you were after, Hero?’ the gravekeeper asked nervously.
‘No, and I think you know why,’ replied Rowan. ‘If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be so nervous.’
‘I don’t know what you’re talkin’ about.’ The gravekeeper was beginning to sweat.
‘Don’t bother lying to me. I heard everything your friend and you were talking about before you heard me outside. Now, unless you want to be a permanent resident here, I suggest you take me to where you hid Nostro’s helmet, armour, sword and shield.’
Seeing that Rowan was serious and wasn’t as friendly as he looked, the gravekeeper immediately obeyed. He valued his life more than gold.
Their first stop was Lady Fylarn’s crypt to receive Nostro’s armour, then across from the crypt, Rowan had to fish Nostro’s shield out of a small pond. His sword ended up being hidden in someone’s graves, which Rowan had to dig up, while the helmet was in the gravekeeper’s house, which Rowan already knew.
‘You will give ‘em back to me once you’re done with ‘em, won’t you?’ the gravekeeper asked nervously.
Rowan looked at him coldly.
‘You robbed a Hero’s crypt without good cause,’ the teenager replied coldly. ‘The only thing you’re getting is my sword through your chest!’
Before the gravekeeper could do anything, Rowan plunged his sword through his chest. The Hero then walked away calmly, returning to Nostro’s tomb, where he reluctantly dressed the skeleton with its belongings.
‘My armour, my shield, my helmet, my sword,’ Nostro said once Rowan was done, ‘you have gather for me, so the path I shall yield.’
Figuring that Nostro was going to allow Rowan access through the Demon Door, the Hero made his way back to said Demon Door. It did not look surprised to see him again.
‘So, you helped the old one recover his armour,’ it said. ‘For that I will let you through, but be careful; I don’t want your finger marks all over me.’
‘Thank you,’ Rowan said as the Door opened, allowing him to venture down the old graveyard path, which turned out to be invested with the undead.
At the very end of the old graveyard path was a pair of old doors with what looked like two women holding swords depictured on each door, facing inwards. However, it wasn’t what was on the door that was important, but rather what was behind the door. Beyond the door was a path that led to the Circle of the Dead, which, of course, was home to the living dead. Rowan enjoyed shooting them all, before entering the secret underground passages leading into Bargate Prison.
When Rowan entered the prison, he assumed that there would be no one guarding the door leading out through the ancient passage, but he was wrong. The moment he entered, he found a sword point at his throat, which was followed by two more swords.
‘What are you doing down here, kid?’ one of the prison guards demanded.
‘He’s no ordinary kid, mate,’ the guard’s comrade informed him. ‘He’s that Hero who recently survived the Arena. He’s Scarlet Robe’s only son. He’s probably here to free his mother.’
‘Join her, more like it,’ the third prison guard sniggered.
‘I don’t think so,’ Rowan replied coldly, before sending them flying backwards with the use of the force push spell. He ended up knocking them unconscious, before finishing them off with his sword.
With the guards dead, Rowan readied his bow and snuck through the prison, looking for his mother’s cell. Any guards he saw, he killed without mercy. They were his enemies, after all, and they were the only thing standing between him and his mother.
By the time he found his mother’s cell, there were dead guard bodies everywhere. At first, Rowan just stared at his mother, who had her back to him, before quickly unlocking the cell door. Scarlet Robe tensed up when she heard him enter.
‘I told you; touch me again and I’ll wring your neck!’ she growled, turning around to face the overjoyed Rowan. Her anger vanished when she saw him. ‘Rowan? No, this is a trick! You’re not my son. The bastard’s playing with my heart! My baby is dead!’
‘No, it’s not a trick, Mum,’ Rowan said as he got closer to her. ‘It’s really me.’
‘Oh, Rowan!’ she exclaimed, throwing her arms around him and holding him close. ‘I thought you were dead!’
She then let him go and took in his blonde hair, blue eyes, and Hero uniform. That was before she hit him behind the head, losing all her happiness.
‘Ow! What was that for?’ he growled, rubbing the back of his head.
‘What the hell were you thinking, coming here?’ Scarlet scolded. ‘Don’t you see he’ll take us both? Don’t answer that. Come on, we’ve got to get out of here.’
Rowan handed his mother his sword.
‘If we run into trouble, you’ll need something to fight with,’ he said.
‘But, Rowan –‘
‘I’ll be fine. I’ve still got my bow and Will power.’
‘Very well.’ Scarlet accepted the sword and led the way out of the cell to freedom. However, she ended up walking them into a trap.
All the exits of the room they were in were blocked by a red barrier, and they were soon surrounded by the summoning demon creatures Rowan had to fight when rescuing the Archaeologist.
‘I hate these things,’ Rowan grumbled as he watched them warily.
‘You have fought Dreadwings before?’ Scarlet questioned.
‘Yes, but I didn’t know what they were called. Are the non-magic ones called Dreadwings too?’
‘No, they are called Wardogs,’ Jack of Blades said as he appeared in the room. ‘You know, it isn’t polite to leave without saying goodbye.’
‘Bastard!’ Scarlet growled.
‘This child of yours is quite a Hero, dear Scarlet,’ Jack continued. ‘Did you know he’s been crowned Arena Champion? You must be so proud of him. It must run in the family. That and getting locked up in one of my charming little cells.’
Scarlet’s eyes darkened dramatically.
‘You disgusting freak!’ she snapped. ‘Let him go. He doesn’t know anything.’
‘Oh, I think you will find he knows a great deal.’ Jack sounded highly amused. ‘You see, the Arena Seal I gave him has been showing me his every movement. It has been most entertaining with him digging up graves, saving old fools, meeting with that crazy sister of his –‘
‘Theresa is not crazy!’ Rowan yelled furiously. He felt so used.
‘Theresa’s alive?’ Scarlet whispered.
‘Yes, and she told Rowan all about the Sword, not to mention that wretched bloodline of yours,’ replied Jack. ‘And now, my sweet, you’re going to tell me where the key is.’
The Dreadwings’ stuck their swords at Rowan.
‘No, don’t hurt him!’ Scarlet exclaimed with panic evident in her voice.
‘I won’t, if you tell me where the key is,’ replied Jack, as numerous prison guards appeared. ‘Take the boy to one of the holding cells and make sure he doesn’t escape.’
The guards grabbed Rowan roughly and began to lead him away.
‘No, Rowan!’ Scarlet moved towards her son, only to find her way blocked by the Dreadwings.
‘I’ll be fine, Mum, just don’t tell him anything!’ Rowan replied confidently, before he was pushed roughly from behind.
When the group arrived at the holding cells, the prison guards confiscated all of Rowan’s weapons, belongings, and even his trousers and shirt with the Guild Seal, before pushing him roughly into a cell and slamming the door shut.
‘Why don’t you make yourself nice and comfortable?’ one of the guards suggested mockingly, while Rowan glared at him. ‘We’ll be back to get you and the other scum later. Then we’ll have a bit of fun. He’ll enjoy it, won’t he, Tips?’ he added to the prisoner in the cell next to Rowan.
‘Go to Hell, pig!’ Tips growled.
The guard tsked.
‘Temper, Tips, temper,’ he said. ‘You should keep all that energy for later. You’ll need it then. Oh, and don’t try any of that funny Will stuff,’ he added warningly to Rowan. ‘It won’t work in here. The boss made sure of that.’
‘Of course he did,’ Rowan muttered as the guards walked off.
He then went and sat of his bed not knowing what to expect, and in all honesty he was scared. For an hour he sat there glumly staring at a wall, before a group of guards entered the cells. Rowan tensed up and looked at them nervously. This amused the guards as they forced him out of his cell. He noticed that all the other prisoners were being forced out too.
The guards took them into the courtyard and lined them up. Rowan shimmered slightly in the cold. He was only wearing his underpants, after all.
‘Right, you miserable sods!’ one of the guards said, standing in front of them. ‘I want to see a dirty race. Plenty of pushin’ and shovin’! You ‘ear me? Now get into position!’
The prisoners around Rowan all bent down into the running position. He remained standing up right.
‘Three… two… one… go!’
The other prisoners took off. Rowan, figuring that he might as well do as the guards ordered, seeing as he had nothing better to do, started running after them as they pushed and shoved each other. He slipped past them easily, and managed to win the race. Rowan and Whisper used to race each other a lot when they were apprentices.
‘Bravo, we have a winner!’ the warden said when Rowan came to a halt before him. ‘Guards, escort him to my office.’
The two guards standing either side of the warden walked over to Rowan and each of them grabbed his forearms forcefully. They then led his to the warden’s quarters.
‘Welcome to my modest quarters,’ the warden said as the guards went and stood guard outside. ‘You have earned yourself a singular reward; one of my world-famous poetry readings!’
Rowan’s eyes widened with surprise.
‘Yes, that’s right,’ said the warden. ‘These stone walls cannot still the beating heart of a poet. Now, I don’t want to hear a sound from you. Pouring forth ones’ soul requires the utmost concentration. Is that understood?’
Rowan mutely nodded his head.
The warden then walked over to a frame on the wall, with some writing in it, turning his back on Rowan. He began to recite his poetry. When the recital was finished, the warden called for the guards to take Rowan away. However, instead of taking Rowan back to his holding cell, they took him to a torture chamber where they forced him to lie down on a rack, bounding him to it. Rowan wasn’t surprised. Why would Jack of Blades keep his word about not hurting him?
‘Welcome to your new home,’ one of the guards said. ‘We’re going to have fun with you.’
‘Yeah, we’re going to enjoy this,’ the other guard laughed as he came into sight with a bloody knife. Rowan began to shake with fear.
The guards did end up enjoying torturing the sixteen year old. They enjoyed listening to Rowan’s screams and pleas, as they did nearly everything imaginable to inflict pain. Worse of all, it was just for the fun of it. Not once did they ask him any questions.
For a year Rowan was at their mercy. For a year he had to endure excruciating pain, where he couldn’t help but sob like a baby. For a year his screams and pleas echoed around the prison, and for a year, Jack of Blades was free to roam Albion.
A year later, from the day of Rowan’s imprisonment, found Rowan staring glumly up at the ceiling from where he laid bounded to the rack. His now long hair, covered in blood and filth, framed his tired and weary face, making him look older than seventeen, while his body ached all over due to all the bruises, scars and fresh wounds covering his body.
When he heard the cell door open he closed his eyes and tried not to cry as he waited for another torture session to begin. It never came. Opening his sad blue eyes, Rowan watched as the guards released him from the rack. He sat up and looked at them nervously.
‘It’s a special day today,’ one of the guards informed him, ‘as you’ll find out soon enough.’
The guards then led the teenager through the prison and out into the courtyard where prisoners were being led out.
‘Listen, Hero, we’ve betted a lot of money on you winning the race again this year,’ one of the guards informed him. ‘So make sure you win. If you don’t, we’ll introduce you to a few new toys and make your life a living Hell.’
Rowan tensed up.
‘But if you win, we promise to reward you by leaving you alone for a little while,’ the other guard added, pushing him in line, before walking off.
Don’t worry, I’ll make sure I win, Rowan thought bitterly as the same guard as last time conducted the race.
Rowan was going to win, and while the warden was reciting his horrible poetry, he was going to find and steal his keys.
‘Go!’ the guard yelled.
Ignoring the agonising pain he was in, Rowan started running as fast as he could, and what felt like an eternity later, Rowan was once more in front of the warden. He collapsed to the ground, struggling to catch his breath.
‘You again?’ The warden looked very impressed. ‘You really are quite the athlete, aren’t you? I look forward to another meeting of the minds in my office. Guards.’
Just like last time, the two guards escorted Rowan to the warden’s quarters, with the warden following. And just like last time, the warden then dismissed the guards, reminded Rowan that he needed total silence, and began to recital while looking at the frame.
During the recital, Rowan snuck around the office looking for the keys. He only just found it in time, before the poem was finished. With the key safely hidden in his underwear, Rowan allowed the guards to escort him out of the warden’s office. They ended up taking him back to his old holding cell.
‘You did well, kid,’ one of them said as he locked the cell door. ‘As a treat, you can stay here until tomorrow. After that, we’ll introduce you to some new toys we have.’
He and his friend then walked off laughing cruelly.
‘Laugh while you can,’ Rowan muttered coldly, walking over to the cell door and unlocking it with one of the keys he stole. He then released the other prisoners, who agreed to distract the guards while he snuck into the barracks to retrieve his belongings, though the prison guards had stolen all of his potions and gold he had on him.
Unfortunately, when he re-entered the courtyard, he found the other prisoners dead. The guards in the courtyard soon caught sight of Rowan and charged at him. The Hero killed them with his bow and arrows.
With the prison guards dead, Rowan left the courtyard and searched for this mother. He hoped she was still alive. He ended up finding her in a torture chamber.
‘Mum, are you alright?’ Rowan asked as he quickly released her from the cell.
‘I’m fine, Row – oh my!’ Her eyes widened when her eyes fell upon Rowan’s tortured body. ‘What did they do to you?’
‘I’m okay, Mum,’ Rowan lied. ‘What matters now is getting out of here. Come on!’
Mother and son hurried out of the torture chamber and headed for the secret exit. Rowan killed any guards they came across with his unequalled talent.
‘I see you have been trained well,’ Scarlet commented once they were inside the secret passage.
‘The Guildmaster and all the other Heroes of Skill say I’m a natural with a bow,’ Rowan informed his mother proudly. ‘It was melee training I needed the most help with, and when this is over, the Guildmaster is going to send me to Will lessons.’
‘Why would you need Will training?’ asked Scarlet. ‘Didn’t you do those lessons as an apprentice?’
‘I didn’t know that I had that ability until the final test,’ replied Rowan. ‘Everything I know about Will, I taught myself.’
Rowan then began to talk animatedly about his time at the Guild and his adventures. During this time, Scarlet Robe couldn’t help but smile at her son’s enthusiasm. She was happy to see that he hadn’t lost it over the years. However, her smile soon vanished as they entered a central chamber with a large pool of water in the middle. The water in the middle of the pool was starting to bubble. There was something below coming to the surface.
‘Rowan, get back,’ she yelled, pulling the oblivious Rowan away from the water and not a moment too soon. Large tentacles erupted from the water, blocking their path.
‘What is that?’ Rowan exclaimed.
‘It’s a kraken,’ replied Scarlet, drawing Rowan’s sword. ‘Now, I want you to stay here where it’s safe.’
‘What? Where are you going?’
‘I’m going to attack the beast.’
‘You can’t fight it all by yourself –‘
‘Rowan, you cannot fight!’ Scarlet interrupted sternly. ‘Don’t think I cannot tell how weak you are and how much pain you are in. Now stay here!’
Scarlet then headed out to face the kraken, well aware that Rowan was watching her intently. He watched as she dodged its many tentacles before hacking them off. This enraged the kraken, and with one of its bloody tentacles, it managed to send her flying back to Rowan.
‘Mum, are you okay?’ Rowan was immediately at her side.
‘Don’t worry about me,’ Scarlet gasped, clutching her side. ‘There’s life in me still.’
‘And there is still life in the kraken,’ Rowan muttered as the beast showed its ugly face. It was staring down at them.
Scarlet went to stand up, but Rowan grabbed her wrist to prevent her.
‘What?’ she hissed.
‘You cannot fight it, you’re hurt! Besides, the sword won’t be able to reach it.’
‘Then want to you suppose we do?’ Scarlet demanded.
‘I’m going to use my Will to increase the damage of my arrows,’ Rowan replied as he pulled two arrows out of his quiver and knotted his bow. ‘I’ll attack its eyes. While it is blind and in pain, we’ll be able to escape.’
‘Rowan, you don’t have the energy to do that!’
‘I’m strong enough to do this. I’m not a little boy anymore, Mum.’
‘I know,’ she sighed sadly, allowing her son to do what he had to do.
Rowan slowly got to his feet and lined up his target. Then, after taking a deep breath, he released his arrows while performing the physical spell of Multi Arrows. It was a spell that transformed each arrow into a multitude of lethal projectiles. All Heroes of Skill and Will learnt about this spell for times when they needed to fight together.
The arrow hit their target, and while the kraken screamed and went back below the water. Scarlet grabbed the weak Rowan and pulled him to safety. Both of them collapsed when they made it to the stairs leading away from the Lychfield Demon Door.
‘Well, it looks like you didn’t turn out too badly after all,’ Scarlet commented, looking over at the exhausted Rowan. ‘You did pretty well back there.’
‘Why didn’t you ever tell me you were a Hero?’ asked Rowan.
‘You were safer not knowing, at least, I thought you were.’
‘What will you do now? Will you return to the Guild with me?’ Rowan asked hopefully.
‘No. From here we must go our separate ways.’
‘There is still so much to do,’ Scarlet replied simply. ‘Jack is getting closer to the Sword. I can feel it. He needs a key to unlock the Sword from its hiding place, and now he knows where it is.’
‘You told him, didn’t you?’ Rowan asked sadly.
‘I had no choice. I could not bear to see you in pain, not that my co-operation saved you from the torture chamber.’
‘He did what you thought was best,’ said Rowan. ‘So where is the key?’
‘It is in Hook Coast, hidden in the ruins of an abbey,’ replied Scarlet. ‘You have to get to it first… once you have regained your strength, that is.’
‘Shouldn’t I go after it now? You said so yourself that Jack knows about the key. He could have it already!’
Scarlet shook her head with a smirk on her face.
‘We have one advantage,’ she informed her youngest son. ‘He doesn’t know the key will only make itself known to one of our bloodline. That is why we have to find Theresa. As long as she’s out there Jack could use her. Now, once you are ready, you should go to Darkwood and investigate the portal. There must be some way of activating it. It is the only way to get to Hook Coast.’
‘Good, but before we go our separate way, I have a gift for you,’ Scarlet said, getting to her feet and motioning for Rowan to do the same.
Scarlet then began to conjure some green light, which soon surrounded him, lifting him painfully into the air. She was doing the exact same thing Theresa did. The only difference was his mother was still standing there when the light vanished.
With his mother’s gift, Rowan felt more powerful than before.
‘Feels good, doesn’t it?’ Scarlet said knowingly. ‘From now on, I will be able to talk to you through your Guild Seal. Now go. I will try to find Theresa.’
‘Good luck, Mum.’
‘You too, my son. Be safe.’
Rowan nodded his head and returned to the Guild. When he arrived at the Guild’s map room, many Heroes stared at him.
‘Rowan, is that you?’ the Guildmaster asked, hurrying towards him.
‘The one and only,’ Rowan replied as he headed for the Guild shop. He needed a health and mana potion badly. He would have them charge his tab as the prison guards had also stolen all the money he had on his person.
‘Thank Avo. We thought you were dead! What happened?’
‘I’ve been in Bargate Prison providing great entertainment for the guards as they tortured me,’ Rowan muttered. ‘But it was all worth it. Mother is now free and is currently searching for my sister.’
‘At least everything turned out,’ the Guildmaster said softly. ‘I suggest you go and see the Healer and get some rest. When you’re ready, we will begin your Will training.’
Rowan simply agreed. He didn’t have the energy to tell the Guildmaster that he was leaving again, once he had fully recovered, resulting in one of his lectures about needing to train.
Written: 31 January 2013