An orcish doctor, which was an unheard of combination, tended to my arm the next three days. His name was Varok and he stayed in the cell with me, practically slept their sometimes if one counted dozing off. He was an elderly orc, a cone of white hair shooting from his chin and forming a tight point at the end of it. His skin was wrinkled, dark green, and dry, but his eyes were very kind.
“I think my work here is done,” Varok said, standing up.
“Don’t’ go,” I begged quietly. It sounded more like a whimper. “Please.”
The orc gave a husky laugh, “But I must! There are so many out there that need my help, young human. However, I hear you will save much more, am I right?”
I tilted my head at this, “What are you talking about?”
The orc looked at Gauss worriedly. The dark-skinned man of Roth had not left the cell since the branding. Did he ever use the bathroom? I wished he would just leave and let me suffer by myself, but preferably with Verok still by my side. However, judging by the orc’s nervous face, he would have to leave.
“I’m sorry, young human. I’ve said too much as I usually do. I must be going. Please, take this as a parting gift.”
Verok shoved his hand into his medical pack and produced a brown spongy cake. They had allowed me to start eating right after the branding. It hadn’t been a bittersweet moment because I could barely eat anything that night for the pain had dulled all of my other senses. They had had to force the food down my throat.
But it got worse. When hunger did come to me I was told that they couldn’t just feed me all at once. Verok warned Gauss that if he did this that my stomach might burst from the unexpected amount.
I took the sponge cake from the orc and watched him turn and leave. And yet again, I was alone. Verok seemed to be a light in this dark place, someone who cared for him and could see what he was going through. He was surprisingly hospitable for an orc, maybe even more so than most humans.
I took a bite of the cake. It was the most delectable thing I had ever tasted in my life and I shoved the entire thing in my mouth. I couldn’t get it down fast enough! I let out a tiny burp and sat back.
“I’ve never seen goblins and orcs, only heard of them,” I said. “I thought they were supposed to be beastly.”
“They are beastly,” agreed Gauss. He was bent over as he usually was, his elbows on his knees and his eyes directly on me. “But here it is different. We are all given a second chance.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“You will be instructed of this at a later time. For now, Verok has finished with you and it is time we test you.” Gauss stood and held out his hand for me to grab it.
“I’m not going anywhere with you,” I said.
“You will either come of your own choice or I will have my men carry you. Our time here is complete and there is no time to waste. The darkness arises.”
“What darkness?” I asked. “What are you talking about? Give me some sort of answers!”
Gauss pierced his lips in preparation to whistle for the men he and I both knew hid behind the walls. I didn’t care. Let those bastards come. The food they had been feeding me had restored my energy and I was feeling more confident that I could beat them with this arm. But wait. What if I pretended to follow Gauss out of this cell and make a run for it when there was a clearing? Yes, that was a better plan than fighting. Any plan was better than fighting.
Gauss let out the very start of a whistle when I said, “Alright, I’ll go.”
The man of Roth stopped his signal and the walls jiggled ever so slightly. He nodded his head, turned and started to walk away. I figured that meant I was allowed to follow and so I did.
We walked down the dark corridor lit by candles, the wax dripping to large puddles on the ground. On the walls were paintings of men I did not know, each of them wearing the same black armor Gauss’s men had been wearing. Who were these people?
There was light coming from a room up ahead. Gauss turned into it and I peeked in before stepping inside. There were more candles in here, much more. It reminded me of the candle vigils father and I would set up when others had hired us to hold their funerals. Only, this room was much different than that.
The wall before me was covered in every weapon imaginable and I was only familiar with a few. There were swords, bo staffs, bows, daggers, throwing knives, whips, and even a few lances. Each looked to have just been cleaned and spit-shined only moments before we had entered the room. This was quite the opposite from the rest of the depressing and filthy dungeon. Why did they keep their armory down here?
“Your father and his father before him all stood where you stand now,” Gauss said, his arms crossed over his chest as he gazed at the wall. He’d most likely been in here multiple times but his eyes were wide with wonder.
“My father’s a priest,” I said. “I highly doubt that.”
Gauss chuckled, “Your father is more than a priest, boy, and so you will be.”
“I’m not following you,” I said, reaching out to touch the steel of one of the greatswords but Gauss turned and slapped my hand away.
“Not for touching,” he said. “These are not toys. These are tools, blessed by the Almighty.”
“Tools for what?” I asked. “The Almighty has no need for these. He needs only those to spread the word.”
“Says the one who is trained with the sword.” Gauss raised an eyebrow. “Am I right?”
How’d they know that? Had they been spying on me? “That was only for exercise and self-defense. There isn’t a sin in that.”
Gauss waved his hands across the room, “And so these are made for that same reason. Self-defense.”
“Against what?” I asked.
Gauss’ eyes dropped to my arm. “If Samuel is correct, then the devil’s army may soon be upon us.”
I snorted at this, but it was louder than I had intended. Gauss turned to me with an intense look to him. The man was serious!
“There are no talks in the scriptures of the devil waging war on the world. Plus, it simply isn’t possible.”
Gauss did not drop his burning eyes from me and I couldn’t help but look away from them but still I could feel them on my cheek.
“You will speak to Samuel and you will see. You will read the scriptures only given to the judges. He will explain that it is because of you that these tidings are upon us.”
I shook my head, but not enough that Gauss would notice. This man was obviously insane. This was just some strange cult who were using knowledge of my father to get to me. To turn me into one of them. If I was going to survive this then I was going to have to play along. Then, I could ask father for answers.
“And what am I doing here?” I asked.
“Pick one,” Gauss commanded, again waving his arm across the room. “Pick the one that calls to you.”
I looked at Gausswho was completely genuine and then looked back at the wall of weapons. Apparently, I was supposed to feel something from one of these inanimate pieces of steel and wood. I would have to fake it, of course.
I walked to the dagger first, and placed my good hand over it, careful not to touch. I acted like nothing happened. I moved it to the gauntlets next and shrugged. Nothing. Once I got to the sword I would pretend that it had given me a jolt and then we could be done with this. Dear Almighty, what is going on with my life? Please, get me out of here.
I placed my hand over the bo staff. Shook my head. One weapon was between me and the sword now and I placed my hand over it. Nothing happened at first, but then, my black hand pushed my left hand out of the way and grasped onto it. And… It wouldn’t let go!
“Ahah!” exclaimed Gauss. “Again, Judge Samuel has predicted the truth! You have chosen the holiest of weapons!”
It was a long bo staff but at the tip, it held a long curved golden blade with a spike at the very end of it. The haft was also a little longer than any staff I had ever trained with in the past.
“What is this? A spear?”
“No!” said Gauss, actually putting his hand on my shoulder. “This is a polearm!”
He put a paper in front of my face and I swallowed and choked.
“Dear God,” I said.
There, drawn on the paper with charcoal, was a picture that depicted a dark-haired boy holding the same weapon I held now.
Hey guys! I’m Blink Savage (aka Stevie Collier) and word on the street is I’m an International Bestselling YA author. I like to explain my work as a fever dream you don’t want to leave 😉
Or, as my girlfriend calls my writing “It’s just a gumbo of good shit. It’s got everything you need in it to make you feel warm and uncomfortable at the same time.”
I like to write books that are true to myself rather than write what is popular.
When I’m not writing I have a literal list of things I enjoy doing all of which helps me to be more creative 😊
My hobbies include:
🐺 Walking my best friend: (My White Siberian Husky name Spartacus :) )
🌐 Languages (I speak French and am working on 🇯🇵 Japanese now)
📺 Movies (Sci-fi, adventure, action, and horror)
🐡 Anime (Stein's Gate, My Hero Academia, and HunterxHunter are some of my favorites)
✨ Philosophy (Really into Stoicism right now)
📚 Reading (Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Business, and self-help)
🃏 Cardistry (ask me to do a trick!)
🐲 Dungeons and Dragons
I grew up with too many creative ideas in his head and so I was forced into an ultimatum. Either sit and write down all these stories... or allow my brain to explode fantasy all over the walls.