Scene 1 - A Daughter’s cry
A guardsman’s life isn't filled with glory, much less thanks. Pulling drunk people off the streets, dealing with unreasonable commoners, nobles, and their own superiors. Usually while being ill-equipped to deal with the problems that arise in the kingdom of Woute.
Two guardsmen patrol a muddy road walking with their spears in hand. One a young woman of seventeen and the other a late middle-aged man full of life.
The sunshine down brightly above the commoners showing off their boney bodies. Everywhere the two guards looked, they could see the people’s bleak appearances. The people eyes sunken, skin unhealthy yellow, and virtually non-existent muscle.
Looking at the commoner's appearance a tell-tale sign could be seen these people were malnourished, but it wasn't the concern of Rune and Hoss.
The two guardsmen weren't going hungry. Still, they wore ragged hand-me-down guard uniforms, and their weapons weren't any better shoddily constructed iron spears.
Hoss had a smiling expression, while Rune fumed at the passing people. It was an easy patrol today, their job was to watch over a certain tavern and catch anyone suspicious.
Thanks to Rune's glare the commoners tried their best to move out of the way. They were already starving, they didn't want to get beaten by the guards on top of that.
When he saw how Rune was acting, Hoss shook his head. “You need to stop glaring like that Runey, or you’ll never get married!” he teased, hoping to calm her nerves.
All it did was focus Rune’s glare on him. She was angry, which made Hoss wonder what had gotten under her skin.
Usually, Rune wasn’t someone who kept her thoughts bottled up. Although she glared, she wasn’t the type get mad and bring it on the job.
She spoke with a voice full of disgust. “Why must we do that noble’s bidding? We’re not his men, Hoss. Why should we waste time watching this tavern when we could be protecting the people?
Instead, we’re protecting this place that uses the lives of the citizens as games pieces behind closed doors. We are not guard dogs, Hoss, we are guardsmen! Instead of protecting that pig-headed noble, we should send him to the gallows. The people seek retribution for suffering under the injustices he has caused!”
Hearing the contempt and anger in her voice, Hoss gave Rune a cheery smile while petting her head. He puffed off his buff chest, showing off the scars on his arms like they were war trophies.
He agreed with what Rune was saying, they should be protecting the little order this town had. They should be cracking down on criminals instead of protecting nobles interests.
But having lived in this town so long, he knew speaking ill of nobles was a grave mistake in the wrong company. If a snitch heard, and told the nobles ears… They would most likely end up in a ditch somewhere stabbed in the back. After all, no one cared about how a slum guardsmen died.
After telling him what was on her mind, Rune’s anger had started to lessen. However, she kept glaring, an unladylike habit she picked up while living in the slums.
“Come now Rune, we're just two simple guardsmen,” Hodd calmly explained. “The only thing we can do is discourage the townspeople from coming in. Think of it as keeping them away so they won’t get hurt.”
Despite being less angry, Rune kept glaring and snorted harshly at him. She turned her focus straight ahead. “You’re the one who taught me to be tough and sly, Hoss! Remember when I first joined the guard? The first thing you taught me was that the moment I let my guard down, I’d lose my life. So why should I stop glaring if it might end my life? Besides, there's only one man for me!”
Hoss chuckled at Rune’s response, “Indeed, I remember how troublesome training you was. You were so feisty when you joined the guard, giving the captain-major headaches.
“I remember how, in revenge for winning in all those poker games, he threw me a fresh runt to train. I never expected that little runt to grow into a fierce Guardsman!”
“Whatever!” Rune snorted. “Hoss, what do you know about this noble Dezmin? Are the rumors true, that he’s attempting to become king? Is that why he’s trying to coax the slavers to his side?”
Hoss smile vanished in a blink. "Lower your voice, Runey. The noblemen and slavers have ears everywhere.
“One wrong word, and we’ll both be dumped on the roadside with our necks slit. As for Dezmin... It isn’t our concern. We're guardsmen, not knights! We keep our heads down and patrol.”
“Hmph!” she pouted, “It’s just-- ” Rune words got stuck in her throat as she stopped moving as her body felt like it was on fire. From her stomach, a wave of hunger pulsated throughout her body all the way to her fingertips.
She didn't know why this happened she just knew she had to eat something. Pulling out some rations from her pouch Rune took a bite hoping to quell the feeling.
Alas, a wave of pain washed over her as she fell to her knees on the dirt road. Noticing that Rune had fallen to the floor, Hoss turned around to see what happened. Eyes growing wide as he watched Runes sudden transformation first hand.
First, her skin that once had a healthy glow had now turned pale as paper. Next strange red and green lines started crawling out from the center of her chest. The web grew from that point and all along the rest of her body, before sinking under, away from the naked eye.
Hoss was awestruck only managing to get a few words caked with fear, “Ah? Runey you ok?”
She didn’t respond as her body felt like it was on fire within moments her long brown hair lit ablaze. An inferno turning her dull brown locks into a scarlet red, and her once black eyes now shined an emerald green.
Mana emanated from Rune’s body, heating up the air and making it feel toxic to breathe in.
The hunger pains that wrecked her body turned to ecstasy as the mana started to flow into her body. It entered every place it could, flying into her eyes, ears, nose, and pores.
When enough mana gathered in her body, a flicker of red and started to swirl around her. Although the process seemed long it only took about thirty seconds.
After a bit of time the changes Rune calmed down, and the hunger disappeared. Along with the with the phenomenon surrounding her vanishing into thin air.
Still, the mana inside her flowed throughout her body filling her with an unknown warmth. A joy she had never felt before as she stood back up with a smile on her lips.
That is until she glanced at her partner, Hoss, whose expression showed a mixture of surprise, shock, and fear. Hoss was now on the ground in a daze, his face an ugly shade of green pointing at her with a trembling finger, “Awakened…”
Rune who was filled with happiness woke up form the warmth in her body. Her face turned pale with the shocking realization.
She had awakened to magic.
“I have to go Hoss… Don’t tell anyone!”
Her arms were trembling as she ran away from her post in great haste. She knew now was not the time to guard this shifty tavern run by that disgusting noble. She had to get home and ask her mother what to do!
Rune ran home to where her Mother and siblings lived, trying her best to hide her flaming hair with a dirty blanket. Only to fail as her hair burned it away into ashes making her curse under her breath.
While she fled down the road, Rune didn't see the thug sitting on a porch eyeing her with greed.
She sprinted down the main road, knowing full well this would expose herself more. But she didn't have the luxury to waste time every single second of her time now was precious.
Unable to take the side roads filled with treacherous gangs she ran with all her might. Trying to make it home while hiding her face with the remaining pieces of the dirty rag. ignoring the strange looks that turned to awe when residents saw her flaming red hair.
Sweat poured down her face as she thought to herself, ‘Why did this happen to me? I don’t want to taken by slavers, I don’t want to be eaten by nobles. I don’t wanna be used like a toy until I'm thrown away. Why are the gods cruel to make those without the status carry such a power?’
Dark thoughts filled her mind, for she’d heard the rumors of what happened to awakened mages. By the time she made it home, she was gasping for air.
Despite being a guardsman that wasn't starving she and her family lived in a shabby shack. Her pay wasn't all that great so they could only live the sea of shacks that looked more like a landfill.
Still, although it was shabby, this shack was her home. She knocked on the door three times, and it was Nena that opened the door.
Her little sister looked at her in curiosity as she entered to see her mother preparing lunch. As luck would have it, it was her day off from working in the dragon wheat fields.
Hearing the commotion the mother looked up from heating stew with surprise. Even though Rune looked different from normal she still recognized her daughter.
Motioning her inside the house the mothers' eyes held worry, “Don’t worry Rune I know how to deal with this! Quick come inside!”