Heritage

This is the tale of Jeraz, the young half-elf who lived in discrimination from the humans of Fogstead, until the fateful day, where a myterious man enters his home, and tells him of his ancestry, his blessed bloodline. As of that day, all the evils have seemed to come his way, and he wouldn't be surprised if the world ended tomorrow. This is part 2/3 of a "trilogy", named The Khronum Legacy.

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1. Chapter 1: Jeraz

The sun’s radiant beams were blocked by the usual layer of clouds, covering these parts. The forest was grey and dull, as the touch of autumn colored the leaves of the trees brown, orange, and slightly golden. A nearby deer dashed through the woods, its keen eyes wide open for danger. It stopped briefly, and let its head descend onto a little patch of grass. As it chewed hastily on the vegetation, a quick, whistling sound was heard. Its ears twitched at the sound, but before it could react, its temple was pierced by a steel-tipped arrow, and its head was pinned to a nearby tree, spattering blood on the bark. A few meters away, a hooded figure let a proud smirk spread on his lips. His skin was tanned, and his outfit brown as the ground beneath. He was middle-aged, 28 nearly. Silent, as if not even touching the ground, he made his way towards his newly-killed prey, with a wooden bow in his hand. As he approached it, he stretched his neck, and scouted around, his eyes keen and watchful. He grabbed hold of the arrow, placed a foot on the dead body of the deer, and tore the arrow out of its skull, spattering some blood on his clothes. He placed the bow around his shoulder, and grabbed hold of the dead deer. It was a big one, should be food for quite some time. As he picked up his prey, he was now burdened, and his steps crunched leaves and twigs beneath his feet. He hurried through the forest, with a satisfied smile on his lips. The wind rushed around him, shaking the treetops, and carrying his scent away. In the distance, he spotted several thin pillars of smoke, standing up like trees. With long, swift steps, he dashed through the forest, dozens of trees passing him each second. He slowed down as he approached a large wooden wall, with a tall gate, also made of wood. A pair of guards stood with their arms crossed, and helmets on their heads. They were dressed in chain mail, with dark leather underneath. “Morning, sir. Simply returning from a hunt, nothing suspicious here.” The hunter said, with a hint of pride in his voice. “I can see that… And it’s quite the big fella. Congratulations.” The guard spoke underneath his helmet, and pointed at the dead deer. The hunter nodded, and smiled at him. “Indeed it is. But nevertheless, may I enter?” He asked “Go right in, your old mother probably misses you.” The guard said, and gestured the other guard to help him open the gate. The other guard shrugged lightly, and put a shoulder to the gate, pushing it open. It creaked loudly, obviously in need of an oiling. The hunter swung the dead deer over his shoulder, and walked inside. The town was misty and ragged, mostly made of wood, except for a large mansion in the distance. The sound of water splashing against wood was everywhere because of the river, which snaked through the town. The town was originally named Tullben, but had been given the name “Fogstead” due to the ever-present mist, which covered the town. The mist created an eerie, silent atmosphere, which usually was seen as alien, and inhospitable, but nevertheless, this was what the hunter called home. He strolled through the misty streets, on the hard, brick roads, whistling casually, with his prey slung over his shoulder. He passed a few people, all seeming quite gloomy and tired, as if they hadn’t had a good night’s sleep for a week. Although he was approached with a frown, he joyfully replied with a smile. Moving through the mist, he approached a small wooden hut, in the far corner of the town, which was more or less one with the city walls. He walked up to the door, and knocked a few times on the door.

“Open up mother! It’s me, and I am -not- empty-handed.” He shouted, and some rummaging was heard from inside. Suddenly, a handsome woman opened up, and smiled at the hunter. “Jeraz! I must admit, I am surprised. That’s quite the prey you’ve got there.” She said, and smiled at her son. She had long, silver hair, and was wearing a beautiful dress, purple and violet, presumably of silk. Jeraz let a small laugh slip from his mouth, and he made his way inside. Inside, there were strange, foreign ornaments, standing very much out from the rest of the wooden construction. The ornaments were of beautiful ivory, and curled in mysterious ways. There were signs carved on them which were completely incomprehensible– for a human, at least.

Jeraz dropped the dead deer on the floor before a fire, and pulled down his hood, to reveal a pair of slightly pointed ears. He shook his shoulders, as his mother closed the door behind her, and clicked her fingers once. A feint sound of dropping energy was heard, and her ears seemed to be dusted with some strange, purple sparkles. Her ears seemed to grow quickly, extending into pointed tips, even longer than her son’s. She turned to Jeraz, who dumped down into a wooden chair and let out a satisfied sigh. “So, have you been safe, mother? The guards haven’t been bothering you?” Jeraz asked, and folded is arms, while leaning back in his seat. “No, not any guards, but there were a few people who came here, and shouted “Witch” or the likes. Quite bothersome, but nothing to worry about.” She said, and took a seat, facing Jeraz. “Right. But you know, they have begun turning to the duke. Apparently, they find your presence to be a jinx upon us all.” Jeraz said, and let out s deep sigh. “We really need to find another place to live. We aren’t safe here, not with these unwelcoming humans around. The barkeep at the inn even charged me extra for my presence. Just because of these!” Jeraz protested, and tapped his ears. “You know we don’t have the money to move. And who wants to buy a house which a “witch” has lived in?” She said, and frowned. “You could sell the ornaments, you know.” Jeraz said, and pointed towards one of the ivory ornaments. “Are you nuts? I used years to get those, from antique shops and black markets! And besides, I could never let them out of my grasp… They remind me of my home, back in Everspring.” She said, and smiled over at one of the ornaments. Jeraz sighed, and got to his feet. “You’re hopeless” He said, and pulled up his hood once more. With quick, determined steps, he exited his home, and went back out onto the misty streets of Fogstead. As he left, he spotted a woman, who shot him a wicked, spiteful glare. He smirked, and thrust his hand forward, as if throwing something. She yelped, and hurried down the street, disappearing into the mist, much to Jeraz’ amusement. He strolled down the damp, cold streets, and approached a large wooden building, with a sign hanging from the wall. “The Drunk Rat”, it was called, and a painting of a rat on its back, bubbles coming from its mouth, was painted underneath the writing. He walked inside, and the stench of mead and ale tingled in his nostrils. The sound of loud-mouthed braggers filled the room, and the floor was wet with spilled beverages. He made his way through the drunken crowd, and took a seat at the bar desk. A female barkeep approached him, leaned her elbows on the counter, and glared at Jeraz. “And what can I do fer you, pointy-ear, eh?” She said, with a bored and careless expression. “Just get me a mug of ale… And stop calling me “Pointy-ear” will you?” He said, without making eye-contact. “Arright, calm down mister…” she said, and frowned, before disappearing into the back of the tavern. He pulled down his hood, completely careless about what people might say if they noticed his pointed ears. He tapped the counter, getting rather impatient, and he began listening in to what the nearby drunkards spoke about. “y’know what? Just ‘ere yesterday, I swear tha’ I saw a white stag runnin’ around in the forest, like a four-legged angel! By th’ gods, it was beautiful… Bet that hide would be worth a fortune!” One of them burst out, with a mug in his hand. “Oh shut it you… You’ve got more ale then blood in your body right now…I doubt that your judgment is worth anything at the moment.” Another one said, sitting on a chair, also with a mug in his hand, his elbows resting on a wooden table. Jeraz twitched his ears at this, listening closely. “Oh yeh think? Well… Yeah, maybe… No promises.”  The first one spoke again, admitting that he may have gotten a mug of ale or two too much. The woman came back, slammed the mug of ale down before Jeraz, and held out her hand. “Here you go… Now, that will be five silver, if you will.” She said, with her eye-lids half-way down, in a tired and bored fashion. “Uhm… Yes, here you are.” Jeraz said, and flipped a few coins over the counter, and grabbed his mug of ale. He made his way through the crowd and approached the man, who was sitting at the table. The man looked up at Jeraz, and raised an eyebrow. “What do you want, knife-ear?” He said, and sipped at his ale. Jeraz took a seat, and looked the man into his eyes. “I’ll tell you what I want. I heard your friend there talking, something about a white stag. Anything you know about?” Jeraz asked, and sipped at his ale as well. “Oh that? Sheesh, don’t take his word seriously. He’s drunk to the boot. But if you really want to know more about this rumor, you should go see Arvik, an old hunter in the southern end of town. He should give you confirmation of its existence, or if it is truly just a rumor.” He answered, and shot a glance up at his friend, who was still shouting out drunk and hardly comprehensible words. Jeraz let a smile spread on his face, and he stood up. He nodded silently at the man, and walked away, leaving his mug of ale behind him. “Hey mister! You forgot your…“ He was interrupted, as Jeraz slammed the door behind him. He raised an eyebrow, looked down upon the forgotten mug, and found a gold coin at the side of it. He smirked, and took it quickly, stuffing it into his pocket.

Jeraz walked outside, in the chilling damp streets of Fogstead, and pulled his hood up around his ears once more. He placed his right hand on the pommel of a small steel knife in his belt, and held onto the bow around his shoulder, with his left. He walked down the street, to the southern part of the town. It was just as foggy, just as gloomy, and seemed completely alike any other part of the town. He strolled down the streets, and asked for directions to this man, known as “Arvik”. He was pointed in several directions, yet he ended up before an old, wooden house. The walls were nearly completely overgrown with moss and other vegetation, and the door seemed to be falling off its hinges. He knocked on the door, and a loud grumble was heard from inside. He hesitated slightly, as the man inside coughed loudly, then spoke with a low, broken voice. “Come on in… The door is open… It can’t be locked, anyhow.” The voice said, and Jeraz slowly pushed open the door. It creaked at his entry, and he peered inside.

“Is this the home of Arvik?” Jeraz asked, as he looked inside. There were no one in sight, yet he received an answer. “It is… Come on in, young one…” the voice spoke once more, from within another room, out of sight. Jeraz walked inside, and sniffed the air. It smelled like an old man’s home indeed. As if it hadn’t been cleaned for months. It wouldn’t surprise him, if it hadn’t. He headed into the other room, and pulled down his hood, as he found what he sought. Or rather, who he sought. Before him sat an old man, his beard reaching down to his chest, as he rocked in his rocking-chair. It creaked with every swing, and he looked up at Jeraz. “How may I help you... Hmm?” he said, with a low voice. Jeraz sat down upon another chair, facing the old man “I’m looking for an old hunter, named Arvik. Would that by any means be you?” “It most certainly is… What can I do for you, young one?” “Please, my name is Jeraz. But in any case, I’ve been hearing some rumors around, and I was told to seek you out. It seems that there -may- be a beast around, which is quite a rare sight. A white stag, to be precise.” Arvik leaned back in his rocking chair, and seemed to smile to himself, revealing his old, rotten teeth. “Ah yes… The white stag… Quite the sight. The rumors are true, my friend. Each year, a white stag comes to these parts, for reasons unknown. Some say it is a blessing from the gods, to test our world, in order to find the best hunters, while others believe it is simply the ways of nature. But beware, it is an elusive one, only the keenest of hunters ever get ahold of it. It usually runs back to where it comes from, before any hunter can kill it. But who knows… Maybe -you- will be the first one.” He spoke, and pointed at Jeraz with an old, crippled finger. Jeraz smirked, and let a few chuckles slip from his mouth. “That is what I am aiming for, old man. When I come back with that hide, I will make enough money to move out of this dump with my mother. Move to somewhere more hospitable to our kind. Well, I thank you for the information, Mr. Arvik. Have a nice day.” He said, and got up. He performed a gracious bow, and before Arvik could say goodbye, Jeraz was out of the door. He walked through the streets with hastened steps, heading homewards. When he arrived at the door of his home, he knocked twice, and opened the door. He stepped in, and began packing all the necessary things. His mother approached him, and raised an eyebrow. “Jeraz? What are you doing?” She asked, and tapped him on the shoulder. “I’m getting us out of here. It seems that now is the time where a white stag comes to these areas, and its hide is worth enough to let us leave this hole. I am packing food and equipment for a few days. I’ll be living in the forest, if you need me.” He said, and turned around to face his mother. She opened her mouth to speak, but was interrupted by Jeraz, who embraced her in a loving hug. “Be safe mother” he said, and hurried out of the door.

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