The Seven Relics

In desperation for something a once reckless and dangerous adventurer needs, he is told that all will be given if he searches the Seven Lands of the world and acquires all of the Seven Relics from each respectively. Could this be true? Could all his problems lie in his destiny to attain all the relics or is there something more? (Entered into the Afterlife competition) I also need some MAJOR critiquing on this so please please PLEASE comment on what you think of the story.


2. The Great Journey

     The hiker was already well acquainted with the Seven Lands, for he and the nobleman had traveled far and wide on a perilous quest before, as you may have already guessed. Through the fiery fire and the icy ice they went farther, but that is another story for another time. Travelling far and yet farther west across three seas and four rushing rivers, the hiker found himself at the first of the seven lands: the Land of Agris. It was a land of only poor monks who had made a living on livestock and harvests. Their capital reeked of manure; though, one must find a way to live after all.

     As the hiker walked through the gloomy city of wooden houses that were probably rotting from the inside out, he came to their greatest building. Inside, he knelt before the highest monk, who had been blinded in his right eye by an accident in the fields, and told the monk that he required the greatest relic they had to offer in order for him to gain his eternal happiness.

     The monk was silent then waved his hand with a mumble, for the high monk is not to speak in the ways of man. Brought forth to the wide-eyed hiker was the city’s only metal bucket of compost, for the other buckets had been all made of wood. Nothing unique was engraved into the bucket, but surely this was the greatest for them to offer and so the hiker had no complaints whatsoever.

     South of Agris, was the Land of Orion. This land was of hunters and foragers; they were neither poor nor rich in their own regards. Though, to a man of a wealthy nation, who cares only of bullion, they were poorer than the monks. The people were self-sustained and need for any currency was little to none, for they lived off the land and the land had been gracious every year.

     When the hiker came to the capital of Orion, he found not a trace. Surely the town, where he had retrieved a map, was not mistaken. As he lied down, he noticed that above and high in the autumn trees was nested a city of interlocked sticks. The hiker immediately thought that they had at least learned from the birds of the land, but again: one must find a way to live.

     The hiker climbed the trees and eventually found his way to the hunter’s chieftain. The hiker was embraced heavily before a word could be spoken, and after the short and happy greeting, the hiker spoke his reason for coming. The hunters replied graciously and gave him the relic of their greatest hunter: Orion’s Belt. It was just a thin pelt to be worn around the waste, but as in the eyes of the hunter, it was more than a pelt… it was their proud and honored legacy. Surely however, this was better than the bucket of compost and for the poor land it was, it exceeded the hiker’s expectations.

     Still in high hopes, the hiker traveled southwest to find the third. He had come to the Land of Drieas. It was a long and far hike, through rugged mountains of stone and upon the last mountain’s climb the hiker wandered into this land. This land lacked of water and the sand swept swiftly with the wind swirling about in this arid place.

     To his surprise, he found nothing but a ghost-town. It looked abandoned for about three weeks, for the third tribe, as you may know, is known for begin nomadic in their living style. While looking about and going through the town for perhaps anyone to speak to and gain his third relic, the hiker had found none. In turn, he decided that he would seek his own this time.

     When the hiker came to the temple, decorated in glorious, marked spirals and overhanging buttresses, he entered and saw a ruby placed in the middle of an ornate altar. He came close to the ruby, and its red glow reflected into his eyes making them sparkle like rubies on their own. ‘This must be the relic,’ he had said as he reached his hand out to grab it. A priest from behind shouted at him to stop, for there was something better. The priest promised he’d return and within a minute’s wait, the priest had given the hiker a large white, crystalline diamond and swore it was their best relic to offer him. Gladly with now shimmering eyes of purity, the hiker took the gem and left the priest in peace.

     To the fourth land the hiker traveled: the Land of Gemini. This land was of flowing rivers and flowing hills. The land had yielded everything to survive, and it was just a pluck away from you hand. To the other six lands, it was notorious for their almost seemingly endless amount of natural resources of oil and sometimes precious metals. In the same token, the hiker came with very high hopes to this place.

     As the hiker approached the high and mighty walls of the capital, the gates opened widely to his welcoming. Bells rang, and the elite warriors escorted him to the emperor’s palace. The palace stood nearly as high as the sun and the decorative paintings were symbols of the history of the land. It was magnificent how everything was done straight down to perfection!

     When the hiker appeared before the emperor, he boastfully stated his reason for being here. He said that he needed their greatest relic for yet a greater cause, and still they gave him the best they had to offer. Seeing his burden, the emperor had given him a horse coated in golden armor. The horse in itself was an odd relic, but it was the greatest horse a man could ever see; the coat of gold was just that finishing touch. On the hiker’s way out, he was quite pleased with the horse, for it was getting burdensome to carry all the other relics.

     After travelling north, the hiker had now arrived to the fifth land. This was the Land of Rordox. It was a land full of talented craftsmen and artisans who found themselves with so much. Their town had been founded upon a white marble mountain; and out on this mountain, they carved a city to be adored for an eternity. The land was far north and even considered a myth, for only on certain days could it be seen at a distance, and at others it would seem to have disappeared. At its first founding, it was considered to be heaven as the people were so hospitable to both one another and those who had just come.

     As the hiker took the marbled path to the king’s heavenly court, his eyes could not be shut for a second. The sight was just too much, and just the thought of closing your eyes was like falling into a nightmare of darkness. The houses were too perfect to even be real, but when the hiker felt the sensation of the smooth marble on his hands, he knew it was no imaginary place. You see, when faced with a near perfect reality, our minds just aren’t meant to believe it- even if it is true.

     The king had heard of the hiker’s coming long before, and so prepared heartily for this moment. Days and nights the king spent to prepare the relic that the hiker would come to seek (for the king was the best craftsmen in the Seven Lands), and when the hiker came to the king, he was astonished to have a feast sitting before them. The hiker devoured the meal that was prepared and sat in shock when the king presented him with flowers. ‘Was the king serious?’ the hiker thought. But as soon as the flowers were in the hiker’s hands, his mouth dropped… they weren’t flowers at all; they were just stones that were carved: Perfectly.

     Upon receiving the perfect flowers that never would wither, the hiker rode his way to the sixth land full of wealthy merchants. It was the Land of Lot, a great and vast land that extended for miles across the sea. Ports of marvelous size towered over the even more impressive commerce ships. The city across the sea had always been rumored of being the most grandeur of all the Seven Lands, but to lay one’s eyes upon it was the only way to do it justice. Perhaps… perhaps one day you will be lucky enough to visit the Land of Lot.

     The city itself was full of an endless line of golden, sapphire, silver, or even diamond markets, and the houses had seemed to steal the entire world’s beauty. They had almost everything that you could imagine, and yet when the hiker came to tell his story of why he came and where he had travelled over the many years, he was taken to a fifty mile-wide port.

     Ships were docked as far as the eye could see to the horizon, and upon reaching the middle of the port, the hiker almost fell over at the sight of a nearly mile long ship! When the hiker again told his story to the owner of this superb ship, the merchant of merchants silently arose from his chair and went into the captain’s quarters. As the merchant came forth to the hiker, he walked with a slow and very cautious pace. This time it was not the hiker who had knelt down but the merchant.

     The merchant handed him a rounded object covered in a mantle; it was said to have been in the ocean for centuries yet untouched it remained. When the hiker took the cloth off for pure curiosity, the hiker’s eyes were stunned in pure amazement. He couldn’t grasp the idea of what it even was, other than beautiful. After a minute, the merchants said it was the Soul of the Sea, and the sea was kept within it. The soul seemed to have been beating with its own heartbeat in the hiker’s hands, it was living. ‘Indescribable!’ shouted the hiker, and with that word he left thanking the merchants for their relic.

     After receiving the sixth relic, the hiker had now but one left and but one land to come to: his own. After his long journey, he had been gone for many, many years; though, after all this time, the Land of Kortios remained still the same as he had remembered it. It was still equally shared by forests and fields, and the mountains and hills still lived with greatness.

     The hiker knew where the relics had been kept, and so he quickly found his way to the kingly court. To his surprise, his greatest friend, the nobleman who had set him on this quest, sat upon the throne! Had it been so long that he had missed his own friend’s coronation? The thought of this overwhelmed the hiker, but he had to show his respects. Before the throne, the throne of his own friend, the hiker bowed before the king and told his reason for coming.

     The king tilted his head, and at first he thought the hiker was a madman, but when pondering and seeing the now rugged face, the king recognized some key features to his long lost friend. The king noticed that the hiker’s eyes still looked about of the same disconsolation when he had left, and the hiker’s mouth was still dry from the hope that he could not drink, and the hiker’s teas: they fell the same way… reflecting his lost soul.

     After seven minutes of silence, the king spoke, ‘You need not to bow down to your king, for to you, and you alone, I am your greatest friend.’ The king rose from his chair and helped the hiker stand. When the hiker and his friend were looking straight at each other, the king continued, ‘As for the relic you seek in this land, I offer you anything that you see best fitting, for we have little to offer you.’

     The hiker burst out in tears and turned away. Sadly the hiker proclaimed, 'For what I set out at first was eternal happiness, but now the world is seen differently to me. Before I first set out for the Seven Relics, I had seen everything in this land as special, but now my eyes have lost their once great sight. I am blind and I cannot choose a relic from this land, for it offers nothing of greatness.'

     The king responded, ‘Then you truly are blind my friend. Why else would I send you to the Seven Lands that give their greatest keepsakes so graciously? You see as I had told you the day before you left: the greatest rewards come not from oneself but from that of a heart of another.’ It was painful silence for the hiker but the king again spoke, ‘Now, can you not see that I am your seventh relic?’

     After the king’s words, the hiker chokingly replied, ‘I was a wanderer in my own land with the adventurer’s foolish wish. Will you come with me now onto the horizon where we will stand and talk about the years that have now gone? For tonight I die and I would not want to spend my last hours without you.’

     The king was broken that he had only hours left with the hiker, but with a tear’s sting the king said, ‘Yes, and tonight we must speak as we used to: boasting of our glorious adventures because I know I shall see you again… on the other side… on the plains of death’s mocking end.’

     The hiker nodded and the two, the two greatest friends of the Seven Lands, walked to the horizon. The last words the king said to the hiker were, ‘When you’re there, don’t start without me, promise?’ ‘I promise,’ reassured the hiker and continued, ‘I wouldn’t have it any other way, friend.’ At the passing of midnight, the hiker fell into both eternal sleep and eternal happiness: knowing that one day they would meet again and set off on another glorious adventure.


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