Fated Secrets

The first instalment in The Realm Jumpers Series

For centuries, opposing factions have debated the validity of magic. Some have lived in fear of the seemingly evil phenomena. Others believe it's a natural part of life, filled with beauty and wonder. The only problem is, the village elders banished magic from the Pliammighar Kingdom two decades ago to ensure of the safety of all citizens...but not everyone adhered to those rules and The Hunter's Guild aims to eradicate the problem for good.

Fifteen-year-old Joseph Price sees the Hunter's Guild as the dividing line between fun, family, and an untimely death. So, when the ceremony, celebrating those that passed comes around, he is taken aback to find himself standing in the winner's circle - the place he never imagined he'd be. The night that follows comes to an abrupt stop that catapults the recruits into a whirlwind of drama.

Someone has used magic to commit treason, and now they must pay for their wrongdoing.

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2. T W O

It was dark when Joseph walked into the farmhouse that he and his family lived in. The farmhouse was an old shack, its paint peeling from lack of upkeep and the roof ever so slightly slanted to the left. Something Joseph constantly mentioned to his father to fix. The farmhouse itself only had enough room to hold his three family members were the property of Joseph's family's employer, Mr Jones. 

Mr Jones was a man that Joseph hardly saw, in fact, he had only seen him a handful of times in his entire life. His father often said that Mr Jones would travel a lot and expect him and his mother to do the upkeep of his house whilst he was away. Which could be months at a time.

Joseph walked into the small kitchen where his mother and father were, placed his book on the table and sat down on one of the chairs. The farmhouse didn't cost much to keep going, due to his father – Grayson's wage, it needed to be that way. Mr Jones didn't pay enough to the family for what they did for the man.

Grayson turned around from the stove and placed his hand on the counter, with one of them slumped to the side with a ladle in his hand.

"I saw you on the tree, Joseph," Grayson said, Joseph looked towards his father whose eyebrow lifted as they made eye contact.

Busted.

"I just wanted to see the duels, it's nothing, I swear!" Joseph quipped, stating the truth to his suspicious father. He didn't want to mention that he was propositioned for a fight earlier - that would just set his father off again.

And once Grayson was on a topic he was passionate about, it was hard to calm him down.

Grayson turned around back to the stove to tend to whatever was cooking, the pale of water could still be seen at the edge of the room where Grayson would have had to walk to the well to get. And the small remnants of matches could be seen on the kitchen counter from where he would have lit the small fire. "It's not you watching the fights that I am worried about, it's that tree. Tell him, Camilla!"

"I am not getting involved," Camilla stated as she washed the dishes from lunch, suds and water splashing on her apron – she looked worn out, small stands of hair were out of place from her usual kept hairdo. "But I agree. It is dangerous, Joseph. I would think you to be smart enough to know that."

"I'm sorry," Joseph groaned, he hated apologising.

"They should have chopped that tree down years ago after little Vincent fell off it!" Grayson said, slightly raising his voice.

"He isn't so little anymore, Grayson, he's ready for the trials this year. If he is able to that is, after his injury." Camilla said in a disheartened tone, Joseph could feel her heart sink for the boy. She had been the one who found him. He had fallen out of the tree and broken his spine, it took a long while to recover, but he had not been the same since the accident. The thought of his cries still haunted everyone to that day. It was harrowing to remember. "That is why I never want to hear you going up there, Joseph."

"Yes, mother!" Joseph then decided to change the subject: to his stomach. "What are we having for tea?"

"Sweet potatoes, cauliflower and bacon-." But Grayson was interrupted mid-sentence.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

Grayson placed down the skillet of bacon on the stove and walked towards where the knock had come from. Grayson opened the door cautiously, no one came to the farm at this time of night, and business was closed.

Joseph peered from the kitchen out into the hallway where the door was and watched as his father removed the latch on the door. Opening it slowly. A tall, hooded man in black clothing stood on the other side of the door.

He looked down to Grayson, and handed him a letter in a cold fashion, no emotion in his face before walking off into the night, not saying a word. Joseph did not get a good look at the man's face, but he saw small bags under the man's eyes and small bruises on the man's face and hands glistening in the candlelit room.

Joseph could see that the man, whoever he was, had been wearing what looked to be the hunter gear. He was a hunter... and that meant only one thing.

Grayson ripped open the envelope that Joseph clearly saw was addressed to himself. "I know what this is!"

Grayson dropped the envelope on the floor, straightened out the letter and began to read:

'Dear Joseph Price,

You are now eligible to partake in the 'Hunter's Guild Trial's'. We at the Hunter's Guild anticipate your arrival at one of our trial centres, which for you, is your hometown of Freydale. You have eight months to prepare for these trials. The trail starts on the summer solstice – so be ready.

Please do note that attendance is essential and failure to attend will amount to serious consequences. For you and for your entire family.

Please report to the booths that will be set up in Freydale's town square, keep this letter for reference and identification.

Please consider wisely.

This is your future.'

"That's all it says," Grayson said as he read out the short letter.

Joseph grabbed hold of the letter and scanned it fast. He had not been expecting the letter for at least another week. But at the bottom, it confirmed that it was the real deal. Splashed on the bottom of the paper in red ink stated that it was the real deal.

'Signed: Thomas Jones, the village elder.'

It was official, Joseph was in the ranks for 'The Hunter's Guild'. Participation was compulsory, and he was not in any way shape or form happy. It was the end of fun, end of freedom.

Quite frankly, it was the end of his life.

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