Legacy

Jave's life was normal, well, somewhat normal, being a thief in the common slums of the city. He was satisfied with his life as a thief, as there was plenty of loot to gather, and the authorities didn't give a rat's arse about thievery in the slums. But one day, as he is standing at death's door, Jave gets thrown into unwilling heroism, as he is placed with an epic destiny in his arms.

This is the first part of a three-part story, called "The Khronum Legacy" following the descendants of a blessed bloodline. The next two parts are named "Heritage" and "Destiny".

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3. Chapter 3: Action

As the guards passed, Jave pulled himself together, and lazily opened the door and walked outside, in his usual laid-back fashion. His arms swung with each step, his entire back curving, as he was too lazy to straighten up. The mud made way for his heavy steps, as they splashed down into the ground. The sun slowly spread its luminous glow over the sky, painting it bright red. The birds chirped in the few trees which had not been cut down, and created a peaceful atmosphere of dawn. The streets were still empty, except for the marching guards, of course. With long, swinging steps, Jave made his way to the market quarter of the city. Exiting the slums, the road suddenly changed from the usual muddy road, to one of brick and granite. It was bumpy and broken, and had obviously received very little attention. The houses were tight-packed, and not one was without a sign on it. There were taverns, boutiques and other strange shops, such as “The Moonlight Pixie”, which was rumored to sell magical artifacts and trinkets. Of course, the owner denied this, as magic is frowned upon by the king, and found very rarely elsewhere. Only those who have dedicated their entire life in studying and practicing will have a chance of harnessing the energies of magic. According to some tomes, and rumored knowledge, the energy of magic is the essence of a certain element seeping out from the element itself. As an example, an apprentice mage might be able to conjure a small flame, provided another flame is present. The basic elemental magic is not as frowned upon as the more advanced of its kind. If someone begins meddling with death, or mental magic, they might end up with a fine, or even a jail sentence, depending on what authority takes care of them. If a mage proved to be incapable of controlling the energies of magic they play with, they would be put under restraint immediately, to prevent any accidents from occurring.

Making his way down the broken streets of the market district, Jave spotted the post office in the distance. It was a large wooden building with a big carpet on the front wall, clearly inscribed “post office”. It seemed to be opening for another day of work, so Jave set himself into a steady jog to his position. In a dark alley, Jave spotted the faint figure of Mick’s chubby body. He was sitting down against the wall, with his wooden club in his lap, tapping it with his fingers. Jave slowed down and walked up to him, before leading two fingers to his forehead as a greeting. “Ready to mug some mailmen, hmm?” Jave asked rather teasingly Mick looked up and nodded at him “You bet I am. But we might not want to speak of that here. People might be listening, you see.”

Jave nodded understandingly and closed his mouth before heading deeper into the dark alley. His figure slowly faded into the darkness created by the tall houses towering over the narrow alley. The rainwater was running down the sides of the alley like  small creeks, all running down the slopes of the city, and into the valley. The city was built on an immense mountainside, known as The Giants Back. It was more or less a huge hill, as if it were simply the plain which had lifted itself some degrees. That is why the weather is so changeable, with the clouds building up on the mountains behind the city, only to roll over it when the clouds overflow. To the sides of The Giants Back, thousands of peaks have arisen, as if shot up from the ground. Looking at it from a distance, it looked like a sheet of spikes stretching as far as the eye can see. It is rumored to hold ancient beings, such as dragons and yetis, though this has never been proved, nor have they been sighted lately. But, it is common knowledge that they -have- existed. Remains have been found, such as skeletons, footprints, and the like. There have even been some expeditions to the mountains to find these ancient beings. None of these expeditions returned, unfortunately.

Suddenly, Mick tossed a small pebble at Jave, who had seated himself at the side of the alley, and seemingly fallen asleep. Jave lifted his head, and raised an eyebrow at Mick. A wicked grin spread on Mick’s face, as he thumped his club into his palm a few times. Jave nodded with pleased smirk on his face, and got to his feet, but stayed within the shadows. Down the slope at the post office, a skinny man walked towards them with a big sack slung over his shoulder. He was wearing a red outfit of cloth and leather, swinging at each step. This must have been his uniform. Mick slipped to the side of the alley, keeping concealed, his club ready. Jave stretched his upper body, preparing himself for action. The mailman came steadily closer, his sack jumping with each heavy step up the slope. As he entered the shadows within the alley, Mick made a quick lunge with his foot to trip him, causing him to fall face-first into the ground. He made a shocked grunt, as his nose began bleeding heavily. He struggled to lift himself from the ground, but he was hit with a mighty slam in the back of his head by Mick’s club. His body twitched, before falling lifeless to the ground. Jave walked up to the body, seeming quite shocked. “Oh boy… I think ye killed ‘im, Mick….” The back of the mailman’s hair was covered by his red blood, and Mick reacted by poking at him with his club. “Darn it, I think you’re right. Oh well– merely a delay, as we might want to hide the body.” Mick said, as he saw that the body made no reaction to his poking. “Bollocks… Oh well, you take care of th’ body, I’ll just grab ‘is uniform.”

With these words, Mick and Jave began undressing the mailman, and dragged his nearly naked body away into a side-path to the alley, which was even darker than the alley itself. Jave pulled on the red uniform quickly. It hung like a wizard’s robe on his body. Mick seemed not the least bit concerned that he just killed a man, as he looked a Jave. “You look like a lonesome mother, who spent too much time at the tavern… to say the least. But in any case, hurry up and proceed to the next phase.”

Jave snorted, rather insulted, before picking up the sack and emptying it of all other content. A few letters dumped down to the ground, and floated away on the stream of water. He made a quick determined nod at Mick, before spinning around to head up the slope. The darkness grew closer as he entered further into the alley, before he was struck by a beam of light as he exited. It blinded his eyes for a moment, but as the light faded he found himself surrounded by the magnificent buildings of the King’s square. A towering palace of white granite stood like a bulwark in front of him, as the light from the morning sun reflected from its polished windows. Royal guards stood vigilantly at every door in sight, their fine armor shining like small beacons. The king spent much effort and money on the royal guard, as well as on his district. Scanning through the courtyard, Jave noticed two guards come trotting towards him. He squinted an eye at the approaching guards, who had their faces covered by their helmets. As they halted before him, they kept silent for a few moments, making the scene rather awkward. One of them turned his head a few times, before letting out a deep sigh, and lifted his helmet from his face. Jave let out a quiet chuckle, as he recognized Jorn, who stood with a wicked grin on his face. “You look horrible in that outfit, Jave. We should put you in a tavern, and call you the joke of the year” Jorn said, with a jesting attitude in is voice. “Yes yes, ‘s all funny, I know. These mailmen got some strange style o’ clothin’, gotta say” Jave replied, waving his hand dismissively. “Save your jokes for later, we got work to do” Jack replied from within his helmet. Jave silenced, and nodded in agreement. Jack and Jorn straightened up their otherwise laid-back bodies, and took place on each side of Jave, pretending to escort him. With a reassuring nod to one another, they set off at a a steady march, towards the royal halls of the king.

As they approached the gate, they were halted by the guards, who held out their lances in front of the guests. “Halt! Who approaches the royal halls of the king?” Jorn stepped forward, and said with a raised voice “We are escorting the mailman, who is to deliver the payment of the servants of the king! Stand aside, and let us do our work.” “Very well, you may enter” , one of the guards said, and lifted his lance.

With a loud rumble, they pushed open the mighty gates of the royal halls. As they entered, it was as if stepping into a dream. The walls were covered in banners and fine carpets, and it was very far to the ceiling, where the sunlight shone in from the windows. The floor was made of fine marble, and there were great granite pillars as well, which stood up like immense trees. A long red carpet,made its way throughout the halls, and into the king’s room. These halls were merely the entrance to the king’s chambers. His own room was actually quite small, but these halls made up for the lack of size of his own chambers.

Jave looked around in excitement, and nodded slowly to himself. Ripping himself out of his trance, he nudged one of his disguised comrades, unaware who was behind the mask “Hey! Time to get to work, eh? Come along now, before the guards notice that we are gone.” The disguised comrade nodded, and turned around once, facing a door to his right. With hastened steps, they made their way into the maze of hallways, chambers and store-rooms. Jave’s fingers were tingling as he approached jewelry, ornaments and other items of value, and stuffed them into his bag. With a muffled laughter of greed, Jave filled his bag to the bursting point, with gold, silver and gems.

“Alright, that does it. Let’s take our leave, nice and subtle.” Jave said, his face turning serious, with the flare of a professional in his eyes. Jorn and Jack had been silent so far, but one of them managed to chuckle a little, smiling at their success from within his helmet. With the castle’s valuables suddenly thinned out, they made their way outside, to where the guards still stood, with their lances held high. As they passed them by, whistling casually, the loot rustled from within the bag, which was music in Jave’s ears. Once they had reached a safe distance away from the castle, Jorn and Jack pulled off their helmets, and let out a joyful laughter. “Oh boy, that was magnificent! The king won’t even know what hit him! Actually, with al th loot he has, I am wondering if he’ll even notice… Oh well, all the better I guess” Jorn said, smiling proudly, as he was unstrapping his disguise. As they strolled down the streets of the city, they slowly entered the slum-quarter, and the amount of mud suddenly consumed the brick road. They approached Klynn’s house, slung open the door, and Jack shouted “Mission accompl-“ He was interrupted by the shocking sight, of Klynn and Mick in chains, and several guards, who pointed their swords at the new arrivals. “In the name of the king, you are under arrest! You are to remain silent, or your tongue will be cut off!”

Jave stood completely in shock, and before he could collect his thoughts, his arms were locked in chains. Jorn and Jack were bound as well, and their loot was quickly retaken by the guards. With a violent pull, the guards dragged the captives down the roads, and back to the royal quarters. Jave was scared and confused. How could this go wrong? It was flawless. It was brilliant. How could they outsmart Klynn? Jave had a lot to worry about, and it only got worse as the city prison stood before them—the fear of any thief, materialized into a huge building of brick and metal. Not one criminal has escaped these walls, and not one has come out again… not alive, in any case. Jave turned to Klynn, with fear and distress in his eyes “What ‘appened, Klynn? What went wrong? Your plan was flawless! This isn’t possible!” Klynn bowed his head in shame, and sighed. “We had some complications, after you left Mick. He was found by the patrols near the corpse, and they made him talk. He told about who we were, where we were, and what we were doing. They got me first, and were simply waiting for you to come back.”

Klynn whimpered slightly, at the thought of their fate. The punishment for theft from royalty was decapitation, and within this evening, they were to be shown as an example for all thieves out there, who dare defile the King’s city. Jack and Jorn were still dressed in their disguises, as they did not have a chance to do otherwise. As their captors approached the guards at the door of the prison, one of them spoke with raised voice “We come with the thieves, who wished to steal from our king! They will have their execution this very evening, when the sun goes down. Meanwhile they are to be held here, in the prison! King’s orders!”

The guard nodded, and swung open the wooden door, into the prison hallway. As they entered, the dark feeling of gloom and despair was completely overwhelming. With sight of the skinny, half-dead people in the cells, Jave’s blood ran cold. It was like walking inside the cave of a mythical beast, spoken much of, but never explored. Journeying through the terrifying depths of the prison, the guards arrived at a slightly larger cell. Jave and his friends were shoved inside, and the door slammed shut behind them. They felt like birds in a cage, as there were no walls, but only bars to hold them from escaping. Some hay was spread out on the floor, and even a hide was placed in the middle of the cell. Quite luxurious, compared to what the other cells possessed—or didn’t possess. Jave dumped down upon a small pile of hay, and sighed deeply “Well this‘s a fine mess we got ourselves into” Klynn folded his arms and frowned “Why did you also have to kill the mailman, Mick? A simple knockout would’ve sufficed, you know” Mick sneered at Klynn and said “How was I to know that he had an unusually soft head, eh?” “You could at least have gone away from the body, after you had killed him. Why did you even stick around?” Klynn said. “Because he is a stupid gump, who uses his club more than his head” Jack blurted out. “Watch your tongues, if please… We only have a few more hours to live in- Might as well make them enjoyable.” Jave said, as he lay down in a pile of hay, while closing his eyes slowly.

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