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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2. Chapter 2: The White Stag

She stood shocked and stifled, unable to say anything. She only managed to raise an eyebrow, as she saw her son take his exit. As he closed the door behind him, he slung his backpack over his shoulder, and began whistling a joyful tune. He knew that he was one of the few who had any knowledge of the white stag, so he shouldn’t meet much competition. As he walked outside, a man stood with a few other men, folded arms, and frowns on their faces. “Oi! You there! Tell your old mother, Ethella, to get out of this town! We don’t need jinxes like her around here!” One of them shouted. Jeraz shot an evil glare at them, and let out a displeased, snarky “Pfft”. He kept on walking, and held his hand on the pommel of his blade. A loud rumble of thunder rolled in over the town, and suddenly, rain crashed down from above. It was as if the gods themselves just opened a dam to an ocean in the skies. Jeraz bent forward, and put himself into a steady jog, running down the misty and now rainy streets. The rain was hammering against the brick roads, as was the rain made of cast-iron. It was the typical rain of these parts, heavy and unrelenting, nearly hail. He clutched the edges of his hood, shielding his face from the rain, as he darted through the streets. He reached down to the towering wooden gates, and laid a shoulder to them, pushing them slowly open. As the gates creaked loudly, he heard some voices from outside, and suddenly the gates swung open. The guards stood outside, and pulled open the gates, causing Jeraz to stagger outside. One of them burst into a thunderous guffaw, and Jeraz glared at him. Jeraz snorted slightly, and began jogging into the woods. The clouds were black, but bunched up, signs that the rain would soon cease. As he jogged deeper and deeper into the forest, Fogstead slowly disappeared into the shrouding mist. After a while, he found himself in the usual hunting parts, where he began setting up camp. He gathered a few stones, and placed them in a ring, a meter or two from a nearby tree. He looked upwards, and as he had predicted, the rain stopped. The black clouds passed, and the sun peeked out, sending its radiant beams down upon the land. He slung his backpack down upon the tree, and pulled out some equipment to set up a small tent. It was quickly put up, within a few minutes, as he had been doing this for years and years now. He rummaged around a little more in his backpack, and pulled out a few pieces of tinder. It was light, and easily transportable, and his mother claimed it was wood straight from her home forest, Everspring. Nevertheless, it burns easily, and for a long time. He set it up in the stone ring, and pulled out some flint and steel from his pocket. He gathered as many dry leaves as he could find, and within a few minutes, a warm fire was burning before him. He sat before it, and pulled off his leather gloves, and held out his hands to the fire. With his gloves off, some peculiar scars were revealed on the back of his hand– three lines, one small, one medium-sized, and one large, side by side. He rubbed his hands, warming them before the radiant fire.

After a while of sharpening his steel knife with a piece of flint, the sun was going down on the horizon. Jeraz smiled satisfied, as the time of the hunt was quickly approaching. As night fell, Jeraz would be perfectly hidden in the shadows, out of sight from any prying eyes. The fire was still burning brightly, the elven wood doing what it does best. He put his gloves back on, and he drew his bow, holding it in his left hand. A quiver was hanging from his belt, filled with steel-tipped arrows, bouncing on his thigh as he stood up and walked deeper into the forest. This time, he was nearly gliding through the mossy ground, his steps silent and quick. His keen eye scouted every inch of the forest, his eyes looking for the color white. The sun was at the edge of the horizon, its luminous beams of light painting the sky orange and red, as dusk slowly rolled in. Although his spirits were high, Jeraz regretted that he hadn’t asked for a more specific location of the white stag. But that was too late now. He was in the middle of the forest, and details or no details, he was determined to find and kill his prey. As he snapped a twig underfoot, a nearby hare leaped up from the ground, and darted away. He stopped briefly, his nerves kicking in, and a small droplet of sweat rolled down his cheek. He eyed a few other beasts; deer, boars and birds, but no white stag… yet. After a tedious period of scouting, the sun had left the sky, and dusk was taking over. His eyesight was being limited by the looming darkness, but fortunately, that was also true for the prey. A cold gust of wind swept down upon him, sending a shiver down his back. It was getting cold, and he yearned for the fire at the camp. Even more, he yearned for his warm home, and the safety of Fogstead. Suddenly, what seemed like a white flash of light dashed through the darkness. He startled, and gripped his bow tightly. He let a hand glide to the quiver, drew a steel arrow, and laid it silently on the string of his bow. This was it. It had to be it; the white stag. He leaped forward onto a patch of moss, which rendered his landing silent, as he went down onto his knees. The white movement darted through trees once more, and Jeraz dashed after it. He snapped several twigs and crushed dozens of leaves underfoot, careless of being silent. Now, the chase was on.  He noticed the white figure heading into a thickening of the woods, pine trees standing close up against one another. He leaped after it, his heart racing and his legs surging with adrenaline. He briefly got a good look at the white figure, concluding that this was indeed the white stag– the rumored beast, which would give him his fortune, provided that he succeeded in catching it. It stretched its long, powerful neck, standing majestically on its towering legs, before quickly entering the thick pine-wood. He ground his teeth, and let an oath slip from his lips. The thick pine wood would significantly decrease his chances of striking it with an arrow. Nevertheless, he dashed on after it. As he entered, what little light was left from the descending sun was completely blocked out, rendering him nearly sightless. He slowed down, trying to listen after it, now that his keen eyes were useless. It was more or less silent. The sound of an occasional fluttering bird broke the silence. Then, a peculiar grinding sound was heard from deeper within the woods. His ears twitched, and he placed the arrow back into his quiver. He eyed some faint movement, as he went down onto his knees. It was not moving forward, or backwards, but it seemed to be struggling. He eyed his chances, and sprinted forward, drawing his steel knife, and placing his bow around his shoulder. As he closed in on it, he saw something quite peculiar. If the white stag truly was a gift of the gods, then the gods must -really- be fond of Jeraz. Its great antlers were stuck between two pine-trees, and it was making loud, frightened noises. Jeraz’s ears hurt because of the loud noise as he slowly approached the trapped prey. With his steel knife in his hand, he stepped up to it, and stood in awe before it. It was struggling to get out, but it was locked tightly, its attempts in vain. He hesitantly placed a hand on its muzzle, and he began singing softly to it. It was an old lullaby, which his mother once used to sing to him. It was in the elven tongue, and was said to put tranquility in the heart, of even the most ferocious beast. It stared at Jeraz with flickering eyes, panic surging through its mind, but as the lullaby reached its ears, it seemed to calm down. It ceased the vain attempts to get loose, and its eyes seemed to gain focus. Its white hide stood out in the darkness, like a beacon in the night. Jeraz had never seen such a beauty, such a majestic beast, in all of his days. But as the spirit of the hunt proclaimed, the beast had to die, for the hunter to live. He silently placed his steel knife on the throat of the white stag, and murmured a few blessings to it, before thrusting the knife, cutting open an artery. The large stag let out a howl, before dropping lifeless to the ground. Blood flowed out onto the ground, painting the ground dark red, as Jeraz stood before his handiwork. Red drops of blood dripped from his knife, and fell down upon the stag’s white hide. He shook his knife a few times, before putting it back in his belt, and going down on his knees. He let a hand glide over the pristine hide of his dead prey. His lips curled in a proud smile, as he felt the rough outline of the white fur.

Ripping himself from the fascination, he felt the cold of night nipping at his nose. He grabbed the legs of the stag, two in each hand, and he slowly dragged it out of the pine-wood. Birds fluttered away, and hares fled, as he came out of the thick, darkened pine-wood, with his prey dragging behind him. His fortune was within his grasp, literally, and it was only a matter of time before he could get out of this hostile environment. He was sick and tired of being pointed out because of his elven blood, and wished to go somewhere where the people were more tolerant– for example, the city of Hyllmarch, to the east. The opposite of this south-western dump Fogstead, Hyllmarch was flowing over with people of all kinds. Even the Dark Elves of the Far East come to Hyllmarch, as a sanctuary from the human crusade, which scoured through the lands, ridding the world from the Dark Elves, in the name of the gods. But Hyllmarch was above the crusade, and was seen as a safe haven for people of all races.

Now that Jeraz had returned to his camp, the fire had finally died out, and was lying as a pile of embers and ashes. He dragged the white stag across the ground, and laid it by the fire. Night had fallen, and the moon was clear in the sky. Its silver beams created an eerie, magical atmosphere, the forest beginning to seem more alive than before. He sat down beside the fire, and stared at his prey. He nodded slowly to himself, with a satisfied smile. He grabbed his backpack, which lay up against the tree, and rummaged around in it. He pulled out a few more bricks of elven wood, and tossed them in the fire. Quickly, they burst into flames, and lit up Jeraz’ surroundings once more. He grabbed the hilt of the knife in his belt, and scooted a bit closer to the dead stag. He unsheathed the knife, and began cutting lightly at the stag’s hide. Skinning it slowly and gently, making sure nothing went wrong, he worked for most of the night. Blood spilled on the ground, as well as on his clothes and knife, causing it to resemble a murder scene. After a long time of skinning, and spilling blood, the sun slowly arose on the horizon. He looked upwards, and sighed deeply at the beautiful morning sky, which was painted bright red. He cut the last string of skin from the stag, and found himself with a large pelt in his arms. The fur tingled at his touch, as if electric. It was as if he was touching a faerie’s wing, just softer. He rolled up the fur, and stuffed it under his arm. He dragged the skinned corpse of the stag close to the tree, and laid his tent over it, like a carpet. He hid it for later, as the skin was first priority. He gave a few pleased chuckles, before setting into a steady jog through the forest. The temperature was rising once more, the cold of night fleeing, as dawn broke on the horizon. A cold gust of wind swept down upon Jeraz, blowing his hood down, and sending a shiver down his spine. His long silver hair blew behind him, very much like his mother’s, as he jogged through the forest, with the skin under his arms. Blood dripped behind him, painting the leaves and mossy ground with small, dark red spots. In the distance, the grey, ever-present mist of Fogstead appeared, and Jeraz’s heart raced. His feet carried him swiftly through the bordering woods, and out in front of the large wooden gate, where the guards stood. Though they wore helmets, Jeraz could feel their prying eyes widening, as they noticed the white hide. He heard one of them drawing breath to speak, yet he powered through the gate before any word could be spoken. He smiled joyfully, as he dashed through the mist, his feet splashing in puddles of water. Sweat rolled down his cheeks, merging with the dampening of the mist on his face. As he caught sight of his home, he slowed down, and strolled closer to the door. He didn’t wait for it to be opened, but just swung open the door, with a smile on his face. But as he entered, he did not meet what he had expected.

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