The sun rose over the horizon, casting its golden light upon the houses of the town. It was a small town; not more than a village really, but the people who lived there were kind of heart and pure of soul. The majority of them were fishermen with a few simple farmers and the occasional businessman.
The town of Cabeiri, as it had come to be called, was a fishing village situated at the southern end of the continent Atheria. This morning, the air was unusually cold, hinting at the oncoming winter. Wisps of smoke were rising from the chimneys of several simple dwellings, but they were quickly blown away by the crisp sea breeze. Few people walked the streets.
This morning, Gadvan had arisen early and put a fish in the kettle for his breakfast. He was of more or less average height for a human, with dark black hair and muddy eyes. Though the weather was cold dreary, he was in high spirits. Today was his birthday. Eighteenth birthday, to be exact, and he couldn't have been happier. Now he was finally old enough to begin his training as a warrior.
He hurriedly scurried about his small cottage, gathering all that he would need. His fishing rod, all three tunics he had to his name, some stale bread from his neighbor Mrs. Bulip, a torch, and his old blanket all went into his tattered pack. He then went over to a rusty chest in the corner of his room.
He knelt down and slowly opened it. Inside was his father's sword and armor. He lifted them both out slowly. Brushing the dust off the sword, he traced his fingers over his father's name. A wave of excitement mixed with apprehension washed over Gadvan.
His father had been a great warrior, before the time of
trouble. He shuddered. He rubbed the hilt of the sword, then clenched his fist around it. I won't let you down, Father, he thought to himself as his strapped on the armor and hooked the sword to his side.
The fish tasted bland, as usual. But Gadvan ate it. He knew that a big day lay ahead of him. Pushing his empty bowl aside, he made a final equipment check, not that he had that much to check in the first place. Then something brushed up against his leg. Gadvan looked down to see his cat, Greathy, looking up longingly at the table.
He smiled, "Here ya go girl," he said as he gave the remaining fish to his cat. "You want to come with me today? Eh?" He reached down and petted the animal.
When his cat had finished eating, he took one last look around the room. "Come on. Let's go."
The pair walked over to the wooden door and stepped out into the cold morning air. Small shops and various other buildings lined the street, none of them open yet. Gadvan and Greathy walked briskly down the street and soon came to the Cabeiri town square. Here stood a statue and a public fountain from which a couple of citizens were drawing water.
"Good morning, Mr. Plather." Gadvan said as he waved to an old man by the water.
The old man turned around. "Ah. Mornin' Gadvan." Mr. Plather smiled, seeing Gadvan's armor and sword. "Today's the big day, is it?"
Gadvan's smile broadened. "Yes, sir."
"You're gonna make a fine warrior." The man nodded slowly. "...just like your father."
Gadvan waved once again to the old man before setting of down the path to the south. He shivered slightly; partially from the cold, and partially from apprehension. As he neared the docks, he could see the sun reflecting on the water and hear the gulls searching for a morning meal.
Just before he reached the docks, he turned off the main path and soon came to the fighter's training grounds. He was shaking more noticeably now, overcome by excitement and fear. He walked through the gates and into a large open training area. Spotting a group of men standing around a small fire, Gadvan trotted over.
"Hah. Back again, Gadvan?" said a rather large man around the fire upon noticing the youth approaching. "My answer still stands. Not until you're eighteen."
Gadvan grinned broadly. "But sir, I'm am eighteen this very day."
The man chuckled. "Well. I be damned." He turned back to the group. "Hey. Gadvan here's eighteen today."
A few men around the fire mumbled.
"Well," the man said. "I suppose you've come here to start your training then." "Y-yes, sir," Gadvan said, barely able to contain his excitement."
"Well, no." barked the man.
Gadvan's jaw dropped, but he reclaimed himself when the man started chuckling.
"Of course you can start your training now. We've been a waitin' for this day, haven't we boys?"
Gadvan let out a small yelp of glee. A few of the other men mumbled.
"Let's begin your training right now. First thing, bring me the head of a goblin. That will prove your basic fighting skills. It's a task required of all warriors. Isn't that right boys?"
A few of the men mumbled.
Gadvan was amazed. He hadn't expected things to go so fast. He thought for a minute and remembered hearing stories of a cave of goblins west of the village.
"Yes sir!" Gadvan said and quickly set off, Greathy trailing behind him.
He jogged back to the town square and went west to the town watchtower. He had never set foot outside the village before. But he was training to be a warrior, he couldn't get scared now. He took a deep breath and set off down the road. He was overcome with joy. He was a warrior, like his father. He was going to become the greatest warrior Merentha had ever seen.
He had been walking for scarcely two minutes down the highway when he suddenly walked into something very solid, but nothing was there. It was as though he had hit an invisible wall. Gadvan stopped and looked around, perplexed. He heard a noise that sounded half like a sigh and half like a growl. Gadvan jumped back and awkwardly drew his sword with shaking hands. This could turn into his first real fight, and he was ready for it.
CRACK! He got it alright. Suddenly bolts of dazzling blue lightning flew from nowhere. Many of them impacted with Gadvan flinging him into the air and making a sickening sizzling sound. Gadvan twisted and contorted in the air before his dead body landed with a wet thud several feet from its original position. His flesh was charred and smoldering. Various limbs were haphazardly strewn about the area, separated from their previous owner.
Out of nowhere a figure faded into existence, followed shortly by another. Both stood slightly shorted than a human with skin of light gray color. They were both dressed in flowing black robes and each had a strange mask on their face. The first figure was slightly taller than the second and looked to be male. The second one, a female, held a strange looking staff in one hand, the runes on it dimming.
"That was a bit harsh don't you think, Kynnaly?"
The second shrugged. "He ran into me."
They both spoke in the language of the Drow. Drow-elves were a gray-skinned, subterranean species of elf. They had long white hair and red eyes that sometimes seemed to glow from within. Standing slightly shorter than a human, Drow-elves were some of the most vile and evil creatures to inhabit Merentha. Historically, they were both skilled swordsmen, and accomplished Dark magicians.
The first figure cackled demonically and slapped the second on the back. "True, and nicely done. But isn't this supposed to be a secret meeting?"
Kynnaly shrugged. "No one noticed." She looked down at the charred remains of the young 'hero'. "And he won't be telling anyone." She grinned evilly.
"Like hell they didn't notice. You just made enough racket to raise the dead."
Kynnaly smirked slightly. "You and me both know I can't do that, Glix."
The first shook his head in resignation. "Let's just get to the meeting place," he said squinting up at the sky, "I hate the sun."
As the two were turning to go, a faint noise caught their attention. They turned around to see a small cat sitting beside the burnt and dismembered carcass of Gadvan, meowing faintly.
"Annoying animal," Kynnaly said as a bright bolt of flame shot from her hand. The fireball exploded when it hit the cat, flinging it into the air. The animal crashed to the ground and thrashed a few times before being overcome by the flames that had engulfed it.
As quickly as the pair appeared, they were gone again, vanishing into nothingness like mere mirages.