“Is it a boy or girl?” A man in his late twenties asks as an infants cries echo out from behind a closed curtain. He is a meager individual with an average height and brown hair. His skin is well tanned from working in the fields around his house. His cloths are whole but show many hard days of labor through the sweat and dirt stains. Placing his hand on the wall he digs his already soot filled nails into the wood.
“Glenn, Come meet your son. ” A weak voice sings out in fatigue and joy.
Bursting through the curtain Glenn rushes to his wife who is holding a still blood covered newborn and a vibrant smile shines through her sweat soaked dirty blond hair. She is tall for a women and clearly spends a similar amount of time in the sun as her husband.
“God he is beautiful, Shrawna. The gods have blessed us.” Glenn says with relief and joy that his wife and child are alive and well. He grabs a pan of water and a cloth and asks to hold his son. After carefully taking the child from the arms of his wife he begins to wash his son’s face. The baby cues and squirms do the chill of water.
“What shall we name him?” She asks as her smile narrows a bit as she reaches for a chalice of water, from which her husband Glenn grabs and hand to her keeping movement limited. She sips it a few times before putting it back waiting for a response.
“If you wouldn’t mind my love, I would like to honor my brother and name our son after him,” Glenn says with a bit of caution.
Shrawna sits up a bit a little surprised by Glenn’s choice.
“Kross? Your con man of a brother? Isn’t he a killer?” Shawna asks searching for the reason.
Glenn looks down at the baby who reaches one hand out towards Glenn’s face. “It might be hard to understand, but growing up he suffered a lot for me. He kept me alive; I owe my life to my brother. Granted he could never grow up and build a life for himself. Even though he may not follow the law, he is my brother I love him and miss him dearly. In all likely hood he was captured or killed long ago and I will never see him again; I will never have the chance to repay him for all he done and sacrificed for me.
“Then the answer is yes, welcome to the world Kross. Now shall we wake Isabel and let her meet her new brother Kross?” she asks weakly looking away. She had only ever heard vague stories about her husbands checkered past.
“Can’t awaken whats already awake.” he says playfully before standing and mouthing the words ‘Thank You”. Leaving the room with the baby heading towards Isabel’s room. He enters her room which contains a humble collection of hay padded bedding and a small wooden and cloth padded crib. Cloths and a tiny collection of wooden toys rest in perfect chaos across the floor. He looks down upon his daughter.
“Isabel? I have someone I want you to meet. ” He says trying to contain his joy.
Isabel is a girl around the age of 4 playing with her carved wooden pony and doll made from spare cloth. Her hair is the color of aged amber and she shares her fathers eyes and ears but the rest belongs to her mother. Once Glenn enters the room she looks a bit frightful and quickly goes to blow out the candle she managed to light in the corner of the room before she is stopped by her father.
“Isabel leave it. It is alright I have known you were up for awhile,” Having seen the candle light from through the cloth door as well as her shadows as she darted from one side to the other. ”
“Sorry papa….momma was screaming and….and..I was frightened and I love her, I -I- what? ” she says quickly and confused as to the whole ordeal that has gone down but notices her Dad is holding a baby and she brightens right up rushing over to him. ” MY BABY…yay play with horsey. ” She goes to tug on the blanket that contains her brother as her father lifts him out of her grabbing fingers.”
“This is your baby brother Kross, he still too young to play with you, but I promise in no time he will be playing with you every day. You will have took after him and protect him as you are older and know better. I am trusting you to always do whats best for your family and your little brother. Now if you calm down and sit down ill let you get a good look at him and maybe hold him.” He says softly and with truth making her eyes brighten even more at the chance to be trusted and given such a huge task. She nods and sits down clapping her hands against the bedding in anticipation.
Glenn sits down next to her and shows her the right way to hold a baby which is almost to heavy for her but she puts on her best grown up face and does her duty. Holding her brother and looking at him closely; a toothy grin spread from ear to ear. She begins to hum and rock him to the simple tune. As Glenn has a tear of joy and pride fall from his eye patting her on the back.
“Alright, Isabel its time to let Kross eat and for you to go to bed. Tomorrow ill be a big day, and starting tomorrow you and him will share a room. I will expect you to teach him whats right and wrong when he is a bit older for now just be patience as you can till then. ” Glenn goes to take the baby away and Isabel instantly gets upset but and protests as Glenn takes Kross out of her hands, and she screams out no causing Kross to begin to cry.
“ISABEL, knock it off right now I know your tired and cranky but now you have scared your brother. You know better; now candle out, and bed for you. Your teaching him to be scared of you and not trust you. Be good; be full of honor and respect. Teach him love and compassion. There will be plenty of time tomorrow for playing.” Glenn says keeping his temper in check with ease.
Isabel grunts and body posture is in protest but does as she is told as Glenn takes Kross back to his mother. Glenn changes the sheets as Kross receives his first meal. Morning came and Isabel comes crashing into her parents bedroom. Glenn and Shrawna lay with the baby in between them and are awaken by the pluck of the morning person in the room.
Glenn gets up to start something for breakfast taking Isabel with him as Shrawna feeds the infant, before carrying Kross into the table to eat herself. She is slow and weak moving but happy. They eat breakfast and a knock comes from the only wooden door in their home.
Glen stands and grabs his sword which is sitting next to a dust covered dwarf armor. He makes his way over to the door. Opening it a crack he sees teenage boy with an arrow through his arm standing there bleeding.
“SLAVERS!” the boy shouts and Glenn opens the door all the way letting the boy in. Glenn heads out to look around for signs of the boys claim. Shrawna looks towards the strangers wounds as Glenn sees 12 men on horses heading up the path towards his house. Glenn heads back inside with haste moving everything he can find infront of the door. Isabel begins crying and Kross starts to cry out again. This causes Isabel to tighten up and reduce her crys to tears and sniffles, as she attempts to be brave. Shrawna leads the children into the her bed room. Glen charges in and carefully he pushes their bed to the side. He pulls up a hidden trap door and guides his wife and his kids into grabbing the teenage boy a moment before letting the boy go into their hideaway as well. Once they all hide away Glenn closes the trapped door as Shrawna works on getting the children quite. Glenn pushes the bed back over it.
The sound of horses can now be heard as the riders close in. Glenn mind begins to race and he heads over to an old trunk in the bed room he begins shuffling through it till he comes across a small thin box. Opening it he pulls out the sliver coin given to him so many years ago. Then heads out to the living area as the men begin shouting.
“We know your in there boy. To those of you in this house come out now or we will burn it down.” A man with one eye and a terribly burned face shouts. The twelve men each are wearing random collections of armor from several houses. They dismount causing a clang as metal boots hit the stone pathway. ” You may see that boy as a child but honestly he is our property and as quarter breed he is deemed a slave by King Orick. Now I have no desire to destroy such a….well nice looking farm. We just want whats ours shall you refuse everyone in there will sentenced to death.”
Glenn closes his eyes and sits down with his back to the barricaded door. One hand on his sword the other on the coin they begin pounding on the door which causes him to slam his eyes shut and he flips the coin.
Silence falls as the coin continues to flip in mid air. Confused he stands and peeks out the window and everyone is standing still in mid action. Confused Glenn turns to look back at the coin which no longer remains instead the black mage from his youth stands before him.
“You have summoned me, do you have a wish?” The black cloaked figure says in a disconcerting tone causing chills to rise up Glenns spine.
“Glenn I wish for a sword and skills to protect my family from any foe.” Glenn answers in a rattled voice.
“I see…If I grant this wish I will need you to be in this city at this time….”the stranger hands Glenn a piece of paper. Then vanishes for the duration of a blink of the eyes and returns with a black sword covered in black flames. ” Everything you desire you will find with this blade, but the blade comes with a steep price. If you take the blade then you accept the terms of our agreement then the pact is made. Should you break your oath your existence is forfeit.”
Glenn goes to reach for the swords handle but stops a moment noticing writings on it unlike any he has ever known. “What is the price that comes with the blade.”
“That is between you and the sword. ” the stranger says with the same chilling tone.
Glenn hesitates a moment then thinks about his family before reaching out his hand and grasping the sword. Instantly he hears voices and his hand is engulfed in flames burning his flesh but he feels no pain. The whisper of a voice he can not determine is male or female as it echos throughout his head.
“You are barely worthy to lift me. Your soul is one of redemption and reeks of good intentions. I will lend you power beyond what you will ever be able to harness with such low ambitions. Heed me….Feed me. Your soul or the souls of others…either way I will be fed. Though note upon lifting me you have agreed to these terms and thus now we are bound till your death. I will be the last thing you ever hear but until then…..”
“The terms complete, shall we never meet again.” The stranger vanishes just as abruptly as he appeared.
The voice stops and Glenn looks down at his hand which is now only bone, yet his grip is stronger than ever. The slavers begin to light torches and bang on the door which slowly creeks open. The man with the eye patch readies his sword and looks into the door frame and sees only blackness.
“It’s hungry…it wants fed…you should have never come here.” Glenn’s voice whispers out of the darkness just barely able to be heard.
“Alright men the door is open. Rolo and Plaqet go in first and see if we cant find that little cunt my pecker needs its bath.” Commands the one eyed slaver to the men beside him. They move forward towards the darkness. The hair on the back of their neck raise as they enter. Once surrounded in darkness and out of sight of their comrades four thuds are heard as a head is tossed out of the front door with such force when it hits, the leader square in the chest plate it causes the head to explode and the chest plate to cave in and leader to be knocked 10 feet backwards off his feet. Two bright lights swirl around Glenn as he exits.
“Holy Hell its Gods Save us its a damn Soul Eater!” One of the men shout as it they look at the souls of their friends swirling around the sword. Black flames reach off the blade and engulf the souls and they hear the souls scream in horror.
The leader is coughs out blood as he forces himself to stand. He orders the men to take off and attack. They do, resulting in Glenn cutting them down as if swatting flies. The blade itself cuts through armor, flesh and blood as cleanly as it cuts through the air. Cutting through swords, arms, and anything else that got in its way. The leader goes to get on his horse and retreat as his men lay dead or dying their souls being pulled from them. The flames on the black sword chase down the leader who attempts to take off on the horse burning and consuming the soul of the man while it remains inside his body.
Glenn lets out a dark laugh as his eyes turn black and the souls one by one are consumed by the black flame.