The Last Warrior
By Kullan in Dark Ages
((NOTE: I have used a mixture of different Gaelic languages as some did not have the needed words.))
Dedicated to Bentic and his wife Angelic, who showed a stranger kindness when others would not.
Night begins to fall. Joran knows with the Night come the creatures. Caught out hunting,
Joran is loaded with items. "It has been a good day." he thinks to himself as he hurries along.
He has to survive off of the things he finds from the creatures he hunts. But it was not always
like this. Years ago, he had a family and he was happy. They were a shopkeeper’s family. His
father owned a profitable shop in a wealthy city. Everyday, people would come to the store to buy and trade valuable goods. His father was known as an honest man with a good eye for profitable goods. They lived in the back of the store, the building was one of the largest in the Outer City.
But that all changed a few years ago, the city came under attack by vile creatures that would
strike Fear into the heart of even the hardiest Warrior. He later found out that these creatures were known as Nachmarbh, meaning Undead in the Old Tongue. Creatures that were summoned from the Underworld and loosed on the Realm. The creatures laid siege to the city for several days with no one able to leave for help.
Eventually, the city could hold out no longer. The outer walls finally fell and the creatures poured through the breach like an evil flood. They ransacked the city burning what they pleased and killed any they came across. Those who survived fled the city into the countryside. The creatures pillaged the city and destroyed everything they could. Joran’s eyes glazed over as memories came flooding back,
"Quickly gather wha’ ya can. We must flee afore ‘tis too late." Kanel pleaded to his wife and children.
"We are, my love. We are almost ready." Alaya responded and hurried Joran and Reanna as they packed their bags with belongings. Joran, the older of the two urged his sister to hurry as well.
"Hurry Rea, Da' says we gotta go now."
"I am hurrying, keep yer breeches on."
Soon they had the few small packs loaded with what small valuables they could carry. Kanel took one last look around with sadness etched across his face. Alaya, seeing the look on his face goes over to him.
"It will no’ be tha’ bad Love. We will come back again. If no’, we can rebuild." Kissing him lightly on the cheek, Kanel looks into her eyes. She sees the loss still remains, but now fierce determination now resides within.
"Aye, yer right, Muileach. We must leave now. Come little ones." Kanel gives her a quick kiss and gathering up what he must carry. But before he leaves, Kanel reaches up above the hearth and brings down an axe. The weapon had been in his family for generations. Though it had never been used for at least a generation, it shows not a single sign of age. The head of the axe is a polished silver-colored steel etched with ancient runes and carvings that flow onto the handle down to the base. Kanel never found out what the purpose of the carvings were but as his father and his father’s father had done before him, he kept the axe polished and sharpened. It had become a tradition that he meant to continue. Heft the axe in his hand, it still surprised him that the axe was so well balanced that it felt almost like a feather in his hand. The handle was at the right length that it can be use both as a one-handed weapon or a two-handed weapon. Slipping the axe into a loop at his belt Kanel nods and the group leave the house. Kanel takes them down alleyways and side streets avoiding the mass of people rushing to escape the onslaught. Word had just spread that the evil horde has finally breached the walls and was now rushing into the city. Kanel had made plans as soon as word had reached him of an army heading for the city. He has a very close friend who deals in shady businesses with unknown clients who has a passage out of the city. Kanel had known the man well before he took to his lifestyle that he now leads. Kanel and Jares keep their businesses well apart from each other, but the long friendship between them can never be broken. Jares had a secret tunnel built from his cellar that lead to the sewer leading out of the city. Jares had it built just in case he had to leave the city suddenly and unseen. Kanel had never known about this passageway until Jares himself came to his store and told the news of the evil horde. Jares then told him of the passageway and of his plans. Kanel lead them trough many streets and as they were approaching the street that led to Jares’s house, it was then that everything went wrong.
Out from a dark street figures approached. The were a hideous site to behold and Kanel knew instantly that they were the evil creatures. At the same instant, Alaya screams and grabs Kanel’s arm. Looking in the direction she was pointing, Kanel notices more creatures from an opposite alleyway. Kanel growls and his lips curl into a sneer. Handing his bags to Joran, he speaks.
"Listen ta me lad. Take yer sister outta here. Ya know where Jares lives, head fer there and he will help ya." Looking to his wife, "Ya must go with them, my Muileach."
She gives him a look of defiance and pulls out a dagger from somewhere beneath her dress. He only nods in acceptance. He knows better than to argue with her now. They both come from a long line of Warriors. And the Warrior Blood and Spirit are still strong even now within their families. He looks to Joran and gives a look that he will not take no for an answer. Joran merely nods and pulls his sister after him. Reanna never liked to fight or even see one. She could never comprehend why one must hurt another. She had always taken in animals that had been hurt and would nurse them until they were well. His Ma had always said she had her GrandMa in her. Their GrandMa had been a Priestess and devoted her life to healing and helping others. He wanted to stay and fight alongside his parents, but his da had given him responsibility of looking after his sister and he meant to keep that promise.
As the two darted down an alleyway, he heard his parents shout in defiance ""Son ny Cinneadh! Son ny Lòchran!" Joran remembers the saying as the ancient warcry of his family, "For the Clan! For the Light!". Pulling his sister along behind him without a thought to go back, they soon reach the house and safety. Pounding on the front door, they yell for help. Soon the merchant Jares comes to the door and sees the two children, one with a determined look, the other frightened. Hurrying them through the door, he closes it and bolts it shut.
"Ho, lad. Where might yer father an' mother be?" Jares asks.
"We were confronted by creatures. They stayed to fight so we could get away. Protect Reanna, I gotta go back." As the boy spoke a look of concern crosses the merchant's features.
"No lad, ya can no' go back out there. 'Tis too dangerous."
"I must go back and help them." The boy gave Jares a look of fierce determination that he had seen in Kanel's eyes a few times. A look that spoke of deadly consequences for any who crossed him. Kanel had been in more than one fight and every one of them Kanel had come out with no more than a scratch. Those that opposed him where worse, a lot worse. Nodding agreement, he opens the door and the boy rushes out with a word spoken quietly to his sister. Joran runs at full speed back to where he left his parents. When he got there, what he saw stopped him dead in his tracks. Bodies of dead creatures lay everywhere. To Joran, it was a gruesome sight to behold. But what shocked him the most was what he saw in the middle of the carnage. Two bodies covered in blood lay side by side. Slowly he approached, glancing at the dead creatures as if they would jump up and attack him any minute. Finally, he reached the bodies of his parents. Kneeling, he checks his mother for signs of Life finding none. Suddenly, a hand touched him arm and he yelled and almost fell over. He soon realized that the hand was his father's. Looking over to him, Joran sees a set of eyes looking at him with the fierce spirit that was always there. Blood made a slow trickle out of his mouth as he works his lips to speak…
"Joran, my son. Why did ya come back? Ah, it does no' matter. Your mother?" he speaks slowly and hoarsely. Joran lowered his eyes to the ground. Kanel knew the answer without hearing the words. "Ah, she fought bravely Joran. She would no' leave me side even in Death she is still here. Listen ta me, son. Ya must take care of yer sister. *cough* Protect her, she does no' understand tha ways o' tha Warrior. She is a healer, and healers oft need protection e'en when they do no' realize it. *cough*" Joran was about o tell his Father not to speak, "No son, I must speak. I am not long here. Take the Silver Axe. It must remain in our family for it is what we truly are. *cough* May the Light shine on ya, my son." Kanel's grip tightens on Joran's arm. It did not last long and as is slowly ceased, Joran finally spoke.
"Aye, Da' . I will protect her, I swear upon my blood an' tha Axe. Rest now, Ma' is waitin'."
Kanel's eyes slid closed and slowly his breathing ceased. Joran bowed his head as a tear made its way down his cheek. Looking up, holding the Axe in both hands, he screams to the air "Araghyn roin, fàilt ad shoh laochs stiagh yn Suthainn Nuiddraghys, Listen to me!! I am Joran, tha last warrior of Clan Allaidh Laochs. Hear me, I, Joran as I am tha last…" as he spoke the last words, he bows his head over the axe. Touching his forehead to the flat of the blade, he speaks softly, "Father, Mother… I am alone with only Reanna. But I will no’ let ya down. I ha’ given my word." Looking up, there is a fierce determination in his eyes that is the sigil of his clan the Allaidh Loach, the Fierce Warriors. Placing the hands of his parents so that the are holding each other, he kisses the forehead of each and stands to go. As he turns, he sees his sister standing in the opening of the alleyway, her face frozen in disbelief.
"Reanna, I told ya ta stay an’ no’ ta follow me. We must go quickly." She lets him lead her back to the house her face still frozen as she mindlessly walks. Entering the house, Jares starts to ask what happened but seeing the little girl and the look in Joran’s eyes, he realizes what had befallen his parents. Upon seeing the axe, he knew it was true. Feeling a sudden loss of a great warrior and hie wife, Jares helps the two children as he gathers all the items that are needed and leads them through the hidden passageway. Jares already had the house barred down and all the valuables hidden deep within the basement. He had no plans to stay either. They finally emerge from the cavern far from the city, night had fallen. Jares dared not stop until they were well away from the city. Reanna still clutched the hand of her brother. Her composure still had not changed. Finally, after the moon had crested, they stopped in a small copse of trees. Jares gathered wood and started a small fire. As the two children sat down, Reanna’s composure finally broke. Tears slowly start to travel down her cheeks, "Ah, Rea, do no’ cry. I am here." He sits next to her as she falls into his arms and buries her face in his chest as the grief set in. He sits there soothing her hair and lets the grief take its course. Until, at last Reanna cried herself to sleep. Laying her down under a blanket, Joran faces Jares.
"I thank ya fer getting’ us out. We owe ya a debt, Jares"
"No, lad ya do no’ owe me anythin" the merchant responds, "Yer da’ has saved me skin many a time. ‘Tis tha least I could do. But, wha’ will ya do now?"
"I do no’ know. Mayhap we will travel to another village an’ start o’er."
"I will lead ya thar, but I can no’ stay. These creatures must be stopped an’ I must spread tha word. We will start out at fist light. Now, get some sleep."
Joran was about to say he was not tired when he suddenly stifled a yawn. ‘maybe I should get a lil’ rest’ he thinks to himself. Nodding to the merchant, Joran lays down beside his sister. The last thing he remembers before sleep overcomes him is the image of his parents on the ground…
Thinking back, Joran remembers like it was yesterday, although it has been many years. Now, they live in a decent sized town called Mileth and he makes his living hunting in the nearby Eastern Woods, while Reanna did finally become a Priestess and now spends her time using the Talent that was born in her. She heals those who seek her aid and occasionally comes with Joran on his hunting trips. It may not be the best life, but it is one they are content with. Although Joran feels that there should be something more to his Life, he pays it no mind, for now. Letting his thoughts drift, he heads back for town.