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Shadows of Avol

By Stonewolfe All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Fantasy

Chapter 1

The year was 229, according to the Malorian Calendar, as two small and very basic wagons plodded along to the east across the vast desert that was known as The Khazad. One of the wagons, not bothering to keep its cover on, was full of various crates, barrels, and sackcloth bags and was driven by a yawning middle aged human male wiping his brow with his forearm from sweat to the setting sun. The other wagon, though it had its cover up, had all of its passengers sitting on the driver’s seat.

Holding the reins was a lean, yet well-toned, elven man his age of course impossible to tell at a glance much like any elf’s though in his eyes shone the wisdom of hundreds, possibly even already thousands, of years of life. Sitting next to him, her head inclined to rest on his shoulder, was a human female whom by elven, and even human, standards was on the plump side though she would simply tell you it was her motherly figure. Her amber hair rolled in waves around her rosy cheeks and her emerald eyes glanced to her side.

Where her emerald eyes rested was on her twins who could look nothing more different from each other, one, her daughter, taking after herself with amber hair flowing across her petite frame though her almond eyes and pointed ears she inherited from her father quivered with rage, the other, her son, though apparently took after someone far down her husband’s lineage as his white hair was perplexing to see on such a young boy and his sky blue eyes twinkled with mischief even while being berated by his twin sister.

The woman turned her head to her husband with a pleading, or perhaps more like a commanding, look in her eyes. Her husband immediately noticed and cleared his throat,

“Okay! Mierva, Mathias, both of you need to quiet down.” The elf toned the mother’s apparent thoughts to the kids.

“But father!” Mierva’s voice pleaded, “Can’t you at least tell Mathias he is wrong about this matter?!”

Mathias shrugged, “It isn’t my fault you don’t know anything about wolves Miev.”

Mierva whipped around, her amber hair whipping with her, “I know PLENTY about wolves Matty!”

“You know I hate that name…” Mathias cringed after the nickname his sister used.

Pouting Mierva simply turner her back to her brother and pointedly began ignoring him.

Their mother sighed, “Oh you two…” she patted Mierva’s head and began slowly stroking through her daughters curls.

Mierva sunk her head in shame realizing now how pointless her fighting had been though her stubbornness wouldn’t allow her to just outright apologize. Mathias rolled his eyes as he looked off into the distance of the never ending sand that was the desert they were in. Miniscule and barely noticeable he thought he could make out a small dust cloud on the horizon.

“What are you looking at?” Mierva’s haughty voice resounded in his ears.

Mathias glared at his sister before sighing and returning his gaze to the horizon.

Mierva’s face grew livid, “Don’t just ignore me Matty!”

Mierva’s voice squealed in Mathias’ ear for at least another ten minutes before her voice cut off, picking up herself what he was looking at.

“What is that?” Mierva asked to no one in particular, “It looks like a cloud on the ground.”

Their father picked up on what his children were talking about his eyes pulled to the horizon and narrowing to try to make anything out. After a few moments his eyes hardened like steel.

“Mierva. Mathias. Get into the back of the wagon. Now.” Their father’s voice was commanding.

“Father?” Mierva uneasily looked to her father’s unusual tone.

“I said now!” he turned to his wife, “Honey, grab my bow and sword.”

Their mother noticed the look in her husband’s eyes and nodded curtly before turning to her children, “You heard your father you two. In the back. Now.”

She ushered the kids into the back of the wagon, once making sure they had sat down properly she quickly grabbed their father’s bow and arrows along with his sheathed sword.

Suddenly multiple horns shattered the silent air and a shout came out from behind them at the other wagon. The twins looked to see the man they were just introduced to just a few days before as their uncle limply fall from the other wagon two arrows sticking from his chest and blood pouring from his mouth. Mierva screamed at the sight and just as multiple arrows tore through the cover of their wagon.

“Miev get down!” Mathias grabbed his sister and pushed her down behind the cover of two barrels that were in their wagon.

Another arrow pierced the cover over their heads and landed just inches away from where the kids huddled behind the barrel. Mathias felt the wagon pick up pace as his parents attempted to escape whomever or whatever had attacked them. But it was all in vain as a loud crashing sound came from ahead of them. Mathias daring a look saw that the road ahead dipped into a rocky area, which was clearly blocked off by debris, to the right the land rose to a rocky overlook covered in humanoid figures that from this distance appeared to be humans and orcs carrying bows and torches, and then to the left across the vast desert twinkling torch lights covered a vast area as more men on horseback closed in on them.

Within minutes of trying to escape their father was forced to stop their wagon. Grabbing his bow and pointing it to the nearest man nearing their cart he was met with at least twenty other bows pointed towards him. He nervously eyed the crowd that grew around their wagons. The surly men parted making room for a large orc with beady red eyes to push his way through.

The large orc growled, “I would put that bow down, elf.”

Their father locked eyes with the orc, his face clearly sweating, “We are just travelers. Let us pass.”

The crowd of men and orcs laughed for a few minutes until the large orc raised his hand, “This land is ours. We take what we want. We let those who we wish to pass.”

“You will not let us pass then?” their father gulped down a large mouthful of air.

The orc did not reply, but simply grinned for a moment before shrugging, “Only if you give us everything you have perhaps.”

Their father stayed silent but in that silence is when it happened. Without them noticing behind the twins coming in from behind the wagon a seedy looking man grabbed them both by the hair and dragged them out of the wagon. Both of them screamed and kicked but against the fully grown man their attacks were useless.

“No!” their mother screamed out, unable to move due to the weapons pointed towards her.

“Let my children go!” their father pointed his arrow towards the man that held them.

The large orc strode towards the twins first grabbing Mathias by the throat, examining him before tossing him to one of his men. Then he grabbed Mierva by her hair, her scream piercing the area, before he handed her back to the man that held her before. The orc turned to their parents and grinned.

“Look children,” the orc’s voice rumbled, “And know… despair.”

With a slight nod a dozen arrows were let loose all of them hitting their mark, their father, as he stood there on the driver’s seat of the wagon. It seemed to take a moment for everything to sink in for the twins to realize what happened until their father slowly fell from the wagon. Before their mother could even scream out in despair one of the orcs jumped onto the wagon behind her and slashed her throat in clear view of the twins.

Mierva was the first to shake off her stupor as she screamed and cried at the sight of her parents dying before her. She was dragged off, kicking, screaming, and crying, by one of the men into the chilling night. Mathias stood there staring as the blood began pooling around his parents bodies, staining the ground beneath them, then the large orc stood in his view. Staring up at the creature that just ordered his parents deaths nothing but pure rage filled the boys mind.

The orc grinned, “Yes, I like that look. Maybe one day boy… you can use it against me properly.”

Before Mathias could say a word the orc raised his fist, in his hand a black metal club, and brought it down fast and hard on Mathias and everything went black around him.

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