Start writing here“Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth,” she thought to herself as she ran with all her strength.
“Where is he?!” she panicked. The woods began getting dense and each stepped became a struggle for balance.
“NO! He’s going to catch me!” she screamed to herself. Her breath became rapid, her chest started to tighten, her body began to overheat producing steam as it came in contact with the cool forest air. The ground beneath her began to wilt with each step she took. She fell to her knees and her body began to spark flames, the forest starting to spin and get dark. A figure appeared behind a tree to her left “SKY!” it screams.
A young elf tackles her to the ground, throwing a sage cloak on her to douse the flames. The last thing she heard was the boy humming a hymn from her village and the flames began to dwindle.
She slowly opened her eyes and the image of the boy became clear.
“Daggon,” she whispers.
“Really, Sky? You can’t even handle something as simple as hide and seek?” Sky laid on her back and took a deep breath in, the familiar smells of burning clothes and grass fill her nostrils. She looked to a tree on her left with scorch lines about a quarter up the tree, He got to me fast, thank you.
Daggon knew Sky well, he knew her thoughts as if they were written in front of him “If we sit here till you’re done beating yourself up we’ll have another fire to put out.”
“You’re right, I’m sorry.”
“Splendid lets head back to the village. It’s a little cold here,” he jest.
Sky started tugging the bottom of her siege shirt, which was now singed. She looked over at Daggon and noticed his beige cape was burnt. She leaned over and grabbed it. She held the silk material in her hands, “I guess we can’t hide this from your parents,” she claimed throwing his cape at him.
“You know they won’t care. You’ve always been family since you were born and even more once your father left.”
“They’ll ban us from playing tag ever again, just like everything else,” she stated as she walked into the woods. Daggon followed with no response. He knew it was true. Anytime her powers emerged, his parents removed the cause. He looked at Sky, slightly taller than him with short straight thin hair. She preferred it that way, not that she could keep her hair long with her spontaneously bursting into flames. She was wearing peasant clothes, as usual, baggy beige shirts and baggy black pants. The nicest item Sky wore was a leather belt, a hand me down from Daggon.
“At least Father has an excuse to buy you decent clothes,” Daggon said.
“Brilliant, so it can all burn a couple of days later when I rise to flames again,” she said with sarcasm.
“It might make people warm up to you if you wore nice clothes Sky. You’re educated and come from a respectable household.” he reasoned.
“Oh yes, because people turn their heads away because of my clothes, not the fact I uncontrollably light things on fire,” she responded. He had no response. He was aware of the truth behind her words, after all he has seen her power first hand and up close.
The young elves found themselves at an entanglement of vines covered with purple-tipped thorns. Daggon held his hand flat out towards the vines. The tips of the vines faded from purple to green and retracted into the vines, which now began to detangle around a tree and reveal a bridge behind them.
“Home sweet home,” Sky mumbled under her breath. Unlike Sky, Daggon loved the view of his home, Dragon Shire. It was built in the darkest part of the forest. The only natural light was what sunlight could make it through the thick treetops of above and sparkled only on the river sending flecks of light to dance across the buildings of the town. The entrance to the city was under a giant tree whose roots formed a bridge. The bridge led to an underground entrance that was damp and pitch dark which proved to be no problem for our young night elves, for they had the ability to see in the dark. Sky ran over the tree root that served as a rail for the bridge with her hand. Despite her power, Sky loved anything that had to do with nature, there wasn’t a truer elf than her at that aspect. Nature seemed to thrive from her very touch and vice versa.
As the young elves entered Dragon Shire, screams and the sound of swords colliding filled the air. “THE PITS” screamed Daggon with enthusiasm.
“Sure, let’s go to the scum below and watch people kill each other,” responded Sky.
“Only criminals kill in the pits, and you don’t have to follow,” Daggon quickly defended.
“Fine. I have other things to attend to,” Daggon waited until Sky walked out of his view of sight in case she decided to come. Sky hated being alone in the city. When he was sure she wasn’t returning, Daggon made his way towards the pits. He went behind an old crusty tavern in the poorer district. Suddenly, he found himself slammed against a wall with a dagger against his throat. Holding the weapon was a figure in a black hooded cape.
“Those are some fine clothes, boy, much better than anything I have,” the figured croaked. The hooded night elf removed his hood to reveal a fragile-looking man, whose teeth were either made of gold or missing. His left eye had a zigzag scar across it.
“Raffi, you grinning bastard,” Daggon smiled.
“You should watch those dark corners, might not be such a friendly face next time,” stated Raffi.
“It is a gorgeous face...in the dark that is.” They both laughed as Raffi released his grip.
“So what’s a pampered elf like yourself doing in the slums?”
“Was hoping to check out the competition. You know my birthday is coming up,” grinned Daggon.
“That’s right, the pampered prince is old enough to be murdered now,” chuckled Raffi.
“I won’t get murdered, and stop calling me that. You know I hate that name,” groaned Daggon.
“It’s perfect. I figured you could use it as your Pitt name,” jested Raffi.
“Always trying to get under my skin. I can’t help who my parents are,” defended Daggon.
“Don’t get your trousers in a wad, boy. Your parents are great even in the slums. It doesn’t matter how much gold you have; they’ll help you either way. Be proud,” encouraged Raffi.
“I am proud. It just feels like I was born into the wrong life. I love the Pitts, but my parents talk as if it’s a disgrace to the whole city,” complained Daggon.
“Eh, the Pitts were here before the fancy trade routes and politics took this city over. They complain because they’ll never get rid of it,” explained Raffi.
“Like anyone would come down here from up there, they would get their clothes dirty,” joked Daggon.
They walked until they reached the outskirts of the Pits. Along the wooden gate were hundreds of raggedy shops. They sold everything you could need for the Pitts: weapons, armor, potions, rations, and some even offered places to sleep for outsiders. Though none stood as well as Raffi’s, you could say he had his own Pitt club, only for the Pitt’s honored fighters. It took a percentage of their wins and offered them free rooms and the best equipment that could be made in town. Though if you weren’t considered “honored” you were up charged to use any of its facilities. No one cared because “only the best trust Raffi,” so everyone paid the ridiculous fees.
As they entered Raffi’s business, Daggon happened to notice the increase in already ridiculous prices. “You make all this money and still stay down here. I don’t get it. You could easily find a house in the northern district.”
“And what live with some posh people who would just talk behind my back?” Raffi spits on the ground. “Fuck them” he snarled.
“Whoa there, I was just trying to say I admire your business tactics. Now let’s get to it. My birthday is coming up and I’d like to compete. So who do I need to worry about?” asked Daggon.
“Well you know the usuals so no need to tell you about them, but there are quite a few new ones. One particularly has caught my eye,” informed Raffi.
“Outsider from where exactly?” asked Daggon.
“That’s just it, from everywhere, but I don’t think he’s a human with the way he holds himself. I can’t pinpoint where he’s from, as if he’s a mixture of everywhere,” continued Raffi.
“Interesting. Do you know his specialty yet?” asked Daggon.
“That I do. I could tell by his weapons, two daggers, a rogue for sure,” spoke Raffi.
“A rogue eh? Not my strong point especially if he’s skilled any…” Raffi interrupted Daggon and motioned behind him. Through the entrance, a cloaked figure walked through the door. On each forearm, there were two daggers strapped. They shined brightly, obviously well cared for, and were of high quality. Daggon closed his eyes and attempted to listen to him walking but he couldn’t.
“He’s a professional,” said Daggon.
“That he is. Carries some vials around too. I think it might be poison, but I can’t tell.”
“Has to be. I haven’t seen anything like it and I’ve seen just about everything.”
“I guess I have my work cut out for me.”
“Yes, but the good news is your dear old parents have made some sanctions on the Pitts.”
“How is that good news?” demanded Daggon.
“Look, they are the only ones attempting to negotiate with us and this was one of them, and it’s not even a big deal.”
“Well, what was the sanction?” inquired Daggon.
“First comers can’t participate in deathmatches. It gives them a second chance at what they consider a poor life choice,” explained Raffi.
“Has he participated yet?”
“In fact, no, he’s just been sitting here, playing on time, leaves to explore the district, then comes right back.” Daggon couldn’t place this outsider, which made him want to fight him even more.
“As a birthday gift will you set him as my first match?” asked Daggon.
“Eh? But what about the other gift?” grinned Raffi.
“What another one?” asked Daggon curiously.
Raffi took Daggon to the section of the housing that contained their blacksmith, Thalm Earthmail. Thalm was a dwarf whose family had more generations of blacksmiths than any other. He was short and stocky with brown hair in a ponytail and a single braided beard. On the right side of his face, he had a brand in his people’s language that all knew stood for “spoiled blood.” Dwarves had a strict code of conduct even among those of high status, but that was never the life for Thalm. He craved his ax crushing into fresh skin of bones and participated in the sewer works deathmatches. One day he was caught by the kings’ guards and was thrown into jail. With his family being the blacksmiths of the kings’ army, they were informed of the misdeed in respect for the family's services towards the king. The king gave them a choice: banishment or death for Thalm. Once the family made his choice for him, he was branded as a criminal so no one let him use his family name and cause more embarrassment. Eventually, Raffi found him and offered him a job at his place as his new blacksmith.
“Thalm! Look who itching for an early birthday surprise,” yelled Raffi.
“Daggon my fancy blood brother,” jested Thalm
“I worked especially hard on this for you,” Thalm picked up a packaged wrapped in cloth and placed it on the counter and began to unfold it. Daggon couldn’t believe his eyes. It was a hand-crafted cold iron greatsword.
“This is mine?” he stumbled to ask.
“That is my boy!” yelled Thalm
“Good ole Raffi wanted something grand for your first match and I was honored to make it for ye.” Daggon picked up the greatsword and held it in both hands, the weight was a little off-putting at first not being used to holding something made of such fine metal. Though he got used to it and began to notice how perfect the balance was.
“You crafted its height perfectly to me didn’t you?” asked Daggon.
“Well it wouldn’t be much of a sword if I didn’t. What would a human-size great sword do for you? You’d be stumblin’ everywhere at your first match,” said Thalm.
“Guys, thank you. This is beyond words.”
“You’re family to us Daggon, don’t think anything of it,” smiled Raffi.