Maxen Keene walked out of the cover of the forest and into the large village of Aurumist. It had been a long few days. He had gone to the small village of Amican to visit with the village leader Etan. Nathin, the leader of Aurumist, had sent Maxen to the village to see if all was well after a cure had been sent for the sickness. Maxen found everyone to have been healed. He was ready to leave when he was approached by Etan.
“Maxen Keene, you are great friends with Nathin of the line of Adalwen are you not?” asked Etan.
“I am. Our families have long been allies and friends. I serve Nathin as his advisor.”
“I would like to speak with you if you have the time. It is very important,” replied Etan.
“I am willing to listen to what you have to say,” said Maxen wondering what Etan could have to tell him that would be of importance.
“Thank you, please come into my home.”
Etan took Maxen to a modest house made of logs in the middle of the village. Maxen bowed and greeted Etan’s wife as he was led through the small kitchen and sitting area into a bedroom. Etan shut the door and offered Maxen a seat by the wall. Maxen sat and looked up at Etan.
“I am very grateful to Nathin for the curing of our village. I know without his help, my wife and son would have perished quickly. I owe him a great debt,” said Etan.
“He does not feel it so. Nathin is only doing what he knows is best for the lands and its folk. There has been too much suffering due to the sickness and the followers of the false gods. He wants to make everything right, and he is fighting to do so,” replied Maxen.
“And you are fighting by his side, aren’t you?” asked Etan.
“Yes,” said Maxen. “He is my greatest friend and a great man. I will follow him wherever he goes. I believe he can bring order and healing to the land.”
“I do as well,” said Etan. “I want to serve him.”
“You can serve him by continuing to lead your village well,” said Maxen shifting a little in his small chair. “He does not expect anything else from you.”
“He may not, but I want to give more. I know it will sound strange coming from one who is non-gifted, but I believe I have had a vision. I saw myself serving Nathin as a barrier against those who would harm him. I saw not only that, but my whole line intertwined with Nathin’s line.”
Maxen looked up at Etan with his mouth drawn to the side. “It could have just been a dream. You are grateful to Nathin for saving your village and family. It would be normal to have such a dream after such a stressful time.”
“I know what a dream feels like. This was different. If it was a dream, I could dismiss it easily. I cannot get this out of my head. I believe this is how I was meant to serve.”
Maxen paused. Etan seemed very adamant. “How do you foresee your vision playing out?”
“I am not sure. In my vision I was able to protect Nathin from forces who would hurt him and the land. I saw my line always covering the line of Adalwen. I saw my line stretched before me, always at the side of Nathin’s kin.”
Maxen wasn’t sure what to say. Could he just dismiss this man? It didn’t feel like he should. “I will go to our diviners and speak with them. If this is truly a vision, they will know what to do with it. Once I hear what they have to say, I will talk to Nathin about it. It will take a few days, but once I know more, I will contact you. Will that meet your approval?” Maxen stood up.
“Yes,” said Etan. “Can I have your word you will not push this aside? This is not something I can ignore. I feel it is important to the future of Nathin and the land.”
“Very well, you have my word,” said Maxen holding his hand out. “I will not push this aside. I will do as I have told you. I swear it on my family name.”
Etan nodded and took Maxen’s hand. Maxen quickly left the village and went to the diviners who lived in the forest of the Great Surrounding. He found their tree dwelling not far from his own. It was a very large, twisted tree with many branches but no leaves. Maxen knocked loudly. The door opened and Maxen walked into a large room. At the end was a fireplace where three women sat in large chairs. One was very old with straight white hair falling down her shoulders. One was of Maxen’s age of with black hair pulled up in a tight bun. The third was just a girl of no more than ten years. He light brown hair tumbled down her shoulders in loose curls.
“Maxen Keen,” said the old woman without looking at him. “What brings you for a visit today?”
Maxen walked further into the room to stand by the three diviners. “I have heard of a vision by a non-gifted. I am here to present it to you to see if there is truth to it.”
The woman with black hair stared at Maxen as the young girl said, “Tell us then, Maxen Keen, and we will tell you the truth.”
Maxen nodded. “I have met with Etan of the line of Raya. He is the leader of the village of Amican. His village and family were saved from the sickness by the cure found by Nathin of the blood of Adalwen. Etan says he saw a vision where he served Nathin, protecting him from those who would harm him. He said he saw his family line stretched before him always covering the line of Adalwen.”
The old woman nodded. She looked at the other two women, and they all three stood up. They took each other’s hands forming a small circle in front of the fireplace. Maxen shifted on his feet and waited in silence. Time passed slowly. Maxen stood as still as he could, waiting for the three women to say something to him. He became fidgety after a while, wanting to sit down, but he remained on his feet where he was. Eventually the three women let go of each other’s hands. They sat down back in their seats by the fire.
“We have seen the vision of Etan of the line of Raya,” said the little girl. “It is true and it clear.”
“He must become bonded to the line of Adalwen for Nathin to unite the lands,” said the old woman quietly. “He will be the Protector of the line of Adalwen and the kingdom that will form. The line of Raya will serve the line of Adalwen.”
“We have seen Nathin ruling over a new kingdom, bringing the lands together, but only with Etan by his side,” said the little girl. “Without Etan the followers of the false gods will be victorious.”
“You will have to do this, Maxen Keene,” whispered the black-haired woman. “You will have to do this quickly. The new kingdom must have a protector.”
The three women said no more. Maxen wanted to ask questions, but he had a feeling it would do no good. He turned to leave, wondering how he would do this, when the little girl walked over to him and took his hand. Maxen looked down at her. She squeezed his hand and looked into his eyes. Suddenly, Maxen knew what to do. He knew how to bond the line of Adalwen and the line of Raya. The little girl smiled slightly and let go of Maxen’s hand. She walked back over and sat down by the fire. Maxen turned and left the tree dwelling of the diviners.
Now Maxen was entering Aurumist. He went directly to the large home in the center of the city. He didn’t even knock. He walked in and found Nathin sitting by the fire in a large chair.
“You are back,” said Nathin looking at Maxen. “Come sit and tell me what you have found out.”
Maxen walked over and sat down by Nathin. “I have found out more than I thought possible.”
“How so?” asked Nathin leaning forward. “Has the cure not worked in Amican?”
“All is well in Amican, but I have something else to tell you.”
Maxen told Nathin of all he had learned. He told him of Raya’s vision and of the diviner’s instructions. After he was done, Nathin sat back and looked at Maxen.
“Do you think this is all necessary, Maxen? Do you think I should bind this man’s line to my own?”
“I wasn’t sure at first, but after my visit with the diviner’s I have no doubt. If you want to unite the lands and defeat the followers of the false, gods; we will have to do this.”
“And you can do it?” asked Nathin.
“I can,” replied Maxen. “I have seen how. I will need to prepare for a few days, but we can do it soon.”
“What will it entail?”
“It will take blood magic. I will need blood from both you and Etan. You will both have to swear oaths to each other to bind your lines together forever.”
Nathin nodded. “Then I suppose you better prepare what you need and go talk to Etan.”
Maxen nodded. He stood up to go do what he needed to do.
“Wait,” said Nathin looking up at Maxen. “Forever is a long time.”