The Saga of Icegaze

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The Saga of Icegaze

Postby Icegaze » Sat Jan 08, 2005 6:40 pm

This is the first chapter of "The Saga of Icegaze."

WARNING: Long post.

The Saga of Icegaze
Chapter 1: Eric Riverstone

Eric and Hiryu were lying on the grass on Overlook Point. They were staring up at the stars. This was expected by Hiryu, who was much more philosophical, but not by Eric. Eric was not exactly mean, but he wasn’t the type of person to share his feelings. He lived mostly just to make himself better. Mornings consisted of martial arts and physical training for Eric, and afternoons were usually spent with his best friend, Hiryu. Eric lived for pure adrenaline, so sparring, adventures, hunting and dangerous extreme sports usually took up the afternoon activities.
Hiryu liked adrenaline rushes as much as the next man, but lived to broaden his horizons, so he questioned a lot of things. Hiryu lived alone, as opposed to Eric, who had a half merchant, half warrior father, a merchant brother, and a mother who took care of them all. Eric was 16, but Hiryu was around one hundred, but appeared as a late teen. He was of a telekinetic race that was immortal, but he was a mixed breed, half human, so he would someday die. His appearance was human, but under his long, blonde hair, his ear was covered with fur.
Eric also had blonde hair, darker than Hiryu’s, but just as long. Their life on Solomset Isle, a small, secluded island, had given them both tanned skin, though Hiryu’s was darker.
Now they were looking at the stars.
“I wonder how many there are,” wondered Eric, the only question he ever asked.
“If the universe is truly endless, there’s an infinite amount of different lands, but if it’s not, life could not exist beyond Solomset Isle,” returned Hiryu.
“But the war...”
“Could not exist. Simply a shroud pulled over our eyes. A story told by the villagers that was handed down for generations.”
“Then tell me,” started Eric, “how did you come to be? You have no known parents and your race is different than ours. You must have come from another land.”
The next few minutes were spent in silence and wondering.
“Duel?” asked Hiryu.
“Nah,” responded his friend.
“You want to...”
“No, I don’t,” said Eric firmly.
“Don’t try to be nice to me. You’re itching to duel,” Hiryu said slyly. Eric leapt up.
“Don’t do that! You know I hate that!” yelled Eric, but Hiryu remained unphased.
“I wasn’t reading your mind, Eric. Anyone who’s known you for sixteen years can tell you can’t refuse a duel,” said Hiryu. Duels were practice fights that were celebrated widely throughout Solomset Village. They were fought with thin wooden poles that were roughly three feet long, though it depended on the user’s preference. Dueling poles were mainly used as swords, but some cut long ones, making them staves.
Eric was trained by his father, but at fourteen, he had surpassed him because of his dedication to martial arts. Not a fan of anything unnecessary, Eric had left his pole with no design. The only modification was a leather grip around the handle.
Hiryu’s pole, however, was a thing of beauty. A slick red varnish covered it’s decoratively carved body. The grip was carved, not leather, and black tribal designs ran down the pole. While Eric let his pole become chipped and broken from battle, Hiryu repaired his after every fight.
A fierce look shot across Eric’s face. Hiryu leapt from the ground. They both made eye contact. Hiryu attempted to read the mind of his opponent, but upon doing so, all he saw was his own pair of eyes.
They disguarded their shirts, revealing several bruises on each of them. The opponents slowly drew their dueling poles from the leather sheaths at their waists and extended the poles in front of them. The ends touched, the duel was on.
Hiryu lunged, but hit only air as Eric rolled to the side, covering himself in a layer of dirt: camouflage. Hiryu looked around wildly for Eric, but found nothing. It was when he tried to read the mind of his opponent did the attack come. A dull blow to the stomach. Upon turning, he laid eyes on the darkened figure of Eric. Eric lunged and connected only with the opposing pole. A series of vicious attacks came, each countered by the other. The clacking of the poles echoed through the night.
Pure swordsman ship was the key here. Eric parried and grasped both ends of his pole. He started forward with the pole held horizontally. Hiryu made a vertical downstrike, connecting with the pole. They were in a deadlock. Now, strength was the main factor. Eric through his weight into the deadlock and sent his friend backward.
But Hiryu recovered himself in a backward roll. He was now crouched in a sprinting position, but with only his free hand on the ground. Eric was visible in the same position, about ten yards away. Simultaneously, they lifted from the ground and charged. Hiryu raised his pole to swing inward, but he raised it too early and the move was seen by Eric. Eric ducked the swing and struck his opponents stomach with a baseball style swing.
Hiryu toppled, out of breath. He was lying on the ground, catching his breath for what seemed like forever. When his breath returned, Hiryu started to rise, but stopped when Eric loomed over him, pointing the end of his dueling pole an inch away from Hiryu’s throat.
“Round 1, Eric Riverstone,” Eric said proudly. Hiryu rolled backward, picking up a handful of dirt and throwing it into Eric’s face. While Eric was temporarily blinded, Hiryu grabbed a tree branch and swung himself on top of it.
Eric began searching for his opponent. Hiryu watched until Eric’s back was fully turned to him. Then, he hooked his legs around the branch and swung down, striking Eric in the center of the back. Eric fell forward. He rolled over to find the end of Hiryu’s pole at his throat.
“Touché...” muttered Eric,”... Muse.”
“Don’t call me that!” yelled Hiryu, striking downward, but Eric had rolled, twisting his lower body so that he was standing. Eric then proceeded to hit just about every bruise on Hiryu’s back. Hiryu didn’t know whether he fell from the pain, or from the leg sweep that followed, but when he opened his eyes again, Eric was standing over him, with his dueling pole at his throat.

* * * * *

The next day at noon, Eric and Hiryu were hunting, but they had stopped for lunch. Hiryu tossed a sandwich to Eric. Eric unwrapped it and began to eat. Hiryu followed suit.
“Ya know? I heard about these people called the Frosts,” said Hiryu between mouthfuls of lunch,”They just entered the Scaysith-Terrace war.”
“What side?” asked Eric. He wasn’t interested, but was making conversation.
Scaysith was the country that claimed Solomset Isle. Terrace was the enemy.
“I heard they’re great mages,” continued Hiryu, “They can channel the mana around them.”
“The life force of the planet. They can use it to their own advantage.”
“Why’d they enter the war?”
“I guess it’s really getting bad,” said Hiryu, with a worried tone in his voice.
“Don’t sweat it. The war doesn’t affect us at all.”
“But still, they’re our countrymen. We should enlist.”
Eric let out a grunt.
“I read your dreams last night,” Hiryu muttered. Eric’s face went suddenly red as he clenched his fists, and as he clenched harder, his face turned pale white. Hiryu could read the mind of anyone if he made eye contact and focused, but if he had a special bond with a person, he could read their mind anytime. This deeply disturbed Eric.
“You dream of battle,” he continued, “Why don’t you enlist?”
“I fight for me,” said Eric, “Eric Riverstone.”
Eric then changed the subject to Holostrat, a holographic strategy game, where the opponents commanded armies against each other. Hiryu never lost because he could read minds and anticipate moves. Cheap, but effective. They talked about this for a while before taking up their rifles and resuming the hunt.
They hunted, but no animals were found. Walking for two miles without a trace of animal life disturbed them both.
“An omen,” muttered Hiryu.
“Stuff it,” said Eric.
They emerged from the forest on Overlook Point. From here, one could see the entire village below, and several miles of the sea.
Today, something was different, though. A large, dark figure was visible on the horizon. Several red explosions were visible, too.
“A ship!” cried Hiryu, “A battleship!”
“Hm, I didn’t know we were this close to civilization,” said Eric jokingly.
“Come on!” said Hiryu excitedly, “We’re not that far, let’s get a closer look!”
Eric turned and headed back into the thick woods.
“Where are you going? This doesn’t happen everyday!” yelled Hiryu.
“It’s not our business,” replied Eric, not turning back.
“But we could get out of here!” yelled Hiryu in a last attempt. At this, Eric paused, deep in thought. Hope began to lift inside Hiryu’s chest, but then Eric spoke.
“We will, but not today, not by that ship,” he said, and continued walking. After several minutes, Hiryu followed.
In the woods, Eric was as keen as always, but Hiryu’s mind was elsewhere; back with the ship, in its gallant glory. Hiryu couldn’t help but think that this was their only chance, and now it was gone. Eric stopped. He lowered his rifle and turned to his friend.
“Nothing’s out here,” he said, “Let’s just--“
Suddenly, a blast was heard. It deafened Hiryu’s sensitive ears. Eric clapped his hands over his ears while Hiryu screamed with the pain of the noise. The sky grew pink, then red, then scarlet as a large bolt of fire rained down in the distance. A sound of impact and burning was heard. The sky was now black in the distance.
Hiryu recovered and stood next to Eric.
“I smell burning,” he said to Eric, “But it’s a burning of something I’ve never smelled before.”
Eric dropped his rifle and ran, bolting through every shortcut on the way home. He didn’t care about Hiryu anymore. He didn’t care that his legs were being deeply cut by thorns. He didn’t care that his breath was gone halfway there. All that mattered now was his father, his mother, and his brother.
When he arrived at the village, there was no village. Pillars of fire and smoke emerged from almost every house. Those who weren’t dead were either almost there, or in terror. This was Hell, no, it was worse.
After recovering from the shock, Hiryu, Eric and the other survivors worked to douse the flames. They had doused maybe two when the others started to die.
When the flames were gone and all that was left was smoldering ash, they began burying the dead, a tragic experience for all, even Hiryu, who had no relatives. It was only when they were done did Hiryu notice that Eric had been missing for the last few hours.
Hiryu found Eric on Overlook Point. He was sitting on the edge. A rapier lay next to him. It didn’t take a mind reader to know that Eric was crying.
Hiryu sat next to him. For another hour, Eric cried. Neither of the two spoke. Eric took out a lighter, too. He sat, looking at it before finally speaking.
“I found them.”
Hiryu was silent.
“My father, the great warrior, finally fallen. It took fourteen years for me to beat him in a simple duel, but a bolt of fire destroyed him in a second. My mother, the strong woman who raised me, gone. I found them both, charred, burned, and dead. And do you know where my brother is?!”
“No...” Hiryu muttered.
“I don’t either... They never even found him,” said Eric in almost a whisper. Then all was silent.
“Your father,” started Hiryu, “He wasn’t at the burial grounds.”
“Because he’s right here,” said Eric raising a flask from his hip, “I cremated him myself.”
Eric flicked open the lighter. The flame burned bright in the night.
“Fire,” he said, “is an interesting thing. The power to give life.”
He flicked it closed, extinguishing the flame.
“And the power to take it away,” he continued. Then he flicked it back open again, saying, “This flame will symbolize the end of one life, and the beginning of another.”
Eric drew his dueling pole and set it alight. Then, he dropped it off of the cliff. Eric bent down and lifted the sword from the ground.
“This,” he said, handing it to Hiryu, “was my father’s. It was in his hand when he died. When he was murdered.”
Hiryu examined the sword. The hilt was the shape of a dragon. The tail was the handle, the wings formed the crosspiece, and the long, thin blade extended from the dragon’s mouth. It was longer than a standard rapier.
Upon closer examination of the blade, Hiryu noticed some engravings. One side read:

The stench of the killed is only outweighed by the stench of the killer

And the other side said:

The coffins of the dead can not rest in my mind. That space is taken by the coffins of the murderers

“These engravings—“ started Hiryu, but he was cut off.
“I did them,” said Eric. Hiryu handed the sword back.
“What are you gonna do?” asked Hiryu.
“I’m gonna enlist,” said Eric, “And I’m gonna kill people. I’m gonna kill people until Terrace burns at my feet.”
All was silent. Then Hiryu spoke.
“Eric is dead,” began Hiryu’s friend, “He died from guilt. I am Riverstone, the name of my father.”
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Postby Dracofrost » Sun Jan 09, 2005 4:42 am

Seems kindof cliche'd, with the standard removal of family... but then again, some would say that fantasy is all about cliches. Seems fairly well done, nice set up for a dark antihero swordsman...
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