Read The Willbreaker (Book 1) Online

Authors: Mike Simmons

The Willbreaker (Book 1) (6 page)

BOOK: The Willbreaker (Book 1)
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              “Those Maidens back outside of Greylin, they were Aurora’s, weren’t they?”

              “Yes, my boy. Those are Blade Maidens, Aurora’s primary soldier force. I feel foolish that I let the reading you gave me back in the tavern slip past my eyes. I was too overwhelmed with all that you showed me. The Maiden at the helm of the attack, the one that watched us escape, is Commander General Gretchen Lomire She is a Gifted, and force to be reckoned with. She is an Enhance, which is of the Body sphere. People who are enhanced are normal like everyone else, but their limits on what they are enhanced in far excel the normal caps and limits of a normal body. Gretchen Lomire is a triple enhance. She is Speed, Class two, Dexterity, Class four, and Strength, Class three.”

              Brandon’s head jerked back in surprise and then laughed, sarcastically.

              “How do you know that? Is that part of your Sensor? And why aren’t
these
people the ones who set out to save the world? I’m a little healer! I can’t compete with what these other people have! The world’s enemies, right now, have more power within them that what I can even imagine! I’m a farm boy, Edward! Why me? Just because of my birthmark? My birthmark makes me someone special? I hardly think so. This has all got to be wrong. There must have been some sort of a mistake.”

              Edward pulled on Firecracker’s reigns. His eyes, glazed with a hint of worry, stared at Brandon. Brandon pulled Baby to a halt as he looked back at Edward. Edward stared at him for a moment and then slid his left hand up under his cloak. His belt moved, as he pulled a hardened leather scroll case from underneath. The ends of the case had caps that connected to a silver button in the center of the case via yellow ribbon. Edward untied the ribbon from the silver button, and when he finished, he popped off one of the caps. With a small tip upward, a rolled sheet of aged paper fell out into his open palm. He set the case in his lap, and unrolled the paper. Brandon could see his eyes gliding from left to right as he read the writing on the scroll. Edward’s eyes looked up at Brandon over the top of the page, and went right back down to the scroll. Edward took in a deep breath.

              “I found this about a week before I saw you entering that cemetery. It is a copy, but it’s a prophecy page, from the archives locked tight underneath Reinhold’s castle. Would you like me to read to you why I think the things that I do?”

              “Well, yes, that would be enlightening to me,” Brandon said coyly.

              Edward spoke, speaking every word with intricate pronunciation.

              “
He who was born under the Red Star will see blood. The blood of innocents will stain his heart. Tears for the dead will fall into broken grounds. The sanctity of his world will be compromised if a stand is not made. The slayer of man can only falter under the shadow of the Red Star. Unbreakable Will, a shield to weigh with trust, the only defense.
" Edward stopped reading, his eyes still looking at the page as if studying it. His eye rose to meet Brandon’s. “I don’t think these other people are the ones chosen to save the world, Brandon. They are the ones you are saving the world from.”

 

             

              Brandon and Edward rode northeast, planning to restock their supplies in Darrow’s Hold, before making the long trip to Victorville. They only stopped to let the horses feed on the tall grasses patched along the roadside, or to stretch their legs. They did not talk a whole lot; Brandon had a lot on his mind. Edward let him have his peace.

              As nightfall swallowed up the last rays of daylight, they headed off the road a hundred paces and made camp. Brandon let Edward setup the tent he had stuffed in his pack, as he headed out by himself to see what food he could catch. Within an hour, Brandon strolled back into camp with two jackrabbits in his hand, holding them by their feet. Edward sat on a tree stump, holding his hands out to the fire he built. He gave Brandon a welcoming smile as he strode into the firelight.

              “It’s not much, these jacks are skinny, but it’ll have to do,” Brandon said.

              “Looks wonderful,” Edward replied, with a hungry smile on his face.

              Brandon pulled out his belt knife and gutted and skinned the jackrabbits, as Edward scuttled around the outside of the camp, just outside of the firelight. He came back with two sticks, thick in size, that were straight from the bottom to the top. Each had a branch joint that split the top into a small "Y." With both hands, he dug the straight ends of the sticks into opposite sides of the fire pit, far enough that they would not burn. He had a third stick tucked underneath his arm, smaller in width than the other two but twice as long, that he sat upon the top of the two forked ones buried into the ground with a smile.

              “Perfect,” he said, as he looked at his makeshift rotisserie.

              Brandon looked up from underneath his eyebrows as he skinned the last rabbit, giving the old man a slight chuckle. When he finished, he pulled the top stick off the other two, and ran it longwise through the gutted rabbits. Once done to his satisfaction, he placed the stick back into its supporting arms and let the rabbits begin to cook. They sat for a few minutes and watched the rabbits as if they were entertaining. All was silent except for the popping and hissing of the fire.

              “Hey, Edward, I wanted to say thank you for saving my life earlier today from that Blade Maiden." He looked at Edward. “I don’t exactly know how you did it, but I know that I wouldn’t be sitting here if it wasn’t for you. Thank you. Maybe someday I can return the favor.”

              Edward grew a genuine smile. “Hey hey, it’s nothing you wouldn’t have done for me if the situation had been different. I mind controlled her. She was a puppet on my strings. Besides, what are friends for, right?" He gave Brandon a small wink.

              Brandon pressed his lips together in a small smile as he nodded his head.

              “Yes. You are a great man, Edward. It’s nice being able to talk to someone as a friend. I haven’t been too social since Matt passed away. It’s nice having a friend again, Edward. Thank you.”

              They sat quiet for a few minutes. Edward turned the rabbits on the roasting stick to make sure they were cooked evenly. Stars filled the cloudless sky, and the moon hung at full face. Brandon rubbed his hands together in front of the open flames.

              “So, you never told me what you are. I mean, you are a Sensor, I know that, but what exactly does that mean?" Brandon looked at Edward with a sidelong glance.

              “As you know, Sensor is one of the four sides of the Mind Sphere. We can do just that, sense things. What we can sense, at what range, and whether or not it is a conscience sense or a subconscious sense, all depends on the individual person who has the ability. You see, people who are gifted, even those with the same gifts, are as different in their abilities as the human fingerprint. Although they are all similar, they are each unique to that person. People wield the gift differently, depending on their beliefs, their upraising, and how the intricate string of magical energy pulses through each of the three body spheres within the user. In my case, some of my sensings are automatic, like danger, and others require a conscious thought to grip the gift within me before I get the feeling, like finding the water earlier today. I can also sense the magic within others, like where their energy binds, and what class they are. With me, I feel it in my head. Sometimes like when a person puts certain metals on their teeth, that odd inner tooth feeling, it’s like that. Some others get the feeling of warmth on their skin closest to what they want to feel, and even others get no feelings at all, they just know. I get a sharp ache behind my left eye when danger is near me. It’s instantaneous; there is no doubt when I’m being told of what is to come. Does that clear anything up for you?”

              Brandon nodded, although he still looked confused. “I am able to heal and repair my wounds, sometimes quite rapidly. Does that put my energy in the Body sphere?” Brandon asked, trying to understand what he is a part of more clearly.

              “No, but I can see how you would think that. Being able to heal is one of the four powers of the Spirit. They classify healers under the Life side of that sphere. Contrasting to that is Death, Vision, and Will. Prophets and seers are gifted in Vision, while necromancers, and some warlocks, are gifted in Death. People of Will are a rare breed. Their magic can alter the strings of free will, or bar strands of personal will from being broken. I haven’t seen anyone gifted in the Will aspect of Spirit since I was a child.
With you, it’s different. I still can’t pinpoint where your magic sits. It’s blurry to me. Just as your golden aura, that is something I’ve never seen before. When did you first discover the gift you had, Brandon, and what did it feel like when you used it?”

              Brandon stared into the fire. “I was little, only five or six years old. I had finished putting away the linens that Margaret had washed, so she said it would be okay if I went outside and played for a while. I went into the pigpen. We had a sow that just gave birth to piglets, and I loved to go inside the pen and play with them, even though it was a muddy mess. Margaret always dreaded cleaning my clothes after I played with the pigs,” Brandon snickered with the fond memories. “I was playing with a few of the piglets, when Matt jumped out from beside the fence post. He scared the living daylights outta me; well, me and the mama pig. She squealed and jolted back a step, knocking me backwards toward the fence. With my hands stretched back behind me, I fell on the watering trough. The corner tore my right forearm up good,” Brandon said, as he pulled up his sleeve on his arm, showing Edward the eight-inch long scar that wiggled up to his bicep. “Matt ran around the side, and helped me out, crying with worry." Brandon let out a louder chuckle. “He was so scared. He didn’t want to get in trouble. I was crying myself. I held my arm tight to my body, and I covered the wound with my left hand. All I could think about was the pain. It was so vivid to me. It was the first time I had felt pain like that. -- I didn’t feel the sting of nerves or the ripped flesh. I felt it almost… in colors. With my eyes closed, where my hand sat, it was like a hue of colors underneath my fingers. Outside of the wound, the colors were shades of blue, and the closer I looked towards the wound the more yellow, then red, the colors became. It was odd; I didn’t really know what I was imagining. When I opened my eyes, all was quiet, I could see Matt crying and talking to me, but no sound come from him. My wound was as it should have been, blood flowing from my torn flesh. I closed my eyes again, for a brief second, and I saw the colors once more. All was still quiet. I’m not sure how it happened, but I began imagining the blue flowing into the yellows and reds, and as the corner of a napkin might soak up spilled red wine, the colors started blending. I could feel warmth from the wound, not like normal, but, well, I would now assume it was a magical warmth. The colors were vibrant, and changing. Then I heard Matt yapping his little heart out at me. I opened my eyes and looked at him, and back down to my arm. As I drew my hand away from the wound, it was gone. The only trace of it was the scar and streams of dried blood that ran down to my hand. Matt freaked out. I made him promise that he would not tell anyone. We both promised.”

              Edward sat with his elbows on his knees. His chin sat snug on top of his closed fists as he stared at Brandon.

              “Yes boy! Wonderful control of the energy! I love hearing people’s stories of discovering the power!" Edward wore the smile of a little boy at a birthday party.

              Brandon stretched his hand out to the roasting stick and picked it up, putting the rabbits close to his face as he examined them.

              “Food’s ready old man, let’s eat.”

              The two men sat there, each pulling strings of meat from the rabbits in their hands, enjoying the warmth of the fire. The silence stretched a peaceful web across the woods, and the dance of crickets played rhythmically behind them. A light wind blew through the trees, bringing a crisp and clean breath to the camp. They talked and smiled, and both men were unaware of pair of glowing green eyes that watched from the shadows, two hundred paces to the south.

 

 

              The sharp morning air nipped at Edward’s forehead and he rolled over, trying to pull his wool blanket up over his head. As he turned, he heard rustling in the camp. Brandon had finished putting Firecracker’s saddle over his back. Edward sat up with a yawn.

              “You are up early, boy,” he said cheerfully, as the roll of his hot breath froze in the air, whirling on top of itself.

              Brandon looked down at him in his blankets and nodded. “Yeah, I’ve never been one to sleep in. Early to bed, early to rise, Margaret would always say." Brandon pointed to his things on the ground with his chin. “I’ve got some dried berries in the light brown bag right there, help yourself. I’ve got to brush down Baby real quick, and we’ll be ready to go."

              Edward opened the small leather bag, pulled a handful of mixed colored berries from within, and popped a few in his mouth as he cleaned up camp. Brandon had folded his blankets and hid them back inside his pack. Dirt covered the fire pit. A few grey clouds moved patiently across the lightly lit sky.

              “If we keep a good pace, we should be in Darrow’s Hold by this evening,” Edward said, as he pushed the last blanket inside the pack.

BOOK: The Willbreaker (Book 1)
6.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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