So, yeah, original story. Hurrah! I typed this in one go, and late at night, so if you find any corrections, tell me please~! Anyway, updates will be sporadic I guess? Eh, whatever.
Feedback is appreciated~!
She smiled at me,
In my moment of despair
She alone smiled
and lent me the outstretched hand
I so desperately looked for,
that hand of salvation
from the hell I was forced into
It was at that moment
My life exists
for hers alone.
I was already dead;
she brought me back,
thus, this life
can only be concluded
to be hers and hers alone.
Even if I can find no happiness
for myself, and even if
this was the path
that led to my death;
that even if
this was the path
down to hell once more
I would follow it with
for at least now
it was a hell of my own making.
"Seriously, this sucks~"
The two of us were walking to the Chiefs Hall, where supposedly all important matters concerning the village was decided; usually though, it was just a place for the Chieftain to live and host parties, and whenever there was a Meet called, only twenty or so people actually attended. Not this time though - from around twenty people, that number exploded to over three hundred in attendance, all of them walking with us towards the center of the village, where the Hall was located. Such was the importance of this meeting - people actually came, and those that didn't were forced to. The only ones remaining were slaves with important jobs to do.
I turned to look at the girl by my side as she voiced her complaints. Amira was a head shorter than me, which made her impressively tiny, as I myself only measured five-and-a-half feet. She had skin that was darkened from being under the sun too long, hazel hair which was long and tied into a single braid, and was dressed in an outfit made of deer skin and feathers. Amira would have been a typical village girl, were it not for one feature: Her eyes. Brilliant, orange-colored eyes that sparked with vitality and excitement, unmatched by anyone in the village. Their unusual color caused the clan Elders who saw her to cry out in shock, several of them proclaiming that she had a great destiny ahead of her.
Personally, it wasn't her eyes that I thought was her most astounding feature. Actually, I was sure that I wasn't the only one who had thought that. Her eyes may have been an attention grabber, but anyone who had interacted with her for even as small period of time could testify to it: Amira had a heart bigger than anyone else's.
Despite her rough personality, despite her blunt way of talking, Amira probably valued life more than anyone else I had met. She was ready and willing to shoulder another persons problems to the point that it would become her own. She believed that there was worth in everything, and that nothing is inherently or wholly bad. It was this part of her, this amazing, impossibly caring and ideological belief that led her to saving a lowly slave such as myself.
I thank the Divines everyday for the fact that, of all villages that I could have been shipped to, I was brought to hers. Sometimes, when I'm feeling particularly happy or maybe a bit drunk, I even thank them for giving me my fate as a slave - it was only through my slavery that I had met Amira. The chances of us meeting had that not happened were astronomically low, after-all.
Going back to the present, it was a habit of hers, I realized, to complain endlessly about whatever had irritated her as vocally as possible. That didn't mean it had to be loud, it meant she had to use as many words as possible; as such, I braced myself for the incoming torrent of words.
I was not disappointed in the least.
"Seriously, what does the Empire think it's doing, trampling all over the country on some 'Hero' nonsense! All they're doing is disturbing the folk around and preventing work from getting done, what with all their wild mass-guessing. They should just grab the oracle that issued the stupid prophecy and shake him down for answers. I mean seriously! What's with that? You up and tell everyone that only five Heroes can defeat the Demon God and you don't even bother to tell anyone who they are?! It's as if they want to make everyone's lives miserable! On that note, why is it that our empire only now decides to believe the Oracles words? They could have done this search a year ago, before the demons infested Hansaber!"
She finally finished her rant, took a deep breath, and pouted. It was a topic that sorely irked her whenever it was brought up: The late reaction of our empire - the Winda Empire, to be precise - to the warnings of the Hawk Oracle had resulted in the demonic infestation of a whole city, with no survivors. According to the tribunal papers posted around the village, the lowest estimated death counted at around three hundred-thousand. As a person that valued life immensely, this horrified and angered her.
The first time she had heard about the incident at Hansaber Fort-City, she had trembled in rage as tears poured down her cheeks, as stiff as stone. It was the first time I had seen her like, helpless and unable to do anything but stare at the ground. It disturbed me immensely.
"It's stupid, don't you think so Asur?" she finished, turning to look at me.
I shrugged my shoulders noncommittally; I agreed with her on some parts of her speech, but overall, I didn't feel too much about the search for the Hero in the first place, so I had no real opinions to give. Still, there was something I could say, from an objective standpoint, at least . . .
"Well, to be fair, the Winda Empire has never put too much stock into magic, despite its advantages - we've always been a country interested in Shamanism over Magecraft. It's no surprise that they ignored the Hawk Oracles warnings until it was too late."
The Winda Empire was actually a agglomeration of two thousand or so different native tribes, with the Storm-Fire Clan as its head and royal family. We've come a long way from our native beginnings, but we've yet to get rid of our distrust of magic - even I have problems with it - preferring to resort to getting assistance from nature itself; Shamanism, in other words.
"Yeah, but when 'too late' means the infestation of a whole Fort-City then maybe it's time to rethink things."
"Hey, I never said it was a smart thing to do, just that it made sense why they did it."
"Yeah but . . ." she said, her voice dropping into a sad whisper, "no matter what, I think that the current Destiny of Heroes is too sad. I wish it were different, don't you think?"
She went silent after that. There was really nothing more that needed to be said: Our country messed up and was paying the price for it, and those that were destined to be heroes were doomed. Talking about it more would just result in more pointless whining, and for all that she enjoyed expressing herself as loudly as she could, she knew about limits.
The silence continued until we reached a large building, constructed out of wyvern bones and skin, with three lookout towers positioned in an an uneven triangle behind it. This was the Chiefs Hall. Standing in front of its entrance were three tall, muscular men. The one in the center wore an outfit fashioned from harpy feathers, which were said to have brought about good luck. The men at his left and right wore outfits made of bear skin and the barks of a tree-ent, respectively.
The man in the center was Chief Marduk, chief of the Wide-Bellows Clan. At his right was Biorne, the Clan Champion, who led the clan into battle in place of the chief, and who was our strongest fighter, greatest hunter, and champion at the same time. Lastly, at his left, with a long, gnarled staff made of wood I couldn't recognize, was the clan Shaman, Gru. He was in charge of communing with the spirits of nature around the village, as well as resolve any supernatural incidents that occur within.
These three men were the highest ruling body of our village, and it was they who ultimately decided the direction our village would go in. When two men dressed in black, Oracle robes walked to their side, I decided that direction was 'going south'.
"People of the Wide-Bellows! As you well know, the natural enemy of humanity, the Demonus, have risen once again from their one hundred year slumber. This time, the Hawk Oracle, grandest of all Mages, has prophesied that there will be five heroes: one from every kingdom. Our great Winda Empire is the only one that has yet to present a hero - a result of how widespread our kingdom is, and our huge populace. It is regrettable, but still unavoidable. Still, we search for who shall represent our Empire in the sealing of the Demon God!"
I heard Amira, and several others snort beside me. I was tempted to do the same, in all honesty. The Chiefs speech was loaded with twisted truths and outright lies. He normally wasn't in the habit of lying, but I suppose with Oracles in the vicinity, he had a duty to make sure our empire looks good, even if only superficially.
The chief raised his hands, and continued. "Today, our village has the honor of being chosen for the search of our Hero! To assist us in making this search as quick as possible, we have the additional honor of having two Oracle Elders present. They shall explain how the search shall go!"
The Chief turned to face them, a distrusting look on his face. Unmindful of his gaze, the two Oracles stepped forwards, grave in bearing, and with an aura of power unlike anything I've ever experienced. Staring at them directly made my head spin, and voices that were not any I recognized shouted in my head, forcing me to look away. From the reactions of the people around me, it seemed that I was not alone in this. Some of the younger members of the crowd collapsed, mumbling incoherent words, and crying miserably.
"So these are Oracles," I thought, with equal parts respect, equal parts revulsion.
Oracles were Mages that stood at the very pinnacle of mastery. They were paragons of the craft, and each of them had the ability to destroy an army with ease. None of them were affiliated with a particular country, and as far as I can recall, have never shown bias for or against a particular race. For all their power, however, these grand figures did little to nothing publicly. For some reason, the only thing they were interested in were fighting off demons, but even then, they have never stepped forward to do it themselves. They were mysterious figures that many distrusted and despised - a natural consequence of being so powerful, yet so removed.
"We search for a Hero."
A voice echoed in my head, different from the ones before. It was clear and understandable, and it cleared away the other voices, and they pain they brought along with them. I still couldn't look at the Oracle without my head hurting, but I was confident that this was their voices.
"And we have found one."
. . . wait, what?
What just happened? I wasn't able to see how they searched, and found it seems, for the hero, due to the fact that their presence forced my head down. Everyone around me had the same astonished and shocked expression, and as we all looked around for the Chosen Hero, my head shot to someone at my side.
A faint orange glow, covered her body, as if wreathed in flames. A bright circle filled with letters and shapes I couldn't name or pronounce spun into life under her, etching itself into the ground. The faint image of a Phoenix danced in the sky above her, and suddenly, from a normal village girl, she was transformed into a hero.
The Oracles voices echoed once more, commanding and unable to be ignored. We all watched as they made their announcement
"Amira Wide-Bellows, now Amira Phoenix-Blood, you have been chosen by destiny and fate to be the hero of life and vitality. We thank you for bearing our hopes, we thank you for your strength and your birth. And finally . . ."
My mind dulled as I realized I was looking at Amira, and I watched as the weight of the world dropped on her shoulders, pinning her knees to the ground. She was the strongest girl I knew, but strength meant nothing against the destiny of a Hero. My own body trembled, and I was tempted to collapse as well, but I felt like I couldn't, not while she was so weak and vulnerable. As her strength left her, I tried to muster up mine; I was failing miserably, though.
"Hero Amira Phoenix-Blood, for your sacrifice, we thank you."
Five heroes, blessed with powers beyond human ken, to make their way to the demesne of the Demonus. Through Freezing Fire and Boiling Water, through Buried Skies and Soaring Mountains, the heroes shall march until finally, they meet at the summit of the Demon Gods home. With the fires lit inside their souls, they chain the Demon God once again, in unbreakable sleep. So Rise, children of Faladia, and find the heroes among you.
The light of the Phoenix, the Dragon, the Wolf, the Hawk and the Turtle shall drive the Demonus back into the shadow.