When his kingdom and his wife are held ransom by an evil sorcerer, King Dagr goes on a quest to give the sorcerer what he wants. At what cost is Dagr willing to go to save his kingdom?
Jake Scholl is a 20 year old writer and blogger from Idaho. Back in the day, he had a poem published in a school competition, which inspired him to keep writing. In his spare time he reads books, and plays video games. ‘Demon Stone’ is Jake’s first published short story. He is currently working on a novel. You can read his ramblings on writing and life at http://jakeescholl.wordpress.com/ and his book reviews at http://fantasydreamer12.wordpress.com/.
By Jake Scholl
Something was wrong. King Dagr Brightsword’s heavily muscled upper body shot up. He took in quick breaths, like the ragged breaths of a drowning man, and looked around, hazel eyes darting back and forth. He told himself to settle down, and focused his eye on a rafter in the ceiling, on a nail sticking out of the wood. His breathing steadily became slower and relaxed.
He turned to his wife. She was deep in sleep, chest heaved up and down, her hair shined with a dark red lustre. He thanked the Gods above she was alright.
At first he thought he was being paranoid, that it was his warrior senses. His mind told him to at least get out of the room, and see what was bothering him. Dagr got up, and put his clothes on.
He then went to his sword and scabbard. The familiar whisperings of his ancestors could be heard from the ancient blade. The voices whispered of danger, like the fervent whisperings of a cult.
Dagr picked up the sword, and clutched the silver wired handle. The pressure made his knuckles turn a ghostly white.
The sword had been in the family for generations, consuming previous ancestors before they died. When wielded, it became one with the user, making the sword and wielder a single entity. He opened his mind to its power. The magic rushed through his veins. The feeling was like jumping into a frozen lake, his body was in shock at first, and then he became used to the feeling. He felt stronger and more alert, and more than ready for what lurked beyond the door.
He walked to the wooden door and opened it. Dagr stuck the tip of the blade out first. The handle burned slightly, telling Dagr something or someone was out there. Something evil and deadly. All the voices spoke at once, syllables a jumbled cacophony of noise.
When he came out, his feet crunched on fresh snow … Snow? He looked down at his leather boots. He scraped the powdery snow back and forth with his heel, rubbing it away, revealing the black marble floor. Snow in the summer?! He hadn’t seen snow since he left the Herefrost as a boy. He continued down the hall, feet crunching on the snow covered floor all the way.
When Dagr went down the next hall, he saw his servants. Dead. They were gored by icicles, death screams frozen to their faces. Blood was all over the marble floor, covered in frost. Sorcery. His mind flashed back to the elders when he was a lad, telling the children of sorcerers and necromancers kidnapping children of the Herefrost and using them in pagan rituals.
Dagr then felt a slight breeze, like at night on the dark northern moors.
Dagr could feel eyes, eyes that burned like flaming coals into the back of his skull. Someone behind him touched his shoulder, making Dagr’s spine tingle. He swung his blade, but it only rended whistled through the wind. He turned around. An ethereal voice chuckled throatily.
But there was no one there.
‘Foolish King’, the same voice rasped, carried by the wind.
The voice was familiar. But the King couldn’t place it.
‘Who are you?’ Dagr said.
A blue cloaked figure walked out of the shadows, face pale as bleached bone contrasted against the dark blue. The person’s nose was shaped like a hawk’s. Eyes were gray as the raging sea. Dagr could have sworn he was looking at his own reflection. Except for a long scar across the person’s face, and the odd colour of the skin and black eyes.
‘Hello Brother.’ the man said, yellow teeth forming into a cynical grin.
Brother? The robed man must have seen the look Dagr gave him. The man’s face contorted in irritation. He lifted up his palm, and pointed his long nailed fingers at Dagr, and chanted softly.
Dagr was taken to another place. He was on a mountain, covered in brown rock. The sky was dark as ash. Dagr then saw his father, putting a child on the mountain. Birds of prey swirled over head, cawing like cackling hags.
Dagr then came back. He now knew what he had seen. When he was born, there was another: a brother. He remembered hearing serving woman talk about what happened in hushed whispers. He could remember seeing a boy, deformed in the leg, a boy that was picked on by fellow children. A boy that always glared at him. He never knew who he was.
Until now. It all came together clearly now. It was the one they called Erion.
‘Oh my Gods,’ Dagr whispered.
‘Ah, you remember’ said Erion. ‘After all those years. You fool, you never recognized me.’
‘Why did you invade my castle? And kill my servants!’ Dagr growled. ‘We’re of the same blood …’
‘Nay. Half-blood,’ Erion spat.
‘What do you want brother?’ said Dagr.
‘I want your kingdom, and something more. Our birthright switched,’ said Erion.
Erion smiled. ‘No it isn’t. There is a stone in the swamps that can change that, one that the first born must find. That’s where you come in. You need to find it and bring it to me.’
‘If I don’t?’ He felt the power of the sword, ready to burst from rage.
‘Your wife will die. And with her, her unborn daughter.’
Anya, pregnant? He hadn’t known. The voices from the sword screamed for him not to go.
But he had no choice.
‘Fine,’ said Dagr. ‘Tell me where it is … Just promise not to hurt my wife.’
Erion smiled wickedly. ‘I promise.’
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