Destiny is a strange thing
Unlikely friendships and unlikely heroes are born
Not knowing what drives them in following...
The Path of the Hero
Half the City was in an uproar. Especially Druulz the High Wizard of the Keep. Something had been stolen from him. Something he had worked most of his long life to create and he was out for blood. But what enraged him the most was that even with his magical ability and all the forces of the vast city under his command, he couldn't fight but a trace of the thief. As he ranted and raved in his room at the top of Tall Tower, one young rat was satifyed. He slipped over the city wall undetected and in the gloom of first light, at the base of the city wall, he pulled out his prize. Even in the darkness, the gem glittered with a light of it's own, it's brilliant colours flashing and sparkling as he held it up. As he looked at it he found it harder and harder to look away but he finally managed to tear his gaze away and put it lovingly back in his little belt pouch then slipped off across the dunes, scurrying from shadow to shadow and all the time glancing over his shoulder. This was the greatest prize of his career yet and he wasn't about to lose it. SLipping over a dune, he popped his head up and looked back at the city. Satisfied that the pursuit wasn't nearby, he hurried on.
In that one moment he hadn't seen the group who had snuck up behind him. He went out like a light when one of them's spearbutt hit his head. The prisoner was bound by his neck and paws and the lead guard pulled out a flagon of water and splashed it in his face. He was brought back to reality with a start and stared unbelieving at his captors. The lead guard smirked and jerked him closer by the rope at his neck and pressed his spearpoint none too gently against his captive's throat. "Where's the gem you stole, rat? Tell me now and be quick about it! There are ways to make your miserable existence suddenly become much more miserable!" Regaining his cool, the rat faced the big weasel squarely, though his lower lip trembled slightly. "I have not got it scum" the big wesel cuckled. "o course You don't got it!" he patted a puoch at his side smiling evily. The young rat stood up as well as he could, and put on a face of fear at the thought though he didn't even have the gem. Yes. He knew it was well hidden, not on him of course. He knew he'd be followed, he knew he'd be cought. Not this early, no he didn't know that but he'd taken precautions just in case... The weasel smirked and threw his to the ground. "my my isn't Druulz going to be happy?" with that he walked away and the guards dragged the young rat to his paws. The young rat took one last glance at the dune where lay his treasure but was shoved on roughly with a spearbutt and didn't look back again.
The otter had forgotten how many weeks ago he had been thrown into this Stink Hole in the deepest part of Druulz' dungeons. He opened his eyes as he heard the tramp of guards approaching and another sound of somebeast struggling. Then he heard a key in the lock and the door of his cell was opened with a groan and somebeast was dragged in and chained to the wall beside him. A guard kicked the otter and chuckled "arr, we got ye a companion so's yer won't get lonely. Harr harr!" The door was slammed shut and the key was heard again as it was locked. The tramping footpaws melted into the blackness and were gone. The otter turned to his new companion but couldn't tell what the beast was in the pitch-darkness. He offered a paw. "M'name's Vinet Storm Shadow, I'm an otter. Who be ye?" The paw was taken by a somewhat smaller paw. "Pleased to meet yew. I'm Raisin Bloodsaber, rat and Thief Extraordinaire. Nice to know I've got company down here. What're yew in for?" Vinet shrugged in the darkness, "Hmph, nothin' much, just disobedience of orders and tryin' to escape from this place. Wot any beast wit brains besides meself would do." Raisin nodded his head in agreement. He lowered his voice "You know what I'm in fer? Just borrowin' a shiny object from his High an' Mighty Druulz. Hah, just a little thing like that, an it's there ya go! Tossed in this stinkin' pit!" Vinet smiled but it was more of a grimace and couldn't be seen in the darkness anyway. "Ye do know what this pit tis for right?" Raisin shook his head. Vinet continued. "It's properly called the Pit of the Doomed. The doomed being beasts who are going to be executed in a most uncomfortable way." Raisin golped. "Then that means what I stole WAS more than jsut another little shiny?" Vinet nodded. "I need to know. What exactly DID you steal, Raisin??" Raisin laughed a little "Er haha, twas nothin' ol Druulz cou'n't live widout...er...it was this shiny sparkly green gem. Odd little thing, when I looked into it, I couldn't seem to pull away easily. It has an inner glow even in darkness that I can't understand."
With each word Vinet's eyes widen and a worried look crossed his face. He gripped Raisin's paws. "I don't believe you know what ye stole...I've heard of it, an what I've heard ain't good. It's Druulz' greatest power in his sorcery. We're doomed! The whole city is doomed! They got it didn't they?" Raisin shook his head "Nope. Hehe. I hid it well afore they caught me." Vinet's face brightened a little then abruptly went back to even worse than before. "That's good and bad. Good for the city for now and bad, VERY bad for ye, mate. When Druulz comes down here after ye, ye'll tell him where it is fer shore. He'll make SURE ye tell i'm." Raisin gulped "That doesn't sound very good-" The sound of tramping footpaws reached their ears and a guard entered and opened the cell door and dragged Raisin out "Haha. Yer wanted by 'Is, 'Ighness, Druulz. My, my, I woudent like to be yew." And Vinet was left alone in the darkness. Pretty soon he heard screams and shook with anger at the thought of what Druulz was doing to his friend.
It was several hours later when the door was opened again and Raisin was tossed in unconcious. Vinet put his ragged blanket over the rat and his eyes filled with tears as he saw how bad he looked Well, at least he's still alive He thought. That means...he must not have told where he hid the gem. Brave little beast he is. In the darkness, Vinet kept watch over his friend until he couldn't keep his eyes open anymore then he fell into a troubled sleep.
In the city, at the Inn of the Carbuncle, the otterwife, Unga kneaded dough for a pie. A single tear dripped from her muzzle into the mix as she thought of her son, taken by to the Wizard's dungeon. Her husband had been one of those killed in the failed Resistance movement three years ago and all she had left was her only son. She brushed the tear away and wiped her floury paws on her apron as a customer entered. It was a stoatguard with the silver on black of the Wizard's Guard. The stoat called for a beer and she poured it, barely hiding her hatred as she smelled his foul breath in her face. "'Ey yew, rudderdog! Dis beer in't strong enuff! An' dis mug's too small, a beast can't even wet 'is lips wid dis!" She gritted her teeth and got him a bigger mug and some of the stronger beer. Then, placing it in front of him, she held out a paw. "That'll be fifteen pence, please." The stoat choked on his drink and his eyes went wide with surprise. He slapped her face. "Who d'yer tink you are, eh? We Wizard's Guard is privileged, we don't have ter pay nuthin'!" With that, he swigged down the rest and threw the mug to the floor where it shattered into a thousand pieces, and stumped out of the inn. Unga rubbed her face where it stung and began silently sweeping up the remains of the mug.
That evening she took the pie and wrapped it up and went to the prison. "Can I see my son?" she asked of the guard at the gate. "Ok, but only a few minutes!" he let her in and she followed him down into the darkness of the place. It was cold and clammy. They stopped at the cell he was in and the guard unlocked the door and let her in. Then he locked it behind her. "Vinet?" she said into the darkness. It was answered by a groan. Vinet opened his eys and he recognised the voice. "Ma? Is that ye?" "Aye, dear now I've brought you a pie. made it myself, love." She unwrapped the pie, setting it before him. Raisin lifted his head "What's that? Who's that?" Vinet smiled "It's me ma and she made a pie. I love ye, Ma." She hugged him and kissed his cheek then the guard came and unlocked the cell "Time's up." "I love ye too, son!" she was crying now as she left and Vinet stood up "I'll be all right, Ma. Don't ye fear!" The guard shoved him back roughly "shut yer trap, yew!" then he led Unga out, locking the cell behind him.
Raisin shifted. "Wha was that? Something smell nice!" he sniffed the air and Vinet gave him some of the pie and they ate it together. It was very good and was cherry and black currant. Vinet's ma was a very good cook. After they ate, they lied down to rest and Raisin looked at Vinet. "I will have to tell them soon or I will die, matey. They will kill me if I don't, but something is telling me I shouldn't tell them... I will probably die anyway down here so I don't want to give them anything before I do." he closed his eyes. "Take my paw, friend." Vinet did as he asked and taking his paw, Raisin said, "Will you promise we will be mateys with what ever happens?" Vinet swallowed and nodded. "Aye, I do. Ye are all I've got but me ma. Don't get dispared, we will find a way out of here. That I promise!"