Children of the Sky
FrafnirIt was the in the dead, stillness of the night that Augustus made his way towards the haunted mountain, Frafnir. He moved with a steady gait as he came upon the boundary between his village and the outskirts of Frafnir. Augustus payed no attention to the warning signs that cautioned travelers to turn back or find another route around the mountain. Zeus glowed a mighty gold illuminating Augustus’ path; it seemed almost as if the great moon was guiding the young adventurer. Augustus remembered the briefing he was given as Darius and his mother departed for the trading city of Numata.
The mountain of Frafnir and the surrounding valley was a desolate land with dead trees, withered plants, and lurking creatures. Before it was named Frafnir it was known by the townspeople simply as, the Dead Valley and the Dead Mountain. Most people dared not to near it; then there was Frafnir the foreigner. He was a tall man and called himself a Roman. After overhearing a conversation about the mountain during a visit to the pub, Frafnir set out on a journey of exploration. He trekked through the valley fighting many beasts and monsters of all shapes and sizes. Once he made it to the mountain he was spotted by a dragon with bronze armor and wings the size of the mountains themselves. There on the cliffs of the mountain of the dead Frafnir and the dragon fought a ferocious battle of which where Frafnir lured the dragon into a cave; there the Roman lunged onto the mighty beast as he sank his blade into its soft belly. It is said that the dragon died while spewing flames from its mouth and that Frafnir, though victorious in defeating all of the enemies the mountain could muster, was swallowed by the dragon’s flames and rests in eternity next to his defeated foe. In honor of his heroic lengths the mountain and surrounding area took the Roman’s name; Frafnir became a legend throughout the village and soon all throughout the land.
Augustus knew this story well; for he heard it many a good time while walking through the market. What he didn’t know was that Frafnir’s crimson cloak survived along with his rectangular shield, long nimble sword, and shining armor. Augustus’s mother instructed him that to prove his strength and courage he would have to retrieve Frafnir’s lost equipment.
Augustus bit down on his lip as he remembered Darius and his mother calling him the chosen one; he was still unaware as to what that meant. As Augustus passed into the realm of Frafnir he heard a hiss and a rustle among the leaves that piled either sides of the path that led up to the mountain. He drew his sword and shield; he would not want to be caught off guard by any fowl beasts. As Augustus drew closer to the mountain a strange eeriness seemed to creep towards him. It moved towards his feet and sent a chill running down his spine; in an instant a small creature flung itself at Augustus, who sidestepped out of the way. The creature crouched in front of Augustus’s path as it arched its back and hissed at him. It was no larger than a cat; and could very well have been one for all Augustus cared. However Augustus’s confidence was driven down into his throat as hundreds of more of the same creature horded around him. And so, with narrow eyes, Augustus brought his shield in front of him as he charged forwards.
He ran as fast he could; mowing down the tiny creatures that stood in his path as he slashed the ones that lunged for his openings. The sound of torn clothing, a sting on his ankle, and the scent of blood; the creatures where slashing back at his exposed legs as he attempted to wade through them. Augustus winced at the pain. “Ahh!” he exclaimed as a creature dug its claws down his back leaving a large gash.
Near the end of the path and seeing the way up to the cave opening; Augustus lunged up to the cliff side that stood before the entrance. With his back secured he turned and brought up his shield as several creatures lunged towards him; they found themselves plummeting to the ground after meeting the young man’s shield head on. As Augustus raised his sword thunder crashed and rumbled as lightning struck down from the sky; it illuminated the creatures, which witnessed their allies falling to the blade of the boy with white hair. The thunder shook the very mountain as the lightning shot across the sky; and for hours Augustus stood on that ledge, not giving an inch to the creatures as he bashed with his shield and hacked with his sword. And finally as dawn broke the creatures dispersed; slinking away to some large hole they had all exited to try and feast upon the young adventurer.
Augustus stayed at the ready as he watched the creatures depart; after the last was out of sight he sheathed his sword and slung his shield on his back; then he fell to his bottom and sat panting for a good many minutes. He looked around the valley. There was no living thing in sight; he then slowly brought himself to his feet as he entered the cave before him.
As he entered he immediately was greeted by the bony carcass of a huge dragon. The tail was near the entrance and Augustus almost impaled himself on the spikes at its end as he entered the cave. He continued onwards as he searched for Frafnir’s corpse. And there he laid; with his back resting upon the edge of the cave wall. Not so far from he was the head of his nemesis that lay with its jaw slightly open. Augustus slowly took of his shield, then his blade, then his cloak as he placed them neatly in a pile next to Frafnir’s body. Slowly and with the most caution the young man had ever made in his life; he withdrew Frafnir’s armor from him.
Augustus placed the steal chest plate over his collared shirt; he tied it on and gazed down proudly at it. He then transferred Frafnir’s gauntlets onto his fore arms and gazed at those too with much pride. Before he put on Frafnir’s greaves he noticed that his pants had been torn and his legs were riddled with cuts. Augustus sat down as he withdrew a jar of ointment from his bag then rubbed it upon his wounds. Afterwards he took of his torn pants and put on the white undergarments his mother packed for him. He then took off his new chest plate as he took off his shirt. He then put on Frafnir’s scarlet tunic; placing the chest plate back on he gazed over at the Dragon’s magnificent fangs. Augustus would have to take a couple with him; he figured they would be of some use in trading for supplies. And so he went transferring the armor until all that was once on Frafnir was on Augustus and all that was once on Augustus was on Frafnir. “I promise I will bring these back to you; but for now I will need them, my brother.” Augustus spoke to the inanimate corpse. His new black boots made a pleasant sound with each step Augustus took on the rock floor. Augustus then bent down towards the dragons’ skull as he withdrew the four largest teeth it had and placed them in his bag. “For you; I make no promises.” Augustus said as he patted the giant beast on its bony head. He then drank from his canteen and after nearly finishing the liquid inside he decided to save the rest for later on. Augustus dug in his bag for his mother’s map as he placed the canteen inside. His silver eyes followed a path highlighted in red ink. It completely avoided the town and crossed across the Fields of Orion. It was a path unknown to Augustus; but seeing as it led to a marker labeled Numata and that his mother gave it to him, he set off continuing his long journey.
As Augustus made his way down the mountain he was quiet agitated at the fact that he would have to cross the Fields of Orion. It was always winter there and snow fell often; and at this time of year when it was cool and crisp in the valley he lived in; it was storming with blizzards of ferocious velocity on the Fields of Orion. Luckily he would have to pass through the Plains of Julius before crossing into Orion and there, he assumed for he had not but heard tales of areas outside of his home, he could stop at a town and resupply for his trek across the Winter Fields of Orion.
Augustus was no longer too worried about any monsters; he had dealt the ones that attacked him the other night a mighty blow. He thought that they probably went and complained to all the other monsters about how strong he was and that no monster should dare attack him. As these thoughts, and others much similar, raced through Augustus’ mind a grin formed upon his face. “Augustus the monster slayer.” He said aloud with a bit of pride in it. The rest of his journey through Frafnir was rather calm. An hour out he stopped on the side of the path and ate lunch; which his mother had packed for him. He would stop again before dusk to eat the other meal his mother packed; then he decided he would find a place to sleep before crossing onto the Plains of Julius. And that is what he did.
Augustus sat by the side of the road; he drank the rest of his water as he ate the last of his meat and biscuit. He had a small fire of which lay before him that illuminated the darkening area. Night was falling and after his previous experience Augustus was quiet confident and so he put out his fire, set down his blanket and went to sleep; and so he made the mistake of an inexperienced adventurer.
“Therrrre.” Came a hiss; the boy with white hair turned in his sleep but didn’t seem to have noticed a thing. And so they crept; three of the creatures from before, they where nasty little things and were boiling with anger after the encounter with that boy the other night. The other creatures were too afraid to face the adventurer again; they feared he was sky born; he had white hair after all. However these three, as being the pack leaders were more ashamed to have been beaten by a wandering boy who under normal circumstances would have been devoured. Yet these three were not as foolish as to challenge the boy alone; and so they began to chant. “Butso, Butso, Butso.” They chanted. A crash came down upon the valley; and after hearing this, the three withdrew back to their hole.
As Augustus came to he noticed something strange. First off it looked as if he were in the middle of a room that was filled with dirty pots, bones, and his shield and blade sat nestled next to the wall. Also the room was upside down. “OH, darn it!” The young man exclaimed as he realized it was he who was upside down. He lifted his head as he gazed at a rope that was tied around both his legs and up to the roof.
“So you’re awake, huh?” Came a voice. Augustus looked over to see a large Ogre hobble in through a door not so far from where he dangled.
“And you are?” Asked the adventurer; unaware of his dire situation.
“I am Butso the Ogre!” He yelled proudly as he dug at his teeth with a bone.
“Nice to meet you, I am Augustus the Adventurer.” Replied our young hero.
“Roman! Something like that Frafnir fellow I would think, huh?!” Said the Ogre; to this Augustus nodded. The ogre began to laugh a thunderous laugh; it was funny seeing a person nod while tied upside down. “You are quiet an interesting offling, huh?” To this Augustus hesitated, but soon nodded his head again and so the Ogre’s laughing continued. “I would like to not eat you; but you see I have had not an offling since two winters ago. I never should have made peace with those offlings down the hill.” Said the Ogre as he bent down and lit a fire under a large pot filled with water. To this Augustus looked quiet alarmed. “Well then off I go; the pot should be ready in a few hours, until then hang around, huh?!” The ogre said as he exited out the same door laughing his thunderous laugh.
Augustus dangled around there for some good time thinking about what to do; and then he began to hatch his plan. His hands were bound but the binding was weak and so after several minutes of struggling, his arms were set free. He then reached up and began to unbind his legs. For hours he struggled; stopping every now and then to let himself dangle and regain the strength within his lower stomach. It was when Augustus was taking one of these breaks that he heard the water start to boil; to this his silver eyes shot wide as he hurridly lifted himself up and frantically tugged and pulled at the bindings renewing his escape attempt. It seemed like forever that he was pulling and tugging. The blood rushed from his arms as his fingers grew weak. His stomach burned and his head was spinning. And so he let himself fall back down heavy and after the rope absorbed the drastic weight of the young man’s body dropping for the twentieth time it snagged and unwound itself sending Augustus down on top of his head. When he hit, he hit hard and he stumbled as he climbed to his feet. He then, in a daze, reached for his sword and shield. He stood propped up by his rectangular shield, which was large enough to conceal his entire body; he paused for a moment trying to regain himself. As he came to he heard the sound of the door opening.
Augustus’ wits where now about him as he brought up his shield and held his blade at the ready. When the door opened; Butso’s eyes grew wide to the sight of Augustus charging at him behind his red shield. “Ohhh!” Cried the ogre as the force of Augustus’ charge sent him rolling down the mountain to be stopped by a tree, but only after crashing through two before that. Augustus was flung back a bit inside from his own charge and quickly took to his feet and began down the mountain; the young man flew past the downed Ogre with the speed of a Hawk in flight.
Augustus ran hard and far until he came upon a paved road; there he wasn’t sure if he should follow the road left or right; but decided right after he heard the sound of the Ogre’s shouts and curses behind him.
Augustus’ boots made a pit pat sound on the stone road as he hurridly made his way down it. After an hour it began to grow dark out and the Ogres faint cries grew closer and closer. The young adventurer continued his pace; with renewed speed and heavier steps. Then he noticed that the Ogre’s cries had stopped; and so he too stopped. He looked around curiously as he gasped for breath; his sword and shield still in his arms. And with a shout Butso had lunged at Augustus from the tree line above the road. As Butso fell on top of him Augustus’ sank his blade into the Ogre’s shoulder and to this he jumped back and roared in pain. “AHHH!” He exclaimed as he grasped his wound; he then looked towards the boy with anger in his eyes as Augustus lowered behind his shield and twirled his sword in his right hand, glaring at Butso. As his silver eyes met Butso’s red eyes, Butso drew a blade of his own; to this Augustus lowered his guard and swung his sword high stepping into the attack as Butso ran towards him. Butso brought his blade up to block the strike from the boy who was half his size; but was soon knocked off his feet by a blow from the boys shield. Augustus never realized that he was so strong; it just might have been that Frafnir’s weapons were made to do battle with monsters, Augustus would have to keep note of this.
Seeing an opening Butso swung horizontally at Augustus; who blocked it with his shield but was sent stumbling to his right. Augustus swung his shield at Butso and his blade followed the same path right behind it, but both attacks missed and Augustus found himself stumbling forwards with his side wide open. However before Butso’s blade could fall down upon him, Augustus barrel rolled forward and left his shield on the ground as he did so. Augustus quickly jumped to his feet then found himself ducking as Butso had slashed again at him; he might have been an Ogre but after suffering such a wound his rage gave him speed compared to that of a nimble young man such as Augustus. That’s it; his speed is nothing compared to mine, not even in this rage. Thought Augustus as he ducked low as he brought his blade into both his hands; in an instant he had shot up and cut his blade across Butso’s chest. As he was inside Butso’s arms that were too wide to bring back to cut at Augustus, Butso brought his head down hard onto Augustus’ sending the boy down towards the ground like a rock. Blood streamed down his forehead and stained his pure hair. Augustus rose swinging wildly; but was struck on top of his shoulder and felt a stinging pain as a gash formed about it. Now the two combatants shared a similar wound aside their other ones.
“RAHHHHH!!!!!” Shouted Butso as he lunged towards Augustus bringing his blade high. Augustus’ eyes narrowed as he lunged forwards with blinding speed sinking his blade deep into the Ogre’s chest, the end of the blade exited Butso’s back. Butso loosened his grip on his blade and it came down upon the road with a clank. He looked down at Augustus who pushed him away, withdrawing his blade as he did so. The Ogre fell upon the ground gasping for breath and with green blood forming pools around his body. Butso soon passed into the netherworld; and Augustus, after defeating his foe on the edge of the valley of Frafnir dropped to his knees and then to his side. He stared at his right arm; his blade was still within his grasp. He tightened his grip as he fell unconscious.
Augustus came to once again; however this time it didn’t take long for him to realize he was lying in a soft bed. He stared up at the roof of a small cottage, he raised his head slightly as he heard a door open and saw a young woman walking into the single room cottage. “Oh, you have woken.” Said she; she placed a basket filled with vegetables upon a table that had a bowl of thick pieces of meat on it. She moved towards Augustus and placed one hand on his back and another on his partially bandaged chest as she helped him sit up.
“Where am I?” Augustus asked as he brought his hand up to his forehead.
“In the farming village of Rillo; and my cottage specifically.” The girl giggled after her second answer. Augustus looked at her; she was beautiful, with long brown hair and deep green eyes. She looked at him surprised.
“I am Augustus.” Said he as he looked over at his armor and weapons nestled neatly on the floor.
“My name is Velancia.” The girl replied with a soft smile. “You must be a mighty warrior to have taken down that evil Ogre, Butso.” Velancia said as she made her way towards a pot that dangled over a stone fireplace.
“You know of him?” Asked Augustus.
“Yes; I lost my mother and father to him. He has terrorized this village of mine for quite some time.” Replied the young girl as she filled the pot with water and lit a flame underneath it.
“I am sorry to hear that.” Augustus replied.
“Aye, it was a sad incident. But you have done my village a great favor and after I brought you back here people from as far as the village I was coming from when I stumbled upon you have been bringing me all kinds of food to cook for you. ‘Cook for him,’ they say, ‘tend to him so that he may regain his strength.’ They told me.” Velancia explained as she took out the vegetables and placed them neatly on the table.
“Is that so?” Augustus replied with a chuckle. Velancia looked towards him with a smile; he was handsome, with long white hair and shining silver eyes.
“You are Sky Born are you not?” Asked the young girl as she took a knife and began to chop the vegetables.
“Aye.” Replied Augustus with a slight nod. Velancia giggled.
“And what brings you to these parts?” The girl asked as she poured the chopped vegetables into the pot.
“I am actually on my way back towards Numata.” Replied Augustus.
“Numata, oh my. The great trading city beneath the Imperial City in the Sky. My what wondrous tales I have heard of that place.” Velancia gasped as she took out the meat and began to chop them too into pieces. Augustus smiled as he watched Velancia go about her work; she somehow reminded him of his mother. “I washed your hair and your armor and weapons as well.” Velancia said after she noticed Augustus gazing at her.
“Thank you.” Augustus replied as he began to get out of bed.
“It’s the least I can do; and you stay in bed. You don’t need to be moving around, it will only prolong the time of which you need to heal properly.” Velancia replied then commanded. Augustus scratched the back of his head then hesitantly moved back under the covers. He continued to watch the young woman as she poured the meat into the now boiling pot of water.
“It’s funny; not so long ago I was staring at a pot like that. However it was much larger, I was dangling upside down, and I was the one who was going to be put within that pot.” Augustus said still staring at the pot, to this Velancia giggled then sat down in a chair beside her guest.
“I would love to hear about your adventures.” Velancia said; and so Augustus looked at her and with a grin told her everything. From the nights he used to stare up at Zeus to the very present with him waking up staring at the cottage roof. He explained for hours and Velancia listened attentively and with bright eyes and much interest. He discussed during their meal and far after it. And once he had finished Velancia giggled and said, “Your descriptions are quiet precise.” To this Augustus nodded with a smile. Velancia looked at him now with the knowledge of his past and his future journey. Augustus’ eyes were growing heavy; he had still not fully recovered from the battle with Butso. Velancia moved from her chair and onto the side of the bed. She took her hand onto Augustus’ head and motioned him towards her. She guided his head into her lap; Augustus closed his eyes as he felt the warmth of Velancia’s body and the fresh pure scent of a woman, a scent that had not filled his nostrils since he departed from his mother. His mouth opened slightly as he shifted his head in Velancia’s lap. “Would you like me to sing you a lullaby?” She asked; Augustus nodded, his eyes still closed.
And so she sang to him; a sweet and smooth lullaby that sent him into sleep. She then gently placed his head upon the pillows as she stood up and put out the lamp. She then stood there gazing at his sparkling white hair and made a decision; even though she knew he would probably leave the next day to continue his journey and that he would never permit her to follow him, she wanted to be with him. With these thoughts in mind she walked to a drawer and changed from her dress and breeches into a lighter more feminine piece that once belonged to her mother; she then sat upon her bed. She gazed upon Augustus as she lifted the covers then got under them. She laid beside him as she held him close to her; running her hand through his pure hair she closed her eyes and she too soon fell to sleep dreaming about a life with this handsome young adventurer.
As dawn broke Augustus woke up to the sounds of birds singing. Augustus stood up and made ready his equipment. After putting on his armor and retrieving his sword and shield he grabbed his bag of which Velancia had packed with supplies for his journey. She was probably out gathering things and so Augustus walked outside the cottage with map in hand and biscuit in mouth. As he exited he closed the door and swallowed down his meager breakfast. He set down the road the way Velancia said would take him to the Orion Fields; however before he could exit the village he heard footsteps running up behind him and Velancia’s voice cried out his name. “Augustus, please wait!”
Augustus turned around as Velancia slowed to a walk as she neared him. In her arms was a grey and white fur cloak. She held it out to him.
“What is this?” He asked.
“It was a gift from the fur traders after I told them you were to cross the Fields of Orion.” She said as Augustus took it in his arms.
“Give them my thanks.” He replied as Velancia took back the cloak and tied it about his waist. He smiled at her, but soon looked at her puzzled as he noticed her frowning and with tears in her eyes. “What is the matter?” Augustus asked Velancia as she looked into his silver eyes.
“I do not wish for you to leave, but I do not wish to stall you on your journey.” She said as she wiped the tears off her face. Augustus drew near her as he wrapped his left arm around her and his right he brought up to her face.
“No one other than my mother has been as nice to me as you have; certainly no beautiful girl has ever paid much attention to me, but you have.” Augustus stated; Velancia hugged him back as she placed her head on his chest.
“I know your journey will be long; but I will wait for you for forever if I must, so please come back to me.” Velancia said as she looked up at him.
“Aye; I will come back for you, this I promise.” Augustus replied; Velancia giggled. The two embraced one another for a long many minutes and after Velancia moved in for a kiss and got what she was looking for, Augustus began to walk away; however Velancia felt that it was not yet time so she grabbed his arm and he turned quick and the two embraced one another again. Their lips met a second time during this embrace and finally, after receiving a parting kiss to the forehead, Augustus left Velancia as he made down the road towards the Fields of Orion.
“I will hold you to your promise!” Velancia cried after Augustus’ disappearing figure as she battled with her tears. She then saw Augustus turn towards her and as his silver eyes met her green eyes and his white hair reflected the light of the shining sun, he smiled; Velancia let her tears stream from her eyes as Augustus turned and disappeared down the road. She fell to her knee’s then whispered, “Please hold to your promise.”