Morland: Blood and Sweat

Arise, Strength of the Dragon

– HILLTOPS, SOUTH OF SIGUL –

The faint glow of embers dissipated as the fires went out in the cold of the night, Hielgan tearfully laid his hand on the mound of ash then proceeded to scoop a handful and place it in the urn next to him.

The cremation process had lasted for nearly twelve hours almost two times longer than that of ordinary mortals. This was mostly due to the natural resistance his people had against fire, at first he had felt relieved as he did not want to further part with this particular mortal, however, the sight of his body bracing through the inferno even in death reminded him of how much he had been influenced by this person that he burst into tears.

”Father… ”

Hielgan clenched more ashes in his hand and poured them into the urn, the warmth of the ashes reminded him of his fathers warm touch, and the very last words he had spoken to him resounded in his mind.

My son, I saw you forge a new path beyond these horizons where many of our people took to the sky… without fear.

He knew he had to be strong and obey his fathers words just as he had seen in his final vision, Hielgan was destined to forge a new path for his people so that they may fly free once more.

The stars shimmered brightly in the sky, it seemed as though the heavens were in celebration as they welcomed their new brethren.

In the morning Hielgan woke up early to prepare for his journey and even though he had what seemed like an eternity, it did not mean that time had ceased to move for him. He got up from his sleeping mat which was placed next to the only old wooden bed in the house that his grandfather and father before him used to sleep in, but out of respect for them, Hielgan had dared not take it for himself.

After a quick stretch, he made for the cabinet he had been using as a wardrobe for most of his life. Hielgan recalled how his father had rebuked him for mixing up all sorts of junk with the family treasures that were kept hidden in the cabinet.

”He was half right, ” Hielgan muttered as he swung the cabinet doors wide open. ”Most of the treasure had been used to buy the farmland. ”

Unlike his grandfather, his father had worked hard on the farm and tried hard to grow as many crops as he could, regardless of his lack of farming knowledge they still had decent harvests each year and managed to survive to the next farming season.

Since this was his final quest, Hielgan had helped his father in as much as he could till his passing.

”I wish you were here to see me start mine… ”

Hielgan paused for a moment to recall this memory again, his father had not looked that old when he passed, his hair was barely gray and his skin retained a youthful shine.

The bodies of those who shared the dragons blood withstood more than just fire but even time itself, however, their minds remained susceptible to corruption.

Hielgan had seen this in his father, where his eyes had grown dim and even his speech slowed drastically as a testament to his progressing age.

”Sigh… ”

The sigh was silent as he carefully rummaged through the cabinets shelves until a brown leather jacket emerged from beneath the clutter.

Hielgan pressed the jacket tightly to his cheek as he recalled the day his father got it for him as a gift for his birthday, he promised to take it with him should he ever go on a journey, even though it was of little use to him.

He closed the cabinet doors and then walked into the kitchen, memories of his father cooking their meals surfaced as he stumbled into abandoned pots on the floor. Buckets of water lay half-empty since he had not fetched any water yesterday, and the place had quickly started to look empty, just as it had felt.

Hielgan reached for a bucket in the corner of the room, and under it was a small rope. He took a hold of the rope in his hand then tugged and pulled on it until the layers on the walls began to peel away as the rope revealed itself.

”Now I understand what you meant… ” Hielgan mumbled once more.

His father had once told him how the kitchen held their familys precious treasure.

At first, he thought his father had kept extra steamed potatoes hidden in the pots, but after peeling part of the wall with the rope, he finally understood what he had meant.

The wall seemed to have been hollow inside, he then placed his fingers in the spaces that the rope had made and pulled heavily on them until half of the wall came crashing to the floor sending clouds of dust in the air.

As the dust cleared Hielgan saw a faint glow of a red object, at first he could barely tell what it might have been, but as his surroundings continued to clear he could now see it.

”Grimvyern… ” Hielgan uttered in awe.

The sword was nearly two and a half feet in length, it had a dark red hue in the center while its edges emanated a crimson red like blood. Its handle was covered by a glimmering gilt-like mesh made of scales with the head of a dragon at its end. The swords beauty appeared unparalleled, that perhaps one day bards would sing about it across all of Morland.

A gray satchel caught Hielgans eye, compared to the Grimvyern the satchel looked bleak and unimportant, however, his father had taught him that nothing in this house was worthless.

He picked up the satchel and then checked its contents;

”Two red potions, a bundle of herbs, one scroll, and two books, ” Hielgan uttered his thoughts. ”Wait, is that a journal? ”

Hielgan pulled the journal from the satchel and saw a familiar name written on the cover of the book.

Lacolgan.

His grandfathers name was inscribed on the top cover using the old language, his father had taught him much about his peoples traditions just as his father before him had done. Hielgans grandfather had passed away a few years after his birth, and now only vague memories of him remained since the man had died when he was still at a very young age.

Great tales about his grandfathers deeds during the Era of Conquest had been told to Hielgan, perhaps more had been recorded in this timeless book.

Delighted at the prospect of learning more about his predecessors, Hielgan sat on the collapsed wall then unwrapped the leathery cloth that was covering the book.

Hielgan carefully parted one page from another since the book had grown stiff from age. Text and images littered the pages as he skimmed through the journal, and he could only capture glimpses of the text, but the rest of the words written were unfathomable to him.

”Th-this… Umm this is odd, ” Hielgan stammered. ”What language is this? ”

Father had taught me a lot, but I always got the feeling he was holding back for my sake.

”But how is this for my sake father?! ”

Hielgan gripped the journal hard in his hand then tossed it against the wall furiously.

A small piece of leather fell from the pages, when he noticed this, he took deep breaths to regain his composure then walked over to the wall and picked both items up.

The note held pieces of the same language, however, it had references written in the more familiar old language inscribed next to each symbol.

A translation. Hielgan wondered. So thats why he spent a lot of his time at the library.

Hielgan now understood that his father had been trying to decipher his grandfathers work before he passed away, this had taken up a lot of his sparring time against him, but since his skills had increased it was only natural for his father to let him practice alone.

He quickly recalled a past memory of when he had asked his father about the strange language.

Your grandfather left a difficult task for me.

This was the only answer he had gotten out of him, that was a long time ago and he now knew these were not written texts as he had thought earlier, they were symbols, he had seen them littered in their room a few times in the past, but he could not read them.

”Is this why you planned to set me out on this journey… ” His mind wondered.

The closest town to their home was Sigul, a nearly lawless zone filled with pirates and criminals, his father had spent most of his free time in the libraries there, he was probably trying to find ways to fully decipher this journal.

To no avail.

Hielgan sighed then flipped the note instinctively, to his surprise, behind the note was another message.

This one was written in the common language.

Regarding Grimvyern, a greatsword crafted from our very being, our flesh and bone sewn into its framework to create this unique masterpiece as a symbol of our immense power and house.

Those who share the dragons blood are worthy of wielding its great hilt and summoning its dormant potential.

The note read.

”Those who share the dragons blood… ” Hielgan was perplexed at the statement, to his knowledge he was currently the last survivor of his people, which meant he was automatically qualified. ”Thats what the instructions say. ”

For a moment Hielgans emotions flared inwardly and he could not help but smirk, the prospect of wielding awesome power was a tempting thought, and to complete his journey he would require such might beside him.

Hielgan walked over to the wall where Grimvyern rested, then he reached his hand out towards the sword.

When the tip of his fingers brushed against the handle, his whole hand was suddenly pulled towards the sword. His fingers wrapped themselves around the grip, but before his mind was put at ease, the mesh of scales around the handle suddenly dug into his palm.

”Gaaah! ” Hielgan cried out.

Hielgan immediately pulled his hand away from Grimvyern as the blood that was left on the swords grip was slowly vaporized by the hilt.

”Did Grimvyern drink my blood? ” Hielgan now understood how the sword worked.

Grimvyern used a type of blood technique to activate, and if the wielders blood did not match what the sword wanted, the sword would surely not be wielded.

What say you… Grimvyern?

This was the first time he had ever encountered Grimvyern, but his knowledge gifted to him by his late fathers teachings had come in handy and at this moment, he wondered how the sword would respond to him.

As though in response to his thoughts the sword suddenly emitted a crimson glow from its blades, then the eyes on the dragons head-shaped pommel gave off a bright red flash.

Hielgan jumped back shocked by the sudden flare, but before he could say a word, the red glow from the sword faded away.

”What happened? ” Hielgan muttered.

The crimson glimmer on the swords blade had taken on a dull grey color, and the pommels eyes had darkened. The once magnificent gold and crimson Grimvyern was now replaced by a shadowy burnt husk of a blade with a dried-up pale hilt.

”Wh-what happened? ” Startled by this, Hielgan dropped the sword to the floor.

Grimvyern had desiccated up upon his touch, Hielgan knew what this meant to him, but he stared at the sword in disbelief before finally accepting what the sign symbolized.

”How can this be? ”

Hielgan knew the sword had denied his blood, and that could only mean that the blood in his veins was not entirely that of a dragon, and without it, he would never be able to wield Grimvyern.

”Isn this MY family heirloom? ”

I have left everything in your care… A whisper was followed by a sudden flash of light and in that light, Hielgan saw the image of a mortal clad in golden-scaled armor with a crimson cape fluttering in the bright space.

”Father? ”

The man turned to look at him, but just as quickly as it had come the vision disappeared, and for the first time since his father had passed Hielgan legitimately broke down in tears and cried as he finally mourned the passing of his father.

”Forgive me father, for a moment I nearly forgot who I am. ” Hielgan sobbed.

When his father was still alive, Hielgan had acquired a wealth of knowledge and learned a great deal from him, to think that he was the only one of his kind left alive would be a lie. His father had exhausted the knowledge around this region, even Sigul with all its exotic mortals did not carry the answer.

”I will go out into the world and unlock the secrets of Grimvyern and restore our peoples honor. ”

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