This was a lost idea I had a while back, I might return to it. Heck, I still have ideas for an Epic Fantasy set in an African world! Written before STORMWIZARD.
Malloy was a grave place to go, but knowing he would die less he go back, the island was the only place to hide. Darkness hung over tree littered land, a coastline was present under the moon’s radiance, a sinister feeling welling up inside of the shrouded man. The shroud was brown and covered with golden moon dials, marking him a denizen of Sahar’la, the desert man foreign to these waters, but he knew of Malloy. The land grew in size with every inch, a grand mountain now in view. The large object disguised in shadows was coming closer to the shrouded man’s kayak, prompting him to raise his bloodied hands and arms forward. The wind came suddenly, and without warning, the wrinkled sheet used for a mast shout out, the ship guided by the force of the wind. The man called on Aquarius for help, and the spirit bestowed him its power over the winds. All Bearers could call on the Zodiac for assistance, and for the Saharans who was looking to put the shrouded man’s head on a pike, he would need all the wind he could get. Soon, the man known as Mal, crashed on the island onto a rock headfirst, his ship broken upon impact. Crimson liquid scarred the black outcropping, Mal barely standing on his feet. The dark ship came closer, the same wind that Mal evoked serving the Saharans now. The treew would provide excellent cover, so Mal would hide in the dense black thickets that lay in front of him. The ship was coming fast, like a desert tiger in mad pursuit. Mal would have to think of a plan swiftly. A Saharan is a desert warrior, not a tree hugger.
Out of the veiled darkness, the iron ship made its presence known. From behind a scaly tree that immediately withdrew its leaves upon touch, Mal stared into the blue and purple darkness, barely able to make out about a dozen soldiers who cluttered the coast. The Bearer raised his hand, his hand stinging him, telling him to bring it back down, but Mal would not obey. Distant clouds slowly moved, fusing themselves together, and turning black like charcoal. Within minutes, the clouds let out a storm, rain punishing the island and softening the sand and dirt. The Bearer grunted and kneeled over, bloodied spit foaming from his mouth and the sick pain in his stomach. More blood came as he felt something explode in his body. He would have screamed and died, were it not for his willpower and his Third Oath. He knew the consequences of using a power that he had no affinity for using. He would have to deal with the pain later. The soldiers departed, into the forest. Their seeming captain garbed in what looked like white breeches and a sash, his armor only a shoulder pad that was clearly metallic, and a breastplate engraved in arcane runes that hissed an azure blue outlined in gold and covered with the same moon dials Mal had worn, moved slowly into the forest, his hand glowing, ready to cast a Magick.
The forest was indeed dense, vines denying Mal on paths, trees fallen, their roots twisted in seeming agony, and all this upon Mal’s pain, whose stomach was no more. The rain was still coming, Mal knowing that at least three of the soldiers succumbed to it. But at the cost of his stomach, the price was worth it. Mal would live; he just had to get another stomach affixed to him. But he would die, less he kept moving forward, which he had trouble to now. The body rejected Mal’s wishes to move on, Mal writing to quickly get up. And he was cold. This rain was too much, but it was already too late. Lighting flashed, painting the sky an ominous red. This was not supposed to happen. Screams could be heard throughout the forest, but Mal believed that it was everywhere. Crunching echoed throughout and heavy breathing and useless gurgling screams nearly drove Mal on the edge of fabricated insanity. What seemed to be a face appeared in the crimson lighted sky, flashes of that face laughing appeared, years of age marking it, scorch marks scarring it. The bloodied cries continue, and the rain became a deluge! The winds carried off the screams, mixed in was the cries of senseless mad laughter, cackling and yet sobbing simultaneously, the forest shuddered in the sudden change of wind. What seemed to be about thousands of bolts that piled the skies, one struck in Mal’s stomach. One tiny line’ as thin as a rapier, pierced that body like a sword, and Mal jerked and writhed, worms of crimson light crawling over his tense body. No saying it was painful, but Mal’s heart was ripping itself apart. He saw it above his eyes, dripping with blood. The lightning and thunder ceased, all things returning to normalcy. Mal blinked, unbelief filled his sight. His heart was still out of his body. What filled him more was his ability to breathe normally and stand, springing to his feet, but the sight was nearly unbearable.
The ship was thrown over the trees, soldiers lay here and their, one of them hung from a branch. Death filled the air, and Mal vomited on a body. To his surprise, the captain was not found, but also to his surprise, something put fear back into his heart. A lonely black figured reached out a hand from behind Mal and softly grasped his heart. Mal spun around, and saw that he was clothed in nothing but a black shroud, shadows veiling his face from view, but not his voice, his thundering voice.
“You have earned the eye of my master, young one.” Mal’s ears ached, his heart pounding, but he only saw it. Mal did not feel any fear. “Thus you and Him are linked, as I am bound as well. You serve no other Oath other than His and His alone. Just as I have for a long time. You will be known as… Hiraba. Yes…The Disturber.”
The man was still upon the man, putrid breath entering Mal’s nostrils, yet shadows still hid his face. He has heard of creatures such as these, those who walk the road of the living as nothing more than a corpse. A rotting being, once Human, now Nzam, a creature of Death, stared into Mal’s eyes from shadow, Mal knowing he should be fearful. It was a perplex thought and feeling, being able to sense fear, yet not feeling it. But it was what it was. The Saharan nearly stumbled backwards, breaking the sightless stare of a spell, only to see the figure in whole, still holding onto Mal’s beating heart. It was uncontrollable; the heart was rising in rate, channeled from the fear Mal was supposed to feel. He would not serve a nzam, he refused to serve a creature of the Great Dark.
“You have no choice” The nzam said as it squeezed the heart. Mal’s eyes were wet with worry, in an instant he knew, in an instant he pleaded for his life. He now knew the cost of betrayal to the Great Dark. He begged to stop, which the creature did. A faint cackling entered the air, the nzam showing no happiness. Mal’s eyes looked about, but saw nothing. He would not be some guinea to this nzam-no-he would not be some guinea to the Great Dark.