It was a cold winter night. Snow had fallen, covering the stone roads and rooftops of a quiet village, Kiolz. Each family stayed in their houses and sought the warmth of their fire places. It was an unsettled night for a man who was riding his horse in the cold, seeking shelter from the cruel winter weather. The night was getting dark and the wind started to change its demeanor into a horrible winter storm.
“It’s not looking good,” said the man to his horse, his only companion. “We have to find shelter for tonight.”
He focused his eyes, hoping to catch a glimpse of a light from a house. At this hour most of the villagers would be sleeping, but he had hopes that one or two would still be awake. He was grateful when he eventually saw a blurry light in the distance, in a window of a small house.
The man got off his horse and willed himself to knock on the wooden door. He did not have to wait long as the door was opened quickly by a blind man.
“I am sorry to be so impolite,” he said to the house owner. “A horrible storm is coming and I have nowhere to stay. Would you be kind enough to let me stay the night?”
“I am quite surprised to have someone knocking on my door on a terrible night like this; everyone should be staying in their homes where there is shelter. You must be coming from quite a far place.” The house owner said. “Bring your horse to the barn and come in afterwards.”
The horse rider thanked him and did as he was told.
The house was warm and comfortable; the man could tell it belonged to a small happy family. The house owner invited him to a small round dining table where he was waiting with a lady. He then poured some rokha, a kind of fragrant wine, and served it to his guest.
“Let’s have a sip of this good rokha. This is a helpful friend on a winter night like this.” He then poured some for himself. “My name is Radeth and this is my wife, Vea.”
Vea was carrying a little baby who was sleeping soundly in his mother’s arms. “This is our son, he was born just five days ago and we are still deciding the best name for him.”
“Ah,” the man looked at Radeth’s son and smiled. “He is adorable.”
“He is a strong boy.” Radeth said with pride. “And like his father, he will be a great warrior.”
“I’m sure he will.” The man said. “My name is Nicholas and I am very grateful for the shelter tonight.”
Vea soon took her baby back to her room while Nicholas and Radeth stayed for a few more sips of rokha.
“So where are you heading, warrior?” Radeth poured more rokha into his cup.
“Oh, how do you know I am a warrior?” Nicholas said ina shocked tone before he realised his question might offend Radeth due to his blindness. “Ah, I’m so sorry. I have no intention to offend you.”
Radeth smiled. “No, don’t be. I understand. How could a blind man tell who someone is whilst he can’t even see them? I know as I can sense the big sabre you are carrying. It’s not just an ordinary sabre; it is made of two layers of steel which have been forged together, this process makes it twice as strong. No man but a warrior is capable of carrying such a heavy, extraordinary weapon on a long journey through wild storms.”
“You are right to say it’s not an ordinary sabre and it’s very heavy.” Nicholas said, amazed. “But to be more precise, it was not only double layered but also forged three times.”
“You are the blacksmith?”
“Yes,” Nicholas said proudly. “One of my skills I am proud of.”
“Could I hold it for a second?”
Radeth held the sabre and felt the blade surface with his fingers then returned the sabre to Nicholas.
“It is a great weapon,” Radeth said. “But it’s too inconvenient for a battle.”
“It was never meant to be used in a battle,” Nicholas said, receiving back his sabre. “It is very precious.”
Nicholas silently observed his new acquaintances. He was delighted to meet Radeth as they shared something in common. Even though Radeth was blind he did not seem to have any difficulty doing things. He had brilliant senses; dark black hair and strong confident posture, there was no doubt he was born a fighter.
“So, where are you heading?” Radeth repeated his unanswered question.
“North.” Nicholas said.
“North? There is nothing there but deserted and murderous mountains.”“I have no choice.” Nicholas said smiling. “I’m on a mission, and nothing is more important than accomplishing it.”
Radeth nodded, “Indeed.”
The night was getting darker; Radeth’s family and Nicholas had fallen asleep. Radeth was the only one awake, still drinking his rokha.
He got up and went into his room and opened a secret compartment in a wardrobe that had been locked for more than a year, only he and Vea knew how to open it. He touched what was inside the compartment and felt great sadness, inside lay golden armor and a golden spear covered in dust.
As he grabbed the spear, memories started rushing through his head.
He remembered Rahumu, his birthplace, once a beautiful kingdom where every warrior like himself trained their hardest to be an exceptional talent in protecting the king and the people; intimidating in battles, yet respectable in life. They were once a prestigious race.
He was once a fearless warrior who led countless battles that he never lost. Until one mission, one he would never complete. This was the mission that changed his life forever.
Radeth put on his golden armor. He could sense his wife and his son sleeping peacefully, he silently went outside.
The storm was getting worse but that did not bother Radeth, he felt enormous energy from another realm.
He went to the barn and took both Nicholas’ and his horse out, and then went inside the house to wake up Vea.
“Radeth,” Vea said, confused with the rush. “What happened?”
“Vea, take our son and follow Nicholas to the North. All ofyou will be safe there.” Radeth said in a worried voice.
The voice, the armor, the fear, Vea had a horrible feeling that night was probably going to be the last time she saw her husband.
She tried to stay calm and speak softly, she whispered, “They’re here, aren’t they?”
Radeth nodded and held Vea in his arms where she burst into tears. “If I survive, I give you my word, I’ll find you. Please, keep our son safe. Promise me.”
Radeth did not have to wake Nicholas as he suddenly came out of his room, fully prepared in his armor.
“I’ll fight them with you, Radeth.”
“No, you must go as fast as you can with my family and the other villagers to the North. I will fight them myself.”
“This is not your fight; they are here because of me. I brought this upon you.”
“That is why you must leave in haste. You can’t kill them, but I can. I will try to hold them as long as I can while you bring my family and the villagers to safety. I beg you, Nicholas, the only thing I want is my family safe, and forever I will be indebted to you.”
“You…” Nicholas said, trying to believe what he just heard. “You are one of them.”
“Yes, and I know who you are and why they are here, Nicholas of Vilsius, guardian of the Vilsius quinox,” said Radeth. “I was given a mission to destroy your birthplace and take the quinox from you, but that was one year ago and I never accomplished my mission. Instead, I found my ultimate happiness, without ever expecting it.”
Radeth hugged Vea and his son. “They are my ultimate happiness and I want to protect them with all my heart.”
Nicholas got on his horse. Vea wept as it was time for her to part with her husband. She always knew that this day would come, but she never expected it to happen so soon, and justwhen they had been blessed with a son.
“Radeth, I promise to keep your family safe.” Nicholas said.
“Thank you,” Radeth said. “Had we met a year ago, we would have been two enemies trying to kill each other, but I am glad to have met you today, as a friend.”
“Radeth…” Vea whispered, her sobbing voice so soft.
”I’ll love you, always.” Radeth embraced his beloved wife and kissed her. He carried his son for the last time and kissed him. “Be strong, son of Radeth! I will always be with you!” he whispered in the boy’s ear.
Warriors never cry; they are trained to never weep, but that night Radeth could no longer hold back the tears from his blind eyes as he felt Vea, his son and Nicholas slowly disappear into the darkness of the night.
Not long after, a legion of corpixes brutally attacked Kiolz. They burnt down houses and killed any villagers that had not fled. That cold winter night in Kiolz suddenly changed into an engulfing storm of flames that brought the city down to ashes.
Radeth fought a heartbreaking and painful fight against his own race that night. He had never dreamt of battling his own race, he knew his enemies strength. A human was not capable of killing a corpix.
Corpxies came from another realm, a kingdom called Rahumu. They were a prestigious race, hard-core warriors and well trained combatants. They only rode war horses specially bred for battle. They possessed strong armor and weapons.
Radeth was not an ordinary corpix. His golden armor and spear were gifts presented only to an extraordinary warrior with a prominent title in the kingdom.“Emissary Radeth,” said a voice that suddenly froze the blood in Radeth’s veins. He had expected to hear that voice, and now that he had finally heard it, he knew it was time for him to prepare to die. “We have not heard from you since the day you left Rahumu. What I want to hear from you now is that you have attained the first quinox.”
The voice belonged to Chavet, a firm, tall and well-built Rahumian warrior. He had long black hair, light brown skin and light yellow topaz eyes, a special feature of a corpix. He wore golden armor and held a golden sabre signifying he was of the same rank and title as Radeth.
In those days, the Kingdom of Rahumu was under King Rehoda’s reign and the king had two emissaries. Being labeled an emissary was the highest rank and the most prominent title in the kingdom. Emissaries were chosen directly by the king based on their skills and abilities both in governance and warfare, and were blessed with the king’s trust. They were the kings advisors, protectors and commissioners. They determined the best strategy in warfare, put their lives on the line to protect the kingdom from enemies and were entrusted with sophisticated missions and campaigns.
“No, Chavet.” said Radeth. “Even if I had the quinox, I would not give it to you.”
“Hah!” said Chavet. “Did I hear you right? You know what you just said makes you a traitor.”
“The quinox is not ours, it belongs to the humans. We know what it is like to be attacked, invaded, to have our homes burnt and destroyed, and have our loved ones taken from us. All my life, I fought to protect Rahumu from its enemies and defended it from invaders. I can’t imagine us being the ones attacking and destroying others’ lives.”
“The king wants power and it is your duty as an emissary to give him what he wants! Have you forgotten the emissaryoath? To serve the kingdom, the king and the mission! You neglected your mission! You have betrayed your oath!”
“Taking what’s not ours and destroying innocent lives is not a mission, not to me!”
“You have no right to question your mission,” Chavet said in a cold voice. “The king bestowed the right on me, to punish you, if, you are proven to be a traitor”
Chavet attacked Radeth with his sabre. He struck and aimed at Radeth’s heart but Radeth’s spear was quick enough to block him. Radeth countered quickly and attacked Chavet. His attack failed, Chavet quickly blocked him, they were soon engaged in a sabre-spear battle, both of them equally skilled.
Radeth fought defensively, attempting to sense and predict Chavet’s every movement. As an emissary, he was gifted with stronger senses to foresee the enemy’s movement in battle. That precious gift enabled him to fight with his eyes closed, but it was different this time. No matter how hard he tried, he could not use his special powers to block Chavet’s attack. It was as if all of his senses were silenced.
Then the bitter realisation struck him; the gift of senses was sealed within his eyes. He was a blind man now. The special gift had gone with his eyesight. For even though his eyes were closed his senses were gone.
Chavet could feel Radeth’s attacks slowly weakening. Using his ability to teleport, he moved quickly behind Radeth and wounded his left arm. Radeth did not anticipate the move so he was unable to defend himself. Seeing the opportunity, Chavet gathered a high amount of energy in his left hand and turned it into a power ball and shot Radeth.
Radeth was fatally injured. Only now did Chavet realise why Radeth did not use his special gift.
“You’re blind!” he cried victoriously. “Look at you! You fought for them, protected them and betrayed your own kind,and what did they do? Nothing! They just left you here to die!”
“It’s…not…their fault.” Radeth said, struggling to breathe. He held his spear firmly, preparing for his last defense as he felt the gates of death closing in on him.
“Then DIE!!” Chavet released another power ball. Radeth used his final surge of energy to block the shot, but, so quickly Chavet moved closer to him and stabbed him in the heart.
One stab, straight through Radeth’s chest. Time stopped for a second. Radeth felt his body paralyzed and he fell to his knees. Blood poured from his chest, he felt excruciating pain as Chavet pulled the sabre out of his chest.
He groaned but slowly accepted the pain. He finally closed his eyes, and did not fight the pain anymore instead he let it take him away to another world. He was surprised when, finally he could see again, but wait no he cannot see, he remembered.
What he thought was his vision returning were actually memories flashing in his mind. His homeland Rahumu; his emissary oath; the gift of power; his mission on earth; the crashed war ship; the destroyed squadron with just one survivor; being rescued by a beautiful lady.
Also falling in love and having a newborn son. A friend over an enemy and the final battle that would soon take his life.
He was born a protector and would die as one, never regretting that he stood for what he believed was right. He took his last breath and slowly surrendered his life to the approaching light.
Life was over for Radeth but not for others, as Chavet who triumphantly defeated his enemy gave a strict order to his squads.
“Find the quinox; kill Nicholas and everyone who is in our way!”