Unknown - Chapter 6
“The what?”, both boys exclaimed simultaneously.
The old man laughed. It was giddy and it annoyed the two teenagers. He placed the gauntlet back on the table. “You can’t be serious, uncle”, Alen looked at the gauntlet, unable to swallow what he had just heard.
“But I am serious”, the old man placed his hands on the table, his fingers played with the lines on the wood. Small gusts of wind chilled the room. The small hairs on Enil’s body rose. He shivered.
“But, but, the destruction of the world? That’s just too big of a coincidence!” Enil swings his hand around in disbelieve.
“Well, not really, but yes, in your terms, it might be so”, the old man reached for the gauntlet and rubbed it with his hand. “This gauntlet is known as the Gauntlet of Heroes”, the old man paused as he flips through another page on the notebook. “It was worn by a warrior, more than a thousand years ago”, a picture emerged from the blank pages of the book. “It says here that the warrior sacrificed himself in order to seal the great evil but the seal he placed on it could only hold for a thousand years”, he flipped to another page. “And after a thousand years, signs of the seal will be revealed to those who seek it”. The old man looked to the two teenagers.
“But we didn’t seek it”, Enil protested. “Why us?”. The old man looked at him, face grim and worried. “Maybe it’s fate”. The two teenagers looked at each other again.
“Anyway, yes, I do think you two should leave the colony, and as soon as possible”, the old man closed the book and binds the leather strap back. He grabbed Alen’s sling bag and placed the gauntlet inside. He tied a double knot and hands the bag to Alen who is still unable to process the whole thing he had just heard.
“Can you come with us, uncle?”, Alen spoke and to Enil’s surprise. His friend looked at him only to realize the brilliance in Alen’s words. “That’s right uncle, you can come with us!” he followed.
“No, that is not possible, though it is a good idea”, the old man smiled and shook his head.
“Wait, why is it impossible when it is a good idea?”, it was partly a question Alen had wanted to know. The old man rolled his sleeve.
“This is a binding magic”, the old man said. “It was charred to my hand when I agreed to be the administrator for the colony”. ALen looked at the marking on his uncle’s forearm. It was a thick line of spiral with four branches that grew out from the spiral’s outer lines and spiraled at its other end.
“But why binding magic?” Alen looked at him with his eyebrows met. The old man smiled. “To ensure neither I nor anyone working at the administration district runs away from his lordship”. The old looked to the ceiling. “It was logical of course, as a king you won’t want your subject to run away to neighboring empire with your gold and your trade secrets, won’t you?”.
“But can’t you unbind it?” Enil leaned forward.
The old man flew his eyes to him. “No, sadly, only the lordship or the lord magister can undo the spell or extend its range”, he unrolled the sleeve and sat in the dark, silence like the two teenagers.
The silence continued, the sky outside was gray. Thunders rolled in the distance and flashes of lightning appeared on the outer districts.
“You two need to go and pack your things”, the old man got up and walked towards the shadow. “I’ll knock on your doors three times when the time has come”, he vanished into thin air. The two teenagers looked at each other with sweats running down their cheeks. They got up, bowed to the shadow where the old man vanished and left the room.
The rain lashed hard on the two running teenagers. Alen used his sling bag as his cover while Enil pulled his messy coat over his head. The two splashed down the streets and turned to the alley towards Alen’s house.
Alen opened the door and the two rushed inside, drenched to their boots. They sat on the chairs around the kitchen table and stared at the floor. Water dripped from their head, chins and edges of their clothes though their mind was oblivious to it. Their heavy panting echoed the room but their ears were blocked by the words they had just heard.
The sound of thunder and the flashes of lightning rages outside. The wind howled at the window and stones tapped on them with each blast of the wind.
Enil’s feet tapped hard on the stone floor. He rubbed his chin and face once and rubbed them again. His eyes blinked faster than a bird’s wing.
“This can’t really be happening”, he said to no one. Alen looked at him. “It is happening”, he replied. It was harsh but he needed Enil calm and not jittery. “Then you go, you can take the gauntlet with you”, Enil looked at his friend. His eyes reddened. “I can’t. If I took the gauntlet and leave you here, he might come to you”, it was Alen’s most logical answer he could give.
“But what about my dad and your uncle, won’t the killer find them too?” it was a thought that Alen had already seen. “I don’t know, but I don’t think they are easier prey than us”, Alen looked away and sighed. I hope…
Night fell into the colony and once again Enil and Alen stood silence in the room. The rain outside had withered, leaving puddles of water still stubborn to dry. Their sling bags packed with food and little clothing. Alen had the gauntlet stored in another bag and slings it behind him. The waited for Carvas to come, imagining the things that would happen to them if the killer managed to caught them out in the world. Enil had calmed down and regained his composure. His feet had stopped tapping and he was standing in the room with the weird cape he grabbed earlier.
Alen looked at the cape. “Why didn’t you sell that cape that night?”, Enil glance back at him. “I wanted it”, and he smiled. Alen shook his head and smiled back. Enil opened his sling back and packed the cape inside.
Three knocks echoed the room and Alen rushed to the door. He swings it open and Carvas moved in, holding the book in his hand. He was wearing his hunting clothes and his leather coat with a weird hat. Enil looked at him. “What’s with the hat?”, the old man smiled. “It’s my favorite hat”, and tipped it to the young man. He turned to Alen. “So, are you ready?”, he held Alen’s hands. Alen nods.
“Yes, uncle, we’re ready. But tell me something uncle”, he looked to his uncle’s eyes. “How did you know about us wanting to leave the city? I didn’t remember telling you about it”, he had only figured the question after he returned from the visit.
“Ah, that’s my specialty, nephew. It’s just basic observation of speech and voice pattern combined with basic observation of your reaction”, he smiled. Alen look to his sides without moving his head. “Uh, huh. Right…”
Carvas took Alen’s hands and puts the book into them. “I want you to keep this book with you no matter what”, his voice was filled with hope. “Can you do it?”, his eyes stern.
Alen gave his uncle a weird look. “I can, but why?”, he frowned. Carvas looked at him and shook his head. “Go to the port town of Kliph, there, find a sage name Orof, he will tell you more about the book and what fate has in store for you”, he whispered.
“You mean Enil and I?”, but the old man shook his head. “No, just you, your friend has a different fate for him, but it will not endanger his life, that I can tell you”, the old man let go of the book and turned to Enil.
He gestured Alen to walk away and called Enil to sit beside him on the bed. “Young man, you will have a fate that will change the world”, his voice whispered. Enil’s eyes widened. “What?” he looked at the old man only to find his stern gaze forced him to look away.
“Listen to me, in time you two will learn that both of you are destined for great things in this world, but you won’t be walking with each other when the time to make your decisions come”, he whispered and shot a nasty glance at Alen as he tried to glance back at them. Alen quickly look away and whistled.
“Until that time comes,”, he paused and took a breath. “I want you to help Alen”, he shot a look at his nephew again. “His destiny is grim but only without your help”, he puts his hand on Enil’s shoulder. Enil looked at the old man, unable to understand his words. He opened his mouth but shuts it back.
“Now give me your arm”, the old man opened his hands. Enil gave him the same weird look before. “What?”, but the old man pulled his arm to him and clasped a golden gauntlet on his arm. It perfectly matched with the contour of his forearm. Enil closed his eyes as the warmth from the gauntlet crawls into his every vein.
Carvas stood up and walked to Alen whose back turned towards him. He puts his hands to his nephew’s shoulder and pulled his arm to him. “Give me the gauntlet”, he said much to Alen’s surprise. “What? Why?”, but the old man had already scoured the sling bag on his bag for the gauntlet and took it out.
“What are you doing?”, Alen’s voice was desperate but the old man ignores them. Alen looked at Enil whose eyes fixed to the golden gauntlet on his arm. “When did you get that?” but Enil did not flinched.
“Come, give me your arm”, the old asked again, his voice had a tinge of anger in it.
Alen obeyed and gave his arm to his uncle. Carvas took it and placed the silver gauntlet to it. The gauntlet locked and fits perfectly with the contour of his forearm. Alen closed his eyes as chills shot through his veins. He let out a breath and powdery white smoke bellowed from his mouth.
“My nephew, you will soon learn the fate of being the seal bearer. It will be hard and harsh and you will probably die in the end of your journey” he closed his eyes and gulped. “I want you to keep living, even if fate wants you to die, I want you to fight and keep living, remember that” he looked at Alen with the sad face of a father.
Alen nods. “Yes uncle, I will remember it”. Carvas pats Alen’s shoulder. He moved away towards the door and turned back.
“Now you two are ready, let’s go”. The two teenagers looked at each other and each other’s gauntlet and nod. They followed the old man out of the house and into the streets heading to the colony entrance.