Iron Heart

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    alvspr

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    Iron Heart

    Post by alvspr on Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:06 pm

    I think this constitutes as one of the creative arts. Anyway, It's something I wrote years ago and am thinking of picking it up again and continuing it.


    Chapter One


    His eyes saw everything. The smoke billowing out of the second story window, the loose bricks scattered throughout, having been torn from the surrounding buildings, the buildings left to implode in on themselves throwing rubble into the street.

    The only building left standing was still burning, the others having nothing left to burn. Their burnt out shells were now just a remnant of their former selves. He could hear the crackle of the fire as it ate through everything in its path.

    The smoke rising up seemed to him to be a testimony to what happened here. The dirty black smoke looked too much like a flag to him, too much like a statement.

    Michael stared at the destruction, at a loss to what happened. Despair written on his face, he took it all in.

    What pained him the most wasn’t the utter annihilation of his hometown but the despicable loss of life. Bodies littered the street, their lifeless eyes staring back at him. Michael could see their last thoughts frozen for all time on their dead faces: fear.

    He could barely breathe, the stench threatening to make him throw up. He forced himself to stay. He needed to know what happened here. He slowly walked forward through the turmoil.

    His face was now devoid of emotion. After getting over the initial shock and horror of what he saw, he locked his emotions away as he had been taught. He didn’t want his emotions to get in the way of what he had to do. If he allowed his emotions to get the better of him, he feared that he would lose his mind.

    Michael saw arrows embedded in the walls and in the bodies of those that had owned those walls. He noticed bodies with puncture wounds as if they had been stabbed with a knife or sword. He didn’t try to work out what happened. For now he just wanted to find out what he could. Later, after he was away from here he would try to piece together what took place.

    Respectfully he stepped around the bodies, careful not to step over them. Slowly but surely, he made his way through the town, his face betraying nothing of what he was feeling inside.

    As he walked past one half collapsed building he thought he heard something. He stopped instantly turning his head toward the sound. He wasn’t sure of what he had heard so he needed to be careful.

    He took a pace back looking into the room through the doorway. In the corner he could see a woman clutching two younger girls to her. Their eyes were wide with terror as they watched him. Tears streaming down their dirty faces, they backed as far away from him as possible, trying to hide themselves in the dark shadows.

    Michael turned to face them completely, holding his hands out to his sides to show them that he didn’t want to hurt them. He noticed that their clothes were all torn and ripped and it looked as if they were wearing rags. Their hair was tangled in knots and looking desperately in need of a wash. In fact, Michael thought, the rest of them could do with a wash.

    ‘Shh. I’m not going to hurt you,’ Michael said as he took a step closer to them. He didn’t get a reply but they instead clutched each other tighter. ‘It’s okay. I’m here to help.’

    Michael put one boot inside the door as a man leapt out of the shadows from where he was hiding. Holding a bloodied arrow in one hand, he thrust forward attempting to stab Michael in the stomach.

    Caught off guard, Michael grabbed the man’s wrist and using his forward momentum pulled the man out of the room. Turning his back to the woman and girls, he faced the man holding his hands out to his side.

    It was then that Michael noticed that the man was much older. He would have been sixty if he was day Michael thought. The old man, the fight gone out of him, collapsed to the ground. Michael looked back over his shoulder at the woman and, he guessed, her daughters, his face wrinkled with sadness and understanding.

    He decided that it would be best to try to talk to the old man instead of the woman. Michael reached down and took the arrow out of the old man’s hand who gave it up without a fight.

    Michael bent down to look at the old man. ‘Are you okay? The old man looked up at him out of despair. All hope lost, he was a rejected man. Slowly he looked around at the carnage, his eyes filling with tears. ‘I will never be okay again as long as I live.’

    Michael put his arm on the man’s shoulder, forcing him to look at him instead of the chaos around them. Michael could see the scratches and bruises on him and knew that the old man had seen a lot. With the need to know showing in his eyes, he asked, ‘Tell me what happened here?’

    Staring blankly ahead the old man answered. ‘Soldiers, from the north. They came in about a week ago. No warning. They just rode in and did this,’ he said waving his hand at the mayhem in the street.

    Michael didn’t understand. ‘What soldiers from the north?’
    ‘I don’t know. They rode in from the north. That is all I know.’
    Michael stood, hands on his hips as he looked to the north. He didn’t know of anyone occupying those lands especially anyone with an army.

    The only place he could think of was a city called Ceilteng but that was much further to the east. Any soldiers coming from that city would be better off coming down south from where they were then turning west. There was no reason for them to come in from the north unless they wanted to make it look like someone else.

    To the west of Ceilteng was a huge mountain range. It would be almost impossible to get an army across them. Nothing seemed to make sense to Michael. He had heard much of Ceilteng but had never visited there. He had heard that it was one of the larger cities this side of the Auriga desert.

    Michael heard footsteps behind him and he spun around. The woman had come to the doorway wanting to see what was going on. The two younger girls gripped her torn dress as if it was life itself. Out in the light he could see the cuts on the girls. Their faces, arms and legs had welts all over them.

    ‘I don’t want to hurt you,’ Michael said hoping they would realise the truth of that. The woman barely heard him as she stared out at the world. Michael couldn’t help but think the world must look terrible to her eyes. The two girls never took their eyes off of him. Michael hated to think what these four had been through.

    Michael turned and held out his hand to the old man who was still sitting on the ground. The old man looked up at him and seemed to see him for the first time. He reached up and took Michaels hand.

    ‘We were going to head south to Princton,’ the old man said answering Michael’s unspoken question. Michael looked at the four knowing they would never make it in their current condition. ‘I know of a place between here and there that you can go. It’s not far but…’

    Just then the woman behind him screamed louder then he had ever heard anyone scream. He looked back at her and saw her gaze extended beyond them to the far end of the street. He followed her line of sight and saw at a quick count, twelve soldiers riding galloping horses in their direction. They looked to be well armed.

    Michael estimated about thirty seconds before they would be upon them and he knew that they couldn’t outrun them. He also knew that he couldn’t leave these people to the whim of these soldiers.

    ‘Quick, get inside,’ he shouted to them. The old man stood up next to him picking up some rocks. ‘I will stand with you.’ Michael grabbed him and pushed him towards the room. ‘No. I will handle this, get in there and be quiet.’

    He pushed them all inside, the woman still screaming. ‘No matter what, don’t come out okay,’ Michael said to the old man. ‘And try to keep her quiet.’ Michael turned and stepped back outside. The old man whispered to the woman who quietened.

    Michael walked towards the centre of the street waiting for the soldiers to get to him. He needed to know what had happened to his home town. The horses skidded to a halt in front of him raising a cloud of dust.

    Michael stood warily keeping his eyes on the soldiers. The soldier in the lead stared down at him. Michael could see dried blood on his battle armour. His arms seemed as thick as small tree trunks.

    Michael had no doubt that these men had taken part in the massacre here. Something in their eyes told him the truth of it. Michael decided that he would make the first move. His voice had a tone of authority to it. ‘Who are you?’

    The soldier closest to him spoke in an annoyingly calm way. ‘And who are you to be asking us questions,’ the last part spoken with a rising infliction. Michael didn’t bother to answer his question but instead forced his own. ‘I asked you a question. Who are you?’

    The soldier sensing that Michael wasn’t intimidated by them sat back in his saddle. ‘My my, what a brave fellow. I think that who we are is the last thing that you should be worrying about right now. You should be more worried about your life or what you have left of it.’

    Anger seeped into Michael’s voice. He clenched his teeth in raw fury. ‘Why? Are you going to do to me what you have done to this town?’ The solder turned to another and simply nodded his head before turning back to Michael. ‘Oh no, we have other things to do, I’m sure we can find something much quicker for you,’ he snarled.

    The soldiers started getting off their horses and a few of them started towards the room that held the small group of defenseless people. The soldiers were laughing and one of them started undoing his pants.

    One of the soldiers unhooked his bow and pulled an arrow from the quiver. He held the bow and nocked the arrow. Aiming at Michael’s chest, he pulled the drawstring back.

    Michael suddenly went calm. He knew what was going to happen, knew what he had to do. The soldier fired and the arrow whistled through the air, the soldiers laughing as they made their way to the woman and girls.

    Michael stood his ground as the arrow hurtled through the air. When the arrow was almost upon him he spun almost delicately, the arrow whizzing harmlessly by him. The soldiers stopped laughing as they watched Michael stop spinning to stand there defiantly.

    Michael looked up at the soldier who had shot the arrow. Michael wasn’t scared, wasn’t afraid. His eyes were full of wrath and his voice was filled with menace. ‘That was your first warning.’

    The soldier looked to his leader with a look of concern on his face. The leader simply said, ‘Again.’ The soldier nocked another arrow and aimed once again at Michael’s chest. The arrow was away and Michael dodged it as easily as he did the first.

    The leader turned to the other soldiers who were watching. ‘All of you now, arrows. Kill him,’ the leader’s voice sounded strained. He had never seen the likes of someone simply dodging an arrow.

    The other soldiers nocked their bows with arrows and held ready for the command. Eleven arrows were pointed straight at Michael who just stood there with his head slightly turned downwards. His eyes though, never left the soldiers.

    The leader waited to make sure all of his soldiers had taken aim. He turned back toward Michael with a look of satisfaction on his face. ‘Fire!’ Eleven arrows took flight. Hurtling through the air faster then the eye could see. Some were aimed at Michaels head, some his chest and some his legs.

    Michael jumped. He spun in the air tucking his arms in along his body. His body was parallel to the ground as he corkscrewed in the air. One hand reached out as he headed back towards the earth. Landing on his hand, he spun vertically, his legs upright in the air before bringing his feet to the ground to stand once again in defiance.

    Not one arrow touched him. The soldiers looked to each other in fear. They had never seen anything like it before. They were not sure of themselves anymore. The leader screamed at his soldiers. ‘Don’t just stand there. Kill him! He doesn’t have a sword.’

    The soldiers regained some of their confidence when they too noticed that Michael wore no sword. They placed their bows back on their packs and drew their swords. Michael looked at them with angry eyes.

    ‘That was your last warning.’ The soldiers advanced, ignoring his warning. They were confident that he would be no trouble as he didn’t have a sword. The leader still sat comfortably in his saddle, looking down on the ensuing battle.

    Michael didn’t move a muscle as the soldiers all took up places around him. Although they were confident they could beat him, they weren’t going to take any chances.

    The first swing of a sword Michael sidestepped. The second was more of a stab attempting to pierce his stomach. Michael spun along the length of the sword grabbing the soldier’s hand. Twisting as he turned, Michael forced the soldier to lose his grip on the sword.

    Swinging the sword out, he neatly cleaved another soldiers head from his shoulders. Michael backed away from the soldiers as they regrouped. They were a little bit more wary now as one of them was dead and another unarmed in what seemed to be a split second.

    Michael held the sword out defensively. The soldiers charged. They were well trained in the art of sword fighting. These soldiers were scouts. They had to be good. Michael was better. He moved inside their swings, in between their inefficient thrusts as they attempted to kill him.

    Two seconds later, four more of them were dead and Michael was still unscathed. He now faced six plus the leader. The soldiers were now sure that they were not going to beat him. They started backing away towards their horses.

    Michael followed them. He walked purposefully as he watched them. He was not going to let them leave. Not after what they had done. He would make them pay for their crimes. He knew that if he didn’t, no one would.

    One of the soldiers stumbled on something as he was walking backwards towards his horse. Michael charged. The soldiers, stricken with fear, didn’t have a chance. Michael was a swath of fury amongst them. He hacked them down, his sword piercing their flesh. Three seconds later, Michael was the only one left.

    He turned to the leader who could barely move. He tried to draw his sword but couldn’t grip the hilt. His eyes were wide with terror as Michael stepped closer. In his fear, the leader fell off the horse.

    He hit the ground and began crawling backwards away from the death that was walking towards him. Michael reached down and gripped his armour. He heaved him up and threw him forward face first into the ground.

    He kept crawling, trying to get away from Michael. Michael followed. ‘Please. Please don’t kill me,’ he shouted. Michael put his foot on his chest and his sword at the man’s throat. ‘Who are you?’

    ‘A soldier in the northern armies of Kelpsie,’ the soldier hurriedly answered. Michael stared at him. ‘Kelpsie? What is Kelpsie doing getting involved in something like this?’

    The soldier glanced over to the doorway and Michael followed his gaze. Having heard the voices, the old man had come out assuming it was now safe. He couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw the bodies of the dead soldiers.

    Michael looked back at the soldier lying on the ground under his boot. ‘Who is your leader? Who commands the armies of Kelpsie?’ Michael pushed down harder with his boot to let the soldier know that he was in charge. ‘General Hirsch,’ the soldier replied.

    Michael looked back at the old man standing there watching him. He took his boot of the soldier’s chest and told him to get up. He started walking towards one of the horses forcing the soldier along with his sword in his back. ‘I want you to give your general a message from me,’ Michael said.

    The old man watched them walk to the horse and he turned around to the others. ‘Come on now it’s safe.’ The other three got up and came outside with him to watch the soldier ride off the way they had come.

    Michael came back over to them. ‘It is safe now.’ The woman saw the dead soldiers and looked back at Michael. She didn’t care how he had done it, just that he had.

    ‘I was telling you of this place that you can go. It’s about two days walk from here. If you stay on the main road you will come to a junction. Take the right path and that will lead you to a small farm. They know me there. Just mention that Michael sent you and you will be looked after.’

    The woman and the girls could only stare blankly. The old man thanked him and told him they would do what he said. ‘What message did you send to his general?’

    Michael looked at the old man. ‘I don’t know whether I should tell you.’ The old man took a step towards him. ‘With all due respect, I think we have a right to know.’

    Michael looked at each of them and saw the terrible things that had happened. How could he not tell them? The old man was right. If anyone had a right to know it was them.

    Michael turned to stare at the retreating soldiers back. He was quite a long way off now having wanted to get away from Michael as quickly as possible.

    With a breath he said, ‘the message I sent to his general was this: beware the one made of iron for he commands the demons in the sky.’
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    Ckyle7
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    Re: Iron Heart

    Post by Ckyle7 on Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:14 am

    That kept me thoroughly perched on the edge of my seat! It evoked so many emotions and intrigue in me. I cannot wait for the next installment. Keep them coming, alvspr!! Very Happy


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    alvspr

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    Re: Iron Heart

    Post by alvspr on Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:44 pm

    thanks!
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    Ckyle7
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    Re: Iron Heart

    Post by Ckyle7 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:20 am

    Thanks for sharing it. Like I said, I am interested in where the story goes from here and I want to learn more about Michael. I look forward to the next chapter.


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    Re: Iron Heart

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