Beginnings, a Tale of Hargrim

Hargrim watched Al Rashard with grim satisfaction as the older man demonstrated his ancestors’ power to the youths around him, it was amazing to see and a hunger that Hargrim couldn’t understand developed within him, a need so great that it burned him and bound him, a need only Rashard could feed.  Power.

Al Rashard had arrived a few weeks ago and had moved through the small village carefully, selecting youths and taking them into the woods nearby to guide them in the ways of his ancestor, all he picked were swayed by the promise of power and strength beyond that of anything ever seen by the poor young youths of the village. One of the youths, a pale weak one named Hargrim was one of the last to be picked, the others had weeks on him but he was determined to catch up fast and gain the power that he craved so much.

Al Rashard had a group of five youths who were his inner circle and shared in the power offered by Rashard the most.  They were going to have a secret rite in a clearing near by and the others were forbidden to attend till Rashard said that they were ready. But Hargrim was determined to see the rite and gain whatever he could from it. So Hargrim snuck up to the clearing and hid at the edge of the woods before settling down to wait.

After a short time Al Rashard marched up to the clearing leading his inner circle which in turn dragged a bound and gagged girl from the village. When they reached the centre of the clearing Rashard started chanting in a low voice and the others lay the girl down and held her one on each arm and leg.  The last held her head so she was staring straight up at Rashard. The chanting continued for a few moments more and then Rashard reached a crescendo, dropped to his knees, pulled a dagger from his robes and plunged it in to the girls heart shouting as he did so"Oh great Anubis hear my plea, grant me power and in return I offer you sacrifice" the girl shuddered and then lay still her heart’s blood pumping into the uncaring ground.

Hargrim watched shocked.  He had known that some villagers had disappeared but had assumed that they had just moved to the next village.  Now with the real horror of the truth before him he turned and fled, not thinking beyond the need to get away from that blood soaked clearing, the need to put as many miles as possible between Rashard and himself. Hargrim crashed through the forest desperate to escape the scene behind him and reach the safety of the village, but he could hear behind him the others closing in on him.  Fear, however, gave his feet wings and fed his strength, and, gradually the trees thinned, and the village drew closer.  Then, just when he thought he was going to make it, a voice rang out behind him "By Anubis’ power I command you halt!" And that is what happened.  Hargrim came to a stop unable to move a muscle, and into his vision stepped Al Rashard with an evil grin on his face and the dagger, still stained with the girl’s blood, in his hand.  Behind him gathered the youths of the inner circle, youths that Hargrim had grown up with, had fought and played and laughed and cried with, but who now looked different, more feral, more like hunting dogs than men.  "You die" he snarled and slashed out cutting Hargrim across the face and knocking him to the ground. Hargrim closed his eyes and waited for the final blow to land. But nothing happened. Expecting at any moment to feel that razor blade cutting through his flesh, Hargrim forced open his eyes, looked up, and saw why.

A tall armoured stranger stood above him armed with a sword and wearing a tabard marked half black half red with a silver star set proudly in the centre.  The warrior swiftly attacked cutting down the inner circle until only Al Rashard remained, Rashard called on Anubis to halt the stranger as he had Hargrim, but the stranger called upon a name Hargrim had never heard of to protect himself , and each attack was countered with calls of "by Celestial’s power I counter that" until in desperation Rashard threw himself forward and thrust his dagger into the warrior.  Hargrim could only whimper as he saw the dagger pierce the side of his protector, sure that this was the blow which spelt his end, but, even as  Rashard’s dagger cut deep, the warrior twisted, and his sword slashed wickedly across Rashard’s stomach, a spray of red blood, following its silver streak.  With a wet cough Rashard fell to the ground, where he kicked feebly, clawing fruitlessly at his stomach, before finally lying still.

Hargrim staggered over to the warrior, who had crashed to the ground with a low moan, and checked him over.  The man was dying the wound fatal. Hargrim started to cry softly to himself.  It was so unfair, so wrong.  The man had been a hero, had risked his very life to save someone he’d never met.  How could it be right that he should meet the same fate as a murderer like Rashard?   Suddenly, Hargrim recalled the name that the stranger had shouted.  Surely, he thought, such a power wouldn’t abandon one of his own?"Celestial," he wept, " I beg of thee aid thy warrior heal him please".  Nothing happened.  In sheer frustration, Hargrim tried again, shouting this time, pouring his full force, and will and need into his cry.  With that a strange feeling crept over Hargrim and down his arm to the warrior. As the feeling flowed into the warrior the wound knitted together and disappeared.  With a groan the stranger sat up.

And so it was that Hargrim learned all about Celestial and the Order that bore his name,  and so it was that he discovered that he was an incantor and able to draw power from Celestial. After that, it was only a matter of time before Hargrim set out to find the Order, so that he could join them and follow in the footsteps of a knight who travelled the land giving aid where he could and saving lives.

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