I know I posted what I thought to be the first book in this series of novellas a while ago, but I decided that it was more of a second piece to this character’s life, rather than the first. Instead, I decided to create a novella with the Warrior Shaman, Thas (I finally named him), going through all the training and education that is required of an individual going through this whole…process. Journey?
Anyway, here’s a select piece that I feel fits very well with the personality of Thas, and what it means to be a Warrior Shaman in his mind. This has been lightly proofread, but not edited yet, so there might be suck in there, or things that don’t make sense. Anyway, here’s the section:
Path of the Warrior, Book One
Copyright Will Truex – The Disfigured, 2013
…Thas felt the agony of Melias all at once.
His mind was flooded by negative thoughts, pain, anguish, confusion, terror. The voice came from beyond to guide him. He heard screaming, words, chaos. He felt panic, grief, and despair. You are feeling the pain of every living being on this planet. Grass blade to dragon, you know it all. This is the greatest burden you will bear. But it will give you great insight if you can weather it.
Tears streamed down his cheeks as he wailed in the hopeless inky soup of consciousness. Visions accosted him, seeing firsthand the last moments of life through another’s eyes. He saw a lamb, and could hear it bleating. He felt its confusion and fear as it was being dragged away from its mother. Thas felt the submission of the lamb accepting that he cannot resist his captor.
Thas watched in horror from inside the lamb as her captor opened a nearby barn door. The buzzing of flies and the stink of stale wool and fresh blood was overwhelming. The lamb looked around at her surroundings, seeing a pile of heads. Lamb heads. She knew some of the faces, recognized some of the smells. Some of them where her brothers and sisters. More confusion, as her captor left. Terror refreshed as she approached the heads, smelling death. When she turned around, the farmer had a knife in his hand.
He approached and she bleated furiously, not understanding why he didn’t understand her. She kept wanting to know what was going on. Where her mother was. What was wrong with her brothers and sisters. Begging to know. The farmer grabbed her by the mouth to silence her tiny bleats. She tried to resist him, but he was too strong.
Pain, fresh terror, warmth as the blade entered her neck. He tossed her to the side, and she felt all her blood pour over her chest and legs. The last thing she saw was the farmer’s boot crushing her eye, and then felt pain as he held her down. There was one more sharp bite of pain, one more panicked cry, and then she was gone.
Thas returned to the Catacombs, but he could still feel the twisted pain of Melias channeling through him. The spirits whirled around him, screaming in fury. Melias is sick, Thas! She needs help! WE. ARE HER PROTECTORS. Another vision approached.
He was a stray dog this time, being beaten by children in the street. Once again, terror, confusion, pain. He felt their angry little feet pelt his frail body, bruising his flesh and cracking his bones. The stray fell to the ground, crying miserably. It was all he could think to do. He kept wanting mercy, he kept wanting to know why he was being hurt, he didn’t understand.
When the children were finished, the stray ran off and hid under a building’s porch. Thas knew the poor dog’s fate was sealed, though. He could feel a terrible infection rising from his guts, moving into his lungs.
WE. ARE. HER. PROTECTORS.
“Yes!” He screamed, consumed in righteous anger and unfathomable pain.
WILL YOU PROTECT HER?
“YES!” he screamed, and stood up. He drank in the sorrow of Melias, felt it, understood it, and felt a purpose well and take shape within him. “I will eradicate the darkness from this planet. I will stand up for the weak, I will grant mercy to the injured, AND I WILL PUNISH EVIL WHEREVER IT MAY HIDE!”
“Welcome Thas! Welcome!” In an instant, the vision and pain stopped, but Thas could still feel it in his heart. “Thas. You are strong enough to bare the pain of this world and still fight a losing fight. You will stand for Melias, stand for her people, plants, and animals. You will be her champion, like so many before you.”
“I am honored. And eager.”
“All beings have a connection to Melias because we are all born from her and the heavens beyond. We have lost our physical forms, but endure on to guide men and women like you. We opened your link with Melias to its full extent, not leaving anything out. You will learn how to control this link, how to use it, how to seek wisdom from it.”
“From that? I could barely understand…” Thas could feel the heat of tears in his eyes.
“No, Thas. There is so much more…than darkness.”
Thas felt his link to Melias open once more, and he braced himself for the onslaught. But instead, the sheer beauty of Melias, all of its happiness, love, peace. The spirits danced around his head this time, their light not so bright, their sounds melodious and metallic- like tiny wind chimes. He was bathed in pearlescent light.
He could feel it all, and was grinned with anticipation when he felt a vision coming toward him. He looked through the eyes of a father seeing his newborn son for the first time, and felt his joy, love, and pride. Thas smelled the afterbirth of the child, fresh but well hidden, like a musky secret. He watched as the father cleared blood and mucus from the child’s lips and nose, and felt his heart skip a beat when the boy shrieked his first protest.
He felt the simple joy of a beggar finding a loaf of bread discarded behind a bakery. The happiness and relief of finding something to eat washed over him. His worries melted- today he was fed. He watched as the beggar sat down on a ragged blanket and slowly ate his prize. He shared it with a few birds that came to join him. Thas felt the quiet, subtle happiness as the old man smiled, watching the little chubby birds peck his crumbs.
He felt the warmth and love of his own mother and father again, after they had been dead for so many years. It felt like hope.
Nothing ever ends completely, Thas. We are all connected, connected by Melias, connected by the very soul that fuels our bodies. We show you why you must fight. Now, we will show you what you’re really fighting for. We are all brothers and sisters on this side, Thas.
Thas felt his connection wane. He felt purified from the sheer…goodness that was within Melias. He knew he had to protect it. He knew he must protect it. The spirits broke their link around his head and returned to where he first saw them. Thas wanted to speak, but knew he didn’t need to. They faded back into the darkness, and he emerged from the Catacombs. It was dark. Was it still the same day?
Thas could feel a terrible rage build within him, a need to lash out at evil and darkness, injustice and misery. He whispered, “Melias is angry. She’s angry and tired and sick, and I will make her well again.” The images of the lamb still haunted him. He could still feel her, out there, her little life adrift. But in the same instant, he felt the love of his parents wash over him. After a mere twenty years of life, Thas finally knew what it meant to be human.
As much as the experience had drained him, Thas sighed with relief and felt a new drive in his life. He felt happiness and purpose, true purpose. He looked up through the pine trees and studied the thin rays of light that pierced the high canopy. He found purpose.
Thas returned to Dra, a changed man. Was he even a man anymore? What was he? Dra did not speak as Thas dressed himself. “You made it.”
“What do you think?”
Thas didn’t answer reflexively. He stopped what he was doing, and took a breath to think. “My world is gone. I’ve been flung into an entirely different realm, and I can’t believe that I came out on the other side. That’s what I think.”
“What shall you do?”
“When will you start?”
“Tomorrow. Tonight, we camp here. By the catacombs. I will lead you to the Sacred Swamp tomorrow. You will become something different, Thas. Something completely unique. There is much to tell you, much to do. Much to experience.”
“I am ready.”
“I can see that.”
Dra fell asleep almost immediately when they finally bedded down for the night, but Thas was still dozed. He peered up at the pines and flirted glances with the grinning moon, full and bright. Silvery blue light touched the forest like a veil of glass. His lids closed once, and then shut until morning.
Dra woke him up with a gentle nudge form his boot. “Thas, today we go to the Sacred Swamp. That is where you will finish your journey, and become a Warrior Shaman in title. Then, I’ll teach you what it means to become a Warrior Shaman in heart.” Dra walked away to smother the campfire. There was no food cooking, no water boiling. Thas remained silent, wondering if this was part of his test.
He rose, and begun dressing himself in his burlap rags. “No,” Dra said, and tossed him a strange medallion slightly smaller than the size of his palm. It bore no symbol, and was well worn. It appeared to be made of brass, but it felt heavier than that. Lead? He could feel a heartbeat of magic coursing through it and passing into his arm. There was more than what met the eye here.
“Place that below your chin, right in the center of your breastbone.” Thas wanted to ask why, but figured it wouldn’t be a smart idea. As soon as it touched his chest, a dark gas poured out from under it. A trap?
“What did you do?” Thas said.
Soon, he realized that it wasn’t gas at all, but clouds. Clouds. He had a cloud forming around him. More specifically, a thunderhead. When it reached his genitals, he worried about his balls being cooked off by a stray spark of lightening.
When it was finally complete, he was in a cloak, shirt, pants, and boots, all made of…cloud. A clap of soft thunder and his clothes became real (at least they looked that way), taking on a feel of fabric. They were of dark greens, browns, and tans. The cloak, however, was bound by the medallion on his chest. It flowed over his shoulders and around his head, creating a hood.
When it all finally settled, he watched in amazement as the cloak churned and flashed silent lightening underneath the cloud cover. It was constantly shifting, always moving, just like the sky, but it was merely a cloud stretched into a cloak and then fitted on some poor bastard that had no idea what was in store for him. When it calmed down, the cloak remained a dark grey overcast, its default color.
“That is a Storm Mantle. Ever Warrior Shaman has one. It will be the only pair of clothes you will ever need.”
“It can make clothing for me?”
OH! And I am going to start posting flash fiction on here that star my characters. It’ll give you a better idea of their personalities and how they interact with people, and the world around them. Let me know what you think- I want to make this the best work I can possibly do. Remember, please be constructive. Just saying, “YOU SUCK” won’t allow me to improve my work, and I’ll cry for like…three hours.