A/N: Originally published on April 4th, 2013 on A Purple Panda. – Alixa
THE DAGGER OF EXION
The soft light coming through the windows woke me early. I could smell in the air the scent of fresh bread and it made my stomach growl. I took my time, though, as I was lying in a comfortable bed for once, warm. I stayed under the covers, eyes closed, remembering the past few weeks. My memory went as far back as the Crimson Forest. I couldn’t remember anything before that day. It bothered me, though not as much as before. During my travelling, I came to live one day at the time, not thinking about tomorrow. Or yesterday. I still looked to find who I was by coming to Heilam, the Crystal City, though it wouldn’t be easy.
I made friends on my way, like Meriel, the innkeeper of The Silver Fish, and Marn from Joster. And Silva, my little wolf growing bigger every day. I had a few encounters with bandits and wild animals, but nothing I couldn’t handle with my new companion. I had been lucky.
We finally had reached Heilam only last afternoon. I delivered the package in my care first, and then the letter. My only mission left was to gather information about myself, though I did not know where to start. If only I knew my name, my true name. The city was bound to have archives of some sort listing births and deaths. Maybe I could’ve traced my family that way.
For the night, I was in the care of a friend. I knew I was safe here. I could spend as much time in the city as I needed, though I’d have to find my own place soon. I didn’t want to burden Kirieth with my presence for too long. That reminded me the young man wanted to speak with me, about Meriel’s letter. I hadn’t read it, so the content wasn’t known to me, but I had the feeling it was partly about me. I knew I could trust the mage, but how much could I tell him?
As Silva jumped off the bed, I got up and got dressed. I still had only a dirty cotton clothes and a light leather armor, but I planned on getting better gear in town, later today perhaps. I was hungry and I didn’t wait too long before heading downstairs for breakfast.
Kirieth was already sitting at the table, sipping on tea, when I entered the bright room. He smiled and invited me to join him, which I was glad to accept. There was a variety of fresh products, such as milk and butter, and fruits I didn’t recognize. As we both ate, we kept the conversation light, getting to know each other a little bit more. That’s how I learned how Kirieth, who seemed to be as old as his niece, did a spell that went wrong, getting him stuck in this appearance. He was actually older than he looked, but he would never age. One day, he would die, whether of age, sickness or, the gods forbid, by blood, but he would remain young. It had its advantages, I could imagine.
Once our plates were cleaned and the tea gone, we moved to more serious matters. It was time to talk about Miriel and the reason I was here, I guessed, but I let him take the lead of the conversation.
– Aevik, I don’t know how much you know about my niece, but she, as every woman in our family does, has a gift. She told me in her letter she sensed something extraordinary in you. She sent you to me in the hope I could help you, though I am not sure how I can do that yet.
Well, that was a surprise. Who knew the beautiful redhead had some special powers? I wondered what he meant by “sensed something” in me and it must’ve shown in my face since Kirieth tried to explain it to me.
– You see, she felt a certain disturbance in your aura. Everybody has a soul, and that soul projects an aura sensed by certain people. Miriel is one of them, and she said she’d never seen something like yours. You are troubled by something, aren’t you? I have gifts of my own and I might be able to help you. I need to know more about you first.
I wasn’t sure what to think. It seemed a little crazy, but what did I know of magic, of this world’s powers and possibilities? As far as I knew, it may be very common to be able to sense things and all. The mage was my only option at the moment, it wasn’t time to hesitate. So I spoke.
– I don’t know who I am. Aevik is a name Meriel gave me. It’s as she knew… knew that I couldn’t remember anything of my past. I woke up a few weeks ago in the Crimson Forest, with no idea of my name, who I was or where I was. I followed the Silver River to Beral and met your niece there. She was very welcoming and she didn’t ask many questions. She was just ready to help. I was hoping to find clues to my identity here.
– Why here? Why Heilam? he asked.
– The first time I heard the name, I felt like I knew the place. Of course, when I walked the streets, it was all strange to me…
Kirieth nodded silently. He frowned as he concentrated, probably thinking about what I just told him. Could he really help me find out who I was? Would it be that easy?
– I could do a search, he finally said, or look in your subconsciousness for traces of your past. I can’t guarantee it will work, sometimes strange things happen during searchings, but I think it’s our best chance at the moment. Until we know more.
The idea wasn’t too bad, though I didn’t know what he really meant by “searching”. I was ready to try though, if it could really help.
– How does it work?
– I would use magic to access your mind and from there, I would try to make my way through your lost memories. That is the most difficult part as the mind is never predictable and always different from one person to another.
I could understand that. My knowledge of magic was pretty much coming to nothing, but that made perfect sense.
– Do it, then.
I had nothing to lose, and so he did. He brought me to the room we were in yesterday, sitting more comfortably on a couch, in front of each other. He looked right into my eyes, as if he was trying to open a door to my soul, and then I felt it. I felt his mind in mine, reaching. And I let him in. It was the weirdest sensation ever, feeling someone else in your head, invading your privacy. I was really hoping he’d find something, a clue, anything, so I didn’t resist. And then it hit us both. Kirieth let out a cry and I screamed in pain. A powerful electric jolt had ejected the mage from my mind.
– What? he said, confused.
I was panting, trying to recover from the shock. What the hell was that? Was it normal? My head pounded still. I’d have a headache for the rest of the day.
– You have a powerful barrier, my friend.
I looked at him, puzzled. All those magical terms were starting to get on my nerves, but luckily, the man always explained to me what he meant.
– It’s a spell, a powerful one too, to protect your mind from invasions like these. You or someone else placed it there, I couldn’t go very far in your mind. I didn’t see much besides what you said. But let me see that dagger you found…
I showed him, wondering what that had to do with me. He must’ve seen it in my memories and decided it was important, though I didn’t think it would be.
– The Dagger of Exion. I was it in your mind, very clearly. A lot of replicas were made even if no one knows what it really looks like. I think you have the real blade, my friend. It is a dangerous weapon. Do you know what it is?
I shook my head. Of course I didn’t. I was practically new to this world; all its lore would be strange to me.
– The Dagger of Exion was made by the gods, when they lived on the earth among us, before we chased them away. It was infused with their immense powers, a gift to us. The Dagger can revive the dead. What it has to do with you, I have no idea, and that barrier cannot be broken by me. But your destiny is somehow linked to the blade and Exion, the lost city of the gods.
– I just found it on a thief! I protested.
This made no sense to me. What did the gods and their magic blade had to do with me? Who was I?
– He might’ve thought it was another replica, a pretty toy. I doubt he knew what he was dealing with. And the Dagger has a mysterious way to find their true owner, as all ancient magical weapons do.
– What should I do now? Can I find Exion?
– Oh, my friend! Exion disappeared when the gods left us. No trace of it was ever found. It is said it was in the middle of the ocean, far to the west. A beautiful city, more than Heilam, shining under the moon of a powerful but soothing light. It was also called by men the City of the Stars. So many ships were lost in the quest of the lost city, it’d be easier for you to find a needle in a haystack in a pitch black room.
Still, I wanted to find Exion and nothing was going to stop me. I had the feeling that if I was to find any answers, it would be there. I needed to know who I was and why I was here. I still had so many questions about the Dagger itself, but Kirieth said it was a mythical weapon; nothing we knew about it was sure. How to find the truth from the myth, in the many stories that were told?
The man said he would help as much as he could. I was free to stay at his place as long as I needed and to use his knowledge and books at will. Also, he would introduce me to people and place that might hold information that would be useful. Most of it were stories and legends, nothing that people haven’t been through before, but he said I might find something that have been overlooked. I had new eyes, a fresh mind. Maybe I could find the key to Exion.
To be continued.