Silvery Pain | Teen Ink

Silvery Pain

May 5, 2016
By Shinigami BRONZE, Boulder, Colorado
Shinigami BRONZE, Boulder, Colorado
3 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Four months, there had been rumors from the villages to the south, but they were not believed until they were proven true. Jed would never forget that day; his mother silent, his village burning, his best friend killing. Stout, muscular raiders from the kingdom to the south, dirty blond braids slung over their shoulders like dead animals over a hunter’s, chains and swords clanking at their hips, they set fire to thatched roofs and encircled necks in rings of iron.
Jed and his friend Simon had been in his mother’s hut. She pressed his dead father’s necklace into his palm. “Run to the city, show this to the royal blacksmith, he will help you. Whatever happens, don’t let them find you.” Dragging Simon by the wrist, Jed ran for the trees. The silver halfmoon on the silver chain bit into his palm like the edge of a sword.
They crouched on spongy ground and fallen needles, in contrast with the hard packed earth of the burning village. Watching the slavers enter the hut he had called home all his life, his mother walking calmly, led like a dog, Jed could think of nothing but the pain. It would have been better if she had been kicking and screaming. The look of serenity on her face was agony, the worst thing he had seen in his 16 years.
For Simon it was worse. Jed’s best friend was forced to watch as his sister, Mira, tried to fight. Their broadswords thrust her dagger from her hands, their filthy, calloused hands shoved her into her hut. She stood protectively in front of her father, sister, and three of four brothers. Their mother was dead, Simon was hiding.
Jed had to restrain his friend while the slavers latched the door and thrust their torches into the straw roof. The look on Simon’s face broke his heart, but he remembered his mother’s words Even so far away, the scent of burning flesh assaulted their noses. Simon sobbed in his friend’s arms, straining toward the village. Jed held him back.
Simon glared at the raiders, one by one, each in turn. Each in turn, their braids caught fire. They dropped their weapons, dropped their chains. Faces twisted in anguish, the fell to the ground, rolled in the dirt. But solid earth does little against flames such as those. They burned.
Jed stared wide eyed at his friend, a balloon of wonder and horror swelling inside of him, tightening against his chest, threatening to pop. The previous Mage had died 16 years ago. The village had given up hope. They feared the cycle had been broken, the Mage had never been reborn, and magic had vanished from the world. Simon himself might never had known, for true magic stems from emotion, from untold agony, and in his sheltered life, he had never before known pain.
Simon, numbed and tired, collapsed in Jed’s arms, his rage expended. He had recovered only enough to crawl by the time the blond raiders had all burned or managed to quench the mysterious flames. Many of the survivors fled, exposed as cowards, like most oppressors when their façade of toughness has shattered. A quarter of their number remained, the strongest and the bravest. They had been humiliated and threatened. A Mage is not the only one who may know the power of anger.
They retrieved their broadswords and their iron shackles from the scorched earth. They shouted over one another. Some said that they should loot the village and leave with the wealth. Some claimed they should first find and kill the maker-of-fire. They were arguing children. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say they were brawling drunkards, for in the end it came to fists.
Jed heard those who elected to kill the Mage shout victorious. Simon still lay, his head in Jed’s lap, disoriented and disbelieving. Jed knew it was only a matter of time before they were found.
“Simon.” He shook his friend.
“Simon! We need to leave.” The Mage groaned.
“Quiet! We need to go, now!” But the damage had been done. One of the slavers had seen them, and ugly one with a scar stretching from his right eye to his large nose, and scar tissue marring his face and closing one eye. He shouted, the others looked, the others saw.
Leaning on Jed, arm around his neck, half stumbling and half being carried, Simon managed to move. But they had gone not 50 meters when a leather boot took Jed’s feet out from under him, and a metal blade pressed against his neck. He was the strong one, the one that wore the silver halfmoon they had been warned of. He was the one who seemed the Mage. So Simon was allowed to slowly crawl away. He hid, unwilling to leave his friend.
The slavers hauled Jed to his feet and pressed their sword to his wrist. Filthy arms held his head. He bit. He tasted blood and sweat. His captor yelped and dropped the arm, the sword slashing Jed’s wrist as it fell. Jed’s blood spilt upon the spongy soil.
Black dots appeared before his eyes. He blinked. He could not afford to die yet. He ripped the silver chain from his neck as strong arms seized him.
“Go, Simon! You heard what my mother said.” Simon caught the halfmoon, slippery with Jed’s blood. He stared at it in horror.
“But…” his voice was soft and harsh, his eyes full of betrayal.
“Go, fool!”
Jed felt his consciousness slipping. No regrets in his mind, he glared defiantly at these murderers that had caused his friend so much suffering. Jed himself was beyond pain.

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This article has 1 comment.

on May. 8 2016 at 6:29 pm
Shinigami BRONZE, Boulder, Colorado
3 articles 0 photos 2 comments
I was thinking of making this the prologue to something...