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When Dreams Become Reality Part: 3
As they crossed the rolling plains they noticed much of the same, dull hills passed that sometimes looked the same as the last and the sun made its progress across the clear skies slowly, making the journey humid and slow. They occasionally stopped as Arkesh looked at what he said were tracks left by the creatures of the blight. Ashan knew he would have missed the tracks completely if Arkesh had not pointed them out to him. When they stopped in a small clearing amongst some sturdy trees Arkesh pulled flint ant tinder from his pack and gathered nearby wood to start a fire. After they had eaten Arkesh threw him a wooden staff so he could teach Ashan some swordsmanship. There were so many forms for different purposes that Ashan thought his head would explode.
“Be ready,” Arkesh said, barely giving Ashan time to raise his staff in front of him.
The wooden clacks of their staves echoed throughout the eerily silent night. By the time Ashan lied down near the fire he was covered in welts from Arkesh’s stave and he hadn’t managed to even nick the other man. ‘Well I suppose that should be expected, it was my first time,’ he thought to himself.
“I will take first watch, sleep now villager,” Arkesh murmured, his voice startling Ashan. Ashan was too tired and sore to reply and slept easily. The villagers he had known for so many years came to him in his dreams, some begging him to come back to the village, some reliving their deaths over and over in his mind. Then a shade in its cloak as black as death appeared and pointed a single gnarled finger and he was filled with burning pain, he was dying.
Ashan jerked awake, the cool night breeze freezing the glistening sweat that clung to his body. The pain was gone and he fell back into his bedroll with a sigh of relief.
“Having nightmares villager?” Arkesh asked. Ashan nodded, noticing Arkesh was watching him.
“None who have survived the evil of the blight escape such dreams villager, although after experiencing enough times one can learn to block out those terrible dreams.”
“Will the blight be stopped eventually?” Ashan asked wearily.
“Ancient prophecies proclaim that as the blight was driven back to whatever foul place they came from by The Holy Knight thousands of years ago, that when the blight returned that the Holy Knight would rise from the dead to protect.” Arkesh explained a distant look in his eyes.
“Who was he Holy Knight?”
“The Holy Knight led every battle against the blight and every time they were victorious, he led his men to the Black Mountains that border us with the land of shadow, where the blight was first seen. When they undertook battle there many of the blight’s foul creatures were slain but endless waves of them continued to pour out the shadow and eventually The Holy Knight and his warriors were overwhelmed. His last words to his men were to tell them to retreat and spread word that the blight would end here and that he would always defend against it. And with that he charged into battle, the never ending ranks of the blight fell to his left and right as his sword blurred gracefully between his foes, and he disappeared into the realm of the shadow, leaving a trail of the shadowspawn dead or dying behind him. He was never seen again and neither were the shadowspawn, until now it would seem.” Ashan could tell that last pained Arkesh to say. And with that Arkesh offered to take his watch and he accepted, falling back into his bedroll and letting the darkness envelop him, dragging him into sleep. This time the dreams did not come again.