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By Purpose Bound by Nils Durban
SUMMARY: 1 of 5 entries in the October "vs." flash fiction competition.
Hamil, he of Green Lake, strode wilfully through the Broken Lands, his lengthening shadow playing haphazardly across the pitted mesas through which he sought his path. His hand rested lightly upon the haft of Reaper, his sword. Across his back he carried Kruthe, the ancient weapon with which he had been entrusted.
He was aware of the eyes that stared out at him from the numerous nooks and crannies within the rocks that he passed. They were Flinks, small inquisitive beasts that dwelt within their caves during daylight hours. Every so often he would come upon one in the open, hastily half buried in the dust, trembling, awaiting his heavy footfall that would end its meek existence. On each such occasion Hamil skirted the creature carefully. One Flink was never going to be a problem but the last thing he wanted to do was antagonise an entire nest of them. Dozens of them, with their tiny needle like teeth, could well be able to bring a single man to his knees. His determination was such that he would allow nothing to cause delay to his journey.
He recalled the events that had occurred in the marshes, prior to entering these lands. The Devil Fish that swarmed around his feet, darting in to nibble at his boots, quickly working themselves into a frenzy. He had swung Reaper wildly about as he had quickened his pace, splashing through the murky mire. In desperation he had reached over his shoulder for Kruthe. "No, Hamil," the weapon had sung out, "I'd vaporise everything in this ungodly place, including yourself! Use Reaper only here."
Thankfully he had soon gained the edge of the marshes and, having found firmer ground, had seated himself upon a rotting log in order to detach the more persistent fish from his boots, releasing their fangs with Reaper's point.
At dusk he would kindle the firerocks and, as he honed Reaper's blade with the whetstone, he would talk with Kruthe. He constantly phrased his questions differently, trying to unearth the secrets that he knew were buried within the ancient artefact. Unfortunately, Kruthe was never particularly forthcoming.
"How old are you Kruthe?"
"Older than you and yours Hamil, you know that."
"What do you know of this Drascar?"
"That he is our destiny. It is why you were chosen by the Council, Hamil."
"I wasn't chosen by them Kruthe, I was chosen by you. Why would you not respond to any other?"
"It felt right Hamil. What more can I say?"
"And your purpose Kruthe, tell me of your purpose."
"I have told you already Hamil. I will know it when it knows me."
Such endless riddles served to pass the time before sleep overcame him. Before the dreams returned. Always dreams of Luce, at their home on the lake. Before they had taken her from him.
With dawn's arrival there appeared a grey tower upon the horizon. At first he thought it an illusion, a trick of the light, as it appeared narrow at its base and bulbous at its summit. His destiny indeed lay before him now. Within dwelt Drascar, the thaumaturge whose pestilences had plagued the homelands for the last seven years.