The Bastard Son by John Kurt

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SUMMARY: Telik Al'Galad is the bastard son of a great hero. All attempts to make his own name in a forsaken world rife with war have fallen short. Now, he's traveling with a thief, desperate to find himself.

Lightning split the sky like a hand from the heavens reaching at the ground below. Telik Al'galad jerked as consecutive strikes lit up the night. He scanned the surrounding forest for shelter but found nothing. The tempest would prove troublesome if he and his companion didn't find a rocky outcropping soon, for only fools traveled in such weather.

"I'm tired of this," Telik shouted above the wind and glared at the man keeping pace with him.

Julian, a thief by trade, stood a hand taller than Telik. With a dark complexion, hazel eyes, and a square jaw, Julian was also the more handsome of the two.

"Ya knew what you were gettin' when we started."

"How do you expect me to make a name for myself if you cannot keep your hands out of everyone's pockets!"

Another bolt of lightning dropped from the clouds ahead and Telik thought he saw bursts of crimson extend above the trees.

"Ye're a decent minstrel," Julian said. "But ya know nothing o' the real world. If'n ya don't like the way I live me life, then stop traveling with me."

Telik scowled and gripped the rapier that hung from his belt. "But how in the name of Myn can I make a name for myself if you keep stealing from my audience? Tills Ferry was a good town!"

"Bah. Coin wasn't worth it, so we weren't meant to stay--" Another bolt tore the sky, silencing the rogue.

Telik wheeled on his companion as the wind blew his long blond hair about his face. Annoyed, he held up an arm to shield against the gust. "We never agreed that I'd draw a crowd just for you to steal from them!"

"Ye're not your father, Telik. Ya need to remember that ye're a bastard son. Mothered by a woman who sold herself to survive."

Rage coursed through Telik's veins. He drew out his rapier and the metal tip flashed in the dim light as it shot forward. Julian produced two daggers, blocked with the first while stabbing with the other. Metal met metal, producing a screech that reverberated eerily through the surrounding trees.

"Don't you ever speak about my mother again." More lightning tore from the storm clouds. Telik turned his gaze to see another and another, like a cacophony of angry energy from the Gods. The hairs on his neck stood and he retreated in fear.

Julian crouched low. "Blazes! That's not natural, m'friend."

"We should have a look."

Julian spun on him. "Ye're a sod if ya think I'm going into that! We should flee back to Tills Ferry."

"To what? The guardsmen looking to arrest us? To prison?" Telik shook his head. He continued forward and was pleased to see Julian fall in on his right flank.

Telik picked up his pace, his eyes darting left and right. The storm subsided for a brief moment. Although the wind still blew, the resulting silence felt strange, like a pressure on his ears. Then the sky lit up with more electrical fire. Each time it did, Telik's stomach tightened.

Over the wind, he suddenly heard the sounds of a battle. Common sense screamed at him to listen to Julian. But the bastard blood of his hero father required him to keep moving.

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