Love / Hate
by David J. Turner, posted on
March 27th, 2001
Chapter 1 -
Chapter 2 -
Chapter 3 -
It was a crisp, early morning with the sun hanging low in the
sky. Crimson rays of magnificent beauty radiated outward, reaching
across the gently rolling hills. The clouds were a multitude of
colors, fitting in well with the mid-summer warmth and the lush,
dew touched grass. It was merely a façade of beauty.
Lakros stood tall, his voluminous azure robes making him hard to
distinguish from the like colored sky. He shook his head, sending
his long, finely cut gray hair in disarray once more. He sighed
softly as he smoothed it out, never breaking a stride. A flock of
geese flew overhead, their squawking disturbing the otherwise silent
hour. Lakros watched them through eyes as blue as his robes.
He stepped over the last hill onto a road, tugging the rope that
he held. His mule, Buber, snorted pawing the earth. Lakros again
tugged at the rope, pulling the stubborn animal on. With a grunt,
Buber followed, the sack over his pack jingling slightly. The clip-clop
of Buber's hooves on the cobblestones drew the attention of the
few that were out at such an enchanted hour. The people, humans
mostly, tried to hide their sneers as he went by. Lakros almost
sighed in disgust.
Taking the left fork on the road, houses began to sprout from the
earth. Houses with thatched roves had a yard's worth of distance
between each other, and the smell of unwashed men was slightly appalling
to Lakros. Elves, his brethren, were much cleaner than this. He
did not complain though, nothing was perfect. The village, just
two days south of Tarant, was dubbed Iraoh. It seemed a perpetual
paradise; the soil was rich, the area was safe, a large, clear lake
offered many activities, and the climate was wonderful. The most
beautiful of mask often hide the most repulsive features.
He looked fitfully across the area where he heard gunshots. He couldn't
understand how people could ignore the age-old religion of magick,
taking up the blasphemy of this wretched steamworks. It was all
because of the bastard dwarf Hoaron. His lackeys had been tormenting
the magick users into fleeing for the past few months. Now, the
only ones left were Shoar and himself. It was disgusting.
He let out a breath of relief as he saw the thatched roof of his
house. He slipped in the door. Shoar, his brother, was over one
of his tomes of history, studying hard as always.
Lakros moved over to his bed, throwing his things off to the side,
tugging at his boots. He fell lazily back onto his bed, pulling
the thin sheet over himself. He ignored the sounds of gunfire, letting
the exhaustion overtake him. He had traveled hard from Tarant since
last night, and had not slept yet. He wanted to get home; he did
not like leaving Shoar alone. He was young and innocent, perfect
prey for Hoaron. But sleep was coming
"Did the trip go well, brother?" Lakros could have thumped
"Aye, I got the supplies. The wagon will be coming in three
days to take us to Tarant. The deed to the house is ours. Soon we
will be gone from here, in a place where your healing powers and
my knowledge are welcomed. More importantly, no Hoaron."
Shoar chuckles, peering over to his brother. They looked so much
the same, but Shoar's eyes showed innocence, Lakros's showed wisdom.
Shoar often wondered why his brother no longer held his innocence.
Perhaps it had something to do with the wisdom, he thought mirthlessly.
"Well, that is just as well. I am sure your headaches will
leave once we get away from here. You will see."
His perkiness was almost saddening. "I am sure they will Shoar.
Right now, I am also sure sleeping would."
Shoar chuckled again, lifting himself to his feet. "I get the
hint. I was prepared to go get a drink anyhow. Maybe I will go see
Tom at the windmill. He promised he'd let me see his journals."
Lakros grunted, waving him away. "Fine, fine. Just be careful
out there. And don't annoy Tom, he is an old man."
Shoar smiled as he opened the door. "Don't worry, he likes
having company." Lakros just grunted as the door closed.
Shoar walked along, whistling cheerfully. He paid no heed to the
sound of gunshots. Hoaron's gang was always firing them off. He
also paid no heed when they stopped. He smiled happily as he halted
before The Flaming Inn, the local area's tavern. He opened the door,
greeted by singing and a few of the tavern's more dedicated patrons.
He closed the door, perfectly content with how things were working
out. He knew things were going to get better, they always would.
Had he seen Hoaron turning the corner, loading a flintlock pistol
as he reached for the door handle, perhaps he would have thought