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Love / Hate

by David J. Turner, posted on March 27th, 2001

Prologue - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4


          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 his head.
          "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 differently..



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