The Blade of Glass – Chapter 1
The buildings were in ruins. Most had barely any walls remaining while rubble and broken glass littered the ground. An elder woman walked down the once lively roads now barren of any life. Legend spoke of a power that could corrupt both dark and light. This was a legend handed down regarding the magic called Navian. One hundred years ago, magic was silent with dark and light being split. The Black Woods held the Darkterian Shard while the Lyterian Shard was in the world of light. However, one warlock hailing from the Black Woods sought after the corrupted power. This warlock knew that the power of Navian was hidden within a blade, one etched out of glass, called Illuminate.
The elder woman stopped at a pile of rocks and wood. With her grey eyes, she noticed the loose papers and broken binders of books scattered around the pile. She narrowed her eyes before waving her hand. A few of the large boulders moved revealing a black hole and narrow wooden stairs. Gripping against the cement wall, she cautiously stepped down the stairs into the dark, cold earth. The room opened to abandon bookshelves, some encased in cobwebs that would cause anyone’s skin to crawl. She slowly stepped over broken shelves, piles of books as she moved to the back of the room.
It was here in this abandoned library that a certain book was found. This elder woman has seen many things, partook in many rituals to prevent Navian from being released. However, when the power is needed, there were no clues left on what happened except for the information contained in a single book. She stopped at a bookcase that was leaning against the wall. Pushing a few of the books to the side, the elder woman reached into the shelf to pull out a well-hidden brown leather book that was lying within a pile of dust. This book has seen better days with unraveling edges, deep scratches upon the leather cover, and yellow worn-down pages.
The woman pulled it out, coughing from the dust storm she had caused, and carried the book to a small rickety table. She rubbed her hand across the weak wood, removing some of the dust, before sitting the book down and parting the hardcover to an old, frayed ribbon that sat within. Stories and tales were told that the sword was no longer in the location the warlock had found. Instead, the sword had been moved. While this book didn’t give the details on exactly what happened to the sword, the information it does contain is quite important. Situated on one page was a few paragraphs, a ritual of some sort. The other page had a drawing of two shards of crystals crossing at the top with a sword situated in the middle. Written below the sword was the word, Illuminate.
“Did you find the book?” The voice belonged to a young man. He appeared to be around the age of twenty-five with dirty blond hair and striking blue eyes. He slowly made his way towards the elder woman, stepping over some of the fallen bookshelves, grabbing upon the rough wood of the broken cases. His dark jeans and maroon button dress shirt were covered in dust and cobwebs as he stopped to lean against the cement walls that were crumbling in the corner.
Kira nodded her head.
“And you’re sure that the sword is no longer there?”
Kira pulled out the remaining chair and sat down. She reached into her pocket and pulled out some loose-leaf paper along with a black and white photo. “It hasn’t been for some time. It is now here.” Kira pointed to the black and white photo. The photo was of a young woman holding a notebook to her chest. She had shoulder-length hair that fell in waves. She was a beautiful woman. “What if I told you that it was actually given life?”
Stumbling back against one of the rickety bookshelves forcing it to fall over and spread dust into the air, Ashton groaned as a nauseating feeling began to crawl its way up to his throat. He brought his hand to his mouth and swallowed hard. He knew the woman in the photo. There was history between them, one that he regretted deeply.
“Please,” he whispered lowly while turning his head to the side and clenching his eyes shut. “Please, tell me you got it wrong.”
Kira sighed as she picked up the photo. “I wish I was.”
“Does he know,” asked Ashton. His voice held bite as he closed his eyes tightly, trying his hardest to deny what was in front of him.
“I don’t think so. She lives in the very city the Warlock rules. If he knew, he would have found her by now.”
Again, that same nauseating feeling began to crawl its way up into Ashton’s throat as he spoke in a harsh tone full of demand, “We must protect her… at all costs.” Ashton turned away and banged a clenched fist against the cement wall. After a few seconds, Ashton turned to glance over his shoulder, and hesitantly finished with hatred lacing the words, “Before he finds her.”
Kira shook her head. “Finding her will only draw attention. I want her to be safe, but I also don’t want him to know.” She sighed deeply as she sat back in the chair. “No, we will keep watch. Our distance will protect her the most.”
Ashton clenched his fist and slammed it against the brick building. His eyes narrowed as he glanced to the sky to the top tier and the Tower of the Warlock before rolling his eyes to the run-down, grey warehouse that had pounding music and bright lights escaping through the cracks in the doors and broken windows. Since being back in Tier City, Ashton followed Kira’s orders. He never approached the woman but always knew where she was.
Ashton pushed from the wall and followed the remaining stragglers inside the dark scene of the warehouse. People were mingling around different tables and bars located throughout the open floor plan. He walked beside the wall to a round booth with red velvet seats before sliding in and raising his hand for a waitress to stop. She was soon back with his drink. He sipped the amber liquid as his eyes roamed across the room before stopping upon one bar where a young woman around the age of twenty-three was attending customers. She was currently mixing a drink and laughing at one of the jokes a customer had told her. It was ironic that the one person that he regretted hurting the most was the exact person he had to protect.
Ashton rolled his drink within his hand before swallowing the majority of the contents in one sip. He met Kate a little over two years ago. Kira was struggling on finding the book, and they had some downtime before making a track outside of the city. He was doing the exact same thing when Kate caught his attention. Women always seemed to flock to Ashton, but something about Kate kept pulling her to him. Ashton laid his head back against the velvet materials as he remembered that specific night.
Kate was a sly one. She knew how to avoid certain conversations that were constantly thrown her direction. However, that specific night, she made an exception for him. Once her shift was over, he waited outside and walked her home, enjoying the small conversations that they had. It continued like this for over a year and half with him spending time with her on her breaks and even on evenings when she wasn’t working or studying. They would take time to be together either by stopping at her place for some warm cuddles and a glass of wine or dinner at some fancy restaurant. Ashton never told her anything about himself besides what he thought she should know. That was probably the downfall to the beginning of their relationship.
Almost a year into their relationship when things were starting to develop into something more, Kira was ready to leave the city with an unknown time of return. Of course, Kate wasn’t too happy about this. Ashton never told her the reason or what his job required, and those secrets were beginning to destroy her. She already explained to him that her previous ex-boyfriend kept secrets, and she found out that the one secret was him cheating on her.
On the night before he was leaving town, he stopped to see her. She didn’t have her heartfelt smile that always made him feel warm inside but a cold glare instead. He waited for her to disappear behind the bar for one of her breaks before approaching her. Kate didn’t allow Ashton to get one word out. She quickly slapped him across the face and disappeared into the crowd of the club.
Ashton shook his head, shaking his mind of the past. He finished his drink with one big swallow before sliding out of the booth and walking to the door. Before walking through, he glanced back at the young woman as she moved from one customer to another. All because of what him and Kira learned, it was taking every bit of strength that Ashton had to not march over to Kate, grab her arm, and haul her to someplace where she would be safe.
But he made a promise. He would protect Kate by keeping his distance. However, if something should happen, he wouldn’t hesitate for a second to step in. With one last look towards the woman, he stepped outside, placing his hands into his pockets.
Kate picked up the bottle and quickly filled the glass with ice and some of the liquor before sliding it down the bar to one of the customers. It was like this every night. People would file in, ask for a drink, and then wind down from a chaotic day, hoping to avoid the Warlock and anything dark that paraded through the city.
Kate remembered when she learned about the history of the city on why it was built on tiers unlike the other villages and cities throughout the world. It began almost a hundred years ago when the Warlord invaded. No one was sure why he was here. People even tried to even befriend him. When the creatures, that once disappeared with no reason started killing, he became enemy number one. However, there was no success in pushing him out. Instead, he raised the city, towering above it on the top level. Rumors were heard that he was looking for something. No one was sure of what and were afraid to learn exactly what that something might be.
Kate didn’t have the time or luxury to relax like most of the people. She was a young twenty-three-year-old woman within her second year of University. She was working almost every night at the club, trying to save money so she could eventually move out. Kate was currently living with her aunt. Her aunt is her mother’s sister. She has been living with her since she was ten years old. One day, her mother disappeared completely. Kate woke to find her room empty. Every time she tried to ask her aunt what happened, she would change the subject or say something pretty rude. With her aunt not liking her too much, Kate tried her hardest to ignore everything at home by focusing on her studies and keeping herself busy with work.
“I need a break,” called out Kate towards one of her co-workers. A young gentleman with an apron wrapped around walked over taking her place behind the bar. She removed her apron and walked out of the bar to lean against the cool bricks of the old building.
Ashton flipped his phone closed and tucked it into the pocket of his jacket. He was just across the street from the warehouse when he received a call asking what he was doing. He didn’t have the heart to explain that he was watching Kate once more. Ashton sighed as he glanced over at the old brick building. He narrowed his eyes and watched carefully as Kate walked outside and down the side alley to stop and rest against it.
She wasn’t alone, though. Ashton’s eyes widened with fear as he watched two huge men approach her, forcing her backwards into the alley. Because of Ashton’s training, he knew what or who those men were. Quickly, he pulled his dagger from the sheath that was hidden within his boot and ran across the street. Kate was laying upon the ground, wrapped in a small ball with her eyes closed, trembling with fear.
Ashton dashed towards a box and jumped from it. He plunged the dagger into the back of one of the brutes watching as it disappeared into a cloud of black ash. The other brute turned towards him. Ashton kicked, forcing the brute to trip and fall. Ashton quickly pulled his blade over his shoulder and straight into the chest of the brute. Once more, it disappeared into a cloud of dark ash.
Ashton slid the blade against his arm before placing it back into the sheath. He turned to look at Kate. She was still sitting upon the ground, her knees pulled to her chest. He dropped down to one knee and reached out.
“Don’t touch me,” she screamed before standing and running off. Ashton stood with his hands at his side and watched as Kate ran out of the alley and disappeared down the street. Keeping his distance was to protect her. Turns out, that was the wrong thing to do. Kira lost that battle. Creatures were now after her. It would only be only a matter of time before the Warlock himself was after her.