Memories can be a tricky thing, perhaps it was Fate that ordained that mine be closed from me. With every new day of adventure, with every fresh kill, arrow loosed, and dungeon conquered, more memories. To some memories are a recollection of past experiences, remembered when one wishes to recall a particularly emotional moment, or remember a previously learned lesson. Not me. My “memories” are seemingly windows into another life. My memories play out like stories, like a character from a book comes to life and plays out scenes for me, except this character is not a hero, and looks exactly like me.
Paki had wandered off again, presumingly to another sick house, as Paki is wont to do. He told us of a man, unmoving, too weak to function. Around his neck, an amulet. An amulet, blessed by the gods of Life and Death… we quested to return it to its rightful place, and to break the curse on a blasphemer.
3 trials, strength, wisdom and faith. We overcame them and were met with an altar room. A guardian of life, and a guardian of death waited for us. While we kept them at bay, Paki spied a ritual dagger on the pedestal. I say ritual dagger, because what transpired next HAD to be one. The dagger, plunged itself into the hand of this child, rended his hand in two, spilt his blood onto a mound of earth, then healed itself. We didn’t know it right then, but we had just witnessed the birth of a Cult leader.
We returned to town, with the Littlest Cult Leader breaking off to preach. While we negotiated with the now conscious Master of Goods. Julian was able to negotiate our services and a trade in order to fill the ore needs of the village. Mission accomplished, I felt a bit uneasy, as I feared we turned one debt into another. Those fears, however, were allayed when were told we were free to go about our business, the condition being that all things being equal, we weigh his job offers above others. These are acceptable terms.
My memory this time was a bit more vivid, I see a boy who looks like me, only much younger, firing at a training dummy. “In order to inflict the most damage possible, you must take care to aim at vulnerable places, this will inflict the most lasting damage and hopefully lure enemy healers out into the open where you may repeat this process. The young master from House Awesome will demonstrate. “ The young me, without hesitation, raises his bow, after a few sends of aiming, loses 3 arrows in succession. Three arrows, 3 strikes, one in the heart, one In the neck and one in the center of the forehead. “EXCELLENT!! Well done master Jerrick, your parents should be proud, you know, your father, too, was an archer of the Cricubel. The child, face expressionless, let’s out a low shout, “Thank you, sir!” “Tell me, Jerrick, do you know what your surname, Macht means?” Another low shout, “Sir, No, Sir!” After the other children practiced firing arrows at the other dummies, “Finding weak points in your enemies is an indispensable skill, as it expedites combat, and allows you the freedom to bolster other groups elsewhere. That’s the end of the lesson for today, tomorrow, we work with moving targets. “
As my younger self walked away from the drill area, he turned his head to marvel at his work, 3 perfectly placed shots, he’ll go back to the barracks, and no doubt practice some more. Poor training dummy… never stood a chance. It just sat there, drooping more than it had before, arrows in 3 places, my younger self was most definitely gifted, the others, just as droopy, arrows all over the place, red liquid spilling from the various holes, so that the children can acknowledge the point on the dummy that are vital spots. …Wait… no, that’s not right at all. The dummies in Crucibel were always made of straw… I remember that. This was a later lesson. I remember this… I REMEMBER THIS!! Oh gods… these weren’t dummies… These scene came to full view now, prisoners, traitors and other expendables, tied to poles, arrows lodged in them, bleeding everywhere. I remember the scene before, as I readied my aim… I wasn’t trying to aim… I was correcting my shot as the target squirmed.
I didn’t sleep well tonight… and I don’t know that I want to go back to sleep.