10/07/2008

Preview: The Immortal

This is part of a story I've been writing *for the past 3 yrs*, this is a preview:

PROLOGUE

            He dreamt. In his dream, he was back in the time he had been born to. To a peaceful life, to a war. To the change of his life.

            He had been a warrior, fighting for the freedom of his people when the war came. A man in his prime, he struck down his enemies with a fierceness and violence born out of the need to protect and defend the life he was blessed with. His people had been simple farmers, herding cattle and their lives were peaceful. Until the soldiers of the west came to his home, slaughtered the men, raped the women, killed the helpless children. They destroyed all he had loved, his wife. They had left his daughter motherless. Fuelled by this rage, he had left his daughter in the care of his sister, and joined the makeshift army comprising of men from other villages that had been pillaged to fight this band of evil.

            So fight he did, slashing his sword, killing the murdering monsters as they had killed his family. When the battle was over, he was alone, with the stench of death surrounding him. There were others, wounded, struggling to rise from the battlefield. They had won. The band of evil had been defeated. He had defended his family, his home. He walked on, bleeding from a wound where an enemy had pierced his side. He was dizzy, spent, as he walked groggily across the battlefield and unknowingly into the forests none had ever ventured. Alone, he walked as more blood was lost, certain that he would die here, in this lush, green forest. He thought of Moira, his dear wife. Erin, his child.

            He finally stumbled upon a river, where the water was crystal clear and there were sounds of birds around him. He lay down on the soft grass, his body half-immersed in the cool water, closing his eyes as the pain slowly faded. He knew death was coming, as he could no longer feel the pain in his side. He felt himself drifting, and he could see his body, dried blood caked all over his skin, the wound in his side deep and still bleeding. He was going to the other realm; he would see his beloved wife. He thought of Erin, her sweet cherub face. His darling daughter. I’m sorry I wasn’t strong enough to come back to you, Erin. Then he felt a tugging in his heart, a rude jolt. He looked back down and he saw a cloaked figure bent over his body, touching his face.

            Come back, Malachi. Come back. You were meant for more. He tried to resist as the tugging grew, as he felt himself sucked back into his body. Then he was opening his eyes, looking into the face of an old man, his blue eyes staring lifelessly into those black, empty eyes. The old man touched his face again, a smile curving his lips. Sleep now, Malachi. Sleep. And sleep Malachi did.

             Brief awakenings. Smoke, fragrant scents filled his senses during those brief moments of consciousness. The old man walking around the room. Herbs. He remembered waking up, the old man helping him sit up and put a bowl with some liquid to his lips. He remembered the searing heat and heady flavor of the liquid. The flashing pain, pain of burning in his skin, his bones, his blood. He was thrashing around, moaning as the liquid worked some terrible magic on his body. The old man seated beside him, holding his hand through the pain, a smile on his lips.

            Yes, Malachi. There should be pain. You’re losing your human essence. The human flesh in you is changing. Magnificent, you will be. Yes, you will be magnificent.

            After the pain, he was so tired. So weary. Where am I? Who are you?

            Then a long cool sleep. Silence.


            When he came to, he could hear the sound of the river. The quiet soothing sound of it had him closing his eyes again. Then came the sound of the birds. The same birds he heard? Maybe. He opened his eyes again, stared the empty ceiling. Get up, Malachi. That voice. He sat up; his body feeling refreshed and healed. He touched a hand to the wound at his side. It was gone. No scar. He touched his face. The dried blood was no longer on his skin. He swung his legs over the side of the bed and took stock of his surroundings. Spartan furnishings, just a table and two chairs at one corner. There was a massive cabinet at one end of the room, filled with jars of herbs, powders, unknown matters. He was clad in a simple gray robe. He got up and walked towards the door.

            He had barely touched the door when it opened. The old man was there. He smiled.

            “Awake, are you?” there was a different cadence to his voice, one that told Malachi that this man was not of his land. He went stiff.

            “Yes. Yes, I am.” The old man nodded and walked inside. Malachi turned, uncertain what to say to this man. The old man sat down on one of the tables and gestured Malachi to join him. He complied.

            “Not sure of what to say to me, Malachi?”

            “Yes.”

            “Perhaps I should introduce myself. I’m Bacchus. I’m a man of power, of magic. The last of the First Tribe.” Malachi kept silent. The First Tribe was one of the oldest clans that roamed the land. Until they were wiped out by famine and war. This man was certainly very old, the oldest creature he has ever seen.

            “How do you know who I am? What happened to me?” Bacchus chuckled.

            “So many questions running in your head. Well, I have the sight. You were meant to come here, Malachi. In other words, I had been waiting for you. As for what happened, you were near death when I found you in the forest. I brought you back.” Malachi flexed his fingers.

            “I mean, what did you do to me? I don’t feel like myself.” Bacchus’ face turned wearier.

            “I saved your life. Changed it, certainly.” He sighed.

            “Does your body ache? Hurt?”

            “No. But it feels renewed. Different.”

            “So it should. You’re not human anymore, Malachi. You’ll no longer feel the fingers of death, the touch of illness. Your strength will be more than any mortal, your speed dizzying.” Panic filled him so quickly, Malachi clenched his fists.

            “What have you done to me?”

            “Only to save you, son. Only to make you magnificent.”

            “What have you done to me?” Malachi whispered.

            “Immortal. You’re immortal. I made you magnificent.” Malachi could only keep silent. He was not human. It is true; his senses have heightened. He could feel something coursing through his veins, pumping through his body, changing him.

            “Immortal?” Bacchus smiled.

            “Yes. Even now, my potion is working on you, changing you, perfecting you. You’re a man in his prime, Malachi. I only sought to preserve that, to save you from certain death. I made you powerful. Only you deserve it, child.”

            “Are you immortal too?” Bacchus shook his head.

            “I was too old to take the potion when I made it. Too old to enjoy the gifts of the potion. But you, Malachi, you will enjoy the gifts I have given you.”

            But I don’t know if I want this gift.

            Another voice, female, soft. You do.


So that's how the story begins. I'm not sure what will happen next, I do have a rough idea but it needs fine-tuning. Any advice is welcome! 

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