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The Death Wraith: Awakening - Chapter 1: Believe

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R2D2NZ avatar R2D2NZ
Level 21 : Expert Dragon
Just before you read this, I would like to say a huge thanks to Jashezilla for writing this series.

He has kindly let me upload them for him due to not enough subscribers on his profile.

He would greatly love people to subscribe to him which you can do here.

Don't forget to diamond, fave, and subscribe, both to me and Jashezilla.

We will also be releasing skin packs at the end of each three chapters.

Without further ado, here is the first chapter of The Death Wraith: Awakening.

Chapter 1:Believe

Nico Peeters smelled Murder. Its scent was like a handful of autumn leaves crisped by frost and crushed in a small childo s hand.

Mother Garrick, an old Anuthian woman who raised him told him that this particular sense came from being born of a dying mother under a city street. But Mother Garrick made her living as a liar, and the why doesn'tmatter anyway. Her sister on the other hand was the opposite. Mother Johns was a Believer. A person who believed there was a God watching over us and helping us through our lives. Nico didn'tbelieve that though.

Nico had just walked into the Drunken Huntsman after a week of hard going in the Greymoor foothills. His muscles burned with fatigue and his mouth was as rough as sand. o One of the usual please.o He told the bartender. He sat down at an empty table and scanned across the faces of all the people there. It was the usual crowd, charcoal burners, miners, blacksmiths and a couple of other nobodies. Then he saw where the murder was coming from. A boy, maybe fifteen, had just walked in the door. The boy swept a desperate gaze around the room, trying to adjust his eyes to the sudden change of light, clearly searching for someone.

Then the boy saw Nico, alone at his table, and lurched towards him. The boy pulled out a rather large sword from a sheath on his back and quickened his pace. Nico took a large sip of his drink and sighed. It tasted worse than the last. o Youo re the murderer.o The boy said in a thick Duthian accent. o You must be mistakeno Nico replied o Its easily known for I wear his colours, Io m Nico Peeters and you are?...o o I am the man who is here to slaughter youo the boy said. Nico lifted his head slightly, so he was looking at the lad with one eye. o I wouldn'tsay o mano o He said after studying him. The boy held the sword clumsily. o Why are you here to o slaughter me?o o o You know whyo the boy replied. o Noo Nico said o If I knew why I never would have asked.o The boy started talking in a deep voice, it sounded like a he was speaking a different language. o Speak the kings tongue boy!o Nico said. o Death take the king!o the boy shouted o It not his forest!o o Well youo ll have to take that up with himo Nico said o He thinks it is and heo s the king.o o I plan to!o The boy said o right after I take it up with you!o

Nico sighed. He could see it on the young mano s face, no more talking. He stood quickly and slammed his mug against the side of the boyo s head. The boy screamed, dropped his weapon and tried to cover his bleeding head with his hands. The boy stared at him through a mask of pain. o You all see!o the boy croaked, o You are the witnesses! Heo ll murder me like he murdered my family!o o Boy just calm downo Nico snapped. He picked up the dropped sword and set it next to him on the table. o Bartender bring me another drink.o o You just busted one of my mugs!o the bartender shouted, face bright red with rage. o Bring it or Io ll bust something else!o Nico replied. Some of the men in the room laughed, and then the rest joined in.

Nico watched the boy while he waited for his drink. The boyo s fingers were trembling and he couldn'tlook up. His courage seemed to be leaking out of him with his blood. That was often the case, Nico found. Bleed a man a little and he grew less heroic.

o What happened to your family boy?o Nico asked. o As if you dono t know.o The boy replied. o I dono t take to threats, and I dono t take to being called a killer unless I did the killing.o Nico said. The boy looked up. o Now what happened in my forest is my job to know about, you see?o Nico continued o Because I care about the forest, and I care about the Kings justice, So tell me what happened!o Nico said with a shout. o I just...I...theyo re dead!o the boy said as suddenly burst out crying. Nico realized that fifteen was an overestimate. The lad was probably no more than twelve, just big for his age.

o Nico Peeters!o Nico looked up to see Lucy White, the bartendero s daughter. She was less than half his age, just nineteen with an oval face, green eyes and braided hair. She was strong willed and trouble wherever she went. Nico avoided her when he could. o Lucy...o o Dono t o Lucyo meo she said, cutting him off. o You hurt this poor boy, broke one of our mugs, and now your gonna just sit there while his head bleeds all over the table?o o Look...o Nico started to say, before he was cut off again. o I wono t hear a word of it, not from a o Noble forestero like you. First youo ll help me get this boy to a room so I can clean him up, Then youo ll put your royal mark on one of those royal notes to pay for a new mug, After that, you can have another drink, and not before.o She put her hands on her hips and glared at him. He suddenly felt a little weak in the knees. In all twenty-five years of being a Kingo s forester he had faced bears, lions and more outlaws than he could even count. But never had he learned how to survive the wrath of an angry woman. o He did come in here to kill meo Nico reminded her. o Well isn'tthat a strange thing?o she replied o Io ve been tempted myself a few times.o She pulled out a rag and handed it to the boy. o Whato s your name?o she asked. o Mykaho he mumbled. o Your ears just a bit cut Mykaho She said o Ito ll be okay.o Nico took a long breath and stood back up from his seat. o Come on boy; leto s get you cleaned up, so youo ll look nice when you come to kill me in my sleep.o Lucy looked at Nico, he just smiled back. Nico watched the boy walk away with Lucy as he waited for another drink.

o Heo s asleepo Lucy told Nico sometime later. o I dono t think heo s eaten or sleep for two or three days and his arm is so swollen and hot. Not like a wound I've ever seen before.o o Yeaho Nico said back o Me either. Maybe I ought to cut it off and take it to the apothecary in Dracborough to have a look at.o o You cano t fool me Nicoo Lucy said o You rougher than an oak on the outside, but inside your as soft as a grassy meadow.o o Dono t keep telling yourself that, Lucy. Did he say why he wants me dead?o o Same as he told youo she said o he thinks you killed his family.o o Why would he think that?o Nico asked. o He and his family set up camp down near Pinevale,o she continued. o Mykah said he saw the Kingo s colours on the men that attacked them.o o Noo Nico answered o I dono t know what he saw, but he never saw that. My men are not within thirty leagues of Pinevale.o o You sure?o Lucy questioned. o Very sureo Nico replied. o Then who killed them?o Lucy asked. o I dono t knowo Nico said o But I suppose Io ll be finding outo . Nico took another sip of his drink. o By Pinevale you say? Thato s about two days. Io ll be leaving at first light. See you!o Nico finished his drink with a long gulp, and rose from the table. o Waito Lucy said o Dono t you want to talk to the boy some more?o o What for?o Nico asked o He didno t know what happened; he probablydidn'teven see anybody. I bet the part about the Kingo s colours is a lie.o o Why would he lie?o Lucy asked. o Because folks like him live in terror of the Kingo s justice, with all the new laws being passed and new tax amounts, they probably think we are slowly letting them die. The fact is somebody killed the boyo s family, and he didn't see who, He reckoned it was me. And the rest he made up when he started feeling foolish.o o But somebody didkill them," Lucy said. "Yeah that much I believe" Nico said as he started walking off. "Hold on" Lucy said as she stopped him again "You're going all by yourself?" "Yeah" Nico replied "All my men are too far away, and I have to go while the trail is still warm. Good night." "Be careful" Lucy said "And make sure you don't get into any unnecessary trouble." "You know me," Nico said "Not getting into any unnecessary trouble is my middle name." Nico smiled as he walked up the stairs to his room.

Nico rose at dawn, when the light out his window was still mostly starborn. By the time he washed his face and gave himself a quick shave, it was sunrise. He strapped on his sword and secured his throwing axe into a loop on the same belt. He took his ivory bow from its case, checked the extra strings, counted his arrows, then re-casedthe bow, slipped on his boots and went downstairs.

o First light eh?o Lucy said as he passed through the common room. o Io m getting oldo Nico replied. o Well you can have some breakfast if youo re not leaving too quicklyo Lucy said. o That reminds meo Nico said o I need to buy some...o o I'vealready packed you with a weeko s worth of food, Josh is already loading it onto the horses for youo Lucy said as she smiled o Now sit and eat.o Lucy brought him a loaf of bread with a garlic sausage and fried apples. He ate every bit of it. When he was finished Lucy wasn'tin sight, but he could hear her knocking around in the kitchen. He left quietly, so as not to attract her attention. Once outside he made straight for the stables.

Josh, Lucyo s younger brother, was busy with Jeffrey and Arvak, Nicoo s two horses. Josh was tall, blonde and gangly. He was - what - fourteen? o Morning Siro Josh said as he saw Nico. o Io m not a knight, boyo Nico replied. o Yeah but youo re the closest we have to one here, except for Sir Camerono Josh said. o A knighto s a knighto Nico answered o Sir Cam is one Io m not, Are they ready to go?o o Jeffrey says yay, Arvak says nay, I think I ought to leave Arvak with meo Josh said as he patted Arvako s neck. Nico patted Jeffreyo s muzzle. o Looks like you packed them well, want to arrange my quiver and bow?o Nico asked. o Could I?o The boyo s eyes sparkled eagerly. o Sureo Nico said as he handed his weapon over. o Is it true youo ve killed six Draehins with this?o Josh asked. o Thereo s no such thing as Draehins boyo Nico answered. o But Joel said his uncle saw a Draehin himselfo Josh replied. o Probably just got drunk and looked at his own reflectiono Nico said. With that, he mounted up Jeffrey and started off. Arvak followed obediently, so did Josh. o Where do you think youo re going?o Nico asked Josh as he mounted up onto Arvak. o Oh just down by the lake, an Anuthian caravan came in last night and I wanted to go looking for more old horseshoes for my collectiono Josh replied. o Anuthian you say?o Nico said o Mind if I tag along for a while?o o Sureo Josh replied. o But, mark my words boy, youo d be better staying away from themo Nico said. o Weren'tyou raised by an Anuthian, Master Nico?o Josh asked. o Yeah, so I know what Io m talking abouto Nico answered with a smile.

The Anuthians had chosen a nice spot, a violet-embroidered meadow overlooking the river and embraced on all sides by thick-limbed wateroaks. About ten Anuthian men were still setting up the stalls. o Hello there!o One of the Anuthian men called out. He had no top on and was sweating hard under the heat. o Hello Joseph!o Nico replied. He had known Joseph ever since they were both children, and Joseph was the older. o Well thato s weird seeing you hereo Joseph said as he tilted his head o She said you would be though.o o Whoo s o sheo ?o Nico asked. o Mother Johns of course!o Joseph replied. o What!?!?o Nico said, sounding surprised o Sheo s still alive?!?!o o They rarely die, these Anuthian womeno Joseph said. Nico stopped a few feet from Joseph. The two men where about the same height, but after that the resemblance stopped. Nico had weight to go with his altitude, an oak to Josepho s willow. Like all Anuthians he had blue skin and a row of spines going down his back. Anuthians mostly run travelling shops and stalls, but others, like Joseph, did brute work for whoever could pay for it. o Whereo d you travel from?o Nico asked. o Southo Joseph replied. o Did you come through the forest?o Nico asked. o You know Anuthians aren'tallowed in the Kingo s foresto Joseph replied o Not without permission.o o Well Io m going to Pinevaleo Nico said o A boy came in last night saying his family war murdered down there, Io d be grateful if you've heard anything worth sharing.o o Sorry, I haveno t heard a thingo Joseph replied o But ill tell you this, if I had been in that forest, Io d be out of it by now, Io d be going far away from it.o o Speaking of thato Nico said o Where are you headed to next?o o Well, we will probably stay here for a few days and look for supplies, then maybe head to Eridell.o Joseph said. o Hmmo Nico said o Well I ought to get going then.o o Yeah, me tooo Joseph said o Stay out of trouble, you hear?I'vegot enough to worry about without having to track you down later.o Nico smirked and headed towards Mother Johnso Tent.

He entered the small tent and saw Mother Johns. She sat on a pile of cushions that where made of what appeared to be silk. Mother Johns had been old for as long as he could remember, and she still hadn't changed. o There you areo Mother Johns said o He told me that you would come here.o Nico had always found Believers a bit weird. I mean dono t get me wrong, Nico believed in God, But why would God care about him? o The Death Wraith awakeso she whispered. o Thato s Bullo Nico said, surprised at what he just heard. o I'vetraveled the Kingo s forest all my life. I'vebeen into the deepest, blackest part of it all and there is no Death Wraith, Thato s just more of your believer nonsense.o o I had a vision from Godo Mother Johns said o I saw a dark, shadowy forest with rotting corpses covering the earth. The trees were as black as night and covered in thorns. In the depths of the shadows, between the trees something shifted, as if something large was moving. It was the Death Wraith.o o Bullo Nico said o You made it up to scare me.o o Enough. I thought you were the one He told me about, the one to save all of mankind. But if youo re not, everything will be wiped from the face of the eartho she said o Leave me.o

Nico obeyed her. The Death Wraith, he thought, What bull. But in the shadows of the forest around him, he could swear he saw something moving.

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