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Pen Your Pride

Shadows of the Future

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The winter was cold as ice. I drew my cloak closer around my shivering body as the sun set and the moon began to rise.  After a short while walking, I felt a familiar chill crawl down my spine. Almost by instinct, I knew it wasn’t from the cold. I couldn’t get the day’s events out of my head, the funeral, my anger towards Mr. Ruth, Alden, but on top of it all, my uncle was gone. The only man who ever offered me protection was dead.

As I finally reached my uncle’s house, I sat down in his favorite arm chair, staring into the flames. The house was cold but my thoughts were colder.  

“Everything is my fault!” I punched the wooden wall, leaving a nice fist sized hole in it. “Yes Lucas, punch that wall. That will definitely bring your uncle back, you Alpha Male, you.” I whirled around, trying to locate the man who had just spoken to me I had heard that voice before

“Who are you?” I whispered, looking in every corner. Every shadow looked like a potential enemy.

 “So you can finally hear me! Good. I thought hearing what that old Ruth geezer said would open you to your full potential.”  

“So it’s happened.” I thought. “I’ve finally went insane."

You’re not insane yet, Lucas. But you soon may be.”  The voice had to be somewhere in the room with me. I carefully looked under the bed.

Nothing but cobwebs, buddy. And believe me, I’m much more feral than a dust bunny.”

I’ll ignore it.” I decided. “This voice is just from grief. If I ignore it, it’ll surely go away.”

Yes, keep thinking that. I’m here to stay, Tressman.”

The house was no warmer than the desolation outside, so I dragged myself closer to the fire. There was a leftover hog’s shank in the kitchen, but I had no appetite. I just sat in the floor, staring at the flames. It was almost as if I could see images in the reds and oranges. I saw strong hunters and wolves running on plains of fire. In my delirium, I didn’t remember a crucial element of my surroundings. Not until I heard an almost inaudible creak upstairs did I realize: “I didn’t light this fire!”   I jumped from the floor and raced up the ornate staircase to my father’s solar. I entered to see the window open and the curtains flowing in the breeze. In the middle of the room, I saw a small wooden case with Lucas Tressman engraved on the top.

Open it.”

I obeyed.

Dear Lucas,

            You were the son I never had. You’ve been with me through every unwise venture I’ve made. Even now as I write I sense my end drawing near. When I am gone do not stay in this wretched city. Take what I have left for you and do what I and you father never had the courage to do. Be the light in the darkness; protect the weak, and know that I will always be with you

Your uncle,

Christopher Tressman.

            Your uncle. I read those two words over and over as tears ran down my face. I sniffled, and more tears came.

“Rise. A part of him lives in you, Lucas. Rise and become what you were meant to be.”  I stood. “He told me he will always be with me. If this is true he won’t see me like this!” With all the strength I had left , I opened the box.  Its contents were rather trivial at first, just simple things: a new shirt, new leggings, dark leather boots, etc, until I saw it. I pulled out a long thick fur cloak made of a fur I had never seen before. It looked heavy but was as light as a feather, and dark. It was black as the midnight sky. It contained many pockets on the inside and out, but they were all empty, save for one. It contained a small, unmarked silver coin. I slipped the coin in my pocket and returned the cloak to the box. The next item I pulled was a map with a journal taped to it. Before I could open the journal, a glimmer caught my eye; a flintlock pistol was nestled under the freshly thrown cloak.  It was long for a pistol, with strange runes carved on it. I’d only seen these when foreign hunters passed through; they had let me fire theirs. It truly was beautifully made, absolutely priceless, and my uncle had gotten it for me. A tear welled up in my eye while I put the gun back. I put it in one of the jacket’s pockets and finally, at the very bottom, I saw a blade sheathe. Unsheathing the blade, my eyes fall upon silver. Shiny silver, beautifully wrought. I looped it around me and secured the sheathe snugly around my waist. I went back to the armchair downstairs, and examined the blade in the light. My eyes widened in shock at what I saw.

I can teach you things, Tressman. I can tell you who killed your uncle, and how you can stop them”

“I’m ready to learn.” I said to the spirit, knowing he could hear. I looked down at the blade again, and whispered softly “Rest in peace, Uncle.” On the blade, plain as day, were two very familiar words “Venator tenebrarum”.

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