Legends (Page 2)

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It was Friday, two days after the clouds had arrived. The dark, threatening thunderheads still swirled overhead, never drifting away. More ancient omens followed the evil that had invaded the campus...

A flock of ravens stood, watching, atop the dorms, deathly silent but for the constant rustle of their wings.

A pack of wild dogs, lean and hungry, were glimpsed roaming around campus, their eerie howls echoing through the dark, moonless nights.

An owl moved in, it's haunting cries booming over the fields.

Toclulluth knew better than to place his trust in an omen, but as with all ancient tales, there was a note of truth in the appearance of the animals; if nothing more, the dark Hunter summoned them out of pride, or to frighten Toc. He could almost smell the bitter hatred of the Hunter. Tensions grew throughout the campus; some students and teachers could tell something was wrong. Toc noticed that the lower level Hunter, as well as the two Seekers, was nowhere to be found.

There was something else, though... something that weighed on Toc's spirit heavily. This was no little skirmish - a High Hunter never took a battle lightly.

There would be no quarter given.

Once before, the Ancients had clashed; the Wanderers, and the Hunters. Even the Seekers were present, lurking in the background. It was terrible to behold; the Hunters wore the customary battle dress, covering themselves with twisting patterns painted with woad (a blue dye); the Wanderers wore the simple clothes of the ancient bards. Day and night they fought, sword to sword, mind to mind. The elements were nearly torn apart; lightning flashing, revealing the bloody scene. Sometimes the Hunters seemed to be on the verge of triumph, but the Wanderers held strong. Every day both sides gained new numbers, fresh for battle. Towards the end, a High Hunter waded into the fray, sending hundreds of animals towards the Wanderers. Blood thirsty and power mad, the High Hunter killed Wanderer and Hunter, neither knowing nor caring for which side they fought. Both sides faced heavy losses. One loss, however, ended the war - a Seeker moved too close to the battle, and in his frenzy, the dark Hunter killed him. The Seekers did not care what the Wanderers and the Hunters did, as long as they were not involved; but kill even one of them, and you brought the wrath of all onto your head. The entire Hunter camp was decimated by the attack of not one or two High Seekers, but of twenty. Within only minutes of the first warning, all but a handful of men were dead.

The Hunters never forgot that battle; it was only a short while before the remaining Hunters pledged a truce with the Seekers. The Wanderers, however, became ever more hated. Though it was the Hunters that had started the war, and the Hunters that had killed the Seeker, never again were the Seekers at peace with the Wanderers.

Toc pulled his cardigan closer to his face, blocking the cold, wet air. It was a good thing it was Friday; studying was a luxury he had no time for now. As soon as his last class let out, he dropped off his bag in his room and headed for shelter. It was not a physical shelter; in fact, the place he was headed was more open to the elements than most places on campus. It was an old footpath, little used now. He would go there to pray, and this was definitely a time to pray. As he walked, he first thanked God for the wonders that never ceased to amaze him. Even in the dark clouds and the gray landscape, beauty was plentiful. For a moment, Toc stopped to slosh through the soggy knee-high grass, then resumed praying - this time for mercy. "Lord, You know what is happening here. I pray that Your Will be done, but if it Your Will, help me to defend this campus. God, I ask that You keep Your hand of protection over us..." Toclulluth trudged onward for an hour and a half, praying for the campus. When he could think of nothing else to say, he walked in silence, just listening. I will be true to you, if you stay true to Me. It is My Will that this campus will stand.

The Hunters were not strangers to prayer - many of their dark incantations demanded it. No, prayer was not strange. It was the fact that the Wanderers prayed, not for power, but for peace. Not for war, but for wisdom. Who would ask a god for something that, in itself, was useless?

A dark figure watched the young man in hatred. Was he so stupid that he did not know the danger he was in? Finally, the shadow-like form moved towards him.

I know who you are. Toc saw the shape stop in surprise.

You do not know me. You know less about me than that crutch you call a god. You may meet him when I send you on your way to Gwlad Yr Haf, weakling.

Toc smiled. The Otherworld? I have always heard it was an honor to see the Land of the Dead. The figure flung out a hand, palm straight out. Toc tensed, then leapt back as the ground in front of him shimmered. He was not fast enough, though - his foot slipped, and he plunged into the earth-turned-water. He struggled as the shadow sneered, What is your god, that he would let you fall? With a flick of the wrist, the ground solidified again, trapping Toc. The figure spun on its heel, it's cloak flapping behind it, and stepped into the growing darkness.

For a moment, Toclulluth struggled, but soon realized that no physical strength could free him. Of course, he could just simply turn the ground to water again and step out; he could also use a lower spell and blast the earth into dust. It would show his hand, though, and Toc wanted this Hunter to know as little as possible about him. Instead, he used a very high level spell - one that was usually mistaken for a very low level. He repelled the rocks, at the same time jumping out of the shallow hole. Unless someone was watching very closely, it would appear that he used brute strength and a short levitation to escape. The test - for Toc was sure that was what it was - proved something more, though. The shadow did not know Toc was a High Wanderer; in fact, he may even think that he was a low order Ovate, so low that he was not even worth listing. Now, this dark person was slightly confused, not as confident as before. Toc could use that to his advantage...

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