Two moons over, p.28
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       Two Moons Over, p.28

           Levi Shipley
 
again. The light from the center of the room cast a softness onto the door. He thought it somehow made the door look thicker, maybe even too thick. But he’d seen its breadth already and wasn’t willing to stay down there and watch an old man starve.

  Five

  The werewolf walked up to the slab. He was clad in a T-shirt that said in bold white letters on the front “Food is good.” On his legs were blue jeans that had been faded from use and not from factory chemicals. And on his back was a sword almost as big as he was. This was not how he imagined himself as a hero, but it would have to do. He touched the door with the tips of his fingers, trying to get a feel for it. He tried to get some grip on the door, but there were no places that offered any traction.

  He attempted to push it back up, but his hands slid as did his feet, but the door remained unmoved. Then he resorted to striking the door with his fists. He couldn’t hurt himself, but the door wouldn’t yield to the softness of his bones, though it might have if Cecil hadn’t been sending himself flying backwards. He was too light to attack it outright.

  Felix just sat on his crate. He was shuffling his hands together but otherwise seemed not to notice what the werewolf was doing. He was a man that accepted the fate given to him. He appeared resigned to dying down in this room with all its immortal weapons and armor that couldn’t offer an ounce of help to prolong his life.

  Cecil took his new sword from its sheath. The weight of it was ethereal, but he felt the weight of death on it even if gravity gave it little. He knew that Titus had not been loath to use this weapon. He had heard of the brutal triumphs of that ogre in slaying whomever the king wished. It had almost always been the life of the innocent that this blade would have taken. It had tasted blood before, and it would want more now that it was leaving this tomb. Perhaps the next blood would be from the corrupt instead. But for now, he thought, it would have to settle for stone.

  He didn’t have enough space to swing the buster properly, but he could beat the door with the pommel. The idea of using a sword as a battering ram bothered him. Cecil kept expecting to see the white orb and the claws break free and shatter from the shock or for the blade to wobble and crack from the impacts. Of course the sword did not break nor shatter or even scratch itself, and as he swung that base into the door, Cecil became more and more confident in using Bane Edge.

  Over and over he heard the sharp impact of solid on solid. The door had begun chipping, and Cecil continued to use greater and greater portions of his strength. Eventually all his might went into each blow, and the sound made Felix plug up his twisted ears with similarly twisted fingers. Cecil thought that if he were using this on a living opponent that their entire skeletons might shatter if he were to hit a toe.

  Then the door did something he did not expect. What Cecil expected was for a hole to be formed in the stone and to widen it until it was large enough for the two of them to fit through. What happened was a bit simpler. The door broke free of its surgical tightness and slid to the wall in the next room, scraping the ladder on its way by. It hit the back wall with enough force to crack the door in half.

  Felix looked at the empty doorway speechless. There was no way to get that door moved without using a bulldozer. He knew the rope would break the day he installed it. Even new, that rope was too weak for that great slab of granite. The idea of a human (referring to any of the races on Destursha that are sentient) being able to break it free with a blunt object was ridiculous. The only reason anyone had ever been able to lift the door with the rope was because of a system of pulleys that gave the person a substantial bit of leverage. But this young man had just broken it free with enough force to shatter the thing on a wall ten feet away. All of it was ludicrous.

  Six

  But if he was to live, Felix would make sure he’d live a little longer still. He followed behind Cecil back into the main room of the store and watched him place that circular cap back down with its drain disguise to adorn it. Once Cecil was done with that, Felix stopped him from going out of the isle to where onlookers might be see through the glass. The aemon peered around the shelf and saw no one was looking in from outside. He then proceeded to draw blinds over the windows, having forgotten to do so earlier. The closed sign would block the narrow view of the door’s window. When he was done he returned to Cecil and told him to wait.

  The aemon went into the back room behind the counter and returned a few minutes later with a long wooden box almost like a coffin. He laid it in front of Cecil and accepted no help in doing so. After this he opened it and said, “Put the sword and its sling in ‘ere. What you do with it after you’ve gone a way is up to you, and after what you just did I think it’d be unwise for anyone to tell ye otherwise.” He wiped some sweat from his brow and flicked the liquid at the floor as if it burned his hand. “I just don’t want it to get around that I give this to ye. Not until after yer success that is. Remember I’m just an old man, and most of these things can’t help me protect myself. So keep this hush hush, right?”

  Cecil nodded and unequipped his buster as he did so. He stole one more admiring glance at its intricate workings. Seeing the almost flaming white crescents hidden in blue and standing on deep black with base of purest white made Cecil realize the blade was not the only thing this sword had that was far from dull. Then he laid it in the box and strapped the lid on with brass buckles.

  The old man had a smile on his face, even though he closed his store early today. Now that Cecil had a moment, he reflected on just how deceiving aemon looks were. This old man had two crimson horns jutting from his temples that twisted like that of a ram’s. Felix’s complexion was dark and fiery, and a spade headed tail moved back and forth at his feet. If Cecil didn’t know better, he’d have said this man might be the devil. Of course Cecil did know better. He knew that of anyone in the land, a novian his size might also be what people portrayed the devil to look like.

  Cecil bayed the storekeeper thanks and again offered the contents of his wallet. He was dismissed and returned his wallet to his pocket. He grabbed onto a small handle on the side of the long crate and walked out the door with it, having a small struggle to fit both him and it out the door at once.

  Seven

  Now he was outside again and holding onto a briefcase fit for a giant. Fraushein was north of Hurlinge, so he decided to start walking in that direction. Public transit to and from the capitol was closed until after Execution Day, as it was every year in Almis. Cecil would need to walk there, which would prove to be far less of a struggle for him than it was for Partheus.

  He left the city limits behind him, walking along the traveled brick road. Unknown to Cecil at that time, he had already been on this road once upon a time. A tremendous rush of nostalgia flooded over him, and he was carried into a euphoria once again. The memories didn’t come flowing back yet, but his body remembered. For a moment Cecil thought he felt his heartbeat.

  When he reached a distance that he could no longer see the lights of the city, he opened the coffin his sword was in. No one would have noticed him wielding it even if he hadn’t had it concealed, but safety is first. Inside was the precious crystal armament he’d use to help free the innocent, and if evil stood in the way, shed some of its blood if he had to. The box yielded the sword after a little tug, as it had wedged its blade into the wood. The sling came out and Cecil strapped it onto his torso and holstered his new tool. He laid the crate on the side of the road for someone else that would find and want it by morning. He had been training himself to handle swords because he thought it would bring him discipline. And now he had a sword to put into real use. He hoped he would do well.

  Restoration

  One

  A little further on a desire to veer right into the Dark Forest came over him. Fraushein was westward of true north, and theoretically the forest would be faster. He heeded his intuition and walked off the path. He walked past an apple tree, but
otherwise nothing significant. He walked on, and his path was bright. The woods were known for their umbral qualities, but it seemed that the forest was guiding him onward. In a span of only a few feet was a golden light shining ahead. As Cecil walked toward it, the light seemed to keep moving away to match his efforts.

  It’s guiding me. It wants me to see something. He trusted this light and walked onward. The owls and other nocturnal creatures were silent. Nothing stirred, but everything watched. They watched Cecil, and he felt their eyes. And he felt something else. Pity? He wasn’t sure, but thought he might find out. And he kept walking, the feeling of his past swelling in his soul.

  Two

  It had been almost six hours since he entered the forest. And though it was the darkest of night in the Dark Forest, he saw his path well. An overwhelming feeling was eating away at his soul. He thought that if he didn’t see what the forest had to show him or remember the remaining bit of his lost memories soon, the sensation would drive him mad.

  But the forest didn’t seem to want Cecil going mad, and he caught the first glimpse of where the golden sigil rested. He saw stonework, and as he drew closer the works
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