Sharman - The New Beginning
"There is a saying in Nied. Everyone has a purpose in life whether it is big or small, but it is better to start off small as you will have more purpose in life and you will enjoy life to the fullest. At times the saying came true for some but for others this is not how things are."
Kerrin always believed herself to be a daughter of a theif but when she breaks into the Sharman's guild, her true identity is revealed and a new life is unravelled.
Sharman - The New Beginning#1
: Kerrin's Capture
Sharman - The New Beginning#2
: A New Life
Sharman - The New Beginning#3
: Going to The Hajj
Sharman - The New Beginning#4
: The Hajj Underground
Sharman - The New Beginning#5
: The Sharman Guild
Sharman - The New Beginning#6
: The High Sharman
Sharman - The New Beginning#7
: A Midnight Stroll
Sharman - The New Beginning#8
: Jealousy and Death
Sharman - The New Beginning#9
: New Acquaintances
Sharman - The New Beginning#10
: The Dagda
Sharman - The New Beginning#11
: The Darkness in the Light
Sharman - The New Beginning#12
: A Families Sin
CHAPTER ONE - KERRIN'S CAPTURE
There is a saying in Nied. Everyone has a purpose in life whether it is big or small, but it is better to start off small as you will have more purpose in life and you will enjoy life to the fullest. At times the saying came true for some but for others, well I rather not go there.
Kerrin stood at the marina waiting for her father to return from Jera. As she stood there waiting and watching all the merchant ships coming in and out she thought to herself, why do they always have the easy life? Then it struck her like a lightening bolt, all her life she had dreamt of escaping the dreadful life of poverty and be able for once to live like royalty.
But since she was born, she had lived in the darkest and poorest parts of Nied's capital city Isa, following in her father's footsteps as a thief. This only happened because her mother died whilst giving birth to her, her father did not know what to do with her. So he decided that when she was old enough he would train her in the way of an artful thief and assassin in the most notorious gang in Nied. The Hajj. Since her mothers death she was raised by every crook in the Hajj gang. Her father was known as Othel because of his craftiness and ability to get into any building he wished to enter but there was only one area of the city he had not entered in the duration of his lifetime and was the Sharman's Guild.
"Good to have you back father, did you get what Sigel wanted?"
"Yes and it was a bit of a bastard to get as well" he lifted his shirt up to reveal a large gash going across his back.
"By the name of Thurisaz, how in Nied did that happen?"
"Well, I was climbing out of the Jeran Kings' Palace after nicking this beauty of a royal necklace and the palace guard caught my back as I jumped off the wall, bloody twats, of course I legged it too the marina as quick as I could too catch the boat back here to Nied. This bloody necklace must have a high price on it, seen as Sigel wants it."
"I wouldn't know, Sigel hasn't told me anything about it. I have to be off; you know what day it is!"
"Ah yes, its Daeg today isn't it. You had better hurry up and get to the main street before the Sharman get there."
"I will be there on time don't you worry about that, I have a few other jobs whilst the others are confusing the Sharman at the Daeg."
"Just you be careful, I don't want another catastrophe like last year, okay. Before you go take this." Kerrin caught the sword in mid-air and glanced at it for a moment.
"It was your mother's sword, take care of it my daughter, you look more and more like her everyday. Good luck and may Thurisaz be with you."
"Thank you and farewell father." Saying her farewell to her father had never felt like this before, it felt as though it is going to be the final time she would she him but she knew that the mission she was about to undertake would probably be her last.
As she reached the main street, she looked around to see if everything was ready for the Sharman's distraction. Everyone was in place ready so Kerrin could make the dash to the Sharman Guild and from the distance a cry could be heard, "Hy Sharman approaching!" This was Kerrin's moment as she prepared to run a sudden rush of nervousness came over her, she had heard many stories of people entering the Guild but never returning. Some say that they themselves became Sharman and some say they were thrown into King Larem's dungeons, either way they were doomed, if they became Sharman they were classed as traitors by the lower classes and if they were thrown into King Larem's dungeon they would be starved. She paused and waited for the Sharman to walk into the trap, her heart raced as they came closer and closer to her and the trap, then suddenly a voice from above her shouted "Now!" A shower of red powder came raining down and she ran too the Guilds wall and climbed over it landing in a thorn bush. Whilst picking out the thorns from her clothing, she heard cries of rage and curses coming from the Sharman and laughed at them because of their foolishness, and the fact they were outwitted by The Hajj.
Kerrin had never imagined the Guild to be such a big area, the trees rustled in the wind as she crept though the forest, hiding behind the trees she was careful not to tread on any twigs that maybe on the ground. As she neared the college building, she saw a globe of light floating only a few paces from where she was standing behind a tree. Kerrin watched the globe with intense eyes wondering what could be making the globe, as the globe began to come nearer to her she began to recite the thieves code under her breath to stop herself from running.
- A thief must be proud, the shadows are a thief’s friend, a thief must be strong, brave and dexitile.
As her nerves began to return to normal she felt a cold breath go down her neck and the globe disappeared. She slowly turned and there standing behind her was a Sharman, his eyes glared into hers and she slowly backed away watching the Sharman's every movement but he just stood there watching her with his cold dark eyes, she moved her hand to grip her sword under her cloak. Still watching her, the Sharman spoke in a deep amused voice, "I wouldn't do that if I were you" and he began to walk slowly towards her. She drew her sword and pointed it towards the Sharman "Don't yer come any closer to me or I might have ter cut that pretty face of yours"
"I'd like to see that thief" answered the Sharman.
"I have a name yer know"
"And what might your name be then thief?"
"My name is Kerrin; Family of Tir and what might yours be Sharman? Or aren't yer gonna tell me?"
"Family of Tir, eh, I knew someone in the Family of Tir and would very like much to see her again, my name is Sharman Kenaz"
"You know someone in my family well ain't that a surprise, everyone knows my family Sharman what's yer name and personally I don't think you will be seeing any of my family if I have something to do with it." Said Kerrin sarcastically towards Sharman Kenaz.
"Yes I do know a woman in the family of Tir and her name is Jenna and she married a once honourable man called Othel." Sharman Kenaz began slowly to draw his sword from its sheath.
"Don't you ever mention my parent’s names, especially my mothers; you have no right to mention her name!" Roared Kerrin as she went to strike Sharman Kenaz, a sound of clashing swords sounded throughout the forest.
"I have every right to mention her name in front of you, seen as she is my sister and I haven't seen her for sixteen years"
The shock of what Sharman Kenaz said to her caused her to stagger back to a tree and slump to the ground. "I don't believe you, your lying too me, everyone knows Sharman can read people's minds." Said Kerrin quietly.
"I don't care, if you don't believe me or not, I just want to know how my sister is! Plus Sharman can't read a mind unless the person is willing for it to be read or it is crying out aloud."
"She is dead; she passed away when she gave birth to me sixteen years ago." Said Kerrin and she heard in the distance another voice calling for Sharman Kenaz. "Sharman Kenaz!?"
- I am by the old fountain Sharman Willin and guess who and what I have found, could you possibly get the High Sharman to come because we will need a judge for a suitable punishment.
- I do not know Sharman Kenaz but I am sure you are going to tell me anyway.
- I have caught my sister's daughter breaking into the guild and have heard some very disturbing news about her; she passed away whilst giving birth to her daughter.
- I am sorry for your loss Sharman Kenaz, I will seek out the High Sharman, wait a minute he has just appeared behind me, and we are on our way.
"I am sorry to hear that Kerrin, it must have been hard growing up without a mother to care for you" answered Sharman Kenaz.
"It wasn't that hard really, I was raised by the Hajj thieves and taught how to steal and assassinate people since I was five" replied Kerrin as she continued to watch the Sharman.
Sharman Kenaz sat down by a tree near Kerrin wondering what was going through her mind, it must be devastating to find out that you are related to a Sharman after so many years of hate and distrust, a life full of fear and danger that she was raised in flashed before his eyes not realizing what he just saw, he looked at her. Her deep green eyes full of mysteriousness and hate felt as though she was with him throughout his life, whilst her pale skin looked as smooth as a rose petal to the touch and the brownness of her hair glistened in the sunlight. She looks just like her mother he thought to himself. Still admiring her, he didn't realize that the High Sharman and Sharman Willin were standing behind him until look of shock struck Kerrin's face as she jumped up and ran towards the wall.
Kerrin ran towards the wall and felt as though she was running on air and wasn't getting anywhere, she looked down to the ground and she was levitating. Concentrating on how she could be levitating as she didn't have any Sharman powers. Then a sudden rush of air as she flew to a tree hit her lungs and pinned her tight against a tree. Kerrin struggled to get free but it was no use as it was magic that pinned her to the tree.
A sense of hopelessness came over her as the three Sharman advanced towards her.
"What do you want with me?" cried Kerrin.
"You broke into the guild, you must be punished and by law thief you should be sent to the palace dungeons." Said a Sharman as he emerged from the shadows.
"Well send me to the palace dungeons I'm not bothered as I have been there before."
"But before the High Sharman decides your punishment, Lord Kenaz has informed me that you are his sister's daughter and therefore you will be tested for Sharman potential, and from what I have read from your mind your people would class you as a traitor what a fitting end to a thief."
"I thought Sharman couldn't read a mind unless the person is willing and you wouldn't dare turn me into a Sharman even if I do have a high potency of Sharman magic within me."
"Why not? If you do have high Sharman potential you will be forced to join the guild and your powers will be released" Said Sharman Willin in a commanding tone.
"And I personally will take your guardianship and make your life a living hell if you resist or retaliate at anything within the guild including your tutors." said the Sharman in a sly voice.
Kerrin stared at the Sharman's face knowing she had seen it somewhere before but she couldn't remember where to.
"I think we should test her now, don't you Sharman Kenaz and who is going to test her?" said Sharman Willin with an ungrateful smile.
"Yes we should Sharman Willin and I will test her for her potency, Sharman Kenaz will you keep her restrained" said the High Sharman.
"Yes my Lord I shall" he said to the High Sharman but aside to Kerrin he whispered "Do not worry about the testing it does not hurt, just don't resist" as he backed away keeping the restraints on her tight he gave a reassuring smile but Kerrin did not trust Sharman at all. She had no reason to trust them but she was in no position to complain as she was their prisoner and totally helpless. Sharman Legaz came towards her and gently placed two of his cold fingers upon her forehead and closed his eyes. She felt a presence in the back of her mind protruding in and out, then a sudden spout of energy went running through her veins and felt as though she was totally refreshed from her old life and was about to begin a new.
- Sharman Kenaz, I wish to speak with you.
- Yes High Sharman, what is it?
- You niece has a very strong Sharman powers stored within her almost as strong as mine but they have already been released by someone.
- That can't be, Sharman magic can only be released by a Sharman.
- That is true Sharman Kenaz but I think your niece is a natural Sharman and natural Sharman are very powerful indeed, we will definitely have to keep her at the guild to see if the theories about natural Sharman are true. I think that it would be better if you took on her guardianship rather than me.
- Very well my Lord.
"Kerrin you are going to join us at the guild, seen as it looks like your powers have developed naturally over the years and you look as though you have complete control of them but how I do not know." said Sharman Legaz in a commanding voice.
"You heard what I said and you uncle Sharman Kenaz will be your guardian for now. Also your arms will remain bonded until you reach your uncle's apartment. Now move."
Hanging her head between her knees, she knew she had been defeated and she had lost the war. The shame of what they had told her brought tears to her eyes as the thought of never seeing her father again stuck her heart. She was now a tool of the Sharman, an apprentice; one word ridiculed her mind as she stood up and began to follow the Sharman 'traitor'. Was she a traitor though? Why did this happen to her? And what will her father think of what has become of her? The very thought and notion of what her father's expression will be like if she told him that she was a Sharman. Then she told herself 'I must not think of these things'. Noticing what heartache Kerrin was in her uncle went to her and whispered "We will visit your father tomorrow and I shall tell him, so cheer up." After hearing this Kerrin smiled a weak smile.
Kerrin began to feel tired as they neared her uncle's apartment and wished that she was lying down on a soft cheter mattress that she had at home. Kenaz opened the door to his apartment and said his farewells, whilst Kerrin walked in and slumped down in a chair to tired to move. "Well this is my home and yours for the next five years. The apprentices room is through that door there if you wish to go to bed." Said Kenaz as he walked to the table. He turned around for Kerrin's response and saw her there sound asleep and he thought to himself, 'my sister maybe dead but at least I have someone to remind me of her' and gently shook Kerrin to wake her up and send her to bed. Once in her bed Kerrin fell into a deep sleep where nobody could harm her.
Meanwhile in the city Othel was in his room when Sigel came busting in with news that Othel had been dreading all his life. "Kerrin's been captured Othel and she isn't in the palace dungeon" said Sigel out of breath.
"That could only leave one possibility she has been found by her uncle" Othel said to himself.
"Her uncle? What's 'er uncle got to do with anything?" Sigel asked.
"Yes her uncle. My dear wife's brother, Thurisaz bless her soul, is a Sharman. When Kerrin was young she was tested for Sharman potential by her Uncle Kenaz, this was Jenna's last wish before she died so I had to obey it but I did not tell Kenaz that his sister was dead. As Kenaz tested Kerrin something happened and myself and Kenaz felt the effects of it as well, Kerrin's Sharman powers released themselves naturally which is very rare, so I took her and ran, and that was the last time I saw Kenaz." Othel shook his head and placed his hand upon the fire place.
"Would you like me to send out a search and rescue Othel?"
"No, Kerrin will return tomorrow in the early hours of the morning I know it."
CHAPTER TWO - A NEW LIFE
"Wake up Kerrin" said Lord Kenaz gently. Kerrin opened her eyes and stretched in the morning sunlight. The air within the guild was fresh from the cities pollution and was a healthy surrounding for a growing child. Kerrin raised out of her bed and walked to the window, a gentle breeze swept across her face and the fresh rays of the sun glistened upon her face as she looked upon the guilds ground, 'my new home' she thought to herself as she stepped down from the window. Kerrin unlatched her door and entered into the living quarters, Kenaz turned around expecting Kerrin to be dressed in her new clothes "By holy Thurisaz get back in your room and get dressed!" said Sharman Kenaz in a shocked voice.
"Get dressed? What am I to wear? There is no clothing in my room except these and there is no way I am wearing an apprentices uniform that is black!" roared Kerrin.
"Black is an honoured apprentices colour and it means that the High Sharman will be watching and training you."
"The footwear isn't all that fantastic either and where is my mother’s sword?"
"So it was hers then. I gave her this sword, look after it well my niece."
"I certainly will as it is the only thing I have of hers." Kerrin shouted from her room, as she emerged from her room dressed in her new uniform Kerrin asked "Why is my clothing not the same as the other apprentices?"
"The reason yours is different is because you are more powerful than the average apprentice, plus you are to be trained by the best tutors in the guild by the orders of the High Sharman. By the way you will be addressed by people in the street and in important places such as the guild, as Apprentice Kerrin just to warn you." A sudden knock at the door and in entered Sharman Kenaz's servant Tucker, "My Lord and Lady, I have brought you some breakfast before you leave."
"Thank you Tucker, could you please leave it on the table." Said Sharman Kenaz.
"M'Lord I shall" said Tucker bowing.
"Oh and Tucker could you possibly get me two horses?" asked Sharman Kenaz.
"Are we going to see my father this morning Uncle?" intervened Kerrin.
"Yes, why Kerrin?" asked Kenaz confused at this intervention from his niece.
"Tucker, that is your name right?" asked Kerrin.
"Yes, m'lady" answered Tucker.
"Ignore what my uncle has just asked you to do and get two cloaks instead and make sure one is long enough to hide my uniform and the other is long enough to hide Sharman Kenaz's robes, please?" asked Kerrin as she looked at Tucker and his faced seemed to be in awe at her order.
"Certainly m'lady" he said speechlessly and exited the room.
She turned from Sharman Kenaz and began looking at the food that looked as if it had been prepared carefully with a hopeful heart, but it wasn't only the sight of good food that drew her to the table, it was the aroma that filled the room and made her hunger for a good cooked meal. She sat to the table but dare not touch it, as it looked to good to be real. Kenaz watched her actions and was wondering why she wasn't eating. "Are you not hungry?" asked Sharman Kenaz.
"Yes but the food looks to good to be true, am I dreaming or is this just some horrid nightmare? I will not eat until I see my Father." replied Kerrin.
Tucker entered unacknowledged by Kerrin or Kenaz and placed the cloaks Kerrin requested on a small side-table and exited.
"Very well Kerrin, shall we leave now to see your Father?" Sharman Kenaz glanced over his shoulder and added "Also Tucker has been and left the cloaks for us, remind me to thank him later."
"Yeah sure, why not" replied Kerrin as she rose from her chair heading towards the side-table and picked up the cloak that Tucker had left for her. "Are you coming then?”
Kenaz picked up his cloak and walked out his apartment making sure the door secure before he left. Kerrin was at the end of the corridor by the time Kenaz reached her; instead of walking straight to her he paused and watched her standing at the window gazing out into the guild grounds. She looked beautiful, the apprentices uniform suited her perfectly she was born to be here he thought. But her gentle complexion said otherwise. Her face was gentle but hardened through the years of hard work and poverty. Kerrin missed her home and her actions showed this and Kenaz knew this. He walked behind her and placed his hand gently on he shoulder, Kerrin turned around with a whip of her long brown hair and looked at Sharman Kenaz’s, he had similar facial features of her mother, his eyes were a deep blue whilst his face looked as though he had never worked a hard days work in his life and his blonde hair brought a, certain mysteriousness about him.
“Shall we leave then?” Asked Sharman Kenaz pointing to the exit.
“Yes I think we should” Kerrin followed Kenaz out of the guild grounds wondering which way she should take him to meet her Father.
The sunlight glistened on the thin white snow covering all of the guild buildings whilst the grass looked as if it could snap at the slightest touch, yet no snow was on the pathways. Kenaz explained to her that the pathways were cleared by apprentices as a punishment for pranks and other mishaps that may cause concern for other apprentices learning. But was nothing to worry about as long as she followed the rules at the guild. When they finally reached the guild gates leading onto the main street of Isa, Kerrin stopped and paused in awe at the sheer size of the gates and intricate details that were engraved on them. She thought wow to herself and turned to look at her uncle who was asking the guard to open the gates for them. The guard looked suspiciously at Kerrin, she knew his face and feared it but she dismissed his glance as Kenaz returned to her side.
CHAPTER THREE – GOING TO THE HAJJ
They exited the guild grounds onto the streets of the city, Kerrin had never been to this part of the city as it was her Father’s area and not hers. She knew where everything was by a map but not by sight. She followed Kenaz until they reached the main street where The Hajj youths set up their distraction for the Sharman during the Daeg, the distraction that caused her downfall and capture. Yet she did not hold any resentment against the youths because it was her turn to jump the wall. She felt an overall disappointment come over her as if she wanted to grab her knife and stab herself through the stomach. But this thought was never going to become a possibility as her mind was being constantly monitored by the Sharman to make sure she is not having any thoughts of which would cause damage to the Sharman.
The constant scanning of her mind plagued her constantly but as time progressed she learnt to live with it because she knew that she would be watched until they deemed her trustworthy. Kerrin led Kenaz to a cold dark alley this alley lead to one of the many entrances of The Hajj and as they walked down he alley she realized that Kenaz was only a pace if that behind her. Then a sense of fear came over her but it wasn’t her fear, it was Kenaz. He had the stagnant smell of fear covering him from head to toe. But she was the only one who could sense it, as she had already spotted three sqwips on her way to the entrance and they reacted normally to her presence as well as Kenaz’s which was highly unusual.
As they neared the entrance Kerrin turned to Kenaz and looked at him with piercing eyes. Kenaz stepped back expecting some kind of attack to happen but was relieved when he saw her checking only for guards or any other people who may harm The Hajj.
CHAPTER FOUR – THE HAJJ UNDERGROUND
The Hajj are a secretive people, they kept themselves to themselves and are a perfect working underground community. They have built their homes underground and are able to communicate almost immediately if there ever was an intruder in their midst. Kerrin held Kenaz’s hand as she lead him through countless tunnels, leading him to her and her father’s dwellings in this underground city.
Finally, they reached a small door leading into a large room filled with an array of sweet scented aromas and two doors leading into two bedrooms. Kerrin darted in looking around the room as if she hadn’t seen it for years. She turned and looked at Kenaz, “Well this is where I have lived since before I can remember” said Kerrin.
Just after saying that Othel walked in and looked up and there stood his daughter in a Sharman apprentice’s uniform. But what caught his attention as he walked in was Kenaz as he kept his hood up all the way through the tunnels and in Kerrin’s home.
“Kerrin who is this?” asked Othel curiously.
“You know in your heart, who he is Father” answered Kerrin with a smile.
“It better not be who I think it is because if it is he is not welcome here” said Othel gritting his teeth at Kerrin.
Lowering his hood, Kenaz turned to Othel “Yes it is I, Othel. Your dear brother-in-law.”
“Hello Kenaz, so you’ve finally found me and Kerrin.” Said Othel sadly.
“I hope you have been well over the years, would it be possible to talk to you before you run off again”
“Yeah sure, Kerrin will you go to your room please”
Kerrin went into her room and sat by the door wondering what the two men were going to talk about. But as the wonder went she came to realize what they were about to talk about. Her future and her past, so she listened in to discover her past.
“Well what do you wanna know Kenaz?” asked Othel.
“Why did you run after I told you Kerrin was a natural Sharman?” said Kenaz looking at the man who he once admired for being the only man that could tame the wild spirit of his sister.
“Kerrin was the only thing I had left of Jenna and I wasn’t about to lose her like I did Jenna.”
“I don’t understand, why wouldn’t you want your daughter to become one of the most powerful Sharman that has ever lived? Did you ever tell Kerrin she was a natural Sharman?”
“I hid my daughter from the Sharman because I didn’t want her to become a power hungry tyrant who takes the lives of innocent men, women and children. And no I never told her, there would have been too many questions that I was not ready to answer. Now I suppose you are going to tell me she has to stay with you.”
“I understand that but you should have told her that she was a natural Sharman, so that she would have the choice of who she was to become. And to answer you last question, yes she will have to stay with me as now the High Sharman is atoned to her Sharman powers now and if she were to run away she would be found almost instantaneously.” Said Sharman Kenaz casually.
“Very well, I will not run and hide Kerrin this time but you must promise one thing Kenaz,” Othel eyed Kenaz like a broken man. A man who has lost everything.
“What is that Othel?”
“You have got to let Kerrin exit the guild once a month to visit me, is that alright with you?” Othel now on his knees watched Kenaz as he made his decision.
“I will honour your wish Othel but it will be once a month and once a month only.” Kenaz offered his hand to Othel as they shook on agreement.
“Thank you Kenaz and now you and Kerrin must leave before I get too attached to Kerrin once again. Kerrin!”
Kerrin bustled in and ran to her Father and hugged him tightly whispering “I don’t want to leave you” over and over again until finally her Father pushed her away saying that he loved her dearly and he would see her again in a month’s time. She looked at him once more before she exited the room and sighed. The tunnels were dark and as Kenaz, and Kerrin exited the tunnels the sunlight blinded them but the smell of fresh air was a relief. After, exiting the tunnel and unto the street Kerrin kept her head down and did not talk for the whole way back to the Sharman’s Guild.
CHAPTER FIVE – THE SHARMAN GUILD
Kerrin entered the guild grounds with head still hanging down. Kenaz walked up to Kerrin and placed his arm around her shoulders to comfort her. But all this did was to make her more unhappy and in ways slightly disturbed. The everlasting thought of what was about to happen would plague Kerrin for the rest of her days. She watched the other apprentices battle each other in the guild grounds under the careful watch of Sharman. One thing she did notice when they were battling each other, was the colour of each of their shots of magic. Kenaz went to explain that in an apprentice's first year they were tested again to discover what their preferred element and season was, this was to help them find a spirit guardian that would be better suited to them. He went on to explain that there were four elements, fire, earth, water and air; and apprentices would be designated two elements, and would train to the highest degree of their elements, the apprentices not only had to train in their designated elements but they also had to have a certain amount of knowledge in the other two elements. €He added at the end that the season the apprentice specialized in would be of their own choosing. Kenaz turned to Kerrin and looked at her, he was about to ask her a question when the High Sharman appeared from no where.
“So is this your long lost niece Sharman Kenaz?” asked the High Sharman.
“Yes it is High Lord, this is Kerrin, Family of Tir” replied Sharman Kenaz.
The High Sharman turned and looked at Kerrin with his cold dark eyes, “Do you have any idea who I am Kerrin, family of Tir?” asked the High Sharman in a mysterious voice.
“Yes I do m’lord, and I do know a little about your history as a Sharman as well plus I know a few things that could ruin your whole life sir” replied Kerrin in a spiteful tone.
“Is that so Kerrin, I would like you to join me for the evening meal in my quarters alone tonight if you would, to discuss the matter of your education and so that I may get to know you a bit better than I already do.” Asked the High Sharman.
“If it is fine with my Uncle then I shall dine with you tonight? Uncle Kenaz is it okay with you if I dine with the High Sharman tonight?” asked Kerrin unsure of what she was doing.
“Yes Kerrin you may as long as the High Sharman shows you the way back to my apartment” said Sharman Kenaz.
“Sharman Kenaz, Kerrin can stay in my home tonight as I believe we won’t be finished discussing her education until late this evening.” Said the High Sharman.
“Very well High Sharman, would you do Kerrin the high honour in testing her for the elements and help her in her choice of season?” asked Kenaz.
“Yes Sharman Kenaz I will do Kerrin’s testing for you, let’s go to the testing arena.”
Kerrin followed both Kenaz and the High Sharman to the testing arena. The testing arena was not as big as she expected it to be, the size of it was no bigger than the average size of two houses. When they entered the arena a sudden rush of energy rushed passed her knocking her back a few paces. The High Sharman went directly to the center of the arena and beckoned her to follow. As she neared the High Sharman she began to feel uneasy about her surroundings and she closed her eyes and took a deep breath before finally stopping before the High Sharman.
“This is the testing arena and in this arena I will be testing you on your current abilities as a Sharman.” Boomed the High Sharman.
“Hang on one minute, I have no Sharman powers, so how am I to be tested?” roared Kerrin.
Ignoring her anger the High Sharman sent an array of fireballs towards her. Kerrin drew her mothers sword from its scabbard and deflected every fireball with ease, after that she carefully sheathed it again and stood there focusing her anger into the palms of her hands so she would be ready to strike the High Sharman. He stood there watching Kerrin with intense concentration knowing that if she carried on building up the energy she had within her, she would be able to destroy him so he sent the next wave of attack in the form of flying rocks. Kerrin dashed forward and dodged some of the rocks and in amazement she also managed to destroy some of the rocks by facing her palm to the rocks she wished to be gone.
“Kerrin’s first element is air” roared the High Sharman as Kerrin stood there face to face with him. Kerrin bowed and returned to her original position.
As Kerrin walked back to her original position she noticed that her feet were becoming wetter by the minute and she looked down to discover that the floor was covered in water, she turned around and the High Sharman was missing.
“What is the meaning of this? Where in the fuck is the High Sharman?” bellowed Kerrin.
A shallow breath went down her neck as she realized that the High Sharman was right behind her about to pound her with one of the biggest waves she had ever seen. Kerrin ran and as she ran the water became deeper and deeper. She reached the end of the arena, when she noticed that there was a shield above her head, she jumped up and grabbed it hoping it would be of some use against the oncoming wave. The wave drew nearer and nearer, Kerrin ran towards the wave and jumped onto the shield just before hitting the wave. Kerrin felt as if she was one with the wave when she was travelling through it and the fact she was able to breathe underwater didn’t scare her one bit, for once in her entire life she felt safe and free. She focused her energy and turned the wave unto the High Sharman. The water evaporated into thin air leaving just her and the High Sharman in the center of the arena.
“Kerrin, family of Tir your final element is water. An unusual combination might I add. I suggest you take on the season of winter as it will fit in well with your two elements.” Said the High Sharman.
“High Sharman thank you for testing me and I will take your advice and choose winter as my season.” Replied Kerrin.
“Good, I will see you tonight Kerrin at 6 o’clock, do not be late.”
“Till tonight High Sharman.” Kerrin smiled and bowed, and the High Sharman left.
Kerrin looked at Kenaz with a smile. He looked at her with the proudest look an Uncle could give his young niece. She knew that she had done well and now with her two elements water and air and her season of winter, she would have to study and train hard for her new role in life. They exited the testing arena and into the guild grounds and the sun shone brightly.
“I am proud of you Kerrin; you have won the respect of the High Sharman that is slightly unusual for an apprentice.” Said Sharman Kenaz with a smile.
“I am surprised at my two elements. Why did the High Sharman say that water and air was an unusual combination?” asked Kerrin.
“Well for some reason, only those who are destined to be a High Sharman end up with that particular combination of elements and are very powerful to compete against.” Replied Sharman Kenaz.
“So in other words you are saying that I could become the High Sharman.” Said Kerrin.
“That is exactly what I am saying Kerrin, you are very much correct and now we must return to my apartment in order for you to prepare for your evening meal with the High Sharman.” Said Sharman Kenaz.
Kerrin was proud of herself as she was now in knowing of her abilities within the guild but she found herself questioning her character overall. She thought to herself, she was only a day ago a thief in the most notorious gang in Nied, The Hajj and now she was an apprentice in the Sharman’s guild about to learn all about the magical elements of the world, and had the power to be the next High Sharman with the correct training. This hit her all of a sudden and her stomach began to churn with anxiety and most of all the fear that she might lose the respect of her father in the process of becoming a Sharman but one thing she kept in mind was the fact she might be making her mother proud, and that is what counted to her.
Kerrin turned to her Uncle and asked “What was my mother like?” Kenaz was shocked at the question as he never expected her to ask him that, he placed his arm around her shoulders and looked at her.
“Well your mother looked just like you when she was your age; she had a wild and unruly spirit until she met your Father when he was delivering a large quantity of Pekin wine for a party which our parents were having that night, she fell in love instantly with your Father. In reality I believe that if she didn’t meet your father that day she would have been a truly powerful Sharman and her arranged marriage with the High Sharman would have been a most honourable one for our family.” Replied Sharman Kenaz with slight disdain to the question.
“So if my mother had married the High Sharman, she would have been a Sharman and I would be the daughter of the High Sharman, maybe that’s why he keeps looking at me strangely.” Replied Kerrin.
“I had never thought of it like that.” Said Kenaz.
Their conversation took them the duration of time they need to get to Lord Kenaz’s apartment. Once inside his apartment Kerrin dashed to her room placed her mother’s sword unto her bed and went back out to talk to Sharman Kenaz.
“Kerrin, do you know any etiquette at all? As etiquette is an important factor when dining with the High Sharman” said Sharman Kenaz unknowing of what her answer maybe.
“Yes I know my manners Uncle, I may have been brought up in the most notorious gang in Nied but I do have some decency and order. By the way call me Kerri as I prefer Kerri to Kerrin” replied Kerrin with a smile.
“Fine Kerri, I was worried that you didn’t have any manners because of the way you were brought up. By the way you should have a new set of apprentice’s uniforms in your room now with your elements and season sewn on and may I suggest you have a bath before putting your new uniform on” said Sharman Kenaz.
“I think your right, I will go have a bath right away” Kerrin walked to her room which was connected onto an en-suite bathroom. She walked into the bathroom and went to turn on the hot water when she realised there were no taps of which to turn the water on and off. So she stormed out to the living quarters and demanded to know where the taps were.
“Oh I almost forgot there are no taps; you have to produce your own water using your Sharman abilities. I will show you how to do it” said Sharman Kenaz.
“Thank you Uncle” replied Kerrin.
They walked into Kerrin’s bathroom and Sharman Kenaz stood there for a while contemplating on what he was going to do that evening whilst Kerrin was dining with the High Sharman. Kerrin grew impatient with waiting and tugged her Uncle’s robes.
“Will you please show me how to run a bath as I only have an hour to get ready and get down to the High Sharman’s house?” said Kerrin impatiently.
“Right first of all my elements are fire and air so it is slightly more difficult for me to control the water element but for you controlling water should be totally natural. Place your hand over the bath tub and think about how it felt when you travelled through the water during your testing, now use that feeling and make an image of water pouring into the bath tub” said Sharman Kenaz.
Kerrin focused on what her Uncle had just said to her and after a while water came trickling out of no where. She was proud of her accomplishment and tried making it go faster and within this time Lord Kenaz left the bathroom, and returned to reading his book. Kerrin had finished running her bath and was now soaking in the warmth of the soapy water. The water had a lavender and juniper scent in it which made the atmosphere so relaxing Kerrin almost fell asleep. After washing her hair and cleaning herself thoroughly she climbed out the bath and willed the water to evaporate from the bath tub, leaving it empty. Carefully opening the latch of the door leading into her room, a cool breeze blew into the bathroom creating goose pimples from head to toe on Kerrin but she ignored it and carried on into her room. Her room was a bright orange in the Niedian sunset which added a warmth to the room. She carefully dried herself and her hair but she didn’t dry it properly as she wanted the natural effect that she was so used to. Kerrin picked up her new, carefully folded apprentices uniform and took note of the two symbols that were on the left sleeve. The first symbol was two wave-like lines sewn in blue which represented water the second symbol was two straight lines sewn in yellow which represented air. Fully dressed, Kerrin exited her room and went into the living quarters where Sharman Kenaz was waiting patiently for her so he can escort her to the High Sharman’s house on the far side of the guild.
“You look divine Kerrin, shall we make our way down to the High Sharman’s home?” said Sharman Kenaz with a smile.
“I believe we should Uncle” said Kerrin and within a few seconds they were out the door and on their way to the High Sharman’s house.
The path to the High Sharman’s house was long, dark and frightening but Kerrin was unafraid and looked forward to her meal with the High Sharman, unlike Sharman Kenaz who was slightly shocked at the High Sharman’s invitation for her to join him for the evening meal but shook it off.
CHAPTER SIX – THE HIGH SHARMAN
The High Sharman was the most powerful and mysterious Sharman in the entire guild. His appearance made him look taller than he actually was. He had slick black hair and dark brown eyes made him slightly attractive amongst the young female apprentices and Sharman alike. But his personality was cold-hearted and his stare would scare anyone. Kerrin and Sharman Kenaz were almost at the High Sharman’s house when Sharman Kenaz turned to Kerrin and said to Kerrin,
“If you don’t feel safe at any point tonight, call for me and I will be straight down to get you and take you back to my apartment”
“I will be fine Uncle, there is no need to worry about me as I will be in the home of the most powerful Sharman in the provinces” said Kerrin.
“Very well but if you do, you know what to do” said Sharman Kenaz.
“Okay, good night, Uncle Kenaz, I will see you tomorrow morning” she smiled and gave Sharman Kenaz a quick kiss on the cheek.
Kerrin was nervous and was unsure of how she was supposed to talk to the High Sharman or how she was to act before him. She arrived at the door with a few minutes to spare. She straightened her uniform and knocked on the door. Within a few short seconds the door swung open and there stood the High Sharman dressed in his black robes from head to toe. Kerrin stood there admiring him before she entered his home.
“Welcome to the Guild Kerrin and welcome to my home. Our meal should be ready in about an hour, so would please go into the study and make yourself comfortable” said the High Sharman and he gestured to a comfortable looking chair.
Kerrin did as she was told and entered the room, and then sat down in the chair he had pointed to. Once she was comfortable, the High Sharman gazed at her wondering what she thought of him so far.
“Well Kerrin, what do you think of the Guild so far?” said the High Sharman.
“It is a big place and I hope to adjust quickly from my original status to this one, sir” replied Kerrin.
“I see, please don’t call me High Sharman or Sir tonight, my name is Morea, family of Perdhro, you may call me Morea as I hate long winded titles. Kerrin, what do you know about the Guild so far? And what is it that you know about me?” asked Morea.
“First of all which question would you like me to answer first Morea?”
“The first question if you would Kerrin”
“Well, so far I have noticed that apprentices wear different coloured uniforms to my own, I know that mine means that I am favoured by the High Sharman but I have not been told what the other colours mean. I know that a Sharman follows two of four elements. The four elements are fire, earth, water and air. That’s about it really” said Kerrin with slight disdain.
“To answer your question about the different colours of the apprentice’s uniforms. The colours mean the different seasons, green being spring, red being summer, brown being autumn and white being winter”
“I know you want to know what I know about you. I know that you are no ordinary Sharman. You are a BLACK SHARMAN; you kill innocent people whilst they sleep. You tried killing me when I was a child but I keep quiet like a good little citizen of Nied because who would believe a little street urchin like me. No one would and plus if I did say anything to anyone, I was afraid you would come after me and kill me or worse take me as your apprentice.” Kerrin relaxed back down into the comfort of her chair. Whilst the High Sharman got up out of his chair and began pacing the room.
“So you were the child that night, I knew, I spared your life for a reason but at the time I did not know why. Kerrin did you know your mother?” asked Morea.
“No I didn’t. My mother died giving birth to me but my Father says that my mother hid something from him. Ever since she died he has been through her private belongings over and over again to find out what it was and when he did find out her secret he didn’t speak to me for nearly six months.” Replied Kerrin. Kerrin hated talking about her mother and at this time her father as well.
“I knew your mother before she married your Father Othel I believe. I was engaged to your mother and the day she met your Father was the night of our engagement party. She was pregnant with my daughter and when Jenna told me she couldn’t marry me, I came back here and contemplated on what I should do next. In the end, I decided to let her go but I insisted on seeing my daughter when she was born. But it never happened, so Kerrin, I think that I am your true Father not Othel”
“If you are truly my Father, then you will know what birth mark I have on my left shoulder, my Father does not know what the symbol means but I do, so what is the birth mark?”
“On your left shoulder there is the Jeran symbol for the falcon, the same as mine; it is my family’s symbol”
“You are correct; the symbol on my left shoulder is the Jeran symbol for the falcon. I knew my Father hid something from me from the day he started not talking to me but if you are my Father then why didn’t you come looking for me?” said Kerrin disappointed to find the man whom she had called father for sixteen years was not her real Father.
“You seem upset to find your real Father is a Sharman and a Sharman with such a high position but you shouldn’t be upset, you should be proud. I did look for you Kerrin, I searched all the provinces but couldn’t find you, I even went to The Hajj and put a contract out on you”
“You went to The Hajj and put a contract on me! But when they found out that their best thief’s daughter was really yours they decided to protect me from you, didn’t they!?” bellowed Kerrin.
“Yes they did hide you from me and when I found out that they were hiding you from me, I came into The Hajj tunnels and began looking for you myself. I was caught searching the tunnels by Sigel and he attacked me with numerous people from The Hajj. But I killed them with ease using what you call black Sharman magic and entered your Father’s chambers finding a small girl no more than five holding a halket facing towards me and when I looked into her eyes I saw something I had never seen before in my life, I saw in her the spirit of a Sharman, and she stood there watching me until I left” said the High Sharman in a particularly calm voice.
Kerrin sat there looking deeply into the High Sharman’s eyes wondering if what he was saying was true or if it was some trick to get her to forget her Father. A slight knock on the door separated their eye contact as they turned to the door and a man no taller than Tucker entered the room.
“High Sharman and Apprentice Kerrin your meal is served” said the High Sharman’s servant.
“Thank you, Danu” said the High Sharman and Danu exited the study and went into the dining room.
Kerrin still intense from her conversation with the High Sharman got up from her chair and followed the High Sharman into the dining room where there were two bowls at either end of the table filled with a delicious smelling soup. At one end of the table stood Danu, with a straight back and a bottle of Pekin wine waiting for them to sit down, and begin their meal. The High Sharman gestured for Kerrin to sit at the end which Danu was standing at. Kerrin gracefully walked to her seat and sat down. Danu walked beside her,
“Apprentice Kerrin, would you care for some Pekin wine?” asked the humble servant.
“I would be delighted to have some Danu and might I add that this soup smells fantastic” said Kerrin as she looked at Danu.
“Thank you Apprentice Kerrin you are very kind” answered Danu with a smile.
“My pleasure Danu, I like to make people happy as it makes me happy” replied Kerrin as Danu walked over to the High Sharman to pour some wine into his wine glass.
Kerrin picked up her soup spoon and began eating her soup. The soup tasted as good as it smelt. As she ate her meal she began to wonder what Kenaz was up to and how he was feeling, as he had been so far the only Sharman other than the High Sharman who treated her with respect. Watching Kerrin, enjoying her soup the High Sharman placed his hands upon the table as if he wanted to express something of importance to Kerrin but realizing how much she was enjoying her meal, he declined and went back to eating his own soup. Kerrin had just finished her soup and was now sat up straight waiting for the High Sharman to finish his. The High Sharman finished eating his soup just after Kerrin and indicated to Danu too remove the plates from the table ready for the next course.
“Well Kerrin, seen as you will be the next High Sharman, if anything happens to me. I believe you should be able to plan your own education, so where would you like to start?” asked the High Sharman.
“I would like you to recommend Sharman whom you deem worthy to teach me, first of all” replied Kerrin, slyly.
“I would recommend no Sharman to teach you except myself when it comes to water and air but for fire I would recommend your Uncle and for earth I recommend Sharman Tailtiu” said the High Sharman.
“I will go with what you have said, that is if you are willing to teach me Morea, I know my Uncle wanted to teach me but I have never met Sharman Tailtu so I do not know what she is like” replied Kerrin.
“I would be more than happy to teach you but be warned your lessons will not be as easy as an ordinary first years lesson. I will inform Sharman Tailtiu that she will be teaching you from now on”
“Thank you, Morea. I have one question, will I be with other apprentices?” asked Kerrin curiously.
“No you will not. A future High Sharman must be strong of mind and must not be distracted during their studies. Having two guardians to please means you have to work twice as hard” replied the High Sharman with a certain flare of anguish.
Just as the High Sharman finished talking Danu walked in with the main meal, this next course smelt better than the soup. As he placed the plate in front of her, she realised that it was her favourite meal; Og in zerect berry sauce with roasted potatoes, she began carving her breast of Og into mouth-sized pieces making it easier to chew. An Og is a bird similar to chicken but tastes just like turkey and zerect berries are a purple berry that taste just like cranberries.
She was eating her food when she suddenly dropped her cutlery as twinge of pain went shooting through her mind as if it was connected to another mind and the feeling that something bad was happening in the city to her father came over her all of a sudden.
“What is wrong Kerrin?” asked the High Sharman.
“I don’t know but something is not right in the city, I can sense it” replied Kerrin, her face full of fear the High Sharman remained concerned about what was wrong.
“Are you sure Kerrin?” he asked concerned for her well-being.
“Yes but tomorrow I must go into the city” said Kerrin as she slowly went to pick up her knife and fork off the floor in order for Danu to take back into the kitchen. Danu swiftly replaced the dirty cutlery for a clean set and went back into the kitchen where he was preparing their dessert.
“Why must you go into the city tomorrow, Kerrin? Surely you would want to begin your lessons immediately?” concerned at her reply, did she really think that some matter in the city was more important than her education as a future High Sharman? To the High Sharman it seemed that way and that he was some how going to have to put a stop to it but how was the question, he could not possibly confine her to the guild grounds as she would rebel totally against him. As Morea thought about it the more intent he was on getting rid of Othel altogether but what would Kerrin and Sharman Kenaz do if they ever found out that it was him who hired some thug off the streets to kill a Hajj thief and the man whom raised his daughter, he had to plan this carefully if this was to be a plan to keep Kerrin within the Guild.
Kerrin watched the High Sharman whilst carefully planning what she was going to say to him as she was unprepared for those questions and did not wish to insult the High Sharman on her first day in the guild, at last she had finished and began her reply, “I must go into the city to see my father and Sigel about a few things before any lessons go ahead, the reason being we have discussed an issue I would like to put before my Father and Sigel to see if what you say is true. That is why I must go into the city plus there are a few items in my home that I would like to bring back to the Guild as they belonged to my mother and I cherish them dearly.”
As she finished her reply Morea sat back in his chair and looked her as if she were a nothing more than a puppet on strings, Kerrin did not enjoy this staring from him and as a feeling that made her feel uncomfortable came over her, the High Sharman pushed his plate aside and said to Danu who was now back in the dinning room that he was no longer hungry the servant looked upset but said nothing as he collected the plate and walked towards Kerrin.
“Apprentice Kerrin, have you finished?” whispered Danu into her ear.
“Yes thank you Danu and might I add that this course was better than the first” as Kerrin said this Danu’s face lit up almost instantaneously with joy and he walked into the kitchen still smiling.
“I haven’t seen Danu smile like that since he came to the Guild, well back to you going into the city tomorrow, if you are to go into the city tomorrow I demand that you take an escort with you as you will now be a prime target for anyone and I think it would be best if I escort you in the city” said Morea.
“You! escort me! in the city! and what about when I go into The Hajj tunnels, Sigel will think you have come back to kill more of his men if what you say is true but if you are willing to risk your neck for my safety then you are more than welcome to come with me tomorrow” replied Kerrin, surprised at Morea’s offer.
The High Sharman turned from Kerrin disappointed at her response as any apprentice normally would relish the offer he had just given her. But Kerrin was not like any ordinary apprentice within the Guild, she was a day ago the daughter of a highly respected thief named Othel but now she was the Sharman Guild’s future leader and was unknown by anyone in the Guild whereas in The Hajj everyone knew her, and she was treated like family. The Guild could not offer this but this is not what she will say when the time comes for her to lead the Guild, as it will not be the thieves who save her life. There was silence throughout the dining room as Kerrin and the High Sharman sat there waiting for the other to start the conversation but nothing happened, so as time passed by Kerrin closed her eyes and waited until he spoke. In a sort of trance-like state Kerrin could seek out other people’s minds to see what they were thinking, The Hajj used her little technique to get the truth out of some of their miniscule dealers when they decide not to pay up for products The Hajj smuggle in for them. She knew this would annoy the High Sharman. Morea did not understand Kerrin or what she was doing but after a while he felt a presence in the back of his mind and could not recognise who this person was, so he moved closer to the intruder; totally unaware that Kerrin was able to do this; he approached the figure in his mind carefully hoping that the might reveal themselves by accident. He was almost in range to touch the figure when it turned around.
- Who are you? Demanded the High Sharman.
- You know who I am Morea as I am sat across the table from you. Replied Kerrin some what pleased with herself.
- Yes. You didn’t know I could do this did you?
- No I did not, how long?
- Since the day you spared my life.
- Right. Now could you possibly get out of my head as there are some things I do not wish you too see.
- Very well. Goodbye.
Kerrin slowly came out of her trance not knowing what to expect from the High Sharman sat opposite her. As she began to come around to her full consciousness, she looked up at Morea but the facial expression she was expecting was not there but in its place was a smile.
“Welcome back to the real world Kerrin” said Morea sarcastically to Kerrin as Danu stood beside her pouring a glass of water for her.
Kerrin still drowsy from the trance did not reply to Morea’s comment; picked up her glass with two hands to insure she did not drop it and smash it in the process. The crystal clear water trickled down her throat refreshing her whole body within a few seconds.
“Kerrin did you hear me?” asked Morea, concerned.
“Yes I did hear you, I choose not to reply that is all” replied Kerrin.
“Very well, Kerrin you said you have been able to do this since I spared your life, do you realise what sort of control you need to what you just done.”
Kerrin shook her head in reply saying no and hoped it wasn’t a lot of control that was needed to do it.
“You need to be very powerful to master that technique, well put it this way I only just managed to learn that sort of control when I was in my last year of apprenticeship” said Morea shocked that she did not know this and began to wonder if she managed to gain that sort of control at a young age, how powerful is she going to get? Kerrin shocked at what he had just said, kept quiet for a few seconds before replying to him.
“Is that true? But if what you say is true, won’t I become more powerful than you in the future?” asked Kerrin.
“It is true and possibly, yes, you will become more powerful than I in the future but for now let us finish our meal with dessert. Danu please fetch the dessert, thank you.”
Danu was less than a minute in the kitchen before he returned with two drakberry sorbets, one of the most delicious desserts in the kingdom of Nied. Kerrin enjoyed drakberry sorbets so much she once took a job in a small restaurant in the city and she asked them to pay her with some drakberry sorbet and one gold coin instead of the three gold coins. She quickly tucked into the sorbet before the High Sharman could say anything to her. When the High Sharman wanted to talk to her, he noticed how much she loved the sorbet and left her in peace to eat it.
CHAPTER SEVEN – A MIDNIGHT STROLL
The night drifted onwards and late grew the hour. Both High Sharman and Apprentice had finished their meal. Kerrin grew tired but every night when with her Father Kerrin had always went for a walk by the marina and had a quick training session to keep her wits sharp, before going to bed, when an idea struck her, she decided that she was going to try and persuade Morea to go for a walk with her in the guild grounds in the moonlight.
“Morea will you uphold a tradition that I have” asked Kerrin.
“Depending on what it is, I might” replied the High Sharman.
“A walk and then hand to hand combat. My father did this with me every night except when he was away doing a job for Sigel and in those cases I trained alone”
“Very well, I will go with you as it will give a chance to see how good your skills are” said the High Sharman.
“Thank you Morea” Kerrin smiled and bowed.
After the short converse they both got up and headed towards the front door. The High Sharman opened the door to reveal the Guild grounds bathed in moonlight. Kerrin looked up to the sky to see where the moon was, the stars shone like a million diamonds spread across the sky. She stepped outside and took a deep breath in and slowly exhaled. The night was cold but Kerrin felt warm and safe within the guild grounds, this feeling was nothing in comparison to what she felt walking along the marina by herself, she felt free but whilst in the Guild she felt trapped beyond recognition; in time she began to lose this feeling and felt slightly more free.
Sharman Kenaz had felt uneasy all night; he had wondered what the High Sharman had thought of Kerrin but at the same time wondered how she reacted to him and his unorthodox ways. He turned to the window to find Kerrin and the High Sharman walking together in the Guild grounds, they looked perfect together, like father and daughter. Sharman Kenaz did not know about his sister’s pregnancy with the High Sharman’s daughter: Kerrin. He watched them until they went out of his view. His fears now gone he retired to his chambers and went to sleep.
Like a young married couple, the High Sharman and Kerrin held hands and walked through the moon lit guild.
“It is a beautiful night” said Kerrin as she looked into the midnight sky.
“Hmmm……I am not so sure, beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say, I have seen more beautiful, and radiant things in my lifetime, like your mother for example” replied the High Sharman.
They walked and talked, until they were in the Apprentice’s area of the Guild which was dimly lit. The buildings in the Apprentice’s area were well maintained and looked after and looked as new as when they were first built. The High Sharman let go of Kerrin’s hand and walked on ahead, Kerrin followed him to the Battle Arena.
The Battle Arena its self looked small on the outside but on the inside the arena was the size of an Olympic stadium. The High Sharman unlocked the door with the slightest touch, the door wasn’t that thick and it seemed to waver every now and then as if a misdirected attack had hit it but the door was strengthened every year along with the arena. The sheer size of the building impressed Kerrin along with the beautiful architecture. As they entered the arena the whole room slowly grew brighter making it feel like day rather than night.
“Well Kerrin lets begin, where do you want to start?” asked the High Sharman with a sly smile as if he had some plan up his sleeve.
“Weapons or hand-to-hand combat? Your choice” said Kerrin with slight joy in her voice.
“Let’s start with weapons” replied the High Sharman. But there was a slight silence until the High Sharman intervened, “One more thing you must choose a weapon for me and I will choose a weapon for you. The weapons are behind the screen.”
“Very well, for your weapon I choose the hesdra” said Kerrin. A hesdra is a typical samurai sword but the difference being the blade is sharpened by magic, otherwise it would a common blade throughout the city of Isa.
“Fine and for you I choose the halket, now let us fight” said the High Sharman as he picked up both his and her weapon. He tossed Kerrin’s weapon into the air. Kerrin made a short jump in the air and caught it before it hit the ground. Kerrin stepped sideways circling the High Sharman waiting for him to attack. She focused on the High Sharman’s movements which he made none of and she paused for a second. This was her big mistake; the High Sharman struck her left arm with effortless ease. Kerrin wiped her arm with her hand, looked at the blood and smiled.
“You think that is an attack, watch this” Kerrin disappeared in an instant and reappeared behind the High Sharman. She slowly tip toed behind him and placed the halket pole around his neck, holding it tightly she said,
“What do you think of that move?”
“It’s good but not nearly good enough” said the High Sharman as he flipped Kerrin over his shoulders. Kerrin landed flat on her backside.
“Oww………that hurt and by the way, you have no trousers”
The High Sharman looked down and there was his legs bare for all to see. Kerrin chuckled like a girl from one of the rich families in favour of the King.
“That’s not funny Kerrin” said the High Sharman, as he pulled up his trousers.
“I thought it was, especially when you flipped me over your shoulder”
“Well it is not funny to embarrass the High Sharman like that”
“There is no one around to see that your trousers have dropped except me”
“What if there was?”
“Well they would be laughing at you because you were out witted by the daughter of a thief from The Hajj, now less talk, more fighting!”
“I think we should spice things up” as soon as the High Sharman said this he sent a blast of water at her chest knocking her from the centre of the Battle Arena to the back.
Drenched from head to toe, Kerrin stood up and started walking back to the centre of the arena. Her clothes hung tightly to her body not leaving very much room to move. As she reached the centre of the arena she slowly raised her hand and pointed her finger at the High Sharman,
“That was unfair! I don’t know how to use the elements yet!”
“Well, you did drop my trousers”
“Fair point” said Kerrin bowing her head.
“Have you had enough?” asked the High Sharman walking over to Kerrin.
“Yes, I have, I wish to go back to your home, put my clothes over the fire place to allow them to dry, have a bath and then go to bed”
“Put your clothes over the fire place to dry out, hasn’t your Uncle taught you any type of elemental uses?” said the High Sharman as he placed the hesdra back into the wooden rack, Kerrin followed and did the same.
“Yes he taught me how to run a bath but that is it”
They were now in the Apprentice gardens, the stars were high in the sky and the moon looked as if it were pearl glistening for all to see. In Nied there is a saying that when the moon shines like a pearl evil plots and schemes are a foot in Nied not only by the underground of Isa but in the Sharman’s Guild as well. Unbeknown to Kerrin the High Sharman had never forgiven Othel for taking his beloved Jenna away from him and was carefully planning his death. The first part of the High Sharman’s plan was already in affect he has his daughter, caught earlier than he expected but he had her and now he was gaining Kerrin’s trust slowly.
“He taught you how to run a bath and that is it?”
“Yes that is it!”
The High Sharman chuckled to himself as he thought sixteen; the future High Sharman and can only run a bath, if only her mother married me, I could have tested her sooner and she would have learnt more than a Shaman, like he did when he was tested at the age of eight. I was taken by the High Sharman of my time and trained at the age of eight. I knew more than the average Sharman in the guild by the age of sixteen but she must learn eight years of knowledge within a few short weeks.
The path they took back to the High Sharman’s house was not the one they took to reach the Apprentice’s area of the Guild, the route they took lead them through the forest of which Kerrin was caught. The cold night wind rustled through the branches of midnight black leaves and step by step the High Sharman and Kerrin made their way back to the house. Kerrin relaxed whilst walking through the forest and began to think, the High Sharman seems to be intense but why through, why was he so intense? He hasn’t been like this all evening but why now? Maybe it’s because he is tired. Kerrin left her thoughts at that and carried on walking to the High Sharman’s house. After about an hour of walking they finally reached the High Sharman’s house. Kerrin never felt so relieved to see the house, she had felt uncomfortable ever since they had left the Apprentice’s Battle Arena. But this feeling of safety would be lost in due time. The High Sharman turned to Kerrin as he felt her tightly grip his arm, the thought occurred to him, she must be afraid of what is going to happen this week or maybe this evening but why? Or maybe she can sense my intenseness of her presence; I must say something to reassure her.
“What is the matter Kerrin?”
“Nothing, it is just the fact there is an evil moon tonight and the thought of my father being alone tonight in my home”
“An evil moon what do you mean? The moon is perfectly round and beautiful in the midnight sky”
“You mean you have never heard of a good and evil moon”
“No, I haven’t and I would very much like to know about them”
“Well on a night like this when the moon is pearly white in the midnight sky, it is said that evil plots and schemes are a foot in Nied not only by the underground of Isa but in the Sharman’s Guild as well. But when the moon is dark and no one can see it, good fortune to all and to all a good night”
“Interesting but it is just folklore and you shouldn’t believe in it” the High Sharman opened the door and swept his hand to indicate for Kerrin to enter his home first. Kerrin entered the house and turned to face the High Sharman.
“Folklore maybe something that you shouldn’t believe in to you but think about this, what if you were brought up in world where different aspects of folklore affect your daily life and you believe in it because of what you read in your mothers journal, it was her beliefs so you follow them and try to be like your mother so that her Father will be proud of her, now would you kindly show me to my room”
The High Sharman stayed silent and made quick movement in closing the door. He had never been spoken to like that before, not even by the previous High Sharman or his Mother and Father, the shock that the girl that was caught in the forest during the Daeg riots was Sharman Kenaz’s niece, she was his daughter but she would not accept it but she was raised within the scum of society yet retained a sense of moral honour and integrity. This was her strength, her passion, her life. She has the perfect skills in leadership and is ready for almost anything but she will not be prepared for what is ahead of her, he thought to himself. The High Sharman called for Danu and waited until he appeared out of the living room,
“Yes my Lord what is your will?”
“Please can you show Apprentice Kerrin to her quarters for this evening and would you please take her clothes and dry them for her, please”
“Certainly my Lord” and with a quick bow, he whipped and began ascending the stairs.
The High Sharman’s corridors throughout the house were cold and dark. Lighting a candle Danu lit the lamps along the passageways as he went along. The lamps were posted every few feet on either side and went the lamps were lit the coldness and the darkness evaporate and the passageways become warm and bright yet there still remained an eeriness about the house as if it was hiding centuries of history from the world.
“Yes Apprentice Kerrin, what is it?”
“Please don’t call me Apprentice Kerrin to start with call me Kerri and I would like you to stay in my room for a while so we can talk”
“You are afraid of this house are you not? There is no need to worry but if you wish me to stay in your room to talk then I shall do as you say Kerri”
“Thank you Danu, you are most kind”
“It is my duty and my honour Kerri”
As Danu and Kerrin neared the apprentice’s quarters, Kerrin placed her hand upon the wall and followed the streamline cracks in the wood. A strangle thing to do you may think but for Kerrin this was how she learnt her way around houses at night. Danu reached out for a door to his left and gently swayed it open for Kerrin to enter. Kerrin peered around the corner to see what was in the room before entering it. The room consisted of the basics, a bed, a desk, a wardrobe and a few other essentials one might need for day to day life. Upon the desk laid a pile of books, scrolls, ink and pens which Kerrin came to the quick conclusion that these items were a present for her.
“Are you pleased with your room Kerri?”
“I love it Danu, please come in”
“Yes, what is it you wish to talk to me about?”
“What is the High Sharman like normally? He seems uptight about something but I cannot for my life put finger on it”
“I do not know why he is like this tonight Kerri; he hasn’t been like this for weeks”
“What do you mean?”
“The High Sharman every few weeks gets rather agitated about something and I do not know what. Sometimes during the night when he is like this, I hear him muttering about odd things and the name Othel keeps coming up every now and then. But it is when he is sleeping it’s the worst, he has a tortured mind Kerri. But then again he has had a hard life.”
“You said he keeps mentioning Othel every now and then; do happen to know anything else about this Othel character.”
“Yes, he keeps saying: that bastard Othel has done it now, I am going to kill him if I ever get the chance, he stole the heart of the only woman I ever loved along with my unborn daughter, and he will pay in due time yes he will pay.”
“Is that his exact words Danu?”
“Yes those are his exact words Kerri.”
“I know who Othel is Danu and I think he maybe in trouble tonight, has the High Sharman left the house do you know?”
“You know who Othel is!”
“Yes he was the man who stole the heart of the High Sharman’s only love, now has the High Sharman left the house?”
“Holy Thurisaz he wasn’t was he. I believe the High Sharman has left the house Kerri, why?”
“Danu which is the quickest way out of the Guild and into the cities main street?”
“Out the main gates but why do you wish to know this? You aren’t thinking about running away now are you?”
“No Danu I am not going to run away but I must get into the city to save someone’s life before the High Sharman gets to them.”
“Very well Apprentice Kerrin, I will lead you to the main gates and will allow you to go into the city to save this persons life as long as you promise me one thing.”
“Yes I will promise to do anything you say as long as you let me go!”
“All I ask is for you to return to the Guild safely before dawn.”
Danu looked at Kerrin as if he was hoping that the High Sharman would forgive him for this deed and would not punish him either. Kerrin saw this and bent down onto her knees and said,
“I Kerrin, Family of Tir, promise you Danu, servant of the High Sharman that I will return to the Guild safe and unharmed by dawn. I promise you that no harm will come to you for what you are about to let me do.”
“Thank you Apprentice Kerrin and I will hold you to that promise. Now if you want to get into the city we should hurry.”
“Yes I agree, let’s move quickly, come on!” and in a flash they were on their way out the guild.
CHAPTER EIGHT – JEALOUSY AND DEATH
Within a minute Danu and Kerrin were out the High Lord’s house and on their way to the main gates. They darted through the darkness of the Guild like shadows upon a wall until they reached the gates. The gates were giant in comparison to Kerrin but this was no time to admire the architecture or the artistry of the guild, she knew she had a mission and had to stop the High Sharman from doing something she knew he would come to regret. When they finally reached the gates, Danu stopped Kerrin and made her turn to look at him. His eyes were full of a passion that would make a girl want to be with him for the rest of her life but she knew he wanted to say something to her but didn’t have the guts to say it her. She hugged him and whispered in his ear, “Don’t worry I will return before dawn and so will the High Sharman.
Pulling himself away from Kerrin Danu said, “I am not worried about that, I am worried for my master Morea, bring him home safely and make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid.”
“I will” after a quick glance back she ran off into the darkness of Isa.
Never before did Kerrin fear for someone’s life, her heart began to beat faster and faster as her pace sped up and breathlessness began to settle in. She had now left the main street was now making her way through the narrow alleys leading to the closest Hajj entrance. Hoping there was no one in the entrance Kerrin kicked the entrance door down and ran as fast as her feet could carry her too her and her Father’s chambers within The Hajj. When she arrived at the door, it was partially open and nothing but silence exited the room. Slowly she placed her hand upon the door to open it, unknowing of what lied behind it. As the door swung open, there stood the High Sharman with Othel’s neck in his hands. Kerrin couldn’t believe her eyes, the man she had began to respect that very night was now trying to murder the man she had called Father for the last sixteen years of her life.
“Morea, leave him alone!” Cried Kerrin as she dashed over to stop him from killing Othel.
“This man must die, for he has done to me and to you” roared the High Sharman.
“Why must he die? He has done nothing wrong to me and in what way has he done anything to wrong you may I ask?” she bellowed.
“He stole your Mother’s heart from me and my first child that resided in her womb! That is how he has wronged me!”
“Kerrin, you know what is in your heart, you know what the truth is, please listen to your heart and let it tell you the truth.” Said Othel in a weak voice.
Kerrin closed her eyes to concentrate and listen to her heart but the squeals of pain coming from Othel in the background put off her concentration.
“My heart tells me I should read my Mother’s journal to see the truth but it also tells me not to read it because I already know the answer.”
“Well what is the answer?” demanded the High Sharman.
“I do not wish to say it but my heart and mind tell me that the High Sharman of The Sharman Guild is my true Father and that my Mother loved you both dearly and she was going to give me to you Morea so I could train as a Sharman, if ever she died.” Said Kerrin.
The High Sharman released Othel from his grip and bent down onto his knees in shock of what she just said.
“I don’t believe it, is that what your heart really says” said the High Sharman.
“That is what her last entry was High Sharman, my dear Kerrin is very much correct, that is another reason why I ran and hid you Kerrin, I didn’t want you to become a Sharman, you were the only thing I had left of Jenna other than her journals and her sword” said Othel catching his breath back.
Kerrin walked over to a wall where a halket was hanging. She carefully took it off its fixtures on the wall and swung the halket around and faced it towards the High Sharman and her sword towards Othel. Tears gently rolled down Kerrin’s eyes as she held the two weapons at their necks. The High Sharman and Othel looked at her hopelessly wondering what she was going to do next.
“Why didn’t you tell me Othel? Why didn’t you tell me that I was the daughter of the High Sharman?! Why!” roared Kerrin with tears still rolling down her face.
“I, I, I, I didn’t want to tell you, I didn’t want you to leave me because I knew what you were to become, I knew that you were destined to become the High Sharman if ever Morea died. But Kerrin, please forgive me, please!!” Othel crawled slowly towards Kerrin.
“Don’t you come any closer or I will kill you. I can’t believe you kept this from me Othel” she slowly lowered the halket from the High Sharman’s neck and turned it to Othel.
The High Sharman felt relieved that Kerrin had lowered her weapon towards him and was now confronting Othel with it. He slowly backed up into the corner leaving Kerrin facing Othel alone. Feeling his neck, he felt as though there was a rope around it but there was nothing around his neck which meant Kerrin had bonded his throat with magick unintentionally. He began to wonder if she can do this now what will she be capable of when she is fully trained as a Sharman, but the advantage of this is that I have found the trigger for her power, her emotions. If I am to harness her emotions I will have to work hard to stop her relying on them to much.
“Kerrin, please listen to me, I didn’t mean for this to happen” said Othel weaker than ever.
“What if I had wanted to become a Sharman, Othel? Hmm…What if I had wanted to become a Sharman?!”
“I didn’t think of that Kerrin, I hoped and prayed you would never be found by the Guild”
“Well they did, didn’t they! I have had enough of this, I am leaving do not try to follow me, either of you, I will spare your lives for now.” Kerrin turned her back to both the High Lord and Othel and walked out the door.
“Now back to our business Othel” said the High Sharman as he slowly stood up.
“She’s gone now Morea, she knows the truth, can’t you let me be” pleaded Othel as the High Sharman slowly advanced towards him.
“Only my close friends, Apprentice and the people whom I love call me Morea, you are none of those, you are a sleazy wine merchant who stole the heart of a patriotic woman and the child which resided in her womb, I will not show you mercy and as for Kerrin she will be found within the next few days” replied the High Sharman as he stood facing the grovelling Othel.
“I am sorry High Sharman for stealing Jenna away from you but please don’t kill me, for the love of Thurisaz, please don’t!” begged Othel as he grabbed the long black Sharman’s robes.
“Prepare yourself for death Othel” the High Sharman drew his sword from its sheath and placed it on the tip of Othel’s neck.
“May Thurisaz make you burn in the depths of Fehu, Morea Family of Perdhro” and with a quick blow to the neck Othel’s head came off and rolled along the wooden floor. There was no blood on the sword as the High Sharman drew the sword up and slid it into the sheath.
“Thurisaz will bless my soul for this death Othel and it is you who will rot in the fiery depths of Fehu” and with a swish he left the room and that was the solemn end of Othel.
CHAPTER NINE – NEW ACQUAINTANCES
Night slowly drew away across the Dra’morrigu Mountains and the glorious Sun began to peak over the mountain peaks. Kerrin walked and seemed relieved that she had managed to escape the city and the Sharman’s Guild but she knew in her heart that she would be found soon but by whom she did not know.
The Dra’morrigu Mountains were known for the mysterious disappearances of people travelling through its passes. Villagers that live near the mountains believe that there is a monster known as Anu that hunts down any traveller who enters his domain. But other villagers believe there are a group of Black Sharman called the Dagda who practise the dark arts and any traveller that comes across their path is killed for their spirits. Sharman are wary of these mountains but Kerrin had no fear of them and was willing to cross through them to reach the province of Eihwaz. Kerrin entered the Laz’rac pass with no fear. With the little supplies she had, she knew that at some point on her journey she will have to hunt for food or die. The pass itself is long and treacherous, the land covered with a constant layer of untainted white snow. The coldness of the snow crept into her shoes, her legs began to shiver, and her body was almost frozen with cold. But never the less she kept walking, deeper and deeper into the snow until she had to stop and take shelter in a near by cave. The cave was cold and dark but there was wood left in the corner, Kerrin crawled to the wood and piled it in front of her, she pulled out a tinder box containing two flints and a small amount of tinder. She pulled some of the tinder out of the box and placed it amongst the wood and began chipping the two pieces of flint over an over again until the tinder caught a light and began to gently smoke. Carefully she blew and a flame came into existence and began to emanate a soft flame from the centre of the pile of wood. After a few minutes heat and light could be seen leaving the caves entrance and going off into the blizzard that was constantly there all year round. Kerrin curled up into a ball next to the spirited fire and began thinking to herself what’s going to happen to me, am I going to die here or what. As she thought this to herself she began to fall asleep and slowly she was becoming colder and hypothermia was setting in. Day slipped by hour by hour and soon night began to draw in but Kerrin still slept and did not move a single toe. On a peak of the Samaraga Mountain sat a lone figure watching the cave which Kerrin was sleeping in. Silently he made a swift movement down the mountain, heading towards her cave. The man was apart of The Dagda, an outcast Sharman. After his swift decent down the mountain, he entered the cave and walked towards Kerrin. Lonely he knelt next to her and gently swept her fringe aside to feel her forehead with the back of his soft bony fingers. She stirred slightly and her head turned to face him, slowly she opened her eyes and saw him there. She tried to sit up but was too weak to sit up.
“Do not try to much young one, you are drained of all your magical energies and need to regain some before your trek tomorrow, you have a fever but that will soon fade away” said the mysterious Sharman.
“Who are you? And how did you know I was here?” asked Kerrin weakly.
“My name is Domitri, I am what the people call a Sharman but I do not serve the Guild or the King, I am a part of The Dagda order and you do not need to know how I knew you were here. May I ask, what your name might be?” asked Domitri.
“My name is Kerrin, Family of Tir but really my last name should be Perdhro as that is my real Father’s surname. My mother married a man called Othel of Tir but she was originally engaged to wed the High Sharman, Morea of Perdhro but that is of no importance” replied Kerrin.
“Ah so you are Morea’s long lost daughter, I have heard lots about you from the other Dagda. Do not worry I will not harm you and neither will the other Dagda. I have been sent to speak with you, we know that your powers released themselves and that you fear the Guild but you do not have to fear them whilst with us, anyway get some rest we will speak more tomorrow” Domitri pushed her head down gently and willed her to speak no more and with that Kerrin fell back asleep.
CHAPTER TEN – THE DAGDA
The next day it seemed that the blizzard had calmed over the mountain pass, and Kerrin was wide awake huddled up in a corner shivering with coldness. She reached out to prod the fire with her sword when she realised it was missing from her side. Kerrin jumped up and began frantically searching for her sword. Domitri walked in with her sword and a satchel of bread, and meat.
“Why do you have my Mother’s sword?” shouted Kerrin.
“I recognised it that is all and I did not want you to have this weapon as you might endanger my life” answered Domitri.
“What is it that you recognise about my sword?” asked Kerrin as she began to calm down.
“The symbols along the blade are that of The Dagda leaders, I am surprised that you have it” replied Domitri as he handed over her sword.
“Thank you for the return of my sword, may I ask what are you going to do with me?” asked Kerrin.
“What do you mean?” Domitri seemed confused at this question.
“Aren’t you going to kill me for my power?”
“Nicht, nicht, nicht, I will not harm you, I have come to offer you my help along with the other Dagda. We wish you to train in our ways in order to kill Morea. We know he has killed a man that you held very close to your heart.”
“Othel” and Kerrin turned and looked away in dismay.
“This man Othel, Was he related to you?”
“Yes he was, he was my Father but not my real Father. I am going to kill Morea when I return to Isa but that is if he doesn’t find me first. I will accept The Dagda’s offer.”
“First we must travel to the Tunnel of Cerridwen, so you can find your spirit guardian, it isn’t far from here but it is still a journey to make.”
“I understand, we will make the journey and go now” Kerrin got up and sheathed her sword but as she began to walk she staggered and fell to the ground. “Damn it!” She stood up again and walked a slower pace to what she was before.
“Your body is still not used to the cold, here” Domitri handed over his thick black fur lined cloak to Kerrin. Kerrin wrapped the cloak around herself tightly blocking out the cold wind of the mountains.
They exited the secure warmth of the cave into the dawning morn, the path which they were to tread this day was a treacherous one and has taken many lives of travellers and Sharman a like but it is also known as the path of rebirth for reasons unknown until this very day. But it was also feared for the same reason. Kerrin walked slowly through the snow and her shoes were becoming increasingly wet and cold. But she didn’t feel like a cold wet weakling in the presence of this Dagda Sharman, she felt powerful, strong and that she could do anything she wanted to do without a care. Domitri looked at home in the snow. His tall, slender body made him look to good for this mountainous life he led. He looked like a Sharman that had just completed his training at the Sharman Guild. But in truth, he would have passed through the Sharman Guild gates long ago if he didn’t stray to the dark side of Sharman magic. As both Kerrin and Domitri neared the tunnel, the snow began to fall more heavily and it almost blinded Kerrin to the point where she wanted to crawl along the floor. Domitri saw that she was struggling with this weather so he came up behind her and swept her up off her feet. He walked through the snow happily with Kerrin in his arms.
“We are almost at the Tunnel Kerrin” Domitri smiled at her.
“Great, I can’t wait to get this over with” Kerrin laughed quietly.
“I wouldn’t be so eager if I were you, the tunnel is long und dark und extremely lonely” His smile vanished.
“You mean you aren’t coming with me in this tunnel?”
“No why would I? I already have my spirit guardian and am quite happy with her.” He chuckled, “Do not fear the tunnel as it will fear you more” Domitri smiled.
They finally arrived at the Tunnel of Cerridwen and Domitri set Kerrin down onto the ground, he took a deep breath and looked onward at the tunnel as he continued walking, then pointed to the entrance, “Kerrin that is the entrance, go and let the magic guide you” he said looking at her and then pushed her to urge her into the tunnel. Kerrin walked silently towards the cave, the jewels on her sword glistening in the now moonlit sky. As she entered the darkness of the tunnel swallowed her shape and all she could hear around her was the gentle tapping of water coming from the rooftop above. The dark path was flat from the many Dagda that have trodden on it before, he quiet breath came out as a mist in front of her and surrounded her silently. She could hear murmurs all around her but ignored them and continued onwards into the tunnel as it grew colder until she finally saw a light moving just ahead of her, Kerrin ran to catch it. She felt as if she were flying as she ran when she realized she was using her powers to move, by this point she was moving at a phenomenal speed towards the light. The light stopped in a room of which looked like it used to hold great meetings. Kerrin paused in the room and smiled, as she looked around at the different carvings in the wall, she felt as if she had been there before. Suddenly the room went dark and even colder than before, yet she remained still and drew her sword and held it tight in her hands as a sound like a hammer knock came as well as a whisper saying “The spirit council is now in session” and echoed throughout the cavern. As she stood there she felt a dark presence behind her standing silently as the lights began to come up again she turned around and there stood Morea behind her.
“What are you doing here?” Kerrin demanded.
“Saving you from a grave mistake and from my brothers’ treachery” Morea said calmly.
“I don’t need your help, go away! I know what I am doing!” Kerrin shouted.
“I wonder what the dark spirits will do to you when you announce your real name to them for you are not Kerrin, Family of Tir but Kerrin, Family of Perdhro” he said looking at her, “Just accept you are of my family Kerrin, you are my blood and blood never lies!”
Gasps from the spirit council could be heard echoing through and through the tunnel. Until finally a spirit came forward, dressed in black just like the high sharman, Morea looked at him with anguish, “You traitor!” Morea shouted at the spirit. The spirit walked straight past Morea ignoring him totally and walked to Kerrin.
“Child, what is your name?” the spirit asked in a tender tone.
“I am Kerrin, Family of T…” Kerrin paused before she said Tir and decided to use her actual name, “I am Kerrin, Family of Perdhro” she said calmly.
“Ah, you’re a Perdhro, a long line of High Sharman in that family, so I am guessing you are his daughter” the spirit said looking at Morea.
“Yes, I am unfortunately” Kerrin said sadly.
“My name is Arramay, Family of Perdhro, I was the thirteenth High Sharman and the founder of the Dagda, I have been chosen by the council and your inner sharman power to be your spirit guide” said Arramay politely.
“NO, Kerrin don’t accept him please I am begging you, you’ll end up evil and full of hate, please” Morea said looking at her worried.
“I accept you Arramay, Family of Perdhro as my spirit guide” Kerrin said despite Morea’s plead and Arramay smiled and entered her body and mind as they became one, “You my dear father, I challenge, if I win, you leave me to learn under The Dagda, if I lose, I will train under you in the Guild” she said with her sword at his throat as she floated backwards out the tunnel and into the mountains and stood next to Domitri.
“So who is your spirit guardian?” Domitri asked.
“Arramay, Family of Perdhro” Kerrin said as she waited for Morea to exit the tunnel.
“You, you, you got the original Dagda leader as your spirit guide! I don’t believe it!” he said stunned.
“Well believe it and I met my father in the tunnel, did you let him in?” she asked speaking as if in a trance, “I also learnt that my father is your brother, which makes you my uncle”
“No I didn’t let him in the tunnel; he has become more wily than I initially thought and yes I am your uncle, to be truthful I am Morea’s twin brother, the younger one anyway” he said smiling as Morea walked out the tunnel, “Good evening brother” he said slyly as he wrapped his arms around Kerrin.
“Get your arms off of my daughter Domitri before I destroy you” Morea said drawing his sword.
“So you want a Dagda as a daughter Morea, even your supposed wife to be Jenna was Dagda, she was one of our greatest leaders and proved how easily it is to seduce the great High Sharman out of his solitude” he said laughing lightly.
“Jenna was not DAGDA!” Morea roared as he charged in with his sword high, Domitri moved Kerrin out of the way and blocked Morea’s attack.
“She was and you know it! You tried to break her into the sharman ways and she refused, so she ran away with the wine seller” he said laughing lightly.
“Liar! She loved me; she just didn’t want to let the rest of The Dagda know she loved me and wanted to change her ways, she was one of their leaders! Now slowly my own child turns against me in her mind as our great, great, great, great grandfather did against our family and our people” he said pointing at Kerrin and vanished in the air reappearing behind Kerrin grabbing her and vanishing again, “Forgive me Kerrin for what I am about to do” he whispered in her ear as they appeared in the testing arena.
“Why bring me here my dear grandchild?” Arramay said through Kerrin. Kerrin’s eyes were black as the night sky.
“Grandfather, please let my daughter train in the sharman ways and then let her choose her path, the way of the high sharman or the way of The Dagda leaders, surely you can see it is wiser she grow up as a sharman and then turn if she chooses to” Morea said watching her.
“Kerrin, has so much darkness in her heart, so much hate, yet her path is that of the sharman in the light and not of The Dagda, she will be a great leader of both people, she will unite them” Arramay said as Kerrin floated in the air cross-legged, “Allow Kerrin to return and meet The Dagda leaders, she will return by sunset tomorrow, a sure that she will be safe with Kenaz, he would have been a fine Dagda if he didn’t choose his sharman life”
“Very well, she must be back by sunset tomorrow as you have promised” Morea said. Arramay just nodded and returned Kerrin back to her normal state.
“What am I doing here? How did I get here? Please don’t take me back to the mountains father, please, I was wrong” Kerrin said confused.
- Is this your doing Arramay? She would never accept me as her father.
- No, this is nothing to do with me, her heart is showing her the truth and she has accepted it.
“Father, please answer me” Kerrin said.
“You can stay here, you don’t have to go back to the mountains” Morea said smiling and hugging her.
- You are forgetting our deal Morea!
- Shut up! This is her decision not mine or yours!
- You’ll regret this Morea; she will grow strong and with my guidance will turn against you.
- You will not do such a thing; you will be going against the code of Macera and will damn your own soul.
- My soul is already damned! This is my one chance to redeem myself.
- Then redeem yourself by helping her.
- I have no choice, do I?
- No and you know it.
Arramay fell silent and Morea continued hugging her, “Come let’s return you to your Uncle’s apartment” he said as he moved and took her hand.
“Do I have to stay with him father?” she asked, “I would prefer to stay with you” she said hugging his arm.
“Yes, you do, he is your first guardian and I am your second” he said walking along and out of the testing arena, “It is proper for him to care for you more than I since, I promised him your guardianship whilst here” he said kissing her head.
“Okay, father” she said as the moon shone brightly, “Will I see you tomorrow father?” she asked him.
“Yes you will for your lessons will begin tomorrow” he said smiling, “Come, we need to move quicker before The Dagda find you back here” he said vanishing in thin air and reappearing in front of Kenaz’s apartment door and knocked gently on the door and waited. There was no answer after five minutes and Morea became suspicious, he turned to Kerrin, “Kerrin stay here, don’t follow me” he whispered as he opened the door and entered. The apartment was pitch black and so quiet you could hear a mouse down the end of the corridor, he walked into the living quarters and saw Kenaz gagged and tied to a chair, he untied him using magic and no sooner he did this, Kenaz stood and dashed to Morea.
“Where’s Kerrin?!” he said panicking.
“You fool! The Dagda are here and are after Kerrin!” Kenaz said as he ran to the door.
Outside several black shadows began to creep and surround Kerrin as she waited patiently for Morea to return. She did not notice these shadows surrounding her until they solidified and grabbed her, Kerrin screamed, “Father! Help!” she shouted as she squirmed. The hooded Dagda Sharman waved his hand over her face, “I am sorry for this treatment my lady” he whispered into her ear. Kenaz rushed outside and sent an array of flames at them but they easily blocked his attack.
“Pathetic, little brother of a traitor” he said smirking, “It’s a shame your sister let your powers waste away here, you would have been such a good Dagda Sharman” he said holding Kerrin tight.
“What do you mean? My sister was not Dagda!” Kenaz said confused.
“Ha! Your sister was one of our greatest leaders and proved that Sharman are weak when it comes to their hearts and also proved that she was weak as well” he said laughing and Morea walked out of Kenaz’s apartment shaking his head.
“You never learn Domitri, leave the girl alone she has done nothing to you, you just want revenge on me for me gaining this position instead of you” Morea said calmly.
“That position should have been mine! Father knew I was more talented than you, knew I would have been a better leader but no…he choose the favourite, he choose you Morea and I hated you for it and still do but I was found by The Dagda and was reborn a new” Domitri said.
“You abandoned who you were for an evil spirit Domitri and became a demon” Morea said.
“Your daughter will become a Dagda leader with our training brother and will be more powerful than any sharman alive!” Domitri said manically as he lifted Kerrin upon his shoulder, “Farewell, Brother” Domitri said as the Dagda vanished.
Kenaz dropped to his knees and held his head, “No, I can’t believe this happened” he whimpered, “I can’t believe what they said about my sister, she can’t have been Dagda” he looked up at Morea, “High Sharman, why did Kerrin call you father?” he asked confused. Morea looked at Kenaz and knelt in front of him and pulled out Jenna’s journal.
“Read the final entry in that journal” Morea said calmly. Kenaz nodded and opened the book and read:
16 Elazaire 1234
This may be my final entry as the pain grows everyday as the child in my womb grows and prepares itself to come out. I hope that if I do die, my dearest Othel does not read my journal for what I am about to write will upset him dearly. The child that grows in my womb is not his child; it was conceived with the Sharman Guild’s very own High Sharman, Morea, Family of Perdhro. My wish for when I die is for my child to take on the name of her true father and to live with her father become a true sharman and never to meet the darkside of which I have lived for my entire life and I pray my brother Kenaz never finds out about my second life with The Dagda for I know he worked hard in the guild to restore our family name. He is brave and honourable, and I pray that he may find a wife that will love him as much as I do and will in my afterlife, may Thurisaz keep him and my child from harm.
I have looked into the future of my child and have decided to call her Kerrin after the first wife of the first Dagda Arramay. Kerrin, Family of Perdhro, she will honour Morea after she discovers the truth of her heritage and will become the most powerful High Sharman this world has ever seen, my only hope is that she doesn’t follow the second path I have foreseen as it will lead to the end of this world. If she follows the first path, the end of The Dagda will follow.
“I can’t believe it, Kerrin’s your daughter and my sister was a Dagda” Kenaz said shocked.
“Well believe it, now I wish to go and get my daughter back before what I fear will happen” the High Sharman said as he took the book back.
“I want to help High Sharman, she is my niece after all, tell me what to do” Kenaz said as he stood up again.
“You will need to learn the dark sharmanism, the same magick as The Dagda and to be honest I don’t wish to risk you learning it as, to learn it may drive you mad and join The Dagda yourself as my brother did” the High Sharman said sadly, “But you can help me by lending me some of your spirits energy”
“That is illegal and you know it” Kenaz said walking back into his rooms.
“Then Kerrin will become Dagda and there will be no turning back for her” the High Sharman said grimly.
Kenaz stopped dead in the corridor and sighed, “Then I will do it, for Jenna, for Kerrin and for this kingdom, instruct me on how to lend you the spirits energy” he said with another sigh.
“Summon your spirit and I will do the rest” the High Sharman said calmly.
Kenaz nodded as he raised his hand high into the air and began muttering in demon tongue, “Alz ze ihc kaniya erebo, oo maniya el a ne comana eck Califer!” he said his voice becoming more demon like as he spoke until finally his spirit appeared in front of him.
“You summoned me in demon tongue Sharman Kenaz, you only do that in desperate times, what is wrong?” the demon spirit Califer said concerned.
“I need you to lend some of your spirit energy to the High Sharman Califer” Kenaz said grimly.
“That is against the code of spirits, I refuse to do it” he said stubbornly.
“Do it Califer! Or I will send you back to Fehu where your rightful place is!” Kenaz said angrily.
“Why though? Why do you want me to break the code?” he asked.
“My niece has been kidnapped by The Dagda, the High Sharman’s daughter is my niece Califer and I want my sisters’ daughter back, please will you assist the High Sharman?” Kenaz asked again.
“Only if he promises to appease the Spirit Council and stop them from punishing me for this crime” Califer said calmly.
“Califer, you have my word that I will appease the Council if you help me” the High Sharman said watching him.
“Then I shall obey Sharman Kenaz’s wishes” Califer said as he turned into his elemental form of fire and forced a little white orb out, the High Sharman grabbed it before it vanished and swallowed it. As it digested in his stomach Califer turned back into his normal shape, “There you have it, save your daughter so that I may meet her” he said bowing.
“I shall bring her back” the High Sharman said vanishing in mid-air.
CHAPTER ELEVEN – THE DARKNESS IN LIGHT
The Dagda leaders surrounded Kerrin as she awoke in a daze. Before she could fully recover they bounded her arms and legs with magic and smiled, “She should recover fully soon” one of the closest Dagda said to his companion.
“Father? Where am I?” Kerrin said drowsily.
“No dear child, your father is not here” The Dagda sharman said with a laugh as he waved his hand over her face making her become fully conscious.
“Dagda!” She screamed as she tried to run but fell as her bonds were tight, “Let me go, you have no right to take me, I am Kerrin, Family of Perdhro, daughter of the High Sharman, return me to the guild now!” she shouted.
“We know who you are, we are more concerned with the spirit you have and your mothers’ oath” a female Dagda said as she emerged from the shadows.
“Bah! She can learn about that later, right now we should be initiating her! Before Morea gets here!” another Dagda growled.
“That Icuban is too late for I am here” Morea said as he came out behind him, “Now release my daughter before I make you release her” he said sternly as he came into the light digging his dagger into Icuban’s back.
“So you want her back, why is she so important to you? She is Dagda” Wimnar said as she stepped forward.
“She is also Sharman, Wimnar, Grand Sharman of The Dagda” Morea said turning to her and smiling.
“Yes but her mothers oath means she is Dagda and will train as Dagda when she completes her sharman training” Wimnar said smiling just as happily.
“But that oath is broken if the child’s father is sharman and might I add you are even more beautiful everytime I see you” Morea said as he walked up to her.
“Flattery will get you nowhere Morea but you are correct when it comes to a normal Dagda oath, the oath of the leaders state that any child born in a female Dagda is Dagda” she said smiling gleefully at the idea of having Morea’s daughter as a Dagda and fighting against him.
“Yes but you forget that, that oath can be retracted in a statement by The Dagda leader if written in blood and I have that statement and cannot be destroyed for it is protected by their soul” Morea said as he pulled out the book and held open the last entry of Jenna’s journal.
“That traitor!” Wimnar said cursing Jenna, “But your daughter has a dark soul as a guardian which means she is ours” she said in hope of still claiming Kerrin.
“So? The spirit is of our family, the family of Perdhro who happens to be your little groups founder” Morea said sarcastically.
“You mean her guardian is Arramay!” Wimnar said almost fainting.
“Yes my guardian is Arramay and is very kind hearted to me, and reassures me that I will remain safe” she said calmly, “He also commands you to release me into my fathers custody before he rains all of hell upon you Wimnar” Kerrin’s eyes became dark and her hair as dark as night.
“Release her now before Arramay summons through her a demon which you will not be able to fight, please release her unless you want your souls ripped out and eaten” Morea said turning to Wimnar.
“Ashtra neram tonay ackana” Wimnar said casting a spell that made a mark upon Kerrin’s back, “She will be safe from all Sharman in the world” she said releasing Kerrin and everything began to calm again, “That mark will allow her to summon The Dagda magick if she ever needs it, it is our gift to her” she said, “But her light is weak and Arramay is the cause of this Morea, you will have to purify her very soon or your family curse will arise in her but then again maybe that will be a good thing” she said as she and the other Dagda vanished into the night leaving Kerrin and Morea in the mountains.
“Father, I don’t feel myself” Kerrin said as she came around to her normal self.
“That is because Arramay was summoning our family demon in you, seems that you are very powerful in darkness my dear daughter and we will have to change that” he said picking her up and holding her tight in his arms as he launched himself into the air and flew back to the safety of guild.
Back at the guild Kenaz was pacing his study awaiting the return of Morea and most importantly Kerrin, it was his duty as a guardian to take care of her but it was the duty of her father to provide everything and protect her from the evils of the world they lived in. Although in his mind he had failed Kerrin both as her guardian and as her Uncle, both duties were as high as one another. He grew tired of waiting for their return as the hour grew late in the day, he had postponed the student after-hour activities that he ran just so he could wait for them. But hour upon hour they did not return and Kenaz began to worry until a knock came upon his door. He walked graciously to the door and opened it. There stood Domitri with a grin upon his face, “Hello, you must be Sharman Kenaz” he said.
“Yes, I am Sharman Kenaz and who might you be?” Kenaz asked.
“I am Dagda Domitri, I have been sent by my leader with some books for your niece Kerrin to read, a great destiny lies ahead of her if she accepts it, she will unite Dagda and Sharman once again when she is High Sharman, it is good having two Dagda in the family” he said still smiling as he handed over the books to Kenaz.
“What do you mean it is good having two Dagda in the family?” Kenaz asked with a questionable look upon his face.
“Oh, do not tell me you do not know? Your sister was a Dagda leader, your niece is half Dagda, I am Dagda and your niece is related to me thanks to my twin Morea, I too am Kerrin’s Uncle” he said bowing.
“By Thurisaz can my day get any better? I will give the books to her but please come and speak with me it is a rarity that a Dagda Sharman comes to the Guild, please, I have a few questions, shouldn’t take much of your time, on my families honour I swear” Kenaz said practically begging, in truth he wanted to know if Kerrin was safe and unharmed since she had not returned to the Guild yet.
“I should return to the mountains but I need to learn about my family so I will take this time to do so” Domitri said smiling, “Besides I will be appearing more regularly if approved by my brother, I am to pose as a student here in the Guild a late bloomer so to say” he said jokingly as Kenaz showed him into his apartment, “A fine apartment, I was raised in the High Sharman quarters along with Morea, both the same apt level in abilities yet Morea always had something I did not, Father saw it but I could not, Father said that Morea was destined to be the father of great power, something that could unite the Sharman of the world” he looked down with a loving smile, “I miss being here sometimes, it is a hard life in the mountains especially when you are meant to be a leader but treated like a messenger boy all the time” Domitri looked to Kenaz, then to the window and his smile grew as he saw Morea and Kerrin land on the lawn.
Slowly Kerrin stood and stretched her arms and legs. It was her first time flying, Morea was going to teach her how to fly on the way back but in the end decided Kenaz would be worried enough about Kerrin to be pulling his hair out. Morea chuckled at Kerrin as she walked around like a bear that had just come out of hibernation. After a short while Kerrin took Morea’s arm, nestling her head gently upon his arm before they made their way into the Sharman apartments. As soon as Morea stepped into the apartments his head shot a look to the stairs, he sensed something or someone was there that shouldn’t be, cautiously he walked up the stairs trying to not let Kerrin know he was worried of what was ahead. They reached Kenaz’s apartment, Morea knocked upon the door lightly. Kenaz willed the door open for them when he heard the knock, “Come in” he said joyfully. Kerrin entered first, as soon as she and saw Domitri she turned around and said under her breath ‘Dagda’. Morea prepared himself for a fight not knowing who it would be that was in there, a ball of air appeared in his hand as he walked in. Domitri smiled as he saw Morea enter, “Always so predictable Morea, put the ball down, I mean no harm to you or your daughter” he looked to the door, “Kerrin! Please come in, I swear on my honour as a Dagda, I will not harm you or take you anywhere” Domitri said shaking his head.
“What are you doing here Domitri? I thought you would not return here after the confrontation?” Morea said slyly still ready to attack if needs be.
“Wimnar sent me, I did not wish to come but she said I had to come, have to offer some terms, Wimnar says I am to come back to the guild whilst Kerrin is in education here, I am to become a novice once again but also train Kerrin in Dagda ways as well, she is to learn both ways if she is to fulfil her full potential, to unite all Sharman as prophesised” Domitri said standing and looked towards Kerrin, “Morea will you accept me as a novice under the watch of a guardian, I will make sure they do not notice, I am of the winter, high sharman quality, I am strong in all elements now through training with Dagda, I can easily hide the ‘habits’ that we both have and soon Kerrin” he said smiling, looking at Kerrin and Morea darkly.
“So The Dagda want her to train in both ways an interesting proposal but you will not be stalking my novices whilst they sleep to perform the Tel’nariod on them, it will not be happening it is bad enough that I have to kept the sickness at bay but soon the sickness will spread to Kerrin as does it our entire family, you will have to leave the Guild grounds with me of an evening and Kerrin will too best she learn early” Morea said.
“Tel’nariod? What is this Tel’nariod? As Kerrin’s guardian and uncle I have a right to know what this is! What sickness pray tell are you talking about? Can’t the healers get rid of it?” Kenaz said ecstatic.
Morea turned to Kenaz with a look to match Domitri’s, the look of a desperate hungry man, prepared to kill at the slightest touch, “Sharman Kenaz at this moment in time what we talk of is family business, Perdhro family business not Elarador business and you will learn when I wish you to learn” Morea snapped.
“Papa, please I do not understand, what is happening? What sickness? Am I going to die? What is Tel’nariod? Papa, please?” Kerrin bantered on after he had finished. Morea turned to her his face changed again to the loving gazed she knew all to well. He walked over to her and hugged her, “I think a change of first guardian is in order” he whispered in her ear before turning to Kenaz, “Sharman Kenaz, I will be Kerrin’s first guardian from here on, you her second” he said sternly, Kenaz just nodded in agreement, he was in no place to argue with the High Sharman of the Guild of Nied. Once Morea was satisfied he turned to Domitri, “Domitri you will not be a novice here in the Guild, I need a new head of Tutors since Sharman Eriad has passed away, Thurisaz bless his soul, the man was a good friend of mine, helped me out a lot when you disappeared without a trace, Father never got it out of me why I was upset, I begged him to let me find you but he said, he could not have another son vanish on him, who would look after the guild after he died” he sighed lightly, “You will share the novice masters quarters, he knows of the sickness and is well versed in Tel’nariod” he said looking to Domitri, “But tonight you will sleep in my apartments and fresh robes brought to you” he wrapped his arms around Kerrin, “Come my blessed daughter, let us return home and discuss some family issues” with that he walked out the door, closed it behind Kerrin and himself before walking her briskly out of the Sharman’s Apartments and down to his house. Kerrin’s new home.
Domitri looked to Kenaz, “I see my brother still has his temper, just like Father in everyway, I just hope he isn’t as harsh on Kerrin as Father was on us as children learning to control our powers and spirits” he said as he turned to look to the ceiling, “But it is good Arramay is her spirit guardian, it is always good when family guard each other, a stronger bond, you might say” he said chuckling to himself, “So, great I am in charge of a whole bunch of Sharman, wait until the council hear of this” he said still laughing.
“I am one of those Sharman you laugh about, you are my superior it now seems” Kenaz shook his head, “Will you tell me what the High Sharman is on about? This…this….this sickness? And what is this Tel’nariod he spoke of?” Kenaz said.
“Well to be honest, I should not speak of it, I can speak of the illness but not Tel’nariod, Tel’nariod is not something you talk about light heartedly, it is something the person feels when it is performed on them, I cannot tell you anymore about Tel’nariod, it is best you not ask about it anymore, just pray it is never performed upon you, it can… Drive people… mad” he said with a sigh, “As for the sickness well it is because of a family demon that lies within the family of Perdhro, it lives in us and we have to feed its appetite through the Tel’nariod, it almost came out today… through Kerrin, I thought myself and Morea appeased it for this month but now that Kerrin has accepted her true name it demands more and now Kerrin must perform Tel’nariod” he shook his head, “I do not think she will enjoy the thought of what she has to do and will come to you first, I will have to ask Morea to teach you Tel’nariod as he is the eldest of the Perdhro family, only he has the right to say whether another may learn” Domitri looked to the window but turned to walk to the door, “I had best leave, I will have to be there when Kerrin learns, to be there for her, it will be hard for her, thank you for your hospitality, it has been most gracious beyond what I deserve, thank you again” he said bowing to Kenaz.
“It was an honour to have you in my home, go forth and may Thurisaz protect you always” Kenaz said returning the bow. Domitri smiled then vanished on the spot, reappearing in his old bedroom. He was home at last.
CHAPTER TWELVE – A FAMILIES SIN
The stone house that is the High Sharman’s home looked less inviting as Kerrin walked down the beautifully scented cobbled pathway. A feeling of dread came over her like a whirlwind. Fear. Morea knew what he was about to tell her would, even show her would terrify her and he doubted that she would see Sharman the same way ever again. They both sighed, a gentle sigh together as they reached the front door. Danu always knew when the High Sharman had returned and was always there to open the door for him, “Welcome home High Sharman, welcome home Novice Kerrin” he said with a polite bow to them both, “High Sharman, Sharman Domitri awaits you in the living room” he added as Kerrin and Morea walked in, “Thank you Danu, will you please bring some bread, cheese and wine to the living room for me please” Morea said as Kerrin gracefully walked into the leaving room leaving him and Danu alone, “Also do not cook the evening meal, get an early night, I will have Kerrin cook, she needs to learn to use her powers” he said smiling. Danu nodded, then vanished into a dark passageway that led to the kitchens and Morea went into the living room.
Domitri and Kerrin sat next to each other. Kerrin curled up underneath Domitri’s fur cloak leaning on his arm, Morea thought to himself, ‘they would make a good couple if they were not related so closely to each other’. Domitri wrapped his arms around Kerrin lovingly as she smiled showing a hint of worry in her eyes. Morea sat down in an arm chair opposite them both and sighed, “I guess, I had best tell you the entire story of our family Kerrin, Perdhro’s secret, Perdhro’s legacy so to speak, something that your children which you will need to have, will undertake to if Sharman are to remain as they are, as they appear anyway” he said looking down, then looking to Kerrin, “I will tell you of the sickness first, then myself and Domitri will take you into the city to teach you Tel’nariod for Tel’nariod is something you must feel, it is not something you just learn” Morea said solemnly, Kerrin nodded and Morea continued on, “Well before the Guild was formed, nearly two thousand years ago all sharman were inhuman so to speak, they were not like you see today, they were in truth demons who would take on any human as a student if they had the potential to be a strong demon, once they had chosen the student, the students soul would be taken from them and…” Morea paused for a moment looking to the ground, “And were put in a box, the soul would be kept till what was called Tel’jahjihu, the day they become full demon, on that day the student would be forced to eat their own soul thus completing their transformation” he said sighing as if he were made to do it when he was young. Kerrin looked to him as Domitri hugged her tighter,
“What does that have to do with me? I mean us” Kerrin said as she wriggled to get comfortable.
“I was getting to that, patience child or you will never learn anything” Morea said half-heartedly, “The student was only made to eat the soul in Tel’jahjihu if they were not born into a demon family, if the student was born into a demon family which was extremely rare they would not have to go through Tel’jahjihu instead they were taken to Fehu where the great demons held council over what the child was to be called and it was put through many tests to test their worth for honour to a demon was key to survival” he said smiling, “During a council where a child’s name was being decided, Thurisaz came from Algranay to speak, he said that it was time to end thousands of years of custom and tradition and begin a new, of course the demons all laughed in his face bar Perdhro, you see Perdhro was actually a demon, not an actual family, all current families, like your uncle for example, his name is Kenaz, Family of Elarador, the demon his family originated from was called Elarador but ours was Perdhro” he paused as Danu walked in and set on the table an array of cheeses, crackers and wine, he bowed to Morea and Kerrin but not Domitri, Danu did not respect Dagda for his own personal reasons and left the room as swiftly as he entered.
Morea waited silently for a while leaning into the armchair, “I suggest you eat and drink, you will hurt Danu’s feelings” he said with a chuckle as he leant over, took a glass of wine and leant back comfortably in his chair taking small sips of the wine, as Domitri handed Kerrin some cheese and crackers as well as a small glass of wine, “Well where was I, ah yes, well Thurisaz noticed that Perdhro did not laugh at his suggestion to the council but noble Thurisaz did not embarrass our ancestor it was Tir a servant that did, Tir has always had to be one better than Perdhro even though he was just a servant” Morea shook his head, “Anyway, Tir pointed out that Perdhro was not laughing and Elarador who was head of council at the time, said to Thurisaz that it seems that one demon agrees with you why doesn’t he stand, so Perdhro did and walked to Thurisaz’s side, the demons laughed at him and Thurisaz thought to himself, why laugh at one who agrees with me? So he struck down every demon making them human with magical abilities. The demons were fuming with anger all were human apart from Perdhro, he was alone in the world, he turned to Thurisaz and asked to be turned to human also but Thurisaz denied him and said that all their spirits still live within them but need keeping at bay but Perdhro did not want to be a demon if all the rest were not so Thurisaz cursed him and his family, to have to keep all the demon souls that lived in the former demons at bay to be demon but never show it, and Thurisaz proclaimed him the first true sharman and leader of sharman’s for eternity, thus the guild came into being” Morea finished his glass of wine and placed the glass on a side table beside him and opened a drawer reaching in it, pulling out a picture and sending it over to Kerrin.
Domitri smiled as it wafted over and caught the picture in the air drawing it down for Kerrin. He held it for a moment, looking at it and sighing, “Where did you get this picture then Morea?” he asked as he handed it over to Kerrin. Kerrin looked at the picture, the man in it looked a lot like a cross of Domitri and Morea but he looked more like Morea in the dim light of the room.
“Papa, he looks like you but why does he have two odd eyes? And what are those blue markings? I have seen them before in dreams but what are they?” Kerrin said studying the picture in depth.
“That my dearest daughter is Perdhro, I see him in you a lot of him in you in fact” he said with a grin, “I will show you what you really look like if you want” Morea said rising from his chair looking at Domitri and Kerrin. Kerrin turned to Domitri as if looking for an answer. Domitri simply nodded at her. Morea noticed this and wondered why she kept looking to him for answers and shook his head, ‘must be trying to look as if she trusts him’ he thought to himself and sighed.
“Yes, Papa, I would like to see what, I would look like as a demon” she paused and looked down before looking into his eyes, “I guess, I should face my inner demon” she said jokingly.
“This is no laughing matter Kerrin; it can mean life and death for you and chaos for all of Nied if the sharman become demons again, would you like to see your uncle a demon? He would not be a very pleasant person” Morea said scolding her.
“I am sorry Father, please forgive me” she said bowing to him, “I should not have put my answer so jokingly” she said as she stood. Morea walked over to her and hugged her.
“Forgiven” he said lightly as he kissed the top of her head, smiling he took her hand and led her out of the living room. They climbed the stairs, Domitri followed them close behind. Kerrin rubbed her arm gently when they reached the end of a dark hall. Morea opened a door, inside the room stood a long, golden rimmed mirror on a stand, “The Mirror of Truth, it will show you all truths of who you are” he said grimly, “It will also show you that I am not the only black sharman in this room, that there are in truth three black sharman in this room” he held his arm out to allow her to enter, “Go, take a look but be careful some truths become reality” he said as she walked in, she looked to him with a worried look but he just ushered her in. Both Morea and Domitri were prepared for the worst if it came into being.
Kerrin walked over to the mirror and stood there, looking deep into the mirror. At first she saw nothing, yet she kept looking to see what she was supposed to look like. A voice in her head began to speak to her as she watched the mirror, telling her to concentrate on herself and stop thinking about other things. She did as she was told and there in front of her appeared a girl, dressed in the same clothing as her one eye green like her own the other yellow with a blue pattern entwining around her yellow eye and on the palms of her hand a intricate pattern in the same blue as around her eye. Kerrin looked at Morea and Domitri who were both standing behind her; they looked the same, just like her. The voice spoke to her again.
- I see you like your appearance my child, it is a shame the old ways have died, you would have made a good demon.
- Who are you? I am a sharman, I am no demon.
- Not a demon eh? Look at your father and uncle, let them decide, they will tell you whether you are demon or not, even Arramay will tell you, it is a shame Elarador is not here, it would be good to see him again, I still cannot believe that you are of his blood also, pathetic swine, well what are you waiting for look at them!
Kerrin did as she was told; she turned to look at her father and uncle, “We look the same in the mirror, same markings and all” she said nervously, Morea put his hand under her chin to look at her closely and shook his head.
“It seems you have changed in reality also, you bear the marks in reality as well, Perdhro must be strong in you, you will have to fight him with every last bit of strength be strong my daughter and fight him” Morea said kissing her cheek. Kerrin was astounded at what he said and staggered back from him.
“I am not a demon, I am a sharman, and I am not Perdhro and… and… these markings on me, the colour of my eyes this can’t be real, I must be dreaming it” Kerrin said.
“You are the first member of this family to go through the changes that have occurred tonight, it seems you may be Perdhro reborn Kerrin, we will help you to the best of our abilities but I think now you should rest, we can talk about Tel’nariod tomorrow, you need your rest, classes begin tomorrow for you and you Domitri had best sleep as well, I do not want my new Head of Tutors to fall asleep on the job, you will be immensely busy tomorrow as we will have to settle you in your new home and introduce you to the sharman here” Morea said with a sigh. He had hoped that what had happened to Kerrin, wouldn’t happen, his suspicions about her were correct, she was destined for great things but the question that plagued his mind was ‘Will she be able to fulfil Thurisaz’s dream?’’ He walked to the door and opened it again, “Well come on, to bed both of you” he said half asleep. Kerrin and Domitri nodded as they began to walk out of the room. Morea walked over to the mirror and placed a piece of silk over it, cover the delicate glass, stopping anyone looking at it. By this time Kerrin and Domitri had both left the room and were in their own private rooms. Domitri was in the room across from Kerrin, Morea sighed as he walked out of the mirror room closing the door and went to his own room and went to sleep.
Kerrin undressed herself and slipped into a nightdress that was placed at the end of her bed; she smiled to herself as she blew out the candle and climbed into bed.
- Seems your father is suspicious of you now, he thinks you are a demon, he will try and purge you whilst you sleep, you must not let him do this, you will die if he does and what you are prophesised to do will not come true. You need to be a demon, I am sorry to have chosen you but you were the strongest born in my name, I have watched over you since a babe, unleashed your powers and all.
- Who are you? That is all I ask is who are you? I am Kerrin, what is your name?
- I am Perdhro at your service and you will not have to perform Tel’nariod if you allow me to extend my full power unto you. Normally when the signs that have appeared on you, my family decide that they are to be purged of all evil and of course they class myself as evil. I am not evil Kerrin, the evil in this world is those who perform Tel’nariod to keep the demons as humans with magical abilities but I have to appease Thurisaz as well as prove to him that demons can do what he proposed. That is why I chose you; I felt an… attraction to you when you were born. Not an attraction as in looks but in heart and spirit, something I had not seen in my family since well me.
- What about Tel’nariod? Papa said I have to learn it, to keep the demons quiet, to keep evil appeased.
- I do not wish you to perform it; your father and uncle only need to add an extra two people each to appease. Kerrin, do not doubt you are becoming a demon because you are slowly but surely you are. You certainly do look like your mother as your father says but you have Morea’s strong eyes and sense of direction always questioning and thinking on your toes, making stupid decisions that work pretty much all the time but you are so much like myself. I am going to teach you something now, it is called Ji’ju’gradeen, you will be able to talk to me face to face then once learnt.
- I will learn, tell me what I have to do.
- Well lend me a little bit of your power and I will imprint what you have to do in your mind, it is a technique I used on my students when they were to become demons and teach afterwards.
Kerrin closed her eyes and left her power defenceless so that Perdhro could touch it. As she closed her eyes she felt a sudden drain of energy, her eyes snapped open and there stood in front of her was a man very much like Morea but with her markings. She could feel a surge of knowledge enter her mind. Arramay appeared as well sat upon the end of the bed shaking his head. Kerrin just sat up in shock at the two.
“Your father would not approve of this Kerrin and I do not approve of this either, you have said yourself, you are not a demon” Arramay said in a displeased tone, “You are a sharman student and a sharman you will be, you are not a sa’nefia and you will not become a demon, I have the right-mind to go to your father now and tell him of this!” Arramay was furious with her. Perdhro just looked at him and waved his hand making Arramay vanish.
“Go tell Morea then you pompous dictator” Perdhro said shaking his head with a smile, “Well, this is me, your ancestor, well one of them and as for what Arramay said, you will be a student of three peoples, mine a sa’nefia, your fathers a sharman and your uncle Domitri’s a Dagda” he took her palm, looking at it intensely, “I don’t know if it is worth me making take the sa’nefia vows, you are already full demon but untrained” he drew he eyes from the length of her hand to look deeply into her eyes, “But I believe from looking into your heart and living in you, you won’t disobey me, will not use what I teach unless told to by me” he smiled as Morea barged in the door with a powerful force, “It is good to see you Morea” Perdhro said as he turned to look at Morea.
“Let her live how she is suppose to Perdhro, she is not yours, she is human” Morea said walking slowly up to him, until finally he was towering over Perdhro, “Go back to whence you came Demon, you are not welcome here, not now, not ever!” Morea said calmly.
“Oh that is where you are wrong, you knew the instant my markings on her appeared that she was no longer human! You could not face that your daughter is so unlike you and so like me” he chuckled, “You wonder why you never remember when you bedded Kerrin’s mother, it was because you never did, yes it was your body but it was me who bedded her, I took over, you were always so weak, I always wondered why old Prederius made you High Sharman after him instead of Domitri but now I see it, he knew I would take over you and make sure that any child of yours became like me” Perdhro smiled, “It hurts doesn’t it, to know the truth, she will fulfil Thurisaz’s dream with my guidance” he said with a bow, “Kerrin, I would like to leave now, your father and you have much to talk about” he said still smiling. Kerrin nodded and Perdhro vanished whilst Arramay appeared by her side. She sighed a dreamy sigh and laid down.
“Kerrin look at me, look at me now” Morea said taking her by the shoulders and making her look to him but she made no response, she was still in a trance. He blew a cold breath of wind at her face and she awakened fully.
“Papa, I am not Perdhro am I? I am not him am I? Please I am not a demon am I?” she said with such sorrow in her eyes, “You aren’t going to purge me of him are you?” she asked watching him intently.
“Kerrin, we’ll have to purge you of him, to protect you” he replied sternly, “And yes given your current appearance and what you have been able to do, you are my dearest daughter a demon” he said sighing.
“You cannot purge me of him, I won’t allow it, you’ll kill me if you do, ask Arramay he will tell you, please I do not wish to die” she said climbing out of bed and going to her knees in front of him, holding the hem of his robes as if kissing them. She looked like a beggar more than a Sharman in the state she was in, Morea sighed and lifted her up and put her on his knee holding her lightly closing his eyes wondering how he could get out of this predicament, he needed to purge her of Perdhro so she could live a normal life and not be ridiculed for her appearance it was going to be bad enough for her when students found out that she was raised on the streets but was his daughter. He paused for a moment and then came up with an idea.
“I won’t purge you of him yet, do not worry your head about that but you will need to be careful around the guild, people will ask why they have never met you, you will say what I tell you to say, you won’t tell them the truth for they will shun you and treat you poorly, you will tell them I was teaching you in private until now, I am sure Perdhro will teach you much whilst you sleep to get you up to the standards you should be, as for your appearance I will prepare a vial of attanamer, which will keep your appearance from them, they will see you as you once were without the markings or different eyes” he sighed and sat her on the bed as he moved away from her, looking at her with his weary eyes before kissing her head.
“Father, I am not the only one who has changed tonight” Kerrin said running her finger across his face where the Perdhro markings were, “He has affected you to, maybe it is the beginning of the end for Sharman” she said taking her hand away from his face slowly.
“It won’t be because I know you won’t allow it, I know you will fight to keep things the way they are and will do it in a peaceful way” Morea kissed her cheek, “Now be a good girl and sleep, you’ll need your strength tomorrow to fend off other novices even fully trained sharman if they choose to challenge you, goodnight” he said standing and leaving her in the dark once more with Arramay sat at the end of her bed, sighing to himself as he watched her fall asleep.