Fantasy & Sci-Fi

The Last Warrior Chapter 13

By Jaken Steele

For two days he rode. For two nights he did not sleep, stopping to rest only for the sake of his mount. He was a fool in search of a mystical place and a legendary people. He didn't know if they truly existed, but in his thoughts as a child and in his heart as an adult he believed them to be real. They were said to live on the edge of the border between the lands of the dwarves and elves. Whether or not this was true was not questioned; only hoped. The Kyree were the only race that proved that all could exist alongside each other. They were all elven, dwarven, human or a mixture of any and all of these. "They must be found," he thought to himself. With hope in his heart and desperation driving him on like a madman, Tyran rode.

Miniod was more receptive to Janick, Santo and Stefan than they had expected. The burial of Mylos and Kaylan was given much attention. Knights, the mayor and his personal guard and all the people of the city turned out for the funeral. They would have been proud to know Mylos and Kaylan. They were honorable men.

As Janick sat in a tavern drinking his troubles away, the bartender came over to him. "S'cuse me, m'lord, but the old gentleman in the corner wishes you to join him for a drink," the bartender said, motioning to a dark corner of the room. Janick rose and headed toward the elderly man. "I'm honored that you wish to keep me company, sir." Janick said as he sat down.

"On the contrary, Janick Hearthstone. 'Tis I who would be honored to be in the presence of the chosen one." the old man replied. Janick looked at him in wonderment.

"Chosen one?"

"Oh, yes!" the old man said as he laughed. "The one chosen by the gods to be the next king and immortal."

As Janick stared at the man he noticed nothing out of the ordinary. The man had long, gray hair tied back with a piece of rawhide and a long, gray beard that flowed to his chest, yet he had no wrinkles and his eyes held the fire of youth. He chuckled when he saw Janick staring at him. "All is not what it may seem. And yet," he paused as he opened a fist to reveal seven stones in his palm., "all is as we wish it to be."

Janick could only stare in disbelief and stammer out, "Is that…are they?"

"No, of course not." The man said. "They look like the seven power gems, but," he said as he put them on the table. "they are what we wish them to be, for that is what we want them to be. Remember that always. Always know the line between need and want."

"How do I distinguish between the two?" Janick asked.

"Easily," the old man replied. "For example, you want the seven gems of power, but," he pointed to the table where the gems were, but where a stack of seven gold coins were placed. "You need these gold coins to pay for the drinks which we consume. The easiest different between need and want is this. Want is spirit with no substance. Need is substance with no soul. Men can not do what they want without doing what they need to do to survive. All want riches. To get them one needs to work at it and adventuring is work, believe me. Only when a man does what he needs to do in order to get what he wants can he truly live."

"I understand and I truly thank you, but if I might ask, who are you?" Janick said. The man smiled as he began to fade and disappear.

"I'm just a friend," he said before he faded away.

The bartender brought Janick out of his daze. "Disappeared on you, did he?" he said, "I'm not surprised. That will be three gold pieces for the drinks." Janick paid him and as he picked up the rest of the coins he noticed, under the stack burned into the wood of the table and still smoldering, two letters: AR. Janick smiled to himself.