Nov 16, 2010

The Fateful Encounter

by Saad Hussain

The warm, golden rays of the setting sun filtered down through the tall trees of Murkwood Forest. Various
rustling and chirping sounds could be heard as animals and birds returned to their homes and prepared to settle down for the night.

John Barrows knelt by the base of a tree, inspecting the ground for signs of the herd of deer he was tracking.
Finding some fresh hoof prints, he stood up and brushed the dirt off of his worn, patched tunic and coarse
trousers. He stealthily followed the herd’s trail, always making sure not to step on a twig or brush against
some bushes; in the now silent forest the sounds of his movements might alarm his prey.

John found the deer in a small clearing. Running his eyes over them he selected the one which he wanted
to kill. He grabbed his bow and fit an arrow into place. Manoeuvering himself into position, he fired the arrow
and watched it sail through the air towards the stag. Just as it was about to hit its mark there was a flash of
light, a whoosh of air and the crumbled remains of his charred arrow fell to the ground.

The explosion caused the deer to flee. They galloped into the darkness and soon faded from sight. John warily stood up, glancing around for the source of the energy blast. His tall, lean body tensed, wondering if a fight was about to take place. John had the looks of a brawler; his broad shoulders, thick muscular arms and ever-present scowl were enough to make most people stay away from him.

He slung his bow onto his back and drew his sword. Stepping into the shadows he pondered what he should do next. Suddenly a voice called out to him, “Welcome john Barrows. You need not fear me. Come out into the light so I can have a good look at you.”

Even though the voice that spoke to him was completely unfamiliar, John’s instincts told him that this unknown
person meant him no harm. Slightly relaxing his grip on his sword, John stepped out into the clearing.
Immediately there was a flash of light and a fire sprang into existence just yards away from him.

The light from the flickering flames was reflected off of John’s eyes. His eyes were his most unique feature;
they weren’t brown or blue or even black, they were pure golden in colour. As John blinked a few times to adjust to the sudden light he saw the figure of an old man approaching him.

To say that this person looked strange was an understatement. He was of average height and build but
radiated an aura of power. He wore flowing robes made of a coarse, green fabric. His face was very wrinkled and his eyes extremely wise but those were the only things that belied his true age. His walk was that of a young man and his voice was strong and deep. His face and arms were striated with a red paint or bloodlike substance. On his head was a strange headdress.

“Who are you and how do you know my name?” asked John.

“I am Sazabi, the Oracle,” the old man replied. “The spirits told me you would come. Aah this is a great day
for me. I am in the presence of an Arcadian.”

“What did you call me?”

“I said you are an Arcadian. Your golden eyes are proof of this fact. Arcadians are the only ones who are blessed with those eyes.”

“I’m sorry but what the hell is an Arcadian?”

“Aah I forget that you are still young. Right now you cannot even comprehend the powers that you possess.
Come, let us eat and I shall explain everything to you. It was no coincidence that you came to this clearing. My house is just beyond those trees.”

As John and Sazabi sat eating vegetable stew in Sazabi’s hut, the oracle spoke. “Arcadians are people with
extraordinary abilities. They appear throughout time whenever humanity is in peril and needs a champion to
defend it. Arcadians are almost always accomplished warriors but usually also have latent magical talent. They
are destined to help shape the future of the world.”

John suddenly burst into a fit of laughter. As soon as he regained his voice he said, “I’m sorry but that’s the
biggest load of crap I’ve ever heard. I may be a lot of things but I am definitely not some mystical hero. Besides, there is nothing wrong with the world right now so if I was an Arcadian there would be no reason for me to exist.”

A flash of anger crossed the old man’s face but disappeared almost immediately. “Ah, the arrogance and
foolishness of youth. There is much in the world that your untrained eyes do not perceive. You are a wanderer
are you not? You travel from place to place searching for a purpose in life but never finding it. Look in your
heart. You will find that all I have told you is the truth. I am offering to train you, to help unlock your hidden
potential. A great evil is coming and this world will soon need its champion.”

John pondered over Sazabi’s words as he lay in bed that night. The logical part of his mind said that everything he had heard was just the rambling of a senile old man. His instincts however, told him to trust Sazabi and do as he said. By morning he had his answer.

“I may not believe everything you told me but my gut tells me that I should listen to you. I will stay here and
let you train me,” John said.

“Excellent. This world might yet be saved,” replied the oracle.


ailsa said...

nicely done,

Asma Afzal said...

nice. the old man makes me miss dumbledore.

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