Daisuke opened the door to the grandiose chamber. It held the appearance of a wooden throne room. Though the room was lit with torches and candles, there remained a stubborn darkness creeping in the corners. It was as though some part of Daisuke’s being knew he was being watched, while the rest of him was ignorant. 

Such a feeling meant nothing to Daisuke. He carried it with him everywhere. What he found excessive was the decor. Sasquatch pelts, heads of tribal leaders, and other such trophies from fallen enemies adorned the walls. As powerful as Malastiin was, why should he need so many reminders? The man on this throne wasted his potential. Daisuke hated him. Hate was all Daisuke ever felt, on the few occasions when he felt anything. 

“Lord Malastiin.” Daisuke bowed. “You summoned me.”

“Yobidasu Daisuke.” Malastiin snuggled deeper into the Sasquatch pelt coat he nearly always wore. “I presume your sacrifice went well?”

“The entire village was tainted. I had to sacrifice them all.”

“You look all the stronger for it.” Malastiin looked at Daisuke like a theif at a chest of gold. “Still, it’s too bad that the village was wiped out and will produce no more sacrifices. Agents are venturing further south.”

“Tainted men grant more power upon their sacrifice. We should return the favor.”

“Perhaps, but there is a more urgent matter. Go to the middle of the jungle lands. You will find an agent there. If you sacrifice him, you’ll be strong enough to defeat the assassin that killed your family.”


“Don’t waste time with distractions. You’ll want to hurry if you don’t want to miss them. And watch out for the ficwood trees. They bite.”
Another hour passed as we approached the village. George had his nose in that darn book the whole time. Then he’d stop and ask Abdul-Baari some nonsensical question. Usually the man would refer him to another part of the book. Most of the journey had passed this way. The two went on about some imaginary kingdom being within reach, or some otherworldly Father having the answer to life. It was ridiculous seeing grown men so list in fantasy. George started telling me that this Chosen One could save our people from their troubles and I’d finally had enough. 
I grabbed the book from his hands. “Your stupid imagination isn’t going to save us, George!” I pointed to the wagon. “This will save us when we trade it for stuff we can use to make weapons. Real weapons.” I pointed to Abdul-Baari. Magic could help us if mister glow-in-the-dark here wasn’t so stingy with people that are capable of coping with reality.”

“But Henry, what if the Kingdom of Heaven…”

“Here’s what I think of your lousy kingdom!” I threw the book on the ground, pointed the ring, and flames engulfed it. What happened next was unexpected.

  • Probably out of reflex, George jumped toward the book. I will the flames back into the ring before George was burnt, but then it felt like the magic kept coming through the other side of the ring and into my finger. Power surged from my finger to my heart, then to the rest of my body. It built up like pressure until I couldn’t stand the pain, then it exploded in a shock wave from my body. It knocked the others off their feet and rattled the wagon. Dizzy, I lifted my head just in time to see a similar shock wave emit from George’s body before I blacked out.