It was a misty morning in Magia, the Capital City of the Realm of Magic. Although there were a few people rushing along the narrow streets of the southern suburb towards the entry gate to the Central District, where the great market place is located, busy gathering their goods to present them on their stands to the customers soon to arrive, the whole area still had quite a sleepy feeling about it. He likes this time of the day, so peaceful and quiet, yet everything’s beginning to become alive, you can almost sense it how the city’s awakening. Not long and there will be life around you everywhere. A cloaked figure slowly moved towards the gate to the suburb, dressed in a dark grey coat of linen supported by leather parts, only grey leather boots sticking out, his head covered by a dark grey hood, drawn down far enough to hide his face in shadow, only fiery golden faintly glowing eyes giving away a glimpse of magical presence.
When he came closer to the gate the soldiers at both sides suddenly stood at attention and saluted. The man lowered his face, closed his eyes and slowly shook his head. He couldn’t believe what just happened. When he was next to them he stopped and whispered: “Don’t salute me, friends. I’m on duty.” The two soldiers froze in place, their faces showing their starting panic. “Now calm down, there’s nobody around, it’s ok. Nobody witnessed it… this time.” he tried to reassure them. “S-Sir, we, we didn’t know. I-I’m so sorry!” they started to apologize. “No need to apologize, just calm down, guys, before anybody gets suspicious after all. How did you know it’s me anyways?”
“W-We, we… it’s just… this grey clothing, the cloak, the way you hide your face in your hood… just as you Guardians are always described, Sir, trying to look unsuspicious. Yet a cloaked figure like this walking around in the capital city in the early morning… I mean, there are no assassins or the like here, not even thieves dare to venture this area, too many wizards and sorcerers around, they would get discovered in mere seconds. Sir, I apologize, but your appearance is not quite as unsuspicious as you might like it to be.” Now the man was quite puzzled, that was an answer he didn’t expect. Then he started to chuckle, laughing about himself, and said: “I should have known! Well, that’s what you call superior intellect, eh? I’m too much used to walking around like that in all those townships and little villages in the far ends of the realm. It was always comfortable being mistaken for an adventurer or something out there. I should have known it wouldn’t work here in the heart of the realm, our home-base. Oh well, it’s been a long time I wasn’t here. I’m not used to the whole city life business anymore, but it’s good to be here again after all those years. So many things have changed since I last visited the city, I couldn’t recognize most of the districts anymore, and that’s a serious statement coming from one of my kind… Now, I think I won’t need this anymore then.” and the man threw the hood over his head revealing his face and his dark black hair ending close above his shoulders. This however puzzled the two guards now and one of them asked: “What? You’re quite young, friend. You’re sure you are a Guardian? You look like around 20!” The young man didn’t show the slightest sign of being taken aback, but chuckled again. “Actually it is 25, if you have to know… in human age anyways.” he answered, opening his coat, revealing his insignias for a moment, so only they could see. Now the two were shocked again, the whole situation slowly making him feel uneasy. “I apologize, Sir! I hope I didn’t insult you. Does this mean you’re a Magical Being then, a Shape Shifter?”
“Could you please stop calling me ‘Sir’ already?” the young man quickly interrupted “No, you didn’t insult me. You can’t. Yes, that’s right. I’m much older than I look. Though… my own kind still references to me as a ‘young one’, so it’s not that far away from the truth, I guess. Anyways, in reality I’m…” Suddenly the other one of the guards interrupted the young Guardian: “Stop, Sir, we’re getting company!” he said, pointing towards a group of merchants coming closer with their carts full of goods, “We wasted enough of your precious time already anyways. Weren’t you up to some important mission?”
“Hey, why did you… sure, you’re right.” the other one was about to complain, now really interested in the young man’s story, but he also understood the importance of the Guardian staying undiscovered for now, “It was an honour to speak to you.”
“Good day, citizen.” both guards said, now no longer whispering, “Glad we could help you.”
“Oh, ehm, yes, I think I will find it now. Thank you… and good day.” the young man answered, quickly taking up the two guards’ intention to sound like this was just the usual ‘asking for the way’-conversation, but still he was a bit sorry he couldn’t tell his whole story. He loved to tell stories, and he always had quite a lot to tell after all. “Boy, what am I doing? I’m on a mission! Don’t get always side-tracked so easily, silly one!” he thought to himself, starting to continue his walk down the street into the narrow suburb.
After a good number of corners and back alleys the young man arrived at a broader street leading towards the outer wall of Magia. The streets were empty in this part of the city, quite dirty compared to the overall clean and ordered appearance of the capital city, and the air smelled unusual yet familiar. He knew he was at the right place. There was a noticeable scent in the air, exactly what he was looking for, Shazri, a subspecies of Trolls, the worst sort actually, their easily distinguishable scent was just about everywhere. Not that he ever would have trouble distinguishing one species’ scent from another, but these were almost too easy to make out. There was a small and quite shabby looking bar further down the street, from the noise coming out this was the place he wanted to go. As soon as he entered the bar the place became deadly silent, everybody staring towards him, the intruder into their personal realm of remoteness. He could see quite a couple of Shazri Trolls sitting around at the tables. This must be their meeting point of sorts. Some were raising their heads, taking in some air with their nostrils and quickly moving their heads away in disgust. They must’ve smelled him. It was the bartender, a rather well defined muscular human of middle age, somebody you wouldn’t want to mess with in his bar for sure, to first break the silence: “Well, hello, Stranger. What can I bring you? Interested in some Ale, Beer or maybe a good bottle of Wine?”
“Pah! You don’t have any ‘good’ wine, only cheap one… and dirty that is!” one of his customers objected. “Shut up, you worthless son of a bitch! How about you finally pay your bill instead of driving away my customers?” the bartender tried to silence him. “Hey! My mother might have been a bitch, but she was a Troll Bitch, that’s a difference!” he answered. Loud laughter filled the room, nobody really cared about the stranger slowly moving towards the bar anymore. “Only a cup of water, please, I didn’t drink anything for a while.” he ordered. “Water? What do you think this is? A public cistern?… Oh, well, if you insist… here’s your ‘water’, Stranger.” the man said, slightly taken aback, not counting on too much money from this customer, and handed over a really dirty cup filled with what you’d rather describe as ‘mud’ than as actual ‘water’. The young Guardian however didn’t hesitate and took it, taking a huge gulp, filling his dry throat and stomach with some fluid, and then added: “And bring some bread and a well done steak for my friend over there. I guess he’s hungry.” while pointing at a cloaked figure sitting at a table a bit separated back in a corner of the room. The creature jumped up, looking at him a little panicked, then calmed down and seated again, waving the young man to come over and sit down.
After the Guardian sat down next to him, he padded one hand on his shoulder and said: “No need to worry anymore, I’m here to protect you. Now about that information you wanted to give me…”
“Protect me? Are you kidding, kid?” the troll said, getting slightly pale, “How could ‘you’ protect me? Oh, this was a huge mistake. I should never have come here! It’ll be best I leave town immediately before he finds out.”
“Calm down. You didn’t contact me for nothing.” the young man said, his hand still on the poor being’s shoulder. “How could I ever calm down? If he finds out, I’m dead… worse than dead! He’s mighty. He can do things to me I can’t even think of now!… And he ‘will’ know.” the thing objected, almost starting to cry now. “You have my word. You’re now under the protection of my order, in behalf of the High Council itself. Tell me where he is and tomorrow this time he won’t be a threat to you anymore… or to any other being that is.” the young Guardian tried to assure him, but the frightened troll wasn’t convinced yet, “You must be mad! Tomorrow? Even if I tell you where master Chin-, ehm, you-know-who is, you’ll never be able to beat him, not even an army of you!… Oh I’m so dead. I won’t even survive the next day, that’s for sure!”
“Oh, come on, you’re safe now!” the man said, desperately trying to calm him down, “Here you’re inside the capital of the realm. The city’s full of soldiers of the High Council’s Guard, its perimeter magically watched by the High Council’s Mystics, and there are members of our order everywhere to maintain peace and order within the city boundaries. Also there’s no need to fear calling Chingorn’s name out loud. After all he’s only a wizard. A mighty evil wizard, granted, you don’t get on the top 3rd place of the High Council’s Search-and-Arrest List for nothing, but still only a wizard, and one whose days are counted already, not to forget. Just don’t leave the city and you will be safe, nobody will hurt you. As soon as you leave this building two from my order will watch your every step. And whenever you’re in doubt, simply go to the Council Chambers, the safest place in the whole Realm of Magic. Now, just tell me where Chingorn’s hiding, will you?” He took his hand off the miserable being’s shoulder and just sat still on the opposite site of the table, staring deep into him with his fiery golden eyes. “For goodness’ sake, don’t speak his name! I beg you, go away. Just leave me alone, will you? He’s in Goron, in the ruined old fortress of the Order of Light! Now go, leave immediately, get yourself killed over there, crazy child. I’ll see you in the afterlife tomorrow!… Oh I’m so dead by now. I know it.” That was it. Now he had what he was here for, but the young Guardian couldn’t leave, yet. He couldn’t leave this poor being behind like this. “Look into my eyes! You can trust me, you feel it. You ‘must’ feel it.” he said, again to assure the miserable one, “You must have sensed already I’m not your regular every day’s child. Let me assure you, I’m doing this for over 3 centuries now. The top entries of the list are my responsibility. I would have died already many times, if I wasn’t really good in my job, believe me. The High Council personally assigned this task to ‘me’, to nobody else. They trust me. Why can’t you?” The troll was a bit surprised to hear that. He knew already there was something irregular about this person on the opposite site of the table, but he couldn’t really make up what. A human of this young age was already a Guardian? That was impossible. Now he heard ‘3 centuries’ and was really clueless about who or ‘what’ he was talking to. It was a magical being, no doubt, but he never heard about one with such a long lifespan. The top of the Search-and-Arrest List were his responsibility? How could that be? How could he possibly be that strong? This young man certainly didn’t look like that. “W-Who, no, what are you?… No. Don’t tell me. I really don’t need to know. I don’t ‘want’ to know. Just leave me already, will you? You have what you want, leave me alone now! I-I don’t know what to think of it anymore… Get lost! Please…” The young man didn’t want to bother the poor being any longer, took a part of the bread for his way and said: “Well, I’ll leave you now. But never forget, as long as you stay here, you’ll be watched by us. You can feel safe now, trust me. This wizard will never get you, I promise. Soon he’ll be out of business already. Now, enjoy your meat, friend, I hope it’s tasty. Farewell.” With this he stood up, took his stuff and started to leave, walking over to the bar.
“Here, that’s for the meal. And thanks for the… uhm… ‘water’, yeah. If my friend over there needs anything, give him whatever he wishes as long as this lasts.” he said to the bartender handing him a small but perfectly cut diamond. This was a surprise. He wouldn’t have expected something like that from this poorly clothed young stranger. Hesitantly he took the stone and, believing it would only be some sugar crystal or something, took it into his mouth and bit on it before the young man could say a single word of warning. He almost broke a tooth, but in spite of the pain his eyes widened in joy. It was really some sort of crystal, and quite a valuable one, that’s for sure. He was already counting the gold coins he would get for it on the market while still trying to figure out what exactly it might be and especially where this strange guy could have it from in the first place. The young man however turned around, uttering “The rest is for you. I have no use for things like this.” and started to walk away, when suddenly he was stopped forcibly by one of the taller trolls, a really mean looking Shazri with an expression of pure hate in his face.
“Not so fast. You’re not going nowhere, filthy little creature!” the Shazri said with a loud booming voice, certainly freaking the heck out of a regular human, maybe even a tough soldier, “Who do you think you are, coming in here like that, disturbing our seclusion and causing all the annoyance with this stench of yours? This is no place for you filthy magical creature scum! You should’ve never come ‘ere.” The young man wasn’t really surprised by this. Quite used to dealing with trolls and this kind of beings already, he was expecting something like this to happen sooner or later. “Well, then it’s just good I’m already on the leave. I won’t disturb you any longer with my presence, Sir. However,… last time I read it up you trolls were beings of magical origin as well, or am I mistaken?” he stated, slowly starting to walk away already, but the thing stopped him again, yet a bit more violently than last time, “No, no, no. You’re not going anywhere unless I’m done with you, got it? You know what I meant. Of course I meant you dirty pathetic White Magic users, fanatical never-do-wrongs, Gargoyle, Kaiser Cobra, or whatever filthy abomination you are. You think you’re that much better than we others, isn’t it? You’re standing above us, looking down on us, just because of your origins!”
“Hey, now, stop it already! You can call ‘me’ whatever you like. I couldn’t care less. You can never insult me anyways. But don’t insult the honourable members of the High Council themselves, Gargoyle Lord Dakon, head of the Council or Councilor Arumin, one of the last living Kaiser Cobras! Some of them are protecting ‘your’ butt as well as others’ for longer than a century now, don’t forget that!” the young Guardian dropped in, “And anyways, none of us is downgrading any other beings. They as well as I do respect you all, regardless of what you are. This I can tell you!”
“Now look at that! Why so protective about the High Council’s honour? You don’t look like an Official.” the Shazri snapped back, “But even if you were, I couldn’t care less. We didn’t ask them to protect us, but we won’t complain about them risking their lives for ours either… after all, it’s better one of them bites the dust than one of us.” Having said that the creature started to grin evilly, waiting for his selected victim’s response. The young man couldn’t believe what he just heard. This poor ignorant creature actually insulted the honourable High Council, while itself just living inside the capital city of their realm, the best protected place on Earth! It wasn’t easy to hold back his temper, his anger slowly starting to climb up, quite close to taking over. Quickly he reminded himself about what he learned in his youth, what they were always told by their teachers and sometimes even some of the elders themselves. It wasn’t really becoming dangerous yet, but still feelings like hate and anger uprising inside of him wasn’t right for his kind, he didn’t like himself being that weak right now and quickly started to meditate a little, to reorder his thoughts, and calmed down. After breathing in and out deeply a few times he regained his inner peace and started to talk his way out of this situation, trying to prevent unnecessary fights the best he could. “Alright. Now why don’t you simply let me leave in peace so you can go back to your business, whatever it might be? I don’t want any trouble with you and you don’t want any trouble with me, believe me.”
“Hah! How pathetic. ‘You don’t want any trouble with me, believe me.’ That’s hilarious. I’m gonna crush you right ‘ere, filthy little thing!” the Shazri answered, definitely not intending to let him leave without a fight. “Stop it, you two, right now! This is not the place for a bar fight, got it?” the barkeeper dropped in. “Now wait a minute… where’d be the place for a bar fight if not in a bar?” one of the other customers objected, quickly silenced by the barkeeper “Shut up! You better start paying your bills or you won’t get any wine from me anymore, got that? Now as for you, Throzar, let this boy go or you’ll get into trouble with me, understood? How dare you offending my valuable paying customers?”
“I’m sorry, Sir. I don’t want that, but it seems he won’t let me leave without a fight. After all, that’s what he intended the second he first saw me coming in. I don’t think you can stop him now.” the young Guardian excused. “That’s bloody damn right! Must’ve used your precious white magic to read my thoughts, didn’t you?” the troll interrupted. Only shaking his head the young man answered “No. Apart from me not knowing how to use any spells, it wasn’t necessary after all either. I could simply read it in your eyes… Now if that’s what you’re after, let me warn you one more time. A fight with me won’t do you any good. It’s not me but only you insisting on it, so simply forget about it and I’ll leave right now. But I sense this is not going to happen unfortunately. So let me show you something.” saying that he suddenly threw his coat away, revealing the uniform of a high-ranking member of the Guardian Order, the secret protectors of the Realm of Magic, responsible only to the High Council itself.
“A Guardian? YOU?! Pah, impossible! You’re lying, filthy little magic user! That’s nothing else than a cheap and dirty trick to scare me, an illusion or something, hah. I won’t fall to that prank, that’s for sure.” the Shazri countered, now even more angered than before. “That’s right. I am a Guardian. You know what punishment awaits you for attacking a Guardian in this realm? Attack me now and I’ll arrest you right away. Believe me. You won’t stand a chance against a Guardian.” The young man could again only shake his head about such ignorance. The rest of the crowd inside the tavern however now got absolutely quiet. They haven’t seen a Guardian in person ever apart from the few rare occasions when some of them were performing a parade escort through the streets for honoured guests of the realm on an official visit to the council chambers. They clearly remembered the uniform however, with all its shiny metallic insignias and ornaments. Some of them even started to warn their friend that this is not a trick, this is really an authentic uniform and this young boy really must be a Guardian, but he didn’t seem to care for it anymore. The troll was in a rage now which could only be calmed by a fight. Unfortunately it seemed this was inevitable right now.
“Oh well, if you insist, you don’t leave me any option. But why don’t we go out into the back alley? There’s more space for a fight and we won’t damage anything inside here.” The Shazri agreed hesitantly, but otherwise he would’ve gotten into trouble with the barkeeper for damaging the furniture, so it wasn’t that a bad idea. They left through the back door, the barkeeper and most of the customers quickly following. Nobody wanted to miss this fight, especially because they all wanted to know how such a young man could actually be a Guardian. The back alley wasn’t that much larger than the bar was, but still there were no tables, stools or lamps in the way and nothing valuable could get broken easily. “Now first let me get rid of this, I don’t want to spill any blood in this fight.” the young Guardian said pulling a long red-golden-coloured sword with many artistic ornaments on the hilt and the blade out of its sheath. “Hah, isn’t that thing a bit too big for you, boy? I doubt you can even wield it!” the troll shouted with a smirk on his face. “Trust me, if there’s need to, I can very well wield it… with ease.” the young man objected taking the sword in both hands, swinging it around once and then thrusting it deep into the solid stone ground to half of its length, like a knife through butter. While he was walking towards the puzzled looking Shazri to get ready for the fight he never wanted to fight, the blade was still stirring, sending light vibrations through the ground and air. One of the bystanders got curious and carefully touched it, only to realize he couldn’t move it a single inch, and the blade was actually emitting quite an unusual warmth. “Still insisting on our fight?” the Guardian asked, getting into position and closing his eyes. After he realized his jaw had dropped down by the sight the troll quickly shook his head to focus on the fight he wanted more than anything else right now and shouted: “Bring it on! I want to make you suffer for what you are! And I am going to spill some blood… Your blood!”