The Adventurer's Guild
Chapter One: Forced Departure

by Angela Moseley


He wasn't sure if he was dreaming, but his surroundings seemed too surreal not to be. Slowly he lifted his head, and let his eyes settle on the sky; oddly enough it was not just red, but blood red. A few clouds drifted lazily across the sky, adding to the eerie scene. The teen squeezed his eyes shut, and opened them once more, finally allowing them to focus on the ground beneath him. He blinked in disbelief as he found himself standing ankle deep in murky water. Wasn't he just standing on the ground a minute ago? Or had the water always been there? Gazing into the lake, he found it was hazy and reflected the sky, making it look more like blood instead of water.

Slightly nervous, the boy decided to focus on his reflection. Instead of seeing himself, a creature appeared. It had a canine appearance, and a decent sized serpent was entwined around its neck. The image looked familiar... He slowly lifted one hand, and the creature followed suit. Before the boy could do anything else, a voice, no the creature spoke to him.

"Have you ever wanted something so badly that you could feel it? Not just within your heart but deep inside of you? A yearning desire that burned it's way deep into your soul? Yes, you do have that desire within you! No matter how much you try to deny it, it screams across the wind like a shout of agony! Can you hear it boy? Can you?"

"I just want to be happy... Is that so much to ask?" The teen replied.

"Why do you need happiness when you can have power? Even when surrounded by others you've always been alone. Your own family rejects you, you were an outcast in school, and when people took notice of you, they bullied you. Why should you go around impressing others? Embrace the power, embrace the darkness, you'll no longer feel the need for love, or happiness. The only thing you'll need to satisfy is your own desires for lust, power, decay, and destruction. Does that sound much nicer? Come on boy, this is what you desire! Take it!" The beast within the lake snarled.

"No! I don't want to be evil! I don't want to go around causing pain, I know what it feels like, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone!" The teen shouted, taking a step back.

The snake around the beast's neck hissed in annoyance, and the creature spoke once more. "Don't be a fool! Why fight against something you'll never have victory over?"

Deep inside the teen felt his anger building. Angrily he leapt at the reflection, and just before he could reach it, everything went black.

He tumbled out of his bed, and hit the floor with a loud "thud". Tearing himself from his sheets, he stood up breathing hard. What had the dream meant? Was it more than just a dream? Perhaps a premonition?

Turing sharply on his heel, he came face to face with himself in a mirror. The teen's appearance was ragged. His normally unkept spiky brown hair was damp and matted with his own sweat. His brown eyes were dull and bloodshot, and his thin build, looked thinner than ever. Shaking his head, he exited his room heading downstairs for the kitchen. Lurking the in the shadows, he caught a glimpse of his father.

Unlike his son, the man was tall and strong looking. Where his son's eyes were soft and brown, his were hard and blue. Grunting he wiped spilled coffee off of his sandy colored beard, and with a casual flick of his hand, smoothed down his hair. Putting the coffee cup in the sink, the man donned a light windbreaker, and with a sneer exited the through the kitchen door.

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Later that morning a young woman bolted upright in her bed, she could sense something was wrong. Reaching to her left, she felt for her husband, and turned around with the realization that he was gone again. Angrily, she got out of bed and slipped on a robe, causally removing a strand of wavy brown obstructing her vision. The young woman sighed and strolled out of her bedroom, and down the hall to her son's room. She felt a jolt of anger then sadness, as she stared at his empty bed.

"Where could my son and husband be...?" She thought out loud to herself.

The woman was about to her return to bed, when she heard a faint scratching sound outside. Curious she ventured out side and found her son in a tree. He wore nothing except for a pair of sweatpants, and a dark tattoo with a canine-like beast etched on his right shoulder blade. The cold morning air didn't seem to bother him in the least bit. His back was to the house, as he seemed to be fixated on watching the sunrise through the morning fog. She called his named harshly and he turned around to greet her. She felt a pang of regret as she stared into his sad brown eyes, which bore a striking resemblance to her own brown eyes.

"Sage, where is your father?"

Sage's eyes darkened, and he pointed into the distance. "He left out earlier, but I wouldn't bother worrying about him, he was in one of his 'moods' again... I don't care if he ever comes back."

"Don't say things like that, it's not becoming of you." The woman said darkly. "We're your parents and we know what's best for you."

Hurt, Sage once again turned his back to his mother. "Do you...? Are you sure that the both of you even love me? Because it seems like you don't... Just say the word- and I'll leave."

"You're only seventeen, were would you live? How would you eat? No one can make it in this world alone."

"And no one can go unloved..."

The woman turned around, and quickly wiped away a single tear. "Sure they can Sage." With that she strolled back into the house, and slammed the door behind her.

Sage turned around and nearly fell out of the tree. Gripping a branch he could only stare at the closed door with an incredulous expression on his face. "I wonder what's made us like this... I wish things would go back to the way they used to be."

The woman stumbled back into her bedroom fighting the tears that threaten to overwhelm her. Her son had been so cold, so calm, and yet his words touched her so deeply. She could help but remember her younger days, and his... They were filled with so much happiness and warmth...but now everything had turned bitter and cold. She could remember the day that everything had taken a turn for the worst in life. It started with her husband and spread to the rest of them like a disease...

"KIKI! Get DOWN HERE NOW!!!"

The furious yelling of her husband interrupted her thoughts. Deciding it would be a bad idea to keep him waiting she bolted down the stairs as fast as she could. As soon as she entered the living room where he stood, she was greeted by his fury. In a fit of rage he grabbed her wrists and slammed her into the wall, pinning her down.

"Damn you! When I come home I expect this house to be spotless! Look at this place it's a dump! Women only have a place in the home, and if they can't even do that right, then they're useless!"

"Look, it's not even eight am yet? Do you expect me to start cleaning from the minute I get out of bed?"

He pressed her harder into the wall and she cried in pain. "Don't you ever talk to me like that again! My thoughts and opinions are the rule around here!"

Sage stared in shock at the brutal treatment of his mother. Without thinking he grabbed a heavy tree branch and slammed it into the windshield his father's beloved car. Hearing the sound of breaking glass, the man forgot about his wife and ran outside to see about the noise. He was horrified to see his broken windshield. His horror quickly turned into rage, as he saw his son leaping out of the tree.

"YOU DID THIS! YOU SON OF A-" Without saying another he gripped his son by the throat and lifted the poor boy off of the ground. Sage closed his hands around his father's, and desperately tried to free himself, but the grip was too strong. He gasped for air as his father continued his physical and verbal abuse.

"Do you think you can just do what you want and not pay for it?! IS THAT WHAT YOU THINK?! YOU WORTHLESS PIECE OF SHIT!"

"You just can't treat people like they don't matter..." he choked.

Sage's father angrily tossed him into the house. He doubled over into pain from the blow. "We have feelings too..." He said weakly.

"Humph." His father grunted and stormed into the house past his son and wife.

He did that to save me... He really does care about me, and I've been nothing but cold to him.... Kiki thought to herself. She strolled over to her son and knelt down by his side. This time the tears flowed freely. He looked up her, as his emotions overwhelmed him and he also began to weep.

"Why did you do it Sage? I haven't been very nice to you, but yet you risked your life... He could have killed you just then."

"Please don't cry... You're making me cry too. And I don't know why I did it..."

Their moment of tenderness didn't last long, Sage's father stormed outside and tossed a bundle of clothes in Sage's face. Hate burned fiercely in the man's eyes, and he pulled his wife away, and shoved her into the house.

"You've gone to far boy... Destroying my beautiful car was the last straw. Take those clothes, and get out of here! Don't you ever come back, or I will kill you. So help me, I will take my shotgun and shove it so far down your throat..."

Sage's eyes were full of fear as grabbed his clothes and slowly backed away from the house. His father smirked and strolled back into the closing and locking the door behind him. From the window he could see his mother, as she silently mouthed "Take Care."

Putting on his shoes and a T-shirt, Sage slowly walked away from the place he'd known all of his life. When he felt he was a safe distance from the house he turned back to stare at the little house one last time. The wind danced through his hair, making the spikes come to life. He wasn't certain of his future, but he knew it was time for his journey to begin. Only fate would decide where he'd end up next.

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