“Get the women, and children to the Common House immediately!!”, the village elder ordered.
The village was in shambles after the surprise attack by the werewolves. No one had been on duty to watch for enemies since the villagers felt safe hiding in the forest. They were woefully under equipped to handle this fight, and were suffering the consequences for it.
“Elder, we have already lost four men in the fighting. Several more have been dragged off into the woods.”, a villager said, “At this rate they will overwhelm us, and get to the…”
“Don’t say it! We need the men to focus on fending off the attack otherwise we all die!”, the Elder said.
The men continued defending the best they could, but it was evident they weren’t going to last. The Elder wished they had more than just a healer in the village. He knew that the best means to drive them off was fire, but the military had taken all of their magicians for the war effort. The only person they had was an eighty year old healer who could barely manage to heal two people an hour.
“Fall back to the Common House!”, the Elder yelled, “We can’t hold the line any longer!!”
The men started to fall back, and things started to look bleak for the village. That was when one of the men spotted torchlight running down the slope.
“Elder, someone is headed this way!”, he said pointing me out.
The men didn’t know what to make of it, but they were willing to accept any help at this point in time. When I reach the bottom of the slope I proceeded to run as fast as I could to the village. I threw my torch at one the werewolves to get his attention which my gut told me not too. I was genuinely afraid of them, and had been since I was a kid. The only reason I was even helping the village was because of the children.
The torch pegged one of the werewolves on the head, and made him angry. He turned back to look at me just I was swing my sword down on his neck. The sword cut through him like butter so I quickly stabbed him in the heart for good measure. Werewolf blood scent quickly spread through the area causing their attention to change to me.
“Get yourselves in the building with everyone else! I don’t want to catch you in the crossfire!”, I shouted casting a Fireball spell.
Seeing the massive ball of fire the werewolves broke formation to dodge it. Sadly for them this one wasn’t meant to hit them directly. It was set to explode at a specific distance like an air burst bomb. The effect was much more profound than I had imagined. Several of them caught on fire, and in their panic failed to see my approach. I made sure to firmly stab them in the heart before cutting their heads off. They started dropping like flies since they were afraid I would like them on fire. Each successful hit I got with the flame spells increased my level in the magic, and the damaged seemed to also increase.
“Come on you bastards!!”, I harassed them, “Get out-of-town before I roast all of you alive.”
Since individual attacks weren’t working the remaining werewolves attempted to rush me. I decided then to use a fire spell from one of my video games called Firestorm. As the name implies it is a whirlwind of fire that covers a twenty-foot diameter area. The spell caught them off guard as all of them were in enveloped by the flames. Their lungs turned to ash as they inhaled the fire causing them to try to howl in pain. Sadly the inhaled flames burnt their throats to a crisp as well as the fur on their bodies. The now immobile werewolves were now easily dispatched without any issue.
After ensuring they were all dead I stopped to catch my breath. I was running on very little sleep so this had been quite a hard mental work out. Happily I had survived the ordeal bearly because I was on my last leg. It was very evident I was physically weak, and that was something that was needing to change. It would be a hard road because I was lazy by nature so that made things difficult. The villagers started coming out of the building to see the results of the fighting. They looked at me like I was weird for some reason, and being exhausted I just wanted to go to bed.
“Look…I heard the fighting going on from my camp, and came to help.”, I explained, “I have traveled a lot today, and would like to go to bed. If you have questions can they wait till tomorrow?”
The villagers seemed fine with it so I started to head back to my camp.
“Where are you going?”, they asked.
“Back to my camp up the slope.”, I said continuing to walk away.
“Could you stay the night here in the village? If there are more of them out there we may need your help again.”, they said.
“If you have a spare bed here I will happily stay here.”, I said turning around.
They nodded confirming they had a spare bed so I took them up on their offer. I was given a bed in the common house for the night which I passed out in the moment I hit the pillow. I remained dead asleep till the morning when I felt something poking my face. Opening my eyes I found a pair of brown eyes nervously staring at me. The eyes belonged to a little girl no older than four years of age. She had a pair of brown fox popping out of her hair, and a messy brown fox tail. Her eyes told me she was being made to do this as well as the fear she had of me.
“Good Morning.”, I said with a smile.
“Good…Morning…”, she replied shyly.
“Did I do something to make you afraid of me?”, I asked, “If it’s about the fighting last night…”
One of the men from last night entered the large room to speak with me.
“Pardon her behavior. Humans tend not to get along with other races very well.”, he said.
Looking at his long golden hair, smaller eyes, and pointed ears I knew he had to be an elf.
“So humans in this world don’t get along with other races…go figure.”, I said.
“You say that like you aren’t from here.”, he said pulling up a chair.
“That’s because I am not. I was brought here via something called the Summoning Temple. When the King in the neighboring country realized I had no special skills he literally had me thrown out of the castle into a lake.”, I said, “Ever since then I have been wandering around trying to find a place to stay. I found a village two days ago, but was swiftly kicked out by the blacksmith because after a night of practice I was better than him.”
“So you’re a Hero then?”, the elf said.
“Haha…doubt that. Why would they have thrown me into a lake if I was a Hero? Maybe I was meant to be, but the summoning ritual they used failed.”, I said, “Either way I am glad I am not because they were a bunch of pricks.”
“I see. That means you have no connection to your other Heroes?”, he clarified.
“The seven of them threw me out a window sixty feet above a lake.”, I said, “I don’t want anything to do with them after having that happen.”
“Understandable. By the way I am the village elder, Sebitas”, he said reaching out his hand.
I sat up, and gave him a firm handshake. The young girl was still on edge about me so I left her alone. Doing some morning stretches I got up to have a discussion with everyone as I assumed they had a lot of questions for me. The fox girl brought me a bowl of water which I thanked her for. I washed my face before heading outside where everyone was meeting. The impression everyone gave me was mixed at best. The village had been saved by me which wasn’t in question, but I was human which was a big issue for them. I understood they had their issues so I didn’t comment on it.
“So you said you were camping out on the slope last night?”, Sebitas asked.
I pointed at my camp which could be seen in the daylight.
“When the sun started to set I saw the flickering lights of the village. I intended to visit this morning as I have nowhere to go. When the fighting started I wasn’t to sure if I should have helped you.”, I answered, “Afterall I knew nothing about you.”
“Why did you end up helping us?”, he asked.
“For the kids. I wasn’t going to stand by, and watch the kids…well you know.”, I said not wanting to frighten them.
The kids didn’t understand my meaning, but the parents did. They started talking amongst themselves as Sebitas continued asking me questions.
“Do you hold any hatred for other races?”, he asked.
“No, I hate individuals not the races they belong too. The hate blanket isn’t right in my opinion.”, I replied.
“Okay.”, he said, “Do you have any intention of trying to become a Hero?”
“Not a chance in heck!”, I said, “If being a Hero involves only doing what others order you to do I don’t want anything to do with it.”
“Haha fair enough. Last question, if you found a home would you be inclined to assist in helping around that village?”, he asked.
“Depends on the work, but I don’t see why not.”, I replied, “Just so you know I don’t have really any real world skills except working a forge.”
“You are good with fighting though.”, he pointed out.
“That may be true, but being a guard on a daily basis doesn’t help a village. The only time it is a benefit is if the village is under attack. I hope that doesn’t happen on a regular basis.”, I joked.
The village elder informed me it was the first time since they arrived here that they had been attacked. Generally soldiers would cull the monster population, but because of the war there aren’t enough around to do that anymore. The villagers were hoping I would be the blacksmith, and kill nearby monsters in my free time. I would get a place to sleep, three square meals a day, and above all they wouldn’t leak my whereabouts to other people.
“When you put it that way I really can’t turn that offer down.”, I said with a smile.
The villagers looked relieved by my answer. They genuinely looked relieved which made me happy. After having breakfast I left to find the bodies of those who were dragged off…if anything was left. It wasn’t long before I could smell rotting bodies which lead me to a cave. The safest bet was all the most destructive option, but I went with it anyways.
“Fireball!!”, I said casting the spell into the cave then hitting the deck.
A massive explosion occurred when the built up gases caught on fire, and in the tight space exploded. I heard howls from werewolves caught in the blast which made me relieved I hadn’t gone in there. When the dust settled I went inside to find several charred werewolves, and the corpses of the villagers that had disappeared. I dragged them out of the cave to give them a proper burial. I took personal belongings that were still intact so the families could have something to keep. After burying the ten men I returned to the village with a heavy heart.
“You didn’t bring their bodies back?”, the Elder said suspiciously.
Making sure no one was around I explained why.
“The families don’t need to see their half eaten son or husband.”, I said, “I refuse to make them suffer more than they already have.”
The Elder retracted his objections as he hadn’t taken into account the state of the bodies. He instead thanked me for my consideration as I presented the cleaned items to him. He knew the families better than I did so it was best if he returned the belongings. The village was gathered to give the belongings back. I watched as families came up to receive their son/husband’s belongings. They started weeping as they tightly held the items which made me almost break into tears.
As we got to the last man’s items a fox woman came up with her five children. The thoughts running through my mind were of pity for them. None of the other men had more than two children. She was now on here own with five mouths to feed with no assistance from a spouse. It wasn’t my place to step in, and help so I just silently kept to myself. The young girl that woke me up was among the children that were crying their eyes. When she spotted me she ran over, and started hitting me with her fists.
“Why didn’t help us earlier!!”, she shouted in anger, “My Papa died because you didn’t help us soon enough!! All humans are cruel, and only care about themselves!! We wouldn’t have to hide ourselves away if it wasn’t for your kind!! I wish you would all just die!!”
She was right…I could have stepped in earlier to help them, but I didn’t. I was concerned about my own life over theirs, and I openly admitted that. No one could blame me though as they would have hesitated like I did. This child only understood that her father was dead, and blamed me because I fought them off by myself. She didn’t understand that someone like me could feel fear as well.
The Village Elder quickly punished her for her rudeness. Even her mother scolded her for saying that out of line. They both understood why I had hesitated, and felt bad I had been called out by an angry child.
“She is right though…if I hadn’t hesitated I could have saved more people.”, I said hanging my head in shame.
“You don’t know that!”, the Elder said, “Even if you came sooner just a scratch is enough to infect a person. He was one of the first people attacked so there was nothing you could have done.”
“Papa could have got better!!”, she said tears streaming down her face, “He promised he wouldn’t leave us!! He promised!!”
She started bawling her eyes out because of her broken heart. Her siblings gathered around her crying their eyes out as well. The town fell into a sober mood which I politely excused myself from as I had no right to be apart of this time of mourning. While the town mourned their losses I went to the blacksmith to start working.