The Gifted: Part One. Chapters 1&2
Here are the first two chapters of The Gifted: Part One I have entitled Part One The Tale of Corree the Brave and Nahtalie the Understanding The reason I chose this title becomes clearer farther into the story. I am not very good with grammar or spelling, so please fell free to point out any mistakes I have made.
Pain; a burning pain all up his body as he was being torn limb from limb, this was the new torture of the Calsooins. They strung you to two vertical poles by steel chains. At the other end of each of the chains, a horse- one of the coal black brutes only bred by the Calsooins- was strapped; one chain to each horse, one chain to each limb. Then, the Calsooin King would yell “Kah!”, and the horses would slowly start walking away from each other, sending the prisoner into utter agony.
Now, the horses were moving farther and farther away, causing the pain in Corree’s limbs to increase. He felt like crying out, but bit his tongue so hard blood filled his mouth. The Calsooins would get more fun than ever with Corree as he could live through much more than their normal victims, yet the pain of his injuries was notably worse as well. He shut his eyes tight and bit his tongue even harder to keep from crying out. Vaguely he heard the other prisoner being forced to look on cry out, “Cut him down! He’s only a boy!”
If it weren’t for the pain he would have laughed. Only a boy! Hah, if only he knew. He began to feel like passing out again, but knew that if he did it would only make his captors pull harder and push for longer. Corree struggled to stay awake, but found himself slipping into the dreamless sleep of unconsciousness.
How could they be so cruel to a boy? Boomba watched in horror as they ordered the horses to pull harder. It was horrible to watch someone die like this, especially one so young. Not able to stand it any longer, he began to struggle; but the man guarding him simply punched him in the stomach and laughed as he groveled in the dirt, trying to regain his breathe. When he had, the guard pulled him to his feet and forced him to watch as the boy arched his back in pain.
“Cut him down!” he heard himself shout “He’s only a boy!”
This time the guard satisfied himself by simply gagging Boomba and once more held his head so he had to watch this cruel method of torture. He tried to shut his eyes to the scene before him but the guard only held his eyelids open. He was forced to watch helplessly as the boy went limp. At first, he thought that the boy was dead until he saw his chest briefly rise, and then fall.
As they stood watching the boy, an amazing thing happened. When the guards went up with a bucket of water to revive the boy, suddenly there was a shimmering about him and the guards gave a shout and jumped back, dropping the bucket on the platform. Then, suddenly, the boy appeared to change shape. He changed from a boy about eleven years of age, to a boy about seven. Another shimmer and he looked like a girl, about five years of age; Boomba looked closer, he thought he recognized the girl. Before he could confirm his suspicion, he- or she- started to shimmer faster; shimmer, man; shimmer, woman; shimmer, young woman. It was going too fast to see now; everyone in the stadium was screaming and running around. Suddenly, the shimmering stopped, and the boy now looked like a man about eighteen years of age.
Suddenly, there was a silence that felt oppressive compared to the pandemonium of the stadium a few moments ago. Then, before he knew what was happening, Boomba was being dragged out of the stadium and there was a great roar.
What Boomba had not seen was, as everyone was running around screaming, a richly clad warrior had vaulted over the wall at the head of a thousand soldiers. Seeing the enemy in their own territory had effectively silenced the Calsooins for a moment; then, as if by some signal, they had organized to defend their stadium; and with a roar, they charged.
The warrior, who was in truth only about seventeen, had only overwhelmed two men when he saw Boomba being dragged away. When he had made a note of where they were in the crowd, he pulled his sword out of a body and started to fight his way towards Boomba. When he looked again towards Boomba, they had made a much faster getaway than he had expected and were now almost out of the stadium. Suddenly, to his opponent’s surprise, the warrior leaped on top of the soldier’s head and threw himself into the air. He did a summersault in midair and landed on his feet with a clear path to the retreating guard and Boomba.
In a few quick strides, he had overtaken them and he quickly overwhelmed the guard. The Prince of the realm- for it was he who had led the attack- started to order the remainder of his men back over the wall when Boomba stopped him, “Lord, wait!” he said “There was another prisoner, a young boy- man. We must find him!”
For a moment the prince looked confused, then he nodded his head; “You may go and find him,” He said in a voice that demanded obedience “but I shall go with you. I don’t want you to become a Calsooin toy again.” Then the prince gripped his sword and looked over the crowd for the other prisoner. They spotted him on the other side of the stadium, just as a group of peasants surrounded him. The Calsooins would rather kill their prisoners then have them taken back by their enemies. As soon as they spotted him, Boomba grabbed a sword out of the cold hands of a dead Calsooin, and rushed through the crowd towards him. If they didn’t get their soon the peasants would beat him to death.
Corree, awakened by the blows, was now struggling against his attackers. They had nothing but sticks and fists for weapons, but they were tearing his already torn, bruised, and bleeding body to pieces. He couldn’t struggle anymore; he was vaguely aware that he was being thrown against the wall, and saw a farmer bring forth a pitchfork.
The pain became too great for him, and he let out one long and loud scream. It was the scream of one in great pain and it went on, and on. Then he felt himself slip back into unconsciousness. The last thing he saw was the pitchfork coming towards him, and the flash of a sword.
“How is he?”
Corree heard voices vaguely, as if from a great distance. Then he became aware of a bright light. Is this the great realm? He wondered.
He heard another voice, “Not good. I didn’t expect him to live through the night, much less a whole two days; however I still think it very unlikely he will survive.”
He briefly wondered who they were talking about, but he made the mistake of trying to open his eyes to see. They wouldn’t open, no matter how hard he tried. Then he tried to force them open, but his hands and arms weren’t responding either.
He felt panic surge through him. Struggling to move his arms, or open his eyes, he became aware of a peculiar sensation. He felt as if he were underwater, struggling for breathe, and to get to the surface. Suddenly, he felt his fingers come out of the water. He tried to grasp something and pull himself out, but there was nothing to grasp. As he fought to get out of the water he became aware of something stronger than him, pulling him deeper into the black water of unconsciousness.
He fought hard, but the harder he fought, the deeper he fell. He didn’t know how long he fought, it could have been minutes, or weeks; but he gained a little bit every now and then. Finally, he felt himself break through the surface, to find himself sitting up, gasping, in utter agony. Laying back down he gritted his teeth to keep from crying out. How long he had been unconscious, he did not know, nor did he care for right then he was simply wondering where he was.
As he was sitting there taking everything in, a young woman with raven black hair, and large, black eyes walked into the room with bandages and a glass of water. She was so intent on keeping the glass of water, which was filled to the brim, from falling that she did not notice that Corree was awake. When she did, she screamed and ran out of the room, leaving behind a very startled Corree and a pile of shattered glass in a large puddle. She ran out the door and down the hall screaming, “Doctor! Doctor! He’s alive doctor! He’s awake doctor!” The last word turned into a wail as she stumbled into the arms of a very startled doctor. He wasn’t exactly what you would expect a doctor to look like; he was tall and muscled, like a soldier. He had a long mess of gold hair, and huge green eyes that now seemed to be popping out of his head.
Rushing through the door, he immediately rushed over and ordered Corree to sit up, muttering something about miracles. After making him lay back down again, he set right to work examining him. When he had finished, he collapsed into a nearby chair and loudly proclaimed “It’s a miracle, and absolute miracle!”
Boomba, who happened to be passing the room at the time, heard this and rushed in asking questions before he had even entered. “Is he better? He…” He stopped mid-sentence for he had just noticed that Corree was awake.
“Praise be to GOD!” he said “He is not only alive but awake!”
Boomba stopped talking to look at Corree, who he had been little allowed to see, and this is what he saw; a young man, presumably about nineteen years of age, with sandy hair that came down his head in thick curls that seemed to flash every possible different shade of gold. His eyes were a brilliant blue that seemed to bore into everything in the room. looking into those eyes; Boomba got the creepy feeling that the young man knew everything about him. His chest and arms were well muscled, but swathed in bandages.
“Well, you certainly look chipper. Now tell me, how did this miracle happen?”
He was addressing no one in particular, but Corree answered anyways. “I have always been quick to heal.” He said that with a wry smile that made Boomba think there was more to it than that. There was something mysterious about this young man. Finally, after standing still for a few moments, he worked up the courage to ask something that had been bothering him for a while.
“I would like to know, what happened in the stadium?”
“I was in trouble, and you helped me.” Corree answered.
“No, not that; I mean what was all the shimmering and the changing that was going on.” He started to pace the room “I mean, I could be going crazy, or hallucinating, but I know I saw something in the stadium. Just explain to me what happened.” He stopped pacing to look at Corree with pleading eyes.
He didn’t answer immediately, but lay on his back and stared at the ceiling. Corree was silent for so long that Boomba thought he hadn’t heard a word spoken. Then he spoke, “I’m afraid I don’t know for sure what happened, but I think it had something to do with my going unconscious.” As he spoke, he continued to stare at the ceiling “My gifts are limited but even I do not completely understand them yet. You will simply have to be satisfied with that.”
However, Boomba was far from satisfied, and was about to speak again when the doctor, who had been taking notes until now, spoke.
“What do you mean by gifts? Did you gain some strange device from your relatives?”
Once more, he was silent. Then he spoke as if thinking to himself. “I will only stay here until I heal. If I don’t return within the next month or so, they will make the decision without my information.” Then he directly addressed the doctor “How long until I will be able to get out of bed; More specifically, how long ‘till I will be able to travel?”
“My friend, you have not yet answered my question and until you do I am quite content to refrain from answering your question.”
“Then I guess I will just have to find out for myself.” With that he swung his legs over the side of the bed and started to stand up. The doctor immediately pushed him back down and hastily went back on his decision to remain silent.
“You shouldn’t be able to walk for at least another week, more likely a month; and I will not allow you to travel for at least another year. It is a miracle that you are even alive, and I am still not convinced you won’t die in the night, but I will not let you die of exhaustion.”
Corree let out a small groan.
“Twelve days! By the time I get there they may have made the decision and put it into action.” Here Boomba cut in.
“Hold on lad, I don’t know where you got the idea of twelve days. The good doctor here just said one year; you must have meant twelve months.”
“No, I meant twelve days, and I expect I will be able to walk by this time tomorrow.”
“Not a chance, lad. Not a chance.”
At this point, there conversation was interrupted by the entrance of the Prince, and there was again talk of a miracle.