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The Book of Patches: Chapter 7

Memories

    Bright light, seemingly that of a thousand suns blinded me. The first thought that crossed through my mind was where the hell am I? There was no celestial object that bright; not to my knowledge. As my eyes adjusted to the light, I saw beige sands and sapphire sky; bright sun enveloping this land with heat. What craziness is this?

    I had not realized that not only had I not been able to see, but I could not hear as well. As my hearing started to come back, I heard the metallic noise of sword on sword and the swish of arrows. I adjusted my gaze from that upon the sky, to that of my surroundings. What a gruesome sight for my eyes to behold; many men had fallen, blood seeping into the sand, creating a mud of sorts. The screams of the wounded and dying filled my ears and sounded somewhat familiar.

    I attempted to stand but fell right back down. I felt a searing pain course through my leg and I felt blood spurt out from a large gash in my right leg. I yelled in agony and cursed under my breath. My vision was fading once more; everything was getting darker and the quiet stillness of Death had begun to envelope me in its cold embrace. This was it. This was how I would lay down my life, and I had no idea how I had ended up in this strange land. Such a cruel fate was this.

    Warm hands pressed upon my legs and immediately I was plucked from hell and placed back into this present hell. I saw a man in a brown robe over me with a soft glow coming from his hands and reaching down to my leg. Upon observing my leg, I saw that I was no longer wounded there. This sorcerer had brought me back from the brink of death and I thanked him for it. He nodded and handed me what I presumed to be my sword.

    I looked at the blade briefly; it was unlike any other sword that I had ever seen before. The blade to this sword was about two to three inches wide, sharp as a razor, and slightly curved. Before I could finish admiring the fine beauty of this cold steel, I saw a man in leather armor running towards me with a battle axe, intent on ending my life. I vowed right there to not get so close to death as I had before. I brought my sword up and swung with all my might, slicing his arm clean off his shoulder. He screamed in painful rage and fell to the ground, dying.

    I realized that swinging this fine blade with all my might was unnecessary, for it was light as a feather. I looked around and saw that the battle was slowly dying down. I had no idea if the side I fought for had won or  if we had been defeated. I knelt down to the man I had cut and he rose up slightly towards my ear. I couldn’t make out his dying words, not all of them at least. There was one that I could pick out however. Odin. I knew that name from somewhere, but I could not recollect from where I heard it.

    As I attempted to stand, I felt a searing pain in my back and my chest. I looked down and was greeted by the point of a sword protruding from my chest. It was ripped out within seconds and I fell to the ground once more, dying next to the man I had killed. One could taste the irony. Darkness covered me and my body went numb, taken hold by the tranquility of the dead.

    From the darkness I saw a tiny glow of blue light and heard the thunderous footsteps of two horses. Within seconds I was approached by a mighty warrior atop an eight-legged horse. Beside him were two wolves and circling around him were two Ravens. He wore a golden helmet and a golden ring on his right hand. He carried a spear inscribed with ancient, glowing runes of some long forgotten language. He had a cup in one hand and a large chunk of meat in the other. The two wolves alongside him began to growl and bear their teeth at me.

    “Geri! Freki!” He said in a loud, booming voice while tossing them the meat he was holding. Their attention was turned from me to the meat and he called upon his ravens to perch on his shoulders; Huginn and Muninn. He looked down to me and stated his name. Odin.

    I heard the flapping of wings and felt cold air being blown on my face. Two beautiful and strong women with wings landed ever so gracefully on the surface next to Odin. I heard stories about these women, Valkyries as they are called. They are the ones who carry the valiant dead, the Einherjar, to Valhalla to prepare for the coming of Ragnarok. How I knew all this, was beyond me.

    Odin spoke. “Warriors. Today is not the day you shall die and meet thy Brothers in Valhalla. No! I will give you the greatest gift that I can bestow upon warriors such as yourselves. Awaken!” Warriors? I attempted to look around at whom Odin was referring to, but my environment of darkness was being replaced by a very familiar sight.

    My barracks room in S1 was lit with a dim blue light, bathing everything in it with a soft glow. I sat up and rubbed my head. “What a strange fuggin’ dream.” I muttered to myself. Then, something clicked in my brain. I knew exactly where I had heard of Odin and Valhalla and all that mumbo-jumbo!

    I dashed to my desk and threw open the drawer. Inside was a leather-bound book inscribed with the name ‘Sefaro.’ I pulled it out and thumbed through a few pages before I found what I was looking for. I read it aloud to myself.

Onward into the heart of battle Fought the sons of Odin. Outnumbered many times, still – they fought on. Blood poured forth from their wounds deep into the earth. Vultures waited for the broken shells that once were bodies. Thus Odin alone would choose the day they would enter Valhalla,  and in their hour of need he sent forth onto them, The Berserker Rage. Now gods embed, they rose up from the ground screaming like wild animals! Such is the gift of absolute power! No blade nor weapon could harm them. They killed men and horses alike, and all who stood before them died that day! Hail Gods Of War!

   I thumbed through a few more pages and found another entry regarding the previous:

Deep into the heart of the battle they fought. Covered on
All sides as all converged on them, until the four could
No longer be seen. As time passed I feared them lost, then
Slowly the armies separated, many were dead. I saw the four
Each down on one knee, all stopped to watch and gaze
Upon them with a smile of victory before sending them into
The ground.

Then they rose together to make a final stand. With their
Last bit of strength they raised their arms into the air pointing
Blood stained weapons to the sky. They called upon the god
Of war and made ready to die. But Odin would not call
Them this day to Valhalla, instead he sent thunder and
Lightning to strike the ground, bestowing upon them the
One gift every warrior lives in hope of – the berserker rage!

Now filled with that strength, the power of a thousand
Men was given them. No longer mortal they were touched
By the gods. This time when they took up the attack, men fell
Not by tens, but by hundreds, by thousands. And when the
Smoke did clear, the four spoke the words and the masses
Answered the response of the warrior’s prayer.

Gods of war I call you
My sword is by my side
I seek a life of honor
Free from all false pride

I will crack the whip
With a bold mighty hail
Cover me with death
If I should ever fail

Glory, majesty, unity
Hail! Hail! Hail!

 

    As soon as I had finished reading the last passage, I began to feel nauseous and light-headed. I descended into blackness once more. I awoke to find myself amidst the desert land once more, but this time I was in front of a well organized army.  

    I did not know what to do, but strangely that wasn’t a problem, for I felt as though I was being moved and commanded by an unseen force. Could it be Odin? I stepped down off my horse and dropped to a knee. Three others joined me in front of this army. I briefly looked at them and vaguely recognized their faces; Koa, my blood brother. Lance, a young man who was extremely skilled in the use of his namesake, the lance. Finally, Asenshu, the man who had reportedly fought for nine days straight, so much so that his hand had cramped to the hilt of his sword. Three brave warriors indeed. But, who was I?

    Koa leaned in close to me. “Sefaro, they’re waiting for the Prayer.”

    So I was Sefaro in this dream- or vision of sorts. Suddenly words proceeded out of my mouth involuntarily. “Father on bended knee, I ask thee, raise thy hand. We, the Sons of Odin await thy command. Born under the sign of the hammer we stand, and here we all may die. Our blood on the ground, the battle horns sound, let thy Valkyries fly!”

    A thunderous roar swept through the army that apparently I was leading. Koa, Lance and Asenshu mounted their horses and I followed suit. I dug my heels into the horse to encourage a slight trot, to pace back and forth amongst my army. “Raise thy weapons on this day, ye shall not die alone! Fight and die, let Valkyries fly, for they shall take thee home! I promise thee that on this night, ye shall be by my side. Asgard’s halls await with heroes; Brothers that have died. They are looking down upon us my Brothers and they are saying: ‘For thee we wait, at Asgard’s gate, come join us by our side.’ Brothers! Valhalla waits, so choose thy fate, for all of us must die!”

    I unsheathed my curved blade and held it high in the air, my horse rearing back. Once again, a thunderous roar swept though the men. I turned my horse to face the enemy, easily outnumbering us fifty to one. Deep down, I knew it was a losing battle, but somehow, I could expect my men to fight until they died and take many men with them to the bowels of hell. A single man with red hair and a long red beard stepped forward carrying a massive hammer. I recognized the man as the fabled warrior, and true son of the god Odin, Thor.

    With a loud voice Thor cried to us four. “Sons of the Gods, today we shall die! Open Valhalla’s door my father, Odin! Let the battle begin with swords in the wind! Brothers, let us ride!”

    With that, we began charging towards the enemy. I looked to my three friends and cried back to the army behind us. “Brothers, we fight for glory and for fame! Fight with souls of thunder and hearts of steel! We are killers of men and are warriors friend, and we are sworn to avenge our fallen Brothers! For every one of you that falls, you shall take five of the enemy with you!”

    The battle was a blur. I can’t recall much of what happened, with the exception of hundreds of thousands of men dying by my sword alone. I remember Thor smashing his foes and crumpling them up into piles of twisted steel with his huge hammer. When the dust had settled, I saw that my entire army, save a handful, had been completely obliterated. However, we destroyed the enemy army with haste and had claimed victory at a reasonable cost.

    I sheathed my weapon and knelt down to catch my breath. I counted three survivors, including myself. Only Koa survived out of the other three Sons of Odin. I looked up and saw a small band of men on horseback. Reinforcements probably. I did not have to call the remainder of the army to arms, they immediately formed up behind me and had weapons drawn. Seventeen men remained from my original army and what a sad sight they were to behold.

    The group on horseback rode to our position, signaling that they did not want to fight. I kept my weapon unsheathed to display caution and distrust towards these strangers. As they came to a stop I saw something that I have become quite familiar with: The Deaths Head Emblem of The Black Company. It was on their armor and a smaller version of the emblem fastened their cloaks and capes around their necks. As much as I wanted to say that I knew that emblem and to ask them their names, I could not speak. I had forgotten that I was in a dream.

    Their leader spoke: “We witnessed the battle here. All of it, and a quick one it was. I am Captain of The Black Company. You all have shown great promise on the field of battle and we wish to invite you to our ranks of mercenaries. Before you answer, know this: once you become a part of The Black Company, you become The Black Company. Your only release shall be through death.”

    I nodded my head and my men grunted in approval. The grunt, it seemed, woke me up from the dream and I felt the icy, metallic floor against my face. I was back in my barracks room, dazed and out of whack. I slowly got up and grabbed my cigarettes. I lit one up on my way to the cantina; I needed a drink and a hard one at that.

    I saw Skinny and Sergeant Davion sitting at a table in the corner and I went to go join them. “Shit, Patches, you look like fuggin’ hell.”

    “Thanks Sarge, I know. I had the strangest fuckin dream.” I proceeded to tell the two about the dream I had and the book that I believe inspired the dream. I firmly believed that I had seen what my long lost ancestor, Sefaro, had seen.

    When I finished telling the story, I noticed a hooded person enter the cantina and head in our direction. Amarrian, from the looks of it. Skinny, Sargeant Davion and I placed our hands on our firearms, in case this person was here to start trouble. I noticed an elongated bulk of cloth under his arm, and upon reaching our table, he set it in front of me. I heard Skinny click the safety off  on his firearm and I signaled for him to cease the action that I knew he was thinking.

    “Are you the one that they call Virgil Algheri?” The man asked in a raspy voice.

    I nodded. “This is for you. It’s from a friend. I believe you’ve seen him before? Koa?”

    My eyes widened. How did this person know about my dream? It seemed as though he had read my mind, for he answered quickly. “You have had two separate dreams regarding the life of your ancestor, Sefaro. You have seen his resurrection by Odin and his enlistment with the Company that you are now a part of. You thought that was all coincidence?” The man laughed and began to walk away.

    I asked him to stop because I had more questions, but he ignored me and walked out of the cantina. I was too interested in the package he placed on the table to give it a second thought. I slowly unwrapped the cloth to find that very sword from my dreams along with a note was inside. The note was from Koa, explaining that hundreds of years ago, he was told to hold on to the sword and to give it to a man named Virgil Algheri; a future descendant of Sefaro. Koa had been thrown hundreds of years into the future and into New Eden, by a portal which Sefaro had found.

    I was wondering why Sefaro didn’t just come to me himself, but dismissed the thought. I had so much going through my mind at the moment, that it was hard to concentrate on anything. I unsheathed the sword and marveled at it’s beauty; she sure was a sight to behold and it felt right for it to be in my hand. I fastened it to my belt of my flight pants and sat down.

    “Patches, now you know that’s against regulations. Right?”

    “Yes I do Sarge, but I really don’t give a damn. Have you ever had a weapon that just felt right for you? That you and the weapon had become one?”

    Sergeant Davion took a drink from his mug. “Yes I have. Since you put it that way….you may leave it on. However, if I ever catch you flying with it, so help me….”

    A familiar voice broke the seriousness of the conversation and it came from the opposite side of the bar to finish  Davion’s thought. “I’ll fuckin’ choke you!”

Good ‘ol First Sergeant.

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