Edited version. Possibly worth reading again if you enjoyed it.
Dark storm clouds gathered on the horizon. Dink shivered as he rode
towards Good Heart Castle, the capital of the western cities. Wind blew in
biting gusts as it began to rainl lightly, every drop like an icy dagger on
your skin. The trees were dancing furiously by the time Dink reached the
closed castle gates, where strangely nobody stood watch. Dink dismounted,
irritated both at the lack of defence around the castle and the fact that
he would have to wait for his much needed bath.
"Oi!" Dink shouted up the wall of the castle hoping to attract the attention of the trainees who were always given the job of watchmen during the night shift. A kid quickly came to the side of the castle and peered over, obviously shocked at the person looking up at him.
Dink was a tall man in his 20's. It was likely that he was the strongest man in the kingdom and also very skilled with a sword. His skin was tanned from years of wandering the kingdom. His hair was black and currently very messy as he had not washed in days. His nose was twisted because he had broken it as a child. He was quite handsome in his way but didn't have the perfect look that many expect of a hero.
The young man stammered as he shouted down to Dink, "Sorry Sir Dink Sir, I'll send for the gates to be opened Sir."
Dink stared up at him, "Be quick about it, or I'll have to have a chat to your superior." The trainee quickly disappeared.
Dink had once been a mere pig farmer in a small farming community but when his mother had died in a fire that had destroyed his farm, he had left it and travelled to the larger towns to try and make his fortune. Now, ten years later he was general of the Kings guard. His steady resolve in battle, complete loyalty to the crown and understanding of diplomatic and military strategy had proven invaluable to the land. To begin with he had saved a girl from a kidnapper and then by chance saved a town from an evil cult named The Cast. Later, when his friend Milder, who was at the time the King's champion had not returned from the Darklands, he followed after him and had managed to finish off the already injured Seth, an evil demi-god that had the ability to control anyone who said his name. The gate creaked down and Dink saw the recruit over near the guard house. The castle was tiny compared to the others across the sea but it served it's purpose. It housed the royal family and served as a center for the army but housed almost no one else. Dink rode forward through the castle and stared down the soldier. He was displeased with him for leaving his post outside the castle because of the weather but knew very well that not long ago he would have done the same thing.
Dink thought of his mother and what she would think of him now. When he was young she had expected him to be a farmer like his father yet he had never wanted to be one. The army had given him a purpose when he had none. He had lost his parents and his house at a young age. One of the things he hated about the army was the way when he made a friend, they would go to fight on the border and not come back. Sometimes he wished he didn't have such a high position and could live the life of a real soldier instead of watching everyone come and go while he lived. The only soldier Dink had known for long was Jimmy. Dink had subconsciously replaced Marcus with him. Milder was his childhood friend who had died fighting Seth.
Dink walked his horse through the gate and identified himself as Dink Smallwood, although it was hardly necessary. He quickly rode through the castle till he reached a luxury tavern that was reserved for higher officers of the army. He left his horse in the stable and went towards the door. As he entered he was overcome by the warmth. Most of the inn looked normal but behind the bar was a startling array of wine and beer and Dink knew it had luxury rooms at the back for a price. A fire burned in the corner and Andrew the barkeep stood behind the bar staring into his drink. There was no one else in there. Andrew looked up as Dink entered and his expression turned pained. Andrew was a short man but also strong, as were most barkeepers who hoped to stay alive for long.
"Dink, we've been waiting for you to return, I'm afraid that something is very wrong," he told Dink, "You should go to the King immediately."
"Andrew," replied Dink in an exhausted voice, "I've been out for weeks, I need a drink and a bath, I've had enough travel to last a lifetime."
"You really have to go Dink, why do you think no one's here? So far 20 people have been driven mad by something evil, the Kings magic advisor says it is coming from the Darklands. I'm afraid Jimmy has been hit too."
"Shit, where are they," Dink asked, now quite alert, "I have to go see Jimmy."
"In the Mage House Dink," Andrew called out as Dink ran out.
Dink reached the mage quarters a minute later and quickly ran in without
even placing his steed in anyone's care. The weather had grown worse over
the last few minutes and it was now pouring down. Dink was soaked and
freezing. From the outside it looked like the building was alive, it was so
crowded. Had he not known better he would have thought there was a party
When he entered he was again overcome by the warmth of the inside compared to the freezing cold out. It was a long wooden house with beds lining both sides of the room. It was packed with people from all over the place. At first glance Dink noticed that there was a mage working at every bedside. Each bed housed one sleeping man, except for one where the man, obviously mad, was tossing and turning while shouting things about oncoming doom. The room had the ambience of a hospital, certainly an disorganised one, with family members looking worried and some crying. It was fairly noisy as people debated what was going on.
Several people looked up as Dink entered, including High Mage Gabriel who had been sitting at a desk with his head in his hands. Gabriel was a wise man with great knowledge of healing arts. He was taller than Dink and had white hair covering most of his face. Judging by the lines under his eyes he was completely exhausted. He wore the cloak of the rising sun as did most of the wizards at the castle. It was a purple and yellow design woven for a Mage when he comes into service of the realm. It was rumoured that Gabriel was actually a half-elf. This belief was supported by his elfishly pointed ears.
Gabriel motioned for Dink to come forward. Dink walked over to the table and leaned over.
"I have some bad news Dink, Jimmy-," started the Spellweaver.
"I know about it, I have to see him," interrupted Dink quickly.
"He's over there," answered Gabriel while motioning to a bed, "You won't get anything out of him, he's absolutely exhausted from his ramblings. When you've finished come around the back, I need to talk to you about this." He put his hands back over his head and ears.
Dink walked over to the bed Gabriel had pointed out. Jimmy lay in the bed nearly motionless Only the slow raising and lowering of the white sheets convinced Dink that he was alive. There was only one person at Jimmy's bed, a soldier Dink had never seen before. The man looked up and his red eyes betrayed the fact that he had been crying.
"He was a good friend," he said to Dink without looking at him, "Now look at him, just an hour ago he was screaming about how we were all going die. The Mages claim they know what's happened to these people but I don't think they do. They just can't face that they really don't know anything." His voice had grown almost to outrage as he talked about the magicians.
"Go get some sleep, there's nothing you can do here," Dink told him. The man got up and left although he didn't want to. He was to tired to put up a fight.
Dink walked into the back room of the hospital and saw Gabriel with some
mages at his side.
"Good, Dink, there is much I must tell you," said Gabriel, sitting down.
"What's all this about? Someone out there said you didn't know what you were talking about," said Dink, as he walked over to the table in the middle of the room and sat down.
The room was fairly dark, lit only by the light from the room next to it. Sounds from the temporary hospital could be heard.
"We do know but we cannot tell anyone without inspiring complete panic," he mage answered, "An evil god has infested the Darklands again and is starting to move in on this world. The madness of these people is just a side effect of him being to close to our own world. This god is pure evil and cannot be harmed. If we are to stop his attack on us we will have to cast him away."
"Move him to where?" asked Dink.
"Either back to one of the 7 Hells, where he came from, or to another world. Moving him to another world would be very stupid as he would immediately consume it and would be back to us in no time. So, we must send him back to where he came. It won't stop him forever but it will be some time before he gets back here."
"So how do we teleport him away?" asked Dink. All this was not what he had expected to hear, but after years of working with wizards he was used to the idea that there was a lot he would never understand.
"With a spell. When you face him I want you to first attack him with your sword. I am almost certain this will do nothing. If it doesn't then you should drink this," Gabriel pulled a vial out of his vest, "You are not a great magician but this will make you think faster and be better for a short time. You will not be as powerful as the god, but start the spell anyway. Some other Mages and I will sense the spell and take it over, making it more powerful. I will teach you the spell now and you will leave tomorrow. There is not much time."
"Can I not have any more time to prepare. I've been out for weeks," requested Dink.
"Absolutely not. Even as we speak our enemy is breaking down the barriers between his world and ours and very soon he will attack us. There is no time to waste."
Dink reached the Ancients' machine, the gateway to the Darklands. The machine was situated in the Edge of the World, a mountain range to the far North of the castle.
The journey had been quick as he had not stopped for anything other than
a blessing at the Church of the Edge of the World. In the 10 years since he
had last come this way almost all the rock monsters and other creatures had
been cleared out to make the area safer for traders coming from beyond the
mountains. While the Church of the Edge of the World looked simple enough
he was sure there was more to it than he knew. Apart from the fact that the
holy water there could cure any wounds or sickness the sole priest running
it seemed to know a lot and often appeared at the castle talking with
Gabriel with a worried expression on her face.
Dink read the inscription on the machine again: "ÄK0Ä§ ãÄ". Dink breathed in preparing himself for what he knew was coming. He hated the Darklands more than almost anything but he knew that the only way he could save Jimmy let alone everything else he knew was to go ahead with what Gabriel had told him. He quickly reached out and pressed the button. With a whirl the machine moved and the world began to fade. Suddenly Dink found himself in the Darkland.
The Darklands were like hell at night. Everything was grey or black. Stretching out as far as you could see was this near barren grey desert covered in cracks and long, branching vines that had huge, poisonous thorns on them. They seemed to be alive and whispering to you. The sky was black and had no stars. It seemed to continue forever, beckoning you to stare at it. There were terrified voices that would spring out of nowhere and screams pierced the air on a regular basis. Dink shivered and remembered his last encounter here. The Darklands were a leftover from the legacy from the Ancients', a civilisation that had lived on the world before the age of humans, elves and goblins. This had once been a great world that they created for themselves. With the collapse of the Ancients' civilisation the world too had decayed and become infested with the worst of all creatures. At the moment Dink could see nothing alive.
Dink looked around and unsheathed his sword. As soon as he did he noticed that a few metres in front of him was what he had come to fight. He hadn't seen it at first but now he felt it's presence.
It looked like blue dust. It had no mouth or eyes and was hovering over the ground. Dink could see almost right though it but he knew it was there because of the pull it had on his brain, beckoning him to side with it and forget all others. It's eyes were like voids that pierced right though you. Strangely it was just hovering and staring at Dink almost like it could read his mind.. Dink realised he had known this creature all his life.
"I am everything Dink, you cannot escape me," the creature stated calmly, in a voice that was like the wind, "I am a god Dink. I know the past and the future. I am a part of all of you. Already your world is being destroyed by a power far greater than me and nothing can stop it. Destroying me will achieve nothing other than amusement to the greater god."
Dink had been prepared for this and had his sword unsheathed. While something was making him desperate not to attack it, the thought of Jimmy wouldn't let go. The creature expected a reply so Dink took advantage of this lack of defence by bouncing forward and stabbing right at it. His sword went through the air. Dink remembered the words of Gabriel, if he couldn't attack it, send it away.
"Ahh Dink, you discover the truth," laughed the being in a chilling voice.
Whatever the creature was it was obviously tired of sizing Dink up. It started to float around in an attempt to get behind Dink. Using some standard footwork Dink remained facing his opponent while reaching for the vial on his belt. Still the force willing him to side with this thing grew.
Strangely the dust just continued to hover around, slowly tiring Dink. The swordmaster opened his vial and drank the red bubbly fluid which appeared to have a life of it's own, jumping around in it's bottle.
Immediately Dink felt himself think faster as the potion took hold. Dink started to chant the spell he had been taught and tried to build up the will inside him. He lost all thought of what was going on around him. No longer did he see the Darklands, no longer did he see anything. He was so drawn up in the spell that there was no energy left for sight, all he thought of was the spell. The power built up inside him, going beyond any feeling of power he had felt before. As he had been instructed, he continued to let it build until he no longer had any control on it. He felt as though he was swimming in a hot stew that boiled around him. The spell grew again, no longer controlled by Dink. His skin tingled and all of his senses were drowned out as it grew. His very skin felt like it was burning and being ripped apart. He forgot everything, no longer knowing that he was human. Then the world literally exploded around him as the spell was released.
He heard the voice of the evil God but couldn't see it. It laughed at him then calmly said "You can send me anywhere but I can wait forever if I have to. I'll be back sooner than you think and then I'll destroy everything you know and make it my realm." The voice faded away.
Dink regained his sense enough to realise he was still in the Darklands. He felt awful. Dizzy, tired, sick, and hefelt like retching. Before he knew it he collapsed backwards, landing on hard ground and fell into an unmatched sleep, haunted by the words of his adversary.
Back at the castle, the wizards of the sun stopped chanting.
Gabriel looked upon the dazed group of magicians sitting around the table and spoke in a solemn voice, "He has succeeded. Remember brothers that all he has done is bought us some time. We must continue our studies for He will find a way back here soon enough, a decade at the most. Return to your rooms and sleep but tomorrow at first light we will have a council on what must be done."
When everyone had left Gabriel looked around the large room, hoping that their situation was not as hopeless as it seemed.
In the wizards quarters the doctors waited and watched the mad men as they had been instructed. One by one they opened their eyes and looked around in bemusement before asking where they were. Most were greeted with hugs from family members as everyone in the hospital relaxed, glad that this strange ordeal was over. Jimmy lay in his bed, trying to remember things. He remembered going to bed at the army barracks but couldn't remember anything after that. Strangely Jimmy realised he was very tired. A doctor came over and sat next to him intending to explain what had happened. Instead he decided against it and simply told him to get some rest, then he walked out to get some much needed rest himself.
P.S. I am only 13 so the story isn't perfect. I had to write this for school so I changed a few things about the world and added some lore to make it better. e.g. Dink never like Milder.