by Paul D
An army that can't lose.
|This story is an edited version from 'A Crystal Warrior's Account' by Darvia.
* * *
I open my eyes. A green glow provides enough light that the wooden door on the other side of my room is outlined clearly. I pull back the covers, and the glow increases. Anyone who looks at me will only see the green glow and not my body. I am Darvia, and I am a crystal warrior.
I was not born a crystal warrior. Kislyp, the wizard, changed me when I turned eighteen. The crystal warriors have never been defeated in battle. It is extremely hard to kill someone you cannot see.
These past twenty years have been ones of pain and torture. I am writing this account so that our story will not be forgotten.
* * *
The walls were cracked, and weeds crept up the outside walls. The thatched roof had dark splotches in various places. I walked up the dirt path to my home. My mother and I lived here alone. I did what I could around the house, but it was difficult. I worked in the fields from sunup to sundown. It was hard work for anyone, but for me, a girl of eighteen as of tomorrow, it was grueling.
My mother sat in a chair staring at a wall. She lived within her own mind too much for my comfort. I took a large kettle and went outside. I took a long weary walk to the nearest stream. By the time I got the kettle filled and returned home, I was dead tired. But I was accustomed to this life. I threw some vegetables into the kettle and hung it over the fire.
I sat wearily in a chair next to my mother. "Tomorrow I will go the castle and join the crystal warriors."
My mother opened her eyes and looked at me. The hurt and despair in them was more than I could bare, and when tears began to leak from them, I turned away as tears formed in my eyes as well. "I have no other choice, mother," I pleaded for her to understand.
Smyl, my brother was taken from us two years earlier to serve at Stronge Castle, which was hundreds of miles from here. My father died from an illness this past winter. My mother would not survive another winter without help. A crystal warrior's family was taken care of by the Guild of Crystal Warriors.
"Do not go to that dark place!" My mother begged.
Kislyp's Castle stood on the edge of a large plateau. The crystal warriors lived at the keep. They never retired until death took them.
There was nothing I could say to comfort my mother. I, truly, had no other choice, and I would do whatever was required for her and my survival.
* * *
I scream in pain. I have lived with this pain for these past twenty years. If I knew then, the agony I would suffer, I do not believe I would have had the courage to join the crystal warriors. The green crystals that are in my body have caused this pain, but they have also given me protection: I do not get sick; cuts are healed almost instantly; and even a mortal wound can be healed over time. The average crystal warrior lives for hundreds of years. Kislyp has been a wizard for almost a thousand years, and one of his crystal warriors was over eight hundred years old when she died.
The thought of living with this pain for hundreds of years is terrifying. But it is too late for regret; now, I can only survive. The sad part is that my mother died from a fall two days after I joined the crystal warriors. I feel as if my sacrifice was mocked by the fates.
I remove my night clothes and dress. I do not look forward to today. The green crystals are being removed from some of the warriors and being replaced with red crystals. The red crystals are much more powerful than the green ones. I shiver with fear. I saw a red crystal warrior only once. I will never forget that encounter.
* * *
I had been a crystal warrior for fifteen years. I had been in more battles than I could ever remember. Arrows were the greatest danger that I faced. I was shot five times over the span of those years. Even though I wore light chain mail, a pile arrow could do a lot of damage. My wounds all healed quickly; still, it hurt to be shot.
I heard a loud keening sound that chilled me to the bone. I looked around. Then I saw a red glow that was proceeding toward the castle. I shivered. I had never seen a crystal warrior with a red glow. I had heard a few rumors of the red warriors, but I never thought I would see one.
I felt a sadness to the very core of my being. As a green crystal warrior, I understood some of their situation, but I knew only of the rumors not of the reality. I heard that they could not eat, speak, or sleep because of the intense pain and that only the presence of the red crystals in their bodies kept them alive.
* * *
I am awakened very early; my thoughts of last night are still heavy on my mind. The soldier at the foot of my bed says, "Kislyp awaits."
The name 'Kislyp' is enough to make anyone quake with fear, but for a crystal warrior, it is akin to a death sentence. The soldier stays in my room while I dress. His presence is almost laughable. If I wanted to leave, he could not stop me, but, truth be told, Kislyp knows where I am at all times.
The walk to the lower level of the keep goes much faster than I desire. The soldier brings me to a wooden door. I hear ear splitting screams from beyond the door. There is no end to them. I feel my tears, running on my cheeks. My screams will be joining theirs very soon. I do not want to know what horror awaits me beyond this door.
The soldier opens the door and I enter. There are three glowing red figures on the far end of the room who are screaming. There is a green glow from someone lying on a stone table in the middle of the room. Kislyp puts his hand into the glow. When a green crystal pops up into his left hand, most of the glow vanishes. There is a naked woman on her stomach, and two red crystals are in Kislyp's right hand. He touches her neck with one red crystal, and it vanishes inside of her. Then a red glow surrounds her body.
The woman's screams join with the other three, filling the room. Kislyp puts his hands into the red glow, again, and a few minutes later, the woman's screams intensify. I am terrified and shaking with fear. I want to run, hide, or do something, but I stand quietly awaiting my fate.
Kislyp motions to me. I am shaking so hard that I have a hard time standing up. When I arrive at the table, he says in voice colder than ice, "Remove all your clothing."
My hands shake as I obey. As my clothes pool at my feet, I want to scream in protest but noncompliance is not an option. I keep quiet and slide onto the cold stone table, lying on my stomach. The cold stone is welcoming to my stone cold heart. My fear is beyond comprehension, then I feel my pain almost disappear. It is heaven for only a brief moment, then I scream. My pain is such that I am beyond feeling now. My world has become one of only pain, and my screams are as natural as breathing.
I turn over onto my back in response to his commanding voice. Four green crystals leave my body. My pain does not lesson. A few moments later, there are four red crystals in his hands; my eyes stream tears. Both of his hands descend slowly, then the red crystals vanish inside of me. My screams intensify, and I know my screams will never end until my death.