The Krigsmar [Prologue]

The Krigsmar, Part 1: Sanctuary
By: Bastian Hafrey

Chapter 00 (Prologue)

My name is Erik Alenius and I am seventeen years old. I used to be just an average guy, with average friends, average grades and living an average life. Turns out being average is the new special and my life was turned upside down the day I made acquaintance with a certain girl one year my junior.

As much as I like to think everything that has happened to me lately is insane, I have to accept the reality that it all actually started twelve years ago. The day I lost my last living relative on my father’s side, Rupert, my grandfather.

Looking back, it was very obvious that I was living in a different world from that of most people. But as an oblivious child I didn’t know any better.

This is the story of how it all started.

***

I giggled and made another leap into the puddle. With my big and heavy boots I was able to make a huge splash like a shockwave! But their bigness made me so clumsy I already tripped many times, almost falling face first into the water.

It had been raining all last night so Grandpa Rupert gave me a yellow raincoat and a big yellow hat. He is the greatest! I wish he would play with me right now though.

I could see him sit in the window, he was shaving again. He always shaved in the morning. He should come out and jump in the puddles with me instead!

I saw a branch sticking out from a dead tree in the bilberry shrubs around the path from my Grandpa’s cabin. Perfect, I had found myself a mighty sword.

With my newfound blade, my golden armor, and my magical boots, I could walk across the moat and engage the evil wizard! The wizard made a most fierce sound. He was stroking its face with an iron shackle which made that loud noise, it had to be evil magic in the works.

I swung my sword at the wizard, but there was an invisible barrier blocking my attack. The wizard noticed my charge and raised an eyebrow. He cast a spell on my sword. The weight threw me backwards and I lost balance. With a raised eyebrow, a deep chuckle escaped the wizard’s curled lips.

“I slay you, evil wizard!” I shouted at him.

The wizard laughed.

With my butt in the moat, I thanked my magical boots for keeping me afloat. But they were filled with muddy moat water now.

I put my sword down on the side of the moat and emptied my boots from mud water, one at a time. The wizard seemed to find it amusing.

When I finally had my magical boots back on, I picked up my trusty blade and watched as the evil wizard let go of his shackle and moved away from the invisible barrier. The big boulder blocking his cavern swung open and out came the bad man.

“What are you doing?” Grandpa asked.

“I’m the hero!” I shouted at him, I’m here to slay you and save the princess!”

“The princess? I haven’t kidnapped any princesses.”

“Oh.” I said. Hm, that was a problem. I don’t want to slay an evil wizard that haven’t done anything evil yet. Wait a minute, but an evil wizard is evil, it’s in the name! And they always kidnap princesses! It’s their job! He’s lying! But evil wizards always kidnap princesses!”

“We do,” Grandpa admitted. But I turned her into a frog, now I have to find a new one.”

I gasped, shocked and horrified! How could he?! How could you!”

“Easily.”

“Evil!”

“But of course, I am the evil wizard!”

“Die!” I shouted at the top of my lungs and charged the evil wizard with my sword. He shifted his body weight to the side and I missed my swing completely. The weight of the end of my sword made me stumble and fall to the ground. Much to the evil wizards amusement.

“Woopsie!” Grandpa said as he pulled me up on my feet.

I had dropped my blade in the commotion. I was defenseless to his strong spells. He could curse me with ease, I was too exposed! Even if you slay me, there will be a thousand more to follow!” I promised him with vengeance in my voice.

Grandpa grabbed my belly with his hands and began channeling his spell through his fingertips. I could feel my life drain, the suffering inside, it was welling out of me. I couldn’t keep it in. I couldn’t … I… Burst into a laugh! Stapph!” I plead. Plea-s sthap!”

Grandpa laughed too, Little brat knight! Take that!”

“I’m dying!!!”

He let me go and I fell to the mud. My lifeless body. Drained dry.

“Erik!” Grandpa said. How would you like to go fishing?”

I perked up, Fishing?”

“Would you like to?”

“Yes!!!”

“Alright,” Grandpa said and patted me on my yellow hat. You be a good boy and go put away your raincoat while I get our rods and push the boat up.”

“Aw, do I have to? I wanna watch you push the boat.”

Grandpa rolled his eyes, It’s just labour boy. The faster you finish, the faster I finish, the faster we can go fishing!”

“Okay!” I yelled and fumbled my way into the cabin. It smelled like birch inside and most of it looked like birch wood too. Grandpa had built it with his own two hands, or so he always said when he had friends over. We only had a kitchen and a living room. Our beds were magically hidden inside the couch.

I took off my knights armor and left it on the floor. The boots too. But I would keep my knights hat. In case the fishes jumped out of the water and landed on my head!

I knew Grandpa would tell me to put the water armor on and I remember where he kept it. It was in the compartment above the shoe locker near the door. I looked inside and as I thought, there I found it. I slipped it on. It was a vest. I could never really get the belt on though, Grandpa would have to help me with that. This armor was very different from my new golden one. It was almost glowing orange, and when I wore it it made me feel as round as a puffer fish, like I could bounce away. I found a pair of sandals in the shoe locker and slipped them on too.

I ran out of the house and I saw Grandpa stretching his arms out while sitting in the boat. He always did that when he pushed the boat. The boat was slipping on the bilberry and lingonberry shrubs out to the water.

“Come here.” Grandpa said before the boat had fully dipped into the water. I would have to get in or else I would have to swim!

I walked up to Grandpa and he got out of the boat and lifted me up and put me down at the far end of the boat. There was a white bucket in the center of the boat, and a big net. The net looked like my butterfly net but way bigger! Our fishing rods were neatly stacked to the inside of the boat. The green one is mine and the red one is Grandpa’s.

Grandpa climbed inside the boat and took the big net thing. He stuck it into the paddle hole on the left, Now you hold this.” He said and dipped the net into the water. I used all my might to keep the net in place and then we started moving.

I never quite understood how it worked, but Grandpa could move the boat simply by stretching his palms out in the air.  I’ve asked him many times how it works and he would say it was magic and I guess it worked just like those tiny magnet things on the fridge, but why was Grandpa the only one who could do it? Mom couldn’t! I hope one day I can do it too.

We slid across the water quickly and soon came to a stop at the center of the small lake. Grandpa took the net out of my hands and pulled it up. It was full of tiny fish, Remember how we do this?” He asked.

“Yes!” I said. We take the tiny fish and put them inside the bucket!”

“Hold this.” He said as he handed me the net. Then he pushed the bucket through the water in one big sweep, filling it full. Now put the net into the bucket so the small fishes can swim around free in there.”

I did as he said and watched as the fishes escaped the net into the bucket. When they were all lose I pulled out the net and started counting. There must have been hundreds of tiny fish in there! So many I couldn’t possibly count them! 1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… I lost track. There was just too many!

“How many do you think there are in there?”

“Maybe twenty five.”

“Oh.” I said. Is that many?”

“Yes it is, and we’ll hopefully get as many big fish!” He said with a big smile. Now, do you remember what comes next?”

“We take the small fish and put them on hooks so the bigger fish eat them!”

“Yes, but first. What do we do?”

“Um..” I couldn’t remember.

“Open your hand.”

I opened my hand and Grandpa pulled it close to his. He took his other hand and got something out of his pocket and put it in my hand. Oh, it was the dry morning bread crumbs!

“Let it fly!”

I threw the crumbs into the water and it dispersed like a wave from the boat.

“Good job.”

I looked down the water and there was a lot of big fishes reflecting off the sun just beside the boat. They were beautiful.

I turned back to Grandpa and he handed me my fishing rod. He had already put a tiny fish on it.

“Now be careful so you don’t fall in, tell me when you got one and I’ll help.”

“Okay!”

I put the bait into the water and watched. The bigger fish didn’t seem to care much. They were probably still busy eating the crumbs.

“I got one!” Grandpa said. He had his own bait down the other side of the boat.

“I’ll help you!” I shouted and scrambled over to him.

“No- no! Keep an eye on your rod!” He yelled at me. Don’t let go of it! Don’t let-”

My rod fell into the water.

Grandpa sighed, but then handed me his fishing rod. Now be careful when you pull up my fish while I get your rod back.”

As Grandpa scared away all the fish on my old side, I hung out over his side. Looking at the fishes hurriedly avoiding whatever he was doing there. I tried to pull his fish up but it was very strong!

I looked over to my Grandpa to see if he could help me, but half his body was hanging over the side of the boat, submerged into the water. He suddenly jolted and swung his body up from the water, triumphantly holding my fishing rod in his hands!

“Alright, got your rod back.” He said. As he was handing it over, he paused mid way. Oh, forgot we caught one with my rod!”

He dropped my rod in the boat and held the other rod together with me, pulling it up with a snap, You need to snap your pull first so the hook goes in good in the fish.” I had a hand on the reel, and he put his hand on mine and helped slowly reel it in.

Something black revealed itself in the water and as he pulled it up to the surface. It was a boot.

“What.” He said as his jaw dropped.

I couldn’t contain my laughter. I knew that sort of thing happened in cartoons, but Grandpa always insisted it could never happen in real life! He was wrong! I laughed so hard I fell to my back, holding my hands on my belly as it began to hurt.

“Stop laughing you little brat!”

He swatted at me. It was a good thing I still had my yellow hat. His swat missed and flew to the side. He lost balance and fell into the lake! The water splashed all over me but that was okay, I was laughing even harder now!

Grandpa grumbled and got back into the boat. He looked like a wet cat. That, and the boot he caught earlier was just too funny! I must have laughed forever, my tummy hurt!

We drifted a bit further out. We didn’t have any more crumbs, but Grandpa said it would be okay, it would just take a little longer between catches. In the end, he only caught his boot and I had caught four perches! They were huge too!

I had let the perches go free in the white bucket, swimming around and eating the smaller fish. I knew we would eat them later, Grandpa would smoke them and we’d enjoy a feast. But for now, I wanted them to be happy. It was fun observing at them, they were so lively in there! Swimming around and eating. Grandpa called it the circle of life. He pulled us back to the cabin the same way he pulled us out. His palms out in the air.

Once ashore. The phone rang and Grandpa ran into the cabin.

I followed him inside and he was yelling at whoever was at the other end of the phone. He slammed it down into its holder.

“Your Mom will pick you up soon.” He said.

“Did you talk to Mom?” I asked, I was worried, did he yell at her? Did they have a fight?

“No no, Erik,” He said, patting me on my shoulder. I would never yell at your mother.”

“Oh okay.”

I went back out, just sitting at the step for the door to the cabin. Grandpa sometimes got like this. I don’t know why he did, but I always got scared of him and wanted to keep my distance when he was in that mood.

I heard a car swirl and drive up behind the cabin. The road was back there. Mom got here quick? Or maybe I forgot time again. I do that sometimes. I got up on my feet and followed the path to the back. There was a car there but it wasn’t Moms. It had left big marks in the parking gravel.

“Who are you!” I yelled at the car. The driver door opened and a black clad man came out. He had scary-looking purple skin coming out from his neck and at the back of his bald head. I don’t know you!”

The man smiled at me, but it wasn’t a friendly smile. There was something hidden behind it.

“Go wait in the cabin Erik.” I heard Grandpa say, he just arrived from around the corner.

“But…”

“Mom will be here to pick you up soon.”

“But…?”

“Go now. Me and this man is going to pay a visit to our neighbors. You can’t come with us or you’ll miss Mom when she picks you up!”

“Okay.”

I hurried back inside the cabin. That black clad man made me feel very uncomfortable. I looked out the kitchen window and watched them disappear along the path into the forest. I never went that far away from the cabin myself. Grandpa had forbidden me to go in that direction, it was too dangerous he said, but maybe one day he would take me, when I am ready.

I waited and waited.

It must have been forever now. Nobody came, I couldn’t take it anymore. So bored. Without Grandpa here, there was nothing to do! How could he leave just like that!

I decided to follow him.

I walked along the path. The lingonberry and bilberry shrubs were low and lush, the trees old. Grandpa said the the trees had been planted by our ancestors five hundred years ago. They also created the lake.

After a while, I could no longer see the cabin behind me and the path abruptly ended ahead of me. I thought maybe they had walked along the shore of the lake, so I continued on.

A tree groaned loudly in the distance followed by a boom and rustle of leaves. I followed the sound with my eyes and saw rays of light beaming out from between the leaves. Another tree groaned and fell, this time I saw it happen in real time. Grandpa was running on the falling tree and out towards the lake. He made a powerful leap over the lake and hit his hands together with a thunder. The lake beneath him exploded like something big dropped into it and the massive wave came crushing towards me.

As I was hit by the wave, my body began to ache and water filled my lungs. I couldn’t see what was happening. My legs and arms didn’t work. My world was spinning and I desperately tried to gasp for air. I needed to breath! I couldn’t!

Weirdly, all the feeling of panic and fear vanished. I could still feel the water all around me, but it didn’t matter anymore. I felt happy. I wish I could stay like this forever. I sighed. Then everything began to darken.

I forced my eyes open, it was difficult. Mom was standing above me, looking down.

“I was so worried!” She said.

“Hu-wa?”

“I thought I lost you!”

Her tears kept dripping into my face. Why are you crying, Mom?”

“You had so much water in your lungs,” She sniffed. Your body was so cold! They thought it was too late to save you.”

I wasn’t sure what to tell her. I felt just fine, well, I did feel cold. Maybe a little tired. But I just woke up so that would explain that.

“Your Grandpa, Rupert, is gone.”

“What?”

“He had a heart-attack while visiting the neighbors.”

That didn’t make sense to me. I saw him above the lake. Doing his thing? That thing he does with his hands and it made a much bigger explosion than usual.

Mom hugged me, squeezing tight. I’m so thankful you are okay.”

I squeezed her back.

“So when can we go see Grandpa?” I asked.

“Oh honey,” She said seemingly squeezing me even harder. He died.”

“Oh.” What did that mean?

I looked out the window from my Mom’s shoulder. The sky was blue, the clouds white …and yet everything now looked a little less colorful.

 

// End of Prologue – This series will have a scheduled release on Wattpad. Stay tuned.

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