Crow Blade – Chapter 0
He opened his eyes and saw a crimson sky. Around him, there was nothing other than the dry, deserted ground. He didn’t know what that place was, or how did he reach it. He tried to find the memories in his head, but he found nothing. He didn’t even remember his name. He tried to get up, l but his right arm failed to hold him: it slipped through the ground. He looked at it, and saw he didn’t have his arm anymore, only a shadow of it, a shadow with strange bones, and claws on his fingers. Using his left hand only, he managed to get on his knees. In front of him, there was a sword and a gauntlet.
The sword was long and wide, with some strange runes engraved on a golden decoration which ran through the middle of the blade and joined seamlessly with the handle. The gauntlet was like a bigger image of his shadowed arm, and when he looked at it, he felt the need to wear it. As an impulse, he used his right arm to grab it, and to his surprise, his right hand didn’t slip through it. Then he helped himself using his left hand to put the right one inside of that gauntlet. It fit perfectly, like if it was done specially for him. Then he tried to grab the sword with his left hand, but the moment his fingertips touched it, he got burned and had to take his hand away from it.
He knew what that meant: he had to use the right hand. The moment he grabbed the handle, a warm feeling went through the gauntlet into his arm, and ran up into his body. It made him feel good, as if it was what he was supposed to do.
Welcome, master. I have been waiting for you for so long…
– Who are you?
I am your sword and your life.
– I don’t understand…
Suddenly a strange pain filled his body. He wanted to cry, but his eyes were dry. He wanted to scream, but nothing came out of his mouth. His vision faded away and then everything was black.
Suddenly, he started to hear voices around him. He saw lights and shadows, people moving around him, giving orders. He felt the need to breath, he had to. He opened his eyes and his mouth and took in as much air as he could. He was confused.
When his eyes managed to focus, he saw he was in some hospital. He saw the typical lights of an operating room, and doctors around him.
– Can you hear me, sir?
– What’s your name?
– Jonas… Jonas Crow.
– Well, Mr. Crow. It’s a miracle, but it seems you are alive.
– What happened to me? I can’t seem to remember…
– We are not… entirely sure. The man who brought you here left as fast as he arrived. The only thing he said was “save him”. He seemed injured, but refused to stay. You had some really bad slashing wounds, like if you were attacked with some kind of sword. By the time you reached the operating room, your body was in shock and you had lost a lot of blood. We didn’t have too many hopes of being able to keep you alive. Actually… you did die, for a moment. The reanimation didn’t seem to work, but when we were almost giving up on you, you suddenly came back and woke up. And here you are…
– My arm… feels strange.
– It is indeed strange. It looks somewhat like if it was reattached, but it was already like that when you got here. You also have this strange scar in the back of your right hand, like a cross, or a sword…
– I can’t remember any of this… the last thing I remember is I was talking to a girl… I can’t remember who she was, or what did we talk about. But I don’t recall having a reattached arm or a scar in any of my hands.
– Well, you were in shock until recently. Your head might need some time to get back to working properly. You didn’t seem to have any damage in your head so don’t worry, you will remember at some point.
– You are welcome. We need to finish fixing you, so you can just let your body rest for a while.
– I will… I feel sleepy anyway.
He closed his eyes, and his consciousness slipped away into the realm of the dreams.
After one long week, Jonas Crow was finally discharged from the hospital. He had recovered very fast, given the condition of his wounds, but the doctors didn’t see any reason for him to stay, so they sent him home, so to speak.
Jonas didn’t really remember even if he had a home to return to. But he received a wallet as part of his belongings when he arrived to the hospital, and the face in the ID card matched his, so he decided to try his luck going do the address written in it.
He used a credit card in the wallet to get some money, and paid a taxi to that address. He hoped he would recognize the place, but he was disappointed to see a completely unknown house, in a completely unknown street. The house was plain: white walls, two floors, and a small lawn in the back, just yet another house in the street. He knocked at the door, but no one answered, so he grabbed the key ring and tried the keys one by one, until one of them worked. He walked in, and closed the door behind him.
– Hello! Is anybody here?
He didn’t receive an answer. Seeing how no one had come to visit him at the hospital, he assumed that much. He probably was alone. Given his lack of memories, he preferred it that way. He checked around the house, he walked through the lobby and into the living room. He noticed a big flat TV and a couch, a small desktop with a laptop and a phone. We walked through a door to the kitchen, and checked the fridge to see if he would have anything to eat later. The fridge had the basics: water, milk, beer, and some meat. Sadly, the milk had already gone bad, so that was one thing to buy. Although he didn’t really remember it, he was sure he used to drink milk every morning.
He wanted to investigate the rest of the house, so after noticing a door which probably led to some basement, he left the kitchen and went upstairs. There were three rooms, a bedroom, a bathroom, and a third room which was completely empty. He went into the bedroom, and noticed a double bed with a night table on each side, and wondered why he would have that bed. He opened the closet on the other side of the room, and noticed the clothes were all female, which was even stranger. Was that truly his house? He wondered.
He went out of the room, and decided to check the only place he hadn’t looked at. He walked downstairs and went back to the kitchen, then opened the door he had seen earlier and, as his intuition told him, there were some stairs leading down into a basement. He turned on the lights using the switch next to the door, and walked downstairs. He saw boxes full of men’s clothes and other stuff, including some photos of himself. Then he noticed one where he was next to a woman, both in wedding clothes. Did that mean he was married? If so, why didn’t she visit him at the hospital?
Suddenly, his right arm seemed to burn inside. He heard a echo in his head.
Beware. There’s danger behind you.
He heard the typical sound of a gun being prepared to fire. He dropped the photo and raised his arms.
– Who are you? – said a female voice behind him.
– I’m Jonas Crow.
– That can’t be. Jonas Crow died a year ago.
– Can I turn around?
– Go on, but keep your arms up.
Jonas turned around, and saw the woman next to him in the wedding photo, with panic in her eyes, and the gun shaking in her hand.
– Look, I don’t even know who you are. I don’t remember anything since a week ago. Just my name.
– Why would I believe that? How would someone dead and buried come back into my house?
– I don’t know! I told you all I can say, all I remember is I woke up in a hospital, with a wound which should have been deadly, and a strange arm. If it wasn’t for the address in that wallet, I wouldn’t even know about this house!
– You should be DEAD! You cannot be here! Not now, not anymore.
– And what should I do! I don’t know anything about myself. I don’t know where to go for help, I don’t even know if I have any family.
– I don’t care! Please leave, right now, while you still can. I don’t want to do this again.
– A… again?
– Yes! I killed you the first time. With my own hands, with this gun. Please go, I can’t take this anymore.
– Okay. I appreciate my own life. I will leave.
Jonas, while keeping his hands up, walked upstairs. Without stopping, he went to the lobby and opened the door. The woman was following him, with the gun pointing at him every moment. When he was about to cross the door and leave, his arm started burning from inside, and felt the echo again.
Danger. Be ready. They are here. They found you.
He could feel the presence. Right behind him, ready to attack. But between the presence and himself, there was that woman. He felt he had to do something before it was too late, but what could he do? The dream he had that day a week before flashed into his memory: A sword and a gauntlet.
Call for me. You already know my name. Call for me, before it’s too late.
More memories suddenly appeared in his mind. He suddenly knew the name of the sword, and how to use it. Tactics, movements, skills, all at once flowed into his head. He knew how to fight, but did he know how to protect? He did the only thing he could think of.
– I need you, Arkrath – he whispered.
Hi arm started burning hotter, and suddenly the gauntlet appeared in his arm, and the sword.
– What the hell is that?! – Yelled the woman.
– Later. Duck.
The woman did what he said, and he threw the sword back into the house, at the same time a beast materialized into the lobby, jumping at them. The sword didn’t miss the target and the beast dropped dead into the ground.
– What’s happening here! First you come into my house, after a year of being dead, and then this sword appears and kills a monster which wasn’t here a minute ago. This is a nightmare!
– I wish it was, Sarah. I truly do. I remember everything now. I thought that would keep you away from this danger, from this world. So you could stay safe, I had to die, in your eyes, and in your heart. That’s why I did it, that’s why you had to kill me with your own hands.
– You… what?
– I’m sorry for making you go through all that. It turns out it was rather useless. One year, that’s all I could give you. Destiny has a strange sense of humour.
– I don’t understand.
– This war has just started. And it seems you have been chosen to be in it. They know now. They know I’m still alive, they know I still love you. So if I want to keep you safe, you need to know, about this war and our enemies. And about my sword, the Crow Blade, Arkrath.