The Genius

By Riley Young
The Genius

“Vlad hated seeing the army. He hated knowing that when they came to his town, something bad was always going to happen. He also hated that every time the army came to town, they were coming for him.”

Chapter 1

 

Vlad hated seeing the army. He hated knowing that when they came to his town, something bad was always going to happen. He also hated that every time the army came to town, they were coming for him. He sighed and stood up from his perch atop an old oak tree. He hurried down the tree’s trunk and ran back home to get some things before he left for a few weeks. As he got home he noticed that his parents weren’t home at the moment. If they were home, they might have asked where I was going and I don’t have that much time, he thought. He grabbed his knapsack, a sheepskin jacket, his cloak, a saxe knife, and his magic lantern. He quickly ran into the kitchen to pick up a few loaves of bread and some beef jerky. He then ran outside and turned around the corner just to bump into his best friend Blurr.

“Hey there, Vlad. Why are you in such a hurry?” Blurr asked while pulling Vlad up from where he fell.

“Just going hunting out in the forest,” Vlad replied evenly.

“Looks like you overpacked for this trip, but who am I to stop you,” Blurr said.

Vlad nodded his head and started running up the alley towards the forest when a man came out of a shop and almost bumped into Vlad. Vlad stumbled while trying to stop himself from running into the man.

“You all right, laddy? You almost took quite the fall trying to stop yourself,” the man replied while steadying Vlad so he wouldn’t fall again.

“I’m all right. Thank you for helping me out,” Vlad replied while dusting off his clothes.

“Think nothing of it, me’ boy,” the man said.

Vlad looked up and saw a thick beard covering the man’s face and a large smile that lit up his face.

“Thank you sir, but I must be on my way now. Goodbye!” Vlad yelled as he ran towards the forest.

“Goodbye, lad! I’ll see you soon,” the man yelled as he waved.

As Vlad entered the forest he brought out his lamp and snapped his fingers. Instantly the lamp lit up as fire appeared inside of it. Vlad smiled. Being a pyromancer was very nice, especially when you could do things like this. Vlad quickly made his way towards the heart of the forest, where he hoped to find an area where he could set up camp. As he ducked underneath a tree branch, he saw a large hole under a tree’s roots and he crawled inside, careful not to loosen the dirt underneath the roots for fear of the tree coming loose and falling on him. He hung his lamp and sat hunched in the back of the hole. He then slowly drifted off to sleep but was woken by the sound of many feet marching at the same time. Vlad lifted himself out of the hole and quickly ran in the opposite direction of the sound. As he ran, Vlad kept thinking about his next move. Would he orchestrate an assassination? Or would he steal some precious object?

Vlad then thought of a good idea of how he could deceive the kingdom and assassinate one of the most revered men in all of Throga’ul. Vlad, lost in his train of thought, didn’t notice the fallen tree ahead of him, and as he was about to turn, his foot hit the tree and he fell into a heap. Next time I should look where I’m going, Vlad thought. Vlad stood up and as he was about to start running again, he heard his stomach rumble, and he realized he hadn’t eaten yet. Vlad pulled out a loaf of bread from his knapsack and tore it in half, eating one half and saving the other for some other time. He then stood up and ran towards the southern edge of the forest.

It was dusk by the time Vlad made it to the edge of the forest. He was weary from running and jumping over trees, shrubbery, and other plants. Vlad looked up from where he had just sat down and saw a vast expanse of tall marsh grass that stretched on for miles and miles. He knew he couldn’t make it to the next town, so Vlad decided to camp out in the marsh for the night. As he looked for a good campsite, Vlad noticed a little flicker of light in the middle of the field and he made his way over to it. As he approached, he could smell cooked meat and his mouth watered. He had almost gone through all of his rations while in the forest, and the idea of cooked meat sounded fantastic. Vlad peered through the grass to look at the campsite. What he saw there interested him greatly.

There was a group of six men seated around a campfire and each man had some type of weapon with him. Vlad then noticed that there were several tents behind the campfire, and the men were walking around them. Vlad turned to look at the tents more closely when he saw that some other men had started campfires too. The smell of meat and vegetables cooking made his stomach growl. Luckily all the men were so engrossed in their conversation that they didn’t notice Vlad’s stomach. Vlad slowly crept towards them to hear more.

“Ok so what’s our next job, Larr?” one of the men asked. The man who spoke was of medium height with long black hair and a lopsided nose that showed it had been broken in a fight.

“We’re supposed to ransack some town with the help of some other groups of brigands,” Larr said. Larr was tall and bald, but he appeared to be respected by the others which could mean he was the group’s leader.

“What other groups are going to help us out?” the first man asked.

“I think the Wild Fang and the Beast Claw are going to help us,” Larr replied.

The first man nodded and said, “It’s a good thing we know those groups and have dealt with them in the past.”

Larr nodded and checked the cooking spit. As he was doing this someone came from the other group of tents and made his way over. This man was tall and had a cowl covering his face. He also has a scarf wrapped around his neck. The first man who talked looked over at the man coming and said, “ Hey Vale, how’s it going?”

The hooded man looked up and said, “It’s good, Zeke. It’s good.”

Larr then took the spit off the fire and pulled off pieces of meat and handed them to everyone. The all ate noisily except for Larr and Vale. Suddenly Vale stopped eating and sat straight up and looked right at Vlad. Vlad knew no one could see him through the tall, thick grass but he still had a bad feeling about this.

“Hey, what is it, Vale?” Zeke asked.

“You know that criminal who is wanted by everyone in this kingdom and the next one over?” Vale said while standing slowly.

“Yeah, he’s famous for the assassination of General Candoc and a bunch of other crimes,” Zeke replied.

“Well he’s right there,” Vale said as he pointed directly at Vlad.

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