Return of the Chosen Two: Times of War
Chapter 1: The Life we Once Knew
The crowd gathered around the arched opening suddenly sprang from their idle standing and sprinted, their legs out maneuvering their bodies causing many to topple over. The pale moon light shrouded their pained faces as their muscles ached and gave way. Screams echoed all around them as they battled to be at the front of the horde. After just seconds, the screams increased in volume, as if a bumblebee suddenly became a train.
A booming voice rang throughout the field, “We have a winner! First place in the 200 meter dash goes to Chad Dunnwater! It looks like we’ll be seeing him in this year’s national competition. Congratulations, Chad!” A tall well-built man collapsed onto the ground, his legs slightly bowed and warped from the strain and from his lack of energy to position them how they should be. His tanned face was drenched with sweat as he panted; sucking in every bit of air he could manage.
A woman, looking slightly over middle aged, and a teenage girl, looking just shy of 18, jogged toward him, a barrel in between them. The man lay there, studying their faces, trying to see who they were. Their jog slowed to a kind of staggering step as they neared him, and when they arrived, they tilted the barrel, and iced water washed down and over him like a waterfall. He sat up, wiping off his face and ringing the water out of his shoulder length black hair. He reached out his hands for the women to grab, and with their help, he stood up. At first, his legs buckled, but after a few seconds of and more desperate attempts, he was able to hold himself up semi-steadily without falling. The family, after sitting for hours, getting congratulations from assorted and unknown people, found an excuse to leave. After a short drive, a small house came into view. Its dull brown and beige paint was chipping, the wood was rotting, and the deck leading to the door creaked with every step.
Next to this was a house- if you could call it a house- that would almost seem like a cruel display towards the owners of the first. Its ornate wooden door was inlaid with gold, and the vibrant colors and high quality workmanship made it seem as though it was freshly painted, despite its age. The deck was a stained stone platform, and the stone was as smooth as a porcelain tub.
A man with a beard thicker than molasses stepped out from inside the shoddy shack. His clothes were torn and ridden with dirt, and he had the face to match. His hair was overgrown and un-brushed. His smile grew broader than a football player’s shoulders, as he saw the family. He waved and said, “Welcome back, Dunnwaters!! Hope you did good in the race, Chad.”
Chad called out to the man with a friendly wave and a lighthearted smile, “Thanks, Sy.”
Then Valery, Chad’s sister, turned to the man and with a small chuckle said, “By the way, Sy, it’s well, not good. You would say, ‘I hope you did well in the race.’” She gave a breathy laugh, “Now, have a good day!” She smiled and went inside.
As the family entered their foyer, a tall redheaded woman walked toward them and took their coats. They walked past a short man in a vest, and with a smile, nodded to him and said, “Hello, Francis, we’ll take some water. Thank you.” They continued walking until they had reached a dimply lit room with large paned windows covered by intricate tapestries depicting knights posing in various manners. One was kneeling at an altar, holding his helmet in his hand, and another was holding his blade in the air while he stood atop a cliff’s edge. The smell of new leather and un-opened books permeated the room. The leather, which was the most notable scent, came from a coach in the room, and the books form the books lining the walls, giving the illusion that the walls may have been made from bookshelves,
Chad stumbled to the couch and fell down onto it, his body covering the couch’s entirety. Valery eyed her brother and laughed as she walked to the couch, grabbing his legs and swinging them off the black surface as she sat down. Chad groans but accepts this uncomfortable change as he almost immediately fell asleep. Francis walks back in holding a pitcher of water and 3 glasses atop a tray. He meanders to a small coffee table in front of the coach and sets the tray down. He pours each glass with water, the pitcher emptying at the exact moment the third glass is filled.
The middle aged woman looks to the butler, “Thank you very much, Francis.”
“My pleasure, Ms. Dunnwater”
“I told you, Francis, call me Suzzane.”
Suzanne drank her water, and, looking between the two kids spoke in a low voice said, “Now, don’t stay up too long, we have the auction. Oh, and before I forget, you two can go in the shed and take whatever you want to sell for the auction.” She sauntered out of the room, leaving the two kids to think.
Valery sat up and let out a heavy sigh, tapping her brother as she stood up and started toward the back side of the house, leaving her glass of water completely full on the table. Chad let out a sigh of his own, one sounding almost identical to his sister’s as he slowly sat up and scratched his head. He stood and followed his sister, snatching a flashlight from a nearby chair.
The kids arrive quietly walk through the yard to a small wooden shed. The wood was rotted, splintered, and molded. Chad shined and light and saw the familiar symbol of an eagle’s eye surrounded by vines he had seen around his house his entire life. His mother loved the symbol. She had put it on his clothes, his shoes, the doors in the house, and on the random knickknacks around the house. Chad grabbed onto the rusted door handle and pulled the creaking door open with ease. He shined his flashlight around the room, seeing an amalgam of his and his sister’s childhood items: old clothes, school projects, and supplies from long forgotten pottery and dance lessons, and a variety of sports equipment with a layer of dust lay throughout the small shed. Chad walked around the shed slowly, shining his light amongst the varied objects as he put some into a bag. Crash!!
What in the world did I just step on? I always hated this shed… The moss growing along the walls, the random boxes that I somehow always managed to trip on. Like this one, I don’t even remember this box; the leather outer covering, the gold around the handle? How could I have never seen this before?
“Hey, Val. Check this out. This chest is really high quality. It has gold surrounding the latch, and there’s some kind of gems on it.”
“Well if it looks that expensive, grab it. We want as much money as we can get.”
It felt weird taking this… thing. I have literally never seen it before, which makes me that much more suspicious. Valery’s face is lit up like a Christmas tree at the sight of this thing. I suppose we will take it and see what happens. Bad goes to worse mom will just take it from us so that we end up not selling it. So I picked up the chest… it was surprisingly light, especially since when I ran into it, you would have thought it was full. I suppose it does not really matter. We have never seen this, so mom probably would not care if we sold it. After grabbing the box, along with other assorted items, Valery and I went back to the house to get some sleep before the busy day of playing salesman tomorrow.