Prologue: Premonition
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James could only taste blood. He tried to spit the viscous substance out of his mouth but even that was proving to be a herculean task. Instead, the dying man could only gurgle and cough, his lungs feeling as if they were filled with water.


‘I…I can’t breathe!’


That was the first thought that ran through his head. James struggled with his body, forcing himself to take a clear breath. Frosty oxygen rushed into his airways, finally giving the young man some respite. James’ vision cleared then, showcasing the night sky and the small flakes of snow that fell onto him.


‘Where am I? Why is it snowing?’


He could feel how his body swung lightly side to side, his shoulders and legs held up by hands. He was being carried.


“He’s still alive! We have to hurry!”


It was a woman’s voice, her shaking tone making her sound as if she was on the verge of a breakdown. She sounded eerily familiar to James. He could swear he met her before, yet no memory came forth.


‘Who is she? What’s happening?’


“Don’t you die! Dammit!”


She came into view quickly, yet the shadows of the night hid her features. James squinted, to try and get a better look at this stranger. He was interrupted when a sharp pain flashed across his chest, the pain enough to make him want to yell in agony.


James forced himself to look down and figure out the origin of his pain.


‘Is…Is that…?’


His heart dropped at the sight of a sword’s handle protruding from his chest. The worn and ragged steel of a crossguard was resting against his skin. Frost melted away where the cold steel touched warm flesh, driving back the chill of winter's bite. He wanted to scream at the sight. Every nerve and cell in his body told him to rip it out, to get it out of him. Yet his body refused to respond. He was stunned with fear.


‘I need to get out of here! I need to get to a hospital! I need to…’


James could feel himself get tired. His eyelids were growing heavier, his vision waning by the second.


‘No…I can’t sleep…I can’t…’


James could feel his head lean back into the woman who was carrying him. His eyes stared into the sky, watching as snow fell from the clouds, despite it being August. James was cold, from both the snow and the looming dread of death that was slowly overcoming him.


‘I don’t wanna die, I don’t wanna die, I don’t wanna die…’


James could only watch as the clouds above parted, showcasing something extraordinary and impossible. Two moons lit up the sky, casting an eerie glow against the clouds and trees. They almost seemed to be watching him, like the mocking gaze of a bored god.


James felt his eyes close, casting him into darkness and despair. He was subjected to the void, his senses removed and his vision blinded. He stared at the pitch black for what seemed like forever, his screams and pleading unheard.


After what felt like an eternity, but perhaps was just a moment, the darkness parted and James was met with the kindly face of an older man. A familiar man, one who was long dead. His father smiled, and the darkness returned.