Ygma felt the blood on the coin. ‘’It’s bleeding? Are the coins bleeding?’’ he asked curiously to himself, looking up at Milina, the second moon, hovering above him. There he stood, near the intersection of the countless crossroads within the Ethoviel Empire. I wonder if it’s a boy or a girl, to himself as he took the road to the right. Even with the heavy rain causing the sight to be obscured, he managed to take a glimpse of the Fortress of Cymilia. The fortress, towering and looming over the few packed houses beneath it, stood before the second moon, forming a silhouette. As he ascended from the slope, trailing the road consisting of wet cobblestones, leading to the entrance of the fortress, he observed the farms on both sides of the road. There are just a handful of farmers maintaining their fields. Not far from these farmers, there were a bunch of people standing in front of the Lizard’s Tongue tavern despite the harsh weather, just in front of the gate leading to the fortress. It didn’t take a long time before one of them spotted Ygma. The others followed, and all eyes locked on him. Ygma slowed his pace as he noticed a broad man with a belly assumingly filled with liters of ale, squeezing himself from the motionless crowd, standing on the road, blocking Ygma.. He was holding a coin in his hand, like the others. The coins are bleeding. The man, Sam, recognized Ygma. The others had never seen Ygma before. Yet, his clothing revealed that of someone cursed with traveling and sharing their visions, known as World Hermits.
‘’Y-Ygma?’’ his voice trembling. The other men and women joined in.
‘’Please, Ygma. Please, come inside.’’ He nudged his head to the side, towards the tavern. Ygma shook his head slightly, smiling to his old acquaintance.
‘’Sorry, Sam. You know why I’m here. I have to tell the vision. How is Maurid? The lad is a grown one now, isn’t he?’’ Remaining with the same smile, he patted Sam's shoulder before picking up his pace once again and making his way to the gate. Sam just found himself nodding to that question regarding his son, who had already joined the Ethovilian army.
‘’What is the meaning of this, hermit?’’ one of the men called, slightly drunk yet still able to comprehend the ongoing situation. Ygma glanced over his shoulder, looking at the man. The man held the coin up, his fingers also covered with blood. ‘’It’s not even getting off.’’ He said, trying to remove the blood with the rainwater from his other finger.
‘’Sure, you can share your vision with us as well, hermit?’’ the woman next to the man asked, with pleading eyes.
Ygma inhaled deeply, turned around, and continued his walk. Ygma pocketed the bloody coin and adjusted the huge leather bag, consisting of old tomes and scrolls, over his shoulder. He greeted both guards with a warming nod, noticing one of them was inspecting his coin before he made eye contact with Ygma, returning the nod.
As he followed one of the guards inside the few halls in the fortress of Cymilia, he could not stop looking at the many banners proudly showing off the arms of the Ethoviel Empire. Its symbol is that of a lion, it’s head upwards, to the sun. Holding a sword with it’s left paw and staff with the other. Fire spewing from its mouth aimed at the sun. Ygma stood there for a moment, watching the banner for the last time, admiringly thinking about the achievements and the accomplishments the Ethoviel Empire brought. This indeed will be a great chapter in our records.
‘’Hermit?’’ the man asked, his voice sounding tired and impatient. ‘’Cym doesn’t like to wait…’’. Not even addressing his superior by his title, Ygma thought as he followed the guard. This general indeed had a somewhat poor reputation among his men. Yet, one should be careful with what they say. Guards patrolling the fortress frequently peeked the corner or glanced over their shoulders as they watched Ygma. No, they do not know this man. It’s the big bag and his clothing that has revealed too much information about this man’s profession.
As both men entered the room, with the guard walking upfront and with Ygma trailing behind the guard, all eyes gazed on the hermit. He can hear the nobles whisper. It’s about the coins and him, about the hermit. The women were sitting all around one table, donning the common noble clothing one would imagine. While the men were sitting at a table, near the general himself. There is lots of food on the table, probably none will eat it as it’s my job to spoil it, Ygma said to himself. Some of the nobles were looking confused at the general because of this unwanted and uninvited guest. It’s not just a normal guest, however, it’s one of the exiled World Hermits.
The Emperor exiled long ago the few World Hermits that travel ----- spreading their visions about future events that will take place. General Cym cleared his throat, feeling the staring eyes. He pushed himself up from his seat, his wife next to him, looking terrified.
‘’Ygma.’’ His voice stuttered before he felt the relief as he finally spoke out that name.
Ygma found himself smiling at the general and did so to the other nobles, their expression still unchanged. ‘’Cym, It’s good to see you again after a long time,’’ Ygma replied.
The guard that was leading Ygma to the room, glanced over his shoulder, staring furiously at Ygma. ‘’Know your place, hermit. Address General Cym properly!’’ he said. Got that from you, Ygma thought to himself but did not blurt out.
General Cym gave a dismissive wave, smiling. ‘’It’s alright, it’s alright.’’ The look on his face regaining back the original expression feared. ‘’Y-Ygma, it’s nice to see you back here—in your old hometown—but you do know the…’’
One of the nobles interrupted him by standing up, holding a fork with his fingers covered with blood, assuming he was holding the coin with that hand. ‘’Our Emperor exiled you bunch, are you searching for death itself by visiting the Empire?’’ he blurted out, his eyes carrying anger.
Ygma remembers this man, he probably lost his child to that one plague. Which was another vision that, unfortunately, happened many years ago.
‘’Hermit, your kind brings despair. Please, turn around and leave this instant.’’ One of the noblewomen cried out in the back.
Ygma still focused his eyes on the general instead. Cym looked at the ones that were talking, now finally regaining confidence as well, he returned his gaze on Ygma.
‘’Ygma, what are you doing here?’’ he found himself asking, demanding an answer.
Ygma carefully dropped his heavy bag next to him and brought both of his hands to each other, interlocking his fingers in front of his chest like he was praying.
‘’Unknown forces seek the destruction of the Ethoviel Empire.’’ Ygma said, knowing it’s better to tell the urgent message immediately.
It was quiet for a moment and everyone was motionless, only the guard quickly glared over his shoulder, eyeing the hermit with fierce eyes as he was about to stab him with the halberd he was carrying.
‘’By Maw’Ra—No…’’ he heard one of the nobles mumbles. A few of the noblewomen started to panic and cry out in the back, others trying to calm them down. The nobleman, who had his child seemingly lost in the plague, stood instantly up, his chair falling behind. He sprinted around the table with a fork holding, trying to strike down Ygma. ‘’Lirl!’’ General Cym shouted. The guard stopped the man by twisting his halberd, blocking the noble path to the hermit.
‘’Hermit, you are the unknown force! You are the evil itself, you are death!’’ he shouted behind the halberd.
Ygma, feeling guilty for spreading his vision yet finally being relieved to share it with them, refocused his attention back to the general.
‘’What do you mean ‘seeking destruction’?’’ Cym asked, slowly lowering himself back on the chair, hiding his shaking hands underneath the table.
‘’The Empire has dealt with internal and external conflicts for many years. You think just another conflict will take out the all great Ethoviel Empire?’’ one of the noblewomen asked with a stuttering voice, trying to calm down another woman next to her.
‘’It’s truly unfortunate. Me, and the other World Hermits, were exiled many years ago for entering the Empire, for I wanted to share my vision with the Emperor himself. But, my dear friend, Cym. I believe it is up to you to carry this message and bring it to the Emperor himself.’’ Ygma said, forcing a smile on his face. ‘’My vision tells that most of the Emperor’s relative will be slaughtered—the commoners will be massacred and their town plundered—the nobles,’’ he watched the nobles for a brief second, every one of them, ‘’will be stacked on piles of stakes and burned.’’
That was the limit, all the nobles stood up after that last sentence, their eyes carrying anger and at the same time fear. General Cym pushed himself up as well, reaching for his sword at his waist.
‘’As the Empire will be weakened by her forces. The—‘’ He dropped on the floor as the guard, that used to block the noble with his halberd, jabbing Ygma at the gut with the other side of his weapon. Ygma found himself kneeling on the ground, grunting. The noblemen gathered around the general. As Cym was walking towards the kneeling Ygma, having his sword now unsheathed, he was slightly being pushed on the back by some of the angered noblemen. They wanted to see him dead. No more vision to be heard. No more truth to be told. No more World Hermits to be left wandering Eassaeriel. Two of the noblemen and the guard himself forcefully pushed the old hermit on the floor.
Ygma could only catch a glimpse of what was happening behind as the guard held his head. He watched the panicking noblewomen storm one by one outside the room, screaming.
‘’Screaming will unfortunately not save us. We are all doomed. This will be another chapter in the records.’’ He found himself muttering.
‘’Shut up!’’ The guard ordered, tightening the grip on Ygma’s head.
Ygma noticed Cym’s shadow. The Ethovilian sword, known for its sharpness, rested on Ygma's neck before being raised up, ready for the decapitation. ‘’Ygma, dear friend. I will not let you blurt out nonsense any further about the Emperor and his relatives.’’
The fire from its mouth will be extinguished. Its weapons will be destroyed. The lion will yield for mercy. I have done my task…