The young man walked down a dark corridor with no doorways. He didn’t know why he did it. His feet seemed to carry him on their own. With each passing step, he would grow wearier and wearier, until, after hours upon hours, he could walk no longer. Collapsing to the ground, he thought to give up, but his body would have none of that. So he continued down the hall, crawling on all fours, until he found a light at the end. He stood up and, with a burst of adrenaline, ran into the light to find—
Daniel splashed a glass of water on the young man’s face, who awoke with a stir, a blanket wrapped around his body, his throat dry, and the taste of saline in his mouth. He looked to Daniel, who stood over him.
“What was the water for? I’m sure I would’ve woken had you only pushed me,” said the man, attempting to pull himself out of the bed. His aching muscles fought against him, however, and he slipped back down into the cushions.
“I tried pushing you. You shouted gibberish and punched me in the gut. That’s quite a whack you got there, by the way,” responded Daniel, sitting down in a bedside chair as he rubbed his belly.
“I see… I apologize, then, sir. But if I may ask, who are you? How did I come to be here? Where even is here?”
“Well, one at a time, huh? I’m Daniel Strafford, resident blacksmith of this here town of Fairglove, on the Isle of Winstrom. As for how you got to be here, I’ve no idea. I found you passed out in an alley, getting the soul beat out of you by some hooligans. Now, why don’t you tell me who you are?” asked Daniel. The young man pondered the question, but could find no answer. Who was he? Surely he thought he knew before, but now that he was asked, no name would come. He could not recall anything before being in the alley, and only snippets of that time. Then it dawned on him.
“Where is the blade I had on my person, Daniel?”
“You mean this thing?” he asked, lifting the katana from the floor beneath the bed. The young man took the blade and unsheathed it, seemingly looking for something. Daniel moved in closer to look as well.
“I don’t recall my name, but I feel as if there will be something here to remind me… Aha! Here it is!” shouted the young man, pointing to a group of runes etched into the blade, only visible by holding the blade flat and horizontal.
“Well, what do they say? I don’t read that language,” said Daniel, falling back into the chair.
“They read, ‘Reki Val-‘ and I can’t read the rest. They’ve been damaged beyond recognition. This is, however, the only clue to my identity I have, so you may call me Reki for now,” answered Reki, sheathing the katana and handing it back to Daniel.
“What do you want me to do with this?”
“Do you think you could sharpen it for me? I suddenly feel very weak again, and must… rest some… more…” Reki passed out as he finished his sentence, finally succumbing to the aching of his muscles. Daniel looked to the blade and sighed. He rarely worked when he was unsure of payment, but he had already taken the man into his home. He decided that he might as well sharpen the blade, if only so Reki would leave his home faster.
Morning came, and Reki awoke once more. The aching in his body still affected him, but he at least managed to stand up. He looked about the barren room, taking in his surroundings. All there was in the room was the bed he had slept in, the chair to the left of it, and a dresser on the opposite end of the room. Atop the dresser lay a change of clothes and his katana.
Reki crossed to the dresser and undressed. Looking at his current wear, he understood why Daniel felt the change necessary. Whatever color the clothes had been before, they were no longer. Instead, they were coated with grime and blood, with three holes in the back of his tunic. Reki reached around and felt his back, finding three wounds covered in scar tissue.
Tossing the old to the corner, Reki dressed in the clothes set out by Daniel. The shirt was a crimson red, just like blood, and Reki wondered if Daniel wasn’t trying to say something with that. The slacks were loose and black, with deep pockets. Reki was thankful. Black didn’t show blood or dirt easily, and judging by the state of his previous attire, that was probably a good thing. A leather belt lay beneath those, and Reki wrapped it around his body until he was comfortable. Off of the belt hung a loop, which Reki used to tie the sheath of his katana to. It hung comfortably from his left side, and it made Reki smile.
Finished with dressing, Reki went to exit the room, but found himself hitting the wall. This was odd, because he was positive the wall shouldn’t be there. Daniel appeared in the doorway and looked at Reki.
“Is there something wrong?” he asked.
“I can’t seem to exit this room. My vision appears to be off, but it’s strange. It was fine as I got dressed.”
“Well, you might want to start with opening your left eye. I know it looks nasty, but it should help.”
“Nasty?” asked Reki, tenderly touching his eye. He hadn’t even been aware it was not open before, but he could feel a deep scar running along it. Trying to open it, he found that his eye was essentially glued shut. Shaking his head, Reki turned to Daniel.
“I don’t believe that will be happening. My eyesight seems to come and go, however. I’m sure I’ll get used to it. Now, sir, I believe I must be going.”
“And where is it, exactly, that you intend to go? You didn’t even know where you were until I told you, or your name until you read it,” said Daniel. Reki was struck by the truth in Daniel’s words. He didn’t have a plan, he didn’t have a reason, and he didn’t even have any money. Reki opened his mouth to speak, but Daniel cut him off.
“Exactly. So why don’t you mull it over while you bathe? Even with the new clothes, you look like hell and smell even worse. There’s hot water out back.”
Reki nodded and went out the back door to a small, closed patio area. Undressing again, he scrubbed himself down, and as he scrubbed, he tried to formulate his thoughts into a plan of action. He now knew his name, but he no longer knew who he was or where he came from. At the same time, he had no money, nor the ability to go anywhere, nor even proper eyesight (part of the time). He knew what needed to be done, but he wasn’t sure it was actually possible.
As he bathed, Reki eyed himself in a nearby mirror. He was not a large man, but he had the muscles of a man skilled with a blade. Crimson hair poured down to his shoulders, which explained why Daniel had given him a crimson shirt. There was an old burn up his right arm, and the scar across his eye was large and clean, stretching down to his nose. Uncomfortable with these scars, Reki quickly toweled himself off, dressed, and left the room.
“So, do you know what you’re going to do?” asked Daniel, tossing a biscuit to Reki, as he entered the kitchen. Reki caught the biscuit and nibbled at it, though he didn’t feel particularly hungry.
“I’m on the Isle of Winstrom, correct? Then I will travel to the mainland and find out why I came to be here with no memories.”
“Heh. Well, you might have a bit of trouble with that,” Daniel said, crossing to the main doorway. Reki followed after him, curious.
“What exactly do you mean by that?”
“Well, every now and then, today being one of those ‘nows’, something like this happens…” Daniel answered, pulling open the door.
The door blew open so fast that it broke a hole in the wall behind it. A gale blew in so forcefully that it tossed about the pans and food in the kitchen, and Reki had to shout to speak to Daniel.
“What’s going on?!”