Children Of The Cursed
Chapter 1 - The Chosen One Is Found
It was dark times for the world of Todrain. Wars were being waged, the lands were being ravaged and pillaged, all while innocents were dying in the name of power and greed. Very few men cared for honor nor glory these days - riches and the struggle for power were the only things that mattered, and having certain people on your side didn't hurt either. However, there were still a few honorable men left in the world, such young men like Gawain who trained endlessly each day at the Academy in hopes of one day becoming a Knight Of Valor. The sounds of horses’ hooves could be heard off in the distance, many of them to be exact. The two men that were outside guarding the big beautiful castle and the people inside could hear the thunderous sounds gaining distance.
“Lower the drawbridge, Lord Alistair and his men have returned,” one of the guards shouted.
“Hooray for Lord Alistair and his men,” the other one yelled.
The drawbridge lowered as Lord Alistair and his men drew near, and without even slowing down the hoard of men rushed through on horseback as the two guards moved out of the way, almost getting trampled upon. Lord Alistair and his men did not stop until they were upon the castle itself that stood proudly at the back of the great city. Alistair quickly jumped off his horse and ordered his men to take their horses to the stables then enter the castle later, for he needed to talk to the King in private.
Afterwards Lord Alistair rushed inside the castle and headed straight for the throne room. Before he could enter Alistair was met by the King’s Chamberlain, “You're not allowed an audience with the King unless called for, Alistair. Even you know this.”
“That's Lord Alistair to you, Chamberlain,” Alistair replied. “And this is a matter that needs to be discussed with the King, not you.” Alistair tried to push the Chamberlain out of the way, but that did not go without cause, for Ballard the Chamberlain was quite the skilled warrior himself and pushed Alistair back with ease. “I said, nobody sees the King unless called for,” he growled.
Alistair pulled off his helmet, and his long blonde hair fell down his back. His blue eyes were filled with rage, aimed at Ballard. “If you do not move out of my way, I will be forced to move you,” Alistair hissed, this time his hand on the hilt of his sword.
Ballard slyly grinned, “So you would be willing to do battle within these walls?”
“If it means getting to see the King, then yes,” Alistair replied, standing tall and unwavering.
Ballard unsheathed his blade, “If you refuse to back down, then have at thee.” His determination was just as unwavering as Alistair's.
Alistair felt as though his hand had been forced, and he too unsheathed his blade. The two men were now set to do battle. Ballard was the first to strike with his blade, but Alistair parried the attack, “Not bad, Chamberlain. But now it is my turn,” he said, then lunged at Ballard.
Ballard knocked the blade away without even trying, “Not bad yourself Knight, but you will have to do better than that if you want to best me,” he sheepishly grinned.
The sound of steel clashing against steel could be heard all throughout the castle as the two men fought each other. Hearing the sounds echoing through out must have drawn the ire of King Edward, for he stormed out of the throne room, and unbeknownst to the two men he used his blade “King’s Defender” to knock Alistair’s and Ballard's swords from their hands, sending them both to the floor without trouble. “What is the meaning of this? Fighting inside my castle walls is forbidden.”
The King was infuriated with the both of them. “Tell me. Why would my first Knight and most trusted adviser be in my halls fighting like two fools?” he shouted at them both. “I want answers, or so help me I will have both of you locked up in the dungeon for months.” Instead of answering King Edward, Ballard made a big mistake by reaching for his sword and King Edward took notice by stepping on the blade, keeping the sword just out of reach. “Reach for your blade one more time, Chamberlain, trusted or not I will cut off your hand,” the King yelled. “Now which of you is going to give me the answer I seek?”
Alistair on one knee placed his arm across his chest and bowed before he spoke, “Your Majesty. I have urgent news for you, but before I could deliver it the Chamberlain here refused to let me have an audience, and this is urgent and I did what I felt was right. Even if it meant fighting inside these walls. I do apologize, I should have thought this through.”
Edward then looked over at Ballard, “Is this true, Chamberlain?”
“It is my Lord,” Ballard answered.
King Edward's anger was solely upon his Chamberlain now, “Why would you stop my First Knight from coming to see me? You know it is important whenever he rushes in like this.”
“My Lord, you've been ill lately and do not need the stress. I was only thinking of you your majesty,” explained Ballard.
“You had no right,” the King responded. “As long as I am the King of Drasal, and have the aid of my blade, I refuse to be treated like an old, frail man. I shall always be here for my knights and my people. Get out of my sight, Ballard!”
“But your majesty-” the Chamberlain tried to speak but the King would have none of it.
“I said to get out of my sight,” King Edward shouted again.
The Chamberlain stood up and asked if he could have his sword back. Of course the King was not a heartless man, and allowed him to take back his blade. But Ballard did not go far; instead, he hid out of sight and listened in on what King Edward and Alistair had to say to one another.
“Go on Lord Alistair, tell of this news you speak of,” the King said, now in a much calmer state, but still as serious as ever.
Alistair sheathed his sword and picked up his helmet. “The Dark Knights have returned and are on the move, Your Majesty.”
Edward's face had now changed to a look of despair, “What? The Dark Knights have returned? You must be mistaken, Knight. That evil was laid to rest a lifetime ago.”
“Yes, I remember my Lord. I was just a kid when you vanquished that evil with the King's Defender, and with a handful of knights to aid you. But believe in my words, I have seen them with my own eyes. They have returned and are not far from here, my Lord,” said Alistair.
King Edward held tightly onto the hilt of his blade, “If that is the case, then I shall ride out with you and vanquish that evil once more.”
“King Edward, you mustn’t. You are ill! And who knows what could happen out there. Your people need you now more than ever. If you would, please allow me to take some more men and go out to scout, and see what they are up to. At least allow me that before you get involved, my King. Please. I beg of you,” Alistair pleaded.
Edward was reluctant but agreed to do as Alistair had wished. “Okay, Alistair. I will do as you wish and allow you to take a few extra men out with you, under one condition.”
“Of course.” He bowed. “Name your condition.”
“You take only a few men, and some from the Academy as well. And under no circumstances do you engage the Dark Knights. Understood?” King Edward explained.
“I understand, Your Majesty. I shall do as you ask,” replied Alistair.
“Then go now Knight Of Valor, and assemble your team. I shall be awaiting your return, may the gods watch over you,” King Edward said.
Alistair crossed his arm over his chest and bowed to the King, “I shall take my leave now, Your Majesty. And thank you for placing your trust in me once more.”
King Edward stood there for a moment, mumbling a few words under his breath before turning and walking back into the throne room. However, there lurking in the shadows was the King’s Chamberlain, and he heard every word that was said. “So the Dark Knights have returned from the ashes? That must mean “the dark powers” are up for grabs again. And all the mythical blades’ powers must have been resurrected as well. Which would explain why the King took us down so easily while being so frail.”
“This could be good for me,” Ballard whispered, before disappearing back into the shadows.
At the Academy an unexpected visitor went busting through the doors, “I need the best trainees you have at the moment for an important mission, Baird. And quickly at that,” Alistair commanded.
Baird jumped at the appearance of the unexpected guest, “Of course, Lord Alistair. Right away.” And off he went to gather his best students with haste. A few minutes later he was back with two young men, “This here, the one with the white hair, is Caine. He's excellent with a bow, and magic is another of his strong points. This young lad can also hunt just about anything down with his keen eyesight. The other young lad here, with the brown hair and strong chin, is Gawain. He is unmatched in the way of the sword and is fairly decent with magic as well. Both these fine young warriors will be Knights Of Valor in no time, which makes them the perfect choices for you, my Lord.”
“Is that so?” Alistair replied, eyeing both youngsters.
“Of course, Lord Alistair. These fine young men are the best the Academy has to offer.” He answered with pride.
Alistair walked around the two young men, “Hmm. You're an excellent teacher Baird and have yet to produce a bad knight. And of course if not for you, I would never have made First Knight as quickly as I did, so I shall trust in your word. Have them meet me in front in about half an hour. Also, make sure they are both armed.”
“Will do, my Lord.” He then looked back at his students, “Go to the armory, grab any weapons and armor you need and make it quick. Do not keep Lord Alistair waiting.”
“Yes sir,” they both said at the same time.
As the young men made their way towards the armory, one could not contain his excitement. “This is our very first mission, isn't it exciting Caine?” said Gawain. Caine stayed silent and did not answer; however, Caine's silence did not stop Gawain from continuing on. “You can't say you're not excited like me. We get to go on a mission with Lord Alistair, he's a living legend. The youngest First Knight ever.” On and on and on Gawain went until Caine had finally had enough.
“Would you shut up already?” Caine barked. “You're rambling is nothing but nonsense. I couldn’t care less who Alistair is, I just want to prove that I can do anything asked of me. Now let us hurry on.”
“Damn, you're as cold as ever.” Gawain mumbled.
“Finally there,” Caine said, ignoring Gawain and walked on inside the armory.
“Hey. I was talking to you,” Gawain snapped, following behind Caine.
“Just shut up and grab what you need!”
“Fine.” Gawain grumbled, sticking his tongue out at Caine before walking away.
Caine shook his head as he watched Gawain act like a child, “Fool,” he muttered to himself, turning his attention towards the weapons and armor in the room. “Hmm. Now, what should I choose?” Caine thought to himself. He looked through every piece of armor and every weapon. Finally, he found the weapon he sought; it was an old wooden bow, along with several arrows as well. “This will do,” he whispered.
Caine also grabbed some light armor, for he didn't want to be weighed down. He relied too much on his speed more than anything else to make that mistake. Caine put the bow over his shoulder, and the arrows on his back in a quiver he had used for his old arrows. He then tied his white long hair up in a ponytail and he was ready to go.
That's when the young man heard the clanking of armor coming up from behind him. When he turned around, there standing before him was Gawain in a heavy rusted suit of armor, and in his hand was a huge bastard sword. Caine tried to hold back his laughter, but seeing how idiotic Gawain looked and carrying a sword bigger than he was, Caine just couldn't hold back. “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.”
“What are you laughing at?”
“You, ha, ha, ha, ha. You look like a rusted tin can! Ha, ha, ha, ha,” Caine answered, still laughing at Gawain. “And that sword is bigger than you.”
“Shows how much you know, Caine.” He snarled. “This armor is going to protect my body, and this sword will cut down anything that stands in front of me.”
After a good laugh, Caine regained his composure, then he offered some advice to his friend. “Listen closely Gawain, because I know how hard headed you can be. That armor is only going to hinder you, and that sword, well I bet you can't even use it.”
“I'm a warrior, I can handle it just fine. And big talk coming from someone with a knife and bow. Also, that plate of armor won't even protect you at all.”
Caine smirked, “If you're not going to listen to me, then I guess I will just have to prove you wrong.” He lifted up his arms and waved Gawain on, “Come at me, let's see what you got.”
“Now you're talking my language. Hope you're ready.” He excitedly exclaimed, before lunging at Caine.
Caine stood there watching Gawain lunge at him with his sword, at the last minute he swiftly moved out of the way. “You will have to be faster than that if you're going to strike me down,” Caine told him. “Now let's try that one again.” Gawain was letting his anger get the best of him, and he lifted up his sword readying for another attack, but still it did no good.
He reached over and grabbed a cutlass sword and blocked Gawain's attack with ease. “Too easy.” Then he swept Gawain's feet out from under him and he hit the ground with a loud thud. When Gawain realized what had happened it was too late, he was looking up from his back as Caine had the tip of a blade to his throat. “Okay, Caine. You win, you're too fast for me.”
“It's not that I'm that much faster than you. That armor you wear is hindering you, it has slowed you down. Also, the enemy will be able to hear you eons away. Take my advice Gawain, change into some lighter armor, on top of that, grab a smaller sword that suits you, while we still have time left to spare.”
Gawain snarled at Caine - he did not wish to admit the fact that he was wrong and Caine was right, however, when you have a sword pointed at your throat it makes you change how you feel real quick. “Help me up and I will change into some lighter armor, and grab a different sword. Just aim that cutlass sword in another direction, please,” he said, reaching his hand up in the air.
Caine tossed the cutlass blade and reached down to take Gawain's hand, pulling him to his feet. “Look Gawain, you're a great fighter and an excellent swordsman. But you can't always rely on heavy armor and strength alone to win battles.”