Prophecy of The Gaelach Blade

Born from jaws of Dragon Great

And cast to Heaven's Silver Door

The Hero rides this Gentle Beast

He is of Light, is Dark no more.

He will guide the Moon to Light

Remove The Shadow with his hand

Earth will roll in Harvest Gold

It will become the Promised Land.

The Harbinger lurks at every turn

And the Moon burns wild, Red as Blood

Where Master sleeps in darkened core

To be smote by the Crystal Flood.

When Hatred passes from this plain

When both men have found their brother

Fate will violently tear then away

To the Blood Moon one, to the Earth the other.

A Priori

That day was the coolest day in many, the first day of autumn after a stifling summer. The leaves of the trees were still painted green in defiance, the last sign of rebellion against the coming of winter, but it was in vain. Soon the leaves would turn red, orange and gold, falling to the ground only to shrivel up into brown. lifeless nothings.

Through the early morning fog trapsed a small troop of nobles, a court of uncommonly fair and attractive individuals, several on horseback, the rest on foot.

In the lead was a tall, blonde man with a large beard, mounted upon a black stalion. He was wearing robes of rich red and blue, a golden diadem circling his pale brow. He had a kind, noble face with grey-green eyes that sparkled with laughter.

He was accompanied by two women upon white mares, both of them blonde.

One was taller, with ashen hair cropped so short that it hung in a bob about her chin. She wore the emblem of the Black Magi upon her leather vest, and sat with a proud, ridgid back, her sapphire eyes glinting with confidence. Beside her strode a very tall man with a stern expression upon his face, which would be pleasant to look at had it not been so severe. His hair was worn very long, the color of wet sand, falling down his back in a loose pony tail. His amber eyes shone with dignity that only a noble Dragoon of Baron would dare posess.

The other woman was petite and shapely, her hair a flowing blonde mane about her slender shoulders. She rode bare back, a diamond pin upon her own vest, signifying her rank amoung the White Magi. Her own sapphire eyes, so like her cousin's, shone with intellegence and courage. Beside her mare strolled a broad jawed man with an amiable face, his eyes a pale green, the color of seafoam, and shining with the vigour of life. He was stocky, with short, perpetually messy dark brown hair, which stuck out amoung his fair companions. He, too, had the dignity of a Dragoon.

Behind them was a small entourage of soldiers, and though they were not wearing heavy armor on this routine excursion, all were armed. All wore stern expressions on their faces, despite the fact that they should not fear an assassianation so close to Vangrad, the capital city of Baron, which surrouned the Palace, more like a fortress than a opulent mansion. Had they been farther away, closer to Petuin, a city under the control of Troia and run by the anit-Baronian group Brier Rose, they may have reason to fear, but as it were, Thomas XVI of Baron felt they were overreacting. This was no more than a morning stroll for His Highness, who loved to survey his lands and greet his people.

Suddenly, the woman with the mane of hair froze, glancing over at the King with a startled expression, her heart shaped face resplendant in the pale morning sun, "do you hear something, Mi'lord?"

The King of Baron pulled back on his reigns, staring into the trees that they rode beside. Holding up a Wyvern-skin gloved hand he silenced his escort, keen to take the advice of fair Joanna Farrell, known for her sharp senses. As he sat as still as statuary, barely daring to breath, he heard what he thought to be the sobbing hiccups of a small child rising from the depths of the little wood. Dismounting, he motioned for amber eyed Richard Highwind and kind faced Matthew Farrell to follow him, departing from his guard and stepping into the shadowed wood.

The three companions found themselves suddenly plunged into a world where monsters roamed, preying on the weak and young. Overhead the leaves and branches of trees extended to form a patch work canopy of green, brown, and crisp blue. Beneath them was thick foliage and a carpet of long decaying leaves, trampled by the monsters and wildlife that inhabited the wood. They traveled a little way, and froze at the base of a great, gnarled oak.

The tree had to be ancient, for it was as wide as a castle turret and nearly as tall, unnaturally so, for an oak, in fact. Its roots protruded from the ground, a sign of a long-ago storm, forming a small cove, which was likely inhabited by the smaller, sneakier wildlife of the woodlands. Its leaves were fast changing, perhaps a sign of the wisdom of the tree, which insticntivly knew, after hundereds of years, that there was no point in fighting the change of winter.

The sound rose again, this time nearer. It was Matthew Farrell who discovered the source when he looked down, spotting the form of a crouched toddler in the small cove. Tactfully, he knelt down, extending his hand as if to signify that he was not a threat, and speaking very softly, "you can come out. We're friends. We're not going to hurt you."

Still whimpering, the child emerged into the early morning light.

At first the three men could not breath, because this darling child bore a strong resemblance to two people they had not set eyes on in an excess of nine years, but the moment he crept into Matthew's arms to sob desperately time began to move again.

He was a darling boy, no more than two, with wide, staring emerald eyes that trusted with a glance, as only a child's eyes could. He had blue tinged lips set on his cloud-pale face, and wavy ringlets of snowy hair that clung to his dirty and tear-streaked face. Tiny fingers dug into the material of Matthew's shirt, entreating help.

"What's wrong?" Matthew asked softly, brushing his fingers through the boy's hair in a way that suggested he was the father of a small child.

"Teddy! Teddy no come!" the boy wailed, conveying such despair that Richard cringed, his usually stony features conveying the greatest sympathy for this child, who had so obviously been left to die.

It was the King, to the surprise of both Richard and Matthew, who spoke to the boy next, deigning to soil his robes as he knelt in the dirt and took the boy from Matthew's arms. "What is your name, little boy?"

"Cecil," he sniffed, something about the King calming him, his green eyes still leaking tears.

"Cecil," the King repeated in a soft, admiring tone ,"would you like to come home with me?"

"But… But Daddy! Teddy!" the boy protested, shaking his head vehemently; why did it seem childeren care so deeply, even for those who hurt them?

"Cecil… When they come you'll be safe at my home," the king said, knowing all to well that no one would come for dearest little Cecil ," then you can go back home."

"Oh," Cecil paused as if to think, and then nodded, "okay."

Richard and Matthew exchanged a meaningful look behind the King's back, and followed him as he led them back to the troop. The angry look on their faces disapeared when they saw the boy held tightly to the King's chest, replaced with confusion and concern.

"Sir…," the still-young First Luitenant Darias Baigan II began, but the King silenced him with a look.

"This child is to be cared for. He is to be fed and cleaned and given a room in the nursery when we return," the tone he spoke in made it clear that the King was taking full responsibility for the boy. "He belongs to Baron now."

"What am I to tell my father, sir?" Lt. Baigain asked the King.

"Tell the Lord Captain that we have a new addition to our happy family. Tell him that Cecil Harvey is to be treated with the same deference any heir I would produce would be treated with," the King took a moment to gently brush a strand of hair out of the sleeping boy's face. "As I have already said, he belongs to Baron now."

No one asked what the King meant. It was clear enough by looking at him.

Richard and Matthew exchanged another look, but did not dare to speak. They knew after the fiasco with His Highness' wife the King would never remarry. Perhaps, they both thought, just perhaps, this was Fate. In some twist of destiny this boy arrived to fufill this purpose.

Baron surely must be blessed beyond all other nations to reviece such a gift, Matthew decided. The innocence in those green eyes was surely a blessing.

Richard, more cynical, was not so sure. He thought the boy could prove to be a troublesome burden to them all. After all, he had the same strange, features as that man.

How the Fates above laughed at the men who were both, in their own way, correct.