The Legend of Dragoon:
The Third Wave
"You must be Charlene," Christopher said as a young woman entered his office.
"Yes, I am," Charlene responded "nice to meet you, Christopher," she said as she shook his hand
Christopher stood up to shake Charlene's hand "please," he said "call me Chris." He gestured towards one of the seats "make yourself at home."
Charlene sat down and took a deep breath, she came to meet Christopher for an interview for a teaching spot that had opened up at the Black Castle Institute, or B.C.I for short. B.C.I was without doubt one of the most prestigious places to study in all of Endiness – and Charlene was ready to take her career in history to the next level.
"So," Chris started, looking at some paperwork, "it looks like you specialize in history. Tell me about your qualifications."
"Gladly," Charlene said with a deep breath. "I did a lot of studying at the Denningrad National Library. Since then I've taken on two big research projects of my own. The first I did was a study of the Dragoon Legend and the second one, to make a long story short, a study of magic."
"Denningrad, eh?" Christopher started shuffling his papers "ah, yes, here it is." Christopher pulled out a copy of the certificate that stated that Charlene had indeed studied in the library and that she was knowledgeable enough to carry the blessing of the national library.
"By the way," Christopher said, holding up the certificate, "how does this work? Do they give these out to just anybody?"
Charlene started to feel intimidated, but she quickly regained her nerves. "No," she responded "You pick a specialization and then you basically read all the books in that field, and discuss them with various tutors and fellow students. You can present yourself to a board of librarians to be questioned on all the facts in your field either after 5 years of reading, or whenever you feel ready – whichever comes first. A lot of people tend to pick 2 fields to specialize in, I picked magic and history."
"I didn't realize they were that tough," Christopher said, seeming a bit surprised. "Well, let's move on, tell me about that research that you said you did."
"You want the full scoop?" Charlene asked.
"Sure, I've got time," Christopher replied.
"Alright," Charlene replied, "well, I know that a lot of history specialists probably tend to study the Dragoon legends in one way or another. But I've never seen anyone who has studied them like I have. You see, I didn't study the life of the dragoons, or where they travelled or the impact that they had on societies. I studied their death. I decided that I wanted to know when, where, how, and why each of the dragoons met their fate."
"Really?" Christopher said, "well…at least it's a fresh take." Once again, he seemed surprised, Charlene started to feel like she had the upper hand.
"Indeed." Charlene replied "I travelled all over Endiness, and found all kinds of artifacts and records and even new places and people. Once I had all of the data I needed, I plotted out on a calendar when each Dragoon died. To make a long story short, I found that all the Dragoons died within 108 days of each other."
"Interesting" Christopher said, "does the number 108 have any sort of significance?"
"Of course!" Charlene was a little surprised that Christopher didn't know. But she didn't plan on telling him. "I have all that information right here," Charlene took a bound book filled with copies of documents and put it on Christopher's desk. "That's pretty much it: my predictions, all the evidence I gathered, a synopsis of the evidence and conclusions."
"Wow…" Christopher opened up the book, which was about a foot and a half in length and width, and at least 6 inches thick. He had no intention of even reading the entire synopsis. "So…remind me why 108 is important." Christopher said, becoming a little confused as to the entire point of this research.
"I could teach an entire course on that," Charlene responded "it's quite a long story."
"And let's not forget," Christopher added, "the Dragoons are merely a legend. You take a lot of big "If's" when it comes to research."
Charlene didn't take Christopher's comment lightly "If you don't have any more questions on the Dragoons, I can move on to magic studies."
"I'd be delighted to hear something more concrete," Christopher replied.
"Well, let me put it this way, "Charlene started, "According to the math that I've done, Humans haven't always been able to use magic." Charlene caught a glimpse of surprise in Christopher's expression. "It's pretty difficult to determine an exact rate at which humans have been gaining magic power, but in my opinion it looks like the babies that are born every 108 years tend to have more magical aptitude."
"Yet another big stretch on the research," Christopher replied. "So you're telling me that every 108 years Humans become more powerful? How do you prove something like that?"
"It's a lot easier to see things in retrospect," Charlene said, pulling out a slightly less think book. "Here are all the same data on my magic studies."
"Alright," Christopher sighed, "I'll be honest, you don't see such a huge amount of off-the-wall research from historians every day."
"Thank you, Christopher," Charlene said.
"Call me Chris, I'm sure you know that here at B.C.I we not only instruct the mind, but the body. Can you teach students to use weapons and magic?"
"I believe that you are supposed to be the judge of that" Charlene smirked.
"That I am," Chris stood up "follow me to the sparing ring."
Chris led Charlene out of his office, and down the hallway. After passing many other offices they reached a flight of stairs and took started going down, eventually reaching a large open room that felt like it was built below the ground. In the middle of the room was a large circle, with the letters "B.C.I" inscribed in it. There was a small staff from the clinic waiting on the two to arrive.
"Sorry to keep you guys waiting" Chris said to the clinicians, they nodded in return.
"Why are they here?" Charlene was kind of nervous that their sparring match would require medics, she didn't expect anything that intense.
"Don't worry," Chris seemed to know what she was thinking "they're just a precaution; luckily we've never had to use them."
Chris winked at the team and they smiled, which didn't help her nerves one bit.
Charlene wasn't new to the process of sparring, she had to fight off all kinds of danger during the time she spent traversing the world for her historical studies, and she had learned how to fight and use magic even before that. Both she and Chris came to the far side of the room and put on some light armor.
"Mind if I use my own weapon?" Charlene asked, not seeing any provided arms on the wall.
"Go for it," Chris replied "I was going to do the same."
Charlene followed Chris into the sparring ring, Chris stopped shortly after reaching the other side of the B.C.I letters. He turned around to Charlene and didn't see a weapon in her hand.
"Do you fight with your fists?" He asked, hoping that she would say "yes."
"No," Charlene said, reading Chris' saddened expression. "It seems you know where I like to keep my weapons" she chuckled.
Chris gave a small smile as he watched her wave her hand in the air. A small blue colored sphere appeared, floating above the palm of her hand. The sphere grew a bit until it was big enough for Charlene to fit her hand through. She reached for the sphere and put her hand through it. Charlene's hand didn't appear on the other side of the sphere, as expected. Rather, it diapered into the sphere. After a second, Charlene pulled her hand back out, equipped with a rapier that was glowing blue. Charlene looked over to Chris to see him performing a similar technique, only his spheres were colored red. With his right hand he was reaching into a smaller sphere, and pulled out a short sword. A sphere grew on his left hand, which quickly flattened out and started to spin outwards. Eventually the sphere growing circle solidified into a shield that looked like it was made from cooled magma.
"It's not every day that you fight someone with the magic to store items like that" Chris said as he watched the blue subside from Christine's blade.
"I should return the comment!" Charlene now knew why Chris didn't seem too happy about her not using her fists. It meant that she could use such strong magic to store her weapons. "This ought to be interesting!" Charlene said with a smile on her face.
Christopher gave a small chuckle in agreement and signaled over to someone in a corner that Charlene hadn't noticed. A light arose from the perimeter of the circle and then quickly faded away. Charlene wanted to ask what it was, but she quickly figured that it was probably a magic barrier to keep the outsiders safe.
"I only have 1 rule" Chris started, "I don't allow the use of magic crystals, I don't like people using magic that's not of their natural element."
"Understandable," Charlene replied. She didn't have any magic-altering crystals on her, and didn't plan on shooting anything other than ice at her opponent anyway.
When it became apparent that neither Chris nor Charlene had anything to say they both bowed to each other and lifted their weapons in fighting stance. From out of nowhere, a whistle was blown and Chris quickly made his way straight for Charlene. Charlene reacted quickly and jumped as high as she could. Chris rose his shield, expecting her to go for a kick in the face. Charlene took advantage of Chris' shield and made it her landing point. Chris immediately tried to stab Charlene's leg armor, but she managed to kick his blade out of the way. Charlene did a front flip off of the shield, charging up a blue mass in her left hand as she did so. When she was completely facing downwards, she extended her arm and shot a ball of blue magic straight towards the ground. Right upon hitting the ground the sphere broke and quickly materialized into a large mass of ice. Chris barely escaped the attack by making a few steps forward, and spinning around to see Charlene waiting for him on the other side of the mini-glacier.
Chris charged again, jumping over the ice structure. Chris made swing after swing, even using his shield for some attacks, but time and time again Charlene made it look too easy to duck under, sidestep, and parry every move he made. After several minutes, neither of the two seemed to be wearing out. Eventually Charlene decided to go on the offensive, Chris made a high, horizontal slash with his blade, and Charlene instinctively ducked under it. She saw that he was swinging his shield a bit lower than his sword, and in the opposite direction – to protect any openings that he may have. Regardless of the shield, Charlene saw that Chris' legs were open. In a quick, fluid movement Charlene shot a ball of ice at his legs. Charlene's magic hit 1 of Chris' legs and he stumbled back in pain. Quickly, Charlene switched her weapon from her right to her left hand, as Charlene rose back up, she flattened out her right and summoned an aura of blue magic around it. While Chris was still stumbling backwards, she came up and struck Chris' chest with all her might. He fell back in the air in a blast of ice, hitting the semi-melted glacier that Charlene had summoned earlier. Charlene quickly closed in on Chris and poked him in the chest with her rapier.
"That's it!" Someone called from outside the circle, "Chris has been hit 3 times! The match is over!"
Charlene looked for the origin of the voice, but only saw a crowd of people. The newly formed crowd made Charlene feel good about her performance.
"Ahh…" Chris moaned, still on the miniature glacier, "I have never lost any match…."
"Sorry," Charlene said, feeling kind of bad for showing him up. "It happens, sooner or later."
Chris' hand started to glow an intense red color, Charlene immediately went on guard - thinking that he wouldn't let the match end with him losing.
"For you…" Chris managed to say "it happens now!"
Chris' body was totally engulfed in a red light, almost blinding everyone in the room. When Charlene looked up she saw that Chris was wearing different armor, almost like that of the legendary Dragoons that she had studied. What she saw gave her mixed emotions.
"Ha!" She scoffed at Chris before he could make a move "for someone who doesn't believe in Dragoons, you sure do like to dress up as one! I see you couldn't get the wings included in your fancy armor."
"This…" Chris lifted up his arms, showing off his magical armor, "is as close to the legend as any human will ever get!"
Chris clearly wasn't in the mood for saying any more, for he charged her with at least double the speed that he had earlier. Chris swung his sword upwards, and Charlene was able to roll to the side just in time for him to miss her. Charlene quickly made a plan of action, and hit the ground with her fist. Several pillars of blue light emerged from the ground; all made of the same blue light as the sphere that produced Charlene's weapon. Charlene then ran straight into one of the nearest pillars, disappearing completely from the ring. Christopher made the mistake of going to the middle of the fighting ring, which was completely surrounded by the pillars Charlene made.
"C'mon now!" Chris said, "you can't hide forever! Come out and let me bea-"
Before Chris could finish, Charlene flew out of the pillar behind Chris, this time wielding a rapier in one hand and a large mace in the other. Chris turned around just in time to receive a powerful blow to the chest by Charlene's mace. He flew straight into one of the magical pillars, only to re-appear an instant later – per Charlene's plan – through the pillar that Charlene had popped out of. Luckily for her, Chris was already facing her – and Charlene simply held up her sword, allowing the center piece of Chris' chest plate to fall straight onto her blade. The center of his chest piece, which Charlene hadn't noticed was a green gem, shone brightly and shattered. Instantly, the rest of Chris' armor shattered and fell to the floor. The last thing that Chris saw was the magic wall being lowered, and a hoard of feet coming at him.
Charlene found herself at the clinic, in Chris' room with a hoard of pissed off faculty. For hours people had been pestering her about how she made a mistake in beating Chris like that, how she could have killed the head of magic studies – one of the most important people in the institution, and some people told her that they thought she was a Wingly, or had sold her soul to the devil, for her magic use was beyond anything they had ever seen. Some people admired her, though. Evidently nobody had beat Chris before, and some had respect for her skill in physical battle and in magic use. Finally, Chris started to stir in his bed.
"Ah…man! What happened…?" Chris woke up and started taking in his surroundings, he saw many familiar faces from the teachers and students, and then his eyes fell on Charlene.
Chris was being bombarded with voices that were asking him if he was O.K, if he wanted anything, if he wanted Charlene out of the room. Eventually he spoke over all of them, only wanting to speak with his sparring mate.
"ENOUGH!" Chris shouted, and everyone stopped immediately, blinking at him in surprise. "Charlene, I….I don't know what to say. I lost total control of my ego back there."
Charlene, who had been pushed back by Chris' worried colleagues, made her way up to his bed, "it's fine," she told him "happens to the best of us…I just have one question, abou-"
"The "Dragoon" armor, right?" Chris interjected, when he saw that Charlene nodded in agreement, he continued, "it's a recent invention of mine, just like we can use magic to store items, I simply use magic to store that armor. The metal that the armor is made out of seems to absorb magic, so the longer that armor stays in storage, the more efficient in blocking magic it becomes. Not only that, but it seems to be able to emit fire at my will."
Charlene chuckled at him "your version of Dragoon armor is pale in comparison to the real deal."
"You mean the fairy tale version?" Chris said jokingly, then added "I really shouldn't have done that. It was still a prototype, and I hadn't told anybody about it." He looked up at the rest of the people in the room, and saw the curiosity in their eyes. "I suppose I have to spill the beans about it in the next staff meeting."
The remainder of the crowd all agreed, and when a silence came over them, another person made their way to the front and confronted Charlene.
"I can't believe that you chose such a dangerous way to win that fight!" They said "You know he could have died, and I'm not so sold that I want someone who is as carefree with a blade as you around this school! Not to mention that strange magic that you pulled off was way beyond natural!"
"Sergio," Chris addressed the person who was ranting about Charlene "I think that, given that fact that Charlene is clearly more skilled than I in both blade and probably in magic, I would be an idiot not to give her that history-teacher opening. She may even take my job one day. I've never seen such quick thinking, and such power!"
Sergio grunted and left the room, the rest of the crowd – who clearly only wanted Charlene kicked out, followed him.
"That was Sergio," Chris told Charlene "our best student. Ironically he studies history, so you'll probably get to see him a lot"
"Great…" Charlene said, looking at the door. "Well, Chris, I think I lost control as well back there. I'm sorry that I had to put you into this position."
"Don't worry about it," he replied, chuckling he added, "it was part of the interview, remember?...oh, by the way, meet me in my office tomorrow, same time. We have paperwork to do"
Charlene smiled and bid Chris a quick recovery, leaving him to rest. She left the room, and found her way to the entrance of the building, Charlene had a lot of mixed emotions – she felt like she should have just let Chris win the sparring match, and she wasn't too pleased with the demonization that she received. Charlene exited the clinic and looked around the campus known as B.C.I. From her point of view, she could see most of the buildings. Black Castle Institute was rightfully named, for 2,000 years ago it served as the castle of a man named Emperor Doel. To this day most of the original castle was intact, and additional buildings were modeled after the original architecture. Charlene saw that the original castle itself was where all the research took place, and the various towers that she thought would contain sparring rings, libraries and probably many other things that she wouldn't expect. Charlene caught a glimpse of a tree line and saw that the leaves were turning brown for the autumn. She sighed and left to try and figure out how, and what, the hell she was going to teach her soon-to-be students.