Set in the DOTM universe and written in the first person voice of Optimus Prime, this is a short story exploring Sentinel and Optimus' past relationship a little more. I referred to the movie prequel "Foundation" comics for this as well. Enjoy, readers!

Mentor - Part 1

The distant past.

All I know is that I was alone and hidden when Sentinel Prime found me. The first words I ever heard were his...

'Give me your hand, young one.'

I saw his face above me. It was warm and inviting. The azure lights of his optics were soft and gentle. His arm stretched down towards me...

'There is nothing to fear. You are safe now.'

His voice was reassuring. I remember cautiously reaching up to him, my small hand tentatively grasping his large one. Then his fingers wrapped securely around mine, and he pulled me out of the darkness...and into life. This is my earliest memory.

Over the stellar cycles of my youth, Sentinel guarded and taught me well. He protected me, raised, nurtured and shared his wisdom with me. The world I was born into had been one of famine, divisions and violence. But he told me of an early time when Cybertron had been a planet of growth and beauty, and when the early Cybertronian race worked as a unified whole. He believed that such times of peace, harmony and prosperity were still possible in Cybertron's future. He taught me to believe that too, never to give up hope for a better tomorrow for our homeworld. He regaled me with stories of Cybertron's ancient past: creation stories about the Allspark which granted life to all Cybertronians and mythical tales about the first Cybertronians to walk on Cybertron: the Dynasty of Primes, whom he was descended directly from and who created the first transforming Cybertronians. I listened mesmerised to his stories.

'Freedom is every sentient being's right.'

He passed those words to me, instilled in me a respect and compassion for all my fellow Cybertronians, despite the conflicts that existed between them. Not one type or group of Cybertronians had the right to take away the freedom or deny the existence of others. The great Primes, the first leaders of our race, respected and valued all sentient life Sentinel had told me. They were virtuous and wise kings of our world before their fall.

'What happened to them?' I had asked once.

'They were betrayed...by one of their own.'

'Why would one of the Primes betray his brothers?'

Sentinel's expression had darkened. '...Because there is potential for darkness in us all. And even the wisest of us can fall.'

Sentinel had made me aware of the divided tribes of Cybertron in my youth. These tribes often clashed with one another over scarce energon and old rivalries and prejudices. There were great hostilities between them and it was dangerous to venture into certain territories. Sentinel taught me to fight for my own protection. He was a skilled warrior and taught me everything that he could. We used to spar with blunt blades. He honed my weapon aim with target practice. Our hand-to-hand combat sessions usually resulted in me flat on the ground...

'Get up, Optimus. Get up and try again,' he used to tell me.

I always obeyed. I always pushed myself up again. I remember those lessons in physical combat with my mentor fondly. They were some of the most enjoyable times of my youth.

As time passed, Sentinel took on other promising students alongside me. First was Elita-One. She was a young warrior from a female tribe. She left her tribe to join us. She had impressed Sentinel...and me.

Then came Megatron. We had found him wandering the barren plains of Cybertron. Like me, he had apparently been abandoned and left alone. Sentinel took pity on him and offered him a place with us. He became as close as a brother to me.

And finally, there was Shockwave. He was a quiet but sharp-minded young bot that had been outcasted from his tribe. Sentinel accepted him when he came to us, looking to 'expand his horizons'. I came to value him for his uncanny logic and intelligence, though he was never one for talking much.

Together we were mentored under Sentinel Prime. We were his students, his protégés. We grew to rely on one another. Megatron was my brother. Elita-1 was my first and dearest friend. Shockwave was a respected companion that always had our backs. We trained and worked as a tightly-welded team.

The time came when we aided our mentor in his greatest achievement: Cybertron entered a new golden age when Sentinel brought a sun into orbit of it. The sun powered the Allspark and granted light and life to our world. Energon was made plentiful, hatchlings arose and finally the warring tribes of Cybertron set aside their differences and were united. An era of peace and prosperity had begun.

Sentinel had been the one to rejuvenate Cybertron. He should have been the one to lead us all in the new golden age he had ushered in. But instead, he stepped down and approached me.

Under the fading orange rays of Cybertron's first sunset, he told me something that I was not ready to hear or accept. 'Optimus, I believe you to be of my lineage. I believe you are a Prime. And it is your destiny to lead Cybertron.'

To be continued.