Chapter 1 – Introductions

Forgive me if I make this quick, but to be frank, I prefer to take action than to run my mouth. My name is Carver, and I've been aligned to the Igneus clan ever since I was a little kid. My parents were killed at a young age and the leader took me in and cared for me. Igneox, my clan leader, told me that to be a strong and valiant warrior I would have to be not only brave, but selfless to others…Yeah right, screw that! I fight because I'm strong and I win because I can. If I ever find out who took my parents away from me I'll rip them in two, and laugh while doing it. Then again, Igneox is the only one that ever accepted me, so out of respect I always listen to him, but only him. I take crap from nobody and because of that I've never been screwed over by anyone that got away with it. Anyways, I just recently received a letter from the BattleOn academy stating that I am to enroll in hero training. Finally, a chance to prove myself! When Igneus heard about this, he taught me a spell that fuses a spirit of him into me in battle, not that I need it or anything. I guess receiving some of his powers won't be too bad, but I'll be damned if he thinks I'll rely on them. If I was around during the Carnax war I KNOW I would have beaten him! Hell, I could have done it with a damn pencil! Though I guess Igneox is the clan leader for a reason, so I'm sure I'll be able to crack a few skulls with his power. Anyways, I'll show everybody else in that lame class how I roll, making me the next Artix of Lore! No, wait, I'll surpass Artix and be the NEW world defender! Get ready teacher, my fire sword will prove how awesome I really am! I am Carver: Igneus member, warrior in training, revenge in my heart, fire in my soul.

My name is Clement, and I'm part of the very strong Nautica clan. I've been called a prodigy by my leader, Nautica, ever since I could summon a tidal wave when I was 5. My parents are known across the world as the richest entrepreneurs of Lore, selling houses like they're candy. Being rich has its advantages, since I've been able to buy whatever equipment I wanted, and believe me, I exploit it thoroughly. Some people say that because of my wealth I've become a 'pretty boy' who relies on his weapons to the point of not having any true skill. To that I say "Hah!" for unbeknownst to them I'm actually more fluent in the magical side of the Universe. Why train your defense when you can summon a giant Hydra to do the dirty work for you? I'll become the new defender of Lore without having to move a muscle, and the irony of it all will be delicious. Of course, money can't buy everything as I'm forced to enter this quaint school for 'beginners' that aspire to defend Lore. Come on; let's be real for one second here. Am I supposed to believe that I, the great Clement, am qualified for nothing but a class for beginners? HAH. I'll be out of that class before the teacher can finish polishing his Apple. Nautica said that despite my 'arrogance' I'm worthy of using his powers in case I ever needed it, although I highly doubt there will ever be a time where my magic will fail me. However, he has been there for me when my parents were gone on business, so I guess I should be thankful for his generosity. I won't say I'd take a Tsunami's Edge to the heart for him or anything, but hey, maybe a water balloon? He said that his power would morph a spirit of him into me, creating this weird hybrid of strength and magic, destroying everything in our path. Now while that does sound interesting and I'm all for winning, I do have some sense of morals, and refuse to take the easy way out unless I like, REALLY have to. So yeah, I am Clement: Nautica member, mage in training according to the guardian council, mana in my hands, and money in my pockets.

Sup? The name's Carnax. No, not the giant monster hell-bent on destroying all that is good. I am however named after him, because for some reason, my parents thought he was something to look up to or something. Being named Carnax has its advantages I guess…I never have to wait in line! Well, usually when I walk up to the line they all just leave, so technically there never is a 'line' to 'wait in'. Anyways, I'm getting sidetracked, sorry about that. I tend to forget what I'm talking about and drift off into different topics. I heard there was a name for people like that, but whatever. So yeah, I'm part of the Aerodu clan. Not much to say really. I asked the leader, Aerodu, if I could join and he said sure, so…yeah. The only reason I joined was because I love gongs. I always wanted a gong but when I heard that the Aerodu clan sells gongs that actually damage your opponents I was sold. Oh and I guess their armor is pretty cool too…I mean it's no gong but it looks alright. To be honest I actually hate to battle, it's just too violent you know? You're probably thinking to yourself 'Well hey wait a minute! If you hate to fight, why are you trying to be a future Lore defender'? Well to be honest, I'm actually an avid bowman. I have the eyes of a Griffin, able to hit a target from unbelievable distances. I was even offered a chance to go to some beginner's school for defenders so I could master my skills. I mean I'm sure there isn't anything else I need to learn but hey, I'm down for a change of pace. Besides, Aerodu is boring. All the clan members ever do is fly around and try to impress our leader, most of the time failing too. Actually, Aerodu himself said that if I were ever to be in a jam, I could just say this weird chant and he would "send his spirit to occupy my body, and together we would defeat the challenge before us" or something. I mean that's cool and everything but I always do my best to avoid any confrontation. Besides, even if there is a battle I'm just going to attack while staying far away from everyone. What's the point of fighting if you risk getting hit? That's why when I become a certified leader of the Defenders my first duty will be to disband all the members and hire a new team composed entirely of bowmen, gunslingers, and gongs. That way I'll know for sure that Lore is truly safe from any and all dangers. I am Carnax: Aerodu member, Ranger in training, bow in my left, arrow in my right.

My name is not important to you. If you want to address me, then use the word 'Caesar'. I love that word you know? It reminds me of that old fairy tale my mother used to tell me when I was younger. It was about a man who could command armies to defeat anybody who stood in his nation's way. What I love the most about this story is the fact he was killed so easily: betrayal. Can you believe someone who was protected by an entire army could be killed by something as simple as a few guys with daggers? The story made me realize that it's not how strong you are, but how much ability you have in the art of deceit. Believe me, I've never held anything bigger than a dagger, and I never will. It's all I need. To kill your foe, a simple leap from the shadows and a pierce through their weak spot is all it takes. I scoff at all the other aspiring defenders who train every waking moment of their lives, struggling to keep up with people like me. If I were the leader of the defenders, nobody would ever see us again. We would be so fluent in the darkness of shadows that any foe who would even consider attacking Lore wouldn't even get the chance to make a dent before we got a hold of them. Before they could even blink, assuming they had eyes, we would have already severed their head from their body in one fell swoop. Anyways, when I looked at all the clans that were available I was severely disappointed. They all either promoted brute violence, silly magic, and even attacking from afar. I was shocked! I mean how could someone seriously believe that stealth and betrayal weren't the future of battle? I almost gave up until I noticed that there was a clan keeping themselves hidden from the world in an attempt to shroud itself in mystery. Of course being the ninja I am there was little skill needed to locate this clan. They call themselves the 'Nocturu' clan and they are all about the darkness. Hell, their qualification test was to find their spot so joining was a piece of cake. Their leader, Noctros, informed me that there was going to be a school opening up that would train the future defenders of Lore and mold them into heroes. I scoffed at first but I eventually realized that maybe it wasn't going to be that bad. I mean sure I'd have to pose as an average adventurer who really wanted to make some friends, become the class leader, even get a boyfriend or two. But that shouldn't be a problem, I mean lying and deceit is what I do best! Oh yeah, Noctros tried to hide it from me but I was too clever to notice it. He gave me a small tablet that would secretively fuse a spirit of him into my body, increasing my skills tenfold. Even though my pride will be damaged, a true snake knows that if you want to win, you have to do whatever it takes. I am 'Caesar': Nocturu member, Assassin in training, lost in shadow, name unknown.

These kids are in for an experience that nobody but I can provide. Hello, I am Professor Charles Entain, but I'm fine with just Charlie. It makes me sound more young and 'hip'. It's rather sad that a 30-year-old has to try and sound younger nowadays but whatever, let's move on. I'm opening this new school that focuses on the development of adventurers and their evolution into defenders. I always had a dream of becoming a guardian but unfortunately it never worked out…haha, just kidding. Actually, I recently just retired as the leader of the guardians and I'm looking for someone who is worthy enough to fill my shoes. I was only allowed to pick four people though, and they all had to be from different clans…stupid council. I'll admit that I chose Igneus out of bias but clearly they have strong people there as I was once under the guidance of some of them! Why did I pick Nautica? Because I remember being close friends with their leader once and know that they have strong mages…and no, it has nothing to do with the fact that a lot of them are rich and could help fund the school…Anyways, moving on. I like the Aerodu clan because they are Valiant, Resourceful, and are willing to perform acrobatics at the annual BattleOn festival. Man do I love those guys! To be honest, I never actually heard about the Nocturu clan until I got an anonymous tip from some weird bat thing that said that they had a prodigy with them that was capable of overthrowing every member of the defenders. With a pitch like that it was impossible for me to say no, right? Well I hope the other clans don't get upset that I didn't pick them, but I'm sure they'll understand. Anyways, I plan on taking the new members to the crossroads tomorrow and hopefully I'll get a good idea of what they are capable of. Also, I need to equip them with some new armor and stuff, but since I don't know their fighting styles I'm pretty blind in that department. Oh well, tomorrow will solve all of these problems. At least, I hope it does. If you know who decides to return, my decision to leave the defenders will definitely be a mistake the entire world will have to pay for.

And with that, the heroes packed their belongings and settled in BattleOn, the place known for its friendly citizens, remarkable arsenal, incredibly strong warriors, and frequent monster attacks. Charles Entain started to work on his strategy for the next day, planning his moving speeches to the very last detail. He wondered if Lore would be safe with him not in a battle suit anymore, and frankly, I wonder as well. Who am I you ask? Well good person, for you to find that out, you'll have to wait. For now, just think of me as an old and weary man who just landed himself a remarkable house in the sky for a bitchin' price. But for now, enjoy your day. Remember, there's always the chance that tomorrow just might not come.