Hello there! I am EternityAndInfinity, or less formally, Andrew! This is the first time I've ever even considered posting any of my work publicly, and to be truthful, I'm pretty nervous about it. So I ask for your constructive criticism. Do us both a favor and don't waste either of our time by flaming me or whatever they call it nowadays.
Now, when I started "Lionheart", it was simply a backstory for a Lvl. 1 that I was making at the time. But my fingers kept going when I thought I should've stopped, and it has evolved into something much more. "Soleil" is a character that I've had in mind for many years, and bringing him to life has never truly come to fruition until now.
I assure you that you will notice many, maaannnnnny references to different shows, movies, games, and the like, and due to it being a private project, I wanted to make it a little more fun for me to write. One of the many references is actually a big nod to a fanfic by a fellow writer here named "Freedan the Eternal", that being his Legend of Zelda fanfic "The Silent Kingdom". It's a really fantastically good read if you're into the TLoZ canon, and he does a great job of not disturbing the continuity of the series. Big shout out to him, and best of luck as well. "The Silent Kingdom" currently sits at over 650,000 words!
I am aware that the formatting of my dialogue isn't 100% proper, it's just my personal preference to write that way. Theoretically, I've aligned the dialogue so you would know who is talking at the time.
Anyways, all characters, settings, and all that good stuff mentioned herein are the properties of their rightful owners, and absolutely zero harm or rights infringement is intended.
Chapter One- The Heart of The Lion
At first, Richard didn't think much of the silent, hooded stranger sitting in the corner of the cantina. A young scribe for the local paper, he made a walk around the cantina, talking to the numerous travelers. However, as the night went on, he hadn't found a single story that was interesting enough to put in writing. His options had dwindled, and his attention once again turned to the still silent man, clad in purple, sitting in the same seat as he was in the afternoon.
"Excuse me, sir!"
The man in question silently peered out from under his hood at his fellow young man, his shining silver eyes glinting in the candle light, an expressionless face greeting the newcomer.
"My name is Richard, I am a scribe for the town's gazette. You seem like an interesting traveler, someone with their eyes set on bigger places! I was wondering if I might be able to ask you a few questions for a piece I'm writing?"
"Well, Richard, I am afraid you are mistaken. I may be a traveler, however I have no destination. But I wouldn't mind answering a few questions for you."
"Much obliged sir!"
Richard quickly, however quietly, took the seat across from him.
"Before you start, my friend, may I ask you a question?"
"Certainly good sir."
"What is this piece you are writing concerning?
"Well, I am writing about the variety of travelers our fair town has been seeing lately! As of late, Gaia's Navel has been quite the stop-in for outsiders like yourself, and I wanted to write a bit about how varied the culture of our visitors has been."
"Well, certainly sounds interesting. I would be happy to help you, Richard."
"My most sincere appreciation, mister...?"
"My name is Soleil. Soleil De Minuit"
"Very nice to meet, you Sir Soleil!"
"The pleasure is all mine, Richard. Now, shall we?"
"Yes, of course! If I may, could I ask what has transpired to bring you here, Sir Soleil?"
"Certainly. Although I must warn you, it is a bit of a long story."
"I love a good story, Sir Soleil."
Soleil sat back in his seat, and after a pause and a long sigh, he began.
"I was born twenty-one years ago now to a noble family in the Kingdom of Darimar, one of the five kingdoms of Mystara. That year, the so called "Four Lords of Chaos" attacked our Kingdom by way of a colossal floating citadel, and a great war for humanity's survival broke out. Unfortunately, thanks to the other four Kingdoms already having been leveled, our army was limited to its own strength. Thankfully however, we DID have a little bit of help. A year before the war, a group of travelers had arrived from the Kingdom across the sea, and used their legendary power known as the "True Force" to destroy the necromancer, Tharkus, and his allies, thus ending the war.
Although the Lords of Chaos had been destroyed, so too was a vast majority of the Kingdom when they dropped the citadel onto the city in a final effort to destroy my people. Our King, King Rigdar, was killed. An elven woman, Silviana took the throne by her right as Archmage of the Kingdom, and began rallying the remaining citizens and soldiers to rebuild the city, starting a new era of peace and tranquility."
"I've heard of that conflict. It was said that if your people had failed, the entire world would've fallen to the Lords. That's quite fascinating, Sir Soleil." said Richard.
"Quite. Now please, Richard, call me Soleil. No need for formality. In fact, you are the first person to have spoken to me in a pleasant manner in some weeks."
"My pleasure, Soleil." he replied.
"When I was sixteen, as an alternative to the noble life I had grown to loathe, I left home to join "The Order of the Lionheart". The Order was a brotherhood of holy knights and paladins, guided by the hands of Heironeous, the God of Valor, as a force against evil and tyranny. My travels took me to the far distant Republic of Pandora, led by His Excellency, Treize Khushrenada. It was here that I finally became an initiate of The Order.
I had much to learn, my adventurous ways had carried me far across the world, and the adventuror's spirit within me needed to be tamed. I spent the next four years learning discipline, honor, morality and faith. When I was finally deemed worthy of taking part in actions for The Order, I was assigned to Brother Maxwell. Unbeknownst to me at the time, Brother Maxwell was the Captain of the Royal Praetorian Guard, sworn to watch over and protect Sir Treize and his family.
It was only a few short months before we began hearing rumors of The Empire plotting an attack against the Republic. The Empire had always desired control over the land our Republic had sat on, for it was the perfect location for a trade capital. We had prime access to the Great Sea for seaborne trading, extremely fertile soil for the growing of crops that the entire world desired, not to mention the blissful natural beauty of the lands around us.
They hit us not a week later, full forced with an army of no less than a hundred thousand strong. The battle raged nearly endlessly for almost an entire month, countless lives lost in the name of greed and tyranny. On the twentieth anniversary of the attack on my home Kingdom of Darimar, The Empire's forces snuck a platoon beneath the walls in an attempt to assassinate Sir Treize, bringing an end to the resistance by the Republic.
We fought vigorously for hours against their necromancers and soldiers, and just as it seemed as though all was lost, Brother Maxwell told me of a secret passageway to a hidden dock in the caverns deep below the city.
I, along with Sir Treize and his family, escaped the Republic and set sail for Darimar. Nearly immediately afterwards, I returned to Pandora to see for myself what fate had befallen the Republic, as well as my Brothers. The Republic had fallen. Upon arriving, I was greeted by the charred remains of my surrogate home, the entire city all but completely leveled by the Empire. I rushed to the supposedly secret and unseizable location of The Order's headquarters, only to find it scorched by the same flames that destroyed the rest of the city. I searched for hours for some kind of cryptic clue to the new headquarters, but instead of answers, all I discovered were the remains of my fallen comrades.
In the throne room, I found Brother Maxwell. He laid peacefully up against a chest, a smile upon his bearded face. In his hand, he held a note that simply read: 'You made it. You are now truly a Brother. Carry on our legacy with you, Brother Soleil.'." he continued.
"That's very touching Soleil." Richard interjected.
"Indeed. Which brings me here. You might think that being the last of a legendary Order of paladins would be unsettling, but truth be told, it's quite peaceful. I am now in control, control of the destiny of The Order, free to return it to its former glory. So it's with no destination that I am riding along alone down this silent road, searching for my next calling. Searching for the next home of The Order of the Lionheart."
"I have to admit, Soleil, I never would've thought that you have been through that much. When I walked through that door earlier this afternoon, you were probably the least 'warrior looking' person in the room."
"We of The Order do not wish to make our presence known. We don't wear our scars as though they were medals like the fools you have been talking to all evening. We don't throw our strength, our prowess around like a warning flag. Heironeous guides us in the name of valor and justice. Our honor is not in the spoils of our 'victories'. It's in our faith. Our unwavering pursuit of good, and righteousness."
"I didn't think good people like you existed anymore."
"Well spending your time in a place such as this cantina will certainly help you to believe like that." Soleil laughed.
"I suppose you are right." Richard laughed in return.
"Well my friend, as much as I've appreciated your company, I do believe it is time for me to carry on."
"Really? So late? Why don't you stay in the town inn? I believe they still have..."
"It's not necessary, Richard. Although I thank you for the offer, I must be going, for I feel the call of Heironeous coming from elsewhere."
Soleil stood up, and for the first time, Richard saw the true scale of his new friend. He stood over six feet high, with broad shoulders, and long powerful looking legs. He snatched up his pack, and headed out of the door.
"So where will you go from here, Soleil?" Richard asked as he followed.
"West, I believe. It feels like the right direction to head, and right now, that's all the motivation I need." Soleil replied.
"Well, here," Richard said as he pulled a torch off of the cantina wall, "Take this, it can get very dark in these woods."
"Thank you, Richard, but it is not necessary. I rather enjoy the solitude of the night. Go home, get some rest, and stay safe my friend." Soleil replied, and patted Richard on the shoulders with both hands and turned to the road ahead of him.
"I want that life. I want an honorable adventure like yours, filled with action! And battle!"
"Have you ever killed a man, Richard?"
"Well, no...I can't say that I have."
"Someday, you will learn that it is not a noble thing."
"Not even against the Empire?"
Soleil turned and smiled over his shoulder as he walked.
"Not even when it is for the gods."