The Paladins of Lore

I sat down at the table as I waited for my friend to meet me. At that time I didn't know he was my friend. That day was one of the best days of my life. I was going to begin my Paladin training! I looked up from my books as I watched Lady Celestia guide a young boy toward me. He seemed quite timid, but I could see that he was strong inside.

"Skylar, I would like you to meet your training companion, Artix." Lady Celestia said as the boy sat down beside me. I turned to look at him, and the moment our eyes met, I knew we would be good friends. "Hi Artix," I said to him. "I'm Skylar!" Artix did not reply, but he was truly happy that someone was at least trying to be friendly to him.

During our first lesson, we began learning how to cast simple light-based spells for defense. I was doing relatively well, but poor Artix could barely do a thing. During our meal times, all of the other kids would pick on him because of his lack of ability. As we walked toward our dormitories, he leaned over to me. "It's nice to meet you, Skylar." He said as he hurried on by. After he spoke, I stopped dead in my tracks. I had felt him put something on my back. I reached, and pulled a note off my back. "Meet me by Lady Celestia's office." It read. I ran to my dormitory and changed out of my eveningwear into a pair of brown trousers and a training shirt that looked like it was made from a burlap sack.

I snuck down the dark halls with a lit candle in my hand. "Psst! Over here!" I heard a voice hiss from the shadows. I grabbed a sword off of a table nearby, and held it at a ready stance. "Very impressive, Skylar." said a warm familiar voice from behind me. It was Lady Celestia! I turned around to see Artix standing with her. They had been watching me the entire time! I put the sword back down as my face turned red with embarrassment. How could I have been scared so easily? "Come, both of you." Lady Celestia said as she opened a large door. Artix and I both followed after her, and we heard the large metal door creak closed. "Skylar, I want you to help me train Artix." She said. "For half the day, you shall assist him in his spell casting classes, and the other half you two will spend training with Arryd." Artix looked down at the ground, obviously upset about his skill level, but I couldn't really help him, the poor kid.

Months passed, and he still had no luck. I was already training against Paladins much older than I was. I would finish off a duel, only to see Artix walk glumly towards me and ask for more help with a spell. I would walk over with him, and listen to the clash of armor, sword against sword, and the cheer of my friends. How I longed to help him, but some people just aren't fit to be Paladins. "How did you get so good?" He asked me one day. "I'm not as good as Mayrie." I said to try and make him feel better. Mayrie was the best apprentice Paladin at Lightguard keep. She could easily wipe me out.

Years passed, and my friendship with Artix grew. I began to learn how to forge my own armor and how to heal wounds. Artix was still struggling with spells, and whenever I could, I would give him little tips on how to make this or that easier. Technically, I was like his own personal teacher.

One night, I awoke to the shrieks of the undead, and the screech of steel on steel. "Undead raid!" I heard a Paladin shout. "Gather the children!" screamed another. I jumped off of my cot and awoke all of the girls in my dormitory. They proceeded to the others. By the time I reached the first boys dormitory, they were all awake and pulling on their armor. All except Artix... who wasn't there at all! I ran back to my dormitory and pulled on my strongest set of armor, grabbed my best axe, and headed out. Before Lady Celestia could stop us, we were all heading out to defend Lightguard keep.

We all ran out and scattered to attack the thousands of skeletons running at us. "Skylar! Get back inside!" I heard Artix shout. "No," I called. "I will fight! This is what I was trained for!" I heard the rattle of bones, and suddenly a huge shockwave traveled from the center of a skeletal mob. In the middle, stood Artix, hacking away at skeletons, and casting the most powerful spells I had ever seen! Beneath his feet stood a huge mound of mangled skeletons. I stood there, taking in the sight of the boy who could barely create a spark just the day before, fight like he had been born a Paladin!

But what a mistake I made. The next thing I knew, I was on my side, looking at a blade that had suddenly come from just below my chest. No... it was not coming from my chest, a skeletal soldier had stabbed it's sword into my back. I lay there becoming weaker by the second, trying desperately to soak up the blood. I was so cold. The world around me was becoming obsolete... I lost all senses... the last thing I felt at that moment was a warm hand touch my cheek. The last thing I saw was Artix... desperately trying to heal me.

I was almost gone, when I saw a bright flash of light. I saw my life flash before my eyes. Then, it all went black. I lost consciousness.

"Skylar, are you there? Skylar?" Was someone calling my name? If so, who? Slowly, I began to remember everything. Who I was. What had happened. Where I was. Then I recognized the voice. "Artix?" I moaned as my eyelids fluttered open. "What happened?" "Artix used every bit of power he had to keep you alive. He took you back to your dormitory as well." Said a warm, feminine voice. I glanced to my right to see Lady Celestia, who seemed quite relieved that I was still alive. "That was sure some fight out there." I said as I tried to sit up. As I began to move, a sharp pain ran straight through me, like a rain of knives. "Don't sit up, Sky." Artix said as he gently lowered me back down. Sky. No one had called me that since I was tiny.

"Why can't I sit up?" I asked as I drank some water. "A skeleton's sword went straight through you. It left some nasty wounds." Artix said as he took my now empty glass. I looked down to see my entire torso wrapped in bandages. "King Alteon's medical team was called in to help stitch up the cuts." He said as he refilled my cup with water. As I took the cup, I caught him casting a spell. "What are you doing?" I asked. "Casting a healing spell." He replied. "Once I cast this spell, you should be able to move, but be careful." He said as he completed the spell. As he finished, I felt the pain ease away, and I sat up and hugged him. "Without you, I'd probably be an undead minion right now." I said as I listened to the beat of his heart. "Skylar, you are my best friend. I couldn't let you go." He said to me.

We sat there for a while, embracing each-other. Eventually I let go, and for the first time, I realized that the timid little boy I met somewhat six years ago had become one of the best Paladins in all of Lore.

Since that day, Artix and I have been the best of friends, and I cannot imagine what would have happened if he was not there. Today he serves King Alteon, and he has earned his place as one of the High Paladins. Whenever Lore is threatened, we are at each-others side. "Ready, set..." He would wait for me to finish, "Go!"

Written by: Kid Icarus Girl, AKA: Skylar Jayflight, AQW

5-08-2012