Hello there :) . First of all, I want to start by mentioning that I'm very new into the terms of writing; My mother tongue is Spanish so I firstly wrote this of Spanish and a dear friend had translate it for me. I didn't felt adequately prepared to complete the task of turn it by myself into English, since I'm still taking English classes. But yet, I go little by little and being like this, I'll much love for comments, critiques and etc :) !
Strange New Alliances:
Before embarking on this journey on my new life mission, after the recent events concerning the arrival of the Dragon, I remember what Chief Adaro had told me about the existence of pawns. These "pawns" would be my faithful companion throughout my entire journey.
"They come from some unknown place; just appear without warning. They are a strange lot. Not human, quite. They look the part sure enough, but they lack the will...the spark what drives us. They have no capacity to feel nor act alone, so they live as sellswords. Myrmidons, as they're called."
That was the description that Adaro had given for me for my future companions.
Anyway, understand that I am writing this for the future Arisen, who is worthy enough to be accompanied by such pawns, and to prove the fact, like I once had, that you are all short-sighted as to the true feelings of pawns.
The Rift House has given me the honor of creating and bringing such into this world, a pawn that is of my desire to have someone who will guard me with an impressive range of skills. His name is Adamar; a man who easily surpasses me in height, with an impressive musculature, and eyes that reflect the same silvery sheen of the moon which so beautifully lights the paths of Gransys. And at the same time, the color settles rather well on his short hair. But, what impresses me the most...and mainly because he is but a mere creation of my mind; the features that adorn his face are simply, indescribably beautiful. His determined eyes, so confident and secure, with a deep gaze that seems to look into your very soul, as if you were naught but an open book before him.
Without even realizing it; or perhaps not thinking much on it at all, I had unwittingly brought the man of my dreams into this world.
"Arisen, I am at your service."
I remembered all that he had told me just after his arrival in to this world. He said that he had traveled through some sort of wormhole and that there were others like him; inter-dimensional beings capable of passing between many different worlds.
A warm shiver ran down my back, as I listened to the calming tone of his voice, and the deep, penetrating gaze that shone through his eyes.
I am hoping that through this letter...to anyone who might ask me, I am not afraid to say that he still provokes me with the very same reaction, if not more so. While you might say that as an Arisen, I am not worthy of such a companion, but at this point in time, and with all of the battles that we have fought through together, and all of the many adventures that we have had together, I could care less.
Also, there is my dear friend, Luzerne. And I am not afraid to admit that he is just another one of my pawns, and yet he feels like the brother that I have never had. But with all of this being said, and I know that it might seem confusing, but let me try to explain everything on the first day.
After having Adamar at my side, I felt like the right thing to do next was to train my entire team before leaving the camp, so I left my pawn back In the Rift Shop that is located on the camp's second level, and went back inside the Rift Stone.
I cannot deny that I am picky; particularly now that I had become an Arisen. So I knew that I to find the most capable pawns that I could from the Rift. I also do not like goodbyes, so I had to find the right ones who could fight on with me until the very end, were I to fail my mission and have my life ended, but also I needed the most loyal of companions following me to overcome the powerful Dragon.
I had already taken more than a couple of hours within the Rift to find another Warrior.
A little tired, and a bit upset, I called upon my final group of pawns to make their way into the Rift. I remember exclaiming to myself, " If I am to stay here for much longer, I just might lose my head before the start of my journey!"as I watched the last group disperse, and awaited the next.
Six pawns now stood before me once more, just as I had grown so tired from frustration that I was sitting indian-style on the floor with my hand on my chin, watching the blue smoke emanating from the ground, as more walls of it arose from all around me.
A sigh escaped my lips as I looked around the room at the final pawns that were arriving, but I had already felt that I had seen enough for the day. But in that brief moment I thought that, coming from behind me, I could hear the click and clack of heavy armor and the soft, harsh click of a sword hitting against the metal as it drew closer. My ears were captivated by such a sound, that I could only think of as being of a well-prepared warrior. I turned my gaze gently to observe the pawn whose armor made such a sound, and a small smile began to trace on my lips. I followed him with a steady gaze, as he took his place amongst the other pawns.
Perhaps what had really grabbed my attention about this warrior was that his hair color was very similar to Adamar's.
I stood back up and shook my clothes off, since at this point I still did not have the proper armor that an Arisen should. I walked over to him, greeted him very politely and asked him for his name. He was very confident, yet full of kindness. He replied in a voice that was firm, yet sweet enough to charm a young woman all at the same time, "My name is Luzerne, Arisen."
I could not help but to smile subtly at his reply. His voice was different from Adamar, and yet it had the same magical properties that placed me under its spell. Even though they both had slightly different tones; Adamar's being somewhat deeper and more hollow. All I could think of in describing it might not make too much sense, but the fact remained...after I had talked to Luzerne and asked him about all of his skills, I had found so much joy in him. Not only for his skills, but that fact that he was such a gentlemen, who had held it such an honor to join me and Adamar.
"It will be a pleasure to fight at your side, Arisen."
Even though Luzerne honored my wishes to join my team, we were still short but one member.
I've always been pretty emotional about stuff like this, so I let my hand rest on Luzerne's shoulder and turned to smile up at him. I simply could not deny his mysterious and elegant beauty, and gestured for him to follow me out to meet back with Adamar outside of the rift stone.
My hand was only inches from the stone, when I could see the sixth pawn entering the room. He was a mage who was quite tall, with black hair and a somewhat tan complexion.
Luzerne caught my gaze and placed his hand over my own, pulling it back from the stone, "All is well, My Lady?"he asked, and I only returned by shaking my head.
"Wait here,"I told him, and I walked over to the mage.
I asked him all of the same things that I had asked Luzerne, and he answered all of my questions without rushing through everything, and still gave me the time and respect to speak my mind.
A rather curious thing about these pawns is that amidst their well-trained, perfect forms, I feel somewhat small and insignificant. I find it rather amusing that they have to lower their gaze somewhat just to look at me directly in the eyes.
Today, it has been more than four months since the day that I had first called upon the aid of my pawns, Adamar, Luzerne and Ace.
And I pray that the only thing that should separate us would be my very death.
Now you might wonder, why would I not change out my pawns regularly? Well, the simple answer is that, because of my fate and fortune on that very day, my choosy nature and painstaking decisions turned out for the best, as these guys have turned out to be my best mates. Not only for their amazing skills, but also because over this short amount of time, we have become somewhat of a family. While they tell me that they have no understanding of the meaning of such, little by little, I have discovered quite the opposite.
It is after these four months that I can no longer emphatically deny the fact that pawns can in fact feel emotions and affection.
Before reading this, I leave you not just my own story, but the one of my pawns as well...and the strong bond that has held us together for so long.
The next morning I woke up to the gentle beams of sunlight dancing through the curtain of my tent as I open my eyes and take in their brightness. The fresh smell of the sea breeze hung in the air. I took it all in before realizing that something was terribly wrong. I got up with a start and listened to the sounds of panic and destruction echoing from all corners of the encampment. Immediately, I sprang into action. Grabbing my bow and daggers, I exited to the tent.
Just as I was out in the open, my eyes were met by something quite contrary to what my mind had perceived just minutes ago before awaking within the tent. I could see massive plumes of smoke rising throughout the encampment. My eyes could not help but follow the soldiers scattering in all different directions; some fleeing for their lives while others gathered in arms, ready for combat.
Luzerne caught sight of me and rushed over. I could see the same expression of sheer terror in his eyes.
"My Lady! Come quickly! We must get to safety!"
I almost wanted to scream as I was grabbed by the shoulders and pulled towards the outskirts of the encampment. All of this was happening so quickly, and just as quickly my emotions were stirring up like a storm within me.
"Pray Luzerne, do tell me what is happening right now!" I begged him urgently, "Where are Adamar and Ace?"
I wriggled myself free of his firm grip as he had persisted to drag me outside with the other deserters whom had fled from fear. But I was no coward.
"They are..." he was trying to explain to me, but was cut off mid-sentence with the sound of one of the guard's towers being destroyed, as it was flung in the air with one of the guards still trapped inside.
"What the hell...?" I exclaimed, as he threw his body over mine, saving me from the impact of the logs and debris raining all around us.
"A hydra broke into camp, and it is destroying everything in sight!" he tried to tell me, "Adamar and Ace are trying their best to contain it, but Adamar asked me to see you to safety."
My brow furrowed as I shook my head and took a step back, "Please ask me next time before you try to drag me away from being drawn into battle."
For what kind of Arisen would I be if I were to leave my pawns in the heat of a battle while fleeing for my own life?
"Follow me, Luzerne!"I cried out, as I led him back to where the screaming and flying debris had originated. I had my magic bow in hand, poised for immediate combat. Luzerne kept trying to stay one step ahead of me the entire time, with his gaze constantly fixed on me, as if he were waiting for something to strike out at me at any opportunity. I could not help but feel as if my pawn had thought me completely incapable of defending myself in combat.
Arriving upon this beast, it seemed rather helpless, while each head seemed to have its own thoughts and tactical plans, and yet they were all connected to just one single body. I noticed as Adamar was struck by the tail of the beast and was tossed into the air, landing just a few paces away from me. I immediately ran over to help him up.
"You guys can't just have all the fun."I said with a slight smile forming at the corner of my mouth. He seemed very shocked to see me, and looked over at Luzerne. Luzerne returned his expression with one that told him that this was not completely not his idea. It was I who had decided to fight the beast.
But I had no time for any this. This was my chance to prove that I was more than capable enough to slay a hydra.
Each of my pawns were positioned alongside me, sword in hand and awaiting my orders. I cannot deny that I was frightened, as I had heard quite a bit of hydras from the old nursery tales of my childhood. This was nothing like any of those old tales.
Ace was on the other side, casting spells that fell out of the sky in the form of light rays that impacted only the beast, in hopes to stop it. One of the serpent's four heads planted his piercing gaze on me and the two pawns with me. I steadily held my magic bow and took an offensive stance. First, I ordered Luzerne and Adamar to attack after I did so they could facilitate a cutoff point as to where I had wanted to decapitate one of the beast's heads.
The snakes opened up his mouth and lunged right at us, but thank the Maker, I am quite agile. And by the time I had loaded one of my magic arrows, along with a portion of my very life energy, I fired it directly into the creature's mouth. It screamed in agony as it threw its head back, just as I had planned.
I directed Adamar and Luzerne towards the creature. They did not hesitate for a single second to run towards the beast and position themselves along both sides of its neck. Immediately, they buried their swords into it, drawing perfect cuts which eventually severed the head from the body.
The other heads were mourning the loss, and dropped the lifeless bodies of the bravest soldiers who had been caught in their jaws. The snake looked around for a second, and found an escape route. Immediately, it made a dash out of the encampment, leaving a trail of blood behind it.
How could so many lives be lost in such a short amount of time? I looked down in horror at the bloodied bodies of so many soldiers.
Ace came running towards us with a victorious smile on his face.
"We did it, My Lady. Quite impressive work! I had not expected it."
I smiled back at him, and couldn't help the feeling of color rushing to my cheeks. Luzerne agreed with Ace's comment and offered his own congratulations. But I could not say the same for Adamar. He just looked at me with an empty feeling, more likely like he was blaming himself.
Finally my intrigue overpowered me, and I could no longer endure seeing him like this. So I decided to ask him what was troubling him so much. Was it because I had allowed myself to join the fight? But just as I was making my way towards him, one of the bodies that was near to him started to get up. My eyes narrowed and my brow furrowed, as the undead warrior made its way towards a woman, quickly constricting her. She screamed as she struggled to breathe. I immediately ran over to aid her, and realized that this woman was the captain of the greatest soldiers of this camp.
"Truly, you are the Arisen, Ser!"she said, as I threw one of her arms over my shoulder. With her comment, I could not help but feel that not only had my pawns doubted me previously, but so had she.
I had been chosen by the dragon. I now have all of the strength and the will to do what I could not before. And I could not stand back now to watch all of humanity be destroyed. I wanted to make a change in this world. And I would prove that there is no other worthy enough to stand in this position. I know that perhaps I allow for my emotions to get the better of me, and perhaps I had only appeared to be a woman whose fate was to marry some nobleman. Many in Cassardis had told me that my beauty was of such that I could fulfill such a purpose. However, marrying someone of such a higher social status was far from what I wanted. I wanted to prove that I was much more important to this world.
I could not bear the thought of spending the rest of my life working as a fishmonger in Cassardis. That was the empty life that had awaited me before the arrival of the dragon. I had never had a father figure, and not because he was completely out of my life, but because he would never be as such. He abused me horribly, and also treated my mother as a bug under his shoe. I would constantly fight against him, screaming very loudly for him to stop as he had his way with me.
I would cry out for help from my mother, but she would never listen. She was more concerned with what that bastard would do to her rather than what he was doing to their own daughter. But I don't want to go into the tragic details of my past, since I see it as nothing more than that of a scrap of yellow fin that is far behind the life that I am living now.
But I did manage to kill the man with my own hands, just as my mother escaped to the capital with another man. Chief Adaro knew what I had done, but as he loved me like his own daughter, he had helped me to make it look as if the death were caused by goblins, as my father had been a guard for the duke, and we staged it right along the route which led back toward Cassardis.
As evening had already begun to fall, my pawns and I decided it best to stay another day at camp, just to help and be of use in restoring the place just a little bit. Luzerne, Adamar and myself moved the pieces of wood that were once a part of tents and surveillance posts, while Ace got right to healing the wounds of Mercedes and all of the soldiers who had survived the attack.
When night had fallen, I already felt that I could work no more. It felt like my back was splitting in two, and I could see that my pawns were also exhausted; Adamar had been moving really heavy logs and could feel pain in his muscles just as the pain in my own.
With sweat on his forehead, Luzerne approached me, and placed his hand over my shoulder.
"Please, do not force yourself to do more than everyone else has done. Rest, and we will continue to help the other soldiers."
I turned my gaze towards him and wore a discreet smile after seeing such worry in his eyes.
"No. It is already getting very late, I think that everyone deserves a rest. Please notify all of the soldiers at the northern end of the camp that they might also get some rest, and tomorrow, we'll finish up around here."
Luzerne gave a swift nod of his head, and turned to the northern end of the camp to fulfill my request, as I stayed around the area where I had been working, and told all of the soldiers around me to get something to eat and seek shelter for the night.
My men and I went down to where our tent was, or at least what was left of it. Ace was put in charge of getting a bonfire started, as the night's temperatures had dropped at a quicker and quicker pace. Adamar and Luzerne really cared a great deal about me, and came back with some food that the soldiers had cooked, but I couldn't bring myself to eat it. Instead, I dropped down at a safe distance in front of the campfire, and rested my head on a small straw pillow that had been found in the rubble by Adamar.
My fatigue had simply been too strong to allow for me to force myself to eat anything, but Ace kept insisting that I ate something, else my energy would deplete entirely.
While I ate a piece of pork with a pitcher of water, I watched as my pawns tried to set up the tent to rest in, and I must admit that the meal made me feel much better than before, and I didn't hold back when eating it. Adaro had taught me good manners, but at this point, manners aren't so important, and it's alright to eat as if you hadn't eaten in days.
The wind started to blow so hard that my hair was dancing in it, but at nighttime, it was a frozen wind. And even the warmth from the fire held little effect. Especially since it was but a dull glow trying to keep from being extinguished by the raging winds. I felt my hands starting to freeze, and my nose must have looked like an ice cube, or perhaps I just looked like a funny lady with red skin. I closed my eyes quickly to take a strong breath of the air while turning away from the direction of the wind.
Then I felt a heavy blanket being wrapped around my body, giving me a wonderful feeling of warmth and protection. Adamar knelt down beside me, and enveloped me in his warm cloak. His eyes were rather deceiving. Outwardly, they seemed rather calm and emotionless, but clearly I could sense his worry for me. That was when I decided to finally talk to him.
I held his cloak tightly around my body and Luzerne threw his up over my head as well, then looked
upon the contrasting colors as they moved in the wind.
"It seems the night is not in our favor, Milady,"Adamar said as he fitted the hood of the cloak close to my face. I let out a soft chuckle and nodded my head. My smile had somehow seemed to immediately be erased by my doubts about my skills, as well of that feeling which everyone had previously giving me of being incapable of being the Arisen.
I fought against the words that seemed to be knotted in my throat, not allowing me to speak freely. My eyes fell to the ground as I began to hang my head in shame. Adamar furrowed his brow a bit, and gently placed his hand over my shoulder. "Is something troubling you, Arisen?"
I detected a note of both concern and curiosity in his tone. Adamar was a lot different from Luzerne and Ace in reality; Luzerne had no fear of laughing in a situation that warranted it, and it was the same with Ace. They seemed to be a bit more well-versed in the art of human expression. But, I took no mind to this, as Adamar had only just become a part of my world. And yet, there seemed to be so many things he did not understand.
Perhaps it is simply me being paranoid though.
"Adamar. When...when we were fighting the hydra, you gave Luzerne a look, almost as if you were demanding to him why he hadn't taken me away from the beast."I let my words run their course in a soft, gentle voice, almost as if to get lost in the wind itself, yet Adamar could still hear me plain and clear.
Ace was standing across the campfire and looked at me with his head bowed, as if he had thought that I might be up to something, but Luzerne called over to him, as if he knew that I need this time alone with Adamar.
Luzerne had left the tent poles on only halfway since he had taken the time to cover myself in his cloak as well that Adamar. Ace hurried to help his partner finish the fight with the struggling tent poles to get the whole thing standing alone, before the next rush of wind, although he did not do a very good job getting it to stand either. As he tried to put one of the poles in place, he misplaced his grip and sent the whole thing back down to the ground again. Luzerne gave Ace such a strong glare, that I was almost for certain that he wanted to kill him right then and there. I could naught but laugh at them as they seemed to "fight" each other with just their expressions.
Luzerne just stood scratching his head as Ace made an awkward grin of embarrassment. This was only met with a "Tsk tsk."by Luzerne. Yes. I can't deny that from the very beginning, they were much different from Adamar. But they had indeed been in this world for much longer.
Even with that brief ordeal, I had noticed that Adamar's silver eyes were still fixed directly on me, just waiting and eager to respond. At that, I could only blush a bit, and look back down.
"It is because I had asked for him to get you to safety."he replied in a soft tone...one that I had not expected to hear from him. I closed my eyes and wrapped the layers of blankets more tightly around me.
"I know that. But, why did you ask him to do that?"
Adamar sat down next to me and stared into the fire. I reopened my eyes to look upon his face. Even still, it was marked with the traces of his worry and sadness. And it surprised me to see that reaction out of him. Being who I am, I could not help but to place a hand over his shoulder.
His gaze slid to the ground as his lips parted, and he decided to answer my question.
"Arisen...I was brought here by your decision, and my skills have only been forged according to your feelings and desires to have someone to protect you." He spoke in a soft tone, only this time he seemed to be disappointed in himself, as if perhaps he was being put to blame for something, but in fact I was perhaps the one putting the blame on him. "Arisen, please...forgive me!"he exclaimed as he tilted his head once more to the floor.
I was startled, and quickly withdrew my hand from his shoulder. It wasn't because I wouldn't forgive him, but because he had apologized in the first place! "Adamar.." I said, "You are acting as if you have gone against my will and have done something wrong. You are asking for MY forgiveness of what exactly? Pray… explain yourself because I do not understand why are you asking for my forgiveness."
He took a deep breath and raised his eyes back up at me., "It is only my duty to protect...to protect you against any kind of damage. I do not want for anyone to hurt you like your father did. Arisen, I can feel your pain in my heart. I..I know your past and I do not want to put you through any of it again."
By the Maker, I felt as if I would collapse on him at that moment. Never had I heard words like that from anyone, for as long as I have lived. I felt my heart fill up like a bittersweet spring as a few tears fell out of my eyes. Adamar cleared my tears by gently wiping my face with a gentle slide of his thumb, just delicate enough as to try and not damage my skin.
"Please, Milady, " he spoke gently, "I am sorry if I said something that was uncalled for"
I shook my head back at him, just as my mind started to fill with the terrible images of my father forcing control over me. This was still a delicate issue for me...even after more than ten years.
But Adamar could feel my pain right at that moment, and he just did not know how to respond, much less knowing how to dry my endless stream of tears. I knew that all of this was very confusing and troubling to my pawn, so I wiped the rest of the tears from my eyes and forced a smile.
"How am I to be an Arisen if my own pawn will not let me fight, Adamar? I have to face my destiny, so I beg you to please not keep me from it. I can take care of myself...just as you, Luzerne and Ace shall also do. After all, we are a team and no one should ever be left behind"
I said this while still holding my forced smile. Then he settled his hand against my head, and allowed for his hand to briefly pass through my hair before standing back up.
This time, I did not need to force my laughter, as I looked back at Ace and Luzerne still struggling to get the foot of the tent pole back into the ground.
"Please go and help them, so that they don't hurt themselves," I remember joking at Adamar, and he immediately rushed to assist his fellow pawns. This was going to be a long cold night.