TALE FROM THE HONOR OF KNIGHTHOOD
Tavern was unnamed, and really lousy, dirty tables and seats, old paint with stains from grass and very impressive grey ‘something’ in place where usually u see the floor. Slaw couldn’t stop feeling disgusted just standing at the doors, but what was even more repugnant to him, was, surprisingly, lying not in front of his eyes, but was pressing secretly on his back. He just knew that when he turns around, fear will make him feel strange and weak…
So he went quickly inside, closing dirty old doors without looking back, having little hope, that what was waiting inside chamber at the back of tavern will help him to square up with threat which was waiting outside.
Youranus noticed him first, stood up from the bench and smiled widely coming towards him. His new armour was shining and small flames of magic were wandering around his slim figure. Honest and experienced face was showing thought and rightful warrior. When they been shaking hands and welcoming each other, Slaw found the same mark of fear in his eyes, which was reason of his own disturbance.
- How do you feel, brother? – He asked – did u rest properly and get enough energy to get there and prove yourself worthy?
- I feel all right Youranus – Slaw looked deeply in his friend and teacher eyes – just little bit nervous before our task, I have strong faith that I will manage.
- Well, let me introduce to the others then – Youranus smiled again, and turning back opened doors to the back chamber of tavern.
Slaw walked inside following his brother, and when he noticed who was standing in front of group gathered in the chamber, he kneeled quickly and bowed his head deep.
- My Lady Boeffie – he said – I am very happy to see u here!
- Stand up, Slaw, our brave knight – she answered with her sweet voice which was melody for his ears – no reason to kneel for me, u are very good member of our guild – she smiled, and dark, dirty walls of the tavern got brightened for few seconds. – does u feel ready for this big event, which is going to happen tonight? – She asked firmly.
- My Lady, before I came here, I was full of doubts and unconsidered – Slaw answered rising from his knees - but now, when I see u, your strength and nobleness fulfilling me and making even stronger to stand up against power awaiting us behind the doors of this wretched place.-
- I am happy to hear that – magic eyes Lady of the Veils seemed laughing when she looked at him again – let me introduce you to the rest of the high council and our companions in approaching assignment. –
After she stepped aside, at the first moment, Slaw was going to fall on he’s knees again, but imperious look of Jeroen, Guild Founder made him standing straight like during his first trainings with Youranus, unable to say anything.
- Well, dear knight – his voice was as noble as himself – I can see our dear friend and recruiter wasn’t mistaken about You, I feel that you can become a worthy member of our guild. Keep doing good job, and always remember why u are here and where u came from.
- Thank u my Lord, your presence here is enough reward for my little rank and valour, I will not fail you my Lord…
- I hope so. Meet the others now and we go straight to the plan – He finished he’s speech with little smile on his noble face.
Hastily, because he couldn’t offend great Guild Founder, Slaw shared some welcoming words with the rest of the high council, with some of them being very official, with others more friendly and familiar. Here was huge figure of Basda, High Lord and Weapon Expert, as usual, against cold winter weather dressed only with few pelt clothes, almost naked, with his dearest and deadly weapons packed in every possible place, making him looking like monstrous hedgehog from distance, he and Youranus been training him for few months and then they went for some elite hunting’s. Basda was always attacking first and sometimes Slaw and Youranus were coming up just to see already dying monster.
Next to Basda, without doubt was standing MisterHyde, magic warrior, whose experiments made him constantly changing his appearance. His faced was like liquid mask, showing different moods, so interlocutor couldn’t find out if he’s angry or happy with words he received. Slaw just heard about his magic, which was able to change normal warrior into hungry of blood beast, with unnatural strength and agility.
Next to MisterHyde stood slim Patrizora, guild bounty hunter, Slaw also was hunting with her few times, woe betide person, which attacked other guild members without permission from home guild! In this case Patrizora was gathering her bounty hunters party, then they been hunting poor wretch through all realms, like Slaw used to hunt monsters, with no mercy. Well, prizes from those hunts used to be very profitable for those bounty hunters, so some of them were just having rich and easy life of mercenaries, waiting like tracking hounds for signal to run.
Then was Grizley, longer than Slaw in the guild, but still not experienced enough to get high lord rank, he was standing between high council and lower ranks, and his always shut bear-head helmet was turning from one side of gathering to another, checking carefully both sides. Among lower ranks Slaw caught sight of few friends: Hollandman, WeeRapl, Draydis and pretty Lady Deanna, which he met once in cold mountains during hunting, they spent nice night near to campfire warming themselves up and talking. He nodded to welcome them and smiled, happy to see well known from training faces. Meanwhile, Lord Jeroen reach his hand above crowd getting everybody attention and loudly started his speech.
- Friends, brothers and warriors; our promising and loyal guild member Slaw is going to fulfil his first difficult task tonight! Few days ago hunting alone in this forgotten by the gods outskirts of Ellan Port, found almost undefended relic Pyramid of Protection, which, with our help he’s going to capture tonight so we can use this for our guild good!
Jeroen words started big excitement among guild members gathered in the chamber, capturing a relic was not every day event in Fallen Sword realms.
- Saying almost undefended, I meant there’s just one warrior defending it.
These words brought unintentional cheers and whispers of talks about upcoming battle, and then Lord Basda stepped in front of Jeroen saying:
- One defender!? This task will be too easy for me. –
He smiled widely, tenderly touching hilt of his favourite Flaming Baron sword, which was giving him incredible power of killing.
- Unfortunately, dear friend – Jeroen said, hushing all noises in split second – unfortunately this defender name is ... Deadly Strike. – Before his words died away, everybody started to shout and speak loudly, warrior he mentioned was famous of his strength and valour. His guild was powerful as well.
- Lord Jeroen – Hollandman said – why is he alone on this relic? Without back up from his guild?
- Probably rest of the guild is busy somewhere else, and he is very trustful in strength of his armour and power of the relic. Well, we don’t have much time to debate about it, here we have 5 very experienced warriors and lower ranks as well, and all together we need to support Slaw with all we have: magic of the buffs, our strength and weapons. So we must decide who is joining the group. Youranus is Slaw’s mentor and friend, he’s experienced as well so he’s going definitely, I think Boeffie with her magic skills will be in the right place to help, Basda as strongest from us here, Grizley, which still needs a little training, and me of course.
Slaw was bursting with pride, Guild Founder was joining his attempting to capture relic! However he stepped in front of Jeroen and kindly asked:
- My Lord, can I choose my best friends from lower ranks to join us; I’d like to have them on my side during this fight. Please let Hollandman, ZidaneT and Weerapl join group...
- This is your fight, my Knight – He answered – You choosing your allies, with our little support and help. Well, we got it all sorted. Prepare to move warriors, and rest of you, back to your duties.
Lady Boeffie turned her face covered with veils towards rest of guild members and said with her melodic voice
– Before our group will go, some of you will go back to another world, and some will go for their hunt, I’d like to ask everyone here to join me and express ourselves in our Guild motto.
Everybody knelled at once, and Boeffie, starting very calmly, spoken, and everybody were answering with faith and trust:
- I am not innocent bystander.
- I am a threat to my enemy, I am powerful and cunning.
- I am strategic and bold; I will not sit idly by.
- I will take a ground, I will advance.
- I will tear through my enemy, and my enemy will hate me.
- I will not avoid difficult fight.
- I will fight and I will be wounded.
- I will be targeted, I will bleed.
- I will not tire, my wounds will be healed.
- I will see the tragedy,
- I will feel pain, but I will be restored.
- My feet will not stumble, my hands will hold fast.
- I will not be intimidated, I will fight through.
With every word spoken, they all were feeling better, stronger and more confident. All faces (except MisterHyde of course) were smiling and looking happy. At the end of the speech all chamber was full of light and voices chanting loudly:
- I will stand by my brothers in arms!
- I cannot be stopped; I will fight to the last breath!
- I will push to the limits, I scale the mountains!
- My enemy will cower, for I serve a great King!!!
They were marching in formation, few brave warriors walking towards the unknown. Lord Jeroen, as usually quiet and pondered over something, was walking on side, talking quiet with Basda. Youranus was walking next to Slaw, Boeffie at the back of the group, preparing her magic for fight.
- How’s Nicky doing? – Slaw met Youranus wife few times, they even fought together once, and she was a good Guild member.
- She’s all right, sending greetings to you and wishes you luck, so, still ready for fight? – Youranus ask with smile on his face, but Slaw figured out that he’s worrying about him.
- Yeah, my brother, I cannot be more ready, and its amazing feeling all this magic flooding through my body, I feel like I could pick up a mountain – He smiled back.
- Just remember, Deadly Strike magic will be as strong as ours, and relic is supporting him as well.
- Yeah, but check this buff – Slaw showed his freshly added Berserk spell, his eyes glowed in red and his hand holding big stone crushed it like piece of trash – it’s awesome!
- Slaw, all this is still not enough to make u success in capturing this relic, I think Jeroen is not sure if we can do it even with our strong group. It can be too small; we still got lot of things to develop.
He went more serious.
- Well, brother, I can be only grateful for support I’m receiving from all of you, and hoping I can manage to strike strong enough to succeed
- If u manages to capture this relic, this is going to be big advantage for the Guild for time we can keep it. It’s worth trying; just don’t be too disappointed if you fail.
- I know for u it’s just another mission, and you are helping me because we are friends and you know it’s good for guild, but I feel so excited, it’s my first serious task since you brought me to the Fallen Sword realms, and became my guide and teacher in Guild, and I’d like to start repaying for all help I’ve received from you
- Don’t worry, my friend, long way lies before us and before our Guild to become truly strong and powerful. There will be dozens of task like this, and dozens different ones, u will lose count, I assure you – Youranus smiled again, and this time he seemed more certain about Slaw.
The same moment they finally reached place they were coming to, fog lying over the field has lifted suddenly, and in front of their eyes they see massive shape of Pyramid of Protection. Building was glowing with green light, and at the top they could see lonely figure of Deadly Strike, shining from magic of buffs and relic enchantments. They been standing for a while admiring the view and courage of single warrior, then Jeroen started final preparations, turned towards Slaw and took a look and his equipment.
- Got everything u need? Full set fully forged and with full durability? – He asked.
- Yes My Lord, just checked it all and cannot be better with my experience level – Slaw tensed up himself
- Well, we need to begin soon, it’s almost time.
- Boeffie? - She started spelling buffs on Slaw – he felt new powers coming to him from her. Youranus muttered few words and Slaws Lesser Santork Antlers and Armor of Yeltz lightened up so hard, that others had to close their eyes. Slaw didn’t feel weight of enchanted weapon and armour at all, but he knew that both are even more powerful in damage and defence then before.
He shakes hands of his friends
- What we do now? My Lord? Lady?
- And now you will go to meet your destiny and duel with great opponent. – Boeffie spoken. - Head to the top of relic and capture this relic for us. – For a second she removed veils from her face and Slaw saw her smiling, and this smile made him absolutely certain about his strength and will. – We stay here and will support u will all we have so u can succeed. And remember, u are not alone, u will hear us in your head.
Slaw turned around and started walking, at the beginning slowly, then little faster. He was feeling all power flowing from his companions to his body and equipment, went to the bottom of pyramid, took a deep breath and roared loudly:
- HONOR OF KNIGHTHOOD!!!
And then run to the top of the Pyramid...
Few meters before he reached his opponent he forgot about all doubts, was only full of will to fight, ready to meet his destiny, ready to hit with all his strength in the name of the Guild...
Deadly Strike stood motionless, with his weapon ready in defence stance, then, just split second before their weapons clashed he opened his eyes and smiled gently...
There was a thunder... and lighting... and flashes with noises which were drilling ears and body. Slaw was able to make one hit, but it seemed not doing any damage on Deadly Strike. Then he raised his weapon and hit Slaw once, and it was truly deadly strike... He felt from the top of Pyramid, rolling down from the steps, unable to stop himself. Pain was great, so great he couldn’t even breathe. He heard shout of his friends and comrades in his head, heard Youranus scream...
- Slaw, are u all right brother?!!! Answer me please!!!
- This is Boeffie, Slaw, wake up, you will be all right, just wake up...
He managed to stop himself in half way down from Pyramid. Still shocked, stood up slowly, looked around like he was not sure what he doing and where he is...
- I am fine, just a little bit confused and embarrassed, what happened? – asked voices in his head.
- Strike got too much defence in his equipment and got too big support from buffs and relic to be beaten with our group power – he heard Youranus voice, seeing his person far down on the fields in front of the Pyramid, give me a moment.
Slaw heard whispers of quick discussion of his companions, after few minutes he heard Boeffie voice:
- We can try again with a little more damage and defence cannot say if there’s a chance we can hit him, and u get few more buffs to get little bit better chances, u want to try?
- Lady, I was coming here with doubts and fear, u all made me feel strong and confident, and after this I feel only will to try again, even if I fail again, this will be some sort of victory, because we acted as a team.
- You spoke wise words, however we need to act quick, before other guilds come to capture this relic, if this is your decision we try again.
- I am waiting for your signal Lady – he answered
In a moment, new magic went through his veins, his strength was restored, grew even bigger. He felt new and ready again.
- Now is the time! – Boeffie shouted – Good luck!
Ran back to the top of relic, raised his Antlers and attacked again...
Again thunders and lightings exploded at the top of the relic, at the beginning they exchanging blows as equals, every hit had similar response, but no one from the fighters couldn’t get any advantage against opponent. Few minutes fight was going on and Slaw started feeling, that there’s a chance to capture this cursed place and conquest its benefits, but the longer fight was going on, he got a different feeling that it’s not going to be finished with victory... Then it happened; one from Deadly Strike hits reached his armour, bringing him to his knees, second blow throw him away to the edge of top of Pyramid, the battle was over...
- This cannot be like this! Let me try one more time!
- Slaw! - Youranus voice sounded in his head – You did very well, we almost get him, and we all salute you, but cannot stand against such a defender, our guild needs u to grow stronger and more experienced, so sooner or later u will be in his place maybe, defending some relic alone against somebody else group. Today we achieve victory gathering together and working together as one, I swear to god’s u did good, do u believe me?
- I know what u mean friend and I must agree with your reasonable arguments, and I promise you I will grow bigger and stronger and someday will be as u said.
He took last look on standing motionless figure of his mighty opponent, then turned around and started walking down.
- So be it - Youranus said – lets go back to the Guild...