The Archives of the Heroes: Series One - Foundation.

This is the story of two brothers growing up in our Universe. They manage to find themselves all kinds of trouble and adventures while travelling from galaxy to galaxy with their father.
Or, in some cases, by themselves.

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15. Season Three : Ten and Thirteen to Thirteen and sixteen . Episode One: The Unexpected Visitor.

Strongh's birthday was fast approaching, and neither Liart nor he looked forward to it. As part of their punishment they were kept within the limit of the house, being taught things that they hated.

Strongh was taught literature and history, as well as a great many other sciences he despised. As for Liart, he was taught only war, war, and more war. Neither boy was indulged with music lessons any more. But perhaps the biggest problem they saw in their predicament was the fact that neither boy knew how to undo what they had done.

'Strongh.' Liart said one night. That was another part of their punishment – they had to share the same room. 'How do you suppose we can make father happy with us again?'

Strongh shrugged. 'I don't know. But I imagine it would have something to do with that man.'

'Oh, yes, that man. We really should give him a name. It would make things easier.'

'Let's just call him our stalker.'

'I suppose that works.' He thought for a moment. 'You know, if father was told that one of us would be a protector and the other a destroyer...'

'That's not quite what he said...'

'You know what I mean. Maybe we should reassure him that both of us will be protectors.'

Strongh suddenly sat up. 'It all makes sense!'

Liart frowned. 'What makes sense?'

'Why father hates my fascination with Quixas and black and red!'

'He thinks you'll be evil? I doubt it somehow. He loves you too much.'

'No, Liart, he just appreciates me because I'm everything he's not. You're too much like him for his liking. No, I reckon he thinks I'll be evil. That's why he cares for me so much – to make sure it won't happen.'

Liart supposed that made sense in an odd sort of way.

Strongh hopped out of bed, shut the door, and turned the light on. Then, confusing Liart greatly, he began sorting through his belongings. He gave a cry of victory, and pulled out the strangest black and red contraption that either he or Liart had ever seen. Both supposed it was a ball.

'I found this before we moved from here.' Strongh explained. 'I don't know what it is, but I get the strangest feeling it's mine.'

Liart shrugged. 'I guess that would make sense. But why would father have hidden it from you?'

Strongh didn't know. He began playing with the thing, twisting the various squares that constructed it, similar to a soccer ball, or an English football. Suddenly, each square burst out, revealing many metal levers and extendible knives. Strongh gasped.

'Liart! It's a weapon!'

Liart stared at the 'toy' in horror. 'I think I know why father got rid of it.'

'But why didn't he get rid of it for good?' Strongh asked. 'And how did I get it in the first place?'

'Maybe it was a present.'

'From a Quixaseu? Who else would give a ball in such 'evil' colours?'

'Maybe it was from an Earthling. They wouldn't know the colours were evil.'

'I find that extremely unlikely.'

'What is likely, Strongh?'

Strongh only shrugged. 'I don't know. But I'll find out – and soon.'

Liart did not bother asking how. He only sighed and fell back onto his bed. 'Go to sleep, Strongh.'

Strongh beamed, but obligingly turned off the light and scrambled into bed.

 

Liart cried out in pain. His teacher frowned.

'You don't build muscle like your brother.'

'I know! The boy groaned. But his give-up attitude was long gone. He lifted his sword – every muscle in his body screaming – and attempted to execute the move perfectly. He failed miserably. 'Could I have a lighter sword?' He asked. 'Seeing as I never seem to grow any stronger?'

The teacher frowned at him for a moment before nodding. 'Fine. As you can't seem to hold a long sword, I suppose I could give you another one.'

He turned to his box and began rummaging through, until eventually pulling out a much lighter, thin sword.

'It's not as good as the long sword – can't knock people out. But if you know what you're doing with a sword, it's as good as any. Stabbing, blocking... you name it.'

Liart winced. 'Wouldn't a dagger serve the same purpose?'

'Yes, but they're very small.'

'What about a javelin?'

The man laughed. 'That's good if you like to keep your enemies feet away. But as soon as they come closer it's useless.'

'Then I'll have a short sword and a dagger too.'

Now his teacher was in fits. 'Why, you'd be packed with weaponry! You'd never be able to carry it all!'

'Can't I just carry a bow and arrow – or a gun?'

'I can't teach shooting, boy. You'll have to ask your other teacher about that.'

Liart frowned. 'You know, if worse comes to worse, I can turn things into diamond.'

The teacher was intrigued. 'You can? Then maybe a javelin would be better for you.'

'Why?'

'You could turn things into diamond from further away. Or can you do that from a distance?'

Liart wasn't sure.

'Could you show me?'

Liart shook his head. 'I've learned I can only do it when I'm angry, frustrated, or scared.'

'Ah. Well then, you need to master the technique of being angry on command.'

'How do  I do that?'

'You think of something that makes you angry. And, before you ask, to calm down you think of something that makes you feel happy.'

Liart knotted his eyebrows thoughtfully. 'What if it doesn't work? Then I'd just keep turning everything into diamond.'

The teacher smiled. 'Well, so long as you keep others out of it, it's primarily your problem.'

Liart supposed that was true.

Eventually his fencing tutor left and his shooting teacher arrived.

Liart could not use a cross bow, as it took far too much muscle for him to even pull back the bow.

'We'll keep you trying.' The teacher said. 'One day you've got to bulk up a bit. Try again when you're about thirteen, eh?'

Liart willingly put the bow down. 'Is there a lighter one?'

'Sure there is, but the arrows don't go as far. Good for close combat, but not for shooting enemies in the distance.'

'Yes, but you could do that with a sniper too, right?'

'Yes... but we'll see about your aim first.'

Liart was good with a bow and arrow, and hoped that his skill in this area would follow through to guns. He liked guns. They were lighter, and easier to use. But at the same time, guns were the scarier weapons. They required less thought to use – one pull of the trigger and it was all over.

Liart was immensely pleased to find that he was good with guns, including sniper rifles. His teacher attributed it to his excellence in geometry.

After his shooting teacher left, his physical combat teacher arrived. This teacher taught him everything about everything, from karate to wrestling. He learned how to take a blow and how to give one. But, best of all for him, he learned how to dodge. Because, while he had learned to fight through the pain and keep moving on, he wasn't really built for it.

All his teachers complained that he wasn't building any muscle, but this was not entirely true. He had built a lot of muscle, but it wasn't obvious or particularly helpful. Still, it was enough to allow him to do fancy flips in the air and force his opponents to the floor. But he did not expect to ever enjoy battles like Strongh did.

Meanwhile, Strongh tried to excel academically. He was no big fan of maths, but he began to enjoy algebra and graphing, once he learnt it could be used to build bridges. What's more, he was good at it.

He began to appreciate fiction – non-fiction not so much, but neither had Liart – and would memorise a few lines from some of his favourite books. He particularly liked the Iliad and the Odyssey, as they were about soldiers and heroes.

His writing improved dramatically, and he found he could manipulate his speech with ease. It did not come naturally like Liart's, but he could pull it off if he wanted to.

He still continued to avoid most Earth languages, and Jaliq did not pressure him to learn any more than he already had.

He loathed geography, though he found history exciting. And science was thrilling too – particularly chemistry and physics.

But of course, neither boy gave up on their preferred topics. Liart continued to practice languages, music, humanities, and science in his very minimal spare time, and Strongh continued to practice war and music. Their punishment wasn't so bad really. It was just having Jaliq angry with them that hurt.

Their father worked a lot, and the boys often wondered what stopped them from going on to the street at the very least. Still, they remembered how all their troubles had started and tried their best to stay indoors. They would preoccupy themselves by cooking dinner – which Jaliq was not always home to share.

And so it was, one typical night, while Strongh and Liart attempted to fix their chocolate cake that was falling apart as they iced it, that there was a knock on the door.

'I'll get it!' Strongh cried, eagerly leaving the doomed cake to his brother. He raced to the door, where he unlocked the first one without really thinking. Through the fly-screen door he could make out a face, and it was not that of Jaliq. It was a woman.

The woman beamed, her eyes seemed to light up with recognition, and Strongh wondered where he had seen her before. He was sure he had.

'So it's true.' The woman breathed. 'You're back.'

Strongh frowned. 'Yeah. Who on earth are you?'

Liart heard a melodious voice and turned his attention to his brother at once. He had not heard the voice of a woman for a very long time. Curiously, he approached the door. The woman smiled at him too.

'I can't believe you came back.'

'Who are you?' Strongh demanded, threatening to close the door. 'What do you want?'

'I don't really want anything.' The woman replied. 'I just wanted to see if the rumours were true – so I could stop them. You're not going to be safe if everyone is talking about you.'

'Safe from what? What do you know about us?'

The woman only smiled again. 'More than you know.'

Suddenly, it hit Liart whom this woman was.

'Rose!' He cried, his eyes lighting up. 'Rose Eye, from the travel centre. You gave Strongh and I our T.B.s!'

Now the woman seemed shy, but she also seemed to appreciate Liart's good memory. 'Yes, that's right. I was hoping you wouldn't remember who I was.'

'Why not?'

She hesitated. 'I – don't want your father knowing I came, that's all. Not that I'm doing anything wrong. Anyway, I'd better be off. Have a good evening.'

She turned around and screamed.

Jaliq gave a small cry of shock too.

'Rose!' He cried, his eyes going wide with shock and fear. Then (as the two had crashed into each other) he took a step back and looked down into her dark, terrified eyes.'I thought I saw you here... what do you want?' Then, gulping, he hurried to correct himself. 'I mean, what brings you here?'

Rose did not look so happy any more. 'I don't even know. I just wanted to see if the rumours were true, that's all. But I'd better go – I suppose I'll see you next time you have T.B. Issues.'

The last sentence had an air of bitterness and mockery to it, as if she were accusing Jaliq of something – but what could he possibly have done to her? Liart knew the woman's name, but he got the distinct impression he did not know who she was.

Jaliq sighed and gently grabbed her arm. 'Rose,' he pleaded, 'I'm sorry. Please, stay for dinner. I don't know if it's edible, but maybe...' he paused. '… maybe we can make up.'

Make up? Now Liart was even more curious. Strongh was too, but he did not seem to have heard of tact.

'Make up for what?' He asked bluntly. 'What'd you do? Or was it her?'

Jaliq shook his head. 'I suppose it was both of us really. Maybe neither of us. It's complicated.'

'What happened?'

Rose only turned away. 'I shouldn't stay. That's not what I came for. I – I have to go.'

She began to walk off again, only this time Jaliq did not grab her arm. He only watched as she disappeared into the crowd.

'Gee, dad.' Strongh muttered. 'Thanks for you openness and honesty.'

Jaliq turned towards his elder son, his eyes flashing. 'Hold your tongue.'

Then, abruptly, he entered the house.

 

It was a week before Strongh's birthday, and the boy was no longer content to obey  his father and live in the dark.

'Liart,' he announced while they cooked, 'I'm going to find out everything.'

'About our stalker?' The younger returned, looking up at his elder, on the stool, with wide, adoring eyes.

Strongh nodded. 'That too. But first about that woman, while I can. I wager anything she knows about our mother.'

Liart turned away upon hearing this. He still remembered Strongh accusing him of their mother's death, and the accusation hurt.

'You know you'll just get us into trouble.' He eventually muttered, and Strongh smiled.

'Us? You mean I don't have to ask you to tag along any more?'

Liart smiled. 'No, Strongh. You have finally rubbed off on me. If we get into trouble, we get into trouble together.'

Strongh beamed. 'Wonderful! Alright then, shall we sneak out now? Dinner's just about ready, and father shouldn't be home for an hour at least.'

Liart nodded. 'I suppose now's as good a time as any to start investigating.'

And so the two went out into the streets. Really, Liart wondered, what had made think Jaliq that they'd stay put inside the house?

They went to straight to the butcher, as he tended to know everything about everybody. Once again, Strongh posed his question very bluntly.

'What'd you know about a woman named Rose Eye?'

'Rose Eye?' The man repeated. 'She's from the planet Eh.'

'Eh?' Liart repeated. 'Isn't that an evil planet?'

'You betcha. They have a terrible gift – they can kill with looks, literally. No doubt she's got it too.  You know,' the man leant forward, 'some say she killed 50 men with just one look. Others say she goes out each night and murders wandering children.'

Liart gulped. 'Do you suppose those rumours are true?'

The butcher shrugged. 'Guess it's the kind of thing you'll never know till it's too late.'

That was not a comforting thought at all.

'So what can you tell me of her history?' Strongh pressed.

The butcher was not hard to convince. 'Well, her family moved here when she was about sixteen. Supposedly they were refugees from Eh, but no-one was ever really sure. After all, they could have been spies, or they could have come here to spread their ideals, like the Quixaseux are so famous for doing. Anyway, she's got a close-knit family, and they're mainly all married, with the exception of her, and to their next-door neighbours, who came here with 'em. Just as well they came, really, coz no-one here wants to marry them. People are scared enough just to talk to them, though it's getting better as time goes by.'

'Why isn't Rose married?'

The butcher only smiled now. 'Oh, no, I know what it is yous want to hear, and I'm not telling you. I can't go giving out personal information, you know – and don't bother bribing me. I get a lot of bribes, and it's tiring threatening people with knives. Get out or ask something that's more common-knowledge.'

'Well... do you happen to know some-one who would give us personal information?'

'Aside from Rose.' Liart put in.

The butcher chuckled. 'No, Rose wouldn't be giving you any of this information. Neither would your father, which is the primary reason I suspect you're here.' Strongh opened his mouth, and the butcher instantly cut him off. 'Don't even think to get started on your father. Terrible tragedy, is that man's life. Take volumes and volumes to even summarise it. Still, I suppose I can try – not giving away any personal information, of course.'

The boys' ears pricked up immediately.

'Your father's from a well-off, high-class family. Top education – big inheritance for his name, despite the fact that he had many brothers and sisters to share it with. But then... there was a big issue. They threatened to cut him out of the inheritance, and he seemed to get the idea then. Then, just when everything looked like it would be right, he suddenly comes home with you and Liart!'

'Both of us?' Liart asked, astounded.

'That's what I said. You wouldn't believe the scandal it caused, though the particulars never got out. He refused to give them out, and the family didn't believe what he had told them, so didn't go spreading it round. Then everything just seem to explode at once – and that was the end of that.'

Strongh and Liart were both very disturbed by this, and nearly forgot what they had come for. Strongh was the first to remember.

'So where could we learn the personal information?' Strongh asked.

'Well,' the butcher replied, 'it'd be best if you could persuade your father and Rose to tell you their stories. Otherwise you're likely just to get gossip. But if it's gossip you want, you can get plenty from Mrs. Brow, the middle-aged widow. You'll have no trouble finding her, and she'll not charge a penny for her 'services'. Though she might spread a few tales about you in return from giving you a few.'

'Tales?' Liart asked. 'Like what?'

'Oh, she might say you're both dreadfully sad and in need of a mother. Could send a thousand spinsters to your father's door by the end of the day.'

Strongh laughed. 'Well, I doubt that, but thanks for the warning. I suppose we'll go there. Come on, Liart.'

Liart followed his brother out of the butchery, where he promptly said, 'I think we should go another day.'

Strongh was quite taken back by this. 'Why?'

'Because. I think we should give father another opportunity to answer. And we should certainly give Rose an opportunity to speak for herself.'

This idea seemed to bother Strongh, but he nodded anyway. 'Alright, fine. But they won't speak.'

'Fine, and then we shall go to Mrs. Brow's. But only after they do not speak.'

Strongh smiled and began striding confidently down the street. 'I can't wait.'

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