The Broken Path

A Mage, a Warrior, and a Machine, all locked in a dance spanning worlds, times, and universes. Locked together throughout history, guided by their friendship though struggles, pain, and suffering.


4. Chapter 1

The Warrior Awakens

     The sword flew through the air and resounded against my shield, a heavyset Roman Scutum. It was a treated wooden sword, the ones we use to practice sparring. I'm already bringing my dagger around, flying through the air as I shrug my shoulder and push the sword away from me. Already my opponent is bringing his shield, a small rounded one, around to try and block my stab, but I had other plans. By the time his shield is in position to block my dagger, it's already gone. My shield is on the ground, and my left hand is pressing the dagger to his right side. My point.

     Not quite. I look down to the point of my dagger, and see that instead of hitting a vital point, the spot between the armor pieces, I managed to hit the only other target- my opponent's scabbard. With my shield on the ground, and my balance off from the stab, the only other option left for me was to get bashed with the shield. Which hurt. My opponent was one of my best friends, Frederic. As I sat up from where I was flattened to the ground, he walked over and helped me up. Sparring together was one of the only times that we ever got to see each other.

     I'm an orphan, probably the only one in my entire village, and nobody knew what my heritage was. I'm pretty much the lowest person in terms of social hierarchy, so I do menial labor, and my foster family takes my wages, which are fair enough as they stand, and give me the basics of living. I am expected to work around the house like the rest of my family, except I am not part of their family. Father, or Horace, made that abundantly clear when I came around to live with them when I was nine. I was given the name of Aiden No-name, so that everyone could know that I had come from an unknown family. It was just about the cruelest thing that ever happened to me, besides getting whipped when I came home from work and only gave them half of my earnings, hoping to save up enough to leave.

     Frederic was my only friend, and his father owned the town training center. His job was to help children and teenagers learn how to defend themselves, and I had been going there ever since I came to town and started living with the Ridgehorns. It was a fast friendship, and we have been friends ever since. When it came to bouts, it was just about even every single time. He had luck on his side, though. Frederic's father, Emanuel, had told me once that if I were any older, I could beat just about anyone that trained here. I still think back to that day and smile.

     We are eighteen now, primed and ready to join the military in service of our Fief, Winterridge. Winterridge is a very ironic name for our fief, considering we are just about the warmest fief compared to all of the surrounding ones. Unfortunately, being warm does not remove you from life and politics concerning land. We enlisted together a week ago, and I told the farm where I worked at that I would no longer be able to help out. My employer, and old man named Clyde, told me to not get killed, and that he would be waiting for me after my regiment comes home. We cried together by the fields. Well, he cried. I guess he cared more about me than I had ventured to believe. But that's all in the past.

     I took his hand and Frederic pulled me to my feet. We picked up the gear and walked over to where Emanuel stood.

     "Good sparring, you two! Frankly, I was surprised that you took such a risky move, Aiden." He looked between us as he smiled. "I sure wouldn't want to face you on an open field."

     "Likewise. I've seen what you can do with your bare hands, and even now I'm afraid to shake your hand." I joked as I took his hand and shook it. Frederic grinned, a manic smile stretching high.

     "I still beat you, though." I made a face.

     "Barely. If I hadn't hit the scabbard, you would have been down for the count, and you know it." The grin stretched higher, threatening to break away from his face entirely.

     "We all know I have the luck of the Devil. You should hang around me more often, some might rub off on you." All three of us laughed. Emanuel sobered first.

     "Come on, let's go get something to eat. You two do need to pack for the trip in a few days. After all, you need to be at Wolf Castle in a week. This fief may be small, but that doesn't mean it won't take at least three days of riding." I looked at Frederic and, right on cue, we both groaned. Emanuel smiled. "Let's go get some of Francine's meat pies to celebrate. We have yet to actually celebrate this amazing opportunity you two have. Two years of training at the Wolf, along with some of the best and brightest teachers and students alike." We turned towards the door and I looked at Emanuel. His eyes were bright with excitement and joy. "I think you two are going to fit in nicely there."

     Boy was he wrong.

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