One Legend : Before the Fall

We all have secrets, some more terrifying than others. What if your secret is one that threatens your life to reveal? What if it threatens the ones you love? You'd do everything you can to keep that secret, no matter how terrible. No matter how soul destroying.

The secret eats away at him. Sometimes doing what you think is right is only leading you down a dark path. In the end, you're left with pain and regret. He keeps himself hidden... At the cost of his light.

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2. A Promising Student

  

    I had incredibly strange abilities at the time, but nothing like this. I was more like a super soldier than anything. I couldn't turn thin air into blasts of energy, I couldn't control things with my mind, and I couldn't destroy entire cities. With that said, I was still much stronger than any average person, even many put together. If I was confronted by even an elite soldier I don't think I'd have trouble beating him, I was gifted in combat. Remarkably gifted. I could run probably four times as fast as any other person alive, and I could jump at least three times as high. There was a strange sense that I also possessed. Even if I couldn't see or hear anything around me, I could still tell when danger was coming. I've always been terrified of myself, not even able to tell my own father and King about what I could do.
    He never really did tell me the circumstances by which I became, legally, his son. I was only given a minor detail about why I was orphaned in the first place, which was that my biological parents were unfit to raise a child. Not long after the judgment on my birth parents was placed, and they disappeared forever, did I become a member of the Cerventen Royal Family. This was a huge deal because Cerventen was the shining example of hope in the world, keeping peace throughout the entire troubled continent for years. My father, King Saru, was the one who made it all possible. You could hardly even tell he was a King by the way he looked. He had a full grown head of dark brown hair slightly curling down until it reached the end of his earlobes, and his eyes were as blue as the daytime sky as they twinkled with hope. He was regarded by many as the most handsome man in the Kingdom, and they didn't just say this because he was their King. As much as I'd love to have inherited his physical traits, it couldn't have happened. I looked nothing like my adopted father. Though I'm sure since you've seen me and I've told you about him, you could put that together yourselves.
    Thanks to his remarkable leadership, King Saru led a doomed Cerventen into its position as the most respected and richest city on the entire massive continent of Borivye. Dead in the center of the entire land mass, Cerventen was a city bustling with good spirits and great loyalty. But it also acted as a protector over the entire continent. I don't think there was a single person alive who didn't respect and admire King Saru and everything he accomplished. Actually, scratch that last part. There was only a single person alive who didn't respect and admire King Saru and everything he accomplished.
    Spread out across the continent were four more kingdoms. Gertaswa, Metyal, and Deistan were all corrupted and crumbling civilizations before my father's rise to leadership. The other kingdom, Vaneka, was his birth place and was the only other healthy kingdom. However, thanks to Saru's incredible leadership skills, there was no conflict between any of the civilizations on the continent during the small amount of time that his rule lasted, only an internal conflict within the walls of Cerventen itself. And at the center of that conflict layed me. A scared, unknowing, and loyal Prince of the great city. A Prince that nobody could ever learn the truth about. 
    In all of the darkness and mystery that surrounded every bit of myself I couldn't help but wonder about my origins. But I loved King Saru as if he was my father and I can't bring myself to believe that he would lie to me. I don't remember much about the beginning. Everything that came prior to the event I'm going to start with is like a fog in my mind. I could see faces that weren't there anymore. I don't even know why I was so afraid of telling anybody, or even how I discovered my powers, but what I can tell you is everything from the point that my father realized I was special, up until this very moment. 
    I remember waking up from my queen sized bed, wrapped in the gold and white blankets that represented Cerventen's colors, and finding the maid standing at the doorway of my room. She looked... Rather distant. Completely odd considering how upbeat and communicative she has always been. As soon as I saw her I sat up and waited for her to tell me what she wanted, though after a full minute of silence, I realized she wasn't going to speak up.
    "Is there something you wish to tell me?" I was both worried and suspicious at the same time. "Hello?"
    She finally regrew her normal expression. "Yes! I'm sorry, Prince Panik, I seem to have drifted off. Your father has requested your presence immediately." She bowed to me and turned around, speaking again before turning the door handle. "His Majesty doesn't seem like himself today. I suggest being on your best behavior."
    As she left the room I couldn't help but feel an emptyness in my gut. Suggest I be on my best behavior? Never in all of the years I've been living in the castle have I heard this phrase in conjuction with the King. I made sure not to keep him waiting and so I quickly threw on whatever piece of clothing I found first before exiting my room. I found myself increasingly distracted with my thoughts as I walked through the heavily guarded halls towards the stairway to the throne room. 
    Since I was so distracted, I wasn't paying any attention to where I was going. I ended up bumping into somebody that was walking almost as fast as I was. The collision didn't even phase me. I was standing tall over the middle aged woman with long, red hair that I had knocked to the ground.
    "I'm so sorry, I wasn't paying attention!" I said, scrambling to help the lady up. Suddenly, I snapped back into reality and recognized her. "Lady Falliah. Where are you headed so fast?"
    I helped her to get back onto her feet. She stood in front of me, only about an inch shorter than I was. Lady Falliah was the newest and, surprisingly, youngest member of the Council. The Council would almost always be together at work at that time of the day. I was slightly concerned.
    "To the Library, my Prince." She said, fixing her lengthy orange dress that was part of the uniform the female Council members had to wear. "They sent me to retrieve a couple things. If you'll excuse me."
    Lady Falliah bowed to me before continuing in the opposite direction that I was heading. I went through the large, steel doors that lead into the main hall. On the side of the hall opposite of the entrance to the castle, I walked impatiently up the stairs. I stopped in front of the golden doors that led into the throne room. Usually I would just let myself in but not this time. I made sure to knock on the doors before I confronted my father.
    As the doors opened I was greeted with a half smile from none other than King Saru. However, instead of the decorated robes of Cerventen's colors, he was wearing the same armor that the Generals of our army did. Heavily armored in shining white armor that was trimmed with gold. The distractingly large shoulder guards were what his long, gold cape was hooked onto. The only piece he was missing was the helmet. He held the door open for me as I walked in before closing it quietly behind me. He began walking towards the middle of the room.
    The throne room had always been rather empty. The throne was at the back end of the room, in front of a large stain window and between two large, gold pillars. Dead in the center of the beige carpeting, Cerventen's symbol was carefully imprinted, a large kite shield with an enormous letter C engraved on it. The right wall was lined with wooden bookshelves and paintings of random things. The left wall was where our piano was placed, very close to the table that the King would sit at whenever he needed to get some work done. I've never seen anybody play that piano.
    "What's this about, Your Majesty?" I feared the response. Something was definitely odd about him, I thought to myself. Not even Yara, one of the council that was almost always with the King, was in the room. "You never send for me this early."
    He grunted and looked up at the ceiling. There was no response, just dead silence as I waited for him to speak. It felt like forever even though it had only been about 15 seconds by the time he actually moved. I then noticed the empty sword holster on the right side of his waist. It was at that point I had noticed I didn't bring a weapon, and this made me very nervous. Why would I need to bring a weapon anyhow? I had never been in combat before nor have I been trained in it.
    In the middle of these thoughts is when I suddenly saw King Saru spin agressivly towards me with his sword. I ducked underneath the swing and stepped to the side, but he immediately followed me with his swing. This next swing was so low that I was able to jump over it and then leap a small distance back away from him. He lunged towards me with his sword like a mad man. I was too distracted by the look in his eyes that by the time I realized he was coming after me, it was too late to avoid the blade. My instant reaction was to grab his sword with my hand and rip it from his before throwing it to the ground. However, in doing so, it became clear that I was completely unharmed. I hoped to the Gods that he didn't notice.
    "I knew there was something special about you, my son, I just couldn't think of any other way to reveal what it was. Your talents in battle are unnaturally impressive for someone who hasn't been trained." King Saru slowly walked towards his blade and picked it up before handing it to me. "With the right training you could be an extremely formidable soldier for Cerventen."
Had he not noticed the manner in which I disarmed him? Perhaps his eye sight was beginning to fail him? Oh well, it mattered not to question it.
    "Soldier? You want me to join the army? I'm only fifteen, father, I'm not of age to join yet." I replied.
    The King's eyes widened and he put his hand on my shoulder. "Ah, yet! In three years you'd easily be able to join them." King Saru sat back down upon his white leather throne, resting his hands on the arm rests that were made of pure gold, before speaking of something that could potentially lead to giving my secrets away. "Until then I believe that training you for real combat could lead to remarkable things."
    After everything that King Saru had done for me I had no choice but to accept. If I was given a choice? I probably would have still accepted. My father was right and there was no doubting it. If I was trained properly and permitted to join Cerventen's army it would greatly increase our already immense strength. My quick thinking, swift reactions, speed, energy, and brute strength all existed because of my mysterious origin, even though I had never worked out or trained a day in my life. I was both excited and petrified at the same time about this. It was at this point that I truly became afraid of myself, even though I still was nowhere near as powerful then as I am now.
    "I used to be a soldier as well, Panik." I heard King Saru say this from his throne as he interrupted my thoughts. "I can assure you, though, that I was definitely not a good one!" 
Me and my father shared a laugh as I stood beside his throne. "Who will train me, father?" I asked him eagerly.
    "Me and one other soldier." He responded. 
    As I was about to ask him who this other soldier was I heard the doors open loudly and saw an unfamiliar shadow begin to enter the room. A rather tall and lean man with long, dark purple hair held the door open as Lady Falliah scurried through to head into the door on the left side of the room, which led to the Council's chambers. He had a lance and shield held on his back and a sword on each of his hips. He wore armor colored black with purple trim, Vaneka's official colors. Vaneka's armor was only slightly less bulky than our own, and their capes slightly longer. He held his open faced helmet at his side. As he walked slowly towards us, he watched Lady Falliah with admiration as she walked through the door. 
King Saru stood up from the throne and walked beside the soldier, putting his arm around him.      "Jayx came here all the way from Vaneka for this, my son. I've told him all about you and he's as eager as I am to begin your training."
    With an incredibly deep voice, Jayx spoke as he kneeled before me. "It is an honor to see you again, Prince Panik. Last time I saw you was when you were just an infant. You've grown so much."
    My father gestured Jayx to get up. "Now now, Jayx, there's no need to be so formal. You'll have to get used to this, Panik, he is incredibly well mannered even to people who have known him for his entire life." 
    Known him for his entire life? At this point I was fifteen years old, and I don't remember meeting him a single time. Jayx mentioned that he met me before, but I was far too young to have remembered. It confused me greatly that my father wouldn't have someone he knew so well visit for such a long time. I supposed, though, there had to be a good reason for it.
    "Who was that girl?" Jayx asked the King. "Haven't seen her before. She's quite beautiful."
    My father laughed at Jayx. "You'll never change, my friend. Unfortunately, you know I don't allow anyone in the Council to pursue relationships. You and I know what love can do to someone. We need them to stay focused at all times." He explained.
    I never asked him about it, but I still believe the reason he made that rule was because of the Queen. I heard that when her sickness took her from him, he completely lost his drive. Cerventen, for once, wasn't so perfect when the King lost his will to put energy into anything. He used to tell me all the time that I was the only thing that kept him going.
    King Saru sat back down upon his throne and got himself ready to tell his lengthy story. "I think it's about time I tell you a little about my past."
    "Your Majesty, is it really necessary to bore the boy with this tale?" Jayx asked my father.
    "Of course it's necessary! No story is not worth hearing, Jayx, especially one as epic as ours!" My fathered turned towards me. "You do wish to hear about this?"
    I nodded to him as I was actually incredibly excited to hear about my father's past. He started by telling me that he was originally not from Cerventen, but hailed from Vaneka where Jayx also lived. Him and Jayx were best friends for as long as he could remember, although they both had very different objectives in life. Jayx, like myself, was an incredibly gifted fighter and it was highly recognizeable even at his younger ages. His only goal in life was to fight for Vaneka's army as the most skilled fighter the world had ever seen. His reputation quickly spread around all of Borivye and, due to Jayx's leadership, Vaneka's army was regarded as the most powerful force on the continent. By the time he had turned twenty-two, Jayx became the leader of Vaneka's entire army while simultaniously becoming the king's personal bodyguard. Jayx led Vaneka to many victories, never losing a battle, and some say he is the sole reason that Vaneka's army is so feared.
    "You're pushing it on the compliments today, Your Majesty, I think you can change to yourself now." Jayx was noticeably embarrassed and blushing.
    "Always so modest, my friend! But as you wish..." King Saru continued. He told me about how intelligent he had been ever since he was little and how the king of Vaneka always said he was destined for great things. My father and Jayx were best friends and they didn't want their friendship to break apart, so Jayx used his reputation to enlist my father into the army as a soldier. It wasn't long, though, until my father realized he wasn't cut out for battle and decided he would make his real dreams come true. My father and Jayx eventually parted ways as my father left Vaneka towards the turmoiled city of Cerventen in an attempt to use his intelligence and natural leadership abilities to pull Cerventen out of the pit of despair it had sunk into.
    I couldn't believe my ears. "You mean to tell me that Cerventen was once in a dying state? I could never even imagine it. How did you pull it out of its downfall?"
    "It became obvious after I managed to become one of the king's advisors, thanks to Vaneka's king and his recommendations. I noticed the reason that Cerventen was slowly spiraling into nothing was because the royal family lacked motivation. The king had absolutely no idea how to run a city and he had no intentions to learn. He however refused to step down from his position because he wanted his bloodline to continue being King. The old Kings weren't always so lazy, however. Cerventen was once as great as it is now, but as new Kings kept taking the throne, they kept getting worse and worse. I had to do something for Cerventen and its people, so I went to Jayx for help." 
    As my father explained this story to me I grew deeper and deeper into fascination. He said that after returning to Vaneka, he requested council with the King and was granted it. The king held Saru in very high regards not just because he was a great friend of Jayx's, but because the king knew of his potential. They devised a plan to invade Cerventen's castle and overthrow its leadership, as an attempt to grant Saru the throne. They knew that Saru could potentially lead Cerventen into prosperity and become an ally of Vaneka. After easily taking over Cerventen's castle and ending the careless king's life, the king of Vaneka along with Jayx crowned Saru as the new king of Cerventen, and assured the civilians that they were in the most capable and trustworthy hands they could dream of. Before departing back towards Vaneka, the king assured Saru and the rest of Cerventen that they will always be protecting them. I'd later find out that there was far more to this story than he was telling.
    Before finishing his story, my father described to me in great detail all of the amazing things he had done for Cerventen that gradually led it to the state it is in. A most important part of his success was creating the Council of Rule. The council consisted of four members, one of them being given the rank of Head of Council. When you are chosen as part of that council, you are part of it for life, unless voted to be removed and replaced by a majority vote from the rest of the council and the King. They were involved in every single decision the King could make.
    The Council of Rule also held one incredibly important power. To avoid anything like what the old Kings of Cerventen did from happening in the future, they were in charge with making sure the King was always active and keeping the people's best interests at heart. If it was ever suspected that the King was slipping away to the attitude of the old Kings, the council could remove the current King from the throne and appoint a new one. The new King did not have to have the old King's blood running through his veins to sit on the throne. As long as they all agreed, they could make anyone King.
    On his throne, supported by the citizens and his council, he was arguably the greatest King that Cerventen ever had. Not even the king of Vaneka expected King Saru to do as much as he did, even turning the tables and becoming Vaneka's protector. I had already respected my father to an extent I couldn't ever see expanding, but this story propelled my respect to an unconditional state. King Saru is my father, my hero and my idol. I couldn't ever ask for a better one.
    My training started about a week after that day. To avoid all the attention that my training would cause, we always ended up having our sessions in the large garden behind the castle. My father sat down at a small, round table made of iron that was next to a tiny pond. Jayx and I set ourselves up away from all the flowers to avoid crushing them, then I drew my fake wooden sword that we had to use to avoid hurting each other.
    "Sheathe your weapon, young Prince." Jayx ordered.
    I was so confused. What good would training do if I couldn't use my sword? He quickly reacted and it clicked.
    "We're taking things slow." He said. "We start with the basics and move on from there. It doesn't matter how much you think you know, Panik, but how much you don't know. Place your hand on the handle of the blade but don't pull it out yet. That is your first main lesson. If you are not safe at home, you should always have your hand on that handle. And I mean always." 
I listened and grasped the handle with my hand and rested it there. He then placed his left hand on the blade that was sheated on his left side. This seemed very awkward to me. The proven practice has always been to unsheathe your weapon with the hand on the opposite side of your body. The extra step of having to twist your hand after pulling out the sword to point it at your enemy was completely unnecessary, no matter how quickly one could do it. Not only that, but in almost all scenarios, that hand has a shield in it. 
    "First thing's first, Panik. You should never have your shield in hand before you draw your weapon. That shield being on your back is the only protection you have from behind. Not only that, but it would also make my two unsheathing techniques almost impossible." He explained.
I understood what he meant. Besides being too heavy to constantly have out, when your shield is drawn you have nothing but your armor to protect you from any kind of back attack. Many soldiers die from wounds like that.
    "I know what you're thinking. I'm about to draw my weapon with the wrong hand, right?" He said, perfectly guessing my thoughts. "Normally you'd be correct. But in the case of being caught off guard by somebody behind you, you are wrong. Drawing your sword with your opposite hand and spinning around to strike is both predictable and less powerful. Your attacker will see it coming and be prepared with their shield. However... If you pull your sword with the other hand aggressively and let go of it, you can catch it in mid air with your opposite hand while you spin, giving your strike more velocity and power. As you're spinning, you should be preparing your empty arm to knock into your enemy's shield extremely hard. This will both shove your opponent's shield out of the way and knock him off balance, giving you the perfect opportunity to lunge your sword into them." He then proceeded to demonstrate the technique to me at the air as he explained further. "Since your opponent is behind you, your senses are the only thing that will let you know that they are there. You will have no idea which side your enemy's shield is on. Unless you're some sort of God, that is." That made me laugh to myself. So ironic. "You must always be prepared to shove a shield out of the way with your empty arm, just in case."
    That man was a warrior handbook in human form. The amount of things he knew, almost all of it being things he discovered on his own, was awe inspiring. I listened to him and made sure I put one-hundred percent of my energy into every training session we had. He was so good at what he did that I found myself, for the first time in my life, feeling like someone was stronger than me.
    "Care to help him practice this one, Your Majesty?" Jayx called out to my father. 
    King Saru wasn't paying any attention to us. He had a book in his hand that was holding all of his attention. Jayx, frustrated, took a small throwing knife off of his belt and threw it into the table.
    Saru shook violentally and dropped his book onto the ground. "What the hell?" He shouted, startled. "Watch where you're throwing these things!"
    "With all due respect, Your Majesty, I do believe the deal was that we both train him. Not that I train him while you sit on your Kingly butt and read books." Jayx said, softly laughing.
    "Well what do you expect me to teach him that you can't teach him yourself even better?" Saru replied. "You should remember, my friend, I'm a King and not a warrior."
    "Come now, Saru." Jayx threw his wooden blade at my father who then quickly caught it. "You act like you learned nothing from seeing me in action."
    Saru rested his book down on the table and stood up from his seat, wooden sword in hand. He walked up to me and smiled, looking me in the eyes as he held his weapon at his side.
    "If you can't add anything to my teaching, then I guess we can still use you as a sparring partner." Jayx said, practically mocking the King. "Now, Panik, turn around. Your father will attempt to sneakily strike you from behind. I want you to use what I just taught you to retaliate."
It only took me one attempt to get the move right. I executed the counter attack almost perfectly, knocking my father's shield out of his hand as he collapsed onto the ground from the force in my attack. 
    "Excellent form, Panik." Jayx said, surprisingly unphased by how easily I mastered his technique. 
    "I should have probably braced myself for that retaliation," Saru added, "There's no way you could knock me down!" 
    "Gotten weak in your old age, huh, buddy?" Jayx said as I helped my father to his feet. 
    The three of us shared laughter. "Let's move on to the next lesson." Jayx said, still chuckling. He turned toward Saru. "Okay, Your Majesty, you can go sit your lazy butt back down now."
    "Talk to your King this way, too?" Saru replied sarcastically as he headed back for his seat.
    "At least seven times a day. What's your point?" Jayx answered.
    Saru didn't say anything. He just shrugged, laughing as he sat back down and opened his book again. Jayx turned back to me and started to explain his next lesson.
    "Now, this next move is for the only other form of ambush. A rain of arrows coming down towards you unexpectedly. The average soldier's gut reaction would be to grab his shield off his back and deflect any arrows with that, while using his sword to deflect as many arrows as possible. This way, while not entirely futile, is unreliable and unsafe." Jayx turned his back towards me so I could clearly see his shield. "Your shield should always be on your back unless you're about to engage in close range combat, or you're forward charging and the only arrows coming your way will be from the front. In the situation of an archer ambush, you need to react quickly and cover as much of your body as you possibly can, as you don't know where the arrows will be coming from."
    Jayx nodded at me to signal me to watch him demonstate. With a speed so inhumanely fast I wondered if he was like me, he was kneeling on the ground, sword in hand and shield on his back. He held his sword horizontally in front of his body, with his free arm horizontally across his face. To anyone's eyes, Jayx seemed untouchable in every vital part of his body.
    "Provided Cerventen's armor is made of a metal at least nearly as strong as Vaneka's is," Jayx explained, "Any arrows that reach your body will not be able to penetrate any vital organs. The worst damage you could suffer is an arrow penetrating the metal covering your arm."
Just as Jayx stood up to give me further instruction, we were interrupted by a knight opening the doors to the garden. That knight stopped abrubtly in front of King Saru and didn't wait for permission to speak. "Your Majesty, I apologize for the interruption." He started. "The Council requests your immediate presence."
    "By all means." Jayx answered with arrogance. "He wasn't providing any assistance anyways." The way Jayx was talking in front of the King startled me. I had never seen or heard anyone act such a way in front of him.
    "Bite me, Jayx." Saru chuckled. "We're gunna have to cut this session short, I'm afraid." 
    "For what, Your Majesty?" I asked, bewildered. 
    Jayx had to add something. "It's not like we can't do this without you." He said.
    "We're getting older, my friend. The sooner I introduce the Prince to the responsibilites of a King, the better off Cerventen will be when I've finally gone. Come with me, my son." My father responded in a relatively depressing manner.
    I tossed my wooden gear to Jayx as I firmly walked passed him towards my father and the guard. We left Jayx in the garden to gather our things while we were escourted back into the castle and through the doors to the throne room. The guard stopped in front of the large door that Lady Falliah entered through before. The Council of Rule's meeting room.
    "Thank you, Carr. You may wait outside for us if you wish, though if you have more important matters to attend to I'm sure we'll make it out okay." Saru said to the guard, still amazing me at his ability to know all his knight's by name even with their helmets on. "Pretty soon you'll be pretty bored, with how promising my son is showing in regards to combat."
    Carr bowed to us and left the room, leaving me standing nervously beside my father in front of the that door I'd never been through. "Ready?" Saru asked me, as if I could possibly say no.
    "I'm ready."  

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