The rain was pouring down, drenching everything outside. Lightning flashed and thunder boomed in the distance.
A middle-age knight stood under a tree, holding his soaked cloak over his head as he tried to keep himself dryer than the ground around him.
The cold wind had other ideas and blew the rain at him from all over. He gave up on holding his cloak over his head and tried to wring out the accumulated rain, then wrapped it around himself for added protection and warmth.
Faint howls of mourning wolves could be heard in the distance, making him shiver even more.
The second largest war in the history of the continent of Halrverold had just been decided less than a month ago in the largest battle he had ever seen. Hundreds of thousands of people had fought each other. Tens of thousands who fought were killed, and even more were wounded or maimed.
It would have been worse if they hadn’t received help from the demigods. No human could match their full strength, their immeasurable power rivaled only by other demigods.
He was waiting for a company of soldiers who had been sent out on a special mission to report back in. He waited miserably for a short while until he heard multiple horses galloping through large puddles of water.
He quietly watched as the cavalry drew closer until they came to a halt in front of him. The leader of the group walked his horse forward and quickly hopped off, onto the soggy ground.
“The mission was a success, Captain. The demigods were able to ambush them as planned. The targets were still extremely tough to beat. Three demigods were killed before they were able to kill the targets.” The soldier reported with a salute.
“That’s good news indeed. I will inform the commander of the results. I’m sure he will be more than happy to hear it. You can go and rejoin the main army,” said the captain.
“Sir, there is one more problem. We found a war orphan,” said the soldier as he walked to one of the horses and helped a young boy off the horse.
The captain looked at the young boy who had a messy mop of black hair plastered onto his head due to the rain. He had not responded to being picked up and placed on the ground. His eyes gave off the feeling that his soul was dead as he stared mutely into the distance.
Something horrible must have sent a shock through his system to have caused him to act in such a way.
“A pity for such a young child to experience things such as war,” said the captain.
“Well, we can’t have orphans wandering around. I can probably take him back to the outpost and see what the commander wants to do with him. You have fulfilled your duty so you may head back.” said the Captain.
After watching the soldiers turn around and ride off the way they had come, the captain turned to the young boy.
“Boy can you hear me?” asked the captain, but there was no response.
He hefted the boy up onto the horse.
“Damn, you’re heavier than I expected,” muttered the captain.
The captain got up into the saddle behind the young boy.
The travel from the meeting spot to the Fort he was stationed at took only a few days of leisure horse riding. During that time the boy never said a single word.
After they arrived at the fort, he stabled the horse, then ushered the boy to the fort commanders office to give his report.
The Guards forced them to wait in front of the office until the commander was informed and called for them.
The commander greeted the captain briskly. He looked at the mute boy who the captain had led into the room behind him, puzzled at why he was brought to his office.
“Why did you bring this boy here? What’s wrong with him?” asked the commander of the fort.
The captain walked over to him and whispered something into the commander’s ear. While listening, his eyes lit up from the information.
“Have the blacksmith create a simple silver necklace bearing my crest, and tell the enchanter to use that spell on it. Bring it to me when it’s finished.” ordered the commander.
“As you wish,” said the Captain with a sharp salute, and left the office.
The commander waited an hour until the captain came back carrying the silver necklace. During that hour the boy had not moved, said a word, or do anything other than stare at the wall with a distant gaze.
The commander picked the necklace from the captain’s hand and walked over to the boy. He placed the necklace around the boy’s neck and stepped back.
The young boy was startled out of his shell-shock daze. The reaction was not from the commander putting the necklace on him, but from an odd floating message window that popped up in front of his gaze slightly to the right of his face. It was not fully blocking his vision but was hard to miss.
Implementing class change.
The message quickly disappeared, but now that he was aware of his surroundings, he looked around, wondering where he was. He finally looked a the middle-aged man in front of him.
The commander thought that the boy had been startled by him placing the necklace around his neck.
“So you aren’t an invalid. Good, listen up boy. From now on, I will be your guardian. You may call me Commander Brutus, or just Commander. You are to keep the necklace I have given you with you at all times. It is the crest of my noble house. It will let others know who you are,” said Brutus. He waited for a second but there was no response from the boy. “Do you understand, boy?”
The young boy nodded but didn’t speak.
“You are to speak when asked a question, boy. A simple yes sir, or no sir, will suffice. Do you understand, boy?” Brutus asked again.
“Yes, sir.” replied the young boy in a quiet voice.
“That’s better. Do you have a name? Do you know your age?” Brutus queried.
“Yes sir, it’s Akira. I’m 5 years old,” replied the young Akira.
“Well, Akira, I’m quite busy, so I’ll leave the captain to show you around and take care of things for you,” said Brutus. He turned to the captain and said,“ First, take him to get cleaned up, get rid of those rags he’s wearing, and find him some new clothes. Then go and inform the tutor that he will have one more student to teach.”
“It will be done,” said the captain with a salute.
The captain led Akira out of the office. They walked through the corridors to the servants-bathhouse.
When the door was opened, a gust of warm moist air hit Akira’s face. He walked into the bathroom after the captain.
Looking around the room, Akira was able to see what he guessed was a magical fire due to its deep green color. It was crackling in the fire pit on the right wall, next to a large pool, keeping the room warm.
He swiftly undressed, dropping his clothes on the ground, and entered the pool.
The large pool bath was COLD! Akira gave a surprised yelp.
The captain laughed and said “What did you expect? We aren’t rich enough to have heated baths.”
The captain picked up the dirty clothes and tossed them into the fire, where they vanished in seconds, giving off no smoke or smell.
“I’ll be back with new clothes in a few minutes. Be sure to be done washing by the time I get back,” said the captain before leaving the room.
Akira took a sponge that had been provided for him and briskly started washing. After a few minutes of scrubbing, he immersed his body under water and ran his hands through his hair a few times.
Jumping out of the water, he grabbed a towel and dried off. Shivering from the cold, he sat down on a wooden stool next to the fire pit.
Akira stared at the fire, deep in thought. Just where was he? What was going on? He couldn’t remember much of anything before meeting the commander.
His chest started to bother him. Feeling itchy, he looked down and saw a small red rash where the necklace was resting. Picking it up and away from his skin, he put the towel between them.
The door opened up behind him, letting in colder air and making him shiver even more.
Akira turned his head around and saw that the Captain had returned with new clothes.
“Hurry and get dressed,” said the captain as he threw the clothes at him, before exiting the room.
Akira put the new undyed woolen shirt on, along with the black dyed wool pants. He tucked the shirt into his pants, tied the shirt strings near the neck, and fastened a leather belt to keep his pants up.
He made sure to pull the necklace out away from his skin, letting it rest on his shirt. Finished dressing, he walked out the door and joined the captain, who was waiting while tapping his foot impatiently.
“Let’s be going then. Don’t want to keep the tutor waiting now, do we?” said the captain.
They walked outside and passed many buildings before getting to their destination.
Without knocking, the captain slammed the door open and walked into the small building. Akira quietly walked in behind him, while scanning the room.
In front of him were two rows of desks with two people sitting in the seats, a boy somewhere around his age and a young teenager.
In front of the students was a large desk with a middle-height gray-bearded man standing behind it, glaring at the intruders. Akira assumed he was the tutor, behind him was a large blackboard on the wall with chalk on a ledge for writing.
“By the commander’s orders, this boy will be your new student. He is to be treated the same as his own two sons,” said the captain.
“Well, this is all rather sudden. Nonetheless, I will do my best to teach him. You needn’t worry about that,” replied the tutor.
“Okay, my job’s done here, so I’ll leave the rest to you. Oh yeah, his name is Akira, and he’s the same age as Rodger,” said the captain who then left in a hurry, leaving the small building as loudly as he had entered, slamming the door behind him.
“Akira, hurry and sit next to Rodger. You can share the book with him until we get another for you. Since you’re both the same age, there shouldn’t be a problem with you learning what he is being taught,” said the Tutor as he pointed at a desk next to the younger boy’s desk.
Akira walked to the desk and sat down next to Rodger.
“Nice to meet you,” said Rodger with a large smile while grabbing onto Akira’s hand and shaking it vigorously.
“Ye… yeah, nice to meet you,” said Akira, shaken by the energetic Rodger.
“Ah yes, before we start, are you able to read, Akira?” asked the Tutor.
“Good, Now we can get back to our history lesson. Now, where were we?” asked the tutor.
“Chapter 1 page 1,” replied the older boy.
“Thank you, Marc. You’re lucky, Akira. We were just going to start reading the new history book I acquired just the other day. It even has information on the war that just ended. Fascinating, isn’t it? I’ll let Marc read the first few pages, then Rodger, and lastly Akira.” said the Tutor.
Marc stood up and started reading out loud.
“The history of the kingdom of Beorin.
For many years the world was a bleak and colorless gray. There were few people, animals, or vegetation. Over time the creator blessed the land, giving color to everything. He gave birth to all types of humans, animals, plants, and our eternal enemy the Demon race, which includes many races other than humans like the beast race. This is known as the age of color and abundant life.
The populations exploded. This caused problems in some areas with the Demon race and human neighbors. The two factions started to fight over land and resources. The human race to this day is still fighting against them but less so than back then, more on that later.
Over time the human cities began to fight amongst themselves, due to petty squabbles or perceived slights against one’s honor. This was known as the bloody warring period.
No one city was strong enough to conquer another city. They distrusted everyone and did not form alliances.
This went on for hundreds of years until an unnamed group of magicians all from different cities decided to end the wars with a plan to summon a powerful demon to destroy every army.
Something went horribly wrong, resulting in the deaths of all the members. Before they died, the summoning they started took effect, which resulted in the first appearance of monsters.
The monsters rampaged for many years, destroying the smaller towns and forcing people to create larger cities with fortified walls to protect themselves.
During this time period, it became dangerous to even go out to the fields near the city where the majority of their food was grown and domestic animals grazed unless they had a large force of guards to kill the monsters that would attack.
Due to this, the population never rose above a certain point, as most deaths were from monster attacks instead of old age or sickness,” Marc finished the pages and sat down.
Rodger stood up to read and began to hurriedly mumble what sounded like gibberish.
A loud crack could be heard as the tutor hit the desk with his pointer stick.
“Read properly so we can hear and understand you,” ordered the tutor.
“All that changed when the current king’s fourth great-grandfather Tiberius (180 years before) met with the first Divine Heroes who we now call demigods.
The demigod’s power was shockingly many times more powerful than anyone in the large city of Bador, which is now the capital of Beorin.
Their power rose far quicker than that of any humans. They could receive several growths in days or weeks. Whereas it would take a year for a normal person to have their regular yearly growth.
The yearly Growth is different from your body growth in adolescence.
There were few demigods compared to the humans of Harvold, but the power of their small groups rivaled a large army’s.
Tiberius made a deal with a group of demigods to help unify the cities around him while driving back the monsters.
Thus the age of conquest had started. In less than a month, the small kingdom Beorin was made with the help of the demigods.
There was a multitude of small kingdoms being created and destroyed all across the continent of Halrverold. Each was supported by a different group of demigods.
When the remaining new kingdoms had solidified their position, the demigods all came together and helped foster a non-aggression pact for the cities.
Together with their Demigod allies, the new kingdoms started the first major war against the Demon race’s cities near them. Capturing the cities, expanding their own land, while killing off all the Demon race citizens or chasing them away.
The massive loss of cities and population forced the Demon race to migrate away from the humans and set up new cities far away from the human kingdoms.
With the demigod’s help, the human kingdoms were able to advance in science and warfare in a way only demigods could conceive.
The demigods disappeared as suddenly as they had appeared. Leaving the fledgling kingdoms they had help built to fend for themselves. Many were not strong or stable enough and were swallowed up by other kingdoms. This era lasted until just recently.
Many years had passed since King Titus the 4th’s great-grandfather had last met with the demigods.” Rodger finished reading and sat down.
Akira stood and gazed at the book between him and Rodger before starting to read.
“Demigods abruptly appeared in the main capitals of the kingdoms, and again formed Guilds and joined the kingdoms they had appeared in, helping them expand the kingdoms. The fights condensed the kingdoms down to the seven kingdoms we have now.
The demigods turned their attention to the Demon race cities that had been settled far away from the small kingdoms which had grown and were now close to them again.
They started the second bloodiest war humans have ever been a part of even larger than the first against the Demon race cities. Killing Hundreds of thousands of them. Forcing them to escape even farther away from the kingdoms that had been steadily growing and getting closer to their Demon race’s cities.
With the second appearance of the demigods, dungeons began to appear all over the land.
The demigods stayed for almost a month after the war. At the time of writing, they have started to disappear. This was longer than the period that history says they stayed after the first major war ended, with the fact that there were far more demigods in the second great war against the Demon race.
Before they disappeared, the demigods hunted many dungeons. They were able to find many rare items, things which were given to the kings of their choice as a precautionary measure to keep the kingdom in power when they left.
Thus the modern era of strength has started. Who knows how long it will last and when the demigods will come back and meddle in the affairs of human and Demon race alike.”
Akira finished reading and sat down.
“Good, good, very well done, everyone. You three, it is important to know the history of how our country came to be. Now seeing as it is noon I’ll allow you to go to the kitchen and get some food. Marc, take Akira along with you and show him the way,” said the tutor.
“YES! Lunchtime!” shouted Rodger as he jumped up and ran out of the door.
“Damn it, Rodger! How many times do I have to tell you? No running in the classroom,” the tutor shouted after Rodger, who was already outside.
Marc and Akira exited the building and saw Rodger waiting for a little ways ahead of them. When they reached him Rodger began bombarding Akira with many questions.
“So where are you from? What are you doing here? Why do you have the crest of my father?”
“I don’t know,” replied Akira quietly.
“You don’t know?” asked Rodger, suspicious that Akira was lying.
“Stop pestering him, Rodger. Father probably has his reasons. He wouldn’t give the crest to any random person.” said Marc, trying to get the eager Rodger away from Akira.
“I would like to remember but everything before meeting commander Brutus is a blank. I only remember my name,” said Akira.
“Oh,” said a disappointed Rodger. But he began to laugh and said, “You’re weird.”
Marc whacked him on the head.
“Ow, what you do that for?” whined Rodger.
“Stop laughing at him, it’s impolite,” said Marc with a smile on his face.
Thus Akira started living in the small fort city of Rockwich. The three of them were always together, going to classes, training with the sword, and playing in the fields and woods. The energetic Rodger, and Marc who tried to act like the cool older brother but was always nagging at them like an adult, both accepted the shy Akira as a brother.