Soul Cursed Protector

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Summary

Join Leon, Ulrich, and Master Gawain on their quest for the pieces of the Legendary Blade. Leon Cromwell has a secret power hidden deep within. As he quests with his friend and Master for a legendary blade, those powers are brought to light. Is he bringer of light or darkness? Does his Master trust in his student? Will his best friend betray him for the ultimate prize? Want to know more? Then read The Soul Cursed Protector And The Pieces Of The Legendary Blade.

Genre:
Fantasy / Thriller
Author:
Albert2017
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
21
Rating:
4.0 1 review
Age Rating:
13+

Chapter 1: The Chosen One Is Found

It was dark times in the world of Todrain, wars were being waged, the lands were being ravaged and pillaged, all while innocents were dying, in the name of power, and greed. Very few men cared for honor nor glory, riches and the struggle for power were all that mattered, and having

certain people on your side didn’t hurt either. However, there were still a few honorable men left in the world, such men like Sir Gawain who trains endlessly each day at the Academy in hopes of one day becoming a Knight Of Valor.

The sounds of horses hooves could be heard off in the distance, many of them to be exact. The two men that were outside guarding this big beautiful castle and the people inside. Could hear the thunderous sounds gaining distance.

“Lower the drawbridge, Lord Alistair has returned.” one of the guards shouted. “Hooray for Lord Alistair and his men.” the other one yelled.

The drawbridge lowered as Lord Alistair and his men drew near, without even slowing down the hoard of men rushed through on horseback as the two guards moved out of the way, almost getting trampled upon. Lord Alistair and his men did not stop until they were upon the castle itself that stood proudly at the back of the great city. Alistair quickly jumped off his horse and ordered his men to

take the horses to the stables, then enter the castle later, for he needed to talk to the King in private. Afterwards, Lord Alistair rushed inside the castle and headed straight for the throne room,

however before he could enter Alistair was meet by the Kings Chamberlain. “You’re not allowed an audience with the King unless called for, Alistair. Even you know this.”

“That’s Lord Alistair to you, Chamberlain.” Alistair replied. “And this is a matter that needs discussed with the King, not you.”

Alistair tried to push the Chamberlain out of the way, but that did not go without cause, for Ballard the chamberlain was quiet the skilled warrior himself and pushed Alistair back with ease. “I said, nobody sees the King unless called for.” he growled.

Alistair pulled off his helmet, his long blonde hair fell down his back. His blue eyes were filled with rage, aimed at Ballard. “If you do not move out of my way, I will be forced to move you.” Alistair hissed, this time his hand on the hilt of his sword.

The Chamberlain grinned, “So you would be willing to do battle within these walls?” “If it means getting to see the King, then yes.” Alistair replied, standing tall and

unwavering.

Ballard unsheathed his blade, “If you refuse to back down, then have at thee.” his determination was just as unwavering as Alistair’s

Alistair felt as though his hand had been forced, and he too unsheathed his blade. The two men were now set to do battle. Ballard was the first to strike with his blade, but Alistair parried the attack, “Not bad, Chamberlain. But now it is my turn.” he said, then lunged at Ballard.

Ballard knocked the blade away without even trying, “Not bad yourself Knight, but you will have to do better than that, if you want to best me.” he sheepishly grinned.

The sound of steel clashing against steel could be heard all through out the castle as the two men fought each other. Hearing the sounds echoing through out, must have drew the ire of King Edward, for he stormed out of the throne room, and unbeknownst to the two men he used his blade “Kings Defender” to knock Alistair and Ballard’s swords from their hands, sending both men to the floor without trouble. “What is the meaning of this? Fighting inside my castle walls is forbidden.” the King was infuriated with the both of them. “Tell me. Why would my first Knight and most trusted

adviser be in my halls fighting like two fools.” he shouted at them both. “I want answers, or so help me, I will have both of you locked up in the dungeon for months.”

Instead of answering King Edward. Ballard made a big mistake by reaching for his sword

and King Edward took notice by stepping on the blade, keeping the sword just out of reach. “Reach for your blade one more time Chamberlain, trusted or not I will cut off your hand.” the King yelled. “Now which of you are going to give me the answer I seek?”

Alistair on one knee, placed his arm across his chest and bowed before he spoke, “Your majesty. I have urgent news for you, but before I could deliver. The Chamberlain here refused to let me have an audience, and this be urgent and I did what I felt was right. Even if it meant fighting inside these walls. I do apologize, I should have thought this through.”

The King then looked over at Ballard, “Is this true, Chamberlain?” “It is my Lord.” Ballard answered.

King Edward’s anger was solely upon his Chamberlain now, “Why would you stop my first Knight from coming to see me? You know it is important whenever he rushes in like this.”

“My Lord, you’ve been ill lately and do not need the stress. I was only thinking of you your majesty.” explained the Chamberlain.

“You had no right.” the King responded. “As long as I am the King of Drasal, and have the aid of my blade, I refuse to be treated like an old frail man. I shall always be here for my knights and my people. Get out of my sight, Ballard.”

“But your majesty-” the Chamberlain tried to speak but the King would have none of it. “I said to get out of my sight.” King Edward shouted again.

The Chamberlain stood up and asked if he could have his sword back, of course the King

was not a heartless man and allowed him to take back his blade. But Ballard did not go far, instead he hid out of sight and listened in on what King Edward and Alistair had to say to one another.

“Go on Lord Alistair, tell of this news you speak of.” the King said, now in a much calmer state, but still as serious as ever.

Alistair sheathed his sword, and picked up his helmet. “The Dark Knights have returned and are on the move, your majesty.”

The King’s face had now changed to a look of despair, “What? The Dark Knights have returned? You must be mistaken, Knight. That evil was laid to rest a lifetime ago.”

“Yes, I remember my Lord. I was just a kid when you vanquished that evil with the King’s Defender, and a handful of knights to aid you. But believe in my words, I have seen them with my own eyes. They have returned and are not far from here, my Lord.” said Alistair.

The King held tightly onto the hilt of his blade, “If that is the case, then I shall ride out with you and vanquish that evil once more.”

“King Edward, you mus’nt. You are ill! And who knows what could happen out there. Your people need you now more than ever. If you would, please allow me to take some more men and go out to scout, and see what they are up to that is. At least allow me that before you get involved, my King.

Please. I beg of you.” Alistair pleaded.

King Edward was reluctant, but agreed to do as Alistair had wished, “Okay, Alistair. I will do as you wish and allow you to take a few extra men out with you, under one condition.”

“Of course.” he bowed. “Name your condition.”

“You take only a few men, and from the Academy. And under no circumstances do you engage the Dark Knights. Understood?” King Edward explained.

“I understand your majesty. I shall do as you ask.” replied Alistair.

“Then go now Knight Of Valor, and assemble your team. I shall be waiting for your return, may the gods watch over you.” King Edward said.

Alistair crossed his arm over his chest and bowed to the King, “I shall take my leave now, your

majesty. And thank you for placing your trust in me once more.”

King Edward stood there for a moment, mumbling a few words under his breath before turning and walking back into the throne room. However, there lurking in the shadows was the Kings Chamberlain, and he heard every word that was said. “So the Dark Knights have returned from the ashes, that must mean “the dark powers” are up for grabs again. And all the mythical blades powers must have been resurrected as well. Which would explain why the King took us down so easily, while being so frail. This could be good for me.” Ballard whispered, before disappearing back into the shadows.

At the Academy an unexpected visitor went busting through the doors, “I need the best trainees you have at the moment for an important mission, Baird. And quickly at that.” Alistair commanded.

Baird jumped at the appearance of the unexpected guest, “Of course, Lord Alistair. Right away.” and off he went to gather his best students with haste. A few minutes later he was back with two young men, “This here, the one with the white hair, is Caine. He’s excellent with a Bow, also magic is another of his strong points. This young lad can also hunt just about anything down with his keen eye

sight. The other young lad here, with the brown hair and strong chin, is Gawain. He is unmatched in the way of the sword, and is fairly decent with magic as well. Both these fine young warriors will be Knights Of Valor in no time, which makes them the perfect choices for you, my Lord.”

“Is that so?” Alistair replied, eyeing both youngsters.

“Of course, Lord Alistair. These fine young men are the best the Academy has to offer.” Baird answered with pride.

Alistair walked around the two young men, “Hmm. You’re an excellent teacher Baird, and have yet to produce a bad knight. And of course if not for you, I would never have made First Knight as quickly as I did, I shall trust in your word. Have them meet me in front in about half an hour. Also, make sure they are both armed.”

“Will do, my Lord.” Baird replied. He then looked back at his students, “Go to the armory, grab any weapons and armor you need and make it quick. Do not keep Lord Alistair waiting.”

“Yes sir.” they both said at the same time.

As the young men made their way towards the armory, one could not contain his excitement. “This is our very first mission, isn’t it exciting Caine?” said Gawain. Caine stayed silent and did not answer, however Caine’s silence did not stop Gawain from continuing on.“You can’t say you’re not excited like me. We get to go on a mission with Lord Alistair, he’s a living legend. The youngest First Knight ever.” on and on, and on, Gawain went until Caine had finally had enough.

“Would you shut up already.” Caine barked. “You’re rambling is nothing but nonsense. I could care less who Alistair is, I just want to prove that I can do anything asked of me. Now let us hurry on.”

“Damn, you’re as cold as ever.” Gawain mumbled.

“Finally there.” Caine said, ignoring Gawain and walked on inside the armory. “Hey. I was talking to you.” Gawain snapped, following behind Caine.

“Just shut up and grab what you need.” Caine hissed.

“Fine.” Gawain grumbled, sticking his tongue out at Caine before walking away.

Caine shook his head as he watched Gawain act like a child, “Fool.” he muttered to himself, turning his attention towards the weapons and armor in the room. Hmm. Now what should I choose, Caine thought to himself. He looked through every piece of armor, and every weapon. Finally he found the weapon he sought, it was an old wooden bow, along with several arrows as well. “This will do.” he whispered. Caine also grabbed some light armor, for he didn’t want to be weighed down. He relied to much on his speed more than anything else to make that mistake. Caine put the Bow over his shoulder, and the arrows on his back in a quiver he had for the old arrows. He then tied his white long hair up in a ponytail and he was ready to go. That’s when Caine heard the clanking of armor coming up from behind him. When he turned around, there standing before him was Gawain in a heavy rusted suit of

armor, and in his hand was a huge bastard sword.

Caine tried to hold back his laughter, but seeing how idiotic Gawain looked, and carrying a sword bigger than he was, Caine just couldn’t hold back. “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.”

“What are you laughing at, Caine?” Gawain grumbled.

“You, ha, ha, ha, ha. You look like a rusted tin can! Ha, ha, ha, ha!” Caine answered, still laughing at Gawain. “And that sword is bigger than you.”

You could see the anger starting to boil over in Gawain’s eyes, “Shows how much you know, Caine.” he snarled. “This armor is going to protect my body, and this sword will cut down anything that stands in front of me.”

After a good laugh Caine regained his composure, then he offered some advice to his friend. “Listen closely Gawain, because I know how hard headed you can be. That armor is only going to hinder you, and that sword, well I bet you can’t even use it.”

“I’m a warrior, I can handle it just fine. And big talk coming from someone with a knife and bow. Also that plate of armor won’t even protect you at all.” Gawain grumbled.

Caine smirked, “If you’re not going to listen to me, then I guess I will just have to prove you wrong.” he lifted up his arms and waved Gawain on, “Come at me, lets see what you got.”

“Now you’re talking my language. Hope you’re ready.” Gawain shouted excitedly, before lunging at Caine.

Caine stood there watching Gawain lunge at him with his sword, at the last minute he swiftly moved out of the way. “You will have to be faster than that if you’re going to strike me down.” Caine told him. “Now lets try that one again.”

Gawain was letting his anger get the best of him, he lifted up his sword readying for another attack, but still it did no good. Caine reached over and grabbed a cutlass sword and blocked Gawain’s attack with ease. “To easy.” then he swept Gawain’s feet out from under him and he hit the ground with

a loud thud.

When Gawain realized what had happened it was to late, he was looking up from his back as Caine had the tip of a blade to his throat. “Okay, Caine. You win, you’re to fast for me.”

Caine shook his head and sighed, “It’s not that I’m that much faster than you, Gawain. I told you that armor you wear is hindering you, it has slowed you down. Also the enemy will be able to hear

you eons away. Take my advice Gawain, change into some lighter armor, on top of that, grab a smaller sword that suits you, while we still have time left to spare.”

Gawain snarled at Caine, he did not wish to admit the fact that he was wrong and Caine was right, however when you have a sword pointed at your throat it makes you change how you feel real quick. “Help me up and I will change into some lighter armor, and grab a different sword. Just aim that cutlass sword in another direction, please.” he said, reaching his hand up in the air.

Caine tossed the cutlass blade and reached down to take Gawain’s hand, pulling him to his feet. “Look Gawain, you’re a great fighter, and an excellent swordsman. But you can’t always rely on heavy armor, and strength alone to win battles.”

Gawain pushed by his friend without saying a word, he was embarrassed and mad that he couldn’t beat Caine yet again. “One day I’m going to best him, no matter what it takes.” he muttered to himself. As promised, Gawain put on some lighter armor, even though there was no helmet, and it wasn’t near as cool as the other, he still did so. However, he couldn’t make up his mind what kind of sword he wanted to go with, that is until Caine started rushing him.

“Hurry up, Gawain.” Caine shouted. “We have to meet Lord Alistair out front in a matter of minutes.”

“Don’t rush me, Caine. I’m still looking for a sword that I like.” Gawain shouted back.

Caine hurried over to where Gawain stood, “Just grab a sword, Gawain. It’s not like you’re going to get to use it.”

“You’re the one that told me to get a sword that suits me, remember.” Gawain said. “Damn. I guess I will have to find a sword for you then.” said Caine. He hurriedly looked

around the room, and there sticking out of the wall was a blade that in his mind would be perfect for Gawain, even though he wanted it for himself. “There in the wall.” Caine pointed.

Gawain turned to see what Caine was talking about, there was when he first laid eyes upon it. It didn’t look like a normal sword either, the blade was of a blackish tent, with what seemed to be spikes sticking out of each side close to the hilt, and the handle itself was made out of a special alloy with a gem in the bottom that seemed to glow.

“I think that’s the blade of legend, “Protector Of Eternal Justice.”” Gawain said with a astonished look on his face. “We’re not supposed to touch that sword, Caine.”

“Do you really think they would leave such a powerful weapon like that here in the armory?” Caine laughed.

“I don’t know. Maybe.” Gawain shrugged.

“Exactly, you don’t know. Take the damn blade and lets get a move on.” Caine insisted.

Gawain stood there for a moment thinking the situation through, before he slowly reached for the sword. When his fingertips touched the hilt, he swore he heard a voice in his head. “We have been waiting for you, guardian of the blade.”

Caine slapped Gawain on the back and said, “Would you hurry up and take the damn sword.”

But Gawain acted as though he hadn’t heard a word Caine had said to him, as he turned and asked, “Did you hear that?”

Caine was getting irate with his friend, “Would you stop fooling around, and take the sword.”

Gawain didn’t have time to argue with Caine, nor did he have time to look for other swords in the armory either. It was a tough decision, but at this point he had little choice. So Gawain pulled the blade from the wall and sheathed it to the side of his waist, and then the two young men went running

out of the armory to meet Lord Alistair outside of the Academy.

The two young men came running out of the Academy, and right in front of Lord Alistair, who was there waiting for them to arrive. “The two of you are late.” he hissed. “That’s not a good way to impress a Knight Of Valor is it?” he starred them both down.

“No sir.”

Alistair turned his back to them and started to doubt his strategy of asking the Academy for help. Can these two really be of help to me and my men? Maybe I should go at this alone, he thought to himself. Then he remembered the promise that he made to King Edward, and thought nothing more of it. He turned back around to face both Caine and Gawain, “Next time I ask for the best, prove it to me. I shall let it pass this time though, understood?”

“Sorry sir.” they both said at the same time, which seemed like a habit for those two. “Now before we take our leave, I have a question to ask you both.” Alistair said. He paced

back and forth for a minute or so, “Do you know of the Dark Knights?”

“One of the Masters said something about them, but I don’t exactly remember what. It just didn’t seem important at the time.” Gawain shrugged.

Caine felt embarrassed with his friends answer, “Geez, Gawain. Do you ever pay attention to anything when we train with the Masters?” he snarled. “If I may, I will answer your question, Lord Alistair. The Dark Knights were assembled by one man the evil, King Vaughn. Though he wasn’t always known as the evil one, King Vaughn was once a good man and even a better king, loved by all.

But then something changed in him, he became obsessed with power, and greed, he even started learning the dark arts. Legend goes, that one day he learned of something called the Dark Power, and any man that was strong enough to claim that dreadful power could gain anything his heart desired. So the King assembled his best knights and went out in search of this great power. Once he gained that power he turned his loyal Knights into Dark Ones. They are not living nor are they dead, they have no

human emotions whatsoever. And they are only loyal to the one that controls the darkness. Thus, the Dark Knights were born.”

Lord Alistair seemed very impressed with the answer that Caine had given him, so he asked another. “Does one know what happened after that?”

“Yes, my Lord. The evil King Vaughn and his Dark Knights ravaged the lands, burning down towns and taking over kingdoms, killing thousands of innocents in their wake. The World Of

Todrain was thrown into darkness and chaos for many a year, until one lone man stood up to that very darkness. With sword in hand he rallied the people and brought the fight to the evil King and Dark Knights, he struck down King Vaughn with his blade “Kings Defender” and dispersed the Dark Knights. The Dark Ones that once plagued the lands were gone, and peace was restored. Thus, the Dark Knights were never to be seen again, supposedly the Dark Power was gone forever as well. That

lone stranger became the man we all know and love today, King Edward.” Caine answered with a smile.

“Very good, Caine. You’re a bright young man and will make a fine knight someday.” Alistair told him. He then turned to face Gawain, “Gawain, knowledge is something that will save your life one day. Being a great knight isn’t all about skill alone. You have to study and learn to know your enemies well. You have a ways to go if you want become a Knight Of Valor, young one.” when Alistair turned to walk away he noticed the sword that Gawain had sheathed to his side. Is that the legendary blade? he thought to himself. But that cannot be. That blade had a spell put on it a long ago. Could that young man be the chosen? Hmm, no it’s not him. The blade isn’t in its final form, so why would it release itself to that young man. Alistair rubbed his chin, I will have to keep a close eye on him, I have not come this far to have some kid get in my way now.

“Lord Alistair, when do we depart?” a knight in silver armor walked up from behind and asked.

That seemed to snap Alistair out of his state of mind, and he quickly turned to answer. “We’re ready to go, gather the rest of the men and tell them we are heading out.”

“Yes, My Lord.” the Knight bowed, and walked away.

“Caine. Gawain. Hurry along and follow my second in command to the horses, be ready to leave at once.” Alistair commanded. Both bowed to Alistair before following in pursuit. Minutes later Alistair meet his men, along with Caine and Gawain at the front of the castle. “Is all ready to depart?”

“All is ready, my Lord.” the second in command answered.

“Good. Just make sure you keep an eye on these two, Mike. And be discrete, if the king finds out I brought others along besides them, there would surely be unwanted trouble.” said Alistair. He jumped up on his horse and was ready to leave the castle.

“Lord Alistair is ready to leave the castle. Lower the drawbridge at once.” one of the guards shouted.

The other guard pulled a lever and the gears started creaking and cracking as the drawbridge went down, letting Alistair and his companions out of the courtyard and into the city of Drasal. Off they went towards their fates and the destiny that awaited them all.

“Where are we going, Lord Alistair?” Caine asked, riding up beside him. “To a small town not to far from here.” Alistair answered.

“And what of our mission?” Caine was full of questions, and Alistair had the answers he sought. “We’re to investigate the resurgence of the Dark Knights, and why they are interested in that

small town I told you about.” Alistair informed.

Caine frowned. “The Dark Knights have returned? That does not bold well for any of us.”

Gawain rode up beside the two with urgency, “I hate to interrupt, but there’s smoke coming from up ahead.”

“No. It can’t be. Everyone ride hard and fast.” Alistair told his men. “We have a town to save.”

However once they got to the small town, it was to late. The town of Cremshaw, was burned to the ground, the villagers lifeless bodies pilled in the center. It was a hard sight to see especially for Caine. For it brought back memories of his village being plundered by bandits, and his parents being killed. But Caine held back his emotions, he had a job to do, and now wasn’t the time for grieving.

“Men. Pull yourselves together. Check all huts still standing, look for any survivors. Kill any Dark Knights that you find.” Alistair commanded. “Caine, Gawain, you do the same.”

“But King Edward gave specific orders for us not to engage the enemy.” Mike said.

“Look around you Mike, how are we not going to engage the enemy now?” Alistair replied. “I don’t like this.” Mike said.

“You don’t have to like it, just do as your told.” Alistair scowled. Mike walked away without saying another word, he was angered, but Alistair was the one in charge, not him.

Caine and Gawain came upon two huts still left standing only a few feet from one another. “Caine, you take the hut on the left, I will take the one on the right.” said Gawain.

“Okay.” Caine agreed. “One more thing, Gawain.” “What?” Gawain asked.

“Yell if you need any help, and I mean any help at all.” Caine told him. “Sure. You do the same.” Gawain replied.

Caine nodded, then the two young men went their separate ways. Gawain entered the hut on the right just in time to catch a Dark Knight about to kill a villager, “I don’t think so.” he shouted. In his mind he was going to hurry over and run his blade through the Dark Knight’s back. But it didn’t quiet work out that way, the Dark Knight turned and blocked his attack with little effort.

“Who are you?” the Dark Knight asked, his voice was low, deep and dark. “I’m the one that’s about to put an end to you.” Gawain grumbled.

The Dark Knight laughed, “Such small words, coming from such a small boy.”

“We will see if you still think that way once I run my blade through your dark heart.” Gawain hissed, before lunging at the Dark Knight.

A sword fight had broken out between the Knight and Gawain, their blades clashed to together with a thunderous noise, time, and time again. It was a stalemate at first as each blocked the others strikes. But Gawain would soon start to fade as his skills and stamina was nowhere near that of the Black Knights, he was just lucky to last as long as he did. Soon the Knight would over power him and send Gawain flying back into the wall of the hut. He found himself in trouble with the Dark Knight standing over him.

“Tell me what you are doing here, and if there are any others aiding you. If you do I will end your life quickly.” the Dark Knight told him, holding a sword up to Gawain’s throat.

“And if I don’t?” Gawain bravely bolstered.

“Then I will bleed you like a pig.” the Dark Knight replied.

Gawain laughed, and spat at the Knight, “Do your worst, for I do not fear you.”

The Dark Knight laughed maniacally, then ran the tip of the blade right into Gawain’s shoulder.

The sharp tip ripped through the armor and pierced his skin, blood now ran down his plate of armor, as Gawain screamed out in pain. “Now are you ready to talk?”

“Never.” Gawain shouted back at him.

“Have it your way then.” the Knight replied. He started to twist the blade back and forth, making the pain damn near unbearable for Gawain to handle. He screamed and screamed, it was clear that Gawain was in agonizing pain, but still yet he refused to answer the Dark Knights question. He would rather die, than betray his friend or Lord Alistair. Just as all hope of Gawain surviving the torture that the Dark Knight was inflicting upon him, an arrow zipped through the air, piercing a crease in the Dark Knights armor causing him to stumble backwards.

Gawain took that as his opportunity to land the final blow, he quickly picked up his sword

jumping to his feet without hesitation, then ran the blade right into the gap of the Dark Knights helmet. The thing underneath the armor let out this horrible scream that seemed to pierce the eardrums, and within a few seconds all was quiet for the Dark Knight was dead.

It wasn’t long before Caine went barreling through the front of the hut, “Gawain, you’re bleeding! Are you alright?”

Gawain almost seemed disappointed in himself as he answered, “I’m fine, just underestimated the skill of that thing is all. I was careless.”

Caine glanced down at the motionless body that laid in front of him, “It was a close call, none the less you should know to never rush into battle against a superior opponent.”

“True, it was foolish of me, if not for you Caine I would be dead. Thank you, I owe thee that much.” said Gawain.

Caine was unsure what to make of how Gawain was acting, “What do you mean? I did not save you Gawain, I was in the other hut and barely heard your cries. There is no way I could have pulled off a shot such as this.” he said, pointing at the arrow lodged in the back of the Dark Knight. “Nor would one of these arrows I carry even be able to pierce the Dark Knights armor. This is beyond my doing.”

Gawain looked dumbfounded, “If not you, then who?”

Before Caine could even think of what to say next he heard the sound of footsteps coming up from behind him. “Turn around slowly.” a mans voice demanded. “Don’t even think of trying anything, I’m damn good with this bow of mine.”

Gawain was already face to face with the man, recognizing him as the villager the Dark Knight was trying to kill. Caine on the other hand turned slowly, all while trying to think of a way to disarm the man. However once he got a glimpse of who was behind him, he knew that wouldn’t be necessary. The villager had a large gash across his chest and stomach, blood was pouring from his fatal wound like a river. Caine was surprised the poor soul still had the strength to stand little alone point a bow at

them both.

“That’s no way to treat the man that saved your life.” Gawain shouted.

“Shut up.” the man demanded. “I’m the only one that’s going to do the talking right now. Are you two with the Dark Ones?”

“No sir. We are students of the Academy, from the city of Drasal. We are out here with Lord Alistair and the Knights Of Valor.” Caine answered.

“Drasal? Knights Of Valor? So King Edward must have sent you then, am I correct?” “Yes sir.” Caine replied.

Gawain nudged Caine’s arm, “What are you doing? Nobody is to know of this, remember?” he whispered.

“He’s not going to be telling anyone, Gawain. Trust me, this man has a fatal wound, I don’t think he will last much longer.” Caine said quietly.

“Did I not say to shut up? I may be hurt, but I can still put an arrow through both of you before I die.” that’s when he noticed it, the sword that Gawain had gripped tightly in his hand, and that made him take a step back, “What are your names?”

“My name is Caine, this here is Gawain. And yours good friend?” Caine replied.

“My name is none of your concern.” the man hissed. “Caine, if you don’t mind. Please give me a moment with your friend, or I put an arrow between your eyes. Your choice.”

Caine looked over at Gawain hesitant of what choice he should make, but Gawain made it for him when he nodded in agreement with the man, Caine went to leave the hut but not before giving the man a warning, “If you hurt my friend, I promise that I will kill you myself before your wound does it for you.” Caine stared the man down for a second more before walking out of the hut.

The man turned his gaze back upon Gawain, and the sword that he held. “He’s a good friend, that much I can tell, but be mindful of him down the road.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“You will find out in time.” the man half answered. “Now do you mind telling me where you gathered that sword in your hand? Be truthful, I’m not long for this world, and what I have to say next is of the utmost importance.”

Gawain was intrigued, and also felt somewhat sorry for the man that stood before him bleeding out, using his last bit of strength just to stand. That’s when he decided it would be best to humor the man, “I acquired the sword from the wall inside the armory at my Academy. I honestly did not wish to take it, for I believe it to be the legendary blade “Protector Of Eternal Justice.” But my Caine thought it was nonsense and had me grab the sword regardless.”

“Did you hear any voices when you pulled the blade from the wall?”

“I did actually.” Gawain nodded. “I heard a female voice, she said that I was the protector of the sword until the times comes that I pass it on to its true master. Or something like that.”

The man before him was starting to succumb to his wound, he no longer had the strength to point the bow at Gawain, and it dropped to the floor, the man’s face was flush, and he was sweating profusely. “Seems my body is starting to fail me, I better make this quick.” he said. “You can run, boy. Or you can stay and learn of why the sword chose you and not the others.”

“I’m not a boy, nor am I scared to learn of the truth. So tell me what you need to say.”

The man smiled, blood trickling from his mouth. “You are brave I will give you that, maybe that’s why the sword chose you.” he said before continuing on. “Listen to me closely, that sword that you hold is truly the blade of legend. A spell was placed on that sword long ago to keep mortal men from getting their hands on it, until it was needed yet again. I know this because I was the one that placed that spell upon the blade. Since the Dark Ones have returned the spell has been lifted and it chose you for the task at hand.” he gasped heavily, trying his best to stand straight, but his legs failed him, and like a tall tree that had been chopped upon, the man tumbled over.

Gawain hurried over to the man and knelt down beside him, “You need help sir. I shall go and get a healer for you.”

The stranger grabbed Gawain by the arm, “There is no time, you must listen to me.” “Okay, I shall do as you ask. Please, calm down or the rest of your strength will leave you.”

He pulled Gawain in closer, “Look at your blade, do you see how it glows now? That is because its true master is near and its true power is meant only for him. His destiny will unfold once he takes the sword from you. Hear me boy, that person is my son. You shall find the child hidden underneath the boards on which you stand, find him, take him to the Academy and train him well.

When the time is right, pass the blade over to him, and give him this amulet. It, it is the key to all he needs to know.” the man took an amulet out of his pocket handing it over to Gawain. “Also tell the King that the time has come, he will.....know what it means. Please protect my son, you are the only one that can. And tell him-” the man went silent and said nothing more, the fatal wounds he suffered had finally taken his spirit to other realm.

Gawain placed his hand over the mans eyes and closed them. “You poor bastard.” he said as he stood up. “I don’t know why I have to get mixed up in all of this, but I will do my best, I promise.”

Meanwhile Caine was in search of Alistair to tell him of what had transpired, “Lord Alistair. Lord Alistair.” Caine shouted loudly, running up to the knights that he and Gawain rode in with. “Tell me, where is Lord Alistair.”

“Calm down young Caine, I am right here.” Alistair said, when he glanced over Caine he could tell that something wasn’t right. “You look in a panic, has something happened?”

Caine could barely contain himself as he spoke, “Yes my Lord, Gawain is injured. He was stabbed by one of the Dark Knights. But Gawain managed to kill the dark spawn with aid from some villager who now has him held hostage. We must help him.”

Alistair could not make heads or tales of what the young man was talking about, but if the Dark

Knights were involved then Gawain was in grave danger. “Men. Take care of the young lad here while I go in search of his friend. Understood?”

“Yes sir.” his Knights replied.

Gawain was still in search of the boy. He did not know the boys name so he couldn’t call

out to him, which made the search more difficult. While Gawain searched the hut with haste, he caught a break and heard whimpering coming from directly underneath his feet. He was taken back at first, because Gawain really didn’t believe the dying man, when he said the boy was underneath them both. Must be a trap door. That means there has to be a switch or lever around here. Gawain thought to himself. And with a little bit more searching, he came across a switch hidden behind a painting hanging on the wall. Aw, there we go. Whoever that man was, he was good, really good, not just some villager at that either.

Gawain flipped the switch, and the sounds of crackling noises could be heard as a secret

compartment in the floor opened up before him. He stood there in aw at first before he cautiously approached the hole in the floor. There Gawain found a little boy with black hair, crying his eyes out. He reached out for the boy, “Lets get you out of here young one, to somewhere safe.”

The young boy was scared and refused to take Gawain’s hand, instead the child just sat there and cried out for his father. Gawain knew the only way to gain the boys trust was to lie, “Listen to me boy. I’m a friend of your father, he sent me here to get you and bring you to him. How else would I know of this secret hiding place?” luckily the child bought into Gawain’s story and reached out to take his hand, Gawain grabbed hold and lifted him up out of the secret compartment. After he pulled the boy out he had seen that there was something still left down there. It was a book and by the looks of it, a very old one at that, almost ancient in a way. Gawain did not hesitate, he reached down and picked it up. He wanted to look the book over, but did not have the time. Alistair could be heard in the distance calling out his name, so he scooped the boy up in his arms, hid the amulet in his chest plate, and went

running out of the hut.

“Here I am, Lord Alistair.” Gawain waved.

“Are you alright, Gawain? I was told that you were injured by a Dark Knight.” Alistair took notice of the little boy that Gawain had in his arms, “Where did the child come from?”

Gawain had forgotten all about his wound, until the pain came flooding back to him once he was reminded of his injury. However he had not the time to worry about such matters of blood, pain, and questions. “Long story, Lord Alistair. But I have not the time to explain, we are all in grave danger and need to hurry out of this place.” then almost out of thin air, shouting could be heard, as the rest of the Knights along with Caine came riding up on their horses in a panic.

“Hurry my lord! We need to make haste back to the castle, a horde of Dark Knights were spotted riding this way.” Mike said, with a nervous look on his face.

Alistair looked over at Gawain, “Can you ride with your wound while holding on to that

child?”

“I will be fine, no time to worry about that now.” Gawain answered. He might have been in excruciating pain but that did not stop him from mounting his horse, nor did it stop him from holding tightly onto the child either.

Sounds of many horses could be heard quickly gaining on their position, “Everyone ride, and do so quickly. To the castle.” Alistair roared.

Meanwhile back at Drasal Castle, King Edward was awaiting the return of his First Knight, Alistair. When in a rush the Chamberlain came barging into King Edwards quarters, “Your majesty. Your majesty. I have dire news.”

King Edward was startled by the appearance of his Chamberlain, this was a first that Ballard had ever entered his chambers unannounced. “Calm yourself, Ballard.” King Edward said. “What has transpired, that has you so upset?”

“Lord Alistair and his men are heading back to the castle in a hurry. However my King, they are being pursued by the Dark Knights and many at that.” Ballard exclaimed.

Hearing such news sent King Edward into a rage, he demanded the Chamberlain leave him at once. He picked up Kings Defender and just stared at the magnificent blade. “Why? Why are those blood thirsty demons back? Has the Dark Powers returned to this world, could the evil one’s resurrection be upon us?” he muttered. “No, it must not be allowed to happen.” King Edward rushed over to a secret compartment that was hidden behind a bookshelf, there in that hidden room was the Kings gold plated armor from long ago. Without even thinking twice he put the armor on, and made his way out of the castle. It wasn’t long before King Edward found himself outside of the city of Drasal, the kingdom he had sworn to protect at any cost, even if it meant his death.

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