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The Heart of a Lion

By Annabelle_Graceton All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Romance

Chapter 1

"Hey Lion!" a voice called out to him as he passed by. As if in response, the wind suddenly picked up, blowing through his long blond hair, accentuating the trait that had resulted in his new nickname.

"Ironfist want to see you!" the voice continued, giving the nickname of the head Commander of their outpost. Ironfist was a strict, no nonsense kind of guy who took his job very seriously.

Oh great, he thought as he turned around and headed towards Ironfist's office. What did I do this time? He tried to think of what he had done over the past couple of days. He had gotten into a small fight recently, but that was because someone had talked badly about his family and that was not something that he could just let slide by, even though fighting among comrades was strictly forbidden and could result in the expulsion from Knighthood.

But Evan's not a snitch, he thought as he reflected on the fight. And he wouldn't risk losing his title by telling, especially since the fight was his fault to being with!

Evan McHarvenfort was the spoiled, stuck up son of the Duke of Henedel, a small town in the far south-western corner of the Kingdom of Keiento, which though it was thousands of miles away from their outpost in Lorn, a town close to the northern mountain border of the Kingdom of Decura, the snotty brat refused to let his companions forget it.

And he especially won't let me forget it, he sighed. They had once been friends, Evan and him. He had grown up with the Duke's son when his family had moved to Henedel three years after he was born. They used to play together, fighting off invisible enemies with their wooden swords. But then Evan's true colours began to show.

After my father left, he clenched his fists in anger. His father had left them when he was only eleven years old. The man that he had once looked up to with awe and respect left his mother for another woman. His older brother, Samuel, was away on duty during that time, so he was left alone, struggling to provide for his mother and his newborn little brother, Leopold. This was a time when he needed a friend for support, someone he could turn to for help. But when he had shared his story with Evan, the boy had just laughed at him, telling him that the reason that his father had left was because he didn't love them and escaping with any woman would be far better than being forced to live with them for another day.

He didn't understand why his friend had become so mean and cruel to him. Then he learned about class and social status. His father had been a very wealthy merchant, allowing him and his family to live a life of pleasure and ease. But then when his father left, they were thrown into the life of the poor and needy, having no money as his father had taken it all with him. They lost their house, their furniture, even their animals. And since he was no longer rich and prosperous like Evan was, the boy had turned his back on him, saying he could never be friends with a street rat.

His family's honour had been ruined and there was only one way that he knew of to earn it back: become a Knight. So, a year later, after his brother had returned on an honourable discharge to care for his dependent family, he moved to the Palace to begin his training. He was a fast learner and soon found himself a Squire, and then soon after, a Knight. He enjoyed being sent all over the Kingdom, completing tasks in the name of the Queen.

He had only ever seen the Queen once at his Knighting Ceremony and the stories of her being the most beautiful woman in all of Keiento was true. Even though he had only seen her for a mere few minutes, he had been awestruck by her beauty, just like every other man that entered her presence was. He had secretly wished that he could be posted at the Palace more often so that he could see her, but he was always the one called for the long distant journeys all over the Kingdom, which he didn't completely mind either. He loved riding his tall, cream-coloured stallion, Spectrum, across the long distances. He loved the feel of the wind blowing through his hair. Other Knights commented that he looked wild when the wind blew his hair around crazily, that he looked like a wild lion, thus resulting in his nickname, one that he didn't totally mind, though he wanted to be known as more than just the Lion.

He had never expected to run into Evan again until they were both relocated to Lorn, Evan having been trained in the comforts of his own home to become a Knight. The day that Evan had moved into the barracks was torture, making old, unhappy memories flood back into his mind. He had planned to just avoid and ignore him, but then he had crossed the line, calling his mother a "unloved, unwanted, dirty prostitute that tried to sell her body because she was so poor that it was the only way that she could survive, though no one would ever pay for her because she was too ugly." Then he had punched him. Evan had gone way too far and for no reason. He had managed to sock him a couple of good times before some of the Knights from his fleet had broken them apart, knowing that if they were caught, that he would lose everything that he had worked so hard for.

Now as he was standing outside Ironfist's door, fist poised to knock, he felt his stomach twist into a knot.

What if I did screw it up? he panicked. What if I'm about to lose everything because of that spoiled, freaking stupid, jack- His thoughts were cut short as the door opened before him and Evan stormed out, his eyes briefly catching his, sending his a deadly glare. He watched Evan leave before turning back and timidly stepping into the large office room, slowly shutting the door behind him.

It was a spacious office, though there was not much in it. Some bookcases lined the walls and were filled with books on war and fighting tactics. In the center of the room sat a large desk that had papers neatly organized on it. Behind the desk sat a large, black chair that held a large, intimidating man who was well into his fifties with black greying hair and slight wrinkles under his heavy dark brown eyes that were now narrowed as he stared at the new intruder of his domain.

"You summoned me, Sir?" he told the older Knight, trying to keep his voice steady.

"Yes, and you are?" the man sighed.

Of course, he doesn't know who I am, he realized, slightly embarrassed. I would never remember every one of my Knights' names either and I've only ever actually spoken to him once before when I was relocated here. He quickly snapped out of his thoughts, realizing that the man was still waiting for his response.

"My name is Vyron, Sir," he replied. "Vyron Queué"

"Well Vyron, today's your lucky day," Ironfist replied, flipping through the papers on his desk.

"Sir?" Vyron couldn't fathom how today was his lucky day.

"You're being relocated," Ironfist explained, looking up at him. "Pack your bags, boy. You're going to Felentia."

"You mean..." Vyron gaped.

"That's right," he laughed. "You're going back to the Palace. Now, get to your bag packing. Your fleet leaves at nightfall."

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