With a soft sigh, Julian placed a small, odd looking book in his hands. The book was thick and leather bound, with a purple and green spiral on the cover and a sapphire blue jewel in the middle of it.
Julian’s eyes closed as he flipped through the pages. Finally, he opened his eyes and looked at the page he landed on with a short stare of confusion.
The page he landed on was labeled “The Mad King”.
Julian let out a short, impatient breath.
Well, time to meet the Mad King Charles
Ts Ta Ta Ts Ta Tssss
The portal hissed, impatiently flicking its purple, arm-like tentacles.
“Yeah yeah, I get it. I need to go,” Julian rolled his eyes at the impatience the seemingly alive vapors.
Julian stepped into the purple and green vapors, disappearing almost as quickly as they came.
Before he knew it, Julian was lay in front of thirteen people, villagers, he assumed. Four children and nine teenagers, or young adults, Julian couldn’t tell.
“Who are you?” Demanded a tall young man with long purple hair and a pointed nose with slim orange eyes.
“My name is Julian Fletcher,” Julian eyed each boy and girl, carefully analyzing each of their faces.
“So, who are you?” Julian asked, shuffling to his feet.
“My name is Liara Carpenter and I’m 9,” a little girl piped up. She was rather short with a red bob cut and wide, expressive yellow he eyes.
“Sora Gregory is my name and I’m 15,” stated a rather put together older boy. He wore his long blonde hair in a low, slicked back ponytail with calm, narrow blue eyes.
“Maya Foreman, 12 years old,” nodded a tall, young woman. She had long, dark brown hair tied back into two twin braids and soft, dark skin with mysterious black eyes.
“Nora Taylor’s my name and I’m 7!” Exclaimed a young girl, she was covered in mud and her curly green hair cut up to her chin.
“Daniel Cheeseman, I’m 17,” stared a shorter man, his snowy white hair cut short at his chin and soft, kind blue eyes angled upwards at Julian.
Once everybody had introduced themselves, Daniel brought Julian to his house.
“So Julian, how did you find our small village?” Daniel asked, his kind blue eyes slightly widened in curiosity.
After a moment of though, he came up with an answer. “I’m a former soldier of the Shamisi kingdom, but after an injury in battle,” Julian nodded to his left leg, referring to the stick wrapped around his leg as support, “and now I’m reduced to a traveler.”
“Oh no!” Exclaimed Daniel, “What happened?”
Julian smiled slightly at Daniel’s concern.
“I was stabbed in the leg and need extra support. Since I can’t afford a cane or anything of the sort, a stick and bandages is all I’ve got,” Julian stared at his leg as he spoke.
“So, why is it just children in this village?” Julian asked, curiosity overtaking his instincts to not ask.
Daniel thought of his answer for a moment.
“To start off, most of us are siblings. Sora, Maya and I are the eldest children of each our families. Kids outside our families are refugees. Soldier’s kids, to be exact. Most our parents died in war,” Daniel paused a moment to take a breath and wipe his now teary eyes. “Mothers died in field tending to soldiers and Fathers died fighting,” Daniel saluted, bowing his head to show respect when speaking of fallen soldiers and aids.
It went quite for a few moments before Julian spoke up.
“I am very sorry. I shouldn’t have asked, please forgive me,” Julian bowed his head in apology.
“Please don’t apologize! You were just curious,” Daniel insisted, his soft blue eyes wide.
Julian sat up straight, his head still low in apology.
After a few moments passed in silence, Julian spoke up.
“What is the name of this village?” Julian asked. He’d lifted his head to look Daniel in the eye.
“Samita is the name of our village. We also call it the Silent Village,” Daniel put a finger to his lip.
It’s been a day since then, and with no sign of a “Mad King Charles”.
The thumping of horse hooves grew louder in the distance.q
Spoke too soon.
“Everybody get inside!” Shouted Daniel and Sora, gathering toddlers and babies and rushing children inside.
“Julian, come on,” urged Daniel in a worried tone.
“I’ll be fine, I’m a former soldier after all,” he smiled assuringly.
“If you say so,” Sora nodded, grabbing Daniel by the arm and pulled him inside, Maya holding his other hand.
The thumping got louder and came to a hault near Julian.
A soldier with a star on the front of his helmet jumped down from his horse. “Who are you, boy?”
“My name is Julian Fletcher, may I ask what you are doing in this village?”
The soldier, who was later revealed to be captain, paused for a moment in thought.
“Ah, now I remember where I knew that name. You’re the former general from Shamisi,” the captain smiled with a new warmth, ignoring the question.
“Indeed I am. May I ask your name?” Julian questioned the captain uncertainly.
“Damien Bigge, an old friend and ally,” Damien held out a hand.
Of course! I know that beaten in armor anywhere!
“Damien! It’s great to see you,” Julian smiled, shaking Damien’s hand.
Julian could feel eyes on him. He hardly turned his head to see Daniel and Sora staring out the window, confused written all over their faces.
Julian held a hand up behind his back, signaling for them to wait.
With a long pause, Sora and Daniel retreated behind the walls.
“Back to my question. Why have you come to this village?” Julian asked with a concerned tone.
“Raid. Kings orders,” Damien’s face tightened and his fists clenched.
Julian nodded, his eyes filled with sorrow for the kind soldiers.
“Please leave before I take defensive measures. I ask kindly before using force,” Julian raised his voice so he could be heard by the soldiers.
Moments passed before a tall man came forwards on his horse.
“I am the commander here, and I apologize, young man, however we will not be leaving.”
“Damien I am giving you one chance to get your men to resign your raid,” Julian stated, taking a battle stance.
“Julian, you know I can not do that.”
“Very well. You have signed your fate, my friend,” Julian shook his hand one last time.
“What can one man do? Slap us to death?” The commander howled with laughter.
Damien fell to the final wave of soldiers, muttering only one thing to the Commander.
Julian turned his arm in behind his back as if he were grabbing something from behind him.
Warping time and space, he summoned a long sword from thin air.
Soldiers howled with laughter as Julian held out the sword.
“I warned you,” Damien muttered from the middle of the small crowd of soldiers.
Julian rushed forward, swinging his sword swiftly without aim, sending soldiers falling from their horses in attempts to dodge.
The commander immediately jumped from his horse, rushing to Julian without thought.
“Mistake number one, you rushed in without thinking,” Julian shouted over the hustle of soldiers struggling amongst themselves.
In a guy of rage, the commander continued to slash mindlessly at Julian.
By this point, all soldiers gained their footing and began to charge inwards, slashing each other.
Struggling to find Julian’s whereabouts in the crowd, the soldiers began to feather out to disadvantage him.
He stood in the middle of a circle of soldiers, breathing heavily and a slight shake becoming obvious.
“Give up already. You’re making yourself look a fool,” the Commander told Julian, snarling at the sight of him.
Julian stood up straight, walking to the Commander with his arms to his sides.
“Submitting, are you? Good choice, soldier.”
Once they had met each other face to face, Julian took battle stance once again, his sword at the Commander’s throat.
“Shamisi soldiers never submit, Commander,” Julian smiled as he backed the commander against a tree.
“What’s your name, Commander?”
“Archer. Archer Bigge,” the commander whispered, cutting his throat sightly.
“Sora,” Julian shouted for the young man. “Lend me a hand, will you?”
Sora rushed out the house, weaving his way through the soldiers.
“Hold this sword for me. Keep it at his neck,” Julian commanded, handing the sword handle to Sora.
Sora reluctantly grabbed the sword with an uneasy stare at the commander.
Julian undid ropes that wrapped tightly around his upper arms. Once the ropes came completely undone, he began to wrap the Commander’s hands and feet together.
“Go back to the house and get all the children out, Sora,” Julian commanded, placing his sword back into its holster.
Sora nodded obediently, rushing back to the house in which all the children hid inside.
Slowly and orderly, children ranging from ages 2 to 17 came out the house, lining up side by side behind where Julian stood.
“Soldiers take a good stare at the children you are attacking,” Julian spread his arms wide, his head low and his expression blank and unreadable.
“Take your choice. Continue to fight Sora, Daniel and I,” Sora and Daniel stepped forwards, holding small daggers in their hands nervously, “Or retreat and leave this village alone.”
The commander shouted to his soldiers, his words incomprehensible.
Daniel made his way over to the commander, ripping off a piece of his top.
“Keep quiet, Commander Archer,” Daniel stated, a smug look on his face as he stuffed the cloth into Archer’s mouth.
“What’s your decision, soldiers? Live to fight another day, or lose countless comrades?”
Silence fell upon the soldiers.
Captain Damien marched forward on his horse, “We will take our leave.”
Julian nodded, “Wise choice, my friend.”
Sora and Daniel stepped back and began to round children up for supper.
“Soldiers, gather your things and untie the Commander.”
Almost an hour later, no soldiers remained in the small field.
“Julian, were you actually going to take them all on?” Asked Maya in amazement, other children behind her.
“Of course not, I am a man of tricks and diversion. I have no fighting skills.”
A series of “awe”s rippled across the crowd of children.
“I apologize, children,” Julian smiled, patting each of their heads.
Sora made his way over to the group of young children swiftly.
“Daniel said supper is ready, guys,” Sora waved his arms, motioning for them to follow. “You as well, Julian.”
Maya and Julian lead the children back to Daniel, who sat at the soup pot splitting supper into bowls for each child.
“Julian’s staying?” Daniel smiled. The short boy was giddy with excitement that they had a guest.
Sora rolled his eyes, slapping Daniel in the back of the head.
“Ouch! What was that for?”
“You knew he was staying, Daniel.”
“That doesn’t give you an excuse to slap me!” Daniel exclaimed in a whiney voice, crossing his arms.
“Daniel you are acting like Leila,” Maya giggled at her claim.
Leila, a six year old little girl with her long blonde hair pulled into two pigtails, poked up from behind Alex, a rather tall eleven year old boy with clover green eyes.
“Rude!” Leila shouted in a whiney voice, similar to how Daniel had.
Sora rolled his eyes, “Julian do you see what I mean?”
Julian blinked between the five of them, Sora, Daniel, Alex, Maya, and Leila.
“Why am I getting dragged into this?”
“Because we need back up,” Sora grinned, and at that moment a thundering boom wrung across the fields.