"Focus brother!" I yelled at my little brother as I took a swing with my sword aiming at his head.
I was placed in charge of teaching him to fight with the sword since I was the most skilled at it. His sword was way bigger than him,but it was our custom to learn the art of sword fighting before anything else. It was what made us the strongest and bravest among the rest of the kingdoms.
Before the war, the Ice Kingdom had been the most powerful. Until my grandfather started the rebellion, resulting in their fall. After that, he drew up a treaty, placing the remaining kingdoms under our rule.
We were gifted with the gift of fire. It was engraved into our blood and soul. From a young age we were taught that it was everything to us.. that it made us who we were.
I remember I mastered my ability by my sixteenth birthday. Despite that, I refused to rely on it.
I practiced my sword fighting daily because I felt that using our abilities in combat was a sign of cowardice.
"Not everyone can be as good as you brother!!" He yelled out of frustration.
" I'm hardly good at it... I just use my brain" I said as I ruffled his hair earning myself a glare.
"Go on... that's enough for today" I said taking his sword away from him. " Go ahead and play.. we'll pick up where we left off tomorrow"... I watched as he dashed off to play with the others. He was a still a kid after all..
As much as everyone desired it... being a prince was anything but joyous.. the responsibility put on a child was unthinkable.. the things we had to do to become stronger would end up being the very things that destroyed us...
"You're too easy on him"
I didn't need to turn around to recognize whose voice it was. That very same voice on more than one occasion was the cause of my constant nightmares.
"He's still a child" I said as I turned around and glared at my father.
"War waits for no child" he said as he turned around and walked away. Probably to go see one of his many concubines.
He might be the strongest king the fire kingdom has ever witnessed, but he was hardly a father to any of his sons.
Being the first born , I took it upon myself to shield my brothers from his iron fist and cruel ways. He had sons simply to protect his kingdom and continue his legacy, not because he desired a fatherly bond.
The earliest and most devastating memory I have of the man I call father was at the tender age of seven.
Flashback ( thirteen years ago)
I sat at edge of the cliff dangling my tiny feet as I watched all the soldiers practice.
My heart was filled with envy and amazement as I watched their movements. The way they used the sword was as though it was some kind of art. It was truly beautiful to hold such a talent.
"Being a solider isn't all that pretty you know" I turned around and saw my cousin standing close behind me. He placed his sword on the ground and sat down next to me and stared over the horizon.
"How old were you when you first became a solider?" I asked him.
"Too young" was all he said as he continued to look ahead. " If I had a choice... I would do anything to give up my sword" he said as he picked up his sword and traced his finger across it.
I couldn't understand what he meant. He was the strongest and most feared of all warriors, so why was he sitting here with such a sad expression on his face..
"What do you mean?" I asked, looking at him with my big curious eyes. Somehow I had never seen this side of him..
"Being a solider isn't just about honor and glory or legacy. It comes with so much more responsibility. Let's just say it's something that I wish you didn't have to experience." I was about to ask him what he meant again when one of my guards came out of the bushes.
"My prince, the king summons you"
My father had never summoned me before. He would always send a messenger or send a letter. This was the first time he actually called for me. I couldn't help but feel anxious.. I hadn't done anything wrong.. so why was he looking for me..
I followed my guard to the throne room. As we entered I caught a glimpse of my father sitting on his throne with a cage next to him. The cage was covered in a gold cloth and I couldn't help but wonder what was underneath that cloth.
When we reached the middle of the room, I noticed my guard taking out a small knife from his side. He took my hand and placed the knife inside. I looked at him with a puzzled gaze wondering why he was giving me his knife.
He kept his gaze lowered and walked to stand just below my father. I couldn't shake the feeling that something bad was about to happen.
"What are you doing Egon?" I asked my guard, but he just kept his gaze lowered. I looked up to meet my father's eyes. He looked at me with absolutely no emotion at all. He turned his gaze towards the cage and removed the cloth.
My eyes widened and I gasped at the contents of the cage. In it, was my pet lizard Zeffer. He had gotten sick and refused to eat so mother sent him to the animal physician.
I got him as a gift for my fifth birthday by my cousin. Zeffer became my very first and only friend. I talked to him all the time even if he couldn't understand me. He knew everything about me, my fears,my joys,my insecurities... everything..
I spent two years nurturing him, feeding him,loving him and protecting him. He was my little everything.
I ran to the cage and opened it taking Zeffer into my arms. I ran my fingers along his skin and he relaxed into my touch. He always loved it when I did that.
"How are you feeling?? I missed you so much" I said as I brought him up to meet my eyes. I placed a gentle kiss on his tiny forehead and turned to my father..
"Thank you father!!" I said with excitement..
"Don't be fooled boy!" He said with so much venom in his voice.."this is not a reunion!! I have called you here for one purpose only.." he said and nodded towards Egon.
I had no idea what was happening or what had made him angry. I looked at Egon hoping that he would tell me what was going on, but when I looked at him, he had a look of guilt on his face which made me worry even more.
"I'm sorry my prince.." he said as he picked up the knife that I dropped when I ran to Zeffer, and placed in my hands for the second time.
"Kill it!!" My father said with no remorse in his voice. I looked at him absolutely horrified.
He wanted me to kill my one and only friend.
"Whh.. why?" I asked.. desperately trying to hold in my tears. Tears was the one thing that my father hated the most. He hated any sign of weakness, and would eradicate it at any cost.
"Why??" He burst into laughter which just made me angry.. he found killing an innocent animal amusing!!
"because it is a weakness.. and you know that weakness is what kills us.. we should eliminate any sign of it" he said as he stepped down from his throne and made his way towards me.
Out of reflex I placed Zeffer behind me which seemed to anger him.
"You useless boy!!! You are nothing but a weakling. I will not have you disgrace me like this!! Kill it now!" He screamed.
I refused to acknowledge his accusations.. All I wanted to do was protect something that I loved.. did that make me weak???
He pushed me out of the way and grabbed Zeffer from behind me. I screamed and tried to pull him back but Egon held onto me. I kicked and screamed telling him to let go but he just wouldn't budge.
I watched as my father threw Zeffer onto the ground and drew his sword.
" please father.. don't hurt him. " I screamed and begged , but it was as though air was coming out of my mouth. He completely ignored me and placed the tip of his sword on Zeffer's belly.
"Remember boy!! A prince of fire loves no one..when you attach your heart to something it becomes your weakness, something your enemies can use against you... eliminate any and every weakness!!" He said as he pressed his sword into Zeffer's belly killing him instantly.
I felt Egon's grip on me loosen and I fell to the ground. I couldn't feel anything around me. It was like the world stopped. I looked at the lifeless body of my beloved pet and felt the tears gathering in my eyes.
I made no effort to stop them and let them flow freely. I began sniffing and hiccuping.. I took my sleeve in attempt to wipe it away when I felt strong hands wrapping around me. I immediately recognized his smell and allowed myself to be engulfed in his arms.
I started weeping profusely and held tight onto him.
He placed his hand on my head and guided it to his chest. I gripped his clothes with my tiny hands, with all the might I had in me.
"Why??? Why didn't you stop him!! Why did you hold me back!!" I said in between my cries and punching him..
"Because my prince... you have to get stronger.. you have to take over this kingdom and cleanse it.. we need you to be the strong warrior you were always meant to be" he said as he wiped away my tears.
That night.. I cried the entire night. I vowed to myself that I would never feel this pain again... the pain of my beloved, ripped away from me...I would never attach my heart to anyone or anything..I would become stronger...
I would never love again.
NOTE: This is the second book I am attempting to write. So my grammar and plot skills are super rusty to almost non existent! I would love your feedback! Comment! I'm eager to hear your thoughts