Well… here’s what I got. Hopefully it ain’t cringe.
The Inheritor of Alondite: Chapter 1
Aziel POV & Narrator
The Garden of the Strong. A small island off the west coast of Valem. The island itself was nothing significant, unless you cared for the beauty of nature. But it’s rumors were large, spreading throughout the land far and wide. Those rumors attracted many an adventurer and warriors alike. I held no interest in such baseless rumors, despite it’s promises of a “Radiant Warrior”. However, when the conquests of the “Conquerer” reared their heads, that little island of rumors seemed to become the only place silent of war.
I suppose I had hopes of finding the rumored warrior; hopes of finding a worthy opponent. Before the wars, I had challenged the Prince of Chon’sin. Yen’ Fay was his name. His skills was indeed impressive but, despite his reputation and skill, he kneeled before me in defeat. The journey to the Garden was vexing, the Conquerer’s men nearly controlling all villages and towns with the active taboo volcano, the “Demon’s Ingle”, as a final obstacle. Upon arriving to the coast, it was decorated with old oars and boats who creaked at the wave’s whim.
When I arrived to the Garden, I must admit it was not what I had expected. The island was covered in tents and remnants of campfires surrounding an atavistic colosseum. It’s walls deteriorating and what remained was fractured and cracked. Approaching what was left of an entrance, I could hear the roars of those inside, cheers and battle cries alike harmonizing with the clashes of steel.
If they had rules in such a place, then I cared not for them. Without hesitation or consideration, I entered the Garden’s colosseum, preparing to find and fight the rumored warrior. Upon entering, I saw many types of people. Men, women, Valmese, Feroxian, Chon’sinians, Ylissens, and Pelgians alike, all fighting and challenging one another as equals. While it was a grand scene, I grew tired of watching their bouts and issued a challenge to all who could hear me.
“To those brave or foolish, come test your skill and learn your folly!” I cried through my black helm. Arrogant it may be, I had always found it to be an effective method of drawing out the strong.
My challenge had earned me a swarm of brave challengers, only for them to be proven foolish as one after one would crumble after a few strikes from my blade. To say that none had skill would be a lie, but all of them had hardly came close to my expectations. My optimism lowered and lowered just as the sun fell from the sky for the moon to take it’s place.
“Is this all any of you have to offer? Where is the rumored ‘Radiant Warrior?’” I demanded, looking down at my defeated challengers. Even if no one held the answer I sought, I wanted a reason to stay on this Garden. Little did I know I would find much more than a worthy opponent.
“So! You’re here for that little rumor too!” A voice boomed, responding to my earlier demand. The voice was deep and gruff, but full of gusto. Looking for it’s owner, I saw only a giant clad in armor.
The large knight intrigued me. His armor was decorated in scars and dents with his shield matching the same design. For any seasoned fighter, each of those dents and scars told a story; a battle. But most impressively, he wielded his weapon with a single hand, which was a two-handed war hammer.
“Ooh, you’re the stoic type. Fine by me! Just put up a fight!” He shouted, slamming the face of his hammer against his shield. In response, I entered my stance, bringing back my blade while holding out my open palm. “Taking a stance now, are ya? Here I come then!”
With a battle cry, my new challenger charged like a raging bull with his hammer raised high. Bringing his hammer down, I met his strike with the flat of my blade, sending sparks flying through the air. Caught in a stalemate, our weapons quivering and shaking against one another as we struggled to try to break from each other. The giant brought back his shield, preparing to smash our stalemate along with my scarred armor. Before his follow-up, my blade finally broke our deadlock and met his shield with a spinning vertical slash. This second clash resulted in his shield becoming little more than scarp metal.
“Huh.” My opponent said stepping back, looking at his cleaved shield. “Well, I’ve been meaning to get a new one anyway.” He shrugged, tossing aside his scrap metal.
Starting our fight once more, my opponent opened with a large swing of his hammer, with his now free hand adding to it’s already massive force. Admittedly, he had pushed me to play defense as he continued to swing his weapon with abandon again and again. Deciding to take a gamble, I grasped the hilt of my blade with my second hand to prepare to match his heavy strikes, my sword gleaming in the sunlight.
When our weapons met again, I felt my armor shake and rattle as sparks flew once again. Our match was now nothing more than a contest of strength, continuing to match blow for blow. With each clash, the onlooking crowd seemed to grow louder and louder. I cared little for the entertainment of others, but even I felt their infectious excitement. But despite the enjoyment, I could sense the end approaching.
Suddenly, my opponent gave out a deafening war cry, raising his hammer above his head preparing a final downward slam. Taking advantage of his mistake, I slammed the flat of my blade against his plackart in a swift motion, almost desperate to be honest. Even though I sent him back inches, he himself remained still.
Frozen with his hammer still raised high, I waited for his next move. But, he made none.
“Gah! Damn my old age!” He blurted out, falling to one knee as he dropped his weapon. “Looks like you bested me, newbie. Well done…” he declared.
And with that, the crowd roared with enthusiasm, showing their appreciation for the fight they had witnessed. For once in a very long time, I felt pride in my victory. But my bones ached and my spirit weary. The cheers continued to become softer and softer as I left to search for a quiet place under the moonlight. The Garden is said to be truly beautiful at night but I was too tired to acknowledge it, for I barely had the energy to move in my armor that blended with the sky. Finally, I found a lone tree watching the sea by the shore. Deciding to join it, I laid under it’s branches and made my armor my bed as I allowed the waves lull me into a slumber.
Ugh. That fight scene…