Zebra, Mule, and I stood abreast, as always, and studied the newcomer. Sea Horse reared up from his pale green tentacle of a tail. His upper half resembled the cavalry horses behind us, complete... [+]
Usually, you’re born into the class system, the Gods obviously at the top with their own social class system. Mages, and sorcerers below them. Knights/guards below the magically gifted, merchants, workers, and peasants at the bottom. But unlike many class systems, you could move up.
A peasant would likely never become a god, gods were born. Not made. Normally at least, the queen of Phoseon was a different story. Thedaughter of the most powerful sorceress in history. She wooed the Prince, Deimos. With the power of the old gods, they granted her the power to be a goddess so she could marry Deimos who was the most fearless of the gods.
Together they had a son, Adranus the god of Courage. Now, Mason was just a child, about the same age Adranus appeared to be when he was banished by Cernebog. Mason was not old enough to know of many of these events. He never knew a world before Cernebog, he had only just started experiencing a world after Cernebog.
After Cert, as many called him now, was defeated using Adranus’ courage Adranus and the other gods of the time got together on Mount Agni, the heart of the kingdom and erased all corruption from Krorax. Mason wanted to follow in Adranus’ footsteps. To a degree at least, he did not wish to be banished for about one hundred years on end.
But how does the son of a merchant become a knight for a god? Normally, they don’t. A merchant’s son will carry on the family tradition hoping but not really achieving something better. It was rare for a mortal who was not born into a magical family to have magic. It was not a big secret that Mason was an exception. He had magic, yes, but I wouldn’t call it a magic talent for he wasn’t very talented with it.
Of course, this meant if he could learn and master his gift then he would be a mage. Being a mage was a great honor. If you were skilled enough and trustworthy by the judgement of all the gods, then you could serve with them. You would be in the council and be a major figure on Krorax.
So when Mason was thirteen years of age, he built up the courage to ask the Prince for guidance. It was said that after the restoration of purity through Krorax the Prince would need a trainee. It was said in ancient texts and prophecies that the Prince of the Edrimid Empire would choose an heir to the throne to be King.
After what had happened previously it was decided there would be two Kings. The High King, who was the Prince of the Edrimid Empire, a god. Then there was to be a mortal King, a mage of great power who met the standards of the High King. Only this one person would share power with the High King.
Of course, there was to be a High Queen too right? Well, Adranus never really found love with basically anyone. This did not matter, honestly, Adranus didn’t really care much about love. Adranus, though he was the god of revenge, became an advocate for understanding. He was about listening before acting, as all people should be.
Now, Mason had reached the minimum age to go to the Prince and ask for quidance. If a person was over thirteen then they could go to the Prince and ask for a chance. If he saw enough forgiveness, magic, and also courage inside any one person he would choose them and be their mentor. The prince would teach them daily about magic and running the kingdom, courage, hardships, and forgiveness.
Adranus admits that he was not always forgiving, just a few years ago he had been in the forest wandering aimlessly waiting, and plotting his revenge on Cernebog. He had lost his friends, his family, his home, and just about everything else to Cernebog and his plans. But it wasn’t just because the Captain was corrupted and had no choice that Adranus spared him, he did it because he deserved it.
Cert certainly did not deserve forgiveness, but Adranus was willing to give it. Just not at the time... instead, he vaporized him using the power of courage, the one thing corruption couldn’t harm. Today was the day Adranus would try to find a new heir. Each year, on the Day of Rebirth, the anniversary of when Adranus destroyed Cernebog and restored Phoeson, Adranus would test each person over thirteen and under twenty one.
Today was Mason’s day. This was the first year he would be able to do this. Being at the ceremony itself was an honor. To even participate and have a chance at being chosen you needed magical talent. Now like I said before Mason didn’t have magic talent, but he had magic. He practiced this magic for months, trying to prepare himself for this one day.
Here he was, standing at the base of Mount Agni, waiting for his turn to enter the Sacred Temple of Fire. The temple was supposedly the first thing Agni, the founder of the Edrimid Empire made. It was said to house the original runes and the strongest magic only the High King would be permitted to see.
This, of course, was a myth, no on knew the real truth. The High King, or at least back then the King, was forbidden to secrecy to all but his heir. Although tradgedy fell upon King Deimos before he could enlighten his son and because Adranus was not yet crowned he had no clue, not even the High Queen knew, Adranus’ mother.
Now, gods don’t typically die of old age, they die in battle, by assassination, stuff like that. However, Queen Aine was a mortal who was granted Godliness by the gods of old. All of which, were dead and resided in the underworld with her husband, Deimos. While she aged slowly she was still dying. Adranus needed an heir, and fast.
But when it was Mason’s turn to go up to the temple to be judged by the Prince and The Sword of the Eternals, the blade his uncle had forged two centuries ago he almost chickened out. So many had done it before him. Many contendees who had much potential, possibly more than Mason were all intimidated and did not proceed.
Mason wanted to do the same. His name was called, his parents were on the other side of a magic blockade protecting them from any misfired spells. He was so ready to sneak out. He could do so easily, months back Mason discovered he found it easy to blend in with his surroundings, he was basically invisible.
He decided if he went invisible and walked out no one would notice right? So he did, he turned himself invisible with ease and began to sneak away but then stopped. No one knew where he had gone, if he did not show within the next minute, he would be skipped and lose his chance.
So he thought for a moment if he left now he would blow it. If he left the grounds now, his parents would be so disappointed. He had potential, he just turned himself invisible to get out of doing this. So why go through all that effort and not try?
At that moment, something sparked within him. Something new, something that Mason liked. His body felt warm and welcoming, the rune of courage on the sword Adranus was holding started to glow and hum. Everyone gasped, this was a sign. This was something good, it meant the heir was nearby, but no one could see Mason.
“Candidate, show thine self. Your audience is waiting for you to be seen. Discharge whatever magic thou arth using to hide.” Adranus commanded lightly and generally, for he did not know that the ‘candidate’ was standing right infront of him.
With a grin, Mason removed the spell he used to disguise himself, Adranus’ eyes grew wide, and a gasp erupted through the crowd followed by a cheer. Adranus looked at the crown, and then to Mason. Adranus presented the Sword of the Eternals forward to Mason.
He took the blade, a tattoo burned into his hand, the tree of life surrounded by runes.
“My boy! You're the chosen mortal. The Blade of the Eternals has chosen you for your courage, you are the new King of Krorax.”