The New Dawn Trilogy
Book One: Chosen of Fate
By Insanity Lord
Chapter One – Departures and Beginnings
The sun shone brightly down upon the town of Kikon. A small, almost backwater town far from any major city center, the buildings were all built in a circular pattern around a rather plain town square, at the center of which stood the statue of a long-dead hero. The name of this man had long since been forgotten. Time and the weather had eroded away his name at the base of the stone statue.
Not that the residents of the town really cared. None of them were old enough to recall the true story behind the hero, and the younger generation were too concerned with running after dreams of wealth in the Royal Capitol, far to the north, to listen to stories anymore.
A road ran through the town, winding around the statue, and it was on this road that two young women and an elf stood, talking. The two young women were both beautiful and dressed for travelling. Both stood at a height of five-foot-ten, and each of them had dark brown hair – a common trait among Avalonians. One of the young women – aged 20 – had an almost regal bearing about her, though her emerald green eyes were kind. She had a somewhat pale – yet slightly tanned – complexion, and her slim, feminine, and yet athletic, figure was clothed in a dark blue tunic, matching pants, and black boots. A rather plain sword was hooked to her plain black leather belt, and her dark green hooded cloak rustled slightly in the fresh breeze. Her shoulder-length, earth-brown hair was loose around her shoulders, and like her cloak, was blowing slightly in the breeze.
The other women, younger than her companion at the age of nineteen, was dressed in a similar outfit to her friend, only hers was dark brown, and she wore two belts, each crossed over the other, and she carried a pack of supplies on her back. She, like her friend, stood at a height of five-foot-ten. Her eyes were dark brown – as dark as her hair – and seemed to dance with mirth. Like her friend, she had a slim, lithe, feminine figure, though it was obvious to anybody that saw her that she had undergone some sort of training that kept her fit and healthy. In her left hand, she held a long, well-polished and clearly sturdy, five-foot-long stick.
The elf, also female, was smiling at them, a mixture of joy and sadness etched into her attractive face. Tall and naturally graceful, like most High Elves were, she wore a simple green Elven dress and green boots. Her light brown eyes looked over the two young women that she had cared for as her own for years, and she absently brushed a lock of her raven-coloured hair out of her face.
She smiled at each of them, hugging the girl with the emerald-green eyes first. "Rebecca, I wish you and Phoenix the best of luck on your journey. May the gods watch over you both and keep you safe."
Rebecca smiled and returned the hug affectionately. "Thank you, Matron. I'll miss you."
The elf pulled away and hugged the teenager next. "Keep her safe, Phoenix. I'll miss you both dearly."
Phoenix returned the hug and pulled back, a confident grin on her face. "'Course I'll keep Becca safe, Matron. She's my best friend, and for a Noble Born, she's not so bad."
Rebecca laughed. "Phoenix, I stopped being a 'Noble Born' a long time ago." Her expression turned solemn as she looked at her Matron. "Illandara?"
Illandara looked at the young human, surprised at the use of her name, even though it was used with a tone of respect and love. "Yes?"
Rebecca blushed and looked down. She had decided two months ago that she didn't want to use her family name, Gaiason, anymore. It had taken her this long to build up the courage to ask. What if her Matron said no?
"Illandara, would you allow me the honour of using your name, Angelheart, as my own? You have been a mother to me since I was ten, and..."
Illandara cut her off by drawing her into another hug. "Yes, Rebecca. It will honour me if you use my name. Bear it with pride and honour, child."
"I will, Matron," Rebecca said quietly, returning the hug. Once she pulled away, she turned back to Phoenix, smiling softly at her friend. "Shall we go?"
Phoenix smiled and nodded, taking one last look at the town where she had grown up, a wistful look coming to her eyes, as though she were looking for somebody she had expected to come and bid them farewell but didn't. Upon seeing the look in her eyes, Rebecca sighed and wrapped an arm around Phoenix's shoulders.
"If he didn't come to say goodbye, then it just means he wasn't serious," she said, trying to comfort her friend. "It's not your fault Richard is an idiot."
Phoenix looked at the older woman, mirroring her grin. "You're right, Becca. Though I'll miss him, but not much."
Especially after the way he spoke to me yesterday after I told him I was leaving, she thought bitterly. Idiot...
She turned back to her friend, her smile bright and her expression eager for the journey ahead. The journey that would take them away from Kikon, away from their beloved Matron, but both of them knew that their destiny lay outside the quiet town, out from under the protective wing of the elf that had raised them in her orphanage, the Tree of Hope Orphanage.
"We should be going," she said after a moment of silence spent in reflective thoughts. Rebecca smiled and nodded.
Saying farewell to their Matron one last time, they turned and started their journey. As they left the town, Rebecca turned and gazed at the Lord's House that sat on the very edge of the town. Phoenix saw the expression on her friend's face and sighed.
"You'll see him again, Becca, I'm sure of it," she said in soothing tones. Rebecca smiled sadly at her.
"Yes, I'm sure you're right. I'll see Sam again one day, if he's still alive."
Taking one last look at the mansion that overlooked the town, they left Kikon behind them.
The sun was shining down on the two travellers as they walked along the road. 'Road' wasn't really the proper name for it, though. It was more like a rough dirt path created by countless people walking along it over the years. To their right was the edge of a forest, and both Phoenix and Rebecca had been deep within it numerous times with their Matron. As they grew up, she had taken them to the Elven Village of Lithlorahelm, where they had met with the Elven Council. Rebecca had learned much from them, including the art of Elven Swordplay. While she would never consider herself a master swordswoman, she was competent enough with a blade to get by in a fight.
That, combined with her gift, would ensure her safety as she travelled. With a happy sigh, she gazed up at the clear blue sky, and then over at the wide grasslands to their left. Phoenix, upon seeing her friend's expression, smiled at her and nudged her with her elbow.
"What're you thinking, Becca?" she asked. Rebecca smiled at her.
"Just thinking about how nice a day it is for travelling." Rebecca turned to the forest. "It's not too hot, and this breeze is nice. A perfect day."
Phoenix looked around. "Yeah, it is a nice day, isn't it? We've got enough supplies to last us until we reach the next town, and as long as we're within sight of the forest, we'll be safe from any bandits."
She left the fact that once they were clear of the forest – and in turn, far from the territory of the Elves – they would be more likely to run into bandits. Avalone had become dangerous over the course of the past ten years, ever since the old Royal Family was killed and King Ornadeus rose to power. Under his rule, those that were lucky enough to be born into noble families prospered, while everybody else had to struggle through life on meagre wages. Death by sickness was strife in small towns, but out on the road, dying at the hands of rogues and bandits was far, far more common.
Kikon had been a safe town – though nobody was sure why. Bandits and rogues just left it in peace. Phoenix and Rebecca knew that they had chosen a dangerous path when they decided to take this journey, but neither of them were what one could call helpless. Phoenix had trained for ten years under an old master in the art of hand-to-hand combat, and her so-called walking stick was, in reality, a weapon that she could wield quite effectively in close combat.
As for Rebecca, her skill with a sword was enough to get her through battle – at least, they both hoped it would be. Other than training and sparring matches, Rebecca had never been in a real battle before. Phoenix privately worried that she would freeze up: Rebecca was known for her fiery temper, but she was a kind, gentle woman despite that. She had her flaws, of course (her temper being one of them). She couldn't cook at all (not to Phoenix's knowledge, anyway), and when she was angry, she tended to rush into things without thinking, but she was intelligent, quick-witted, and beautiful enough to turn heads just by walking down the street.
Phoenix once likened Rebecca to a beautiful princess from a fairy tale, and when she told her friend of her comparison, she had laughed it off and remarked that she wasn't that beautiful.
Phoenix knew several dozen love-stricken young men in Kikon that would say otherwise. She smiled and shook her head. Rebecca was either oblivious to the fact that half the young men in Kikon were in love with her, or simply chose to ignore it. She couldn't be sure which one it was.
She turned her thoughts to herself. Many people saw her as cocky, slightly overconfident (not many people knew of her skills as a fighter. She preferred it that way – less chances of some egomaniacal guy trying to challenge her to prove that a woman has no place on a battlefield), playful, with a temper (not as bad as Rebecca's – Phoenix could control her temper), but when she got overly excited about something, she tended to act more like a six-year-old on a sugar rush than a nineteen-year-old woman about to undergo a journey across Avalone. She was also fiercely loyal and protective of her friends, lashing out at anybody that insulted them.
Not that many people in Kikon ever insulted Rebecca or any of Phoenix's other friends. They respected all of Illandara's 'children' that she raised in her orphanage too much to think badly of any of them.
And I'm a flirt, Phoenix thought, not that I flirted much lately. Not since Richard...oh, stop that, Phoenix! That man threw a fit when you told him you were leaving! 'A woman's place is by her man, not on the road' indeed! Moron...
"Phoenix?" The sound of her friend's voice brought Phoenix back to reality.
"Huh?" she said intelligently. "What is it?"
Rebecca chuckled. "I was just wondering what you were thinking about. You looked so lost in thought."
Phoenix shrugged. "Just...things."
"I see," Rebecca said. "Well, while your mind was wandering, I noticed that somebody wants to talk to us."
"Oh?" Phoenix raised an eyebrow as her friend pointed to somebody standing amongst the trees on the edge of the forest. An elf stood watching them, and Phoenix knew that the only reason they could see him is if he wanted to be seen. "What do you think he wants?"
"I don't know," Rebecca replied, though Phoenix could tell by the look in her eyes that she was going to find out. Rebecca enjoyed the company of elves, and relished every chance she got to speak to one. "But I think he wants to talk to us."
Phoenix smirked, and they went over to the elf, who bowed respectively. Rebecca and Phoenix returned the bow before looking closer at the elf. Tall at six-foot-one, he had long night-black hair and sea-green eyes. He wore the brown-green clothing that helped him blend into the forest – a brown tunic, forest-green slacks, brown boots and brown gloves. He also wore a green-brown cloak, and a sword was sheathed and hooked to his brown leather belt. Like most elves, he carried a bow and a quiver of arrows on his back.
"Lady Rebecca and Lady Phoenix," he said formally. "I was sent here by the Council of Elders to wish you luck on your journey, and to inform you that while you are within sight of our forest, bandits will not hinder your progress. However, once you are out of sight of the forest, we can not guarantee your safety."
Rebecca blushed slightly at being called 'Lady' (as she always did – Phoenix chose to ignore it) and smiled. "Thank you for your concern. Send my regards to the Council of Elders, and thank them for what they taught me."
The elf bowed. "As you wish, Lady Rebecca. May the wings of the Raven and the howl of the Wolf protect and guide you on your journey."
Rebecca bowed in return. "Thank you. May Tejina's Eternal Flames warm your home for all time."
The elf nodded, turned, and disappeared into the forest.
"Let's go," Rebecca said. Phoenix nodded and they continued their journey until dusk, at which point they were at the edge of the forest. They chose to camp just within the forest – nobody would bother them while they were in the territory of the elves. They could fight back hard if they were attacked, regardless of their respect for life, and their race had never been conquered. Rebecca doubted the elves would ever be conquered, and felt sorry for anybody that tried to attack them.
"Good night, Phoenix," she said after their dinner that night.
"Good night, Becca."
They slept, watched by unseen guardians in the trees.
Author's Notes: Sorry for the wait. I had writers block and had trouble getting this chapter written.
Sakka-Fenikkusu: I hope you're in a better mood and can enjoy the rest of this story. I'd hate to think you disliked my story because of your mood! Anyway, thank you for the review and I hope you can enjoy the rest of this
Yume Pink: Thank you for the review! I'm glad you enjoyed the prologue, and I hope you'll enjoy the rest of this story just as much!
diamond-dust08: Standard and typical? You really thought so? Oh well, here's hoping the rest of the story won't be: I like to be different from other writers, after all! :p Still, I'm glad I got you interested in this story. I hope you enjoy it.
ShadowsWeaver1: I told you I would get this chapter up soon, didn't I? I hope you enjoyed reading this chapter! In fact, I hereby dedicate it to you, Shadow-sama. I'm already working on the second chapter, and it will have some action in it! What good is a fantasy without a few fights, after all?