Chapter 1: Prologue
Glidas was welcomed by the first ray of sunlight pouring against his cheek. Instinctively, he held up one hand to block the hot sun, narrowed his eyes, and saw his steel gauntlet in the shade of black. His gauntlet was an important token to himself, and there wasn't a day he left home without it on his right hand. Thinking about metals, this had brought his attention towards the rich sound of heavy metal gliding through the air.
His father, Varlek, on the other side of the field was practicing combat with his golden hilted sword along by his side. He wore his usual chivalry uniform which constituted of a red gambeson with a simple plated belt and black pants.
"Excalibur," whispered Glidas to himself. Excalibur was a legend among the swords, and his father, being the rightful owner to it, wielded it as a symbol of the leader to the Royal Order of Agathos. With a long-blade and a double-edge creating the winning point of the sword, Varlek gained access over flexibility and maneuverability in the battlefield. Being a light-weighted sword further reinforced the fact above. As an addition to being golden-hilted, a green orb was adorned on the midst of its grip.
The faintest glow on Varlek's right hand spread a wave of light aura over the sword's body and encompassed it altogether in its shiny embrace. He shouted, "Falchion!" and so did Excalibur's form change, shifting into a single-edged, heavier sword, though only temporarily. Glidas blinked his eyes in awe, but before he could be further impressed, his father reverted the sword back to its original form.
"You awake, Glidas?"
Glidas didn't respond, but smiled instead.
"Then we should continue our training today. We don't have much time left," said Varlek, pointing at the setting sun.
Another day. Another training session. Friends always talked about the hell that his father put him through by having him to drag a load of metal bars uphill, and having him swimming against the river current. They told him that his father was just crazy, but Glidas dismissed the thought; in fact, the fruits from him having trained presented him with superior stamina and physical form over his peers.
"Catch this," said Varlek as he tossed a long sword to Glidas. The weapon arrived in his metallic grasp with a resonating clang, and then Glidas shot himself up from the ground with a flip.
Glidas nodded in response, holding the sword close to his chin into a battle stance. He spread his legs evenly to maintain his balance, but Varlek wasn't going to give him all day's time to prepare; he launched his sword, tip-first, at Glidas without mercy. The blonde-headed teenager managed to neutralize the descending blow with a quick parry in the nick of time. The force of the blow split the two parties apart for a considerable distance.
Being young had its advantages – Glidas recovered first and sprinted towards Varlek, slashing his sword in an arc motion the same moment his left hand was beginning to glow. An almost invisible layer of air shot out from the tip of his blade and leapt right at his father. Varlek saw it coming and swiftly, he raised Excalibur into a defensive stance, generating a frontal-cone shield. Energies sparked off the ward as the attack disappeared into nothingness, but Glidas wasn't giving up. He pressed on with of few flurries of the same attacks, but each and every one of them got repelled easily without doing any harm to the more experienced knight.
"Rage is the worst enemy to a warrior. Stay calm and think of another move!" shouted Varlek, but Glidas was beyond listening. This left him with no choice. Varlek twirled his golden sword as he fenced off the next few waves of attacks, and dashed forward with the speed of lightning…
And then, suddenly he disappeared into a flash of light. The teenager was puzzled, but only when he decided to turn around to relocate his opponent, did he find that Varlek had already reemerged and swung Excalibur, now enveloped in a thick layer of blunt aura at him.
Time and luck, however, wasn't on Glidas' side. Varlek's purposeful attack connected eventually and the light knocked him off ground level. Though the attack meant no harm, the impact Glidas suffered was severe enough to be real, and it had inevitably left a fiery red path and sizzling smoke on his leather jerkin.
"Checkmate," Varlek said as he pointed his sword at his downed son.
A victorious smirk spread across the knight's face, however, it didn't live long enough. "I wouldn't be so sure if I was you," the voice shot out from an unexpected direction. It was a decoy! Glidas had left an illusion of himself to divert his attention, and the real Glidas was now sprinting in his direction with renewed vigor. Then, two things happened at once: Varlek counter-blocked the incoming attack and then he… missed. It was too late by then, because in the next second, Glidas' weapon was already an inch above his torso.
"To bend the light and falsify your attack. Your pretty well, Glidas," stated Varlek, the surprise in his voice greater than he had intended.
"Thank you. And now you're going to take me to visit the castle tonight," Glidas replied. They exchanged a very brief glance and shared a smile
"I'm sorry, but you should have been more aware of the situation before you jumped to any conclusions."
With that, Glidas looked down, shocked; Varlek had actually managed to pull out a hidden dagger from his belt and stopped it in front of his stomach at a point-blank range. It all happened in just a blink of eye.
"Touché," Varlek said, grinning.
The match ended there. The fighters neither shared a word, nor exchanged glances, but dropped their respective weapons and fell to the ground. They remained like this, breathing heavily, huffing for breathes.
"It was really tiring. The half hour break you gave me just now isn't enough even for a short nap," started Glidas."
Varlek let out a sigh. "As a fighter, we should always be prepared to push ourselves to the limit. Only by doing so can we can become stronger," he replied and looked at his son. "But, just two years down the road and you're already this proficient. I'm impressed."
"Thanks, father. I'm really honored that you're the one who brought me up this far and taught me how to be a skilled swordsman."
"Yeah," Varlek answered, but some thing in the previous line poisoned the smile on his face. I really brought you up this far, and… I am your father, the knight thought to himself and stole a second glance of his son.
Nine years back, Glidas was still a child of eight years old. Nine years back, the fact was that, he wasn't his father at all. No one knew who his actual father was. One day, a dirty-blonde haired child wandered into the capital city of Agathos in bloodied robes and no one had even cared about him. He was left alone in the darkened corner, wet and wounded. Until he met Varlek.
Through sincerity, Varlek spared him some bread and water and he chewed and swallowed them down hastily. Thinking that he was a lost and Varlek, being a member of the Royal Order, had to take him back to his parents. He asked him, but received no definite answer. No parents, no home, and no name.
Who was this child?
Varlek looked deep into his eyes, and found nothing but an unknown past that had scorched a deep mark in his mind. Unconsciously, his hand found the child's steel gauntlet on his right hand, which was the only hint to his past, and all of the sudden, the timid child grew fierce. The patrol soldiers, along with Varlek, stayed back as they witnessed the changing of colour in his eyes to blood red. The child then proceeded to speak with a ghastly voice that didn't belong to him, "You can't escape from the loneliness and you're bound to it, for eternity. Glidas…"
The child's lips curled into a sneer before he went back to his former self. The lost child was back once more, and now, he was holding his head and repeating the same words over and over again, "Who is Glidas? Am…Am I Glidas?"
"Hang on, kid!" the knight interrupted. He held Glidas' shoulders, but an overshot of strong aura coursed through the narrow corridor and sent everyone off their balance, including Varlek. When people regained their footings, the child was no longer standing on his original spot. He lunged at Varlek with a dagger on his grip.
"Watch out, Sir Varlek!" one of the soldiers shouted.
The attack missed the knight's stomach by an inch. Varlek managed to get a hold of the child's fragile wrist and pulled his hand out of harm's way. Glidas tried to press it back, but was no match to an adult's strength. He was then disarmed and forced face-down to the ground by Varlek. Initially, Glidas protested vigorously, but soon enough he passed out from the still-bleeding wound on his right thigh.
Things took a turn for the worse at this point. Varlek immediately guided him to medical aid, and eventually he revived the child. But it was not done without great cost: Glidas actually suffered from long-term amnesia prior to his arrival in Ouranos, and then he was hit by a second wave of amnesia. Memories in regards of his arrival in Agathos until the part where he lost conscious were all gone. Glidas woke up as a lost child, once more.
Varlek clenched his teeth and looked back at the present Glidas, who was gazing at him. "I lied to you, Glidas," he wanted to tell him these words, but they never came out from his mouth. All the time, he wanted to bear a child with his wife, but lady luck wasn't by their side. That was why he made up this cruel lie and told the eight years old Glidas that he was his father.
"Of course I do, for I am your only father in this world," Varlek said and slapped his son's shoulder playfully with a smile, but behind his thin lips, hid his pain from all the years of lying to his son. "I think we should get going. Resha is waiting for us and will kill us if we're late for dinner."
"We should make haste," Glidas said and raised his head up at the sky. Birds were heading back their nests. It was already late. "Should we have another bet?" proposed the teenager.
"And what would it be?"
Glidas smirked. "Whoever gets back home last will do a favor for the other."
No words needed to be said. In unison, the father and son kicked themselves up off the ground and began the long sprint back to the city, back to their home. Over the distance, Ouranos could be seen in view. People were heading back to their homes and lights began to illuminate from house to house. In Agathos, where the capital city and the royal castle stood threateningly, the large clock tower let out a thunderous roar from its bell. Dusk was approaching.
In the distance, Varlek's voice could be heard shouting, "You aren't going to best me this time!"
This was the beginning of everything.