Samantha BeaumontFolklore - English 9NC
'"Come on little one, it's not much further now" a tall female figure of a mother cooed to a small child in front of her. The child followed like a small dog on a leash, obedient and trusting, with wide eyes and a naïve smile. The boy had dark brown eyes, and very dark brown hair, and already at the age of nine, he was very tall, around five foot seven. There was still some baby fat on him, but it was blatantly obvious he was well built for a young boy. "You see little one? Just a little further" The mother figure said again, slightly tugging onto the little boys arm.
The duo arrived upon a large obelisk clad only in black marble, of a god punishing a bent, cowering male figure by a whip, where the mother figure called out a few words to the head of the god and moved on, where a large cathedral could be seen places at the foot of a large mountain. "Where are we going?" The little boy whispered to the motherly figure.
"To a place where one can be washed of all sins" Said the motherly figure in a sing song voice, enticing the boy to move forward once again. Once the duo reached the large, menacing wood oak doors of the cathedral, a protesting groan could be heard emanating from the door itself. It was being opened, for the first time in a hundred years. Large packs of dust could be seen puffing out of small holes from the door, showering the pair in dirt and splinters.
A priest could be seen just behind the opening of the doors, beckoning them in. Hurriedly, the motherly figure ushered the little boy in, forcefully pushing the reluctant boy into the haunting cathedral. Immediately, the doors closed after the twosome, shutting them out from the world outside. Scared the boy jumped and turned around, but came face to face to the shut doors of the oak.
"Come little boy, come with me to the chambers" a raspy voice hissed, coming from the ancient looking priest. With nowhere to go, scared out his mind, and with nothing to do, the boy halfheartedly followed the man into a dark chamber, leaving the female figure behind, where a circle of elders awaited him. As the boy entered the room, he was roughly pushed into the middle of the circle, and because of the unexpectedness of the movement, the boy tripped up over his feet and landed flat on his face. Unimpressed, the priest spat, "This is the boy? Are you sure?"
"Yes we are sure" The elders spoke in unison, with a sense of authority in their voice, "Would you dare oppose the order?" The priest shook his head, and was ordered to leave. At once, when the priest left the room, all heads slowly turned to observe the boy who was just picking himself off the floor.
"What am I doing here?" The boy shakily asked, trying to put on a brave face, "Why am I here? What have I done? What will you do to me?!" With each word the boy spoke, his voice grew louder and louder, until he was close to screaming. A flash of pure gold flickered deep in the depths of the boy's eyes. The elders had not missed this, and turned to meet each other's gaze approvingly, before turning back to the quickly raging boy.
"You have been chosen" the voices said, coming from places all around, surrounding the boy helpless, "to become the most powerful being on earth" The voices paused slightly to let this sink in before starting again, "you will have a companion, and many will know you, and who you are, they will not know your history, or deeds, but instead know you for the stories the bards sing about you, you will become a legend, a myth, a story, to see you will be rare, because of your abilities…"
"What if I don't want this?" The boy screamed in grief, his eyes blazing, and the flickers of gold appearing more frequently than it was supposed to, unaware of the slight burning sensation lining itself on his back.
"You have no choice!" The elders screeched, "One must take the fall, and you have been chosen…" The elders stopped when they looked back at the boy, or more importantly, his eyes, they were pure gold, not the tarnished dull that they expected, but pure gold, their heartless, emotionless eyes watching him wearily, until one of let saw the symbol on his back.
"What is this blasphemy?!" An elder cried on his own, breaking the bond the elders had on the boy, this was not supposed to happen, only the almighty in lore could have those eyes, only the almighty could wear that symbol. Instantly, the boy's eyes unfocused the boy gave out an inhuman growl. He hunched down as if to attack, but instead screamed and collapsed onto the floor, writhing in agony. Pain was coursing throughout his body, he could feel the burning touches of flames, licking at his back.
With one last scream in agony, the boy snarled with a voice, not his own, in a language only the elders could understand and with that, all that could be heard within the halls of the cathedral were screams of pain and fury….
Leo l'Onnipotente woke up in a large oval like clearing, drenched in his own cold sweat, his breathing shallow and his back to the floor of the forest, with slicks poking at his back savagely. Uncaringly, Leo didn't move but instead ignored the slight annoyance at his back and contemplated his dream like he had done for the past fifteen years, ignorant of the pleasant warm sensation on his right shoulder blade. The dream had been different, somehow more in-depth, informative and deep, like he was only the observer and not the victim. He has had that nightmare ever since he was a little boy, the dreams plaguing his mind relentlessly, mercilessly. With a grunt, Leo lifted himself up off the ground and glanced up at the sky.
And came face to face with pitch black darkness.
Startled, Leo tried to jump up, but found out he could not. He tried once more and instead he was met with painful protesting muscles and the slight crack of his bones. Wincing in pain, Leo lay his body back down onto the ground, gently so not to inflict more pain on himself, and pondered about the series of events that happened just a few hours ago. He thought of his past memories and dreams. He thought about his sword….
At that very thought, Leo's eyes widened slightly in fear and his hands immediately searching the ground frantically with a sickening dread slithering down his spine. That sword was important. It was not just some object of war, it was a sacred artifact, the only existing key of….
Leo leaped off the floor, completely ignoring the sudden ache in his bones and the protesting twinge in his muscles. He hunted for the mysterious sword hysterically, fearing the worst, and because of his oblivious search for his sword, Leo's obvious tunnel vision did not allow his to see the very large alpha Bengal tiger that was sitting slightly to his left with a dangerous expression on its face, and strange eyes. So when Leo's foot came in contact with a solid, heavy object on the ground, it was so unexpected that the effect of the shock itself was enough for the Leo to fly over the object and into a very, very soft object.
In short, Leo crashed into the one thing he did not want to see at all, a larger than average stoic, angry alpha tiger. Groaning in pain and shock, Leo didn't bother to move, thinking he was already dead anyway. He could use his heritage, but he hated it with a passion, and even if he did want to, he didn't think he could because his energy was so sucked dry he was surprised he was able to muster up enough energy to even open up his eyes, let alone get up and look around for his sword. Leo waited for what seemed like hours, until the figure underneath him growled at him. Surprised the he wasn't already a bloody shredded mess on the floor, Leo lifted his head to see the bright inquisitive eyes of the alpha, regarding him carefully before growling at him once more and easing itself from underneath him.
Leo almost asked the alpha what he was doing, but stopped. 'It's just a Bengal' He thought, no harm in ignoring it, if it won't kill me now, then it never will…but just as Leo thought it, he felt stupid. An animal of the forest was a friend of his, he was fairly sure that the Bengal could sense his heritage, but he never in a million years thought the tiger was intelligent enough for him to think that it already knew what Werelings were and who he was.
Tuning back to the tiger, Leo cautiously patted the matted orange fur of its back and turned to leave, but not before he stopped to pick up his sword from the ground. He lifted it from its hilt and inspected it. To the untrained eye, one would think that it was just an ordinary broad sword, new and unused, but that was not so, for the sword was centuries old, and had been wielded by many heroes, but not always for the right cause. The sword hadn't got a scratch on it, it was flawless to its core. The only piece of evidence that proved that it had been used was the hilt itself, which was usually covered by its wielders hand, obscured from view.
The hilt was well worn a rugged, its once bright and proud colours that usually caught the eye of anyone in sight were dulled and ripped. Several patches and repairs had been made to try and replenish the history it held, but none were successful for a long period of time. The sword had seen many battles in its lifetime, and had seen very few peaceful ones.
Leo was distracted from his observations when he felt a slight brush of bristly fur against his leg. Immediately, Leo leaped back and pointed his sword to the ground, then almost dropped it when he saw where he actually was.
He was in a massive circular clearing. The bark on the trees had been ripped off the main body, and the twigs and leaves on the floor and trees itself were nowhere in sight. It was just a huge, wiped out circle, in the heart of the forest. Leo did not remember this, but he made no move to find out what caused this, because he was no longer taking in his surroundings, he was staring into the tigers eyes.
The Wereling could see a story in the alpha's eyes. Not one necessarily its own. The tiger was old for its age, and that explained why it was so large.
But then he saw something else. Something different. Something that shouldn't have been there, in its memory.
He saw his childhood.
He saw his mother there, playing with a child and embracing his father. He saw his first toy, his first pet, his first friend. He saw his fondest memory, of the time where his father took him to his first campfire trip and told him about all the folklore that he knew, about the Werelings and the animals of the forest, about the ancient battles that took place to acquire something so ancient and precious of the land that it required only bloodshed to obtain it.
More importantly, Leo saw his nightmares, nightmares he wished never to be unveiled again.
It suddenly clicked to Leo that this animal, that was sitting before him, proud and defiant of all rule, was no longer an animal that it used to be. He lifted his gaze slightly upward, and what he saw explained why it was no longer an animal, but a companion. Upon the alpha's forehead, there lay the same tattoo that burned its way onto his own back. Yes, the tattoo was smaller, and had a different colour, orange and black, to blend itself in, but it was still there, but instead of a burn, it looked to be the odd formation of fur that had somehow lined itself up to become an interesting pattern that resembles that of an ancient symbol not seen long ago.
Walking up to the alpha male once more, Leo remembered something in his nightmare that saddened him to his very core. 'You have been chosen, to become the most powerful being on earth. You will have a companion, and many will know you, and who you are. They will not know your history, or deeds, but instead know you for the stories the bards sing about you. You will become a legend, a myth, a story, to see you will be rare, because of your abilities…' The tiger was his companion. Nothing else could have explained what happened to him. The prophecy had been completed. Once more a life of a vibrant soul had to be taken away to make him become what he so despised.
As a young boy, after he had heard the prophecy of what he had to become, he was vengeful. Night and day he planned to become a hero so powerful that nothing could stop him taking back what was once his. They slaughtered his family, and deposed of his friends, and threw him into a detention cell so he could not fulfill the premonition of the elders.
He was not detained for long, for Leo worked hard for year, working solely on his primal instincts to break him out of the cage the people confined him in. He broke out, and all hell broke loose, his community was different, they had abandoned the traditional occasions and religion and there were foreigners in his town.
Bloodshed was spilled that day, and what was left were the carcasses of the towns people piled up as a massive funeral pyre with the heads of the elders thrust upon poles, their heads severed from their spines by a sword not their own.
Stories were told of the monster that wreaked havoc in the most powerful community of all time. The bards who sung the tales foretold that it were to be the largest blasphemy that ended in bloodshed in history. Noble knights and wise sorcerers and hardened kings armies marched into the forest, seeking the monster who defied the elders and but the order in disarray.
They were to be found later, limb by limb torn of and in a pile waiting to be burned.
There was not a mark, scratch, or fiber that was left to give any evidence of who or what did this, but the armies and mercenaries that once steadily marched into the forest, seeking the gold, treasures, and the legendary monster waiting to be slain, steadily decreased until not a soul dared to venture out into the forest.
That monster was Leo l'Onnipotente, the troubled boy turned mad with grief.
Yes it is true that he did not mean to cause harm to those lives that got in his way, but he was wild and untamed, driven insane my the confinement half of his life and the haunted memories of his family and friends massacred in the name of the order.
Leo turned his attention back to the awaiting alpha male that sat patiently before him. He smiled sadly and shook his head slightly, as if apologizing to the animal for the grief he had caused.
"I shall call you Alpha for that is what you are, the first and the last of my companions" He whispered softly to the tiger, whilst patting the males head. "Let us go into the woods where no one can bother us no longer…"
And so the twosome set off into the forest, and out of the clearing, its presence only a reminder of the arrival of l'Onnipotente, and what he took and left behind.
Yes, after years of confinement-induced insanity, being stuck in the forest calmed the mind of Leo, restoring his mind and memories into order. Leo was forever remorseful for the lives he took, but the one thing he never regretted was destroying the order once and for all.
As Leo and the alpha male headed East, towards a city called Forcick, Leo pondered over his life, of the folklore tales his father used to talk about as a kid. He thought of the heroes of the tales, and the prophecies, that the stories contained. He wondered whether or not if the stories were true, or just fabricated stories that solely existed to entertain a child. But the only thing he did not have to think about was his story, for he was living it, he was living his own nightmare.
Not all legends are true, and when they are, not all of them end in a happily ever after.