Signature

Arc 1: Beginning

Chapter 1: a gift

Zackary awoke from his sleep a bit regretful. "Ahhhhhh. Mom. Is it Monday again?"

"Yes dear." Replied his mother. "And don't forget you promised to help your father fix the roof today."

"AHHHHHHHH!" complained Zack. "Can't I just sit here and pretend I'm dead."

"No dear. You have to be a functioning member of society."

"But why? What has society done for me?"

"Now don't give me any of that sass. You're a seventeen year old boy. You must have something better to do then sit around and sleep. Go and get a girlfriend or something."

Zack pried himself out of his bed desperately trying to hold on to his consciousness. He grabbed some clothes off of the pile and threw them on. He looked over to his clock to find it was nearly seven. He ran down the stairs in a hurry to get to school.

"Zack!" Shouted his mother "You may be in a hurry, but you still need to eat some breakfast. Here take this apple."

"Thanks." Called Zack as he caught the apple she had passed to him. "By love you." Zack charged down the street. As he ran he saw a thief steal an elderly man's walking stick. Deciding that he had plenty of time he veered left to catch the thief. He pounced on the thief grabbing him by the hood and hurling him to the ground. He picked up the walking stick examining its elegant carvings before he ran back to the elderly man. "I believe this is yours."

"Why thank you young lad." Said the man as he pulled out his glasses to examine the boy before him. He was tall with messy red hair. He wore a brown jacket over a white t-shirt and cargo pants. "Tell me lad what is your name."

"Zack."

"Well 'Zack' could I ask you to do me one more favor." The man pulled a folded over piece of cloth from a bag he carried at his side. He unfolded the cloth to reveal a broken katana. "Would you mind bringing this to the shop around the corner? My friend owns the place and he was going to restore it for me."

"Ok then." Replied Zack taking the weapon. "But how will I get it back to you."

"Oh don't worry." Said the old man as he hobbled away. "He'll handle everything."

The man walked slowly out of site. "What an odd old man….. Oh shit I'm late!" Shouted Zack as he began to run towards the shop the man described.

He charged into the shop to find a man in a green coat sleeping at the counter. He had messy blond hair poking out from under a green wide brimmed hat. He wore a golden band around his left hands ring finger. By his side were holstered two swords. He had on a black under shirt witch could be seen only around the collar. "Welcome to William's Weapons." Said the man. "My names William Harken, but you can call me Mr. Hark. If you're not here to buy something then go ahead and save us both some trouble and just leave."

"Uh I was told to bring this to you." Said Zack.

"Well then." Said Hark sitting up. "Bring it to me." Zack handed the weapon to Hark who thoroughly inspected it. "You've got yourself a broken signature there. Say who gave this to you?"

"Well let me see." Said Zack trying to recall the man's face. "He was an older man. He had a long grey beard and was wearing a white cloak. Oh and he had a really fancy wooden cane."

"I see." Said Hark as he placed the two pieces of the blade together similarly to a jigsaw puzzle. "Let me see your hand." Hark placed Zack's hand over the spot where the blade had broken. All of a sudden there was an intense heat and when he moved his hand the blade was repaired.

"Wh-what was that?"

"This is no ordinary blade. This is a signature. This blade responds to the energy of its master in order to grow and become more powerful. Quite the gift. Tell me do you have any plans for the day?"

"Just school."

"Well screw that you've got better things to do now."

"Dude why are you so awesome? But seriously I need to go to school or my parents will kill me."

"Don't worry I'll handle that. Besides you will technically be going to school."

Hark brought Zack to a large structure that looked like a cross between a school and a fortress. The building had a thick wall surrounding it and the court yard in front of it. As they entered he saw people training with what he could only assume where signatures. When they entered he heard someone yell in a surprised tone. "Hark!?" He turned to see a tall redheaded woman wearing blue-green coat and jeans. She ran over and hugged Hark to his great displeasure.

"Damn it Siel you know how I feel about hugs" Complained Hark.

Siel released Hark and stepped back. "Hark it's been way to long!" Siel turned to face Zack. "And who is this?"

"Your new student." Answered Hark.

"Why can't you ever come by just to say hello?" Asked Siel "Besides entrance exams have already began. Why should I bend the rules for this kid?"

"Because" began Hark. "The old man gave him his sword."

"Really? Well I must admit that is impressive, but even so I can only bend the rules so far. He'll still need to take the exam. I might be the principle, but I still can't just let him in."

"That'll be fine. I'm sure he'll pass with flying colors." Said Hark.

"Uh Mr. Hark" interrupted Zack. "I'm not good at tests."

"It'll be fine it's not a real test." Replied Hark. "If you can fight you can pass and the old man wouldn't have given that sword to you unless you could fight."

"I'm sorry I don't believe I caught your name." Said Siel

"It's Zack."

"Well Zack I'm sure you must have some questions and I doubt Hark explained much. What would you like to know?"

"Well a few things actually. For starters why haven't I seen this place before today?"

"Well you see the real world can't know about our world. I'm not sure why but that's what my predecessors decided. So to keep these worlds separated there was a barrio erected in certain areas that keep people without signatures from passing it. Instead of passing through it they'll be teleported to the other side of it. This world is really twice the size people perceive it to be. Anything else?"

"Well to be honest no. I have I lot of questions, but none of them are related."

"Ok then just head to the arena inside the building and you can begin the entrance exam." And with that Siel left them.

"So." Began Zack. "What exactly is this entrance exam?"

"Oh don't worry." Said Hark. "All you need to do is beat one of the instructors in a fight. You do know have to fight right?"

"Define know."

"You better be something special kid because so far you're just a lot of trouble. Ok I'm gunna go convince Siel to delay your exam. Meet me back at the shop for some quick training."

Zack waited for a bit over half an hour for Hark to return. After a long wait he finally saw Hark walking back. "Hope you didn't wait long." Said Hark. "I managed to buy us an hour, but if you're not back in time then you'll have to wait a year for the next entrance exam."

"So you're going to train me?" Asked Zack.

"No." Said Hark flatly opening the door. "I don't take apprentices. I do however have someone to train you." He moved to the stair case behind his desk. "Jeb and Emily get down here!" On his command two people made their way down the staircase. One was a rather dainty young woman with short black hair. Her glasses fell loosely on her face. She was wearing a white tank top and green skirt. Behind her was a tall man in his mid to late twenties. He had dark brown hair witch covered both of his eyes. He wore a white shirt and cargo pants.

"Yeah boss?" Said the man "What did you want?"

"Zack." Said Hark gesturing to the two. "This is Jeb and Emily. They work for me hear at the store and they'll be training you today."

"What?!" Yelled Emily. "You won't train us, but you expect us to train this pansy!"

"Calm down." Said Jeb in a laid back tone. "I'm sure the boss has a good reason for all this. Just please don't draw any unneeded attention."

"And what exactly do you consider unneeded Mr. Smart guy!" Shouted Emily now directing her fury at Jeb.

"I just don't want to get in the way." Said Jeb sinking back into the stair case.

"Now calm down you two just calm down." Said Hark taking a more authoritative tone. "Jeb go get your signature and do be quick. Emily guide Zack to the training room."

Emily guided Zack through a door way near the base of the staircase and into a long hall way. She opened another door which led to a large white room. "Ladies first." She said clearly trying to mock him.

He walked into the room and immediately felt as if something had changed. He noticed that the room was rather large even for a training room. The room was around the size of a large house. Odd that it was bigger than the shop itself. "Well what do you think?" Asked Hark entering the room followed by Jeb. "Nice isn't it."

"A bit big." Said Zack. "What kind of training do you do that you would need this much space?"

"We'll get to that soon enough." Said Hark. "But for now I should tell you about this room." Hark pulled a sword from his side and ran it through his heart. "You see while in this room we can't be killed or injured. You also won't grow hungry or tired, nor will you feel pain. There are a few more features it has, but nothing you'll have to worry about. Now to help you get in some sword practice you'll be fighting Jeb in this room." Upon hearing this Jeb pulled his sword from its sheath. "Now go easy on him Jeb. Nothing fancy."

"Are you ready?" Asked Jeb quietly.

Zack pulled his new sword from his side and held it between him and Jeb. "When you are."