One Star Hero
Waves crash against the brown wet docks, and seagulls soar above the clouds. The salty smell of the ocean sweeps through every part of the kingdom, Basintroll, residing next to the sea. The sun greets the citizens with its warm rays and glistens the calm waters.
As far as the eye can see, Boats cover the ocean's surface with hundreds of fishers. Sounds of laughter bursts from each ship as they cast their rods into the water and reel out their catches.
Along the pier are also fishers, but they use nets instead of fishing rods. The docks reek of sweat and fish, but the men and women don't mind the stench at all.
A boy in a black tank top and shorts grunts as he hurls a fishing net into the water and splashes. Then the boy pulls it back with the string, but it drags him instead. The boy grits his teeth and tightens his muscles as he tugs. His shoes start to slip on the wet wood inching him closer to the edge; He groans loudly, then twists the string around his hand and yanks with all of his strength.
"Yo, Eden, that's quite the haul you got there!" A fisherman calls out.
Eden looks up to see a man in a tan overall, a yellow vest over a white button shirt, and a bucket hat with a fishing hook sticking out. The man has light brown skin, a grey beard, and a big belly.
"Can I get a hand already, Sanders!" Eden grunts.
Sanders laughs and grabs hold of the string. Then, together with Eden, they both pull the fishing net with all their might.
A massive fish as big as a wooden barrel breaks the surface of the water; it wriggles around in the fishing net, trying to get back into the water.
Both Eden and Sanders groan as they yank the fish out and onto the docks; the fish flops around helplessly, then Eden jumps on it and holds it down with a grin across his face.
"This will make me rich!"
"You wish!" Sanders chuckles. He grabs a nearby sack and throws it over the fish.
"Thanks, uncle." Eden smiles as he ties the sack and throws the fish on a cart.
A fisherman passes by and widens his eyes at the size of the fish. "That's quite the catch, Eden. Mind sharing some coin with the rest of us?" He laughs.
"Nope, but I'll buy everyone a drink!" With a wide grin, Eden rushes out the pier with the cart and into town.
The fishermen on the docks hear Eden's promise and raise their fists in the air; they all roar in unison as Eden runs past them.
Eden dashes through crowds of ordinary folk and nobles then into the town square. The area is bustling with people and sellers in their stands selling nothing but fish of all kinds.
Eden stops in front of the local trade center and pushes the cart toward an old trader behind a desk.
"Look at this massive catch I've got!" Eden smiles.
The trader sips on his cigar with narrowing eyes then blows out smoke. He reaches through his desk and drops a few gold coins on the counter.
Eden rapidly blinks at the amount he's given. "Hey! I just caught you a big one. Surely you would pay me more than this."
The trader raises a brow and points at the fish with his cigar. "Your fish is just bigger than all of the fish you normally caught."
"There's no way my fish is only this much!"
"Sorry kid, but this as much I can give ya; Basintroll needs all the fish it could get."
"But wouldn't I get paid more then?"
The trader sighs. "The kingdom also needs the coin to supply our soldiers and protect us from any invasion. Now get out."
"But my fish is definitely more than this!"
A vein twitches on the trader's head; he narrows his eyes at Eden and puffs out a cloud of smoke. "Then why don't you go learn marketing instead of going on about your dream of becoming a wannabe Legion!" He waves his hands at several armored guards; they grab Eden and drag him out of the trade center.
"Hey, let me go!" Eden tries to squirm out, but their grip is tight as a lock.
The guards hurl Eden out to the streets and toss the coins at him.
With a loud thud, Eden yelps and hits the cobblestone ground. He rubs his back as he groans, then he throws his fist in the air and shouts, "Just watch me. I'll be a Legion!"
Eden picks up the coins then stands back on his feet. He meets with the eyes of the whole fish market; he lowers his head, avoiding everyone's stares, and walks out.
Instead of going back to the harbor, Eden goes down to what the people of Basintroll call the Trench. The place is dull and grey; some old houses and apartments look like it could fall apart at any moment.
A small slanted green-colored house with broken windows sits in the corner of the Trench. The wooden stairs creak as Eden approaches the front door. He takes out a key and sticks it in the keyhole; the door clicks open.
The musty scent of wet wood greets Eden in the face. The inside of the house is barely as big as a shack. The small kitchen and living room are connected together, plus a bathroom across from a bedroom.
Eden lies on the ground and pushes himself up, then back down. I will be a Legion! His thoughts scream within his head; he repeats the exact phrase repeatedly as he does his push-ups. He keeps going until his arms start to shake, then he lies back on the ground facing the ceiling. Next, he wraps his arms around the back of his head and rises up to his knees. Watch me. I'll be a Legion!"
The muscles throb after a few sets; Eden gasps for air, then plops onto a bed in the living room and lets out a heavy sigh. He stares blankly at the rotted ceiling for a while, then turns over to close his eyes, but a particular book catches his eye. So he gets back up and picks it up.
"The Legend of the True Hero."
Eden flips through the pages.
A man chosen by the goddess Dwelleen became known as the True Hero and was granted incredible powers. He had saved many kingdoms, fought giant monsters, defeated bad guys, and saved the world from peril.
Eden sadly smiles at the pictures of the True Hero; the adventures, the battles, and the Armament all paint illustrations of him becoming a Legion in his mind.
A sudden knock at the door snaps Eden back to reality.
"Yo Eden, how'd it go?" Sanders calls out.
Eden doesn't reply and simply just sits on the bed, still flipping through the book.
"I'm coming in." Sanders opens the door and enters.
Eden looks up to Sanders and puts on a smile. "They didn't give me much, so it looks like I won't be buying anyone drinks today," he chuckles.
A slight frown crosses Sanders's face. "It's okay, son. This is just how the life of a poor fisherman is." He approaches Eden and pats his head.
Eden nods, still unable to say anything.
Sanders raises his eyebrow and notices a picture on a nightstand, and picks it up. "Hey, I remember this photo! It was the first fish you caught with your parents!" He laughs aloud. "And you're still full of energy, just like back in the day."
"Yeah... But then mom suddenly disappeared..."
Sanders ceases laughing.
"And dad passed away from sickness soon after." Eden finishes his sentence in a monotone voice.
Sanders quietly sighs to him, "Yeah, he was also my best friend." He places the photo back on the stand and straightens his back. Then, Sanders levels with Eden and puts his hand on the kid's shoulder. "Eden, I want you to believe that there will always be good things to come."
Eden slowly lifts his head up and meets Sanders in the eye.
"If you ever feel like you're in a dark tunnel, and you can't see the light at the end of it, it will be dark, and you may even feel hopeless or scared. But if you just open your eyes, they will adjust to the dark showing you the way out of that cave."
Eden holds firm eye contact with Sanders; a smirk plasters on his face and nods his head. "You sure have your ways with words, uncle." He rises out of bed and stretches his arms out, then he picks up a wooden sword that sat next to his bed and points it at his uncle. "Just wait until I get my summons. I'll join the training camp and become the greatest Legion in history." He swings the sword around but being careful enough not to hit anything.
"That's more like it! Now let's go and see who can catch more fish!" Sanders chuckles.
"Bring it on, old man!" Eden throws the wooden sword on the bed, then he and Sanders dash out the door without even locking it.
The sun shines at the highest point in the sky; Eden and Sanders are back at the pier, hurling their fishing nets into the water and laughing together at their catches. Meanwhile, a ceremony unfolds at the kingdom's church.
A loud round of applause and music plays in the church. Trumpets blowing, drums beating, and flutes whistling as if there's a festival within the church.
Everyone participating in the ceremony wears the fanciest wares, men in the finest suits and women in beautiful dresses.
A priest stands on a podium above everyone else and raises both hands to quell the music.
Silence fills the room as everyone lays their eyes on the priest.
"Welcome all to the Church of Dwelleen."
Everybody cheers loudly and throws their fists in the air.
The priest waves his hands again then the cheering dies down; he clears his throat and raises his voice. "As you all know, for one to receive their summoning, one must offer three sacred stones." The priest holds out three clear blue rocks with a bit of red in the center like fire within the ice. He makes them levitate, and they slowly circulate above his hands. "These stones have the power to open the void and bestow upon one with Dwelleen's gift, a weapon called an Armament."
The stones steadily perch back onto the priest's palms; he places them in his white robe and continues to bellow. "These Armaments are ranked from one to five stars and are given at random."
"But us nobles have higher rates than any other." A man spoke.
"That's right. It's barely impossible for nobles to not summon a Five Star Armament." A woman laughs.
The priest raises his hand again, stopping any more chatter. "Now, let the summoning begin!
Applause and music play from every corner of the church and blares through the glass windows to the outside.
Sander's ears perk to the distant sound of trumpets. "Are they doing a summoning today? He asks as he throws a fish in a crate.
"They are," Eden smiles. He grabs a hammer and nails a lid over a crate. "One day, I'll get my summons too and become a Legion. What if I pull some god-like hammer?" The boy raises the hammer high and smashes the pins like he's attacking a monster.
"Oops." Eden covers his mouth and slowly turns to face his uncle.
Sanders squishes his eyes together and shakes his head. "Anyway, Didn't you give three of those blue rocks to the priest already?
"I did, but that was months ago."
"How did you get them again?"
Eden rapidly blinks at Sanders. "You already forgot?" Eden stands up and wags his finger in the air. "I bought one of the stones off from a traveling merchant for 7000 coins, and you gave me one as a birthday present."
"Ah yes, I do recall that." Sanders scratches his beard as he remembers. "But what about the last one?"
"I got the third stone from a man in a hood." Eden grabs his lip and ponders. "I don't know why he gave it to me, but all I remember is that we talked about the True Hero."
Sanders tilts his head and slightly nods. "How generous of him. So you gave your stones to the priest, and what did he tell you?"
Eden scratches his head and looks up to the sky. "Well, he used some sort of magic and infused the stones into me and said to wait for a couple of months."
"I guess we'll keep waiting." Sanders shrugs.
Eden nods his head then continues to throw fish in crates.
The music dies down as the priest silences the crowd. His brethren carry a crystal ball and place it in front of him. The priest peers into it, and the orb glows with white light.
Suddenly, letters start appearing within the crystal and form a name. "Isaac Gourab, please step forward in preparation for your summoning," the priest announces.
A young man with short blond wavy hair, a muscular build, and a bright yellow suit steps forward to the center of the church.
The crowd of people begins cheering his name and applauds.
As the priest begins the summoning, his crystal orb begins to glow with vibrant colors again. The priest rapidly blinks his eyes as if he's hallucinating, but the sphere keeps shining. Inside of the crystal ball dazzles and forms a young boy along with his name.
The priest awkwardly looks at his brethren next to him, and they raise their eyebrows back. Then, he turns back at the crowd that's singing with joy; the priest clears his throat loudly, interrupting the celebration. "Er, there will be another who will be receiving their summons today."
The crowd stops cheering and stares baffling at the priest.
"Father, what do you mean another one?"
"Shouldn't there only be one summoning per six months?"
"Who else is receiving their summons?"
The nobles throw all their questions at the priest; he tries to calm them, but the chattering doesn't stop.
The priest sighs and shakes his head; he waves his hands at the other clerics to speak to them. "Go find the one called Eden Alistar and tell him that he will be receiving his summoning today as well."
"But father, the ceremony has always been one summoning. Why is there another?"
The priest narrows his eyes at the cleric. "I don't know, but the goddess Dwelleen has shown me this name. Now go find this person."
"Yes, father." The cleric waves his hands at a few guards, and they hastily leave the church to find Eden Alistar.
Eden hurls his fishing net into the water, then pulls it back out with ease. But he didn't get anything except for some kelp; he slumps his shoulders and groans.
Sanders, however, had somehow already filled five crates full, and the other fishermen also keep pulling out fish like there's an abundance.
Eden stares at Sanders's movement and posture. The fishing net is slung over Sanders's shoulder; he hunches down, almost crouching, and with both arms up. Eden watches him throw the net into the water and pull it out full of fish.
Eden raises an eyebrow and lifts his arms just like Sanders; he places the fishing net on his shoulders then hurls it at the exact moment as Sanders. Both of their fishing nets splash into the water, then they both pull it out. Then the two unhook their fishes and repeat. Both Eden and Sanders become in sync with their movements as if they're dancing together.
A fisherman walks past them and notices Eden's empty crates; he bursts out with laughter. Then one by one, more fishermen gather around and laugh, including Sanders.
"I couldn't catch any because all of you already caught them all!" Eden laughs.
The galloping of shoes alert everyone on the pier and seize their laughter; they turn their gaze and meet with guards in silver armor and a cleric in white robes. They stand above the docks; their eyes zip around at all the people staring back at them with their brows raised.
The cleric's eyes narrow on the one he's looking for. "Eden Alistar,"
Eden jolts at the sound of his name; his heart pounds, not knowing what they want from him.
"You are now summoned to the church of Dwelleen for your summoning."
Eden's mouth drops to the floor, and so does his fishing net; he slowly looks at Sanders and the other fishermen with sparkling eyes. He takes in a deep breath, "It's happening!"
Everyone roars with joy; they all give Eden hugs and pats on the back. "Our boy is now a Legion!"
Sanders caresses Eden's head with a grin across his face. "Your dream is coming true, son!"
"Yes, it is Sanders!" Eden shouts and raises his fist in the air.
"Enough, we must go at once," the cleric demands.
Eden rapidly nods his head and dashes up the stairs to the guards, then they leave the docks and head toward the church. Eden hops behind the cleric and waves his arm at Sanders and the fishermen as they throw their fists into the air and chant his name.
As they walk toward the church, Eden grabs his chin and tilts his head. Wasn't it only one person that can receive their summons at a time? He wonders. He shrugs his shoulders and smiles widely. Eden still can't believe he's receiving his summoning today; he is now one step closer to his dream, and nothing can stop him now.
They arrive at the church; Eden follows the cleric with a massive grin on his face. Everyone in the church stares at Eden as he enters. The nobles observe the disgusting smile on his face and the tattered clothes he wears; their faces blanch at the sight.
Eden can hear the hush insults in the crowd, but he couldn't care less about it because he's receiving his summons today, and that's what only matters.
The priests guide Eden to stand next to Isaac and asks him to wait to be called.
Eden looks at Isaac and offers him a handshake, still grinning. "Hi, I'm Eden Alistar; you must be the other one getting a summoning, too, right?"
Isaac didn't move or even glance at Eden.
Eden pulls his hand back and scratches his head instead.
They didn't exchange any words after that.
"Now it is time to commence the summoning ceremony!"
Everyone applauds the booming sound of the priest's voice.
Eden bounces on his toes and imagines what kind of Armament he will pull. Would it be a majestic sword, a heavy axe, a graceful lance? The possibilities continue to make Eden grin wider.
"Isaac Gourab! Step forward to the center of the summoning circle!"
Eden and everybody else stares at Isaac as he walks to the center of the circle in silence. Not a single sound except for the clopping of Isaac's fancy shoes.
Isaac faces the priest and his subordinates chanting words that are unknown to the human tongue.
Eden observes the ceremony as a magic summoning circle is cast beneath Isaac. The magic circle begins to glow; balls of light appear and rapidly rotate around Isaac. Another summoning circle appears in front of Isaac that shines brightly as the one on the floor.
"Now, Isaac Gourab, reach into the summoning circle and retrieve your Armament from beyond the unknown!" the priest hollers.
Isaac reaches into the summoning circle; his arms disappear into it, which creates intense pressure and winds that resonate through the church's structure. Isaac releases a roar as if he's trying to lift a cow.
A bright ray of rainbow-colored light emerges from both summoning circles and lights up the whole church. Suddenly, the magic circles explode and blind everybody.
The crowd all scream and cover their eyes, but Eden wouldn't look away. He watches every second of the event; he could see the silhouette of Isaac Gourab reaching his arms through the void.
The light slowly subsides, and everyone's eyes widen.
In the hands of Isaac is a sword; the blade is straight and wide with a sharp edge. The weapon is no ordinary one either; the hilt looks like it's made of wood and white flowers sit on the guard.
Everyone gazes upon the beauty of the sword; five rainbow-colored stars are engraved on the blade.
"As nobles, we are destined to pull a Five Star Armament," an old man boasts.
Isaac smirks; he swings his sword a few times and raises it like a hero.
Everyone claps and cheers for the young noble's Armament as he bows in thanks.
Eden locks his gaze on the Armament. It's his first time to lay eyes on an Armament. The odd shape of the hilt, the straight blade, and the flowers look like it was made by a god. His mind explodes, imagining his Armament; him wielding a godlike weapon, changing the minds of the nobles, saving people, and becoming a Legion jump inside his head.
"There is still one more candidate receiving their summoning today," the priest interrupts.
All of the nobles turn their faces and pinch their expressions toward Eden.
A few of the nobles try to leave, but then Isaac stops them. "Let us not be rude to this candidate and watch his summoning, respectively."
Everyone laughs and agrees to stay.
Eden rolls his eyes and ignores them.
"Now, Eden Alistar, make your way to the center of the summoning circle," says the high priest.
Eden walks toward the center of the church. His hands become sweaty, and his breathing quickens as he slowly steps to the center. The faint whispers behind his back creep into his ears, then he becomes nauseous.
To shut out the noise around Eden, he thinks of his lost mother and father, his fishing pier friends, and his uncle Sanders. He was waiting for this moment; his dream to be a Legion is just a couple of steps away. There's no way people insulting him can stop him from this opportunity!
Eden stops in the center of the church. Just as before, the summoning circles appear below and in front of Eden.
Again the priest clamors, "Now Eden Alistar, reach into the summoning circle and retrieve your Armament from beyond the unknown!"
Eden slowly reaches his arms into the summoning circle; his arms disappear through it. Light and magical pressure begin to surround the church and blind everybody once again. Then, balls of white light begin to form and rotate around him, just like Isaac's summoning.
Then Eden cries in pain. A shocking sensation rushes through him, reaching every part of his body, and his arms feel as if it's being torn apart. For a moment, Eden feels an object, but he accidentally pushes it away with his fingers. He further advances himself into the void; the pain increases as he continues to reach. Eden's arms become intensely numb as if they really ripped off; his legs start to shake uncontrollably. Then, his hand nudges into something. It feels like handles. He grabs it then pulls with all his might. His scream turns into a roar as he slowly pulls the Armament out of the void. "I will become a Legion!" he shouts.
Light explodes in the church, blinding everybody, then it slowly fades. Eden gently opens his eyes then slacks his mouth. A sword and a shield firmly in his grasp. The sword has a wide steel blade, the hilt is covered in leather, and the guard is an extended metal bar. The shield is round and also made of steel with a scabbard at the top of it. Eden's eyes flicker as he stares at the weapons. The grip of the Armaments is comfortable, and the weight feels suitable for him. Eden smiles all the way up to his ears. I'm a Legion now! I'm a Legion now!
"Look, he's a One Star!" Someone yells.
Everyone, including Eden, looks at his Armaments; his eyes widen. An eight-pointed grey star is engraved on the shield's face.
All the nobles begin to laugh.
Eden looks at everyone, then back at his shield. The derisive laughter and the phrase One Star echo in his mind; he hangs his head and grits his teeth. He shoots back up and points his sword at everyone. "It doesn't matter if I'm a One Star or not. Just watch. I'm going to be a Legion!"
The laughing gets louder that a couple of the nobles fall onto the ground. "How the hell can you be a Legion with a butcher knife and a plate as Armaments?"
"You gonna start hunting some bears now or something?"
"Go back to fishing, you, One Star!"
"One Stars don't need to be Legions!"
The insults keep piling; everybody just keeps on laughing.
Heat flushes through Eden's body as he opens his mouth to counter, but someone cuts him off.
"No wonder your mother left you!"
Eden freezes, his eyes bulge, his breathing shallow. The crowd becomes inaudible to him; nothing but the beating of his heart pounds in his ears. No! this was not why mom left! Eden grinds his teeth and swings his sword onto the ground with a roar. An ear-piercing clang silences the church. Amusement now turns to fear; pale faces and glares back at Eden.
"I'll show you... I'll show all of you! I'll be the greatest One Star Legion in the world. No, I will become the True Hero!" Eden shouts. He glares at the crowd as if he has the intention to kill.
Eden crosses through the crowd of nobles. He makes no eye contact with anyone and leaves.
The nobles stare at Eden's back with cold eyes.
A smirk comes across Isaac's face. "Pathetic."