Chapter 1:


Sword Quest

Waking with a start, Cedric slowly realized he was dreaming. The same dream he'd had since that day. A memory of the day he first truly experienced war, and death.

Following that day, and because of that experience, he'd come down with a disease that nearly cost him his life. He sat up, clutching his head as vivid images of that hell ran through his mind without permission- that of a bucket stained with bloody fingerprints, surrounded by cloths dyed in spots of scarlet.

Despite that hell, it was the scene itself that so clearly replayed in his dreams. Even six years later, he still couldn't shake the memory from his subconscious, even though he'd worked avidly to keep himself from thinking of it. When he woke from such a dream, he would always hope for something monumental to happen in his life, something that would overwrite that memory. He wasn't sure exactly what, but he thirsted for something new and special.

Rising from bed, the slim yet well-built teenager glanced at the only decoration in his small, empty room- a single green glove plated with thin armor, that he'd hung on a nail in the wall. He'd assumed the Teutonic Knight had placed the glove in his hands while he was unconscious that day. Even now, he still recalled the feeling of awe he had when woke up, clasping the glove in both hands.

A knight…

What does it mean to be…

"Cedric, why are you taking so long? The crops come first before anything else in the morning, you know this." His father called to him in a low, monotone voice, bringing him back to reality.

That's right…

Always the same…

Father…never changes.

He quickly headed out to put his shoes on, while attempting to mat down the perpetually stuck up hair on the left side of his head.

Striking into the fields with the usual rusted hoe, Cedric bore a melancholy that contrasted the vigor he put into his work. Of course, even if he hadn't slept at all, his body would always wake up in time to get the fields plowed by sunrise. On top of that, he would never dare let out a yawn in front of his father, who had always made a point to coach him on his etiquette. He'd always wondered why he needed to practice such extreme etiquette, as they were not nobles like his best friend Mel-who was far from having good manners, but not near as bad as Quentle, a fellow orphan who lived in the Market Town slums in a house full of rowdy blacksmiths.

He never received much in the way of explanation from his father, and it wasn't like he taught him etiquette of High Town where the nobles lived. What he was taught was the most basic of manners, with an emphasis on respectful modesty.

"You shouldn't make a commotion of yourself."

"Never reach your arms out too far."

"Just do as you're expected to. That is your duty as a Teuton."

"Be a respectful man, and that will be enough to repay me for taking you in."

"You only need not be a burden to anyone, including me."


Making sure his father wasn't nearby, Cedric let out a big sigh as he wiped his brow. Recalling the biting words that always kept him in what felt like a very small room, Cedric upped the pace of his work.

In the last six years, his work ethic had grown to something tremendous, as he took his sense of duty seriously-due mostly to his father's words and general attitude toward him. However, the event that triggered this profound sense of duty just happened to be what was weighing particularly on his mind this morning.

Thanks to the dream he'd had, he couldn't shake the nagging reminder of his bout of sickness at the age of eleven. It was an experience he tried tirelessly to forget. His father would give him the necessary treatment, and left him alone after that. He remembered watching him leave the room without a word, wanting more than anything for him to just stay and comfort him.

Up until that point, the naïve boy had deeply admired his father for taking him in. After that incident, that admiration turned into a distant feeling of respect, which grew a desire deep within himself to earn his respect in turn.

He didn't quite understand this yearning, but he knew that it was what brought on the sense of duty he'd always held dear. He knew that his father took him as an orphan when he didn't have to, giving him a proper home and parental figure. This caused him to fear acting outside of his responsibilities, even if he sometimes desired something new.

That sense of responsibility, and a bit of a sense of guilt kept him working towards becoming a respected Teuton, and someday a respected soldier. Even though his father was not much of a father to him, the respect and admiration he had for him was enough to keep him from acting out of place.

That is, until he had reached preparation schooling, the path every young boy took to becoming either a soldier, a scholar, or a worker.

He could only assume it to be due to the longer schooling hours, and effectively, less free time. He'd always wake up early to help his father with the crops and other daily work. After that, he'd attend his historic and cultural classes until mid-afternoon. Then came training. Archery, sword art, and physicality sessions. By the time they were done, sunset would be upon them, and he would return to the village for the evening.

Though, being spry young seventeen-year-old boys, Cedric, Quentle, and Mel grew bored of the daily routine. To add some fun to their constant preparation training, they would sneak out at night, slip past the guards, and hold severe games that tested their physical capabilities. His father had likely become aware of this, but as expected he took the hands-off approach and stayed uninvolved, probably just so long as nothing bad would come of it.

This bugged Cedric more than anything, but there was nothing he could do about it. Being a rebellious teenager had no room for growth within the small room that his dutifulness kept him in.

Instead of actively rebelling, he blew off steam by going out at night. This made his small room feel a little bit more comfortable at least, though it remained without color or ornament.

Even then, he sometimes got brave enough to slightly pester his father, out of a mixture of curiosity and frustration.

"Say, Father, is it true the older you get the harder it is to wake up from your sleep?"

Cedric inquired with a half smirk, trotting behind his father on the way back to Village Town.

"That's nonsense, Cedric. Don't humor things that are clearly nonsense."

"B-but ya know, sometimes I have to wake yo-"

"Do I need to explain what nonsense means for you to understand, Cedric?"


Most of their exchanges went like this, though this was one of the livelier ones he'd get every now and then. He couldn't help but appreciate such a simple thing.

After returning home to eat and clean up, Cedric threw on his white dress shirt and brown corduroy pants, and draped his emerald green, robe-like vest over his neck sloppily.

"Good day, Father," Cedric sounded out in a flat tone, slipping on his thin black shoes made from pig-skin.

"Make sure to be properly dressed by the time you get in town."

"You have a fine day as well, Father!"

Before the silent grouch could shoot an annoyed look his way from the dining table, Cedric filed out of the door, shutting it behind him and breaking out into a light run toward Castle Town.

Before long he passed by the primary schooling center he'd gone to as a child, stirring up a bitter nostalgia.

When his glance fell upon the double doors he'd once burst through into the pouring rain, he automatically averted his eyes. He looked out beyond the repaired wall, to the sky-or, to where the sky should have been.

Instead of a blue sky filled with white clouds and a bright sun, Cedric's world was covered by a vast wall of gray fog-long referred to as the Mist Dome. The sky had been this way all along, ever since several years before he was born.

Nobody seemed to know why it was this way, but those who were old enough to remember the blue sky that disappeared twenty years prior, described it as a very free and colorful sight.

To Cedric, this gray world was the norm. There was no other sky for him to dream about, so this one was good enough.

However, Cedric looked at the dome with excitement today, as Master Gambell's long history session would supposedly touch on 'The Day Left in Gray', something rarely discussed.

Staring at the mysterious dome as he ran, the boy thought keenly about his aspirations, looking forward to learning new things that could help him in his search for something more.