Chapter 1:

The Birth of a Hero - 1

We're All Mad Here, Hero

You were never one to arrive plainly, and in retrospect - such a thing was unbecoming of a hero. The night you were born, was no exception.Bookmark here

That night was violent. Bookmark here

The winds were howling as the creatures of the forest screamed in sickening chorus. As trees bent knees to the wind's aggression, and the ground shook violently. Wares fell to the ground shattered, as books fell from shelves torn. Torrential rains scalded the skin of any flesh exposed to it, caused by clouds the colour of pitch. Those ugly clouds illuminated by bursts of lightning, splitting tree barks accompanied by thunder so loud ears would rupture.Bookmark here

"Push, Ameria! The baby is almost here - you must push!" Bookmark here

"Give me a fucking break already! Ngh - ah!" Bookmark here

The hero was a troublemaker before he even entered this world - such a thought would warrant laughter nowadays. Yet you were - forcing your mother into labour was one thing, but you chose not to come out. Bookmark here

Even as she screamed at the top of her lungs, high pitch rivalling a banshee, you refused to make an appearance. Seventeen long hours, and you were uninterested in joining the outside world. Bookmark here

Only when she dug her nails into the cotton sheets, legs trembling as she spread herself wide - desperate not too fall as the bed rocked - you decided to make an entrance. Bookmark here

"By the fucking gods - ah!" Bookmark here

Her sharp wails washed out by the sound of a god's clap; thunder echoed through the land at that moment. Your mother's chest rose and fell in a rhymic motion, the only part of her that hadn't collapsed at that moment. Her screams no more as the rains lightened to a gentle patter, christening the rooftops with their delicate sound.Bookmark here

Soon after, the ground stopped shaking. The forest no longer wailed, and the tears no longer fell from the sky. Bookmark here

The world became silent as everyone stood still. A prolonged period of blissful nothingness, an orchestra of sweet silence, until you interrupted. Bookmark here

"Waaaah!" Bookmark here

Your cries were out of place in the middle of that harmony. A discordant sound that demanded attention from all that surrounded. But such a thing was common for heroes, being the centre of attention. Bookmark here

Entering into this world the same way all life came, yet yours was an introduction history would recall. Then again, we rush your origins. Back then you were but a small child swaddled in grey cloth. The only ones who knew of you were the four people in that humble house on the edge of town.Bookmark here

"Ameria, we thank the Old Gods! They have given you a boy," an old woman said as she wiped your forehead, "He has the lungs of a soldier!" Bookmark here

"He's going to keep me up for a long time," the woman laughed weakly, "I suppose he takes after his father in that regard. Bring me my son, Etagere." Bookmark here

The older woman looked at you with a scrunched up face - her eyes narrowing you for a thorough inspection. You were unaware of this, though. Your eyes closed shut as your bawled, fretting inside your cloth. She passed you gently to your mother, who held you tenderly in her arms - an expression of pure love on her face.Bookmark here

"Hello, sweet one. I am Ameria," she whispered through your tears, "But you can call me Mama. Don't fret too much, sweet one. Your cries will upset Baba over there. And Baba is scary when she's upset. You're going to be just fine, sweet one." Bookmark here

Was it her gentle tone that calmed you that moment, or was it the sound of her heartbeat? Either way, your repulsive cries stopped at that instant. The mature woman smiled, as did your mother - who gently rocked you in her arms. Bookmark here

Your eyes still weren't open - that's why you didn't notice the wooden door that craked ajar and the dishevelled young man that came from the other side of it. Bookmark here

"Ameria?" He huffed, "Jasaf said not to interrupt your labour, but that earthquake had me worried and I am coming-" Bookmark here

He looked took one glimpse at you; breathing quietly in your mother's arms and lost all words. His mouth opened slightly; he stared for a few seconds. Your mother laughed, covering her mouth with her hand as not to disturb you. She gestured for him to come closer, and he answered by walking stiffly.Bookmark here

He fell to his knees with a gentle thud, just beside you and your mother.Bookmark here

"I know we both wanted a daughter," Ameria said, "But I have to say, he is a handsome little fella." Bookmark here

"I have a son," the young man said in disbelief, "Ameria, we have a child now. We're parents now, Birdie." Bookmark here

"Geez, did it not sink in when I had a belly the size of a melon?" Bookmark here

"You damn well know my point, Birdie," he laughed, "What's this little fella's name?" Bookmark here

Ameria smiled, "I was going to name our daughter Aleece, but baby Alec will have to do. What do you think, Gor?" Bookmark here

The young man pushed his finger towards you - lips curled to a bright smile as he gestured for you to hang onto it. You cooperated at that moment, barely opening your eyes to the smiling couple that hung onto you.Bookmark here

"Nice meet you, Alec Everton. I'm your dad, Gorgon." Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.