Legends of Adora: This Halfryta's, Garden
Historia I“The Goddess descended. How frightful a phrase to have to turn twice: First, she split the world in two and created continents. Then, came civilization.” - Hecatoncheires
“The oldest recorded texts date back as far 1P2R—as estimated by the best architectural scientists of modern day. This refers to an age Post 1st, Pre 2nd, Ragnarök. Ragnarök refers to the instances where Halfryta herself descended upon these lands.” – Adora Almanac I
“Recollections from this timeframe and prior are broken and scattered, but they tell a time of titans and conquerors, of benevolent emperors and tyrants. They tell of a time where true miracles and chaos were commonplace. At the end of these stories—of what seems to be final chapters—the Second-Generation [A1] Scions were born to the world. This occurs in year 2.PR-30.
Three decades later, at x001. PRx001, the Second-Generation Scions became the free leaders in the continental world of Adora, alongside the now-powerful lords and the rising church and guild factions. Twenty years later, the first of the Third-Generation Scions was born.
Recent geographical records describe the events which created the formation of islands to the south, the moon continents to the west, the floating jungles in the east and the ice in the north. And at the centre, the last true living body of the original holy land, on which Cephas and the church capital, Hal Astu, would not bear full fruit until the year x189.
The Thunder Peaks broke a crescent to the west. The vast snow-lands of Prunia to the north, the Torch Isles to the south, and the Axel Ilse: Terra Fluens. Together, these islands make up the continental world of Adora Halfryta” - World Geography I.
Historia Est Finis[A2]
Parte et Rai
“Adora translates to beloved one, while Halfryta translates to peaceful home. The old ones brought these two words together, and so we call the Goddess who created our world by the same name we believe she gave it. Thus, she is Adora Halfryta or Beloved, Peaceful Home. The old ones believed that, because she created this world through & with her powers, the world is to her and she is to it. Many also call her Yadra, or mother,” the teacher finished.
“Teacher, I don’t understand. When the world was no good and full of fighting, it was because of power. So why did she give more power to the world?” Asked a small boy, who sat at the front of the classroom. His hair was a red, dishevelled mop adorning his head, soft brown-skinned.
“Well, Lord Marise, if I should hand you a sword stained with blood, and my hand was also stained with the same blood, would you blame the sword for murder?” He posed.
“Haha! No way!” He called aloud. “The sword can’t do anything on its own. It’s just metal.” The boy gave a light chuckle.
“Ah, yes my dear boy. There are all sorts of powers within this world, but it is not in the nature of power to cause chaos. It is only in the nature of those that wield it,” he professed. “My dear students, be wary. Power, however small, will test your character.” The mix of white and ash in his beard and hair ran to his shoulders and past his jaw. A light demeanor to him, Professor Elrik stood in professional, but comfortable, attire. His robes a mix of browns and purples unique and dark, yet colourful
The classroom was filled with many young children who were no older than 8 or 9. In the world of Adora, the monarchy was strong and thriving. Kings and queens, lords, dukes, and nobility of all ranks populated these great lands. In this classroom were children who would eventually take up the reigns of the world: sons and daughters of powerful and notable families across the reaches of the continents. Each sat on a mat; a small table in front of them with scrolls, quills and study books placed upon each one. They wore garments and garbs of lavish colours and styles: some simple, some complex. No two were alike, yet none were truly different.
“The Goddess has… weak character then? At least if what you say is true, right?” I threw at our teacher. Marise looked back at me, puzzled.
“Why do you think so, Lord Fenris?” My teacher questioned.
“Power tests character, right? What about the character of people who share power? Each time she shared it, there was chaos. She failed to give power to the right people. Not once, but twice. Is that not a weak character?” I argued from behind Marise.
“Well my young prince… you certainly raise an interesting point. I ask you this: suppose she never gave any power to anything at all. Or even suppose she’d learned from the first ‘mistake’ and didn’t share her power the second time. Where would our world be?”
“I... can’t say for sure.” I admitted.
”I see. Was it a character flaw that drove the Goddess? After all, caring is never truly the wrong thing to do.” He stepped somberly around the room, pacing as he lectured.
“Perhaps she truly could no longer standby watching. History tells of the great wars which brought Halfryta forth from the clouds. Each time, in reaction to the greed by man and beast & daemon alike. Without her gifts, there is no telling where we’d be and because of them here we are. It is not a matter of what happens next. No, what happens next is almost always entirely out of your control. What Halfryta gave to the world was not merely power, but a choice… and the power to make it. At times, the choice was wrong. And at times, right. But the Goddess held a faith that we would ‘right’ ourselves…and in time, we did. Can you tell me what it was she believed in?” He stopped and stared at us for a moment, silently. “That we wanted a home. She believed that when the time came to build our home, we would put all else aside and work towards it: a place of freedom, tranquility, and strength.”
“Wrath and sovereignty?” I half-scoffed.
“I suppose those words might ‘sound’ less emphatic than how they should be translated, He smiled into a soft chuckle. “I would prefer consequence, and completion[A3] .”
“But teacher… you do write the books.” A petite, brown-haired girl with glasses said, holding a small handguide notebook, with a gold-coloured watermark reading ‘Elrik’ on the back.
“Hrmph. I suppose I do.” He replied with a gleeful mug. As he finished speaking, a long bell tolled. “Come now children, gather your things. You are dismissed.” The young elementary students gathered their books, quills, pens and utensils, and began to exit the small classroom. Outside, the hallway stretched wide to a balcony over looking the lower floors. Wooden pathing ran a square in the main hall as 4 bridges connected to the long spiraling staircase downward.
The great hall was painted in a brown-burnt auburn. The wooden railings and stone pillars held up banners and markings – symbols of all sorts, while glass murals and paintings hung across the high-rising walls, giving light and to the room. These depicted the elements, and a variety of the beasts & spirits which worshipped them – and humans. From the doors which sat along the second floor hallways, more students began to appear. Here, in the Adora capital, the Church of the Goddess housed and taught students of all kinds: from future rulers and diplomats, dukes and duchess, to knights, warriors, and academics. This hallowed, majestic hall has been a symbol which has kept Adora Halfryta united through the teachings of, and belief in the Goddess for as long as it has stood.
The teachers and instructors in it were decorated individuals: both students and masters of the assorted arts. They were men and women of several species who had demonstrated skills and talents some could only dream of. It’s these individuals who were tasked with rearing the bearers of the future.
The Church Castle sat at the end of the capital looking over the rest of Adora Astu, filled with tall towers and buildings. A bell resounded —the Light Bell[A4] . A clock tower which sat in the centre of the capital held, at its peak, a large, black-coloured bell which gave off a strange white light. It struck twice every few hours. Inside, classrooms on the first and second floors opened, and students poured out. Hundreds more came shuffling down the spiral stairs from the third and fourth floors.
I walked down the steps while Marise followed close behind, smiling. Edgar, my guardian & and personal tutor, was in charge of watching over me during my stay at the church for schooling, today I could he him waiting for me near the entrance earlier than normal. Edgar was a beast-man: an aide mother [A5] selected for me when I turned seven, April of last year. It’s been only a year since. He’s been warm and embracing for now… After all he is still a beast. As I approached him, he bent over slightly and let a soft smile show across his fangs, his lion mane perched proudly behind his head.
“Young master, and lord Marise.” He greeted in a deep tone.
“Hello Edgar.” Marise returned his greeting happily.
“You’re early.” I said[A6] .
“I have been instructed to escort the two of you to an assembly, once your classes have been completed.” Edgar said.
“Assembly? Someone wants to meet us?” Marise looked at me with confusion.
“If you two would follow me.” Edgar walked ahead from behind us into the church. We traipsed through the main hall amongst the shuffling students, eventually passing them all and reaching a silent hall. It led inwards to the chapel. Central to the very back was a statue of the Goddess. She wore a long dress and held a 2-horned staff in her right hand. In her left a long broadsword, struck into the earth. She had a full-moon head of woolen hair and a gracefully empathetic demeanor. Finally, she was encompassed by a ring, which hung in the air behind her. There was a depiction of each of the four elements at each corner of the stage, and a fifth, standing beneath the Goddess. This one was a statue of a spiky-haired boy. Behind the statue was an open hall which, through a corridor, led into a wide council theatre.
A girl approached from the distance. She was shrouded in green garbs and a cloak coloured in similar, but off shades. There were quilted brown weavings stitched into her cloak in runic symbols. From a glance, she was marked in Uruz, strength, and Ansuz, vitality.
She was frail and looked scared.
Next to her, a young boy stood expressionless—his garbs appeared meager and bland; visibly washed.
As we walked into the hall, the room spread back deceivingly far. A set of stairs at two corners of the room led up to a balcony which looked down onto the centre of the main floor, and pairs of seats were separated evenly across the second floor. We walked into the centre of the room and looked up to meet our audience.
“DAD!” Marise screamed.
Immediately a tall figure jumped from his seat in the balcony down to the floor and embraced Marise. This man was the king of the City of Agni. The Scion of Fire, King Aodh.
“How was school son? Did you listen to your teacher?” The doting dad asked with a great smile on his face. Marise nodded with joy.
Aohd turned to look at my guardian. [A7] “Edgar, you look well.”
“Lord Aodh, it is an honor, as always.” Edgar responded, bowing.
”Ha-ha! Raise your head Edgar!” He said, patting Edgar’s shoulder. “Young prince Fenris. How are you, my boy?” He bent over and greeted me pleasingly.
“Fine, Your Highness.” I replied, then looked around.
Seated next to where King Aodh had jumped was his wife, Marise’ mother, Queen Adeen. She sat with a loving smile, watching her husband and son giggle and embrace. She gave a small wave in their direction when Marise looked up at her.
Across from them, sitting as regally as ever, my father. Ruler of Nariko Cestmir, King Alok. His arms were crossed, his eyes piercing down at me. Behind him stood his aid, the man known as the reigning champion of gladiators, Knight King Aitan. Father nodded in my direction, and I nodded in return.
I walked over to where the frail girl and zombie boy were standing. Sitting in the other seats were the king and queen of the Jagged Canyons, King Trevet, the Scion of Earth, and his wife Valterra, rulers of Cephas.
King Aodh patted Marise on the back and directed him toward where I was walking. He then bent down and leapt back up to his seat next to his queen. He took her hand with a kiss, calmly watching over us. Edgar escaped behind me near the exit, taking a flight of stairs up to where father and Aitan were viewing. He stood against the wall, watching silently.
A man then appeared from across the room, entering from the opposite entrance. He was a well-known priest scarcely seen around the church: clad in gold and silver, wearing robes that boasted of high rank and power. His demeanor was stiff and serious, and his old age apparent.
“Esteemed rulers, I welcome you today.” He began in a soft tone with a raspy, but kind voice. “I am the Fifth Cleric: Sebastien Horden II. We have gathered you here today to anoint the future Scions who will take up the mantle of keepers of balance in our world. With your blessing, we will begin shortly.” He bowed.
“It appears our small party is yet complete, Cleric.” Father’s voice rang sharply throughout the room, his gaze fierce and unwavering.
“Yes sire. King Sokanon, of the north, has elected not to join our proceedings.” The Cleric informed.
“The Swordsman of the Rain has grown soft.” Alok scoffed.
“Come now, Alok. Ever since the death of his wife, he’s dedicated himself to raising his daughter. Surely you have can show some compassion.” Aodh interfered.
“Keeping her from her destiny will only make her weak.” Alok rebutted.
“Ahem. Surely your personal opinions can be kept outside these proceedings.” Trevet’s deep voice announced, his back resting deep within his chair. He was clearly the eldest among the rulers.
“Opinions aside, I only wonder how many more of these traditions will [A8] have to see change in the future.” Valterra commented.
“ It cannot be helped this time. When the time comes, the new Scion of Water will have to show herself.” Adeen offered.
“Cleric. You may begin.” Trevet commanded.
“Gather here children.” Cleric called. “Legend says that at the end of antiquity, when the Five Great Arcane first gifted their powers to us, they left us other gifts as well. One of them is this.” Cleric, from within his cloak, revealed to us an odd horn or conch.
”This is the Devi. The Devi has been passed down within the church for ages and is imbued with the power to call forth the latent abilities of those who blow into her. Not all are able to summon new powers. Aitan is one such fellow. Let him also be an example, that whether or not the horn calls forth your powers does not limit your potential in any way, it only changes it.” He gave a small smile as he said that, trying to put us help us calm down. “Very few are blessed with the chance to blow into this horn. However, you children must answer the call of the Scion.” He finished.
He gathered each of us around in a circle and handed me the horn. I could feel all eyes burning into me. A small fear took hold of me, and a nervousness coursed through my body. I took a small glance toward father. His gaze grew even fiercer at the sight of my fear, and my eyes snapped immediately back toward the Devi.
“You are safe young one. Go without fear.” Cleric assured.
I took a deep breath and, with all the air in my lungs, blew into the Devi. It let out a deep, bold bellow that grew quieter as my breath grew smaller.
I placed the Devi on the ground and stepped back. I closed my eyes and felt a swelling. It grew inside me… slowly. The air became prickly and I felt a sudden stabbing all over my skin. I looked at my arms—and realized I was being enveloped by a yellow light. It continued to grow, getting increasingly stronger. The air around me spun faster and faster, ringing. After a few moments of this, I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I focused as much of it as I could, attempting to gather it as best as my body would allow, but the air and the energy only grew thicker.
“TAME IT.” Father yelled.
I let out a roar, releasing everything within me… Then the impossible happened—I became shrouded in lightning, surrounded by a loud crackling, each of my hairs standing on end, drenched in a steel gold from a seamless black. A power I couldn’t have ever imagined took hold of me. I was elated, but it continued to grow and, eventually, it started to hurt. I began to let out cries of pain as it began to strangle me.
“CONTROL IT!” Alok yelled again.
I raised my fist and tried to gather what I could into a single point. I turned to the closest wall, and ran towards it as fast as I could. To my surprise, I came face to face with it in an instant— so much so, I half-near threw my body against the wall. Screaming, I punched with all my might, and the energy dispersed in the impact along the wall in a bright blast. The smoke cleared a moment after, and the imprint of a small fist appeared on the stone. The surrounding area was, to my surprise, undamaged.
I turned and smiled, proud that I could control my power. I looked up at father, who stared down only in disdain. Confused by his gaze, I examined myself, then started in surprise and fear— my right hand had been left a bloody pulp. I crouched down at the sight, panic building up inside me, and hugged it tightly, muffling screams of pain as best I could. Despite my best effort, tears streamed from my eyes, and my pride turned to pain and embarrassment.
Edgar descended and was at my side again in moments. Taking the end of his garb, he tore a piece from it, and used it to wrap my hand. He muttered words I couldn’t understand, and a small, white light emerged from his furry palm, soothing the pain. Once it became bearable, I returned to my place in the circle. The Cleric gave me a smile and a portion of my pride returned to my chest. I stood ragged from the impact, as tall as I could. The pain like a heartbeat in my palm.
“Your son is quite gifted, Alok. Obviously a quick thinker” Aodh admitted, stroking his chin.
“Humph, we’ll see about that.” He replied.
“Wow Fenris, that was amazing!” Marise praised. “Is your hand okay?” He asked worriedly.
“Edgar took care of it.” I replied, still panting; enduring the throbbing pain.
“Alright. Okay! Now it’s my turn.” Marise quickly walked up to where the Devi was placed and picked it up with one hand. He smiled widely. “Watch me Dad, I’m gonna be even stronger than Fenris.” He gave a wide smirk and prideful look at his father.
Aodh returned his gaze with a smile and a nod. “Show me, my boy!”
Marise gave a large blow into the Devi, then coolly threw it back to Cleric. A few moments of silence passed. The red-topped boy looked puzzled at his hands and arms. He continued to examine himself, stepping back slowly as he did, his feet nearing the edge of the platform. He tripped!
Falling, then landing on his hands, he immediately burst into flame! He rose quickly and examined the fire on his hands. He waved his arms to the sky, smiling, and watched himself become enveloped. The fire seemed to consume him, growing rapidly, in size, heat, and intensity. His excitement was apparent—exceedingly so. The flames, however, continued to grow and erupt… and soon, it was clear they’d become too much for him. He let out a scream, gripping his head tightly. I covered my face with my arm, trying to shield my eyes from the raging heat emanating from him. The force it carried pushed all of us back.
”MARISE.” Adeen yelled. The boy became a large fireball, his screams piercing through the centre of bright light from his flames. Then, as instantly as it’d happened, everything went quiet. The flames disappeared, and the heat vanished. The ground was scorched slightly, but the screaming had quieted into a cold shivering… as if from nowhere, Aohd had come down to us again – crouched. He was at the centre of the circle, holding Marise tightly in his arms.
“You were too rash my boy.” He spoke quietly, nearly whispering.
“Is he okay?” The little girl asked, her voice shaking mets back.
“He will be fine my dear, thank you.” He responded kindly. Marise’s breathing eventually calmed and he stopped shaking.
“I’m sorry, dad.” The boy whispered weakly.
Aodh placed him back down and led him back to his place in the circle. Aodh knelt before his son and a small flame appeared on his finger as he raised his hand to his sons’ forehead. He muttered some words and Marise let a smile slip.
“Return to your seat Aodh, we must continue.” Valterra urged.
“Yes, my apologies.” Aodh slowly walked away from Marise and vanished in a leap quickly back into his seat, next to his worried queen.
Trevet slowly stood taking hold of his cane he’d placed. He hobbled over to the edge of the balcony overlooking the area below, where we stood around the Devi
“Eurus.” Trevet called. The lifeless boy who had stood silent and unmoving through everything looked up.
“Who is that boy King Trevet?” Adeen asked.
“We’re about to find out young queen. Surely, you recall when the settlement of Hern was razed to the ground by monsters, almost a decade ago? This child was found among the rubble, untouched, with only this medallion with him.” Trevet took from within his garb a dreary, wooden medallion with undiscernible black markings on it.
“Do you recognize this?” He asked.
“Oh? The Vagabonds Trinket?” Alok skeptically declared.
“If he has Aira’s Medallion, then does that mean...?” Aodh spoke in a perplexed tone.
“Proceed, boy.” Valterra commanded.
The lifeless boy moved slowly over to the Devi. Taking it from Cleric’s hands weakly, he blew into it. He returned to his place without anything occurring. The rulers gazed upon him patiently…Click. A faint sound of a wooden coin flip. Trevet threw the medallion at him. The boy opened his hands, and it landed lightly into his palms. Then, a ringing, whistling sound shook the air around them. A powerful gust of wind suddenly twisted and spun around the boy, gently lifting him off the ground. Soon, the small twister had placed him back down just as it had lifted him. He looked down at the coin-like object in his hands, his eyes now ashine.
Trevet let out a powerful laugh, that shocked me a little. “Fascinating indeed. Look at the ring’s edge, my boy.”
“Eu-Eurus…” He mumbled in a soft stutter.
“That’s right. Your mother named you Eurus.” An empathetic voice that rang of perhaps another tale between the two sung from Trevet’s throat.
Valterra too let out a small chuckle, then paused. “My dear Reinhelda, go forth.” She urged.
“Pardon me, Your Highness. First, save for Reinhelda, you children must go to where your mothers and fathers sit.” Cleric directed. As the rest of us walked away, Cleric continued; “Long ago, I met with a travelling seer. Accompanied by a masked individual, the seer came here to the church, soon after I’d been coronated and foretold of this day. They warned me of your power, princess. And yet: have no fear. Know that I will do all that I can to keep you safe.” He assured.
Trevet tapped his cane twice on the ground and the earth beneath rose. He raised and flicked and twisted his wrists, and fashioned three layers of earthen shells with his daughter at the center. At each layer the walls of the shields he’d created rose higher than the previous layer, expanding outward. The rulers stood, attentively peering over, watching the young princess closely. Even father gawked with great attention. Aitan stood solemnly behind the two of us, next to Edgar.
“Begin.” Cleric called.
The frail girl lifted the Devi slowly to her lips. Her skinny arms and frail fingers clasped around the conch. Full of hesitation she closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and exhaled into a raspy sputter, vibrating about resounded, echoing in the hall. Once over, her eyes slowly rolled down at the Devi… then a moment later, it cracked.
Trevet furled his brow. Cleric eyes opened in shock. The air became fuzzy. Quietly, without a sound, increasing in thickness.
A scentless, silent, colourless miasma seemed to be seeping from her, discernable only by the fuzziness which permeated through the air.
Goosebumps appeared along my arm, my chest began to tighten, and my heart raced. Faint snarling noises came from behind me. I looked back to find Edgars hair standing on end. His claws flexed, eyes growing fiercer, fangs sharp. He blinked and tried to control himself.
“Temper yourself, Edgar.” Aitan commanded.
Edger failed to comply. He raised his arm to his mouth and bit himself, the blood dripping through his garb. Aitan raised his hand and, with a single strike to Edgar’s neck, knocked him out. Father had been watching, the look on his face undiscernible. The little girl made no movements and said nothing. She continued to breath slowly and calmly as best she could, but it was clear the stress was building. She soon began to shiver deeply, as the miasma spread, and the fuzziness grew. Soon, the first layer of shields around her cracked. They eventually became enveloped by the fuzziness, rumbled, and then, suddenly turned to dust.
The miasma reached over the second layer, reducing that to nothing as well. As it reached the last layer, she had turned into a haze. The unclear outline of her reaction - grippingv her arms, shivering intensely, her face became painted in discomfort.
“Old King, please! Permit me to place a temporary seal on her powers. If it continues to grow, she may destroy this hall!” Cleric asserted.
“Worry not Cleric, we have come prepared for the worst.” Valterra uttered, slowly raising from her seat.
She walked to the edge of the balcony. Trevet tapped his cane on the ground and a small staircase rose under his wife’s feet, raising her above the railing. She opened her arms and began an undiscernible chant. Her palms shone in a pale light, then she grabbed the very air and twisted it. She pulled the miasma together and, slowly, the fuzziness faded. The staircase descended into the first floor of the room. Once at the centre, where her daughter stood – still shivering. Valterra placed the centre of her palm onto Reinhelda’s forehead and she fell asleep without a sound. Valterra then picked her daughter up and walked back up to her seat, cradling Reinhelda as she slept.
Cleric breathed a sigh of relief, giving the room a few moments to breathe.
“Esteemed rulers,” He eventually began. “I thank for your presence here today. On the 31st day of the first full moon in the second cycle, x288, we have crowned 4 new Scions. Of Fire; Marise Mikael Egan, Prince of Agni. Of Earth; Reinhelda Maralah Clover, Princess of Cephas. Of Wind, Eurus Sora Clover, adopted Prince of Cephas. Of Lightning, Fenris Torvald Beneberakk, Prince of Nariko Cestmir. Halfryta be with you all.”
Act I Fin
This short story takes place late in the year x291. Fenris Torvald Beneberakk, Age 11 at this time. Just a year ago, Knight King Aitan offered a knight’s recommendation in the name of Fenris Torvald, after 15 years of not having a single disciple. This information was a source of dread, rage and discontent with many individuals in the martial world, composed of some of the most powerful men and women to cross the lands of Adora – many of them great admirers of the Knight King Aitan. It was to their disdain that Fenris was given such an honor. This information is really just a way to say: “What a garbage way to cap off a shitty childhood,” as Fenris himself would express it, years later.
Since the age of six, Fenris had joined his father Alok on many cross-continent expeditions. In the times since the Arcana Wars: the battles which took place in times of old, the value of merchant coin had risen. It was now common for wealthy families to sail the seas in search of land and greater wealth, greatly encouraged by the many pirates, raiders & maruaders who would return to pillagef Adora from the now-foreign lands.
The events which would result from this great shift gave birth to almost all future sea-to-land commerce. However, in times such as these, fighting less than ceased. People wagered stocks of land in grand battles that took place not only in stadiums and colosseums, but even in warring games spanning kiomets [A9] of bedrock. Any noble in control of their own domain, or man with great wealth in coin, could wager what he pleased, and fight with what he liked; therefore gaining what he wanted in return. These sorts of games were dangerous indeed. It was most common that they take a dark, ruthless and even, at times, cruel turn.
It was not uncommon for children of royalty to take on responsibility from an early age. For Fenris, however, it seems all he could recall were lulls of chaos ‘training’ & ‘preparation,’ in the darkest sense. Among the few images of solace, a still image of his mother sitting atop her bed chair, wearing a warm smile. Reminded of the day she introduced Edgar. His Sharara brought Edgar specifically for the purpose of accompanying Fenris on Alok’s expeditions. Edgar himself would, as a result, come to endure much of Alok’s spartan ways. Whether by boat or by way [A10] of the flying palace – the royal guard today had traveled the seas further west.
Now back on Nariko, young Fenris sat with his beastly attendant inside the library hall of Cestmir Palace, after the week of rest which was celebrated in the kingdom during springtime.
“What are you reading?” Edgar’s grizzly voice asked. A quill scratched over parchment under the candlelight.
“Sages’ Seal III,” Fenris replied as he crunched on a snack.
“Oh? That’s a very rare book, how did you come across that?” Edgar asked.
“Mother had Shadow go looking, I think.”
“That’s a very advanced book, young pup. After the first edition, you cannot even unseal the proceeding numbered texts without completing the test placed by the sages themselves. Did you receive any help in opening it?”
“I didn’t need any. They always left clues at the end of the previous editions. Just had to memorize the runes.”
“It grows far more difficult than that,” Edgar chuckled. “Still, it is incredible. It wouldn’t be a stretch to call you a genius, Fenris. After tutoring you personally for these past four years, I can say for certain that your comprehension capabilities are astounding. Though… to be fair, I am no great scholar myself.” He chuckled in a deep, bossy voice.
“Thank you, Edgar.” Fenris smiled.
The beast-man patted his head. “But why do you look so bored and disappointed? You’re too young to be so cynical.”
“Because I know there’s no way I’ll ever be able to enjoy it.” Fenris said, as though without any consideration for himself.
Edgar gave a stiff frown. “Explain yourself, my pup. You’re saying you desire your own unhappiness?”
“There are 13 marks across my body. Except for the two at my sides that that will never really heal, there are four new ones. The rest are old scars. Since Aitan’s decree, I know it will only continue to get worse. Something like how reading a very well-written book gives way to a thirst for knowledge, which in turn, essentially, always translates to war. My body’s already there. No matter what, because of my name, my birthright, and Aitan’s decree, there’s a fight I will one day have to have. I’ll never be able to enjoy the quiet joys of intellect, as much as I’d like to.” Fenris lamented a predictable future.
“Hmph... I see. Cynical indeed,” Edgar replied. “Or perhaps it’s just pure pessimism to lament a future that’s yet unwritten, except by effects of your most earnest beliefs.
“You mean I’m liable to cause it myself?”
“Surely, you do not believe that you’re merely speaking of the future? Words, beliefs, and values are each things that lead one down their unique path. [A11] Genuine energy of will such as can speak things into being, Whether closer or far in the future. Better to save it for your greatest hopes, instead.”
“The odds are too low,” Fenris replied.
“Aye, for certain. The odds are almost fully stacked against you; regarding anything you could truly want.”
“So once again, why bother?” The little boy said, puffing-up his face.
Edgar sighed. “My boy, what do you suppose is the purpose of strength?” At his words, Fenris straightened his figure. “Do you hate to compete?” Edgar continued.
Fenris shook his head.
“But you would prefer endless peace certainly? Competition itself is chaotic, my friend.” He chuckled. “There is no such living thing that is born unchallenged. There are those who can inspire that in us in a positive way. For example, you have always been well acquainted with the young flame boy.”
Fenris sneered to himself. “Yeah. He’s a happy one isn’t he?” Fenris returned to his book.
“Ah, yes, I suppose you mean naïve, privileged. And you are not?” Edgar humoured/
Fenris scoffed. “It’s not where I’d start, no.” Fenris said in a dry tone.
“That’s alright. Looking at it from the bright side, it’s more productive that way.” Edgar huffed. “And… I prefer more serious personalities, anyway.”
Fenris shrugged. “Dad says I don’t have to concern myself with the other Scions.”
“Is that so? Well, what do you think?” Edgar queried.
Fenris didn’t hesitate but was clearly unsure. “The world is peaceful now, right? It doesn’t need us.”
“Is that what you think, or what seems to make the most sense?” Edgar pressed.
Fenris thought again quietly for a moment. “Can’t it be both?”
Edgar smiled. “Only if it’s the truth.”
”What do you think Edgar?” Fenris looked over his book.
“Little Fen… you are a human, but I am a beast. You do not fear me?”
Fenris shook his head.
Fenris had no clear response. It seemed natural. Even obvious, to him.
Edgars’ large furry chin waved in affirmation. “Because you do not believe I would harm you.”
“That belief assumes a very much. You assume, perhaps, that I am friendly? Or that I seem at peace, and so there’s no need for violence? Either way, your guess is likely good. Whether or not the other Scions, or even the rest of the world, needs you, is something you must experience for yourself just as you have experienced Marise or myself. You are young, but you have experienced war and seen pain. And so, I say: do not rush to the quietest ending. A living thing is an experiencing thing, Fenris. That is single most common thing between you, me and everyone else.” Edgar gave him a pat on the head.
“Huh...” Fenris smiled. A deep smirk cut his face. It didn’t look like the one a child would make. “Sounds like chaos.”
Edgar placed a thoughtful finger on the thick centre of Fenris’ forehead: “Fenris, the truth is the one single true existence of ‘Ordo’ in your life, is [A12] you. Remember that. It may not be my place to say… but you are not required to follow in the footsteps of anyone.”
“He’s trying to separate us from the church, isn’t he?” Fenris asked.
Edgar held back his dismay. “How did you reach that conclusion?”
“I read about it… About the Fourth Cleric.”
Edgar gave a blank stare; the look of connecting dots together. “So, you are aware then. That our Lordship wishes to abolish the hierarchy between us all.”
“And father’s actions, expeditions, and now his reputation, have made it easier for them to do so. Because he is an envoy of the Scions.”
“Do not presume to know what your king is doing,” Edgar said in a cautious tone. “You are only allowed to focus on how you make your own choices Fenris. I stand by what I said earlier.”
Fenris gave a sarcastic sneer to the side. “We’ll both be in trouble either way, probably.”
Story I Fin