~ Side Story: The Knight Master's sins (Part 2) ~
After this series of questions we chatted a little about his recent missions and other worldly things, but that was probably the last time I had the chance to speak with him in such a casual way.
The following year was marked by countless changes, among which the most unpleasant one was the restructuring of the Brekkar Army. I knew several dragons and dragonesses from there. I even trained a few myself, but to my surprise almost all those who had even a sliver of loyalty towards the Queen and King of Albeyater had been removed from the upper ranks.
When I happened to take a walk one day through their camp outside of Drakaria, I was surprised to see so many ruffians and scoundrels wearing the prestigious armor of our nation. Some of those fools even tried to approach me with the intent of robbing me right there in broad daylight.
Pity the fool who tries to steal from the gods for they shall strike down his soul and heart not his body!
Or so the saying went. A god I was not, but I was a Breakthrough-er with a high rank within Albeyater's military. Thus, my choice of destruction was not their souls or hearts but their bodies. I made it clear to all those within the army, that such behavior was unacceptable and least they wished to be disintegrated like their friends, they should learn to behave.
A week later, the heinous activities of this reformed Brekkar Army were reduced in both severity and frequency. Word spread among them that if they did anything too obvious or loud, they wouldn't even have a chance to beg for jail time.
Several months after this event, I was surprised to hear that Sir Seryanna had returned to the Seyendraugher Castle, but our first meeting was all but unfavorable. It appeared as though Sir Draejan had been challenged to a duel by a young human, the prize being the right to marry Sir Seryanna.
Why would you even ask for such a silly duel when you could have killed him right here and there? He's a human and he doesn't even look like a noble. I thought when I first heard the story from Sir Draejan.
I couldn't even pity this young boy who looked weaker than my lowest knight. In all due honesty, I was hoping for the duel to be over in the blink of an eye, but before I could even start it, Sir Seryanna arrived.
“Wait!” she shouted shouted.
Her sudden appearance here definitely surprised me, but what surprised me even more was to find out that she was dragging with her the beast of the battlefield, Kataryna Greorg. I was one of the few to witness her battle five centuries ago, when she mercilessly slaughtered our enemies.
This dragoness was like a maelstrom of death and carnage, pulling towards her all the enemies around her only to slice and dice them with her blades. When her swords broke, she tossed them aside and stole those belonging to the enemy. When she needed a shield, she pulled corpses off the ground. When her armor broke apart, she cast ice to shield herself from the enemy's blows.
No matter who stood before her, she didn't stop until their heads rolled on the ground. Some called her the Ice Fury, others the Bloodice Witch. On the enemy's side, she was called the Berserker Traitor. She had many other nicknames as well, but no matter what people called her, this dragoness was both feared and admired as well.
His Majesty, King Feryumstark, ordered us not to attack her and stand aside until she was done. When the battle ended, the dragoness walked up to us covered in blood from head to toe, and her ice armor gave the impression that it was actually made from her own blood. In her right hand she wielded a broken two-handed sword and in her left hand she dragged the head of the enemy general.
This young dragoness stood before someone as imposing as a wielder of the golden-scale and yet she didn't flinch or showed any expression on her face. It was as if she was looking into the far horizon with the eyes of a dead dragon.
I felt chills running down my back just by standing near her, and I knew in that moment that no matter what I did, I wouldn't be able to defeat this battle maniac.
This Ice Fury now stood before me and claimed this human to be her friend.
In a moment, I felt as though the entire fate of Albeyater stood on this weakling's shoulders. What could a human whelp like him do with no proper gear and weapon against someone like Draejan who was armed to the teeth?
I could see it now, a single strike and the boy's head would fly off, then the Ice Fury would turn us all into an art piece made out of our own blood and guts. Her dark artistic humor would then spread all across Drakaria until it was turned into a ghost city.
To say that I was sweating or looked afraid? Nah! Both my fear and sweat ran away before my body could. Now I was just waiting for the inevitable.
But then, the unthinkable happened. The human boy was the first to attack, but Draejan dodged at the last second. The dragon was playing it tough, but I knew that if that strike connected, it would have been lights out for him. Draejan was spared by a drop of luck.
With the battle unfolding before me, I could feel the strength in their hits, both of them could fight on equal ground against some of my best Knights. No, I would even go so far as to say that besides the Knight Masters, there was no one here who had the strength to challenge them, and I was a Breakthrough-er.
What was most frightening about this battle, with the exception of the frightening presence Kataryna Greorg gave off, was the fact that just one hit from Draejan could kill Alkelios, but the other way couldn't work. The difference in armors and weapons was what made the gap between them so big despite the human probably having the better strength and speed.
I trained Draejan myself, so I knew that he couldn't achieve that power without relying on brute strength alone. He was using Magic Energy like crazy and playing it off like he was owning the stage.
Maybe the only one who could see how lucky Draejan was for being fought against with plebeian sword was Kataryna Greorg. Her eyes could follow all of their movements, and her wisdom far surpassed mine, so I could only guess what she could easily see that I didn't.
When I saw the chance to end the duel, I quickly raised my hand up and said “I declare this official duel to be over. Sir Draejan wins.”
If I didn't announce it, the two would have probably continued and the human boy would have ultimately met his doom at the end of the Knight's blade.
What followed next was Kataryna Greorg's declaration of support towards the Third Princess. In other words, she made a political move that would make most noble dragonesses walk with their tails between their legs. She was definitely not a power to be trifled with.
Unfortunately, my former pupil, Draejan, could not see the horror that I did. I tried to explain it to him while leaving out some gory details, but it didn't seem like I got through.
For a while afterwards, I thought that things had returned to their quiet usual ways, Alkelios kept his word about not stepping within the Seyendraugher Palace, and Kataryna Greorg picked up Sir Seryanna's younger sister as an apprentice of sorts. I heard her training regime was quite harsh. So much in fact that one day the black-scaled dragoness tried to flee from her teacher using her full might. She was caught mid-flight and then turned into an ice sculpture. She remained like that for a couple of hours until the sun finally thawed her off.
I also heard another strange rumor about Kataryna Greorg. Apparently she got into a fight with someone in the middle of the city. The damage she caused was enough to make Prime Minister Elovius faint, but that dragon managed to pull it through.
I didn't go look at the aftermath because I didn't see the reason to do so. Instead, what I did was to send a few of my Knights to spy on Alkelios. About two weeks ago, they lost track of him. He fled the city from the looks of it.
No one would blame the human boy for running away. After facing off against Sir Draejan and loosing, he become the laughing stock of the Knights and probably a harassment target for the more idiotic nobles. About the later, I doubted they actually had the guts to do something about it. With Kataryna Greorg watching them like a sheep would a bunch of tasty wolves, I could bet a year's salary that they wouldn't even get the chance to try whatever they had planned.
About one week after Alkelios vanished from Drakaria, I received a summon from his Majesty, King Feryumstark. I found it odd at first, but if my King needed me, I could only oblige.
As I was making my way towards his Majesty's study room, I happened to see Sir Seryanna and Sir Draejan on the other side of the corridor.
For a moment, I couldn't believe my eyes, but that dragoness had finally Awakened. I was honestly quite happy to see her change from a child into an adult, just as much as I would if she was my own daughter. Sir Draejan was probably congratulating her about it as well, she was his fiance, after all.
“Draejan... I'm telling you this out of the 'kindness' of my heart. If you dare to touch me again... I'm going to kill you.” she suddenly told him and then walked away.
Are they on bad terms? But isn't she his fiance? What's going on? I thought to myself and then as I remembered all of the past events, including the unusual worry she showed for Alkelios, I suddenly realized that I may have made a blunder.
Letting out a heavy sigh, I decided to go and talk with her later and maybe scold that foolish Draejan too, but first I had to go see his Majesty, King Feryumstark.
I walked up to the door of the study room at the second floor and knocked three time.
With a calm breath and an stoic look on my face, I stepped inside the fairly large room. There were tall bookcases covering the walls and a large wood desk at the back, near the window. The dragon who made the furniture in this room was someone I happened to meet two hundred years ago. He was quite old and despite his shaking hands, he did wonderful work on several pieces. The designs inspired elegance and a fine sense for art. The lines carved in often gave me the impression that they were alive or flowing as though they were made out of some sort of liquid.
It would take me at least four centuries to reach that remarkable level of skill, but I often thought that if I were to retire someday, picking up woodwork and carving might not be such a bad idea. My old heart was soothed by the work done on such fine and minute details.
Within this impressive room, his Majesty was standing in front of the window, looking down at the city of Drakaria. His golden wings were folded and hands at his back. The way the sunlight bathed this dragon in its light often made me wonder if I was looking at a mortal or maybe something divine?
Yet, this didn't appear to be a simple casual summon. The presence he was giving off despite looking so calm and peaceful was crushing even for someone like me.
“Your Majesty, why have I been summoned?” I asked in a low voice as I remained at the door.
“Come closer.” he told me.
I obeyed and approached the desk. Without his permission, it was considered highly rude to get close to him. Barging into his room even by mistake could earn a dragon his neck and his family a severe punishment. After all, there were some things no one was allowed to do no matter what.
For his Majesty, anyone who walked up to him without stating his business or requesting to come closer was a possible assassin or someone who knew not how to respect the golden-scales that he wore.
“Teolas, you have served me well these past centuries, yet I can't help but wonder if maybe you have gotten old and rusty?” he asked.
“Your majesty, my bones have always creaked like an old rusty door, but this is only because I achieved a Breakthrough at a later age.” I replied in a calm and polite manner.
“Really? Then why were you unable to see the gem that Sir Seryanna had brought with her to the palace?” he asked and then turned his head slightly, only enough so that from the corner of his right eye he could pierce me with his cold glare.
“Gem? May I ask what you are referring to, your Majesty? Has she perhaps uncovered some long lost treasure?” I asked as I furrowed my brow.
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too!
Technically, this should have been the second Side Story, but as luck would have it, I was unable to finish the first one, and since this one is easier... well... better than no post, right?
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