The loud noises of shimmering magic and the clashing of sword rang clear in Henry’s ears. The smell of burnt earth and sweat invaded his nose strongly. The training ground was a large podium like a circular ring, with brick walls that stood at 3 feet to keep away the intruders or commoners from entering the private area. Chairs, tables, and taverns littered the further side of the camp, all of it serving as the knights and mages temporary home.
In the distance, he could hear the loud pounding of the carpenter’s hammer, no doubt repairing the houses that had been rundown when they had arrived in the village of Scaria, which used to be a village that had beautiful wooden houses, rice papered door inns, and shops. Trading was common here in Scaria too, if the economy hadn’t depleted.
Henry was trying to restore that with the help of the mages, carpenters, healers, and knights he had asked when they had arrived here. The first time he’d seen people run around, clawing at strangers, fighting for a piece of bread… It was enough to make Henry want to turn back. Why had he even accepted in the first place?
“Hmm?” Henry glanced from the scroll he was reading with crossed legs, looking at a tall and imposing knight dressed in chainmail and metal armor, a fist laid on his chest. “Yes, Sir Connor? Is there something you want to report?”
Sir Connor straightened up, hand going over to his black army cut hair. “As a matter of fact, I do, Your highness.” He dug out a scroll, presenting it to the prince.
Henry took it with a sigh, opening it. The smell of dried grass wafting from the paper made his nose scrunch up, along with the letter that was contained within it. “They need more mages and knights?”
Sir Connor shrugged, scratching at the stubble on his chin while his other hand tapped gently on the hilt of his sword.
“I have no clue, Your Highness—“
“Well what do you think they need them for, Rose-head?” A male voice asked which made Henry jump because—crap! That sounded way to close for comfort! Like… It was behind him.
Henry jumped off the table, whipping around, unsheathing his short sword, eyes narrowed. “Who are—“
No one was there and Henry was left to stare in blank surprise. Sir Connor stood awkwardly on the side, brown eyes looking at the prince. “Your Highness? Are you alright? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
Henry didn’t reply, armed hand slowly lowering. Who had spoken? Who was that voice? It made his gut squirm. “Was someone behind me a while ago?”
Sir Connor frowned and scratched his head, bowing a moment later as an apology. “Forgive me, Your Highness but I am afraid I did not detect someone who approached you other than I.”
Henry looked up, wide eyes staring at the honest ones of the knight. “You don't jest?”
“I never jest about things while in front of you, Your highness.” Sir Connor replied.
“YOUR HIGHNESS!” A scream rang out and Henry turned around, seconds too late as he saw a clear substance fly through the air and head for him. The world seemed to slow down as he stood frozen, eyes locked on the flying object.
It went all over Henry’s form, soaking him from head to toe. His eyes were closed tight, hair wet and lying flat looking like a soggy dishrag. It would’ve been a hilarious sight if the whole area wasn’t silent. The prince opened his glaring eyes, searching for the one who had done the offense. Sir Connor took a step back, looking like he’d seen hell rise.
Sir Connor began. “Your highness, are you—“
“Who… on ever loving Kira.. threw that thing at me?” He hissed, voice tilting to the edge of harshness that made everyone tense. The pale fists of the prince were clenched tightly. “Answer now before I’ll have your heads.”
The clock ticked, the silence stretched. Henry took off his cape and tossed it to the side, sheathing his sword back in its scabbard. He took a spear that was stabbed on the ground stationed near his table and threw it with all his might. The thing went ‘WOOOSSH’ making everyone scatter and yelp in terror as it went flying, stabbing the cobblestone wall of the camp.
The knights were pressed together and the mages had their bright jeweled staffs held out in defense. Henry’s feelings turned downright ugly at the sight. How dishonorable.
A blue cloaked mage stepped up, shaking like a leaf as they raised their head.
“Your Highness, it was—“
“Forget it!” Henry snapped.
He stormed off, fumming and seething as he left the camp like he was on fire. He was soaking wet to the bone, hot waves underneath his skin making him tremble.
The rest of the crowd were deathly silent a pin could be heard dropping while they stared at the tracks the heir left behind him.
Sir Connor cleared his throat, looking at everyone dead in the eye. “Alright, you have had enough silence for today. Everyone, back to work. Let the prince cool down and mind you, be grateful that no one was skewered.”
The people looked at the knight and murmured amongst themselves, returning to their training. The scent of ash and scorched dirt wafted thickly on the air, dampening the once lively atmosphere that had envelopes the camp.
Henry found himself arriving at the forest. Glowing weeping willows and pink blossoms falling on the grassy tracks where people would trek through, marveling at the beauty of their surroundings. The forest had long been abandoned but it still glowed with an aura of strange lives within it.
The breeze blew by, Henry shivered slightly as he wrapped his arms around himself. This was so unfair. Why did he misfortune meet him everywhere he turned? What kind of mischief was fate playing with him?
The knights had their honor and glory, the mages had their magic symbolized by a tribal tattoo of the sun. Even the Necromancers and Witches had their own symbols and display of power. Meanwhile him? He had no tattoo imprinted on his skin, no indication of what he was capable of, no nothing. He was just plain Henry who had a strange affiliation with plants.
Henry walked deeper, frown prominent on his face. He saw a few closed buds on a low branch and sighed to himself, waving his hand that began to glow with soft light. Pressing his lips to his palm and presenting it underneath the flowers, he whistled.
Green shimmers landed on the buds, said floras blooming and welcoming the first kiss of summer.
Henry retracted his hand and went on his way.
Henry arrived in a clearing, weary eyes scanning his surroundings, landing on the large patch of clean cut grass. Flowers ran along the crevices, all of it colored black and red, boat shaped petals adorning it.
“What a beautiful flower..” Henry knelt down, gently taking the petal in his hand and examining it. Did they exclusively grow in here?
The bushes rustled nearby and Henry jumped to his feet. Staring at the offending plant, he backed away, hand on the handle of his weapon.
“Show yourself,” Henry commanded, eyes narrowing.
The bush rattled, out came nine rugged and muscular men with clothes made from animal skin. They carried some sort of spears, swords and knives that looked oddly primal and made of bones.
“Well well,” The rouge man with the most buffed body Henry had ever seen, sneered. “What do we ‘ave ‘ere? Someone out to steal what’s rightfully ours?”
Rightfully… there’s? What blasphemy was this man preaching? You know what, better let that question go unanswered or die right here right now.
“What in ever loving Kira are you talking about? Steal what is yours? I’m not a thief,” Henry replied, eye twitching while his hand tightened around his sword. “Are you sure that you aren’t the one taking what is rightfully the people’s?”
He should’ve just stayed in camp despite the humiliation. Henry clicked the scabbard of his sword, ready to defend himself should it be needed.
“Oh, you take us for rouges then?” Beefy guy asked, sandaled feet crushing the flower underneath his foot. “Here to steal ‘em flowers, eh?”
Rouges? “I didn’t say that you are,”
Flowers? “Why would I steal those?” Henry asked, drawing his sword. “They mean nothing to me. They are not of my interest. Should I have stolen them?”
Beefy guy sneered and yelled something to his hooligans. The band of them harrumphed and drew their crooked swords and wicked spears made from wood and bone. Talk about short tempered. These guys were just lowly thieves judging by their appearance and the sloppy way they held their weapon of choice.
Henry crouched low, hand on the blunt edge of his sword.
“Try me, I dare you. I’ll even put a blindfold around my eyes if it makes you feel better!” he said with a condescending grin.
“Teach ‘em a lesson, lads! ‘Is bastard be filled with pride!” Beefy guy screamed, red in the face as he pointed his sword at Henry. The hooligans charged in, their weapons raised.
Henry ducked away from a slash, jumping back and cleaving a wooden spear in half, almost getting hit on the face.
The men snarled at him. Beefy guy joined the fight not long after, a large sword ready to slice Henry in half. A spear was thrown in Henry’s way. The sting of the wound sharp and unpleasant, ran up and down his arm making him hiss.
Henry dashed to the other side, barely getting away when Beefy guy charged in. Oh crap! Why’d he underestimate them? Henry dashed, rolled, and ran out of the way from all the weapons that were thrown from left and right, finding himself pinned against the tree, sword his only defense.
In the name of the gods, he was done for.
“’yer finished, lad,” Beefy guy laughed, his hooligans following suit as they closed in, beady eyes glinting. “This is ‘fer trespassin’ in our territory.”
Henry gritted his teeth. Alright Henry, think! Think!
“Aw, look at ‘em boss! He’s all frozen up!” Lanky guy taunted.
“Yeah, yeah! Look at him shaking in his boots! Let’s kill ‘em now!”
The laughter ceased as Henry got up proper, eyes alight with hysteria.
Henry screamed, raising his sword sloppily and charging in. One of the guys saw this coming and immediately rushed in, kicking Henry on the back. Henry yelped as he fell on his front. A sharp and burning pain stabbed his side, knocking the breath out of his lungs.
“Boss! Allow me to do the honor of killing him!” One said as he brought his foot down on Henry’s side again. Henry groaned, feeling waves and waves of excruciating agony go through him which made it difficult to breathe. A knife glinted in the sunlight. Henry closed his eyes as mad laughter erupted from the people surrounding him.
“Die!” The bandit screamed, plunging the knife. Henry curled up, praying to every gods and goddess that he recalled to save him.
Crimson stains flew on the air, some of it landing on Henry’s cheek. A choked noise like a pig rang out in the now deathly silence of the clearing, knife piercing the ground with a soft ‘plop’ near Henry’s stomach.
Huh? Was he dead? Did he die? Was this what death felt like? Nothing at all? Henry was about ready to accept his fate. That he was gone, died, departed. He was ready to—
“Rowa!” Someone screamed. Henry’s eyes snapped open, his body jerking slightly.
Wait, he wasn’t dead?! Ow. Henry winced as his side ached from the aftermath while his wounded arm continued to send painful pulses that reached his head.
“What in the ‘ell? How dare ye?!” Oh that was Beefy guy, who was Rowa? The guy who had been ready to kill him?
“How dare I? The question is… How dare you? You hurt a civilian who didn’t even know your domain, rob those who walk here and then have the audacity to ask a question? I should applaud you for your stupidity.” A mellow baritone voice interrupted.
Henry’s wide eyes went to the direction of that voice as the bandit that was on top of him fell forward, crushing him under its weight. Henry grunted, shutting his eyes tight from the painful impact. Damn it! Green swirls surrounded him like a blanket almost hugging him in comfort.
Henry squinted, vision strangely bright as he tried to see the outline of the newcomer who had come to his rescue. He hated it. He really did.
The wind picked and played at purple hair, brown boots crunching the grass underneath their soles as the person stood in front of Henry, curved sword pointed at the bandits. “Now… which one of you will come forth?”
Beefy Guy’s eyes narrowed, lips pressed into a snarl. “Yer on, kiddo. I’ll show ye who’s boss!”
Could this day get any worse? Freaking hell, Henry wanted to strangle everyone to death now. Curse everything that he met, knew, and hated!
And it had to be someone who he didn't know. Who was his name? What were his intention? Who was this guy? Who did he think he was? Lilac hair? Lilac-head? Psh! Ridiculous!
“Who the hell are you?" Henry hissed out, squirming from the reek of metal and rust oozing out of the dead body that laid on top of him.
The man in the black sleeveless trenchcoat, white longsleeve undershirt, and white pants glanced over at Henry, tensing as Beefy guy charged. Henry kicked the corpse away from him, crawling to get his sword. Lilac Head blocked the attack that was delivered. Good gods give him a break.
“You didn't answer my question, purple haired man!” Henry bit as he swung his sword at a nearby hooligan. The subordinate yelped and tried to hide, only to be pierced on the side.
“Rude, red-head. You should be thanking me for saving your hind.” Lilac Head responded.
Henry felt jealous at what the other was doing, move precise and graceful. If he even attempted those steps, Henry would be lying flat on his face and getting his butt kicked like a sack of potatoes. The most he could do was run around like a chicken on fire.
The grass became stained with sangria essence, silent screams and falling bodies decorated the area. Henry and Lilac Head were neck and neck, taking down the hindrance that were on their way until they were the only ones standing in this little clearing.
Turning to each other, Henry glared at Lilac-Head like he had stolen his secret stash of sweets. How dare he?
Lilac head gazed back at him with an indifferent look on his face, raising a brow in question. "What? Not even a little thank you?"
“I could’ve handled them easily you know?” Henry snapped.
“You could have? Perhaps you'd like to explain to me why you are injured on the arm? Doesn’t look like you handled them well.” Lilac Head returned, sharp khol lined eyes blinking slow.
“It was a moment of weakness. They were supposed to fall by my sword!”
“All talk and no bite? Are you sure you're a trained swordsman?"
Henry hissed, stopping in his tracks. The comment made something boil inside him like hot water, streams of hot pulses going through him. Before he knew it, he was facing the other and—
“They. Were. Mine!” Henry screamed.
The earth shook and Lilac Head froze. Henry glared down at the other, fists shaking by his sides. Cracks appeared underneath, stems of thorns shooting out like lightning surrounding and curling around them in snakelike patterns.
Lilac Head unfroze and crossed his arms over his face as he back tracked swiftly, dark materials staining his hands and boots.
“Alshari! What the hell," Lilac Head shouted “What trickery are you doing? What is this chaos you are causing?!”
Henry paused, stared at Lilac Head and then noticed the thorny stemmed plants around him, feeling the flow of magic thrum like the perturbed waters. The prince’s eyes widened as he tried to steel himself, cold waves of fear washed through him as he tried to control the strong energy.
It did the opposite and instead became even more disruptive, piercing the bodies that littered the ground and eating them away.
Dark things shot out and fanned around Lilac-Head like a tornado, curling around his form as if protecting it. “Rose-head what are you doing?! Control your powers you foolish took!"
"I— I don't know how!”
“Holy Nefer! You don't know how to control your powers? Who taught you? Dear gods," Lilac-Head shot out. "Think of your powers as an extension of yourself, clear your head and redirect the flow!"
Henry obeyed quickly and willed his mind to clear from the panic. Imagining that his powers were like that of a running river, he redirected the flow, finding another path for it to go.
The shaking and tremors stopped, the sickening green glow ceased. Roses of all kinds bloomed, piercing the barks of the trees like a stick.
Henry looked up at Lilac Head who was staring at him, the dark tendrils around him slowly lowering.
Henry looked back at his stained hands, trembling.
"Are you... Alright?"
Henry turned tail and ran, not looking back, even when Lilac Head called for him. Fleeing away from the havoc he had caused like it was a wildfire. He had to get away, had to get away! This was too much! This was insanity!
“ROSE-HEAD! COME BACK!"
Kira- The goddess of the Capital of Kira in the Antheia Kingdom. Alshari- God(Derived from the Arabic Word- Allah mixed in with a little wording system of my own) He's in Scaria and it's all going along splendidly. If by splendid you mean being stressed, it just so happens that someone walks in unannounced.