Rise of a legend, p.1
Rise of a Legend, p.1C.L. Mozena
Rise of a Legend
Copyright 2012 C.L. Mozena
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Table of Contents
About the Author
Orion took a deep breath and closed his eyes. The sounds and smells of the palace courtyard drifted around him. He heard water splashing down a fountain, voices of his friends talking in low murmurs, and birds chirping somewhere off in the distance. He could smell the fragrance from a hundred flowers, dirt and bark, and his own sweat. His heart beat faster as a new smell invaded his nostrils and washed over him- smoke. This time I’m gonna do it, he thought. He opened his eyes to see a figure coming towards him along a cobblestone pathway, carrying a fire baton. An elaborate fountain sat off to his left, the water splashing and spraying anything near it. A slight breeze ruffled the leaves of trees and made the flames dance. A shiver ran up Orion’s spine, but it wasn’t from the wind. The figure stopped, holding the baton in front of him.
“You ready?” the figure sneered.
“I’m ready,” Orion replied. He bent his knees, balled his fists, and leaned forward slightly to show he was ready. The figure rushed towards him, waving and twirling the baton. The flames at either end began dancing, then jumping, then growing until the figure had disappeared behind them. The entire world disappeared, leaving only Orion and the flames. Still, the fires grew until they became one large fire, flashing and twisting, encircling Orion in a ball of intense heat. The flames were searing hot. The last thing Orion saw before passing out was the fire taking on a monstrous form and wrapping it’s hands around his throat.
“Orion? Wake up now, Orion,” a female voice said urgently. His head was swimming as he felt a rush of cold air.
“Come on, now, Orion. Wake up.” He heard the voice but couldn’t respond.
“Orion, open your eyes!” A new voice, male this time, spoke urgently, “It’s gone, Orion, the fire’s been put out.”
Slowly, Orion opened his eyes. He was lying on his back on the cold stone of the palace courtyard. Lampposts were lit all around, but Orion could still make out a few stars shining down at him. A robust woman was dabbing his face and chest with a damp cloth, and cradling him. Her black hair, hiding strands of silver, was pulled tightly into a bun behind her head. Her dark brown face revealed her age in many wrinkles, but her brown eyes shone with inner youth.
“Bertha?” Orion asked weakly as he looked up at his training instructor. She smiled.
“You’re going to be just fine,” she said.
“Tough break, eh, Orion?”
“Yea, better luck next time, amigo.”
Orion looked around. He was surrounded by a sea of faces. Most of them belonged to the palace guards, but he recognized some of them as his friends. Orion grabbed at something soft near his hand, but flicked it away when he saw that it was just a black feather. Bertha helped him up and steered him to the stone fountain, water splashing down five separate levels. Orion sat on the edge and looked into the water as the spray cooled him and calmed his nerves. A sad, defeated young man stared back at him. Several inches of light blonde hair fell over the right side of his pale face, hiding a black leather eyepatch and several scars. The left side of his face was unscarred and handsome. A single, thin braid hung below his shoulder in front of his left ear, and a bright blue eye gazed back at Orion. He turned his head, and the rest of his hair, pulled into a braid, fell over his shoulder and dipped into the water, rippling his reflection and attracting goldfish. Unbraided, his hair fell almost to his knees and tangled easily, so he had a servant braid it neatly every day. Several strands had come out during the training session, and now his hair looked rather messy. He pulled a gold ring with a green stone in it out of his pocket. The band had a feather pattern wrapped around it. He examined it before putting it on his finger.
“Come on, Orion, let’s get you upstairs.” Orion’s best friend, Chris, sighed as he helped Orion up and brushed some dust off of the shirt of his white silk jumpsuit. Chris was only two years older than Orion, but he was almost a foot taller. Like most telblec people who lived on the planet Olhoe, Chris was black skinned with dark brown hair. He had broad shoulders, muscular arms, and was a little clumsy at times. Quite the opposite, Orion was thin and graceful, with long, slender arms and legs. Chris continued, “I was so sure that you wouldn’t have succumbed to your pyrophobia...again.”
He caught Orion’s eye, but Orion quickly looked away. Orion didn’t notice any of the palace’s splendor as he allowed Chris to lead him back inside, and up to his rooms. They didn’t speak the entire way, but there was a war going on inside Orion’s head.
I’m a prince, he thought, A telblec prince! I’m gonna be king in only four more years; I have to be fearless!
But it’s fire. How can I fight something I can’t even touch, let alone, hit?
Maybe there’s another way. If only it hadn’t happened... he sighed as memories of the day he lost his right eye swirled in his head. He was only six years old. The kingdom had been under attack by the lunimorves, who lived on the moon, Lunspae. He had been wakened by a crash on his balcony in the middle of the night. Upon investigation, he found his father, King Frederic, fighting a losing battle against two of the huge, ugly, gargoyle-like creatures. Without thinking, Orion leapt into battle. At just six years old, he was no match for the lunimorves, and was quickly overpowered. The last thing he remembered was a spear, engulfed in flames, hurtling straight at his face. He had no recollection of anything that happened between then and waking up in the hospital weeks later.
Unconsciously, Orion raised a hand and gently touched the patch that covered his bad eye. He ran his fingers over the threaded design on top of black leather. He was vaguely aware that they were back inside the palace, walking down a dazzling hall with dark red velvet carpet and a high, curved ceiling. There were large marble columns between tall windows with the black curtains drawn back along the walls. There was a
“Here we are!” Orion snapped back to the present at the sound of Chris’s voice. They had stopped outside a set of large, gold and ivory doors that led to Orion’s rooms.. There used to be only blue gems set into the doors in an intricate, swirling pattern, but half of the blue gems had been taken out and replaced with orange gems after he lost his eye. When he was little, Orion would sit in front of the doors staring at the design, wondering what it meant. He also wondered why his was the only set of doors in the palace with these colors. Every other door was predominantly dark. Several of them were ebonivy, a rare type of black ivory that takes nearly a year to create using regular white ivory and pitch, with patterns and designs set with gems. Others were dark blue, purple, red, or green wood, set with various colored gems. Some of the doors that led to unimportant rooms or halls had no gems. Orion figured that the reason his doors were white ivory was because his father didn’t think to waste precious ebonivy on such a worthless son; one who couldn’t even stand the sight of a tiny flame.
Chris opened one of the gold and ivory doors. He led Orion inside, and closed the door behind them. They were standing in a magnificent room with a high, domed ceiling that had three large gold and crystal chandeliers hanging down. The furniture was made of the richest ebony with gold highlights. There were a few potted plants bearing brightly colored flowers set on ebony plant stands here and there along the walls and one beside a black velvet couch. The velvet carpet bore a swirl pattern of red and gold. The opposite wall was entirely taken up by a grand fireplace that was set with the same pattern of gems as the doors. However, due to Orion’s pyrophobia, the fireplace had remained cold and useless for ten years. Orion had a large, glass cabinet placed in front of it and filled with glass and crystal ornaments. To the right side of the fireplace there was another room, a kind of den where Orion kept a large collection of books of all sorts. Although he couldn’t see it from where he stood, he knew the glass doors that led to his balcony were located in that room behind thick, black curtains.
Orion slumped in a black velvet recliner and Chris took a seat on the couch. For a while, neither of them spoke. The only sound was a low ticking that came from the large freestanding clock in a corner of the main room. Chris kept glancing at Orion, who was looking at his knees. Orion’s only memory before he lost his eye was that of lots of colorful flowers and the smell of the ocean, so he didn’t remember how his father treated him before he lost his eye. Orion was sure that the resulting pyrophobia was the reason his father never wanted to spend any time with him, so he took up training every day in the hope of breaking his fear of fire. His mother, Queen Patricia, had died shortly after Orion lost his eye, so gaining his father’s approval meant everything to Orion.
“It wasn’t that bad,” Chris said, breaking the silence. Orion gave him a quizzical look, so Chris continued, “The training session, I mean.” Chris shifted his gaze, “You really flattened us during sparring practice.” Chris looked up hopefully.
“Yea, actually, I think you guys took it easy on me,” Orion said with a half smile, thinking more about how to make his father like him, and not about what happened earlier that day.
“No we didn’t, honest!” Chris replied, a little too quickly. Trying to cheer Orion, he continued, “You’re gonna make a great warrior someday, ya know.” Orion was about to argue, but decided to drop it. He knew full well that his father would never approve of a half-blind warrior. His father didn’t even want him to train at all, so Orion started training in secret, when he knew his father would be busy. He didn’t want Chris to know that, and he wanted to be left alone with his thoughts.
“Listen, I’m tired.” Orion stated, trying to sound casual, “I’m going to bed.”
“Yea, okay. Good night, Orion.”
Rise of a Legend by C.L. Mozena / Fantasy have rating 3.4 out of 5 / Based on37 votes