Chapter 3 Title Image

Fear

Chapter 4:
Legendary Syria

By: Justin

The Land of Syria, upon its birth, was the relative home to the nightmarish beasts known simply as the demons. Thanks to the humans winning the war however, Syria slowly rose up as a human nation, creating one of the integral societies of education. Today, it’s recognized as one of the smartest nations in Bethumet, where many people go to study and learn numerous facts and secrets. While they may be smart, they also have one of the most consistent knights in all of Bethumet, and they’ve also recently begun to establish the Mage knights, sorcerers skilled in the arcane arts. However while Syria is an important land, we focus on today, the end of a five year regimen for the top soldiers in the country and I put my focus on a character of immense potential that lurks around, pacing back and forth as he waits to see passing grades in all his subjects.

He, along with many others, were in the Syrian Academy, a prestigious learning and skill school where men and women who want to become a Syrian Knight were required to register here and pass a series of tests over a five year span to gain admittance and be fully recognized as a Knight of Syria. After one gains clearance to become a knight, they are given a certain test to determine what regiment one is put into, with 13th being the highest and 6th being the lowest, and that determines how important you are in the army. If a person gets into the 13th regiment, you are then selected to become a member of Syria’s grand Four Wings, which I would explain except I’ll go into detail with that later, but in order to get into that regiment, you’d have to pass every subject and skill given, and with 34 skills to display and numerous subjects to learn, it would seem impossible.

So while many soldiers would not subject themselves to this kind of torture, only a 17 year old kid, who should be in standard school in Syria by the way than in this academy, hopes that he got every single subject possible right as he wants to become a Syrian Knight of the 13th regimen. He was pacing for hours as he waited to get his grades, and when he finally got them,

"ARRRGGGHHHH!!!" was the only sound poor Fayre could utter internally as he passed 34 Knight skills, the highest anyone can go, and 20 subjects. But that’s the problem for Fayre, it was only 20 subjects, and there’s 21 of them. Sure he’s very good with Science, extremely good in History, and historically great at learning different languages. There just happens to be only one subject he’s really bad at no matter how hard he’s studied (he once blew off an entire weekend of training): "D+. Man I hate math…." said the yellow haired young man who wore the standard Syrian gear: Maroon armor with yellow curves on the sides of armor on his body and legs, and had a pack around his waist that held some small items, such as vials and herbs. Despite the failure, he would be placed in the 12th regiment, so that means he’s probably a top candidate to join the upcoming war against Kenion. That’s not good enough for Fayre, especially considering his past.

He was never a bad kid, and will never come close to one, and rarely slacked off on duties such as cleaning and cooking, but at the age of 9, he wasn’t rewarded for being a very kind and generous boy. When he was put in school, he didn’t do anything, yet not everyone in his class grew fond of him. When he came home he was always used to the sight of his house being empty. That’s because, while his parents do deserve fault still, it was hard to get a job anywhere in Syria, and with his parents not being fighters, they had to get jobs in markets, warehouses, bars, and more, spending little to no time with him. When they do get home, they’re usually tired from working. Because of their desire to work, Fayre and his parents were usually distant from each other, and he had to mostly clean, sleep, and look after himself. Sometimes his parents would be gone for months, causing the kid to cry out loudly, but since he and his family lived outside of Syria, no one would notice the beseeching cries.

Three years later, when he was 12 years old, it was wintertime in Syria, and Fayre’s parents did not come back in three months. He took a step out of the house and waited patiently, in the snow, with more falling on his face until nightfall. From that point on, Fayre stopped going to school and waited until his parents came back home. After another month of waiting and no knowledge of his parents’ whereabouts, he gave up waiting for them and chose to leave the house and went off in search of a new direction.

He ended up going in Syria to see if he could find a job, which was impossible since 12 year olds were hardly qualified for jobs at the time, especially for one who didn’t even get past grade school. After hours of searching and rejections, it seemed Fayre would have no luck. Luckily (or unluckily), he stumbled onto a poster that had the words such as, ‘BECOME SYRIAN KNIGHT. JOIN SYRIAN ACADEMY,’ or words to that effect. Foolishly enough, it somehow didn’t have an age requirement, so while he didn’t know how it would turn out, Fayre decided to register for academy training.

As soon as Fayre got there, it was obvious how much the age difference really mattered; if one looked around, there were men and women who were in the age of 20 to the mid 30s. He was the only one who was in the 10s, and once it was known that a 12 year old kid was in the academy, most officials tried to chase him away, telling him that it was dangerous, that he should be with his parents, he should be learning, and other comments to rid his presence. As tough as Fayre is, he was intimidated at times by the officials. He didn’t let it get to him though as he still stayed on the academy, which quickly agitated the officials.

After a week passed, on official orientation, a white bald headed man with a taciturn kind of complexion about him, wore the standard Syrian gear except the armor on his legs was black, protruded through the crowd, getting numerous cheers from many soldiers, and talked to many of the officials until he walked around, noticed that there was a young kid leaning against the wall by himself, walked slowly towards a nearby official and asked in a bold voice,

"Hey, what’s that kid doing there?"

"Hrm? What? Oh, that kid! I don’t know. I think he seriously believes that he can make it here! What ridiculousness!"

"Well, what have you done to dispel that notion?" The bald headed man glanced at the kid.

"We‘ve tried everything, from intimidation, weapons display, the works! He just won’t leave here!"

"Heh…maybe you should hand him a weapon. Then he’ll know what he’s up against, huh?"

"…..HAHAHA! Maybe if he built some muscle, general! All right, let’s see how he handles a weapon!" So in about an hour’s time, four officials and the bald headed man set up a skills challenge for the young Fayre in a wide open meadow with seven medium length circular red targets that were taped in a row horizontally down a tree. They called Fayre and the other 200 soldiers or so to the area.

"All right!" one of the officials shouted in such an "interesting" way, "This here young pup has a chance to become in service to Syria! Never in our history could we have one so young!" Some of the soldiers started chatting about the kid, none of them in positive remarks. In fact, I think it’s safe to say no one noticed him here until now. "But today, " the official continued, "He shall bravely try and knock down all seven of these targets in two minutes! Only then shall he be fully recognized as one of you!" He pointed to the soldiers.

"My grandpa can destroy those targets in ten seconds with two bad legs!" was a shout from the throng of soldiers as they laughed wildly at the event taking place, and incredulously enough, a few officials had a smirk on their faces, and even the bald headed man had a wicked smile on his face, yet you wouldn’t get the feeling that he was smiling from the outburst.

"Well, kid," the official who spoke to the crowd approached Fayre, "Are you ready?" Fayre, upset at how he’s been treated, remained silent. "Don’t worry about it kid, I’ll help you out!"

The official glanced sharply at another of his official buddies and that official who was glanced at chose, not a training axe, not a bronze sword, not even a steel sword, but a silver lance. At the time, it was known as the premier lance for masters of the skill, so as the soldiers saw this they started to gasp. Then in a few seconds many of them headed back into orientation grounds, clearly believing that the kid was incapable of wielding any weapon, much less a silver lance. The officials didn’t seem to mind as they believed that this would finally scare the kid away, and force him to go back home.

"All right kid, good luck!" said the official with the silver lance as he walked slowly towards Fayre and "accidentally" dropped it in his direction. It didn’t look like an accident because as soon as the lance was in Fayre’s hands, he destroyed the targets in mere seconds, and did it with such guile and flawlessness that the soldiers who still stood there, most likely to laugh their heads off, and watched and the officials who stood there and watched were completely stupefied. There was only one person who laughed vigorously at the events that took place, and that happened to be the bald-headed man, and as soon as the officials tried to join in, he stopped laughing suddenly, had a very serious look on his face as he yelled,

"So, who feels embarrassed now? HAHAAHA!!!!" Once he said that the officials looked ashamed and actually they were quite reserved for a day or two because of what they just saw. As for Fayre, this began his unlikely legend. He was congratulated by the soldiers who actually watched the event; the word spread about the feat he just accomplished; and in a manner of hours, Fayre began to be known as a prodigy, a young kid that defied the odds, and someone who could rival the Four Wings combined eventually. Of course, that’s all pure conjecture, but nonetheless, at that time, Fayre seemed to be viewed as someone with great potential and soon became respected by everyone in the academy.

Despite all that, he never took himself seriously, always saying that he has something to prove every day, and now that he’s 17, he still doesn’t believe he’s that strong and still believes he has something to prove. He also wanted to work alongside that bald-headed man, but with the failure of math, he knew that opportunity would be a long time coming.

Anyways, he was pretty distraught after seeing his grades, until a black haired man with a black face wearing the standard Syrian gear came towards him with a bucket of water and inexplicably poured it down on Fayre’s back.

"AHHH!!!!! Coollldddd!!!!" screamed the young sounding Fayre.

"What the hell are you moping about, you downer?!?!" said the man who looked like he was in his late 20s.

"A-Adrian?!?! You cad! Ow!" Fayre got conked on the head by Adrian.

"You idiot! You knew no one was going to pass math!"

"B-but…I studied….ow!"

"Dude, no one was going to pass math. They make up about 97.9% of the problems! No amount of studying," he began giving him playful noogies, "Was going to lessen that!"

"All right, all right! Stop! I concede!"

"Well, at least answer me this: why did you try and get into the 13th regiment? Eventually you’ll be a member of the Four Wings!"

"Well, that question will happen to be a secret, at least for now. Regardless, no one can predict the future." Adrian sighed as he let Fayre go. "So, what regiment have you been put in?"

"I’m in the 11th regiment. Looks like I’ll have to wait unless you need backup."

"Well, I’m glad you did well for yourself."

It took only two days before the Thgil mercenaries and Shade made it to the Country of Syria, known for being a land of solid opportunities, but more known for their exceptional training of their knights, and of course, the world famous Syria Four Wings. The town of Syria was all about top notch houses and first rate items, plus occasional games of chance and the usual hubbub in a place as large of Syria. The entire Land of Syria is pretty big and holds many towns and locales in the area, but of course the town of Syria is the most popular.

Along with a few of Syria’s soldiers, they were escorted into the castle of Syria, where as soon as they were inside the castle they were immediately greeted by the King of Syria, Sorentine.

"Welcome to our land, young mercenaries! Welcome to our land, Shade Rivenwald!" said King Sorentine, who looked rather grave under his cheery like disposition, had slightly dark grey hair that fell to his shoulders, wore a maroon cape over his orange shirt, wore a blue belt over his grey pants, and black boots. After the mercenaries and Shade bowed, they was escorted into their rooms for the night, but at noon they was led to a room where there was a table and numerous weapons and maps on it, which meant that they was led into a war room.

"It’s finally nice to meet you four face to face!" exclaimed Shade as he greeted the Legendary Syria’s Four Wings. The Four Wings were formed ten years ago at the command of King Sorentine, and since then these four warriors have created numerous (if somewhat unrealistic) legends since its creation.

"It’s nice to meet you as well, Shade!" said a bold, bald headed man as shook hands with Shade. He looked towards the mercenaries’ direction. "I guess we need to introduce ourselves: my name is Thomas, the General of the Syrian army. Nice to meet you." The mercenaries bowed towards Thomas, and they did the same with the three other Wings as they introduced themselves.

"My name is Jeannine," she said in a clear and concise tone, while having the face of a beautiful woman with red lips, wore a long red dress with Syrian symbols that matched her red, flowing hair and red shoes, and wore a maroon cloak, "And I am the General of the newly instituted Mage Units."

"My name is Eisen," he said in a gentle tone, who had grey hair but looked like he was in his early 30s, wore a similar style like Thomas’s garb, except the color was silver on his leg armor, and looked less restricting than Thomas, "I’m second in Command to General Thomas."

"And my name is Rice," he said in a calm demeanor, and wore the standard Syrian gear, but had a brown cape on his shoulders, "And I command the Paladin Knights in the Syrian army. It is a pleasure to meet you all."

After they introduced themselves, Shade began his introduction, then the mercenaries followed suit:

"My name is Shade Rivenwald. Please, just call me Shade. And no special titles is necessary for me."

"My name is Tyrande. I am the leader of the Thgil Mercenaries. It’s a pleasure to meet all of you."

"My name is Lane, and I’m the general advisor of the Thgil Mercenaries. Pleasure to meet you. "

"My name is Sachi and I’m second in command of the Thgil Mercenaries. Nice to finally meet you!"

"Just call me Paragon. I’m glad that I’ve finally met you guys!"

"My name is Catalena. I’m honored to meet such an established force such as you four."

And with that, the war meeting began. At the onset, King Sorentine explained to the mercenaries and Shade how the war began. While he believed that Syria would have enough soldiers to defeat Kenion,

"Any additional units, as slight as it is, will make this war end much faster. Now, it is time to discuss strategies for this war. Thomas!" Thomas nodded, then gave a detailed explanation to everyone about where to attack and what to capture as Kenion has eight forts, and gave an explanation of the expected forces Kenion has to offer.

"They may have taken out Tor Korse," said General Thomas, "But if they think that they are going to surprise us again, they are surely mistaken this time! I believe that we can go and capture their weakest fort in Lados, as they don’t have the best units and reports say that they get reinforcements once a month. I believe that this is our best chance to get this war started off in our favor. Now Lane," he turned towards him, "Since you are the advisor of your group, any thoughts about the plan?"

"Well…after thinking about it, I personally thought about Piten Castle, considering that its easy to slip into the trees and do a surprise attack, but it frequently rains in the Tula region, and that would slow down our movement, so I agree with your strategy. The only question is how long the trip to Fort Lados is?"

"I believe it would take about three days, if we leave early tomorrow, and assuming we don’t run into any trouble, we could get there slightly earlier."

"I have a question," said Shade, "What do we do if that figure that destroyed Nagrun Castle and Fear shows up?"

"Hmm…well, what do you suggest we do?"

"That’s the problem. With all these soldiers we’re just going to be cluttered up and the mercenaries and I can’t do anything to stop him. The best thing to do is to send a small force for tomorrow morning, then each hour more soldiers are headed our way. After about…let’s say for now 300 units get sent each day. If we can capture a few forts, we can bring more units to hold position there. Of course, we might need more, but this is the best thing to do for now."

"I see….well, I hope it works." So after deciding what they was going to do, they discussed even more scenarios, then began the discussion about funds, supplies, the usual war time intricacies, and after an hour or so of talking, they retired for the day.

"Man…that was…so long…" moaned Paragon as he tried to stretch out after leaving the war room. " I hope…I don’t have…to do that again…."

"Well Paragon," said a cheery Tyrande, "Welcome to war, I guess!"

"You…seem…excited…"

"Well…more nervous than excited…I don’t know what to expect!"

"I know what to expect," said Lane, "A lot of pain. Sadness. That’s how war is in reality."

"Lane!" yelled Catalena, "Please! I don’t even want to think about anything negative!"

"I’m just merely stating the facts."

"Well, you don’t have to be so cold!"

"But it’s the sad truth," stepped in Shade. "You cannot in your right mind deny the amount of sadness war can cause. We could all live. We could all die. We believe we’re fighting in the right. Kenion believes they’re fighting in the right. Even if one side wins, irreparable losses will haunt each side forever. That’s why I can’t stand war. Nobody wins."

"Then…why? Why do you fight in this war?"

"Easy. I have friends and good people to fight for. And of course, I want to know the reason for this war in the first place, straight from King Numida’s mouth."

"So like you, Master." said Tyrande quietly. Shade’s ears perked up.

"You say something?"

"Oh, no way Master! I’d never say anything about you having ulterior motives!"

"…..Why you little…get back here!" Shade screamed as Tyrande ran in circles around Shade, causing a great laugh around the mercenaries.

Time went rather fast on the day before the war, with dusk already settling in with dark blue skies. While it wasn’t terribly late, most soldiers were so nervous that they either couldn’t sleep or slept early. Some regulars though, would rather chat than sleep as Tyrande and two of Syria’s Four Wings, Thomas and Jeannine, began a long conversation about the upcoming war.

"Man, are we so inexperienced. Wars just don’t happen out of the blue, huh?" Sighed Tyrande.

"Well of course they don’t," shrugged Thomas. "I mean, if they did, then we’d all be literally dead with experience!"

"The only experience," said Jeannine, "we can use to our advantage is what we’ve read in books and reflect on our training from birth."

"Say, how long have you two been training?" said Tyrande.

"Well, I’ve had the luxury of being able to study magic for 15 years, and well, I’ve been able to get by with not so good stamina…."

"Since I was a kid I learnt how to fight, and I’ve been fighting in the army for 25 years, and I plan on continuing to fight." said Thomas boldly.

"Well…I think I safely say that it’s rare for kids to train when they’re mere pups!" Kidded Tyrande.

"HA! I wonder how today’s generation would be able to put up with the kind of training that we did in the past! That’s why they don’t last too long in training today! Just don’t have the commitment!"

"Thomas…." sighed Jeannine.

"What? Well…it’s the truth!"

"Oh well…that’s how it is!" said Tyrande. "Well, we definitely can’t die in this war, knowing that there are things that we must know.

"Like King Numida’s sudden desire to be a maniac! I can’t believe this!"

"Yes, I can hardly understand it either," chimed in Jeannine. "I believe we must get to the bottom of this mystery!"

"Did you ever meet King Numida?" asked Tyrande.

"Yes. He seemed like a great man. He treated everyone with kindness and virtue, and created numerous peace treaties that he’s suddenly broken into pieces."

"I wonder if his change has any connection to that creature Fear, "said Thomas, "and what happened in Nagrun."

"Hmm…I don’t see any connection there," said Tyrande. "But as for them, it would not be good to run into those guys during the war!"

"Yeah, I think we’d be in quite a bind. Can any of us stop those guys?"

"…I believe that my mercenary force and Shade can stop Fear. I don’t know about this other group. I mean they did destroy Nagrun, considered the premier militia force, and with our large group, casualties will surely rise." They continued to speak about this matter, but a young voice shouted,

"General Thomas! General Thomas!" from the end of the hallway as a yellow haired youth ran up towards them.

"H-hey," said Tyrande, "What’s that kid doing in here-"

"Fayre!!! Nice to see you, kid!!!" bellowed Thomas as he went up towards the kid, along with Jeannine.

"….A kid in the Syrian army?" thought Tyrande as she walked up to the kid, who bowed to General Thomas and Jeannine, then bowed to Tyrande while saying,

"It’s an honor to meet you, Lady Tyrande." said Fayre cheerfully.

"H-hello, young man," she bowed to the kid, "It’s an honor to meet you as well." She then shook hands with the kid, but what she felt was an immense, untapped power hidden inside the body of this 17 year old kid. "W-wow…no wonder he’s in the army," she thought to herself. "He has so much potential…"

She let out a small gasp and had a sad thought in her mind. "You’re not participating in this war are you?" she said to the kid.

"Well…I mean," he was shortly taken aback at Tyrande’s concern, "I have been assigned to the 12th regiment. I’m expected to fight, and if I can serve my country, I will." Tyrande was filled with worry, but Thomas assured her that Fayre’s here for a reason.

"Hey, don’t worry about him. He’s the last soldier I’d worry about in this war, and you can sense it too, can ya? He’s a master in every aspect of Syrian training."

"General!" Fayre blushed, "You don’t have to lie about me! You’re way superior in every skill compared to me!"

"HAHAHA!!!! Well, we’ll see about that in the future, now won’t we?" Thomas also mentioned that Fayre’s done something he’s never been truly capable of doing: learning magic. "Hey, I mean it sounds nice to have many ways to survive in battle, but magic? I hate magic! Can’t believe to this day I’ve been taught them!"

"Well, my friend," Jeannine patted Thomas on his shoulder a few times, "Welcome to the mage business!" She said rather jubilantly. So after a few more talks, they departed to their quarters for the night. Well, that was the case until Tyrande, who had a 15 minute walk to her room, and was a few steps away from her door, heard a familiar voice yell,

"Lady Tyrande! Lady Tyrande!" yelled Fayre as he ran up to her.

"What’s wrong?"

"Nothing of course, Lady Tyrande," he said as he sat down and leaned against the wall, "…I just was wondering…if you could answer my request?"

"Sure, no problem, but please stop calling me Lady Tyrande. I’m not much for formality."

"But…that just won’t do! Someone of your stature should be respected!"

"I think I get entirely too much respect as it is. Well, if you choose not to say just Tyrande, then I guess this conversation is over-"

"OK! Tyrande! Please answer my question!!!!" He nearly begged her at this point.

"….Ok…please go on."

After he hesitated for a few seconds he said, "After…this war is over….I was contemplating whether or not I should…accept my position full time as a 12th regiment soldier in the Syrian Knights, or go on a long journey by myself. What do you think I should do?" Tyrande was perplexed by this.

"Uh….I think you should stay here with the knights! That should help you!"

"….I expected you to say that. That makes my decision easier…" Fayre stood up, looked into the eyes of Tyrande, and said, "Tyrande…can you please take me on and be my master?"

"What?!?!?" I’m pretty sure she was stupefied. "Y-you can’t be serious…"

"I am….I feel...no rather, I believe that you will help me reach my goal…to protect everyone and to become stronger. I believe you hold a hidden power, that only a few can know, and while I may never figure it out, I know that by training under you will make me become what I’ve aspired to be." Seemingly flustered and entranced while Fayre was speaking, Tyrande quickly got back to normal and argued,

"I…I have a mercenary group to command. I can’t train you and watch over my comrades!"

"Well, then I’ll use my skills to join your group! As long as I can watch and learn from you!" She was continuing to think of a way to turn his offer down, but he looked at her with his yellow like eyes and had such a delicate face, thoughts of turning him down were quickly dismissed.

"….Ok…fine….I will train you," Fayre was about to jump up for joy, "BUT on two conditions!" He stopped abruptly. "One, you have to survive this war. There’s no way I can train a dead person. Then two, you’re gonna have to put up with the same kind of training that my master, Shade, put me through! You may be a kid, but there will be no exceptions to my training!"

"N-no problem!" Fayre said in the utmost joy. "Good night, Lady Tyra- I mean Tyrande!" he said as he ran towards his room.

"….Reckless kid…." she said with a contented smile on her face as she stood there looking in the direction of where Fayre ran until he was out of her sight before she finally headed to her room door. She held the door knob and was about to enter her room, until another familiar voice stepped out of the shadows, but this time, she knew who it was. What she didn’t know was what he had for her.

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