Today was a very special day for four young people as that day was the day of their Knighting. With hope in their hearts and a meticulously groom appearance, they knelt before their respective Masters, each kneeling before the future monarch of their beloved kingdom. This was the start of their new life... the birth of their true self. Each felt humbled by that thought.
Their Masters took the sacred heirloom from the nearby servant on their right and each freed an elaborate blade from the jeweled scabbard with the crest of their respective kingdoms on it's surface, time slowing and they did so in perfect harmony over many acres of distance as they chanted the ceremonial words.
“Be mine, my dear, as today you become a part of me and tonight only I will remain as you will be Me and cease to be aimlessly wandering, now always secure in the fact that you are part of something Greater. Come here and be Mine.” With that last chant each master weaved an intricate pattern over their new Knight's head and suddenly sliced at their shoulder, drawing blood that their soon joined by their own. The ritual was complete as each new knight felt a new door open in their mind and felt a new sense of belonging to their new Master.
“Go fort and rest, my Knight...” Was the last thing they heard before their masters, and the opulent throne room of their kingdom's palace grew dark as unconsciousness overtook them.
Finally, the day in which he had been trained for since the age of 7 had come, filled with both elation and anxiousness as he awaited the Sacred Ceremony. His mind replayed the last 11 years, the physical and endurance training which at times had left him exhusted near death, the Bow and Sword training which in the beginning left him feeling more like the practice dummy he was hitting. Sunrise to sunset, day after day He trained, only allowed to stop for the yearly celebration of the great Firecat Naurcath, the Deity of his people, but now, at this moment it all accumulated to seem like just a bad dream, today he would bond with the Princess.
She seemed to him what a goddess would be, her long blonde locks flowed about her angelic face like the waves of the sea, her green eyes shimmered like emeralds in the light of the fires and her skin soft and silky that seemed to radiate with a soft aura of light. As he knelt before her as she drew the Blade of Valoria from its scabbard, she began to speak the words of bonding which were nearly lost on him, her voice soft,harmonious and intimate.He watched mesmerized as she wove her delicate hands above his head with fluid, flawless motions when suddenly he felt the slice of the blade on his shoulder drawing him from his reverie. He watched as she drew the blade across the palm of her righthand then pressed it to the cut on his shoulder. His brain was overwhelmed with images and emotions, he could both see her and her seeing him, there was his feelings and what he sensed were her feelings becomeing entwined and tangled like a cascading waterfall. Inspite of it all, with her utterance of her words to rest, he was overtaken with drowsyness and his eyelids grew heavy, her smile was the last he saw before succumbing to the enveloping darkness.
He slept deeply, he'd never known such relaxation, thats why for whatever confusing reason he opened his eyes to find himself atop Uruite'cath volcano. Even more confusing to him was the fact he could not feel the sting of the heated winds upon his face nor the heat of the ground under the soles of his leather boots. The unfamiliarity of fear began to creep into his warrior heart when the realization that he could not move as the magnificat and powerful Firecats encircled him. There was six in all and he was not sure if it was the great Firecats that surrounded him that filled his heart with fear, or the fact that this was the first time in his life he had ever known the feeling. The first Firecat leaped at him and he tried to move, turn, duck and twist, he opened his mouth to shout but no words came out as the great beast slammed into him then seemingly vanish into his body.
He felt as if his body had erupted in flame, the fear he had never known before grabbed hold of his heart as each Firecat leaped at him in turn, he felt as if he was burning alive as essence of each cat vanished withen him. The euforia of the ceremony was now replaced with full fledged terror as the feeling of burning crepted through every nerve and cell of his body. Why hadnt he been told of this?, was this a trick?, was he being sacrificed?, had he been betrayed.....betrayed by the Princess?, just as the thought crossed his mind that he could stand no more the darkness returned and he awoke drenched in a cold sweat, his heart pounding withen his chest.
His head hurt, his vision was blurry, he hadn't gone five minutes without vomiting since waking up, and he was beginning to believe that the medicine was worse than the disease.
Ustad Hayyah had taught him to ride and to use a sword and spear. He had taught him how to use his strengths and turn his enemies strengths into weaknesses, to tire out his enemies before striking like a snake at the weak points in other knights heavy armor. He had taught him how to anticipate another man's strikes and move to avoid them... but he had not taught him how to endure pain.
What he had taught him were poisons, and with the threat of his induction ceremony looming he couldn't help but think of ones that caused numbness and insensitivity to pain. So he had nicked some from the apothecary and mixed it into his tea.
The ceremony had started and he had knelt before his Shahzadi. She had said the words, taken the ceremonial blade and drawn blood. That wasn't the end though, the gods were not that kind. They demanded their due in blood and smoke and suffering, so the Mubaras had bound him by the wrist as they heated a kris over the divine flame. Then they had carved the symbol of the Scorpion God into his right shoulder, and the Kahn's crest into his left. He vaguely remembered a pressure, the smell of burning flesh, and the sound of his own screams. The poison had done it's job though, he hadn't felt the pain.
He regretted it now. Even if it had killed him, he should have been there. He should have been able to remember the words that had bound him to his Shahzadi. He should remember he look of her face as she had accepted him as her protector. He should remember the pain.
He would make it up, even if it cost him his life.