Flight of The Draykes – Prologue: You Are...
I should’ve known that this Balakash would be waiting. He saw this route last time, and he’s not stupid, though he is a big brute.
I ran faster than I was running before, In the hopes of perhaps wriggling by the ring of teenagers headed by the vicious-looking red-haired brute of a specimen.
No such luck.
Feeling the rain of blows upon my body, I idly shielded my face and looked up at the sky and remarked to myself, “At least it’s a sunny day and those kites up high are getting to watch a good show. Oh, the clouds are gathering too – to see the spectacle of a boy being pummeled by a bunch of bullies with anger management issues. The only problem is, why does that boy have to be me.”
Then a punch hit my nose, and clutching it, I almost fell to the ground.
A nasal voice sounded out in front of me, “Are you sure you didn’t get any money, eh?”
Looking up, I gazed into the eyes of the red-haired brute who was brushing the hair out of his face and revealing a heavy-set face with scowling eyebrows and a flat nose. A rather immature face with a very mature expression of anger on it.
Snarling at me, the brute spat out, “Your parents aren’t spending on those ptooey books for you now? I would say you need them, boy – since you were so stupid as to try to trick us by taking this route!”
Then the kicks, punches, slaps rained down, and I tried to shield myself as best as I could, curling up on the ground only to have the brute pull me up and under the bright sun, he gazed into my eyes – eyes that were deep-set and empty looking at the moment.
I think I unnerved him as always with those eyes. Maybe that’s why I did that. But whatever the reason was, as usual, the brute curled his fingers into a fist and, with a thunderous sound, smashed it into my face.
Flying backward, the apathy in my eyes didn’t change as my disdain for what was happening was writ on my bloodied face. I knew why it was happening – or I thought I knew why it was happening – but that didn’t change how incredibly stupid it was for Harold to be doing what he was.
It was pure madness, his actions. I knew that, and yet here I was, being beaten up, and resignation tinged my anger at the situation.
You might ask why the brute’s actions were a product of madness?
What else is it but madness when you dare to beat up the son of the reigning count in his own county?
And the son in question was, of course, me!
I was the younger son of the House of Drayke, led by Count Callum Drayke – a just man who believed that a person should stand up for themselves without aid. Though when aid was needed or justice had to be upheld, he would be the first one to be on the scene. However, in a fight between children like myself and the brute, Harold – He would not dirty his moniker of Count Callum ‘the peaceful’ and intervene.
Even then, the action of beating up the son of the Count in his own county, or for that matter, anywhere in the Kingdom of Leon, would have led to death by hanging faster than you could blink. Yet here Harold was, charging forward to deal another blow.
Thud. My body landed on the ground and skidded backward for a foot or two – raising a cloud of dust, and I groaned out.
Getting to my feet shakily, I wiped the blood off my nose as I grumbled to myself, “All the Baling Proteans have extraordinary strength, agility, endurance, and stamina. Where in Bal are my strengths and such?”
I mean, sure, they were exceptions, but I didn’t have to be one of them – right?
Surrounding me again, the leader of the gang – Harold, walked forward and smirked at me before saying, “Quite tough, aren’t you, boy? We’ll beat the toughness out of you soon enough!” while his gang cheered in the background.
Smirking, the brute and his gang began advancing towards me, only to hear a piercing scream that stopped them in their tracks.
“HAROLD, you balakash, you take one more step and I’ll make sure you never take another!”
I stiffened up as soon as I heard those words and as I turned; I saw a girl; her face set in stern lines that were radiating anger, marching toward us while her right hand played with a sword pommel, as though itching to draw it and make quick work of the bullies.
Raising his hands, Harold slowly backed away while saying, “Alessia, this is a misunderstanding. We were just sparring, isn’t that right, boy?”
Glaring coldly at Harold, the girl, Alessia said, “Is that right? Then I presume you wouldn’t mind a spar with me?”
“Hahahaha, I’m tired from the spar just now, but maybe I’ll take you up on the offer later.'' Saying this, Harold, trying to hold on to his dignity, made his escape, following his gang who had already fled as soon as they heard Alessia’s Scream.
“The day you do will be the day that every bone in your body is broken,” muttered Alessia under her breath as she whirled around and ran to where I stood.
“Are you alright?” She asked with concern in her voice.
I wiped more blood off my face, looked at my dirtied tunic and ripped trousers, looked to the side for the shoe that had come off when I was sent flying, then I turned around reluctantly and said, “I’m fine.”
The girl who was following my actions raised an eyebrow which quivered for a second before saying, “I’m sorry, I couldn’t come earlier.”
“Not your fault, Alessia. I’m the one who ran off. I thought I could avoid them but they found me.”
Taking part of her tunic in her hand, she grabbed me and cleaned me up as I squirmed under her grip.
“Alessia, I can do this myself. Let go!” I cried out, a little miserably.
Ignoring my protests, she continued her ministrations until satisfied and then let go of a significantly better-looking version of myself than before.
Examining me closely, she took note of my pale white skin, the long aquiline nose, the sword-like eyebrows, the feminine eyelashes, and the terrifying pools of darkness that were my eyes.
Conscious of her gaze, my eyelashes came down to cover the darkness and when they opened, they were back to how they usually looked, full of warmth. But they only looked like that when I saw Alessia, a few others, and my family.
“Alessia. Alessia!” Rapping my knuckles against the forehead of the girl, I knocked her out of the daze she was in.
Embarrassed, she looked away and her gaze was drawn to the blood that still stained the tiled roads of Draconis city.
She looked at me with a serious expression and said, “Listen, you need to become stronger. I can teach you how to fight and fight well at that.”
I shrugged my shoulders as I said, “I’m what, 6 and a half right now? I don’t have any strength, agility, stamina – though I might have endurance -” I said as I wryly looked at the blood on my clothes, and then continuing, I said, “You, on the other hand, are a prodigy. You’ve awakened your warforce at 8 and now at 10, you’re already a squire – a full 5 years ahead of everyone else! You already don’t have any time and on top of that, you keep saving me from Harold. I can’t accept more than this from you.”
Pursing her lips, Alessia replied, “I will always have time for you. As for Harold, he’ll be a squire in 3 years. I’ll challenge him fairly then and make sure he won’t be able to move for at least a year,” and illustrated her words by flexing her arm and throwing a few punches in the air.
Laughing, I said, “I don’t doubt it and I would love to have the pleasure of seeing it, but leave him to me when I turn 10 and awaken my warforce. For now, let’s go home, aye?”
Smiling, Alessia patted me on the shoulder and dusted me off one last time, before turning to look at the magnificent Castle on the hill that overlooked the city and saying, “Hey, you know how you said, you don’t have any strength, agility, or stamina and that I’m a prodigy?”
“Yeah?” I muttered, a little distracted.
“I might be a prodigy, but you’re going to shine brighter than both me and the stars and maybe even the sun,” she said solemnly.
“Why?” I asked.
Turning to me and smiling radiantly, she said, “Because you are Faustus Drayke.”