Authors: Nicodemus Zamoran and DreadnoughtDT
Leo: The Becoming
The Kingdom of Bayers is a peaceful kingdom. The people there are kind and loving. The only problem is that their existence is threatened by a neighboring kingdom of barbarians who’s people are the exact opposite. Cruel and merciless, they wish to posses the lands of Bayers. They will stop at nothing to achieve this. The only opposition to this is the warriors of the Kingdom of Bayers, led by the best of them all, Leo. If they fail, the kingdom will fall. If the kingdom falls, all hope is lost.
Leo stared across the battlefield at the barbarian camp and sighed. Battle is such a brutal thing, yet it seems like the only way to survive. He looked to the side at his general and long time friend. “At the crack of dawn, we must strike.” He said.
The general smirked. "We could strike now and save the time." He said, thinking about the fight ahead.
“Take a look at those two guards at the end of the camp.” Leo said pointing. “Those aren’t the only ones awake. They are expecting us. If we go in now, we will still be on even ground. At dawn, though, they do not stand a chance.”
The general looked at the guards. "Yes... You're right. As soon as dawn breaks, they'll be changing posts. Then they'll be vulnerable."
“Precisely.” Leo said pulling out his long katana. “We should prepare now.” He started to sharpen the blade. “We must be ready to kill with ease.”
The general took out his broadsword and polished it. "Maybe now we'll finally be able to wipe them out, eh?"
“Quite possibly. Then we can finally live in peace once again.” Leo sighed. “Ever since they killed my parents, you have been the only family I have. We’ll die together, or not at all. Promise me that.”
"You don't have to even ask." The general said, fake swinging his sword for practice.
Leo held out his armored hand, the claws glinting in the firelight. “Then let the barbarians tremble in fear of us.”
"For in this hour of darkness gleams a ray of light." The general said, shaking Leo's hand.
Leo smiled. “How long do you suppose the battle will last? I admit, they overwhelm us 3 to 1, but we have highly skilled warriors on our side.”
"All they do is run and hope they kill something." The general said, thinking. "We outnumber them 5 to 1 in the skill department."
“We should win in half a day, at the most, then. It is highly doubtful that they will inflict any serious wounds upon the others.” Leo said, finishing sharpening his sword and set it beside himself. “I want the leader of their army. He was the one who killed my parents. Make sure you stay clear away from us at that point. There is no telling what will happen,”
"You mean Thanatos?" The general said, referencing the barbarian leader.
“Yes.” Leo said, a glimmer of hate in his eyes.
"I can tell you hate him." The general said. "But with all our warriors, plus you, they'll all die."
“Very true. Care for a drink before the battle?” Leo said, quickly moving to a new subject before he started to rant about Thanatos.
"Yes." The general said. "I haven't had a proper drink in weeks."
As Leo got up to go get the drinks, an arrow zipped past his head and thuds indicated many more falling.
"Figures." The general said, a dry expression on his face.
Leo twirled around. “They’ve gotten smarter since the last time we fought. To arms!” He called, arousing the rest of the men as he grabbed his weapon. “The enemy is attacking!”
"To victory!" The soldiers said in unison as they raised their weapons.
Leo charged forward, the army following him, as arrows zipped by. A few of them struck the men, bringing them down.
The arrows stopped flying as a cry came from the barbarian camp. Even from the distance, Leo could hear the clink of weaponry and the rattle of armor. Leo looked back at his army without breaking step and cried. “Show them no mercy!”
The general turned to his army and raised his weapon. "To glory!" He said, and the army echoed his actions before resuming their charge.
From the enemy camp came a tremendous rumbling of feet as their army appeared. Leo’s eyes widened as the army charged. They were not human anymore. They had changed. They were demonic now, horns on their heads, blood red eyes, and dark skin. They moved faster than a human as well, the two armies meeting mere seconds after the charge.
As the two armies met, Leo quickly started to slaughter his enemy, his blade whipping through the air and blood dripping from his clawed hand. All of a sudden, his sword met another, the blade of Rain.
Rain growled at Leo. "Watch where you swing your weapon." She said in a low tone as she unlocked her weapon from Leo's and swung behind her, lopping off a barbarian's head.
Leo swung his blade around, impaling it into a barbarian’s chest and grabbing another with his clawed hand. “I might say the same to you.” He said, ripping the barbarian’s throat out.
Rain smiled. "That is true." She said, sweeping a barbarian off his feet and then stomping on his neck, breaking it.
Leo grabbed an ax that had been thrown at him and threw it right back, killing the barbarian who threw it. “So how’s the family?” He asked casually as he decapitated three more barbarians, blood practically raining down on the two.
"Same as they've always been." Rain said, cutting two more barbarians to pulp. "Mother's overprotective and Storm is overly curious."
“Storm will grow up to be a fine young man. Be sure to teach him how to fight. I expect him to be in the elites by the time he’s 18.” Leo said, killing a few more barbarians, their bodies falling in heaps.
"I was already going to start training him." Rain said, caving in a barbarian's head with a mighty blow. "He's 10, and that's when Sergals are traditionally trained."
“Already? I guess that time has passed by too fast for me. I thought he was still seven or eight. I should come over for a visit some time.” Leo said, thrusting his sword through the chest of a barbarian in front of him.
"It would be appreciated." Rain said, splitting a barbarian in half with a heavy downward slash.
“Then it’s settled. After the battle, I’ll come for a visit.” Leo said, smiling. “But first, we need to find the source of this foul magic that has changed our enemies into demons.” He swung his sword in a wide arc, killing quite a few more barbarians as the blade cut through their armor and skin.
"I can already smell it." Rain said, taking a deep breath. "It is carried by the leader, I'm sure."
“Then fight well, my friend. I’m off to stop this magical mischief.” Leo said, slashing another barbarian. He then took off toward the camp where the barbarian leader would most likely be.
Dirge smirked, watching Leo run away as she fought. "Come back in one piece. You're like a father to him."
Leo fought his way through the army, cutting down any barbarian who dared get in his path. After a while, he finally reached the camp, and what he saw caused him to gasp. Thanatos, the barbarian leader, was larger than his subordinates and more demonic. His black armor reflected his demonic skin, and his long dark hair was greasy under his roughly made helmet.
Thanatos smiled as he saw Leo. “At last, the hero of the kingdom has come.” He gripped the large ax he was wielding tightly as he lifted it. “Prepare to join you family in the afterlife.”
Leo gripped his sword tightly. “You’ll regret killing them.”
Thanatos smirked. “Oh, and you’ve come to get revenge and blah blah blah. You’re pathetic. I should have killed you when I killed them.” He said, raising his ax.
Leo’s eyes narrowed. “That was your biggest mistake, Thanatos. You showed me mercy.” He raised his sword. “I won’t show you any. Not today. Not ever.” He said, charging forward.
Thanatos smirked and swung the ax down, but Leo dodged it and slashed at Thanatos. The blade barely cut through the skin, a few drops of black blood dripping from the wound. He shook his head, laughter shaking his body. “You are far weaker than I have heard.” He swung the ax again, catching Leo by surprise. He was able to move back enough to prevent himself from being cut in half, but the blade left a long bloody gash in his chest.
Leo stumbled, blood pouring down his chest. He thrust his sword into the ground and attempted to walk towards Thanatos, his clawed hand gleaming in the light. “I’m… not going down… so easy.” He said, his voice low. In the distance, he heard his name being called.
"Leo don't you DARE die on me!" Rain said as she ran to his side, brandishing her sword.
Thanatos smiled. “There is nothing either of you can do. You land is mine.” He said, hefting his ax confidently.
Leo grabbed Rain with his bloody hand. “No… Don’t… I don’t want… you to get hurt.” He said, his breathing heavy, but determination clear in his eyes.
"But... You're injured." Rain said, concerned.
He gripped her tighter as his legs buckled under him, the blood loss weakening him greatly. “You have a son to take care of.” He said, now on the ground.
"A son that you promised to see." She retorted, standing back up.
Leo’s hand dropped as he weakened further. He realized he couldn’t stop her, even with his words. “Then do me… a favor.” He looked at her and grabbed his sword, holding it out to her. “Give him hell.”
“Tell Storm…” He started, but didn’t finish as the last of his life drained from his body.
Rain growled at Thanatos. "That man was like a father to my son." She said, snarling and showing her fangs. "And to kill a Sergal's father is to sign one's own death warrant."
“I doubt you even have the capacity to defeat me.” Thanatos said, smirking. “You are even weaker than Leo if you think you can.” He swung his ax at Rain.
Rain barely jumped out of the way as the ax thundered to the ground, then she retaliated with an X slash.
The attack left two new marks on Thanatos’ chest, but they weren’t very deep. “I see you are still fighting like your late husband had taught you. Tell me, how did you feel when you heard he died?” He said, lifting the ax for another attack.
"I never had a husband." Rain said, charging forward with a dual stab.
Thanatos smiled as he dodged the attack. “Then whoever burdened you with your son was a fool. He should have instead killed you.” He said cruelly as he swung the ax at Rain again.
"Storm is no burden!" Rain shouted, putting her swords in an X formation to block the blow. "He will become a proud warrior! I'd say you'll see, but you'll be dead by then."
Thanatos yanked his ax back, pulling the swords away with the force. “I will be sure that he does, under my teaching.” He said, grabbing Rain by the throat as the sky darkened with thunder clouds. “He’ll come to trust me, and he’ll see me as his father, or his master.”
"He'd never trust someone with as black a soul as you..." Rain ground out. "And what you don't know is that a Sergal will do all they can to survive." She bit Thanatos arm as hard as she could, feeling her fangs sink into his tattered, blackened flesh.
Thanatos growled and threw Rain to the ground as hard as he could, knocking the weapons from her hands. “Then I’ll see to it that he dies a far more horrible death than yours.” He said, placing his foot on her chest as he raised his ax above his head.
All of a sudden, there was a loud cry. “You will die before that ax touches her!!”
Rain put a hand to her throat and looked towards the source of the voice. Her eyes widened when she saw what it was.
Leo was standing, his chest now healed, a strange red aura surrounding him. He looked fiercely at Thanatos. “It’s time to finish this.” He said.
Thanatos stepped back. “B-but how?! I killed you!!”
Rain smiled. "It's hard to kill someone with determination like his..." She said confidently, then kicked the hilt of Leo's katana, sending it skidding on the ground towards him.
Leo ignored it and walked forward. “She’s right, you know.” He said, the ghost of a smile on his face. Flames started to swirl around his legs, travelling upwards, becoming full black armor. His fiery eyes flared as a red katana appeared in his hand.
Rain's jaw involuntarily dropped. She had never seen such a man, except in the Sergalian legends... Could it be the legend was real?
As Thanatos watched Leo change, he smirked. “So you have demonic powers. I know just how to deal with that.” He said.
Leo raised the blade he was now wielding. “I do not have demonic powers. Great powers have been bestowed upon me by a powerful spirit.” The blade edge started to glow white as he said it.
Thanatos laughed. “Spirit, demon, it doesn’t matter. You don’t scare me.” He said, then swung his ax at Leo.
Leo swung his weapon to meet Thanatos’ ax, the blade easily cutting through the ax as he dodged it. “You won’t hurt anyone else.” He said calmly. He stepped forward, then vanished in a gout of fire.
Thanatos looked around, wondering where his adversary had gone, then felt a searing pain in his back when he saw nothing. The red katana now poked out of his chest, the edge still glowing.
Rain's eyes widened further at Leo's new powers. "It's as if a god had given him it's strength..." She muttered.
The blade twisted in the wound, the edge now pointing up ward. “Next time, you’ll think twice about messing with us.” Leo whispered in Thanatos’ ear, then jerked the blade upward, cutting through him easily. Thanatos’ body dropped to the ground, his body changing back to human. Cries of fear were heard as the barbarian army realized it was no longer demons. Leo walked over to Rain, the katana he had held vanishing. He held out his hand to her. “Are you alright?”
Rain took his hand, getting up quickly. "I'm fine. Just a few bruises from when he grabbed me." She said, reassuring Leo that she was fine.
The armor faded from Leo’s body and he picked up his sword and Rain’s. “Let’s end this battle.” He said, holding her sword out to her.
Rain took her sword and smiled. "Yes. Then you can make good on your promise." She said.
Leo smiled. “I wouldn’t break it for anything.” He said, then turned and ran at into the heat of battle, killing barbarians as he went.
Rain followed behind Leo, covering his back and killing any of the barbarians that she saw. While fighting, her thoughts turned again to the Sergalian legend. But she quickly pushed those thoughts out of her mind and fought more.
The battle was long and bloody, but few of the warriors of the Kingdom of Bayers were killed, but many had been injured. The bodies of the fallen barbarians, now human again, were placed in large heaps and burned and the injured were taken back to the kingdom. After a while, only Leo and Rain remained.
Leo was looking across the battle field, a thoughtful expression on his face.
Rain looked at Leo. "What are you thinking about?" She said, looking in his eyes. "Your eyes suggest deep thought."
Leo sighed. “When I died back there, I had a strange dream. A spirit of fire came to me and told me I was chosen for a special job. He told me that I would do this job until the time came to pass it on. Then I was revived.” He said. “And I did things I didn’t even know I knew how to do.”
Rain sat down and motioned for Leo to do the same. "I think you've been gifted." She said, looking up at the now rising sun.
Leo sat beside her. “The power is amazing. I couldn’t help but shake the feeling I was destined for it.” He looked down. “Life will be far different now.”
"Hopefully you'll still have time for friends." Rain said, laying down and looking up at the sky.
Leo smiled slightly. “The spirit told me I will be doing this for a thousand years. I think I can squeeze some time for friends in.”
"A thousand..." Rain said, then cut herself off. "Lucky..." She muttered.
“At least I know that this kingdom will be protected for a thousand more years.” Leo said, looking up at the sky.
"Yes..." Rain said. "But enough future talk." She said, getting up quickly. "You have a promise to keep."
Leo also stood up. “Yes I do. And at least we know I can keep it.” He said.
Rain nodded. "Storm has been looking forward to your next visit." She said, smiling a bit. "He talks about you all the time."
Leo smiled. “I think it’s time he received his first weapon, as well. I will meet you at your place.” He said.
Rain laughed. "I'm sure he'll get a kick out of it." She said, starting to walk away.
Leo’s smile widened slightly. Indeed he shall. He thought.
Leo knocked on Rain’s door, the metal of his hand causing the unmistakable sound that was always associated with his visits.
Rain opened the door, no longer wearing her armor and instead wearing her robe. She smiled when she saw Leo. "Come right in." She said, moving aside. She looked towards the other room. "Mother, Storm, Leo's here." She said. Dirge and Storm both walked into the room, and Storm was immediately at Leo's side.
Leo crouched down to Storm’s level. “Hiya Storm. You grow so fast these days, I almost forget that you are ready to start your training.”
"I am?" He said, tilting his head to the side.
“Yep. I also brought you something.” Leo said. He held out a long black case he had been carrying with him.
Storm's eyes widened. "For me...?" He said, looking up at Leo.
Leo nodded and opened the case. Inside, resting on red velvet, lay an ornate sword. “This sword has been in my family for generations. It has been passed from father to son throughout my family. It was my first weapon, and now it will be yours.”
Storm picked up the sword and looked at it. "Wow..." He muttered. "It's great!"
“It was forged with magic. It never rusts, it never dulls, and it will never break. Carry it well.” Leo said.
Storm slashed at the air in front of him once, to judge the sword's weight. "It's a little heavy." He said, swinging it again.
“You’ll get used to its weight. Remember, a good swordsman can use any sword he is given, regardless of size, weight, or even shape. I hope to see you as an elite one day.” Leo said, smiling.
"Do you think I can?" Storm said, smiling.
Leo placed his hands on Storm’s shoulders. “I know you can.” He said, then stood up and walked over to Rain. “You will be starting his training tomorrow, I assume?”
Leo nodded. “I wouldn’t miss it.”
Dirge smiled. "It will certainly be an event you can't miss." She said to Leo.
Leo smiled. “And what an event it shall be.”