|The Death of a Father|
|Series||Fable: Rogue Heroes by Bluej248|
|Next||Chapter 2: Bowerstone|
|← None||Chapter Chronology||Chapter 2: Bowerstone →|
Long ago in the land of Albion there was a heroic man who had vanquished the evil being known as Jack of Blades and saved Albion along with its people from his destruction. This man was a member of an academy that trained the gifted people of Albion with unique power and skill. These people were known throughout the land as Heroes who were the protectors of peace in all of Albion. They roamed the land protecting it's citizens, fighting the most feared criminals and beasts known to mankind. They were idolized and beloved by the people of Albion.
It has long been since Jack of Blades had threatened the land and Albion was finally at a time of peace. However, even though the academy known as The Heroes Guild was continuing to train more Heroes increasingly, there was no more serious threats to Albion for the Heroes to protect its people against. As the years went by, the number of Heroes were at an all time high in the history of the Guild, but most of these Heroes had become arrogant, corrupt, and were feared by the people. Throughout the towns and villages these Heroes were causing havoc and being menaces to society. Time after time the Heroes Guild would release new Heroes out into the world, but they all were just as deviant as the other.
It then came to a point where the citizens of Albion had started to organize in revolt against the Heroes and it was just before this time a small group of upcoming Heroes had seen what most of The Guilds Heroes were becoming. Within this group was a young boy who would be Albion's next greatest Hero by helping the revolting citizens of Albion fight against the Heroes of the Guild. The time of the Heroes was coming to an end and with this realization, the small group of rebelling Heroes would help begin a new age with new meaningful Heroes.
The story begins in the town of Hook Coast where the young boy is out playing with the other children in town.
"Owww!" grunted the young boy as a snowball hit him on the side of his face.
"Oh sorry about that," said Mikal as he approached "I didn't mean to throw it that hard, are you ok?"
"Yeah I'm alright." replied the boy as he wiped the excess snow off his cheek.
"Well come on then," said Mikal "The other kids are still over there, you don't want to get caught off guard again... hey I got an idea, what do you say we team up against them?"
"That sounds great." said the boy as he packed a snowball between both hands.
As they ran toward the other two children and threw snowballs at each other, another child approached the four of them quickly.
"Hey! Help, my brothers about to get beat up! Some wankers are trying to get his gold from him! Follow me I'll show you!" he said alarmingly.
"Okay, we'll follow behind," said Mikel as he turned to the boy, "Come on we should probably help him."
As they ran behind the small child he lead them along the short stone wall that bordered the shoreline cliff till they reached a corner where the wall angled off. As they approached they saw two bigger kids in an aggressive stance facing a smaller kid who seemed to be cowering down on his side in front of them.
"Listen you pipsqueak, I'm not going to tell you again, give me your gold piece or I beat it out of you!" Said one of the bigger kids.
"Hey! What's going on?" Mikel asked in an assertive tone as he walked closer.
"This twerp owes us protection money and I know he's got a gold piece on him, so unless you want to help us persuade him to cough up the gold, I'd piss off, the both of you!" Said the bigger kid as he approached closer shoving Mikel to the ground.
Mikel immediately pushed himself up and tried to throw a jab at the bigger kids face, but before he could do so the other big kid grabbed him by the arms restraining his movement.
"Let me go you nutta!" Mikel snapped.
"Ohh, shame that," said the bigger kid as he glanced up toward the boy, "So what's it going to be chum? Either you help us get the gold from this little runt or you can try to take a shot at me and we beat up the three of you, either way is fine with us."
The young boy rapidly moved toward the bully swinging his fists as he threw one punch after another. Blow after blow he hit him multiple times on the side of his face and chest. The bully tried to grab a hold of the young boys wrists as his arms extended a strike to him, but the young boy was too fast and the bully was starting to ache in much pain. The bully's guard completely dropped and the young boy threw a final jab square in the bully's face hitting his nose.
The bully had raised his right arm as he shuffled backwards with an open hand while holding his nose gushing with blood with his left, "Alright stop! Stop! We'll leave him alone already, come on Sam, lets get out of here."
The bully holding Mikel immediately let go of him while starring fearfully at the young boy, "I'm right with you!" As he fled behind the other bully already running in the other direction.
"Are you alright?" Mikel asked the bullied child.
"Yeah, I'm fine, just got shoved a bit." As the bullied child got up from the snowy ground, he turned his attention toward the young boy, "That was brilliant fighting by the way, you really let him have it! Where did you learn to fight like that?"
"From his father no doubt." A voice said from behind the four boys.
They turned around to find the town guard co-captain Bruce standing behind them. Bruce was a close friend of the young boys father Mardigo who was town guard captain. Unfortunately the young boys father had recently fallen ill for the past couple weeks. The town doctor had examined him nearly every day since, gave him every medicine he could think of, but did not know if the boys father would make it as it was a rare type of illness.
"Not picking fights now are we?" Bruce asked toward the young boy in a suspicious tone.
"No sir," said the small child that lead them to the bullies, "My brother was about to get beat up by these two sods, so I went to get help and found these two and he fought them off. It was bloody brilliant! Although his friend here kind of got captured."
"Hey! He caught me by surprise, I'd like to see you do better." Replied Mikal.
"Alright no need to be bitter Mikal," Bruce said, "Is this true lad?" As he turn his head to the bullied child.
"Yes sir, those two tried to steal my gold piece off me, they think I owe them protection money all because they're bigger than me." Said the bullied child.
"It's the truth, he was just defending my brother, please don't arrest us!" The small child said in a begging voice.
Bruce chuckled, "Calm down children no one is going to jail. Besides this wouldn't be the first time I've heard of those two ruffians picking on smaller kids. The way I see it they got what they deserved, besides the fact it was defense of another citizen done with reasonable force. Now, you children should really be heading home, it's nearly sunset and I have to take this young lad home. Go on, off you go now."
"You mean he's not coming home with me tonight?" Asked Mikal.
"No not tonight Mikal, his father needs him home, which is where we should all be going." Replied Bruce.
The young boy had been staying at his best friend Mikal's house since his father got sick. His father and Bruce thought it would be best not to see him suffer through his illness at age twelve, so they arranged for him to stay with Mikal and his family till his father recovered.
"Ok, bye! And thank you again, you were great!" Said the small child to the young boy as he started pacing away.
The bullied child paused before following his little brother home and turned to the young boy, "Thank you, I really do appreciate it. Perhaps I'll see you around some time and we can hang out."
The young boy nodded, "Of course we can."
The bullied child smiled and turned to walk away following his little brother home.
Mikal then spoke with hesitation, "Look... I mean... I could've handled it... but you know... ummm... what I'm trying to say is... Thanks." As he smirked slightly, "I'll see you tomorrow." As he walked away.
"Come on lad, lets get you home, I'm afraid I have some bad news though..." Bruce said gravely as they started walking towards the streets of town, "As you know your father is not doing well lad, but now he's gotten worse the past couple days. The doctor had come again to see him earlier today and he doesn't think he'll last the night."
The young boy felt a slight ache in his chest like someone punched him right in his heart. The young boy could not believe it, his father the only blood family he had left in his life was dying.
"What?! No it can't be... there's nothing they can do for him?" Asked the young boy in a dramatic tone.
"They've been trying my boy, the doctor has been giving him every medicine, almost every day now and nothing is working. Your father is on his last leg and it pains me greatly that I have to be the one to tell you this, but your father insisted I tell you first." Bruce said.
"You mean my father sent you to get me?" Asked the young boy.
"Yes, apparently he has something to tell you." Bruce replied.
"But what is to become of me? Where am I going to go if he dies?" The young boy asked in a slightly sorrowed tone.
The boy did not have any other family to go to. His mother died shortly after giving birth to him and both sets of grandparents died of old age. As far as the boy knew to his knowledge he didn't have any other relatives in any town or village in Albion nor any other part of the world. There was Bruce, but with his job demands of a guard he knew he wouldn't have time to raise a kid. Then there was Mikals family, but the boy did not know if his parents would take on the extra burden of another kid considering they had six kids of their own already.
"That I believe is what your father wanted to talk to you about." Replied Bruce.
They started to approach the boys house, it was fairly large with a small rectangular stone balcony on the second floor. It was also closest to the historic Hook Coast Lighthouse where it was said that the Hero of Oakvale called the Ship of the Drowned with the legendary Fireheart. His father had always told him stories of The Heroes Guild and the Heroes themselves on some nights before bed, most of them about the Hero of Oakvale. The boy had always wondered in the back of his mind if he would ever get to see the Guild one day and maybe even be a Hero himself. But, he knew it couldn't be possible, if anything he would be a town guard like his father and Bruce.
As they got closer to the house the boy saw smoke arising from the chimney and fire light glowing in the windows. As they came to the door it opened up and there stood a big mustached man with a white long sleeved shirt and a buttoned red waist vest. From the looks of it he was the doctor that had been checking on his father the past few weeks. He looked like he was on his way out putting on his fur over-coat.
"Oh, hello there Doc." As Bruce greeted him, "So how is he?"
"I'm sorry, I've done all I can, but the way I see it he has very little time left. He's upstairs on the bed, if you want to say your final good-byes, now is the time....I'm sorry." The doctor said in a disappointed voice as he continued to walk out.
"It's fine Doc, you did what you could..." Bruce replied sadly as he turned his head toward the young boy, "Come on lad, lets head in."
As they walked up the stairs he saw his father lying there on his death bed covered in a thick wool blanket with his eyes barely open persistently coughing. When his coughing stopped he asked in a weak voice, "Bruce, is that you?"
"Yes Mardigo, I mean sir, I found your son." Said Bruce.
"Ah thank you my friend." Said Mardigo as he turned his head to face his son, "Come closer my son."
As the boy approached his father closer he started to cough heavily again for a brief moment. When the coughing stopped his eyes opened slightly starring up at his son. His father looked very pale with bags under his eyes, there was no doubt in the boys mind his father would soon cease to live. The young boys face dropped in more sadness as he got closer to the bedside.
"Ah, my son, I've missed you these past few weeks. I'm sorry for sending you to live elsewhere, I just couldn't stand the thought of you watching me suffer like this." Mardigo said before he let out another brief cough, "I hope Mikals family was good to you."
"Yes they were." Replied the boy.
"Good, good." Said Mardigo, "Listen son, as Bruce has already told you I don't have much time and there is something I need to tell you, something very important you must know....the both of you."
Bruce gave a slightly confused look, "The both of us?"
"Yes Bruce, the both of you." Mardigo said as he let out another series of coughs, "Son...do you remember the stories I told you before bed? The stories of the Heroes and The Guild? The Hero of Oakvale? Well... the very same blood that flowed through his veins, flows through ours... we are of Hero bloodline."
Mardigo reached inside the chest flap of his buttoned pajama shirt and slowly pulled out a metal circle with a slight sphere on both front and back with what looked like a strange gold colored S symbol finely painted on it filled with royal blue in the background.
Bruce's eyes had widened as his face became baffled, "Mighty Avo! Mardigo, is that what I think it is?!"
"Yes Bruce, it is..." Mardigo answered, "Son this is a Guild Seal, inactive of course, but all Heroes had carried these and still do to this day. This was passed down from my father from his father and so on."
Mardigo slowly handed him the seal as the young boy slowly gripped it in both hands, "But father, what am I supposed to do with this? Am I to become a Hero?"
Mardigo let out a slow grin, "Yes son, that is exactly what your destiny is as it was mine, but the life of a Hero is a demanding one and I had your mother to think about along with the upcoming birth of you. So I decided to choose the life of a guard instead, but you, you are a young boy yet with no prior commitments and can serve a greater purpose to your country."
"But father, how do I know this is what I was meant to become?" Asked the young boy.
"Every person who the Heroes blood flows through is meant to be a Hero in the end. You are gifted with powers your young mind can't begin to imagine. I know you will make both yourself and I proud." Mardigo said as he let out a short wave of coughs and turned to Bruce, "Bruce, you are to take my son to The Heroes Guild, I left a sack of gold downstairs on the shelf above the fireplace for travel."
"Me sir? I mean that's fine and all I don't mind traveling, but are you sure you'd rather just not send him to the Guard Academy? Not doubting your decision or anything, but I mean The Guild and its Heroes are not exactly what they used to be." Bruce replied.
"No, The Guild is the only place he may unlock his true power and potential. I know The Guild and it's Heroes have been despised and feared by the people the past century, but perhaps that is all the more reason to send him. The Guild needs a Hero who leads by example, who still cares about the people as the Heroes of old did and will fight for the people no matter what....and I know my son will." Said Mardigo as he let out louder coughs that put a concerned look on Bruce's face as he took a few steps closer.
"Sir... I mean Mardigo, my friend... you realize after I take him to the Guild I will not be allowed in with him and he will spend years training into adulthood." Said Bruce.
"The Guild will be his new home Bruce and you know I will need you back here in Hook Coast to take my place..." Replied Mardigo.
He then let out an extremely loud cough as he tilted his head up slightly, followed by numerous other whistling coughs till spots of blood had splattered onto his chest.
"Father!" The young boy shouted.
Mardigo took a large gasp of air as he spoke soft and raspy, "Never forget...the people...the people come first my son...listen to their voice and protect them, watch over them, and most importantly.....help them...."
As he let out a small exhale of breathe he closed his eyes as his head sunk back into his pillow.
"Father!" The young boy shouted louder, "Father no! You can't leave! Father!" He wept as he buried his face along the bed side while Bruce slowly approached from behind with a look of remorse and gently put one hand on the young boys shoulder.
The next evening a funeral was held for Captain Mardigo at the town cemetery located in the ruins of an ancient monk abbey. After everyone spoke about Captain Mardigo including Bruce and a few of his other guard friends, the guards then brought out their torrent guns. They lined up straight along the open grave where Mardigos coffin laid below. These guns were actually the newest addition in weaponry in the land of Albion, said to be invented in the country of Samarkand, east of Albion. They pointed their barrels in the air and pulled their triggers all at once as Bruce shouted, "Fire!" Adding up to twenty one shots.
As the funeral service ended and people started to leave the cemetery, the young boy continued to stand at the graveside. Bruce approached him as he came from talking to a small group of people who had just left the cemetery.
"Are you going to be okay lad?" Asked Bruce.
The young boy just continued to stare down at the sight of the burial in front of him.
"Your father was a good man, the best captain I've ever served under and I'll be lucky to be even half the captain he was." Said Bruce, "Nonetheless, I'm going to head down to the docks and arrange our travels... in the mean time I'll leave you to your thoughts, take as much time as you need."
As Bruce left, the young boy fell to his knees in sadness along side his fathers burial hole right next to his mothers grave, then what sounded like a woman's voice spoke from behind him.
"Hello young one." The voice greeted in a soft tone, "I am greatly sorry for your loss, Albion has lost one of it's finest guards."
The young boy swung his head upward to the right of him and there stood an older middle aged looking woman with a long red and white hooded robe. The hood had covered most of her head only revealing her slightly shadowed face with a few strands of long hair in front of her eyes that looked to be all white with no pupils.
"Who are you?" The young boy asked.
"My name is Theresa, I am a seer who has kept watch over you and your family for quite some time." She replied.
"Are you from the Heroes Guild?" He asked as he got up from the ground.
"Why do you ask that?" She asked as if she already knew what he was asking about.
"My father told me I had Heroes blood in me, that I was to go to The Heroes Guild and become a Hero." He said with a small dose of anticipation.
"And he is correct. The blood of Heroes does flow through you and there is no better place to train than the Heroes Guild." She responded.
"My fathers friend Bruce says it isn't what it used to be." He said.
"This is true." Theresa said, "Although the number of Heroes has grown greatly throughout the years, The Heroes Guild once produced the most noble heroes who protected Albion and it's people at all cost. Now in this time of peace, it has become home to arrogant, selfish and corrupt Heroes who are now feared by the people. It is because of this the people are starting to believe the Heroes Guild is no longer wanted or needed and in the coming years will organize in revolt against the Heroes."
A look of confusion came upon the young boys face, "but if The Guild has such horrible Heroes, why go there to train?"
"Even though most Heroes in this new generation have succumbed to deviant behavior, there are still a few Heroes that have the virtue and nobility who still care about Albion and its people and it is within the Guild you will meet some of these few Heroes." She answered.
The young boy still with curiosity and confusion asked, "But what are we supposed to do?"
"You will help the people as Heroes are meant to, but instead of helping to fight for the people, you will help the people fight." She responded.
As she started to walk away he responded with more questions, "But, help them fight against who exactly? The Heroes? But why?"
She paused in her tracks while still looking in her direction, "The answer to that question will come in time, I know this is a difficult time for you, but you should rest and prepare. Tomorrow you will be taken to The Guild and from there you will start your training." She continued to walk out of the cemetery down the stone stairwell into the distance.