ALMOST TEN YEARS AGO:
Raven stood in a defensive position with Blue Lighting, his sword, pointing downward. The long light blue blade curved at a slight angle with a brilliant white streak along the blade. The hilt was oak with a blue ribbon with two silver strips wrapped around it.
He was young and fit, and was Captain of the Queen’s Guard. He became Captain at the age of eleven and now that he just turned eighteen his beloved queen made him a Lord. He was grateful but hated everyone calling him Lord Raven.
His shoulder length black hair, that off set his crystal blue eyes blew gently in the warm breeze that just swept through the courtyard of the castle. A thin sly smile grew across his face, time to have a little fun with his brother. He winked.
Across the ring Jerrodd looked noticeably different than his brother. Instead of having black hair and blue eyes like Raven he had instead blond hair and brown eyes. Also Jerrodd was about a head shorter than Raven but more than made up for it in attitude. Pound for pound he was one of the toughest members of the Brotherhood, and that earned him the right to be Raven’s second in command. He took his training very seriously and hated it when Raven would play games with him while they were teaching a class. Jerrodd quickly became enraged and attacked Raven blindly.
As usual, Raven showed no concern when Jerrodd leapt forward and began to attack, easily blocking each thrust that his brother made, but Jerrodd was slowly pushing him back. After a few moments, Raven could feel the wall getting closer than it should have been. Quickly Raven locked swords with Jerrodd and held him there tight.
Their swords quivered as the long seconds passed, each not willing to give up an inch. The smile that was on Raven’s face grew wider because he was having a blast. A thought shot through his head how to mess with Jerrodd even more. He blew a kiss at him.
Jerrodd’s face flushed with anger and he put more pressure on the swords, but Raven still did not seem worried at all. Suddenly he built up his strength and sprung forward, pushing Jerrodd back and then just as suddenly went on the attack.
Despite being as powerful as he was, Jerrodd could not match his brother Raven on pure speed, and the match quickly turns for the worst. Jerrodd fought with ever last bit of strength he had but he knew that there was only one last chance. He had to start fighting dirty.
As Blue Lighting sang through the air, Jerrodd ducked, balling up his fist and punching Raven in the solar plexus knocking the air out of him. He stumbled a few feet back and shook it off. This gave Jerrodd the opportunity to go back to the offensive.
He sprung forward, his blade ready to attack, but he made a huge mistake by overshooting his target. Raven took two quick steps and got behind Jerrodd. He took the hilt of the sword and hit him on base of the neck knocking him to the ground. Jerrodd quickly rolled over ready to keep fighting, but saw the tip of Blue Lighting pointing at his throat.
“Can anyone tell me what his mistake was,” Raven said, as he turned back to face the students in the class. When no one answered, Raven looked down at his brother, “Jerrodd how many times do I have to tell you that if you fight dirty you will not win a fight? You become too full of yourself and you break the first rule of combat, and that is class?”
The class chimed in, “Never underestimate your enemy, because you never know what they are capable of.”
“Correct class. Jerrodd forgot that I believe when in a training session if you resort to punching and kicking that you are playing dirty and without honor, and you must always fight with honor. How do you expect to win a fight with no honor?”
Jerrodd stood up slowly, with a deep hatred in his eyes, but Raven already turned his back again to face the class. That was the fifth time just that week alone he ended up on the ground, and was starting to hate it. Only if Lord Dragon would allow him to use the training that he taught to him alone, he knew for sure that Raven stood little chance. Then he would show his brother who had the right to call themselves Captain of the Guard.
A young man the same age as him with bright red hair named Cypress, laughed heartily slapping Jerrodd across the back, “Did you actual think that you stood a chance against your brother. You of all people should know that he has not lost a fight since he defeated Zorn at the end of his training.”
Jerrodd looked over at his red headed friend and punched him hard in the arm, “Shut up and mind your own damn business.”
Cypress rubbed his arm, “Damn man it was just a joke.”
“I will show him one day who truly is more powerful.”
Cypress looked at him a little concerned, “Jerrodd you have to let this go. He is Captain of the Brotherhood of the Sword for a reason. You know damn well that Queen Uneasee herself left standing orders for Raven to become her Captain. Your brother is on a whole different level than the rest of us.”
“I believe that my brother is a man, and any man can be defeated,” Jerrodd said coldly.
A few moments later a loud clapping came from behind them. When everyone turned around to see where it was coming from, they saw the Queen standing there. The whole class stood to show their respect and balled up their right fists and placed it over their hearts.
“I see that Raven has once again won his match with Jerrodd. Excellent showing both of you.”
They both bowed, “Thank you, my Queen.”
“Raven, if you have a moment, I would like to speak to you privately. It is of some urgency.”
He turned back to the class and dismissed them. Again they all placed their right hand in a balled fist placed it across their chest on left shoulder, bowed, and left the battle ring all in their own little groups.
Raven returned his sword to its sheath, the huge grin still on his face. The queen shook her head. “You do know that in a month you will not be able to play your little games any more. You will be marrying one of the ladies of the castle and I know for damn sure, that they will not put up with them.”
“I know, I know,” Raven responded rolling his eyes. “Of course I doubt that is the reason why you interrupted my class, so out with it.”
The Queen stared at Raven coldly. She hated it when he read her actions, because he was never wrong. He had been doing it since they where kids.
Raven arrived at the castle when he was about five and she was four, but no one really knew how old he really was because Raven and Jerrodd where left on the castle steps. Her mother found both of them, and attached to Raven was a note. After she read it she ordered her ladies of the court to take both of them in and tend to them.
This proved to be difficult because Raven developed the fever that was rampaging across the land. The nursemaids watched over him for seven days until he finally woke up, and the first face he saw was Uness as a little girl in pigtails.
She ran to get her mother, and when she returned with her mom, she hardly left his bedside. It took nearly a year for Raven to fully recover and in that time they become very best friends.
When the Queen’s mother believed that Raven had regained full health, again she sent him to train with Zorn, her Captain of the Guard. When Raven picked up a sword for the first time it was as if the Fates had stepped in. It became perfectly clear that the gods had destined him for greatness.
Less than six months later, the Queen’s mother fell ill and was bed ridden. Over the next five years, her health got gradually worse and died a slow painful death.
The day after her mother’s body was laid to rest Uness was crown Queen, and as her first act she made him her Captain. So at age eleven he become the youngest Captain ever.
The queen shook the past out of her head, the present was the most important thing on her mind right then. “I am growing more concerned that your brother seems to support my uncle’s bid to take the throne from me.”
Raven shook his head and laughed to himself, “Uness,” he used her first name, “there is nothing that goes on in the castle that I am not fully aware of. Nor is there any reason why you should fear what they are planning. They know that without the support of the Brotherhood there is nothing they can do. By the way, who is this guy you keep sneaking out to see?” He said changing the subject suddenly.
Uness’ eyes went wide, “Damn it, Raven! I care too much for this guy to let you run him off before I get the chance to see if he is the right one for me. You have run off too many guys who would have been perfect for me.”
Raven grew a little cross, “If you are referring to pretty boy Odion, he picked a fight with me. I just finished it,” he said shrugging his shoulders. “Anyway, it is my job to make sure you are safe. By leaving the castle and not telling me, how can I do my job?”
Her eyes went cold and she rolled them. He was right though, and she knew it. Odion did pick a fight with Raven, and had lost miserably. “Alright, I see your point, but you will like this guy. I just know it.” She said taking his hand, “So please give me a little bit more time,” she said giving him puppy dog eyes.
Raven hated it when she did that. “Alright, you win. I will give you a little bit more time before I step in. If I do not like this guy he is out of here. Okay?”
The Queen looked into his eyes and could see that he was not lying. He would not interfere for now. “Alright then, Raven, it is a deal.”
She put her arm around his, and they walked out of the courtyard still talking. As they left, Jerrodd returned to the courtyard, followed closely by Lord Dragon, both of their eyes burned with the same cold fire.
Lord Dragon placed a thin bonny hand on the other man’s shoulder. Jerrodd looked behind him at the tall thin man who was shaking his head. It was not the time yet, but it would be soon.