Kaidus lazily sat on a chair with one of the books he had procured earlier that morning opened before him.
‘…remnants of displeased followers. With his charismatic leadership, the new faction quickly rose in ranks to rival the others in the organization.
The two years following their rise, the faction advocated the alliance and unification of the different factions…”
A knock, then his door opened.
“Kaidus, dinner is ready. Your father just got back so come down.” Adalina called to him.
“Be right there.” Kaidus replied as he marked the page with a piece of paper.
Downstairs, Troyle was carrying Anise to the table while Adalina finished setting it up.
Kaidus took his own seat.
Tonight’s dinner was steamed oriv deer leg with mulse bread, sides of pickled lisal leaves, and the left over qorkos from earlier.
“What was it that was so urgent this morning?” Adalina questioned Troyle as she sat down.
“Nothing serious. There was a report of korgas attacking the new fields, and Lord Varath wanted to document the damages and reassure the farmers that he would send out hunters to take care of it.”
“Did that really require your attendance?” Adalina asked with a look of confusion.
“The lord wanted to go out there and see the damages with his own eyes. I had to accompany him.” Troyle answered as he ate.
“Daddy, I shaw nyite!” Anise interrupted.
“Was it fun Anise?” Troyle stroked his daughter’s head.
“Ehehe YESHH!!!!” the little girl had a grin from ear to ear.
“Did you all go watch the demonstration today?” Troyle asked while watching Kaidus.
“I did take Anise this afternoon. We were only there for a while and Anise fell asleep, so we came back.”
“What about you Kaidus?” Troyle questioned once more curiously.
“Gai! Gai!” Anise started calling for his attention.
“I was.” Kaidus answered and continued eating.
“You wouldn’t happen to know anything about what happened in the plaza today would you?” Troyle’s inkling suspicion was growing.
“Wood yoo? Wood yoo?” Anise imitated.
After passing through the gate into the 3rd ward, he had heard many rumors and saw guards moving about asking people questions about a young boy that was at the plaza. He never heard the details, but a dreadful feeling had crept over his skin, and he was sure he knew who the guards were searching for. Luckily, the 3rd ward was one of Ferrent’s biggest districts and the search would certainly take a while, but it was only a matter of time until they found who they were looking for.
“I was there when it happened.” Kaidus answered with an undaunted expression and continued eating.
“What exactly happened?” Troyle asked, his voice nervous.
“What is this about? Something happened at the demonstration?” Adalina cut in, seeing Troyle’s discomfort.
“Well, they were displaying a live Kalligor as the final show. Unfortunately, it called its mate, and well, things got out of hand.”
““What?!”” Adalina and Troyle both cried out.
The Kalligor, the death of the first two knights, the battle with the other two knights, how the kalligor had targeted a civilian, how the older knight had been blown over to where he was hiding, how the knight had tried to protect him from the kalligor, and how he had killed the kalligor to protect the knight.
Kaidus recounted what he saw and what he did earlier that day to his parents.
Adalina got up, walked towards him and wrapped her arms around his head. “Are you alright?” she asked as she coddled him.
“Yes. I am perfectly fine.” He answered back.
“You didn’t faint this time?” Troyle inquired, recalling the last time something like this happened.
“No I’m alright. Sorry to worry you both.” He replied after Adalina released him.
“Then why are the guards looking for you?” Troyle inquired.
“I’m not sure. I left the plaza as soon as I could.” Kaidus replied as he sat down and continued his dinner.
It’s been 4 days since the incident at the plaza, and the old knight was in his studies racking his brains over who the mysterious child was.
The sheer number of boys under the age of 10 was over two thousand alone in the 3rd ward, and they had nothing to go on besides that he had black hair, which constituted at least 1/4th of all the relevant children in the 3rd ward. The knights and guards had questioned many children who were at the demonstration, but none were the one he was looking for. The search was taking too long, and they had already expanded the search to the adjacent 2nd and 4th wards.
“There is something I am missing…” the old knight told himself.
Once again, he recalled the encounter.
The child hiding then running toward him as he yelled for the boy to run away.
The glow that he thought was an illusion.
The dark black eyes that gazed at him without fear while thanking him.
The way the child held himself even after such an event.
The child taking out something from one of the stalls.
Walking away as if nothing had happened.
‘My books, sir.’
The words hit him like an arrow.
‘Maybe I’ve had this all wrong? What if those weren’t books for his parents or someone else, but for him?’ the old knight’s eyes shone with realization.
He had thought the boy to be on an errand delivering the books for someone else due to the boy’s age and status as a commoner. How wrong he would be, if that was not the case. He berated himself in his own mind for allowing such a simple piece of the puzzle to elude him.
‘What if, instead of looking for a boy between the ages of 5 and 10, I send people to question all the bookstores within the 3rd ward?’ the old knight thought to himself, remembering the bound parcel.
“Renzol!” The old man called out.
“Yes Sir?” a young squire answered after opening the doors to his studies.
“Go find Thirn, I’ve got a job for him.”
“Yes Sir.” The young squire affirmed before closing the doors to the study.
“Is this right?” The old knight asked the one called Thirn.
“Every word, sir.”
In the old knight’s hand was a report given to him by the man called Thirn.
He had given Thirn the job of going around all the stores within the 3rd ward that sold stationary, books, and anything that could be construed as a book.
“I did not believe it myself sir. Almost all of the stores I visited within the 3rd ward knew about this child. If I am not mistaken, he is the one you are looking for.”
“These statements are unbelievable…
‘First met him 5 years ago when he asked me to borrow a book… read and discussed with me about a passage out of Gorsholl’s Tomes of the arcane to prove his ability and understandings as a requirement before I allowed him to borrow.’,
‘Heard about him from Deuvus, a fellow bookstore owner. Said the child had pretty much read every book in his shop, so he was going to point the child towards my shop to see if I had anything different for him.’,
‘I told him about the library when he asked to borrow books from my shop, but he said he had already gone through everything he wanted from the library, then proceeded to name over 300 books from memory. I asked him how old he was. He said he was 5.’
The statements go on like this! Just what in the world is going on here? You would think a child like this would garner more attention from the schools.”
“That would be the case, IF he had attended the local institutions.” Thirn chimed in.
“Explain. Now.” the old knight quickly ordered.
“Due to many of the child’s claims about the library, I took it upon myself this morning to inquire at the 3rd ward central library. Turns out, the child has been borrowing from there for almost four years. His latest visit was on the day of the demonstration. The librarian in there told me the child, Kaidus, was there for books about corvine vipers, and was in the library for at least three hours in the afternoon before leaving. Except for that last visit, it seems he usually borrows the maximum three books, returning them within three to five days.” Thirn explained.
“The child I’m looking for was carrying books as he left the plaza. Where did the books come from if he did not borrow them from the library?” the old knight asked, perplexed. His anticipation slowly vanishing with what he just heard.
“There’s an explanation for that.” Thirn smiled, as the old knight’s face lit up with hopes again. “The child was at the library around noon, but before that, he visited a bookstore in the 3rd ward: Tales Corner. The shop had just recently opened, and it seems the child was there in the morning for around two hours, before purchasing two books and leaving.”
“How do we know it’s the same child?” the old knight asked
“The librarian. When I asked about the child, he said the child came into the library that day with an unwrapped bundle that looked like they may have been books to him.” Thirn answered, having been able to remove his commander’s disappointment.
“Do we know where he lives?” the old knight asked eagerly.
“Yes Sir.” Thirn confirmed.
“Go get Horan and meet me at the front gate. He should be in the courtyard. Also, tell him to bring Daaro and Vion.” The old knight issued as he got up from his desk.
“Yes sir.” Replied Thirn, before making his way out of the old knight’s study.
Sitting by the window, Kaidus was reading the new book he had obtained for free from Tales Corner.
He had gone back to the bookstore earlier that morning and discussed the droll fashions of the Dorcon Court with the owner. They had also debated over which elements within the Inguis religion caused it to fracture, allowing other religions to strengthen their influences, ultimately losing out on religious control over the Lagolls continent.
Having rectified the shopkeeper’s view of him, he had been able to pick out a free book as per the deal.
Though reading, he was constantly watching Anise as she played with some wooden blocks. Adalina was preparing dinner, and Troyle had not returned home yet.
“Gai! blay wif mii!” Anise voiced, wanting to play.
Looking at his sister, he marked his page and set the book down.
As soon as he stepped over to where she was, there was a knock on the door.
“Can you get that Kaidus?” Adalina called from the kitchen.
Moving towards the door, he could sense a familiar presence. ‘So they’ve found me’. He mused to himself.
Opening the door, an old man stood at the entrance. It was the old knight from the other day–except he was out of his armor. Four others, presumably also knights stood behind the old man. Two looked in their 30s, one in his 20s, and the last in his teens.
As soon as the old knight saw him, the knight’s eyes lit up with delight while Kaidus scanned the other four.
“May we come in?” the old man asked, voice calm and grandfatherly.
“Of course, please come in.” Stepping aside from the doorway, he allowed them inside.
“What is going on Kaidus?” hearing the noise, Adalina hurried over to check on him.
“Lord Ravon, of the Three Royal Commanders and his entourage would like to come in, mother.” Kaidus answered.
The old knight’s eyebrows went up in surprise at the mention of his surname and title.
“Oh! I am so sorry, we were not expecting guests. Please do come in!” Adalina curtsied before she went into the kitchen to fetch chairs.
“Kaidus, please bring your sister to your room.” Adalina spoke as she brought back two wooden chairs and turn back to grab the other two.
“No, please, there is no need. My business here is in regards to him.” The old man replied, his face beaming at the name ‘Kaidus’.
Having only four chairs, three of the knights had opted to stand. In the chairs were: the old man, one of the older knights, Adalina with Anise on her lap, and Kaidus in the last. The four chairs were facing each other, while the three unseated knights stood behind the two who were sitting.
“I apologize for the unannounced visit. As you have heard, I am Gelrin Teralt Ravon. Royal commander of the 11th ward knights, Lord Knight Commander serving directly under his majesty King Sarjace J. Roulus Dalzon the twelfth, Head of House Ravon, a raiha spellblade, and leader of the Ferrent Spellblades. These are my subordinates: Horan Lorkaz, my second and also a raiha spellblade. Thirn Devershin, my third. Daaro Sinstal, a promising new spellblade under my watch. And Vion Zaile Ravon, my grandson and Horan’s squire.” Lord Ravon spoke as he gestured to each of his companions. Each of them nodding in turn as their names were called.
“Welcome to our humble home, Lord Ravon, Lord Lorkaz, Lord Devershin, Lord Sinstal, and young Lord Ravon. I am Adalina Paltos, this is my son Kaidus and daughter Anise. How may we help you?” Adalina introduced herself and her children.
“How mey wee helf yoo?” Anise imitated from Adalina’s lap with a grin on her face. Adalina quickly put her finger before the child’s mouth, signaling quiet.
“I gather you have heard about the incident during the demonstration the other day?” the old man went right to the chase.
“Y-yes, we have…” Adalina answered, uncertain what was going to happen.
“Then you know that your son saved my life, and that of countless others.” The old man stated without any hidden intention.
Both Daaro and Vion perked up, confusion and disbelief in their eyes. From the looks of them, they have heard about what transpired, but did not know the details.
“Well, that…” Adalina had lost her line of thought at the candid statement.
“I must also bring to your attention that we have been searching for him ever since the incident. Were you aware?” the old man asked Adalina inquisitively before she could form a reply.
“Well, um… Yes… We did somewhat feel that to be the case…” Adalina replied, unable to deny it.
“Might I ask why he was never brought forth to our attention?”
“We-… my husband and I did not understand why there was a search, and for what purpose he was being sought after. We were just trying to protect him.” Adalina replied nervously.
“I see…” the old man gave an understanding nod.
“Is he in trouble, my Lord?” Adalina nervously questioned.
“No. Sorry to spook you, but he is not in any trouble. In fact, I had been searching for him to give him my thanks personally, and a suitable reward. If not for him, I fear to imagine what may have happened in the plaza that day. It was because of our arrogance that the incident occurred in the first place.”
The old knight stood up.
“As Lord Knight and Commander, on behalf of all the royal knights you saved that day, thank you, young Kaidus.” The old knight gave a deep bow.
“Grandfather!” Vion yelled out, having just seen his esteemed grandfather’s gracious bow to a commoner, not least, a child. Thirn, standing by his side held out a hand to motion him to stop.
“Quiet Vion.” The old knight returned to his seat. “One must know to show gratitude towards those who they owe their life to.” The old man spoke to his grandson without looking back.
“But your Knight’s honor!” Vion spoke again, against command.
“Lord Vion, please, no more.” Thirn spoke.
“What about my knight’s honor?” the old knight turned to look at his rash grandson. “Would it have been better for my honor if I had died there in the plaza? Unable to continue my knightly duty to the king? Where is the honor in not being able to thank your savoir?”
“BUT! To a commoner!?” Vion argued back.
“VION!” the old knight barked back, his previous calm and grandfatherly demeanor all but vanished. “Do you understand WHY I brought you? A knight’s honor means nothing if they judge themselves above the people! You are not a knight because you are better than the people! You are a knight because you SERVE the People! Because you have the power to protect those who cannot protect themselves!”
Vion’s mouth went silent, unable to mutter a rebuttal against his grandfather’s anger.
“Vion… If you truly believe that lowering yourself to someone because of their status is beneath you as a knight, then your dreams of following in our footsteps will always remain a dream. Remember that, boy.” The old man emphasized ‘boy’ to drive in his point.
“Sorry about that.” The old man turned back to Kaidus and Adalina. “My grandson lacks decorum; I will be sure to discipline him appropriately.”
“No, please don’t. It is perfectly fine.” Adalina replied timidly.
“I do not know if you are aware, but your son is undoubtedly a powerful mage. Of what order though, I do not dare to guess.” The old knight stated, his voice unsure, almost frightened.
This time, all three people standing looked toward Kaidus, Thirn’s face intrigued by what the old knight just said, the other two were doubtful. Horan, having seen the display of power firsthand, had on a composed mask.
“Yes… we have been aware of it for some time.” Adalina spoke, her voice reluctant.
All the knights looked on with surprise at the sudden admittance.
“Oh? And how long have you known?” the Lord Knight Commander asked, his curiosity written all over his face.
Looking at Kaidus, she saw a stoic face. Adalina then turned back to face the old man. “We have known ever since his first birth cycle.” She answered, her voice low as if to hide the truth.
“….” There was a silent astonishment in the old commander’s eyes.
“Preposterous!” a familiar voice chimed in from behind the chairs.
“Sir! Don’t tell me you are actually buying this!” the grandson retorted.
“Even if you are my blood, another word and I will-” the old knight exclaimed.
“With all due respect Sir.” Horan cut in. “Though I do not doubt that this child may have killed the kalligor and saved us, thinking logically, I cannot believe that this child has been awoken to his abilities ever since his first cycle. It is just too unbelievable.” Horan added his own opinions.
“Is what you say the truth?” the old knight questioned.
“Yes, my Lord.” Adalina replied without an ounce of hesitation in her voice.
“How is that even possible? The awakening into the power from Lagus requires perfect synergy of both the person’s will and mind to the mana within the body. Even the youngest person ever recorded to have awoken to their magic was already 14.” Horan stated in incredulity.
“It is the truth whether you believe me or not, my Lords.” Adalina reinforced her previous declaration.
“My mother is not lying.” A voice, childish but imposing snaked through the atmosphere. Swirling about, the voice held a low baritone in one ear, and a high tenor in the other.
All eyes shifted to focus on the boy that had been silent ever since the discussion began—including his mother.