Authors: Enrique R. Rodriguez
Copyright © 2015 Enrique R. Rodriguez
All rights reserved
PAGE PUBLISHING, INC.
New York, NY
First originally published by Page Publishing, Inc. 2015
ISBN 978-1-63417-852-5 (pbk)
ISBN 978-1-63417-853-2 (digital)
Printed in the United States of America
o my father Michael and sister Maranda. For the love they showed, without doubt.
In a world similar to Earth—the year would be 1501—two lands fight for control, the land of Incontinence and the land of Fraudule. The sun’s heat pours down on all the soldiers on a battlefield. This battle is held on the border of the land of Incontinence and Fraudule. This battle is in an open meadow full of tall grass with woods surrounding. Soldiers swing and thrust swords into one another fiercely with dying grunts echoing through the valley.
Out of this battle, there is one man who stands out. He is an Incontinence soldier who is in his midthirties with straight long brown hair down to his shoulders; he has been forced into this war against his will and is trying to survive to see his family one more time. He strikes and kills opponent after opponent without struggle.
In the far distance of battle, a group of high-ranked soldiers watch patiently over the battle on horses. Out of the group, there are two men that stand out. One is the captain of the army. He is well groomed, untouched with armor polished, and looks as if money has placed him in high ranks of the military. The other man is unknown. He wears a hooded wool robe covering his entire body from view. The captain points to the battle, and the man in the wool robe acknowledges the captain’s command. This mysterious man rides into the mix of battle.
In the middle of the battle, several exhausted soldiers gasp their final breaths of air due to the man from the Incontinence army with the straight, long brown hair. He draws back his broad black sword and is about to thrust his final blow into one of his many fallen enemies. Just before his sword enters the body of a soldier, the man in the wool robe charges with his falchion drawn, jumping off his horse into the Incontinence soldier’s way, and they lock swords, making intense eye contact.
The two soldiers jump back, unlocking swords, and measure each other up. The Incontinence soldier grits his teeth and makes a facial expression as if he knows he is about to be in the fight of his life. He lashes at the man in the wool robe while making a grunting noise.
The man in the wool robe stands patiently with confidence as the Incontinence soldier lashes at him. While both of the soldiers fight, they take out anyone who gets in the way of their battle. After a few strikes of the Incontinence soldier’s sword, the Fraudule soldier’s robe is ripped off from the intense battle revealing a man who seems to be in his late twenties. He shows a strange shining armor that is light and hardly covers his body. This is for easy maneuvering, similar to the Incontinence soldier’s armor. Without his robe, the Fraudule soldier no longer shows so much confidence of winning this fight. The sweat of his brow dripping into his eye, burning—and his not being able to wipe it—proves this. For the slightest loss of focus will mean his demise.
The Incontinence soldier assumes that he must be a special soldier. Only special soldiers wear such armor. He also thinks he was sent to assassinate him. He figures that the king of Fraudule must have heard about his highly ranked skills in the art of war and sent this man after him. The king of Fraudule cannot afford the Incontinence army to have a man of this stature.
They back off once more. The special Fraudule soldier glances down at his own hand that is covered in strange black mail armor. The Fraudule soldier realizes that he must use it. The Fraudule soldier switches hands with the sword that he wields. The Incontinence soldier notices this and thinks that the Fraudule soldier is finally switching up his stance to fight to his fullest, but nothing more.
They begin to fight once again. As they fight, the Incontinence soldier believes he finally figures out the Fraudule soldier’s movements and how to end this fight. Even with his changed stance, he still is no match for the Incontinence solider. The Incontinence soldier believes his opponent will not see a backswing coming, for a back swing means that he will leave himself open for an attack. The incontinence soldier assumes that his opponent knows he will not do such a reckless move due to his skill level being what it is, thus giving the Incontinence soldier the perfect move.
Once more, they share sword locks. This time, the Incontinence soldier swings with slightly more speed and less strength. He has grown tired from fighting all day. He is using what energy he has left for this speed. He knows his final strike is coming soon and needs to become faster than his enemy.
The Fraudule soldier seems to be overwhelmed by his speed. He no longer can keep up with just sword locks. He ducks a swing from the Incontinence soldier’s sword. Just as the Incontinence soldier predicted, his opponent straightens back up, not predicting such a foolish backswing. The Incontinence soldier then proceeds, producing the final blow of the fight.
Inches from the Fraudule soldier’s neck, the incontinence soldier stands in disbelief. He sees that his sword is caught by his opponent’s hand. As blood drips down the Fraudule soldier’s hand, he uses this time to thrust his sword into his opponent, the Incontinence soldier’s stomach. The Incontinence soldier lets go of his sword, falling to the ground in pain while grasping the sword that is embedded in his stomach with both hands, confused.
The Fraudule soldier rips the sword out of his mail hand armor. He looks at his bleeding hand, puzzled, as if his sword was not meant to pierce his black glove. The Fraudule soldier looks at the sword with amazement. He believes if he had not waited to switch his stance and use his glove in the middle of their fight, his opponent would have enough strength to cut his hand off, winning the fight.
The Fraudule soldier looks around, realizing that they had fought so profusely they are no longer on the battlefield but on the outskirts of the battle, and there is only the fallen next to him. He then looks down at his enemy and notices that his opponent is trying to tell him something. While he is gasping for air, he tries to talk. This makes it hard to know what he is saying. Out of curiosity, the Fraudule kneels on one knee to listen.
While in pain, the Incontinence soldier reaches into his armor and pulls out a letter. This man then reaches again for his sword that his enemy holds.
With this man being so injured, he is no longer a threat,
the Fraudule soldier thinks. The Fraudule soldier gives him the sword back.
Holding the black sword and letter in one hand, this dying man uses what strength he has left to hold these objects to his enemy. “Please, my wife.” The Fraudule takes the letter and sword. With his last breath, the dying man says “Thank you.”
Just as the Fraudule soldier begins to drop the letter and sword to return with news to the captain, he realizes that the man who wields the black sword is dead. He takes a second glance at his glove and has a sudden urge to figure out just who this man was. He starts to think,
How can this man cut into my glove? Where did he get such a sword? Why did my king send his best after him? What made this man so special? And why did he need to die?
The Fraudule soldier knows if he proceeds with returning the letter and sword, he will be convicted of treason with death for the punishment. He knows the king will send others that are trained like himself to bring back his head. The king will not rest until he has it.
He takes his sword out of the fallen man’s stomach and puts it back in its holder on his hip. Without further ado, he finds and picks up his robe. He decides he will find out who this man really was and leave the land of Fraudule in his past. He will become a drifter and take full responsibility for his treason if ever he is caught.
The soldier looks at the address on the outside of the letter and begins to think where this place might be. After a quick glance, he places the letter inside of his armor where a pocket was made. He takes the black sword’s carrier from his dead enemy. This carrier is only a steel loop holding the sword by the grip end, showing the entire sword. This was the reason why this dead man was known as “the one who wields the black sword.” It was visible for all to see. He wraps this around his waist, now showing that he wields two swords—the black sword and his sword. After he closes his robe to conceal his identity, he begins walking until he finds a horse that no longer has a rider. The rider must have been killed in battle. He jumps on the horse and rides off the battlefield into the depths of Incontinence.
Back at the watch of the battle, one of the king’s knights rides up to one of the patiently waiting commanders of the Fraudule army. “Captain Avery! Head Lion Ambrose has defeated the man who holds the black sword in bat—”
“Good. We shall take news to the king,” Captain Avery cuts off the knight, full of pride.
“Sir, but that is not all. After defeating him, Head Lion Ambrose left the battlefield.”
“What do you mean left the battlefield?” Captain Avery says, confused.
“At first, we thought he was doing a tactical assault on the enemy after his battle, riding away from the battlefield, but after hours of battle and not seeing him returning”—the knight pauses—“I started to ask some of the men if anyone got word of Head Lion Ambrose. It seems no one knows of his disappearance.”
Captain Avery pauses in thought while looking off into the distance of the woods with worry. “We must send a message to the king,” he says as if he is talking to himself.
In the depths of the land of Fraudule, there is a castle. This is the most fearsome castle with an immense amount of security—more than any other castle in all the land of Fraudule. This is where the king resides. Early morning, the king sits in his throne room awaiting news from any of the battles he has sent his army to. The king is elderly, is very discontent with his power, and is very demanding. He covers his body with a fine robe only showing his face—and how wide and well fed his body is. When he begins to become impatient with no news and calls for a messenger, an exhausted, undernourished messenger enters dramatically.
“What is it!” The king snaps to attention to yell.
The messenger is doused with sweat from nonstop running to reach the king’s castle. This news was too important to stop even for a moment. “I bring news from the east, my king.” He runs to the king, stops at a respectable distance, takes a deep breath, and kneels.
“What is the news? The man who fights for Incontinence? The one who wields the black sword? Was Ambrose able to defeat him? Is this the battle you speak of?”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
“Excellent. Continue. Do tell of the battle now,” the king says, pleased.
The messenger stands up at attention and replies, “We have pushed King Cynric’s men into retreat. Within no time, Incontinence shall be yours, my king.”
“Yes, especially now that their greatest warrior has been defeated,” the king said, not surprised.
Hesitating in fear, the messenger says, “There is…one more thing, sire.” The king looks at the messenger with confused interest to show the messenger that he could proceed telling him the information. The messenger prepares with a deep breath and says, “After defeating the one who wields the black sword, Head Lion Ambrose left the battlefield without notice and has not been seen since.”
Confused, the king gasped, and he ponders before speaking. “Is that all?”
With much relief, the messenger says, “Yes, my king,” thinking the news that he brought would be too unpleasant, and the king would take his anger out on him.
“Very well. Now off with you!” the king commands the messenger, showing little anger. The messenger bows to the king and walks out the room, pleased that he still has his life. The king walks to the window in disappointment. “With both of our best gone from battle, this will make things very interesting,” the king says to himself. “I must spare Ambrose. I need the information of his skills he carries for the future of the Sicarius. Even more so, I am curious why he left. If I do spare him and any find out of this, there will be question of my ruling. This must be done quietly and swiftly. Only a few will know of this.”
The king walks behind his throne to open a secret way. He turns a knob that looks like a design on the top of his chair, and a door opens in the concrete walls of the castle. The king enters this, and he closes the door behind him. As the king walks down this hidden path, he comes to a split. The split consist of two directions, left and right. The king takes the left and comes to a decorative door that shows an elaborate picture of a meteor falling to the earth. He opens it.
He finds himself in a covered courtyard on a path that wraps around it. This path is the second floor of the courtyard. The king looks down and can see the first floor. There is a small number of soldiers dressed similarly to Head Lion Ambrose. Their equipment and how they are training is different from ordinary soldiers.
When the soldiers notice the king’s presence, they abruptly stop, kneel on one knee, place one hand on their knee, the other hand on their heart, and shout with their heads bowed, “All hail King Oswald!”
“Continue, men.” The king then yells a name while looking down, searching, “Lion Adrian, come to me at once!”
Adrian runs to the closest beam to the king. He climbs up as fast as possible to reach the second floor. He runs to the king, gets down on one knee, and bows his head, “Yes, my king.”
“I have a task for you concerning the war.”
Adrian stands at attention. “I shall get my company immediately and wi—”
“No! This shall be a task of solitude. Only inform one other to accompany you in this task. This one other shall work in the shadows, watching you and protecting you from any surprises. No one else will know of your mission.” The king looks off into the group of men who are training and thinks for a second. He looks back at Adrian. “This other Sicarius will be a ranked lion of your choosing.” The king knows all Sicarius that are ranked lion will never question his ruling and are trained to their full potential. “You are the only Sicarius that is skilled enough to do this and come back alive.”
“I understand, my king. What is this mission you speak of?”
“Your brother, Head Lion Ambrose, has gone rogue. I know you are just as experienced as he. This is why I request you. Your mission is to track Ambrose and convince him to return.” The king looks into the Sicarius’s eyes to see how much question will rise with his alternative. “If he will not listen to reason, you are to perform actions to force Ambrose to return alive.”
“You want him alive, my king? But the code says if a—”
“I know what the code says! I am the king, and you will listen to what I say!” The king sees slight uncertainty, but as he raised his voice, he saw how the Sicarius quickly changed his thought process. The king sees in the soldier’s eyes how out of line the Sicarius knows he was. “No questions! Let this be the last time you question your king.” The king knows if he shows how insulted he is, this one will never doubt him again.
They are trained to be this way,
the king thinks.
“Forgive me, my lord, it will never happen again.”
The kings face is full of rage. “Or it shall be your head,” the king says, still trying not to cause more disputes, showing an insulted look, and trying to keep in charge.
“I understand, my king.” Adrian shows no flinching from the worry of death.
The king pauses for a brief second to measure Adrian and his stance. “It always seems to amaze me.”
Only because the king expected a response, Adrian replies, “What is that, my lord?”
“How emotionless Sicarius can be.”
“The training makes us this way, sir. It has always been this way,” Adrian answers.
“I know. It just leaves me with much curiosity. Now, Head Lion Ambrose is the best. He has no emotion, no ambition. He is just a killing machine that will do anything I command of him. If I tell him to kill himself, he will, like all other Sicarius. Although there is something more to him, I do not know what, but this is why he was made head lion. This is why he is the best. Even my father saw this as Ambrose was growing, and my father was dying.”
The king continues, “He just happens to leave us with no reason. I do not think so. I know I do not need to explain myself to any; but I will anyways. I need to ask him what happened. Why did he leave us? Just out of curiosity. After the questions, he will be executed. I need to make sure this never happens again. You are to tell the other lion that is to accompany you this information as well. The rules still stand, There shall not be any conversations between you two outside of this subject and the mission at hand. Am I understood?” The king is still trying to stay in control of the situation.
With this said, he will have no choice but to stop being suspicious. He has an answer,
the king reflects to himself.
The king knows even the Sicarius might break the rules once every so often to talk among one another, but only if it is an extreme case. One of the rules to be a Sicarius is that none will talk among one another unless on a mission, and there, they are only to talk of the mission at hand. This might be one of the extreme times they will break the rules, only if the king did not give Adrian a reason for his actions.
“Yes, of course, my king. Where and when do we begin?” Adrian knows this is what is best for the kingdom. Adrian always knew Ambrose was different but not in such a good way as the king thought. Adrian thought Ambrose did not have the kingdom’s best interests at heart.
“The last time anyone saw Ambrose, he was fleeing the battle of the east. We have won that battle, so there should not be any threat in that region. Ambrose was sent there. I am sure Ambrose left some type of evidence showing he was there and what direction he went. If not, if he has hidden all traces of his presence being there like Sicarius are trained to do, ask the men who are stationed there what direction he fled. If someone saw him, they will know. That shall be your starting point to track him. Gather your weapons and the other lion. You two shall leave immediately.”
“Understood. We shall leave right away,” Adrian says while freeing himself from attention.
The king turns back to the door he had entered and starts to walk to it. “Good, now go.” He walks back through the door and closes it behind him.
All Sicarius know the king only comes from this way. It was made this way so as not to be ever caught off guard by the king’s presence and to announce when he enters. Adrian drops from the second floor and lands. As he stands, he has already made his decision on who is to accompany him on the mission. He yells, “Lion Reginald!”
Reginald stops his training and looks at Adrian. “Yes, what has the king ordered?” Reginald runs up to Adrian.
Adrian walks to the armory, and Reginald follows. No more than one is allowed to enter the armory. Adrian is the first to enter. When he emerges from the entrance, he places the hood of his robe over his face. “Only you and I have a mission. Gather your equipment. I will brief you in as we travel. We leave immediately.”
Adrian and Reginald arrive at a Fraudule camp that was set up after the battle of the east. After each battle Fraudule wins, they set up a camp. This is to show victory and to be able to proceed into the land of Incontinence easier. Also, Incontinence will find it difficult to take over that part of the land again.
Adrian and Reginald dismount their horses and walk into the camp. Adrian immediately locates Captain Avery sitting in his personal tent. They both walk to the entrance of the tent. “Stay here, Lion Reginald. I will question the captain.” Adrian acknowledges Reginald nod his head, and he proceeds to Avery. “Captain Avery, King Oswald gave word that you will know the direction of Ambrose’s disappearance.”
Captain Avery stops contemplating his next move on the map of Incontinence and places it down on top of a table next to his chair. “I figured more would come.” Avery looks down to the map. “A knight witnessed Head Lion Ambrose leave the battlefield.” He points to the map of where their camp is located and in the direction of the movements of Ambrose. “This is where we are. The knight told me Ambrose headed out this way after his fight. I am sure the body of the man who wields the black sword is still where Ambrose slayed him. We have not cleared the battlefield of corpses yet. This should show more evidence as to which way he fled.”
“Is this all the information you have to provide?”
Avery looks up from the map at Adrian. “Yes.”
Adrian walks out of the tent. “Let us proceed, Lion Reginald.”
Avery watches the two Sicarius walk away. “Sicarius, they are always so miserable.”
Reginald and Adrian mount their horses and ride into the previous battlefield. They head to the outskirts of the field and scan the area. Reginald locates a fallen soldier’s body that wears Incontinence special soldier armor and rides to it. He jumps off his horse and starts to study the body and the uprooted soil.
Reginald notices that most stab wounds of other fallen soldiers do not go through their entire body, but not this soldier; his wounds pierce through his torso. Reginald realizes this is the man Ambrose killed. Reginald looks to the soil and sees how the soil has uprooted gravel and how it has a footprint. It shows that it is going south.
Adrian rides up to Reginald shortly after he has figured this out. “Is this the man Ambrose slayed?”
Reginald stands from kneeling. “Yes, this shows Ambrose has traveled south.”
“Excellent, I will track him from now.” Adrian turns his horse to the south. “Follow and stay out of sight until I come upon Ambrose. But only show if Ambrose attacks and I appear to be struggling.”
Reginald climbs onto his horse. “I understand.” He waits for Adrian to ride out of sight and starts to follow him.