what would happen if the hero found himself on the wrong side fighting the good guys?
|The day was as dark as midnight and no light of any kind could be seen. No light ever shone on this kingdom since the Duke had successfully united those that had been ‘unjustly’ treated against the King. The Duke had used powerful magic to cover the whole kingdom in a darkness that blocked out the light of the sun, moon, and the stars to hide the movements of his armies against the King’s forces. The Duke’s soldiers also didn’t carry anything that gave light for fear the enemy might see them, so they travelled by feeling their way on the ground and using different forms of eye-magic. No one was sure how long the rebellion against the King had gone on for, but all knew that many battles had been fought, won, and lost by both sides.
All these things were well known to the soldiers of the Duke, and if any questioned the way things were done, or the Duke, they were punished. And that was why Peter was now standing as the lookout, with no food and five stinging lashes on his back.
Having fought many battles in the war, sixteen-year-old Private Peter Hasberg has no problem thinking freely, but has a problem keeping things inside his head. A brilliant boy with an excellent ability to get things done well makes him good soldier. If Peter didn’t have such a short fuse temper he might get along better with the higher ranking officers and his fellow soldiers. Peter has a deadly accurate shot with his bow and arrows using eye-magic that allows him to see the outlines of objects. He has almost mastered the art of fighting with two long daggers. He was also one who found himself on watch without food more often than not.
On watch again, yet at the same time not truly watching, Peter was thinking about some new rumours in the camp and wondering how much of them were true. The rumours were about the King, himself. Peter had been told by most that they were not true, while a few others said the Duke had hidden the truth by censoring knowledge of the King.
He continued on his line of thought, when he spotted a slight glow not far from where he was standing watch. The glow to Peter was as unmistakeable as a grizzly bear. It was the white light that all of the King’s servants had mysteriously coming off of them. The glow came from inside a gorge less than a hundred meters away. Peter decided that this was the perfect opportunity to get his questions answered honestly even if he had to use his daggers.
Quietly Peter crept to the edge and pulled out one of his daggers as he leapt into the gorge. In a split second Peter had one arm wrapped around the person’s arms so they couldn’t be used against him. Peter’s other hand held a dagger to the person’s throat where there was no protection. And with some clever foot work Peter had the person on their knees in a second.
“I have questions and I want honest answers, and you’re going to give them to me,” said Peter as he pressed the blade of his dagger on the skin of the throat, but not hard enough to draw blood, “or I’ll cut your throat.”
“In the name of the King, I’ll do my best to give them,” answered the sweet voice of the person.
Peter had heard words like this before, but he had always killed the speakers when the answers lacked sincerity and the light that came off of them faded, along with their weapons and armour, as each answer was given. This time, however, the voice was very familiar to him in so many ways.
“What’s your name?”
“Katie Galeth,” came the reply that Peter had least expected. Peter had once had a friend by that name with exactly the same voice, but that was before they were sent to different army camps. The answer caught Peter by surprise, and he dropped his dagger as he staggered back as if hit in the chest by the answer.
“Katie?” said Peter as she got up and faced him. She looked completely different from what he remembered. Instead of the dirty black clothes that she had worn, she now had on white clothes that could just be seen under the rich armour and chain mail. No one in the Duke’s army had any armour or chain mail. The chain mail was white, and the armour was polished steel with gold and silver trimming. She now had a shield that was round and large. And instead of two daggers strapped to the belt, a glittering scabbard held a long sword at her side. The helmet was simple in design, but elegant to look at, round and decorated in the same style as the rest of the armour with a visor that had a fine mesh to protect the eyes.
“It’s good to see you again, Peter,” she said as she lifted the visor and saluted him.
Peter didn’t know what to say, but before he could think he heard his voice saying, “You defected?”
“If you mean left that Duke’s army for the real friendship of the King, then yes,” answered Katie stepping towards Peter.
“I discovered the truth about the King,” answered Katie enthusiastically.
Peter was suddenly excited. This was why he had left his post, “Really? How? When? Where?”
Katie smiled with joy as she began her tale. “Well, I was standing watch when I spotted one of the King’s servants coming towards me. I was ready to sound the alarm, but something inside me said wait. When the man was not too far away he lifted his visor and I saw that it was Rick.”
“You mean our good friend Rick is also a servant of the King?” asked Peter in amazement because Rick had always made fun of the King and his servants.
“Yes, when he disappeared a year ago he had run off to join the King’s army after the King visited him,” answered Katie before continuing with her story. “He motioned for me to follow him, and that is exactly what I did, after a moment’s hesitation, I confess. I followed him for a short distance into a tent where other servants of the King were singing and dancing like they were at a big party . . .”
“What were they celebrating?”
“Well, I didn’t know then, but I know now that they were praising the King,” answered Katie as recalled that day. “And then someone got up and talked about the torture the King endured at the hands of the Duke to pay a ransom for all of us to live. And then as if from nowhere there was the King standing right beside me . . .”
“You saw the King?”
“Yes. . .”
“What was he like?”
“To be quite honest, the King was so magnificent that I don’t think I could properly describe him to you without under describing him,” answered Katie, a little sad that she couldn’t answer Peter’s question adequately. She put her smile back on and continued with the story. “The King stood beside me and asked, ‘Daughter, will you accept me as King over you?’ And then as if he hadn’t really been there he was gone, but I knew I had seen him.”
“How did you know?” asked Peter a little confused.
“I . . . I just knew inside me that he had been there and spoken to me.” Seeing that Peter was satisfied with the answer, Katie continued her story. “Almost at the same time the King disappeared his servants asked if I would like to join the army of the King and they promised me that they would not harm me if I refused.”
“What did you say?” asked Peter although it was obvious what her answer had been.
“I said yes,” answered Katie rather happy that he had asked, “and at the same moment I said that my clothes turned into the ones I am wearing now, and the rest of these things appeared on me as my old weapons disappeared. As that all happened I heard the King’s voice say, ‘Rise daughter your battle has just begun, but your war is already won. Just take the victory.’ After that I have been training to use the weapons the King gave me. And I decided that my life is nothing if I don’t tell my friends about what happened.”
“And you also want your friends to join the King’s army?” asked Peter. He had always wanted to know what it was like to be on the King’s side, but he was afraid that because he had killed so many of the King’s servants that he might be killed if he tried to join the King’s army.
“Will you Peter?” asked Katie very happy that he had guessed her intention. “There is more for you on the King’s side than with the Duke.”
“Well I’ll think about it,” said Peter reluctantly. “Meet me here tomorrow?”
“Of course I will,” answered Katie, a little disappointed in his response.
Several days of secret meetings like this went on for a while. Each time Peter thought that maybe the King might accept him for a subject, but something inside him kept holding him back from saying he would join the King’s army. Then one day while he was waiting for Katie to meet him, he suddenly saw someone who was dressed in armour like Katie was wearing, but something was different about him. The glow that he gave off was as bright as noon day before the darkness, and this man was bigger than any he had ever seen before, too. His sword was also longer and his shield was a large rectangle. A fear inside Peter told him he should run and hide from the man, but instead Peter ignored the fear entirely. He felt that he needed something that the man had.
When the man was right in front of Peter, he kneeled down so he could look Peter right in the eyes. For a while there was not a single noise as Peter stared into the eyes of the man; it was like looking into a pool of understanding, mercy, and love. The man put his hand on Peter’s head and in a voice more tender and gentle than any voice that Peter had ever heard came the words, “You are free in my kingdom.”
Peter instantly new who this man was: he was the King, and there were scars in his hands. Peter took off the belt that had his daggers and dropped it at the feet of the King. Peter then broke all his arrows and his bow and dropped the pieces at the feet of the King. Peter suddenly became aware of how ugly and filthy his clothes were, but the King dealt with them. He grabbed the clothes and pulled them off revealing white clothes that were perfectly made for Peter. The old clothes were dropped onto the weapons that Peter had put at the feet of the King. The pile instantly disappeared in a swirl of smoke that seeped away into cracks in the stone floor of the gorge.
“Let me fight for you,” said Peter compelled by something inside him.
The King then did something that Peter did not expect. The King took off all his armour and dressed Peter in his chain mail and armour, most of these instantly shrunk to fit Peter comfortably (much to his own surprise) as they were put on him. The King then put the helmet on Peter; this fit him comfortable with a little extra space. The sword belt was then put around Peter’s waist and the shield was handed to him, the shield was almost too large for Peter.
The King then had Peter kneel. “Now a Knight by choice, always a Knight by choice,” said the King as he tapped both of Peter’s shoulders with his sword. “Rise, Sir Peter Hasberg, Knight of the Kingdom.”
The King then gave the sword to Peter, who upon receiving it found it to be a manageable size for him. As the glow started to flow out of Peter he saluted the King and asked him for orders. The King smiled at him and said, “Wait here till my daughter arrives, then attack the camp on the ridge. I will give you victory.”
Peter looked at the ridge and turned to see that the King was gone and that the light that allowed him to see clearly was coming out from within him. Peter was happier than he had ever been in his life, he had been accepted as a Knight of the Kingdom and soon he would meet the King’s daughter before receiving a victory over the camp on the ridge.
Peter drew his sword and pretended a tree was a giant as he practiced using his new weapons properly. When he got tired he found that he had a pack beside his scabbard on his belt, and inside he found bread and a flask of water that gave off its own yellow light. The bread was sweet like honey and the water tasted like the best juice from the best fruit. Peter noticed that the landscape kept looking more alive and green in the area around him as the light from him shone out from him. Peter then noticed that he didn’t have a bubble of light surrounding him, but the darkness was completely gone and the sun was shining above him; the darkness had all been an illusion. After a long time of wait Peter saw that someone was coming toward him, someone who had black flowing out of him.
Peter got up and prepared to fight. The person that now stood right in front of him was not at all what Peter expected, “You’re . . .”
“You,” answered the stranger with a grin, “the ‘You’ as you once were.”
“No, you breaking free of my control is impossible.”
“Where did you come from?”
“You broke my form off of your body with the help of the King. Without my form I reported to one of the Duke’s commanders, who sent word of my problem to the Duke. The Duke sent word that I’m to bring you back, or take you down to the land of Unseeing and Death,” said the Once-Peter as he drew his daggers, “so do you yield?”
“I thought I knew myself better than that,” answered Peter, raising his sword and keeping his shield in front of himself. “I won’t yield to the will of the Duke anymore.”
“Your funeral,” said the Once-Peter, twirling his daggers in the air.
“I’ll send you flowers,” answered Peter, lowering the visor on his helmet.
With a harsh scream, the Once-Peter launched himself at Peter. Peter knocked the attack away with his shield and swung hard at the Once-Peter’s flank, who jumped back just in time to avoid being hit. The sound of metal on metal rang out through the gorge. At first Peter had the advantage as he pushed hard with his shield while slashing violently at the flanks of his opponent. Then the Once-Peter jumped into the air and, as he came down, rained continuous blows on Peter from above with his two daggers. Peter felt that he might give out under exhaustion, but something inside him kept saying, “A little longer, a little harder.”
The Once-Peter, seeing that Peter’s shield wasn’t covering the right side fully, rolled to Peter’s right and swung at his stomach. Peter watched as the blow deflected off a large shining hand, which looked like the King’s hand, while another large shining hand knocked the Once-Peter back. The Once-Peter jumped onto a high ledge and started raining flaming arrows down onto Peter. Most of the arrows bounced off of Peter’s shield. One bounced off of his helmet. Peter started feeling a fire in his belly spread to his muscles and he felt himself launching into the air as if someone was lifting him up very fast.
Peter was not sure how, but he managed to get onto the ledge where the Once-Peter was shooting from. He swung his sword rapidly at the Once-Peter, who tried to stop the swing with his bow, but the bow was broken into splinters by the hard blow. Peter immediately swung his sword again and this time sliced deep of into the side of his opponent. The scream of pain that rang out from the Once-Peter was deafening and blood curdling. Ignoring the scream as best he could, Peter pulled the sword out of the Once-Peter’s flesh and shoved the whole blade through his opponent’s belly. Drawing the sword out again of the Once-Peter, Peter knocked him down into the gorge with his shield. The Once-Peter never reached the bottom of the gorge he simply disappeared leaving no trace that he was ever there, but inside Peter knew that he would have to fight him again before long.
As Peter was catching his breath, Katie came up to him obviously not recognizing him with his new armour on and the visor on his helmet down. “What happened soldier? Are you injured? Where is the enemy? Are they nearby?” Came Katie’s flood of questions as she rushed to help Peter. She supported him seeing how tried he was.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you Katie,” said Peter raising his visor so she could see his face.
“Peter!” Katie was so surprised and overjoyed at the sight of Peter as a soldier of the King she almost dropped him.
“Where were you,” said Peter sitting down, “I am not the easiest person to fight.”
“What do you mean?” asked Katie a little puzzled with Peter’s statement.
Peter told her his story about meeting the King, receiving his armour, and being knighted. He also told her about his wait and the battle he fought against the Once-Peter. Then Katie told Peter that the reason why she was late was because she had had a similar fight against a Once-Katie about half way on her way to meet him.
“Well, I wonder where the daughter of the King is, and what she’s like,” said Peter as he finished a gulp of the water in his flask, muttering the last part to himself.
“Peter,” said Katie, “I think you missed the meaning of what the King had said.”
“What do you mean, Katie?”
“Don’t you remember me telling you that the King had called me ‘daughter’?” answered Katie annoyed at Peter for not realizing it sooner.
“Oh, then it must have been you I was to wait for.”
“Probably, but right now let’s get some rest and recover our strength for battling that camp.”
“Alright,” answered Peter content with the idea of a rest.
Peter awoke little while later to see the soldiers of the camp on the ridge moving around in preparation for something. Peter thought that no good could come from whatever was happening in that camp. “Katie, wake up, quickly.”
“What is it Peter,” asked Katie in a sleepy voice.
“The enemy is moving,” answered Peter pulling some of the bread out, “we should attack now before they do something nasty.”
“Ok, let’s do it,” said Katie as she ate the piece of bread that Peter gave her.
Marching up the ridge the two went side-by-side, swords drawn, and shields in front. Then the first sounds of the enemy contact sounded as horns blared, the soldiers shouted, and arrows started whizzing through the air. Arrows started bouncing off their shields, some off of their helmets, but Peter and Katie kept moving. Battle cries filled the air as Peter and Katie rushed the last few yards forward into the midst of the enemy’s frontline. Peter recognized a few faces in the fight; they were friends of his from the camp he used to be in. Peter hoped that maybe if he could get them to recognize him they might join the King’s side, but at the moment he had to hack the opposition down before he could talk.
Peter and Katie had caught the camp mostly unprepared and were now punching a deep hole into the ranks of the enemy. Peter managed the bigger foes and those that he knew, while Katie dodged in and out between people injuring and disarming each soldier that got in the way; neither of them wanted to kill any without giving them a chance to change sides. As the fight continued Peter would sometimes see the King’s hands stop attacks and knock opponents back. Soon the two of them had fought their way into the middle of the camp; they were completely surrounded. Standing back to back, Peter and Katie took out each wave that came at them. Then out from the ranks of the enemy stepped the last thing Peter and Katie wanted to see; the Once-Peter and the Once-Katie.
“You’re good kid,” sneered the Once-Peter as he drew his daggers, “but you’re not as good as me.”
“You’re right,” answered Peter, “but the King promised me victory, so I win; I don’t have to worry about beating you.”
“We’ll see,” whispered the foe just loud enough for Peter to hear him.
Cheers and jeers broke out from the crowd as Peter and Katie clashed with the Once-Peter and the Once-Katie. For a moment it looked like Peter may just be beaten as the Once-Peter knocked him to his knees, but Peter suddenly spun around slashed into the left leg of his advisory just as the King’s hand stopped blow to Peter’s head. While the Once-Peter screamed in pain, Peter saw that Katie was on the ground with the Once-Katie standing over her. Quickly Peter jumped to Katie’s rescue, knocking the Once-Katie to the ground. Katie then jumped up blocked a blow from the Once-Peter before slicing one of the daggers out of his hand. Peter swung around and stabbed into the heart of the Once-Peter as Katie plunge her sword into his belly.
As the Once-Peter fell to the ground screaming in pain, Peter spun around again and blocked two daggers from heading into Katie’s back with his shield. Katie then swung around and cut both legs of the Once-Katie. Jumping up Katie brought her full weight down on her sword as she plunged it deep into the Once-Katie’s heart. Both foes disappeared as black smoke crawling across the ground out of sight.
As a moment of silence fell on the scene, Peter and Katie raised their visors revealing their faces to the crowd. The people were amazed at what they saw.
Peter grabbed the opportunity to speak, “Friends you know me as one with many questions. And I tell you I have found the answers.” Peter noticed a hint of the King’s voice within his own as he continued, “The Duke is a liar and usurper; the King is the one who truly values you all. So much that he is willing to take you back.”
“You’re a liar,” shouted someone from the crowd. “The Duke has always been our ally.”
“Then why does he beat those that ask questions?” asked Katie also with a hint of the King’s voice in her own.
“Who here wants to serve a master that put you all in darkness?” Peter continued without letting anyone answer, “When you could serve the King, who gives light, land, and treasure to those that serve him.”
Two of Peter’s friends and a dozen others stepped forward, and said in unison with each other, “We will serve the King. What shall we do?”
Peter answered, “Throw your weapons in a pile.”
As they did as he said, Peter felt his sword grow hot. Everyone watched in amazement as the King took Peter and Katie’s swords, which were now red hot, and slammed them into the pile of weapons. Instantly the weapons broke out into flames like dry wood sending light over the whole crowd. The King then tore the black clothes off those that stepped forward revealing white clothes. As the King burned the clothes in the fire, armour and chain mail formed over top of the white clothes. The King knelt down to each one of the newly equipped people gave each one a single seed, and whispered something to each of them. The seeds then grew into large shields that turned into metal when fully formed. The King then gave each of them a burning stick from the fire. The moment they took the burning sticks they turned into swords.
Peter suddenly became aware that the army had fled while they were watching the King. Peter was about to take off in pursuit of them when Katie grabbed his arm. Peter turned his head and saw the King smiling at him, Katie, and the new servants that had just joined, they all bowed promptly.
“Rise Knights of the Kingdom, rise Sons and Daughters of the King,” said the King motioning to them with his hand stand, “you have all done a great thing today. I call you all the warriors and free.” Then turning to Peter the King said, “Stay with these ones, and rest before continuing in the war. You have much to do before I call you to live at the palace.”
After this battle the group moved to an army base of the King, where they trained and rested. Each of the new servants of the King became powerful adversaries of the Duke. Some even led battalions of the King’s army. A few others joined Peter and Katie as part of a new battalion of the King.
Peter grew up to be a mighty Knight of the Kingdom. He even led the Second Youth Battalion against the armies of the Duke in several battles. As Peter became more experienced, he trained countless Knights of the Kingdom.
Katie grew into a fair Daughter of the King and fought hard at the side of Peter in the Second Youth Battalion. She also went on several missions for the King to train other Knights of the Kingdom. Later Peter and Katie married and had five children—two sons and three daughters–all of which grew into mighty warriors for the King.
As the two grew old, the King sent messengers to bring Katie to live at the King’s palace. When Peter asked why he couldn’t go to the messengers said the King had one final mission for him. Peter took the mission to heart and within year Peter and his battalion had a stronghold of the Duke broken down for safer travel along the River of the King. A month later messengers came for Peter to bring him to the King’s palace. Many people were sad to see him go, but they resolved to fight as hard as he had.
After crossing the moat around the wall of the palace Peter was completely cleaned of the dirt from his battles and as young as if he had just entered their twenties. At the palace gate was everyone that knew Peter, which the King had called before him. The King embraced Peter the moment he entered through the gate.
In the final end the Duke was defeated and thrown into a prison along with all those that served him. No one ever saw or heard of the Duke, or his servants, again. Light—white in the day and pale sliver in the night—forever filled the kingdom that was once in complete darkness. The King’s heart was the source of the light that cover all the land, and cause everyone in it to live forever.