[Various dates, 2722 AD; Admorse, Ameci]
(Rysol of the Total Eclipse)
“Poor little Rysol…”
After what felt like many hours of uncontrollable weeping, Rysol stopped and lifted his head. He was greeted by a man decked out in a black suit, who had decided to bring him into his vehicle. Rysol began to wonder where this man was taking him. Who was he? Was this the man that had saved him from that massacre back at home?
“Poor little Rysol,” Harold said again. “Hah, it looks like Lokke was correct about our friend, though…”
“Who… are you?” Rysol asked as he wiped his eyes. “Where is my father?”
“Have you finished with your blubbering? I guess that’s what it looks like from here,” Harold said. “As for who I am… I am what you would consider a benefactor.”
“Of course, I should have expected that you would be too weak-minded to understand such a word,” the man replied. “I am here to help you by any means necessary, Rysol.”
“How do you know who I am?”
“I know everything,” Harold replied. “When you’re as wealthy as I am, you gain knowledge… Knowledge that becomes very useful.”
“What… What do you mean, mister?”
Harold chuckled. “You’ll see.”
“What about my father?” Rysol asked. “Where is he? Is he okay? Is he okay!?”
“Stupid child!” Harold exclaimed. “That is all in the past now, so quit your goddamn nonsense and move on!”
But it proved difficult for Rysol to do that. He had to know. This strange man had taken him and now he was on his way to a place unfamiliar. It only made sense to ask about his father. That was when Rysol received a response in the form of a punch to the face. As he covered his bloody nose, Harold gripped the steering wheel once more.
“I’ve already told you to quit your nonsense,” Harold replied. “You will cooperate with me, one way or another, so there’s no use in trying to ask questions about the past!”
No matter how hard Harold tried to convince him, Rysol could not accept it. He did not want to accept it. He knew this bad man was wrong, but lacked the reasoning to stand up to him. There was no way he could do anything except try and endure the situation that he was in.
“Poor little Rysol… How pathetic!”
[dates unknown, 2728 AD; Bel Dale, Maeitakohn]
Rysol looked up towards the valley before him. It had been six years since that unfortunate day when he was “rescued” by Harold Mars. The hostile yet generous man had provided him shelter in secrecy for five years since running away from home. It was only a year ago, however, that that plan had changed. During one late night, Harold barged into Rysol’s room and told him that he was going overseas with him and out of Ameci. The sudden urgency in the man’s voice made Rysol aware that there was a good reason for Harold’s actions, but ultimately, Rysol did not care. Instead, it only served to fuel Rysol’s own rage at those who he felt abandoned him.
Five years passed, yet for the young Rysol, they felt like an eternity bound in hatred. He had wondered why it was that it took so long for his father to return and that wonder was soon molded into resentment thanks to Harold’s influence. Then that resentment became revulsion, which culminated into an almost feral, unbound malignance.
“That man… Kirk Wilk… He has abandoned you, has he not?” Harold asked. “A man like that does not care whether you live or die… How, may I ask, does that make you feel, Rysol?”
The rage festered within Rysol, a towering blaze that made every limb, every joint shake until he could not hold back anymore. With scream, he took the knife in his hands and threw it at Harold, only for it to miss his head by a few meters and strike the wooden board behind him.
“You’ve grown so much,” Harold said. “Truly, you understand that no one cares about you. This whole world is selfish, so you’d be better off getting your revenge!”
Revenge. It was that word that Harold drilled into Rysol’s head. Revenge that he sought was against his father, the man he had believed abandoned him. It was all he could think about as he gripped the handle of his sword. The clear, cloudless day was an advantage as he awaited the incoming truck. Harold informed him that Kirk would be on that vehicle, which meant that Rysol would be able to exact his revenge. He would finally do it.
“He will be there, that I’m sure of,” Harold told him earlier. “You will finally be able to rid yourself of that source of rage and thus, you will no longer be indebted to me!”
Rysol had no idea what he meant by that last statement, but he did not care one bit. All that mattered was that he would get his chance. Everything would be done, right there in Bel Dale. Nothing else in the world mattered at that moment, but as the sun beat down on his face, Rysol could hear a voice coming from behind him.
“What are you doing here, young man?”
Rysol turned around and readied his sword. It was finally time for revenge, or so he had thought. There was no certainty that the man that stood before Rysol was his father because it had been years since he saw his father last. The man that stood before him wore a smile on his face and had his brown hair tied up into a small ponytail.
“Are you lost?”
Rysol gripped his sword and growled. Whoever this man was, Rysol felt that he was not his father. All the man could do, however, was laugh.
“You poor soul,” he said. “I can tell that life’s been tough on you. Here, why don’t you take this?”
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small cookie. Rysol watched as the man presented it in his palm and looked at him in bewilderment.
“Oh my, have you never seen a cookie before?”
Rysol could only muster a meek word. “No…”
“I knew that there were so many children out there without homes, but I’ve never seen one quite like you,” the man replied. “Ah, perhaps I should introduce myself first? That’ll put us on some more friendly terms!”
He withdrew the cookie and stuck out his hand. Rysol felt compelled to do the same, so he sheathed his blade and reached out his hand.
“Name’s Voitto,” he said. “Voitto Kuu. You can consider me to be a friendly neighbor in this region.”
He shook Rysol’s hand. All of the rage that Rysol felt had subsided, at least in this moment, as Voitto took a look at Rysol’s sword.
“You know, I’ve never seen a sword like that before,” Voitto said. “It’s the real deal, isn’t it?”
Rysol nodded repeatedly.
Voitto laughed. “Well, well, well! Seems like you were quite lucky in one regard,” he replied. “Though I must wonder why you have such a weapon to begin with. Was it, perhaps, your father’s?”
Almost as if it were on command, Rysol scowled and drew his sword once more. Voitto responded by pretending to act shocked and raised his hands to his face.
“Oh no!” Voitto said. “It seems as if I’ve touched on something sensitive, haven’t I? If that’s the case, then I won’t mention to you that person again.”
Rysol remained at the ready with his blade raised high.
“You have no reason to fear me,” Voitto replied. “In fact, I’m here to help kids like you. You see that truck over there?”
He pointed over to the truck off in the distance. Rysol watched as it came closer to them. This was the chance. It seemed that this man really did help him after all, Rysol thought.
“I’ve got some buddies over there that can help you out,” Voitto explained. “Trusted members of the Ameci military. Come now, let’s walk.”
Voitto led Rysol along in the direction of the truck. As they got closer, the truck stopped and from out of the back, two men hopped out and ran over to Voitto. Rysol looked at the two, one man of average height, Henry Randolph, and the other taller and more muscular, Rohan Fercewend. He was not sure either were his father, but just in case, Rysol hovered his hand near his sword. Or, at least, he had thought he had his sword. He felt panic as he wondered where it was, and that was when Rysol noticed the sheathed sword in Voitto’s hands. The man must have lifted it off of him on the way, somehow.
“Did you see anything up ahead?” Henry asked.
“I can’t lie to you, Henry,” Voitto said. “I saw nothing, save for this young man here.”
Fercewend looked at Rysol, his glare piercing the child’s defense, if slightly. “A child? How did he get out here?”
“I’ve no clue,” Voitto replied. “He seems to be homeless, that much I can gather… Poor child even seems to be abandoned, too…”
Henry clenched his fist. “Damn it.”
“Right in the middle of the war, too,” Fercewend said. “These Thekohnian forces will stop at nothing, it seems.”
“It is heartbreaking,” Voitto said. “Left and right I look and see too many of these children without shelter… This war must be put to an end sooner rather than later for their sake!”
“A statement we can all agree on, I’m sure,” Henry said. “Even you would agree, wouldn’t you?”
Rysol was not able to respond. The hostility in his heart was nowhere to be found, though he had a feeling that perhaps his father was in the truck. He wanted to see for himself, but even if he did find his father, Rysol would not be able to do much. There was no telling what these men had in store for him, but at the moment, none of the three appeared to be malicious.
“He’s probably a little shy due to what happened to him,” Voitto said. “Best not to pressure him, I think.”
“I understand,” Henry replied.
“Well, perhaps he just needs a little reassurance,” Fercewend said. “Nothing like a little Rohan Fercewend pep talk, wouldn’t you agree?”
“That may be a good idea,” Voitto said, “But please don’t bring up anything to do with his F-A-T-H-E-R. It seems to be quite a sensitive subject with him…”
“Very well,” Fercewend said.
“If that’s the case, then I’ll hand this to you,” Voitto replied, lending Rysol’s sword over to Fercewend. “I don’t know where it came from, but he was wielding it when I found him.”
“A damn shame,” Fercewend said. “I will do my best, then.”
“I’m glad to hear it, Rohan,” Voitto said. “Henry, watch over him, too. I have to get something from the truck.”
“Got it,” Henry said.
Henry took Rysol’s sword from Fercewend as Voitto ran over to the truck. Rysol could see it now, but taking back his blade would be tough as long as that man had a hold of it. He did not appear to be as strong as the other man, but still looked capable nonetheless. There had to be a way for him to get it back, Rysol thought. That was when it happened.
“Found you, you filthy Ameci!”
At that moment, a fiery explosion engulfed the truck in the distance. Henry and Fercewend turned their heads in that direction, aghast at the sudden attack. Several Thekohnian soldiers surrounded the blazing mess as Rysol looked around and saw his opening. With Henry too surprised to do anything at the moment, Rysol snatched his sword from the older man and made a break for it. There was no telling if his father was in that truck, but now he had to move. He had to, or so he thought. With the two Ameci soldiers surrounded, Rysol looked back and then down to his sword.
“Damn it, it’s an ambush!” Fercewend exclaimed.
“We have to run, now!” Henry said.
But as they looked from side to side, Thekohnian soldiers began to close in on them. Rysol’s hands shook as he grabbed the handle of his sword and drew it with the intention of protecting Henry and Fercewend. Was he doing it because he felt like he owed them? Rysol had no clue, but at that moment, his rage was turned not towards his father, but rather the Thekohnian soldiers that were looking to attack.
“Shit, is there nowhere we can run to?” Henry asked. “Stay close to me, Rohan! You too… huh?”
Just as Henry and Fercewend feared the worst, that was when the eclipse happened. Through the smoke and the fire, Rysol made his move. Because of how obscured everybody was in the smoke, it made it easier for Rysol to hide. Inside the clouds of smoke Rysol lurked, taking out each Thekohnian soldier one by one as Henry and Fercewend remained confused at what was happening. Soon after, Rysol cut down the last Thekohnian soldier as the smoke started to clear.
“There!” Henry exclaimed, pointing over to a fallen tree.
The two men rushed over and waited for the smoke to clear out. Rysol felt like they were waiting for someone else to pop up, but he was certain that he got all of the soldiers that had attacked. At the very least, he could believe that most of them ran away, but there was no time to think. Rysol knew what had been done and now he had to move along. There was no telling what those men would do if they saw him standing with his sword drawn out, so Rysol decided to run away. He decided to run, because that was all he could do at the moment. That man who had been so nice to him was gone now, as well as any others that were on that truck. Rysol had no clue what to do next, but the thought remained in his head that perhaps his father was not on that truck after all.
[5th of December, 2740 AD; location unknown, Hurst, Iiayikohn]
Rysol remembered. It was because of that man, Voitto, that he was slowly able to come to his senses. Though it was only for a moment, that single act was enough for him to subside the malevolence against his father and turn it against those who sought to wreak havoc: the True Thekohnians. It led him down a road that cost him the use of his left arm, until he met a familiar man once again. This time, it was because of Harold’s own selfishness that he was able to supply Rysol with what he needed.
“I’ve spent my time sitting on the sidelines, Rysol,” Harold said. “So far, everything has gone exactly as I’ve expected it to go.”
“You expected this to happen?” Rysol asked. “It’s only a matter of time, you know… Once I escape, you and your crimes will soon be unearthed!”
Harold cackled. “Rysol, Rysol, Rysol… Pathetic, idiotic child… Because of my status, I cannot be tried for anything that Ameci wishes to accuse me of,” he replied. “There are only two things that drive me in this world: preservation and desire, neither of which you would ever begin to understand.”
“Why would I ever want to understand you?”
“I’ve already told you, idiot!” Harold yelled as he struck Rysol in the face. “You have been wronged before by the man who brought you into this world! Kirk Wilk is no different from I, which is all the more reason that you should kill him, Rysol!”
“I’ll… I’ll never listen to you,” Rysol replied.
“Don’t worry, I’ll make sure you will,” Harold said. “If I can convince my shithead son of his truth, then I can convince you of yours!”
Harold laughed as he then left the room, leaving Rysol to recover. He could only wonder what Harold had in store for him now, because almost all of those memories with Harold were nothing more than dark clouds trapped within his mind. Rysol had to remain strong against his opponent, no matter how much of a disadvantage he was in.
To be continued…