The Highest One of the Sword
The boy, no older than fifteen, awoke. Someone was standing over him, pointing a sword at his throat. "Come on, man. Take it." The boy standing over him dropped the sword onto him. He suddenly remembered, as if he had had amnesia. It was nothing like that, though. At the King's castle, he and his training group had been sparring and his partner Raldo's sword had struck his helmet the wrong way. His name was Ben Salvador.
His name was Spanish, but he had lived in King John Jeremiah's fortress for his entire life. When he turned fifteen, he was chosen to become a knight, and joined the already-crowded group of boys who wanted to make a name for themselves. He had been there for nearly four months now, and while he was not the best, he certainly wasn't the worst. This was just one of his low points. He had said it out loud, sadly, provoking Raldo, "Yeah, keep telling yourself that, kid." he called Ben "kid", yet he was only two years older.
They walked into the back room, where they changed from sweat-stained armor into regular lunch-clothes. There were about fourteen of the thirty-six there today, and everyone was in a bad mood because of the snow overhead. It didn't matter the weather, they'd practice anyway.
"What's for lunch, Lorra?" Raldo asked. Lorra's real name was Lorranel, which was strange anyway, but Lorra sounded funnier. "Stew, I think." Crasser sighed and slammed his fist against the wall nearby: "Jesus Christ! Really, how many more days do we have to eat that horseshit?" Everyone ignored him; they felt the same way, but shouting it for the captains to hear would only make them smile with delight.
"Shut up, Crasser." Someone made a hand motion, like "there ya go". It was one of the captains, the youngest, Linus. He smiled more than anyone, but he also loved to gang up on the boys. He walked away slowly when the lunch bell rang.
All the boys sat together. Most of them were pretty close, either having known each other before or getting to know each other there. It was a pretty decent lifestyle. Last week, a boy named Pypie and a boy named Johnny had gotten into a fight over something at another table. Johnny put his hand on his sword, so Pypie pulled his dagger and stabbed him in the throat. It was understood that this was a kill or be killed life. After Ben had eaten his share, he went back out to the training field.
When he got there, there was another group training. This group included his brother, who was also fifteen. He saw Ben and walked over to him. "Hey, man, you up for a sparring session?" he asked, twirling his sword around. Ben nodded and grabbed his sword.
His brother, Jack, moved forward as steel clashed on steel. They both twirled their swords downward towards their feet, and felt the impact. Jack whirled around, and Ben barely caught it. "Come on, bro. I heard that you were better than everyone else!" They clashed again. This time, when Jack twirled around, Ben ducked and the sword smashed into the wall behind him, becoming stuck there. Ben got back up and pulled his dagger from its sheath, pointing it at his brother's throat. "Game over." He smiled and walked off.
Right as he reached the door, the bell rang. If it wasn't lunch-time, the ringing of the bell meant an urgent message. Ben ran with all of the other kids to the large portion of field that was used for meetings. The commander is here, so it must be urgent, he thought. "Alright! Listen up!" The meeting had begun.
That was Commander Hogslaw speaking. He was the bearer of a weird-ass name, but no one dared approach him about it. He would demote you on sight, and he was even known for having a short fuse and cutting someone's throat for getting on his nerves. "We have received word that the good Doctor's forces have been approaching from down South." "The Doctor" was a man who had formerly worked as a doctor for King Jeremiah and had unexpectedly left to explore other opportunities, leading to him becoming allied with other kingdoms. Not much was known about his situation.
Commander Hogslaw continued: "We do believe that this is cause to begin arming ourselves. We may be approached for battle in the next month, or, at worst, in a week or so. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is ordered to go grab his supplies and weapons and go with his commanding officer to an area of his choosing. As of this moment, gentlemen, we are at war!" As he raised his metal cap in the air, an arrow flew through the sky and struck it through the middle. On it, a note was attached. An officer picked it off and looked at the commander. He read, "I hereby declare your kingdom already destroyed, Jeremiah. Weep at your inevitable doom." As he finished his statement, another arrow soared through the air, but this time, it exploded through Hogslaw's head, coming to a stop outside his right eye.