The Underground

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


In a kingdom infested by corruption and poverty that was once the greatest civilization the world had ever seen, A brotherhood is sworn to reinstated the peace and prosperity as they were for the
last three centuries. A young recruit who’s father is one of the twelve commander of the brotherhood, is about to begin his training to become a brother of the Underground, a task considered
challenging…

Submitted: June 05, 2018

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Submitted: June 05, 2018

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A long time ago, across the Atlantic ocean, an empire, where peace and prosperity reigned, stood higher than any mountain. However, over time, the leaders of this nation were beginning to fill their head with lust and greed and a sense of invincibility. The once great kingdom of the Summerland was now infested with corruption and poverty. During these times, three brave men of the council of the King fled their positions as high ranked masters to form a brotherhood. This brotherhood had one oath and one oath only: to restore and maintain the once known kingdom. before being loyal to whoever sat on the throne, they were first and foremost loyal to the realm. And at this moment, the realm was in greater need than the king. With the help of a few volunteers, Turin, Henry and Robert established their seat in an abandoned mine under the capital in secrecy of its leaders and occupants. And it’s from there the Underground was born. For the past three hundred years, the brotherhood grew to over five thousands brothers with all the same goal in mind.

 

Tristan couldn’t get one minute of sleep. He rolled from one side of the bed to the other, flipped his pillow a few times, even kept one leg out of his wool blanket. Nothing could help him overcome his nervousness. Tomorrow was the day that could change his life forever. It’s the day of training to select the new brothers of the Underground. Every man of every generation in his family was a brother since his ancestor, Turin the brave, founded it. Tristan felt the eyes of all these men looking down on him. He remembered what his father use to say in those times: “A book will always take your mind off reality.” With these words reassuring him, the boy walked to his shelf of books in the corner of his chamber to pick the story that will capture his mind away. He picked a book he hasn’t read in a long time. The Adventures of Turin the Brave. The life of his ancestor written by his great uncle. Tristan lighted a candle next to his bed and started to read the biography. As he arrived to the third page he began to hear the footsteps of his father. With no time to react, the boy made eye contact when he peeked through the door frame. The big man in a dark blue night robe entered the room, stopped and sighed, “How can you even be awake at this hour, son?”

“I can’t fall asleep, father. I’m to nervous.” said Tristan with a small voice, “And you always told me to read a book when I want to clear my mind.” A hint of a smile appeared on Taron’s face.

“That, I have. But tomorrow is an important day and a good night’s sleep is necessary for you to perform at your full potential, isn’t it?”

“Yes, father.” Taron sat on the bed and laid his hand on his son’s cheeks.

“Son, look at me. For your age, you show remarkable skills in all disciplines. I’m not worried about that.” Tristan smiled instantly. “What I fear is that your self-belief corrupts those remarkable skills.” Taron felt ashamed of saying these words and sighed. “You know the other boys will look at you differently. Nobody likes the fact that the son of a commander has to pass the same training as the butcher’s son. Not because of you who are but because of your family name. Once you show them that you’re more than that name, only then they’ll understand. “ Tristan nodded without saying a word and with a fierce look in his eyes. “Now, go to sleep if you want those remarkable skills to perform.” said Taron as an order.

“Yes, father.” replied his son.

 

At dawn, both, father and son, were waiting in front of their home for their horses to finish their breakfast. They rode fifty leagues away from the capital to the entrance of the Underground. The whole ride Tristan wondered about the cave. A place he heard about since the first day he could remember. A place he read about since the day he could read. A place that  that was already constructed in his head with every detail he collected through the years. Is it as vast and large as they say? Is magic really allowed in the Underground? Is it true that a mythical creatures lives in those caves to protect the brothers from any intruders? Stories told by old ladies in the streets indeed but Tristan couldn’t wait to see for himself. In the brotherhood, you only are permitted to enter the Underground once you come of age to pass the training. After riding through the Kingswood and up and down the mountains of Marana, Tristan finally saw two men, smaller than ants from his perspective, standing in front the face of a small hill.

“This, my son, is one of the sixty entrances of the Underground.” announced Taron with pride in his voice. Tristan, confused, thought his father was mocking him.

“But there’s no gate...or door! just two men standing there like cowards!” replied the boy waiting for an answer. Taron fixed his son’s eyes.

“These men are not cowards! They are brothers of the Underground. They might even be your brothers soon enough so you ought to respect them.” he said with a disappointed look. “Now, are you ready enter the Underground or not?”

“More than ever.” said Tristan while fixing the hill looking for the door. The pair rode quickly towards the mens. Once the guards saw them arrive they shouted together, “State your name and reason of presence!” Taron replied with habit.

“My name is Taron of house Wilmot, one of the twelve commanders of the Underground. This is my son Tristan. We are here for his training to become a brother. You can check the list, his name should be there.” the man on the left pulled a long scroll from his back pocket and started searching for the name.

“Yes, Tristan Wilmot son of Taron Wilmot. number 23. Very well, my lord. You may pass.” the father and son exchanged a look and a few seconds passed without nothing. In an instant, the grass facade of the hill shaped as a circle retreated and rolled to the side. It made way for a tunnel which seemed infinite. Tristan couldn't believe the scene that played before his eyes. Taron was waiting to see his son’s reaction as did his father, the first time he went to the Underground. The boy eagerly began walking at an unusual pace and Taron had to catch up to him. Tristan was amazed, even with repetitional surrounding of torches and narrow alleys. After a few minutes of walk, Tristan heard a distance sound of chatter. With every step he took, the words spoken were making more and more sense. The pair made a right turn and were instantaneously expose to the main hall of the Underground. An immense oval shaped room with a unseeable height covered by sixty openings for the sixty gates. It was filled with at least two hundred men whom forty were boys here for the same reason as Tristan. He was about to express everything he felt at the moment before being interrupted by his father, “Go join the other boys before it starts.” Tristan began to jog towards the crowd and his father shouted, “ Tristan! Remember, show them who you truly are!”. The boy felt the strength of those words that now became his goal for the rest of the day. He placed himself in the crowd waiting for instructions and immediately noticed all the eyes of the jealous boys fixing him. Tristan took a deep breath and ignored them. They think you’re spoiled little boy who doesn’t know his place. Show them who you truly are. They think you’re nothing but the commander’s son who’ll get chosen no matter what. Show them who you truly are. These words got the fire burning inside of the boy. And now the training had begun. Forty trainee competing in four disciplines in order to pick the best twelve. Each discipline had a group of ten boys rotating to the other to ensure thorough evaluation by the trainers. They had to compete in arching, one on one combat, sword fighting and last but not least, physical endurance. Tristan had mastered physical combat, arching and sword fighting when he six year old. It was the physical endurance that never really was his forte. He told himself that he ought to try his best no matter what. The boy was getting more respect from the other after they saw what he was capable of. Now that he aced the first three categories and with only 18 boys left, it was time for the final one. A one kilometer long race inside the cave. A gigantic alley in the left wing of the Underground that stretched to over a thousand meters and that could fit twenty racers. The instructions were simple. You only have to complete the race. However, the first twelve racers will become the new twelve brothers of the Underground. Tristan didn’t feel very well. He didn’t think he was capable to surmount this challenge. He didn’t want to disappoint his father nor his before him but he couldn’t help how he felt. He looked left and right. Some of the boys were twice his size. From one moment to the other, he closed his eyes, took a deep breath and ignored every sound around him. His father’s words ran through his mind and past his heart. Show them who you truly are! Show them the blood of Turin the great runs through your veins! Tristan reopened his eyes and heard a voice getting clearer and clearer. “On your mark. Set. Go!” He sprinted as fast as he could without thinking about it. His legs were heating. It made him think of the time he fell asleep it front of the fireplace. There’s no time for thoughts like that. He needed to keep his mind focused on speed and stamina. He was performing very well. Two or three were in front of him but it didn’t bother him that much since he knew they take the first twelve. The group of racer just passed the five hundred meters mark almost at same time. Some boys were tiring but no one was about to quit. A echo of the sound of barking bounced on the walls around them. Dogs might be waiting at the finish line. They might be getting close. At the same time, they all heard a strong constant noise of gallops. Horses might be training in a nearby section. What do they know about the Underground? However, both sounds were getting suspiciously louder. All eighteen boys turned at the same to witness three monstrous hounds charging at them. They were all larger than the other. The smallest must’ve been twice the size of a horse. The old ladies stories were real after all! thought Tristan while wondering why is that his current thought. Everyone ran faster than ever. The last four racers were to close to the beast and jumped to the side. It was now down to the last fourteen. Tristan was never more afraid in his life. Even though he didn’t have to prove anything to those dogs, the same thought circled his mind. Show them who you truly are! At the same moment, one of the hounds started charging towards him. Tristan could feel the ground vibrate and hear the gallop getting louder.  In an instant, the boy found himself under the monster’s jaw and saliva started dripping all over his head. The beast mouth was so large it dripped enough saliva for Tristan to be soaked. The boy noticed that the drool had a reddish tint to it. A immediate thought came to him. He ate the other boys! Tristan looked to his left and right, and saw two other boys in the same situation as him. The other elevens were way in front of them. There was only room for one more racer to escape the hounds. The last three noticed the finish line at the same time and exchanged a fierce look. Tristan looked at his hands and noticed the red color. He didn’t want to end up like the other boys. And so he closed his eyes and let his feets run at the rhythm of the beast behind him. At this point, he couldn't hear the hound anymore. Only the sound of his breathing and the cheering of the crowd. All sense of fear disappeared from the boy. Before he knew it, he was the twelfth racer, he was a new brother of the Underground. As he arrived, his father was the first to welcome him with a pouch of water. Tristan pushed his father and said, out of breath and traumatized, “The boys...the hounds... they ate them!” The big man was confused and replied.

“What are on earth are you talking about?”

“I saw their saliva, father! It was red!” Taron started laughing and explained everything after a few seconds.

“Son, their saliva is naturally red. They are trained beasts loyal to the Underground. You have nothing to fear. They’re loyal to you now. You made it, son. You made it!” His son giggled nervously and laid his body on ground.

“I made it. I truly made it.” His father look at him with pride and put a more serious tone.

“Now, are you ready for your first mission?”


© Copyright 2018 Marc Chackal. All rights reserved.

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