I feel uneasy as I walk to Maria’s home. I am not sure what is causing the sensation. While Maria is stern, she is never cruel or unjust. In fact on most days she has displayed a marvelous gift for humor and warmth. My thoughts turn to what she could want to talk to me about. I have lived here in the village for eight months now. I just hope she does not try to dissuade me from going to Mountain Shadow. Just as that thought left my mind I reached the door of her impressive keep. I was ushered in to the main chamber and told to wait.
The chamber was grandiose and made me feel incredibly small. There was a large throne like chair several feet in front of me. Part of my feeling’s were coming from the fact it felt so much like a medieval castle from my old world. The surreal aspect of this being someones home and not a museum was stunning. Behind the throne was human shaped stand covered by a red cloth. The sound of a door snapped me back to reality and in walked Maria dressed as I had never seen her before. She was dressed in what can be best described as a formal gown with a jeweled head-piece. She effortlessly seated herself upon the throne as two guards appeared from the shadows. It was startling to see this side of the village leader. I am starting to think Arcana might be more than a typical village.
Maria Motioned me forward and asked me to kneel. Maria waited several seconds and then said “ This man before us has chosen to become a defender of the realm.” “Today we send him forth to begin his journey a new.” “Bob please step forward and receive my gift’s.” With that I stood up and the guards brought forward a very intricate set of armor and weapons. So that is what was on the stand I thought as the pieces were fitted on my body. It was much lighter than it looked and almost instantly felt very natural. The shield and sword had intricate scroll work that almost glowed.
I took several steps back and twirled the sword like I had owned it for years. Maria let a smile appear before speaking again. “Your defender name is Dordain and from today you protect this realm, giving you life if it becomes necessary.” “You have come so far in a short time we will miss you in Arcana.” She said and with that the ceremony was over. One of the guards walked forward removing his helmet. It was my friend Ephraim. He shook my hand with a wide grin. There was no need for words, he could see my progress and understand this was my path.
When I made my way out of the keep with Maria and Ephraim trailing me another surprise was awaiting me. The entire village in the courtyard and outside the gates. I felt a swelling of pride and confidence seeing them all smiling and waving at me. At the same time I understand that I have undertaken an enormous challenge in becoming a defender. Deep down I knew this was right and I held my head high as I left the crowd and made my way to the docks with Ephraim and Maria walking right beside me. We stopped at my boat and Ephraim shook my hand again and then Maria surprised me with a warm hug.
As slowly sailed out the harbor the two of them waved until they were out of sight. I started my way north. The water gently slapping the side of the boat was relaxing and peaceful. I made myself enjoy it as I had a sneaking suspicion it may be the last peaceful moment I know for some time.