Chapter 1 Reborn
Flames flickered, casting light and shadow across a long corridor. I crawled on my hands and knees continually forward, the soft touch of carpet beneath me. I had been in this new world for 6 months now and had learned quite a bit. Over time, I even managed to pick up the language of the people here, though I could not quite speak it yet. In passing conversation between the adult figures in my life, I learned of my situation.
I was not on Earth any longer. For one reason or another, I had been reborn into a whole new world, with countries and continents that I had never even heard of. An ancient society by the standards of my previous life. It appeared however, that I had been born into a rather enviable position. My father was a duke in the Kingdom of Orion, bequeathed vast territory on the condition of loyalty to the throne and protection of the nation’s borders. I was expected to inherit that duty in the future, being the only son of my father’s first wife.
Being in such a position was. . . disconcerting to say the least. In the past, I had no real expectations on me, but now I was going to have to be the leader of hundreds of thousands of people.
“Young Master, what do you think you are doing here?”
A firm pair of hands lifted me into the air, catching me off guard while I was lost in my thoughts. I grumbled in complaint, however all that came out was a childish cooing. Instead of struggling uselessly, I cast my gaze on the figure that had captured my tiny form. It was an elderly man in a butler’s uniform. His grey hair falling just past his ears and a pencil thin mustache helped to frame his stone cold face. Arthur. That was his name. The head butler in charge of my father’s personal service. Despite his general lack of emotional display, I could tell that he was amused with me by the slight quirk of his lips, just a hair off his standard impassive visage.
“Quite the rambunctious one are we? You only learned to crawl last week, but your nurses are in a constant state of panic whenever they take their eyes off you. What are we going to do with you?”
Without waiting for a response, he took off down the corridor I had been exploring. Over the last few months I had gotten used to the imposing quarters that I lived. It was essentially a castle after all, definitely not somewhere that someone from the modern era would be at ease living. The surroundings passed quickly, and in just a few short minutes, I found myself in front of a set of massive double doors. Without any hesitation, or even a knock, Arthur pushed open the door to reveal a massive library. Multiple stories of bookshelves were displayed and an innumerable number of volumes were stored within. In the center of the room was a large desk with paper strewn all about. Hunched over those papers was a massive figure, clothed in a deep red. He seemed to be fully engrossed in the information in front of him before being brought out of his immersion by Arthur.
“My Lord, I apologize for interrupting you, but the Young Master has once again escaped the watchful eyes of his nurses.”
The large figure jolted before turning to face the two of us. A confused look passed across his face for an instant before a snort resounded out and he bellowed with laughter. Even after he finished laughing, amusement was flitting across his warm, brown eyes. Still chuckling, he took to his feet and crossed the distance between us with his hands outstretched.
“It’s good for a boy to be energetic! I can already tell that little Aiden is going to be a mighty warrior when he grows up. Here, let’s humor him this once.”
That giant that was my father took me into his arms and returned to his seat. Of course it would be no use to struggle, so I sat back and waited for what would come. Normally after being caught while exploring I would be dragged back to the worried, waiting arms of my many nursemaids. However this time I had been brought to my father. To be honest, I expected some form of punishment to come, causing trouble for my family again and again. Instead, however, my father continued to grin at me. His gaze filled with care and amusement. It was then that he grabbed a book from the edge of the desk and spoke once more.
“Well then, since you’re here, why don’t I tell you a little story? This is a legend from centuries past. The legend of our nation, and our family.”
He took a deep breath, and his face seemed to turn more serious from the moment he began speaking.
“Centuries ago there was a terrible war between the demons, and humankind. Over many decades they had fought, and slowly the humans were pushed back to the brinks of defeat. They mustered their troops, and rallied their strongest warriors to contest against the mighty Demon Lords, however it was never enough.
Just when man was to be wiped out from history however, a new ray of hope appeared. The six heroes. Seven outstanding individuals appeared with talent enough to stand against an army on their own. The [Swordsman], leader of the heroes. The legend says that he was at the peak of the Sword God level in skill. With his charisma and his skill, he cut through the enemy lines and led the armies of man to victory after victory. The [Knight], the impregnable wall. A giant of a man that served as the [Swordman’s] shield bearer. The [Priestess]. The saint of healing that kept humanity’s casualties to a minimum. The [Elementalist], master of all elemental magic. He was said to be able to call down meteors from the sky and turn an entire battlefield into a barren wasteland. A God Level Magician of all elements. The [Archer], the scout and unerring arrow of the heroes. He was said to never miss a shot. The [Summoner]. Able to summon both Elementals and subdued monsters to do her bidding. And last, The [Thief]. The most mysterious member of the heroes. Said to handle all of the less savory aspects of war. Unseen unless you were meant to see him.”
The emotion and intensity that my father read the story resonated within me. It was as though they were all here. I could imagine them, imposing and majestic standing before an army of men, ready to do battle against the forces of evil. Of course the introductions were not the end of the story, and my father spoke once more.
“Just when the light of hope as ready to go out, these six heroes appeared. No one is sure if they were always there, just waiting, or if they were answering the call of a higher power. All we know is that one day they stood forth with glowing symbols on the backs of their left hands, indicating their roles in history and blasted back the encroaching horde of evil. In one battle after another they showed their prowess and slowly, humanity began to push back. Eventually, the front was pressed to where the lines are drawn today. In a climactic battle, The Heroes engaged in combat with The Demon Lords. It is said that that single battle went on for 3 days and nights before ending in a stalemate. Knowing that no side would claim victory without innumerable losses, an accord was reached and the war ended. The lines were drawn, and the countries that we know today were created. Our kingom of Orion, bordering the demons to the west, and the Beastmen to the north.”
He paused for a moment before exploding in laughter, his body shaking not only himself, but also the tiny me that was in his arms. Please stop that.
“Ahaha, in fact the ones in the most precarious position is our Geralt Dukedom. We occupy the entire border with the Demon territory, and it has been the duty of our family to guard the border since the Great War.”
He chuckled once more before leaning and and whispering to me, as though letting me in on a conspiracy.
“In fact, it is said that the Geralt family is descended from the [Knight], who was tasked to guard the kingdom after the war. The [Swordsman] ended up inheriting the kingdom from the heirless king, and it is his line that are our rulers. The [Priestess] became the head of the church that guides our morality to this day. The [Elementalist] became the court mage and made it his duty to see the spread and growth of magic throughout the kingdom. It is because of him that when compared with the other races, humanity’s magic is so common. In fact, maybe you will grow up to be a mighty mage one day. We will see when you are older. Regardless, the [Summoner] went into seclusion in the wilderness to cultivate. Rumour has it that there is a temple within the endless forests to the east of the capital. No one really knows what happened to the [Thief], but most believe that he remained in the kingdom, watching from the shadows. The [Archer] ended up the Supreme General under the new king. Hahaha, and there boy, is the history of the kingdom.”
With a snap, he closed the book and set it aside. It sounded like fiction to me. Demons, magic, summoning, beastmen. . . But it was all real. I mean, I couldn’t deny that I had been summoned from another world, so why would I refuse to believe any of this? Magic. . . That was the dream. That was what stuck out to me more than anything else that my father had said. Who wouldn’t want to be a master mage after being reborn in a fantasy world after all? I made up my mind. I wouldn’t not wait until my father deemed fit to test me. As soon as I could, I would find a way to learn myself.
I was jolted from my thoughts however, when my father handed me back to Arthur.
“Alright, enough story time. I have work that needs to be done. Arthur, take him back to his nurses and then attend me. We need to talk.”
His visage deadly serious, and his tone stiff, left me only to wonder what was wrong, and why he was taking the time to read stories to me when there was important work to be done. Before I was carried away though, he placed one finger on my chest and smiled warmly at me, his face completely at odds with the serious man that was there just a moment prior.
“Remember son, you are the descendant of a hero. When the world needs heroes again, it might be you that answers the call.”
A hero huh? Perhaps that was what I had been called into this world to do. . .
“I hope you really are the one to save us.”
Those words from a lifetime past resounded in me once again. It could be me. No, it would be me. I was here for a reason, and I wouldn’t let this life be a waste.
I would make it a life worth living.