by Ben Cross

Wake up, little one. Now is the time I have chosen for your story to be told. The World is waiting. Wake up.

With a soft stir, a young boy finds himself amidst a tapestry of ruins. With vines like spider-webs, their shade of viridian a stark contrast to the dull and faded greys of the once proud stone that used to stand here. With a pounding in his head, and an unsteady sense of purpose, he stumbles a few awkward steps forward out of the ruins and onto his face. Brushing the dirt off as he stands, he finds he is no longer alone. Standing before him he finds an old man. But not old with the image of decades spent in a field harvesting crop, broken and decrepit, seemingly about to fall over dead any second. No, this man stood tall with deep brown eyes and a gentle expression that softened his face but did nothing for the hard outlines of his silhouette against the surrounding stone. The boy is overcome with wonder but knows not what to say in the mans company. With a light smirk the old man addresses the boy, Fear nothing, my son, for though you will face much in your days to come, you will find no greater respite than here with me in this secret place. You have been chosen to live a tale that has been lifetimes in the making. Each breath you take holds the weight of a million moments waiting to come crashing down and affect all the denizens of this world. Fate knows your story, little Ventyre, but only you can tell it. Now take my hand and let us begin. Ventyre cautiously takes hold and with that soft touch, a blinding light of white shoots out in every direction, overwhelming the ruins entirely, until finally the light resolves into the sharp outline of a wooden staff. Ventyre catches the stick awkwardly and it fumbles to the ground after a few half-hearted and confused attempts to grab it out of the air. Laughing, the old man picks up the staff and extends it to the boy. You would do well to hold onto this. Ventyre quickly takes the staff and steps backward, words forming on his tongue easily although he has never spoken. I dont even know who you are! That same smile cracks through the old mans expression again and with a snap of the wrist, Ventyre feels a sharp pain to his left leg that brings him to the ground, the old man holding a staff of his own, now holding it out for Ventyre to pull himself up with. My name is Bortholomyr. You would do well to remember that as well. Ventyre slaps the stick out of his face and stands on his own, much to the delight of Bortholomyr. Taking a defensive stance, the old man triumphantly declares Now let us see the skills of a Legend untold.

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