00 Prologue

Draft 2019.04.08.01 — The rain slowed to a drizzle as a 10-year old boy made his way out of the Filgore Valley. With the dense forest and vegetation behind him, he ran towards the burg called Cornor.

“I can’t believe I’m still alive,” Michael John Mayweather said out loud. “Those Dragoons would have killed me,” he thought, “If I hadn’t saved one of their kittens. Making it through the valley has to be a sign.”

The village couldn’t be too far off, but that didn’t slow his pace. The clouds were scattering, giving way to the morning. Soon, the shadows would retreat for another day.

“Please, please,” pleaded Michael, not sure who would hear him. “Help me get to my brother before it’s too late.”

Seeing the edge of the burg, Michael stopped running. He held his side as he gasped for air. The rain-soaked boy shivered as he continued walking to Cornor. His thoughts went back a few days ago. His family and city celebrated Nolan’s return after a year at school in Mercil.

Michael never saw his father this excited. His brother turned sixteenth while at school. Now, he would announce his engagement to Ayla May Garren. Lord Rando Braedon Mayweather sent his most excellent carriage to Southport.

He paraded Ayla and her father, who accompanied Nolan to Bon Abbi. The carriage stopped in each city long enough for the Herald to share the news. From Southport to Cornor, Casselberry, Neardore, and Midland before arriving in Bon Abbi.

Bon Abbi prepared weeks for the big event. Nolan was coming home and would wed by harvest. But the celebration didn’t last long. The next morning, some of the townspeople found Ayla dead, pierced through the heart with an arrow.

The black and white feathers told the tale. It belonged to Luka Dey Robion, son of the ruling family in Casselberry. His brother went after Luka to defend the honor of his fallen bride.

Michael worked his way through Pubs Row. The kitchens prepped for their breakfast patrons, who would soon arrive. As he rounded the corner past the Pouring Rain Pub, he saw his brother.

Two young men held Nolan’s arms, leaving him defenseless. In front of him was another man holding a sword. His black hair was long, except on the right side, which was short with three shaved horizontal lines.

Michael couldn’t hear what Luka was saying to his brother, who tried to break free. He drew out a knife he took from his father’s kitchen and ran towards the men holding his brother.

In horror, Michael watched as Luka plunged his sword into his brother. Nolan gasped and fell to the ground when the men released their grip.

“No!’ Michael shouted as he ran towards Luka.

Luka raised his right leg and kicked Michael in the chest. He fell backward, dropping his knife. As he tried to get up from the wet ground, Luka struck the young boy with the hilt of his sword.

Michael could feel his warm blood flowing under his right eye. He succumbed to the pain and grief, slumping to the ground. Luka smiled when he saw the imprint of an arrow on the boy’s cheek. He instinctively rubbed the arrow emblem on the end of the pommel.

“Who is he?” asked Hodius Green, one of the men who held Nolan’s arms.

Luka laughed. “He has to be the other Mayweather. My lucky day.”

He canvased the area and saw a few people staring at him before they walked away. “Ludda, kill the boy,” ordered Luka.

“I-I can’t kill a boy.” Ludda shook his head and took a step back.

Luka cursed under his breath. “Hodius you do it, while Ludda helps me get rid of the other brother.”

“I can’t do it,” Hodius stepped back, as well. “You know I always do what you ask. But I can’t do this…”

“What’s the matter with you two? He saw what we did! He can’t live to tell someone.”

Ludda lifted his right finger to his lips. “Wait. Wait. I have an idea. We may not have to kill him or hide the brother’s body.”

“What are you talking about!” Luka shouted as he grabbed Ludda’s shoulder.

“Take the knife and cover it with blood. Put some blood on the boy. Then take him to the warehouses in Southport. One of the ship’s captain will take him as an indentured servant.”

Luka let the idea play through his mind. He released his hold on Ludda. “Yeah. We can say the young boy killed this noble.”

He took a step towards Michael and kicked him. Hodius looked at his companion and then at Luka. “W-why do you hate the Mayweathers so?”

Luka smirked. “It’s not for you to know.”

He lifted the young boy by his tunic and then dropped him. “One of you grab the boy and put him on my horse. Leave the other Mayweather where he lies.”

In minutes, Hodius draped Michael’s body across the saddle. Then he and Ludder followed Luka, walking their horses. As morning came, people in hushed, quiet voices expressed surprise when they encountered the body in Cornor Square.

“Ludda, this may be your first excellent idea. Once a captain takes the boy in as an indentured servant, he’s good as dead!” This pleased Luka.

He stopped walking his horse and turned to face the two young men. “No one knows what has happened this morning or in Bon Abbi a few days ago. Let’s keep it that way.”

The two men nodded their commitment. “You stay true,” Luka continued, ” And I’ll make sure you both never have to work in the stables again.”

Luka turned and restarted their journey to Southport, the next burg over. He smiled. There was no one left to keep him from becoming the ruler of Rylie Glen. King Luka Dey.

Written by Mike Arroyo

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