Deep into the night Aquarius waited. He stood alone; arms folded hiding his apprehension from any who would see.
Virgo had retired earlier, and the camp was now still. Although he was
uncertain of the wizard’s intentions, he more than any others in the camp, had confidence in Majisto. Years ago it was the blue wizard whom had put an end to the Plague of Woe, which killed many of the women
throughout the land, including Aquarius’ wife. It was also he who, in Aquarius’
despair, gave him a reason to live by charging him with the care of a newborn child.
Aquarius raised Leo like a son, and taught him to be skilled with a sword. The
boy learned quickly and became educated in many things. He was, however, still
too young to be in battle, Aquarius thought. These last few years had seen the
barbarian raiders attack to the point where war was at hand. The lands that Aquarius
and the others defended were all farming villages. They had all been at odds
with each other in the past, but now had united to face a greater foe.
Aquarius now looked up to where the tower guard was standing. Just then, the sentry motioned for the gate to be opened. Four riders entered from the rear entrance. The youngest of
these had long brown hair and smiled when he saw Aquarius coming to greet him.
“Father, it is good to see you” he said. “When I was awoken, I had feared the worst, but the men had assured me that
you were safe”. He dismounted and made his way toward the tall golden haired
warrior. Aquarius gave the boy a strong embrace, and then held him by his shoulders,
looking him straight in the eyes before speaking.
“Leo, there is someone that you must meet, and
you must be brave and trust in yourself for I may not be able to instruct you in this matter”.
The boy’s eyes went wide with surprise. “I will do as you ask father, but whom….?”
“Come, we mustn’t
keep him waiting” said Aquarius, leading Leo further into the camp. They
reached the fire where Majisto was sitting. The old wizard stood, leaning on
his staff and peered intently into the boy’s eyes.
“Gather the others” he said, giving a quick
glance at Aquarius. “And make haste”.
Aquarius swiftly headed off, dispatching some men to rouse the others. After
he had studied Leo a bit longer he spoke again.
“Yes, you have courage in your eyes that is plain
enough. Come Leo. Do you know who
“Why, you’re the Blue Wizard sir. Majisto the Magnificent, I’ve heard many a tale from my father.
How can I be of service to you?” said Leo bowing slightly.
A soft chuckle escaped the wizard. “Already you show the maturity that your peers lack. But
it is I whom have come to serve you”.
Leo stood, confusion marking his face. He hadn’t the time to ask before the others started making their way towards the fire. When they had all gathered round, Majisto raised his staff to get their attention.
“Long has it been since last I was among these
lands. Leaderless have you been for far too long.
The time to unite and declare a king is now at hand”.
Shock and anger broke the silence at these words. Majisto slammed the end of his staff into the ground with a thunderous ‘boom’
to regain order. “Be silent, all of you”. He fixed them with a fiery stare from beneath his bushy eyebrows. “In
days of old, legend spoke of an ancient sword. The wielder would receive great
power and rule over the lands of men. Long has it been lost in shadow. I come to you now not bearing news of its discovery… but the very blade itself”. Majisto brought forth from his cloak a sword whose blade shined gold like the sun in the light of the fire. All who beheld it gasped and then were silent.
“How will we choose, we haven’t the time for a tournament like the law decrees” said Cancer after
a moments pause.
“No, you haven’t, wise Cancer, but the sword has chosen one amongst you” said Majisto.
“Then let us see” said Virgo. “Aquarius should go first”.
Majisto presented the sword to the tall man. He grabbed onto the hilt
reluctantly at first, but could not lift it. It grew heavier before him so that
he groaned as it were made of stone, and let it rest on the log in front of him.
“My turn” said Scorpio, pushing his way
past the others. He lifted the sword and raised it a little. Feeling the power within, he smiled and held it high above himself.
Suddenly, the sword burst into flames, and Scorpio let out a sharp yell, dropping it into the fire. He clutched his injured hand. “What sorcery is this?”
he spat as the others gave him and the sword some distance. Just then, Leo had
gone to retrieve the sword. He reached into the fire and drew the blade. It was not hot, and the fire did not burn him.
The others looked on in astonishment as the blade began to glow. Leo could
feel the power flow through him and the sword was thrust into the air, but of its own will.
“So it has chosen, and so it is decided” declared Majisto. “It
is as it should be. The sword has chosen whom it serves and now you shall choose
as well” he said, addressing the men who were still conceiving what had just transpired.
Aquarius knelt down before Leo who still held the sword high.
“I will follow you my king, for it is my duty and my honor to do so” he said, his head bowed humbly.
“Rise father, I am still your son” said Leo now confused, grip still firmly on the sword.
Majisto grabbed the boy by the shoulders.
“Come with me” he said, and led him off towards the gate. He
motioned for the gate to be opened and then took Leo out to a small hill not far from the camp.
“Majisto, why does my father bow before me, and why have I been chosen king?” said Leo.
“Aquarius is not your real father, and because it is your destiny to be king” said the wizard.
“But then who is my real father?” said Leo.
“Even I do not know the answer to that, my dear boy. But listen
to me. Sometimes, you have to believe
in something whether you can make understanding of it or not. You must have the
courage to lead into the unknown” said the old man. He turned to face Leo
and leaned forward on his staff. “Do you
have the courage to lead them, King Leo?”