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Join date : 2023-01-26

Chapter 12 : Richard Pendragon (3) Empty Chapter 12 : Richard Pendragon (3)

Wed May 10, 2023 11:04 am
The sacred Sword is more than just a sword. It is instead a concept. It is the heirloom of House Pendragon, and it always inhabits the current King. The sacred Sword chooses its next owner, who will also become King, every time the current owner dies. It can only be inherited by direct descendants of the first owner of the sacred Sword. The sacred Sword has two abilities. The first is the ability to summon a sword out of the owner's body. This Sword often has supernatural features that are unique to each King. The second ability is unique to each owner and, in the past, ranged from enhanced strength to perfect memorization.

Thanks to that, House Pendragon has ruled over its territory for almost two thousand years. More particularly, the Pendragons managed to lead both the secret and the public side and even grow their influence. Other families in neighboring countries have the same kind of abilities, but most of them only have limited power and are often dominated by more powerful families. Most naturally seek to extend their influence but are far from being as important as the Pendragons.

During the last weeks before the ceremony, Mila decided to train Robert and Richard separately since the tension grew and reached an unhealthy level. Richard had stopped entirely going to his formal education and focused on preparing his body and resting it between training sessions before the ceremony. He kept getting better with the sword to the point where he could seriously spar with Mila, who held the title of the strongest knight of the Kingdom and was the Royal Guards' Captain. Richard also stopped talking. He would even just use simple answers to Mila and ignore all the other people. He stopped letting the hairdressers touch him and let go of his hygiene.

Mila was asked to do something about it multiple times. And even if there was no doubt that she could have ordered him to behave correctly, Mila pretended to be powerless. In fact, Mila was looking forward to seeing what warrior would be produced with this lifestyle. Richard was a rough diamond for her that she wanted to shape into a great warrior after the sacred Sword rejected him.

The King invited his children into his bedroom one week before the ceremony, where he had been resting for the past months.

Before entering the room, Robert and Richard met at the door and greeted each other with a cold and silent handshake. Robert looked perfect, as always. He dressed up to visit his father. He held himself like a King and was escorted in front of the room by two young royal guards who had sworn fielty to him. Richard came alone. He was dressed in a dirty training suit, his hair had become like a mane, and his eyes became more savage. They entered at the exact hour they were invited.

- "Come closer, my sons." The King said weakly.

As they approached their father's bed in his dimly lit bedroom, both princes could see how bad their father looked. No one knew why the King's health had started degrading so suddenly. Whether it was poison, sickness, or something else was unknown to the doctors and deviants. Both sons knew their father was only 42 years old. But right now, he looked more like twice that age.

- "My sons. You look strong." The King added.

Robert and Richard exchanged a gaze, comparing each other. Almost as if each of them was trying to prove to the other that their father was mainly talking about him. After a few seconds of silence, the King took a deep breath and said:

- "In one week, one of you will become King. This will be tough since you both are young. I am worried about the sacred Sword's effects on your bodies."
- "Is it the sacred Sword doing this to you, father?" Asked Robert.
- "I do not know for sure. It is my best guess." Answered the King.

This clearly felt like a piece of information both boys should not let escape from this room. The King retook a deep breath.

- "I brought both of you here because I heard your rivalry is burning. Having a brother is both a blessing and a curse in our family. I want you to promise me that the other will serve the family's interests no matter who is chosen." Said the King.

Richard's eyes widened. Robert immediately kneeled and said:

- "Of course, father. I swear on my life that I will serve the Pendragon family. Be it as the next King or as his brother."

Richard clenched his jaw. He knew this was the right thing to do, even if he did not feel like serving his brother or swearing such a thing before the ceremony. He stayed on his feet and said:

- "Yes. I will serve the Pendragon family and its interests forever. I promise."
- "No matter who the king will be?" Asked the King.
- "Yes." Answered Richard.

The King coughed hard and had trouble catching his breath afterward.

- "I have not been a very present father. No matter what your choices will be, I will support you. You can now go, Robert. I will see you at the ceremony. Richard, stay a moment. I want to talk to you." Said the King.

Robert and Richard were both shocked by this statement. Not only did the King express some kind of regret. But he also asked a bizarre request. Robert was mixed between being worried for his brother and jealous of him.

- "Very well, father. I will see you at the ceremony." Said Robert before looking at his younger brother and leaving the room.

After taking a deep breath, again, the King said:

- "Richard, I know how stubborn you can be. You took that after your mother. I can see the same lion I saw in her burning inside you. My weakness led our family to lose some of its influence, and I am truly sorry for that. But, let's face it, your brother is made for the position of King. When my life ends, if the sacred Sword chooses you. I ask you to end your own life to let your brother become King. Only he can make our family great again." Said the King.

Richard's eyes teared up. His intense demeanor, his savage presence, and his coldness all shattered at this. Some part of him knew that this was true. Richard thought about that during his isolation training, knowing he was not going on the right path to becoming a good King. His way was meant only to beat Robert in a sword fight. And he knew that sword fights were not everything. He answered:

- "Father, I cannot promise I will end my life if that happens. But I promise I will make Robert use his talents to make the Pendragons' name shine again. And - if he is chosen - I will support him. Together, Robert and I will make our family stronger than ever." Said Richard
-"Perfect, my son." Answered the King

After silence, the King removed his hands from below the blanket and added.

- "Take my left hand, and look at the right one."

Richard reached out for his father's hand. He started to feel drained by his father, and while his father was focusing, a blade appeared from his right hand. The blade was coming out of the King's flesh. The King felt some pain, but it looked more like an intense workout than a painful experience. Once 50 centimeters of the blade had appeared out of his arm, the handle came out, and the King grabbed his sword naturally.

Richard watched in awe. He knew about the supernatural abilities of people like Mila and some strong royal guards. He also knew that some people could have more complex powers. But summoning a sword out of thin air was entirely beyond his imagination. The fourteen years old continued to observe the beauty of a weapon that appeared before him. The room was dark and cold, but the sword could be seen clearly as if it was producing its own light. The sword had a very standard design. But it still looked stunning for a swordsman like Richard. It was simply perfect.

After what felt like a second for Richard, the King released the sword from his grasp, but instead of falling, the sword slowly vanished by becoming more and more translucent before completely disappearing. Richard realized that he felt tired now. He was convinced that it had to do with the King and the grabbing of his hand. But he was unsure and was now waiting for further instructions from his father.

- "What you just saw is the sacred Sword. It had many names throughout the generations of our family... It never told me how I should call her." Said the King.

After a silence, he added:

- "You can now go, Richard. Continue your training, and I am counting on you and your brother."

Richard got out of his father's bedroom, confused. He was wholly split between his idea of winning against Robert and the idea of serving the family as best as he could.

The following week had passed in an instant for both Richard and Robert. Mila forced Richard to take care of his appearance for the ceremony day. But he insisted on keeping his hair long enough to be held in a small ponytail. On the day of the ceremony, he came with his hair free. Robert, on the other hand, had the same haircut as usual. Short on the sides and long enough to make it all fall on the sides on top. "The best haircut for a crown." would say the hair cutter.

It was late in the day, almost midnight. All the executives of the Kingdom were in the Throne room. The room was dark. The only light sources were candles here and there. Mila was wearing a gorgeous black dress. She did not look like a guard at this moment. As a captain of the King's guard, she was relieved from her position shortly before the ceremony and would only regain it if the next King wanted her to. The people were spread on the sides of the room, leaving the central alley free for passage from the main door to the stairs leading to the throne.

When Richard and Robert reached their place just before the stairs, an empty coffin was brought forward. The King was accompanied by his wife, right behind the coffin. As they passed between the princes, the King smiled softly. Two guards then helped him climb the stairs and get into the coffin. The Queen looked very emotional but kept a straight face and gave her sons a nod once she was up the stairs.

Both princes put a knee on the ground, and as the silence in the room was maintained, the Queen brought a dagger to the King. Everybody knew that the King would now proceed to stab himself, as this was the only known way to give the sacred Sword away. The necessary sacrifice of the King to have a strong ruler for the Kingdom was about to happen. Richard and Robert held their breath as the dagger was raised outside the coffin. The whole room breathed out as it descended into what seemed to be the King's chest. A few seconds later, a light bulb flew out of the coffin in the dark room and started floating around Richard and Robert. It had the flying patterns of a butterfly and looked like it was smelling the boys. After what looked like a moment of hesitation, it entered Robert's body. Everyone was relieved except Richard, who tensed up.

Robert stood up and walked toward the coffin. Everyone put a knee on the ground, and he emotionally closed his father's coffin. He said:

- "I am honored to become the King. I promise to serve House Pendragon and the Kingdom until the day I die."

Richard stood up, and as everyone held their breath once more, he walked closer to the stairs leading to the throne and the coffin.

- "Brother, I look forward to serving you. I promise to stay faithful to you and recognize you as my one and only King. Until death splits us apart." Said Richard before putting a knee on the ground.
- "Long live the King!" Shouted Robert's mother.
- "Long live the King!" Answered the crowd.
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