Brotherhood Beyond Blood | Pt 1 |Memory
Maerec and Caelum’s First Encounter
Maerec and Caelum’s First Encounter
Interaction: @Dao Ma
Time: Morning, Location: Solenne
Mood: Unstoppable by The Score
Current Event: Fields of Fire
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
- Aldrith the Bonebreaker.
- Aldrith the Bonebreaker.
“Six on one? Not fair!” 9-year-old Caelum shouted after being pushed to the cold stone in one of the slum alleys of Solenne. He dusted himself off and got up to meet the young boyish street thugs, each standing 3 to 4 heads taller than himself.
“Life ain’t fair, kiddo.” A tall, blonde-haired boy spoke above the rest. He indeed appeared to be the one leading this misfortunate band of rats. Caelum had already taken two square knuckle licks to the jaw and a kick to his abdomen while he was down, and each time he tried to stand back up in defiance against these cowardly kids. Deep down, there was a small titch of fear that they may decide to go overboard if he continued to show them that he would not submit. But, he could not help himself, “all of you are cowards.” Caelum said underneath his breath, just loud enough for the blonde-haired boy to hear it.
“What did you say!” The blonde-haired boy’s hair began to stand on the back of his neck and forearms. He was charged and was not about to let a 9-year-old Caelum insult him in front of his gangly miscreants. Instead of submitting, Caelum repeated himself in all its foolishness, “I said…YOU ARE ALL COWA-” Caelum could not finish before a right hook connected with his face. One moment he was gazing into the eyes of his bully, the next, he was spitting up blood folded on the ground. Caelum rolled over to see the silhouette of a boot about to stomp down, but then out of nowhere, a shape of a body came charging forward, pulling the boot with it.
Maerec, only twelve years old by now, had been roaming the streets, twirling the long stick he had been known to carry around. It was an extension of himself. It was his sword of Solenne, or at least in the boy’s mind. However, it had helped on plenty of occasions against the hoodlums that had nothing better to do than to pick fights with the smaller and weaker boys. When he was passing an alley, he heard some unsettling sounds. A familiar voice yelled out, and Marec knew that voice was up to no good.
They had gotten into several scuffles before. The blonde boy might as well have been his foil at this point. Maerec knew he couldn’t just pass by now. Stopping at the entrance of the alley, he’d gone unnoticed. All six of the boys seemed to be circling something. It allowed Maerec to sneak forward.
Another boy! He heard the boy cry out in defiance, and Maerec’s heart reached out for him. He was a strong soul. And it was at that moment, Maerec sprung into action. Without a second thought, as he saw the older blonde begin to bring down his foot, Maerec shot off with a speed he barely recognized. Shoulders down, he speared into the side of the blonde boy, sending him and himself tumbling across the ground. “There we are! Two against six has much better odds.” Maerec called out, rolling away and onto his feet. As he stood, he reached out for his stick, but it had scattered off too far away, and a boy had placed his foot upon it, effectively taking it out of the fight.
“Well, well, look who it is. The never-be-knight Maerec!” the blonde boy spat as he stood and checked himself. “I’ll show you not to interfere in my business.” He raised a hand and pointed at Maerec. “Get him!” Instantly, two boys began to inch forward towards Maerec. “Him too.” Eyes had turned back to Caelum, and another couple of boys started to circle.
Maerec shuffled his way to stand before Caelum and briefly glanced back at him before training his eyes on the boys circling them. “Can you fight?” He asked the crumpled boy.
Caelum looked up to see a hero stand before him. More than rats and monsters were hanging out in the alleys of Solenne. Caelum got up onto his two feet and responded as he wiped his blood-stained lips, “I can try.” Caelum was not going to lie; his experience in fighting was limited, at best, within the boundaries of playful scraps and wrestling with the other monastery boys.
Two boys came charging Caelum, and another two went after Maerec. As the two approached Caelum, he ducked a straight punch and threw a punch to one of the attacking kid’s ribs. It was a never celebrated victory because as Caelum connected with the older boy’s rib, the other boy hit him square in the jaw. Once again, a strike rattled Caelum’s consciousness with flashing lights as he fell 90 degrees to the ground below. Maerec had been holding his own against the two who attacked him, but once Caelum was down, one boy disengaged to attack Maerec while the other boy continued to attack Caelum by kicking him repeatedly.
“Give up!” Another shot from the attacking boy’s boots crunched against Caelum’s hip. The force behind the kick peeled Caelum over onto his back, “Do you give up?” The ugly boy asked. Caelum spoke below his breath to entice the nasty boy to lean down to hear his answer, “What did you say?” The ugly boy asked. Caelum muttered again; the ugly boy got onto one knee and leaned toward Caelum’s mouth to hear his submission.
Caelum had been hiding a stone in his left hand after being sent to the ground. He scooped it up before having been peeled over by the ugly boy’s kick. The rock ripped across the ugly boy’s temple. He dropped right next to where Caelum was lying, out cold. Caelum rotated to his chest to push himself up and join Maerec; about halfway up, another boy came sundering in with a shin kick to Caelum’s stomach. Air burst from Caelum’s lung. He began gasping, trying to find air.
It was one thing to fight just a few by yourself; it was another having to keep an eye on your partner as well. Being attacked by two of the six boys kept Maerec preoccupied, and he couldn’t come to Caelum’s aid as the poor boy crumpled to the ground.
Maerec had easily dodged out of the way of sloppily thrown fists. A duck down allowed him to force an uppercut, clipping one of the boys on the tip of his chin. As the boy stumbled backward from Maerec, another moved forward to fill his place. The fight turned into three on one at that point. It became a barrage of punches and kicks, and Maerec was forced to raise his arms to protect his head. He was pushed back and took a few steps to keep his footing. Caelum was up now, but Maerec could tell it was just barely. If they could knock down another boy or two, maybe they would have a chance…
Caelum was assaulted with a nasty kick and so was Maerec from behind. He blocked a kick to his side with his arm, but with only half as much strength. It caught him off balance, and Maerec came tumbling down. Two of the three instantly took the opportunity to jump onto Maerec, pinning down his arms and attempting to pin down his legs, while that third stepped in to make clear kicks to his side.
Maerec thrashed, refusing for his legs to be restrained, and managed a nice kick to the chest on one of the boys. He sent the boy flying onto his back, then attempted to rip his arms away. With the boy using his knee to put weight on Maerec’s chest, it was difficult to determine when the next kick would come.
“Just give up. You’re pathetic–Both of you.” The blonde-haired boy sneered, stepping forward to shove one of his own out of the way so he could land a few kicks on Maerec. “You’re not so special, so stop acting like it!” The other boys moved out of the way, giving the blonde clear shots.
With each kick, Maerec was sure that his ribs would break. But he couldn’t give up. It just wasn’t in him to give up because it hurt. He turned and curled, grabbing hold of the blonde’s planted food while using one of his arms to guard his head. He held on as tightly as he could, which made the blonde stop kicking to try and pull Maerec off. There it was! An opening! Maerec reached out and grabbed hold of the blonde boy, pulling his arm with a forceful jerk and sending him off balance. He came tumbling on top of Maerec, and Maerec quickly rolled to top the other. Fists flew down, trying to get in as many punches as he could before the other boys pulled Maerec off.
He was thrown back onto the ground, and all boys staggered to stand in a final standoff. Maerec reached for Caelum, trying to help him before the others could launch their next attack. “I have an idea,” He whispered to Caelum. “Get behind the big one and crouch down.”
Caelum took Maerec’s hand. A final stand, without hesitation, Caelum listened to his new “friend,” a concept he never had until today…someone willing to sacrifice their own self-preservation for Caelum’s. When the boys approached, Caelum dove behind the big one and got on all fours. Maerec sprung into action, pushing the big kid back. The big kid tripped over Caelum tumbling head first to the ground and hitting his skull on a medium-sized loose rock. The luck of the Pentad was with them…but only for a single breath as the others showed how superiority in numbers outweighed their cleverness. Before Caelum and Maerec could turn the tides of battle, one boy jumped on Caelum and subdued him. The other two pinned Maerec and the big bleeding kid got up and took turns beating Caelum and Maerec into pulps.
“Hey! Stop that!” A woman’s high-pitched voice snapped in the air, and in an instant, all of the boys stopped. Then a deeper, commanding voice followed, “All of you stay where you are!” A man dressed in a knight’s tunic boomed his voice down the alleyway. The antagonizing boys felt fear split their hearts, and before any of them said something, they all broke into different directions leaving Caelum and Maerec to swell up in their spit.
The man came running down the alley to inspect Caelum and Maerec; before he arrived, Caelum, stretched out on the cold stone path, asked with shallow breaths breaking each word, “Di….d….we….w….win?”
Maerec’s chest heaved up and down as he gasped for breath. Surely if the two adults had seen them a moment later, the two would have been more than just a mess on the ground. Hearing Caelum, Maerec let out a pained chuckle. He raised a hand as if to try and pat Caelum where he could, only to have his hand fall short. “Well… we didn’t lose..!” he winced in pain, but the grin on his face didn’t falter. With a loud groan, Maerec forced himself to roll so that he could face his companion.
“I say… we won.. Did you… did you see his face? When he fell?” Another chuckle escaped him, and he curled to keep his suffering sides in place. “He’ll think twice.. Before messin’ with us again…” Another force, and Maerec propped himself up enough to reach around himself. When his hand came back, he produced a small coin pouch. “This is yours… right?”
Caelum smiled as he let his clenched fingers roll out to Maerec as if to acknowledge his gesture of friendship. He wanted to laugh, but only a smile could cross his badly bruised face. As Maerec presented a small coin pouch, he rolled his head to the side to meet Maerec’s eyes, “Yes…I guess…you…ar…e…right. We did win.” The knight’s shadow cast over the two beaten kids who struggled to find comedy in their tragedy, “Are you two ok?” Caelum looked at Maerec and then tilted his head back without moving any other limb to meet the knight’s face, “He said we won.” Caelum pointed to Maerec. The knight’s look of concern transformed into a grin, “It looks like it, can you two manage on your own, or do you need me to help you both to the healer?”
The smile on Caelum’s face was all that Maerec needed to feel like a job well done. When the knight came to their aid, he looked up at the man, only to turn his gaze back to Calum at his comment. He laughed until the pain forced him to lay back for a moment longer, then pushed himself up again.
“I can manage.” He said finally, slowly picking himself up off of the ground. “I think help to the healer is a good idea for you, though.” He accepted the knight’s offer for stability as he carefully grabbed Maerec’s arm when he began to waver. Again, Maerec reached out for Caelum to help him up. “I am Maerec. What’s your name?”
Caelum took his new friend’s hand, and with no strength of his own, he was raised to his feet by Maerec. Caelum felt every bone in his body crack and stretch; thank Pentad for being young.
“Caelum.” He took a few shallow breaths, “Thank you for saving me, if it were not for you, I’d be dead.” The knight lowered his head to squeeze between the two boys, “Dead?” Caelum looked at the knight, “Yeah, there were six of them and only me…until Maerec showed up, then we had a real chance until you showed up.” The knight took a step back, “Until I showed up?” Caelum rolled his eyes, “Yeah, we had them right where we wanted them…until you shouted.” A deaf silence followed, then all three broke out into laughter until Caelum’s laughter transitioned into wheezing.
When the laughter calmed, the knight questioned Maerec, “Well, you two took on six, huh? I can admire that, and Maerec, you stepped into a business that wasn’t your own; what possessed you to risk yourself like that for a stranger?”
Maerec was glad Caelum seemed to have a similar sense of humor. Or was it that he believed what was said? Regardless, Maerec felt as if he’d just found a long-lost brother on the streets of Solenne. His thoughts were interrupted by the knight looking at him expectantly for an answer. “Why not? He was in trouble. How could I just walk by and turn a blind eye? You wouldn’t have done that. No knight would do such a thing!” Maerec would have puffed out his chest if he had been in better shape. It was known around the area that Maerec was open about his dreams. As silly as everyone believed it to be. Maerec continued to dream and live by his standard. Many laughed and rolled their eyes at him, but it didn’t falter his determination. “I could never turn against someone that needed help.”
The knight was impressed, “No knight would do such a thing? Do you consider yourself a knight?”
“Yes!” Maerec almost hopped a little in how sure he was in his response. He winced a little and seemed to humble himself after realizing exactly how he responded. “Well… not yet. But I will be someday.” It was a dream that had stuck with him since he was old enough to stand. His mother and father, though immigrants, told all kinds of stories of the knights that protected Solenne. He grew up on them. And somehow, he’d gotten the idea that one day, he too would become a knight. Everyone around told him it wasn’t in his birth that he’d never become a knight. He wasn’t born to be a knight. The words were shaken off just as easily as dried mud on the bottom of a shoe. He’d always been a stubborn child, believing in standing up for what was right. The best knights' stories upheld a chivalrous code, and that was something Maerec was drawn to. It was the ideal man and the perfect picture of someone to aspire to be. And it was the best way to give back to his parents, who suffered constant prejudice from their neighbors. A Drudguzean born could become a great knight. If anything, Maerec would will it into destiny.
“I will be the greatest knight of Solenne.”
“Aha! My boy, so you shall!” The knight encouragingly slapped his hand on Maerec’s shoulder, “I believe it if you do; I mean, look at what you did today!” The knight saw the boy was not of noble descent, but it did not stop the knight from having an idea, “Say, if you are serious, then you would be wise to try out for the Circuit.” Caelum asked, “What is the Circuit?” The knight leaned in between both boys, “The Circuit is where all the knights of Solenne hold an open competition between boys all across the land to see who will become their next squire.” The knight uprighted himself, “And you, Maerec, should be there.” The knight dug into a small pouch at his belt, pulling out a coin; he flipped it to Maerec, and Maerec snatched it from the air. The knight spoke, “Take that to Sir Dufort; he will know who you are.” The knight closed with, “Good day to both of you.” Before returning to the busy street.
“Wow!” Caelum turned to Maerec with his jaw slightly dropped, except this time it wasn’t because kids had broken it open; he was merely shocked to watch a knight offer a chance to a young kid to become a knight, “What are you going to do?” Caelum asked excitedly; this was Maerec’s dream, which fired from his lips not just a minute before.
“Whooaaah…” Maerec awed at the same time as Caelum as he looked over the coin. Excitement bubbled in him, and had he been in better shape; he would have been jumping and hollering. His eyes were bright, and his expression couldn’t be happier. What was he going to do? “Well.. firstly, I will train. I can’t make a fool of myself there now, can I?” He glared at Caelum before wrapping an arm around the boy’s shoulders. “Will you be there to watch me at the circuit?!” He jarred the boy but eased up, remembering that he probably hurt quite a bit more than Maerec at the moment.
Maerec let Caelum go and started to lead the way to the healer. “My new brother, I’d love for you to be there!” Though they had just met, Maerec couldn’t help but believe this wouldn’t be the only time they would encounter each other. “Are you from Solenne? We could train together… Since… you may need a little help, to not get so beat up next time.” He teased, snickering a little as he tossed the coin up and snatched it out of the air.
Did he call Caelum his new brother? His heart pounded; he found a true friend outside the monastery. Caelum nodded to Maerec’s invitation, “Let’s!” He followed up next to Maerec, “No, I am not from here; I live at the monastery outside of Solenne; they send me to get stuff, and that coin in the pouch is to buy food at the market.”
The two reached the main street and stopped after noticing the other head in the opposite direction. Caelum walked a few steps back, “What do you say we meet here at this time, on this day, every week?”
- Caelum is bullied in an alley of Solenne.
- Maerec attempts to rescue Caelum.
- Caelum and Maerec bond over their defeat.
- Sir Dufort invites Maerec to compete in the Circuit.
- Caelum and Maerec become friends and agree to train together.
- This is part 1 to a TWO part event to establish Maerec's and Caelum's relationship, the second part is dropped by Dao Ma.