The Rising Flames

 

Years went by and the boy grew into a happy, fun loving teenager. The remote village in which he lived in was prosperous as ever with the occasional upturns like thieves or wild animals. None the less, the times in which he lived were very happy. Little did he know, all of that was about to change as a shadow of invaders loomed over the horizon. They observed the village for some time before setting their black horses into stride.

 

Meanwhile, in the village some kids were chasing each other almost like playing the game of tag.

 

“Slow down Igna!” one of the chasing boys shouted at the one figure far ahead of them. “It’s not fair you keep winning!”

 

The boy called “Igna” who was actually “Ignatius” looked over his shoulder at them but kept on running.

 

“It’s your fault for always being so slow in keeping up with me!” he shouted.

 

They continued to chase him until finally they ran out of steam. As they breathed heavily to catch their breath, Ignatius reached them with an exasperated look on his face.

 

“You guys need to exercise more,” he said, watching a few of them bent double wheezing heavily.

 

“Maybe…” a girl said, finally standing up straight while breathing slightly.

 

“I wish, but our parents keep nagging us to do our studies, homework and that boring stuff,” another girl said in a sad voice.

 

Ya,” a boy said in a disappointed tone. “They keep reminding us to study almost every hour and check that we are studying.”

 

All of them nodded which somewhat surprised Ignatius.

 

“Your parents are also that strict about studying?!” he said in surprise. “Don’t tell me they do something like…” and he impersonated the voice of his mother, “Have you done your homework? What topic are you studying now? Where are you up to in your study? Can you explain what you studied so far? Remember, you’ll be grounded for a year if you don’t get good marks in your exams.”

 

All of them groaned at the very thought of such dialogues coming from their parents.

 

“You’d think they don’t want us to enjoy our lives,” he said in a disappointed tone.

 

“You can have the fun time of your life after studying and getting good education,” said a familiar voice from behind.

 

At the voice Ignatius stiffened. Then he looked around only to see his mother staring sternly back at him. He suddenly found himself lost for words at the sudden confrontation of his strict mother.

 

“Hello mummy,” he said hastily to cover up his surprise.

 

“And hello to you Mr!” she said sharply, which caused him to take a step back hastily. “I took my eyes off you for a moment and you suddenly disappeared. Do you know how worried I was?”

 

“Mummy,” he said in a reasonable voice. “I went out to play with my friends…”

 

As he spoke he turned to his so-called friends only to find that they had disappeared. In-fact, he saw them sprinting up the street as quickly as they could to avoid his mother.

 

Thanks for the support guys,” he thought bitterly.

 

Ignatius was then escorted back home by his mother who did not let go of his hand until they entered their home. Inside they found the place to be neat and clean with all furniture and equipment neatly arranged in areas for easy access and safe movement. There, silently reading the newspaper was Ignatius’s father. When they entered, he looked over and seeing the serious look on his wife’s face, his heart sank knowing what was about to come.

 

“Your son ran out while he was meant to be studying and doing his homework!” she said, rounding on her husband.

 

“Oh…” her husband said shortly. “Well, I’m sure he just wanted to play with his friends.”

 

“Oh?!” he shouted. “Going without telling his parents where he was going?”

 

“Well he probably didn’t want you to find out…” he said and quickly covered his mouth but it was too late.

 

“Why would he do that when I am so considerate towards him,” she said in a sad voice.

 

“Well…” he said hesitantly. “You tend to pressure him too much and tend to not give him a chance to have some fun for a change.”

 

This time his wife looked tearful as she said “Is it wrong for a mother to want a bright future for her only son. Is it wrong to want my only son to have proper education which my husband lacks?!” and she covered her face in an obvious way.

 

Both he and his son were lost for words as they looked at the lady of the house. Then Ignatius muttered “Daddy, mummy is insulting you.”

 

His father sighed and replied “My circumstances were different where I grew up from hard labour.”

 

“In any event,” he said, “our only son is still young and I think it’s wrong to take that way from him.”

 

“But—!” his wife began, but he cut her off by raising his hand to stop her.

 

“We are also forgetting how his marks have been so far. His marks are at great, he studies hard when he has to but often gets distracted due to constant study pressure. I believe he deserves time off to enjoy when he can’t concentrate on studying.”

 

His wife opened her mouth, tried to say something, closed it, opened it again to say something, and closed it before finally shrugging her shoulders and slumping onto the couch next to him in defeat. He patted her head to soothe her restless emotions. Then he turned to his son and said “Go have some more fun if you want.”

 

Smiling happily he shouted “Thanks daddy!” and ran out of the house in high spirits.
“Amelia, you know as well as I that our son will turn into something far beyond anything,” he said as he continued to pat her head. “The day when he will finally obtain the spirit of the flames and become a guardian is near. Knowing that and the difficulties he will be facing, it’s only right we let him have fun until the time comes for him to grow up to face his destiny.”

 

His wife, Amelia, nodded while softly crying onto his shoulder. Then he knocked her head gently with his fist and said “Don’t cry on my shoulder, it’s starting to get cold,” to which she whacked him with her elbow.

 

Back outside Ignatius roamed around the streets, greeting passers-by and spending some time talking to the people that often come to his place to speak with his father. While he was walking the streets alone his mind was restless after the argument his parents had in front of him. Originally he didn’t understand why his mother was so strict about his studies even though he was doing so well already.

 

Just then he was distracted as he spotted a lonely tree on the outskirts of the village. He had been to many places around the village and knew his way around the village, but he doesn’t remember ever seeing a tree like that. With burning curiosity, he walked towards the tree. As he reached for the tree, the ground suddenly gave way and he blinked twice and shouted “What the heck?!” before falling deep into the dark hole.

 

At that very moment alarm bells started ringing around the village which indicated an enemy attack. Officials of the village directed the villagers to a safe location on the other side of the village where is it safer for them to remain until the enemy force have left.

 

“Are all the people evacuated?” Ignatius’s father asked a villager.

 

“Yes, Adam,” the villager replied quickly. “They are now taking shelter on the other side of the village where the enemy would most-likely ignore.”

 

“Good!” Adam said, nodding in satisfaction.

 

Just then his wife, Amelia, came running towards him with a worried look on her face. This only meant something must be wrong and he is in no mood to deal with trivial troubles.

 

“Ignatius is missing!” she said quickly when she reached his group.

 

“What?!” Adam said while his group of fighters showed worried signs.

 

“We should look for young master!” one of them said and others agreed.

 

“Forget it!” Adam shouted, drowning out their voices.

 

Everyone, including his wife, looked shocked at his decision. For his part he simply smiled and said “He is chosen by the spirits of the flames. Believe that he is safe or most likely protected by the spirits. This wouldn’t be the first time he disappeared at dire times, but then reappeared as if nothing had happened.”

 

They looked at each other and nodded in an agreement. His wife, however was still worried. Feeling her worried Adam merely patted her head and said reassuringly “Don’t forget. He is my son! He will live!”

 

Feeling somewhat relieved of a portion of her worries she hurried over to take shelter with the rest of the village. Adam watched her go for a few seconds before drawing breath and bellowing “Time to show these bastards what we are made of!”

 

As the battle outside raged, deep within the land Ignatius stirred. He slowly sat upright while rubbing his eyes at the sudden light. Once his focus became clear he looked around him and said, “Where am I?” When he received nothing in reply he got back on his feet and surveyed his surroundings more closely. The area looked like some sort of ruins, but he doesn’t remember visiting any in his life. Then he remembered he was walking towards a lonely tree on the outskirts of the village when the ground gave-way and caused him to fall in.

 

“Am I underground or something?” he thought looking above him.

 

He only saw darkness above him and had no idea how high the ceiling might be if it even was there. Sighing to himself, he moved around, stretching his muscles as they suddenly ached from the lack of movement for some time. As he carefully walked around in his current location he found a door. One push caused the door to slide to each side, revealing more light emanating from the torches on the brackets.

 

Looking around, he noticed a large, wide object which he had never seen before. When he touched it, he thought it felt like glass except unlike glass, it was something different. Just then the light in the room suddenly got brighter. Blinking hard to get used to the sudden brightness in such a closed environment, he realised something was being shown on the glass-like object.

 

He was surprised to see it was his village, but his surprise quickly turned to shock at seeing smoke billowing up from his village. The glass-like object, then changed images and started showing different parts of the destroyed areas of the village. Then he saw the fierce battle raging between his father and his group and the figures in black robes riding black horses. He saw blood flowing from Adam’s forehead while others in his group are showing several wounds causing them to weaken.

 

“Daddy!” Ignatius shouted, desperately trying to get to his father.

 

But as he continued to struggle to try to reach his father, all he could do was touch the glass-like object which was simply solid and did nothing more than show images of his father’s fierce battle.

 

“I want to help!” Ignatius said, starting to cry. “I want to help daddy. Please… Someone, anyone! Help me!” he shouted, tears flowing out of his eyes.

 

Just then a huge rumbling shook the very ground he stood on causing him to land on the ground. Picking himself up off the ground, he saw a bright glow was emanating from a section of the room which had not been there earlier. The glow seemed to be in the shape of a statue of which he had never seen before, but somehow he felt it was warm and welcoming as he drew closer to it.

 

“Who are you?” he asked.

 

No response.

 

“Are you… going to help?”

 

No response.

 

Getting irritated with the lack of response he grew angry and shouted “Say something!”

 

There still was no response.

 

“Whatever!” Ignatius said finally. “If you are here, then it means you are here to help. Now, help me help my daddy!”

 

Then he reached out and grabbed the glowing object. Nothing happened for a moment, which somewhat disappointed him. Then the glow became stronger and brighter until it engulfed him from sight.

 

Back on the battlefield Adam and his group of fighters were struggling to fend off the onslaught of the enemy attackers. Every one of them were bruised and injured as the battle lasted for a while.

 

“Hold fast! We’ll defeat them!” Adam shouted to his men and they rallied with their shouts. “Now, attack!”

 

As he finished shouting a sudden rumble shook the ground violently until a bright glow of red light erupted from the ground from the outskirts of the village. As the fighters on both sides halted their attack to witness this shocking event, a figure suddenly appeared from the rising red light. Everyone was shocked to see the figure was covered in red glowing armour. The armoured figure landed in between Adam’s fighters and the enemy fighters and stood still and silent. For a second no one moved, but Adam snapped out of his surprised state and shouted “Who are you?!”

 

The armoured figure raised its head to look at the speaker. Its face was like that of a dragon’s head with horns with red ringed painted on left and right side of its head. When it spoke, everyone was shocked at the tremendous force it carried with its voice. They were also shocked by the revelation of its identity.

 

“I am the legendary warrior of flames, Furon!”

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