The letter lay there on the buffet almost mocking Crimson every time he passed it as he prepared himself for the day ahead. Every time he walked past going from one room to another he would catch a glimpse of it in the corner of his eye, it was really getting hard now for him to ignore it. It was as if something was pulling him towards it, he passed it again, looked at it then walked on but this time stopped, he couldn’t take it anymore he had to read it. He retrieved his letter opener and returned to the buffet. Slowly as to not damage the seal too much he slipped his letter opener in, he pulled out the letter and gave it a quick inspection, looking it over from both sides he then started to read it.
“Dearest crimson,” it began with, extravagant lettering and beautifully written words.
“You may not know who I am but I know you, and I knew your mother. I am very sorry for your loss she was a beautiful woman, her death was tragic and unexpected.”
I am writing to you to arrange a meeting, there is something important you must know. I fear that your life is in danger, you must come quick boy. I’ll be at the park on the corner of Lyons and Gibson Street every day for the next week from nine pm till midnight. PLEASE boy, you must come.” The note was signed with a really fancy initial and an image of a red rose like the one on the seal. Crimson clutched the note in his paws and just stared at it, he just kept staring at the note, reading it over and over again obsessed with it. He knew that he would have to see this person from the letter; he would go to this person tonight and find out exactly what it was that the stranger needed to tell him.
He folded up the letter and put it in his pocket then walked out the door, locked it and walked down the path and off to school offering a smile to Talia as she waved at him.
He arrived at school just in time to hear the bell ring for first period. “Oh crap!” he said to himself as he started running for the lockers.
Scrounging through his things he found the things he needed for his only class of the day which was combat. Crimson was glad that combat would be the only class, one; because it would be hell to go through other classes with achy limbs and two; because it would give him more time to think about what he would be doing during the night, meeting this stranger was sure to be an exciting experience.
Slamming his locker in a rush he headed for the gym. He walked past full classes with both the attent students looking straight ahead and the misfits, throwing paper balls and aeroplanes around. He passed at least thirteen classrooms turning left then right before finally arriving at the gym. It had big red doors and tinted windows with white writing that read ‘Gymnasium’. Crimson gulped and pushed through the doors, he saw two bleachers one along the far wall and the other along the near one. The floors were glowing a bright red and blue like a chess board Crimson walked around and went to talk to Sevlow.
“Sorry I’m late Sevlow.”
“That’s quite alright boy we haven’t started yet anyway take a seat.” Crimson nodded and sat down next to Chazo who greeted him with a warm smile. “Righto class” Sevlow started, “Today we shall be focusing on both strategy and combat because as we know, behind every great victory is an even greater strategist. So today we shall be playing ‘life size chess’, it’s like any normal chess game but with one key difference, you must defeat your opponent in a one on one to capture the piece they represent, meaning if you can’t beat them nothing happens. Know your team but also know your opponent.” Sevlow then went on to appointing teams “Select your positions wisely each team will have one strategist who will not fight but instead lead.” The students all stood to attention then moved to their assigned sides.
Sevlow had done a good job of separating the class into teams; he had mixed them all up so that one team wouldn’t have all the jocks, instead having them split evenly down the middle so that each team was mixed. Of course this didn’t mean that all of them were happy with the idea. In the mind of a jock there’s nothing worse than having to co-operate with a scrawny little nerd. The scrawny kids however were over the moon with Sevlow’s decision, in their minds there was nothing better than teaming up their wits with the bigger kids brawn.
“Alright everyone” Sevlow called out, “Once you have got your teams in order come and collect some armour and a weapon, while the armour is mandatory for those of you who are lucky enough to know magic that is suitable for combat you do not need to collect a weapon.” And it was with that the teams moved over to their assigned side and started to gear up.
Crimson looked over at the other team only to cop a nasty look from Jeremy, a look that said “I’m going to kick your ass and this time there’s nothing you can do about it,” it was very menacing and made Crimson slightly nervous. Crimson turned his attention back to his team who were all scurrying about, warming up and adjusting their armour, he moved over to the weapons rack and sighed, there was only one weapon left, all the cooler ones were taken by eager team mates who left him with a rusty looking two handed axe. “At least I’ll have a range advantage” he thought to himself as he clutched the old weapon and let out a quiet sigh.
Crimson followed the rest of the team onto the playing board and took his assigned place. Him still being the new kid and his abilities unknown he was assigned to the position usually reserved for the weakest player, he was to be playing as the king. He chuckled to himself quietly at the thought. Looking to his right he saw Chazo, him being the only dragon in the class was obviously an advantage it meant that everyone wanted him on their team, it’s also a good intimidation factor, if anyone were to give him hell all he’d have to do is either give them a nice toothy grin or alternatively, and his favourite he would open his mouth up wide giving them a great view down his throat. In fact not only is Chazo the only dragon in the class but also the entire school. Dragons are a rare sight nowadays; about a few hundred years ago most of them were been hunted down and slaughtered or if they were lucky enough they had fled to better lands. The ones that weren’t killed or hadn’t fled for what ever reason were captured and put to work as slaves in the geothermal mines, that was however during the war it doesn’t happen now because the worlds leaders pushed for peace and anti slavery laws.
Crimson slouched a little, the weight of his armour bringing him down a bit. He’d never worn anything of the type before and wasn’t quite used to it yet.
“Oh, one more thing, a rule I forgot to mention so listen up!” Sevlow growled “Although you must engage and defeat your opponent to take their square if they do not wish to fight they can choose to resign and also, upon capturing the king there is no need to engage unless the defending king wishes to, and if the defending king wins the attacker is removed from play. Is that clear?”
“Yes sir!” the class responded.
“Then let us begin white side moves first of course.” Sevlow said then jumped up onto a high chair and watched the students closely.
All the students stood at attention and the orders from their strategists. The strategist for Crimson’s team ‘white’ is a young otter boy by the name of Dariel, he is very adept at mathematics and science but he is also a very good fighter. He had chosen to be the strategist because he had been working out the day before and strained a muscle and decided not to risk making it worse. He is very well built for someone that you would expect only to see in a library during his spare time. He’s confident in everything that he does which makes him come off a little arrogant. He raised his arm and shouted out “For glory!” then gave his first order “Knight to C3” as he did one of the students moved to the destination. It was a timber wolf boy fairly well built with some muscle tone. He’s referred to as ‘The Clown’ because he likes to make wisecracking comments at just about everything.
“Orders complete sir” said The Clown as he slapped his right hand to his head in an attempt to be funny before he once again stood at attention.
“Pawn to C5” came a reply from the opposing strategist, a young tiger boy with a hoarse voice and a chronic cough, it was obvious why he was chosen as the strategist as his pawn moved into position. Both strategists gave orders for at least twenty minutes each with their fair share of casualties. Some just sitting on the bench while others were lying on mats that were set out for those that had been knocked out.
The black team was slowly gaining control of the game. Jeremy’s smirk grew wider with every panel he seized control over. Who knew being chosen to play as the queen would be the best thing to happen to him in months. Not only would he get to do the thing that he loves most (beating the living snot ‘outta’ other beings) but he would also get to prove his mettle against the only dragon in the school as well as Crimson.
Dariel knew that the black team would rely on Jeremy’s relentless blood lust to win their match, that’s why he planned a trap. While Jeremy was focused on Chazo Crimson would be set up in the perfect counter position. Then all would be needed is for Crimson to engage and defeat Jeremy and the rest of the match would be theirs.
The black strategist moved Jeremy into place to strike at Chazo. Chazo seeing this and also predicting Dariel’s plan did not waiver as he listened to Dariel ordering Crimson to move. Another order spilled from the black strategist’s lips ordering Jeremy to engage Chazo, Chazo knowing what his strategist had in mind and also knowing what Crimson was destined for decided against fighting opting instead to resign giving a nod to Crimson as he stepped off the playing board. Crimson offered a weak smile in return knowing what was going to happen next.
“White King engage Black Queen” came the call from Dariel. Jeremy laughed at this and rolled his shoulders in preparation.
“Bring it on little pup” he said in an arrogant tone. “I’m going to enjoy this.” He added with a toothy grin. Crimson stepped forward hesitantly; his knuckles white as he gripped his axe and then without thinking swung it at Jeremy causing him to raise his sword to parry. Crimson again without thinking twisted his axe and locked up Jeremy’s sword he then pulls on his axe releasing the sword from Jeremy’s grip.
“Tell me Jeremy, what now?” Crimson said sounding a little different, “Shall I beat the living hell out of you like you enjoy doing to countless others?”
“I-I…” Jeremy stutters.
“C’mon Jeremy, I’m waiting…” Sevlow’s ears perk up as he notices the change in Crimson’s voice also noticing Crimson’s eyes and one of his markings which has changed to a gold colour, the only difference is that the gold in his eyes has just spread to remove all other colour rather than changing to gold like his marking.
“Just like his mother” Sevlow thought to himself.
“What’s the matter Jeremy? Caught a sudden dose of chicken fever?” Jeremy’s eyes widen in rage at this unexpected sly remark.
“Okay bring it on, Little Pup,” he said in a fit of rage and embarrassment. Crimson swings his axe at Jeremy again only to have him roll out of the way and towards his sword barely getting to it in time to raise it and parry Crimson’s next strike. Crimson uncontrollably just keeps swinging and swinging, a loud ringing sound emanating from the clashing metal every time they connect. Jeremy is a little off put by Crimson’s rage and is starting to get worried.
Sevlow, watching closely is getting a little concerned and starts to prepare himself to react in time to stop anything dire from happening.
“Oh gods You’re crazy!” Jeremy shouts, flinching every time the axe strikes his blade. “I give in!” Jeremy then shouts. Crimson hearing these words stops and just stares at him with a menacing grin. He just stands there for at least two minutes staring; his golden colours slowly fading away. Jeremy, stunned by Crimson’s fit of rage has to be dragged away, a blank look on his face visible to the students on the bench. Crimson claims Jeremy’s panel and falls to his knees and collapses onto the floor.
“I think that’s enough for today, everyone hit the showers,” comes the decision from Sevlow. The remaining conscious students acknowledge this and head for the showers. “Yep, just like his mother” Sevlow says quietly to himself as he walks over to Crimson and kneels beside him. He runs a hand through his head fur before saying the word “awaken” in the language of the Norsemen and breathing onto him, his breath can be seen entering Crimson’s nose. He lets out a cough and splutters a bit before opening his eyes and groaning. “That was an… impressive display of power that you showed just now,” Sevlow said with a pause “I seriously hope that you learn how to control it.”
“I’m sorry sir, Control what?” Crimson asked with a puzzled look on his face.
“You mean you don’t remember?” Sevlow sighs “Never mind boy, best you get home and rest, I’ll see you next week.”
“Sir?” Crimson argued, wanting to know what Sevlow was on about.
“Go on Crimson.”
“Yes Sir” and it was with that Crimson headed out the door for his locker.
“Oh Crimson” Sevlow called
“The armour boy, you need to get changed and get out of the ‘school equipment’ that you are wearing.” Sevlow said with emphasis on ‘school equipment’.
“Oh. Yes Sir” Crimson said turning on the balls of his feet and headed for the change room.
“And best you make use of the showers boy, you smell as though you haven’t bathed in years.” Sevlow said with a slight chuckle.
“Oh, I didn’t notice…” Crimson replied, blushing and obviously embarrassed.
Crimson padded over to the change rooms and Sevlow watched him for a short while before turning his attention to the unconscious students. Crimson pushed through the doors and looked around. He saw a towel dispenser and also one for soap and twelve shower stalls all but one being used. He let out a soft sigh and moved over to the dispensers.