As the vote stands, a story will be told about a hero in a fantasy realm, this hero will be an orphan.
“This world is a dangerous place, uncompromising, the lords of the great houses care little for the plight of the people, we are dispensable”. This was the sermon delivered daily by the master of Black wood orphanage.
The orphanage rested upon the border of the idyllic Black wood forest, situated next to a gentle stream, a body of water nearing the end of a journey that began in the violent rivers which followed the contours of the land stretching from the desolate frozen north. The black wood hummed with the life of a dawning spring, it was scented by tall grass, lavender and the damp moss that intricately laced the ground. But, this was as far as idyllic could stretch, the building itself lent considerably to the left, the rotting wood creaked and moaned under the pressure of its own weight.
In the great hall, the very picture of neglect, Master Crothos continued to educate the amassed orphans on the perils of the wider world in his distinctly dull and monotonous tone.
“You children, are not worth the bread you so ravenously devour … the very fact your parents abandoned you into my care, is testament to your worthlessness.” He preached.
Toward the back sat three friends, distinctly disinterested in the demoralising venomous rant Master Crothos was currently engaged in. The tallest of the three seemed to be dominating the discussion, he was sprawled across the bench they were occupying. Possessed with a level of confidence far superior to that expected of a Black wood orphan, he had chosen the name Adroit. Unexpectedly muscular this boy of sixteen defied everything Black wood had come to stand for, for the three companions. The second boy, also sixteen, appeared much smaller than he was, hunched over, shrunk by the repeated beatings he had suffered at the hand of the orphanage’s commander of discipline, Master Ratch. His dark hair lay flatly on top of his head and a scar ran across his vacant face from the top of his right eye to the bottom of his left jaw. He had been given the name of Ohris after the God of misfortune and pain. The third of their company stood out the most, she had jet black hair, worn always in a bun. She was unnaturally elegant and of a slight frame, leading the other children to assume she was the orphan of a highborn. She was slightly older, reaching seventeen, an age rarely seen at black wood, as the orphans were sold at the age of sixteen to the local farms and mines.
“So, what do you reckon about this meeting?” Raven questioned, she was often the one to draw their discussions to the more important issues.
“What meeting?” replied Adroit.
“Why do you always forget these things?” Raven chirped obviously displeased with the forgetfulness of her friend, “Bison’s meeting, remember? He is coming of age as well, we need to decide whether to run or not, before we are all sold to different farms, the mines or at the very worse to an army of a House”. A tremor of panic clearly audible at the mention of service in the forces of one of the seven houses.
“When and where will it be?” asked Ohris.
“Tonight, after lights out, behind the abandoned barn.” answered Raven.
“I’m in, you wont see me fighting for any high and mighty lord” Adroit defiantly boomed, “what about you Ohris, are you coming?”
Will Ohris join his friends at the secret meeting behind the abandoned barn? Or will he let the Masters of Black Wood decide his fate?