Chapter 15, The Festival of Prosperity
Pyrrha walked into the middle of the festival grounds. Glancing around the clearing, she looked up at the lanterns which hung from above. They were round cylinders with either the ancient writings of the knights or of the beasts told by their legends, glowing bright yellow light from the candle inside. She was then passed by three other kids her age and younger. She glanced to them. They were flying what look to be small kites which resembled that of the Eagan.
She then turned forward as she walked to the middle of the clearing. It was there that she turned to the people dancing before the statue of Akara.
Holding a partner in their arms, they pranced and circled one another. All while other stood along the side lines, clapping their hands at they danced. And behind them, four people with several different instruments such as a guitar, a flout, a drum and a violin, playing the melody of the knight's. All as a young women with long dark brown hair, wearing a white dress was singing the song of the Knights of Opara.
"Oh, thy knight of the realms of Opara, Chosen by the Gods and the fates." She sung.
"May your blade be thy will. Your Armor by Thy Armor."
"Deliver the innocent from the hands of Darkness."
"Oh, thy Eagan who fly's through thy realm. May you wear away the darkness. May your it's wings bring prosperity to thy people."
Pyrrha walked over to the spot of the people dancing. She listened to the woman sing the song of he knight. She smiled then smiled and started clapping. She remember mother used to sing it to her every night when she was little. To help her fall asleep whenever she had a bad dream. They used to say singing this song brought the hope the Knights would bring to the realms.
And it was true.
Whenever her mother sang it to her, it usually helped make the fear go away and bring her the sweetest dreams. And now, even when the knights are gone, it continues to bring hope to the people in the darkest of times.
She then there that she looked up at the statue of Akara behind them. The stone Maidan, standing with her sword held before her, her heard bowing down. As if those stone eyes were staring down at her. Pyrrha continued to gaze up at the one who chose her to be her prodigy. When it was then that she heard someone off at one of the tables.
"This feast thy brings to my people, it is a feast of from the God of Life."
Pyrrha turned and glanced off to the nearby table. It was there that she saw several people sitting together, gathered before a line of dishes of different foods. At the head of the table, a man with a short white beard, wearing a vest over a light blue shirt and brown pants stood holding a glass of wine.
"From it, you will never know what hunger will feel."
He raised his glass to those sitting at the table.
"This wine which I offer you," he said.
"This wine is of my blood. My blood shall flow as the rivers and lakes. And from it, you shall never know thirst."
Pyrrha listened to the man as he spoke. Much of what he was saying she couldn't comprehend. For how could ones blood keep one from ever knowing what thirst was?
"For this is the promise of prosperity," the man then said.
"This is the promise of the Gods and Monarchs. And the promise of the Knights of Opara."
Raising their glasses, the people cheered. Before then settling as they began to feast.
"Promise of the knights?" Pyrrha said, narrowing her head.
She then turned, thinking of the speech of which the man had made. She glanced back toward the bushes, she saw the Eagan staring back at her. It was starting to become clear to her now. There was something about this place. It brought her to this festival for a reason. There was something it wanted her to see.
She then heard the sound of clashing swords. She turned and saw a group of people gathered around one of the tents. It was behind the people she noticed what appeared to be two blades slashing at one another. Pyrrha rushed over toward the crowd. She made her way through the crowd and on the other side, she saw two knights, wearing what looked to be armor that resembled that of Akara and the Dark Lord who had once ruled Xoria.
The knight which beard the armor of the dark lord raised his sword high into the air. He then swiped it down over the one who played Akara, who held up hers and blocked his attack. He the forced her back, her feet slid across the ground as she came but a foot from the people behind her.
"Now you will fall as you master had," The Knight then spoke, speaking the lines he had rehearsed for many weeks.
"Fitting death for a student to fall the same way. By the power they had so foolishly challenged."
Pyrrha gasped, covering her mouth. The play of which she was seeing. It was the first battle of Xoria, where Akara and the knights overthrown the Dark lord Xeyeme from his throne and ended his rein. Like the one at the end of Akara's book. This was the part where they did battle in the barren fields of Xoria. When she would slay the Fallen God.
It was then that the knight portraying Akara glanced back up at her fellow knight. It was then she heard a voice from behind the Dark Lords.
Pyrrha glanced to the left. Coming up from behind the Dark lord, she saw a young sorceress portraying the disciple of Akara. Chanting the spell from the book, she shot forth her hand and blasted him with a surge of bright blue magic. The knight was struck in the back by the sorceresses magic. It was right at that moment, the knight portraying Akara pushed the Dark Lord back.
Before Xayeme could do anything more, Akara slashed her sword and knocked the sword from his hand. Ceasing her chance, she then plunged her swords in what appeared to be the blacken heart of the fallen God. At least how, it appeared from where Pyrrha was standing. The Knight portraying Xayeme fell to his knees as he did so long ago, imitating the final moments of the Dark Lord.
The one who portrayed Akara stood before her fellow Knight, both her hands gripping the handle of the sword. She then spoke the long remembered words of Akara at that faithful time.
"I shall never fall to Dark Magic," she claimed.
"For in the face of it, I wield even greater magic. A magic which all may be wield by all. And that is my Faith and Hope. And that of the people you have so cruelly bound to your rule."
Pyrrha stood as she continued to listen.
"For it's this that brings the prosperity I promised to fight for," She continued.
"The magic which flows in the blade of my sword. And the strength to which wield it. For their power is my own!"
It was then that the knight portraying Xayeme would then drop to his sides. Slowly he fell back from the sword and over his back, reenacting the final moment of the Dark Lord. To which Akara stood up before the fallen God, lowering her sword to her side. It was was then that she spoke what was the final line of the chapter they were reciting.
"And with it, I Rise as you fall."
The crowd erupted in an applause, cheering for the performance of the knights. Pyrrha of which stared in awe, pondering. The reason which the Eagan had brought her here. She had may but found what that reason was. Glancing to the crowd of people around her, she saw their smiles and cheers in such a time of as this. When the age of the Knights whom they praised was thought to be over.
The hope of which they had brought to all the realms and the promise of prosperity. It had never died with Akara. But lived on in the hearts of the people of all the realms. Even in their most darkest hour.
Pyrrha the turned and made her way through the crowd, coming out into the clearing. She gazed around the clearing at the rest of the festival. The feasts. The music. The dancing. All of this was Prosperity. What Akara and the Knights all fought for.
And what she would fight for.
Pyrrha walked over to the middle of the square where the statue of Akara stood. She came around the front of the statue, where she came faced with her predecessor. The stone replica of the maiden knight stoop upright, holding her sword before her. Her head narrowed down as if she was looking back at her with those stone eyes. Pyrrha gazed up at her statue.
"I understand now," she proclaimed to her predecessor.
"I understand why the Eagan brought me here. It was to show me what you and the knights fought for, wasn't it?"
There would only come silence from the statue of Akara. As not a word would come to answer her prodigy.
"All of this is prosperity," Pyrrha proclaimed.
"The festival. All of it is about the prosperity you and all the knights brought to the realms."
Looking leftward to the festival, she paused for but a moment. She narrowed her head, wondering how it was that she would have to preserve the hopes of all these people. But how was she to become a knight like Akara. It was custom that the knight who chose their prodigy would train them to become so. But with Akara gone, who would train her to be a Knight of Opara? How would she be able to bring about prosperity as he predecessor did?
She glanced up at the statue.
"But how can I?" She asked, curiously.
"How can I bring prosperity to the realms? How can I become a knight like you?"
Yet it was then that she heard a mourning from behind. Pyrrha turned looked back to the benches behind her, where she saw Qrow laying back over on the benches, passed out.
"Qrow?" she said.
Pyrrha turned and rushed over to him.
"Qrow, wake up." she said, placing her hand over his shoulder.
She shook him awake, causing him to groan. Slowly he lifted his head, slowly opening his eyes to see Pyrrha standing in front of him.
"Kid?" he said as he sat over the bench.
He uttered a faint groan, feeling his head aching from the hangover he had. He placed his hand over his forehead, shaking it.
"W-what are you doing here?" He asked before glancing around the park.
"Where are we?"
"We're at the festival." Pyrrha claimed to him.
Qrow glanced up and looked around the clearing. It was there that he saw several tents set up along the edges of the clearing. Tables where feasts of different foods were displayed and people dancing a the center of the clearing. None of which he remembering being here when he showed up. Not to mention, it was already getting dark out. He glanced down to Pyrrha.
"How long was I out?" He asked curiously.
"We should probably be getting back to the Academy."
He then stood up from the bench. Upon taking a step, he then staggered before catching himself in the nick of time. His head dozing from all the drinks he had had. Pyrrha came up to him, taking him from under her arm.
"Don't worry," she claimed to him.
"My friend can take us there."
Pyrrha took his hand and pulled him along.
"Friend?" Qrow asked, curiously.
Pyrrha and Qrow came to the bushes and trees which resided along edge of the clearing. Qrow staggered as she pulled him along.
"Wow, slow down, kid." Qrow said.
"Where are you..."
Pyrrha gazed through the foliage, peering through the leaves and trees. Only to see that the Eagan was no longer there. Pyrrha squinted her eyes, curiously. She could have sworn that it was here. Was she just waiting in clearing behind the bushes?
Pyrrha glanced down and slowly made her way into the bushes. Qrow glanced down to her.
"Kid?" He asked, curiously
Trudging through the leaves and branches, she came out into the now blacken clearing. But upon looking up, she saw that the Eagan was not there. Pyrrha glanced around the clearing. She then glanced back at Qrow, who came out of the foliage behind her.
"She's gone." she said.
Qrow glanced around the clearing. From the looks of it no one else was was here but them. Who ever her friend was, she must have just taken off somewhere. He glanced back down at her as she slowly came up to her.
"Come on, kid," he said, taking her by the hand.
"We should catch the last transport."
Pyrrha glanced up him. She then turned as she followed Qrow back into the clearing. But not before back into the clearing, wondering where the Eagan had gone. Unannounced to both of them of the useable form which fly above the clearing. The Eagan narrowed it's head, staring down at the girl with flaming red hair. The strange force of which it felt upon the girl's touch over her muzzle, it had proven to be so. She truly was Akara's prodigy.
Regardless that someone so young was chosen to bear such a burden, she would watch over the child. Till the day would come that she would have to face her destiny.
After having to have gotten dinner from one of the shops near the academy, the two came in through the Academy's front gate. Walking along the stone path, Qrow glanced over to the front doors of the Academy. Where he saw Headmaster Rueban, standing at the top of the stairway. Seeing the two walking up from the gateway, he gasped in relief to see they had returned.
"There you both are." he said, making his way down the steps.
Qrow paused as Rueban staggered up to them.
"Where have you been?" he asked, glancing to the two.
"We were" he said, glancing to Pyrrha who looked up to him.
"Just out for a walk in the park."
Rueban glanced up to Qrow, catching the stench of whiskey over his breath.
"Good god, man," he said.
"Have you been drinking?"
Qrow paused at the question before a smug smirk to the headmaster, shrugging to him. Rueban sighed and shook his head in utter contempt. He expected nothing less of Qrow. To drown himself in booze to suppress the mistakes of his past. And now with little hope of training the prodigy, he decides to drown himself in it.
"Kid found me in the park." he said, glancing down to Pyrrha.
"Missed the festival that was going on.
"The festival?" Rueban said, glancing down to her.
"How in the blazes did you get out there?"
Pyrrha glanced up to the headmaster.
"An Eagan flew me there." she answered.
The two glanced down at the red haired girl, curiously.
"An Eagan?!" the Headmaster exclaimed with utter anticipation.
Pyrrha nodded her head to them.
"I found one in the forest on the other side of the school," Pyrrha claimed to them.
"It was hurt."
Pyrrha reached back behind her. She pulled out the piece of black metal she had pulled from it's wound. Rueban stared in awe at the metal shard of which she held. He came up to the girl, taking the metal shard she had found.
"Where did you get this?" he asked, glancing up to her.
"From the Eagan," she insisted to him.
"I was hurt so I helped it with my semblance."
Qrow glanced back down at her.
"Semblance?" Qrow asked, curiously.
Rueban turned as he stared down at the shard of blacken metal. He then turned and walked over to the stairway. Qrow glanced to him, knowing well of what the headmaster was thinking. For like him, he recognized what the shard was and where it had came from.
"Hey, kid," he said, glancing to Pyrrha.
"Why don't you got wait for me at the dorms. Me and Rueben need to have a talk."
Pyrrha glanced up at Qrow before glancing to Rueben. As any child would, she was quite curious adults wished too discuss in private. Though unlike many, she was taught not to involve herself in matters which did not concern her. It was not polite to do so.
She turned back to Qrow and nodded her head.
"Okay." She said.
"Here, take this with you." He said, handing her the beg of food.
Taking the bags from Qrow, she the turned and made he way toward the dorms. Qrow glanced to her for but a short while before turning to Rueben. The Academy's headmaster stared for the longest while at the blacken shard.
"These markings," he said, holding it out to him.
"Do you recognize them?"
Qrow came up to the Headmaster. Taking the shard from his wrinkled hand, her peered down to the hieroglyphs over the metal shard. And then he gasped in shock. They were indeed familiar to him. For he had seen them before from a weapon which he had seen before in the past.
Memories flashed before his eyes of that dark day long ago. His students faced with Salem's assassin who bared the weapon which this shard had came from. Seeing the assailant slash and plunge, followed by the screams of his prodigies, caused him to gasp and drop the shard, to which landed before his feet. He stared down at it in horror and contempt.
Rueben came up next to him, glancing to him.
"Qrow?" he said.
"I know who this belongs to." Qrow said, turning to him.
Rueben glanced down at the shard.
"This shard is of a sword forged in Xoria," Rueben said, narrowing down as he picked it off the ground.
"Belonging to Salem's apprentice and most cunning assassin."
Qrow narrowed his head as he turned forward. Thinking back to that day of the assault on Xoria. To the assassin he and his students encountered, clad in black armor and mask. The face behind the long blacken sword which she was holding up before her. With the diaglyphs which were imbedded over the blade.
He glanced up in realization.
"Cinder..." He said, glaring in anger.
He glanced back to Rueben.
"You think she's after the kid?" he asked.
Rueben glanced up to him, placing his cane before himself. There was no doubt in his mind that the Empress's apprentice was searching for the prodigy. The Prodigy was but the biggest threat to Salem's Empire. And after failing to do so in Arthamore, it would stand to reason she would task her apprentice in finding her. If so, it would only be a matter of time before they would come looking in this region of Realms. If they have not already.
"We can no longer afford to waste time," The Headmaster said, turning to him.
"If Cinder is searching for the prodigy, she may already be on her way right now!"
"Relax, Rueben," Qrow insisted to him.
"She will never find her here."
Rueben glanced to Qrow, curiously.
"How can you be so sure?" Rueben asked, curiously.
"Before I left to Arthamore," Qrow said, reaching back to pull the pendant out of his pocket.
"Queen Maria had one of her royal wizard place a spell over the pendent. To keep Dark Magic from ever finding her. Even if Cinder searches for us in this region, she'll never find us."
Rueben sighed in relief at the Queen's keenest mind. But even still, time was not something that they could afford to use so recklessly. Like Queen Maria, they had to be wise with their next actions. As such, their first action should be the training of the Prodigy. They needed to begin training the girl regardless if they would be given help by the king or anyone else.
"Regardless, I think we should begin the prodigy's training in the morning." Rueben stated to the Atarian Knight.
"We still need to find someone to train her." Qrow reminded him.
Rueben glanced to him.
"We don't need to find anyone." The headmaster proclaimed to him.
Qrow paused at the realization of Rueben's words. He glanced at the headmaster, both in shock and disbelief. He shook his head to him.
"No..." he said.
"Qrow." Rueben said, turning to him.
"I told you," Qrow reminded him.
"I'm not getting involved anymore then I already am."
"There's no other option," Rueben exclaimed to him.
"There's no one else who can train her to fight. And we cannot waste anymore time finding anyone else."
Qrow was about to speak up. Only to then pause at the truth to what he said. He narrowed his head, glancing away in frustration.
"You are the only one who can teach her the Knight's way of fighting," Rueben proclaimed to him once more.
"Whether or not you think you believe you are destine to do it. Or what is your semblance is."
Qrow turned his head to face forward, shifting his eyes as he thought. He then felt his hand place over his shoulder. Qrow glance up to him.
"Our mistakes are not what define us," Rueben said.
"But Redemption can come to those who seek it. Now is the time for you to seek yours."