Hero

On the one-hundred-year anniversary of the great war that nearly destroyed them, the people of Naraquaua began to wonder how long their peace would last. Two hundred years ago, a despotic ruler came to power and asserted himself as a god. Three hundred years ago, a great evil poisoned the kingdom and all its people, reducing the population to but a single quarantined settlement.

According to legend, during every calamity, a young man came of age and rose to the challenge. Each one, the hero of his generation, overcame tremendous obstacles and vanquished the threat of his day.

Issan was turning thirteen today. His parents had known since his birth that he could be the one, and so they had left him with the church. The previous heroes had been orphans raised under monastic supervision. They had been named Issan.

“One of you is probably going to face and destroy evil,” the abbot decreed. Issan looked at his peers, all named Issan, all thirteen years old today. He knew a few who wouldn’t be the hero. One Issan had bad asthma. Another was too much of a bully, needlessly cruel to those he was stronger than. He was stronger than Issan, for instance. Issan wouldn’t be surprised if that Issan became the tyrant to be overthrown.

He saw the boy glance around and snicker derisively. He was already powerful, the best at fencing and hand-to-hand combat, and he knew it. The contempt he had for the rest of them would fuel him. He would only grow stronger, unless he was stopped.

Issan picked up his sword as the group was gathered in prayer. One stab would protect everyone. No one would even know what they had avoided.

He believed in himself.

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