Ashton Andrews - Training Arc / To become a Master
Armed with what relics he could take, a handful of his loyalist soldiers, and the 3 champions that had been as sons to him over many years, Belrigger had toppled rhe gargantuan underground network and set fire to everything else with impunity. Hundreds were displaced by these actions and few took it as roughly as the arena master was, cursing into the heavens as his life was again cast into turnoil by the royalty he had once served so diligently for.
The gods had cursed him to thrive until his ambitions grew too high and swept his glory from the table like mere scraps of food for the hounds barking at its edges. Had it not been for the promise, a pact of non-aggressions against the city and its ruling powers, Belrigger might have been tempted to maim his way to a justice they believed was owed.
Instead they had all fled, long spiraling tunnels built over a dozen years of toiling, until the next safehouse deep in the royals district surrounded them and the tunnels all but obliterated, by magic and engineering alike.
Perched atop the balcony overlooking the horizon, Belrigger turned to the gods with a plea of mercy. To show him, at last, what purpose he served if not for his own glory then truly what? His answer was a shimmer as a boy was whisked into hia midst. Bright white light that heralded an angel or a devil right at his feet.
As true a sign that the gods had a plan than Belrigger could comprehend.
In his mind, thoughts not his own came unbidden, demanded the skills of a Royal guard captain to be passed on. The trials of a gladiator champion must be passed along.
Belrigger didn't prepare to understand, but he would comply. Even someone as untrained in magic as himself could tell the boy, Ashton was his name, held the spark of greater things. True greatness. That inexplainable idea was all he could think on."Whoever you are, whatever you are.. You are my chance, aren't you?"
Belrigger didn't bother waiting for a reply, thrusting the sword on his belt into the students hands. Every move they made he would watch with a relentless zeal and critical sense of judgement."The gods answer my call and you are their reply. Your training begins now."
His mind made up, the two entered the balcony as master and student, to the bewilderment of every soldier and his own sworn children of the sword. None could understand, but they would trust, and in time.. they would see the truth.
The training Belrigger spoke of was brutal even by his own standards. Whatever angelic forces had created or sent this young man to him had imbued their form with a talent beyond comprehension, near as the Master of the Arena could tell it made them a prodigy. A single maneuver that took the Royal Knights hundreds of hours at swordplay to master had been learned in minutes after being demonstrated. Basic swordplay, defensive measures, footwork, every exotic weapon he could think of, mastered in a matter of hours.
In a week of training, Ashton was leagues ahead of the 3 arena champions personally trained over 10 years by Belrigger. Even Blackblood, the fastest of his fighters, simply could not stand on par in single combat anymore.
Banging his hand on the table, the old man felt his stomach shake as he bellowed a laugh. In such short order the young man had risen to a state of perfection that had wildly exceeded anyones expectations, bested every house guard in single and 3 on 1 combat, overpowered every one of Belriggers arena champions, and stood as a proper threat to even Belrigger himself.
In a week!"A toast!"
Seated at the marble table, he poured a generous amount of wine into his cup and raised it in fine spirits to Ashtons name. A name that would become legend someday. "To my greatest student, to the loyalties of every man and woman here, and to our futures!"
Everyone gathered in the training room, sporting a high balcony similar to the arena had once hailed over, gave a cheer for the youngest member of the group. "Ashton Andrews. Your growth is an inspiration to us all. Words fail to express my joy at seeing a prodigy grow in so short a time to be a rival to even my best. I will not claim to know what lays in your heart but I know you can only grow stronger, stronger than my best and stronger than myself. So it falls to me now to arm you with more than the weapon in your hand."
A grand sweep of his arm, theatric perhaps, gestured to the training rooms monolithic exit. For a week the boy had not left this place and had been devoted to perfection. "You will leave this place, blessed one, and retrieve the materials needed from the golden quarter. Return to me when you have found the strongest metals you can and we shall forge you a legacy in steel to match your skills."
It was tragic, really. So short a time spent training had failed to leave Belrigger with a lasting impression of this young mans heart. Talented to be sure, but part of him wondered if this was a new curse. That he should be responsible for releasing a monster upon the city trained by his own hand. Shaking his head, he cleared away the unpleasant idea. Every man had the potential to be a monster in their own way but that was this ones path to choose now."I wish you the best, Master Andrews."
A final toast and the doors began to open, revealing the Royal Districts spreading out ahead of them.