It was the first of May in the small village in Angmar...
The sun was sinking deep in the late spring sky. Its red and orange hues streaked the heavens with a strange and eerie light that made the darkness of the woods shadowed and frightening. A creep of green moss covered the trunks of the trees, and old wet leaves covered the paths. It was not a night I wanted to walk alone, but I had no choice.
Dung heap cheater! The words pounded my head. I cannot believe that I took you at your word. The breath of the forest whispered along my neck. The night air was growing, growing cooler as the sun set, but I stayed warm like a blanket. Go get it, Tavish, he said, Can ye no' see that I'm busy, you scoundrel?
My name was not Tavish. That was the name my father gave me. And he's not even my real father. I always dreamed about my biological father, his bright blue eyes and welcome smile that mother told me about, before she died. I hoped that, someday, if I had the pleasure of meeting him, he would accept me.
My stomach twisted at the memory of my brother's tone and words. Busy, aye! Busy making eyes at Bridie MacDonald, I thought, laughing at the thought.
I was running home, hoping to make it in time for supper. I had been exploring a cave system and even found some iron, however it was of no use and I had not learned how to handle a pickaxe yet. I had always been more of a runner. I could run faster than the wolves could, and at times I never needed a horse. Sometimes my adoptive father calls me the last son, even though I was the oldest of all my "siblings" and he wasn't even my real father. It was getting dark and I was nearing my home. But what I found when I got there was not what I expected.
An Uninvited Guest
The village was a ghost town. I found no one there, not even the town crier. All the furnaces still running, some doors open. I stepped into my small cobblestone home to find not a single soul there. However, my senses went from calm to terrify in the next five seconds. "You there. Young man?" said a voice from outside. I heard a horse's steps getting louder gradually. "I know you're in there, lad. I can see you." Louder. I peeked out the window to see a giant black horse right outside the door, a buff man with battle scars all over his face. But there was one detail that was unmistakable and captured me completely.
Emblazoned on the man's chest was the brilliant symbol of the Templars, the red cross seeming to light up the area. Filled with amazement, I ran outside the door. I could now see that there was a knight mounted on a horse before me, shining chain mail armor below a Templar cloak. The knight stepped off his horse. "Would ye happen to be Tavish?" The knight asked. His voice was calm and comforting, but I felt there was still more to the man that meets the eye.
"Yeh-Josef, Sir Knight," I muttered, preferring my real name. The knight stepped closer. "Aye, ye are the one they speak of. Pleased to meet thy, Josef Furnace. I am Sir Pitcairn. I am your master."
I had always dreamed of riding with the Templars. Seeing the brilliant strongholds, venturing to the Nether, and spreading Notch's word. But those were just dreams. I hardly even knew what was going on now.
"P-pardon, sir? My master?" I managed to say. "Indeed, lad. Or at least that's what they told me. Come. I'll explain on the way." The knight responded. He motioned for me to get up on his horse. I did so, and we immediately set off. "Ye said we shall discuss on the ride." It slipped out.
"We shall need to do something about that accent of yours. Anyway, I meant not this ride. Your ride hasn't even begun. You will know when it does." The knight smiled. For what seemed like hours we trotted through the woods, and perhaps passed by one or two fellow Templar camps. But soon something much more amazing came into view. We finally came out of the forest into the plains, and I could clearly see dozens of snowy mountains, towering above us. Each mountain was topped with a brilliant Quartz tower, lighting up the night sky. But on the tallest mountain was a huge "manor" that looked more like a fortress. Vigilant guards stopped us and eventually let us through the gates. I had entered Myecelia, home of the Templars.
We rode up the mountain on a cleared dirt path, the road getting bumpy at times. We passed by a cave and I could just barely see lava pouring out in the bottom. I shivered. Finally we reached the bridge to the main fortress. It was unlike anything I had seen before. The bridge was made of smooth Nether brick and cool stone bricks, and I hesitated to dismount the horse and begin crossing. The braziers on each side of the bridge were unnerving, a constant fear of burning to death shooting through my veins. I held my breath and followed Pitcairn across the bridge, promising to not look down. The walk was shorter than I expected, and soon I had neared the iron bar entrance to the main fortress. Pitcairn motioned for me to step inside. I did so, and I felt a warm felling rush through me. I felt home here. Even though my real parents were gone, I could feel them here. I belonged here. I looked to the back of the room and saw two knights sparring with wooden swords. They moved swiftly and gracefully, and for a moment it looked like they were dancing together. That would be me someday, I thought.
"If you truly are what they say, then yes, it is possible." Pitcairn said. Had I mumbled? "You mumble more than you know, son." He said again. I followed him through the brilliant fortress. The blue and red carpet on quartz felt welcoming, though it may have been cold. We reached a grand staircase and began walking up. It could have taken hours to reach the top. By the time we reached the top floor, I was winded, however Pitcairn looked full of energy. He continued walking along the white carpet, only occasionally looking behind him to see if I was still following. At the end of the hall was what could have been a throne room. I could smell garlic, spaghetti and of course cooked steak and porkchops. I immediately perked up and rushed to get inside. The two guards in front of the door fingered their blades, but stood out of the way when Pitcairn came into their site. He pushed open the birch door and I almost fell to my knees. I hadn't expected what I saw.
I entered the throne-like room, made of sparkling gold and quartz. I was lost in the sight before me. And the smells, yes, the smells ofr cooked porkchop and spaghetti. I looked to the side of the room and saw a long table that looked like it belonged to a king. It was full of food, from bread to meat, and I was glad to see faces put to the stories. "Finally Pitcairn. I began to think you would not come." The voice said from the front of the room. What must have been the holy Grandmaster of the Templar Order stood near me, dressed like a medieval nobleman. His attention was turned to me. "Is this.. him?" The Grandmaster asked Pitcairn. "I believe so, my lord." He responded. What exactly was I doing here, anyway? I still had so many questions.
"I am sorry our friend here could not reveal much," the Grandmaster said, "but I shall answer your questions now." "The Pope of Minecraftia himself says that he has received a message from our Lord Notch," he started. There was silence for a moment. "You are the prophesised hero of Minecraftia. You will bring glory to the Templars and to our Lord. But should you fail, the rest of us shall fail as well. I hope you understand the seriousness of which you are involved in." I was dazed. Me? The hero? What had I gotten myself into? "Josef Furnace... you must become a Knight Templar. You will be trained by Sir Pitcairn. And we hope that in time you will become one of us." The Grandmaster spat out. I had no time to react. Pitcairn escorted me out and we headed back down and into the barracks. I grabbed the most suitable equipment for my size. And, immediately, my training began.
A Templar's Birth
10 years later...
After a decade of intense training, praying, and enduring various Templar trials, I was ready to become a knight. I specialised in the art of the Assassin, and I could leap from building to building, tree to tree with ease. I walked nervously with my cloak and mail armor on towards the center of Mycelia. I ceremony was being arranged for my knighting. A much older Pitcairn escorted me to the center, where the Grandmaster waited, sword in hand. I shook off all the nervousness and bravely walked towards him, leaving my master behind. I was anxious to become a Templar. Soon my dream would become reality. I kneeled before the Grandmaster. He spoke loudly to the crowd.
"I belive it is time we welcome Josef Furnace into our fold. He has proven himself worthy since the day he came to us. He should be able to share in our knowledge and strength. Are any opposed?"
The crowed was almost proudly silent.
"Very well," the Grandmaster continued, "Josef, stand." I stood tall before the Grandmaster.
"Do you swear to uphold the principles of our order and all that which we stand?"
"And never to share our secrets nor divulge the true nature of our work?"
"And to do so from now until death-whatever the cost?"
I took a deep breath. "I do," I said proudly, letting it out.
"Then we welcome you into our fold, brother. Together we will usher in a New Dawn, a New World."
Every knight stood at the signal.
The Grandmaster slid a golden ring with lapis lazuli markings on it onto my finger.
"You are a Templar. May the Father of Understanding Guide us." The crowd echoed.
May the Father of Understanding Guide us!
And in an instant, I become one of them. I was a brother to all who stood before me, and I was ready to serve Notch. But first, there was one thing I had promised myself I would do.
My real parents were out there somewhere. I could feel it.
They weren't close. It would take a long journey. But I was ready. I would follow my heart to find them, and I knew where to start.
The Father of Understanding Guides Me
I packed what I needed for the journey. A Redstone hidden blade, a porkchop, an emerald to buy more food, and my light Templar cloak. I left without announcement that night and made my way down the hill to the town of New Elgin. There, I bought a compass and made a hasty retreat north. I walked along the icy shores and finally reached the plains of the Bluedog Frontier. I had begun my journey.
I traveled at night and rested at day to avoid bandits. Within three days I had run low on food and had entered what is called Sherwood Forest. In the dark of the night I heard a loud voice.
"Halt! State your buiness!" The voice said in perfect Mycelian. "I am Sir Furnace of the Templars. My camp is but three leagues from here. I am returning from a routine scouting. Who are you?" I asked.
There was little noise, but I could hear hushed whispers. I counted at least five voices.
"It matters not who I am. There is no camp here. We would have seen it. I think you are alone." He replied. One silhouette appeared less faint, and I could make out a figure with tattered clothes and a dagger. Two more figures appeared behind him. Arms grabbed me from behind, shouting in my ears. "Sir Thomas! Sir Basil! Help! Bandits!" I shouted, hoping to scare them off. I had began to ran out of hope.
"Get your slimy hands off the lad, rats! Or would you like to test the accuracy of an Olexian Republic Archer?" A voice from behind shouted. A Republic Archer? Here in the woods?"
An arrow wizzed by my head, striking one man in the back.
"Heed my warning and leave this place, or my next arrow finds a throat and not an arse!" The archer yelled.
What appeared to be the leader of the group turned to me. "Very well, Furnace of the Templars. I will see you again." And with that, the bandits ran off into the darkness of the forest.
I turned to the archer, getting a better look. "I am Sable Melano, former Republic Archer. I quit serving their arses two years ago. Been searching for trouble for two years now," Sable said, chuckling.
"If it's trouble you're looking for, how would you like to accompany me on my quest?"
"I thought you were reporting back to your camp."
"Ah, I see now. So what are you really up to?" Sable asked.
"Well, it's quite a long story actually... I'm... sort of looking for my parents. I was seperated from them when I was wee. My heart tells me they are within the Bluedog Frontier."
To be continued.