Rise of Dorn
Rise of an Emperor Series
This is the tale of Dorn Bruce. He will later become the father of Caleb Bruce and Captain of the President's Elite Guard. This prequel will follow this legends rise from the bottom, to become the most famous and feared warrior of his time.
The sore muscles and blisters had become so frequent to Dorn now. He had never felt so tired before in his life. Sleep was restricted; so too was comfort and recreation. Walking now at the side of Master Tong, was the first respite in a long time from hardships of training.
It was no secret that he was the best of the new recruits. Tong had even taken him to one side and told him so. In fact he also told him that he had not seen Dorn’s equal come through the ranks at the academy in his lifetime. Tong had spoken the President of this remarkable young man, and the leader of Earth and her colonies had asked to meet with him for supper at the Presidential Palace.
Black of course was a busy man. With an entire galaxy to oversee, he had little time for pleasantries. So the very fact that he had made his most precious time available to Dorn was an honour of the highest order. Not many guardsmen were given an audience with President Black until they were by his side protecting him. Dorn was now destined to become the very shield to defend his leader.
The young cadet tried hard not to look like a child in awe of his surroundings. It was hard not to be. Marble pillars and monumental statues blended in seamlessly with the more modern fixtures of the Palace. Golden clad towers reached into the clouds; so big was its structure, and so beautiful its creation. It was the greatest achievement of architecture that ever graced the earth.
Tong ran the Palace Guard, and was here most of the time. But he was not immune to the wonder of this building. Dorn had heard once that when the gold caught the light of the sun. It shone like a beacon, and could be seen in orbit with the naked eye. After seeing it himself, he now believed every word.
Tong had told him of the beauty of the place. He had also told him of the power the President had over people. Black had risen to power quickly not only for his superior intellect, but also his powerful charisma an influence over people. This quality had helped him become the most powerful leader ever. Some people became weak at the knees when in his presence. He was not the most hansom of men. Yet he could swoon a vision of a woman off her feet with very little effort. Not that he did. So important were his grand works after all. With this in mind Dorn prepared to meet the man he may one day protect.
Eventually the two ascended to a private lounge, where some food and drink had been laid out. The room like others in the Palace was high vaulted, with walls covered in priceless art from across the globe. Above the table of food, a crystal chandelier sent millions of sparkles dancing around the room. The luxury was meant to impress, and impress it did. As they approached the table, servants removed silver lids that had covered the plates to keep them hot. The welcomed aroma that wafted to Dorn’s nose made his mouth instantly water. After months of Guardsmen rations, a meal like this was something he had only dreamed of eating. It was an enormous effort not to dig in straight away. Tong could sense the thoughts and feelings that Dorn was struggling to hide. Such was his gift.
‘He will be with us shortly young Bruce.’ Tong updated the wide eyed cadet.
‘I never imagined such a place existed master. I have seen some pics. But nothing I have seen compares to this place.’
‘Just wait until you meet the President, if you think this is impressive.’
Some red wine was poured and Tong took the lead by sipping some first. He handed Dorn a glass, which he had filled halfway up in the golden goblet. The wine, like everything else in this place was extraordinary. Full bodied and sweet, it flowed down Dorn’s throat in liquid ecstasy. If this was how they lived here at the palace, then he could not wait to leave behind the meagre food and drink back at the academy. As he salivated over the steaming food, a set of large mahogany doors on the other side of the room opened, to reveal a single man that strode in confidently. His hair was neatly cropped and he was dressed plainly, in a long dark jacket over a simple white shirt. Dorn had expected a man like on all the posters he had seen, wearing powerful armour, carrying a weapon worthy of his rank. Instead it was just a man. Or so it appeared.
‘So this is the young warrior I hear so much about. It is a pleasure to meet you at last Cadet Bruce.’
Black leaned over and shook Dorn by the hand. It was a firm handshake. Power was in those hands he mused. If he wanted to, those same hands could crush Dorn’s like twigs. It was well known that Black had prolonged his life, making him virtually immortal. He had also made himself stronger both physically and mentally. The President was a man of science in his early life. He had used his discoveries to enhance himself in all ways.
‘The pleasure is mine Mr President.’ Dorn said nervously. Suddenly his mouth was dry and for the first time in his life words escaped him. Black did not seem to notice this though, and casually led the conversation on.
‘Master Tong has also told me that you have no genetic enhancements, nor do you come from a noble family. Is that true?’
The admission felt like a defeat. Dorn was not ignorant to the fact that the President probably knew the answer to his question anyway. So he answered truthfully.
‘I am sorry sir. But that is true.’
Dorn was compelled to hang his head in the face of Blacks penetrating stare. It was so difficult to look him in the eyes. They were like probes that could reveal all of his closely guarded secrets. With difficulty though, he kept his chin up and his eyes level.
‘Do not apologise young man. Not for that. I myself have come from nothing. In fact I admire you Dorn Bruce. This is the reason I called for this meeting. I love to see talent you see. It is my talent to recognise it, and use it for glory of our people.’
When Black spoke, it was with a deep and smooth conviction of purpose. The first time Dorn had seen his speeches on television, he knew this was a man to follow. So far, the President had only inspired more loyalty from Dorn.
‘But before we talk of tiresome matters of state, let us eat this delicious looking food my chefs have prepared us. Let me recommend the chicken wings, they are quite good you know.’
Dorn did not doubt it, and the three men sat and ate foods that were spiced so skilfully that nothing finer had ever passed his lips. It was all washed down with wine that was forever being topped up by one of the many waiters that hovered around their table. After a while conversing about his training, Dorn was asked about his home life. The President had made him feel so relaxed that he felt as if he were talking to a friend of many years.
‘My father is a proud man Mr President. He wanted me to work on the farm like his father did. But this was not what I wanted. I was compelled to become a warrior sir. In fact I could think of nothing else when I reaping a crop.’
‘Master Tong said you taught yourself how to fight. Is that true?’
‘It is sir.’
‘How did you do it?’ Asked Black with clear amazement etched on his face.
‘Work on the farm is hard Mr President. But there is a lot of waiting around too. While I waited for the crops to grow, I studied any martial discipline I could get my hands on. With books or videos on the net, I watched and then I applied. A friend of mine back on the farm shared my passion and we practiced what we had learned on each other.’
‘That is impressive. What happened to your friend?’
It was so strange to be spoken to so casually by a man of Blacks fame and calibre. Dorn wondered about Blacks childhood, but understood that this meeting was to weigh up his character. He sensed he was being judged.
‘My friend was not able to join the military sir, because of an injury.’
Black winced in empathy to Dorn’s friend’s pains.
‘Oh dear, what did he do? Fall from a tractor?’
Tong chuckled quietly, as he tucked into his third plate of food. He had not spoken much. But Dorn was sure he listened intently to their conversation and also to any reports from the communication bead in his ear.
‘Unfortunately I injured him while sparing sir. It was a particularly hard fight. I got lost in the moment and broke his leg. It never really healed properly. He never blamed me for it. But I always felt guilt that we could not come to the military together.’
Black nodded to Dorn understandingly. They had consumed many glasses of wine, and Dorn was becoming mildly drunk. The President appeared to be in complete control. Maybe other enhancements prevented alcohol from intoxicating his mind.
‘If you give me your friends name I will see what my physicians can do for him. I will do all that I can. Of that you have my word young man. Do not feel guilt for injuring him. I am a good judge of character you know. It is clear to me that you have compassion as well as fighting prowess. You will go far Dorn Bruce. Of that I am certain’
The evening was becoming late and an aid to Black whispered into his ear. Black stood suddenly and bowed graciously to his two dinner guests.
‘You must excuse me. Unfortunately I have a delegation to meet very shortly. There is no rest for the wicked it seems. May I say it was a pleasure to meet with you. Master Tong has rooms here at the Palace. I hope you find the accommodation here, more pleasing than the bunks you have been over the last few months.’
Black nodded once more to Dorn and then walked to the door with Tong, talking as they went. Then he was gone. Dorn’s face was flush, either from the wine or the company of the meeting he had just had, he did not know. If the President had been judging him, he hoped he had not been found wanting.
Tong came back, wiping some sauce from his mouth with a handkerchief. The dinner was casual, but Tong was garbed in his full ceremonial golden armour. He was helmless of course. Yet he was still armed with his mighty sword named lunar shard, for its pale blue steel blade. As Captain of the Presidents Elite Guard, he was prepared to face any threat, any time. On the swords hilt, which was intricately carved with fancy runes and other artwork? Dorn noticed the initials DS inscribed. He would ask the Captain about that later he decided. It was a fine sword.
‘That went well young Bruce.’
Tong announced as he returned from leaving the President.
Then it was a test then. This meeting was not just a reward for Dorn’s hard work. This had been the President’s opportunity to look at his future protection.
‘As you know Dorn; the Guard are chosen from the best that mankind has to offer. I, like the President find your story extraordinary. You should not be as good as you are. But like Black, you have pushed yourself to the top of the pile through pure ability and skill. He admires that.’
It had gone well indeed. Dorn was elated at having such praise from someone as great as Edward Black. To have the equal respect from Master Tong almost made him burst with pride.
‘Thank you Master.’
‘You are most welcome. But it is you that has done this. The President has asked me to train you personally, and to make you my understudy. Do you understand what that means young man?’
This evening was just getting better and better. After all his pain and toil, all the years of battling against his father to become the warrior he was becoming. His labour was now bearing fruit.
‘It means that as of this day you are now guardsmen. You will call yourself cadet no longer. In addition to that, you have also been earmarked to perhaps lead the guard one day- As Captain. That is why I must mentor you. Congratulations Dorn.’
Dorn had not known what to expect from this meeting. He had mastered the sequences before all the others had. He quickly became the bird that flies without thought. Even Tong had to be careful when facing him on the dojo matt. There was still much for him to learn. But he would think of all that another day. For now he would enjoy this night. He could not wait to tell the other back at the academy- All but Defoe. He would be one, not to take this fantastic news so well.