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.
Man The Walls
For the attack on his fellow student, William had been placed on clean up duty, until master Tong could figure out what to do with him. If it had been an unprovoked attack, then he would have been kicked out for sure. But Fin; who was still in the infirmary, had provoked the over the top response by Defoe. This was a factor that had saved him. For now anyway.
He detested them all, he fumed as he scrubbed and swept the dojo floor. All he wanted to do was walk out and make the decision to leave for Tong. His family unfortunately would disinherit him if he walked away from becoming a guardsman.
Defoe would have to find another way to get back at them all. His scheming was interrupted by the sweetest voice he had ever heard. He looked up from his broom, and the dust he had caused settled down to reveal the face that belonged to the voice.
‘Hi, I’m looking for Master Tong. Do you know where I can find him?’
Her face was even more stunning than her voice. She was the most beautiful woman Defoe had ever seen in all his young years. Normally he would be cock sure with girls. He was usually so confidant in his lineage and other fine qualities. But he found his tongue was tied, and his mind lot for words. The presence of the girl had made him feel quite uncomfortable. He just stared at her dumbly and eventually stuttered.
‘Em… I… He is at the Palace, I believe. Could I be of assistance?’
She smiled at him kindly with perfect white teeth. Not showing any discomfort at all from his bizarre behaviour. He gazed dreamily into her blue eyes, and was becoming lost in them.
‘Oh that is a shame, I was sent here by the Thirteenth Regiment. I was to report to the master when I arrived. I have been cleared through security but I have orders to report to master Tong for further instruction. Are you a cleaner here?’
That comment put his back up instantly, snapping him out of his dreamlike trance. He could not stop his venomous reply before it left his lips.
‘No I am not. I am an aspirant guardsman. I clean because I am on punishment duty. That is all!’
‘Oh I apologise. I didn’t mean to offend you.’
Her face was calm but she was clearly taken aback to being spoken to so bluntly. William was distraught at his sudden defensive tone. It was only a natural reaction to being compared to a lowly cleaner that made him bite in such a fashion. He did not care how marvellous she was. He could not be seen as anything less than noble. Tong had chosen his punishment well he cursed inwardly.
‘It does not matter; I am William Defoe of the house Defoe. Are you to be staying here Miss…?’
‘It’s Private Booth, but you can call me Jessica. I’m here on a long term secondment from the thirteenth. I guess I’ll report to Master Tong on his return. Is there a quartermaster to assign me lodgings, William Defoe of the House Defoe?’
She said sarcastically. To win back her favour, he would have to turn on some charm. Make some effort at pleasantries. Coming from such fine stock as he did, William could converse with the noblest of people while at the many family balls he had attended.
‘I am sorry for my tone Private Booth, I am just having a bad day, that is all. I hope you can forgive me.’
She seemed to soften at Williams attempt at diplomacy. He had always been able to win over the most hostile of person with his charms. As long as they did as he wished of course.
‘That’s ok; no offence taken. It must be hard here at the academy. I’ll bet you’re all a bit tetchy after a while.’
With the mood lightened suddenly, Defoe thought it would be wise to assist the beauty. He had made a poor start, and would have to put in greater effort if he was to win her affections. He did not even care if she was of noble birth or not. He had to have her.
‘It is true. Our places here come at great cost. Allow me to take your gear. I will take you to one of the other masters here. Have you eaten?’
William reached out to take her packed out rucksack. She beat him to it though, anticipating his actions before he even moved.
‘Thank you William, I can manage. They do make girls carry their own gear in the military you know.’
‘Oh yes… of course they do. I…’
William blushed. He had tried so hard to maintain an aura of coolness, but as much as he would like to have sweep the stunning girl off her feet. He was failing by the second. She smiled at him, seeming to sense his despair. It was a magical smile, which enchanted him to feel like he would do anything for her.
‘But you could be so kind as to show me where I might grab some food. I must declare that I am starving. It’s been a long journey from Tibet. I hear the food here in Geneva is the best in the world.’
‘I would be delighted to. But I don’t know if the best food is found within these walls. It is only standard issue rations here I’m afraid. I am told it gets better once we attain full guardsmen rank. But even then the food would pale in the presence of the delicacies I am used to. I am from Paris. It is surly there that you would find the best fare in the world.’
She slung here pack over her shoulder, and turned to go.
‘Come on then William, even army issue rations would be welcome right now. But I hope to visit Paris one day if what you say is true.’
William led her to the site master, who would assign her quarters and ration credits. He was a kindly old man that Defoe had not even acknowledged until now. He had to keep up the appearances that he was really a nice and agreeable fellow, and greeted the old site master like an old friend.
Once she had been settled, he stuck to her side like a lost puppy. He assured Jessica that he would chaperone her until she reported to master Tong.
‘Are you sure that you won’t get into trouble for not carrying out your punishment duties?’
William shook his head and assured her that Tong would more than likely thank him by looking after his guest.
‘Let me take you on a tour of the facility.’
He offered hopefully. She did not seem to be showing any signs that his presence was irritating. She confirmed this by accepting his offer.
‘Only if you don’t mind William.’
‘Not at all. Follow me; we can start after we have eaten something.’
After they shared some dinner of plain rice and salted bread, Defoe led Jessica on a tour of the academy. Defoe walked her through the dark and dusty old tombs, on top of which the academy was built over. Its many long gone masters filled its halls, under statues of honour. Defoe was the perfect guide, often having snippets of interesting information about each of the famous warriors they passed.
Eventually he led her to the facilities high battlements. They were made of stone in the gothic style. Making the mighty wall seem like it was one of the ancient castle fortresses of a long forgotten time. They were high walls, if you counted the base, which was virtually part of the mountainside. The view over the Alps as the sun set was glorious to behold. Defoe was a hard man and didn’t really think much of art, but even he had to admire the magnificence of their surroundings. The air was cool but the heated coats they both wore kept them toasty enough as they stopped to enjoy the view.
It would have been a perfect opportunity to ask Jessica out for a more formal dinner, once they were given leave from these walls. But they were interrupted by a familiar voice that had also taken an early evening stroll on the battlements.
‘It truly is a pleasant evening, is it not William. Are you going to introduce me to your friend?’
Jessica was not startled at all by the sudden appearance of the new comer. William nodded to him stiffly, and became rigid and formal once more.
‘Kam; this is Jessica Booth, she is on a secondment from regiment thirteen. Jessica this is Kam, a fellow student here.’ Kam nodded and shook her hand. They exchanged a peculiar look that Defoe might have missed if he had not been watching them closely.
‘I’m sure you have better things to do Kam, than bothering us?’
Kam could not hide his amusement, guessing that it was Defoe’s intention to swoon the attractive girl. Before anyone else could step in he mused. After what Defoe had done to Fin while practicing their sequences. Kam would not be letting him have the monopoly on this poor girl. No one should have to suffer the pompous Defoe for longer than was necessary.
Mischievously, Kam winked at him and smirked in plain sight of them both.
‘Has William told you of the watchers of the mountain?’
‘Why would I tell her that?’
‘Ah…I thought not; well I will enlighten you, if I may my dear.’
If Defoe could get away with throwing Kam from the wall, he would surly launch his fellow Cadet for winding him up so plainly. The sad thing was that Jessica seemed to be enjoying Kam’s stupid attempt at crashing his tour.
‘The watchers of the mountain are those two statues in the valley there.’
It was hard to miss them, so big was there size and majesty. They stood like sentinels, greeting all who came to the academy in silent menace. The artwork to create the pair of giant statues must have been a feat indeed to accomplish something as grand and intricate as they were, high up the mountainside.
‘I am the descendant of the one on the left. His name was Xi Zen, who was the first Captain of our Presidents bodyguard. He, as did his companion there, fell to an assassination attempt on the Presidents life. There were so many attempts in those early days. Yet President Black still thought to honour him and my family with this monument to the first watchers of the guard.’
Defoe knew the story, like every other guardsman that had passed through these walls did. But he would not let Kam have the limelight. Not when he seemed to be making progress with her.
‘That’s a nice story. You must be proud of him.’ Said Jessica impressed. Defoe tried to move them along, when he saw a strange expression on Kams face. He had been looking over at his ancient ancestor and something had taken his attention. Surly no visitor would be coming this late in the day.
‘What is it Kam? Has your watcher of the mountain decided to bugger off or something?’
Kam ignored the insult and carried on gazing out intensely, at something Defoe could not see. Jessica looked concerned as well. She closed her eyes for a moment, as if in quiet prayer.
‘What’s wrong with you two? Kam if you would excuse us, I should be getting Private Booth to report to one of the Masters…’
Before Defoe could finish, Kam raised a hand to silence him. He opened his mouth to protest when Kam said.
‘I think I can see something out there William. See by that mound of rocks near the watchers.’
Defoe could see nothing but snow covered stone. He strained his eyes to check, but knew deep down that he was being baited by Kam, who probably sought to humiliate him further. He gave up looking and turned to Jessica. She still had her eyes closed, clearly concentrating on something.
Defoe could see they had caught the attention from the Guardsmen on the walls. They were trying to look in the same direction that Kam was looking at. One of them checked through binoculars but did not appear too concerned.
With a sudden shout Jessica screamed out. ‘Everyone get down!’ She launched herself flat onto the frosty stone floor. Kam and Defoe were quick to follow her down. Their training kicked in without them even thinking about their actions.
Defoe looked up to the guardsman that was still looking through his binoculars. With sickening shock, he watched his head explode from his shoulders in a puff of crimson mist. He looked along the wall, and the other sentries on guard were falling to the same fate. There was no sound of a gun retort, as the men were clinically executed, more or less as one. The timing of the shooting must have been perfectly co-ordinated to take out so many at the same time. Defoe dared a look over the wall, and where the valley below had been snow covered and peaceful. It was now overrun with what looked like thousands of men, all dressed in white camouflaged tactical gear. Just as he lowered his head behind the wall, he felt a burning hiss zoom past his face.
The bullet cut his cheek deeply, spraying Kam and Jessica with his blood. The wound was superficial. But if they survived this assault, then he would have a nasty scar for life. He looked at the surprisingly stern face of Jessica and asked mystified. ‘How did you know when to drop? You saved my life.’
He watched her share a knowing glance at Kam. It dawn on him that this attack may very well have been orchestrated by her. He could not prove it of course. As he thought about this possible betrayal, Kam took her hand urgently and jumped gracefully down the parapet into the court yard below.
‘Come on William! We have to warn the masters!’ Kam yelled up to him. Then he rushed into a doorway, disappearing before Defoe could challenge the pair. He would deal with this in his own way. The attackers whoever they were would be dead before they even made it to the walls. They were attacking the most elite fighting force mankind had ever seen. The fools would regret their actions. He spat out some blood that had run into his mouth form the cut on his cheek.
He cleared his mouth so he could shout a warning for any that could hear him. ‘Guardsmen! to arms. We are under attack!’
He drew in another breath to give further warning, to any brother guardsmen that may hear him. He could not finish his cry, as he was stopped short by an explosion which ripped across the walls. The blast sent him flying into a heap on the courtyard bellow. Smoke rose from his singed coat, and darkness overwhelmed his senses into nothingness.
Before he lost conciseness he could have sworn he heard someone shouting ‘God wills it.’
Strange, he thought as the darkness took him.