Legend Of Caelan
My earliest memories were of an orphanage. Of its sunken inhabitants, grey interior and shabby furniture. When I first arrived I had no memories of anything except my name, Caelan, a name which nobody called me by. To them I was ‘Creeper’.
Looking back on it I realise that it was through no fault of their own that people came to refer to me so; I had spent my years in the orphanage creeping by silently, not communicating with others. In those years, I had never spoken.
Those years, however, are not of any interest to me or, I dare say, you. To put my time in the orphanage simply I worked, slept, ate and worked some more. I don’t consider these times to be any part of my life. For me, life began at the age of 9.
“Creeper!” The coarse voice of this orphanages matron sounded. The matron was a nasty woman; her pale skin hung like drapes off of her, her graying hair whisped in every direction, and her beedy, black eyes stared cruelly behind thin, weedy eyebrows. She was like an overshadowing hawk, but today she had donned her best clothes and made the noticeable attempt to appear civil, “Go put the pot on to boil, you worthless child. We have an important visitor coming soon, so try not to screw up.”
I nodded in my usual manner, which was vacantly. With my tiny, uncovered feet curling up against the cold floor I padded silently down the long, crooked hallway to the kitchen. The orphanage was deserted, as it had been for some weeks. The only people left were myself and the matron, who snarled and complained everyday for my presence, yet seemed glad to use me as her personal servant. From the snippets of conversations that I had heard this place was out of business, being needed less and less in this time with prosperity and without war. All of the children that had inhabited this old, creaking house were gone, adopted by families or sent off to training as knights and clerics. The rushing and preparing of the children had left me in the cracks, not fit to be trained and unwanted by any of the families. “Who wants a mute as a child? And one as uncaring as Creeper,” These murmurings had drifted my way from the mouths of the other children, but it hadn’t affected me. It never did. Everrything always seemed so very distant, like I was watching from another world.
I pushed my hands out of the oversized, ragged jumper I wore, revealing my tiny, dirty hands. They were stiff from the cold, but I focused on the task at hand; filling the pot and setting it to boil on the sorcery powered-stove. It was important not to drop anything, for last time I had I had been beaten for my carelessness. I stayed by the heat for a moment, closing my eyes and feeling the warmth that was simultaneously familiar and distant.
“Stupid child!” The matrons shriek sounded behind me, making my eyes open in shock. I had drifted off and let the pot overflow. A moment later I heard the sharp crack of a wooden spoon being hit against my arm, but barely felt the pain. I could see the swelling and the steady darkening of a bruise, but it all seemed distant. Like it was somebody else’s arm I was staring at.
The sound of knocking against the rotten, tattered door sounded throughout the halls, echoing eerily. The matron immediately became flustered, muttering to herself, “They’re here, they’re here,” before turning to me sharply and snapping that I bring them tea at once, and not to drop it or I’d regret it.
I blinked in reply, not looking at her, but instead beginning to make the tea carefully. She rushed off to greet the visitor, exclaiming loudly before her voice went in the direction of the sitting room. I put the tea cups on a tray, hearing them clatter slightly and seeing drops of the liquid fall onto the tray. Still shaking and spilling the stuff slightly (particularly near the arm that had been hit) I padded into the room, setting it on the table between the two adults and standing back, head down and waiting to be ordered.
The matron looked down at the tray and flushed, embarrassed, before turning her face back to the guest and apologising in earnest, “I’m so sorry, the child is useless… here I’ll clean it for you, sorry…”
“Not at all,” An elegant voice came through the reverie, “Is this the child that needed reassigning?”
“Ah yes, yes, but I do think it will be hard… such a dolt…” The matron murmured, wiping the tea cup thoroughly before handing it to the man. One white-gloved hand reached forward and took the cup, holding it elegantly.
“And his name?” The man’s voice came out once more.
“Cree- Ahem. I’m afraid we don’t know, you see he came to us quite young and hasn’t spoken since…”
“Well, Child?” The voice came very close now, accompanied by a lot of white, “Do you have a name?”
I didn’t reply. Not that I ever did, but this time it seemed different. The moment I didn’t reply the matron tensed, leaning forward in her seat and motioning for me to reply behind the mans back. Instead of my voice the shrieking sound of the pot answered them, startling the matron to the point where she dropped her cup of tea, sending droplets flying onto every surface; including the mans pristine-white clothing. She immediately began to apologise, looking distraught. In a flurry of movement she left the room, leaving me alone with the stranger.
He sighed, fussing about his clothes in an irritated manner before sitting back onto the couch. Now that the matron was gone he seemed bored, staring at me with startling blue eyes. He frowned, gesturing for me to sit before saying in a clear, careful voice, “Do you have a name?”
I didn’t reply, but followed the order and sat on the couch opposite him. We stared at each other for a moment more before he lent back, “Damnit. You really don’t talk, do you? Argh! Lesus sent me all the way here for nothing. What am I supposed to do now?”
I didn’t answer, but raised my hand to wipe away strands of hair that had been hanging in my vision. The action made my jackets’ sleeve fall, revealing what had now become a very angry red and purple mark. I saw the mans eyes widen in shock at the sight, and he immediately leant forward with an exclamation, “What happened?”
He frowned, resting a hand on the spot for a moment. Under his hand began to glow golden, and when he retracted his reach the area was unblemished. I touched the spot absently, frowning for the first time in a long time. The feeling was familiar, in a way everything else wasn’t. It was the smallest burst of clarity I had had in a long time, and it left me feeling slightly human. I looked up at the man again, confused.
“Caheelaam,” The sound shocked me, making me jump in my seat. It sounded small and rusty. The man looked surprised, staring at me with wide eyes.
In an uncertain voice he said, “Did you just… What did you say?”
“Caelan,” I repeated, slowly raising my hand to my throat as I said the word in a slow, precise manner. The voice that came out was small and soft. Is it mine?
“Creeper!” An angry matrons voice called out and I jumped, feeling fear. It wasn’t an emotion I had felt in such a long time, and feeling it again now made my heart beat and my hands shake. I dropped my hand, clenching the now-healed arm tightly before standing and shuffling to the sound of the voice. When I reached her she was standing in the kitchen, fists clenched in fury and waving a pot. It was the one I had forgotten to taken off the stove, and it’s bottom was thoroughly blackened, “You didn’t turn the stove off and now look, useless creature!”
She waved the pot vigorously before bringing it down on me, it’s burning surface scalding the side of my face. It was hot, and I could smell my burning flesh. For reasons I do not understand this became my trigger.
The floor trembled slightly and icicles began to form around me, webbing out beneath my feet. My hair began to be tossed around in a non-existent wind, sending the pots on the wall clattering and horrifying the Matron. I could see it in her eyes; terror. The same terror that she had enforced upon the children. Upon me. Seeing it on her face was gratifying, in a way. Retribution.
Or so I thought. In a moment it was all gone, leaving me standing in the middle of a wet floor and feeling extremely tired. Somebodys hand was on my shoulder, and that person must have been speaking to the dorm matron. Her face was red with anger, and she made a sharp gesture to the door. I was led out, into the street. I felt the cobblestones underneath my feet, my clarity gone and feeling numb and detached again.
Somebody sat me in a coach, far nicer than any I had ever even seen. The man from the house. He frowned and spoke, hesitant when he didn’t receive any answer. Finally he leant forward and said one word that grounded me; “Caelan?”
I looked up and nodded. It was my name, I knew that much.
“Caelan how would you feel about coming with me to the church?” He asked gently. I frowned, and he continued hurriedly, “It’s a place with lots of magic, and knights, You may even get to meet my brothers; The twelve holy knights.”
Brothers? It sounded familiar. I nodded, slowly. He grinned, slapping my leg and leaning back. In a satisfied voice he said, “You’ll get there eventually!”
This was how I, an orphan with nothing but a name, went from a three year period of darkness to blinding light. From rags to glamour. From nobody to… the Sun Knight in training.
Well it involved slightly more than just that, but the end result was the same.
Nice to meet you, I’m Caelan, the 39th Sun Knight in training, and incidentally (although it took my teacher quite some time to notice)… a female.