The Kid’s Father was once a Famous Gladiator. After a limb, he took to drinking and gambling. The kid’s mom left when she couldn’t take it any more.
The Merchant dropped a gold coin into his father’s hand.
Father: That’s it?
Merchant: Two for a girl, one for a boy.
Until finally one day, the father sold the child.
Father: Too bad you weren’t a girl. What a waste of space.
His father’s final words rung in the kid’s ears. He was only 11 years old.
Merchant: The child of a gladiator. He might be worth something.
The Merchant led the kid to the arena. Entertainment for nobles. Battles to the death, for their amusement.
The kid was teamed with a man named Kaal. Kaal was a swordsman who specialized in using two swords at the same time. When he had time, he taught the kid what he could. The kid came to see Kaal as a father, and Kaal treated the kid like his son. They worked well together, winning against intense odds, and gained the favor of the mass.
Of course, as they flourished, others began to grumble. The man and the kid were tools meant to entertain their betters. But they were forgetting their place… Gold coins exchanged hands in the dark corners.
It was the day before the final match. Kaal handed the kid a piece of paper. An address was written on it.
Kaal: When this match is over, will you go find my son? He’ll be there, at that address. His name is Lann.
Kaal: That’s right. It means, “the one who beats the wind and the loneliness.”
Kid: I’ll find him, I promise.
The kid didn’t notice the way Kaal’s hands shook.
It wasn’t until the match began that the kid realized something was wrong. Kaal was smiling at him, even after the fight had started. Kaal let his hands fall, his swords no longer at the ready.
The enemy’s blade slashed across Kaal’s back. The kid cried and cried. But he had a promise to keep. He had to go to Rocheste. He had to deliver the sword and Kaal’s Message...
The boy he found at the castle wore a guarded expression. They had to be about the same age. The kid handed the pair of swords to the boy.
Kid: These were your father’s. They’re yours now.
Boy: My father's?! I don’t want them! Throw them away! I’ve forsaken all memory of my family, even my own name. Go away!
The boy had given up the name Lann, “the one who beats the wind and the loneliness.” But what about Kaal? Kaal, who had died to save his life? Who had been the father the kid wished he’d had.
The kid cradled the swords in his arms. A son, abandoned by his father. A father, abandoned by his son.
Kaal: My son, our family honor has been distroyed, I will die here... But you... You can become a knight. You can restore our family name. You can make our family... You can make me... Proud.
Kid: I will become the knight and fulfill Kaal’s final request.
Lann: From now on, my name will be Lann!
On the southern tip of the continent, in a large barren land untouched by the kingdom's influence...
A pair of nameless nomad mercenaries gave birth to a wide-eyed, freckled, mischievous girl, and named her Fiona. Her father was the leader of the mercenary group, and her mother was a skilled warrior. Their lives were full of laughter. One day, out of the blue, her mother handed Fiona a shield.
Mother: You must learn how to protect yourself. You’re old enough now to contribute to the group.
That very day, with a grin and a leap, Fiona began training with the other mercenaries. They attacked her with wooden swords, and Fiona learned to fend them off with her shield. Every muscle ached when the long day finally ended, but her mother smiled, and never had Fiona felt so happy.
Mother: Remember. Your enemies will show you no mercy on the battlefield. You must train yourself to be stronger than them.
Fiona nodded, determined never to forget her mother’s words. Fiona Grew quickly in the barren lands. She grew skilled in the wielding her shield.
One day, a bear appeared, threatening a nearby town. The mercenaries set out to take it down. They anticipated a tense battle with a giant beast, but when they arrive, the cave was strangely still.
They made their way inside warily… And found Fiona, wounded but grinning, sitting next to the corpse of the giant beast. She’d even had time to make a fire.
Fiona: What took you so long, ya big slowpokes? Why don’t you make yourselves useful and help me lug this thing home? I’m starving!
The other mercenaries ruffled her hair and helped carry the giant beast back to camp. Just like that, the other considered her their equal…
Father: I can’t understand it… The Fomors have mobilized. What are they trying to accomplish?
As evening fell, the mercenaries gathered for an emergency meeting.
An army of Formors was approaching the canyon where they had made their home for the season.
The Fomors numbered a hundred strong.
The mercenaries numbered a modest thirty.
Mother: They’ve gotten bolder. They’re trying to drive human from the south.
Once the Formors passed through the canyon, everyone in the town on the other side would be doomed.
If they left now, the mercenaries could save themselves…
Father: Ha! Nobody is paying us. We don’t have to do this.
One by one, the mercenaries went around. One by one, each of them chose to stay and fight. No one had hired them. No one would be paying them. They were not fighting for the fame or glory. Nor were they fighting for the goddess. But one by one, they picked up their swords and shield… They put on their armor, and they headed to the mouth of the canyon.
Father: Don’t let a single one of those bastards pass!
That was the last order Fiona ever heard from her father.
...When the battle ended the Fomor bodies were stacked high. Not a single Fomor made it through. The mercenaries had won!
But all that Fiona saw was… Thirty graves, marked by swords and shield. A man headed for Rocheste eventually passed by and asked her, shocked.
Mysterious Man: What is this?! Whose graves are these?
Fiona: Nobody’s. Not anymore.
Her voice was soft, her expression indifferent. Fiona eyes were glazed over, but not a single tear fell. She had no more tears. Only dry wind swirled in the canyon of the barren.