11 years ago in the Crumose Empire…
“The silent one at it again?” a tall Nagaji in purple robes, walking with his arms behind his back. He approached one of his fellow soldiers, Lieutenant Gordna clad in decorated armor, looking down disapprovingly into the open-air training arena where a pile of broken decoys and poles surrounded a younger Nagaji curled up in a fetal position.
The soldier grunted and waved down at the child. “He’s only useful for breaking things, not as a reliable cadet. I’d be better to train one of our convict slaves to hold the sword than this child.”
Captain Hasiro shook his head. “An exaggeration, but I understand your frustration. Tuggis is…a problem” he said, looking down at the boy who was heaving in deep breaths out of pure exhaustion. For the past several years he tried to instill discipline into him. He promised his father Khoma that he’d set the boy straight, but his bouts of anger and angst were too destructive. His strength was great, but it was too wild to be molded into a form to benefit the Empire.
“Another one of my men was sent to the infirmary, Sergeant T’cholk, by this bastard. Damn near killed him with the multiple fractures to the ribcage and skull.”
“I know, I came from there Lieutenant.”
Gordna turned to face him. “Captain, if I may be blunt, why are we babysitting this damn beast child?”
Hasiro laughed. “Sometimes that is a mystery to me!”. Oh, he wanted to choke out young Master Krockhorn many a times and end his suffering, but he persevered. He pointed at the boy. “But, I think the answer is becoming clear to me now.”
“You are right that he is a beast, not unlike an unruly colt before they are broken.” He paused before continuing. “But, this child has a power that I can smell off him, an energy that can be tapped in a proper way. That’s why I dealt with him for so long.”
A snarl came from Gordna “So are wait for his awakening until he tears down our barracks and destroys half of our company?”
Captain Hasiro held up a hand. “No, it will come sooner than that, I am certain of that now.”
“I don’t follow sir”
The officer shook his head, “I was a fool for not seeing it until now. The boy is a barbarian in the making.” A look of surprise came upon Gordna’s face, as though a torch fire lit up within his mind. Hasiro smirked. “You see? It makes sense now why he is the way he is. It did not occur to me until I remembered that contingent of barbarians we fought with years ago. He exhibits the same behaviors they did.”
“B-but sir, if that is true, that’s all the more reason he can’t be here!”
Hasiro sighed. “Yes, he can’t be, we are not his proper teachers.” He looked down on Tuggis who was slowly getting up. He looked up at Hasiro with red blood-stained eyes, blood and dirt coating his toned scaly body. Even from on high he could see a mixture of anger and shame in that gaze of his. Tuggis wanted to prove himself, but he was in the firm grasp of a raging inferno that is alight in his heart that could not be curtailed. The lad couldn’t speak, but if he did, Hasiro would assume he’d demand what he wanted from him.
He waved his hand. “That’d be enough for today Master Krockhorn, wait for me in your chamber, I will talk with you soon.” The boy twitched, thinking he’d be punished again. However, despite his rage he made a curt bow and did what he was told.
Hasiro waited until he was out of sight before continuing the conversation. “I’ve contacted Master Jedorian of the 2nd Imperial Marauder Company about the boy. He was intrigued to have a possible recruit in our hands. He agreed to take him from our care and train him…in the proper way.”
Gordna let out a sigh of relief. “Finally, good riddance, the damned mute trash”
“Silence!” Hasiro snapped, forcing the Lieutenant at stern attention like he was on parade. He pointed a claw at his face. “He was a pain in our asses and yes he cannot utter a word of, but do not forget that he is a boy that can serve the Empire in glorious ways with his pure strength and rage if harnessed. He may even save your own damned hide in battle someday! Don’t forget that point Lieutenant…dismissed.” His subordinate bowed and scurried back to barracks away from his captain’s wrath.
That same man looked back down at the carnage in the arena, watching the squires and other orderlies fixing it. He sighed. It’s not that he didn’t sympathize with Lieutenant Gordna, he remembered being just as angry and dismissive about Tuggis long ago. However, the more he worked with the kid, the more he felt a lingering urge to help the kid succeed in life, to serve the same Empire that he and his fellow soldiers did.
He was just saddened that the winds of destiny would not let him be the one to harness the kid’s power.