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I'm writing a thing! Specifically, a story called Chosen. It's like, a weird, trope-subverty thing. The premise of it is a classic "Chosen One" story, but told from the perspective of the mentor. It also does, like, other things with the plot, as you'll see as I write more of the story. I just have the rough draft of Chapter 1 written right now. Don't expect any more from me this week - I've got school crem to do - but I expect to be doing a lot of writing this summer. Constructive criticism would be very much appreciated.



After eighteen years of searching, the new Chosen was still nowhere to be found. “Your Majesty,” said Arika, “what if we started searching for young women with the Mark?”

“That, Arika,” declared King Hexea, “is preposterous. There has never been a female Chosen in all known history.”

One of the king’s advisors cleared his throat. “Well, Your Majesty, it makes sense. Times are changing. During Queen Ariene’s reign, she made it possible for women to do things they wouldn’t have even dreamed of doing before. Before her, women weren’t even allowed in the King’s war room, but now, nearly half of the people here are female! The other five monarchs are also becoming more inclusive. Maybe Ariminei is just following the customs of Valor.”

“I will consider it,” said the King. “However, even if I agree to this, some of the other monarchs are bound to oppose it. I’ll do what I can.” Arika smiled. She knew the King had already decided to implement her suggestion, and was just trying to show that he was a strong ruler. Having to fill the space left by his mother Ariene, one of the most intimidating people Arika had ever known, couldn’t be easy.

Just then, three sharp raps came from the grand doors of the war room. “You may enter,” Hexea said curtly.

A small messenger boy creaked open the door. “I come bearing a message,” he said timidly, “for His Majesty King Hexea the Third.”

He shuffled into the room and cleared his throat. “The Chosen,” he said, “has been found.”


Three days later, Arika sat in the back of a carriage, trundling through eastern Sikkar. As the head swordsman of the King’s Army (she preferred the term “swordswoman,” but the rest of court found it preposterous), her main duty was overseeing the training of the Army’s soldiers. And since the Chosen would need the best training available, she was also in charge of seeing that they - he - Arika knew he was male now - was decent with a sword before he went to fight the dragon.

The Chosen had been located by a Sikkaran merchant, who had been sailing through the Dragon’s Claw archipelago on a trading expedition when a storm hit, wrecking his ship. He washed up on a remote island, home to a small, reclusive fishing village that hadn’t had contact with the outside world for generations. Despite that, they spoke a variation of the common Valorant tongue, and were generally kind to the merchant, providing him with shelter and food while they figured out a way to get him safely back to his homeland. Before he’d left, however, he spotted a young man with the Mark just below his left eye. When he arrived in Sikkar, he’d sent word to the King - Hexea - of his discovery.

Hexea had promptly arranged to travel to meet the Chosen, along with Arika and several other members of court who the Chosen would be closely interacting with, and personally escort him to his new home in the Arei Palace. Even traveling at breakneck speeds (Arika’s neck had certainly come close to breaking during some of the larger jolts her carriage had to offer), the procession would take at least one moon to reach the Chosen’s home. After two days of traveling (Hexea had taken a day to organize the procession) they were nearing the border between Sikkar and Riccam. Then, it would take around ten days to travel through Riccam to the ocean. After that, it would take around fifteen days to sail northeast to Queill, the largest island in the Dragon’s Claw, and five more days to reach the island the merchant had discovered.

The procession wasn’t very ostentatious, especially considering the fact that Hexea had a penchant for grandeur whenever he traveled. He’d always been that way, even as a child. Back then, every time he would go outside the palace, he would demand that he be declared to the passersby as “His Royal Highness Prince Hexea.” He would march proudly down the street, with his guards trailing behind him, waving eagerly to everyone he passed. Sometimes, he would even order the royal band to follow him down the street and play the Sikkaran national anthem.

The carriage lurched to a stop. Arika opened the door and climbed out - she wasn’t going to wait for someone to help her out of her carriage like some of the other women in court. Most of them usually wore elaborate dresses that were hard to walk in, and made it difficult to maneuver yourself out of a carriage without some help. Arika, however, wore a standard-issue military uniform, the only indication of her status being a pin signifying her rank as lieutenant general on her chest. She had no problem climbing out of carriages on her own.

While the servants were assembling her tent, she joined the rest of the court in the king’s tent (which was about the size of a large house in the rural areas where Arika had grown up) for supper. It was almost painfully boring - the conversation was repeated almost verbatim from the last two nights spent traveling.

“The views from the carriage were spectacular.”

“Yes, our country is beautiful, isn’t it?”

“The ride was rather bumpy.”

“Yes, after this dreadful business with the dragon is over and done with, we should look at improving the quality of the roads out here.”

It was enough to make Arika want to bang her head against the long, ornately carved table.

As the journey wore on, and the verdant landscapes of Sikkar gave way to the rocky terrain of Riccam, the mood of the more sophisticated courtiers worsened. The dinner conversation became less about the things they had seen out of their carriage windows during the day’s ride, and more about how awful and monotonous the expedition was. Arika didn’t mind it - back when she was a soldier, she grew accustomed to traveling for weeks or months at a time, and then, she didn’t have the luxury of a personal carriage to travel in.

The procession continued through Riccam City (without stopping; much to the chagrin of some of the courtiers). The days passed in a blur of routine - Arika would get up, go on a short run before breakfast, then eat, and travel in the carriage until sundown. Then, she would have supper with the court in the king’s tent, and retire to hers. Sometimes, if supper ended early, she would take a jog around the camp to stretch her legs before settling into her tent for the night.

She was looking up at the stars on one of those jogs when she bumped directly into the King himself, surrounded on three sides by his royal guard. She knew they were there mainly for decoration - after all, the real threat lay in the secret guard, who were hidden among the trees and bushes surrounding the camp, ready to strike at any moment.

“My apologies, Your Majesty,” Arika said, regaining her footing.

“It’s quite alright, Arika,” said Hexea. “Would you like to walk with me?”

“Yes, that would be nice.” Arika didn’t particularly enjoy speaking in a dignified manner (which she’d discovered just meant saying as little as possible in as many words as she could manage), but she’d gotten very good at it during her time at court.

“Isn’t the sky simply magnificent? You know, I’ve only been outside of the city once or twice, and I’ve never been outside of the country.”

“Yes, indeed it is,” said Arika. “Back when I was just a soldier in your mother’s army, I went on campaigns in rural areas often. I’d forgotten how beautiful it looked without being obscured by the city’s lantern light.”

They walked in silence for some time, their footsteps quiet on the grass of the clearing. Eventually, Hexea broke the silence. “To tell you the truth, Arika, I’m worried. I’m worried that while I’m away, the dragon will wreak havoc on my country, and I won’t be there to stop it. Should I have stayed behind, and helped while my people are being massacred, and the Forest of Life is burning? What would my mother have done?”

Arika felt a smile tug at her lips. She hadn’t asked for a confession out of Hexea - this had probably been brewing in his mind since they’d left Arei City, or even before that. “Your mother would be very proud of you, Hexea.” She knew using the king’s first name could be considered extremely disrespectful, but this conversation was not between a king and his subject anymore - it was between a young man and his mother’s friend. “Trust yourself, and I have faith you will make the right decision.”

“Thank you, Arika,” said Hexea. “Also, I wanted to apologize for the way I treated you at the meeting before we set out. I… was trying to prove I could be a strong king, but I fear I may have disrespected you.”

“That’s perfectly fine. You need to show your people that you can take charge and rule, instead of being controlled by your court. And you can, Hexea. You’re a natural leader, and Ariene raised you well. I know you have your doubts, but you have made a fine king in the years since your mother died.”

Arika and Hexea talked a while longer - about Queen Ariene, the dragon, and the Chosen. After they retired for the night, Arika was left feeling strangely hopeful. Even though the kingdom was under attack, the Chosen had been found, and he would save them all.


The journey continued. They passed through eastern Riccam at a surprisingly fast rate, and found themselves at the ocean after just a week and a half of traveling. From there, they took ships that the king of Riccam had lent to them on short notice when Hexea had sent a messenger ahead telling him of their journey. Even though the ships offered the highest of luxuries, the court did not take fondly to sea travel. There was even more grumbling about it at supper, and Arika witnessed several shouting matches between courtiers too stretched thin to care about their dignity. Arika couldn’t care less whether she was traveling on land or on sea, but the courtiers’ temper was starting to wear on her nerves. Once, she tried to dispel an argument during supper by remarking that she had to travel in much harsher conditions while in the Queen’s Army. However, this only resulted in more grumbling. She even heard a few of the courtiers mutter “peasant trash” under their breaths when they thought she wasn’t listening. She’d heard much worse, especially during her earlier days at court, but it did not serve to improve her mood.

After docking on Queill, the procession stopped for a day to get some much-needed rest before sailing for the “Island of the Chosen,” as some were beginning to call it. Unfortunately, this didn’t serve to improve the courtiers’ mood, and they were just as irascible on the second voyage as they had been on the first. When they finally dropped anchor at the Island, Arika and Hexea seemed as if they were the only sane ones in the court. The rest were not attempting to hide their frustrations, and were a disorderly mess. When arrangements were made to meet with the young man who had a strangely-shaped mark under his right eye, it was decided that the rest of the court would stay behind, and Arika and Hexea would be the only ones to formally meet the Chosen. While serving to diminish the court’s mood even further, this ensured the Chosen would get as positive an initial impression of the court as possible.

Arika knew roughly what to expect when she walked off the ship on the afternoon of the meeting. The merchant had described a young man with sandy brown hair, and pale skin similar to the rest of his village. Additionally, she knew the Chosen was likely to be in his late teens, since the new chosen was usually born less than a year after the old one had died, and the previous Chosen, an Ahaeran noble, had died of plague eighteen years ago.

But as she and Hexea stepped into the village square, the arranged meeting place for them to meet the Chosen, Arika noticed one thing: the savior of Valor couldn’t have been more than twelve years old.


Edited by Szeth_Pancakes
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