“To think of a World such as ours as something to be yearned for may seem strange, yet their testimony is almost always consistent. Though one can hardly believe the truth in this, just by providing the opportunity to step beyond between Planes, they feel we have done them a great service. So, can it truly be called a sin, when they accept their tasks so willingly?”
-King Sunder, Ruler of the Early Nautalin Empire, Second of his Name
As the light faded, and my eyes adjusted, I stood with all the others summoned before the King.
One moment, here. Another... there: I understood little of how I'd arrived, or why, but I knew that was who I stood before.
Nothing else could fit such a man. Seated upon a throne of gold and ivory, crown of jewels aglow in the torchlight of the great hall, he held a presence so strong, I felt the urge to kneel. Just by a glance, it was as if he took my by the neck and thrust me down until my head bowed to the floor. Before I knew it, any thought to resist was crushed from my very lungs, as this feeling held me.
From the gasps and cries to either side of me, I knew I was not alone in this.
"You may rise." The voice alleviated the pressure at once. Looking up, I could see those eyes upon us now, scanning through our midst. A horrible shiver ran down my spine, as they settled on me, for the briefest of seconds. "Welcome, chosen ones."
"Where are we-" To my right, a woman tried to speak. Turning to her, I saw her throat catch, all but choking, as the King raised a hand.
"I did not say you could speak." His voice was iron. "Heroes, all. I have brought you here to serve a purpose. Your destiny has finally come, by my Kingdom's might, you have finally arrived."
The woman gasped, breathing as the statement released her.
"Heroes?" I felt the question rise, above the rest. All the other bubbles of jumbled thoughts, fighting for dominance, and that was the one which almost reached my lips. "Was that truly what we were?"
"Heroes." The King repeated.
His words were light, truth, and magnificence itself. How could I have doubted... him... The recognition that something had just transpired which was beyond my comprehension, gave me a chill. Sucking in a breath, I swallowed down the rising sense of fear.
How did he just do that? Make me believe him- so simply.
To my left, I saw a reaction from the man beside me. Another, from a young girl, farther down the line. Their eyes seemed to shine. Had I resisted, somehow? Certainly, no one dared to interrupt as the King continued.
"The Demon Lord threatens our lands. Our armies are mighty, our walls and cities, strong: but of this plane, those who might take on the Class of Hero, are rare. Only a few, every hundred years- many who go their whole lives without realizing it."
"Class?" Another braver- or simply foolish, soul spoke up again. The King's eyes fell upon them, narrowing with impatience.
"As is my right as ruler of these lands, I grant you the blessing of [Sight]." The King raised a hand, almost indifferent as he chanted the line. "Witness."
It hit me at once, like the pressure before- an inexplicable sensation of pressure. This time, though, it was behind my eyes, inside my head.
Title: Summoned Hero*
Language of men - Lvl 10 - Passive
Identify Lvl 1 - Active
"Amazing." Next to me, the wide-eyed man whispered the word, as he followed what I presumed were similar messages in his mind's eyes. I looked to either side, finding similar reactions. Exclamations of excitement, and wonder.
"Your task is upon you, heroes." The King waved his hand again, signalling to several armored figures among the court. "My knights shall see you receive what is needed. Weapons, armor, and coin: all chosen ones such as yourselves will need, to advance upon your destiny. You are dismissed."
The finality of such a statement.
Men in bright armor moved in, bowing to their lord, before guiding those farthest from me towards the massive archways to the edges of the hall. Looking back, I saw doors of gilded metal and runes, swing open, to reveal a city skyline of pillars and stone. Clouds of brilliant color, and flags of gold beside them. Already, the others were moving, speaking quietly with hushed excitement.
Yet, for some reason I turned back. Prickling sensation on the hairs of my neck and back, willed me to turn to the King, one final time.
Upon his throne, he looked down at the numbers heading for the door, with a cold stare. Like one might look upon insects, or filth left to rot upon the floor.
Then, he looked to me. Caught me in his presence, until I was helpless to even think of looking away. All will, all defiance, all emotion was sapped out of me- absent, as if it had never been.
He held me there, for what might have been the longest seconds of my entire life.
And he smiled.