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Protector of the Weak: Part I
At the young age of three, Rurik Harmond was gifted with a curse unlike any the world has seen. He was taken away from his parents by Shri Indra, the Vedic Indian god of thunder, and was forced into a life he fiercely despised. However, the broken pieces of his years would soon lead him into untold victories.
Since being taken as a young boy, Rurik had suffered through brutal training only a warrior could survive. The forced life with Indra was one of loneliness and obedience. He would only speak when spoken too and was punished in various ways when he disobeyed the rules. He’d once dared to ask Indra why the god was lifeless and cruel and the god retaliated by cracking his chain-link whip across Rurik's back ten times. He was then left alone to starve and heal in the dark, musty dungeon beneath the grounds for two days and two nights. If Rurik had failed any task he had been given by the god, he would be punished by staying twenty-four hours inside the god’s favorite contraption; the Iron Maiden. The Iron Maiden was a gruesome box built like a sarcophagus to fit a large man while standing up. Inside the box were hundreds of two-inch long nails that burrowed deep into the skin of its victims when the doors would close. Rurik dreaded the fierce pain the dark box had brought to him, and had endured only four nightmarish days inside before learning that failure was not an option when it came to the god’s demands.
Rurik trained day and night with Indra. He’d learned to be calm and patient; stealthy and deadly. He can silently enter any building without ever being noticed; doors locked or not. He can kill a man with a quick swipe of his hand and be as if he had never moved. He is a viper in the grass; a jaguar in the trees. No one dared to challenge him. He is brutal and vicious and fights with a vengeance. He had never known love or compassion, and after many long years of hardship under the god’s watchful eyes, he was transformed into a hardened shell of anger and hate.
On the night of his twenty-fifth birthday, Rurik was called into Indra’s office. Rurik had been inside the god’s personal area only once, when he was first brought to this secluded h***. Indra sat behind a large mahogany desk in the center of the room. He didn’t look up from his work as Rurik entered through double doors. The breeze from the doorway caused the god’s white robe to flutter gently around his body. He looked fairly young working at his desk; his dark hair falling around his shoulders and his lean face shadowed with a thick beard. The room itself looked almost bare; a single window was opened behind the desk, and three distinct paintings of war and violence claimed the three remaining walls. A few tall plants filled each of the corners in the office, and a small door leading into a bathroom remained slightly ajar. With a quick sweep of his gaze, Rurik’s warrior instincts took hold; calculating an escape route, the time it would take to strike an attacker and the many utensils that could be used as weapons. He never let his guard down.
“You can relax here, Mr. Harmond, no one is going to do you any harm.” Indra’s voice held power when he spoke. Rurik could feel the waves of strength exuding off of the god’s body and was instantly reminded of his many harsh punishments. Anger clouded his vision in red as he fought to control the superfluous emotions. He couldn’t afford to feel anything while on the battle field, let alone in front of the god of thunder. The consequences could mean life or death.
“Yes, Master Indra.” Rurik couldn’t help the loathing that seeped into his voice. He was forced to call the god master, though he despised the taste of the word on his tongue. However, if he neglected to speak to the god in proper tone, Rurik would be forced to once again remain trapped inside the Iron Maiden. He ground his teeth together as the many scars on his broad body began to throb; the gruesome memories of his life flooding his mind with violent images.
“Come with me, boy. I’ve something of vast importance I must discuss with you.”
“Yes, Master Indra.”
Indra led Rurik out of his office and through the twenty foot tall metal gates guarding the camp. Once outside the camps fencing, Indra led Rurik into the dark woods that hid many secrets within its shadows. As they walked through, the full moon above began to shine brightly down onto the forest, illuminating the abundance of trees in an eerie glow. Rurik fell into step behind Indra as they continued to walk in silence; the only sounds emanating from the crunching of dry leaves beneath Rurik’s heavy foot-steps. Indra’s long white robe fluttered around his ankles as he glided across the earth; never seeming to touch the ground. Rurik remained calm throughout the short walk. He knew the god would sense any sign of weariness, and would punish him for being weak.
They walked into a large clearing, stopping only once they’d reached the center. The moon cast a luminous light that engulfed the men in its glow. The god looked up at the night sky, his eyes catching the reflection of the large moon. Rurik waited; confused. He hadn’t any idea why the god had brought him to this place.
Indra’s curious voice filled the silence stretching between them. “Do you know why I’ve brought you here, Mr. Harmond?”
“No, Master Indra,” Rurik was being particularly cautious of the god’s bizarre behavior.
“Have you ever wondered why I’ve taken you from your parents all those years ago?”
“Every d***ed day of my life,” Rurik fought to keep of his voice steady while voicing the truth. The last thing he wanted to do was p*ss off the god of thunder.
“It is time I tell you, Rurik,” Indra spoke softly; confusing Rurik with his tender tone. “When I had found you in the park twenty-two years ago, playing with your parents with not a care in the world, I knew instantly that you were the one I had been searching hundreds of years for. Such immense power radiated from deep from within your soul. I could clearly see the colorful vibrations that were humming around you. Your parents were utterly oblivious to the strength and power that you contain. Of course I couldn’t have just walked away and leave you out there in the open, completely unprotected.”
Rurik was at a loss of words. First off, the god had never used his first name before. That alone was enough cause to worry. Second, the god was talking about immense powers and his needing of protection. He’d always sensed a powerful force within him, but had never thought anything of it. The fact that the god thought he needed protection, however, caused red to shadow his vision again. He ground his teeth together as he fought to remain in control.
“You will understand soon enough,” Indra’s voice still held a mysterious tenderness. “For now, we must begin.”
The god’s eyes closed, as he lifted his face up towards the starry sky. He began a slow chant, mumbling unfamiliar words into the night. A low vibration of power lifted throughout the clearing. Rurik sucked in a breath as his gaze settled upon the god’s face. Indra’s mouth and eyes were open wide, bright white beams of light shooting out. His arms were open in the air, as if preparing to embrace the brilliance of the moon.
The luminous shine from the moon was suddenly interrupted by inky clouds. Thunder clapped violently above, shaking the earth beneath Rurik’s feet. Jagged bolts of lightning flashed across the darkened sky, illuminating the night in its blinding glow. The wind picked up enormous speed, whistling fiercely as it bent the trees with its powerful force. Power swirled around the clearing; a tangible force Rurik was exceedingly acute of.
The lights shooting from Indra’s face abruptly stopped shining. The god keeled over, falling to the ground. His body convulsed in spastic waves, leaving him clutching his stomach in pain. The raging storm continued to thunder around them as rain began to pour; steaming where the droplets landed on Rurik’s hot skin.
Indra lay motionless in the wet grass; his chest rising and falling with effort the only sign of life. Rurik didn’t dare to move towards the god. Utter astonishment cemented his feet into the ground. A moment later, Indra began to stand; rising on two shaky legs. “It is now your turn.” The god’s voice was strained, raking over each word as they spilled through his lips. He beckoned to Rurik with his index finger. “Come closer, Rurik.” One heart beat. Two. Rurik hesitantly stepped closer to the god. Indra latched onto Rurik’s wrist in an iron-clad grip, refusing to liberate when the warrior tried to break free. “Do not fight me, Rurik. It must be done.”
Pain surged through Rurik’s arm; sucking the air out of his lungs as it rippled throughout his entire body. He threw his head back and roared in agony. He tried to fight the god and free himself from his inhuman grip, but the pain coursing through his bones deprived him of any strength he had. He caught a glimpse of the god’s face, once again shooting out bright beams of light. Rurik’s vision blurred in and out of focus as he fell to his knees, lethargically swaying from side to side. His desperate attempt to stay conscious failed as his vision went completely black and he crumpled face first into the muddied earth.