“Your time has finally come, my boy.” Pomeron’s mother, Eve – a woman five-and-two years old, and hunchbacked – said, reaching to put a garland around his neck. An already short women, with a hunch nonetheless, reaching the staggeringly tall Pom’s head was no small feat.
Pom bowed low to make it easy for her. She was beaming with pride. “I wish your father was here. He would’ve been so happy to see you carrying on his own work. My boy, a Hero.” she said and sobbed into her dress.
“What? I don’t wish so. I’m actually glad.” Pomeron said.
“He was your father, Ren. You will not speak that way.” she said firmly, like always.
“Mother, when he beat you… He was being playful. And I can guarantee he was playful only with you.” he told her.
Pom’s father, a giant of a man, still remembered for his brute strength and valor had never been able to stop fighting. Even at home, and Pom was the one who suffered the most from this. Never was that part mentioned when drunk men talked of his bravery and his accomplishments. It was the same with his demise. No one really knew how it happened.
‘Had to be done, there was no other way.’ Pom told himself.
“He only did so to toughen you! Look at where you are now, this is happening because he pushed you to be better. Because he trained you the way he did.” Eve said shaking, now furious and sobbing again.
“This is happening because I didn’t do my duty and let Hero Xavi die.” Pom said, the two small Frosts who had slain Xavi flashing before his eye. As his apprentice, Pom was tasked with retrieving Xavi’s body. It was needed later should he succumb to his injuries. Xavi was still murmuring while Pom was carrying him back. He died slow and painfully.
“Oh you mustn’t think that way, Pomeron. Every Hero has to be one bearing his master’s death on his conscience. It’s how it is meant to be. A good Hero learns to use that guilt to make himself stronger. And your father made you a great Hero. You will, in time.” she said, sneaking in his father again.
He wasn’t even going to try fighting her this time. Not on the day he was to be made a Hero. Finally. About damn time.
They exited their tent. Pom stopped still in his track. A small red stage was put up right outside, hundreds of people assembled on the other side to watch the ceremony.
General Hector was just finishing up his speech. Pomeron hadn’t heard much of it, preparing inside the tent. “Where’s the Queen, General Hector?” he asked, looking around. He had never had the honor of meeting her and was eager to, today.
“Didn’t pay much attention, did you?” Hector said with his toothy grin. “She’s gone crazy. Real tragedy. The loss was too much for her to accept, I guess. You know how women are,” he said waving his hand. “Also… It’s King Hector now.” he said and walked to the right side of the stage.
What? That came out of nowhere. That wasn’t an explanation. Besides, she had always been renowned for her courage. He didn’t have time to continue that thought as he was pushed onto the stage, in front of hundreds with every eye on him.
Pomeron Flame stood in the center, his legs slightly trembling. His mother climbed up the stage carefully with a red vase in her hand. Pom had never seen a sight so beautiful.
She walked up to him, beaming with pride and looked around to see where the spokespersons were standing.
“You will be the wall for our army. You will be the first line of our defense. You will be the spark that will light the Flame. You will be a Hero for the rest of your life and that is all you will ever be. Do you wish to continue down this hard path, fit for only the most elite and strong-willed soldiers?” she shouted as loud as she could.
The spokespersons echoed.
“Yes. ” Pomeron said and knelt with his head down.
“HE SAID YES!” the spokesperson said in their loud, booming voice. The crowd erupted into applause.
“You are a Hero now,” Eve said and emptied the vase on his bowed head. Xavi’s cold blood trickled down his body.
“Rise now, as a Hero.” Eve said. Pomeron did as he was told.
Hector walked up to him, held his hand and raised it up high. The crowd went crazy.
Amidst the chaos, Pom caught sight of a beautiful young woman at the very back of the mob. Pom’s heart fluttered. A weird sensation, that. She wasn’t cheering. She stood still with sad, lonely eyes.
Amazing – those sad… Lonely… Green eyes.