The protector and the shield of the people.
Castellan although physically imposing, usually has a cheerful demeanour around the people. A warm smile under his beard and kind word are regularly offered to citizens.
Anyone who threatens the people her serves see a different man. Castellan takes his job seriously and does everything he can to protect the people, including protecting them from themselves. To date, Castellan has always brought in those he defeats alive.
Suddenly he was standing in the brightest black of the cosmos. The light shone from so far away that Duncan wasn’t sure if it even existed at all. Where was he, how had he gotten here? As the thought came to his mind it was answered…
I HAVE BROUGHT YOU HERE.
The voice surrounded, engulfed and emerged from Duncan and also filled him with the universe. Duncan pushed his words out as if pushing through thick jungle. “Who are you?”
I AM HE WHO WATCHES AND I HAVE BROUGHT YOU HERE.
Again the voice reverberated throughout. This time the voice felt closer as the aether thinned. It was now that Duncan realized he was not standing, that he was floating. “Why am I here?”
YOU HAVE BEEN CHOSEN, AND THE WATCHER SEES.
Duncan pivoted to the left and to the right, looking for a being to attach to the voice. His movement was smooth and strong, with more control than Duncan had ever known himself to have. While taking notice of this Duncan realized that he was no longer breathing. A sudden panic washed across Duncan’s face as he finally felt the cold of his surroundings. SPACE!
Slowly the panic turned to alarm and then to anxiety and then again to calm as Duncan felt no discomfort or pain. In an act of pure instinct Duncan looked down at his hands and confusion replaced any residual fear. The lab clothes Duncan had been wearing were gone, replaced with armor. Even in the darkness of his surroundings the colours were clear, as if illuminated by will alone; black, white and crimson. Duncan wore sleek crimson gauntlets, crimson and black shoulder guards that looked to be made of something like Kevlar, with heavy crimson boots and shin guards, a flowing black cape and a crimson sash. Underneath he wore a body suit of stark white and a glossy black that reflected the red of his armor. Some feeling inside himself then told him to touch his face and as he did so he found he was wearing an armored mask with points that rose up from the middle, left and right.
It took a moment for Duncan to see past the armor, to see something even more astounding. He was… muscular, MORE, he was huge, powerful! Duncan had never been anywhere close to as fit as he was now. “Fit” did not even begin to describe Duncan’s new physical description. Duncan floated there trying to recall something about how he had gotten here or what had –
A sudden awareness came over Duncan. The Watcher! He must still be here! Looking about the darkness of the cosmos Duncan still looked for something he knew could not be seen. He called out all the same, this time with great ease, “Watcher, what is my purpose here?!”
This time no disembodied voice came. Instead, Duncan’s mind was filled with images and information.
A man in blue, green and grey seemed to hang in the air as mists blew up all around him, the gusts in perfect unison with the movements of his body as his eyes crackled with energy that jumped out like lightning bolts at unseen targets about the man. Without warning, the winds changed about the figure and he flew out of the mists and burst out over top a battlefield.
Flak exploded throughout the sky as the air rumbled with the sounds of detonations. Underneath, a battle raged as the allies fought to try and gain control of the port of Dieppe. The man in the sky sailed through the flak with ease, his hands moving in deliberate sweeps as he directed hurricane force winds, shot lines of lightning screaming through the air, and pelted German infantry units with hail the size of baseballs.
Duncan had only a moment to consider what he had just seen before another set of images flashed across his mind.
An elderly bearded man sat cross-legged alone in a room so dark it looked like a piece of oblivion. In front of the man, what looked to be a holographic image rotated lazily and emitted a blue-white glow. The glow gave off enough light to barely see the man sitting. He wore a fine blue silk robe with gold satin trim, gold slippers and three blue crystals orbited his long wavy white head of hair. The image in front of the man was small and very complex, being a hollow three dimensional spherical shape with twenty-six sides, made up of lines and bright points. Slowly as the image spun additional points were added as lines reached out to connect the points, only to create a more complex image.
The man sat concentrating on the image, as if projecting it with his very mind. Once the image had gotten to over 100 sides, the man took a deep breath, closed his eyes and let the image fade. In the same way as gasoline lights to a spark, the man’s eyes sprang open and shone bright blue as a new image appeared before him. This time it was a map of Europe, complete with rough political lines that matched no map from history. Names flew out from the image like rushing water over a broken damn. Lines began to form from country to country on the map, and small images of people, places, and things marked themselves. The man sat perfectly still, his eyes glossed over in blue light and his arms outstretched with hands open palm up, as his mind radiated power.
Duncan snapped back to his own surroundings feeling almost drained just in having watched the man at work. Duncan felt that this past man had been familiar, but could not place him. The clothes, Duncan knew, were 15th to 16th century Italian, but that meant little. Duncan focused on some of the names he had seen flash by his eyes, trying to place them in history. Recalling the information was easy, and as clear as when he had seen them in his mind’s eye. da Vinci! The realization hit like a truck as Duncan grinned at the implications of da Vinci having been some sort of mystic. So, Mrs. Ryan was right… kind of, Duncan chuckled to himself. Duncan was only able to enjoy his thoughts for a moment more before the next set of images flooded his brain.
A massive horse thundered across an open plain under a full moon. The horse was covered in silvered mail and brightly coloured cloth and carried a man in radiant armour. The man wore steel plate mail so polished it looked like silver in the moonlight. Together, he and the horse charged a small army of skeletons, crushing several under the horse as its muscle mass plowed through their brittle lines. Once in the fray the man held his ornate blood red lance up with one powerful arm as he yelled “NAM ET ARTHUR REX!” and the lance shifted into a war hammer. The man and the horse began smashing undead all around them, while enemy swords feebly bounced off the pair’s armour, as they rode down every last one of the living dead.
The man and his horse stood about a battlefield; bones, rusted armor and chipped swords strewn about as they surveyed their victory. The two were something from a fairy tale, resplendent in their matching armor. It seemed as though the moonlight itself shone in reverence of their glory. It was a fleeting moment only. The ground beneath the two champions began to quake as only a hundred feet away it began to crack open, flooding the moonlit night with a sickly green hue. The two watched, apprehension beginning to show in their stance, as a hulking clawed hand reached up out of the fissure, grabbed hold of the rocky ground and began to drag up its enormous body from beneath. As the horrid creature slowly pulled its massive girth from the pit, apprehension faded from the champions, the war hammer shifted back into the ornate red lance and came down, set for the charge, “NAM ET ARTHUR REX!”.
Duncan came back to his senses once more, now in awe of what he had just seen. The first two visions had been breathtaking, but this last one was staggering. Duncan had seen just about everything computer graphics could do and he knew that this last vision was truly real, truly horrifying. Duncan waited for a moment, almost afraid of what he might see next. Instead Duncan was filled with the sense that this portion of his journey had concluded.
Duncan spoke to the darkness, the sound escaping his lips dissipating in the nothingness about him, “I see them… they fought for humanity…” Duncan stopped short as more understanding hit him, seeming to flood his mind quicker than before. “I… there are more…” Duncan stayed silent trying to comprehend all the information that was hitting him.
Finally the images stopped. Duncan had seen dozens of men and women, ranging over the past 5000 years. With each image was paired information about who they were, what powers and abilities they had, and small hints at how they had died. Most of them had information missing, as if they were TV episodes that Duncan had missed in a series.
“So…” Duncan again spoke to the darkness, “… my purpose is to be like them?” Duncan knew it wasn’t a question as soon as he finished saying it. “Why did you give ME this power? There had to better choices, more suitable people.” Duncan waited for a response and started to wonder if the Watcher was still listening. Duncan wanted an answer that made sense, something for the Watcher to say that would make Duncan understand. Instead nothing came for a long time and Duncan began to worry, “What am I supposed to do? What powers do I have?” Still nothing. “Answer me!”
I AM NOT THE AUTHOR OF SUCH POWER, MERELY A WATCHER IN THE REFLECTIONS OF HUMAN HISTORY. I CAN GIVE YOU NEITHER ADVICE OR COUNSEL, ONLY INFORMATION ALREADY SHOWN.
Duncan was lost, trying to again compose his thoughts. The last words of the Watcher played in Duncan’s mind as he tried to figure out what to do or say next. Finally Duncan pieced enough together. “You can’t give me advice or counsel. I don’t believe you. Giving me information is counsel.”
MY PLACE HERE IS TO BALANCE KNOWLEDGE. I GIVE ONLY WHAT YOUR SHADOW HAS ALREADY TAKEN.
“My shadow?” Duncan looked about himself, looking for a shadow and seeing only his glowing armour. “Whaddayou mean shadow?” No response came. Duncan was getting impatient, trying to dispel his doubts about the situation. “I don’t understand!”
THERE CAN BE NO DOUBT!
Again images flashed in Duncan’s mind, but this time starting with things he already knew. The skull, the sword and the runic stone sat on Duncan’s lab desk, this time with a visible energy field touching each. Slowly the energy grew causing the light they gave off to increase slowly until they blinded Duncan in his vision.
When the light subsided Duncan saw creatures he had never seen before. In a rocky valley, with craggy hill cliffs looming all around, stood six humanoid creatures. Although the beings seemed imposing, Duncan had no way to know how tall they actually were without some kind of comparison. Each humanoid had great demonic looking horns protruding from their heads and seemed to be chanting and swaying around a great black altar. The sun was high and scorched the dead ground all around the massive altar. The humanoids wore shields, breastplates and various metal weapons, symbols adorning each item. There was a runic script along the edges of the table-top of the altar. Duncan saw them and knew what they said!
WE GIVE THIS FLESH IN OFFERING. LET THE DEATH OF THE WEAK EMPOWER THE STRONG THAT WE MAY BE THE CHOSEN, IN LIFE, IN DEATH AND EVER AFTER!
A seventh humanoid came from a cave passage out of the cliff wall. In the humanoid’s hand was a black chain that he jerked suddenly to pull a struggling human from the cave. The horned figure towered over the human, its muscles easily able to overpower the human male. As the seventh figure joined the other six, he yanked the chain violently causing the human male to lurch forward five feet and land on his chest in front of the alter. The horned figure dropped the chain, bent down, wrapped one large hand around the human’s neck, and lifted the still struggling man in the air. As the horned figure lifted the man to look at him eye to eye it became obvious how large the horned men were. If the human was around six foot tall, the horned individuals must have been at least twelve feet tall and were clearly brutally strong, even for their size.
As the horned man held the human up, his black eyes staring into the terrified eyes of his struggling victim, he brought his other hand up and over the human in a sweeping motion. The other horned men continued to sway and chat, their voices growing towards some horrendous climax as the looming hand came down on top of the head of the struggling human and delicately took hold of the small human skull. The seventh horn man began to chant in rhythm with the other six as the human now uselessly beat his hands on the arms of his captor and issued meaningless kicks against his captors armored chest. With a sudden, inhuman, preciseness, the horned captor tightened his grip on the human and made the slightest of jerks upward. Above the din of the chanting, a POP sound could barely be heard from the man’s neck as he suddenly went limp.
The horned man now lay the man down on the altar, arranging his limbs to the sides so as to be as flat as possible. The captor then took a step back, pulled a dagger from his side and raised it into the air. The man on the table did not move, except for his eyes which now darted back and forth in terror from the dagger to his captor, to the other horned men, to his own body and around again. The seven men continued their chant reaching a crescendo as they changed their gaze down to the man lying motionless in front of them. Suddenly the chant and sway of the group stopped in unison and the moment hung in time for a fraction of a second before the captor brought the knife down plunging into the upper chest of the man and then pulled brutally down to the pelvis. As soon as the body split open, the captor threw the knife aside, reached inside the body and pulled out a handful of the man’s innards. The horned man held the guts to the burning sun above and then violently began to feast upon the gore. The other men took their cue and delved into the open man.
Duncan’s vision began to change, but as it did, he could see the eyes of the victim, still aware and now crying.
Duncan was given no time to process his thoughts before the next scene was displayed to him.
Again he saw a man lying on a table, this time it was in a windowless laboratory. The man had a look of fear in his eyes, but was able to move and was not restrained. A man in a lab coat came over, swabbed an area on the man’s arm, and then injected him with something. The man slowly closed his eyes as unconsciousness took him. Once the man was unconscious, small metal clasps came out of the lab table and went around the man’s wrists, ankles, and waist. Then the lab table began to shift, erecting itself so the man looked to be standing. Once this finished, the man on his metal slab hung limp over a five foot wide circular groove on the floor and a glass tub proceeded to descend from the ceiling. Once the tube finally settled in its groove, a red liquid began to pour into the tube, until it was full.
Again the vision shifted, and this time Duncan saw what he knew was the same lab, but this time from the outside. The building was in the middle of nowhere, dense forest surrounding the bunker-like structure. On one side of the building, there was a massive hole where something had smashed its way through the concrete and steel to escape. The whereabouts of the escapee was obvious as a trail of destruction led from the breach into the forest. Duncan’s vision rose from that scene so that he could see the forest from above. As this happened, Duncan could see the movement of the thing below, knocking down trees in its path. The vision shifted once more, as it now shot past the thing below and into a small town that would be in the path of what rampaged below. Now Duncan could see army men setting up a barricade on the other side of a forest, as more men moved behind evacuating the town. As the men got into position and readied their weapons for whatever might crash through the forest, Duncan knew they wouldn’t succeed.
Duncan woke just before the thing burst forth from forest. Thoughts raced in Duncan’s mind. Somehow the man was linked to the creature, the creature was linked to the giant horned men, and the giant horned men related to artefacts Duncan had been studying. Before Duncan could piece together any more, his thoughts were interrupted again.
OUR TIME IS OVER HERE. KNOW THIS: FOR EVERY FORCE THERE IS AN OPPOSITE FORCE THAT MAINTAINS BALANCE. YOU WILL KNOW IT. BEWARE!
On the word BEWARE a final image flashed in Duncan’s mind; eyes shining under the darkness of a cowl. Duncan felt the image slowly slipping out of his mind and reflexively tried to concentrate and hold on to the image, yet the harder he tried the more the image faded into darkness, until darkness was all that Duncan could see.
Duncan awoke in his dorm room to the sound of a heavy knocking at his door.