Cail turned over the withering piece of parchment he found in a rustic, wooden chest. It read, “Tarvaris Ozean, Year 854 of the Terrarian Age.” Cail’s eyes were fixated on ‘Ozean’, for that was also the name of his family. He had learned all about his ancestors when he was just a young boy, but even now, at the age of 16, he had never heard of Tarvaris.
“I was just resting before the ceremony.”
“Kadir told me about what Lydia said to you,” Cecil said and then paused as he sat on the bed next to his son. “Why were you trying to peek into the future?”
“I’m not ready to take control of the island. I’m turning seventeen tomorrow and I’m supposed to protect an entire city? It’s preposterous!” Cail unintentionally let his rage and anger flare out.
“Seventeen is preposterous?” Cail’s father asked, trying not to sound angry. “Your great grandfather, Jiro, was the youngest Lord that this island ever had. Jiro’s father was deathly ill when he was just eleven years old. Elona was leaderless and the island was in shambles. Jiro was nowhere near ready to be Lord of Elona at that young of an age, but Lordship was thrust onto him nonetheless. At first, his people suffered due to his ignorance, but over time he learned that he must rule Elonians with compassion and stability. I’m not passing the family ring onto you because you’re ready, I’m giving it to you because it’s time for you to learn.”
Cail had no response. His father’s words dug deep and pierced him like a sword. This day felt so surreal to Cail. The day he would take up his father’s mantle. For much of his childhood, he had dreamed of gaining this independence, being the ruler, answering to no one. But now that the moment was upon him, Cail felt more imprisoned than ever. He looked up at his father, who was staring at a picture frame that was on his wooden dresser. The picture was a painting of Cail and his parents when Cail was just an infant. Cecil, in those days, looked just like Cail did now, a slender body with cream colored skin and dark brown hair. Cail’s mother was skinny and a little bit shorter than her husband, with blonde hair matching the sun.
“I married your mother just a year after receiving the ring, and you were born two years after.” His father paused, holding back tears. “I wish she were still alive today, she was always wiser than me. You would have filled her heart with pride.”
Cail had no memories of his mother. She passed away due to illness when Cail was a baby. Cail’s father rarely talked about his late wife, and when he did, a deep and heavy sadness could be heard in his voice.
“In what ways was she wiser?” Cail asked.
“She taught me that a prosperous leader must first be a compassionate one. If you care as much about your people as you do yourself, then Elona will thrive. Ignore them, and eventually, you will fall. The Lord of Elona depends on his citizens in many unforeseen ways.” His father’s words of wisdom boosted Cail’s confidence. He looked over at the painting again, seeing the gleaming smiles on the faces of his parents. The thought of his mother looking upon him with pride and adoration gave Cail the courage to step into the next juncture of his life. He felt a new, warm vitality rush through his veins. He jumped off his bed and turned to his father. “I’m ready,” he said.
In the afternoon, the entire village went to the main square for the Tidal Change, which was where the heart of the carnival was earlier that day. Everyone had taken down their tents to make room for the attendees of the ceremony. In the center of the square was an oval body of grass with a dirt road creating the border of the oval, along with other dirt paths extending out into the village. In the center of the oval was the stage. The main stage sat underneath a giant oak tree, which the locals called Ole Greene. The stage stood about waist high and wore a maroon carpet. In the middle of the stage stood a podium made of beige wood. Behind the podium sat four chairs, one for Cail, his father, and Cail’s two friends.
As the afternoon progressed, the villagers began to populate the square, bringing picnic blankets to sit on. By the time Cail, Laney, and Kadir arrived, the entire square was filled with anxious Elonians. Conforming to tradition, Cail wore a purple robe with a white undershirt and had yellow tassels hanging from his neck down to his belly. Laney and Kadir were both wearing the most elegant outfits that they could conjure, although neither of them were very fashionable to begin with.
Seeing the large crowd made Cail even more nervous than he already was. As every waning moment passed, the crowd’s murmurs grew louder. At one point, Cail could even listen to the conversations between families sitting nearby.
Cail paid no more attention to the audience once his father walked onto the stage. Cecil was wearing a robe that matched Cail’s, but was cerulean instead of purple. As he walked by, Cecil winked to his son with a smile on his face. Cail sat on one end and his father was on the other, with Laney and Kadir sitting in between. They all sat silently until a group of trumpeters, just to the right of the stage, started playing a sonorous melody, signaling the beginning of the ceremony. Midway into their song, an elderly man, wearing a black robe, walked onto the stage and stood at the podium, waiting for the trumpets to quiet. Once they had, the man placed a small stack of papers, containing his entire speech, onto the podium and began to read:
“Once in a generation, we gather here. Although it would appear that the Tidal Change represents a time of change for us, it also represents a time of continuity. The Ozean family has protected the citizens of Elona for millennia, and they will continue to do so as we welcome young Cailean in as our new leader.
“But before we do, I believe a brief history lesson is in order. Over three millennia ago, Elona was one of many islands in a community, a nation of islands known as Kordon. At that time, there were hundreds of islands, all connected by giant bridges which allowed us to traverse over the clouds. None of the islands had any lords or leaders, we only answered to the gods. For centuries, the Kordonians lived in peaceful anarchy. That is, until the rise of Kalil.
“Kalil was a simple farmer on an island called Irda, located on the far edge of Kordon, a great distance away from Elona. One day, Kalil decided to go hiking into a nearby mountain range, not expecting to change the destiny of Kordon forever.
“Whilst in the mountains he discovered a hidden cave, a cave concealed by the gods from the beginning of time. In the cave, Kalil found a dark and powerful magic, magic that was intended to remain hidden from the Kordonians. This magic allowed Kalil to control and manipulate the world around him. He controlled light, water, the wind, and he was even able to ignite flames. Kalil veiled his newly discovered powers, only using them to produce more and more crops. This allowed him to generate a large fortune, and also generate a substantial amount of unwanted attention. In time, the Irdites discovered the secret to his success and he was greatly resented.
“By this point, Kalil had mastered his magical powers and decided to use them to harm others around him and assert himself as their tyrant. Island by island, he seized control of Kordon and forced those he conquered to bend to his will. Eventually, he ruled over every island, except for one; the island of Elona. By this point, word of the extensive tyranny had reached Elona and an Elonian named Jyran Ozean decided to burn all the bridges which extended to the neighboring island, isolating Elona from the rest of Kordon.
“With no possible way to traverse the rift between Kordon and Elona, Kalil was left to reign in cruelty and terror over all of Kordon, and Elona thrived in their isolation. The gods saw all of the evil of Kordon and decided to cast the entire nation into an abyss. How the gods did this or where exactly they sent the Kordonians, remains a myth. As for Elona, the gods saw Jyran’s courage and selflessness that he displayed to protect his people. Therefore he was crowned as the first Lord of Elona due to his compassion.
“As you might have guessed from Jyran’s last name, he is Cailean’s ancestor and the responsibility of Lordship has been passed down from generation to generation. The citizens of Elona agreed that Lordship should not drift away from the noble Ozean family and that when the youngest Ozean turns seventeen, he shall be granted the right to rule over the island of Elona.
“So, without further introduction, Cailean Ozean, would you please stand beside me at the podium?” The speaker asked, turning toward Cail. With all eyes watching him, Cail stood up from his chair, feeling the weight of a house on his shoulders, and began to walk toward the front of the stage. His legs felt heavy, as though he was walking through water. Cail didn’t lock eyes with anyone in the audience, but he could feel their gaze piercing through him like needles.
At long last, Cail arrived at the side of the podium and turned toward the speaker who then said, “Cailean Ozean, we will now swear you into Lordship. Are you ready?” Although his neck was an iron rod, Cail managed to motion a quick nod. The speaker continued, “Very well. Cailean Ozean, do you swear to protect all of Elona, casting yourself aside for your people. If so, answer ‘I do.’” Cail responded with confirmation. “And do you swear to uphold the morals and teachings of the gods, as your ancestors have?” Once again, Cail agreed to the terms. Then the speaker turned toward Cail’s father. “Cecil, would you join us for the transfer of the ring?” Cail’s father walked up to the stage and took his ring off his index finger. It was a silver ring, gleaming in the sunlight, which bore the family crest, a circle of emeralds bordering a spiral of diamonds.
Cecil handed the ring to the speaker, who then turned to Cail, and placed the ring on his finger. The ring bore a new weight on his hand, as though a little child were tugging on his finger. After a brief pause, the speaker then turned to the audience and said, “It is now my privilege to present to you, Cailean Ozean, the new Lord of Elona!” The entire village rose to their feet and broke into thunderous applause.
For the first time, Cail could feel everyone lifting him up. Throughout his entire life, he had lived in his father’s shadow, the son of the Lord of Elona. Cail could feel the independence of starting something new and creating a legacy that was his own. On that day, Cail became his own man, fulfilling his own destiny.
This is only a small portion of Cail's adventure! If you would like to read about the entire tale, click on the image below to purchase the book!