You crumple to the ground, the Sword of Destiny clattering out of your grasp, its glow dying like cooling embers. The Sword has rejected you, in the midst of your ultimate test; it will never let you wield the power again.
The blast of conflicting magicks has left your eyes hollow and empty of essence, empty of all that was you seconds ago, and I know what you will say before your mouth opens.
“Who are you?” you rasp at me. I, your nemesis of four long years, whom you’ve fought over and over again. Whom the prophecies have declared yours to defeat. I, whose face you should know in dream and waking. “Where am I?”
The clerics gasp and wail in despair. “False! Another false Chosen! The prophecy has denied him!”
How can it have denied you when it was never about you to begin with, I wonder. They want the prophecy fulfilled so badly, they take anyone who matches the description well enough, then spit him out when the Sword of Destiny, the Sword of the Kingmaker, fails to grant his wish and kill the Shadowspawn.
They turn their staves at you and begin chanting the very spells that were targeted at me just mere minutes ago. You stare at them with blank eyes, completely devoid of understanding, the glow of magicks reflected from them many times over. The Sword lies beside you. You make no effort to take it. Once, wielding it would have saved you from any assault, but you remain as you are, crouching at the very feet of your enemy.
My hand lashes out, weaving magicks out of thin air so fast that my fingers become just a blur, and even so I’m a split-second too late to meet the assault in time. Its force rends the air apart and collides with mine only inches from you, throwing you in the air and slamming you back down twice as hard a second later.
I roar and fire the final spell towards the clerics that were meant to be your protectors.
“So this is how the Light rewards its champion!” my voice explodes with fury.
How dare they. How dare they.
Champions are found. Champions are crowned. Champions are sent into battle against the dark lord and discarded as they fail to take me down. Anyone will do, as long as the prophecies are fulfilled, as long as the champion looks the part. As long as he dies for the cause.
I pick up your limp body gently. For all your power, for all the signs that supposedly marked your coming, you weight next to nothing in my arms. Your young face is marred by soot and bruises, yet it still bears the tragic, regal features befitting the destiny that was forced upon you.
“The chosen of the Light,” I mutter. Wind caresses your curls with the tenderness your people never showed you. “It’s not fair. They should never have made you do this.”
The clerics stir and slowly start scrambling to their feet. Already they are readying their spells, but not at me – a false Chosen must not be allowed to be. They’ll never let you go alive.
My spell strikes thunder, and the earth itself at their feet crumbles to nothing, taking the clerics and their craven magick away from you forever. Your eyes flutter open at the sound, and your gaze just barely meets mine.
“Who are you,” you manage between chapped lips. A false Champion.
“Someone who will never let you be hurt again,” I answer, and my voice trembles at the injustice of it all. “I swear it, no matter what. You will never be sacrificed for anyone again.”
Once you’d never have believed a word I said. Now, confused as you are, your lips pull into a soft smile, before you lapse into unconsciousness once more.
Of all the champions they pitted against me, of all the lives they threw away for the sake of the prophecy, for the Light and the greater good—
I couldn’t protect the others, but this time, I will protect you.