Rageus stood before the towering tree and braced himself. He glanced to his right and left at his squadmates, sharing their apprehension, then he lept. He soared hundreds of feet into the air, narrowly missing the branches of the trees. Then, at the peak of his jump, he spread his arms and slowed his descent until he landed gracefully on the tallest branch of the tree. In front of him stretched human territory. Green trees dotted the landscape surrounding a crystal clear lake. He grinned as he looked down at the height he jumped and thought to himself “this is how we will defeat the giants.”
Rageus was an orphan. At a young age he had watched both of his parents get killed in a raid by a rival kingdom for food. He had stared in horror as the man cut them each down with one stroke, before punching Rageus in the face and knocking him unconscious. Rageus grew up in an orphanage, and thought of little except for that day. He did not blame the man who killed his parents, nor the kingdom who sent the men. The only thing he blamed was the giants. They had locked humanity in a cage, and forced them into conditions in which resources were scarce and killed over. He vowed early on that he would help to liberate humanity from these walls. That was his sole purpose.
When he turned 16, he joined the army and excelled in sword-fighting and strategy. His superiors took notice, and recruited him for a special program they were developing in which they hoped to create a method to combat the giants. The alchemists had developed a brew which would dramatically increase the strength of a human, to the point in which they could leap hundreds of feet. The potions also gave humans the ability to slow their descent with the will of their minds, making it so their legs did not shatter upon impact. Swords were created with alchemical potions mixed with the molten metal, rendering the steel light enough to carry huge blades, and strong enough to easily slice through giant flesh and bones. 1 in 3 who drank the brew managed to survive the immense physical transformation, and those survivors became the perfect tool for fighting giants.
Rageus was 18 now, and his handsome appearance had been slightly damaged by some scars he received in battling other kingdoms. His jaw was slightly askew due to a blow from a sword pommel he once got, and his right eye had a scar leading down from it due to a blade slash. His hair had turned pure white after he had drunk the potion, and draped down past his clean shaven face to his shoulders. He was rather short, but extremely muscular due to the training he had received as well as the potions natural boost to strength. His eyes were harsh, the eyes of someone who had seen one too many people die, either by his hands or anothers. They contained a silent fury, and all that was directed towards the giants.
He glanced down at his squadmates, who hadn’t made it quite as high as him, and grinned smugly at them. Everyone knew he was the most skilled soldier amongst those who drank the potion, and Rageus saw no use in false modesty. Then he glanced back towards the scenery and stare at the wall looming menacingly in the distance. The black stone behemoth towered over all of the human territory, and reminded everyone daily of their entrapment. Rageus glared at this menace, this symbol of the cage that was his life, and felt absolute hatred.
There was a call from below, so he leapt down and landed gracefully at the base of the tree. A messenger had arrived by horse and was speaking to Commander Harr. The commander beckoned him over and Rageus complied.
“You are to report immediately to the South Gate,” Harr grunted.
Rageus was shocked. No one ever went to the gates except for the Patrolmen, and they were an elite and mysterious group that he had never encountered. He saluted Harr, got on the back of the messengers horse, and rode away, his mind wandering to all the potential reasons behind this strange order.
The trip was uneventful, with the messenger never saying a word. They arrived within 20 minutes, and Rageus dismounted and went inside the fort next to the gate. He entered a dark room, dimly lit by torches, and walked towards the large table in the center. At its head, to Rageus’s shock, sat King Tarius of Webern, his kingdom. Around the table sat two other soldiers who he was unfamiliar with.
“Ah, Rageus,” the King’s low voice boomed out. “Come. Sit. Now that you are here we can begin talking.” The king gestured to the red-headed, tall man to Rageus’s right. “Here we have Dunsil, the most skilled warrior from the southern anti-giant forces.” He gestured to Rageus. “Here we have Rageus, the most skilled warrior from the northern anti-giant forces.” He pointed to the hooded figure. “And here we have Shadow, the most skilled warrior from the central anti-giant forces.”
The King paused, and took a deep breath before continuing. “You have all been called here today for a very important mission, and it is because you are the best that you were chosen. We have been training for two years now with our experimental anti-giant forces, however, we do not know anything about the giants, or what life outside the wall is like. You three are to scout out the surrounding area, and learn of the number of soldiers they have, their strength and how we can deal with them. Should any giant oppose you, you are to engage with all your might, and you shall determine whether or not all of the training has given humans a way to fight the giants. Any questions?”
There was complete silence at first, with the significance of the mission sinking into the minds of the three soldiers. To say Rageus was nervous would be an understatement, he would be one of the first humans to even attempt fighting a giant, he still didn’t know if all of his skills even gave him a chance at defeating one.
Finally, Shadow raised his hand. “How are we to get outside the wall,” he asked in a quiet, monotonous voice.
The king grinned at this. “We have been digging under the wall, unbeknownst to the giants, for close to 8 years now. We have created a passage to the other side, and have a concealed entrance through which you are to exit and return, if all goes well.”
The king paused for more questions, but seeing none, he said “Very well. You are to report to the barracks to collect your supplies at 6:00 am tomorrow. Get some sleep and prepare yourselves.
The next day, Rageus was standing at the exit to the tunnel, a heavy pack on his shoulder and his new squadmates on either side of him. He glanced nervously at each of them, then prepared himself to exit the tunnel. He was about to enter the territory of his most hated foe, one that he had never even seen.“Well,” Dunsil said, in a rather high voice. “We’re fucked.”