Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 41
Thor walked with Reece out the arched gate of King’s Court and onto the country road that led to the Legion’s barracks. The guards stood at attention for them as they passed and Thor felt a great sense of belonging, like he wasn’t such an outsider. He thought back to just a few days before, when a guard had chased him out of here. How much had changed, so quickly.
Thor heard a screeching and looked up to see, high overhead, Estopheles circling, looking down. She dove, and Thor, excited, held out his wrist, still wearing the metal gauntlet. But she rose again and flew off, higher and higher, though never completely out of sight. Thor wondered. She was a mystical animal, and he felt an intense connection to her that was hard to explain.
Thor and Reece continued in silence, keeping a quick pace toward the barracks. Thor knew his brethren would be awaiting him and wondered what sort of reception he would receive. Would there be envy, jealousy? Would they be mad he got all this attention? Would they make fun of him for being carried back across the canyon? Or would they finally accept him?
Thor hoped it was the latter. He was tired of struggling with the rest of the Legion and just wanted, more than anything, to belong. To be accepted as one of them.
The barracks came into sight in the distance, and Thor’s mind began to be preoccupied with something else.
Thor didn’t know how much he could talk to Reece about this, given that it was his sister. But he could not get her out of his mind. He couldn’t stop thinking of his encounter with that menacing royal, Alton, and wondered how much of what he said was true. A part of him feared to discuss it with Reece, not wanting to risk upsetting him somehow and losing his new friend over his sister. But another part of him had to know what he thought.
“Who is Alton?” Thor finally asked, hesitant.“Alton?” Reece repeated. “Why do you ask of him?”
Thor shrugged, unsure how much to say.
Luckily, Reece continued.
“He’s but a menacing, lesser royal. Third cousin to the King. Why? Has he been after you about something?” Then Reece narrowed his eyes. “Gwen? Is that it? I should’ve warned you.”
Thor turned and looked at Reece, eager to hear more.
“What do you mean?”
“He’s a lout. He’s been after my sister since he could walk. He’s certain the two of them will be wed. My mother seems to think so, too.”
“Will they?” Thor asked, surprised by the urgency in his own voice.
Reece looked at him and smiled.
“My, my, you have fallen for her, haven’t you?” He chuckled. “That was fast.”
Thor reddened, hoping it wasn’t so obvious.
“Whether or not they do would depend on my sister’s feelings for him,” Reece finally answered. “Unless they forced her into marriage. But I doubt my father would do that.”
“And how does she feel for him?” Thor pressed, afraid he was being too nosy, but needing to know.
Reece shrugged. “You’d have to ask her, I guess. I never talk to her about it.”
“But would your father force her into marriage?” Thor pressed. “Could he really do such a thing?”
“My father can do anything he wants. But that’s between him and Gwen.”
Reece turned and looked at Thor.
“Why all these questions? What did you talk about?”
Thor blushed, unsure what to say.
“Nothing,” he said finally.
“Nothing!” Reece laughed. “Sounds like a lot of nothing to me!”
Reece laughed harder, and Thor was embarrassed, wondering if he was just imagining that Gwen liked him. Reece reached over and put a firm hand on his shoulder.
“Listen, old mate,” Reece said, “the only thing you can know for sure about Gwen is that she knows what she wants. And she gets what she wants. That’s always been the case. She’s as strong-willed as my father. No one can force her to do anything—or like anyone—she doesn’t want. So don’t worry. If she chooses you, trust me, she’ll let you know. Okay?”
Thor nodded, feeling better, as always, after he talked to Reece.
He looked up and saw the huge gates to the Legion’s barracks before him. He was surprised to see several of the other boys standing at the gate, as if waiting for them, and even more surprised to see them grinning, and then letting out a cheer at the sight of him. They rushed forward, grabbed Thor by the shoulders, draped their arms around him, and pulled him inside. Thor was amazed as he was swept inside in an embrace of goodwill by the others.
“Tell us about the Canyon. What’s it like on the other side?” one asked.
“What was the creature like? The one that you killed?” another asked.
“I didn’t kill him,” Thor protested. “Erec did.”
“I heard you saved Elden’s life,” one said.
“I heard you attacked the creature head-on. Without any real weapons.”
“You’re one of us now!” one yelled out, and the other kids cheered, ushering him along, as if he were their long-lost brother.
Thor could hardly believe it. The more he heard their words, the more he realized maybe they did have a point. Maybe he had been brave after all. He never really thought about it. For the first time in a long while, he was starting to feel good about himself. Most of all because now, finally, he felt like he belonged with these boys. He felt tension releasing from his shoulders.
Thor was ushered out into the main training ground, and before him stood dozens more of the Legion, along with dozens of the Silver. They, too, let out a cheer at the sight of him. They all came forward and patted him on the back.
Kolk stepped forward, and the others quieted. Thor braced himself, since Kolk never had anything but contempt for Thor. But now, to Thor’s surprise, he looked down at him with a different sort of expression. While he still couldn’t quite bring himself to smile, he wasn’t scowling, either. And Thor could have sworn he detected something like admiration in his eyes.
Kolk stepped forward, held up a small pin of a black falcon, and pinned it on Thor’s chest.
The pin of the Legion. Thor had been accepted. Finally, he was one of them.
“Thorgrin of the Southern Province of the Western Kingdom,” Kolk said, gravely. “We welcome you to the Legion.”
The boys let out a shout, then all rushed in, draping their arms around Thor and swaying him this way and that.