Contest Entry – Saltire Origins
Caledonia, 70 AD. (Ancient Scotland)
The crack of lighting flashed in the dark night sky, as the thunder rolled, and the rain lashed down on the group of hooded figures huddled around the campfire. But these men gathered here were no ordinary men, they were used to the harsh weather and the rugged terrain, Granted, many would rather be at home, sheltering from the coming storm with their families, tucked up with wives’ and children on this cold stormy night, sharing the stories and legends of old with their children before sending them off to bed. But the coming threat of the invaders had made their current mission a more pressing matter
Word had been sent out around the clans in the old highland way, the Crann Tara, the fiery cross had always been the symbol of warning to warriors to gather. But on this night, there was a different feel in the air, excitement, wonder, and the electricity of the old “magic” in the earth.
The Ancient Ones, the druids, had said to gather at the old standing stones, a sacrifice would be required, what that sacrifice would be, they would not say, but the men gathered here were chiefs of their clans, brave men, they did not fear, but when the ancient ones called, they obeyed.
Finally, breaking the thoughts of the men gathered, the hooded form of Ambisagrus, leader of Ancient Ones spoke.
“The Invaders cross our borders, to steal our lands, war is coming and we need to defend our ways, you are all brave men gathered here, but the coming war will require more than your courage, it will require a hero to lead us, it will require sacrifice, you have fought together, and fought against each other, but I require you all to sacrifice, to appease the Gods and bring forth a mighty warrior to defend our lands, as mighty as we are, we will not be enough to stop the threat that is coming to this world, not just the Roman threat, but a greater enemy, the LEGION”
The Chiefs mumbled amongst themselves as he fell silent, five mortal defenders and the one immortal protector, hailing from the valleys of light, and the five mortal warlords and the one immortal bearer of the shadows, hailing from the highlands of shadow. An unusual gathering.
One by one they tried to pluck up the courage to speak, they were not fearful men, yet all but one fell silent, lost in their own thoughts of the coming war, and their families, finally, the Chief of the Stewart Clan, spoke for all gathered.
We are willing Ancient Ones, to rid this scourge from our lands, what do you need us to do.
“THE Sacrifice will require each of you to give of your own blood, and your life-force, it is a high price I know, but it must be willingly paid for this to work, and you, Chief of the Stewarts, will need to bring forth your son”
Bowing, The Stewart chief, led his young son to the centre of the stones, seeing the boys fear, he comforted him as a tear came to his own eyes “be Brave my lad, you have been chosen, you will be our protector, this may be the last time I can tell you this, But I am proud of you my son”
As the boy, lay on the stone, the Chiefs all shed their own blood, placing their hands on the boy on the stone, as the fell to their knees, the life blood flowing, and as the Ancient Ones spoke in the ancient tongue, calling forth the energies of the storm and the magic and life-force of the chiefs from their bodies.
As the boy looked up at the sky, lightning flashed again, then struck.......
The Boy screamed, for what felt like an eternity, filled with the electricity and the power of the lightning, and the life forces entering his body, he feared they would tear him apart, yet he willed him self to carry on, he would not die!
“It is done” The Ancient One’s spoke,
The boy rose, saddened by the bodies of his father and the other chiefs that lay around him. but he felt changed...
“Do not mourn my child, their great sacrifice was not in vain” said Ambisagrus
It was then that the boy noticed, his skin, had changed from its normal, pale white to a vivid blue, his eyes glowed white like they were full of the lightning, his chest, burned within him and he had a mark on his chest, a symbol he had not seen before.
Looking down at himself, he saw was no longer a child, he was HUUUGGGEE! Energy coursed through his body. through every fibre of muscle and tissue, filled with powers beyond his imagination,
"You have been chosen by the Gods, youngling. They have chosen you and smile down on you today and the sacrifice your people where willing to make, Honour the sacrifice that your father and the chiefs have made here today, you are now as One of the Immortals, blessed with powers beyond your imagination, The Legion is coming, and you must be ready, but you will not be alone.
Take your fathers blades, they are now yours, they have been blessed to never rust or break, they are now a part of you, wield them well in defence of your homeland. Protect those who are weaker than you"
“Thank You” said the boy, now a man, “I will honour the sacrifices made today. I will be a protector of the weak against those who would oppress”
“Yes” the ancient one said, “I believe you will my child. But you will face great challenges, unite the clans, for war is coming, not just the Romans, but a greater threat, The romans are not the only LEGION you will face. The Gods have given you powers, but use them wisely, and you will have their help”.
At that, a small head poked out from under the ancient one’s Robes, a small white dragon. “This is Nathir, the Dragon of Wisdom, do not be fooled by his small size, his wisdom and power are ageless. Follow his council and you will never go wrong”
At that a noise was heard getting closer, the howl of a wolf,
Ah yes, there is another to help you, said the leader of the Ancient Ones, at this a Huge Black Wolf stepped forward, the same one that had been howling.
“This” they said, speaking as if in one voice “is Caledon” he will be a guide and protector to you also in your journeys, you will be able to read his thoughts and communicate with all creatures, but Caledon is yours
“One final thing, what is this mark on my chest? Said the boy.
“Ah Yes” said the ancient one, “this is a ancient symbol of your power, it will become the symbol of this land, and in the future will become the symbol for a great nation, it is a symbol of hope and freedom, as you will also be for this people”
“But what is it called?*, looking down at the two diagonal lines etched into his chest, forming a criss-cross pattern, and also at the glowing runes tattooed on his arms.
“That” said the ancient One "is a symbol of your new name, Young One, you are still of the Stewart Clan, and there will be others like you from other clans, who will join you in your quest, but from now on your Name is no longer Hamish, the son of the Stewart chief, it is …. Saltire
The Future…. 2047 AD
I never thought I’d have to leave my homeland, Caledonia, or Scotland as it is now known, but the threat has led me here through the centuries I have been alive, I still can’t get my head around the fact that I’m immortal, all these centuries later, I have seen my clan come and go, I helped them defeat the roman scourge from our lands, fought and defended our land against all who would oppress, yet I could not be everywhere, and that has caused me great loss and sorrow over the years, the name CULLODEN still causes me great pain to this day, if only I could have been there, things might have been different, but we were betrayed from within....
But back to the present, the trail had led me to come to the New World, this America, many of my people have come here, ether by choice or by being forced through circumstances that even I with my powers cannot control. But the threat is growing again, and that Is why I am here, I met with what appears to be an Ancient One, although I have heard him called “The Visitor” by the other clans I have met, SHADE BLADE of the Macgregor Clan told me his tale, and I am sure this is the same Visitor that I have seen throughout the centuries, also ways coming and going giving pieces of information but never the full story, as If He can only give snippets of the future.
Nathir and Caledon have led me here, The LEGION the Ancient Ones warned me about have flooded the land with ancient power, the people here call it Morphons.
What led me here is one of their own, he has become obsessed with power, he goes by the name ARX, and I need to help stop him before his power grows….
Last I saw him he was leading a strange team of black-clad well armoured mercenaries, kidnapping strange beings called Avatars, who appeared suddenly and were kidnapped by him just as suddenly, and threating the people of this land.
The one called the Visitor appeared to me again today, and I saw groups of heroes gathering to battle against the one calling himself ARX, the Visitor spoke yet he seemed different this time, he was wearing some sort of strange uniform, with patch over his eye,
“SALTIRE” he said, “We could use someone of your powers, to help stop ARX, he’s out of control, filled with narcissistic ideas that he’s a GOD.
“He's no GOD” I said, “ he’s a Maniac who preys on the weak, of course I will help you , but tell me Who are you really, Visitor? I have seen you many times in my life, how is that possible?
“That’s for another time son, I go by many names, “ The Visitor said, “but you can call me NOVA, welcome to B.A.D.G.E”
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