Viola nerviously climbed the steps to the great large metal doors set inside the walls of the large fortress. Set over the doors was a large, maginficant sign, showing rust with age.
Viola gulped and watched as the steel doors slowly opened inward. Silently, she recalled the event that led her to this moment.
The sun light drifted in lazily through an open window. Viola sat on her bed in a large room. However, there wasn't much space for her since there were many beds and dressers crammed together. The floor and walls were chipped and cracked with alot of dirt that would never come off. The orphanage Viola stayed at was always depressing. She lived here all her life and was now 14. All the other kids were out enjoying the sunshine, but Viola was not. This was her one time she could take a break from everyone and enjoy the room to herself. She picked up an old viola that had a few strings broken. Nevertheless, Viola played it with little skill, yet still managed to produce a wonderous sound.
Shortly however, she knew something was wrong. The sounds from the open window were no longer of laughing cheerful children. Screams were bellowed and the sounds of people running franctically around. Viola quickly jumped up and hurried from the room to find out what was going on. As she raced down the stairs, a mans voice was shouting. She reached the front door and peered out around it. What she saw was a man who held a woman in front of him with a knife to her throat, clearly using her as a shield. Several guards surronded him with their swords drawn trying to reason with the man, but the man refused. It was quite clear that he had done something bad and was trying to figure out how to escape. The man was positioned just in front of the door, his back to her.
Viola watched the whole thing unfold while some voice was yelling at her at the back of her mind. She wanted to stop him, for justice to be served, for evil to be punished. When the voice was deafening she sprang into action, purely acting on instinct. She lept up and grabbed the man's knife hand and managed to yank it away from the woman's throat. When the man lost his balance, she quickly kicked the inside of his knee and he collapsed. The guards quickly hurried over to subdue the man while the woman ran off in a panic. Everything happened so fast and no one seemed to notice her as a group of people began to close around the guards and the criminal.
Or... almost no one.
Viola became aware of a man behind her. She spun around and beheld a blond haired man in brilliant shining armor. He was gazing down at her with a look she had never seen before. She couldn't make it out exactly, but it looked like he was looking at a trophy with sense of consideration and satisfaction.
The man looked her once over before finally speaking to her. "That was very brave of you for doing something like that."
"I...I don't know what happened... It was as if-"
"-some higher calling urged you into action? Yes, I know."
Viola looked at the man wearily. "Who are you?"
"My name is Mordokai. I run the Paladin Academy."
He pointed and Viola followed, beholding the fortress on top of the hill in the distance. She then looked back and took a moment to find her voice.
"W-Well, it's pleased to meet you, Mr. Mordokai."
She gave a slight, nervous bow.
"My name is Viola."
The man nodded.
He seemed to roll her name around in his head. "A pleasant name for you to have. Very well then, tomorrow I would like you to gather your things and go to the academy at noon."
Viola blinked again in suprise.
"Why sir? Is... Is something wrong?"
"No, there is nothing wrong. In fact the opposite for something is right. You have heard the calling of good inside you. You may now go where most can not even dream of going. But you need help discovering the powers deep inside you. For you see, you have taken the first step in becoming a paladin."
Viola spluttered at these words. This had to be a mistake. "A-A Paladin?! Me?! There must be a mistake! I-"
Mordokai held up his hand to silence her.
"There is no mistake, young Viola. Tomorrow at noon, you will be at the gates of the Academy. I shall be waiting for you there."
Mordokai then turned and walked into the crowd. Viola blinked and he was lost in the endless sea of people, leaving her alone to comprehend what just happened..
The doors grinded to a halt and the gate stood wide open invitingly. Nervously, Viola walked forward slowly, looking around with each step at the scene before her. Many would've killed for a chance to see inside the fortress of the paladins, though come to think of it, that may be the reason they weren't allowed in. What Viola saw was many different people in a similar type of armor that fit each perfectly well. The area was an open field of compact dirt with a large round castle made of stone stood in the center, equally spaced from the walls from each side. A line of targets were set for archery along one of the outter walls while a line of training dummies were on the opposite wall. Scattered in a specific pattern were circles of rope that were nailed down. Some of them held a couple of paladin's dueling each other. While most were training, others were walking to the various other areas of the large fortress.
As she walked towards the castle main entrance, she heard several voices around her. It seemed that everyone had notice her and were muttering amongst themselves. She knew they were all talking about her and she could feel her cheeks reddening. She faltered for a moment, certain that some mistake had to be made. But she quickly regained her composure and walked forward, trying to ignore the stares and whispering of everyone around her. It was then that she found herself at the steps of a large pair of oak doors. She hesitated, unsure of where to go from here.
Through the doors. Up the stairs. Highest Floor. Welcome, young paladin.
She looked around but saw no one around her. It almost sounded like the voice was spoken to her from inside her head. Looking forward, she slowly opened the doors and climbed up a set of large stone steps that would lead her to the highest level of the fortress. She stopped in front of another smaller pair of magnificant oak doors, but these were adorned with an associated patterned on them.
As she stepped inside, she saw that the office was decorated in such a way to rival that of royalty. She reckognized Mordokai sitting at the desk. However, there was another man standing in front of the desk, yelling angrily.
"You've got to be kidding me?! Do you realize how much I've done? How much I sacrificed for this academy! And now you're telling me I'm still not going to complete the graduation test?!"
"Grim, while no one doubts your skills, many of us doubt your patience. That itself is a test you have not yet passed. I'm sorry, but you will have to wait."
"No one else has even advanced far enough to even do this test! And everytime I think I'm about to do it, you've told me no. Well, I'm sick of this dicatorship you've set up here. You probably won't have anyone do the test so you can 'rule' over us!"
The man called Grim turned and marched angrily towards the door. As he was passing Viola, he gave her an angry glare that made her cower under it. Unlike the other paladins, this man's armor was darker and slightly sinister. The oak door slammed behind her and Viola was rooted where she stood.
Mordkai sighed, rubbing his temples before looking up to address Viola.
"Please, come on over here Viola."
Viola hesitated for a second and then walked forward until she was right in front of the desk.
"Please excuse the spectacle that you had the misfortune of witnessing. Grim is our top paladin and has become slightly arrogant because of it. I am glad that you managed to find this place okay. While it's magnificant and a fancy appearance to live in, it does come with a price. It is a lot of hard work being a paladin Viola, some of it even dangerous. You must be ready for anything the world will throw at you."
"I...I understand, sir."
Just then, the oak doors opened again. Inside walked in a boy around Viola's age. The boy spoke.
"You wanted to see me, sir?"
"Ah! Kurama, please come in."
Kurama closed the door and stepped forward, stopping on Viola's left.
"I know it must be tough for you Kurama, to lose a partner like that."
Kurama looked down at his feet. "If... If only there was something I could've done."
"But there wasn't, my dear boy. There wasn't anything you could have done. However, there is something you could do now. This here is Viola, our newest member amoung us. She shall be your new partner. Please show her to your room and help her get settled."
Kurama looked at Viola. "Alright. I'm Kurama, nice to meet you."
Viola nodded nerviously at him.
"Nice to meet you too."
Then something Mordokai said made her pause.
"Ummm... Mr. Mordokai, sir? I though I heard you say room. Don't you mean 'rooms'?"
"Oh no, my young Viola. You two are sharing a room together. As partners, it is crucial you get to know each other completely."
Viola blushed a deep crimson red at these words.
"B-But I'm a Girl! He's a Boy! We couldn't share a room together!"
Even at the orphanage, all the kids she shared a room with were girls.
"Now, now Viola. We are not distinguished differently by personal characteristics here. We are all servants for the Greater Good. No more, no less. You will learn this soon enough. Now Kurama, please take young Viola to your room."
"Yes, sir. Come on, Viola."
Viola followed Kurama awkwardly. She looked back at Mordokai's smiling face before she left the room.
Her world was definitely different now.