The Training

The man threw down his hood and led Felix silently through the hive of activity, more of the hooded figures wandered about carrying live animals or drawing tattoos on other hooded figures. As far as Felix could tell all the figures were male, but he couldn't be sure because of the cloaks. He was paying more attention to the preparations for the sacrifice, when he turned his head he realised his mysterious guide and saviour had stopped.

Felix quickly followed suite and stopped, the man turned around. Felix now had a perfect view of the man; the man had shoulder length, shaggy, blonde/ginger hair which reflected the moonlight making his hair appear golden. He had blue/green eyes that caught the light showing a tranquil ocean. Although the colour of his eyes did not show it the expression in them did; fear, pure undiluted fear. He was reasonable muscular but was also wiry; his pale skin was separated by the swirling intricate tattoos, that encircled the man like armour. He spoke in a low purposeful voice and laid is cards on the table all at once, "Welcome Felix Johnson, my people have for told of your coming and your role to save the future of Britannia. The one called Dante; has been trying to find you. I am the warrior of the time zone my name is Cruadhlaoich Creedon, I was chosen because of my skill as a warrior and for undying faith in good. My father was also chosen and we have waited hundreds of generations for you and I am honored." Felix was speechless; he had no idea what had been prophesied but he certainly wasn't the guy they thought he was. He was an average, slightly chubby, Italian-Londoner.  He glanced around for something to help him in this awkward situation but his eyes kept being drawn to the lodestone. Felix started to speak but realised  Cruadlaoich Creedon had moved on and was speaking to another man several feet away. As Felix turned away, the lodestone contorted and Dante's face made out of stone stared at Felix Johnson with his icy eyes, and smiled...

The following days passed him with the speed of a demented rider; he started getting more exercise and lost a lot of his fat. Although he was content with this lifestyle he wasn't happy. He constantly felt like he was being watched when he was near the lodestone, and the druids were discussing him behind his back.  He was using all this exercise to clear his head of any worries. However on his twelfth day at the camp, Felix was approached by a druid who looked to be in his early twenties and said "May I join you on your trip?" Felix who was taken aback stuttered "S-s-sure, uh okay." The two men set off at a jog over the mounds that rolled away towards England; Felix was dying to know what was going on. These people had been so reclusive, but now they were acting like that had never happened. These thoughts and some possible explanations were bouncing around his head as he jogged in silence. Finally after what seemed like an age, the man decided to break the silence "I know you must think this is awkward, with us being so errm distant but we need you. The Romans are planning to wipe us all out, we have our warrior they have theirs, I think you know who, but we need you to turn the tables on them." Felix was speechless, he felt deflated he was so stunned he stopped in his tracks.

 He wasn't some warrior he was still getting over the fact that one afternoon on his way to work he had missed his conference about his promotion, gotten pummelled; nearly to death by a man, then got the man arrested, had a strange chase through the streets of London, travelled through time and had his only guide turn into a psycho-maniac. Now these ancient Druids, whom two of them are in on the game, come asking him to start fighting against these Roman legionaries. The man turned around and stopped jogging he saw Felix looking dumbfounded and confused he asked gently "Are you alright?" Felix quickly thought of something to mask his weakness, "eerrrmm yeah, I was wondering what your name was." The Celt looked delighted that his ‘Saviour to be' was fine, and then he replied proudly "My name is Daegan. I am chief of the sacrificial cult."      

Felix was stricken with panic; he tried not to show it to himself and not least Daegan. He walked the rest of the way back in a sullen silence like a child who has been scolded but doesn't want anyone else to know it. When he reached the camp his sprits had hit rock bottom, then fallen through into an abyss of despair. Cruadlaoich was sharpening his sickle when Felix returned and gave a nod as if to say ‘so are you ready', truth was Felix was still getting over the whole time travel thing and so didn't want to even think about it let alone nod back. He headed straight back into the roundhouse that he considered his home in this strange and unfamiliar world. This mud hut was his sanctuary from the truth, the rough earthen walls didn't comply with Felix's view of a house and so he tried to delude himself into thinking it was a dream, just a dream.

The next morning Felix was rudely awoken. First he was sleeping, but then there was a noise. It sounded like footsteps Felix sat bolt upright and stared at the door way looking for the intruder while his right hand strayed towards the only thing in the room that could be used as a weapon. The ‘weapon' in question was a red hot iron which he was using the previous night to stir his fuel to catch light. Surprisingly it was still hot; time seemed to drag for Felix it had probably only been about a minute since he heard the sound although it felt like an hour of this terrible suspense and terror slouched through him. Then he felt the heat of someone's body behind him, "Don't move, I am armed" as if in response to that the mysterious person raised a worn sickle.

An hour later Felix found himself sitting in a hut with several other people, however all of these people looked younger. All of them looked to be in their teens, but these weren't rowdy teenagers these were silent grim faced warrior teenagers. Felix made a mental note to self: Never ever upset one of these guys. Felix was starting to wonder if they were just going to be left there when a man, who had ginger hair, green eyes and bad breath turned up. He looked very fit judging by the way he was thick but had no rolls of fat, all the eyes in the small hut drifted to him except one pair. "You boy!" the man barked "Get over here to be whipped for your blatant incompetence" Felix thought Wow these ancient people know big words for their time... Wait that boy looks familiar; he has the same burning blue eyes as Dante... The boy turned to face the man and smiled at Felix and he uttered; "Let the games begin"...

 Felix was not going to let Dante intimidate him he was set on doing, whatever he had been sent there to do. The man left and was replaced by another man who was much nicer he introduced himself as Robert McCormack. He had blonde/ginger hair, blue/green eyes and generally had the same distinguishing features as Cruadlaoich but his face was much warmer and he looked stronger. He was very nice to the people assembled in the tiny "prison" hut, acting like it was part of a fieldtrip. He started off with a rowdy "Good morning every-one" An eerie silence followed so Felix spoke up "Good morning eeeerrrrrmmm... Sir?" Robert looked in surprise and then began to laugh, a loud joyful laugh and then said "Well, I have a star pupil already, if you prove your-self each day then on the final day the most favoured student will gain the rank of Druid executioner priest." Then he ushered the dishevelled Celts and Druids out of the hut and into a training arena.  Felix was running out of surprises that he was genuinely unready for but an arena of these proportions was just dumbfounding, he actually took a step backwards.

Over the next few days Felix concentrated on learning as much from the training as he could. The boy who was really Dante was always perfect and Felix was paired with him so he learnt Dante's fighting style, while also learning to wield a sickle and test himself to be a fighting machine. Dante, at first would constantly knock him off his feet and make him look like a fool, but Felix didn't give up the bruises and pain was nothing compared to the hope that if he proved himself he would wake up or Dante would take him home. Felix threw in night training Robert decided to help. Each night Felix would be given a wooden sickle replica and was sent into the arena in the dark and Robert and the rough man, who he first saw when he was in the hut, would attack using the same wooden replica weapons and he would learn to use his senses and new skills to avoid pain. After a short time, maybe a week but he had no way to track time passing, he began to make his sparring with Dante more of a fight than Dante beating him every second.  The training consisted of fighting in the dark, so that Felix had to utilise his senses, so he had to feel for body heat, smell their sweat, feel the air moving, listen for footsteps and use his new fighting knowledge and skills.

  On the fifteenth day of training the unthinkable happened, Felix won against Dante. First it started like any normal sparring match between the two, Dante attacked first; Felix countered and struck out; Dante hit the back of Felix's knees and sent him sprawling; but what happened next had never happened before Felix rolled past the speeding sickle replica and flipped to his feet. He then faked a hit at Dante's head, but then swept his legs away with his. Then he stabbed Dante in the stomach making him curl up in a ball. Felix was about to hit again, the red mist had clouded his judgement. His rage fuelling the mist, his rage at being whisked away from his life: to fight in some sick contest for whomever. Then a strong hand gripped his wrist and the voice of Robert McCormack "Stop!" then more gently "You won, stop now and have honour in victory don't resort to mindless animal violence". As Robert turned away Dante looked up and smiled, evidently not hurt. This puzzled Felix very much Why would Dante go through the pain and humiliation of being beaten, what did it mean These thoughts bounced round Felix's head as he drifted into an uneasy sleep.

 

Training continued however after his victorious triumph over his new nemesis, he didn't spar with him again. Now he found himself winning all his battles easily and he began to become a confident fighter and rose to top of the class in every test of the Druid executioner. Once he was told once he passed these tests he would undoubtedly be selected to be a Fianna warrior the legendary invincible warriors of the Celts. The only person in the whole tribe who had attained this rank was Cruadlaoich Creedon. This taught Felix his next lesson, just do what Cruadlaoich says or otherwise, let's just say things would get graphic and Felix would probably disappear forever.     

Felix was training hard and he now had the muscly body shape of the druids and was starting to feel better about himself and inevitably was gaining confidence. Although he was puzzled when Dante, in his child form, disappeared and never came back. When he inquired about the disappearance no-one knew where he had gone and people remembered him, but when he asked to see the head count Dante's name wasn't on there. It wasn't like someone had destroyed the carving and made a fake rock texture it was like it never existed. He kept on this strained survival training, he started to have free time on his hands and so took up tracking. This was very hard for him and took his mind off his troubles. On the night before the final challenge Felix was visited by a strange man wearing the traditional 2010 garment, jeans and shirt. He spoke in a soft layered voice and said "Felix Johnson, you have done well as the new warrior of the 21st century. I am your predecessor Patrick Haynes, I have come here to tell you this nightmare is real and soon it is going to get a lot worse. I give you the hope you will return to the 21st century for good, but only after you have defeated Dante." All the while Felix sat silently and was awed, this man had gone through all he was going through and had now retired. He realised there and then this wasn't a dream and he wasn't going back home anytime soon. He wanted to scream, Patrick stood with no smirk on his face. It was confirmed.       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End

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