Tyler, a lonely teen-age boy, is befriended by Rin, the real life version of his online gaming character that came into being at the wish of his mother. Rin takes Tyler to his land called Jinlan to search for an ancient relic known as the Sword of Kings which was lost over 1000 years ago and is believed to be just a myth. The sword, it is said, has the power to make the holder the true king of the five realms.
It was a sunny day in the middle of summer when Tyler's life was about to change. It was one of those days where most kids would be outdoors bike riding or skateboarding. It was a day when the public pool, just a few blocks away was over crowded with families trying to cool off, and kids messing around during summer break. There were only a few wispy clouds in the air, and high up above you could make out the contrails of the airplanes making their cross country run. The temperature wasn't that bad. It was in the low 80's and not much humidity. You could be outdoors and be comfortable and not have your clothes sticking to you, or drowning in sweat. It was on all accounts your perfect summer day.
Tyler was no ordinary kid. He didn't like this town that they had just moved into last summer after his parents got a divorce. He didn't like having to leave all his friends behind. He didn't like not being able to go to his special "thinking rock" that sat high up on a hill overlooking the lake. And he especially didn't like the way the other boys at school were treating him already. He was the new kid, and nobody likes the new kid. So when school ended, he always walked straight home by himself.
He did a lot of thinking on the way home. It's not like he wasn't a good looking kid. He was fifteen; a few months shy of his sixteenth birthday, and his mother had promised him that he could start practicing for his drivers license when that day came. He was a skinny kid. He wore what other kids called his Harry Potter glasses, and he had been wearing braces on his teeth since he was twelve. The other children called him names here a lot, something that never happened at his old school. Here is was called a geek, nerd, and the very worst, he was called gay. He had had gay friends at his old school, and now he knew first hand why they were usually scared to come out.
"Hey Mom," Tyler called out when he walked in the door.
“How was school today?”, she asked back as she was washing dishes in the kitchen sink.
“Do we have to talk about that again?”, he replied dropping his book bag on the dining room table. “It was the same as usual. Boring classes. What are we having for dinner?”
“I've got a lasagna ready to go into the oven. Hand made special for you.”
"Cool," he said in a tone that showed almost no interest. "I'll be up in my room." And without another word he walked up the stairs to his bedroom, and closed the door.
Tyler's mother, Rita, stopped doing the dishes, wiped her hands dry on a dish towel, sat down at the head of the dining table and put her hands on her head. She knew that the move had taken a lot out of Tyler. It had taken a lot out of her as well. A nasty divorce, Tyler caught in the middle, and then a move to obtain a better position in the bank that she worked. But on Tyler the move had been devastating, and she could see that now. Back at the old house, before the changes, Tyler would light up when he knew there was going to be a lasagna for dinner. He used to love to sit and watch her make it, layer by layer, and then the smell of it as it was cooking in the oven. He would have the dinner table all set up and ready to go for the moment the bell went off to say that it was prepared.
"I don't know what to do." Rita had said to her best friend Nancy just that morning. "He hasn't made any new friends at school. He won't try to interact with any other kids. I even attempted to talk him into joining the Boy Scouts".
They had been sitting on the sofa, each with a cup of coffee.
“He went through a traumatic event in his life, Rita. You've got to give him time to adjust to it all. That isn't going to happen just overnight.", Nancy said putting her cup down on the saucer sitting on the coffee table.
“A friend. One friend. One person to knock on the door and say 'is Tyler here and can he come out and play'.” Rita was twisting her wrists so hard that they were turning red.
Tyler was up in his bedroom now. He stripped down to just his boxers and looked himself over in the full-length mirror that doubled as the sliding door to his closet. He looked from head to toes on his front side, then turned around and did the same thing to his back side.
“Why don't people here like me.” He would say to himself over and over. With no blemishes, scars, acne, or anything, he just didn't know. Just for some reason the kids here didn't like him.
He walked over to his TV that was against the wall at the foot end of his bed, turned it on, and then turned on his Xbox. His mom had bought him a nice leather chair for when he was Xboxing for his last birthday. He always liked the way it felt against his bare skin. He sat down on it, folded his legs under himself, and hit the "resume" key on his favorite game; Dark Rising.
Dark Rising was an adventure game. Tyler played a character name Rin. Rin was on a quest to find the Sword of Kings. An ancient relic that was said to have the power to end the War of Dalen Nah by revealing the true heir to the throne of the Five Kingdoms. He had been playing it for the better portion of two months since he bought it at the beginning of school's spring break. By now he was getting pretty good at it. And whenever he had time to spare he would plug himself into it.
Dinner was about ten minutes away according to the timer on the oven. The smell of the lasagna was strong throughout the house, and Tyler's stomach was growling. Rita was making last minute adjustments to the place settings when the doorbell rang.
"Who could that be," she thought as she put down the forks at each plate. She wiped her hands on the towel again and started for the door. She wasn't expecting anyone at this hour; they were just about to eat. But through the refracted glass on the front door she could only make out that it appeared to be a person of short stature. The person was only standing about half way up the glass making the person about five and half feet tall.
Rita unlocked the door, and pulled it open, and the person standing before her kind of shocked her. He was a young boy, maybe fifteen or sixteen if she had to guess, very blond wavy hair that came down to his shoulders. He was shirtless, standing there bare-chested and wearing what looked like to her as a leather kilt. It had straps about two inches wide that went all the way around, and hung down to the tops of his knees. He wore platform sandals with string lacing that went from his feet to the top of his calves. And he was very tan, this was a boy she could tell that did not wear a shirt very often, if at all by the looks of him.
He had a demeanor about himself that was easily recognized even though he had yet to say a word. He was a confident kid. Someone who, though his smile said he was the nicest person she would ever meet, would not be trifled with and could hold his own in any situation.
"Can I help you young man?" Rita asked holding her right hand to her chest. Seemingly a little flustered at the sight of this boy on her doorstep.
“Is Tyler home?” he said, standing there with his fists on his hips.
“And you are?”
“My name is Rin.”