The Code of the Guardian Tiercel

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By: Badrach Posted on: May 21, 2007

I slowly opened my eyes, my previously blurred vision now coming into clear focus. I found myself casting an unscrupulous gaze upon a dusky horizon of desert sands and rocky hills. The Mhojave? Not likely, for some reason. A dream? ...Perhaps.

Before me, a massive mountain jutted out from within the Sapient earth, stoic and unwavering. Upon it, a seemingly endless road carved its way around and around the base of the mountain, leaving one to question whether or not it would ever reach the top.

A voice called out from atop the mountain. "Walk the Path."

With heavy determination, I began the never-ending hike along the base of the mountain. As my view of the outside world grew smaller, the path before me began to narrow. After what seemed like an eternity, I came across what appeared to be a "fork" in the road. To the right, the path continued upward as far as the eye could see. To the left, a slide of sorts was smoothly carved into the side of the mountain, leading miles downward into a dark and foreboding valley.

Between the two paths stood a single wooden signpost:

| Of Holy Virtues we are called
| "Guardians" to our solemn Jewel;
| Yet there is one Gift to us all,
| Our ever-present Righteous Tool...

A voice called out from atop the mountain. "Follow me."

Turning my eyes away from the darkness, I resumed my journey along the mountainside. As I continued for countless tiring steps, I found myself glancing upward in disbelief as the previously star-lit sky began to rumble with the violence of thunderous clouds and mighty winds. A torrential downpour of rain obscured my vision and made the narrow pathway even more dangerous to navigate. My heart began to race, and I felt as if the rain would literally wash me away towards an untimely fate. Lacking the fortitude to continue any further, I covered my face and leaned against the mountain with all my might, praying that the horrific storm would end.

And there, painstakingly carved into the face of the mountain, was another "sign" which revealed itself to me amidst the pouring rain:

| > "Prowess..."
| | The Onyx Eyes which cast their gaze
| Upon the horizons of day and night;
| The orbs that carry Wisdom's grace
| And honor the soul that shares its Light.

A voice called out from atop the mountain. "Trust in me."

Feeling a sense of security within the voice, I unveiled my face to the brutal storm and called out for clemency. The path before me shimmered into view, no longer obstructed by the elements; it felt as if, for a brief instant, I had gazed through the eyes of another.

For many long hours, I continued up the mountain. The storm had finally begun to recede, allowing the gentle glow of Dawn to creep upon the outskirts of the surreal world below me. With weary limbs wracking at my spirit, I contemplated taking a short break from my journey to assess where I was and what exactly I was doing. Deciding to first round one more bend in the mountain, I stumbled upon my next obstacle -- a massive pair of scales, their sheer size and beauty almost comparable to the Lady of Justice herself. Made of what appeared to be pure gold, these towering scales hovered above a sizable gorge in the side of the mountain. From what I could see, the only way to cross the gorge would be to navigate these scales while they were in perfect balance. Taking a casual step upon the first scale, I jumped back in fright as the scale plummeted into the abyss below, before slowly rising back up to meet its counterpart in balance. One wrong move, and my journey would be over in an instant. Feeling befuddled and at a loss for my next course of action, I searched high and low for a solution.

Upon closer inspection, I found that an elegant script had been inscribed upon the first scale:

| > "Justice..."
| | The Avian Claw that grips to fate
| When tarnish seeks our Eastern Jewel;
| The courage of a thousand men
| Stands fast against chaotic fools.

A voice called out from atop the mountain. "Stand with me."

Though I did not understand it entirely, I decided to once again trust in the voice. I closed my eyes and mustered the courage to leap upon the first scale with my whole body; the end result would be left up to fate. I felt a surge of wind rushing around me as I plummeted into the darkness below. After a few long seconds, the scale came to an abrupt halt, sending me reeling upon my knees. I opened my eyes to find myself... alive and well. I was upon the second scale, and it did not budge beneath my weight. By some force unbeknownst to me, they were in perfect balance.

The light of day began to illuminate the most miniscule of details within the side of the mountain, casting its warmth upon the exhausting path before me. From my viewpoint, the outside world no longer existed; all that remained was the eternal mountain within a cloudless sky. As I trudged along, an unnatural sound began to accompany my footsteps. I flung myself around and lifted my fists in front of my face; something, or someone, had begun stalking me somewhere along the path.

A shrouded figure encased in shadows greeted me with a sinister smile. "Forget this old mountain!" he hissed with disdain. "Come with me to a land of endless possibilities! Anything you desire shall be yours, as truly as the beating of your own heart."

The figure stretched out a hand in my direction, offering me refuge from my tiring journey. My mind was so wracked with fatigue that the offer actually begun to sound appealing. On the inside, however, I knew that I could not trust this dubious proposition. I had been set upon this path for a reason; my mission was to discover that purpose, without fail. I promptly shook my head and turned around to continue upon the path before me, when the figure grabbed tightly upon my legs and pulled me to the ground.

"I'm afraid that 'no' isn't the correct answer," the figure said with a growl. "If you will not come voluntarily, then I shall take you by force!"

I writhed and struggled with all my might to break free, but the grip of the shadowy fiend was so tight that a rushing pain began to flood my legs. Having no means to defend myself, I closed my eyes and began to frantically pray for some miracle that would alleviate me from the demon's grasp.

As I closed my eyes, I began to see something within my mind's eye... a piece of parchment, perhaps? And written upon it:

| > "Loyalty..."
| | The Blessed Wings which raze the sky,
| Charging towards the call of Light;
| To our aid they eternally fly,
| A partner true with all their might.

A voice called out from atop the mountain. "Depend on me."

By pure instinct, I put my fingers to my lips and uttered a shrill whistle. Without hesitation, a piercing cry rang out from the heavens, shaking the very foundation of the mountain itself. In an instant, the shadowy figure vanished in a howl, and I found myself alone and unharmed once more.

The sun had almost reached its peak within the sky above. At the same time, I found myself actually nearing the peak of this colossal monument. My mind raced with thoughts of the many unique obstacles which have challenged my path, along with that mysterious voice which has guided me through both toil and peril since the very beginning. What was the ultimate lesson I was here to learn?

Somehow, I knew that the answer would soon become very clear.

With one last heaving step, I pulled myself atop the very crown of the mountain. The peak itself was actually a flat plateau, stretching no more than a few yards in each direction. I turned back for only an instant to view the seemingly infinite path I had traversed to reach this point; to my disbelief, the path was completely gone. And in its place, a single wooden sign, much like the first one I had seen:

| > "Nobility..."
| | The Valiant Beak which calls aloud
| Its pride of Honor and of Soul;
| The things which one can never shroud,
| For they are what can make one Whole.

A voice called out from atop the mountain. "Learn from me."

I finally began to understand what it all meant. Leaving the old path behind me, I turned around to face the new path ahead. The sun had now reached its mighty apex, casting an ethereal golden glow upon my surroundings. And there, in the very center of the plateau, was a nest which rested upon a golden plaque. I slowly walked over to the nest and kneeled down to observe its contents; there was nothing inside. Confused for only an instant, I gently lifted the nest so that I could behold the plaque beneath:

| > "...Chivalry."
| | Winging across the Sapient skies
| For us who beckon to their aid;
| The noble Falcon is our prize,
| For whom our fight for Good were made.

A voice called out from within my heart. "I am You. You are Me."

I felt a quiet rustle within the nest; looking up, I found a keen-eyed falcon gazing upon me. I carefully set the nest down and outstretched my gloved hand towards the noble creature.

> Your falcon alights on your wrist.

And with a thankful smile, I said: "We are One."