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The Tree of Mana

By Simon Vilmer Pedersen

Once upon a time there was an empire called the Glaive Empire. Most of it was ruled from Castle Glaive, high on top of the cliffs in the middle of the empire, but some of it was independent. Castle Glaive was ruled by an evil man, who called himself the Dark Lord.
The Dark Lord enjoyed cruelty and pain, and every day he had one of his gladiators fight one of his many monsters, in a fight to the death.
Kain was a gladiator, son of two gladiators, who had been slain in the arena in the years after his birth. One of the other gladiators, one named Willy, raised Kain, and he grew in ability and strength with each day. But one day Kain's step-father, Willy, was near death. He had won his battle but was wounded mortally. But just before his death, with his last breath, Willy spoke to Kain: "Mana is in danger, Kain. The Gemma Knights must know. Go and talk to Bogard near the waterfalls. You must not fail!" Then Willy passed away. Kain swore to avenge Willy's death.
Kain talked to his friends and one named Amanda told him that he could get out throught the entrance of the monsters.
The next day it was Kain's turn to fight. He was supposed to fight a large, furry beast called "The Jackal," but with his many years of training it was no problem. And before he was taken back into the cells, he dashed out of the monsters' entrance. After a couple of hours of walking in dark and creepy corridors, he found an exit. He looked out, and enjoyed the fresh air and the open sky that he had heard about, but never seen.
He started looking for that Bogard, and as he could hear a waterfall nearby he went that way. He walked down a path towards it, but suddenly he saw two persons standing onthe cliff near the waterfall. Kain quickly ducked behind abush, hoping that they had not seen him. Then he looked at them from behind the bush, and suddenly he recognised them. It was the Dark Lord himself and his right hand Julius. He listened to what they were talking about. He could not hear very well for the waterfall, but he heard that they were looking for a girl, who could help them get to the Tree of Mana. "The Tree of Mana!" he thought. That name woke memories.
When he was young his father had told him the legend of the Tree. If just he could remember it. He looked up when he suddenly heard a strange "hiss". And there, before his eyes, Julius disappeared in a mist. He crept farther away from the path, hoping the Dark Lord would not see him on his way back. But the Dark Lord saw him immediately when he looked that way. Kain jumped up and ran down the path, away from the waterfall, and the Dark Lord pursued him. But suddenly Kain found himself on another cliff, overlooking the waterfall, with no way to escape. The Dark Lord gazed angrily at Kain and started talking.
"Ahaa. We have a spy here. But you wouldn't get away alive."
Then the Dark Lord drew his sword, and attacked Kain. The Dark Lord was a master of swordmanship, and Kain knew he had nochance of defeating him, and just tried to get away from him.
But suddenly, when he took a step back to avoid a blow, the ground disappeared from beneath his feet. He had walked out into the waterfall. With a scream he fell down the waterfall. He fainted from the cold and speed, before he hit the ground...

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