~~ Although the dream is a very strange phenomenon an inexplicable mystery, far more inexplicable is the mystery as aspect our minds confer on certain objects and aspects of life. ~~
~Giorgio De Chirico
“Ugh… That dream. Why does it keep coming”?
“Good you’re awake”, a soothing voice stated.
I wiped the gunk from my eyes. Thinking about my reoccurring dream, becoming more and more frequent. Every nook and cranny draped in blinding amounts of gold. Crying flesh masked, unrecognizable in memory. This dream once so vague, once so fuzzy, now more bright and sharpened. I rubbed my slumber out of my face with my palms and began my decent to the dingy dining area.
“Jeremy, you ready”, a sturdy man roared.
“yes, sir”, I always referred to my father as sir.
I scarfed down my food as though it were water. It was always small in portions during the cold season, since food was scarce.
I deeply resented my father, always such a vile creature he was.
Let me explain for a more vivid type of clarity.
I was nothing pf wealth, nor of glory, nor of strength, simply put, I was the runt of the pack, nothing more. Just a simple farm boy in an average poor village. A town where everyone knew one another and where everyone depended on one another to survive.
Our village wench, one whom created these vile tasting liquids, in which all the lads of the village would drink. Then there is the village dragon, a lowly blacksmith named Chris, one of whom created two things. One, to mend tools that were broken, two, to create a tool. Then of the scullery maids, those of whom looked lovely once in a life and aged like the trees, they were the ones of wives. They birthed the children and cleaned the homes, cooked the food and cleaned their “guests”.
Then there were the wives of the husbands, most of which created a pack of some sorts. Ones of boastfulness and annoyance. I never understood how the town wives could stomach their pride –or what little they had- and straddle their husband’s laps with smiles and kisses. I always questioned if it was an act, an act to get them through the night with the safety that their husbands were good in health and would be home to keep them safe.
Then of course there was my parents. Father, as the only farmer in town, with the help of my mother and my brothers, along with myself. My father and brothers, Josh, Gordon, and Theo always took to the fields before the sun ever decided to rise from its own slumber. Plowing the fields and basically doing what all farmers do, to care for their crops, where as I, the runt of the litter, was never given remorse for my size in which I did not choose, only mocked and pushed around because, well, it was easy.
The only person who ever gave me remorse was my mother. A kind-hearted woman with skin of milky silk, hair as red as fire, and eyes of a cat, always changing its color with the sun. She always rocked me to sleep, cared for my wounds and told me how wonderful I was, though her eyes. I never believed her, how could I? I always felt as though she told me these things out of pity. I was never allowed on the fields with my father and brothers, but treated as a scullery maid.
Shameful as I was, I took to my tasks quickly. I saw hope in my mother’s eyes, whenever she would teach me something new to do for our chores. Maybe because it meant she wouldn’t have to work as hard, or maybe it meant that she would be able to put me on the street and that I would be able to take my own if I could find work.
Everything was normal, well as normal as it could be until a horn blew throughout our village, so loud that it pierced my ears that I thought I’d never hear again.
It was early in the morning, the sun just peaking its way out in curiosity of its disturbance. By this time father and my brothers were already in the fields, mother was getting ready for the day, she always let me sleep in. She did this in the belief that allowing me a longer slumber I had the chance of growth. I think she was just afraid that I would stay in my current state, that I would never wed and she would have to care for me until her time comes… or worse.
When the horn subsided, everyone started to fill the street. A man in armor, lined in red cloth, gold tassels and gold linings creating an intricate crest, representing his royalty line. Handsome fellow, even with the deep gash of a scar down the left side of his face. Everyone knew of his royalty and his bravery against the evil giants, that wished their lives to rule our kingdom. But to see the king himself, in person that was just madness.
Only when the king presents himself, do the people know there is trouble so bad that, only pain and despair will reap our land soon. Suddenly, I felt my mom’s touch, it was more of a squeeze. I know why she was doing so. I knew exactly how much she loved her sons, including myself. Her love her me will always be different from my brothers, she loved me for my size because it meant she would never be alone. Except this time, she knew the kind was here for every man of every skill and size. Only the women and babes would be left. For the king, himself to have arrived, making sure to show the severity of the war.
He needn’t say a word; everyone had already begun to cry with fear. Saying goodbyes, the women began their trek to their home to pack for the inevitable emptiness of the town, allowing their men to collect any weapons and armor that the men on horses has in a wagon behind them. Once the men have filed in line, their women had bags of their belongings and some food they could scramble together in the time that they had. All except me, I didn’t file the way the other men did, I had assumed that the king would not need a runt, like myself in his war. But he trudged his way on his horse, with the echoing of his royal armor and clamored his way to me, I saw his weariness from the patches of darkness under his eyes and of the pulsing in his veins as he moved, they struggled, as though he hadn’t slept in days.
But when he reached me, he began to state with an enormous grunt of a voice, “and why boy, are you not in line like the rest”?
At that exact moment, the fear that I had felt the moment he trudged in my direction had completely consumed my timid and frail body. With this acquired fear, I was unable to speak without constant shivers within the depths of my lungs. So, unable to utter a single word, I looked to my mother and grabbed the bag that she had packed and filed in line with the rest of the men. An on that faithful day, I was to become a hero. Granted I didn’t know this, nor would I or any even-tempered human would believe this. I may be a scatter brain and a wimp but I always tried my best.
We followed our self-righteous king to the battle ground, it was always itching in the back of my mind, “why does the king himself come to the villages, rather than his squires, wasn’t that what they were there for”?
As I pondered to myself of these little thoughts, I was brought back to reality where I was when the king decided to kick me to the floor. As I fell, I knocked the two men behind me. A huge thing of a man, with hooves, yes you heard correctly, hooves. He was a minotaur, the last male minotaur of his clan. With only his unborn children to hope be a son. He was an interesting creature with much muscle and a matching temper. He threw me off him with a simple movement as though he hadn’t used much effort. With such a tremendous force that sent sailing for a second time. I always heard stories of how majestic and brave these creatures were but, I always believed they were a myth. I was proven wrong, again.
Startled as I was, this creature whispered in the most intimidating voice, that in my mind I thought he were yelling, “Get up boy, or worse is to become of you”. Like he ordered, I stood from my place and scurried to my spot. As soon as I got there, the king ignored my presence, and went along with his business of explaining our importance in this war and how honored he was of our dedication to him and the land.
It went a little something like, “humble and loyal servants of thy beautiful land, open your ears and listen to your one and only righteous king. Follow me into the pits of hall to defeat our enemy once more, so that your wives and children may live a long time. The darkness has risen once more and is threatening our peaceful ways. Will you stand with your king”?
Cheering began to erupt from the crowd, so loud I almost lost my footing once more. The ground trembled as though about to split. When the cheering finally subsided, the ringing that I felt when the king’s horns finally stopped earlier that day, had returned. The king went on with his speech, “Now is the time to begin your training, for you have much to learn in a shortened amount of time. For in a week you will be on the front lines with me as your guide. Will you take to your task and honor my wishes, along with bringing honor to your name”?
The roaring cheers began once more. Although, I didn’t cheer, I was trying to keep my footing from the vibrations coming off the cheering and stomping, along with keeping my ear drums in my head.
“Go to your tents and find sweet slumber for your training will commence soon after the morning sun has set its rays off the horizon”.
At that moment, everyone began to shuffle out, confused and dazed by the emotions that had dissipated only moments before, I turned and began my quest. I had set my tent and laid in my cot, wishing and hoping for slumber but sadly it was not found.