The beginning of the end:
I had finally found rest, when I was awakened by a brute force. That with a single tenseness of a muscle had scooped me from my cot and dropped soon after. As I scrambled to my feet. Looked at my enemy and realized it was father who was looking back at me. With a subtle eagerness of threat in the whisper, “you’ll not be allowed to make a mockery of me and our family, now rise and bring your arse to the front lines and brave every tremor and damnation you will receive with gratefulness like the rest of these honorable men.”
He left my tent before I could speak and I was left to my own once more. As I trudged through the crowds still half asleep, I found myself swung to the sides by none other than the brute of a minotaur. “Boy, why do you look as though a branch, dying and useless, so much so that the tree didn’t want you neither”.
I was offended by his accusation, but I was too afraid to move, even speak. I stood in my place and quietly followed his footsteps. When we got to our ranks, the soldier started to hand out weapons, weapons of many sizes and types, everyone near and far were handed swords of steel or bows and arrows, and a plethora of other types, strong and powerful weapons. But I obviously was not as luck as the rest, I was given a knife. Chipped and cracking at the base. Everyone close enough to witness this exchange erupted with laughter, so much so, that many had shed tears.
I asked simply with as much bravery as I could muster, “why am I not to be given’ a sword”?
The soldier laughed and spat, “that is a sword, girl. We matched you with thought son, small and insignificant as you”.
I was offended at that moment, but even with this anger building in my chest, I was pinged with pain filed within me, and when I searched for father and my brothers, who’s eyes kept scarce of mines.
“Are you not grateful, girl, of what we have done for you”? The same soldier had barked at him with laughter being broken between the words.
I snapped back to reality, and began to speak through my teeth, “yes sir, I am grateful, thank you for your grace and wisdom that you bestowed on me”.
As we began our training, a man dressed in black with the gold intricate crest on the front near his heart began to speak in whispers to the soldiers in charge of keeping us in line. I never knew what transcended from that encounter, but I saw the fear in his eyes which could only mean on thing, something terrible has happened and was going to affect me in a bad way.
As the man receded from his place among the soldiers and began his way back to his horse in which he mounted with such ease, that I began to imagine how some could be so light with the effortless motions that he showed, as though like a feather. I was quickly brought back when the soldier called us to attention and told us that the war had escalated and our training has ended, we were to pack our things and hastily begin our trek to the mountains to the land in which that battle was taking place. Everyone was instantly silent then. Maybe they thought they wouldn’t have to see war in their lifetimes, others seemed as though ready and knew their day had finally come to pass. I didn’t know what I had felt nor what I was to do. My size would not keep me alive, nor would my strength. I had no allies, let alone friends. How can I go into battle? As I gathered my things in haste, I began to ponder all the things I might encounter. What more interestingly difficult creatures will be invited into my life. As our flank began to trek forward, I continued my pondering all the while looking at my feet. Until I heard a scream in the front lines.
I stretched onto my toes, but all I could see were two silhouettes noticeably angered by one another with the amount of wailing in their motions. Then a man much older than I, maybe even older than my father, began to whisper in my ear, “listen good boy, nothing good will come to pass if you continue to wonder in your own world. Continue to be quite and swift, remember everything you’ve learned in this life. It’s the only thing you’ve got going for you. You are smart but small, which means you are quick in the mind and body. When danger comes use your wits boy”. I became more in tuned with what he said when the arguing subsided and began to move. This man of knowledge and wisdom had shared valuable knowledge with me. Maybe so much so that I realized my parents truly did love me, because I was smart, but quick. I had a chance.
When we finally reached our destination, we were herded into pairs. I didn’t know what to expect, but quickly I noticed a pattern. Everyone was being paired with someone either in ranks, sizes, heights, strengths, and/or cunnings. Whereas I a lowly weakling was paired with the elder man. You could tell he had seen much with his age. He knew more than he let on and the wrinkles and scars he wore with pride, uncovering history that not even a lifetime itself would be able to unfold. He knew his place in life and it was no secret that at one time he would have made a fine soldier. But like everyone else I have known or seen, good things will never last. As we walked to the edge of camp, we stumbled as we could no longer see ground, it was as though the ground was no longer there. The man guided me and we kept our pace as much as we could, until we reached the forest line, we were yards away from the rest, but we didn’t want their company, and we knew none would want ours.
We pitched our tiny tent and went inside to rest our weary bodies, the man turned to me and once more shared his vast wisdom, “I once met a boy as small as you, I teased him and pushed him around, like the way you are all too familiar with, son. But the bravery that boy had, gave me a new respect for his kind. Never forget boy, God made you this way because you were meant for greatness”.
With that said, he retreated into a slumber so deep that his snores that he exhaled were that of elephants stomping. How does one sleep with such a force, I thought. All I knew for certain… I was getting no sleep that night. I laid in my cot for what seemed like hours, until decided to get up and head outside. There were many souls still awake at this hour. Perhaps they had the same problem, obnoxious mates in their tents. Although, I highly doubted that aspect, since they were probably used to this. I didn’t want any part of their joy nor their misery.
I turned around and headed in the other direction, toward the woods. The moss and trees here were very strange. Twisting and curving through each other like vines. It was a beautiful site, yet I felt an eerie presence from them, as though they were alive. As I walked through the maze of branches, I stumbled upon a crystal blue pond so deep, I thought there could be no end to its beauty.
I stooped down to acquire a drink, as the water touched my lips, I felt a chill from the coldness within my body. When I finally looked around the pond again, I felt my lips begin to smile. I had found a sanctuary for a while before we trudged on to the next destination, or so I thought…