"The sun had just begun to rise as a gentle glow began to shine upon the town. Many town folk had already been awake to complete their morning duties. The bakers had gotten up to mix their doughs and prepare their ovens. The loggers had gotten up to sharpen their axes and fill their bellies. The guards had woken up early to switch with the night shift and looked tired as they scanned the surroundings for nothing in particular. Of course, when the warm glow of the sun shined upon their faces, they all took a moment to appreciate its warmth. A new day had come, signifying another tick in their mortal clocks, however they were not sad to be closer to their end, more so happy to have another day. They knew that all good things come to an end, even the warm sun sets every night and maybe someday even that very sun they knew would stop shining just like how they wouldn't be around one day. Of course, that day wasn't anytime soon, for the sun at least..."
I felt a warm beam gently begin to caress my face. It began to urge me to get up hinting that today would be a good day. I slightly open my eyes and stare at the window through which beams of morning sun were shooting through. I could hear bustling noise coming through the window.
As I shift around in bed I stretch and finally sit up yawning. Mmmm, morning already. Last night I had spent a lot of time with Uzair, Omar and Nel at the Point. We chatted a lot about our future and now that I think about it, it raised a lot of questions about my own.
Exactly what did I want to do? I couldn't just laze around everyday right? Ehhh, I'll just go with the flow and see where I end up heh. I walk down the stairs where I see my father slumped over onto a desk covered with scrolls, books and candles. My father was a scholar by trade which meant he had to do a lot of readings and writings. Although, I think he does alot more than he has to because he likes it.
I head to the kitchen and light the cooking fire. I crack a couple of eggs into the pan and slice up some ham then put it in to fry up. Then I took out a fresh loaf of bread I got yesterday, I had stopped by Uzair's family bakery on the way home and picked this up. I slice two thick pieces then lathered them in butter before adding them to the pan to toast up nicely.
As the pan begins to sizzle a pleasant aroma begins to fill the air. Ahhh, breakfast is the best, when you wake up you're hungry so eating a simple breakfast tastes the best and really wakes you up. Mmm, breakfast is the most important meal of the day for sure.
As I stand by the pan watching the food cook I hear sniffing, lots of sniffing. I turned to see that my dad had gotten up in a half dazed state and was sniffing the air. Heh, smells that good huh? Nevermind a kiss, I bet this meal could wake up sleeping beauty.
Sniff, sniff, sniff, sniff, SNIFFFFFFFFFFF!
"You sound like a wild boar who is desperately trying to find an apple he lost, dad."
"Mmmm, the wild boar yes, a gluttonous eater with an incredible sense of smell, mmm, sometimes tamed to be used for foraging..."
I shake the pan a bit and flip the bread and ham. Mmm, perfectly golden brown, my mouth began to salivate just looking at it. My dad who was beginning to wake up sat down at the dinner table.
"Were you up late again researching?"
"Ah, ah yes, yes I was. Researching something very interesting."
I plate up the breakfast into two servings and place one in front of my dad and then sit down with my own.
"Hoh? Even more interesting than this divine breakfast?"
My dad picked up his fork and took a bite out of his breakfast. He seemed to wake up completely at that bite. Mmm yes, breakfast has magical powers.
"This breakfast is indeed delicious."
"Right? Maybe it could even raise the dead. So, what was this interesting research topic? Empires, monsters, oh, maybe treasure?"
"Nay, It was about the various gods that reside in this world."
The Gods huh? I stuffed my mouth full of eggs and toast, mmm delicious. I mumbled with my mouth full.
"What's so interesting about the Gods? They are just people with lots of power."
"Indeed they have power, and it's how they get that power that makes them so interesting."
"Through prayers right?"
"Yes, praying, Gods who get prayed to more get more power, it's an interesting concept isn't it?"
"Huh, how so?"
My dad slowly finished off his last bit of ham, he always loved fried ham. He then began to eat his eggs.
"Well it would mean that there was power in thought, in prayer all we do is think about something right, so if God's could get power from it, then that means there must be power in thought, a power we all have."
I stopped chewing for a moment, power in thought huh.
"So if all I have to do is think about someone to give them power, couldn't anyone make anyone a God."
"Mmmm, I think it would take a lot more than one person and I think not all thinking is the same. There's such a thing as quality as well."
"Rich emotions, true believing, in a sense you can't really fake feelings they have to be real. That's why all of the main gods have ancient folklore of before they were gods, of incredible achievements or feats of prowess. They all did things that made people believe in them with strong emotions and then eventually they entered "godhood"."
"What exactly is godhood?"
"Not sure, all we attach to the definition is anyone who can give us power through a contract."
"Hmm question, why exactly would things like Gods of murder or gods associated with evil deeds exist, who would pray to them?"
"Mmm, the thing about praying is it doesn't need to be a conscious effort, sometimes it's subconscious and it doesn't need to be positive, it just has to have strong genuine emotions attached. In that sense, infamy may be more effective than fame. However, followers of those gods tend to be persecuted openly so it balances out I suppose."
"Why don't people turn into Gods left and right in this age then? Going into the army and achieving feats is extremely popular and using power from contracts leaves many people in awe of Holy Knights or Inquisitors. Shouldn't they have turned into Gods long ago?"
"I have a theory on that. I think there are three factors that come into play for why that doesn't happen."
My dad cleared his throat and held out one finger towards me as his eyes sparkled, heh, he really likes his theories.
"One. Like you said, joining the army to find glory and getting contracts are very popular, thus, their achievements are diluted. Something that was once amazing in the age of no contracts is still cool, but more normal."
He held out his second finger still smiling.
"Two. People who achieve a lot with contracts have their achievements associated with the God they follow, thus much of the thoughts go into how amazing that God's power is, in the end, contracts are just borrowing power right?"
"Ehhhh? That's kind of scummy of the Gods isn't it, we fight but all the appreciation goes to them and they reap all the benefits?"
"Mmm, I'm sure they don't get all the benefits, there is still a person attached to those achievements, however, give and take is how the world works, remember Yule, power never comes for free."
"Pfft, and the third reason?"
My Dad held out his third finger however he wasn't smiling. He bent forward bringing his face closer and started to whisper. Dude, nobody is in here except us...
"Third. Anyone who reaches the threshold to enter godhood is snuffed out by the current gods."
Dad clamped his hand over my mouth looking around.
"Shhh!!!!!! This is just my own theory but don't go saying this out loud okay?"
I nodded and he released my mouth then moved back a bit.
"Indeed, while it may take alot, people with contracts can still gain a lot of believers through their achievements. However, what if somewhere in their contract was some fine print?"
"Yes, all contracts have them, additional conditions usually gone unnoticed. Gods can smite you if you ever break your contract right, what if there was some fine print in there that allowed them to smite you if you got too close to Godhood?"
"That's crazy, why would they do that?"
"There are a finite number of people in this world, this means a finite number of followers are available, a new god might take away some of their own followers. Gods are used to absolute power and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
I take a deep breath.
What an insane notion.
"That theory does sound... dangerous."
"Indeed, so it's best if you keep it to yourself Yule. And besides, it's just a theory."
I nod. I definitely wouldn't utter such words to anyone, not unless I wanted to be hung for heresy.
"I wonder which God gets the most prayers then?"
"Who knows. The world is vast and everyone believes in different things. And besides, different gods may focus on quantity while others may focus on quality."
My dad had finished his breakfast and placed his fork onto his plate.
"That was pretty good Yule, maybe you should become a chef?"
"Nah, that sounds like a lot of work."
"Pffft, so did you find out why the gods rule over us anyways, what's their reason?"
"Their reason, well it's different for each of them probably. Some gods are not associated with a country at all and don't interact much with mortal affairs. For the ones who are associated with kingdoms I'm sure it's similar to the reason that kings or emperors lord over countries."
"And that reason is?"
My dad shrugged his shoulders.
"Maybe they were forced into it by birth, a duty they can't rid themselves of. Or maybe they strived for it, for power. Maybe they see it as a position that can further their own agenda. Or maybe, just maybe, they care about their subjects and genuinely want to help them, or maybe it's a combination of all?"
"Ehhh, sounds tiresome."
My dad laughed then slapped my shoulder.
"Hah! You got that right Yule, the world of power and position is indeed very tiresome, so you'd best avoid it yea?"
I nodded my head as if that was obvious. "Of course."
Dad got up and stretched.
"I have to go buy more candles, and you're coming with me."
"Heh, I know my son is a lazy bum so I gotta drag your ass out to get some fresh air, girls don't like shut-ins yenno."
"Pfffft, you stay shut in all the time doing research, that's why mom left you!"
Dad winced a bit before smiling at me."A wise man once said 'Do as I say, not as I do'. Heh, come on, let's go!"
My dad grabbed my shoulders and pulled me up then basically forced me out the door. I guess a walk around town after breakfast would be nice.
As we were walking around many children and their parents were also out walking around going about their own business. Many of them stopped to talk to my father and many of the children hugged his legs. My father was quite popular with children because he always had lots of stories to tell due to his research. And, I guess after reading so many stories you get good at telling them.
"Hey hey, tell us that story about the fire lord again!"
"Hoh, I have to head into the shop to buy some candles, how about you ask my son Yule to tell you a story."
Both kids turn to look at me.
W-wait, i'm not good with children, they're too hyper! My dad patted me on the back and then hurried off into the candle shop.
"So, so, tell us!"
"T-tell you w-what?"
"A story, story!"
Both kids looked at me with pure expecting eyes. Tsk! Curse children.
"Fine.... Let's see, ah okay, I'll tell you the story about the tortoise and the hare."
Both kids smiled and sat on a nearby bench, ready to listen.
"Once upon a time there was a tortoise and a hare. The tortoise was never in a rush and always took his time to go anywhere. The hare was always fast and rushed as fast as he could to wherever he needed to go. Obviously, they didn't get along since they were opposites."
"One day after arguing, the hare challenged the tortoise to a race and said that whoever won would have to serve the other for the rest of their life. The tortoise paused for a long moment before agreeing. Internally, the hare was gleeful, 'this tortoise must be slow in the head too if he thought he could beat me in a race, I know how slow he is'. So, who do you think won the race?"
"The hare, of course!"
"No, no I heard this one, it's the tortoise because the hare got tired and had to rest but the tortoise just kept going at a steady pace."
"Ha, you're close, but my version is a bit different you see. On the day of the race when they started the hare couldn't help but open his eyes in shock! The tortoise whom he had always thought was slow was running extremely fast! And furthermore, he was running in such a stupid looking way that the hare was stunned and couldn't move for a long time."
I got on the ground and spread my legs and arms and started flopping them about very fast, imitating how a tortoise would run. The children started laughing at that.
"Then the hare realized the tortoise was far ahead of him so he woke up and ran as hard and fast as he could. Indeed, the hare was faster than the tortoise but the tortoise was somehow fast too and the pause at the start of the race had caused a big gap. In the end, the tortoise passed the finish line a little bit ahead of the hare."
Then I cuffed my hands around my head to look like ears and squared on my feet to make myself look like a rabbit. I said the following line in the voice of a rabbit.
"The hare said to the tortoise: 'Tortoise! You cheated! You are suppose to be slow, you always travel slow!'"
The children were laughing pretty hard at this point. Hey, this is kind of fun. Then I got into the shape of a tortoise again and talked very slow.
"The tortoise responded: 'Its, not, that, I, cant, go, fast. Its, just, I, never, had, a, reason, to, till, now. I'll, thank, you, in, advance, for, your, servitude, hare."
The children really lost it at the slow tortoise voice and were holding their stomachs. Heh, I guess I looked pretty stupid.
God I hope nobody from school sees this.
I turn around still flopped on the ground as a tortoise and see the beautiful Nel standing there in a lovely pink sundress with a basket full of muffins. She was staring at me with a very confused expression.
"W-what are you d-doing?"
I quickly stand up as a blush creeps onto my face. Ahhhh, so embarrassing. I cleared my throat.
"Ahem! I was just educating the children of a story"
"Ha ha ha! Hey hey sister did you see how dumb he looked!"
"When he talked slow it really seemed like how a tortoise would talk, he looked ridiculous!"
Brats. All children are brats.
"Yule you were... telling the children a story?"
"A-and, you acted it out?"
"And they found it funny?"
Nel finally had a look of realization come across her face and then she smiled.
"Wow Yule! I never knew you were so good with children, that's such a big relief!"
"Why is it a relief to you that I'm good with children?"
Nel stared blankly at me for a moment, then her entire face went red and she tried to hide it with her hands.
"Hkk! U-uh, um, t-thats, I was just worried is all..."
As I was about to speak up again I felt somebody grab my shoulders. I turn to see my dad looking at me intensely.
"Yule. I always told you to be nice to girls, what have you done to this fine young lady to make her blush you fiend of a son!"
I facepalmed hearing my father.
"Oh! No, no it's not like that mister. I'm Yule's friend from school, we're friends, friends!"
My dad paused for a moment then stared blankly at Nel, then looked at me, he looked back at Nel then back at me, then he smiled slyly.
"Hohh, friends ehhhhhh? Hey, todays a beautiful day, how about we go get some drawings of us done in the town square, there are usually freelance artists there."
"Oh, oh! I'm free, that sounds like fun!"
"Ehh, sounds t-"
I felt my dads grip on my shoulders tighten and I turn to look at him. The look on his face somehow said 'I'm trying to help you' and 'are you an idiot' at the same time. I quickly swallow my previous words.
"...F-fun, that sounds fun yea."
"Great! Let's go then, Yule, be a man and help this fine young lady carry her basket."
"Oh, right, here Nel gives me those."
Nel blushed a bit then nodded and handed me the basket. Weird, why was Nel blushing so much today, was it because I looked stupid when I was acting out the story, is she embarrassed of having to be near me!?! Ugh, I'm never telling a story again.
"See you later tortoise man, that story was pretty funny!"
"Ha ha yea, bye bye!"
"T-tortise man!?! Pfffft-"
Nel was covering her face trying to stifle a laugh, that was kind of cute. I guess there was some worth in embarrassment. We quickly left the candle shop area and headed to the town square where lots of people were gathered. There we found a street artist drawing charcoal portraits in the town square.
"So will it be all three of you?"
"Mmm, no no, I don't want one, I'm picture shy you see, just these two for now."
Oi, you're the one who said you wanted to get pictures drawn.
"Mmmkay, why don't you two sit on that fountain edge over there."
Both me and Nel went to go sit on the edge.
"Okay, looks good let's star-"
"Wait, wait, come now aren't you two friends, why are you sitting so far apart, cozy up a little bit, I want the warmth of friendship to be the main element in this picture!"
"What? This is fine, just draw u-"
All of a sudden I felt Nel scooch over right beside me as she grabbed my arm and leaned against me. Hk! Too close, too close! I started blushing. Nel spoke up in a shy voice.
"L-like this mister?"
"Yes, yes! Perfect Nel, this exactly captures the essence of friendship."
I swear I heard the Artist whisper under his breath, 'This is a bit more than just friendship no?'.
"Alright go ahead and start drawing, this is perfect."
"Okidoky, I'm going to start drawing now so try not to move. You'll need to stay like that for 30 minutes."
I felt the warmth of Nel hugging my arm and move my eyes to look at her. She seems to be blushing and avoiding looking at me. Ugh, you must feel so uncomfortable Nel I'm sorry.
I look up and see my old man grinning at us.
Oi old man, you'll pay for this you meddling old fart.
Although... this is kind of nice just sitting here with the warm sun on my face and the gentle flow of water sounding behind me. It also feels really nice to have Nel so close. I start to hum as I wait for the drawing and eventually Nel starts to hum along too. Her humming sounds super cute. So, for 30 minutes us two just sat there humming along enjoying lazing about. I guess this is pretty accurate to what I would normally do.
The time passes quickly.
"Okay, all done you can move about now."
Ah finally, I moved to get up but Nel didn't let go and she was still humming.
"O-oh? It's over, oh sorry, sorry!"
She finally let go of my arm and got up as well, she was pouting. She somehow seemed annoyed that the picture was done.
"Well, here's the final product."
The drawing he handed us showed a lovely fountain with a background showing some distant shops and passerby's. The main focus of the picture was the man and woman sitting on the fountain. The woman was sitting close to the man hugging his arm. Their heads were both titled slightly away from each other, both seemed to be trying their hardest not to look at each other. However, they both had a lovely gentle smile on their faces and although they may seem a bit anxious, they seemed happy.
It was a beautiful picture and I couldn't help but admire Nel, she really looked lovely. My dad walked up from behind looking at the picture over my shoulder.
"Wow Nel, you really are a beautiful young lady, this picture is wonderful. Too bad my son's dead eyes ruin the picture. Sigh."
Please stop talking.
"No, I like it alot, and I'm used to Yules eyes. For some reason seeing this picture makes me happy."
"Hoh, then you keep it dear."
"W-what, but you paid for it mister."
"No worries, no worries. A friend of my son is a friend of mine and I don't need that picture, I have to look at him everyday, any more and I'd go crazy."
Abuse, this is child abuse!
"Really, I can keep it? Okay then!"
Nel folded up the picture and put in her dress pocket.
"We'd better get home dad, don't you have some research you need to do or whatnot."
"Oh yes, yes your right. I have the candles so let's return."
Just as we are about to leave a bunch of shadows appeared on the ground. I looked at them, it looked like the shadows you would see from a flock of birds taking off, but there were hundreds of them, the shadows covered the entire square. Wow, what a large flock of birds, I turned to look up and admire them but what I saw confused me.
I did indeed see a huge flock of something flying in the air towards the town center although they didn't look like birds. Hmm they were black and had long bodies with pointy heads, their heads seemed to catch and reflect the sunlight. Wouldn't that make their heads metal? A long thin body with a metal pointy head?
Isn't that an arrow? Don't they look a lot like arrows?
My dad yelled then quickly grabbed Nel and I and covered us with his body. Before I knew what was happening I heard the sounds of metal puncturing flesh and heard screams of pain all throughout the square. Then I felt something pierce my shoulder and leg followed by a burning pain. I screamed out in agony as I fell to the ground.
Hkkkkk, it hurt intensely for a while and my eyes are clenched tight due to the pain. After a while it still hurts a lot but I become able to ease my breathing, I feel something wet and sticky brush up against my side. I open my eyes and look over to the side, laying there is a man face down and his back is littered with black arrows piercing it, from his head all the way down to his legs there must've been over 15 arrows piercing that man. Blood had seeped from his various wounds and a large pool was spreading out from him, which had brushed my shoulder. I stared at the dead man for what seemed like the longest moment in my life because I couldn't comprehend what I was seeing.
That dead man was my father.
I couldn't feel the pain from my wounds anymore as it was replaced with an aching dread coming from my heart. I struggled to sit up and reached out to shake my fathers shoulder, my eyes were wide and blurring in and out of focus.
My father didn't respond to my shaking, I began to panic and proceeded to shake him more.
"DAD!?! HEY, HEY, WAKE UP!"
As I shook him more and more he still didn't respond and the vigorous shaking made more blood spill out from his body and when I looked at my hands they too were covered in blood.
My father was dead.
My blood covered hands lost their strength as they fell to my side. I slowly stood up and began to look around.
Various bodies were littering the town square all punctured with arrows, I saw the artist who had drawn us just moments ago, he was sprawled on the ground with an arrow straight through his eye. I looked past him and near the town center entrance I saw the two children I told the story to this morning. At least, I think it's them, it's hard to recognize them since their skulls and bodies were torn horribly from the arrows, shreds of skin or chunks of flesh torn off to expose white bone.
All of a sudden my body caught up with what I was seeing as I felt extremely nauseated. I turn to the fountain near me as I vomit into the red water.
Huh? Why was the water red?
As I look at the fountain I see a couple bodies floating in the water pierced with arrows. I guess they fell in when they were shot with the arrows. Their life blood had seeped into the water dying it red.
A town center littered with bodies and a blood fountain to match it, truly this scene was too unbelievable. Too bad the artist was dead, this is imagery that one only comes across once in a lifetime.
I started chuckling as I sat down on the edge of the fountain. It was a defeated laugh. Deep down I realized that someone was attacking the town, that I should run away, seek help, do something. I realized deep down that I shouldn't waste my dad's sacrifice, who quickly protected me with his body without hesitation.
I realized that all deep down and yet, I couldn't move.
Something was gripping my body, creeping from my heart and sending its black tendrils to every inch of my body locking me in place.
It was despair.
My father was dead, the city was being attacked and was probably surrounded. What was the point of running? Despair had crept and my head drooped.
There was no hope.
Then I heard it, a weak voice calling out to me.
"*cough* are you okay Yule, can you move?"
I'm probably very far from okay.
"*cough cough* you should runaway Yule..."
Runaway? What was the point?
Who was calling out to me? Everyone here was dead. I looked towards where the voice was coming from and that's when I realized that I had subconsciously avoided looking at that spot this whole time due to fear of what I would see. That spot was where the other person who was protected by my father lay, with a single arrow through her back.
That person was Nel, her sundress was soaked with blood and a bits of blood flowed out of her mouth, blood must have been flowing into her lungs making it difficult to breath. And yet, as our eyes met she didn't look pained and she didn't look scared, she looked... relieved?
"Ah *cough*, you finally looked at me, I'm glad, I thought... I thought you were dead..."
Tears began to flow from her eyes as she smiled at me.
How? How could you smile now?
"I'm so glad you're alive Yule!"
Quickly something welled up from within me, beginning to displace the tendrils of despair, something warm. My face scrunched up as tears began to flow from my eyes. I quickly limped to kneel in front of her, like a warm fire in the middle of a blizzard, she was my only hope.
"N-nel, t-they're all dead Nel! My dad, the artist, the kids... the kids from before are dead too Nel..."
I clenched my fists tightly and closed my eyes shut as the images of the dead flooded my mind attacking my sanity.
Then I felt a hand cover my own and as I slowly opened my eyes I saw Nel had reached out and grabbed my hand.
"It's okay Yule, I'm still here, you're not alone."
That's right, Nel's still here, Nel's still alive, there was hope. I quickly grasp her hand back.
"We have to get out of here Nel, come on, maybe we can find others."
"I can hardly move Yule, I c-can't walk or get up at all. Even talking is-*Cough Cough Cough*"
Nel coughed heavily and I saw more blood spray from her mouth and that's when I realized.
Nel my one and only hope, was dying.
I felt Nel grasp my hand a bit tighter.
"But you can still go Yule... You can still move, you can live! So please Yule... escape!"
"No! I won't leave you Nel, you must be able to stand, you must! If you can't I'll stay here with you."
I stared desperately at Nel, pleading for her to get up. She stared back at me for a long moment. Then she put her hands against the ground as she tried to push herself up, I saw her body tremble as she got a few inches off the ground. Then she coughed up a mouth of blood and fell back to the ground.
"Nel! Nel are you okay?!?"
I saw that Nels body was shaking, Nel was sobbing. I quickly grasped her hand again.
"It's okay Nel, I'll stay with you."
Nel pushed my hand away and she turned her face to me, tears and blood flowed from her face as she looked at me pleading.
"Please Yule! Please leave me and go! Please, please...."
"I won't Nel! You're scared! I won't leave you alone Nel, not ever."
"I'm not crying because of that... I'm crying because I can see you wont leave! I know you're too kind like that! I'm crying because if you stay, I'll see you die too!"
"Please Go! I don't want to see the person I love die..."
Quickly I see my past few years of life pass before my eyes, all my memories with Nel came forward. All the blushing, the teasing, the hugging, the time we took the picture together today.
Finally an image of my meddling father smiling at me appeared, he was shooting me that look that said 'are you an idiot?'.
I kept my head down for a long time in silence.
Yea dad, I am an idiot. I never realized but you did.
Slowly I got up with only one purpose in my mind.
I had to save Nel.
But I couldn't do it with an arrow in my leg, I reached down, grabbed the arrow and ripped it out. I screamed at the intense pain that followed.
"Yule?!? Yule stop, stop! What are you doing?"
I reached down and picked up Nel. I wasn't strong so just holding her took all of my strength.
"Well escape together Nel."
I took one step forward and my injured leg nearly gave out on me as I struggled down to one knee.
"Yule you can't! Put me down Yule!"
I struggled back up to my feet and took another step, gritting through the pain. Little by little I took one step after another. We had finally neared the exit of the plaza, I turned to look one last time at my dad's body.
Goodbye old man, wish I could've made breakfast for you one last time...
"Can you smile for me Nel?"
"I've never told you Nel, but I love seeing your smile, it always makes me feel happy. But it's not just your smile."
"I love your laugh too, I love when you pout to tease me and I love when you hug me. I love talking to you and I love listening to you."
"Truth is Nel, I love everything about you."
I look down and I see Nel looking up at me with tears in her eyes and a huge smile on her face.
Only you could smile at a time like this Nel, thank you.
I smiled back and then proceeded walking forward. I had the strength I needed now. I would save her.
"Thank you Yule.... Tired im so tired..."
Nel felt so weak in my arms, beads of sweat flowed down her face and the smile from before disappeared as she weakly closed her eyes struggling to breath every so often. I had to get her help quickly.
We just needed to make it to the guard house near the town center, surely someone was alive there, maybe even guardsman Pontius would be there. Surely he would know what to do next. Yes I just had to carry Nel to the guardhouse.
"Yule! Yule thank goodness you're alive, my children, have you seen my children!?!"
I turn my head to the voice and there I see the mother of those two children I told the story to before running towards me.
"My children, my two children they went to the town square to play, have you seen them?!?"
She grasped onto my shoulders and then she saw the arrow and the wounded Nel in my arms.
Children's Mother:"Blood, you're both bleeding... I heard screaming before and rushed out of the house, but w-whats going on? My children I must find my children! Have you seen them!?!"
My face grew dark as an image of two dead children popped up in my head.
"I saw them."
"Where!?? Where were they, tell me now quickly!"
She had grabbed my shoulder and started shaking me. I saw how desperate she looked at me but I knew the truth, I could only stare at her with wide eyes as I remembered their torn bodies.
"Hey, why are you looking at me like that? Yule, tell me, you saw them didn't you? H-hey..."
"I s-saw them."
"What... w-what did you see?"
Slowly the Mothers eyes became filled with despair, she could see it in my eyes, she knew I wasn't lying.
Just as I was about to say something I heard running. Quickly I turned around and saw an individual dressed fully in black and red garbs. He had his lower face covered in a red scarf. He was running at me holding a black knife.
Not good! He was aiming for Nel in my arms, I can't move out of the way!
Just as he was about to pierce Nel with the blade I shifted her best I could and the knife just missed her, but then it plunged directly into my abdomen.
Insane pain assaulted me but I had bigger things to worry about. The scarfed man was quickly preparing to attack me with his fists, not good!
"IT WAS YOU WASN'T IT!"
The scarfed man was tackled to the ground by the Mother as she screamed at him. She quickly mounted him and began to punch his face with all her might, I could hear the sounds of bone cracking, both the mans face and the woman's hands.
"YOU KILLED THEM!"
"WHY!?! WHY DID YOU KILL THEM!?!"
"DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!"
Punch, Punch, Punch, Punch, Crack, Crack, CRACK!
I stared in horror as the woman smashed the man's head into a bloody mess, she continued long after he stopped moving and she didn't look like she would stop despite her hands being a bloody mess.
I weakly called out to her. "H-hey, he's dead..."
She hit the man once more then turned to me. Her eyes were bloodshot filled with grief and insanity.
"Why didn't you save them...."
I stared at her bloody hands and insane eyes, I could see it.
She was already beyond saving.
"WHY ARE YOU ALIVE AND NOT THEM!?!?"
She then returned to smashing the dead man.
She must've gone crazy from grief, but her words echoed within me. Why was I alive and not them?
I looked down into my arms, right now I had to save Nel.
I turned away and started walking away from the woman. Cold... it was cold for some reason.
"Yule... Yule you're bleeding!"
Ah that's right, I was stabbed. I felt Nel reach out to touch the wound, she tried to stop the flow of blood.
"It's not stopping... Yule there's too much blood, too much!"
"You have to stop Yule, if you keep going you'll die!"
It's okay Nel, It's just a short walk, I'm fine, why was it so cold though?
Distantly I heard Nel's cries but they started to sound fuzzy, I couldn't really make them out anymore.
I was walking down the street of my home town holding the girl who loved me.
Slowly the bloody street around me was replaced with the normal bustling street I knew so well. The warm sun was setting and its rays caressed my face as they usually do.
Surely death couldn't be this peaceful?
I must be fine then.
I walked forward beginning to hum.