Forget

December 31, 2009
He was an angry vagrant.

The war had left him broken and passionless and purposeless. The sword slash to the arm he had taken in defense of one of the doctors had left him unable to do any work that would yield any sort of real livelihood, so he spent his years passing from place to place working -- and sometimes begging -- for a hot meal and a place to rest his head.

People turned him away in blizzards and rainstorms. They refused him a piece of bread even when they saw him swaying from hunger. They threatened them with their blades and pitchforks and horses when he stole an hour's sleep on their land.

He was doomed to spend his life wandering the land, half-starved and lonely.

His name was Tharin, and he was one of those forgotten young men who constantly thought about ending his own life with the rusty war blade he carried around in case a drunkard got too riled up.

Tharin wrapped his threadbare coat around his thin frame even tighter, ambling down the beaten path. His stomach threatened to gnaw its way out of his abdomen, and he grit his teeth, his omnipresent rage bubbling underneath his skin. He hated the cold, the pain in his ankle, the hunger in his gut, the poor boots he had had to steal from a dead man a year ago, the ill-fitting shirt underneath his coat and the poor excuse for a waistcoat, the dead tree in his path, he hated it all.

Tharin looked up into the gloomy sky but was distracted from his thoughts by a wisp of smoke, barely visible against the clouds. A village or small town couldn't be far off. His mouth was dry from lack of drinkable water, and his entire body felt dead; a bout of illness in a dark, damp forest without a proper fire had left him unsteady and even worse off than before. A few days in civilization, if they were kind people (though he scorned the idea that people could be truly kind), would set him to right.

He kept his slow, plodding pace, though. His general dislike of people made him reluctant to be around them. After the world had shat on him after the war because of his injury and because of his lack of fortune and lack of ability to hold an occupation, he had not yet gained his taste for society again.

Tharin saw the outer edges of the town and steeled himself. As he got closer, however, he came upon a young lady picking flowers and setting them into a basket on her elbow. She was wearing a very becoming blue dress, and her bonnet was hanging from her neck by its ribbons. She had an uncommonly cheerful face, also.

He didn't speak. Instead, he waited for her to realize he was there. It didn't take long. Eventually, she happened to look a bit further for an especially pretty pink flower, and she spotted his boots.

The young lady looked up, shocked. She took a hurried step backwards. Good, he noted, she was no fool. She knew it was right to fear him, to fear all men, just as he had learned to fear all others as well.

"What do you want?" the young lady asked, a note of fear in her words.

"Some food, a bed for the night," Tharin said softly, unable to stop himself from swaying slightly. He grappled for a tree limb, a boulder, anything, but the next thing he knew, he was on his back, his clothes already becoming soaked through from the recent rain. He groaned, gray starting to overtake his vision.

The last thing he saw was the young woman leaning over him, calling to him.

So forgotten by the world, so starved and so ill, Tharin died there.

He awoke in a field of wildflowers, the summer sun warming his face. His arm was around the shoulders of a young woman who resembled someone he might have known from another life, and she was laughing as a stream babbled over some rocks.





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