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For A Friend This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Orwin O'Shea stared dumbfoundedly at the tombstone with his friend Monty O'Meare's name on it. How could this happen? How many times had they faced death at the hands of their enemies? They had been unbeatable.

So they had thought. They had survived earthquakes, plagues, and a couple of wars together just so it could be taken away by a fluke: a boy with a sword. His friend had saved his life more times than he could count, and now he was gone.

Orwin knew he could get him back, and he had to try. He lifted his face to the heavens and spoke, "I ask the force that created man to listen to me now. My friend Monty O'Meare stood beside me the day we saved mankind from the Dukes of Hell.

"Together we served justice and the gods. We protected the weak and strengthened religion. We were in essence the saviors of mankind. Never did we ask for wealth, just each other. Now I ask that you return my friend to me, so we can live our remaining days in peace."

Orwin opened his eyes in time to see a lightning bolt strike him from the sky. Then he was amongst the clouds, floating like one of them but walking just as easily as if he were on the ground.

"Orwin O'Shea!" boomed a great voice. "You come here asking for the impossible. What makes you think you have the right for such a request?"

Orwin looked around for the speaker but seeing none he spoke, "For most of my life I have fought where you said to fight. Killed the people who deserved it for their wicked deeds, even my own brother! Together, Monty and I tipped the supreme balance into the favor of law. What I ask is small for someone with your power."

"I admit you served my purpose well," said the voice. "But my slaves you were, and now that your usefulness is over. I need you no longer. Leave me, mortal."

"As I expected," Orwin said. "there is no justice."

"But there is," the voice said in a milder tone. "Justice of a kind. Justice which must be carved from the chaos of existence. Man was not born to a world of justice, but he can create such a world!"

"You speak a sort of truth," Orwin retorted, "but I remember something of a greater truth. A law that should bind both Chaos and Law - the Law of Balance. The Supreme Spirit holds that balance over the earth, and it should be that Chaos and Law war to keep that balance straight. Sometimes the balance tips one way, sometimes another. Thus are the ages of the earth created. But an unequal balance of this magnitude is wrong. In your struggling for law, you may have forgotten this!" For a long time there was silence.

"Monty has found another place," Orwin continued. "Another life. I have to believe that, or else what is the point of existence? If not, I know my life, my very soul, the very fire that burns inside of me would die and Chaos would rule. With ..."

"Silence!" boomed the voice. "You are wise for your years. I will give you a choice. I will give you your friend's life, but it shall be like you have never met each other - never known the other existed. Or you leave now and your friend lives among the stars. When you die, you join him."

Orwin racked his brains trying to find a way around this, but he could not. He remembered when he had met Monty - when they were kids. They had both been so alive and so full of themselves.

He made his decision. He turned and left fully confident that he had made the right choice.

A man stepped out from behind a cloud and stared at Orwin's retreating form. He had lived up in the clouds for centuries but never seen a man with such spirit.

The love this mortal obviously bore for his friend brought peace to the man's heart. Mankind would survive with such emotions. The man sat down and thought, When I die. may there be friends who will grieve for me, who will carry on our shared joys and pains, and who will carry my memory. This is the immortality of the spirit, the ever-lingering legacy. the fuel of grief. But so too, the fuel of faith."

He granted the mortal's wish.

Orwin O'Shea stared to the north. Again, he got the feeling that this was not the way things should be.

He shrugged and walked back to the house where his brother and wife waited.

In the north, Monty O'Meare stared south with the same feeling that things were not the way they should be, but he had no time for such feelings. He had a war to win. 1


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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