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The Defining Moment

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My name was Ferit. I was a man who lived for many years in the company of many men. I watched the sun rise and the sun set, just as you do. I listened to the sounds of the earth, as you do. I knew the people of the earth, as you do. Did I live as you do? No. The world has shifted since my time hasn’t it? It has been turned over and over until the waters continuously rise and fall; until it cannot stop turning. Does the earth still shake? Does the sun still rise in the east? Do the winds still whistle in the storm? Does man still have power as they once did? If they do not, then all should be well. If they do…then you are not safe. I hope that you are safe. I hope everyone that lives after me will have a better life. My life has been a long, weary journey to make the lives after mine…simply better.

My tale…my life story begins long before yours. I couldn’t start from the very beginning, for I do not know where I was born, or the faces of my mother and father. I was never told their story either. I do remember where my journey began though. Far down in a great, open valley, where the grass was green, and the skies were almost always clear. The sun hung high overhead, looking down at all creation, warming the earth so the frost would not cover its surface. There was a small village in the valley, with a small population of ten men, twelve women and fifteen children. I was one of those children, not born to anyone in the village, but taken care of by many of the women. I was seven years old at the time.

The day that my story began was a dark one. The sun was not shining as usual, and the skies were not clear. In fact, you could hardly see anything as a thick cloud of fog filled the air. The wet fog, made the grass damp and almost muddy. It was easy to accidentally walk into someone, and many carried torches to show their positions.

“Ferit!” A voice that I recognized as my friend Reuel’s called to me.

“Over here Reuel,” I answered.

It took him a while to get to me, but eventually we stood face to face. He looked scared and awfully tired; I wondered why but did not bother to ask.

“The elder men were-they were-they were-talking-and-and they said something about-” He was talking too fast for me to understand.

“Calm down,” I interrupted, “What did they say?”

Reuel sat for a while, trying to catch his breath, “They said…that this fog is surrounded by ghosts. The Ghost Warriors!”

“You know that there is no such thing. It is a tale the mother’s use to scare us.”

I spent much time around the women, because they cared for me. I listened to all of their conversation and took in what they said. Sometimes they hardly noticed I was there, but I saw that as a good thing; I could listen without them knowing. The men of the village and some of the boys looked to me as an outsider; in return I looked up to none of them as an influence. I tried to keep to myself, and gather what knowledge I could. I was strange for a boy of my age.

“Why would our mothers lie to us?”

It was an innocent question, one that a child so young would normally ask. I knew the answer, but I did not want to get the mothers into a predicament. So I lied.

“They wouldn’t, the tale is true.”

“But you just said-”

“I know,” I interrupted again, “I lied. I am sorry.”

The fog began to shift in front of us, and even though we were standing only feet away from each other, I could not see Reuel anymore. The wind began to whistle in the distance. Somewhere in the village a women cried out. Everyone could hear it, and I could hear the running footsteps of several of the men going to see what had happened. There was another yell, this time from a man. Suddenly everything was deafeningly quiet.

For some odd reason, the fog began to blow away. I could see Reuel, who was on the floor, crouching in fear. I could see across the village where several women stood looking in my direction. I wondered why they all looked at me, they looked fearful. Soon I could see the sun overhead, everything was bright.

Reuel looked fearfully in my direction also, and I figured out that he wasn’t looking at me, but behind me. I turned around.

I saw a man who sat on a black stallion, towering over the rest of us. On the face of his steed there was a fleshy pink scar; it looked as if the animal had been tortured. I could not see the rider’s face, for he wore a large white mask over it that was shaped as a lion’s head. He wore gray armor similar to his mask, and held a spear in his right hand. Everyone else looked so scared of this man, they cowered before him. Even the men of our village did not move to face him. Strangely…I felt no fear.

“I am Omatikan,” the man spoke loudly for everyone to hear, “I am a warrior from the east. I have come to take your women and children, and set fire to your home. If one wishes to oppose me, then let him step forward!”

No one in the village moved. I wanted to step up; to fight this man, but I thought logically. What could I do? I was only a boy. We practiced throwing spears and using weapons a lot in our village, and even I as a seven year had good aim. I decided to try…rather than just sit there and let the man do what he wanted. I began to walk towards a spear that was propped up against a tent. Luckily no one noticed that I had moved; all eyes were on the warrior.

The warrior looked to the leader of our village, Hutan, and shouted, “Are all cowards!? Who is leader among you? Step forward.”

Hutan did not step forward, but instead got to his knees and bowed to the warrior. I looked at him with disdain as I picked up the spear.

I had a difficult decision to make. A decision that might change everything in a moment. A decision that might hurt everyone in the village. But I could not just let this outsider take over, and do as pleased with us. I would not let him! Just as the warrior lifted his spear and aimed at Hutan, I hurled mine in his direction with all my strength.



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