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Igniting the Flame
Tears started forming in her eyes, “I… I think it would be better if we took a break.” Tears ran from her eyes down her cheeks.
They stood there facing each other, holding hands. The smell of rain grew stronger as the rumble of thunder grew closer. “Whatever makes you happy –“
“Wake up Saer!”
Jumping wide awake, Saer rubbed his eyes and confusedly looked around. All he saw was crystal clear water, as far as the eye can see. At the cloudy horizon, he can barely make out the shoreline. He realized he had been asleep; the rocking of the boat must have made him tired. “I am on a mission,” he reminded himself, “I cannot be distracted.”
“No you cannot,” the deep voice said again. It sounded familiar.
Saer turned around and saw Nigel, his best friend and commander of this legion. “Ten minutes until landfall. Get your gear together.”
Checking his double-edged sword and small shield, Saer put the sword back into its scabbard and the shield on his forearm. As he strapped the shield on, he remembered his day of recruitment to join the fight against the King. He regretted going through with that decision.
“Spread out. We don’t want to all be taken out at once,” Nigel chuckled. “Saer, take the front.”
There was a rumor that the King had developed the cannon. Looking around, Saer saw that the others had heard it too. Everyone had a scared, terrified look on their war-torn faces. Turning back towards the bow, Saer saw the towering castle through the remaining light fog. Suspense hung in the silent air.
Boom! – Boom! Boom! Boom! Water exploded around them following the thunderous noise. Bringing the oars out, Nigel commanded them to row faster. Boom! A spherical, metallic object hit the front most part of the bow sending splinters flying through the air in all directions. Saer covered his face from the debris, receiving only minor cuts. The man next to him braced himself, but it wasn’t enough. A piece of wood the size of an arm impaled into his chest, coming out the other side. Sitting behind him and covered in dark red blood, Nigel screamed, “Bail!”
Diving head first into the water, Saer lost his breath. The mountain water was freezing. He swam down to the bottom and opened his eyes. Looking around, he quickly moved towards the shoreline. Before he could make it, he succumbed to the lack of air and surrendered to the cannon fire in dire need of oxygen.
Breaking the raging surface, Saer took huge gulps of air. Oh, the sweet air! Not realizing what was happening around him, he took several more. With his eyes closed, a splash of ice water interrupted his breathing and took a large gulp of icy mountain freshness, snapping him back to reality. Saer quickly assessed the situation and swam frantically to the shoreline through the explosions of water.
Saer’s hand hit the sandy beach. Laying there with waves cresting over his body, he closed his eyes to rest, remembering that this used to be a friendly, family location with little children running around. Now, it’s full of craters, smoking debris, and death. The darkness of the clouds loomed overhead, watching the scene unfold.
“I love this. Just you and me, with a beautiful lake in front of us,” a sweet, calming voice said.
Saer turned his head and looked into her beautiful eyes, “I completely agree.”
She smiles and looks back at him, “I don’t want this moment to end.”
“Neither do I –“
“God, please no!” A powerful hand was placed onto Saer’s back and forcefully shook him. “Wake up Saer!”
Saer removed the sand from his eyes and opened them. Flipping over, he found Nigel looking down at him with a worried look on his exhausted face. The sun was setting, casting an eerie shadow across the beach. He had been asleep for a while. “How many are left?”
“Just you and me, Saer.”
The quietness of the air was nerve-wreaking for Saer, but Nigel had told him to hold up in this crater until nightfall.
Darkness arrived as Nigel peered over the top of the crater. After saying it was clear, he climbed up the side easily. Saer, having a more difficult time, tried to pull himself up, but kept sliding back down the crater. A hand came down and grabbed a hold of Saer’s hand. With a firm grip, Nigel pulled him up easily. Saer dusted the sand off of his body as Nigel began walking in the direction of the looming castle ahead.
Suddenly, a fire was lit off to their right and is soon followed by a sharp thunderous clap. Boom! Saer recognized the sound and hit the sand. Nigel wasn’t so lucky. The ball hit him squarely in the chest, and with a blood curdling scream, went down on a knee. His hand went to his indented chest; he couldn’t breathe, but he managed to wheeze out one word. “Run.” He tried to stand but fell, face first into the blood-tainted sand.
Saer was speechless having just witnessed his best friend’s death. Laying there for several minutes in disbelief, he doesn’t pay any attention to the small fire that’s getting closer, bouncing around in the night air as if it had a mind of its own.
The fire entered Saer’s peripheral vision, but he didn’t notice it at first. Only when the fire was within throwing distance, he noticed. He frantically scrambled away from the scene, tripping and losing his balance along the way. Saer looked back as tears formed in his eyes.
Fatigue hit him. Saer tried to keep his legs moving, but couldn’t. Falling forward, he threw his arms out to catch his fall, but they felt like rubber as his face planted itself into the ground. Saer turned himself onto his back and looked toward the direction he came from. Nothing – no one followed him and there wasn’t any sight of the castle. He didn’t know how long he had been running, but it didn’t matter. He relaxed the tension in his neck to allow his head to drop and passed out.
Sunlight streamed into the room. Room? Saer sat up in his bed, but became light-headed.
“You need your rest.” It was that sweet voice again, but this time, he wasn’t dreaming.
“Amira?” Saer held out his hand. She took it and held it tightly. He remembered her smooth skin.
“You’re going to be ok,” Amira said.
Another voice could be heard from the other side of the house. Saer could not make out the words being said. Before he passed out again, he heard the man say something about not wanting her to see him again.
Over next few days, Saer learned of the relationship between Amira and Terric. Saer became depressed and remained inside his small, two room hut. He felt like his heart was blown up by a cannon and was now just a pile of smoldering debris. Nothing could help him. To end his suffering, he signed up for many dangerous missions, but they always ended in victory. Saer came out of all the battles without a scratch.
Amira saw his behavior and became worried, causing depression for her as well. It’s obvious for Saer that she still cared about him, but knowing this did not ease his pain.
The final battle had begun. The people pushed the king’s forces into the castle. Saer led his legion through the massive gate first. With one step through the gate, he heard an all too familiar sound. Diving to his left, He is knocked into the wall by the blast. His vision started to fade and then passes out.
“Saer,” there was that soothing voice again; “everything is going to be ok.”
Saer’s eyes popped open. He was alert, eyes shifted back and forth, taking in the situation. Spotting a bow, Saer took an arrow out of the quiver and picked the bow up. Aiming for the group reloading the cannon, he let one fly. The arrow implanted itself squarely in the man’s chest and went down, halting the reloading process.
Hours later, the hard fought battle was won. The king had died. The sun shone through the clouds and onto Saer, warming him. He had never realized how dark the kingdom was until now. Saer thanked God for all of the support he had to keep him safe.
Back home, Saer found Amira in his house. Once she saw him, tears started running down her face. They collide and he held her in his arms. Through her sobs, she could barely make out the words, “I’m so sorry. I’m really sorry. I had made a mistake – with him.”
“It’s ok,” Saer responded, “everything is going to be ok now.”