An excerpt from: The 18 Warriors of MARS

September 22, 2017
By AshleyKitchings, oak ridge, Tennessee
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AshleyKitchings, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
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Favorite Quote:
"A sword does not care of your intentions, it just cuts." "Nobody normal ever did anything meaningful in this world."

Author's note:

I was inspired by many different things to write this such as; Skyrim, the Tv show Once upon a time, and several books that I have read.

I let out a sharp scream, swinging my blade, blocking my opponents strike at my side. I feel as though I am not in my own body, a well-oiled machine set to kill. It’s kind of like watching yourself do something that you never expected to happen, everything is in slow motion and there seems to be a glossy sheen covering everything, as though I were looking through a crystal, with a bright beam of light bouncing off of anything I could see. Never in my life did I expect to be fighting my own brother, to the death. He is the only family I’ve got left, but I must return victorious. I have a mission to complete, a mission from the Queen and I cannot fail her, so Altern must die. I have so many questions to ask him, so many things I wish to say, but no time to say them. Blocking another of Altern’s strikes I yell “Brother! You can still stop this. We can go home together, I can ask the Queen to pardon you for your crimes!” He only looks blankly at me, determined to win. I land another brutal blow to his abdomen, he grunts but continues fighting me. I can see how exhausted he is, he has been through so much as of late, to be killed by his own sister, may Leyra bless him. The fatal blow lands in his throat, my brother is dead … by my hand. That was ten years ago and now Eygawa is at war.

I look around at everyone as I walk through our camp, somehow we have managed to survive all the hardships we have faced in these last few months, loosing Jilla was hard for all of us, she was a loyal friend and one our best warriors. “Commander, what are our orders?” Adenot asks walking towards me, hands behind his back he looks at me with his dark, stern eyes. “The Queen wants us to go assist Tosius with their little vermin problem.” I said with a sigh. “I’ll go prepare the garrison for the journey.” Adenot says walking off. It’s about a two day journey from our current position in the city of Edinum to Tosius, Adenot and I will have plenty of time to work out our problems on the way there, I hope… My horse Alenon is waiting patiently nearby and I decide to go for a quick ride. The two suns are out but it is a cloudy day and there is little light shining through, there is a nip in the cool air this morning, I shiver.  Alenon softly neighs and starts off at a slow trot, despite the chilly air and the cold state of my relationship with Adenot, somehow I’m still in a relatively good mood and I begin to hum the tune of an old folk song my mother use to sing to me as a child when I was distressed and wouldn’t go to bed. The state of Eygawa has slowly been deteriorating over the last few years, but this war is draining everyone’s morale and I can’t help but wonder if it is ever going to end. Back at camp everyone is packed and ready to head out, I grab my bag and mount Alenon. His fur is soft against my skin, he is warm to the touch, Alenon is the most reliable horse I’ve ever met, he and I have been through so much together, we’ve seen many battles, I don’t know what I would do without him. I lead the group on the regular route towards Tosius, it’s not a popular trade route anymore because of the Sprite problem in this corner of Angon, but it will get us to our destination the fastest. Things are quiet and I occasionally steal quick glances at Adenot but he seems lost deep in thought. There is a slight rustling of the bushes to my left Zeliara glances at me, silently questioning if she should make a move towards the mysterious sound, I nod slightly and she leaps off her horse sprinting into the bush grabbing the stranger who had been following us for what seemed like hours. Zee came out of the bushes pulling a young Otel boy by the ear along behind her. “Commander I apologize, it appears that my younger brother Zeek has been following us since we left Edinum.” She grumbles pushing the boy, who at this point has a strange look on his face which I can’t quite read, up onto her horse. “I’ll have to meet you back at Tosius, I need to take this idiot back to Edinum.” Zee says smacking the boy on the side of the head, and riding off in the opposite direction. A few hours later we come to a small clearing “Alright everyone, we are going to stop here and make camp, Tosius is a mile or so to the east.” I say dismounting Alenon and begin setting up my spot for the night.
My thoughts begin to wonder, why would the queen send us on this mission, it seems so pointless, a lone pod of Sprites is nothing for the Shalim garrison to be concerned about, we have more important things to attend to. Not to say that any village is unimportant, but we are highly skilled, and trained warriors built for gruesome battle, we should be out on the front lines fighting Aponi’s lackeys, not some simple pod of sprites. We’ve all seen our fair share of horrors through-out the course of the war, maybe this will be a nice break from it. I’m sitting sharpening and polishing my favorite sword and dagger when I hear shouts from the other side of the camp. I grab my weapons and run over to where the shouts are coming from, there are five Ragnis Shades and two pods of Sprites. Readying my sword I sprint towards the group of creatures along with the rest of the garrison, tree roots spring up at my feet as I run and hop on them like stepping stones, using each one to launch myself forwards, landing deadly blows to the sprites. Summersaulting off of a root I pull out my dagger placing it at the base of a sprites neck with my sword at its throat and pull the two together in one swift movement, slicing the creatures head off. A wisp of glowing blue-ish purple dust is absorbed into my dagger and I move on to the next creature. Blocking the flames that the Ragnis shades throw at me with my gauntlets, I run up to one of them making two large cuts on its body, and skewing its two hearts on my sword tossing them into the grass nearby. I feel a growing warmth, which quickly turns into a burning, rushing towards me, Turning around just in time for Alneph to shield me from the huge fire ball hurtling towards me. “Thanks!” I say continuing to slaughter the deadly creatures around me with ease. At last all the creatures are dead. Looking around at the blood spattered ground I am relieved to see that no one was lost to Leyra today. Thomelin and I make a trip over to the outskirts of Tosius nearby to make sure that the village is safe and gather some supplies.
I sat in silence atop a tree branch while I waited for Thomelin to return from his scouting route. I closed my eyes and laid my head against the trunk, a gentle breeze twists its wispy fingers through my long grey hair as I ran my fingers against the ridges on my arm. This moment was perfect, for a second I was able to forget the war, right in this moment I could hear the soft music of the grove, the tinkling sound of some village blacksmith off in the distance, the soft rise and fall of the nearby ocean, the loud conversing of the Erion birds, probably about a nearby animal that was waiting for one of them to become its dinner. It is so peaceful, right here in this Ashruce tree, maybe I should  have been a farmer instead of a warrior, but I suppose it’s too late for that at least until after the war is over, but who knows when or if that will ever end. My eyes fly open when I hear a loud thud below me, looking down I see Thomelin. “Ready to get back to camp?” he asks me. Nodding I jump down and we head west back to camp.

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