[2722 AD; Admorse, Ameci – Wilk Household]
Father had gone out to work that day. I will never forget the smile on his face when he told mother that he was looking forward to that night. As he left, mother turned to me and looked me in the eyes.
“He’ll be back soon, Ry.”
He would be back. She had assured me of that. I went to Sorin’s room and looked in his crib and found that he was sound asleep. It was just like any other day since he had been born. Mother had told me that compared to Sorin, I was quite loud when I was his age. I wondered what kind of kid he would turn out to be, but that day was not meant to be a peaceful one.
“Rysol, can you go out back?” Mother asked me. “I need some water to wash these clothes.”
I nodded and left out the back door. Our backyard was vast, with an endless amount of land that ended up by a small river. It was the first thing that father showed me that I could clearly remember. A river that went from one place to another.
“All of this water, it goes on and on, my son,” father said to me. “It starts out small, but it ends up into a much larger body of water.”
He laughed when he said that, and looked at me.
“Sort of like you,” he said, “You’ll just a small stream right now, but in the future you’ll be a big lake or maybe even an ocean!”
The stream he had talked about was right before my feet. With a bucket in my hand, I scooped up some water when I heard a scream from far away. There was no mistaking that scream. Mother. No time to react, I ran into the house and saw them surrounding her. These two men were armed and looked threatening.
“Where is he!?”
Mother, however, lacked the fear I had. She had stood there with her arms out, not moving a single inch as the men stepped forward.
“Who sent you?”
“We’re not afraid to cut you down where you stand.”
“No! I will not move,” mother said. “No matter what you will do, I will not let you into my house!”
“Tell us where Kirk is, or else we will kill you!”
“He’s not here. Now go away!”
“Lies! Maybe we will start with these kids first!”
They looked at me. My heart was pounding and my eyes… I felt ready to burst into tears. Father. Where was father? He had to come back, soon, he had to. Please, do not leave us alone here was these men!
“Yeah, looks scared, alright. Don’t you worry, kid, it’ll all be over soon…”
“Don’t you dare!”
She was fearless. If only I were as fearless, then, I would have saved her. The men did not care, though, and ran their swords through her stomach. It was like a nightmare. The tears could not stop running down my face as mother fell to the floor.
“Now that she’s out of the way, all that’s left is you and that other kid…”
They were getting closer. I did not know what to do. With their bloodied swords, they raised them up… And then, she happened. Mother had taken a last stand.
“I won’t let you… lay a hand on him!”
She dashed at them, doing her best to distract them as I got out of the way. I do not even know how I got out of there; my feet had reacted on their own, I suppose. It proved not to matter much, though, as mother was quickly thrown into the wall. I was out of their way, but not for long. I had embraced the worst when he showed up again.
“I’m home,” father said. “April? Where are you?”
He looked and saw her. She looked at me. The men turned and saw him standing there in the doorway. Whatever got into them, it led them to charge at father in hopes that they would kill him, but he was much faster. Stronger. Strong… Something that I was not.
That word echoed in my head. Was it mother? Father? I did not know. What I did know was that I listened. Out of fear, I listened. Not even a second thought went through my mind when I had shot out of the back and into the backyard. Run… Run… Run… That word continued to repeat over and over as my legs carried me through the field and into a nearby forest.
“Run,” I said. “I need to run!”
I was not sure how much time had passed, but I could hear the voice of my father ringing in my ears as he called my name. How could I have gone back? After what had happened… After what I saw… I was not brave enough. I was not strong enough. I lacked both things which mother and father possessed.
After a while, I collapsed to the ground. My face had hit the dirt as my legs could not carry me anymore. It did not matter. All I wanted to do was cry. So I did. Who knows how long it was for, because I soon fell asleep thereafter. The next morning, I awoke to a pair of feet before me. I looked up and saw him. At the time, I was not aware of the man he really was, but he had saved me. A man of wealth, he took me in for the next eight years.
[2740 AD; Bel Forest – interior of the woods]
“That’s… what you wanted to know, right?” Rysol asked.
Rysol stood up and turned away from Sorin. Sorin had looked at his feet the entire time that Rysol spoke and did not say a single word. There was nothing he could say, after all, he was only an infant when his mother was killed.
“If you will… I’m going to go,” Rysol said. “They’re almost here. Please, go with them and forget about me.”
He started to walk away, but Sorin placed a hand on his arm.
“No!” Sorin said. “You don’t have to run away again!”
“What are you doing!?” Rysol asked. “Are you… are you insane!? You know full well what will happen when they catch up and see me!”
“I will tell them,” Sorin said. “You’re not our enemy. Father and I only wanted to find you after all these years.”
“But why?” Sorin asked. “Whatever it is, I want to know. The True Thekohnians have been defeated, so we don’t have to worry about them anymore, right?”
“You don’t… understand,” Rysol replied. “There’s so much you… so much you will… You just don’t know!”
He swung his arm at Sorin, hitting him in the face and knocking him to the ground. Sorin held a hand to his face as Rysol drew his blade. Rysol’s strained breathing was all Sorin could hear right now. Within less than a second, Sorin drew his blade just in time to defend himself from Rysol’s attack.
“No, stop this!” Sorin said. “What has gotten into you?”
He looked up into Rysol’s eyes. They were empty and dull as Rysol pulled back his sword. Sorin stood up and once again defended himself, his sword upright as Rysol tried a direct strike. The two stared at each other once more.
“Are you listening, Rysol?” Sorin asked. “Listen to me!”
Rysol’s hands twitched. His sword fell to the ground as he appeared to realize what he was doing. Sorin stepped forward and withdrew his sword. As he got closer, Rysol grabbed his head and began to scream.
“I thought that I was done,” Rysol said, “Done with that side! Why… Even my own brother I couldn’t… I couldn’t stop myself!”
“It’s okay!” Sorin said. “I can help you.”
“No, you can’t!” Rysol exclaimed. “No one can save me!”
He ran off, forgetting his sword as he approached a nearby cliff. A long drop awaited him below, with a large river flowing through the ravine.
“Rysol, no, don’t jump!” Sorin said.
“It’s so big,” Rysol said, “The river… it looks welcoming.”
“Please,” Sorin said, “Don’t jump… Not now, not at all.”
The footsteps were at their loudest as Henry and Mina arrived. They witnessed as Sorin tried to talk Rysol down from jumping. Sorin pleaded as Rysol turned to see the two come in.
“Not another step!” Rysol said. “I… I… I can’t do this.”
“Then step down,” Sorin said.
Rysol tried to move, but the ground below him broke apart. He started to fall down into the ravine, but Sorin dashed forward and grabbed Rysol’s left arm. Sorin felt lucky enough to be able to save his brother, but he still had to pull him back up.
“You saved me?” Rysol asked.
“Why wouldn’t I?”
“Even after I tried to attack you, you still saved me,” Rysol said. “I’ve killed so many, yet you find me worthy of saving.”
Sorin tried to pull Rysol up, but lacked the strength to do so. He tried to place a hand in the ground, but found it too loose to establish a good hold.
“Don’t worry, Rysol,” Sorin said. “I know you two are back there! Could you help me out?”
“Okay!” Mina said. “Let’s go, Henry!”
“We’re coming, Sorin!” Henry said.
Rysol began to laugh. Even as he was grabbing onto life by way of Sorin, he laughed. Then, he lifted up his free arm and placed it on his other one.
“You’re not strong enough… Sorin,” he said. “I appreciate what you’ve done… but it’s time for me to go.”
“What are you saying?” Sorin asked.
Rysol reached to his metallic arm and pressed a small button. A single press was all that Sorin needed to see as Rysol became detached from his arm. The long, echoing scream filled the entire ravine as Rysol fell down into the water below.
“Rysol!” Sorin said. “No! No!”
His scream matched with Rysol’s. A loud splash could be heard throughout the entire forest as Sorin could only watch Rysol disappear into the water. He continued to hold onto Rysol’s arm while Henry and Mina pulled him back up. Sorin had only his arm to remember him by as he started to cry.
“Why would you do this,” Sorin said. “To throw your life away? I can’t believe it…”
“I’m sorry,” Henry said. “I can’t imagine what you’re feeling right now, but I am sorry for your loss.”
“After what has happened, I don’t know,” Sorin said. “What can I even say?”
Mina embraced him. “It’s okay to cry,” she said. “No hero can go without crying at least a few times. Just let it all out.”
To be continued…