• Introduction

    Keep running!

    Keep running!

    The young boy's heart raced wildly. Shoes stained the ground with tempered imprints along sections of soil rich in a slushy exterior. As he ran along his hands were curled into fists and his eyes betrayed the panic drumming in his chest. Paved forward by a desperate thought he denied his fears the chance to beckon him to a state of reduced sobs. Had he been anyone else that may have been the case. But not him.

    Panting; exaggerated breaths were emitting from his lips like the expanding limits of his lungs; gasps becoming a minor annoyance as his chest seized itself into a tight embrace unlike anything he ever felt before. Behind him he could hear the ringing wake of the roar taunting him as he urged his escape onward. The monster's putrid breath in the atmosphere wafted in his direction causing the young blonde to automatically bring a sleeve to his nose to subdue the stench. Ew.

    Stumbling on a step the boy crashed forward onto his knees, wincing inwardly from the impact. It showed for a brief moment on his face but he did not wait for his parents hands to haul him back up. Out here he was alone. Nothing for another mile would deign to offer assistance, a thought that did not ease him or his objective fulfillment. He had to warn his dad! Scrubbing away pitiful tears threatening to stream down his face at any moment, he sprang to his feet and continued at a quicker pace. Everything around him blurred into colors which merged and mingled in taboo. Unable to identify the course of direction anymore he relied on the small tidbits that were strewn across the landscape. Even though the grass grew identically, there were small patches that were not to be ignored since they stuck out, reaching their blades up above the rest. Only a break in a peculiar flower gave him any indication that the tower was within reach, a relieving thought to his pending panic. Still, those quaking steps shook the ground as if to send him tumbling into despair that he couldn’t really outrun it. No. That was an impossible feat for a child. He knew that the first moment he had screamed at it in horror without thinking of the consequences that it would surely target him; a mere meal to its uncanny stature.

    Minutes of running were like the fleeting courses of hours in his mind, ticking away his life with every intake of oxygen. Lingering rays of sunlight stabbed at his back, burning timely holes that expanded until it turned the pale flesh underneath raw; flaking away the shell only mortals were capable of having. Leaping over a log the youth stopped, just for a second to double over and heave back the threatening nausea plaguing him from the horrible smell. Mouth agape, he tried to form coherent words to praise his stamina and urge himself along. Finding it futile to try he ground his teeth together and carried on, the folds of his clothes flapping in the air and the bells on the end tingled an endless chime. Many times he wanted to turn around and challenge the monster. He imagined how proud his father would be if he returned with its head should some miracle aid him in its defeat. By thwarting the monsters now he could save his peoples suffering and be a candidate in the ranks of knights.

    Of course, he reasoned logically. That depended entirely on qualities he did not possess. Strength. Speed. Endurance. Armor defense. Confidence. Things like that weren’t given to a child, regardless of background. He wouldn’t do it, but the thought alone gave his energy and hope to press on.
    To much of the society in Babel-TR he was just a child. A mere boy who could do no more than basic chores and assist in harvesting. Every opportunity he was taught the ways of the sword, and while he could wield it and swing---it all lacked experience. One leading factor hindered him at every opportunity, destroying possibilities he may have been able to do. If he had been older! Stronger! A better man! Focus!
    Babel-TR was drawing considerably closer. The popping colors of the common gray walls were starting to come within sight and his heart soared. Father would be there!


    A glint in the distance alarmed him. Even so far away there wasn’t mistaking what reflected off the object held in someone’s grasp. Toiling forward little by little the boys smile crept up from the depths of exhaustion. His hair colored like the pale outline of the sun stuck uncomfortably to his skull, matted down in places where it feigned the flight of a bird.

    “Father!” he croaked out. He raised his arm, the royal pristine white sleeves falling down his arms as he waved frantically for attention. He still carried it. The source of his mission swinging in the form of a small bag at the side of his uniform two sizes too big . Like a pendulum it swung; evenly at his run at first, but now spun and twisted sporadically on its own rope. “Father!” Repeated louder, the boys voice was heard, for the holder of the gun hesitated, drawing it down. There was movement that didn’t go unnoticed though. An exchange of the firearm with another person the child couldn’t make out immediately signaled an argument for the two figures berated each other while fighting over the gun. The argument ended abruptly, delayed only with an extended glare. For a heart pounding moment the youth let his feet skid along the surface and stopped. On instinct he drew his foot back towards the monster coming after him when the gun raised itself again, painting a clear path through him to the monster approaching.

    Fear struck him hard.

    Rendered his heart silent with quelled drums gently ushering it to a finale. What did he expect? For them to shoot a monster that had the sinful glow of god? That would be foolish. It was natural for them to come to a conclusion to shoot the target of the beast to stop its persistent rampaging. That was how unstoppable beasts were well, stopped. By eliminating the ‘source’ of interest the beast had. Bringing his hand slowly down he clutched the front of his robes in a pitiful effort to console his thoughts. Trailing the fingers along the chest he stopped at the left side, brushing the fabric with his thumb. What would his father do in ultimatum? What would a knight do? Honor the code and do what is best for the civilians of the tower---was the natural answer but the blonde youth couldn’t bear to agree to such a verdict.

    Falling heavy thumps came closer. More audible now and sent his ears cowering at the loud cracks in the Earth as the land shifted and groaned like the mighty Ragnarok impaled the planet with its mighty blade of destiny.

    I wish it stopped.

    What could he do for the people in the tower who raised him alongside his parents and protected him till now? If he couldn’t bring back a few seeds than what good was he as a citizen? With a determined expression the blonde ripped off the bag from his belt and took a few additional steps forward, using momentum to aid him. Throwing the bag to the sky he automatically turned his back to the tower. Unsheathing the blade used in practice he raised it high, drooping it steadily down as if to claim a request to a challenge. With a flick of his wrist he changed the direction of the blade and stared at it in fear. Tightening his hands around the hilt he drew it close, doubts clogging his mind the longer he awaited a miracle to stop him. Perhaps his almighty father to swoop down like in the legends his mother told him and whisk him away to safety. His grip nearly slipped; palms slippery and shaking to keep a firm hold of the situation. The beast was like a shadow in his view, too big and blocking out the sun and noticeable feature which lay within the tendril shadows.

    I wanted to be a knight like you

    Swallowing painfully the youth angled it better.

    Dreamed to be like you
    Imagined myself protecting alongside you
    Entrusted by you with the future…

    And plunged it clean through the left side of his chest.

    Heroes you said were good people
    Enabling freedom to mankind with their deeds
    Rebuffing evil like a mere arrow upon holy shields
    Ever putting others first in safety…

    To his heart.

    Thank you, father.


    Steel and metal corresponded in a beautiful melody as the roar of the beast rocked the lands for miles. The ground was showered in a crimson rain and all was silent in mourning of a soul passing on.