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Day Of Memories
Memories are what define us, they tell our greatest triumphs and our bleakest failures, they are our most cherished moments and our darkest fears.
|AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (1)
Standing On The Train Tracks (Poetry) - [83 words]
Day Of Memories
He watched as the fiery orb rose over the horizon, spreading a dark world with cleansing light. No single thought could firmly plant itself onto his distantly wandering consciousness. As he slid the bracer onto his left forearm an involuntary shiver passed through his body. The chill touched his body once again as he slipped its twin onto his right arm. The red surface of the emblazoned phoenix catching the light in a brilliant array of sun kissed radiance. “The world began with a word, as history began with a prophecy.”
Bells sang through the fortress, ringing off high rafters, a crystalline sound resounding in his ears. Words echoed forever in his mind, words that were imbedded in the cold void of a forsaken heart. By his coming will the world reform. His life will illuminate a dark and broken world. The bell rang again, its beat vibrating throughout the fortress, his mind swimming with images, images of things past, things that will never be again.
“I have written history.” He thought, tears he could not shed welling in his eyes. “Its bloodstained pages are composed in the crimson words of my hand. There is no justification, there is no redemption.”
He heard footsteps in the hallway, the drumming of booted feet. It was time. The bell continued its steady ringing.
A knock on his door seemed like the booming of eternity, a figure clothed in white stepped into his room, saluting before saying, “Sir, the men are ready.” He nodded. Brushing a single tear away, he followed the ranger into the hall. As he went, he took one last glance through now dry eyes at the now risen sun.
The bells had stopped.
* * *
The stone hallway was desolate, a colorless pathway on the journey to inescapable destiny. An uncaring road to a bleak future, a future he was preordained to create. No sounds were perceptible save the pounding of boots on uncarpeted floors as he neared the end of the tunnel. As they continued he saw a light near the end of the passageway, “How ironic.” He mused, as they passed through the threshold into glorious sunshine. What was laid out before them was a sight that was rarely seen in all of history.
A huge field was standing before them, and on it, what appeared to be a sea of white. A great noise came from the midst of it, but was silenced at the sight of the figures on the hill. Silence ruled for a moment before it was broken by the smashing of shield and sword. A chant rose up, drowning out all sound as the war host clashed their weapons in unison. “Ilya! Ilya!”
And his name shall be spoken through the heavens and echo into eternity. Rise up men of sorrows, come forth men of fear. Follow in the wake of righteousness. Go with him who stands in the dawn.
“They love you Derick. They will follow you to the depths of hell itself.” A voice behind the man said.
He snorted and replied, “I’m merely a man, Nayanris. There’s nothing to love, nothing to admire.”
Nayanris looked at him, piercing gray eyes seeing all, “You are not a man, you were never meant to be merely a man. You are Daganth en’ Ilya, denying that will never change it.”
“Hope-Bringer,” Derick sighed, “Hand of God. I am none of these. I bring death, sorrow, and destruction.” The next words were a whisper “I never asked for this, I never wanted this.” The words had barely left his mouth when he remembered a conversation like this years ago.
“What you want to be and what you were born to be, are most always different, Derick. You have been chosen for great things. Will you stand at the wayside as this fragile existence is shattered? As the life we have sacrificed for is destroyed? Those before you have paved the pathway of your coming in their blood. They have given everything for a child they would never live to see. They regret nothing, boy, and do you know why? Because they believed in you, they knew you were the only hope for salvation. And this is how you repay them, sometimes I wonder if they were mistaken.”
“It seems I’ve done this before.” Derick said wryly, his eyes narrowing. Nayanris shrugged before saying, “The men are afraid. They believe there is no hope.” Derick did not respond, he was watching the sky. Sinister clouds were rolling in from the south, a black sign on what would be a dark day.
“They come.” Was all he said. Nayanris glanced at him a moment and opened his mouth to ask, but Derick silenced him. “They march now, Umen and his army will be here within the hour.”
“That’s impossible! They were reported four days from here.” Nayanris replied, before realization dawned in his eyes.” Derick and Nayanris spoke in perfect unison the one word they both knew.
* * *
He stood before the army, riding on a pure white stallion, a strange contrast to his dark cloak. He could sense the fear, ever since the news that the Umendorians were mere hours away, the entire army seemed demoralized. They all feared the enemy, its power and most of all death. This fear is exactly the thing Umen drove for, the paralyzing fear that began to defeat his foes before he even arrived. Derick would be damned before he allowed that to happen.
“Children of light, Listen to me!” his voice boomed over the valley. “All men come to a crossroad in life and it is the decision they make in that place that determines their true nature! Weak men do what is easy. Strong men do what is right.” His eyes shone as his voice rose with a passion and purpose that has never been seen before. “I judge no man for his fear, but merit his ability to defeat it. Death is life’s only certainty. But will we wait for it to take us? Shall we bend and sway like reeds at the mercy of the wind? No! We will not stand by and watch everything thing we have worked for be destroyed! Let this above all others be a Day of Memories!
The roar of response was deafening. Shield and sword clashed together in a battle song to heaven. Derick looked once more upon the men of the shining sun. Many would die today. How many lives must perish for life itself to continue? He knew there was no other way, and that is what grieved him. Words of a old friend echoed in his mind. “Do what must be done, Derick, nothing more, nothing less.” He turned to look at the wave of red and black pouring onto the field, evil in its pure incarnate form. He had sworn an oath that he would not leave this cold earth until his purpose was finished. Perhaps redemption could be found along the way. Nayanris rode at his side as always. He lifted his sword to signal the attack, and as he saw the shining faces of his comrades, one last thought remained in his mind.
“What honor do I deserve to fight and die among such men?”
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© 2006 Michael Meihaus
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