An orphan farmer must discover his angelic ancestry and unlock the powerful secrets of his family inheritance.
Landon spun around to the cries rising in the distance. Clamorous noises of battle added to the cacophony of terror. He squinted at the teetering ball of fire on the horizon. When the radiance was too much, he turned away and looked about him. To the south, he saw a group of soldiers and townsfolk engaged in a one-sided fight. Blood pooled at the soldiers’ feet. To the east, he saw a mass of frightened children and woman hurrying together to find shelter from the enemy. Dirt and tears coasted their faces. A few brave men armed with metal poles led them fending off a few lone soldiers standing in their way. The soldiers easily cut them down, but their sacrifice allowed the women to get their children to safety. In the west, houses and shops made of wood and straw burned in a large blaze. Livelihoods were being destroyed. In the north, he saw a group of strong men, some carrying swords, some with axes, others with simple farming tools running together towards the fight to the south. Everywhere he saw others not fighting but gathering their families to desert their home. He saw women watching over their children as they hurried them along the road. A lone voice rose above all of it, “Someone grab some more buckets!”
His hair was dark and shimmered in the growing twilight. His face blackened with soot and ash from the myriad fires he had been working hard to put out. His tunic was tattered with a slight spattering of blood along his right side. His biceps bulged as he flung a pail full of water onto a new fire that cropped up. A line of men behind him worked efficiently providing the buckets of water in an assembly line of fruitless hope. Away in the distance a group of new screams erupted as the soldiers broke through an abruptly made defense wall made of wood and metal scraps. The man leading the assembly line called a new order.
“Men! Defend your wives, your children, and your freedom!”
He grabbed a great sword that had been lying on the ground near his feet and sprinted towards the explosion. The others followed suit with a roar of fury. Landon now stood alone and frozen in his spot. He heard rumors that something like this could happen, but he never believed it would be here. He believed the Lords had an agreement.
Everywhere around him faces were filled with terror, despair, and confusion. Some people milled about not knowing whether to flee, fight, or hide. One woman with sandy blond hair, heavy-set, and dirty cradled her children in her arms and rocked them while covering their ears to block out the noise of the fray. Tears streamed down her eyes and mixed with the dried dirt on her cheeks. She quietly sang to them a song unknown to Landon. Most likely a lullaby she had sung many times before. This time was quite possibly the last.
Another man, skinny and tall with flat black hair and tattered clothes, ran about frantically calling the name Isabel. He looked inside every house, flames or no, for a sign of his beloved. After a number of fruitless houses he staggered up to Landon.
“Have you seen her? My Isabel?” he cried. Landon could only stare back at the man with no clue as to who Isabel was. “Have you seen her?!” the man continued eyes wide and red. When he realized Landon was not forthcoming with information, he proceeded in his search. Landon watched him as he disappeared behind a row of burning houses.
Landon felt the heat on his face from the fire which encircled him. The town was being razed to the ground and innocents were being harmed in the process. His heart sagged with the responsibility he now felt, and Landon knew he had two choices. He could either join the fight and become an outlaw, a hunted man, or walk away and pretend the realm was not in turmoil. In his heart he knew that option two was not a possibility.
He looked towards the city gate and saw the same dark haired man, who just moments before was holding buckets full of possible salvation, now wielding a two-handed death machine. He swung across his body and sliced open a guard’s stomach with his broad sword. He then swung around to block an attack from behind, caught his opponent’s sword as it came down over his head, and knocked the sword to the ground. Then, with one quick thrust, he pierced his adversary through the midsection, withdrawing his sword without effort.
At that moment the sun erupted through the clouds and more soldiers poured through the city gates only to be met by a line of men protecting their homes. Their armor glinted in the red sunlight causing a few townsfolk to slow their advance, but not enough to halt them. A handful of the men, such as the one with the dark hair, appeared trained in combat. They led the fight against the soldiers. It was evident to Landon, however, that the skill of the rest of the men was rudimentary at best. Most simply deflected blades fearing to attack, and, after a few parries, were struck down. Very soon this town would be overtaken, the men killed, and the women left to suffer the ravages of war.
Landon knew what he must do. But how exactly seemed like a foreign language. His thoughts quickly turned to doubt. He had not been prepared for a moment like this. He had not learned enough about the blazing cardinal stone that rested on his right hand. The old man had not revealed enough. He had not fully tested his strength nor shown him how to perform what he was about to do. Landon closed his eyes and withdrew into his own mind to reflect on the long road coming here in preparation for the energy he was about to dispense.
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