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The air grew cold as the sun had left hours past, men and women of the Joraal march for the beginning of their revolution. Majors and leaders were on horseback, in the front lines as they wore their armor proud and held their flags high as they roamed the forest towards the first slave land they have been waiting to destroy, Higgins Estate. The men sang for their people of stories of the old days, the calm lives they use to live that felt long lost. The women marched with crossbows on their backs as they sang with the men, swords drawn and raised to the skies in the names of their lost loved ones. Kos`El felt afraid, that this war would end in a defeat. He lead his horse to Bong. “You lead these people with a heart of iron, Bong.”

“I did,” she replied.

“They don’t even fear death, they wish to go to war and end the human’s reign. But what about defeat?”

“It won’t happen, Kos`El.”

“They don’t even fear about loss.”

“Unlike you years ago? Come on then, you wanted this war just as well as they did.”

“Yes, but this war seemed as if victory was afoot, but something feels wrong, I just don’t know what.”

“You are just worrying, Kos`El. If you don’t want to fight, then go back to the lair with the sick and old. They need the help with all of us gone.” He felt the cold chill of the air as his horse galloped through the tall grass as trees began lessen. “Stay back towards the tree line!” she shouted to the army, “We must keep the element of surprise.” She stood her horse in the trees, men drawing swords, women pulling the string of their crossbows, they were ready. A Joraal brough Bong a telescope, she looked through and saw three English horses by the walls. “Just on time.”

***

I could hear the past, hours ago, the words of a bargain. Higgins smiled as he uttered the words, “I want you to change someone’s mind.” Khal`En pondered on what he was asking for, strings of what he meant flew through his mind, what he wanted him to do with this knife as those glassy, old eyes stared into Khal`En’s soul.

“What do you mean, sir?”

“You remember those people, the kind family that visited not too long ago?”

“I do, sir. The people who had to leave early.”

“Yes.” He gave a sinister grin. “I want you to nick those children they have. They won’t do no harm to you, unless you let them scream. Don’t kill yourself over this, Khal`En.” He took the knife as the guards stepped forward. “These men will watch you until the border of my estate ends. If you try to escape, crossbow bolts tipped with the plague would kill you painfully in the woods. And if you are away for too long, your son won’t be alive to know you’re passing.” A guard grabbed Khal`En’s shoulder. “You understand?”

“Yes, Master.” The word master was word he now despised, he wanted to do something, one wrong suggestion would cause him eternal pain.

He walked outside of the cabin, Joraal in the fields stared at him as if he was a thief. Concerned eyes, snarl look, they thought he was in luxury. A guard made a gesture at Gatekeepers as the gates opened. Two guards stepped beside Khal`En with crossbows with a yellow vile on their wastes. “Move Khaja,” the guard shoved him out. He walked slowly out of the entrance he never thought he would take a step out of as the guards tightly gripped on the crossbows with their lifeless eyes staring at him the entire way. I followed as the sun dove into the horizon. The cold air was pleasant on the skin with warm winds brushing you. It was a beautiful sunset night, but Khal`En didn’t see anything in beauty anymore, the knife in his hand, his misty eyes finally collapsed with tears. No gasp, no pants of sadness, only the stream of tears down his face.

A sign down the road, backwards it was. Khal`En stopped walking. One of the guards kicked him in the arse, “Get a move on Khaja!” he said as he fell to the ground, kneeling. “What is wrong wit’ dis one?”

“He’s probably sobbin’ abou’dis. The borda is righ’dare!”

“Oh f**koff this one!” He pointed his crossbow on Khal`En’s chin. “You know what we were told! The King’s Plague is a fate worse than death, you f**kwit khaja!” He stood up as the crossbow followed him. “That’s it, Khaja! We got a map righ’ear, you follow those lines and do as your masta told ya.” He didn’t speak. With the knife clenched in his hands, he stared at the guard with his crossbow pointed at him. “You gonna go or are you gonna keep standin’ear and cryin’ your eyes ou-” He felt a sharp push on his chest. He could hardly breathe or shed a word as if he was drowning. He looked down and saw the Joraal plunged a knife into him. Khal`En grabbed his crossbow and aimed it at the other guard. “What the f**king…” The guard said as he pointed his crossbow at the Joraal. The guard saw his friend on the floor, staring at the sky as his mouth gushed blood. “Look… Look’ear… I’ll let you go and say you and my fella’dare died from a fallin’ tree, okay?”

Tears still streaming down his straight face, he spoke softly, “I don’t trust your people anymore.” He pulled the hair trigger on the crossbow as the bolt landed down his left eye. His body fell as the crossbow in his hands fired at Khal`En, hitting him in the chest. The pain had him scream into the night as crows flew scared overhead. He could feel it in his lungs, making every breath harder to breathe. He looked over to his shanked guard and saw him smiling and trying to laugh as his soul began to leave his eyes.

A bolt in his chest, he laid on the dirt road as the stars were the only thing he wanted to see before he dies. A muffled sound of a horse’s hooves entered the ears of Khal`En. He could see the horse over him as a Knight in silver a crimson armor lept onto the floor. His eyes were menacing to him, his left being a milky white with a scar across it. That was the last thing he saw in his days alive, until he saw me standing with the Knight.

He felt the air enter his lungs without the pain preventing him. He stood up as the Knight and his horse were frozen in place. He took one look at me and I could myself change. A mask appeared over my face, having a beautiful feminine blank stare on it. “Do you know what happened.” I said with a womanly gentle voice.

“What happening? Am I still alive? Are you one of the gods?”

“I am merely one of their servants, Khal`En.”

“How do you know my name?”

“I’ve been watching over you. Since the death of your wife.”

“Are you…?”

“I am whatever you imagine me.”

“What will become of me?”

“Nothing.”

“What do you mean? I must have a purpose with you!” He shouted.

“You must embrace your truth first.”

“What truth!?” I reached out and pointed to his corpse. “So I’m…”

“You are.”

“Then... “ He paused.

“Then what, Khal`En?”

“Then I’m with her…”

“She can be. You must embrace your truth first.”

“No...No! I must run and save my son from that… Awful place! You must have some kind of arrangement.” There was one.

“Would you like to play a game?”

“What?”

“You win: your death is irrelevant. I win, you join your lover.” I could see his thoughts even in this realm. He was hesitant to agree with the offer, but images of his lover appeared.

“What are we going to play.” I pull my skeletal hands out from under my robes and revealed dice.

“Have you ever played Evens, Khal`En?”

“I have a few times at the farm,” he gave me a troubled look. “I believe you already knew that.”

“What’s your bet, Khal`En?” He called evens. I rolled the dice on the dirt ground and landed a three and two. I looked at him, but all he saw was the blank look of my mask, “Five, Khal`En. Do you have any questions before you go?” He looked away from me.

“Will she be there? In paradise?”

“You believe she will be, yes.” A bright ora illuminated around him as he made a smile. “Do you see the moons in the horizon?” He nodded, “Walk to them and paradise will await you.” He walked to the moons ahead of him as I felt my mask sink into my robes. 

 

Err Lie in the Morning