THE DREAM PART I:
THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE
Flashes of the Past
It’s a sunny day in the peaceful village of Arkvale, Lore. Thanks to the hunters, deadly monsters are rarely seen around there – except if one is foolish or daring enough to venture into the forest. And Arkvale itself is home of some good hunters, as well as peasant militias – peasants are quite adequately trained to defend themselves from the dangers from outside, organized neatly with the village chief’s leadership. No monsters in the meadows near the village either, only common beasts and cattle pasture from the lush, green pastures. We can also see oak, willow and elm trees in the woods not far from there.
The image of the peaceful meadow is made complete with two small kids, a ten-year old blonde boy and an eight-year old girl playing joyfully at the meadow. The boy is playing a tune with his pan flute, and the girl is singing and dancing, following the tune.
O’ heavenly acorns of peace,
Come down to us from the Living Tree
we’re making a song for thee,
For the hope of the happy and free
O’ will the joy last forever true,
In a beautiful life we’re going through
O’ will the joy can never spent,
The springs of love flowing without end
O’ sweet love, sweet love,
Nurture us with your fruits of peace
O’ sweet love, sweet love,
Protect us with your flails of grace
The Song of Love and Peace
- By Keith Arnûviel, Elf Bard, the
A simple song they just learnt from the wandering bard that just came five days ago in the village. The song was made to make people think, can love cause peace? Or must there be peace first, and then the seeds love can grow? They are surely relevant to each other – but remember even in the time of war true love can be seen. Of course peace is the situation – the fertile ground where love can bloom and grow. But yes, in a certain way, love can cause peace. The love for the country and the loved ones makes one does everything he can to defend them : to try to coexist with others, or if others refuse to coexist and try to destroy everything that is dear to one’s heart, one may choose to fight and die for it, for love’s sake.
The kids’ simple, childish minds certainly can’t understand the meaning of this tune completely, but as the tune gives them joy, they keep on dancing, singing and playing music until they are tired and they lie on the grass, staring at the sky above them.
‘Er… Laetitia?’ says the boy.
The girl, Laetitia answers, ‘Yes?’
‘You sang very well, just like the bard’.
‘Well, thank you, Robert.’
And Laetitia gives Robert a friendly kiss as thanks for the compliment.
They pause for a while. Then Laetitia comments,
‘Er, Robert, are you sure this is alright? I mean, us playing in the meadows far from the village?’
‘That’s all right, Tisha (Laetitia’s nickname). My mom has given me permisson.’
‘Hey, she gave you permission to PLAY with me only – not to go to this place.’
‘But she didn’t mention that we shouldn’t play HERE, right? Anyway I heard Mrs. Jameson said that this village and the surroundings are monster-free now. No need to worry at all.’
‘Ew… I trust your word more than Mrs. Jameson’s. She’s only a loudmouth.’
‘Okay, okay, whatever you say. Now we’re already here, and all we can do is be more careful.’
‘If monsters come, will you run or will you fight them?’
‘Hey hey, I’m still a little kid. Of course I will run.’
‘But if the monsters catch you?’
‘Naah, they can’t. I can run as fast as a deer.’
Laetitia makes a scary face.
‘Oh yeah? GRRRR! Here comes the monster now! Let’s see how fast you run!’
‘Wow! Scary monster! Run for your lives!’
Robert gets up, and Laetitia chases him playfully, grunting but also laughing.
‘C’mon, creepy monster! Come and get me!’
Robert blows raspberries.
And they keep playing until… they hear heavy footsteps in the forest behind them.
‘Rob, do you hear that?’
‘Footsteps, Rob! They’re coming from the forest!’
Robert tries to listen more carefully.
‘AH, you’re right, Tisha! But how can footsteps be heard in such a long distance? Unless there are many of them, running! Let’s hide! Quick!’
Robert and Laetitia run to a thicket and a big rock nearby, and hide in the thicket. They peep outside and try not to make the slightest sound. They just hug each other, shivering.
Robert whispers, ‘Monsters…’
‘Robert, I’m scared…’
‘Keep your voice down, Tisha. Until we know who they really are.’
They are getting more tensed as the footsteps draw nearer and nearer – and finally some figures come out. Robert tries to look more clearly, and he sees a band of human-like figures, but they can’t be humans. They have greenish and greyish skins, and two of their teeth stick out from their large mouths, and they wear strange armors – real different than the ones Robert ever seen before. There are about fifty of them, and they all look frightening.
Laetitia murmurs, ‘Orcs…’
Robert warns her again, ‘Sssh!’
The creatures Laetitia mentioned, the orcs are running – and now they are shouting in a strange language that sounds like grunts. Apparently it’s their warcry.
‘Ghraaak! Ghraaaaaak!!! Kraal du ega bharrooom!!’ (Charge! Charge! Death for all enemies!)
Hearing that, and seeing their actions, Robert realizes something: They are attacking Arkvale Village! He wants to get up to warn the villagers and evacuate his family, but it’s too late. The orcs are close! And they are too strong, and according to their appearances, they surely are merciless brutes who kill every human in their path, pillaging, sacking, leaving no one alive.
‘Moom! Daad! Please, spare them. Let them run away…!’
These words are repeating like an echo in Robert’s mind, and Laetitia is already crying.
Laetitia cries, ‘Mommy!!!’
And she gets up to go to her village – but Robert drags her back into the thicket.
An orc in the band pauses on hearing loud noises, and turns his head to the back. But he sees no one there. He grunts, turns and goes towards the village. Robert muffles Laetitia’s mouth and they keep hugging each other in the thicket, crying. Robert feels helpless.
‘If only I am stronger… I’ll rush into the village without doubt. But what can I do? I’m only a child. A helpless little boy.’ Robert thinks. He surely has a mature thinking, more mature than his age.
Minutes later, they begin to feel hot. Fearing the worst, Robert and Laetitia come out from the thicket and look towards Arkvale. The village is on fire! They also hear faint screams and cries from the village. Laetitia can’t contain herself any longer and runs towards the village hysterically, but Robert seizes her hand and draws her close to himself. Laetitia struggles to free herself from Robert’s hug, but then she cries aloud frantically and leans on Robert’s chest. Robert also cries without a sound, he is crestfallen to see all the people and things that he loves are killed and destroyed in an hour. Then Robert decides to hide in the thicket again, so he can come back later to his village to see whether his parents and Laetitia’s mother are safe. This will also save Laetitia and himself from a worse tragedy.
The screams die down about half an hour later, and it seems the orcs are not going back through the meadows. Robert still sees the fire raging in the village. Laetitia is already asleep, exhausted from too much shock. Then Robert also falls asleep.
They wake up early the next day. The fire has died down now. Laetitia murmurs…
‘Is mom safe? I have to see mom!’
‘No, Tisha! It’s not safe yet! Maybe the monsters – orcs, you say? – are still there yet, pillaging things….’
‘NO! I’ve waited long enough! I’m going now! I’m so scared! I need mommy!’
‘All right, I think the orcs have gone now. Let’s go there – maybe our parents have fled and returned to the village for any salvages.’
Both of them go to the village, the entire houses there were burnt down into ashes. As they go in, they see dead people scattered on the way. Laetitia shrieks in terror, and then runs hysterically to her house – or what used to be her house. She can’t find her mother in there or around.
Laetitia yells, ‘Mother! Mother!’
Robert pulls her hand.
‘She’s not here, Tisha. Better check my house too.’
Robert and Laetitia walk towards his house and on the way, Robert sees his father – dead. It seems that his father has put on a terrific struggle, as he sees three dead orcs lying not far from him. But the enemies were too many, and at last he met his demise at the edge of an orcish falchion. Robert’s father, Emmerich Chandler was a monster hunter, an army veteran. Robert cries at his father’s body for a while, and covers Emmerich’s body with Emmerich’s robe. Robert takes his father’s sword that lays not far from him – a kiliji – a curved sword that looks like a combination between a scimitar and a katana. Then holding the kiliji, Robert swears,
‘Father, I’ll use this sword to avenge your blood. Every orc in this world shall pay!’
After Robert ties the kiliji on his back with the rag he found nearby, Robert and Laetitia walk on to Robert’s house. He sees his sister’s corpse sprawling on the grassy way. Robert’s heart breaks into pieces. The orcs have no interest in raping humans – they just kill humans on the spot. Then Robert sees his house also burnt into ashes. He goes closer looks inside, and he sees a burnt hand sticking out from the rubbles of the fire – his mother! Robert falls on his knees, tears rolling down from his eyes. His tragedy is now complete. Trembling with sadness, Robert crawls on his knees closer to his mother’s body. And he sees his mother’s ring on her fourth finger – a simple golden ring. Still shivering, Robert takes the ring off and puts it on the fourth finger on his left hand, and he will move it to his fifth finger when he’s 14. Then he collapses to the ground and cries, as he has lost the person that cares for him most and he cares most in the world. He has lost everything.
‘Mother, I’ll wear this ring as long as I live.’
And he never takes it off again and kisses it everytime he is about to attack his target orcs as the memento of his mother that always said these words to him: ‘Never give up.’ This principle has built Robert’s advanced thinking and calm nature.
Suddenly he remembers Laetitia, he looks around and calls her…
But she’s not around. A stroke of terror comes into Robert’s mind, he has neglected to protect Laetitia while lamenting his own loss. He runs here and there, searching for her and calling her name. She must be still in the village, he thinks, she needs to find her mother – but her hysteria…
In that desperate moment he hears a faint cry.
‘A girl – it must be Tisha!’ He thinks.
Robert immediately rushes towards the source, and he finds Laetitia at last. She cries hysterically, leaning on a mangled body. It’s her mother. Robert calls from afar while running towards her.
Robert gets no response, but he keeps on calling.
Then Laetitia looks at him from afar, and gets up, still crying.
She is about to run to Robert, but she freezes. A greenish orc is already standing behind her with a sadistic smile on his face. Robert is thunderstruck and screams hysterically…
With this last word, Laetitia falls, crashing on the ground, dead. A throwing axe sticks at her back. It was all the orc’s doing. Maybe Robert can still be strong upon the death of his entire family, but seeing his best friend die – the one he should’ve been protecting… He stops – tears come from his eyes, his eyes and mouth are wide open.
‘Tisha… Pay for her blood, bastard!’
A mixture of sadness, self-disappointment, and rage accumulates into a new strength in him, and he goes berserk. He draws his Kiliji sword from his back and rushes fast towards the orc. It’s as though Robert has lost his mind.
The orc sees Robert, and throws another throwing axe at him.
‘You want to die too? Eat this!’
The throwing axe misses Robert’s body – only leaving a scratch on Robert’s left arm. Robert uses this moment before the orc realizes his axe has missed and stabs the orc right into his gut before the orc can even reach his sword. Both of them don’t move, and the orc lets out his final grunt then he dies on the spot with an expression of not believing he can be killed by a ten year old kid. The dead orc stumbles on the ground and lies there, dragging Robert and his kiliji along with him. Robert also falls, still holding his kiliji tightly. Then his sight goes blurry – everything goes dark. Bearing too much tragedy and trauma, Robert’s strength is failing him, and he falls unconscious on the dead orc’s feet, still holding his kiliji.