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Short Story Entry - Mazon


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Crinkling under my feet, the defiled floor and raunchy cell were dry from a long summer with little precipitation.  Dust filled arid air made it hard to breathe; my throat was on fire every time I gulped in a breath.  I was the only “person” inside the jailhouse; and there were no visitors because no one cared enough to remember where I had gone, or I made them forget.  How long had I been away from my family, 2 years, no now it had been 3.  I loved them all, but I was so different from them, and not content to just be.


Click, click, clack; the muffled sounds of the lock mechanism on the outer cell gate brought me back from my thoughts.  Soon there was the sharper clack, clack, click as a guard turned a key, entering into this wing of the jail.  There was no tray in his hand; no gristle meant I was getting a beating, or my trial had come.  If it was the beating, they could have waited for my caked blood to be cleaned from my fur.  My once beautiful fur, was now brittle just like the hay on the floor.


As the key turned in my cell, I saw the eyes of the guard, they burned with hidden anger.  Being drug from my cell, I could only surmise I was headed for my trial, because normally the guard's eyes were full of life for the beatings they handed to me.  But we weren’t moving towards the hall of justice.  Instead I was ushered into a single tidy office, with a table that I could barely see over.  Behind the desk was a man who looked used to getting his way.  I didn’t know much about military prestige but the more than few decorations across his lapel was noted that this man knew how to survive.


Most of what was said didn’t register to me, but at the end I knew I had a choice before me.  It wasn’t just for that night I spit on that Arkon worshipping crusader; no I was paying for all my past crimes.  Somehow even in death Gaea was trying to teach her lessons.  The decision was easy, I was a survivor just like the Captain, and I made the only choice that let me survive.  I chose to enter into military service for the kingdom of Deopolis.


Company H, nicknamed the “Hostile Hamsters”, was a sapper company.  While I may not like the name, or my job, the colors on our banner suited my complexion just fine.  They were a dark brooding blue, which went well with my darker tone and nature.  Our marching orders had come, and we were moving with the regiment to siege a castle.  My job would be to break in under the wall and create weak spots before the catapults let loose their balls of flame.


Pockets of fighting were going on everywhere, and the squad I was assigned to, was tasked with the back wall.  We were staging our explosives when a commotion was noticed near the tree line.  Screams were heard, before we saw the monster, it was an Urbear, and it was hungry.  I felt as if it was looking directly at me, before it began barreling towards me.


Fighting one on one against a bugbear wasn’t what I had in mind when I agreed to serve Deopolis. Everyone in the squad left the chaos of the wall, trying to retreat; the Urbear pursued me.  I tried to yell, but our voices don’t carry far, and the dense foliage made it hard to see someone so small.  One thought kept recurring in my head; survive.  Running from the bear I dropped a few bombs along the way, hoping she would give up.  Understanding has always been something I like to have in my life, but I can’t understand this; why does a daughter of Gaea come after me, like I’m the person who did Gaea harm.  Maybe the rumors were true, our world was being overrun by this “hunger” causing all creatures to slowly lose themselves.


Golden brown shifted to dark green, and blending in with the forest floor, the vine was hiding in plain sight.  It was too late by the time I realized what was a mere foot from me, I was already sprawling forward rolling to a stop.  Just enough time for the Urbear to catch me.  Quickly getting situated, I raised my sword in a defensive posture, but that was quickly flung from my grasp.  Time was lost to the battle that ensued; I rolled, dove, and even jumped on the back of the Urbear trying anything and everything to wear it down.  I was all too familiar with what was happening, I could smell it first, and then came the warmth.  My fur could never get a break; the blood was spilling out of my stomach and pooling around me.  With my warmth spilled, and no hunger for my bones, the Urbear withdrew to find it’s next victim.


Nails digging into the earth, I began to crawl.  Shifting over the rocks I came to a small stream and cupped my hand.  The water was rejuvenating.  I kept moving along the stream, wondering if this was my death march.  While making noise is hard for us, hearing is one of our precious gifts.  Eventually the majestic roar of the ocean tingled my ears.  I took another drink of the life giving water and kept crawling.  It was getting later, and having breached the ocean’s welcoming dune I noticed the stars above.  I layed down on the beach chilled from the night's air, bloody from the battle, but so tired that it didn't take me long to fall asleep.


I heard something, but It wasn't a whisper, it was a loud pounding like the beating of the waves against the ancient rock.


I couldn't help but listen to the waves and the orderly crash and retreat, crash and retreat; yet within the waves there was a more serene message that I heard "build for me", and again "build for me".


I then saw a pebble being thrown into the calm lake, and ripples skirted to the water's edge, where I saw red mingling with water, turning purity to a murky concoction of life & death.


Finally I was shown a great land with nothing but vegetation; wildflowers and all manner of chaos.  The words came back to me "build for me".


I awoke from my dream, and it was morning.

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