Saturday, March 13, 2021

Fight or Flight

Preview

I had that uneasy feeling again. There was more to the dark clouds than met the eye as I glanced at the closes ones. Standing slack-jawed, staring up at the dark formation of clouds, stray strands of rain whip my face as the wind blows it around. Mirrored by an infinite sight of so many people walking around at once and saying such different things caused the alarm bells to sound for me. As I waited for my strength to return, looking out at the vista below. The wind buffeted me, and I again grabbed at the stone for support. I was high, so high that even the buildings of the city were tiny, the people like little ants.I had that uneasy feeling again. There was more to the dark clouds than met the eye as I glanced at the closes ones. Standing slack-jawed, staring up at the dark formation of clouds, stray strands of rain whip my face as the wind blows it around. Mirrored by an infinite sight of so many people walking around at once and saying such different things caused the alarm bells to sound for me. As I waited for my strength to return, looking out at the vista below. The wind buffeted me, and I again grabbed at the stone for support. I was high, so high that even the buildings of the city were tiny, the people like little ants.

Prologue

Morality and mercy are easy concepts to follow when there are no risks involved. But it will always come a day where it's not easy, when a person must choose; to die honorably like a hero, or to do the unthinkable and survive. So tell me this. Stranded and all alone in a cruel land inhabited by men that despise mercy and compassion, what will you choose. To die? Or to live?

All is not lost for there is a power from the cross which could serve as a ray of hope for this planet's peaceful existence. The power comes from an ruby Cross which has been handed down from generation to generation. Each group of chosen ones has its own specific destiny. So it has fallen to the chosen ones who now hold the Cross to use its power and succeed in saving the planet from Ja' Seth's clutches. This, admittedly, is a lot to believe in, for there are only a few in this small group. And the title which all guardians of the Cross are christened with is fitting, for they are only...KEEPERS of the Cross... The Archangel Cross....

The dream changed, assimilating my real life into this dream world. The dark world. The world that appeared when I closed my eyes and refused my release until the evil found me. The beginning was always the same, though. I woke up within my dream and sensed it before my eyes opened. On first glance, there wasn’t anything different about my surroundings, , but that did nothing to ease the prickle of raised hairs on my neck. It was coming. Nearing. Closing in on me. My stomach churned with unease. I had to hurry. It would find me here.

The ball of unease in my gut leaked into my blood and raced through my veins as my feet carried me deeper into the cave. Fear, heat, and racked nerves were a bad combo. My heart thudded, breaths came in harsh pants, and sweat dotted my forehead. Whipping my head in all directions, I scanned the area and found nothing. Looking around once more, I sensed it like shadows erecting all around me. I tried to force my body to relax by taking in another cleansing breath, but the air was too dry in my throat.

I spotted it and my blood went cold. It was at the opening of the cave, unmoved, watching me. Its form was like a human, but I was certain it wasn’t. It felt masculine. Aggressive. Powerful. A Dark Evil. It hid in the shadows as though the purity of the sun would destroy it. The form or look of it wasn’t as important as the feeling it gave me. Its desperation was palpable from this distance. It wanted to hurt me.

I was all alone. My eyes darted over my shoulder. It was still there, glaring at me with big red eyes, mocking my efforts of escape. It knew it would catch me, and I knew I couldn’t outrun it, yet I ran anyway. It played with me like a pawn in its sick game. I ignored the crushing pain in my chest, the stretch of sore muscle, and the need to breathe. My legs were ready to give out and my heart was on the brink of explosion. The pain was unbearable, but I knew once I stopped, the Evil One Ja' Seth, would take me away. Take me away from this world.

It was a strange night, alternating between dark and light as the wind pushed the clouds across the full moon. In a dark moment, Sazzy considered getting a torch, when suddenly her land was bathed in a silvery light. The moon was brighter than she’d ever seen, bouncing off from the lake, illuminating the path to the camp better than any firelight. Sazzy shivered, and looked back at the lake, which was cut with a white path to the heavens. A tree had fallen recently by the shore. Tomorrow she’d have to cut it up for firewood.

She put another log in the firepit and settled back to enjoy the warmth. The wind continued to roar. She heard her tent flaps waving. A tree branch knocked against the walls. She huddled over the flames. Finally, the rain came. The wind increased. The tree continued to knock. She he was taken by the lake again. The fallen tree was gone. Maybe it had never been there, a trick of the light.

*****

“So this is her then?’ the youngest of the rangers spoke up. ”She’s just a woman, isn’t she?“
“I suppose she is.” Brandon said, his eyes twitching as he withheld a smile. “But she has a purpose.”
“Sazzy’s here because here is where I want her, Stan.” Hunter slapped the young man on the back as he came between them. “The man we’re hunting is dangerous. He’s from the "Shadow Warriors" one of Ja' Seth's leaders, an effective killer. They say he was fierce on the battlefield, killed dozens of ours before we took him. They probably should have killed him there but, soldiers have their orders and their orders were to bring him in alive, so they took him to headquarters.”
“And you think he’s here?” Sazzy asked.
“This is only camp within a three days walk from there.” the other man, the tattered, scared ranger, said this. “He doesn’t know it’s run by a Shadow Hunter.”
Sazzy turned to Hunter.
“You said he was in a boat.”
“If he’s in a boat, he doesn’t need three days,” Hunter looked at her. “He’s already here.”
She pulled her shawls around her tighter, she realised suddenly that she was shivering from the rain.

                                     Num Tums the worthy disciple of the Evil One, being disguised as one of the soldiers, is on the move again. He has gathered critical information about the troops and must report back to Ja’ Seth. The wind blows in from the distant sea with a raw chill, and overhead, the clouds muster in thick black columns. Num Tums hid his presence while in the camp following back-to-back victories that showcased a newfound level of the dark power he wielded. The cloying heat of the camp fires was replaced by the bitter coldness of the night. For centuries Num Tums saw only the darkest of evil, and bathed in the malevolent glow of hellfire. On his trip back it’s the coldest and darkest of winter flights, and the rain made it heavy going. On he went, driven by unseen forces until he came to the deepest place in the woods.Yet he never, in the darkest hour, faltered or hesitated for a moment.
Everyone on whom Shadow Warriors would inflict a wound was doomed, and they would handle nothing but poisoned weapons of the terrible bitter giants.
Moving through the night like a blur, was Num Tums, the leader of the Shadow Warriors! Next thing Hammer the Wanderer knew, he was in another world, outcast but not alone, he must face the forces of evil. Now he and his small group must travel across an enchanted world they never knew existed, while evading enemies he could never have imagined. The group has their hands full just trying to survive… meanwhile, back on Earth, a powerful creature works in the shadows to twist the situation to their own advantage.

Away from civilization, only the dense forests filled with multiple types of trees camouflaged those seeking shelter from the battle. Those poor souls gave all they could to stop the horrific battle raging on, but they failed. These soldiers of different species died trying to save the one thing they all had in common. The will to live and the survival of their own race. Demons versus Archangels—one of the worst battles to even be invoked. Worse than any human created war.

Bodies lay across the crimson dyed grass. There was hardly a single soul moving, living would be more of the word. Only two people remained among the living, one angel and one demon. Both exhausted their limits, deep breaths emitted from them both. They were positioned about ten feet from each other, separated by the lifeless soldiers of Angels and Demons. Sweat poured down their face, mixing the clear substance with a red streak that also was present. Cuts scarred their skin, creating battle wounds that would slow down their pace. The Archangel gripped onto her sword with all the strength that she had left. Ja’ Seth held his flame covered sword to the side near his face, ready for the next attack.
“Be gone Ja’ Seth! You have created more damage than any living creature would cause! This battle is over!” The Archangel proclaimed, holding her guard up. “Why would you cause all of this senseless war in the first place?!”
“Simple…” Ja’ Seth began to explain his reasoning for the Great War. “There is a prophecy that shall come true, and I am here to stop it. The prophecy says that an Archangel of Hope will emerge at the precise time and kill all who have been deemed sinful, and that includes all demons.” He removed one hand away from his sword and swiped his hair to the back of his head, revealing his bloody red eyes. “I just don’t know which one it would be.”
“You foul, MONSTER!” Sazz screamed into the air, lunging at Ja’ Seth with all her strength. “That is a pitiful reason to start this war! Prophecies are meant to happen, and WILL happen—regardless of what you want!” Her sword gleamed into the moon, a bright crystal light shined against her silver weapon.
“Let’s see who will end the battle and be the victor!” Ja’ Seth pursued the Angel at full force, his weapon in front of him. Both screamed until all fell silent in a blink of an eye. Blood spewed from the front and back of the Angel, who was in complete shock from the blow of his weapon to her body. He leaned his head on his shoulder, his cold words were to be the last that she would hear. “Looks like I won, you fallen creature.” His sword was retracted from her body, the force drove her body to the ground next to her fallen soldiers.
Ja’ Seth laughed into the air, his roars echoing into the cold night. He then sprouted his wings from his back and took flight, leaving the battlefield with a sadistic smile on his face. Little did he know that there would be one survivor, the one that Dawn the Archangel of Hope would be embedded in. A little girl emerged from the forests and went over to the fallen Archangel. She only appeared to be at the age of eight. Her small hands traveled to the Archangel’s golden Cross that lingered on her chest. This cross had a red ruby like jewel in the center where the T’s cross. Tears streamed down her face, sniffling and crying softly.
The Archangel coughed deeply, blood acting as drool made a trail down the side of her mouth. “Little one, take this cross—“She tugged lightly on her necklace, making it reside in her hand. She placed the shining Cross into the crying girl’s hand and closed it. “The Cross will lead you the way to the prophecy. I promised to protect you, and I fulfilled my promise. May the Gods be on your side…my daughter.” Her hand fell against the soft crimson stained grass, her eyes closed as she took her last breath in the world.
“MAMA! NOOOOO!!!” The blue haired girl leaned her head against her fallen mother’s chest, tears flowing like a river. In between her breaths, she swore vengeance against the Demon who did this. The Demon who slaughtered thousands of soldiers. “I promise I will avenge you Mother, if it will be the last thing that I do in this world.”
"Dawn?" she rasped, swallowing the fresh blood that had trickled into her mouth. Her whisper was barely heard over the shrieking noise of the Shadow Warriors yelling. A hand clasped hers weakly and she turned her head enough to see her daughter beside her. "I'm here, mother," the soft voice assured her. There was an exhaustion in her mother's voice that alerted Dawn dimly to the fact that her mother would soon be gone. She'd held out to the last, her brave mother. She knew that if her father had known, he would have been proud. But there had not even been time to send notice to anyone of the attacks, costing them all their lives as well. There would be no reinforcements from the others simply because they did not know of the destruction.
The Archangel coughed deeply, blood acting as drool made a trail down the side of her mouth. “Little one, take this cross—“She tugged lightly on her necklace, making it reside in her hand. She placed the shining Cross into the crying girl’s hand and closed it. “The Cross will lead you the way to the prophecy. I promised to protect you, and I fulfilled my promise. May the Gods be on your side…my daughter.” Her hand fell against the soft crimson-stained grass, her eyes closed as she took her last breath in the world.
“MAMA! NOOOOO!!!” The blue-haired girl leaned her head against her fallen mother’s chest, tears flowing like a river. In between her breaths, she swore vengeance against the Demon who did this. The Demon who had slaughtered thousands of soldiers. “I promise I will avenge you Mother even if it will be the last thing that I do in this world.”
"I'm here, mother," Dawn whispered, wrapping her hand around the cross. A pang shot through her as she took it and stared at it with quivering, tear-filled eyes. Sazzy looked up at the white light one last time and closed her eyes, remembering all the kings she had served and kingdoms she had taken names in. But this would be her last. And she had failed to keep the promise that had spanned life times and the turning of an age.
"Forgive me, Dawn." she said with her last breath.

A loud crack of thunder thrusts Dawn from her helplessness. In one moment, everything that Dawn had hoped for, had dreamed, had planned; came crashing down all around her. When she started running, she didn’t know where she was going; but she knew that she had to get away from Ja' Seth and his Shadow Warriors. She wasn’t surprised when she ended up deep in the forest. The wind picked up, stirring the trees. The rustling leaves drowned out the sound of the falling rain, Dawn paused as if considering her next move very carefully.
In the pitch blackness of the forest, in the dead of night, as the cold winter winds howled through the forests. Dawn opened her eyes wide, turned toward the sky, winced, and was still. She searched the dark, eyes following every trail; there was no way of turning back now. Tall trees that defiantly stood against the wind, like they had done for countless years. Winter had its harsh grip on the land, and so nothing but snow lay like a blanket across the landscape. Far from civilization, there was naught but wildlife making a living out here. I'm being watched," she said monotonously, eyes never straying from the path ahead of her. She could not see who it was, and she could not sense their presence, but she could feel their eyes upon her.
At the crest of the steep incline, she waited in the shade of a bulky, moss-covered rock formation, unblinking as half a dozen animals were in the path. They didn't notice her. Trying to shield her face from the stinging winds. Casting her eyes around her once again, she found naught but snow and rocks, just like last time. No light existed for her in this hellish land. The sun had not been seen in a very long time, nor were there any stars visibly in the sky. How long had she been wandering again? Had it been minutes? Hours? For all she knew, it could have been days.
Whatever the case, one thing was certain, she was cold. Not to mention tired and hungry. Alas, wherever she was, it was not a place plentiful with food. As a matter of fact, she had not found anything edible. Feeling desperate, she reached out with her empathic powers, trying to find life somewhere. Just like last time, she recoiled immediately when her senses brushed against that foul energy that flowed through the land like air through lungs. It always sent chills down her spine, how this tainted demonic power not only flowed freely here, but how the very land felt saturated with it.
It was always there, lurking just beyond her normal reach, constantly scratching at her mind's defenses. This foul power, it was like a pack of wolves to her. it prowled around her, poking and prodding for entrance, and it was driving her insane. Keeping her mental guard up was nothing new to her, but never had it been tested to such extremes, and she was paying the price for it. Ever since childhood, she had suffered from the strain of keeping this vile evil out of her soul.
Another strong wind almost brought Dawn to pause, the cold slicing into her like icy knives. She tired of this. Her legs were beginning to ache from all the walking, and she was frozen. Maybe a rest would do her good? Just for a short while, to recover her strength, and then she could keep moving. Her eyelids had begun to drop when she snapped out of it. She could not fall asleep! Not now! She would freeze to death out here. She needed shelter.


The dream changed, assimilating my real life into this dream world. The dark world. The world that appeared when I closed my eyes and refused my release until the evil found me. The beginning was always the same, though. I woke up within my dream and sensed it before my eyes opened. On first glance, there wasn’t anything different about my surroundings, , but that did nothing to ease the prickle of raised hairs on my neck. It was coming. Nearing. Closing in on me. My stomach churned with unease. I had to hurry. It would find me here.
The ball of unease in my gut leaked into my blood and raced through my veins as my feet carried me deeper into the cave. Fear, heat, and racked nerves were a bad combo. My heart thudded, breaths came in harsh pants, and sweat dotted my forehead. Whipping my head in all directions, I scanned the area and found nothing. Looking around once more, I sensed it like shadows erecting all around me. I tried to force my body to relax by taking in another cleansing breath, but the air was too dry in my throat.
I spotted it and my blood went cold. It was at the opening of the cave, unmoved, watching me. Its form was like a human, but I was certain it wasn’t. It felt masculine. Aggressive. Powerful. A Dark Evil. It hid in the shadows as though the purity of the sun would destroy it. The form or look of it wasn’t as important as the feeling it gave me. Its desperation was palpable from this distance. It wanted to hurt me.
I was all alone. My eyes darted over my shoulder. It was still there, glaring at me with big red eyes, mocking my efforts of escape. It knew it would catch me, and I knew I couldn’t outrun it, yet I ran anyway. It played with me like a pawn in its sick game. I ignored the crushing pain in my chest, the stretch of sore muscle, and the need to breathe. My legs were ready to give out and my heart was on the brink of explosion. The pain was unbearable, but I knew once I stopped, the Evil One Ja' Seth, would take me away. Take me away from this world.

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