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Ezrith; A Tale of Forgotten History
Pine needles stuck to my hands and knees as I spoke to my Arichawma, my friend.
“Lorelai, I can’t let you come with me into this war, it’s a dangerous mess, and I don’t want you to be caught up in it.” I told her, pushing her soft hand away from my arm. She gave me an angry look and her face flooded with anger.
“What, you think I can’t handle it because I’m a girl?” She demanded, standing up and glaring at me.
“That’s not it Lorelai, and you know that. I just don’t want my only friend to get hurt because of me. I’d never forgive myself,” I pleaded. She pulled out her blade, a wicked edged knife I had given her. She didn’t hesitate to slice through a tree beside her, creating a violent slash through the bark.
“Goodbye Tirithian, may we never cross paths again should you be lying to me.”
She stormed off, making a path by trodding on the freshly fallen snow. I stared after her, only realizing that tears streaked my face when they start to froze.
I bitterly wiped them away, standing up and looking around.
Ankara Aguilon -my newest leader- would be here soon, along with her daughter Ekatari, a girl filled with folly.
I had only been convinced to allow her to come with us because of her keen sense of sight. She was an oracle as well as a visionist.
I climbed into one of the many overgrown trees and waited for my party to arrive, trying not to make a sound.
I soon spotted the woman I was looking for, a dark haired maiden with fair skin of the north. Her daughter followed closely behind, creating quite a racket in her strange clothing and laboured breathing.
I drew an arrow out of my quiver and waited for them to climb the tree next to mine. Eventually, with much effort and chiding, Ankara managed to help her daughter into the boughs.
The girl spotted me first, most likely terribly frightened by the man with charcoal coloured skin. She stifled a gasp as her mother smiled.
“Don’t frighten the girl Tirithian. Her first impression should not be one of horror,” Ankara advised, making her way over the branches towards me.
“Mother! That man is Tirithian?” Ekatari asked, her light hair blowing over her face.
“Yes darling, this is Tirithian,” she replied. “Now, what is the strategy for our first attack? I have warriors scattered throughout the country, some of them stationed in enemy territory. Say the word, and I will teach my army what they need to know.”
I thought for a moment and my decision. “I want everyone in your army in the Skeletal Mountain Range, from there I will tell you what our next sequence is. Goodbye, arichawma,” I said, leaping down from my tree.
“Mother, why is he leaving now? We just got into this wretched pine! That blackamoor better have rich ideas as to how I’m getting down!” Ekatari announced shrilly. Ankara scolded her harshly for being such a wick.
I laughed to myself and headed north to the Mountains, heading away from Khione Woods.
My bearskin cloak kept me warm on my journey through the thick snows, and berries and as well as small huntable game kept me fed.
Sooner than I had expected, I reached the Skeletal Mountain Range. A lone peak jutted out from the ground, a spears head sharpened to a perfect point.
Its dark essence gave me both a sense of foreboding and longing all at once, like finding an ancient mansion in the middle of a terrible storm, and knowing that what was inside could be great or horrible.
I spotted a wide ledge halfway up the mountain, and with serious audacity, began my reckless climb upwards, almost entirely vertical with a very small amount of footholds.
After several hours of searching amongst the loose rock face, finally pulling myself over the rough surface.
I glanced around hastily, scouring the area for any other signs of life, but found none. I took the measurements of the cliff, and found it over three miles wide, but only about twelve feet at its depth.
I waited patiently on my mountain, overlooking the world; the massive trees I’m usually dwarfed by looked about the size of bushes. Gargantuan lakes were viewed around me as puddles, and the snowy landscape nothing but a stark white sheet.
Ankara, a small dot on the ground, waved at me from quite a distance below. I motioned for her to come up, and soon, she found a staircase of overturned boulders and rocks.
She easily climbed the simple path, and upon joining me, noted my scowl.
“What’s wrong Tirithian? Did you not see the heap of rocks practically set into the shape of stairs?” Her bright green eyes scintillated.
“I did not. Wonderful observation on your part Ankara,” I bitterly complimented.
“Oh, it was not I that found them; they were in Ekatari’s eyes before I arrived. Lucky girl knows all about this place,” she explained, further convincing me of her daughters unique abilities.
“This is where I want to create the battle,” I told her, motioning out in front of me.
“And why is that Tirithian?” she responded, not really expecting much of an answer.
“Because it is the best place I could think of in this barren terrain. It is as if Hades has frozen over,” I told her, drawing my cloak about me.
“I can’t help but agree with you. Almost a fifth of my army has either caught fever or hypothermia. I can’t say we should be able to draw out this war much longer. I hope this strategy is a worthy one, because I will not give up, even if my army is only one soldier strong,” Ankara said dismissively.
“I had a feeling you would say something like that. It was always your job to be headstrong.”
“speaking of my army, here they come.” Ankara’s warriors appeared out of the trees, following my instructions of keeping off the ground. I watched as thousands of them flooded into the valley below us, like bees out of a hive.
“I can’t help but note how very exposed our army is. Was this your design, only instead of our soldiers, Mirth’s?” Ankara said.
“My, what brilliance is bestowed upon you. Yes, that was my plan actually. Bravo!” I stood on the edge of the brink, waving at the men and women below me.
I motioned to the stairway of rocks, and after a couple of minutes, my diverse army was standing before me, an ethnic achievement of black, white, india, asian, and all others.
“A battle is to take place here, and as my colleague has discovered, we put the enemy in an exposed position. Half of you are to drive the force to our camp, the other half are to stay here, ready to fight!” I was greeted by loud cheers and thumps from my crowd. “Archers, catapult men, and spearman, stay here and create your weapons. Help train your friends, and then set up camp on this ledge.” A few hundred men and women stepped apart from the group and waited.
“If you are afraid of heights, I suggest you go with those who are willing to bring the enemy to us.” I turned away and Ankara followed whilst the soldiers sorted themselves out.
“I will chase the enemy Tirithian, I am not as good as you are at strategizing weaponry and attack, but I can force Mirth out of hiding and under our mountain. I will leave my daughter in your care, and I shall trust you not to let anything happen to her.” Ankara started to spin around, but stopped herself. “Goodbye sazalitura,” she said. “Goodbye my best friend.”
Lorelai Maine would not be so easily discarded. If she couldn’t be of any use to Tirithian, she would be of use to their enemy; Nateon, the chief of Mirth.
She made her ill-founded trip through the forest, wishing she had killed Tirithian when she had the chance… she’d have to be the one to do it now; Lorelai always got what she wanted, and this time, she wanted his life.
After a short trek, she made to Mirth’s camp. It wouldn’t be hard to find Nateon. He was almost entirely unguarded due to a lack of soldiers.
She slowly approached the grandest tent in the field, tapping on the walls.
“Who dares enter my tent?” an angry voice snarled.
“It is I; Lorelai Maine, a new friend.”
“How do I know you won’t slit my throat as soon as I let you in?” Nateon asked.
“Because I can’t kill you without a knife. Now let me talk to you!” It was only half a lie. She couldn’t kill him without a knife...but she had one.
Nateon the Terrible parted the doors, and a very fat man wearing several skins appeared.
Lorelai was expecting a war hero like Tirithian, not a spoiled king of the North.
“What is it?” he growled.
“I have a simple request, and if you grant my wish, I will tell you where the Ezrian Tribes are camped.”
He raised his eyebrows questioningly. “Your request?”
“To allow me to be the one to kill Tirithian,” I said, imagining myself doing just that.
“Fine, Fine. You go assassinate the drat. Where is he?”
“He’s camped out on the ledge of Skeleton Mountain. I saw him directing his people there,” I informed the man. “Make sure no one tries to kill my charge, or I will kill you.”
I left the tent, on my way to Tirithian’s camp. I had a particularly unpleasant idea for him.
“Tirithian! It appears we will not need to corral our enemies. They have come here on their own terms,” Ankara told me, throwing a quiver of arrows across her back.
I filled my own and headed for the ledge. Underneath of us stood one thousand men, all holding foreign steel weapons I had never seen before.
“I am Nateon the Great! And this is Mirth! We will destroy you!” The armies cries of bloodshed and terror echoed over the valley underneath of us like an amphitheatre.
“Aim your bows, spears and catapults now, but do not release your attack just yet,” I told the nearest soldiers. Eventually, my entire army had done as I said, and I waited for Nateon to command action.
“I demand you give up, Tirithian, or we shall kill all of your people, men and women alike! We both know that this tribe was founded on outcast that nobody wanted; so why should you?”
“I will not give up Nateon.”
“Suit yourself.” Nateon turned to his army. “Fire!” a roar like that of a dragon ensued.
“Shoot!” I told my army. They responded quickly, and thanks to the mountain ledge as coverage, managed to defeat Mirth.
Soon, blood soaked the foot of our stronghold, reminding me that victory comes at an awful price. In return for the price my people and Mirth paid, I drew the first flag of Ezrith; a mountain with a bloodstained base.
“Tirithian, I have some bad news,” one of my soldiers told me.
“What is it?”
“Ankara is dead, and so is her daughter. They were killed by Nateon.”
Tirithian sat in his tent, creating a horrid wail. He was weeping over Ankara and Ekatari, I knew. I was the one who ordered them to be dead.
I drew my knife and headed inside, hiding it behind my back.
“What’s ailing you Tirithian?” I asked sweetly. He turned, shocked that I was standing there. After a minute he stood and hugged me.
“I thought I was never going to see you again,” he said, tears still climbing over his face.
I put my knife hand over his shoulder and looked into his dark eyes.
My knife slid down his shoulder and cut into his skin.
I gave him a dark look as his eyes flooded with pain.
“I have not forgiven you Tirithian,” I said, plunging the blade deep into his ebony skin and then yanking it back out.
He stumbled a few steps backwards, realizing what was happening.
“I told Nateon where you were, and made him kill your precious Ankara and her tedious daughter,” I continued, watching him pick up his own blade.
We circled each other, equal opponents.
I lunged at his chest, and he lurched sideways, making me sink the edge into his bicep instead.
At the same moment I threw my weapon into his side, he threw his into my stomach.
We both sank down, dying at each others hands.
I don’t remember being stabbed, but I know I have once the pain surges through me, making me shake violently. Warm blood pours out of the wound, trying to comfort my dying flesh.
And then I lose consciousness, no thought in the world except for grief; grief that the person I loved died on the inside and out, all because of me.
Four years later, Ezrith became a country that thrived under the tribe leader, Slera. Slera was Tirithian’s sister, and like her brother, had developed the skill of leadership and love.
Over the course of a decade, many war relics were found, including Ekatari’s journal which included a map leading to several diamond mines.
Even today, 150 years later, the tragic tale of Ezrith is still told, but only within its borders.
You are the first outsider to learn about Ezrith, and the reason the government is letting me tell you this remains a mystery to me. But I suppose it’s because I am Tirithians’ heir.
New Hyde Park, New York
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"To these the past hath its phantoms,
More real than solid earth;
And to these death does not mean decay,
But only another birth"
- Isabella Banks
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To love is to be vulnerable; Triumph is born out of struggle; We notice shadows most when they stand alone in the midst of overwhelming light.