Author's note:

                        This story was a dream I had. More of a nightmare, actually, where you know you should be afraid, but somehow you're not. I never meant to write this. I was sitting in front of  a blank screne, trying to write a paper, and I began thinking about the dream and before I knew it I was writing. I couldn't just leave it half done, so I kept on writing. Now it floods my psyche. This story has a lot of passion behind it because, in my dream, I experienced it all. I'm not exactly happy about writing it because it is not a happy story but I will remain faithful to the dream and truth of human emotions. I'm not even sure if anybody will read this but I feel such an emotional connection to this piece, that I had to at least put it where there is at least a  possibility of it being read.

                                                Thank You, Knight of Day

WAR:

One

            Some think I am a god. Some think I am a demon. But the truth is that I am nothing but a man. A sad, war broken man with more blood on my hands than could ever spill from my veins. Those who knew me well called me Daemon. Those who didn't, called me the Red Demon or the Blood Demon because I fight like one possessed. I was also called The General. But those are nothing but names. Names change nothing. They only lets you to identify the different stages of my life and, soon, my death. But that not the point of this. To tell the story properly, I must start from the beginning, at least, the beginning of my life. But I supposed the story really starts with the Great Oracle of Rayne.

            Her name was Ora. She was a beautiful and graceful woman with long chestnut hair and warm honey colored eyes. She was born with the gift. She was a healer. Her gift in this was anything but great but some said her kind heart could heal the sick better than any medicine of the body. The real reason for her fame, the reason why she became known as the Oracle of Rayne, was she had the Sight. It would come upon her all of a sudden but she could feel it in the back of her mind, the way you can feel a sneeze coming on. She would suddenly get very flushed and feverish, her skin scalding hot. Then she would collapse, loosing all consciousness and all the heat would drain out of her body until she was as cold and pale as snow. Her body convulsed like her limbs had taken on lives of their own. Her eyes shot open, wide but unseeing, the pupils completely dilated. She spoke in rhymes and riddles. Most were not deciphered until it was too late. Her first vision left her with the words,

"I shall be removed and take the site"

No one knew what to make of the strange rantings of the 12-year-old girl until three days later. Her father had been having severe headaches and his eyesight had been getting blurry. On the third day after Ora's vision, the healer identified the problem. A disease had infected his eyes. The left eye would have to be removed. The right eye could remain in place but it would be sightless. It was then the town realized that Ora's words had been

"Eye shall be removed and take the sight."

After that, Ora's visions came more and more often and word of her gift spread across the land of Rayne. Wise men came from near and far to see the Oracle Child.  Years passes and the Oracle Child became a woman and, as most young women do, she fell in love.

 He was a tall, handsome man, broad of shoulders and thickly muscled; truly a beautiful man and a magnificent athlete. But Ora never cared for all this. She fell in love with his eyes: his dark chocolate colored eyes that peaked shyly from beneath shaggy brown hair.  His eyes were kind and gentle and for this reason Ora loved him. His name was Rian and he was the priest of the village and a farmer. 

The two were very much in love and married. Ora's visions ceased and they lived peacefully on a farm. Until one day, on the two-year anniversary of their marriage, a vision came upon Ora. They were walking in the town square at dusk, basking in each other's presence. Small signs of affection went unnoticed by the rest of the village. Suddenly Ora felt the peculiar feeling of an oncoming vision. It was a feeling she had almost forgotten. She felt her body suddenly go weak and the vision flooded her nerves, igniting them in fiery agony unlike anything she had every felt. Her body convulsed violently, blood flowing from her eyes, nose, mouth, and ears and from the juncture of her legs. And then she was still for a long time. Rian sat cradling her body, wondering what had happened to his love, his life, his wife.

Suddenly Ora's body flew out of Rian's grasp. It felt as though some unseen pair of hands had wrenched her from his loving embrace. She floated in the air, limp and faintly glowing. Her eyes snapped open but they were no longer her kind golden eyes but cold eyes. She spoke icily,

"Three babes born on a common day

Whose bloody hands will forge the way

To save the land from evil long thought dead

One will lead, two will be led

Two babes born of a womb the same

The first, to heal, the second, to maim

The first, born to live in the light

The second, born to the death of the night.

The third babe, a demon, born to know pain

Born the sword of Rayne,

Whose pure heart will learn to hate

The sun, the moon, and the blade,

These three babes will decide our fate"

            Ora never quite recovered from this vision. It left her frail and delicate. It was the last vision she ever had. Three months later, she found herself pregnant. She and Rian were ecstatic. Finally, they would have a child of their own. Ora survived the grueling 16 hour birth, but just barely and delivered a healthy baby boy who they named Orian.  For 7 years they showered him with love and taught him how to tend the farm and how to tend sick animals and sick people. They taught him to be kind to every living thing and they taught him the ways of a pacifist. They taught him the ways of the common village folk in east Rayne and they were happy.  And then their world came to a halt one not so special day.

            Over the horizon came men. Men who wore pieces of metal called armor, who carried more metal that was sharp and cut and made people bleed. They came and they came, pouring over the countryside like rows of thousands of black ants. Orian's mother called it an army.

Orian's father turned to his wife with a strange look on his face.

" Get in the house, Ora. Lock Orian in the basement."

Orian's mother had a strange look on her face, too. Orian had never seen that look.

"Mama, who are those men? What to they want?"

 Ora grabbed her son's hand and quickly moved inside. She spoke as she gathered a few things (a blanket, some food, a lamp) and led little Orian to the basement. She pulled the rug away and opened the hatch before lowering the young boy in."

"Those men are in an army. They fight for a living. They are scowering the countryside looking for men to join their army"

 "Papa won't go with them, will he? He'd never hurt anybody" Cried Orian, thinking of this priest father.

"No, Love, he won't join their army" She answered as she tucked him into a pile of blankets "No matter what the cost, he won't join their army" She said this more to herself than to the young boy.

"Stay here. Don't make a sound. Do you understand? And don't come out until I come to get you." She was about to get up and leave but then seemed to change her mind and sat back down. She stroked his hair and held him to her breast. " I love you, my baby, I love you so much." When she pulled away, her eyes sparkled with moisture. And then she turned and left, closing the hatch behind her.

            Orian sat, blinking in the darkness. He heard slamming of doors, shouting and all sorts of unidentifiable commotion coming from outside. His eyes adjusted, the spaces between the wooden floorboards allowing light in. Then he heard the door being smashed and suddenly the commotion was inside his house. He found a hole big enough to see through and pressed his eye to it. 

            Silently, he watched as Rian stood and faced the strangers, his broad, strong form far more powerful and commanding than the sniveling forms of the strangers. Orian was not afraid.

"Leave my home. I will not fight for you, nor for any other."

"I must insist, Sir. We have our orders. We must bring you in for the draft. It is either you or the woman."  The man who spoke was dirty and his form held no beauty, only strength, but his voice held no hatred. He reached for Ora. Rian moved to put himself between the strangers and his wife, but he was too slow. Ora cried out. The dirty stranger grabbed her and restrained her, one hand twisting her arm painfully behind her and the other clutching her warm chesnut hair.

"You or the woman." A strange look washed over Rian's face, one Orian had never seen anything like, his face contorted, lips drawn back in what was somewhere between a grimace and a smile and his eyes opened wide, but sightless.

Rian howled and charged at the dirty man. "Don't touch my wife!" 

            The dirty man threw Ora from him and in one swift motion, drew his sword and impaled Rian. Ora screamed. Orian was silent. Rian stumbled a few steps, back and forth with the sword still in him, dancing the steps of impending death. A dark, moist spot spread across his belly and back. Ora choked, sobbing in rage and pain, her face now contorted as well. She charged the dirty man but Rian threw himself between them. Using Rian's impetus, the dirty man hoisted Rian into the air. Orian felt his heart beat a million times as he watched the scene. The dirty man slammed Rian into the floor with such force that Rian's form shattered though the wooden floorboards. Rian's still form had fallen nearly on top of Orian, the boards with the body on them slanting down and pinning one of Orian's legs. Without looking where Rian fell, the man spun and caught the charging Ora, hit her once in the face, took her head in his has and snapped her neck with a sickening crack!  Orian felt warm drops of wetness drip onto his face, neck and arms. He touched where one of these drops fell and his hand came away with crimson slickness. He looked up and saw his father's blood dripping form the floorboards. Still, Orian was silent as he was taken away from the only home he'd ever known, as the dirty stranger lifted him in his arms, as they took him to train in place of his father in the arts of war, as his world was shattered, the child said nothing.

I was that child.