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The Only Language Worth Speaking

Daniel looked down on his calloused palms. His knuckles were bloody, and his finger tips were raw. He flexed them tentatively to see if they could still move. He grimaced as his swollen fingers protested.

He tried fighting, he really did. The pile of broken enemies he left behind was getting larger all the time.

It would have been so much easier with his old power flowing in his system. When just a flick of his hand meant death. Now he had to doge blows, weave and block as he struck out with only anger as power.

He shoved his hands forcefully into his baggy pants pockets and started walking down the dusty road. He kicked the dirt with heavy feet as his weary body tried to carry on.

On the edge of the city he dropped to his knees and collapsed into a heap shaking.

He cursed how weak he'd become. He'd have to work at it if he wanted to speak the language. Before the War had started, he was practically a God. Here, he was practically a shadow. Down the road and across the towns he'd been a hero of his village, Magdalin. But it'd been a long time since he'd tasted the sweet poison of the Katala fruit that gave him his power, his right to rule.

Bitterly he remembered the last time he'd eaten the fruit. That was the day the War started. His safe little village of idiots was fine believing in him as long as he could quell any opposition.

Then the Chin'wa had come storming up the dirt roads. Their dark green skin, almost scaly, shimmered as they moved like deadly dancers through the streets. Two heads taller than the black smith, they were huge and terrifying. Their eyes were murky silver, hauntingly pale in comparison to their dark black hair. They'd been human once, certainly their bodies seemed to suggest that. But a terrible transformation had given them silver wings folded on their back. They walked into the bakery, into little stores and started small fights, destroying goods and merchandise.

He'd run, of course, from his throne down to town square. With his sleeves rolled up and his arms held up ready to fight he screamed, "Don't you know? This is war! You will regret this?"

"Yes." The tallest hissed with his gnarly hair pulled back into a low pony tail. His voice was heavily accented, foreign and unfamiliar. "But can you fight a war?"

No, Daniel remembered, he couldn't. Not without sharing the Katala fruit among the villagers. Even with power, the fools didn't know how to fight. He never got to make the decision anyway. The Chin'wa leader bowed to him. "We'll be back to claim your pathetic village later. Thanks for showing us a round."

He snapped his long bony fingers and the group unfurled their wings. Their beauty was breathtaking as the seemingly delicate gauze flapped powerfully raising the Chin'wa above the stunned villagers. They dropped their burning torches on the crops as they left, despite his screamed threats.

The villagers moaned, making endless noise, as they went about cleaning the town. His face was ashen gray when he discovered his Katala tree had been destroyed as well.

As if things couldn't get worse, people started coming to the town begging for shelter. The Chin'wa had created orphans all across the countryside. These weren't his people, not his problem. At least not until, they started usurping his power.

Bloody and beaten, his quest had started one dark night when the Chin'wa had returned. As much as he hated the bastards, he had to thank them for destroying the section of the prison where he'd been held captive awaiting execution.

His first lesson in fighting was a painful one. Through swollen eyelids, he suddenly saw clearer than he had in a lifetime. The Chin'wa, the villagers, there was only one language people spoke these days.

Power.

His searched in the shadows, fighting anyone who disrupted him, for the last Katala plant. The Chin'wa could carry on their conquest, the cities could fall, kingdoms could crumble, and he didn't care. He had to find the Katala tree, the only way he'd get his power back. It had to, just had to be, he kept telling himself, some where in this great land.

One day he'd see the tall rich oaken red bark with golden amber leaves the spiraled down again. Nestled in the top branches was the plump violet fruit waiting for him.

Daniel curled his fist into a ball and stood up shakily as he continued down the road out of another burned city. The empty shell of a bustling center hadn't yielded any new clues to him. He'd heard a rumor that there were plants growing to the south. He stepped on a sign in the dirt, not noticing the broken letters that spelled M-a-g-d-a-l-i-n as he moved on.

When he could speak the language, he'd return home he promised himself and claim his rightful place.

Overhead vultures were circling as they followed him.

The End