Perceptions

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter

Her vividly ginger hair was the only thing that could be seen through the blizzard bombarding the village. She knelt on the already snow covered cobbles and even the howling wind could not drown out her hysterical laughter. The bucket of water she had used to wash her hands was no longer clear and her long white skirt was stained copper. She couldn't believe she'd actually done this, even after all her training. It all seemed so surreal, so fantastically impossible. Even now. They were all gone and she was alone in this god-forsaken place. All she could do was laugh. If she didn't laugh she would cry, and crying never helped anybody. So she laughed. Her own wounds became apparent, the physical pain finally coming through as her body shuddered, both with cold and her laughter. Finally she stood pulling up her white fur lined hood as she turned and limped away, leaving her enemy to be engulfed by the snow storm.

I've been training all my life; mentally, physically and magically. All the while what they expected of her was hammered into her head. She would be the saviour, she would defeat the enemy, and she would do it with ease. Or she wouldn't survive. The enemy were terrorists, they crept over the border and attacked villages, towns and cities. They killed innocent people for no reason. The date of the raid had been set and planned for. I knew about their "Champion", she was who I was really training to beat. The fight was coming and I was going to win, for the lives of my people.

I've been training for as long as I can remember, in everything tutors were available for, they said I'm to "defeat the enemy, be your people's saviour and do it easily". I wasn't about to prove them wrong. I wouldn't survive the result, even if I ran. So I trained to be the best. At any rate, I believed in the cause, defeating the terrorist threat was more important than anything. They destroyed our villages, towns and cities. They killed innocent people for no reason except that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Controllers had set a trap, they knew the terrorists were coming, where and at what time. It would be my time to shine. I knew I would be facing Her in this battle, the one I had really been training to beat. If I defeated her, we would have effectively defeated the terrorists. The attacks on my people would stop They would be safe.

Badoom. Badoom. Badoom. I could feel my heart practically beating out of my chest as I hid behind the pillar. The other woman was hunting her like a hound would a fox; viciously and without mercy. The inhabitants of the village had long since moved on, that it was a trap became apparent almost the second we arrived. I ducked a bolt of energy that ricocheted off a nearby wall and made a break for it, all I needed was a good vantage point, damn it!

I could hear my heart beat as my blood thundered around my body. My enemy was out there, hiding or biding her time, I wasn't sure. I threw out bolts of energy in random directions, trying to scare her from whatever hidey-hole she had managed to crawl into. Suddenly I saw a flash of white, my enemy running to a new place of cover. I let loose another bolt and my aim was true. I had finally landed a decent hit on her, I was one step closer to saving my people.

The energy hit me at high speed, throwing me sideways into the stone house next to me. Now I was angry. That had hurt! I returned fire from the ground, throwing handful after handful of dangerous energy at my opponent. I knew all hopes of a tactical advantage were lost when this open battle began, we were locked in a furious fight, right out in the open of the town square. Only running away would get me out of this, and that posed even more dangers. I have to stick at it. I can't lose. I can't let her win.

I know they're watching, all of them, as I threw all my energy into the open land fire-fight. The battle wasn't glamorous, nor tactically brilliant in any way. I know that whoever had the most stamina would win. I just have to hope it was her. This thing was kill or be killed.

Clouds gathered in the sky above as our battle continued, so much whiter than the smoke from the singe marks of stray energy bolts. I had long ago got to her feet and I was putting all I could into my energy bolts. The white material of my clothes swished as I danced and dodged the enemy fire. The snow began to fall lightly but steadily, my breath misted in front of me and my leg hurt. I couldn't spare the glance to inspect the damage though, the battle was too intense. My thoughts were focussed solely on the battle and why I had to win.

I had several wounds, that I could tell from the shoots of pain every time I moved, where exactly and how serious they were though, I couldn't tell. The light snow fall was becoming a blizzard, and the wind was beginning to howl. 'Of course.' I thought sarcastically. I was glad for the thick clothes I wore now, even if they slightly hindered my movement. This battle was not as easy as I was told it was going be, I was getting tired and I was injured, I was also unsure of how tired and injured my opponent was. I needed to end this. Soon.

I needed to win for my people.

The blizzard began to impede my vision, both of us were dressed in white. Now both a blessing and a curse. A blessing as it camouflaged me, and a curse as it did the same for my enemy. The pain in my leg was getting worse and I continually stumbled over the rubble and debris from the fight. I was getting tired and I was hurt, I couldn't be sure of the extent of my opponent's energy or injuries. I needed to end this, and soon. My hair whipped in front of my face as I, again, threw handfuls of energy. Though they were weaker than my original strikes they still had deadly potential if they hit the right place. I could only hope so, I couldn't let her win!

Through the raging blizzard I didn't see the fatal bolt. It struck me in the middle of my chest and flung me high and back. I crashed into a building and the crack of bones was easily drowned by the storm. I fell to the ground, and again, the storm masked the noise of impact. The fatal blow came from the landing; a splintered post impaling my middle. I felt oddly calm. The pain was unbearable, but I was calm. The last thing I saw was my enemy's face, a face that looked less like the monstrous thing I had imagined and more normal. More like me.

I pulled down my hood and slowly limped to my fallen enemy while clutching my leg. I had to make sure, but in truth, I knew there was no doubt, no-one could survive that. My suspicions were confirmed by the battered, bloody, unmoving body. I saw the light die from her eyes. A face so normal and innocent looking that I could hardly believe she and the monster I had been told about were the same person.

She was like me.

Near by was a well that was remarkably intact, I decided to pull up some water, I was filthy, especially my hands. My leg was bleeding heavily now, through the fabric of my skirt and over my hands. I ripped portions of my skirt away to make bandages and washed my wound and hands, still standing in a blizzard.

Her leg hurt so badly, it was still bleeding steadily. She knew they had left her when the blizzard started. Their weather tampering only worked within a one mile distance, they had left her for dead in the storm. Used her and cast her aside, like she had lately suspected they would. But completing her task was the only way to get her freedom, she could never have escaped the command base, and now they thought she would die in the blizzard, from her wound or hypothermia. She would not, she would slip away into the world, live her own life. She would be free.