Prologue I have written and published this autobiography for many reasons. I would like to thank my dear wife Lucci who has helped me through all of the things that you will read about in this book. I would also like to thank a person tat will always be dear to me and though they are gone they will never be forgotten by me, or the hearts and souls of everyone who new such a great man. The man I am referring to is the man who helped me through every difficulty I had in life, the man that gave me strength when I was weak, the man who jumped in when I was in danger and the man who was like a father to me. This man of course is none other than the legend; Ameano Popo. His name reminds me of his deeds and all of the good things that he did for me and everyone else that he knew. He was a typical diamond in the rough and when my world became bleak. He would brighten up the rainy day. He was both my strength and my confidence, he taught me what love was, and showed me a great example of how to live. Without that man, I would never have become the man I am today. Nothing would have been possible without Popo in my life. And so for all of those reasons; Popo. I dedicate this book to the life you led and everything you did for me. Rest in peace my friend. Peace is with you, may God rest your soul. Chapter 1: The Early Years As I braced the operation oil lamp that shone before my very eyes, I could remember nothing but the warm and tender hold my mother had upon me. As I saw her face for the first time sweet and tender ambiance rose up from within me and through my tears came a returning smile honing my brave mother, who at such times was all I knew and loved for at such tender ages our minds are naïve. My father stood beside her he took my hand lovingly and spoke the first words that I had ever heard; 'Hello Galuda, you are my son and I am your father.' Thos words were filled with the channeled love my father had for me and I could see tears of compassion in his eyes that were as brown as a chestnut tree. The lady dressed in a black cheap gown now took me and washed me off whilst humming a tune to herself, I could see that she was also very close to me, but I did not know how, as to me she was but a nurse, although later in life I would realize that she would be close to me someway somehow. After this lady delivered my pure and cleansed body back to my mother who embraced me with her ever burning love I was carried outside and remember only my first scent of sweet mountain air, my mother shielded my eyes from the dust and my father navigated us back to what I accepted as my home. My mother and father were having some form of jubilation which was clearly in honour of me as a great deal of guests at this celebration were congratulating my mother and father who stood happily together. I remember being looked at by many families, joking, joy and jubilations all that stays in my mind about this day, although that was more than enough for me to look back and smile on such events. A few days later; I was taken outside for the first time properly, as my family and I were spending the day up in the mountains. My mother and father were slightly apprehensive however, and I could not tell why. I couldn't question them not knowing how to talk or communicate in any way and so I simply accepted this fact, which would later prove far direr than my young mind could comprehend. As the day wore on my mother and father both seemed far more relaxed that before and were embracing the warm and tender day out. They were both as happy as the day of my birth although I couldn't exactly know why, I imagined that this was their first time out with their child and so it felt especially warm with love surrounding them as a triangle and not a straight line for the love between my parents and I was a mutual feeling. We were all surrounded by love. An image that stays vivid within my memory even to this day was seeing my mother and father embrace and in tears they mirrored the sun, silhouetted by its dusking rays, my parents were so happy and this was their ultimate time of happiness. Soon a force beyond the control of anyone in my village would take this happiness away forever. I did not know this at the time, but I felt and uneasy presence in the air that night with yelling and shouting outside. I knew something was not right. I didn't sleep at all for all night there was a disruption that brought a sense of unease to me a disturbance in the village, I knew not of what had caused this, but I knew all too well what this had caused! A group of men stormed in, they looked much like my father and were wild in their attire my father then ran in with an even more original dress sense. The colours were fantastical each one glistened with the moonlight that shone through my window of our thatched house roof. Our house had only two rooms, which compared to the size of others houses we were greatly honoured; this was because my father was the general in the army. I lay in my cot and peered through the bars of the cage that imprisoned me. The stretcher board that the 3 men had been wielding was then unveiled of it's blue velvet cloth only to reveal my mother who was sleeping, or at least sleeping in the mind of a two week old little boy. Although my father and his associates knew all too well what had happened, my father stood silently although his mind was trembling with both anger and fear. As my father turned to me he spied innocence and saw my mothers body that reminded him of evil. He lifted me up and kissed my mother and myself on the cheek, he then pulled the blanket back over my mother, which then caused me to realize that my mother wasn't sleeping and that she was gone. At such a young age even my mental vocabulary did not extend to the word dead as I had never heard it later in life, although I referred to my mother as gone. That night my father sat in his wooden antique chair with me upon his lap candles were the light that filled the room and bonfires were lit outside in the village paths and ceremonial burials took place of all the dead killed by the neighbouring tribe which I would grow to hate for more reasons than them killing my mother. As my father and I stared at the body of my mother, who rested now on the crafted ceremonial coffin. We saw a sense of content in her expression, as if she knew she was dying and had accepted and embraced the fact. My father uttered words to what seemed like no avail although I could see that the voice and love in his prayers were helping my mother through this and giving my father a sense that she was fine in her second life. All of a sudden with my mother and father seeming content, a realization came around me that perhaps this was not an end, but a new beginning. For with my mother's death, grew her legacy. I then knew that I was my mother's legacy I would avenger her death. I knew it then and to this day I still know that I will find who caused my mother so much pain. As the days wore on life without my mother seemed within our grasp, my father however, was no longer the same man. He was the same but different, different in the sense that with my mother's death part of him died with her, his happiness and compassion for her gave him the great and tender loving heart which I had always witnessed and learnt from. Although now my father was plagued with the bitter apprehension of such a huge loss and although he tried to fight his feelings. He had lost that part of him forever. My father however, still held a special and vast haven within his heart for me he would often tell me that; when he looked at me he could see the reflection of my mother in my eyes. I understood him in some form, as I saw myself as the legacy of my mother, I was the greatest purpose on this Earth that my mother had served and I should honour her by living a great life and making my mother proud of such a legacy. I often get the feeling that she still peers over me from the heavens which makes me both happy and sad, as I am sad that I have lost her, although the knowledge that she lives on and watches over me makes me happy. My father and I still did things together but it was not the same, the loving triangle that my family held was now once more a line although; I had filled my mother's place now. However, this worried me as I never expected to be able to fill the shoes of such a great woman for all she had done and everyone she had loved, to be a legacy to my mother I would have to make a greater effort than imaginable, if I was to honour her in the way that she deserved to be remembered. Life became increasingly easy for my father and I as my first birthday came around and the news of my mother's death was sinking in more and more by the day, although this happened and there was no apparent sadness in the eyes of my father. I knew that he was thinking constantly of her and nothing else. This was sad in a way as although my father smiled, his smile was brought on only by the memory of my mother that he saw in me. However, I did not allow this to phase me and so continued my birthday celebrations without further thought on the topic, I had a great day with just my father and me ending it with a picnic up in the mountains on the exact spot where we had been with my mother, a year ago to the day almost. It was heartbreaking to see my father saddened by his deep and sentimental remembrance of my mother. Seeing that my father could not let this great loss go after 1 year. I thought to myself about whether or no my father will ever forget what happened in those cruel hours on that terrible day. And knowing the compassion and sentiment which my father possessed I realized that I was correct in thinking that in his mind, my mother would never be forgotten and he would stay sad until he was able to meet her again and say his final goodbyes. He never had the chance with my mother before she died to say how much he really appreciated her and loved her throughout life. I suppose my father was not angered by my mother's death, he was angry at himself for not treating her as well as perhaps he could have while she was alive, it was sad to see my father in such a state and especially when he was dwelling upon blaming himself for something that was not his fault. However, there was nothing I could do. Years went by and my father remained like this a sad recollection and a shadow of his former self. By the time I reached 5 years old and was attending the children's school, my father had closed all emotional doors. All of his mental efforts were now channeled into the growing nostalgia to see my mother once again and say his goodbyes. I could often hear my father lying awake at night in tears, he would say nothing although he would mean everything. Although deep down he knew she was never coming back. Hearing him weep like this made me sad, for he was once a valiant war hero and now he had been reduced to a mass of sadness and sorrow. More than anyone else this affected me as I was in direct contact with a man who could cry for the waterfalls of Canada and a man who was once so loving, he could teach angels to be more compassionate. That was who my father was and had become. I often feel I got my senses of kindness and compassion from my father, as well as my sensitivity. For I endured much of the same loss my father did except I lost far more than that. And although it was almost an unimaginable thought I had not seen the worse yet. Coming my way was the eye of the storm that would gradually grow around and envelope me forever, although this was not for some time yet. My childhood came next. Chapter 2: My Childhood As a young boy of 5, I attended the village school hut where every boy and girl in the village would be educated by one of the elders. There were however, no more than 34 children in the village and so the elder did not find it a difficult task. We would be taught purely of history and science, along with our language lesson at the time I studied in advanced Cantarese, my native language. At such a young age we were told stories and went on trips into the forest as a class. On these trips we would learn about the nature of the forest and its inhabitants. I enjoyed these trips more than anything else and I always respected, elder Gungan. The man who taught us. He was a kind and considerate man and would educate us for free for our whole time at the school; he was spontaneous and kind as well as strict and hard working. Everything I could have wanted to learn, he knew. As children do we nicknamed him; Mabter jungleute. Which would translate into English as; Mr. Big-kid. We called him this because to us Gungan was not only a teacher but also a big kid. I had never learned so much as I did from him. At the end of our first year we were given a small exam, it was a little easy but nonetheless myself and all of the other children passed with flying colours. And Gungan held our native party in honour of the achievement this was known as; junge acaria febletta. Which is the festival of young achievement. We all had a great time at the party as, we were all kids and had a great time at all parties. At that party I met a good friend from the class and we became best friends shortly after. His name was Rajin. Rajin was also a boy from the village and his father was one of those who saw my mother killed, and helped her into the house that night; incidentally my father's best friend is also Rajin's father. Rajin and I get on really well because we like the same things. He is over a year older than me, although our ages don't seem to matter. I have other friends although Rajin has the best personality and is an all round nice guy, he is funny, nice and a great talker. We became best friends when he was 8 and I was 7 and our fathers began to take us hunting and to get our first animal caught. Although I could not help but notice the very stiff competition between us. We were always in competition for praise witch each other; we argued quite a lot but always made up afterwards. We were different yet similar we were one yet the same. There was a great friendship linking between us and as we grew in age, the strength in our friendship also grew with it. We were what you call forever friends and we always vowed to stay best friends no matter what happened. Meeting Rajin and getting to know him, was one of the high points of my life. I would never know a friend as good as Rajin. However, I did have another friend by the name of Lucci, who was introduced to me by Rajin. At the time Lucci and Rajin were seeing each other as boyfriend and girlfriend although the frail and tender pathway of a young persons relationship caused this to fall apart rather swiftly, although it's not the nicest of things to say in a way I gained something from their break up. As whilst they weren't speaking I was both of their best friends, and so as a result every evening Lucci and I met without Rajin in the old playing area in the clearing of the woods, to talk about things. And by day Rajin and myself would talk, mainly they spoke of each other of how they hated one another, eventually I grew very tired of this and so I made them be friends again because; otherwise they would permanently irritate me about the whole matter and I was not prepared to accept that. When the three of us were all friends again life was so much more fun, although there was a problem. I felt as if I had betrayed Rajin although technically I hadn't one evening Lucci and I were in the playing area having fun on the slide and we then sat down and started to talk. Most of the conversation is a blur although at one point Lucci kissed me and said; 'I really like you Galuda.' It made me feel as if I had betrayed my best friend which hurt inside I had to tell Rajin about it or the though would be a plague on my conscience thereafter. So one day, Rajin and I were out hunting and I just came out with it. Rajin just said; 'Don't worry about it. It's not a problem.' However, I knew Rajin far too well and understood from his body language and the tone of voice that he said this in that it was a problem and it was a big problem. I appreciated he didn't want to argue with me and so I left it alone. I thought it was probably best not to dwell on such an unsavoury matter. We never properly spoke of the topic again, although I don't think Rajin and I were ever as good friends as we had been before this all happened. Perhaps this just really shows how much love can interfere with friendship. Nonetheless it was clear Rajin had a lowered opinion of me and although I didn't like this I had to accept it. After all it was probably my fault anyway. His all happened when we were all 9 and Rajin turned 10 a few weeks later. It was a very complicated time in our lives and perhaps the most awkward and whilst talking one day the three of us decided to put all the negativity behind us, and carry on like the friends we were before then, and despite all agreeing to this pact I knew one thing in the back of my mind and heart. Things would never be the same. For the following two years Rajin and I spoke very little in comparison to when our friendship was so tender, perhaps we had grown apart or perhaps the dispute over Lucci, Rajin and myself had torn us all apart. For those two years I felt like dirt, I had betrayed a friend and not only a mate but my best mate. We had been together for so long and I went and threw it all away, although remembering how my father had destroyed himself mentally with his guilt dwelling. I knew that I must put a stop to this thought and put it all behind me, it had been so long now. And so not wanting to end up an emotional wreck, in my mind I had completely withdrawn myself from everything mentally, and was ready to start over, after apologising to Rajin of course although he said I was not what was bothering him and that he was upset about something else, he told me I couldn't be told, as I was far too young to understand it. I knew it was big and I arranged to meet him. I wanted to know the truth, as I knew something was up. And I doubted it was good, I realized only days later how right I was. Rajin and myself were out hunting, as I had arranged not letting on how interested I was in this particular secret. We walked alone down the dirt covered long and winding paths wielding our bows at the ready, with the sun beating down with a heat we were now used to feeling. The day was generally a great day for hunting in the mountains. It was such a day that by closing your eyes and taking in the scent of the mountain air, imagining you were in heaven was less than an endeavour. Despite the beauty beauty, within me raged a fire fuelled by both my curiosity and my fear, the thirst for knowledge of this event. I then came out and asked him what this was, he turned to me and frowned replying only with; 'I cannot.' With this denial of my desire the burning fire within rose high up inside of me now fuelled by my anger, as my best friend was keeping something from me. I asked why he couldn't tell me, and I was not surprised when he told me I was too young to understand it. I then told him that I was almost as old as he was, he replied; 'Sorry.' The word cut through me like a knife through butter, why was he sorry and why couldn't he tell me? The mere rhetoric of it all sent me into a rage and I ran up to him and grabbed him by the shoulders demanding to know what was going on, I was sure by now that it was very serious. Rajin simply looked at me and turned away he then began to explain to me about the alliance of two neighbouring tribes, who were coming from the south to attack Cantar and pillage it. He told me that their intentions were total destruction of the village and that soon everyone who was less than thirteen years old would have to leave Cantar along with all of the females in the village unless they chose to stay. I fell to my knees after receiving the news, my heart cut by the freezing shards of ice that engulfed it, an emotion-destroying blow. My life had been thrown into the winds and severed into a million pieces in one fell swoop. I could no longer tell if I was myself, for I felt a different sensation that I had never felt before in my life. I was petrified. The mere thoughts and images of this hell on Earth invasion, I visualised the collapsing of my house among the flames and my father falling with spears in him, falling backward into his own pool of blood. I saw visions of young children cut down savagely by macabre and hors-riding figures of men, who appeared as ghosts, only in my darkest and fearful dreams. Retrospection of the time within my mind, that I was so young and to see my mother slain in battle carried into my house under a sheet. I could not come to terms with what I was told and so I ran home as fast as I could sat in the forest clearing near to my house and thought about what was happening to me. I sat upon my bed that night, staring into the blank voided darkness that covered up the sky at night, thinking of what would become of me. Remembering Rajin's words made me think this as I was only just 12 years old and he was 13. Would I be left behind or would I be leaving? A perplexing question rested on my mind, I attempted to figure things our but to no avail, although in due time my father would likely explain things to me. I felt both fear and comfort and the same time, as I was comforted by the thought of Lucci being safe during the assault on Cantar, yet I feared never seeing her again and that perhaps she would forget me. I was planning on telling her what was going on but then held myself back considering what emotional effect such news caused on Rajin and myself. I knew Lucci would rather not have known the truth. And so as days wore on I felt the feeling of pain and fear within me would pass however, it continued to grow inside of me, like some sort of parasite living off of the essence of my own emotional strength and making itself stronger, there became times where I reached a breaking point and simply wanted to yell out in a moment of insanity, although I managed to keep myself from doing such worthless things and simply did all within my power to stay calm at such rough times. I would often snap and yell out at people, my temper was like a caged tiger and my irritation was the key, which seemed to fit the lock better every time it was used. I could feel my happiness deteriorating within me and could think of no way to stop this never ending feeling. I decided that in order to get rid of this feeling I must go to the extreme and speak to my father about what Rajin had said to me, being the general of the Cantarese army and a highly thought of man within the village. I was sure he would be able to tell me everything that was going on and so I formed it all within my sub-conscious. Tomorrow evening I would speak to him. The next day I lay with Lucci and Rajin upon the hillside watching the clouds pass over, this was often a favourite activity to do, and both Rajin and Lucci were having a great time imagining the clouds as things in real life. The two of them laughed and joked away as I lay silent, my anger and fears channeled only by my solitude, Lucci asked me what was wrong and Rajin simply went silent a vision of darkness cast upon his face knowing that I could let the cat out of the bag at any moment. However, managing to keep my composure I simply said; 'Nothing, I'm just thinking, don't worry about me.' With that Lucci gave me a shrug and her and Rajin went back to their game, their laughter soothed the chaffed edges of my soul and kept me from going mad, in fact spending the day relaxing allowed me to prepare for the task at hand that evening, a task that would require more bravery than any I had ever felt inside of me, although I knew I must do it for the simple reason that if I didn't, I would drive myself insane with this knowledge that I wished I had never demanded. I had damned myself and so I could blame no one but myself. Later that day in the early hours of evening it began to get dark and so when Lucci suggested we go home, both Rajin and myself obliged and the three of us left the hills to travel back down to the village. I bid them both farewell and went into my small house I went upstairs and waited to be called for my dinner. Although I was waiting in a mixture of curiosity and fear, as when I went downstairs to eat, I would be asking the ultimate question to my father. 'What on Earth was going on?' My father called me to get my dinner later that evening and after hours of imagining this moment I would finally hear what was going on and I could find out exactly where I stood. I approached the handcrafted table, where my father and I ate, we both began to eat and not much conversation came around, although after a few minutes we began to chat away rather happily, talking of what we had done during the day and what we were planning to do tomorrow. A mixture of joy and animosity filled the air, I could almost see it in my father's eyes that he knew what I was going to ask him. I just had the sense about me that he knew what I was about to ask him. After we had finished our meal and my father had begun to clear the table he walked to the wash basin to clean up our bowls and I then came out with it; 'Dad when are we going to be attacked?' He turned with a somewhat congenial yet distressed look upon his face. He came over and sat down next to me and we stared into each other's eyes as he began to tell me of the long history of these three tribes and how the Cantarese people had defended other small tribes against these 2 larger ones. I listened emphatically, as my father spoke of the great warriors within the village and the glorious victories and then he spoke of a topic too awful to imagine. The joining of these evil tribes. They had decided to join for the reason that alone neither of them would stand a great chance against the Cantarese people and so by joining they had created a force too powerful for even the Cantarese to take on. I remember distinctly my father telling me that I would be leaving Cantar, as would Lucci to move to our nearby allied town of Cannalei at the first signs of danger. My father said that the time for Cantar was almost up and that he and everyone else who chose to stay and was eligible to stay behind would try to fight off these threats, that had been scouted less than thirty miles away earlier that day. I asked my father what would become of Rajin, when Lucci and I left for Cannalei. My father then gave me some news that I never came to terms with. Rajin would stay behind and fight. Because he was 13 years old, it was seen as his duty to stay behind and fight and he had chosen to accept that duty, after hearing this I realized why Rajin was so upset. It was the same reason that I was upset; war was coming to my town. Not only was this war but this war could mean a number of terrible thoughts that I wouldn't bear to imagine. My life had taken a turn for the worse. After my father had told me everything he knew I thanked him and pondered in the solitude of my room, although not even by compressing and confiding my thoughts to such a simple place could I begin to understand and come to terms with all the awful things happening to me. I remember that night, I cried myself to sleep. For I was simply a boy, who's existence was plagued by one thing. War. Chapter 3: A War For Freedom Since the terrifying visions I had as a baby, war was something hat had played on my conscience for years. War, darkness and suffering, had been a large part of my life as a young boy, happiness was a luxury yet pain and darkness were a necessity, life was an unfair and bias game to play and had dealt me a joker, which mocked and ridiculed me. Although I had my pride, I no longer had any energy left within me; I was simply in a state of taking everything that came at me. I knew Cantar would soon be under attack but what I didn't know at the time were the huge price I would have to pay, as well as the price and sacrifices that many others were part of during this horrible war ridden village. I wished every night that things would be the way they used to be. With Rajin, Lucci and I all out on the hills chatting about our complicated young lives, I loved those days, the three of us were like peas in a pod. However, now we had grown apart we we all liked the same things although after a while we became like magnets. Because we were so alike, like the same poles of a magnet, we were forced apart by our own feelings and need for personal space, much like the electromagnetic field of a magnet. We couldn't help it, destiny drew us apart. Although now those days had become unimportant to me and were lost from my memory, with the only thing being in my mind was the knowledge that people were coming to destroy and taint the homeland that I had grown up in and loved for so long. Since I can remember I had loved Cantar and all of its people. Although Cantar was not the nicest or most modern of places, I loved it nonetheless and decided that I would ask my father to stay, so that I too could help save Cantar. I had made up my mind I would tell him the next day that I would stand by the village that taught me so much and fight for freedom alongside my father. It was a sunny morning and with the new day came what seemed like a new side of my father, now he was neither the loving side or the sorrow filled side. It was a mixture of the two, although from his attire alone I could see that this was his war side. A side of him which was unleashed only at times of great desperation, and upon seeing him looking like this I got flashbacks of being in my cradle and seeing him like this the day my mother was killed. My father was a great warrior, unmatched with a sword and well trained in the arts of the Cantarese longbow. This was a weapon patented by the elders of Cantar; it would be a bow capable of firing bolts, much like a crossbow, although it had no spring mechanism it was simply a string made of horse mane, that was stretched so tightly only the strongest of our tribe were able to control its awesome power. My father being one of them, just seeing his bow however, gave me a sense of courage and so I waltzed through to see my father in the yard area with my new sense of courage and demanded that I be allowed to stay and fight for the freedom of Cantar. He simply turned and formed a frown upon his face that shone in the midday sun. I knew what he was going to say and so I ran, I was broken by that stare that I had seen all too often, he was going to tell me that I was far too young top be helping out and so I should just do what he told me before and accept the facts. But I didn't want to, I wanted to help fight, these kind of thoughts were what ran through my head as I just kept running, I remember running for a long time until Cantar was about the size of a tree in the distance and night was falling. I sat on a rock nearby with very mixed emotions inside of me. One side of me felt that I should be helping and not accept no for an answer, although the other side of me was telling me that I should listen to the wiser reasoning of my father and accept that he knows what is best for me. I was so stubborn as a young boy, as many teens are, but I was extra stubborn the kind of irritating stubborn people, that always have to get their own way. I resent my days when I acted like that, I was so infantile and at the time I was weighing up the decisions I subconsciously knew what I should do, although this was not what I wanted to hear I covered my ears up as if to shut out the reason filled voice of my conscience. I did this probably because I knew it was telling me what was the right thing to do, or perhaps I was driving myself insane with all of the mental stress that I was under at the time. The answer to why I was shutting out my conscience is now much clearer to me, with my stubborn ways even if I thought something superceded what I chose I would still never agree to it, as I was far too headstrong as a young boy, which was not an unnatural thing. After the brief moment of insanity where I yelled and screamed at myself in some vain attempt to rid myself of mental stress. Although this worked somewhat it was getting late and so under nightfall I could hear the eerie noises of the darkness, sounds of animals and the flies darting around me, teasing my and trying to fool me into imagining something bigger of them that would scare me. However, I was not one to be flinched by the likes of this, although what happened next would be something that never left my memory. Even to this day the memories and images are clear as crystal within my mind. It was pitch black and I was about a 400 metre walk from Cantar, the wind in my thick, black hair which took to the wind like a kite blew into my eyes as I heard a noise I turned around and brushed the hair from my eyes, only to see the most fearsome and petrifying site I had witnessed in my entire life. For a mere kilometer behind me was the largest army I had ever seen in my life, wielding torches they crossed the horizon and I could see them advancing. I knew exactly what was happening. The enemy were coming, knowing I was the only person who could warn the village I ran at full speed back to the village I hammered on the gates the porter then opened the gates seeing it was me and he rang the alarm bell upon the site of the now in charging advance movement army. My father was one of the first on the scene, he yelled to wake the whole village kicking on people's doors and telling them to prepare because we were under attack. I clearly remember his exact look, readily kitted up he wielded his sword sheathed it as he saw me, he then ran to me and embraced me thanking the gods for my safety he took me to the house where Lucci and some other children were we were guarded by two Cantarese halberdiers, I felt safe although I was worried about my father. He kissed me and said goodbye saluting the two halberdiers as he left. I knew deep down inside that my father would be fine, by now we could all hear the yelling and screaming of men and women alike, the village were all in shock although they were all ready. In the brief quiet before the fighting began I spoke with one of the elderly halberdiers who was telling me that this was only the scouting force and that worse was to come! I couldn't conjure up anything worse than this within my memory at the tender age of 12 and so I stayed silent and waited for the fighting to begin. Before it did I heard their leader telling my father he should surrender and my father then made a huge speech that fired up the whole of Cantar their spirits burning for the desire of freedom. Yelling was so loud in the fort that it was almost deafening, their army were at immediate disadvantage having to climb 10 metre palisade walls, which was almost impossible however, foolishly they began to pour hundreds of men over the top at us, I could peek through the window and remember seeing about three of their men killed for everyone of ours as they were diving to the floor to get inside, they had lost about 150 men before they chose to use their siege rams. The gates burst open and over a hundred foot soldiers mixed in with a few cavalry came charging through led by a man on horseback wearing a thick suit or armour and a solid gold sword and shield. Blood flew everywhere men from both sides fell to the ground wailing as they sustained mortal wounds. During the hour or so of battle one man tried to break in and was killed instantly by the guards who then used the body to block others from getting in. From merely the sounds I could not tell who was winning or had one, although I heard a patriotic cheer moments after thinking this and it was the same I heard before the battle. Cantar had won and fought off the army. It was a grand victory. What I remember clearest of all from that night was the ceremonial beheading of their leader my father ordered the trading of all of their arms for gold so we could rebuild the town. The losses were great on both sides but Cantar survived once more. [pic]

Chapter 4: Life Without Cantar

With the days to follow the town was rebuilt and to prevent being surprised again. Scouts were deployed in camouflaged areas all around Cantar for 1 kilometer each carrying a warning horn to alert of an invasion. My father feared for my safety and so he declared now that war was underway that Lucci and I should leave and go to Cannalei. Both of us grudgingly obliged, we were to set off the next morning. I went to sleep early that night on my father's advice, as he told me I would have a lengthy day ahead of me, although I couldn't sleep at all and so Lucci and I met due to prior arrangement at after midnight, when the whole of Cantar was asleep and went up to the hills where we went as children. We spent the whole night talking and remembering days gone by and wondering how our life would be in this new place. I had never felt closer to Lucci than I did on that night we were once more like peas in a pod. As the sun came up we both went home, as we needed a little sleep. I was awoken by my father and still felt very tired due to the activities of the previous night, although I decided that I should get up now so I can say goodbye to Rajin, I walked to his house and knocked gingerly upon his wooden and jagged door, momentarily he answered and we both stood there. For minutes I can remember the two of us just standing there, probably thinking exactly the same thing we both then spoke what we had been thinking at the same time; 'I'll miss you.' It was truly a heart warming moment, I felt as if a part of me was going and I am sure he felt the same, we embraced for one last time and we made a promise that we would always be together as best friends. No matter what happened. We would always have that special bond between us. And so with this for the final time I bid farewell to Rajin. The last living memory I have of Rajin; is him waving to me with a tear in his eye. The way some believe you have a photographic memory of key moments in your life. Well this was definitely one of those moments, even to this day I can see him standing there with his arm raised, the tears in his eyes. Just thinking about it was enough to bring me to tears. I returned to my house where two men stood talking to my father, my father introduced me to these men who were named; Gernha and Murla. They seemed nice men and they spoke to me kindly and then Lucci arrived with her essentials packed into a small case, I had my things in a larger box. The two men showed us a rickety old wagon and asked Lucci and I to sit in the back of it with our things. We did this and then said a final goodbye to our father's and Lucci's mother, I remember what my father shouted to me as we left the gates of Cantar to begin our journey and I always wondered what he meant by it he yelled; 'Set your own boundaries Galuda, I know you will make me proud.' I simply took it as nothing back then and took on the long journey spending all the hours speaking with Lucci. When night fell we slept and we awoke the next day in a small house in a very strange and foreign place I ran outside and saw the sign reading; 'Cannalei: Home of free spirits.' The name was fitting, as once more I could go outside without fear of being invaded, and I could live in peace although it felt awful for everyone who was left behind. I felt selfish to have such a sense of safety, whilst others who I loved and cared for lived in nothing but fear. As days and weeks passed many people traveled from Cantar to stay safely in Cannalei, There had been no attack I began to ponder the thoughts, that perhaps this tribe were not going to attack again and that we had scared them away, although I could once more feel the horrible voice of my conscience telling me differently, as did my heart. The only thing that made me think this was my longing. The longing to go back to Cantar and see my father and best friend again. Although it had been a mere few weeks, like they say you really don't know how much you need someone until you lose them. I only at this point realized how much I took both Rajin and my father for granted as well as everyone else, even Lucci. I must have treated everyone horribly, I felt all of a sudden at the time that I needed to apologise to everyone, although I had done nothing wrong. I was perhaps just very near to breaking down due to the state of my mental health, I was at the point where someone would make a loud noise and I would run and hide. I think this was probably because the great many traumas I had suffered in my life such as; the death of my mother, the attack on Cantar, the tensions in my friendships and at such a young age. These sorts of things can damage the mind severely and leave mental scars. I managed eventually to get a grip and decided that I shouldn't be like this, as my father would not be proud to see me like this. He would want to see me with my head up high doing as much as I could for others. I began to act like this and life became far easier as I was not spending so long biting my nails with fear. I keep myself busy, and was a far happier person for days to come although merely a few days later this would all be crushed once more. With yet another dark day in my life. The morning was bright and filled with promise, the greatest of weather we had received in some time, although there was an eerie feeling everywhere and a smell of burning. I took my usual walk outside and spoke to Lucci, the pair of us then set off to go for our regular walk along the forest trail. We had been extremely good friends for a very long time by now. However, I knew that both Lucci and myself wanted to be more than just friends; we were in love pure and simple. Although I think she was waiting for me to say something, this is why I was shocked when she opened up her feelings to me that morning on the trail; she told me how long she had loved me for, ever since the kiss. I told her that I felt the same and so the two of us became an item, I didn't feel guilty at all this time, as Rajin and Lucci were merely friends. Lucci and I talked for the whole day and all was going great we were now officially an item. We were holding hands for so long I began to lose the feeling in my hand, but although the feeling of my hand w as gone, the feelings in my heart grew ever stronger. As I had never felt as much affection for someone as I did then, I had never loved someone so much in my entire life. We were happy as can be and as the cool winter's evening breeze caused the hairs on my hand to stand on end, the two of us decided we should begin traveling back. All I could think of was how lucky I was to have Lucci. I was on top of the world, nothing could take me down, I was soaring like an eagle. Or so I thought. We kept on walking, hand in hand. I was so happy I wanted to cry, although I managed to keep myself calm. Lucci and I continued to talk and imagine what Cantar would be like when we returned, as although I had gotten on with my life now and let go. I still longed to be back with all of my friends and family. Never did I expect what happened next. Lucci and I entered the town centre and we saw a man on a horse riding towards the fates of Cannalei. He looked hurt and so Lucci and I went to help him. As we reached the man he had just passed through the gates and he fell from his horse, in what appeared to be a stroke of exhaustion for whatever reason. He lay in the dirt and I tried to help him up, although as I turned him over, I caught site of his chest, which was drenched in blood. I could see nothing but blood all over him, his face, his chest and his arms and legs all covered in thick red blood. This bleeding seemed to be originating from his chest area I tried to make him more comfortable and when I managed to, I asked the man; 'What happened to you?' He then began to slowly tell me how he had fled Cantar after an overwhelming force attacked killing many. I became flustered and angry demanding to know the whereabouts of my father, although he failed to tell me anything and collapsed dead, I shook his body in a rage and then grabbed his horse and charged west as fast as the horse's legs could carry me. I knew something was bad and now being 13 I could perhaps make a difference, forgetting about all of the people in Cannalei; even Lucci was blocked from my memory by this rage. I charged on not looking back in the fear that I would change my mind.

Chapter 5: Raging Inferno

I kept riding stopping for the night and sleeping propped against a large boulder. I remember having a dream about being back in Cantar as a young boy, no complications were part of my life, all of my friends got along really well together, and most of all I was happy, which was somewhat a paradox to how my life was now. I was far from happy, anything but joyful and I was teetering on the edge of insanity, I needed recognition that Cantar was okay before I could rest and with that I got a terrible a terrible vision cast into my mind, which showed Cantar being razed, once more I saw children being cut down by dark figures on horseback and women being killed in a systematic fashion like animals. The vision scared me so much that I can remember waking up drenched in my own perspiration. Because I was so shaken up by such awful visions I decided that going back to sleep would only cast more nightmarish images into my head and so I proceeded on my horse, well into the night and then I must have fallen asleep as I woke up in the early morning the sun was climbing over the horizon and as soon as it did, it cast light down upon Cantar. However, it unveiled a Cantar that I had never and wished I had never seen before. The town was ablaze, the wooden palisade was a now raging ring of inferno. It was no longer a peaceful and beautiful mountain village. It was some nightmarish atrocity that existed only in the minds of those born of such a hellish evil, that Satan himself would weep at their actions. Until this day I can see Cantar ablaze, I remember being very upset inside. I also felt uneasy as well as strangely brave, as I had some kind of courage inside of me that caused me to walk to the gates and walk through the tall ajar pillars of fire. Upon entering the village all I could see was fire, it was almost as if the floor had opened up and hell was seeping up onto the land. I had never been so brave, yet I had never felt so afraid. I was torn between breakdown and anger leading to some kind of bitter revenge on the people who had done this. I saw piles of bodies many scorched by fire, their eyes closed with the harmony and acceptance of death whilst defending their homeland. There seemed to be a certain kind of pride in their eyes at the time, probably because they had. All of the dead men and women that I saw wearing the military uniform of the Cantarese army. They had all died for this once great and peaceful place that I had called home for my whole life.. Now it was a hellhole, filled with men and women who would otherwise have been bound to heaven and hell. As there were many of the enemies dead laying dead within our battlements, although was it our? Or was it mine? At the time I couldn't answer that question, as I knew not of who had survived. Although within my mind I doubted that anyone had survived whatsoever, and I never knew how painfully correct I was to think this. As I continued my search I heard a faint whimpering, could it be true? Was there a survivor? I ran to find out where this had come from and I dashed to a house where the groaning was at the height of volume. I braved the flames that singed my hair and darted into the small hut. The roof was ablaze and fiery masses of thatching plummeted from the roof, as I dodged them I found a man. I grabbed him as he coughed and spluttered and managed to drag him outside. As I lay the man down he began to speak to me, I told him that I was the son of Ganryu the general and the man then told me of the battle and how the tribe burnt down the village mercilessly and how they hacked everyone and thing to pieces, he survived by hiding among the dead bodies and smothering himself in other people's blood. He was left for dead with everyone else. The man went on to tell me about my father and how he had seen him fighting off many of the enemy tribesman and how he had killed so many. Although this was in vain as the tribe had been outnumbered three to one from the beginning and although loss was inevitable, my father and the other warriors did not turn and run, they stayed to fight with some honour. The man told me how my father had died with dignity at the hands of a shaman within the other tribe, who was a greatly sized man over seven feet tall, the man described my fathers death, as I simply kneeled next to the man showing now emotions apart from the tears which cascaded down my cheeks, that had become a rosy red from the heat of the inferno. At that time I wouldn't believe it, I couldn't believe it. There was no way that my father could have died. I simply wouldn't accept it and with this I became frenzied, looking for my father, hoping that what the man had said was not true, maybe he had made a mistake. That was until I saw it. I saw the most horrifying vision I had ever seen in my entire life. It was a vision that would make the toughest of men cry, something snapped deep inside of me, something broke away from my soul. A art of me had instantaneously been destroyed by the horror which lay before my eyes. From that one vision though, I could pan ahead in my life and still know that things would never be the same. All I could see was blood everywhere, with my father lying motionlessly on the floor, the greater part of his body covered in the ash from the fire. Many of the bodies around his seemed to be the enemy and so what the man had said was true, my father had died with honour, although I couldn't take it. The sight of him dead, bleeding from all over his body and seeing all of the other dead people, who I had known well and grown up with. But now they were no more than a shadow of their former selves, lying dead within the village that they had served and loved for so long. All of that was now to waste, and despite the peace upon the faces of the Cantarese warriors. I could not smile, physically or mentally, although I knew I must perform another duty before leaving to return to Cannalei for the others. It was the burial of my own father. That very evening a few hours later, I had prepared the burial, by digging the grave and preparing the offerings. I managed to build a makeshift movement device to move my father with; I cleaned the blood and ash from his skin and disinfected the wounds. I then began the tedious job of dragging him several hundred metres through the scorching sun, to reach the burial site of my family. As I entered through the rusty gate, I could feel a somewhat pleasant vibe ebbing from the grave of my lost ancestors. I looked around and found the grave of my mother, its pure whit and square headstone shining with brilliance in the midday sun. I had never known my mother properly, for she died two weeks after my birth, although I loved her like no other, and though she was gone. I could feel her every day, right by my side, helping me through the seemingly endless and sad nights of a disastrous youth. I remember then taking my father's body and steadily lowering it into his grave before beginning to bury the body saying prayers as I did so. As I tossed in the last of the dirt, I felt mixed emotions; on one side I was happy because my father would soon be in a better place. However, I knew that without my father, I had no one left. Both my mother and my father were killed by wars and I was sick of it, would I be next? Was a question I would often ask myself. Truthfully I didn't want to know the answer to this, as I had seen more death in my life than I would care to think about. Both death and war had plagued me since my life had begun and at this time, I wanted nothing more than to be away from it all. The wars, the fighting. Everything and everyone were simply obstacles and empty promises; they would let me down somehow eventually. Every single one of them and so I decided I would leave for good. But first I had to bid farewell properly to the town that had given me so much. I returned to Cantar as the sun was going down and decided I would have to stay in the woods that night after I had found out the extent of the damage Cantar had suffered at the hands of this huge and evil tribe. I wandered through the village, searching for any signs of life but found none anywhere. I eventually stumbled upon the village church, it was in cinders and it burned like the bowels of hell itself, it was a metaphoric swallowing up of all religion by the devil. Images such as these were rampant within what could be called a raging inferno, where in actual fact it was my village and homeland. The church seemed macabre something eerie was around I felt a very disturbing presence in the air I felt inclined to go into the church despite its dangerous looking exterior, I was guided by my curiosity to discover where this anonymous temptation led me. I calmly walked toward the strange and disfigured building, my hands trembling with not fear but the anticipation to see what lay inside. I reached the doors and I can remember I had to kick a huge wooden beam that lay across the entrance I was not sure why this was here however; I simply removed it and then with a great effort parted the huge doors. I can remember my feelings precisely about the images that lay before me. In one word I could have described such a feeling as; horror. Horror was an emotion too common for me, although what I saw not only horrified me, it petrified me to. Because; as I threw the huge doors open all I could see before me, was a heap of dead bodies. Every one of them belonging to a child, and each of those I had known. The skeletons and charred remains of babies lay in the black ashes of their mother's demise. As I scoured the room I saw the smouldering bodies of children who had tried to climb through the windows and many lay dead beneath them. It all then became clear, these innocent little children and their mother's had been hoarded into the church and burnt alive! I lost control, not remembering anything but hatred for this tribe I ran as fast as I could, not stopping and even when I had a stitch I kept running. I thought I was running to get help like I should have. Although seeing the kind of things that I had seen, I felt it was best that no one else had to witness such atrocity an horror and so I just kept running. I stopped for no supplies and I never took one look back and the smouldering village, that I had loved with so much warmth. I think I was afraid, for the first time in my life I was so scared that I couldn't think about being scared, all I thought about while riding was escaping. Escaping from the terrible traumatic horrors that would remain with me for the rest of my life.

Chapter 6: The Light In The Darkness

After fleeing from the terrifying sights of Cantar, I remember traveling for about three days, although it seemed like an eternity, I didn't have food or water. All I had was the clothes that I wore. However, never giving up I kept going for the whole day, resorting to eating the bugs that roamed the deserts in the exasperating sun's heat. I could only channel the anger inside of me into walking, which may have been the only reason that I kept going. I eventually arrived in a village, as the sun was at its peak I dropped exhausted at the gate of a tiny village. I remember what Is aw when I awoke, the room was filled with a semi-transparent, smoke which sailed on the air and out of the carved window. I found myself within a small hut, as I turned beneath the warmth and comfort of my blanket, I saw a middle aged man wearing a yellow shirt with purple trousers. He seemed very consumed in cooking the meal he was preparing over the open flame stove. The man then turned and our eyes met for the first time, he smiled and I smiled back, this being the only luck I had received since the recent and distressing events. At that moment both the old man and I were caught in a transfixing, warm and caring stare with each other. The moment wouldn't break, there was certainly a special sort of chemistry between us both, I couldn't have possibly told at the time however, little did I know that me and this man were destined to be life long friends. When I felt strong enough the kind elderly man offered me a drink that I swiftly obliged to, and he also gave me some herbal soup with chicken pieces in it. I loved this concoction and after I had finished the man and I spoke. He tried to discover about me as to him, I must have appeared as a mysterious little boy who fainted whilst traveling, and although it went far deeper than that. And it reminded me of the terrible visions I had seen, that night I had terrible nightmarish visions once again, much the same as I had in my childhood although these were far worse. As I had seen images that would appaul the devil! My life was at a lower point at this time than it had ever been. I felt like an insignificant and meaningless waste of life. I felt a coward for running, although after I reluctantly told the elderly man he was astounded at my bravery. However, I didn't feel brave at all, I hardly knew the meaning of the word. I was anything but brave, because when I thought of bravery I saw my mother and my father dressed in their fighting attire. I was far from what they were, although I was so young at the time, I knew I could not become what they had in life and so I beat upon my emotions that already were set on brittle foundations. I had no direction, no confidence and perhaps worst of all I felt unloved. For the weeks to come I stayed with the man and helped by working in his shop to earn my keep as I grew stronger after my relapse of exhaustion. The man did not ask me to help, although after all he had done for me how could I not help him. It seemed a kind thing to do and, as I had mentioned my father had shown me a great asset in being kind and considerate to others. The man fed me and gave me a place to sleep; I wasn't in eternal bliss, although I was heading in the right direction. Finally I could settle down for a little while. I appreciated everything the man had done for me and grew to know him as Ameano Popo. Although as we grew closer and closer together he allowed me to call him Popo. We were made for each other, and despite such a huge age gap we were like best friends. The bonds of our friendship grew tighter everyday the stitching of our happiness together doubled up and framed upon the wall of heaven. I had not known true happiness for so long, although now I started to feel emotions that were lifted from the dark and morose part of the scale. I could finally feel love again and from a stranger. Nonetheless as all of this time went by we became great companions. Although one day something terrible happened, Popo and I were traveling back from the store, he told me he had forgotten something and that he would have to go back and so, I began to walk back home and I arrived several minutes later only to see that someone had broken in. A youth ran out and knocked me down then another ran down and I tackled him, we rolled around on the floor but I got the better of him and managed to hold him down until Popo got back, he told the kid to beat it and said I must have been really strong to take down a kid bigger than me. That was the day Popo asked me to become a wrestler. He took me to his gym; it was about midday at the time and was a rather unpleasant day for weather as winds blew sand fro miles. I felt far safer inside. We got down to doing some training; he taught me the forms of punches and kicks along with some other basics and assessed me on my skills. He told me that he saw some potential in me and perhaps I could go on to be a rookie in a smaller promotion, which I accepted of course, for he knew so much more about wrestling than I did. However, after enjoying wrestling for that day, I began to enjoy wrestling more and more. The sport grew on me; I began to imagine becoming some huge star, although Popo would tactfully tell me not to raise my hopes. Although I couldn't lower them I was in a state of total self-confidence, nothing could take me down, I was on cloud nine. I enjoyed going to the small training area that Popo had, it was great fun to play on the apparatus. However, every day of my life I still could not help but think of Cantar, and as the days went by, I wondered where the love of my life had gone. I sat up some nights crying, for I had lost my one true love, and the person who I could always count on. I often sat and though about the great times we spent together and thought to myself; would I ever see her again? Months went by and my fourteenth birthday eventually came around Popo and I celebrated, he bought me some wrestling training videos that would be worth listening to and we spent the day having a picnic in the sunshine. It felt great, just like when I was little, I suppose for this time in my young life I saw Popo as a father figure in the way that he supported me and was always there for me. Although Popo would have one more great birthday surprise. He told me later that evening to pack my bags, I though he was throwing me out and when I asked him this, he was bowled over with laughter. He told me that was really funny, although I was in fact a little worried about it all; he then revealed that we would be setting off for England in the morning. I was absolutely astonished. I could hardly take it all in. This was mainly because all of my life I had wanted to live in a largely populated place and mix with different people, also England had many amateur wrestling prospects which would be suitable for me. I looked forward to it and packed my things instantly. I was so happy, yet I could not help but recluse knowing that I would be leaving the country for good and would almost definitely never see Lucci or any of the people from my childhood again. Neither would I be able to visit the grave of my father that lay a little way outside Cantar. I had mixed feelings about the whole ordeal, although I would have to make a choice. In the end I decided that ultimately I would go to England with Popo as he was like a father to me and I could not gamble over finding another person with a golden heart like his, although before I left. I made a vow that one day I would return and put everything right at my home town and I would make my father proud, just as he asked me to as I left Cantar in that wagon all that time ago. I still remembered the moment as if it were yesterday, although now I finally understood what he meant by making him proud. And I was prepared to do everything in my power to achieve it. Come hell or high waters, nothing could stop my driving ambition, and my crusade to meet my destiny. And so the next morning I was awoken by Popo whilst dawn was breaking, I remember the beauty of my vision as I peered through the carved hut window and seeing the sun raise over the horizon. It was almost as if a great ball of fire was rolling across the planet and then stopping when it came towards me. I can now see this a metaphor for my life at the time, as everything in my life had been destroyed and burned to the ground, including my immediate family, although I had survived through this all. At that moment I can remember thinking that perhaps my future would not be so chaotic as, this metaphoric ball of flames had stopped, maybe luck and faith were now on my side. As all of these thoughts ran through my head I snapped out of the daydream. I was called by Popo as we were about to leave and so I looked over to the east and saw the shadow of a fallen Cantar, and whilst I gazed upon my homeland I swore upon my own life that I would return and put everything right, and with that I walked out of the door and boarded Popo's carriage. He told me when we reached a place with roads we would be getting a taxi. I remember that morning as well as any other, it was still a little dark and the breeze carried the scent of pollution from the industrial towns to the North, a scent that grew stronger as we approached. I knew then that we were close and after a few hours of sleeping I woke up and I was laying in what seemed like a new world. Popo had obviously carried me into the taxi; it must have been a very deep sleep. This new world I saw around me had lots of people and huge see through windows. I didn't know where I was, everything seemed to be shiny and colourful, there was very little brown, the room we lay in was filled with soft comfy chairs. It was as if I were in heaven. Although I feared this place somewhat, people seemed to carry around very foreign objects, which in a way scared me. Popo was next to me as I turned around he smiled at me and told me not to be worried, this comforted me, because; as long as Popo was not afraid neither was I. Then over a loud speaker a voice came telling us that we should board the plane and so Popo took my hand and the luggage and we boarded the plane. I was scared at first when I sat down, as the ground seemed so far below. Although I soon realized how we would be getting to England, the huge ship began to move I thought it was some sort of huge car, as it had seatbelts and I had seen some cars on Popo's TV set. Although we began to take off and I realized that it was no car, I called it a flying car. I was absolutely scared out of my mind, I was confused. Popo told me not to worry and so I simply closed the window flap next to me so I could see nothing, I tried to sleep but I couldn't as there was a huge racket and so I simply endured that horrible and lengthy journey, although there was some nice food to eat. When we touched down in England, many hours later. I could see a world very much similar to where we had left from; I knew from that moment that I would have to adjust to all of this. I would have to try and learn the way of things, for what I didn't know then, is that this place would become my beloved new homeland. Although throughout all of this, since all of my losses at Cantar and all of the horrors that haunted and mocked my very existence. I knew that Popo would never leave my side. He was the light in the darkness, which was my life. Chapter 7: Changes I experienced many changes from arriving in Britain, I started getting terrible stomach aches when I first got there, and so did Popo, which was probably due to our previous diets. Although after these desisted, life in England was pretty good fun, there were some great technological advances here that I would never have dreamt of back in my homeland. Everyone and everything was different the country was a far easier place to live. Life was better although somewhat scary at times. I realized that I would have to go to a place called secondary school, this somewhat worried me, as for the past three years I had received no education whatsoever, and so I assumed that I would be bottom of all my classes. This worried me, although the idea of making new friends and learning would be great I though, it would give me something to do through the long a boring days, apart from wrestling training all the time. As although I loved my wrestling training and was very ambitious about a possible wrestling career in an amateur federation. I could think of nothing more boring at some points, perhaps I had exhausted the fun and excitement that flowed through me like the electricity that wrestling was. Or perhaps wrestling was an oxymoron; it had two opposites; excitement and boredom, which seemed to fit together as one to make this great sport. Although wrestling was not enough to give me the best life I could lead, and that is the first time I remember feeling that something was missing. I had one thing that my heart desired apart from my hobby and my sense of happiness. I had no friends anymore, as since leaving America, I had spoken to no one but Popo and although he was like a friend to me, he was also like my father figure. I decided that school would give me the perfect opportunity to make friends, and so I looked forward to the following week when I would start; Woodham ferrers secondary school. The day came that I was set to start my school, I was apprehensive and confident a mixture of the two that gave me and overall feeling of insecurity. I had been longing for so long to go and make some friends in this new country, although one thing I wasn't sure of, was whether or not the kids at the school would actually like me or not. I was re-assured by Popo that I was likeable and a good kid and so people couldn't help but like me, although this gave me a little more confidence I knew from the way he fiddled with his hands whilst saying this that he too was apprehensive about the whole ordeal. I think that because I was a trained amateur wrestler, he felt I may not know how to react and he probably saw worrying visions of me assaulting my teachers in class. Although I must confess he was probably partially correct in thinking this as I didn't know how to react and if I had been given a detention or something on my first day; I would have probably flipped out and put my teacher through the desk or something. So in retrospect it was lucky that I got on well with my teachers the first day, although I wish that it would have gone down as sweetly with students. Popo took me to school by car and I happily jumped out of the car with my backpack, half empty because I had very little books to take, as I was new to school and would probably receive some throughout the day. I was introduced to my tutorial group in the morning that consisted of about twenty children, all of who I did not recognize or know anything about them whatsoever. I was absolutely petrified when the tutor asked me to introduce myself, although I managed to announce my name and said where I had come from along with telling them some other information, although after telling them briefly about how my mother and father were dead. The children and event eh tutor had a very gob smacked look upon their faces, and as I sat down the teacher gained composure and began to take the register, some of the kids kept staring at me as if I was some sort of freak. Probably because I had spoken so calmly of such macabre things as my own father and mother's death. Although this was mainly because I had so long to come to terms with the loss and now I had someone to help me being Popo, although they couldn't possibly understand how I was feeling when it happened to me, they cannot begin to understand something like that hell that I traveled through, until they face the same problems as I did. No wanting to attract attention to myself I simply didn't acknowledge the attention I was given and carried on with my day. The tutor; Ms. Zarkos assigned a pupil named a pupil called Lucy Crouchman to show me around and help me out, I remember Lucy as having bright red hair and wearing a lot of make up, she was a good student and wasn't that high on herself. She helped me out for my first week and her and her best friend named Jenni Weeks were the only two who actually spoke to me and eventually became two reasonably good friends of mine. Although because they were best friends long before I joined the school; I often felt like second best. Jenni and Lucy were both social outcasts because they were two people who were not afraid to voice their opinions and always tried to do well in school, whereas the rest of the class made fun of them for being so conscientious toward their studies. And by being associated with Jenni and Lucy I became outcasted myself, people simply turned their noses up at me because they were my friends, although I wasn't bothered, and neither were they. The three of us simply got on with our lives and they helped me with my studies and by the end of my first school year I had caught up with the first two years of secondary school that I had missed. And I must say much of this was due to the help that Lucy and Jenni gave me. As without them, none of what I achieved in that time would have been possible. As school life wore on through the years though, things changed for the worse. As we began to grow up our feelings for one another changed and Jenni and I began to date each other for a short while, although this caused the break up of her and Lucy as friends, I told Jenni that it wasn't right for the two of us to date, as I was still an item with Lucci. And despite not knowing where Lucci was, I still loved her; I couldn't get away from the feeling. Every sleepless night and every waking day I was missing her, and deep down I wondered, if I could ever see her again. I knew that if I didn't I would go insane with her loss. Although my concerns at that time were with Lucy and Jenni, who were my only friends, although as the weeks went on much like with Rajin and Lucci back in Cantar. The whole break up situation was mirrored here, three friends parted over the stupidity of two of them. I was going to make sure that this friendship triangle was not destroyed in the same way as ours was. And so I made the three of us talk, and one evening I can remember we spent hours up the park talking, but surely enough by the end of the evening as the sun feel behind the hills and trees, we were a trio once again. During year 10 at school, I managed to get my grades up from mostly C to mostly B and C. I wasn't a mastermind, although I was now above average for my age. Popo was so proud of me and more importantly perhaps, I was proud of myself. For I had achieved things that before I met Jenni and Lucy seemed impossible tasks to cross, like some sort of huge wall that stood in my way. Although becoming acquainted with Lucy and Jenni gave me wings, I took to the air and soared over the wall of destiny and achieved my ultimate goal. Although I still had many barriers to cross before I would make a man of myself. I needed to achieve far more to be the man that my father was and know what it is truly like, to fulfill a last request and make my father proud of me. The next year in school would be my last; I went through the year revising like never before to try and get a good grade in my GCSE exams. I had chosen subjects because I was good at them and got good grades for them, as I was told this would help me to achieve good grades. I enjoyed the more practical topics such as Music, P.E and Art. Jenni Lucy and I would always revise together when the time came for our study leave and we had great fun, whilst making an effort to learn to. I refused to let them help me in my coursework, as although I liked to be helped, I decided that it was unfair for them to carry me and so I told them they no longer had to wait for me to catch up with them and they no longer had to explain things to me the way they had. They weren't happy with this but respected my wishes and so I took my GCSE's all alone without any help whatsoever. I was not too surprised to find that my grades had slipped, in most subjects I had received little less that my predicted mark, although my results were not record breaking, I was proud of them as so was everyone else, as they knew it must have been hard for me. Although I doubted they could possibly know how difficult I had found it, to overcome this huge obstacle that lay before me. Now I was in state of solace for at last I could begin to climb my over ladder, this one being far greater than the last, as this was the ladder that would lead me to a dream I had been chasing undetermined for several years now, although I could finally satisfy the craving that lived within me and I would do all I can to prove myself by reaching this pinnacle of my desire. At that time I wanted nothing more in life, that to become a professional wrestler. Chapter 8: Reaching The Dream Wrestling was something I had enjoyed ever since seeing it on the TV back at Popo's old home. Since the very first day I saw it, I knew that I wanted to wrestle. I would be glued to the television every time the shows about it came on. I knew that I wanted to become a wrestler and I didn't have much knowledge of how hard it would be or how long it would take to reach my dream, although I was set on it. As from the day I started my wrestling training, I knew I would do all I could to get there, no matter what it took, no matter how long I would have to train. I would make it. This was the attitude that kept me going through the many years that followed since I began my training all that time ago back at the home I used to live in with Popo, although this attitude had been strong ever since, not only an attitude, it soon became the ambition. I could not escape this ambition, as it would soon become a destiny that I would follow. I left school and did not continue on and go to the college although many told me I should. Jenni and Lucy respected my decision and went to college and later university. I kept in contact with the duo for some time after departing their company to take my own path of life. Although Lucy was killed in a car crash several years later and by that time I had lost contact with both Jenni and Lucy, and so I was not invited to the funeral. To this day, I regret not staying in touch with them both, as they helped me and I treated them like garbage, which really was the same as the other friendship trio had been destroyed. This knocked my confidence somewhat at hearing the death of a good friend and losing contact with yet another special person in my life. However, rather than give up and mourn and dwell upon this unfortunate event, it simply drove me harder, the anger and remorse inside of me became a fuel. A fuel for my determination to reach the big time, for I thought this would be a way that I could honour Lucy's death. Her sacrifice for what she loved, compelled me to sacrifice anything that I needed to, including my own body with the constant and incessant training that I needed to endure to stay in good physical shape. The things that happened in my life fueled all of my anger that grew within, with each barrier I broke I felt like the only way to enhance my mental strength and be able to overcome these problems would be to become physically stronger. This made me want to train like never before, and so without the anger and horrific things I had suffered as a child, would prove to make me stronger. As although wrestling was my main priority at the time, every time I thought of reaching my goal, I saw Cantar on that very day burning, dead bodies everywhere, which reminded me of my vow. I would make I in the big time and then return and put things right in my homeland. By the age of 18 I was at the peak of my physical and mental health. Popo began to train me personally in his small training room in the house we lived in. He had once been a great martial arts master of the gung-fu art. He taught me all he knew, which took him over a year to achieve. Once he had taught me a new technique of any kind I would have to put myself through very strict training so that I could master the technique and eventually I became able to do combat with him. This fighting form was purely for me to adapt so that I could stay in touch with both my inner spiritual strength and my physical strength and so that I could stay in good shape. I also kept this art and entered many martial arts tournaments during the year. However, I was proved outmatched by every opponent I faced. This made Popo happy as he taught me once that the art of losing and accepting it, was as worth knowing as the art of accepting victory. I thought he was just saying it at the time although, only now I am truly able to understand the wise and wonderful prophecies that Popo taught me under his training. I continued my physical training with Popo for a further year, in which he began to teach me the basic moves maneuvers and general wrestling techniques that I would need to join amateur tournaments. Once he had spent almost half a year teaching me some basic moves such as the; drop toehold and the arm drag. I began to read about some of the moves and how they were best performed. The book I had used for this was the Popo guide to perfection in wrestling. The book guided me through all of these moves in further detail whilst Popo was unable to teach me during his long time away visiting his sick mother back in America. He returned and could train me no more for a little while as he was a little ill himself, I was worried at the time, as he seemed very ill indeed and knowing he was past his physical fitness peak. I knew that any illness could leave scars of some sort, although things turned out fine in the end and it proved to be some strange and foreign flu, which was sort of a short sharp shock on the body but left no damage or side effects. Within a month of being diagnosed as fit once again Popo began to teach me more advanced maneuvers, one of which I modified myself, as from the northern lights suplex and the release German suplex. I formulated the releasing northern lights suplex, a move that I still use in the ring to this day. Although I rejoiced at having learned so much from Popo in the sense of wrestling and his personality there. I would soon see a new side of Popo, as he showed me his generous and kind side. Days later Popo told me that he had a surprise for me. He said that he would show me exactly what it was later that day. I could never have expected the true reality of this surprise though, it was far off what I had imagined. Later that day as prepared Popo was going to show me the surprise. He took me out in the car saying he needed to go and show it to me somewhere it was too big to fit in the house apparently. I would soon know what he meant by this though, as we pulled up outside a huge white arena that had the sign board that showed who owns the place torn down and some men were on ladders erecting a new sign that read: 'Popo's wrestling academy.' I remember feeling confused yet excited at the same time. I questioned Popo about it and he smiled he told me how he had inherited a lot of money from his mother when she died. Although he put on a brave face about the entire ordeal of losing his mother, I knew after going through the ordeal myself that inside he was burning in rage and that this academy was a testament to his rage, he probably saw this as a way of being constructive. Or perhaps he was trying to do the same thing as me, make his mother proud like I longed to with my father. I never heard the words from his lips, although I knew his intentions and it reflected on me a little, we both now had the same goal before us. And united I knew that we could reach it. United we stood at that one moment, although I could not foretell such a happy ending. Both of us would eventually reach the dream. [pic] Chapter 9: The Long And Winding Road The day after Popo had shown me the grand academy that he had purchased days before. Popo told me about what this academy would be for and he told me that it was inspired by my love for the sport and that facilities here were far greater than at the house. He also told me that there was a special training room that only I was permitted to enter, with him. For the first time in my life I felt special, I possessed something exclusive and that was the love and friendship of the kindest man on Earth. What felt most special about this was that we both felt the same about each other, and I knew that he would not leave me or be taken from me for the love and care that sat between us mutually would never leave us. And nothing and no force on the Earth would take Popo away from me. I saw him somewhat as a father figure, although he never asked me to call him that and so I didn't for although he was gone. I remembered so clearly the sheer visions in my mind of my father's sacrifice for me and everyone else. Not even Popo was as giving as my father, as he gave up his own life for others although it was to no avail, in the face of danger my father stood firm and accepted death in an embracing way. This was what I admired most of all about my father, his bravery, and yet I lay awake some nights praying that I would one day become that greatness that he deserved in a son. Popo and I looked around the academy for the whole next day and I tried out all of the equipment. We had a great day and he decided to retire from his old job at the dojo to become the manager of the academy. He would charge people for both the usage of the equipment and to hire personal wrestling trainers. He expected for a slow start although little did either of us know the success that the academy would achieve. Especially in helping both Popo and I to reach our goal and honour our legacy's. The day after we inspected the place Popo spent hiring staff, and I was asked to help out. By the end of the day we had everything from secretaries to chefs the entire building was staffed to the max. We rested that evening joking about getting huge responses and becoming millionaires because of the academy. Although we had been joking, when hilarity turned to reality, laughing was the last thing on our minds. The day of the opening came and to start with we had some pretty good business, more than we had expected, although about 2 hours after opening, a limousine pulled up out the front of the building. The limo was stretch, bigger than I had ever seen out of the limousine came a surprise that I had never even began to expect. I can only describe my feelings of the moment as; 'desolated.' I could not even speak as I saw Bam Bam Bigalow step out of a limousine, although Popo simply gave a confident smile across his face, as if he had known this was going to happen. I remember thinking Popo was up to something and later that evening after a huge and booming day of busy cash flow, Popo told me that he had been a friend of Bam Bam Bigalow's for a long time and he did it as a favour to Popo. I was totally stunned at this, I could hardly talk and then he revealed several other wrestling contacts that he had such as: Jake 'The Snake' Roberts and 'Macho Man' Randy Savage. I eventually came to terms with this, although I could not decipher why Popo knew all of these people. That was until I realised and remembered something that Popo had told me when I was in my earlier teens and that was that he had once been a wrestler himself. He was even astounded at the takings for the first day though and said that from now on life wouldn't be so difficult and that we would make it to the big time. I saw a sense of fulfillment in him, as he had begun to reach the goal of honouring his mother's legacy. I was pleased for Popo and now knew what I had to do. I needed to make the big time. I became once more emphatic about wrestling and making my career there. I would make it, I vowed to myself upon my very existence that I would make it in wrestling, not just get into any old promotion. I said from day one that unless I could reach the big time. There would be no reason to wrestle or for my hard work whatsoever. For the weeks after Popo took charge of the training center he was far too busy to give me lessons, although I began to experiment with various moves and modify them. This was when I came to invent my finisher. The seismic toss was the combination of my two favourite moves; the top rope power bomb and the power slam. I loved to create an impact using power in my moves, as this was all I had ever known. And being hugely built like my father was, with very wide shoulders. This kind of fighting genre was all I ever knew. I perfected the move during that day and showed Popo later, he was astounded at my ingenuity and passion that helped me create the move. And I think that after I had shown him more of my skills he became enthralled far deeper in me wanting to become a wrestler. I feel that he wanted me to become the next big thing and although he doubted me before. Now he was 101% behind me, he would teach me new things every day. I cannot begin to mention the full scope of what Popo taught me in my time with him, it was amazing. I had gone from being a wimpy little kid to being a warrior in a sense, as a warrior is someone who can fight controllably with honour and dignity. This was another thing I had learned from my father, who was one of the greatest Cantarese warriors to ever wear the general's head dress. I then knew that I would make it, it was no longer a question however, it was a question of when. As I now had the inner feeling that my father was with me inside of my mother was by my side. Trying in some way to help me to make my dream reality. Although it seemed a great distance at the time. All my hopes and dreams became the reality that I had longed for, sooner that I could have imagined. Popo and I continued training, by now I was in my early twenties and had learnt everything Popo could possibly teach me and so, he was getting in touch with many of his former wrestler contacts who each in turn spent a while teaching me their various forms of wrestling as well as some charisma and microphone skills. Each and every one of them told Popo that they saw a tremendous potential in me and one of them that had now become a vice President of a federation, recommended me to their booker, who asked to come to an interview. Popo and myself went to an interview to join the TKO federation that was really a mediocre promotion and would offer me some steady wage. In my actions I seemed excited and being able to wrestle proper opponents excite me, although inside I knew that TKO would never amount to a great part of my career. I was accepted by the booker who swiftly raised me to the upper card. I had a top title reign within a month, although after my heel turn I think the booker dropped me almost altogether, as I was losing every match pretty much. I got annoyed and just walked out one evening from an event. And I phoned up and Popo sent a memo to the President announcing my resignation, although the next morning I received a letter saying they were sorry and wanted me to reconsider. Although I was very angry and in a moment of uncontrollable rage I flushed the letter, knowing they didn't actually care at all and just wanted to make themselves look good. Looking back on my time at TKO I don't see it as a bad experience as something far bigger would sprout from a seemingly meaningless reign in a federation where I was recessed. Although I didn't know it, the greatest opportunity of my career to date lay around the next corner in this long and winding road to the glory that I had desired for so long. Chapter 12: The UEF A few days after quitting the TKO forever and putting the bad experience behind me. I received a phone call it was from his friend who scouted for talent and he had liked my work in the amateur TKO promotion. He told Popo that he actually liked my work so much that he had recommended me to President Montrose of the UEF, I was very happy when I was called to show my skills to President Montrose. I did my very best and showed him the greatest of my array of both promo and wrestling skills. He seemed to dislike me, although I received a memo several weeks later saying that I had been accepted to the UEF. Naturally, because the UEF was such a great promotion at the time and I had heard that President Montrose was raving bout how great my skills were. I was obviously taken back, and I would often wonder. What's so special about me? I really didn't know what anyone saw in me, although I cannot deny that I put a colossal amount of work into my training. In a way I felt this was it and that I had reached the goal, although I was far from reaching the finish line in my race for affirmation. As I would have many obstacles to overcome whilst in the UEF, some of these barriers that attempted to hold me back were larger than others, although I considered everyone equally worthwhile to overcome and so I prepared to do my best in this new federation. Although I would need more than that to survive in a place with so many great superstars. Upon joining the UEF for their first show, which happened to be Sunday Protocol. I was introduced to the team, instantly I knew the faces and could put names to them. As one of these men particularly had been my idol, and I could not help but stare as I was meeting a hero for the first time. That hero was the Podmaster. I had loved to see his martial arts style perfected in the ring and loved his crowd-pleasing ways. And to top it all off, as I later discovered the guy was actually very friendly and little did I know that a little way down the line. I would face the Podmaster for the biggest title in the business. After being recruited to UEF, President Montrose entered me into a tournament known as; The Ultimate fighter tournament. I was a little apprehensive as I saw some names that looked a bit spectacular; although a week prior to this I had beaten Stormbind's Kidd Krash to make it into the tournament. I knew that both Ice Cube and Chris Hardy were two of the UEF's finest wrestlers and so I would have a rough time if I had to face them. Little did I know that I would be drawn to face Hardy in the next round! I can remember that day when it was drawn; Hardy had simply smiled confidently nodding his head, although when I heard his name after mine. I froze with fear. I knew that losing this match would mean I couldn't get to go up against my icon; Podmaster and so I went into a state of training overdrive. I would eat only the healthiest foods and spend every spare minute watching tapes of his matches. I managed to adopt the perfect form to dual him with, although I didn't think it was enough. That night I remember stepping into the ring confidently though, as one valuable lesson I had learnt from my icon was to keep the faith. And so I went at it and gave Hardy my best shot, and somehow managed to beat him. I was astonished and I could not begin to tell how pleased and proud I was to have beaten a legend in my second match. Perhaps this was what caused me to become so renowned. Although the biggest match of my career would occur only one week later at the Ultimate fighter pay per view. I would be in the main event scene within three weeks. I was both astounded and happy, some real mixed feelings passed through me, as I walked out to the ring and into the triple threat with; Shadowstorm and Podmaster. The match lasted for almost an hour, I got the upper hand eventually and I could see the crowd was routing for the underdog, although I was toppled eventually, allowing the returning Shadowstorm to pick up the victory and my ultimate goal within the UEF. The Ultimate title. Even as a teen I had longed for this and now the want and desire were both stronger than ever to get this belt, I had come so close, and been denied, although I wasn't prepared to give up whatsoever and so my heavy and strict training would continue. Although it seemed in vain, as all I managed to gain from the whole ordeal was a rather lengthy international title reign. However, despite the fact that this belt was the second most respected, and that by now I had become upper card in the eyes of many. I still wanted more, this belt had no meaning to me, for as long as there was a higher glory, I would chase it and for as long as I did not have it, I would fight for it. I wouldn't give up. I couldn't give up, as my love for the sport and my dreams kept me going. I doubt that anyone else in the entire world, had more desire for something than I did at some of the times where I would be tearing my hair out, in the need to wrap that belt of gold around my waist. However, many things sidetracked me. I was injured at the pay per view in November of 2001 and put out of action for a month. Although whilst injured I continued to train lightly and watch tapes of some top matches I had been in to improve my style. Little did I know that soon both the greatest match and the greatest opportunity of my life would come, in the form of the seven deadly sins match. Hearing about the match I was emphatic, my heart pumped faster and faster as I learned more and more about this history making match that would set the grade for all UEF superstars. All 7 of the legends would be in the match and I knew then that this was my best chance to win the Ultimate title. I had to do this for my mind would not be cleared until I held the belt above my head, for I had given blood, sweat and tears for the UEF. And now I felt as if I had endured enough. It was my time now. As an opportunity like this would only come once in my career and I could guarantee only one thing. I wasn't prepared to waste it. Chapter 10: The Return Of My Lost Love Far back at the beginning of my UEF career, I still longed to see Lucci again. Without her I felt lost and perhaps this affected my performances, although I was also driven by the sheer atrocities that I had witnessed in my life that seemed to revive a certain anger within me. I tried to find Lucci by any means possible, although efforts seemed useless, there was no sign of Lucci Geronate, anywhere. I had hired my private investigator, he was in fact also a personal friend of mine and I knew him to be one of the best in the business. A man who had a large impact on my adult life and remains my friend to this day, he went by the name Murdock Foams. He had worked on many big cases, such as the O.J Simpson trial he had played the defence in and also he had been part of the defence team for the Louise Woodward case. I had met him at one of Popo's parties for friends that he would often hold for all of his closest friends. I trusted Murdock down to the bone, he was a great man, and this is why when he told me there was no sign of Lucci whatsoever, the factual possibilities hit me. Could Lucci have died too? Some of the visions of her death were so explicit that I would wake up screaming in the night soaked in perspiration at seeing her horrific and imaginary death, deep within my subconscious. Although I could feel inside of me that she wasn't gone, I knew she was still alive. She had to be. I couldn't imagine a world without her and I had to find her. I had to put my mind at rest by apologizing for all of those years ago back in Cannalei, where I saw her for the last time. It then hit me about how selfish I had been; I had only worried about my own feelings and simply left everyone else to cope by themselves. I had to make it up to Lucci, although I didn't know how or where to find her. I was not aware at the time of the fact that soon enough she would find me. The horrible and nightmarish visions of my true love being slain still were embedded within my mind, and woke only when I slept. I was living in trauma, which in hindsight seriously impeded my abilities both in and out of the ring. I couldn't eat sleep or think properly with these new visions. Even a huge strong wrestler like me, could be brought to tears by a subject as dark as this. I was ashamed of myself, and I was constantly battering my own mentality. I couldn't take the fact that Lucci may have died without me being able to say goodbye. Although things would get worse before they got better. I was driven almost insane by these horrific visions of death and destruction that were mirrored from my childhood. I attempted suicide once within my locker room at a UEF house show before a press conference, by hanging myself by my tie, although the rope snapped under my tremendous weight. I saw that back then as the only way out however, only now am I able to understand the stupidity that fuelled me into attempting such an idiotic thing. My conscience continued to rip me apart from the inside out. There seemed like no way out. And looking back I feel that I may have attempted suicide again if something spectacular hadn't occurred the day after the Ultimate fighter pay per view. It was the morning after the Ultimate fighter pay per view and feeling mentally and physically injured both from my grueling match and my terror filled dreams I found comfort only in watching a tape of the event. I had been watching for almost an hour, when the most unpredictable thing I had ever encountered happened to me, I was phoned and connected with the operator, she asked to accept a reverse charge call from Newark airport. I was apprehensive, as I knew no one except Popo's sister in the Newark area, although I almost had a heart attack when I was told that none other than the love of life would be on the other end of the phone. I was astonished as I heard her first words to me in over thirteen years: 'Is that you Galuda?' Her voice took all of my pain away, as if she was some kind of miracle cure for my insanity. She told me simply about where she was now and that we could speak more when she got here. I was extremely pleased when she informed me that she was coming to visit and asked if she could visit, as she was staying with her cousin Mel who lived in the same town. I was overwhelmed when she said she would be arriving from Newark in the early hours of Monday morning and that she would visit me once she got herself together. That night was the first in thirteen years that I did not wake up at all and slept right through unaffected by bad dreams on that night, for all the nightmarish visions were destroyed by my new knowledge that I would finally be reunited with my love, after all this time. At last I would see her again. Early on Tuesday morning I was up bright and early, I cancelled my training sessions and meetings for that day, each understanding my situation when I described it in short. I watched TV all morning expecting the doorbell to ring, although it reached the early afternoon and I ate my lunch. There was still no sign of Lucci whatsoever and so I began to wonder, whether or not she was coming today or at all. Perhaps it was a prank. I had gone through so much effort to tidy up and prepare myself for her visitation that I was not prepared to give up that easily and so I waited still for longer. Almost eight hours of waiting had passed when at last the person that I had waited for, for almost 14 years walked up to my door and casually sounded the doorbell. I calmly stood and walked to the door not knowing what to expect. I opened the door and there she was; everything that I had ever loved in the way I did, and the one person who I had never stopped loving. The moment was everything beautiful I had ever seen in my dreams. I can remember rhetorically questioning myself over whether or not to expect an early death, for an angel had come to visit me. Lucci stood the sunlight reflecting from her eyes into mine, the ambiguous gaze, which lay between us, pulled us closer together. I simply and calmly smiled and asked her to come in. We both sat and I made her a drink. For the following five hours we spoke, of what exactly happened the day I left Cannalei and she was shocked at the story. She told me how she had been living with her aunt in Cannalei now for the past 13 years and had spent about 6 months trying to find me. I told her that my private investigators found her nowhere and I tried to find her but couldn't. She was very understanding about all that had happened. Perhaps she should have been angry with me, although I know in her heart I was forgiven. We spoke of the good old times and memories passed. That day was perhaps; the happiest day of my life, as when we had done talking Lucci told me she would be staying in England for a while and that she never stopped loving me, we kissed before she left and smiled. I could see in her eyes there was a future for us, I am sure she saw it to for we could not have predicted what happened next. Lucci and I continued to speak over the phone and in person; we were true lovers after all this time. We went out on dates and I took her to restaurants and nightclubs from time to time to show that I still loved her so powerfully. I think she liked the times that we went out, although I think she just enjoyed my company as much as I enjoyed hers. We were a match made in heaven; this did impede my UEF standings, although my main goal was not UEF during this huge change in my life. It would be to gain Lucci's hand in marriage. We continued to date and the point came where we had been dating once again for almost 4 months. And I think our relationship was so strong now, because what it had endured through the years. Our love was stronger than ever and I felt it was time to tie the knot. I propose to Lucci several weeks later in a grand restaurant and a month or so we were married. We were so happy together and my happiness was reflected in my performance in the UEF, as I began once more to win a lot of matches. My life was at the peak of happiness. And I was so pleased to be married with Lucci, although several events during this time plagued me and I had some near misses and some huge losses that I would face before I would ever reach my plateau of happiness again. Chapter 11: The Taransay saga Despite the kindness and warm-hearted character that I saw within Popo, and although he had many friends who loved and enjoyed to be in his company. However, he had several enemies that were mortally out to ruin him and I became involved rather swiftly around the time that Lucci and I became an official couple. Pat Taransay was the founder of the hit Taransay FM. Which was primarily based with its headquarters in Britain, and he lived in the Chelmsford are where Popo and I had been living. From my experience, Pat was a nasty malicious and competitive business tyrant, who could not accept being in second place. He had a son named; Seth Taransay, he was the ringleader of a huge drugs circle based in Chelmsford. I didn't like this family or their little mobs either and had many run ins with them, particularly Seth, as he was the one who would do his father's bidding. Although both Pat and Seth were unmatched evils in the town they were hated more than anyone and people knew that they were in the dirty business of drug sand other things. Although they practically run the town, as half of the police force were in allegiance with them, the whole thing seemed a little messed up and I wasn't brought into the huge mess until the evening where I was returning from my date with Lucci, where because Popo had destroyed my clothes for a joke. I had to wear a dress. I did find the pictures they took a little funny, although I didn't want them to publish them as this could have ruined my career as a UEF superstar. I had to stop them and there was only one way I could achieve this. It was time to call upon the Jackasses. I had been friends with Chris Hardy and Ice Cube ever since the days that I was a stable with them back at the beginning of my career, as Hardy saw my potential after I beat him at Ultimate fighter. I became the third member of the elusive team of the Jackasses. Although I never showed much potential while with them they were both good friends outside of the UEF and we often went out places. I asked them to help me by antiquing Pat Taransay's radio headquarters. Knowing it was a good excuse to be jackasses they did agree and did what I had asked and I went into the building during the confusion and warned Pat, that he should leave Popo and I alone. I then humiliated him publicly on national television. I think this was a little arrogant and stupid on my part, as by doing this I managed to put several close friends and Lucci in great danger. As I had said before Taransay was no fool, and he knew the perfect way to get back at me. A few days later I received a call from his son Seth who was somewhat threatening whilst the jackasses and I were out at the local pub. After seeing them we decided we should leave to avoid trouble although they followed us and chased us down some back alleys. It was dark and the three of us got separated, the next thing I knew was when I woke up in a ward at the hospital next to Hardy and Ice Cube. I later found out that Seth had knocked us out with his gang of thugs. I vowed revenge against Seth for doing this and so I challenged him to a fight atop the club Zaviera, a place that was owned by the Taransay family. He arrived with the intentions of having me killed, although I simply wanted to teach him a lesson. The fight didn't last long and Seth lost his balance however, before he fell I grabbed his wrist and held on for dear life. I was holding him while a rescue team assembled and tried to help me, although as they were preparing. Someone fired a shot, all I saw was somebody fleeing from a nearby building dressed in black. To this day the trial has not been solved and as a result of the shot, Seth plummeted to his death that day. I have not heard much from the Taransay family since, although Popo and I made peace with his father, agreeing that this feud would soon get out of hand and that he had lost too much already. Looking back on it, the entire feud was very pointless, and I must admit I was partly to blame. Although destiny is one thing that cannot be changed. Epilogue Looking back upon it all, my life was just like a nightmare. Although it soon became a dream once I reached my goals and achieved my destiny. Popo died after I returned from my honeymoon with Lucci, although I wish this wasn't so. For he was the wind beneath the wings of me, and without him a part of me is gone too. The part that had the undying passion for wrestling, although now with Lucci I have a new destiny. I hope to have my own family soon and to raise them, to be great people, like Popo taught me to be. I will make Popo proud by winning the Ultimate title, as he always wanted me too, although I am ashamed that I couldn't achieve it I his life time. I can put my own mind to rest by winning the belt. Be it now or be it in the future. I will do all I can to achieve the one remaining legacy of Popo and fulfill the dream that he never could. Although I had achieved all that my father expected of me, there were still things that lay in my path. I had to fulfill the purpose and legacy of my great friend Popo, who shall always remain close to me. In every match I fight, every step I take, every breath I make. I know he will be watching over me and I hope that I can make him proud to have known me. If I can make him even half as proud of me as I was of him. My destiny will be complete, for I doubt I could ever become the man that he was. In death, I long to love you ever more. Farewell my friend and thank you for all you gave. I will make it like you always wanted. I will not disappoint you.