Part One: A Knight's Reflection
Written by Col. Karl L Schubaltz
Author's Note: Eratos is the Greek Muse of Love Stories
The workers were all ready to settle down for the night, darkness was setting over the farm like a blanket of stars. The last of the 1st Panzer Division finished covering their Molgas with a tarp. Wilson was on the porch, carving into a stick with Scout by his side. O'Connell and Hermann were in a bedroom, using their freedom wisely. Thomas was staring amorously at the picture of Nancy, he was definately in love with her and he was thrilled to know that it's NOT unrequited. Karl was taking a well-deserved nap, his uniform folded neatly in the chair. Karl was sleeping in the buff, the blanket only covering his legs and some of his naughty bits. In the window of the bedroom, looking at the apple trees and the stars was Leon. Shirtless and looking mighty endowed, Leon turned around on occassion to watch his beauty sleep. Sorrow lingered in his pristene, exotic eyes, his pouty lips curled in a sad frown. He was in a state of sorrow and grief, Leon then turned back to the window. //I destroyed 2 planets, how can I of anyone be deserving of love? Of happiness?// Leon slipped his uniform jacket on his shoulders and stepped out of the room, closing the door behind him. Walking down the stairs, he heard Wilson playing the harmonica, Leon continued to walk for the door. The water sprinklers kicked on, spraying the apple trees with life-giving water. Leon gazed up at the stars, the moons were just slivers, no light was really showing. The dirt road crunched under his boots, the cool night time air made his skin break into goosebumps. Leon stopped short when one of the workers' daughters ran over with an apple slice. Leon looked down at the girl, looking into her big, thoughtful blue eyes. He took the apple slice and looked at it, then patted the girl on the head. "Thank-you." The girl giggled and ran off, before Leon bit into the apple slice, he stopped to think. //60 billion people died when Earth was set asunder. 3 million died when Malfaes was destroyed by the Ultima Void spell... But Zi... this is my true home now, people have accepted my power. They saw past the hocus-pocus and the superstitions. And Karl... oh Karl....// Biting into the apple slice, Leon's indigo eyes closed. Munching on the apple for a few seconds, the mage began to think to himself again. //It wasn't all that long ago when we actually met. But I want to spend forever with him. I want to make him happy, he deserves that happiness.// Leon sat down on the tree stump and went into a small meditative trance. The trees around him began to contort to powerful forces, they took on the Green Man motifs. Leon's expression eased, he went into a deep meditation.
Karl turned in his sleep, he heard the sounds of a roaring fire and the chants of irrate people. He could feel the flames against his face, he smelled the unforgettable and grotesque smell of burning flesh. A woman screamed for help, but only to be drowned by the sounds of people who wanted blood. Karl opened his eyes to see men and women in black and white around a pyre, they carried crosses and bibles, crying out to kill the witch. The pyre contained a woman in flames, screaming for help. No one would heed her cries, they'd only throw things at her to silence her pleas. Karl ran to the people and tried to latch onto their clothing, begging for them to let her go. But his hands went through them like if they weren't there. The flames turned blue, causing the people to jump back. A man stood in the pyre, unhurt by the fire. He wore elegant wizard's attire and had long, flowing beautiful slate-blue hair. Karl knew immediately who it was, just by the sense of awe from the crowd. Leon cradled the cindered woman in his arms as if she were his lover that had been charred. His slender fingers touched the pentacle around her neck, sorrow mixed with rage swelled in his indigo eyes. "Exemplar Leonardo...." A man stood closer to the extinguished pyre. ".... stay away...." Leon gently put the woman down and stood up, his eyes were totally white instead of the norm. Karl knew that when Leon's eyes get that way, it means he's maddened with hate and he's going to lash out. He pointed to everyone and shouted in rage. "You muckrats have the rights to judge, you think because you walk on two legs, you're better than those who walk on 4... or 6... or 8... or none at all! You all think that God is justified when a wet-nurse is burned at the stake while your wives cause adultery with the stableboys or your daughters commit mortal sins with the preachers!!! What about your sons!? Your husbands!? You think I do not see what is in any of your minds!? You think I am blind!?! You think God is here with us, guiding you in your quest to purify and sanctify??!!! Look at me! I am a Mage, I am a Pagan! Those who have not sinned, light this pyre and burn me alive!!! What are you people afraid of!? Are you afraid of the devil!? Well, it shouldn't be the devil you should be fearing..." Leon's eyes turned green, the Third Eye Gem appeared on his forehead. "YOU SHOULD BE FEARING ME!!!!" Karl stood back as the woman's head exploded next to him, the townsfolk were scattering when everyone's heads began to explode in a bloody, morbid mess. Those who were seeking sanctuary from the psychic assault reached over the pyre and latched onto Leon's elegant and ornate wizard's robes. Leon kicked their arms away and smashed a farmer in the face with his staff. "You are quick to ask for forgiveness so you can save your own hides and burn more of my breathern!!! You are worse than animals, even rats have the dignity to die like men!!! Die like maggots for you shall be feeding them!" Leon swung his mage's staff in front of them, the beggars exploded in a bloody heap. The bodies dropped from the pyre, the town was a massacre. Karl stepped up to the pyre, his clothes soaked in blood. He saw on Leon's pale cheeks, that Leon was crying.... crying blood tears. The lovely colonel turned around, seeing a sign nailed on the tree. It read in chalky white letters: ROANOKE.
Karl opened his eyes, he sat straight up, drenched in sweat. He huffed, his knuckles white from gripping the blankets. Putting his clothes back on, he ran downstairs. The rooms were dark, everyone was asleep. Karl ran down the road until he got to the treestump on which Leon was meditating. "How was Earth really destroyed?" Karl broke Leon out of meditation. The trees turned back into normal apple trees, Leon looked up at Karl and frowned. "I feared this day would come..." "Why?" Leon signalled for Karl to sit down in front of him, he slid his hand on Karl's cheek. "I destroyed Earth... intentionally." "W-why?" Taking off Karl's uniform hat, Leon's Third-Eye Crystal reappeared. He gently placed his hands on Karl's head, Leon whispered softly. "If it gets too graphic, latch onto my wrist or scream." "Alright." Karl and Leon were put into a trance, they both were standing in the U.N Building in New York City. The nations had gathered for a summit, people were shouting in anger and throwing and slamming books around. "This is the building where it all began." Leon pointed out, taking Karl by the hand. "It's called the United Nations Summit. Nations from around the world gather here to play police to the rest of the world." "Why is everyone shouting?" "....you'll see...." The summit was an intense one, Karl listened intently, but he was confused with all the terms. Leon pulled the Imperial colonel close and closed his eyes. "The bloodiest, most deadly wars in ALL of Earth's history has been fought over one thing.... religion." Leon kept his eyes closed, his hands trembling. "Since a man named George W. Bush was elected President of the United States of America... the line between Church and State vanished entirely. Religion got out of hand in America, everyone went back to Salem mentality. I was the Governor of Magics and Antiquities of the Planet Earth.... another name for Exemplar. When I had heard of this...." The argument was about impeaching Bush from office, but the meeting was interupted when an 8-point star appeared in the middle of the floor, surrounded by runes in a circular pattern. The summit silenced themselves when Leon appeared. Leon's hair was still long and now it was in a braid. He was wearing Edwardian-Victorian clothing, a monocle on one eye. "Governor Leon." One said, in awe. "Spare me pleasantries." Leon stepped off the runic circle and walked to the podium. In his hand was the Staff of Ages, the Mage's Cross was around his neck. "My business here is short and sweet, so listen up." Everyone listened, expecting something significant. Leon's eyes were not white, he wasn't clouded by judgement. But the words out of his mouth would change the course of history. "...give me ONE impeccable reason I should NOT destroy Earth. You got 60 seconds starting now." "The answer they gave me is why I did what I did." "Earth must not have had one redeeming quality.... otherwise you wouldn't have done what you done." "Earth was as close to Hell anyone can ever get...." Leon turned toward Karl, his hands on Karl's shoulders. "...forgive me....." "You.... you were within you rights to eliminate something this horrid, Leon." Karl slid his hands on Leon's waist, their gaze met. "From the day you landed on Earth from Malfaes.... it was hell for you... I read it in your eyes that day I found you..."
"Poor guy..." Three Imperial officers saw the man bundled in tattered robes huddled close. They passed him up, giving him a quick glance over. It was snowing heavily, the man was freezing and he looked weak and very sick. The Imperial officers saluted and continued walking. The figure stepped into the alley, seeing the man in the robes. His beautiful green eyes looked at the man with sorrow and compassion. "Hey... you okay?" The man lifted his head slowly, he was trembling from terror and fatigue. In his indigo eyes, the Imperial Major saw millenia of torment and pain and anguish, a neverending pool of torment and sorrow. The Major frowned, he unbuttoned his uniform jacket and peeled it off his body. Underneath, he wore a thin, white button-up shirt, the major's pale skin was getting goosebumps from the chill. He was about to put it around the man when the man gently grasped his wrists. The Major shook his head and wrapped the uniform jacket around the man in rags. A warm smile crept up on his lips, he looked up at the blonde major. "Come, let's get you out of the cold..." Hesitant to take him up on his offer, the man got up by using the Staff of Ages. His long, ratty, slate-blue hair hung against his handsome face. The Major slung the man's arm around his shoulders and helped him out of the alley. "The name's Karl Lichen Schubaltz.... what's yours? Or do you even remember?" "L-leon.... Leon Aethelwulf..." "I see. You look so ill, I cannot find it in my heart to leave you alone like this." "...I cannot perish, my life is eternal." "Immortal?" "Immortal.... a curse so pained..." "Don't fight the heeves." "I need...." Karl entered the inn with Leon in tow, he looked at the innkeeper and barked his command. "Quick!! Get me a room and get this man some food!!" "Y-yes, Major!"
"You cared for me, you were the first one who made contact with me... the first one to really open me up." "You were the first one who taught me that there was more to life than just the Imperial army." "Zi is my home now, I feel welcome here." "I am glad to hear that. It's warming to know that." "You make me feel warm. You are my light, Karl... my light and my hope. I vow that that light shall never be extinguished. Not as long as I have breath in me."