There I stood on a bridge atop the falls looking down upon the mist, which rises, clouding my view of what is below my feet. I seek to find the center of my being, the peace I so long for, but it isn't there. So much has happened in so little time. Now, I approach the end of this madness.

Life seems to slow as I step upon the bridge. I see my family as they were before the attack, all smiles and giggles. Nothing could ever slow the children down, I think back with a slight grin. Suddenly, memory of what happened resurfaces. The whole reason I am here. I see the bandits come, yelling their demands and laughing cruelly. It was as if they were in on some joke that no one else seemed to share. Of course, they probably were. Those of my people who complied with their demands readily breathed sighs of relief, believing they were safe from further harm. Maybe they would have been, if only....

No, I must not think of that, but what else can I do? The sight comes to my eyes and fills my mind. I see again my love, my Li Chu, run from behind to attack the nearest bandit. He kills one with a knife to the back, but the man screams with his last breath. My darling is discovered. I remember screaming to him to run, being held back, stopped, from joining him. He stood his ground and killed another one and wounded one other before they finally killed him. My heart crumbled. I stood there watching as they mutilated his body. Then one of the leaders yelled that due to his obvious disregard of their authority, all of us would be punished.

We were rounded up into the village market. There they began the torture. First, they killed the children. Never again would a smile cross each face, only fear and terror reside there now. They took the old next, cutting the throats of each as they begged for mercy. Slowly though from each, the life flowed from them. No more stories of old days and ways. Next, it was our turn. There were only four of us left. They looked each of us over. Mi Yang was taken and killed almost instantly. Their intentions became clear. They were going to use us or sell us. I didn't care, though. Nothing was left to me. Without my Li, life meant nothing. But the gods were with those of us left.

Imperial soldiers came over the ridge. As soon as they saw the emperor's flag, the bandits bolted with what goods they could, leaving the three of us there to fend for ourselves. The soldiers followed the bandits, except for a small contingent that guarded us. Nothing came from the chase. The troops left us to do as we chose soon after finding us not worth the effort of helping.

The two others with me decided to find refuge with family in the nearby village. I decided to find revenge. Inside, I knew nothing would return my love to me, but I was beyond listening to anyone. I didn't care anymore. I traveled for the course of two days to find those who had taken my life from me. When I finally caught up with the bandits, I killed every last one of them. Nothing changed though. My family, my love, all of them were still lost to me. Then I remembered a tale told of old of a man who made a leap to save his family. I was determined to make that leap, even if I was lost to the world. At least my family would no longer be gone.

So here I am now, standing upon the bridge and looking upon my future. I clear my mind and close my eyes with only thoughts of my family, my Li in mind. And I fall. When I open my eyes, I find peace.