Bonds of the Blood
Watching the people of the living worlds is like watching your life replay over and over again, for most people it is. I just happen to be one of them...
I was only five or so when I died. Since when you die you remember everything, even those things past forgotten, the only memories I have... famine... death... blood... they're the only things I can possibly dwell upon for the next forever... or so...
Here I sit... waiting... What's this?
A young boy?
Yeah, he's a bit younger than me and cuter. Even as a lifeless being, what with being able to control appearance and growth, I still linger in this body of mine. It's stood the test of stationary time, scars from beatings, burns from when our house was abolished, rashes from the undergrowth we used for bedding, bumps, bruises, you name it; I got it. All on this tiny four-thousand year old frame are the marks of a thousand wars.
Boy, I apologize, I'm sorry! I really am! Please though, allow me to peer into your memories...
"Daddy?" I asked.
"Yes, what is it?"
"Where we goin'?"
"...To wherever we can stay for a while."
MOMMY sounded mad and tired. I think DADDY called it 'fustertated'. "Please tell me you know where you're going!"
DADDY answered MOMMY in his 'I love you, be patient' voice. "I've traveled both of these worlds more times than you have taken steps. I know where I'm going...
"...we're just taking the scenic route."
I love my DADDY.
That memory... it's full of warmth and happiness...
We met up with MOMMY again and she was in this small, small room that smelled really funny and I didn't like it and she didn't like it and I don't think DADDY liked it either. He had scared look on his face when he saw MOMMY and how she had spilled all this s'getty sauce on her, but there weren't any noodles, so I think she ate them all up! Maybe she'll grow big and strong like I'm gonna!
"Momma! Why'd you get yourself all messy with the s'getty sauce?" I asked MOMMY, but she was crying! Maybe she was sad that she spilled all that s'getty sauce. MOMMY didn't answer my question, I was gonna ask it again, but DADDY said: "What happened? What did they do to you?"
Who did what to MOMMY? DADDY's so silly! Noodles don't attack, even though they look like icky worms, they don't hurt nobody! I put my fists on my head and shook my head. MOMMY and DADDY are so confusing.
Then MOMMY said that the bad people hurt her and 'raped' her. I didn't know what that meant so I asked DADDY, but he didn't respond, so I asked him again and he said: "Not now." In his 'serious time' voice so I quieted.
Then DADDY did something amazing! He made a pretty green light come from his hand and it cleaned all the s'getty sauce from MOMMY! Why doesn't he do that for me so I won't hafta take a bath? I hate bathes.
I saw someone coming from behind, and I told DADDY and he took out his red shiny stick and then all this s'getty sauce boomed on the guy and the guy lied down to take a nap and DADDY told me I was a good boy for warning him about the guy. I felt like a big kid 'cause I helped DADDY. Then MOMMY held me really tightly and I could hear a hammer inside her going thump-pa thump-pa thump-pa really, really fast and DADDY told me that when you're scared that's what the hammer does.
DADDY made his pretty wings appear again and told us that it was too dangerous here and that we hafta leave right now or else...
I asked MOMMY: "What does 'or else' mean?" and she said: "Let's not stick around long enough to find out."
They confuse me, but I love my MOMMY and DADDY!
This boy stays amidst people who constantly teeter on the brink of peril and death and yet he is so blissfully unaware? He knows not that the so called 's'getty sauce' is blood, that his mother has been sexually abused so many times she could talk it over freely, and his father is an angel?
Is that even possible? An angel to procreate with a mortal human?
Either way, it gives a whole new meaning to the saying 'a child of an angel'.
"Mommy! Daddy's back!" I yelled to MOMMY, then ran over to give DADDY a hug, but Noishums beat me to him and knocked DADDY over. Silly puppy.
"Daddy! Noishums is stronger than you? Are you eating your veggies like Mommy says? I bet Noishums is!" MOMMY laughed at the sight of Noishums giving DADDY big wet doggie kisses, but I had enough of it so I pulled Noishums tail. "Off Noishums!"
"Yes, Noishe. Get off me already!" DADDY said. Noishums whined and backed off and just as DADDY sat up I gave him a big hug.
What's this? Something's happening to him! ...Something bad... terrible...
Noishe's hair stood on end; he had been like that all day. Protozoans were known for their keen sense of predicting the near future, as well as many other things. Kratos had been absent to this warning, and it would cost him dearly, as he would soon find out.
As they entered the clearing, the protozoan could keep it inside him no longer. Noishe let out a deafening howl that pierced the warm afternoon's breeze.
"Noishe, what's the matter with you?" Anna scratched the beast tenderly behind his left ear, his favorite spot. Their lovable companion showed no sign of appreciation this time, but kept his eyes locked on the road ahead.
Kratos spoke in a commanding yet gentle voice. "Noishe, what do you sense?" he gripped the hilt of his Flamberg, partially out of instinct. The protozoan did a weird motion with his ears, otherwise hilarious, as Lloyd noted loudly, but to one who understood the flapping of the ears, it meant life threatening danger. Now well aware of that, he picked up his son and gently placed him against Noishe's furry mane, who complied with this action and lowered his head to moderately cover the boy.
Seeing the Flamberg out and in standby stance, as well as Noishe's burnished canines, Anna drew a dagger, one from each of her boots. "Anna. It's the Desians, they're after your Cruxis Crystal. It'd be best if you stay with Noishe and Lloyd." Her husband's voice was cold and unassailable. With a small nod, she returned the daggers to their spot and went to her son and pet.
"Mommy? What's going on?" Lloyd whispered, but was hushed. Even at such a young age, he could tell there was something in his father's stance, his composure, which implied that this wasn't their everyday vermin. He began to quiver with fear.
Out of the thickets rushed tens upon hundreds of Desian soldiers, bowmen, spell casters, whipmen and spearmen. Noishe snarled coarsely and violently began to brutally kill any Desian soldiers who dared to come near Lloyd and Anna. Kratos attacked in a similar fashion, his blade reacted with Kratos' urgency and increased its burning prowess ten-fold.
Lloyd had been used to seeing deaths, but none of this severity and multitude. Against his own will, he cried softly as he ran to seek comfort from Anna. She picked up her son gingerly and held him close to her; she had an apprehensive sensitivity as to what would come next.
At times, being right in conjecture can be the death of some.
Back to his wife and son, Kratos observed the crimsoned overlay before him, littered with inert corpses. That's exactly what it was, an over-lay; a cover-up. Despite his centuries of combat, he failed to realize such ultimately.
His sensitive angelic hearing picked up Anna's muffled scream, he turned on his heel just in time to see a Desian Grand Cardinal forcefully rip the Cruxis Crystal from Anna's flesh. She gasped, paled and crumpled to the ground, luckily Noishe made it in time to catch Lloyd.
"Kvar, you bastard! Will you stop at nothing to obtain what you desire!" Kratos could barely contain his hatred, in response to his emotion, the Flamberg shone with a scarcely restrained burning inferno. Almost as a taunt, Kvar looked over the crystal with a small deal of interest. "Years and years we've let her be free in hopes this would grow more valiantly, and yet it's just as small as ever. Instead, you both spent your time on something much more worthless..." His beady eyes turned upon the young boy being held by the seat of his pants in the protozoan's mouth.
Kratos straightened; whether he had found something to calm him or if he'd simply gone mad was still to be determined. "Kvar, you do recognize that lest you return that exsphere, you will be going against Lord Yggdrasil's orders and will suffer dire penalty."
"This, dear friend, is a present to Lord Yggdrasil himself."
"A bribe in other words?"
"Call it what you will, it's mine now. And no worries, I will make good use of your boy."
Noishe followed perfectly, and snarled in response as he took a few steps back only to meet the rough edge of the cliff that cornered him. "Daaddy...!"
That's when all hell let loose. "You will not take my family from me, do you hear me!" Without even muttering any incantation, the ground beneath the Grand Cardinal split, heat waves radiated out from inside the earth's crust.
"Sacred Powers, cast your purifying light upon this corrupt soul. Burn in hell, sinner! Judgement!" The entire area flashed with the power of Divine Judgement, so much so that it left all blinded by the light. However, during the burst of light the mana inside of Anna went out of control, transforming her body into that of a monster.
Kratos looked on in pure malevolent glee as he watched the unconscious body of Kvar lay in the dirt. Unaware of the attack on his son... by his own wife.
Noishe set Lloyd down behind him and half growled, half whined a warning to Anna. She paid no heed and slapped the dog with the outside of her large, mutated hand. Lloyd cried even louder as the monster closed in. Noishe came leaping out from the side and struck her with his fangs, creating a deep wound in her side, causing her to hunch. He then ran in front of Lloyd, trying to keep a defense stance, but howled in pain and fell to his back, limbs at his side.
Kratos could do nothing but watch, frozen with—could it have truly been?—fear. Anna regained control of herself; form and all, and spoke in a strained voice. "Kra...tos... Please! Kill me...now! I don't... want to go on living... like this. An... and Lloyd. Please... save him from... me... Promise me you'll raise Lloyd... Promise me! Live... for me..."
"Anna! No! I won't kill you! I'll find a way! Just... hang on!"
Her body began to tremor uncontrollably, "Kratos... Pl...ease... do it for... our son... " her last words twisted into an unearthly scream as the monster consumed her appearance once again. She then turned to the defenseless protozoan.
He had no choice. He raised the Flamberg above his head, and then lowered it equal with his face. "Anna... I love you. Please... watch over us all." With shaking hands, he sliced her once, then twice. She subsided into the dirt, the wind whispered her thanks.
Subdued by emotion, he knelt using his sword as his only support. He had done it. He had killed her. Right in front of his son's own eyes. He slowly rose and meekly stumbled over to where Lloyd buried his face in Noishe's fur. Kratos knelt and reached out for him, "Lloyd. I.—"
Lloyd screamed and pushed his father's hand away quite roughly, "NO!" he yelled. "I don' wanna die! Where's Daddy! Where's Mommy! Don' touch me!"
For the first time in four millennia, tears welled up in the Seraphim's eyes. He tenderly grasped his son and embraced him. At first, Lloyd screamed in protest, but he looked up into his father's eyes and saw the soft hazel he had learned to seek shelter in. Quivering, he sobbed into his father's chest, releasing all his emotion. Little did they know, this battle was far from over.
Thanks to a warning bark from Noishe, Kratos barely managed to dodge a blast of mana from the staggering Kvar, "I'll kill you once and for all!" Kvar roared as he shot another blast right at them, but did not take in account Kratos' evasion.
The Seraphim managed to pry his boy off him and set him behind the critically wounded protozoan. It was the only thing he could do besides risking Lloyd dying in his arms, something he truly would not, could not, live with.
Blinded by rage, Kvar shot a multitude of blasts, missing Kratos entirely.
But who said Kratos was his target afterall? The Seraphim was powerless to stop the blast aiming directly at his son and life long friend, and could only stand frozen and watch.
Just as the flaming sphere of mana burnt a single strand of fur off the protozoan's ear, the Cruxis Crystal threw itself from Kvar's bloodied hands and an otherworldly being dove in front of the blast, unseen to the two men. Nevertheless, Noishe and Lloyd were sent tumbling down the cliff to their death.
Seizing his, possibly only, opportunity to flee, Kvar was engulfed in a clumsy beam of light.
'Anna's exsphere... she still tried to save them... but in vain...
...just as is everything else on this miserable planet...'
Kratos perused his flamberg with a sadist glint in his eye. 'All it takes is one quick swipe...' he reminded himself, but before he could take any actions, he fell into an uncontrolled state.
For days he wondered, involuntarily bent only on self-preservation, until he finally collapsed in the soft sands of the desert. By then, he was far too weak, both mentally and physically, to move his body in anyway besides lulled intakes and outtakes of breath.
For weeks I watched over the two. Apparently neither party knew the other existed. The boy still had nightmares from his horrific experiences, but was under the wing of a dwarf. Not the best household or man to father the boy, but when push comes to shove, this was the best that could've sprouted.
The father seemed to be in a desperate state, still deciding on his choice of life or death. In truth he just wanted to end it all; after something like that, I would too. But it seems Lord Yggdrasil has other plans for the guy...
Speaking of Lord Yggdrasil, the half-elf calls us 'Lifeless beings' and so, we are as such. To have a life, means to have an ultimate goal, so to speak. I will rid myself of that horrid title and watch over this boy as his 'Guardian Angel', that I swear. I won't let this boy suffer through anymore, so I must sever their Bonds of the Blood.
A few more days passed and the boy seems to be doing a lot better. It's too heart wrenching to watch as their final bonds from one another are shattered, even if it is for the best. It started with them both experiencing the same nightmares, then both of them not sleeping at all, and finally...
The man's crazy now. He got away with stabbing himself inches from his heart.
Parallel, the boy lies in bed, drenching himself in tears that aren't even his own. He clenches his tiny fists over his heart in pain, and their final bond is severed. The boy doesn't know this, nor does his father; their paths shall forever remain distorted but intersecting nonetheless, for whence Bonds of the Blood are destroyed, nothing is stronger than their subconscious will to seek out the loose ends.
Some time later, the same man who I had secretly watched for weeks now, appeared beside me, but held no regard for my presence. He seemed calm, but it was obvious that he was no more than a soulless shell.
He began to walk away and I yearned to call out, to tell him his son was still very much alive, that everything wasn't meaningless and admit to my contravention of the Bonds of the Blood.
But then I was painfully reminded of the curse of muteness befallen over all lifeless beings, and I wept for the two and what would become of their life all because I decided to intervene...