The village burns. The koloss rampage through it. I send my family to safety, I hope. My oldest, Barest - a better lad I've never seen - carries his sister, Kaile - the brightest star in my sky, who sobs and screams, tearing my soul in pieces – and pulls himself onto our old horse, even as tears stream down his face. My wife, my darling, Yillen, embraces me for what I know is that last time.
"I love you," I whisper in her ear, for any greater assurance I could give would be a lie. She climbs onto the horse behind our boy – now a man, but so young – who takes the reins. He gives me one last look, full of fear and pain but that same strength and wisdom that he will need, and kicks the horse into a run.
And with not a moment to spare, as I can hear the wall of the barn shatter to splinters. They are here.
Mustering my courage, I pick up my trusty shovel, which I have used to tend my crop against this wretched, drowning ash, and prepare to meet them.
There are two of them, one about five feet, the other seven. The taller one lifts a sword as long as I am tall, and, miraculously, I duck out of the way, swinging my weapon at the one whose head I can reach. I can feel the crunch as its skull gives - a more awful sensation I cannot name – and it falls to the ground. But in that moment the other backhands me, sending me flying, smacking me into the side of the barn.
I fall to the ground but don't feel it, the numbing pain in my head too demanding for anything else.
As my head starts to clear, I sense a massive presence above me. It's the koloss, now calm, the burning rage now gone from its eyes. How long have I been unconscious?
It carries something in its hand, some kind of blue fabric, dripping red. A smell of dead flesh fills my nostrils, and I realize that it is not fabric. A quick glance spots the corpse of the other koloss. Stripped of the hanging flesh it looks so…human.
The koloss casts the skin aside and bends down over me, my mind not ready to react. It takes something, tiny in its massive hand, and reaches toward my side.
Pain courses through me from under my arm, my back arches as I scream, every muscle tightening.
The monster rolls me onto my stomach and another surge of agony lances from my shoulder blade; then another from my stomach, and again in my shoulder.
My soul is burning; hot and cold in the same instant. My mind and heart fight but to no avail, my life flashing uselessly before my eyes. Every memory of childhood, parents, friends, and the dearest of all, children and wife, blindingly clear before vanishing.
I know I am crying.
Stand. See other koloss. Taller. Stronger. Big sword.
See sword on ground next to dead thing. Pick it up.
I think…I see something. In head. See humans. See horse. They run.
Can tell which way they go.
I and other koloss. We run. Catch horse. Kill small humans. Take horse for meat.
Don't eat humans.
I am human.