The Beginning Of The End

By: wildcard

Chapter 1 of 'Garden of life'

This was when the second last little red-burning and wind-torn leaf, finally surrendered to the cold northern winds. He left his guardian as well as father, a sorrowful hanging birch and fell whirling and dancing. Among the bare hills below there could be seen no tree like this one, and all for sure there wouldn't be many more of that kind, either. The tree was old, no doubt about it, but tormented through years and years again, by the harsh winds, it yet lived up to it's rumours of always standing tall and proud, eyeing the beautiful but vital poor surroundings. Alone off course it felt almost all the time, but also eager to not give in to any mortal feelings. It couldn't do that unless it wanted to survive the hard climate, all focus had to be pointed against life and not any philosophical thoughts. As the tree stood there, not moving off course, a little being appeared chanting its way over the prairie. Along its way it carried a great grey sack bumping on its back. As the little being come closer the flossy face appeared in all its happiness, and a large axe hanging from his belt. The head was pressed together like someone had pulled in the ears, both at the same time, and flattened it. Among the curvy hair covering most of the face, two deep, bright and shimmering eyes peered out, almost reaching the big brown ears. The being was only a fourth part of a grown up man, but yet it looked old and somewhat wise. As he reached the mound upon which the old tree stood, he took a deep breath, tasting the fresh air and then threw his burden without problems over the muscular shoulder, and it scrambled as it fell to the ground. Then he stood silent for a while watching the tree as a tear of compassion wet his curly chin. After a while he shrugged and sat down in the green grass, growing on the bare ground between mossy stones, leaning his back upon the brave tree. As the little being sat there chanting low, but soft the first newborn little butterfly found its way down landing gently at his nose. He eyed it carefully and a smile was growing in his face, but only for a short second, before the wind-dancer decided to continue his quest. So the little being decided that also he must sooner or later fulfil his mission whether he liked it or not.

"So young man, seems like you children are leaving you huh?" He muttered to the tree and continued. "My name is Huerd and I really hoped I wouldn't see you so soon."

But as the tree didn't answer the little being, tired after his long journey, just turned over and fell into a soft, warm as well as trouble free sleep.


"Green" The woman shriek dissolved everything, as it searched its way among the small houses. They looked like in a real cosy dream, but as beautiful as the grass covering the roof and the smoke puffing up from the house, looked from the outside, as dirty they were within.

Besides, the last winter storm had left a nasty pool of mud on the road combining the houses.

"Yes m'am?" A reluctant male voice rose from close, as an answer.

"You should go help old mister Pearl, right now" The woman continued.

"Yes m'am?" The boy answered, his voice this time striking a brighter tone.

The village was small, too small according to Green. There were no calm places where he could rest and just sit thinking, thinking about thoughts mainly. If he ever had time to do so, that is. He was a farmer boy, raised in a family he didn't really belong to, and being a farmer is a tough life you know. Always work and if it isn't any work to do, you have to either worry about the weather, or the work of tomorrow. Like thus was the life of a farmer by the time of these happenings. Mr Pearl was a nice old man though, always had some entertaining story hidden on the most dusty places of his brain, they just never seemed to end. The old man had been ill the whole winter tough, no one knew what it could be, but the whole village had him in their thoughts. He couldn't leave them now, not in these times of war and all. He was the most experienced and always knew a way out of trouble, so Green looked forward to meet him again as he ran down the street reaching for the big house behind the hill.

As his legs carried him over the hill and past the old oak, he got more than surprised when he noticed old man Pearl up, walking around outside of his house. A few days ago a mystical fever had plagued his body and he wouldn't likely walk the neighbourhood so soon and certainly not with that speed. Something was wrong here Green thought, as he got closer and stopped not far from the old man. Mister Pearl though, seemed like he didn't noticed the boy, or more like he didn't have time to notice the boy.

"Something wrong, mr Pearl?" Green finally couldn't keep his mouth closed, to nervous to find out what happened here. Although it first seemed like the old man yet wouldn't answer, finally he spoke.

"Oh hullo Green, always nice to see you..." The bright, somewhat chuckling voice answered and continued.

"Unfortunately I ´ve no time to answer you wondering right now, instead hurry and bring me Thorn and Grace and I're going to have a long ride, nice huh?" Green had to bend his ears, to catch that last line, before the man disappeared behind the red corner of the large house. He liked riding so first he was glad, but he also noticed something worried in the old mans characteristic voice, and therefore hurried away to fetch the two big brown horses.

It wasn't more than a minute before he was back where he had last stood and talked, and to his great surprise, there stood now Mr Pearl fully dressed and with a gear that pulled your thoughts to a long journey.

"Ready to leave?" The old man asked.

"Yes sure, but..." Green answered frowning but didn't get any chance to finish his sentence.

"Nice!" The man replied and within short, they were seated on the horses.

As they strode on with a good pace heading for the forest, Green sat muttering for himself, trying to figure out why and where they were going, but mainly how long they would be away. His stomach had started to give him some disturbing signals and soon, something just had to be done about it. Besides his family would miss him if he wouldn't be home for dinner. He decided though, that he should wait with all his questions until the old man wanted to relieve himself. After a while though, when he found out that his companion wasn't very willing speak unless Green asked him something, he decided that so he had to do. Nervously he tried to begin a conversation with his travel mate.

"Hrum.." He cleared his throat "Mr Pearl?"

"Yes my son?"

"You wouldn't mind telling me where we're going, would you?"

"No not at all!"

- Silence -

"So, where are we going?" Green continued.

"Yet I can't answer your question, even if I wanted, to be honest."

"And why is that?"

"Because I...I really don't know's as simple as that!"

"Because you don't know?"

"Yes, so I just said, didn't you listen" The old man muttered.

"Yes sure but...I see"

"Hum...but Mr Pearl?"

"Yes my son?"

"Don't you know how long you will be away from town either? Because I really should get going home or my mother will be angry with me" Green continued.

"No I don't know that either but don't you worry..." Pearl answered and continued mumbling for himself.

"I'm sorry, what did you say?"

"Well" The old man frowned sad. "I guess I would have had to tell you soon anyhow. What I said was that ‘Besides neither your mother or town will miss you very much', unfortunately."

"How do you know that?" Green continued surprised over what the man had said.

"Because they are no more!"

"On what on earth do you mean by that?" Green continued even more surprised.

"Just what I're a lucky boy you know...I thought that God had abandoned all of us, but it seems he has a good eye to you" Pearl looked at the bright sky above covered by small, soft clouds and then sighed. Green who had got real anxious couldn't stay calm where he sat.

"No what do you mean, stop speaking in riddles!"

"I'm sorry to say this..." The old man began "but the winds are we must look forward, but never back..." The old man continued slowly and in a serious voice that hardly carried his words and made Green shiver. Something was wrong.

"...war has come my son! We were luckily just to miss it...this time."

Green´s world fell apart as mr Pearls words died away and all became calm. Green totally forgot the world around, like if the time had stopped its movement and he didn't hear a single thing. And as he desperately searched for strength in the old mans face, he only found hard sadness. Suddenly, tears were not only in his mind.

The old mans rumours were all too true. By the time the two riders reached the forest, a large army of Northlings had attacked, and wreaked their way trough the small village, killing everything moving and burning down, what could be burnt. The fierce attackers didn't slow down until they were sure nothing alive still was walking the earth within a large radius, and no fleeing farmers had escaped their destiny. It was important that no one got away, and so would let their enemy's armies get knowledge of their existence. Finally the army gathered up at the old mans house and their captain, a young woman carrying the characteristic band around her head with the dark blue emerald embraced, carefully eyed her army's destruction. As she looked into the stable right beside the house, she directly knew what had to be done. She spoke a few words with the warrior beside her, an as four warriors rode up behind her, she gave the signal to start out. With the wind in their hair, and the highest pace they could accomplish, soon they were off. The haunt began.


Eatro had just woke up and finished his cup of sap, as the first sunlight searched its way down among the dense trees, and lit his little house. Well, actually he had finished his ninth cup of sap and you couldn't really call his swamp a house, resident maybe, but not a house our terms of speaking. Every Blunt always drank nine cups each morning, it was the customs, and since Eatro was a little Blunt, he had to stick to that, either he liked it or not. Blunt's are nice creatures, which likes their traditions as much as they like their large brown ears. Their bodies are somewhat spherical, with the triangular head on top, and mostly dark-pink in colour. They don't have any hair though. Joking and always in a light mood, they are people who really don't worry a lot about life, "Take yesterday as it came, cause now it's gone!" and "If you do not play around, then stick around to play" are highly considered quotes among these creatures.

Yes, Blunt´s are in many ways funny little creatures, and we would probably appreciate them if we once noticed them. But large people didn't very often do so. In fact Eatro had never heard about any "largie", as he just to call them, that ever had done so. But maybe it was best that they dealt with their business and the other way around.

"Anyhow, they are messy and clumsy, besides they stink" Eatro used to mumble every time he saw one. This day began exactly like any other day. Eatro decided to roll over (because this is how they like to move, rolling and jumping to and fro) to his friends, and so he did. Together they then spent the whole morning and early midday, playing in the mud and getting warmth by the sunlight. It was when they had sat down to eat dinner everything happened. True that Blunt's have real big ears, but when they're eating, all other functions are being shut off. That was why the little company, sitting in the forest grass resting and eating, didn't hear the horses until it was to late. Suddenly they just were there, but worse, down from one them jumped a "largie" landing with one foot right on the dinner table, and splashed two of Eatro´s friends out of this life. His other pal ran around screaming, till he disappeared into the deep forest, while Eatro, to paralysed to move, just sat there hoping for a non-painful death as feats walked the ground over and around him. That didn't happen though. Finally the two largies sat down a few feet away, talking while they made a big fire. Eventually after throwing up a few times, Eatro woke up from his state of ice, and a storm of thoughts started roaring within his hearth as well as brain. It was now he decided that something had to be done about all this clumsiness. Wouldn't you do the same if someone stepped on your best friend? I thought so. Blunt's though had an extraordinary ability to separate feelings from thoughts, and so revenge was never in Eatro´s mind. Instead he sneaked forward, not having any time for making a plan right now, and climbed down into the cloak of the youngest of the men. Thinking it to dangerous to sneak down in the ones who had just killed his friends. And there he sat listening as he tried to figure out what to do.

The warriors were tired. They had been on foot for many weeks now, and were doing their second day of tracking the two farmers who had escaped from the village. Now as they started to smell the presence of the pray though, nothing could stop them from keep on hunting. Their captain lead them trough the deep green forest with a furious pace. She knew that when this mission was over, they could finally get some rest before the big assault. Probably she would manage without rest if the general said so, she hated her enemy, but yet she had started to become sick of all killing. What she hated most though, was all these mortal feelings that had haunted her the last few days. ‘Did these people really deserve being slain? Was they the one to blame?'

"Sure..."she mumbled to herself. "they have oppressed my people for centuries, yet I see no fear of meeting doom in the eyes of my victims, but only sadness to lose what they care about...this isn't right..." She had no time to finish her sentence. They had found their pray, and the hunt was over. Finally. They carefully moved forward the last 50 yards. Together they saw whom they were about to challenge. There would be no fight. They were only two, and could never challenge the group of warriors. Katrina knew that, yet she had a bad feeling about this. Somehow, she knew this wouldn't end up the way they thought as she gave the signal of attack.

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