As I take my first steps into the outside world, I feel the cold chill of the fog enclouding us in its mass. Though I cant't see much, just below my bare feet, soft soil spreads out. From within the fog, my cuff chains tug and suddenly, I'm being pulled in a steady pace through the dense clouds.
The fog seems to spread out endlessly no matter how far I look beyond. As I continue to walk, following the directions my caretaker pulls from, I ask him.
"Hey, how come you know where to go? I can barely see anything around here!" I shout.
Although I can't see him, His voice is big enough for me to hear, and he shouts from within the curtain fo fog.
"Sport, when ya've been workin' in a dark mine with just a teensy bit o' light, Ya'd learn to rely on more than yer eyesight. Besides, with how many times I've been 'round these parts, I don't even need to see anythin' either!"
He lets out a hearty laugh. It echoes around as we treaded through our path.
After walking for some time through the cold fog, A metal sound rounds about. It's followed by a few more metallic tapping, and I try to focus my ears to try to find out where sound is coming from. It doesn't take me a long while to realize that the metallic tapping is coming from right in front of me. It's my caretaker's footsteps resounding through a metal platform. My bare feet touch the cold metal that lies below me. What is this?
In almost an instant, the fog that enclouded us parts and clears off revealing a metal bridge. Its scarlet suspenisons tower over us. It is a very tall bridge that stretches far off.
I see my caretaker walk just a few meters away from me. He seems to be looking down to what looks like a valley far below us. I take a glance, curious as to what he was looking at. Slowly, furious shouts start to resound from below; following it are condensed, muffled chattering of what sounds like a crowd of people. It sounds like what you would hear when you try to buy food from the public market on a busy day, except it seems like they have fear imbued within them. Growing ever more curious, I move closer to the edge of the metal bridge. What I see next freezes me on my tracks.
Crowds of people are being moved like a herd of sheep by a group of armed men. They point their weapons at them as if they're threatening them. Cries of fear grows louder and the crowd starts to panic. An ear deafening screech thunders from the fault. One of the armed men cuts down an unfortunate individual as a sign of authority, and points his sword around to show that he's not afraid to do it again. The crowd of people backs off in fear and move to the direction they're instructed to go to. Slowly and miserably, they tread the ruins and debris of destroyed buildings and homes.
My cuff chains click together as they reach their limit. Although my caretaker pulls a few more tugs, my body refuses to move. My tears starts falling as I recall the place we stand on; or at least what it used to be. The small set of houses that sat at the foot of Mt. Reynoff and the merchant carriages that used to pass through there are now nothing but rubble.
Bodies of men, women, and even children are scattered all over the ground. Some, even under the debris of fallen buildings. My heart breaks at the sight of it. I start to shed tears of pity, anger, grief, and helplessness. Those poor souls, murdered. Their lives taken away from them forcefully by an army of savages. I crumble down as a waterfall of tears run down my cheeks.
My caretaker walks towards my side. his footsteps hitting the metal platform on his way to me.
"I'm sorry sport. Ye, I know, it's a terrible sight ain't it?" he tells me as he puts his hand on my shoulder.
"But ye know, that's how it is.... When yer country falls under war, a lot of lives are sure ta be lost. Honestly, it makes me sick ta my stomach too... I hate seein' innocent people die." he continues.
"Why.... Why did you have to kill the children? Some of them can't even count yet...! And those men and women who were just living their lives not even knowing what's coming for them!? You make me sick! You monsters are just savages! You only know how to take innocent lives and murder families!" I scream.
"I'm sorry sport... I know how ya feel.."
"No you don't, you beast!"
I feel a pound on my left cheek. my caretaker punched me lightly, and caused me to fling back in a whimper.
"I lost my son, my brother, and my father in the hands of war! Do ya think they wanted to be killed? No! But that's just how it is kiddo, people die in war! People suffer in war! Just be glad they didn't kill you!" He roars at me.
I look him in the eye with a serious face. His eyes burns with anger as he stares me down, but in a few seconds, his face suddenly turns into a gentle one. He turns around and fakes a laugh.
"Hahahahaha... Y'know sport, with that pathetic face of yours, ya remind me of my son...."
He walks away from me, my chains ring together with each step. Regaining his gruff voice, he shouts at me from a short distance.
"Now ye better walk along before I beat ya like I used to do to him when he was bein' a lil' troublemaker!"
I didn't find it amusing. But knowing I've hurt his feelings makes me feel bad for some reason. I don't even know why; a brother, a father, and a son is a small loss compared to losing your whole country. But still, the thought of making a tough man such as him get emotional like that tells me that he's not one of the savage brutes who only know how to kill. I slowly walk as he tugs the chains, looking down to the terror-stricken valley as I move through the bridge above it.
Countless dead bodies line up the ground, Tall buildings crumbled down to the ground makes a mountain of debris and carcasses. I suddenly think about Terell.
What if he didn't survive? Surely, they must have killed him too... Within all of these corpses one of them must be his... No... I don't want to think about it. I want to believe that he's still alive. After all I didn't die in the hands of the savage brutes, maybe he didn't either... Maybe he was lucky enough to be kept prisoner in a dungeon like I was. Maybe He's going to be at the same place they're taking me to! The thought of seeing my beloved Terell made my heart beat. The slightest hope of seeing him again is enough to keep me going. I must not be pessimistic. He did survive, I will see him again, and we will be together once more. Like aunt Gertrude always said, If you believe hard enough, It will happen. And I don't intend to forget her wise words.
My deep pondering is halted by a tall shadow that engulfed me. I pulled my head up and stared at the giant silhouette of a bulding looming over us. It seems to be blocking out the early morning sun. Somehow, the sight of it struck a small needle of fear through my heart. The way it stands over us gives me a feeling of helplessness somehow, but I continued to take steps as we walk more towards it.
Getting closer, At the feet of the building revealed a tall stone wall with a giant wooden gate. The gate is of ruby color and on both sides of it are men in armor standing vigilant. As we reach the end of the bridge, my caretaker is halted by one of the men guarding the gate. He approaches him and asks him a question. from the short distance, I could hear their conversation.
"Is this him?" The guard takes a quick glance at me and then looks back at my caretaker.
"Yes, I've brought him. My caretaker replies.
"Alright. I'll lower the gate for you, please wait here. If you get too close you'll likely to be crushed under the gate's weight." The guard turns back and nods to his mate. He then opens a small window to the other side and says something to whoever is in there.
The gate creaks as the chains lower them down from the stone wall. As it hits the craggy ground, dust scatters all around. My caretaker says his thanks to the guards, and pulls on my chains once again, prompting me to follow him through the opening.
As we walk inside, I see different plants all through out what seems like a broad garden. The plants are tended to and hosed with water by people in gardening outfits who took a good long stare at me as we walked straight through the middle. ahead of us, a fountain with intricate designs spouts water about. I stare at my reflection through the clear water that runs through it as we pass it by. Is this my new prison? This is quite a shock. I always pictured it as a lifeless concrete block with wailing people everywhere. But instead, I see something that looks like the front of the royal castle. As we grow closer and closer to the looming giant, the mist reveals its true identity.
The building boasts large scarlet pillars with intricate patterns and paintings. It has wooden windows and doors that are carefully painted and crafted. The roof sits high up the top with its smooth surface reflecting the timid sunlight. The whole building is drop dead gorgeous to be put to the least. As I stared up at it with my jaw dropped wide open, My caretaker talks to me from in front.
"Pretty, Ain't it sport?" he asks me.
"....What is this place...?" I ask him as I stare at the bulding in awe.
"Heh, Oh you'll see..."
We reach the front of the building. A pair of large doors with beautiful patterns block our way. Right beside them is a lone knight standing guard. As my caretaker steps towards the sapphire doors, The knight sees us and a small smile cracks on his face.
"Heh, so this is the dirty dungeon rat, eh?" He says with an amused tone.
"Hahahaha, watch it, sir, that big mouth of yours might get you in trouble soon enough." My caretaker says with a laugh.
"Oh of course, forgive me sire..." The knight says as he looks at me and bows down mockingly.
My caretaker shakes his head in amusement and proceeded to knock on the beautiful blue door.
He backs down a little as the doors open with a creak.
"Ah, Allen. Nice to see you again. You look very rugged, as always." A beautiful woman spoke.
Her skin glows a raidiant white. Strings of dark, obsidian hair flows down her shoulders to her breasts. Her beautiful, floral patterned silk robe gently wraps down her whole body as it stood tall. Her face, seemingly handcrafted by angels smiles a gentle smile at my caretaker.
"Why, is that a bad thing, ma' lady?" My caretaker asks.
"No, not at all, in fact I find it very attractive in a man. Hahahaha." She says as she laughs.
"Ya' flatter me, ma' lady."
"Oh please, you don't have to call me that Allen, we've known each other long enough."
"Oh I'm sorry, just don't seem right for me to call ya anythin' else. Why, a beautiful woman like yerself deserves nothin' else."
She looks at me. Her dark eyes staring me down like the night sky. I feel my face redden a little. With such a beautiful woman like her looking at me, I feel very shy and embarassed, especially with the way I am right now. This is no way to look in front of such a lovely lady.
I turn my head away quickly in embarrassment.
She turns her glance to my caretaker once more.
"So this is him, huh?" She asks him
"Yes, ma' lady. I brought him here just like I was ordered to do so."
"Thank you Allen, you may leave him in our care now."
My caretaker unlocks my cuffs and gives me a small push towards the lovely lady. Feeling very uneasy and confused, she catches me with her soft hands.
"Yer one lucky boy sport!" He tells me as I face him. He laughs a hearty laugh before turning back and walking off.
The woman gives me a short stare. She looks up to my caretaker who's now walking away and says:
"Now I know why. He's a very fine-looking young man."
My caretaker stops and looks back.
"That's what I told him! hehehehehe." He continues to walk away further down the path.
I silently space out. Feeling very confused, I blankly stare into the horizon. Just what the heck is going on around here? Where is here? What's going to happen now? I can only wait and see.