As I walked, I heard birds screech and animals hiss, warning me to keep my distance. Repeatedly, I stumbled and fell over the bodies littering the battlefield and occasionally found odd trinkets. Each time I found one I saw something--not on the trinket itself, but the memories of its previous owner. Sometimes they were joyful, like a birth or a wedding. Most of the time I saw and heard death, and when the memories ended the sounds remained. The remaining screams brought other memories, ones which I would only later realize came from my past. Every time I found another trinket, I felt sickened and frightened by the horrors I saw.
Halfway to the forest, someone called out a name and I turned, balling my hands into fists. I thought I was alone on the battlefield, so I was not expecting to hear any sound other than my imagination and the screech of birds. A man stood there, surprisingly clean. He took a step back, holding his hands up as a sign that he meant no harm, and I assessed him with a quick: his calm posture, his strange eyes.
"I won't hurt you," the man spoke with an accent that suggested a North Ireland heritage, yet his skin was a warm tan which suggested constant sunlight exposure. "I have no desire nor need to hurt you, only help."
"Who are you?" I did my best to speak threateningly, yet fatigue made my words come out in a wheeze. My entire body shook from blood loss, and my head rang insistently. I didn't know this man, and his odd eyes, horizontal cat pupils with marbled pink and blue irises, did nothing to promote trust.
"My name is Djimon, and I want to help you."
I cocked my head, confusion decorating my features. "Who's Kaamil and why should I trust you?"
The man, Djimon, lowered his hands slightly and pointed to my arm. "Look, there: at your tattoo." The tattoo he referenced was a dragon, its head resting on the back of my hand and its intricate wings curled around my forearm. Its tail stretched straight out behind it. On the neck of the creature, written in small, clear letters, was a set of numbers and a name. Kaamil.
"That is your name." The man was silent for a moment. "I know you have no reason to trust, but I am not interested in causing you harm."
"How do I know I can trust you? I don't know anything about you… where you come from, who you are, or even what your connection is to…" I gestured madly, "all of this. Were you a part of this?"
"No. None of this was my doing, or something I helped start. I knew it was going to happen, but I had no power to stop it. You never know when you can trust someone; it only happens at one point in time, and all I'm hoping for is that you will take a chance." I took a step away from Djimon and closed my eyes. A different kind of headache was taking residence in my skull; my vision was beginning to blur again.
"Kaamil?" I dropped my head into my hands, staggering around before dropping to my knees. I knelt on all fours as my stomach heaved for an unclear reason and Djimon approached again, this time coming to stand next to me. I felt the warmth of his hand--a stark contrast to the cold world around us--on my back and after a moment, either by something he did or just natural progression, my stomach calmed down and my vision cleared. It was then that I noticed a pendant lying on the ground below me. I picked it up and sat back--Djimon just knelt beside me, silent-- and took in its shape as the rain cleaned it. It depicted two birds intertwined, one bronze tanager and the other a copper blackbird with streaks of silver. It swung on a large silver chain in the wind; I thought it sounded like a scream; however, I was aware enough to know that this was my imagination.
"Kaamil?" Djimon asked. I attempted to push myself to my feet with the pendant clutched between my fingers.
"I have to go… I need to…" I wasn't certain as to why I spoke. My mind was in conflict between having nothing and having a faint idea of needing to do something. Djimon pulled me to my feet and held me up.
"Come, let's get you out of the rain," he said.
"I don't have anywhere to go."
"Don't worry, we'll--I'll take care of you."