This is a rather lengthy story for a blog. This is the first of eleven parts. I never intended on adding onto it or making into something more. Perhaps your enthusiasm will change my mind.
From a dark cave, deep in the thickest and most brutal part of the wood, a hideously gorgeous beast crawled. With a tall and muscular frame, the monster was dressed in a coat of snarled hair, and a vicious smile. Beside the creature stood more of its kind, equipped with similar hardware. Fueled with rage, confusion, and a near unquenchable desire for flesh, one of the beasts unleashed a howl. A shrill call that rocks the forest, shaking the numerous animals with fear. The call reaches our city, alerting the outer most guards. Their ears perked up and they cried out; “Call out the crew, the hunt is on!”
Hearing the call, I grabbed my gear. I kept a fresh pen and clean notebook in my bag since I completed the scribe training. I snagged my short sword from the wall, and tied the sheath across my waist. I tossed a bag over my shoulders, and donned my leather cap. I was ready for battle, and the harsh world outside of our city.
In the center of the city I found the rest of my crew. Our leader, Oliver, stood in the middle of the square. Riflemen flanked him as he called out the roster. Their brutal weapons gleamed in the failing sunlight. Nearly glowing, the rifles were a symbol of hope for all of us. They reminded us of stories about the old world that is long gone. They remind everyone of the wars that destroyed the world, and nearly pushed our species to extinction.
Oliver’s words drew cheers as he listed every member of our team. One by one they waded through the crowd and stood near him. There were five in all, including myself. We stood in a semi-circle before the riflemen. Comparatively we were unarmed, as we were not allowed firearms on the hunt. It had been forbidden for years because of the dangers associated with such fearsome weapons. We did, however, take older, more reliable gear, such as swords and bows.
Once he rattled off our names, we formed a line and marched toward the gate. A clock chimed near our government buildings, marking our departure. It was tradition to keep a public record of the crew’s time of leave. It was timed by a clock that overlooked our leaders’ chambers. An unseen band played a peppy march. They were hidden somewhere, back in the square. Their tunes excited the crowds of onlookers as they grew more boisterous. Their words were so happy as they walked by our side. They were so joyful as we marched into the unknown.
Then, without a goodbye, and without a nod or wave, our small unit was gone. We passed through the gate and stepped into the wild. For better, or for worse, we were on the hunt.
We were a collection of young souls and aged minds. We were all pried lose, and stolen from every corner of the city. Some were lost, and some were weary. A few were bold, and a handful were agitated. We were a regular crew, ready to fight and do battle. We wanted to do our duty, and protect our city. Some of us were blessed with talents beyond our years, and others could barely lift our weapons. We were a mundane group of individuals, selected at random to serve and protect.
Two of our number were burdened with the most glorious gifts of all: the mind, and the spirit of a child. I was afflicted with this curse. It was a wonderful plight that enraged my peers, but brought me great joy, because I was able to see the world in colors that many of them would never know. Gregory, the youngest in our party, was also blessed with these gifts. He was hardly approaching his adult years, as he was only sixteen. His youthful mind was ripe with curiosity, and excitement. However, he was chosen to be a solider by our leaders, and that was his duty. This hunt was to reform him, and transform into a man.
Overall, we were optimistic, and gleeful. Even in the face of danger, we were chipper and excited. Even the older, veteran fighters were young and mischievous in their own way. They told stories of past hunting trips and expeditions, adding their own humorous flavor to the tales. Gregory and myself, on the other hand, were thoroughly ripe with childish notions. From our eyes, the world wasn’t rippling with chaos, blood or death, rather it was sewn with adventure and green acres. We saw the new experiences, new places and the fantastic brewing on the horizon. Our eyes never caught the danger stewing in the shadows, or the phantoms’ thirsty gaze.
All of us were bursting with a vigorous ideology that can only belong to a young crew, as they have not yet felt the venom of the world clamp down upon their bodies. We gripped these optimistic notions tightly, as we all wanted to smite the beasts and return home. Gregory and I took this further, holding hope in our bones and passion in our hearts. We saw the world lit with color and warmth, rather than wrapped in melancholy and disease.
Since our selection, we were bound for glory, combat and certain death. Death to our enemy, and death to our own. Death will soon be our friend, in the dense and creeping wood. May it come swiftly, and strike us down, for we know it well. May it come with haste, silencing our enemy.
With a cause greater than any one person, we were to march into the darkest parts of our world. We were to parade into the forest and seek our sworn enemy: an enemy so feared, and so dangerous that they remained nameless and faceless. And we, this collection of young and generous souls, were to storm their lair, smite their soldiers and preserve our city. We had been chosen for this honorable and grossly horrific quest of slaughter and mayhem.
Continue to part two here