From the Ashes of War
Tao Zhu Ying
Keeper of the Gate
An elderly man with a distinct beard, dressed in wavy robes.
- Born and raised in Lookshy
- Served in the military
- Served in Tje Fourth Field Forced
- Deployed outside Lookshy many times.
- Witnessed the terror raiders and other “creatures” inflicted on undefended villages
- Trained new recruits in field medicine and the advantage that anatomical knowledge can give you over your enemies-
- Left Lookshy at an older age in the hopes of doing something good for the world.
- Enslaved by the river people. Grows to respect them. Trains several of the village girls in medicine, while being imprisoned.
- Exalts when the village is being attacked by raiders.
The old man sits by the fireplace sterring the cooking pot. He looks upon his audience, men and woman who have gathered around him in support of his cause. “I don’t know why I was chosen, I don’t know if I am worthy. But if my long life has taught me anything, it is the fact that when one is offered a second chance, it is a horrible crime to throw it away.” It is time for them to know, they can not truly follow him, if they do not understand the truth. He takes a deep breath and readies himself, as he starts telling the story.
They are close. I can hear the screams. I can smell the fires. A curse leaves my lips unbidden. Ten years ago, some untrained raiders would not have been a match for me. But hte the last decade have not been kind. I have grown old and the river people have not allowed me to touch a real blade since they captured me.
Hopelessness as I have never feel before creeps into my bones.
“Master.” Daesha’s voice interrupts my despair. “Please Master, what should we do?” I can hear the fear in her voice. It strengthens my resolve and drives away the despair. If anyone in this world is worth dying for it is her. “Do you have the scalpel.” I ask her in old realm. She nods. “If they break through you aim for the eyes, you aim for their throats, you aim for their groins. You must be as fierce as you are kind.” I walk to the girl and hugs her tightly. “I know it is a hard thing I ask of you.. daughter” I hesitate slightly with the last word, I have never called her that before, but if this is my end, I can not leave it unsaid. The girls back stiffen, her resolve as steel. There is pride in my eyes. “I could never have asked for more. Now go, barricade the door and be ready.” As she hurries to the patient quarters, I can feel the despair leaving my body. I am ready to die, if that means giving her a chance.
When they breach the door I am ready. The broom is no naginata, but I have killed with less before. The first man underestimates me, he hits the floor before he has a chance to react. The pain in my arm is close to unbearable. The remaining three men circles me. They test my defenses. I make them pay for each mistake they make. Bruised and bloodied I can see the hate in their eyes. There is a crack as a cudgel hits my kneecap. It brings me to my knees. Their leader growls. “Not bad for a slave, old man.” I am fighting to keep concious as the pain sends spikes through my entire body.
For a moment the time freezes as I hear Daesha scream. They found a way in. There is a crude smile on the leaders face. All pain is banished from my mind. I push with all my might, but my leg does not respond. I push again. The desperation must be visible in my eyes, judging by the predatory smile of the leader. He draws his dagger and prepares to end me. I reach out to stop him. My hand grasping his.
And the world explodes in light
“RISE KEEPER, LET NO DARKNESS THROUGH THE GATE.”
The voice echoes through my mind. A warm radiating pain spreads through my body. Something. Something has touched me… no, not something, I know it’s name. A power long tought forgotten. My body is restored, I can feel a strenght in my muscles I have not felt since my youth. I remember things that I did not even know I had forgotten. The dagger reaches my skin and is brushed away like it is nothing. My hand connects with his face and sends him sprawling. The other two offers barely any resistance.
As I reach Daesha she is standing over the body of a young man. She is breathing heavily and tears are running down her cheeks. I embrace her and whisper soft words of encouragement into her ears. Taking a life is never an easy thing to do.
As she calms I ready myself, there are others out there. People who have been kind to me, children with no means to protect themselves.
This will be a long night. But I have been reborn and restored with a purpose. Praised be the Unconquered Son.
My story finished I reach for the power inside me. The night has grown darker, but the light given to me banishes it all. I look upon the faces of the people who follow me. I look upon the face of my adopted daughter. “We hold the power inside us to change the world. Each of you have the skills necessary to save life. You all know what I am, you know the consequences that might come from following me. I can ask no more of you. I am proud.”
The light radiating from me slowly fades. I have my task and I will follow it to my end.