Footsteps of the Fallen

14 Years Past

14 Years Past
His arm popped as he slammed into the ground rolling. He grasped wildly at the ground, trying to slow his movement towards the ledge, but his hands were sweaty and soft; the stone hard and unforgiving. At the last moment he caught hold of a crack, stopping only a few feet before the drop, one leg dangling before he snatched it from the precipice. He breathed heavily and held firm, not looking up.

“You are a weak boy,” his father said with authority. “Your sister has more knack for the blade and the spear, and she is the younger of your womb-bond.” The man was tall, so tall; and fair of color while the boys own hair was so dark. His lean muscled arm, holding a spear, shot the butt end out and lifted the boy’s head to meet his gaze. “Stand now; your people are too proud to kneel to anyone, regardless of what old men in the senate might say. We’ve learned not to trust them, and paid the lesson in blood. Our blood.”

The child struggled to rise, lifting himself on the offered spear. “I have allowed you to spend too much time among women and politicians, and though the women of our land are stronger than the men of any other, there is no presence like that of a Talin’Tarathian man. Know your strength, of both us and your wild mother’s people.” He lifted his jaw and stared, for once, fiercely at his father’s face, anger dancing round his irises. He knew of the blood that had been spilt, what cost was paid by the Kel’Thanes last Winter’s eve.

“Finally, I meet my son.” His father looked on him proudly, for the first time perhaps, and then slapped him hard in the face. “I will craft of you a thing that the world shall know as a man, the greatest of men that dwell here in our country. It will be hard and painful, but I am confident that you are a creature that will survive it. You and your sister shall walk the world and take of it what is yours and I shall know the satisfaction of a father, as I was robbed that of a husband.”

The young child saw a move then, and jumped forward grasping at the loose spear. He rolled by his father’s leg and spun in a circle, bringing the tip of the spear swinging around and up towards his father’s chest. Suddenly the huge man’s hand was on the mid-haft, and pulling it down and around. The boy lost balance, and began to fall before being lightly kicked and sent sprawling across the ground. He spit blood upon the hard stone, tanned in such liquid endlessly, and stood. Looking up and the smiling man, Andraxx Kel’Thane, a man who no one for a thousand miles took lightly, he gazed fiercely once more. “I am your son.”

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