I am sorry

Jasmine Stewart, The Scroll, Creative Writing Editor

There are difficult times in a person’s life, that’s part of elven nature or any race. I think life is about preparing yourself to successfully deal with such situations. The problem comes when such situations come too early in your life. They can come to define your character drastically, as well as change the course of your life. For better, or for worse…

 “Come on, Eloim, you can do much better, you have to be better than your father. We need real men to defend this kingdom, son, and you are one of those men, you have to be.” This was my father, Samuel Brett. For many generations now, we Brett’s have been the military elven force in service and protection of the king, and the entire kingdom of Arzhoba. My father became the commanding general of the army, and his character was exactly that of a strict military man. “I strive, father, give me time, I will gain experience, and I will not let you down,” I replied, swinging my sword hard against my father’s, who blocked, spun. Leaving me unarmed with the edge of his sword touching my neck. “I hope so, son… I trust you.”

My father could become very temperamental and, like the vast majority of soldiers with more than one war on his conscience, he lost his cool easily at times when things didn’t go his way.

 “Father, I will go to the forest, I will continue to practice my technique on the wild creatures.” I had equipped myself with my longsword, a dagger, and my royal army uniform. “Do it, son… The uniform is vital to your success, those beasts are not stupid, and they fear the colors of the kingdom. Don’t trust them, they will do anything to finish you off. They are beasts that are driven only by murderous instincts, Eloim. Be very careful.” My father said, nodding his head. After a few minutes I had left the kingdom, I was on my way to the forests south of Arzhoba. Fairies flew over the skies above me, drawing abstract silhouettes with their colored trails that were lost within seconds of their flight… The fairies recognized the uniform, all creatures did, for they were enemies of the kingdom. I was hostile in any land outside Arzhoba. Either they feared me, or they confronted me, there was no middle ground.

I continued to move forward and could see in the distance a pair of orcs fighting against other soldiers of the king who were raiding the woods. The creatures were defeated, and both committed suicide in front of the soldiers, after nodding their heads. I remembered my father telling me about the great pride of the Orcs. The Territorial War ended in the exile of all races other than humans and elves, all outside of Arzhoba. I always told myself that that was very unfair.

At that moment, something moved behind some bushes. I rushed over with my sword in my hand, pushed the bushes aside, and before me was a huge meadow where a young dragon was drinking water on his back. The tail had produced the movement I perceived.

 “Those orcs were evil, it was best that they killed themselves after those soldiers defeated them. I thank you, so I won’t have to do it myself, or my mother, who rules this area.” Said the dragon, with complete serenity. That surprised me quite a bit, for dragons were very seldom friendly, and with elves, they were much less so. “My name is Janveh and yours?” – “Eloim Brett, warrior of the royal army” I replied, holstering my weapon in view of the fact that I perceived no malice in Janveh. “Hey, Eloim, you want to join me? I’m going to shake the wet trees to the south, so the water will fall on the crocodile nests and cool the eggs a bit.” Janveh was a dragon of medium height, even so, he was very large. He was red, black-eyed with yellow bits. His attitude was extremely submissive, gentle, friendly, and trusting. I decided to accompany him, and I did so with a smile on my face.

After refreshing the crocodile eggs, we transported a family of dwarves to the other side of the immense river that divided the land of the Trolls, with that of the Cyclops. “Hey, Eloim, thanks a lot for helping me… You know, you’re the first elf I’ve met who doesn’t want to kill me. It doesn’t happen to me very often, but my mother,  they always want to kill her, but she does her best to protect me. I’m not introducing you to my mother because she might want to incinerate you before you introduce yourself.” Janveh said, and unable to help myself, I let out a hearty laugh. He smiled too. “See you tomorrow, my friend…” said I, and so it was… After that day, Janveh and I began to improve the lives of some worthwhile creatures outside the kingdom. During that time, I discovered that my father was wrong… Not all creatures outside the kingdom were evil, there were many pure-hearted beings who deserved a chance.

But war doesn’t give second chances. These creatures no longer belonged to the kingdom, and that I could not change.

 “Eloim, I have good news, my son… You have your first mission directly entrusted to you by the king.” At first, my father’s words filled me with joy. “That’s wonderful, father, what should I do?” I asked, but received no concrete answer. “Follow me, son, we will go to the southern forests of Arzhoba.”

My expression of joy was dissipating with each step we took along the path my father was marking… “Father… wait a minute, can you tell me what my mission is right now?” I had lightened my pace when I noticed my father take a stealthy stance near some bushes that looked familiar. “Be quiet…there it is, that’s your objective, Eloim. Go ahead, son, it’s time for you to become a full-fledged soldier. That dragon’s mother has taken the lives of many of the king’s soldiers without mercy, that dragon over there is her son. When you slay him, we will arouse the dragon’s wrath, she will come to us, and we will be ready to ambush her.” I could not believe my father’s words. “Father… I can’t do it. I’m sorry.” I said, backing away. But my father didn’t know what understanding was.

He turned to me full of anger from one moment to the next. “You’re going to do what I’m telling you, Eloim, and I won’t even ask why you said that stupid thing. “Oh, is that you, Eloim?” Janveh had noticed our presence and turned his body towards us, standing very close to my father and me.

 “Wait, how does he know you, Eloim, you have formed a friendship with this abomination?” said my father, unsheathing his silver mandoble. “That’s why you refuse to kill him… Well, I’ll teach you a lesson here and now.”

Never in my life had I been able to understand my father’s decisions, but at that moment it was too much.

Janveh’s gaze pierced my heart like a damned poisoned arrow. His eyes told me that he had accepted death, but that he held no grudge. “It’s not your fault, Eloim… You are different from your father, remember what I told you, you are the only one who doesn’t want to kill us.” Janveh said, those being his last words before the tip of my father’s mandoble pierced his skull. Janveh’s tears were trickling down her maw, her eyes still had some sparkle in them and, all I managed to say to her was, “I’m sorry” with my voice cracking, and holding back the tears in my eyes. It almost seemed to me that Janveh was waiting for my words because right after, her eyes stopped shining.

After that day, I never spoke a word to my father again. I detached from the kingdom and went to live in the suburbs. I had a hard time gaining everyone’s trust, but I’m getting there little by little. Janveh’s mother was killed by the royal soldiers, so my father fulfilled his mission.

Since that tragic day of Janveh’s death, I have had to learn to live with the guilt. The light in her eyes before her death will never fade from my consciousness. But I will live here, and just as I once wanted to defend the kingdom where I was born, now I think I defend a land that deserves it much more. The truth is that I always lived a lie, and worked hard to become an assassin, thinking I would be a hero.

Not anymore.