Remembrance

Dark Days Are Coming

Styx held a young woman in his arms, tears streaming down his face. He ran down a long metal corridor with several wayfarers close behind him.   Some stopped and fired back at the outcasts pursuing them. Their aim was off, the adrenaline running dry after days spent in the deep.   Styx felt a sudden, sharp pain in his leg, a bullet entering and ricocheting off the bone, only furthering the damage.   He pressed on, the sight of sunlight restoring just enough hope to keep moving. He was tired, he was weak, but more than anything else, he was angry.   They reached the surface, and found guns trained on them immediately. Styx barely noticed. He knelt down and placed his daughter's body gently on the ground.   "Hera?" He cried. He spoke as if from a script, a play he'd seen so many times in his mind despite his attempts to block it out. His face was wet with tears and sweat.   He didn't check for a pulse. Where the bullet landed was a dead giveaway. He already knew she was dead. Styx cupped his face in his blond soaked hands, sobbing.   Lethe rushed forward, and removed her helmet. She was crying too. She fell to her knees beside him, one hand firmly placed on his back, the other desperately wiping her face. She let out a scream, raising a gun to the soldiers who watched. The other wayfarers followed suit.   The standoff lasted only moments before the soldiers lowered their weapons. They backed away, their new orders giving them a new purpose.   Overhead, in the sky above, the warmoon, unity, cast its shadow over Safeharbor. The wayfarers watched in sorrow and rage. The eclipse felt like an omen. Dark days were coming. If they were wrong, then they would paint the sky black, themselves.
They called it a massacre. They called it a mistake, a lapse in judgment. They'll start a war to hide and deny their responsibility. This is a dark day, and one they sought to rectify through a mere festival.   Every year there's an eclipse. The placement of the warmoon ensures it. Unity is a symbol, and that symbol cuts both ways. What stood as proof of our perseverance now marked a moment when we, as a species, were truly divided.   The Elders called it Remembrance, a day to remember and celebrate the sacrifice of 75 young men and women who answered the call of duty, by force I might add, and perished. They fought a foe they knew nothing about in a place only a select few were able to navigate.  

A Festival

Days after the wayfarers returned, the Elders proclaimed their sacrifice a victory. Their lives were to be celebrated. They were declared heroes. In the town square of Autumn now stands a memorial, the names of those lost etched into a granite slab.   Remembrance was meant to be a festival surrounding this monument. Days after the wayfarers emerged, the government of Safeharbor held a festival in their honor, a festival that was to be repeated every year during the eclipse of unity.   There would be games, speeches, and merchants would all come to sell their wares. They would hold a moment of silence before the monument, followed by a recitation of each name.
 

False monument

Those in charge sit in ivory towers. They sit in isolation. They fail to truly understand the lives of those below. We were mourning and they turned it into a celebration. We felt pain. We felt lost. We felt betrayed.   Many viewed the monument as an offensive gesture. It spat in the face of their sacrifice. When they set up the stalls and rehearsed the speeches, the people of Safeharbor couldn't bear to watch.   Everything was in place, every moment carefully planned. On the day of the festival's debut… no one even showed up.
           
"How many?" Miranda asked. The general looked up from his desk, saw her with her arms crossed, scowling and judging as she always did. "Excuse me?"   "How many died in the last two weeks?"   The general sighed. "One hundred and thirteen wayfarers went in. 75 are dead or MIA."   Her eyes went wide. "You're kidding. In two weeks we lost nearly a fifth of all wayfarers in service? Do you know how big of a deal that is?"   The general held out a hand. "You saw the same reports I did. It was out of my hands. I was following orders."   "And now the spike in energy is gone. They just want everything to go back to normal?"   The general nodded. "I'm afraid so. We weren't prepared for-"   Miranda slammed her hand on the desk. She shouted to be heard, "Exactly. Doesn't that seem off to you? How were our best and brightest bested?" The general shrugged in reply. Miranda shook her head. "Unbelievable. You best be careful, Baket. This won't go unanswered."   "They wouldn't dare."   "Oh really? Why is that?" She asked.   "Between the army and the navy, they don't have a chance."   Miranda scoffed, turning away only to turn back as she realized how right he was. "Makes sense. I guess I'll start preparing myself. Lots of families to notify, you understand."   The general nodded and gave another sigh. "More than you know."


Cover image: by Tyler van der Hoeven

Comments

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19 Jul, 2021 16:04

Oh, I really don't like the general. At all. I hope he gets what's coming to him.

You should check out the The 5 Shudake, if you want of course.
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
21 Jul, 2021 03:54

hes the worst. ooof.

Master TimeBender
Unknown User
19 Jul, 2021 17:59

Oh dang, that general doesn't have a speck of feeling inside of him! But also, one fifth of the wayfarers are gone?! :O

~TimeBender~ Here's my main Summer Camp world: Knights
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
21 Jul, 2021 03:54

Keep in mind... the general is but a pawn. He doesnt know what going on... not entirely. Still dont like him though. hes the worst.

Master TimeBender
Unknown User
21 Jul, 2021 18:20

That is true! He may be a pawn, but he's a terrible pawn all the same, very cold-hearted.

~TimeBender~ Here's my main Summer Camp world: Knights
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
19 Jul, 2021 21:14

This sounds rally fishy... seems like he death really arrange them... Great story :D

21 Jul, 2021 01:43

Well at least MIA still means there's hope. I wonder how many of those folks will come back to find their names etched on a monument to the army's folly. Does anyone even know that Mouse is still alive?   That said, I'm determined to keep expecting the unexpected. Our narrator's point of view leads us to believe those in charge are jerks; what circumstances led them to make this series of decisions?   There's revolution in the air. The Wayfarers and the army are at each other's throats and something's got to give.

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
21 Jul, 2021 03:56

MIA does mean hope, but very few of them will make it out. no one knowsmouse is alive yet.   what circumstances indeed... thats a good question.

Sage Rynn19
Wendy Vlemings (Rynn19)
22 Jul, 2021 11:35

Oh my goodness, they are almost all gone. There is so much emotion in the prose parts. I really don't like the General though, and those higher ups who send them all down there. I wonder though, did they know? Not the general, but those who gave the order to him. Did they know they would lose so many wayfarers? Because it sounds like an extremely dumb move to me to send all of them into the Depths just like that. Did anyone actually expect them to make it to whatever caused the spike in energy? I guess I just find it all suspicious. And then to create a festival for it! Ugh, the audacity!

Author of Ealdwyll, a fantasy world full of mystery.
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
22 Jul, 2021 11:38

Somthing fishy is swimming in this here pond, that's for sure! Lol thanks!

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