The sun rose quietly over the blood drenched ground as Lazarus opened his eyes to a blinding, searing pain that caused him to close them again immediately. He could feel the sticky dried blood on his face and neck but cared very little about living long enough to find out what had caused his wounds.
Images of grotesque beings and their brutal language swam in Lazarus’s head as he lay imploring The Mother to take him. His short life was over now and he was ready to go. He knew in his heart that he had fought well and that he would die a hero on this day. He chanced opening his eyes again if only to see his lands once more before he faded away to the realm beyond the sky. He would miss his mother, father, brother and sister and as he conjured their faces in his mind, tears began rolling down his cheeks. The salty tears burned as they slowly slid over his gashes and cuts, reminding him once again that he was still alive and that he would have to endure his pain until The Mother saw fit to come for him.
Lazarus awoke again sometime later to find himself floating on the wings of a bird. He soared higher and higher into the clouds and was swallowed up by the sun. The bright, beautiful warm light of comfort and peace enveloped him and he fell asleep again, at peace this time.
Tianna and Falun sat in silence together waiting for word of their son’s fate. Lazarus was a bold and brave man, but just a man all the same. Tianna and Falun had two other children. A daughter Griselda and a son Diani. They were with their own families now far away, thank The Mother. Tianna stood and walked over to the window to see if there was any sign of her son or the healer. The battered gold and red flags flapped in the wind but the world was in an unsettling stillness that made Tianna question whether she was dreaming. The once lively and bustling kingdom was now vacant and hushed with only memory to serve as a reminder of the laughter and jubilance that once filled the streets here. The kingdom’s people had long since left for safer and more remote areas away from the invasions and constant bloodshed that had befallen Alzahn of late.
Rulers and peasants alike had gone to lands that were foreign to them in hopes of starting over and keeping their distance from those who would harm Tianna and Falun’s family in an effort to dethrone Falun as king and take the only remaining piece of land that he reigned over.
Falun had earned his enemies very young in his life simply by virtue of where he came from. His father Dosid was a cruel king who ruled his people with fear and tyranny. When he was king in this land, barely a day went by when there was not someone killed or gravely injured for acts that the king considered treasonous. Even Falun could not escape his father’s wrath. As a small child, his father had suspected him of passing secrets to the wine merchant in town and he lost an arm because of it. Falun had never been the same after the day that his own father, his king, had ordered that his arm be cut off. If he could do this to his own child, he was capable of much more ruthlessness than anyone imagined. Falun vowed that his own children would never suffer such a life and he made good on his vows until Lazarus was a young man. You see, Lazarus was always very strong willed and there were very few people who could make him see reason. He was of the belief that he needed to defend his father’s honor. He felt that he needed to prove to everyone that his father was not the monster that his grandfather was. Lazarus traveled far and wide to avenge his father’s name and in the hopes that others would see his father’s true nature, he began to gather allies for the kingdom of Alzahn. As time went on, Lazarus had shown to all that he was a brave, fair and just man who had his kingdom’s and his family’s best interests at heart.
Falun sent a silent plea to The Mother that she protect his son. He knew that Lazarus was charged with fighting battles only because his father could not. If anything happened to Lazarus, Falun would never forgive himself. Shaking his head as if he were waking from a trance, Falun stood up and went to stand by his wife. He stroked her softly “He’ll be here, I know he will” Tianna turned to him and the pain and fear showed clearly in her deep blue eyes. She was more worried than words could say and the longer it took to receive word of her son, the more immeasurable the despair was becoming. Tianna embraced her husband and they stood there together watching.
After what seemed like a lifetime Tianna whispered “I know that Lazarus is a strong and noble man Falun, I know that he is one of the finest warriors in this land, but I cannot feel him and that is what frightens me” She buried her face in her husband’s chest once more. “Since the children were born, I could feel them, an awareness of their presence and know that they were with me no matter how far apart we were but I cannot feel him any longer, I have no sense of him now. Oh Falun, where is my son?” Tianna sobbed.