August, 20 Years Ago
They were ambushed.
Bleeding and lifeless bodies were all around. Some were men, others were women, and too many of them were children. Screams filled the air. They were the desperate cries of those who only just hours before held the strong hope of finally living in peace; but were now either doomed to die here in this field or be forced into exile to await the coming warfare.
Celeste ran. She could hear every last, sick thought of those who were attacking them. They came here to live in peace, but their enemy followed them. Would this war ever be over? Would the fighting and bloodshed ever cease?
She took herself out of visibility, but not without shedding any of her own blood first.
When they first attacked, she was knocked to the ground and separated from her baby. One of them found her, and slashed her across the chest and abdomen. The cut was deep, but not deep enough. She could survive still.
When she found her baby, she grabbed and held him close; now both of them couldn’t be seen by anyone.
She saw one of her allies up ahead. It was Kreios; one of the leaders who once served alongside her husband. He looked distraught. His wife and son were no where in sight.
“Kreios! We have to get out of here!”, she shouted.
He looked toward the sound of her familiar voice and knew she was alongside him, even though she could not be seen right now.
“My lady, where is there for us to go? We are but strangers in a foreign land now!”
“An ally from the First Wave lives on a mountain northwest of here. There is no more time to waste! Follow the sound of my steps!”
He looked around in anguish, one last time, before following her and escaping into the mountains.
Two Days Later
Celeste was lying down on a small bed; her wound burned within her skin. The weapon that had pierced her was laced with poison. They had no means to cure it.
Kreios knelt down gently beside her.
“My lady, is there anything I can do for you?”, he asked.
She looked across the room, where her baby slept peacefully in a small wooden cradle.
“Kreios, there is something that I must do.”
Three Days Later
Celeste stood there in the silence of night, looking onto the peaceful, cream-colored house that stood before her. The air was warm and perfectly still. The only sounds she could hear were the night songs of the crickets and her own rapid heartbeat. She looked down into her arms and smiled. She was holding her young, sleeping infant; her most precious beloved. There was no one more important to her in this moment, than him.
She finally started moving towards the entrance of the house at a pace that only her tired, leaden legs would allow her to. With a shaky hand, she grabbed the door-knocker and brought it down a few times.
She tried again; a little bit louder this time. A few moments later, she finally heard movement from within the house. She listened to the soft shuffles of footsteps approaching the door and the clicks of locks being undone. The door cautiously opened to reveal a young, tired couple in their night clothes.
“I’m sorry to have awakened you”, said the mysterious woman, “I’m in need of your help.”
The man started to say something in reply, but was interrupted by his wife who quickly beckoned the woman inside.
“Please come in!”, she said while guiding the mother and child into their living room.
Celeste quietly sat down in an old, cushioned chair as the young couple sat down across from her on a nearby couch.
“Is there somebody we can call for you, ma’am?”, the husband kindly asked.
Celeste didn’t reply right away. She just smiled softly and gazed down at her son once more. She slowly looked back up at the tired, but sincere, husband and wife sitting before her. What she said next would completely shock them, and forever change their world.
“I need you to raise my son.”