The wind chilled through her cotton clothes as she traversed along the side of the mountain. Her red hair blew far beyond her face as if dragging her towards the edge of the cliff. She stared at her feet as the road was barely visible under the weed and crumbled stone plates. She wondered for what purpose it was erected, and by whom, as the land was remote and uninhabited. But her mind was occupied by the path head and the people struggling behind and before her; careful, with every step they took.
After hours of climbing, she became un-watchful and her legs became weary. The pressure under her feet made one the ancient stone plates break in half and her body leaned over the edge. She wobbled as she tried to regain balance. Her heart stopped, and she held her breath as she stared in terror down the foggy abyss. With a pull on her wrist, she was flung back to safety.
While pressed against the mountain wall, she gasped uncontrollably, her heart beating out of her chest. But as her breath steadied, she looked at her saviour who stood hunched next to her. What she saw, was a man with a vacant expression, the expression of a man that had traveled too far and seen too much. Feelings that she could relate all too well with.
As they continue to ascend, a loud noise echoed through the mountain. She broke from the crowd and looked nervously to the front of the caravan a few hundred meters above. A smile grew on her face as she saw people weaving by the edge. They had finally reached the top. It had taken them many days to get this far, though it would take many more days before every would reach their destination; she thought as she watched the snake-like line of hundreds of thousands of people down the path.
Suddenly, something in the distance flared in an orange light. She stared at the horizon that was engulfed in a red and yellow, and above it, a blackness formed. The smoke seemed to reach far to the heavens. A tear fell from her cheek as she imagined the destruction it was reeking. The terror unimaginable and never ending.
As she peered into the distance, a gust of wind blew against her face. Even in the cold northern climate, she could feel the faint warmth in the air, a warmth that traveled by westward wind. Her lips trembled. Knowing she was torturing herself, she swallowed and turned her head away, to the opposite side, to the future.
Even at this distance, she could hear the elders argue loudly from above. The very fact that they even talk to each other was an improvement. Though, great disaster has a way of mending old grievances, if only just by a little. She shivered at the thought of what would have become of them, hadn’t her brother stepped up as he did. She prayed that he was safe.
She sighed and began inspecting the camp site. Shattered families sat all around, some in tatters and others not. At the corner of her eye, she saw a blue-eyed woman, with a man of red-eyed decent. A union impossible just a few years ago. Even when the old society is all but broken, she did not fail to notice such contradiction.
In the background, she heard a small child asking his father. “How much longer must we walk?”
“As long as we need to son.”
“But where are we going?”
The father paused and then said. “Do you remember back home when we were going to grandmother’s, but we were delayed because of the wind?”
“…and then the ship had mechanical problems and we had to land in a different city, but the day turned out well anyway?”
The child nodded.
“Well, this is kind of like that, something unexpected happened and now we have to make the best of things.”
A man snorted a few feet away, shaking his head. “Except there is no turning back,” the man said, looking blankly at the family.
Standing a distance away, she turned her attention towards the young man who stared with his yellow eyes at the family. The inferno raged in the background and his yellow eyes perfectly melded with the horizon. As she caught herself staring, she looked away, embarrassed that she could find beauty in something so awful.
A day passed and they finally arrived at the peak of the mountain. The ground was flat and tents littered all space available. She realised that this small space will not be able to accommodate them all, and they had to move on soon. They were so many…
Tired from climbing, she hunched forward and wheezed from exhaustion, but she wanted to see her brother as soon as possible, so she soon pressed on.
Asking around, she found that he and the elders camped at the far side of the mountain, overlooking the land to the east. As she approached, she saw the elders sitting at a table, arguing as intently as ever. It was strange to see the yellow, the red, and the blue without weapons at their throats. As the elders saw her approach them, they nodded in the direction of her brother.
He sat alone, on the remnants of some wall. The foundation of it encompassed the entire campsite, she noticed curiously. She found herself scanning the ruins, already devising theories of its existence. She caught herself in her revery, realising that she was delaying. She feared him, her own brother… Furious, she slapped herself. I am not like the others! she told herself and rallied towards him.
He glanced at her as she approached. “You don’t have to come up here,” he said while clenching his hands around his knees, as if in pain.
She didn’t say anything and knelt down next to him, gently grabbing his hand. He grunted loudly as she touched him and his eyes began to glow red, almost burning. Quickly she took a tight grip around his body, holding his arms together with all her might. She knew his pain. It was the same pain that she felt, that everyone felt. But his anger, sadness and anxiety were manifested, projected by a power older than her people itself.
His body tensed but he didn’t try to break free. Slowly he relaxed. As she felt tears fall on her head she released her embrace and looked at him as the glow slowly faded from his eyes. She’d like to believe that being there for him helps, but she also knows that her brother is strong.
She put her hands on his face and pressed her forehead against his. “We will get through this, brother. Together we will survive and create a new future for our people.” He nodded and stared into the distance with newly found determination. She gazed in the same direction, seeing a purple glow illuminating in the horizon, a presage for the unknown world that awaited them. She whispers to herself. “Avo’s help us.”
Author’s note: This is the prologue of my epic fantasy ‘Book of Legacy’ I hope that it piqued your interest.