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To Whoever it may concern, 

By the time anyone reads this passage I may very well be dead. Should I fail, the history books will call me a traitor. A monster with no remorse. Tomorrow is a day I’ve been preparing for the last ten years. The ending for a tyrant that forever changed my young life. Although I have only lived for nineteen years, time hasn’t been kind to me. Hell, time is a very interesting subject for me. 

I have experienced time in a very unique way that no person has ever done before, nor should any person experience time has I have. For I know the amount of years I’ve walked on this earth but am not sure of my age. Again, I do not speak metaphorically when I say that time hasn’t been kind to me. But by tomorrow this will end. One way or another. I want people to understand why I am attempting to end the kingship. 

The problems with the kingdom began with the old king who rules the land today. During the majority of his rule the land was fair and just. My father would tell me stories about this king and the heroic sacrifices he had made for the greater good. Although I never met this king, he has reigned for more than forty years and under his leadership the land and the people thrived in a magnificent golden age. Perhaps it was his attitude towards his subjects that gave him his popularity that never seemed to dwindle. He would go out into the public and speak directly to the citizens he governed. A king that ate his food from the farmer’s market that had regular conversations with normal citizens would be considered a terrible idea for a man in power. 

He had a powerful presence whenever he spoke or so I’ve been told. The king was the type of man that could change the entire mood of a room by just entering it. He could be lax and have fun but also get serious in times of need. His popularity and relationship with the commoners he governed gave him his long unopposed reign that is still intact today. He even started speaking to my father long before I was born. Ironically, my father became one of the king’s most spoken out supporters and died by his hand. 

Then, in the middle of a golden age, the king took an unexpected journey around the time I had just learned to walk. He announced to the citizens, his loyal subjects, that he would take part in an expedition in order to find an ancient artifact that he believed belonged to his people. His majesty’s subjects had mixed reactions but like always they supported their king through and through. 

There were many rumors of course speculating why he was suddenly travelling away from the kingdom. Most of these rumors concerned themselves with naming this “artifact”. Some said the artifact was just the usual treasures: gold, silver, etc. Other more common rumors claimed it was a scroll of knowledge on anything from advanced medicine to warfare to new age farming techniques. But the most reliable source came from a young woman named Cremia who worked as a scribe for the king. When asked about it directly he would get very quiet and only mention it as “a symbol of power”. 

Fast forward to five years later when I was about to turn eight. The king at this point was long thought to have been dead. He had left his brother, Emmanuel, in charge of running the kingdom. The new king left our once bustling kingdom as a shell of its former self. He was a coward, greedy with a short temper. So when the king’s ship had returned one afternoon the entire town stood and cheered. A big mistake, a powerful mistake had overtaken our once loved king and everything changed. The welcome committee was brutally attacked. 

I remember rushing to our home with my father to find it engulfed in flames with the bloodcurdling screams of my mother and sisters trapped inside. As my father rushed to the house, a dark soldier attacked my father and stabbed him in back. When he fell, the soldier looked at me and grabbed me by my shirt. That face is one you never forget. 

His skin didn’t look real, it was black and gray like that of a dark shadow yet he was still able to grab me. And his eyes were bright red, not the color of blood, but the color of a red light to contrast his dark face. I was screaming for help. None came and all my pleas did was enraged the creature further. He grabbed my tongue and cut it off. I passed out from the pain and never should have opened my eyes again. 

When I came to my mouth was bloody and I couldn’t open my jaw. My right arm was completely shattered. It took me years to gain the ability to fully close my right hand again and even today I still feel a painful resistance whenever I move my gimp arm. I ran away into the nearby forest, passing over the bodies of friends and neighbors that I once knew without even giving them a second thought all for my own safety. Not being able to give them a proper burial is something that regularly haunts me. I spent hours running in the opposite direction of the kingdom in a blind panic, I didn’t know what I was doing or where I was going, this forest was like being trapped in a maze. 

Eventually I stopped moving and cried myself to sleep. I awoke still in agony and decided to keep going. Stumbling through the thick trees, the long branches, and the muddy swamps. I was alone, dying in this maze-like forest with no food, water, or shelter. My right arm was completely useless to me and my open wounds were starting to get infected. Hallucinations became more and more common, at first they were scary reenactments of the day of the attack. Then they became friendlier images of my family waving at me, beckoning me to join them. The happiest moments for me was when I was on the edge of death.

My luck changed when I heard a group of men marching through the forest, cutting a path as they went. I couldn’t speak or call to them in anyway and I was laying against the trunk of a tree. My small body must have been hidden by the bush in front of me but one of the elders stopped walking. He didn’t see me and lit a pipe for a smoke. I frantically looked around for something to get his attention and found a small rock. 

Having no other options I aimed at the old man’s head hoping that he would finally take notice of the dying child right behind him. I thought that it would be easy until I realized that I would have to use my left arm to throw the rock. Taking careful aim through my blurring vision, I threw the rock and it hit the man on point. He frantically jumped and turned but still didn’t see me. I felt like I was about to pass out and made a single loud sound from falling over on my side. Now keeled over, I could see that the man had found me and was waving at the others to help him carry me out and it was then that I finally blacked out. 

That group of men turned out to be mercenaries working outside of the kingdom’s walls. They took me in as their own and became my new family. My wounds healed over time but my speech never returned and I had to learn how to use my left arm. I was no longer just a farm boy, in the years with the mercenaries I would learn how to wield a sword and shield. I was taught how to use a bow and arrow, how to fight and most importantly how to survive. I learned a lot from the elder that saved me and he taught me everything about survival and gave me a new meaning of life.

Three years ago, on his death bed, the elder gave me the keys to a closet hidden in his room that only he knew about. He claimed that the possessions inside was his most valuable treasures. Inside was a giant broadsword, a durable shield, and a strange looking tunic. I didn’t understand what my mentor wanted from me and he grabbed my cloak. He looked in my eyes for one final time and said:

“Become the next Link.”

by Skill Flea

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