I woke up in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by flax plants. The sky was dark; it was already night. I was confused because I thought that I was going to die. I was sentenced to death, not because I wanted to, but I took the blame instead of my best friend. I was a soldier; I was a woman soldier. I sacrificed myself because I thought of the great cause. My best friend was planning for creating a rebellion; the empire of Satia is currently at a crisis because of the emperor. He isn’t good enough for the throne. I must help him in his cause, but what am I doing here? Laying down in the middle of nowhere.
I get up and scan my surrounding; I am not satisfied with knowing nothing. I search for my clothes and find a letter in my pocket. I open it. I know this handwriting, it’s from him without any doubt, my best friend.
« I hope that you are well, best friend. Thank you for sacrificing yourself in my place, but I couldn’t let you die just like that. The Empire has decided that you’ll be infected with the incurable disease, that this is your sentence to die from it. I made my way through this and let you be exiled without being infected; of course, no one knows about this. I know that you are asking yourself why you are in the middle of nowhere with only rags on you, but I want you to live. Find a place for you in the outside world. I can help you; I’ll send a raven now and then to let you know about the news. I know it’s hard to live outside the walls since the plague is taking everyone to death, but I want you to survive just a little more time until my plan succeeds I made sure to put you in a non-infected place, so now you must build a shelter for you. Don’t ever lose the whistle on your neck; use it when you spot my raven.
Your friend Damien. »
Great, I am returning to the stone-age time when I’ll have to do things alone. I look around me and notice a dead soldier. Is this the one that brought me here? I need to live, and I am hungry. I search in his belongings, and I take his sword and armour. I was a soldier, and I stay a soldier till death. I see that he was infected, maybe he killed himself because it has traces of blood on its blade.
This disease showed itself centuries now, we live inside the walls, for us being outside is a death sentence. I never imagined myself to be here. This disease has many names since there are many kingdoms besides the empire that I was from. Because of it, they lose their minds and become monsters. They attack anyone on sight, not exactly anyone, but anyone they smelled sain. The Emperor swore to destroy anyone infected. I don’t know if anyone who regained their consciousness, but I know one thing for sure, this disease doesn’t have a cure. You are doomed if you are touched.
I found a scroll on the corpse. Apparently, his name was Robert; he was sent to take care of me. So he died because he wasn’t supposed to kill me. I guess he was afraid that he would lose his mind and attack me. It’s everyone’s fear.
I put the armour on. I need to move. I have a long day of work awaiting me. I need to find or build a shelter. I am glad that I am a soldier because we learnt to craft many items since we were sent with nothing on us in the missions. Not far away from the corpse, there was a box; I wonder what is in it. My friend left me with some previsions: bread, salted butter, three bottles of water, an axe, a pick, and a sack. Life is hard; my situation makes me think how far humanity went.
I wandered a little to know my surroundings. Dawn shows its rays; I must begin my work because if I don’t build a small house in this forest, I will be eaten alive by the beasts shadows. They only appear at night, they are ferocious, and they smell human flesh from miles away. They take shape in different animals, but we can differentiate them by their shadow figures.
If I counter one, I need to go up in a tree, so high that they won’t reach me until morning.
Unfortunately, I am glad that I was a soldier.
To think that my friend thought ahead of these things. There are pine trees everywhere. They are simple to cut. I proceed to my first task since waking up here, I cut tree pines, to build a small house. It took me three days to build it with crafting ropes, with the flax fibre and cutting the trees; I also buried that corpse. I didn’t know Robert, but he helped me stay alive when I was unconscious.
I received another letter from my friend. He pointed that I must search for weapons, resources and provisions that the other dead soldiers left behind, he said that there was an ambush for a caravan, that I need to search for it, he knows that it is near the main road that leads to the big walls of the Empire. He said that probably they are dead since there was no contact with them for a week. Writing all these things leads me to craft simple chests to store all my valuable items. It’s dangerous to take all the valuable items with me because if I lost them, they are lost forever. I can’t find something in these wide lands. Especially when there are madmen everywhere and if I am infected I am done for.
I also need a lot of materials to outfit this place into something livable. I am glad that I have a sack, but I’ll need to craft a larger one in the future. I need to learn a lot of things. I must survive until my friend succeeds in his plan. I trust him.
Now, I have three ravens, he sent me another letter, talking about the beast shadows, updating the latest research that the Empire has done. These beasts fear the light since they don’t appear in the day, but in the letter, it said that it’s wrong, they roam everywhere, it’s just that they are human that even death rejected them. Their flesh is purple since they are corpses and their rotten smell is noticeable from large distances. They crave human flesh to continue living; they are sane monsters that have intelligence in the day and mad at night.
I am shocked by this. I need to be more careful from now on. I will try to avoid anyone. I just remembered how we usually enter the walls after missions; they undress us to see any injuries. If there are, they wait three days until they are sure that we aren’t infected, they put us into insolation, each in a single cell. I guess I’ll do the same thing if someone wants to live with me.
I thought of different things before, and I hope to find company faster because if I didn’t go mad from the disease, I’d get mad from loneliness. I made some charcoal from the dead branches and used them in writing a letter to Damien; I didn’t have a paper, I cut apart from my clothes and wrote that I am well, I didn’t have so much to write in the first place because the things that I want to say are supposed to be said in his face. I don’t want him to get in troubles. If we’re caught sending messages to each other, it’s going to be bad for him. Furthermore, he is probably spied on.
Now, I attempt to travel to find where the caravan that Damien wrote to me about it, maybe I can find valuable items there. Anyway, the road was slippery, and the forest was terribly silent, it’s like when a predator tries to catch its prey. The sky was radiant, yet the forest was all dead in my eyes, everything was dead, from the ground to the trees. The forest was all grey.
I received another letter from him.
« I am glad that you are well. I hope that my advice was helpful to you, even if I don’t think so. You were always quick on your feet and the best in your generation. If you weren’t a woman, you could be a general now. I guess life is pretty hard for you currently. Actually, I need your help on a mission. I know that you are the only one that I can trust right now. There is a carriage that I sent to Changhan city; it contains medicines and medicinal plants. I am counting on you to protect it. I left a box for you; you’ll recognize it once you see it. That’s all I can do for you! Be well!
Your friend Damien.»
A mission? I guess he still doesn’t trust anyone. He was always like that because he was from a family that they don’t want. The Empire is rotten to the core.
Changhan city, it’s three days away from the empire capital city, walking of course. We don’t take many horses because breeding them is a hard task; we can’t provide them with enough food; the fertile fields are so few that they countable by fingers. I leave my little house behind, take enough food for my journey, durable weapon, a torch that I didn’t light yet, and head outside.
I can’t help but feel sad about this forest; her grey theme is suffocating; it gives me the impression that I am a witch residing in the depth of a cursed forest. If someone saw me with the rags on, they would say that I am a beggar, with the armour on, a warrior, with my small figure, a cosplayer, imitating the grown-up. I tried so hard to build my muscles well, but they don’t get bigger.
I saw these lands several times now, to establish my home, I needed to know my surroundings, the land is dead. Since it is day time, I need to hurry; I’ll begin by going to the main road and from there, I’ll follow the trails of the caravan. I know one thing for sure, the caravan won’t dare to go from another route, since this is the safest one, it is protected by the blessings of the temple.
The temples hold powers in this world; they protect the roads that lead to a different city; they only need to enchant it three days a week. I reached the main road. Like I remember it, it’s still fresh and satisfying, the only road that seems lively, but I can’t walk in it freely, if I am spotted, it will be a problem for Damien. I was popular since I was always by Damien’s side.
I see the wheels' traces; I am on the right track, I know that they will camp in the night. Until then, I’ll run to reach them faster.
I am tired; I’ll stop to catch my breath. Water is rarer these days; the rain doesn’t drop very often. I need to keep looking for a stable source of water. I want to drink so bad, but I’ll save it for later.Lost in my thoughts, I fell asleep.My dream, it feels so real. It seems I am in a forest; there are a lot of trees around me, they are so tall, they disappear in a long line into the sky, so old, I say that they are ancient like they express a time where things were free. The sun shows through its shining ray the old outer bark in a magnificent way; it’s so patterned, they stretch up, as if so proud to stand there under the sun in any weather.This greenwood seems just undisturbed. Suddenly I close my eyes and imagine the fallen leaves as from a dream, each one with a great past, if they could talk, they would narrate the stories of ancient civilisations, differe
I noticed another thing doing the second test; the infected can’t hear well; that’s why we usually don’t notice them in wildness. They have a short range of reacting when hearing others moving. That’s why we call them weak, a knock into their head will take them out.That’s all I could find near my living place. Damien chose a perfect place for me to live in. Really, I am glad that he thought of it before hand. I know that there are more out there, I remember that I was on a mission with Damien, apparently, there were some survivors from an expedition awaiting for help, they were attacked by a somewhat different creature than the madmen, they were completely different; they had claws, a body more violet than usual and stronger.«You are back, how about playing cards, it was in one of the boxes that you made.»«No, I don’
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