Twas a dark era, when humans persecuted and hunted other humanoid races who were seen as “imposters” and “beasts in disguise” because they possessed strange and un-natural abilities.
To eliminate any threat, the power hungry nobility of the kingdom used their wealth and influence to spread propaganda describing the other races as “dangerous, blood thirsty beasts disguised in human forms as a deception”.
While they sat in the safety of their estates, the nobles spat out lies, manipulating the larger population to believe the other races needed to be eradicated. With their wealth and pedigree, the nobility controlled the kingdom believed they could do whatever they wanted without consequence.
They viewed the working class commoners as ants they could step on, nothing more than pawns for them to manipulate. The nobles were the real monsters in human skin.
However, even with all their power and possessions the nobles were still not satisfied. They felt threatened by that which they could not control; the other races who possessed powers beyond their comprehension; so they decided to get rid of them.
They started building an army using their “pawns”. Children were told fictional tales of heroes protecting the kingdom from the blood thirty beasts. It wasn’t long before more and more young people enlisted in the army and enrolled in magic academies.
From the safety of their estates and mansions, the nobles watched their lies take root and grow.
* * *
Lawrence was one of the many young men who believed it was his duty to protect the kingdom.
At the age of eighteen, Lawrence enlisted to become a sorcerer for the kingdom.
His affinity for magic was discovered when he was still a child. A rare talent which appeared once in a Millenia. After two years of training, the twenty year old Lawrence was deployed on his first mission. It was then he discovered everything he grew up believing was a lie. The other races were not vicious, deceptive beasts of destruction; no, they were just like humans, they were families, lived in communities; peaceful tribes with their own way of life, traditions and beliefs. However, as a soldier who pledged his life to the kingdom, he had no choice but to follow the orders he was given and kill any and all Beasts. Lawrence was horrified by his actions. The chorus of screams, the terrified faces of children who watched their parents be slaughtered in a vain attempt to protect them; Lawrence lost all sense of himself, all he wanted was to protect his home but instead he became part of The Purge.
For thirty years, Lawrence served the kingdom; he travelled far and wide, carried out countless missions constantly wondering when the slaughter would end. He did the same thing everyday for thirty years. As a powerful sorcerer he was given the hardest missions; he was hailed a ‘hero’ after leading a siege on a village of beast-men in the southern country. He was called a genius for his intellect, strength and magical aptitude.
However Lawrence never felt like a hero or genius, he felt like a monster. No amount of praise or rewards ever made him happy.
He was haunted by the faces of all the innocent lives he had taken.
What Lawrence was taught as a child, the honour of serving your kingdom was nothing but a fabricated tale for children. Soldiers, sorcerers and citizens were all pawns in the nobility’s twisted game.
Lawrence had enough, he could no longer watch innocent men, women and children be slaughtered no matter the race.
At fifty years old, Lawrence retired and escaped from the capital city. For a long time he wandered aimlessly. Four months after leaving the Capital City, Lawrence found himself at the edge of the Dark Forest.
The five hundred year old forest was situated at the edge of the country’s territory. Since very few ever travelled so far, not much is known about the forest.
Lawrence gazed in awe at the towering trees seemingly touching the sky. The forest was so quiet; all he could hear was the gentle brushing of leaves and the crackling of the earth beneath his feet. Lawrence was in awe at how peaceful the Dark Forest was.
Hours after entering the ancient forest, Lawrence stumbled upon a clearing where the light flooded through. For the first time since he was a child, Lawrence felt at peace. He would never escape his sins and was determined to remember the faces of every life he took.
Standing in the clearing deep within the Dark Forest, Lawrence decided he would spend the remainder of his life in the forest, far away from the capital city, the jeering crowds, celebratory victory parades and from the screams and cries of the innocent victims of The Purge.
To Be Continued…