A world at war brings out the worst in most of us. Greed and anger replace peace and happiness. Lands of hope become those of pain; most lose all values.
That’s what happened on this day and it created something no one could have ever imagined. It only takes one good act or one bad act to change the world.
Once upon a time there was a little girl that lived up in the sky with her family. She had the perfect life; a mother and father that loved her and a brother that would protect her. She had friends that would help her and a world that would guide her. At the age of 6 this girl only knew happiness and peace.
War had started to break out between the nations below them, and she would soon learn everyone was affected.
On the girls seventh birthday she woke up happier than ever. She couldn't wait to see her family and friends. She jumped up out of bed and immediately could feel something was different, she was dizzy and her vision was blurry. She looked down at her hands to see what looked like burns, the skin literally peeling back.
One of the nations had learned to use disease as a weapon, and was not afraid to use it on anyone they thought to be in their way.
The girl screamed and ran to her parents, not knowing what to do. As she approached her mother, her father pushed her back.
She looked in their eyes and for the first time saw very little. None of the love or happiness, just fear, something she had never seen before.
Screams from outside suddenly caught her attention, as chaos took hold. People who looked like her were being pushed from the sky. Not because they did anything wrong, but because they were the unfortunate few that were first affected.
The yelling continued, “Throw them all over or we will be next”. See, this disease had hit other places first and the fear had been rising much before this day.
This little girl started crying and looking at her mother again, still scared and not knowing what to do; they had always been there to guide her.
Now there was nothing, her mom began to scream that “one” was in their house.
“One” is what she called the girl, like she was not a person at all or the daughter she had loved for the15,329 previous days. The girl continued to just stare silently at her mother, father, and brother. Their faces burned into her thoughts forever.
Two men pulled her out of the house quickly and drug her to the edge of the only world she had ever known. Finally, her mouth opened to give out a final scream for help, but her family never came out or showed their face.
The next few moments of the girl’s life were the most important in creating the woman she would become.
As she fell through the clouds, she tried to think of all the good times she had in life, but only saw the faces that taught her what a true monster looked like. It only took 3 minutes to take not only 7 incredible years from this girl, but an entire lifetime of belief.
She plummeted towards a world she had never set her eyes upon, yet closing them is all she could do.
Suddenly, she crashed into a small Harven (a bird of this region), both falling now, hitting a tree on the way down to the dirt and rocks that they would finally lay on for days.
The girl slowly awoke to find herself in a large, and dark place that had no meaning to her with a small Harven laying by her side flopping but unable to get up. The two both laid there, neither willing to move towards the other.
More days went by and still nothing, it seemed that there was not enough life or hope left in the two combined to do anything anymore.
It had been 4 days, and for the first time the girl could hear rustling in the distance. A beast had been feasting off of all the bodies thrown from the heavens above. Now it was finally her turn.
The beast ran, not at the girl, but at the Harven that looked like the easier prey. The girl felt something she had never felt before. She threw herself towards the winged creature and covered it with her body, screaming and throwing rocks at the large beast. At first the beast only ran faster, but finally one rock struck the eye of the beast. It gave out a shrieking noise and turned to disappear in the darkness.
The girl slowly drug herself away to lay back in her same spot as before. She closd her eyes to start the whole process again. In the night she woke to the noise of something approaching once more.
She clenched a rock lying next to her, but at that moment she felt a small nudge as the small Harven curled up by the girl. It didn't know she was sick and it didn’t care. It only knew that when it had felt fear, she stood up for the frail animal.
When the two awoke the next morning, the Harven kept trying to get the girl up, finally willing to move itself. The problem was that the girls legs had broken in the fall and the disease had been weakening her every day.
The bird looked at her one final time and flew away. In that moment the girl felt something terrible once again. Abandonment is a crushing feeling; it’s enough to take out the strongest of people.
As the day went on, the girl sat and stared at the sky that she once came from. She had aged many years in mere days, reflecting on what went wrong and trying to understand why.
Night hit again and none of it mattered to her anymore. She was ready for the sickness to take her like it had so many before. As her eyes began to close, the girl saw her little friend coming back. It had brought food for the girl, dropping it in her lap and flying away once again.
The Harven kept coming back with small pieces of wood and grass, slowly building a nest around the girl to keep her warm and protected. The bird would leave every morning, bringing back food and water every evening.
The days and weeks went by as the girl watched the Harven get bigger and bigger, until it could no longer fit in the nest it had built.
One night while sleeping outside the nest they could hear something approaching. It was a giant beast, missing an eye from where a rock had jabbed through it. The beast charged at the nest, and it was much larger and quicker now. This time there was nothing the girl could do.
The beast started tearing at the nest, ripping off the roof and sides. As he was ready to take his last bite, the Harven swooped in to defend the girl as well as it could. It scratched and bit at the large beast, but had little effect on the behemoth of a creature. The beast, finally fed up, bit the much smaller bird out of the sky and pins it to the ground, crushing and ripping both wings. The girl was only able to scream and had to sit back to watch her only friend die. With the last of it’s strength the Harven stabbed its beak into the remaining eye, blinding the beast completely this time. Once again the beast ran away, hitting everything in its path.
The girl drug herself to her companion, screaming for it to move or breathe. There was no movement, no breathing, nothing left. The girl laid with her protector and cried, until eventually she ran out of tears. This would be the last time she ever cried. She had felt a lifetime of pain and suffering in just moments for the second time.
A few days passed and the girl fights to get up and walk away into a new world that has shown her love, pain, happiness, and hate before she had ever taken a single step in it.
Years would pass and the girl would learn to stay out of sight and move around the wars surrounding her. She would steal food and clothes. She lived in the trees and dirt, always just observing this world that she had been tossed into so abruptly.
Every once in a while she would pass by piles of burning flesh. The infected were still being removed from the lands. It did not matter that it never seemed to be contagious or that most who were still alive had the ability to live a long life. Fear would always cloud their judgment and remove the ability to see people underneath the disease.
On this day the girl found herself outside one of the largest cities she had ever seen. She would have to find a way to sneak in for food as she did every town before, but this one would be much different.
She wrapped herself up, making sure no skin would show through and ran over to blend in with a large group of people approaching the front gate.
Making it through with little difficulty she began moving down one of the streets picking up small pieces of food here and there while remaining unseen. When she had enough for the day, she turned around to find an exit, when suddenly she froze. The girl saw a man standing in front of her that for some reason brought feelings of fear throughout her body. He was dressed as a guard but all she needed to see was his face. The girl just dropped everything she had stolen in front of this man. He points at her and yells for her to stop.
The girl takes off down the street, looking for any side alleys she can quickly dart down. Finally finding a small space between two buildings, she looks back and notices that she cannot see the man, so she makes her move off of the street. As she slides through the small gap, she falls to her knees on the other side, frozen once again from the same feeling. She hears a voice come from her side and quickly jumps up, just in time, as the man thrusts a sword in her direction.
The girl waits for him to try once again, spinning out of the way just in time and kicking back into his hand, sending the sword into the air. The man takes a split second to look at the sword above him, and before he can lower his gaze back to the girl, she slices a knife across his throat.
The man slumps to the ground, grasping his neck for the chance to get a breath of air one last time. He looks up at the girl as she unwraps her face. His face fills with fear, even when he knows his life is about to end. He does not see anything recognizable, just a face that looks like it has slowly been eaten away at for many years.
The man finally topples over and the girl feels something new once again- joy. At least it felt new. She had smiled before, long ago in the sky, but it seemed so far away that she could not remember this feeling. She continued to walk away never looking back at the man she used to call her brother.
Many more years would pass and the girl grew into a woman. She slowly advanced in these new skills, now a silent killer of those she judged to be evil.
It was time for her to make her way back north to the spot she had first fallen so many years ago. Remnants of the nest still laid on the ground around her. She remembered her friend and protector that she had looked up to, even if only for a moment.
The girl took parts of the nest and stones around her to make a small memorial to the only friend she truly ever had. The final touch was the skull of a giant beast.
She had a mission though, to get back to the city in the sky where it all began. She climbed trees and didn't come close, went to the mountains and still found no way to reach it. It was still off in the distance.
She refused to move for days just gazing at this city with such hatred. Eventually she found a party that was coming down from the city on giant birds, and was landing close to the base of the mountain she had been perched on.
Each of the Sky Elves was supposed to be chosen by a Harven as they grew up, and they were to be partners for life. The girl had found her partner, but it had died in this world long ago.
She ran down into the forest where she had seen them land. Approaching the group, anger had taken over her body. She throws a knife through the back of a man’s head, sprinting at the other two that came down with him.
One shoots an arrow at the woman but misses terribly with everything going on. He is punished with an arrow coming back and lodging in his throat. The last one runs for his life into the woods, not taking a second thought about the situation at hand.
The woman gets onto the saddle of the Harven and takes off for the final destination. As they land in the city, it all comes back to her. She is a little girl once again. All of the memories flash before her as if they had happened just moments ago. She runs through the street until she reaches the house that she once called home.
She tries to enter the house but her body just won’t let her. All she can do is scream and beat on the door. No words are formed, just noises of pure pain are expressed, as a man opens the door, much older than she remembered. She removes two daggers from her back and lunges at the man, but before she can reach the door she had been picturing for years, a sword jabs through her side, taking her to the ground.
She immediately knocks a guard over, removes the sword and begins to run at the man once again, but two arrows hit her in the back, taking her to the ground once again.
The girl manages to stand, slowly this time, but two guards shove her back to the dirt. They remove the mask and hood from her, revealing a skeleton with rotting flesh on it. The man gasps, and cries to get the thing away from him. He yells that he does not what it is, but she sees in his eyes the fear that she saw only once before.
The guards tie her to a pole, and she hears one saying that they have not had to deal with an infected for years and were not sure what to do. The other looks at her and says, “Burn it”. She looks to the ground, only seeing scratch marks of people trying to crawl away from this fate long ago. They throw some wood at her feet and immediately set it on fire.
As the flames begin to engulf her body, she does not scream or struggle, just glares at that house in the distance, knowing there is a man and woman standing in there watching.
The burning ends and there somehow is still a body to be thrown from the city once again, ending the way it had all started. This time though, there are no thoughts going through anyone’s head, no pain felt, no sadness, pure nothingness. The scorched body collides with the ground, this time making a crater from the impact, then there is just silence.
Yet our story does not end there, this woman, who had gone through more than any other, laid there in the dirt and stone.
Then the impossible happens, the woman opens her eyes and awakens, not in a crater in the dirt, but up on the top of that mountain, the only place in the world that she could see the city in the sky.
She begins to look around, believing that the afterlife is just a cruel joke,that she will forever have to look at that place. She turns around to see a giant bird, not like any she had ever seen. This one was fire red and had stumpy wings that never could have been used to fly. She takes another look at the peaceful beast, its eyes so familiar.
It was the same Harven that had saved her once before, yet it was so different now. As she moved closer to the giant creature, it let out a screech as flames flowed from the end of its wings and it took off into the sky.
The girl ran to the edge of the mountain and without thinking jumped.
Falling through the air for the third time now, but for the first time it was of her own choice. She spread her arms out from her sides and slowly begins to rise, soaring towards the sky city one last time.
She lands at the steps of the dreadful house. Looking up she can see a man and woman on the balcony above looking down at her. Rage takes over as she runs in through the front door.
She bolts up the stairs toward the balcony, and upon reaching it she gazes at the couple.
Confusion starts to take over her mind.
What was happening? It was the only moment that had kept her alive, yet she couldn't move.
She fell to her hands and knees and started beating the ground, her corpse like hands splashing blood everywhere. She looks up at the two and makes a mad dash for them.
She grabs onto both of them and goes over the ledge with each in hand. She falls on the couple, both of them dying on impact.
She takes one last look at their faces, now able to see that they were a random couple who she had never laid eyes on before. Flashes of that giant city and the guard she had killed in the ally begin coming back to her, the man now faceless.
The woman begins to spin and clutch her head. People begin walking out into the street and all have one of the three faces frozen into her mind. She screams for her friend to fly her away, but it is nowhere to be seen, and everyone just fades away.
At that moment, a little girl woke up on the ground. Her legs were broken, one eye had been stabbed by a small bird she landed on while falling, and stones had finished blinding her on impact. She had spent her entire life in a nightmare.
This now seven year old girl had somehow experienced 25 years of life. There were no tears this time, no pain, and no anger, just a little girl dragging herself and a small bird through the woods, under a city in the sky.