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In a child's eyes... [Journal]

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I could feel the metal upon my chest, both a reassurance and an obligation.


The creature lunged, and I was a moment too slow.  I could feel the wound open, the fresh blood spilled upon the grass.  It was difficult fighting alone.  All my training, my drills, all toward the goal of making me a better soldier.  A good soldier lives with his units, fights with his unit, becomes one with his unit.  Yet here I was alone, without the support I had come to rely on.  I could feel the metal upon my chest and remembered.


We had trained hard, having exceeded expectations, and as a result we were allowed to hit the tavern in Ul'dah.  One night of wild living before we were consigned back to our lives of drills and maneuvers.  It was a good night, with all the usual trappings, from the lasses throwing themselves onto the lads, to the lads trying their best to find lasses to take them home.  Stories and ale flew freely and the tedium of life had been forgotten, or at the very least pushed aside.


It was inevitable, really.  All the tension and ale, the passion and emotion.  And, as is oft to occur, a fight broke out.  What begin as a peaceful respite from fighting quickly degenerated into a brutal reminder of the beast we all hold at our core.  Eloquent men, charmers and philosophers were all reduced to our base instincts as mauling the person next to us became our primary interest.  I could say it was simply hyur nature, but it was not just the hyur that were fighting.


What happened next was a blur.  I was slamming my fist into the face of a tavern regular over and over as if the nineteenth or twentieth punch really mattered at that point.  Someone had drawn a knife, and stabbed a patron.  Nobody was quite sure of who it was, but the combat escalated quickly as a result.  The person in question was quickly disarmed and the beatings resumed in earnest.


I stopped when I heard the scream.  I spun, seeing a young girl, a Miqo'te who couldn't be more then six, seven years old.  There was a dazed look in her eyes and I swear she was looking into my soul.  Another scream, this time from the barkeep, a look of horror in her eyes, tears already flowing like dew from a morning flower.  The child must have been hers.  And then I looked back and my heart stopped.  The knife had been buried in her ribcage.


I ran to her, and nobody stood in my way.  I pulled the blade out carefully, thankful that I had been paying attention when we were taught how to treat battlefield wounds.  I drew her close, reassuring her.  I remember a voice, so loud yet distant crying out for a mage to heal her.  Moments later I realized it was my own.  There was nothing more I could do for her and I could feel her life ebbing out through my fingers.  In desperation I called out to the gods and the rest is a half-faded memory,  I could feel the rush of magic and I could see the smile on her face.  Somehow I had channeled enough magic to cure her.  Not without cost, though, as I passed out soon after.


I awoke to one of the tightest hugs I'd ever had, and the face of a smiling child.  It was her eyes that I recall most.  So much light, so much life.  Still in a haze I tried to speak, but failed to find words.  I recall her making a hush motion with her fingertips.  Her voice was soft, and completely filled with innocence.


"Hush, you're still sick.  You should sleep.  You know, you should be out there helping others, you're really good at it!  I wanna say thanks, and I want to give you something so you don't forget me."


With that, she placed a kiss on my cheek, and pulled a small golden locket from around her neck and handed it to me.  It was beautiful and by the condition of the hinge looked to be a well worn, well loved heirloom.  Though I felt a pang of guilt, I quickly found I could not talk her out of it.  I had no choice but to smile and place it around my neck, under my armor.  She was right, I was meant to be more then a rank and file soldier.  I was meant to protect people, to prevent them from coming to harm.  With that revelation, I resigned from my unit and struck out on my own, leading to my current predicament.


The monster weaves one way, then the other, a feint I was both expecting and waiting for.  In one fluid motion it was over, my opponent reduced to a corpse.  Carefully, I take out a vial I was given and filled it with the beast's blood.  Looking back into my pack I can still see a number of empty vials.  Gods, how many did that old man actually need?


I pause, feeling the metal upon my chest.  A promise, a dedication.  I will protect those that need protecting and save the lives that need saving.  I will do my best to be a bastion again our many and varied enemies.  I have found my true purpose in life.


And I found it in a child's eyes.

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I'm flattered, and somewhat speechless I'll confess.  It's compliments like this that makes writing all the more rewarding, and encourages me to continue to chronicle Xerek's tale as it's being forged.


Thank you for that. :D

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