Ithuriel: Inception (Chapter One)

Presenting original fantasy fiction from Robert Roach, this prose series features sword and soul hero Ithuriel in adventures placed in fantasy lands.

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Within this moment of Tzumé's sacrifice -- the statesman still suspended in the air, the young giant wraps up his battle with the tall Sandeh. Ithuriel jabs his attacker in the carotid artery -- just as the dagger has left the Assihri's hand. Ithuriel allows himself less than a mille-second to smile with triumph.

Then his only thought is to assist his dad. Ithuriel pivots in time to see the culmination of his father's awkward leap & his fall.

Ithuriel feels as if his brain has exploded. He is beyond enraged.

The young warrior snarls & mindlessly grumbles. Ithuriel's wrath leaves him in an out-of-body state. A state in which only his frenzied fury exists. Stepping over the tall, dying mercenary -- blood pumping wildly from the Sandeh's neck, Ithuriel stalks toward the Assihri.

The bald Sandeh warrior -- closest to Ithuriel -- sees his danger & realizes that he needs a weapon. With Liwâ close by, spike-man gropes for the sword.

Ithuriel pauses at the spike-thrower. His fury so hot that he's unable to clearly think, Ithuriel moves & reacts like an automaton. A white-hot angry automaton. The Kahnuri warrior's rage radiates like heat. The Sandeh assassin has just grabbed Liwâ & is shakily lifting the blade with the intent to defend himself.

In a low, venomous voice, Ithuriel says, "Don't soil my father's nobility & legacy by putting your filthy hands on Liwâ, Sandeh trash!"

Ithuriel slashes both of spike-man's arms at the wrists. The bald man screeches as blood gushes from his hand-stumps.

While the tattooed man screams, watching his lifeblood pump out of his stunted arms, Ithuriel picks Liwâ up. He wipes Liwâ's hilt on the dying man's half-tunic -- wrapped around the Sandeh's waist -- & starts toward the Assihri again.

Since he's the only assassin left, the light-brown man from Assihr is terrified. He must do something! He has to keep Ithuriel away. The would-be killer must slay the barbarian before he gets too close. His last four daggers flow from his hand in this effort.

The colossal young warrior has flicked aside knife after knife. Now the Assihri is down to only one more weapon.

Fumbling with fear & sweat dribbling into his eyes, this final assailant tosses his last dagger at Ithuriel. The young giant easily knocks this flying weapon away, too.

Ithuriel stands above this injured man, snarling in rage as he looks down at his father's killer. The Assihri begins to scream as Ithuriel stabs the man in his face, half of gleaming Liwâ gashing down the murderer's throat.

All nine assailants are now dead.

Desperation inundating him, Ithuriel hurries back to his father.

The bronze giant kneels next to Tzumé & better assesses his father's condition. He quickly realizes that Tzumé's outlook is undoubtedly bleak. Ithuriel knows that his dad is in worse than bad shape.

Tzumé's breathing is shallow & rushed. He is sweating profusely. Also, it's difficult for Tzumé to focus his roving eyes.

The big warrior cradles his dad's head in his lap. This familial prompt coaxes Tzumé's eyes to center on Ithuriel. Lazily at first, the statesman eventually looks up at his son, sharing a smile with him.

"Well done, son," the father hoarsely praises.

"Quiet, Dad," Ithuriel implores as his tears rain down on his father's forehead.

Tzumé tries to take a deep breath but this is futile. More bubbles gurgle in the blood surrounding his knife's wound than air enters Tzumé's mouth.

"Sing for me," Tzumé wearily requests of his son, his eyes dreamily closing.

Ithuriel -- still distraught -- pauses. Then, in a halting voice, Ithuriel sings his favorite nursery song to his father -- a song that his dad used to sing to Ithuriel in the boy's happy childhood.

Opening his eyes one last time, tears of pride overwhelm Tzumé. He lovingly looks up at his son in his final mortal moment.

Then Tzumé fades silently away.

Ithuriel is quiet in this dreadful moment. His entire world horrifically crashing down around him, the colossal Kahnuri screams with rage. His fury shakes this formerly loving edifice, lasting for an unknown amount of time.

The young man then falls quiet, silently sobbing in grief.

After a while, Ithuriel rises. He wipes his eyes & cheeks on his forearms. Still in shock, Ithuriel suddenly realizes that he's still holding Liwâ. The young warrior is dumbfounded. Ithuriel is unaware that the hilt has remained in his grasp. He looks at the exquisite broadsword with a deeply melancholic smile & places the blade in his scabbard.

Ithuriel then looks down at Tzumé. At first, a lethal & unyielding expression seems to be chiseled onto the young man's face. It's as if he has turned to stone. Finally, after a while, Ithuriel's hard-edged rage starts to crack & crumble. This is followed by a loving gaze. Tears still flowing, Ithuriel bows low & gently picks up his father.

The mammoth young man takes a moment to carry his father up the stairs & to his bedroom. Ithuriel refuses to leave Tzumé's mortal shell in that disheveled chamber. His father deserves much more respect than allowing this scenario to happen.

Grabbing many of the items in their home that signify Tzumé's magnificent accomplishments & others with sentimental value to his father, Ithuriel surrounds Tzumé's low & wide sleeping couch with these articles. He leaves Kahnuri's ultimate statesman -- his loving father -- lying there in state.

Sighing & silently crying, Ithuriel stoops down. For one last time, he kisses his father on the forehead.

Then Ithuriel soundlessly stands there for more than a moment -- awash in his agony & loss. 

Ithuriel story elements are the sole property of Robert Roach/Hometown Productions ©2020

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Words and illustrations by Robert Roach