You can let go now Daddy (Excerpt from Solterian Chronicles: Trohtnon Saga)

Youn can let go now


He held her tight in his harms. Tears flowed as freely from his eyes as the blood did from the gash in her chest. Her tiny frame felt so fragile in his arms. How could this have have happened? Why her? Why not him instead? “You can let go now daddy. You can let go. I'm gonna be ok now daddy. You can let go,” her voice barely more than a whisper as a weak smile crossed her delicate face. He sobbed openly as he buried his face in her neck. “I… I can't,” he croaked.“Daddy,” she whispered into his ear. He looked down into her green eyes. “I'm gonna… be ok now… Daddy...” Her eyes slowly closed. Her body went limp in his arms.

His mind went blank. Something, deep inside him, snapped. Rage surged through his body. A rage like nothing he had ever felt before. It was rage that couldn't be dulled with killing. It was a rage that could only be contained by one thing. She was gone now. He slowly lowered her body to the ground. A shaking hand brushed her hair from her perfect little face. He stood and pulled his blade from the dirt.Eyes blinded by tears, he began walking. Walking towards the sound of clashing metal. In that moment, he was neither man nor beast. Neither god nor demon. In that moment, he was calamity. In that moment he was rage. In that moment, he was death.

He walked through blood soaked grass. His boots fell on fire scorched earth. Though battle raged around him, though the wounded screamed,and living roared, he saw nothing but her beautiful face. Heard nothing but the chime of her delicate voice. His body was in motion,his blade parried and dove. Hacked the creatures in two and cleaved heads from shoulders. Their blades nicked and cut his skin. He didn't lose a step. For his mind was no longer there. He felt no pain. No fear. No remorse. Only sorrow and rage registered in his shattered mind. Tears, scalding tears, rolled down his cheek. Tears for a love stolen. Tears for his daughter.

** *

He gently pushed the door to her room open. The dim light of the rising sun fluttered through her window and came to rest on her beautiful face. He took the chair that sat beside her bed. The chair from which he spun the tales of love, honor and compassion that she loved so very much. “Ary,” he whispered as he placed his hand on her arm.Her green eyes fluttered open and she smiled. “Good morning daddy,”she whispered. “Do you remember what day today is?” he asked. Aryana shook her head. “It's Friday,” he said. Her eyes went wide and she jumped out of bed, “Fishing!” she squealed as she hugged his neck. He smiled and hugged her back, then whispered, “You better get dressed.” Aryana ran to the chest at the foot of her bed and began digging through her clothes. Ryhan left her room to get the fishing poles and other gear together.

The sun was shining bright, the birds were singing and a cool breeze blew in from the river. Joakim stopped, a strange scent on the wind catching his attention. He had smelled it before but couldn't quite place it. “Daddy, come on!” Aryana yelled. His eyes found her, at the treeline. A fishing pole, twice as tall as her, over one shoulder, tackle box in one hand and his fishing hat, much too large for her, flopping down over her eyes. His smile felt like it was too big for his face. He chuckled and continued walking.

Later that day, they were walking back up the trail to Earth City hauling a fine catch. Joakim with a rope of large Amber Scales tied to his pole and Aryana with a Collared Alcron tied to hers. She was so proud when she reeled it in, that Joakim hadn't had the heart to tell her that she couldn't even eat it. With the triumphant little smile that she had on her face, he doubted anyone could have. “Hey Daddy, why do you carry that big sword with you every time we leave the city?”Aryana asked as she stepped on a dry leaf. Joakim smiled, “so that I can keep you safe,” he replied. “Keep me safe from what?” she asked, “I haven't met an animal that I haven't loved.” His smile was both one of mirth and pride, “And I hope you never do baby, I really do.”

Then they heard it. A sound that made Joakim's blood run cold. A single,piercing howl that echoed from the forest. He dropped his fishing pole and tackle box and gabbed Aryana's hand dragging her down the trail. The startled Aryana dropped her fishing pole. “Daddy, my fish!” she said as Joakim dragged her down the trail. “Leave it,”he said as he looked over his shoulder. “But Daddy!” she protested. Joakim spun around and grabbed her by her shoulders.“Aryana, please,” he said giving her a slight shake. She saw something in his eyes. Something she had never seen before. Fear. She simply nodded her head. He scooped her up in his arms and began running down the trail.

The city gates were in sight when he heard the soft scraping of claws digging into dirt. I have to get her to the gate, he thought. Seconds later he felt the claws dig into his back, sending him sailing through the air. He landed on his back but he couldn't keep his hold on Aryana and she went sliding across the dirt. He pushed himself off the ground, drawing his blade. The werewolf charged at him. The strength of his swing plus the force of the creatures massive frame moving at full speed nearly cleaved it in half. Then they began emerging from the trees. Zombies. “Aryana,RUN!” he bellowed as he cut one down. Another werewolf leaped from the trees pinning Joakim to the ground. He only just got his blade between his throat and its jaws in time to keep it from sinking its teeth into him. The city gates opened and armor clad men and women poured out only to be met with waves of ravenous feral zombies.

As Joakim struggled to push the creatures maw away from his throat, a rock bounced off its head. The werewolf turned its head and snarled at the nuisance. “Leave him alone!” Aryana yelled as she picked up another rock. The distraction was enough for Joakim to be able to reach the knife in his boot and drive it through the creatures skull. The five hundred pound behemoth collapsed on top of him. “Run Aryana!” he yelled as he struggled to get out from under the beast. Aryana turned to run but found herself face to face with one of the massive wolves. Her eyes were wide with fear, a scream caught in her throat, as the beasts massive claw descended.

Joakim heard a sickening wet thud and a high pitched scream. He looked up,halfway out from under the wolf on top of him. His stomach dropped. Aryana was in a crumpled heap on the ground and werewolf stood above her, one massive paw raised high, ready to strike. As it began its strike, a spear head sprouted from its chest and it collapsed to the ground. The woman wielding the spear abandoned it in the wolfs corpse, drew her blade and moved to face a zombie. “No, no, NO!”Joakim bellowed as he dragged himself free from the wolf's corpse. He ran to Aryana's side and dropped to his knees, dropping his blade to the ground.

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Novel / Novella
writing Derek
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