‘Hmm’ Azief sighs.
Sofia was sitting under the Peach tree, shading her from the sun. Dried leaves was scattered around the fire to make it bigger.
In her hand, is a skewered snake roasted on the spitfire.
Not far behind the trees were remnants of houses. There are some traces of old houses and a lot of stiff corpse can be seen on the patch of green land.
‘May I join you?’ Azief said
She just nodded listlessly. Azief walk to her and sit on the chopped log beside her.
For a moment they do not speak to each other, just looking at the fire, Sofia keep roasting the meat.
The firewood crackles and sometimes Sofia would use her hands to fan the flames.
Sofia eat the meat, her face shows no emotions. Azief could only feel coldness coming from her.
She gives one skewered snake to Azief and Azief bites it. It was supposed to be delicious but Azief could not feel excited from it.
And seeing Sofia listless face, Azief had the feeling that her experience is no better than him, if not worse.
They eat in silence.
They are no beast that came to attack them or snakes that slithers, or any rats that came peeking.
There isn’t even an sound of stiffs groaning. Azief divine sense monitored the area and he could sense nothing dangerous or out of the ordinary.
They finished eating and Sofia leaned herself at the tree, looking at the sky, like someone who has lost the will to live.
Azief would even believe it, if Sofia would let herself die under the tree. She did not look like she will move from the tree.
Then, looking at Sofia face, he resolves himself.
‘So….how did it go?’ Azief asked.
She did not say anything……but her eyes started getting moist. Slowly, a tear formed and it falls to the ground.
She did not say anything but Azief could feel her grief. She must have her own traumatic experience.
Azief has his, and she has hers.
She was vulnerable, she was exposed, she was weak…..but she was also beautiful, all at the same time.
At that moment, under the tree, looking at the skies, with eyes that was full with tears…..she was beautiful.
Azief knows, nothing he could say could calm her. Nothing that he could say, could console her.
So, he edged closer and guided her head to his shoulders. But he could lend her his shoulder to cry on he mused.
So, Sofia leaned in to Azief chest and she cried and she howled and she wailed, beating Azief chest, unleashing a cries that could rend any man hearts.
Azief hugged her and let her cries.
For five minutes, one could only hear the cries, the Job like lamentations, the curses and then finally the tears stopped, the curses stopped and so is the lamentation.
Azief bears it all because he could understand the pain.
Maybe not all of her pain could be understood, but he could understand a fraction of it. The pain of losing someone….losing a family….to feel completely alone, in this new and terrifying world.
It was a special kind of agony, a special kind of torment, to be alone…and afraid. And Azief understand what it feels to be alone…to be afraid.
They were in embrace, under the tree, both of them, losing someone important that day, both of them faces their own agony, in their own way.
Azief by becoming more stubborn, intend to defy, while Sofia cries and become determined.
Both of them lost something that day, but they also gain something.
Azief gain his indomitable Will and Sofia gain courage….Azief because he refuse to obey the world orders that has conspire to buried him under his own misery, Sofia because she has no choice.
She must be valiant.
Sofia stifles a sob and she releases herself from Azief chest.
‘You’re ok?’ Azief said, there is a hint of concern in his voice.
Sofia nodded weakly. And then she asked
‘Why did you come here?’
The wind sways, bringing new springs, autumn leaves fall shedding the past. A fateful encounter leads to fateful destiny. Encounter and parting is destined.
A lifetime relationship, an oath spoken, only death would defy.
‘Let us raise hell in this new era!’ Azief said, looking towards Sofia with his eyes fiery. His usually cold eyes, and usually uncaring manners disappeared.
It was full of determination, fiery enthusiasm and a glint of madness.
A few scattered leaves beneath Sofia feet was blown away by the wind and there is something in his eyes, that Sofia could not ignore.
There is determination, a steel determination.
‘I will not inquire what has happens to your parent but if I may guess, they’re dead.’ Azief said.
‘Y..ou!’ Sofia was about to get angry when Azief said
Like mine! He said gritting his teeth.
‘I have no else in this world other than my family. They were not loving or joyful parents but they did not abuse me either. They try their best. They struggle against the world. They try to do right! They follow the rules! They pay taxes, pray to God, and they live a live not lying to people. The world is unfair! The people are unfair! The evil rules the world and the good perish. It is a world of wolves. And my parents were sheep! You, Sofia. Do you have anyone else other than your mother?’
Azief asked, his eyes looking intently at her. There is anger in his eyes, a silent fury and regret.
‘No’ she said, her voice was cold.
‘HAHAHAHA’ Azief laughed unrestrained and he got up from the log.
His hood cover his face, and his robe fluttered wildly, his robe emitting this black aura that shrouded him.
‘You have no one else in this world! So do I!’
He declared and he looks at the skies.
‘When I was a child my parents always told me these three things. Do good. Treat people like you want yourselves to be treated. Always be grateful! And I did all these things. I did good, but people did evil! I treat people well, people betrayed me! I was grateful but people repay kindness with enmity! And the longer I live, the more I see. Good people don’t last long. Good deed is not repaid. My father lives his whole life as a security guard. To me, I have always felt grateful to him. Even though he rarely has time for my mother, for me, or my siblings, as I grow older I understand what he has sacrificed for the family. Not one moment in my life, I was ashamed of my father works. He never lied even when he could. He never did evil even if the person deserves it. But people have always scorned my father. To this kind of people, I did not befriend them and they do not befriend me. I did not befriend them because their obnoxious behavior. They did not befriend me because they think I’m not worthy.’
Azief said all of this passionately like a declaration of some sorts. He looks to the sky, like he wanted to crush the clouds, and trample the heavens.
His rage is a towering fury! How could he accept what happen to his family! Even he survives!
God should have save his little brother, should save his mother and father. Not him! Out of everyone in his family, he deserves the least to survive.
Is it survivor guilt’s? Azief don’t know. But he keep his gaze at the skies, looking it like he wanted to declare his intention to the world.
He then looked at Sofia and sees her dried up tears. Her mother must have a great meaning in her life.
Her mother shouldn’t have died. Good people supposed to be rewarded not punished.
‘This is a world of wolfs. The world doesn’t care whether you do good or evil! It will still keep moving unceasingly, caring nothing about us, mortals! It does not care a bit about good or evil! The world doesn’t judge men by their worth, and it isn’t about what just! Evil men can hold power their whole lives and be wept for when they pass. Innocent men can be spent like coins because it’s convenient. I will not be like that! IF THE WORLD DOES NOT WANT TO HELP ME, THEN I WILL FIGHT THE WORLD! IF THE WORLD DARE OBSTRUCT, I WILL DESTROY IT! In this new era, I would raise hell, so that in my death, everyone would remember my name! I will carve my name in history! How about it Sofia? Will you follow me?’
He said and his eyes look expectantly. This is his declaration, bold and arrogant!
If the world does not want to help him, then he will fight the world! If the world dare obstruct him, he will destroy it!
Isn’t this arrogant!
‘I…’and she thought about all those moments she was with him, and how she has lost everything.
She lost her mother, and the way she lost her….rend her heart apart.
Thinking about it, she wanted to cry again. Wanted to wail again. Wanted to scream again until her throats could not scream.
Wanted to mourn…for as long as she possibly could. Wanted to run and hide.
But the tears did not come. She endures it. The wail does not come. She endures it. The scream did not come either. She endures it.
She did not run nor did she hides. She bears it. All the pain, all the anger, all the grief and a new emotions surge.
Anger. Wrath. A burning fury. To the world! To everything! And Azief words resound in her ears.
THIS IS A WORLD OF WOLF!!!
‘Yes’ she mused.
World of wolfs and she is a sheep. And sheep get eaten by wolf. And she remembers Azief story about his father and about his mother.
Her mother is not any different. And that’s why she loves her. But the world takes her mother away from her.
She was not rewarded. All of her sufferings, all of her patience with the world did her no good.
IF THE WORLD DOES NOT WANT TO HELP ME, THEN I WILL FIGHT THE WORLD!!! IF THE WORLD DARE OBSTRUCT, I WILL DESTROY IT!!
This word stuck inside Sofia mind, resonated strongly with her sentiment and touched her anger.
She got up, with fury in her hearts, with fiery determination shining in her eyes and she hold out her hand.
‘Let us raise hell…..Lord Shadow’ Sofia coldly said and she shook Azief stretched hands. Thus, Lord Shadow and Sofia the Divine Archer was born that day.
In years to come, this momentous event was referred as the Promise beneath the Peach Tree.
Sofia was the first companion of Lord Shadow as they carved their name in history