They were not cowards.
The pain over took him and darkness flooded his vision.
* * *
When Lark awoke he made no effort to rise right away. He knew he had passed out and he knew where he was. He knew this was no dream but his new reality and the darkness of his eyelids comforted him more then it ever had. When Lark finally decided to get up he rose slow pushing himself from the ground and standing off balance. Lark began to search through the rubble for anything. Those mindless thieving punrigs took almost everything burning the house to the ground. Their will for material worth is as great as their instinct to kill and eat. Still Lark knew of a secret underground cellar that his father had. Lark walked out toward his back shed that surprisingly still stood. The rickety shack could have been blown over with less than a baby’s breath but it was untouched. As Lark entered he saw his father’s tools including his shovel.
Lark began to dig his family graves when the first sun was still low in the sky. The whole time Lark dug he thought of what was under the shed; he saw his father go down there many times yet he himself never ventured down there. For he knew his father would be very angry if he did. Lark tended to steer clear of getting his father angry; it never panned out well for him. Lark dug until long after the second sun set on Wantilan and the moons glowed brightly in the sky. Tonight the silver, white, and purple moons shown high in the sky with the yellow and green moons peaking over opposite horizons. It was almost pitch black when Lark padded the last mound of dirt over the grave he built for his father and mother. Lark had no strength to see what was in his father’s secret cellar. It would be there in the morning. Lark slept at the foot of his families’ grave, exhausted nothing could wake him from such a deep slumber.
With the dawning of the first sun Lark arose and said his final goodbye to his family and his past. He had long forged a rough exterior to emotions, sealing his true feeling away behind an outward mask. On this the last day of his old life he had thought he would be more upset. His feelings for his family, the sorrow and the pain seemed hidden now. Anger and rage had already encased his heart. He now had a purpose, for the first time in his life Lark had a goal. A task in which he does not expect to return from, it will be his final quest. With the passing of this moment Larks emotional shell grew stronger and more solid then ever before, almost to the point of unfeeling. Hate and fury burned in his veins as he marched down into his father’s secret cellar. Upon entering the damp underground Lark expected to see a shrine, or maybe even piles of gold coins and precious gems. All that waited for Lark was a single chest covered in dirt and cobwebs. Opening the chest Lark saw what his father had kept hidden. The interior of the chest in no way reflected that of the broken down exterior, it was lined with blue velvet that was untouched by any dirt. Lark slowly lifted out his father’s armor. The armor was beautifully crafted, armor that certainly adorned a knight. The armor was a brilliant emerald green with a shine that Lark could swear was silver. Lark labored hard to lift the heavy chest, stopping several times for his breath as he heaved the wretched thing outside to the light. In the blazing sunlight he saw the armor as if for the first time. The armor was glazed silver over the emerald green base. Marking and symbols decorated the fine craftsmanship. Lark soon found out that the chest was all the weight as he effortlessly removed each piece of armor as if it were bread. In the bottom of the chest lay a large leaf carefully rolled and tied. Lark undid the simple tie and spread the leaf across the ground. At first Lark saw nothing and began to wonder the significance of the leaf then he noticed that the inter workings of the leaf seemed to be some sort of writing. Lark could only recognize one word, Venquin, goddess of the green moon, mother to the earth and the life it breeds. His father had been a Knight of Venquin and never told him. Then Lark remembered his father’s sword that hung in the main hall above the fireplace. The large sword always looked radiant in the fire’s light. The flames danced off the three emeralds, perfectly cut, the largest sat in the center of the sword as the others flanked in the twisting design of the golden hilt. Lark knew those bastard punrigs had his sword, their grimy hands probably already melted it down for its worth. Lark fitted the armor to himself, it was a little large for Lark’s small frame but his broad shoulders held up the weightless armor quite nicely. Lark could never truly be as big as his brothers but he trained and worked hard disciplining his mind and body. The helmet was to large to fit his head and the lower armor was much to long for his legs, but the arm guards, breastplate, and shoulder guards could be worn with little embarrassment. Lark was just glad he wasn’t skin and bone or he would have use for nothing. Leaving the helm at the foot of his father’s grave Lark turned his back and walked away. The second sun was just rising and Lark did not plan on sleeping for a long time to come, he has to much ground to make up.
As Lark began running he could here dull whispers in his ears but couldn’t quite make them out. Lark’s legs pumped harder then ever as he swiftly ran across the forest floor. Lark had run nearly half a days travel without slowing his pace or fighting for breath. Still the whispering grew louder and Lark could hear the words. A language was whispering from the armor giving Lark strength, Venquin’s sweet voice pushed Lark farther and farther like a lullaby encouraged sleep. Bowing his head he gave all the gods his silent prayer and a curse for Imfel. Lark’s father had made sure all his children knew of the gods and the moons that served them. Even the black moon and its god Imfel who plagues the land with his evil and takes those we love with his claws of death. Lark always believed in those gods, he always knew they would protect him, he could feel the presence of Minfo in the wind or Ramus in a raging fire and he never thought it weird, although others would always say he was quite crazy. Lark let out a small laugh, through all the criticism and torment he endured through his life it only ever made him stronger. It made him work to be better, it taught him to fight and well, it never let him slip and it never let up. It defined him even to himself. With that past lost behind him Lark looked to the horizon with hate in his eyes aimed at letting himself define Lark.
* * *