Warriors and Champions7

Tales of Two Worlds

As Lizeth and I continued to sit on the banks of the river I wondered at what kind of childhood she had growing up. She had told me only a little just about how her mom died when she was very young and how her father acted during that time. As I looked at her I realized at how little I really knew her.

“Hey uh Lizeth,” I began slowly, “what was your childhood like? You know, what did you do for fun and stuff like that.” Lizeth sat there for a moment looking into the river. A few minutes passed before she spoke.

“Growing up was fun for the most part.” Lizeth said almost happy sounding as she recalled her early years. “Even with my mom’s death I found times that I was truly happy. And whenever I felt alone or sad I would just come here and watch the river flow by. I would also play games with the other children in town. There were times that we would play little tricks and jokes on the townspeople nothing major mind you just harmless tricks.

“My father and I would also sometimes go out into the woods and just be outdoors for a few days. He made sure that I knew all the different plants and animals of the forest and how to identify them. He wanted to make sure that I could take care of myself no matter what.”

“It seems that you had a fun childhood,” I said, “and also an educating one. There have been times I wanted to learn about the plants and animals and did learn some of that stuff but never fully invested myself in them.”

“I did learn a lot but I didn’t realize how little I knew until Rayner came. I can still remember the first time I saw him. He was covered in blood and what seemed to be the edge of death. I went against my father’s wishes and saw Rayner lying there having his wounds bandaged. Hours went by and finally he opened his eyes and since I snuck in the room no one knew I was there so it was just he and I in the room.

“When he first awakened his eyes burned with ferocity and feral intensity that very few warriors acquire. He looked at me and those eyes changed so quickly and differently it was as if another person was lying there. He saw me as a small child that needed a protector. It was a few years later I knew why he saw me like that. He asked me my name and I told him and then he fainted again.

“Just seconds after he fainted, father came in and scolded me for betraying his wishes and I was sent home. Eventually Rayner managed to make a home here as Captain of the Guard. He and father became good friends and trusted allies. Rayner even swore fealty to father, not that he needed to but because he wanted to show that he was willing to no longer consider himself an outsider. However he also showed that he would answer to one man only and to everyone else he was an outsider.

“A few years passed when word spread that bandits were starting to infest the forest. Rayner took a few men and pursued the bandits. And during the years Rayner was with us he almost became like an older brother to me. He would watch out for me and make sure that I was always safe.

“A few times he took me into the forest and showed me how to survive and forage for wild food. He also saw my curious nature and at times would encourage it so I could learn. Other times, like when you and I first met, he would tell me I was wrong and would leave it at that. He never got angry with me but allowed me to grow by showing that I was wrong. But he would never tell father since he left that up to me.

“When he left to fight the bandits I was thinking of him and our years together when he was brought back to Norshire like when he first came to town. He was unconscious and covered with blood and injuries. This time I helped the doctor with Rayner’s injuries and watched over him until he recovered.

“After he regained some strength he went back to his duties. I was on my way to change his bandages when I saw him walking around town. I walked to him and asked ‘what are you doing? You should be resting.’

‘I am doing my duties Lizeth and as long as I have strength I shall tend to them.’ I happened to be wearing my favorite red hair ribbon that day and I took it off. ‘Rayner this is my favorite ribbon but I want you to take it. This will be a token to you that Norshire is your home and it is filled with your friends that want you to always return home.’

“He took the ribbon with one hand and with the other he undid his own ribbon and replaced it with mine. While still clutching his own ribbon he turned his hand palm down and held it there debating inside what to do with his old ribbon. That ribbon he received as a mark of becoming a man and warrior in his land. He had always worn that ribbon and it had become a symbol that he was an outsider without a home. His hand made as if to drop the ribbon and let the wind carry it away but he tucked it away in his clothing and said thanks and walked away from me.

“I don’t know if he still has his old ribbon but he has accepted Norshire has his home. After that day Rayner changed. In his own way he became more outgoing and made new friends. It was as if he truly became a son of Norshire.” Lizeth was quiet and sat there looking into the river remembering her past. She then awoke from her daydream with a snap, “I’m sorry Ray here I am rambling away talking about my past without giving you the chance to talk about your life. I am very interested to learn more about ‘video games’ and ‘your character’. Please tell me about what you mean by them and about your life.”

“Hmm, where to start? I’ve never had to explain video games like this before. Well, where I come from our ways became very advanced where we can take pictures and make them move. It first started out by making a lot of drawings of a character doing a simple action and then very quickly flipping through the drawings to make it seem like the drawing was moving. Then we developed artificial creations to do that for us which is why we call video games videos. One day I will show you how a drawing can move.

“Anyway by using these moving pictures we were able to create video games in which a person can become anything or almost do anything in this artificial or virtual world. Over the years people have come up with new ways of adding new things to the gaming worlds. In my world there are thousands of games that people play. As for me though I only play a very small portion of these games because I like a very select few.

“But in regards to my ‘character’ that I have talked about to you is from the most recent game I have played. In my world your world is in my video game. Everything that is happening, all the people, land, everything is in my game. That is why I knew where your village was. And that is why I said that my character would be jealous of me. I get to interact with you in ways my character could never do because it wasn’t part of the game.

“This talk we are having right now would never happen to my character because the people that created the game didn’t put it in. But there is so much more to my world than just video games. We varying different modes of transportation but the most common are the automobile or cars. They are a form of motorized or self-propelling carriages that go very fast. In fact the spot where Rayner found me to the village would only take about ten or fifteen minutes to travel in a car.

“We have airplanes that travel in the air that go faster than any car would be able to go and boats that can travel very quickly as well. And we also have a varying amount of smaller more personal ways of traveling around but they are mostly used for shorter distances or just for fun.

“But that stuff we can talk about later. Back home I have very few friends but my best friend is Bobby. He and I share a lot of the same hobbies and stuff. Growing up every Saturday morning we would be at either his or my house and would just watch TV or play video games all day. And during school we would have a lot fun whenever we shared the same class.”

Lizeth seemed interested in what I was saying and explaining. “This is the first time I have seen your face light up. It seems you were very happy whenever you two were together. Did you have any other friends?”

“No I didn’t I am very quiet and don’t socialize a lot. But I like it that way somewhat. I prefer to be left alone most times especially when it comes to other people.” As soon as I said that last sentence I knew that I said too much.

“What do you mean?” Lizeth asked.

I sighed heavily, “I mean that there is one person that likes to pick on me and push me around. I don’t know why he does it but I wish I could get him to stop.” I clammed my mouth and just sat there staring into the river watching it flow. But Lizeth was stubborn and wouldn’t leave the subject alone.

“What do you mean Ray? Please tell me. The only way you can solve a problem is by meeting it head on and not by dodging it.” I knew Lizeth would not leave this alone until I told her about.

“Okay Lizeth you win. For the past few years I have been invited to compete in gaming tournaments and even though I never won Neal, the guy that bullies me, likes to push me around and picks on me.

“I don’t understand his motives and I would like him to stop but I just don’t know how to get him to stop.” Lizeth was quiet for a moment and then spoke, “why don’t you fight back? Or at least confront him about it.”

“Because I don’t like confrontations, I can live my life just fine without them. I don’t understand why I have to face a confrontation when I can always avoid them and let whatever happens, happen. I just don’t understand why people enjoy fighting, why can’t we live in peace?”

Lizeth was quite for a long time and when she spoke her voice was like a raging storm in its intensity but very controlled. Her face glowed with the power of the sun and her eyes burned like a raging volcano. “Ray I once thought as you do but since this war I have been thrust into the reality of life. My eyes have been open to the awful truth, the truth of war.

“You must understand that there are people that love to fight and only understand life through fighting. No matter the individual’s circumstances they all only understand fighting and violence. There are some instances that during a fight they have been forced to see the error of their ways. But it was only through fighting they saw the error. Rayner once was like that but his heart has been changed even though he still loves fighting. He now fights for a righteous cause.

“A righteous cause is the key Ray. A righteous cause determines the outlook you have on a battle; it determines what is really in heart. And yes mostly everyone that fights says they are fighting for a ‘righteous cause’ but only a few people actually are righteous in their fighting. The question that you must ask is ‘are you fighting to help yourself or fighting to save and help others. Are you fighting to free others or enslave them?’ that is what determines the righteousness of a fight.

“And if you allow others to enslave you without fighting back you give them more power to enslave others. Evil grows whenever it is allowed to win and when it wins the destruction that happens is awful and many lives are destroyed in its wake. But when someone stands up against evil that evil begins to wither and when more people join in the evil will eventually die.”

As I listened to hear I saw more of her that I haven’t seen before. Her life had been destroyed by the war and yet she chose to stand up and let herself change for the better. She didn’t let this tragedy consume and destroy her but she used it become a better person and increase her kindness and humanity to a level where it could never have been without the war. I also thought about what Bobby had said to me.

“You are the second person to say that to me Lizeth. First Bobby talked to me about this but not as eloquently as you did. There is truth to what you say but if I allow myself to be consumed by the fighting I might lose myself forever. I don’t want to lose myself like I did a few times in the past. Rayner saw that part of my past but no one else knows of the monster I could become if I let the fighting go too far.

“I don’t want to lose the kind person that I am and become a monster. I wish I knew what I could do to keep my kindness but right now I can only see two options: to either keep my kindness or to fight and become a monster.” I stopped talking and thought about what was discussed. Lizeth saw that I would no longer talk and she left me alone on the river bank to ponder.

© 2014 RichardBBenson

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