“Where are you taking me?" came a voice of a man with a stern look, his face displayed a seriousness without effort.
"Where all the exiles go", sneered the bearded uniformed guardsman.
The others laughed as the chains around those with plain civilian clothing danged as the boat rocked with each wave of the ocean. Each motion collided the salty air and splashed a delicate freshness as the unforgiving sun scorched their sweaty foreheads.
"I can't believe you idiots could not pass the level 1 test. We give you all the same education as everyone else and you are not rushed into taking the test. Given you don't have to take the test but then who wants to live a life stuck in the barracks learning?"
One of the chained men became flushed with sickness as he projected his vomit at the side of the boat into the waters below. As the floating excreted matter descended into the horizon, fish swam around them and began nibbling.
The conversations dwindled and soon became extinct for a cold silence came between them as they neared the coast of a land. Their fortress of living was no longer in view, they were days away. The tired and hungry were removed of their shackles as they were thrown into the shallow waters as a callous yell echoed, "Now swim the fuck out of here you idiots".
The exiles swam to the shore with haste. The stern man thought to himself, "I'm not retarded like the rest of these exiles". As his hands slapped the ocean floor he stood upright and graced the sand with his toes. "But then, why did I fail the level 1 test? I could've sworn i was level seven material, hell level 9 but i don't want to be too pompous." He saw a few of the exiles band together and a couple went on their own. losing themselves in the forest.
A cobblestone path was beside the forest littered with eroded skeletons of critters.
As he made his way through the path his bare feet were scorched causing him to rejoice his toes in the mildew of the grass. Above his right ankle the symbol of interloped circles was branded upon his flesh, a symbol of eternity. "Fucking assholes branded me like an animal." He winced as he rubbed the scar. Each bird danced above and sang as the sun danced on the horizon. The warm rays of the sun removed the wetness from his clothing within moments and after pondering for moments, a crossroads appeared. The calligraphy was unlike anything he had ever seen. Patterns of the number eight were scribbled on the left road and a blank slate led to the road on the right. A few moments passed before the man sat down and began to meditate on a decision.
A sense of peace provided the necessary inception for a cautious decision. Going through the dirt path which lead to a horizon lost in the distance would cause too much stress with a lack of shade, he wondered. The path with no markings continued with a cobblestone floor throughout which arches of widow trees slumped their heavy leaves. A breeze jocularly swept through a chill which brought the man to his toes. Perhaps then the dirt path would provide warmth during the night, he wondered. He was unsure as to whether he would find any shelter or die scavenging. His shoulders slumped as he walked with his shoulders loose and fists clenched with each step bringing him past the unmarked sign. After a loud sigh and moments of incessant pondering, he was led to a maze which composed of heavy stalks of bamboo. Before entering it he welcomed his body with a stretch of anticipation. "What's the worst that could happen? I’m already exiled" he assured himself. Reality reminded him he was dead either way, and for a moment, he felt a sense of relief. This relief was unlike any other sinuous moment experienced before. I'm no longer forced to live with structure, I can do whatever I want and no one is watching me, he thought to himself.
A flicker gleamed in the corner of the stalks; fangs smiled exposing rotten flesh dripping from the canine teeth.
The feline emerged from a tree as it pounced on top of the man. He screamed and desperately tried to fight it off before realizing, it was not attacking him. The feline had been the size of three people, the same size of the horses they use for transporting foods back at his homeland. The creature purred as it rubbed its head on the man's shins and then licked his cheek. The man fell back from the weight and sudden force of the cat's strength; however he reacted with a two finger gentle massage behind its ears. "I guess you're friendly after all. Got me worried for a second." he sighed with a wave of relief.