The Town Called Home

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


A mysterious, old man walks into one little town that rests on a mountainside, never giving a name and seeming oddly calm and happy all of the time. However, he may be a much bigger blessing than
everyone assumes. Read more to find out how an old man, impacts the lives of so many simply through kindness.

Submitted: September 20, 2018

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Submitted: September 20, 2018

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The Town Called Home

 

In a world where there are many kings and many kingdoms to be ruled,

all Kings and Queens battle for power, for money, but most of all, for love.

The love of the sound of a kingdom falling, slowly crumbling into a memory.

New kings rise, and old titans fall

It is all a part of this game they all play, all of these rulers having the same primary goal:

To control everything their way and with no resistance.

Tyrants and fair rulers alike still only have their best interest at heart and it shows when you see the

small towns falling to pieces around its inhabitants every day.

There is one small town in particular, residing on a cliff, that hangs like a tree branch on the mountainside. It was alive with greenery from top to bottom and below was a vast valley that had been untouched by man for centuries. No one wanted to unsettle the beauty of it all, so they simply let it be. And in this small town on the cliff next to the vast valley lived a man, an old man, well past his prime years.

No one knows where he came from or even his name.

He was outcasted in the beginning, for the people of The Town with No Name do not like newcomers.

However, even when being treated as someone less than, he showed everyone nothing

but kindness and patience.

The man set up a small shop where he forged practically anything metal from before the sun rose until the sun began to set.

As time passed, he became an essential part of the town and the people grew to

treat him as their own family.

The man would help anyone in this little town with any problem they had

whether it be fixing their homes, harvesting crop or just needing an ear to listen, the old man provided.

In exchange, everyone would visit him and give him meals, that was the only payment he ever wanted (out of all the things the old man could do, cooking was certainly not one of them)

On this cool morning in the months just before Summer, before the sun even dared to lift its head of glowing flame,

the sing of the hammer crashing against the blade could be heard all throughout the town.

 He would stop for a few moments to inspect the blade, making sure there are no cracks or bends,

and the crashing would continue.

The old man would always stop his work when the sun began to arise, and the townsfolk would come out to find the man had abandoned his workshop,

his blade and tools still sitting on the bench.

For months, people started to see that he would just disappear at every sunrise and sunset

yet no one would know where he went.

It took the adventurous curiosity of a young girl named Elisa, sneaking out early one morning to sit on the cliff outside of town and watch the sunrise, to find out where he had been going.

At the time, Elisa was only eight years of age and had no business scaling the steep mountain in which their home resided,

but she was stronger than most and even more courageous.

Her mother had scolded her fiercely about going out on her own and Elisa had earned a worn hide from her lack of heeding her mother’s advice.

However, there was just something about that bright orange and yellow glow that covered the valley just down range from their little town that made her defy her mother every time with no hesitation.

The next morning, she decided to take a route she had never climbed but it would take her to the very top this time.

She felt strong enough to get the job done so why not give it a try?

She took one foot off of solid ground, then the other, and soon she was off. She climbed and climbed like she was in a race, like it was what she was born to do.

Young Elisa was almost to the very top and anxiousness filled her little body the higher she scaled.

She reached as far as she could for the edge, stretching her entire body to its limits, but her arm was even still not long enough.

She knew if she really wanted to make it, she would have to take a small leap and pull herself up.

Her belly filled with fluttering butterflies at the simple thought, but she was strong and determined and nothing was stopping her when she had gotten this far.

Elisa pulled back slightly and jumped with all her heart and all her strength.

She could feel it in her very bones that she would make it and pull herself up before sunrise began.

Her fingertips grazed the cliffside, feeling the dirt crumble as it met her fingertips, but she could not get a grip and in a twist of fate, she began falling with nothing to catch her and no one knowing she was there!

Just as she opened her mouth to scream out for help, she felt a jolt go through her body

and she was suddenly floating in midair.

After the shock subsided, she looked up to see an old man looking down on her with a kind smile.

“One should never take an unfamiliar path alone.” The old man said with a chuckle.

In awe of her luck, Elisa just looked at him, unable to say anything as he pulled her up.

He set her down, turned to the sun slowly starting to rise and sat in the dewy grass

with his feet hanging over the edge, swinging ever so slightly, seeming to not have a single worry in the world.

Elisa looked at him admirably and sat down next to him, nothing else was said, they just sat together and watched that beautiful glow cast over all the land.

When the sun had fully risen, the old man packed up his things and began walking back.

Elisa followed him, wondering how he got so high without climbing like she did.

She eventually follows the old man into a path that looked freshly carved into the forest.

“Has this always been here?” she asked, and the old man chuckled again.

“Sometimes carving your own path is better than going through the worn—and less troublesome” the old man replied.

Silence fills the forest around them as more and more questions fill up in her mind.

The one that makes her most anxious is one she can hold for no longer.

“Are you going to tell my mom what happened when we get back? I reeally wish you wouldn’t, please!”

“There is nothing to tell, I think you have learned your lesson here today.” Elisa let out a sigh of relief.

“You can answer me this, though. What is this little town called? I have been here for some time now and haven’t heard a name.” says the old man inquisitively.

“Well we don’t really have a name for it. Everyone simply calls our town, Home.”

“Ah, very simple, I like it. That makes it much easier to remember for an old man like me.” Says the old man with a laugh.

They arrived back in the town and Elisa noticed right away that everyone around them began looking brighter and started greeting the old man.

He would only respond with a pleasant smile and a “Good morning”.

The old man did not speak very much but he always made sure that his words had a purpose behind them, and no one ever took his words for granted.

He walked Elisa back to her home and explained the situation to her slightly disgruntled mother, saying that they came across one another on the way to the peak and decided to continue together.

“If the little one would like, she can accompany me every morning when I go up. Then you know she will be safe.” Said the old man.

Elisa happily agreed, then the man said goodbye and began walking back to his workshop.

Just before he was out of earshot, Elisa said something that she should’ve said right away but had forgotten.

“Thank you, sir!”

“You are welcome, little one” the old man said as he raised his hand to say goodbye.

At present day, the old man continues to work in his shop with his same routine every day and Elisa tagging along every sunrise and sunset

She still never learned his name or much about him at all, but none of that matters.

She knows he is a good man with a good heart and that is all she needs to know.

She even sits with him some days and watches him work, he sometimes teaches her a few tricks on how to repair rooves or the ‘secret to a true edge on a blade’. She has never really cared to learn but that wasn’t the point.

She always marveled at how strong he was for his age; the old man had arms that looked

to be stronger than the steel he was constantly pounding on with his filthy, chipped hammer. She did not understand why, but she very much liked that old hammer.

The old man would go to wipe the sweat from his face and get black soot from his hands all over his normally rosy cheeks.

Elisa never wanted him to feel left out as the other children did to her, so she would wipe soot all over her face and they would just look at one another and laugh.

“Why do you always call me ‘little one’? That’s not my name and I have told you my name a bunch of times.”

“It is not your name, but it is what you are, little one. I have no interest in learning your real name or in telling you mine.”

“I stopped asking about your name months ago and I don’t even want to know anymore!” she said, trying to convince herself as much as the old man.

“Well good, maybe you have learned something from me after all” jokingly says the old man.

The two laugh together some more and then he goes back to work.

Elisa says goodbye until the evening where they will meet again, and she leaves the workshop to

see what the other townspeople were doing; she was a rather curious girl after all.

However, she is stopped by a looming shadow that shakes the ground as it grows closer

Elisa turns around and sees a group of large men, maybe eight or nine, all riding marvelously large horses. They all menacingly sat on their steeds wearing hoods so large, their faces could not even be seen.

They stopped in the center of town and stared amongst the townspeople, glaring at them with disgust as if they were dirty peasants and nothing more.

“Hear me townspeople. We come from the Kingdom in the West and have arrived here to inform you that the days of you lot being free from any kingdom’s rule is over. You now belong to the Kingdom in the West and must express your loyalty to our King by selflessly handing over three-quarters of your food and any other goods that we see fit to receive. Please do not resist this change, it will be easier for us all if you do not.” The man sounded as if he had recited those same words so many times, it had become second nature to him.

“How will we all survive if you take nearly everything we have?” The first question of many that are thrown at these men all at one time, making it impossible to understand through all of the chatter.

“The truth is that many of you will not survive, but that is the point. We only want the strong to inhabit the towns of the Kingdom in the West.” Said the same hooded man, sounding annoyed at how long the ordeal has taken.

The crowd broke out in anger and disbelief after hearing the hooded man’s horrific words. The crowd then grew larger and the anger began to flow between the entire town.

Stones and rotten garbage had begun to be picked up and thrown at the men, one after another, until the hooded men lost their patience.

The men dismounted from their horses and drew their swords.

As soon as their swords were unsheathed, everyone broke out in panicked fear and began running in every direction. Sadly, little Elisa hadn’t gotten the chance to make it to her mother yet. She couldn’t even understand where she was because she was being bounced around everywhere. A lump grew in her throat and tears stared to fall down her cheeks. She felt so alone and afraid.

Elisa’s fear drove her to simply run out of the crowd as fast as she could. Still running and with her eyes closed, she slammed right into what felt like a wall of cast iron.

Elisa raised her head to see that she had ran into none other than the old man, and even in all this chaos he still wore a gentle smile on his face.

“Come now, little one, take my hand” he said, his arm extended out to her.

She felt like she was reaching for the edge of the cliff again, but this time she would hold that grip tightly.

The old man picked her up, pushed and shoved through the crowd, and carried her home, where her mother was hiding out, terrified and wondering if her daughter had been hurt in all of the commotion. She thanked the old man countless times and hugged him until Elisa’s mother almost made him stop breathing! Then Elisa’s face showed how frightened she was and that was when the old man heard the screaming.

The old man had been so caught up in getting Elisa home safely, he did not see that one of the hooded men had grabbed a young boy, on the cusp of manhood, and was about to swing his sword down on this poor lad as an example to the others.

What Elisa had not noticed before was the work hammer the old man was carrying in his right hand while he carried her with his left. His grip on the handle was so tight that his knuckles turned white as snow.

The hooded man began swinging down on this young man, yet just before the blade struck him, a hammer flew across the center of the town, almost too quickly to see, and shattered the sword into thousands of pieces.

Everyone was frozen in place, the town went from chaotic to eerily quiet in less than a second and not even the hooded men had anything to say, they just stared at him in disbelief.

“A blade is only as strong as the one who wields it.” The old man said as he walked to the center of town to face them.

“What does that say about all of you if his blade shattered so easily?” he asked.

The hooded men, stilled supremely befuddled, said nothing. The old man looked at the boy and helped him rise to his feet.

“If you continue, there will only be bloodshed. Please leave this little town to its people; there is nothing for you here.” Said the old man, hoping with everything in him that they would listen.

Although, he knew all too well from experience that they would not listen, that they would underestimate him and attack, then he would be forced to strike back.

“You have granted yourself a death sentence, old man, but if you do not resist we will spare the lives of everyone else in this shithole of a town.”

 Everyone still watching gasps, but the old man seems unaffected.

“Death has tried to welcome me to her doorstep so many times, I dare say she is an old friend. But I will not be seeing her on this day.”

 The hooded knights all drew their swords and unknowingly began walking towards their inevitable demise.

The old man glanced to his left and gazed at the sun slowly falling, the flames not burning as brightly as before. The man closed his eyes and took a deep breath as if trying to soak in as much as he could of this moment. Everything seemed to slow down as he inhaled the fresh, valley air.

The old man then turned to look at young Elisa.

He said nothing, as usual. He simply gave her that kind, pleasant smile she had grown to love and turned back to face his foes.

The old man let down his long, silver hair and took off his tattered garb, presenting his bare chest and back, covered in long, deep scars that no one had ever seen. Each scar a different tale he had never told.

“You old fool! You challenge so many of us and yet you do not even wear armor. How highly do you think of yourself?” asked the hooded knight whose sword the old man shattered.

“All it shows is how little I think of all of you. Only cowards hide behind a metal shell. Justice will be my shield.”

No more words were exchanged between them as the battle commenced with powerful blows and swift slashes of their swords.

The battle was short and hard to watch but Elisa could not make herself look away. The old man moved with such ferocity and speed that it was nearly impossible for most to see, but Elisa saw it all. Every step he made, every counter strike, she saw with her two emerald eyes. She also saw the grace he had with every breath and the excitement on his face from facing so many foes at once.

When the battle was over, the knights were slain, and the old man remained standing tall.

He was cut all over, adding many scars to his collection, and he was plenty tired, taking deep, heavy breaths, but his spirit was stronger evermore and his gentle smile remained.

The old man turned to see the sun was beginning to set. He slowly limped over to the edge of town and sat on the edge, his feet slightly swinging.

Early the next morning, Elisa was surprised to see that the old man had not met her at her door.

She knew there was no way he had simply forgotten to meet her this morning after going to the peak for over a year together. She had to find him and make sure he was alright.

She did not see him in the shop or the gardens where he could sometimes be found maintaining the crop, and after asking some of the adults, no one had seen him that day.

Finally, feeling confused and upset, she decided to go to the peak on her own and wait to see if he arrived. As she pulled the branches back in their path to the peak, she saw him.

He was sitting on the peak already, waiting for her. He turned and greeted her with that smile of his and she smiled back as she sat down beside him.

Any anger or frustration she had originally had simply dissipated like the fog that settles in the valley before the sun rises, destined to rise and disappear with the wind.

The sun has fully risen, and the day has officially begun back in the town, which is normally their signal to leave this spot and go back home.

However, as Elisa began to rise, the old man stayed put and continued to admire the natural beauty of the valley for a few moments longer than they normally would.

“I must leave, little one.” Said the old man, barely above a whisper, as if it was breaking his heart to even say the words.

“Where are you going?” asked Elisa.

“Wherever I am meant to go.” Said the old man.

Becoming slightly afraid of her next question’s answer, she asked:

“When will you be back?”

“I will not be.” He said with a sigh.

“Why must you leave us?!” Elisa’s words grow from normal to a shout. The old man is her closest friend, her only friend and he is leaving for what seems to be no reason. She is even angrier than before, and tears begin to trickle down her little cheeks.

“Why must you leave me?” she whispers as she lowers her head into her hands and begins to weep.

“Do not cry, little one.” The old man places his finger under her chin and lifts her head, so her eyes meet with his own.

“You are strong. Do not ever forget that.” he says with the happiest smile Elisa had ever seen on his face.

The words did not answer her questions, but even still, she felt better. She always wondered why he was so good at making others feel better in even the most trying times.

When they arrive at the town he explained to everyone that he must leave and that he truly loved this little town and how he would never forget their generosity.

It was hard for everyone to understand why he must go but he was very enigmatic, the old man. Many mysteries followed him so why not add a few more?

“No matter what, this town will always be my home.” He says with another bright, peaceful smile.

They were all sad to see him go but grateful for him ever being there in the first place.

As the old man is walking out of his home, Elisa catches up to him and grabs his large, tough hand.

The old man turns around and before he could react at all, she wrapped him a long, loving embrace, which the old man reciprocated with no question.

“I will miss you most of all, little one.” He said with that same smile. Although, this time, the corners of his mouth began to quiver a bit. Something barely even noticeable and yet, like many little things, Elisa still saw it and began to cry again. This was a happy cry, however, because she too was just grateful to have ever met this kind, courageous, loving, old man. A man who was purely loving, and lovingly pure.

“You left all of your blades and shields back in town; you’ve never sold them or even given them away... Why did you spend so much time making them?” she asked, for she was a most curious little girl.

The old man looked her in her little green eyes that matched his and said:

“They are for you, little one. You are strong and adventurous and compassionate and courageous. You will be a great warrior one day that will lead many great men and women into battle against all of these evil Kings and Queens.”

Elisa stood before him with confidence in her mind and an unstoppable tenacity in her heart. She knew, even at such a young age, this was her destiny.

“What if more knights come to take our home from us?”

“If they do, then I will be there. And when you are old enough, you will protect your people. Then you will protect many more.”

The old man gave Elisa a slip of parchment. She starts to open the folded paper, but the old man stops her and tells her not to open it until he leaves.

“You will understand it when the time is right.”

And with one last smile, he says:

“Goodbye, little one.”

 The man said goodbye one last time and then began following the path into the mountains and out of the town, still as much of a mystery as he was when he arrived.

When the old man is entirely out of sight, she opens the slip of parchment. There is only one word in big letters.

 

Eos

 

 

 

Epilogue:

Many, many years later, the Kingdom of the West has been fully liberated by any form of a King. They now govern themselves and make decisions with everyone present, like the home of Elisa’s people always did.

Half of the Kingdom in the North is fully liberated and half of the East as well; in one small library on the edge of the Kingdom in the East sits a girl around the age of twenty reading about the history of all the kingdoms in the world.

She sits exhausted after a hard-fought battle, with what little armor she has having been broken half broken during the battle. However, she would never accept new armor for she believes that hiding behind a metal shell is for cowards. Justice is her shield.

She has read about them all, every kingdom that has ever existed and is starting the last chapter about the Mother Kingdom, the original kingdom that eventually fell and was divided into what is now present day. It was also known to be the first free kingdom, where the king did not have all of the power, where life was said to be so happy and free. The name of the Mother Kingdom was Eos, named after its first and only king.

Out of pure disbelief, she pulled out a tattered piece of parchment she had been carrying with her for so long and read the one word written across it: “Eos”. It was given to her by a man she had never seen again since that very day but a man she would never forget.

“Captain, the king has gathered reinforcements and is ordering an all-out attack on the land we have already taken. What are your orders?” asks a timid private who is slightly too small for his armor.

She stands carrying ferocity in her emerald eyes and grace in her soul. As she turns to leave, she passes by a large wall, full of kings and queens from the past. Just before she reaches the door, one painting in particular catches her eye.

She stops and gazes upon it in awe and, after a time, she smiles bigger than she has in a very long time.

She then breaks her gaze, there is a battle to be won and many more after that. The Captain picked up her old, busted hammer that so long ago, she could barely lift and left the library to continue fighting for peace, for freedom.

If you’re wondering what the painting was, it was of a man. A young man with emerald eyes who just so happened to look very similar to the old man that once called the Captain, Little One. The inscription at the bottom of the painting read as follows:

“King Eos of the Mother Kingdom”

 

 

 

End

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2018 J. L. Hunt. All rights reserved.

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