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Another Best Friend
by Sean A. Carmona

Darris, was frightened. Had he just witnessed what he thought he did? Was Maddy screaming a fierce light into a floating Hermus? That scream, never before had he experience such a loud and frightening pitch. What was he getting himself into?
He looked back at the others, Maddy, Sam, and Paren now with, Truan, Tessie and himself at the table.
“I gotta get outta here!” Darris said after a moment.
Sam called after him but he was already out of the door.
It was a peaceful night, the stars shining light sprinkles of salt in the night sky. The moon was in a crescent and towering high in the inky heavens. The hills overlay the horizon like mounds of silvery treasure, a beauty unlike Darris had seen since his journey began.
“Journey indeed.” He whispered to himself, “All you are is trouble, Darris Klein Heeple.”
He continued his decent down to the stables, down to something familiar, to his only friend left, Carrot. Maddy, had to hate him. After all it was his fault they were in this mess. The recant of heroes and adventures his grandfather had shared, were always full of fun, and love from a beautiful princess. Not this one. This adventure was a factual undertaking against all odds, which would prove the stupidity of a twelve year boy. That’s what this was, and no matter how things were from here, it was over. He had lost his best friend, his closest connection in life, and the only one who understood him, his twin brother Andom.
Darris continued to the stables, down to Carrot. He pushed the once waterlogged, now brittle stable doors. They were massive and seemed ancient to Darris. It was an impressively large stable. Darris, wondered why Paren was in need of such stables. Better yet he pondered how such an old Elgon, could possibly have built this by herself.
He continued his way down toward the back right, where Carrot was. Half way there he stopped. Bow let out a soft snort that caught his attention. Darris couldn’t help but let a small tear trickle down the side of his face as he pat Bow on the snout, and scratched behind his ear.
“He’s gone, Bow.” He said, “Andom is gone.” He then waited there as if Bow would answer.
“I don’t know what to do, Bow. I’m supposed to be an adult now, but I’ve never been strong. Andom, was the strong one.” He placed his nose on Bow’s, “There is no strength left.”
“You are strong in different ways.” came a voice from behind. At first Darris thought it was Bow talking, but he turned to see that Sam had followed him into the stables.
“If you are talking about my intellect, then I ask what good will that do me in hand to hand combat.” Darris replied.
Sam smiled, “I’m not. You are very foolish. I was simply referring to your style. That Blue Silver is an improvement.”
Darris couldn’t help but return a smile, “Yeah? It’s heavy, and hot.” Darris Glared back at the towering Elgon and frowned. “Sam,” he said, “Do you think that I was wrong to follow my father? Is Anthis my fault?”
Sam put his arm around Darris, “We all makes choices. That is what makes us who we are. The choices you have made make no difference now. You cannot change them. The choices you make from now on, will determine who you will become. But, no I do not think it was anyone’s fault, what has happened to Anthis. He followed you here on his own accord.”
Darris tried to process what he was hearing. He couldn’t stop blaming himself. He looked up at his new friend, who had saved his life.
“Am I a bad person Sam?”
Sam looked Darris in the eye, “We are all bad people. That is why there is war and rebellion. We have all of us fallen short of what is expected. We have but Terras to guide us. With him, we can never fail.”
Darris balled up his fists, “That makes no sense. What of people, who cure disease like Berman. Or people who serve the needy, and sacrifice themselves for the good of others?”
Sam grabbed him by his shoulders, “Would not those same people cause disease, steal from people, and sacrifice others, to save themselves or their loved ones. The heart is a liar. We know not what we are capable of until we are put in the situation.”
Sam shook his head, “What would you do to get Andom back?”
Darris hesitated, “But, that’s different. They are evil for kidnapping him.”
Sam shrugged, “I’m not saying they are not. Nor am I saying that it is wrong to defend Andom and yourself from people trying to kill you. All I am saying is nobody is perfect. Focus on right now Darris. What can you do right now?
“We have to get him back! We need to rescue Andom, Sam!”
Sam walked away, “And where are they taking him, Darris?”
Darris slammed his fist into the side of the wall. Shards of dry wood broke off. “I don’t know.” he shouted, “But we have to do something! He is my twin brother!”
Sam stopped and turned to face Darris, “We cannot.” He said.
“Why!”
Sam looked out on the field where hours earlier, Anthis lay dead. “I have already failed your father twice. I cannot allow it to happen again. We are to leave in the morning for Elnorth. My father will know what to do.”
Sam walked up beside Darris, “This used to be a city. It was called Ninverah.”
Darris shook his head, “But it is just one house and stable?”
Sam smiled, “Its name in Elgon means The Rock. A king once lived in this very spot. King Drute Everstone. This was the first city of the Solids. This house and stable are what is left of a castle.
“In the Old Wars, He wanted to unite all the peoples of Levion. The Anims, Magens, Elgons, and most of the Solids didn’t agree. They all saw themselves as different, where King Everstone saw that the bigger picture was unity.”
Sam let a tear fall, “My Grandfather Hemish Elkhorn was then the leader of the Elgons. Most of us were too scared to say anything, but Paren saw the greatness of King Everstone. She argued with my Grandfather who finally agreed to join the war. Many Elgons died. My Grandfather blamed Paren for all the deaths. After the early battles, the Anims and Magens were able to conquer Ninverah. My Grandfather surrendered, as well as the allying Magens and Anims. Never again was there to be a kingdom. We split into our own lands. Ninverah was stripped of its glory, reduced to a single house and stable.”
Sam turned to look at Paren’s house.
“Paren, as punishment, was banished to this land, never to return to Elnorth.”
Darris walked over to Sam, “But we became united? How did that happen?”
Sam returned his gaze to Darris.
“The Old Wars never ended. There were those who fought in secret to defend the cause that Drute Everstone had begun. Your, Great Grandfather Nubis Heeple, son of Jarim Heeple and Rutha Everstone, Daughter of Kief Everstone, son of Goff Everstone, son of Tief Everstone, son of Gregory Everstone, son of Prince Harpis Everstone The Just, son of King Drute Everstone, convinced my father, that a Union was now at hand. Your Grandfather and father fought in the war that brought our state into a democracy.”
Sam frowned, “Who would know that it was for naught. We are once again prisoners of evil.”
Sam looked into the distance. Darris could only think, in the direction of Elnorth. Age and fear could be seen in his eyes. This boy had lived through so much and was not even an adult yet. Darris could feel his pain but continued on.
“You just don’t understand!” he said. “It’s my twin brother! He has been with me since the beginning. It’s like I am missing a part of myself.”
Sam snapped his head toward him, “I understand more than you think!” he said.
“What do you mean?” said Darris.
Sam seemed to gain resolve, “Forget it. Stay here as long as you wish. We leave in the morning Darris. No complaints.”
With that Sam left the stables, a mystery of a man that he had started. Darris feed Bow an apple from a bag near him, and continued over to Carrot. After feeding him he looked over at the lonely house in the middle of nowhere. All that was left of a giant kingdom.

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