Finding Peace - Cover

Finding Peace

Copyright© 2015 by Allan Kindred

Chapter 6

Alone in a strange land, where danger lurks behind every rock, behind every bend, your senses become finely tuned, but your emotions become numb. You no longer see the beauty of the world around you; you only see the ugliness it has to offer. The scenery mocks you. The sun chills you. The stars wink at you as if sharing a private joke. Your only companion is despair.

All of Tracer's life he has felt out of place. He has yet to find a person who truly understands him. If that day ever comes, he will get down on his knees and believe. He often wonders as he wishes for such a thing, how can anybody understand him when he doesn't understand himself? He has written poems saying let your life be your dream. That's funny, because the only thing darker than his dreams is his reality.

In his years of self-contemplation, he has learned that the middle ground is a hard place to be found. When you've lived the extremes of both good and evil as he has, the gray area seems strange indeed. Good people do bad things and evil has its varying extremes. To run a man through with a sword for money or power, or to run a man through with a sword for the defense of an innocent, is there any difference? The results are the same.

Tracer often lies awake late into the night wondering, "If there is such a thing as good and evil, or is there only what we choose to make of ourselves. Is it those choices that make us evil, or is it our regret that makes us good? Can someone who has been both, be neither? Who truly has the right to say what is right and what is wrong? Yes, even the majestic words of the divine are written by the hand of man, so how can they be trusted?

"In the name of the abyss, I haven't been alone for more than two days now and I'm already rambling like a madman. If this is the sign of things to come it should be an interesting journey. Another five nights, Ram, and we should be out of the mountains. From there I don't know which way we'll go. We will just follow the winds of fate." He laughs. At least he still has his sense of humor.

"Well, Ram, what do you think?" Ram still isn't talking to him, because he's mad about how hard Tracer pushed him that first night.

To get his mind off the outcome of this journey, he decides he should start planning his method of attack. Of course it would be a lot easier if he knew what the road ahead was like, but he should still come up with contingencies, just in case the unexpected happens.

Now Tracer doesn't know anything about the continent of Escrotry. In fact, he didn't even know it existed until Tron told him, but if it is his dark nature that will get him into the heart of the darkness, then that is what he will play on.

"Well, Ram, what I do know is they have creatures like the Wolveris, those mercenaries and The Black Army." Of course that is what they nicknamed them, so he'll have to find out their real name.

Tracer continues, "We will continue our conceal and evade tactics for as long as we are in the mountains, but if Escrotry is anything like my country, it will open up and evading will become harder." If he cannot hide from them, then he will have to hide among them.

"Perhaps I will join one of the mercenary bands or one of the Black Army units. Of course, it would be my luck that they'd be under orders to go into the mountains. So, we'll have to hold off as long as possible before we attempt to join one of them."

Tracer figures that the deeper he goes into the country, the more likely that the patrols are there to defend the nation, not to join the war effort and go on the offensive.

Plus, if he's correct in thinking that Escrotry is a conquered nation, not the heart of darkness itself, then many troops will be needed to patrol inside the border.

Now Tracer could go about it in the opposite way. He could get to the people and start a rebellion. Of course, there are several problems with that idea. Firstly, maybe the civilians like their country the way it is, or maybe they don't have the heart to fight anymore. Secondly, in doing so it might cause the enemy armies to start massacring the people; even the ones not involved in the rebellion. And thirdly, but not the least by any means, if it is his dark nature that will get him through the front door, then maybe helping the people be free of evil will negate that advantage.

With the way his mind works, Tracer could probably sit here and come up with a million more contingency plans, "Ram, I think the first one has the best chance of success, so we will try blending in first. If that doesn't look like it's working out, then we will consider other options."

Well, there you have it. His plan is set. All he has to do now is make it out of these damn endless mountains and again become that which has brought him so much shame and agony in his life already; to be a soldier for power and wealth, not honor and respect. With every ounce of willpower he has, he is pushing the nagging knowledge of his away that is telling him that none of his plans have ever turned out the way he wanted.

Now that Tracer is into his fifth night he can tell the mountains are starting to turn into a type of rugged foothills. That is a good sign that this part of his journey is coming to an end. The only thing he didn't expect, is that on this side of the Dandum Mountains there are a lot less trees. That means that evading is going to become harder sooner than he thought. There are still plenty of crevices and small valleys to go through, so he should be okay for a while longer.

Towards the end of the fifth night he starts hearing the roar of a massive river.

"That's good," he thinks. "We can refill our water flasks." but it is also bad, because people usually have the tendency to live around water.

The military forces of this country he is considering his enemy, so he knows what to expect there. But he doesn't know what to expect from the civilian population, so his plan is to avoid any and all contact with others until it becomes apparent that he has no other choice.

In going with the philosophy that people and cities spring up around water, Tracer's idea is to follow the river as close as he can until it leads him to civilization. Once he's deep inside enemy territory and he comes across a good-size town or city, he will attempt to join one of the militant groups.

Suddenly the thought crosses his mind, "What if the people of this land speak a different language? What am I going to do then? I do have a scar on my throat from one of my fellow outlaws who tried to slit my throat while I was asleep. I guess he didn't like the fact that I took his girlfriend from him. Well, if he didn't want me to do that I guess he shouldn't have been hitting her. If necessary I will act as if I cannot talk." Once again his past life is offering him an advantage that just months ago he would have thought were faults not opportunities. As of yet Ram still isn't answering his ramblings.

Going back to the subject of women in the outlaw world. Certainly there are women who are very good warriors. He has had the privilege to meet a couple of them. But mostly the women are girlfriends and associates who just like being around the dangerous type. It is odd, but it seemed to Tracer that the worse they got treated the more they loved or lusted that person. Even today he doesn't understand that phenomenon.

In his years as an outlaw, ages fifteen to twenty-four, he had the opportunity to help a couple of ladies get out of that nightmare world. The one I was speaking of earlier was the one that he took from a fellow outlaw, and then she acted as if she was then his.

Tracer's mind remembers back, "You are not a prize to be won. You deserve to be treated with love and respect, and you are your own person." Then Tracer told her, "If you wish to honor that which I have done for you, you will get out of this life and do something good with yourself."

The Raven-haired beauty named Korissa cried and hugged him, "Thank you, Tracer, I will never forget what you have done for me here today." Then Tracer took her back to her village in the valley. He assumed, or at least hoped, that she honored his efforts, for he never saw her again in the outlaw world.

Then Tracer remembers back to the second lady he helped, who was actually the girlfriend of one of his best friends.

While his friend was out causing trouble somewhere and her and he were alone, she turned to him and said, "I have to get away from Bill. I know he is your friend, but he is scaring me. Will you please let me go?" Now, in knowing his friend was slightly psychotic and a very dangerous and unstable person, he knew exactly what she was talking about.

Tracer told her, "Go, and keep on going until you are far away from this life." The pretty blonde named Lisa understood the dangers of what he was doing as well as Tracer did.

"Thank you."

If Tracer's friend were to take offense at his actions he would be in serious trouble. Now, he's not normally afraid of people, but this guy was far above his level of an outlaw at that time, and if he decided he wanted to kill him it would take a miracle for him to survive.

The source of this story is Finestories

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