I yanked a story that I had posted because I realized that it was TOO similar to a short story by Joe Sacco. Apologies to everyone and especially to Sacco. I hope this other short story will make up for it.
I'm planning to turn this into a comic. So all the visual details will be handled by the illustrations. Let me know what you think and don't pull any punches.
Best and enjoy,
PS. You can find me also at:
A WARRIOR TO BE
Once, there was a young girl named Iliana who wanted to become a warrior. The day came that she was old enough to go in search of her path. Iliana kissed her loved one: her friends, her mother, father, and younger brother. With their consent and blessings, she went out into the forest.
As she walked through the forest, Iliana’s mind began to wander. Warriors were respected throughout the land. Their adventures were the staple of the country. She remembered her uncle who was a great warrior. She loved to hear his tales of wonder and excitement and conquest.
Part of Iliana’s vocation required that she live in the forest. After much traveling, she became friends with some of the creatures that made the forest their home. Their names were Bien, Lora, and Dena. With their help, Iliana was able to make a home of her own amongst the trees. She told her new friends stories of how she will one day be a great warrior and have great adventures to share with everyone. Her friends were delighted. ‘One day, my brother too will be a great warrior. I’ll train him myself,’ the young girl told the creatures. The creatures made blankets for the young girl.
The young Iliana was to wait for a warrior to pass by and ask them to train her. Many warriors passed: some were not interested in training her, others she found to be too proud, and others still were in the middle of their own adventures.
Disappointed, Iliana climbed up the tree and looked out into the vast empty forest. Her friends gathered around her. ‘Don’t worry,’ they told her, ‘your day will come.’
Bien, Lora and Dena helped her stay warm through the upcoming winter and led her to the great places to play during the spring.
About a year later, Iliana saw a shadow in the distance. She climbed down the tree as the figure grew larger. By the way he walked, she knew that this would be a warrior. His stride was strong and determined. His armor shined in the sunlight and his weapons were imposing. He was obviously one of the northern tribesmen. The tribe of the north were well known and highly respected as warriors. Iliana had seen many warriors such as him pass by so she wasn’t greatly impressed.
When the warrior got close, he called out her name. She looked at him as he took off his mask. It was Raul, an old friend of hers. They hugged and exchanged greetings. ‘I was in far east. I’m just returning home,’ the young Raul said.
‘I’m looking for someone who’ll train me to be a great warrior,’ Iliana exclaimed.
The young man gladly offered to train her to which she promptly accepted.
‘Get some rest,’ Raul said. ‘We begin early tomorrow. Be prepared.’
After the warrior left, she climbed back into the tree. Iliana told her friends the good news. They were happy for her and bid her a good night. That night she slept happily.
The next morning as the sun began to rise, the young Iliana climbed down the tree. In the horizon, the young warrior Raul approached.
His face was stern revealing very little warmth to the young girl. He handed her a short sword and a sheath. She slid the sheath through her belt and followed the warrior into the forest.
They reached a clearing when the warrior suddenly swung his sword at her. Iliana fell back. The tip of his blade floated before her eyes.
‘First lesson,’ he said before putting his sword away. She stood up and scowled at him. ‘Good,’ he smirked. Turning around, Raul continued to walk into the forest.
They walked for miles. The girl began to lose confidence in her warrior friend.
Coming to a small watering hole, he stopped and got behind some rocks. He grabbed her hand and pulled her down. Peering over the rocks, Raul whispered ‘there’s our target.’ Iliana raised her head slightly but he pulled her back. ‘You’re going to ruin everything,’ he hissed.
‘Stay here,’ he said. Crouching, he eased his way around the rocks and towards the top of the watering hole. The young girl kept her eyes on her friend. She was proud and grateful that he was her mentor.
Reaching the top, the young man slowly pulled out his blade and locked his eyes on the water below. His hands gripped the hilt; his body lowered like a feline. The excitement flushed through the Iliana. The warrior quietly leaped into the air, swung his sword above his head and as he descended brought the edge between his legs. ‘WHOOOSH!!!’
The girl rushed to the edge and saw blood racing through the water. The young warrior smiled at her as he held his sword in one hand and the other below the water. ‘We got a good one,’ Raul smiled. Iliana grinned. Lifting his hand from the water, the young warrior pulled out the body of Dena, one of the girl’s forest friends. The girl’s chest sank. The warrior approached her. Sliding the sword back into his sheath, Raul the warrior said ‘with this one we can make a good pair of gloves for you and a arm band. Their teeth make excellent arrow-tips.’ With each step the young warrior took, the girl sank deeper into the bloody water. Standing beside her, he dropped the body beside her.
‘As my apprentice, you get the honor of preparing it,’ commanded the warrior as he walked pass her. Raul walked several steps then turned to see her still sitting by the water’s edge.
‘I don’t have all day. There’s much more you have to learn if you want to be a great warrior,’ he barked.
Iliana stared at the water.
‘Pick him up and let’s get on with it,’ Raul the warrior yelled.
Iliana’s hands were clasped on her lap. Her face was shallow and fragile.
Her body which was once agile and strong looked as if could be scattered by a simple breeze.
Annoyed, the young warrior Raul walked back into the forest. ‘Such is the way of the warrior,’ were the last words he spoke before disappearing into the forest.
And there the young Iliana sat, her body partially submerged in the paralyzing water.
Copr. Frank Reynoso, 2006