The void path to freedom

Kai looked from his window at the faraway misty mountains. 48 years had passed since the Battle of the Taijo Mountains. In just 2 more years, the village would be freed.

His mother Reisa had told him of what happened during that battle. It started with the rule of King Vector. After successfully launching an assassination attempt on King Charles, he managed to seize power and got himself an absolute monarchy. He led his army to victory and was considered the reincarnation of Hell. He burned entire civilizations to the ground and “voided them. “He rebuilt them completely out of obsidian, which got him the title “The Void Lord.” But Kasta Village remained safe, at least for the longest time. The citizens were confident that no empire would be able to cross the Taijo Mountains.

They were wrong. King Vector had done the impossible by drilling a hole through the mountain. During the night, his army ran through the hole and annihilated the Kasta Army, which was puny compared to the Void Army. Lucky for them, King Vector had enough brain cells to realize that Kasta village could be a key point of agriculture in his empire. He signed a treaty with Chief Ernest, which said that Kasta Village had to pay him tribute in terms of crops annually for 50 years. Kai himself was only 15 years old, but he could tell that it wasn’t an easy task to produce that many crops each year. The Taijo Mountains had being renamed to the Void Mountains in honor of his victory. Chief Ernest had only signed the treaty because he couldn’t stand the village being burned down.

After 48 years of obediently giving tribute to King Vector, unease was spreading like wildfire throughout the village. King Vector could easily just force the citizens to keep on paying him. The citizens had no weapons, no soldiers, no walls, and no hope in rebelling. Certain death would await them if they chose to openly fight King Vector. Suddenly, the village horn blew. The horn was only used in ceremonies and important village meetings. Everyone rushed to the courthouse, where Chief Ernest was giving a speech.

“Citizens of Taipo Village, we must act! King Vector will not honor the treaty and will make us pay him tribute if we don’t rebel. We must form our own army, with good weapons, and build fortifications to secure the village. We shall build an underground barrack where our soldiers shall train. King Vector had made a mistake in giving us obsidian to build our farming tools. We shall use it to build weapons that rival that of the Void Army. Next time the collector comes, we shall fight and gain our freedom!”

Everyone cheered, and people hurried to sign up for the army. Women, including Reisa, volunteered to be nurses. Things went well for the first 2 months, and obsidian fortifications had already been constructed. The only thing that was needed was a roof to protect the city from aerial attacks. The army had been training very hard to perfect their battle formation. Everything was going according to plan, at least for some time.

Then, one day, King Vector came with the entire Void Army. The scout saw the pitch black armor gleam in the daylight. Why had they come so early? The whole village was silent at the news for three seconds, then Chief Charles yelled, “Soldiers, get ready! This is the day you all have trained for!” It was too late. The sun was suddenly blocked, and for a few seconds it appeared that there was a black spot in the sky. Everyone’s confusion turned to terror as thousands of arrows
rained down on them. People ran for cover, but there were too many arrows. All that could be heard was the whistling of arrows as they pierced soldiers’ and citizens’ hearts.

After the first volley, Kai was stunned to see the ground littered with the bodies of citizens. When the second volley came, there was no one to kill. The village had been bizarrely reduced to a mere 100 citizens, and all of them hid in the courthouse. After a while, nothing could be heard outside. The scout boy was brave enough to go to his tower and see if King Vector and his army were still there. They weren’t. After this surprise volley, they just left, but not without a note. On one of the arrows was a note: You deserved it.

The village counted their dead. Amongst them were Reisa and Chief Ernest. Kai mourned for his mother’s death and wished that he could revenge her. Alas, he was in no position to do so. Both had died during the battle and had been trying to rescue their fellow villagers. Reisa had been desperately tending to a wounded soldier in her tent when the whole tent collapsed on top of her under the pressure of the arrows. Chief Ernest had blocked an arrow that would have killed a soldier with his own body. Most soldiers were already dead, for they had been too late in trying to run for their lives. Only 6 remained, each ashamed of himself for cowardly fleeing at the first sight of the enemies.

Kai knew something had to be done. At this rate, the next time Void Army came, it would be extinction of the village. He felt like the village deserved it. Not for rebelling, but in the way that they chose to fight. Chief Ernest should have predicted that their army was no match for that of King Vector’s. There was only one rational thing to do: They had to leave the Void Mountains. Kai believed that they would be successful, as long as they were together.

The next day, the villagers of Kasta Village disappeared without a trace. They had followed Kai’s exodus and fled the Void Mountains. There was hope for a better future, in a place where they would be free.