Encounters of Fate
An old man sat on a curb outside of an old, dilapidated post office building on a cold and drizzly day. He was in that part of town the city officials would rather have forgotten existed. Streets full of potholes, and gutters full of trash. Buildings all a moss grown and water stained from years of decay. The old man pulled his thin and dirty overcoat about his feeble shoulders to keep the wind somewhat at bay, and as his aged eyes peered for a moment at the gloomy grey sky, his eyelids winced occasionally from the spattering drops of moisture. And across his withered face one could spy the slightest of smirks as he looked down to his clenched palm. A sparkle danced in his eyes as he relaxed his palm, revealing a twinkling of gold and the brilliance of a tiny gem. He suddenly raised his hand heavenward as he slipped the expensive ring between his thumb and index and began to laugh aloud, for amid all of this desolate ruin, he knew he was royalty.
He then drew the ring close to his eyes so he might inspect it again. He had gazed in wonder at the bejeweled piece thousands of times before, but still, each time was just as exciting to him as when he had first received it. He examined the inscription which was skillfully engraved inside the band. He ran his feeble finger along the smooth, textured grooves of the words. “Honorable and Worthy” The man silently thought the phrase to himself over and over again. “Honorable and Worthy”
He heard the sound of approaching horses, and the high pitched yelps of a driver busy cracking his whip from above his moving carriage. He peered down the street and realized a coach would be flying by the muddy gutter in the street before him in the fewest of moments. With a bitter scowl, the old man tucked the ring into an inner pocket as he wrapped himself ever tighter into his coat and ducked his head toward his lap clenching his eyes shut tightly. No sooner had he curled up, when a torrent of murky fluid cascaded over his person, soaking him quite thoroughly. He could hear the wheels of the coach crack and roll violently against the uneven cobbles in the street and the rhythmic stomping of the horses hooves as the great carriage roared on by.
The old man slowly raised his head, his thin grey hairs pasted to his head and face, water dripping from his grizzled chin. His eye sockets seemed to have sunken, and deeply swollen sacks hung from beneath them. It was hard to tell if he was crying or not, for surely any tears were a mixing with the rain drops and dribbles of mud sliding down his face. But his eyes were red, betraying his melancholy. “Honorable and Worthy” he thought to himself. “Honorable and Worthy” The old, grey headed man tried to stand. He crawled forward on all fours and propped himself up on his feeble arms, shaking from the his insignificant weight. With great effort, he dragged his feet beneath him and pressed his way against gravity till he stood erect. He remained there a moment as he caught his breath. The weak man swayed as a slight breeze persuaded him, and he raised his head yet again.
His eyes clasped with another set of eyes. Youthful eyes. Eyes from across the street of the post office. The man saw a young boy who had clearly been watching him. His dark, rich curls were dripping wet from the persistent rain, and from beneath them gazed the most brilliant blue eyes the old man had ever seen. Perhaps they were merely juxtaposed to all the darkness of this part of town, but the man couldn’t help believing he had never seen a richer hue. The boy’s face was gentle and smooth, yet an aura of sadness seemed to be cast over the lad like a shrouded veil. They stood there on opposite sides of the street for several moments, their gazes locked.
Another coach could be heard approaching, but this time the old man did not attempt to avoid it. He knew. “Honorable and Worthy” Oh yes, he knew. The old man maintained his gaze with the youth, only for it to be broken by the passing carriage. As the wake of mud cast from the wheels fell back to the street, and the coach whipped across his line of sight, only briefly did the man lose sight of the boy. When their eyes connected once again, the man was not surprised to see the child with his right hand stretched toward him, a golden ring between his thumb and index.
The old man reached into his overcoat and pulled from his inner pocket the ring of his own, and with a shaking hand, put it on his ring finger. Instantly he felt a surge of warmth pulsate through him. His once darkened eyes now rimmed with fire and his limbs felt suddenly strong. He noticed the boy had placed his ring on as well, and by this time the boy had a ring of blue flames that created a perfect circle about his feet. The old man closed his eyes and a peaceful meditative expression fell across his features. The warmth inside him grew into a powerful heat, and he began to channel that inense energy and move it about his body as he thought and directed it with is mind. Meanwhile the youth’s eyes were calmly shut and he began to wave his arms in fluid motions about his stationary body as purple sparks arced and danced from one open palm to another.
The old man began to mumble to himself, “Honorable and Worthy,” as he raised his arm forward and stretched his palm vertical, the fire from his eyes caused the golden ring to glow. The area around him began to roar with a great rushing wind that whipped his long coat about him violently. The sound was tremendous, and yet, if you were to be for a moment in the man’s mind, you would find stillness and utter quiet. His thought’s were like a placid lake, and the great forces revealing themselves around his physical person could only cause the slightest of ripples in that lake. Serenity of conscience seemed to wash through him from top to bottom as one of those ripples became a reflection of all his life had ever been. He silently gazed at the glassy surface in his mind, and the reflection began to blur as visions of the future seemed to form in blobs of murky color and visual texture. With one, powerful thought, all of the ripples in that pool were erased, and the water became still as if it were glass. Then, in the center of that lake, the water began to swirl and spin and turn, the circumference of which grew rapidly – and then a whirlwind leaped from that lake to the sky – a colossal tower of water which churned and twisted with ultimate power.
The old man became aware of the spike in his energies, and channeled them to his extended arm. He could feel his shoulder begin to burn with heat and power, and his arm was also quickly warming. His ring suddenly shone with a blinding white light as the old man’s palm began to glow with a fiery red. He could feel the energy tingling in his finger tips now and the wind around him rushed all the louder as he gently opened his eyes.
Across the street, the boy’s eyes were piercing flames of cobalt. By this time, the ring of blue fire about this feet had burned a deep circle in the ground around him and it glowed brightly as those flames morphed into a hard, circular beam of blue light. The air began to smell static and incredibly charged as the sparks from the boys palms condensed into small, brilliant, purple hemispheres in each hand.
Suddenly, the wind stopped. All fell quiet for the briefest of moments. Still, very still. The boy and the man glared at one another. For the first time the boy’s face betrayed his intent. The only sound was the rain, still drizzling as it spattered all around. For two brief beats of time, the earth seemed to halt in desperate anticipation. And then the calm was suddenly disturbed as the whole block surrounding the post office was instantly engulfed in brilliant, blinding light. Mere moments behind the light came the deepest roar of nature as pure energy simultaneously imploded and exploded upon itself violently from the epicenter of the tremendous blast.
The great light disappeared, revealing an incredible gout of red hot flame which was leaping from the old man’s palm with incredible intensity. Purple bolts of electric power arced from the boys two hands with unfathomable speed and strength as the two opposing charges recklessly collided with one another in the middle of the street. Beneath the collision point, a great crater had formed mocking the many other potholes in the street. The cobbles beneath had been blasted to a chalky dust which was whipping about from the intense wind caused by the energy flow. The old man’s arm was shaking from the amount of energy that seemed to flowing through him as he leaned forward as if to add his physical weight to the force of the continuing, elemental blast.
Another eruption of light, like its predecessor, engulfed the block and rocked the area with another sonic explosion. If one had been standing near the old man, they would have felt a thousand cuts and heard a loud shattering from the glass of the post office windows as the building reeled from the force. Another blast, and another, right on the heels of each other. The two disappeared and reappeared quickly as the explosions covered and revealed, covered and revealed the opponents. By now the old post office had been leveled to a ruinous mound of rubble, and the surrounding buildings had caught fire, or been equally razed.
The boy kept steady hands as he seemed to effortlessly channel the natural forces through him with his mind. The charges leaped toward the old man almost seamlessly, when, suddenly, the boy flung his arms up and back down behind him as he fell to his knees and looked into the sky, his dark hair falling behind him. The old man’s flames ferociously rushed across the remainder of the street toward the boy, only to be intercepted by a blue wall of static energy as the circle around the boy’s feet shot like tunnel of luminescent light into the grey sky. Moments later, an identical tunnel of energy fell from the heavens directly above the old man. Noticing, the man knelt to the curb and with both hands quickly drew an arch in the air above him. Instantly, an amber dome fabricated above and around the old man just in time to receive the blue bolt of energy from the sky.
The resulting blast was so tremendous, the boy went temporarily deaf by the powerful, sonic roar created. Miles of town in every direction were completely leveled as red flame and purple electricity raced in massive waves away from the center of the blast. This all in moments. Short, and terrible moments. And after, there was quiet again, save for the persistent drizzle from the clouds above. Smoke and ash attempted to float away from the wretched scene as the boy on his knees raised his head. He was now on his hands and knees with his hair covering his face, and as he slowly began to look up, his cobalt blue eyes took in the destruction around him.
The old man was simply no more. The curb he had sat on for so many miserable days was now black with his ashes, and the persistent drizzle began to mix the old man with the mud and the garbage and the ruin of the town. The boy staggered to his feet, completely saturated from the rain, and stumbled exhausted across the street in the direction of the ruined post office. He walked around the crater in the middle of the street and stopped just shy of the opposite curb. The boy knelt down and peered blankly at the muddy remains of the old man. An anticipated sparkle caught the boy’s sharp and attentive eyes, and he promptly began to dig and brush the ash away to reveal the old man’s ring. The child picked it up and examined it carefully. He held toward the sky to read the inscription he knew was there, and as he stood, he slipped the old man’s ring into his pocket. As the youth stood there, he continued to gaze at the ashes of his opponent, and in the stillest of voices the boy calmly spoke. “Honorable and Worthy”