All content is (c) copyright 2006 Caryn LeMur
THE LAST DAYS
OF A MAN
The man hammered wooden pegs into heartwood
planks, while kneeling down upon the bridge. The
sweat on his forehead glistened about a raised
mark of two lines – one horizontal and one vertical
– and then raced down his face to a beard as long
as a man’s hand.
He swung his mallet with a muscular and tanned
forearm -- it too, glistened from the sweat though
it showed a rapidly fading tattoo. He paused, as
he sensed, perhaps even felt, the presence of
another approaching nearby.
He slowly rose, and turned – his long robe of white
catching the light coming from the evening’s sun
which, in turn, was showing colors of white, gold,
and blood-red; and then the muscular man smiled
at the one that was indeed nearby: an immense
The Lion spoke. “Write the words that I have
given you, so that others may be healed.”
But BridgeMaker, for that was his name, shook his
head, his locks of brown sweaty hair tinged on the
tips with blond, moved slightly above his shoulders.
“How shall I write those words so that no one is
wounded, but all are helped?" he asked. "This one
shall comply, but how to comply is my question.”
“Dear BridgeMaker,” replied the Lion. “Speak your
words into the crystal vase, and then shatter it. I
shall have my light touch the broken pieces. And
then put only the reflections upon the scrolls. It
will come to pass that only those with broken
hearts will read and understand.” The Lion
paused, as the evening’s breeze moved some of
the locks of his thick mane.
“BridgeMaker,” continued the Lion, “It is the
broken-hearted that I wish to heal.”
BridgeMaker bowed his head towards the Lion,
“Yes, BloodFriend, I shall do as you have asked.”
The Lion smiled.
The air shimmered silver, and then parted, as the
man entered into the stone-floored room. The
stones buckled and bent – not because of the man’
s weight, for he was of normal, though muscular
size—but the stones moved because the stones
were living, and cushioned the walk of any that
dared to come inside.
The man glanced about, clenching his fists, the
muscles showing in his arms. He looked hard into
the room, until his blue eyes could make out the
enormous silver throne that sat in the center. And
without hesitation, he stormed forward.
“Lion!” shouted the man. And indeed, a Lion
appeared on the right side of the throne, standing
in a shaft of light that came down from above.
Higher above the throne, was a white cloud.
“What bothers you, good Fighter?” asked the Lion
in a voice of calmness that softly echoed among
the living stones.
“The woman I walk with,” shouted Fighter,
“continues to release the DreamKiller.”
“Is that so bad?” asked the Lion.
“No man can fight without his dreams!” shouted
Fighter. “My dreams of victory and vindication fill
my life, yet she has released the DreamKiller!”
Fighter paced about the room, his breastplate
catching glimmers of light that seemed to come
from small flames that moved about the walls and
throne. The living stones continued to move under
his feet, as if trying to absorb some of his anger
Fighter continued, “Every dream I place upon the
Table of Hope, she speaks against and kills. What
she cannot kill, she wounds. No dream does she
ever support with a whole-heart.” He paused, and
shook his fists, the wrist-guards showing their
beaten copper, and then demanded, “Why did she
ever adopt the DreamKiller into her family of
Without hesitation, the Lion softly replied,
“Because she needed it.”
Then the Lion continued, “When she was young,
she learned that the DreamKiller could keep her
safe from all things placed upon the Table of Hope.”
“What things?” asked Fighter, who now stopped
his pacing, but continued to clench his fists, over
and over again.
“To place something on the Table of Hope”
continued the Lion, “takes openness. But to move
something from the Table to the battle, takes
commitment. And not all battles are won,” said the
“That still does not answer the question!” replied
Fighter in frustration. He shook his head, and then
ran one hand through his short-cropped blond hair
with a glance towards the ceiling, as if trying to
signal to the Lion that the Lion was missing the
point of the discussion.
The Lion noticed the movement of the hand and
the turning away of the blue eyes, but choose to
ignore the insult. The Lion continued, “Since the
woman has lost many battles, she now fears
commitment. But rather than fear commitment, if
the DreamKiller is released, then commitment is
never required -- because the dream is killed and
gone from the table long before commitment
Fighter looked straight at the Lion. Somehow, at
that moment, he knew that the Lion was right.
“Thus,” said Fighter, “the battle is over before it
“Now you understand,” replied the Lion.
“I understand. But I cannot accept,” replied
Fighter. “There is a difference!” He again
clenched his fists, and then paused, sighing hard in
frustration, the air escaping from his lips in
disgust. He placed one hand against his clean-
shaven face, as if to signal that he was in deep
thought. “Perhaps,” he said, almost spitting the
words, “I should never be open with her about my
“That is one solution,” replied the Lion.
“Perhaps I should break the clay bowl that we
swore into existence,” said Fighter.
“Do that, and I will curse you!” replied the Lion,
showing anger for the first time.
A moment of silence passed, and a glow of light
seemed to emanate out from the Lion, even more
than from the shaft of light. Some of the flames
moving on the walls cast shadows against the
stones. Some of the living stones on the floor
seemed to stiffen as if bracing to support stronger
words from the Lion.
Then, the Lion continued, “To break the bowl is not
an option that is within my presence.”
“I have fought for you! I have bled for you!”
shouted Fighter, “and you limit my options?”
“Yes!” replied the Lion. “I choose to forbid the
simplest one – to break the bowl is not an option
that is within my presence. As it is written, ‘The
dove cannot rest where there is no tree.’ ”
“Then I choose to hide my dreams! The woman
shall never know the deepest goals that I have. I
will hide them all from her!” said Fighter and he
began to pace about the throne room again: his
breastplate and wrist-guards catching bits of fire-
light, his cloth grieves and tunic softly rustling, but
his war-sandals slapping down upon stone after
“Take care if that is your solution,” replied the
Lion. “When a Fighter hides a goal, he often hides
it only from enemies. The woman is not your
“Yes, she is not my ‘enemy’,” spit back Fighter.
“But she is also not my partner at the Table of
Hope any longer.”
“Beware,” replied the Lion. “The Snake that lives
on the tongue of the Serpent will offer you others
to share your dreams with. What will you do when
“They will also never know my dreams,” said
Fighter, “for I shall do what is right! Even if the
woman does what is wrong!”
“Good, though proud,” replied the Lion. “Because
if another knows your dreams and joins with you
at the Table of Hope, then that other will become
an ally. Fighters forever search for allies.”
Fighter stopped his pacing. He sighed as if tired.
He looked at the Lion, whose own light had now
softened. “I must go now,” said Fighter. “I must
drink until the pain of the DreamKiller is forgotten.”
“I understand,” said the Lion. “I understand. But
tell me, proud Fighter, what drink will cross your
Fighter did not answer the Lion. Rather, he turned
his back towards the Lion, and stormed to the
portal that was behind him. The air shimmered
silver, and he disappeared.
The Lion was left alone, sitting next to the silver
throne. A voice spoke out from the cloud that
glowed above the throne – the cloud seemed to fill
the throne room with glorious light with every
word, “My son, it is my will that this one be called
to the fourth tribe.”
“Yes, Father.” Replied the Lion, deep in thought.
“I shall lure him in with love and healing.”
But Fighter did not return to the throne room for
Fighter sat within a corner of the tavern. Though
the wooden benches and tables had others
scattered about on them, now Fighter sat alone.
Earlier, a woman had sat with him, but now she
“NewHope,” Fighter sighed in sad-drunk mumbles,
“you are such a gracious city... to have this tavern
“The Mocker’s Dream” here.... But I drink now. I
He closed his reddened eyes, and then touched the
hilt of his sword that lay across his lap. “I made
you appear,” Fighter said softly to the sword, “by
just the clap of my hands. But…” he looked at his
surroundings and sensed the dryness of his mouth
from all his drinking, “I am embarrassed to even
show your metal.”
“Enough,” Fighter said to himself, “…enough.” He
looked down at the sword, sighed, and then with a
thought, caused the sword to vanish. He rose
from the bench where he had been sitting.
With a motion of his hands, he caused a portal to
appear before him, and he stepped through it.
That hole in space – the portal – shimmered silver,
and then closed behind him. None of the other
patrons of the tavern noticed the portal, for only
those that open the portals can ever see it.
Fighter staggered into the throne room of the Lion.
“You have been drinking DarkFire,” said the Lion,
standing by the throne.
“Indeed… I have drank… it much,” replied Fighter,
swaying a bit. The living stones under his feet
calmly moved in counter-rhythm in order to help
“I know. I watched,” said the Lion. “And I
Fighter paused, and cast his gaze to the ground.
“I am … sorry … to grieve you,” he said. “You are
… the only ally … that I have.”
“I understand,” replied the Lion. “And you are
“I even … attempted to … hold up my prayer-
sword,” said Fighter. “I did… I truly did.…” Now a
tear began to appear in the edge of his blood-shot
Both were silent for a time. And then the Lion
looked at him with eyes of love.
Fighter could see the light beginning to come out
from the Lion. “It is not right!” He said, in a
drunken voice. “You should hate me for what I
The soft light touched Fighter’s face, and the
clouds of unreasoning slipped away, as the
drunkenness fled from the Lion’s light.
“Isn’t it written that ’It takes two men,” replied the
Lion, “to push the shuttlecock, to weave the rugs
of lepers?’ ”
“I know,” replied Fighter to the old proverb, “And I
pushed my words to you out of guilt.”
“And I,” replied the Lion, “pushed your words back
with forgiveness and love. Let us weave a rug that
is filled with life, and not with shame.”
By now the Lion’s light had finished going through
the body of Fighter, and all traces of drunkenness
were gone. Fighter stopped swaying, and raised
his head, looking at the Lion.
“Good Fighter,” began the Lion, “You traveled
from my city, DwellingStreet, to the other city,
FalseHope. Why such a journey?”
Fighter did not reply. He hated to admit that the
Lion’s name for the city was far too accurate, so he
The Lion nodded his huge head to show that he
would honor the silence. And then the Lion asked
a second question, “Tell me, good Fighter, how
does it feel, to drink DarkFire?”
“Always good at first,” said Fighter, and he began
to smile. “The ecstasy builds, the mind fogs, and
the pain is gone.”
“Indeed. The pain is gone. For how long is it
gone?” Asked the Lion studying the face of Fighter.
“Until the fog of the ecstasy clears…,” replied
“And then?” asked the Lion.
“And then,” replied Fighter, his smile now
completely gone, “And then... the guilt pours in,”
he softly replied.
“How much guilt pours in?” asked the Lion.
“Less each time!” replied Fighter, pleased over the
triumph he felt. He looked about the throne room,
as if hoping the flames of the wall would applaud
his statement. But the flames simply continued
moving, and the throne room was silent for a
“No,” replied the Lion, softly shaking his golden
mane. “The amount of guilt is the same amount
each time. But you cannot feel it as much. Each
time you are becoming more and more unfeeling.
As the scrolls say, ‘The forearm burnt by fire forms
scars that can feel the fire no more’”
The Lion repeated the statement in a soft voice,
“Each time you are becoming more and more
“Perhaps,” replied Fighter, frowning at the
“Perhaps, indeed,” said the Lion. “Perhaps,
(c) copyright 2006 Caryn LeMur
|The Last Days of a Man Named Fighter
Chapters 1 through 3