Aran opened his eyes. Daylight shone into the room. He actually managed to sleep the whole night through! Incredulous, he looked around. His room was untouched, showing that his Wards were solid. However, the sight around the village was unpleasant, to say the least. Flatted houses and dead villagers were strewn about under the blazing sun. In all directions, an unending plain stretched out for eternity. How was 6-year-old Aran to get out of this situation? No amount of Warding would get him out of this quagmire.
Suddenly, the sound of horse hooves rang clear, signaling the arrival of General Oliver’s troops. Aran quickly ran to this familiar sound of safety, his tiny legs carrying him as quickly as possible to that glorious sound.
The soldiers on patrol were astonished to find such a small boy in the vast open plains. Immediately, as per protocol, they grabbed him, gave him water and food and rode back to their home city of Asgard with all haste.
Aran’s jaw dropped as he viewed the city in all its magnificence. Stone walls lined the whole town, with Wards carved into them, ensuring that no demon would even get remotely close to breaking through. However, as the soldiers rode through the gates, he noticed that some Wards were crudely drawn, and protection was not universal for some types of demons. Apparently, the wall was not unpenetrable.
Aran gasped again as he neared the main castle of Asgard. It defended by yet another layer of Wards, carved in the stone walls of the castle. The soldiers dismounted from their horses at the stables and ran into the palace, with Aran in tow. Aran noticed Wards again lined the palace walls. People in Asgard are apparently paranoid, thought Aran, whose village only needed one layer of Wards.
Aran was carried into a large throne room and was brought before General Oliver.
“General, we found a survivor, a child from the small village of Korin. He was all alone. I don’t know how he managed to ward off the demons,” the soldier declared, cradling Aran in his arms.
“Hmm… Give him food and water and let him rest in the guest room. He will leave to find a family to stay with tomorrow morning.” General Oliver ordered, his booming voice resounding through the palace walls.
“Yes, Sir,” the soldier replied, leading Aran to his quarters for the night.
Within the safe four walls of the palace, Aran began to relax. Aran let his eyes droop and fell into a deep slumber, this one more restful that the last.