Rand studied the damage done to his village as he walked back to his farm from the town square. Looking at all the destruction and pain caused by the Seraph attack, Rand found it difficult to agree with the sentence the village elders had decided on. Rand had argued his point that the Seraph he had captured should be put to death immediately, but the elders would not allow such violence in their village. Instead, the elders decided that the captured Seraph would be stripped of his wings and released outside the village to find his own way home, or die trying. Rand found himself hoping for the death of the Seraph, a fitting end to the monster that took his son’s life, but also prayed to the gods that the death would be long and painful. Rand took a deep breath, attempting to push down his anger and hatred to think with a clear mind, but the attempt was made futile the moment he once again saw the captured Seraph pinned to the side of his farmhouse. Rand walked up to the Seraph, ignoring the questions from his wife and youngest son regarding the decision of the elders.
“I want to kill you,” Rand spat at the Seraph. “Right here, right now, I want to kill you to avenge the son that you took from me.”
The Seraph, weakened by loss of blood and dehydration, began to cough violently until flecks of blood began to form on his lips. Rand grabbed a nearby bucket of cold water and dumped it on the head of the Seraph. The Seraph then began to struggle violently, attempting to pull his wings free from the crossbow bolts that held them firm to the farmhouse wall, while also attempting to break the rope that Rand had used to tie his hands together.
“You are too weak to break free now monster,” Rand shouted.
“Then kill me,” the Seraph hissed, barely able to speak. “Kill me and take your revenge!”
Rand grabbed an ax that had been leaning against the wall nearby, charged towards the Seraph, lifted the ax to strike a fatal blow, then paused.
“I cannot,” Rand said, his arm shaking as he held the ax up. “I am not allowed to kill you. The elders have decided that you shall live.”
The Seraph began to laugh at that moment. A weak, raspy laugh that could only be heard by Rand.
“Weak,” the Seraph hissed as he laughed.
“Say that again,” Rand said through gritted teeth.
“I will say it again, and again,” the Seraph continued, his voice becoming louder though still hoarse. “You are weak! Weak little animals! That is why we hunt you. The gods made you for the sole purpose of being prey for the mighty Seraph. You are fooling yourselves if you think otherwise.”
“We are not animals,” Rand shouted, “Look around you! We have built ourselves a civilization here. We are peaceful farming community. We have never harmed your people. We have given you no cause to slaughter us year after year.”
“The gods give us cause,” the Seraph said. “You can pretend you are civilized all you like, but you always have been, and always will be animals put here for the Seraph to hunt and kill. That is all you will ever be.”
“How can you say such things,” Rand asked. “How can you look me in the eye and say such things to me.”
“Look you in the eye,” the Seraph asked in return. “I look you in the eye and it only confirms my beliefs. Look at yourself animal. See yourself as we see you. With your yellow eyes that glow red at night. The horns that protrude out of the tops of your beastly heads. Horns that point to the sky as if you are constantly praying to the gods. It is my people that have been given the blessing of the gods. My people who have been given wings so that we may soar in the heavens with the gods while you filthy animals work in the dirt where you belong.”
“Stop calling us animals,” Rand shouted, finding it harder to hold back his urge to kill the Seraph.
“Why would I,” the Seraph asked smugly. “You are proving my point. Look at how angry you are. I can see your pathetic, animal emotions fighting to take control of you. I can see it in your beastly face. The faces of my people are beautiful, hand carved by the gods themselves. While your faces are ugly and hairy. Your noses are flat like the swine you tend to in your pens there. Even your feet bear hooves, just like the feet of your pigs.”
“Stop now,” Rand shouted. “Or I swear I will kill you no matter what the elder’s decision!”
“Then do it animal,” the Seraph shouted. “Prove me right! Show this world what an animal you still are. Through aside your facade of civility and give in to your true nature. Become the sad little beast I know you to be!”
Rand lifted the ax as high as he could, let out a blood-curdling scream, and sent the ax down with all the strength he had into the flesh of the Seraph. As the Seraph let out his own agonized scream, Rand’s wife let out a gasp of shock as she grabbed her young son and turned his innocent eyes away from the brutal scene. A spatter of blood smacked Rand in the face, and he felt a twinge of satisfaction as he again bit into the Seraph’s flesh with his ax. Rand’s wife tried to cover her son’s ears with her hands to protect the child from the screams of agony mixed with the aggressive growl of her husband. Rand’s wife closed her own eyes and listened to the sickening thud of the ax finding its target again and again until finally, the screaming died down to moaning. Rand’s wife took a deep breath, slowly opened her eyes, then turned to see what her husband had done.
“It is done,” Rand said, spitting on the broken, wingless Seraph lying on the ground before him. Rand looked up at his wife and son, who were staring back at him with expressions of pure shock, then quickly moved his gaze to the black wings still bolted to the farmhouse. the wings twitched slightly, and Rand was pleased to see blood dripping down from the areas that he had chopped away from the back of the Seraph. As he stared at the wings, Rand heard the sounds of his fellow villagers approaching behind him.
“You have kept your word,” Delphon, one of the village elders announced as he approached Rand and the broken Seraph lying before him.
“I have,” Rand said back. “I would not defy the wishes of the elders. I thank you for at least allowing me the honor of carrying out the monster’s sentence.”
“I know you do not agree with our decision Rand,” Rigus, another elder spoke up. “But, I hope in time you will come to understand it. We cannot allow ourselves to become like them. We cannot allow violence to become our way.”
“I do understand,” Rand said. “Deep down, I know that we must be the animals these monsters think we are. It is just hard to deal with the murder of my son.”
“We do hope this has brought some sort of closure for you,” Rigus said. “Perhaps you will see that justice has been done for your son’s death.”
“Perhaps,” Rand whispered to himself, then cleared his throat before addressing the villager. “Let’s get these wounds cauterized so we can get this monster out of our village for good then.”
“I brought a nice, hot iron for just that purpose,” Hark, the village blacksmith announced as he approached the broken Seraph.
Rand felt another twinge of satisfaction as he watched the blacksmith use his hot iron to cauterize the open wounds left in the Seraph’s back by the removal of his wings. Rand allowed himself to find pleasure in the pain filled screams of the monster that had taken his son from him. Though the elder’s had not allowed Rand to seek his vengeance in the death of the monster, taking the wings of the Seraph proved to be a favorable alternative. Rand closed his eyes and pictured his son’s face, then let out a long sigh that helped him release some of his pain into the heavens.
“You are with the gods now my son,” Rand whispered as he looked to the sky with tears in his eyes. “Though my heart is heavy, I take comfort knowing you are looking down on us. You will always be loved here.”