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A Sister's Cruelty
“Sisters! It is time to band together. Too long have we lived in this fear. It is time to prove our strength once and for all. Tomorrow we will attack the Spartans and be rid of them forever. There will be no more attacks after this one. We will capture the leader and kill all who oppose us. Are you with me?”
Lexdray, pleased with herself, ended the speech there. The Amazons would attack whether they agreed with her or not. No one dared to question their fearless leader. The Amazons were taller than all other women, but Lexdray exceeded all others height. Just the sight of her was enough to make you surrender in battle. One glance at her and you could tell that her life was war. She lived and breathed for the battles that she wished to fight. A single look into her terrifying black eyes was enough for anyone to see that she was bloodthirsty and merciless. She had a terrifying beauty. Her sleek, black hair was the same shade as her eyes, which just made them look more startling.
As Lexdray walked away from the stone temple that she preached all speeches from, Avanra came running up to her. Avanra was a young girl, just the age where the villagers made the transformation from girls to warriors. She was a kind, thoughtful young woman that cared for all living things, even the Amazons dreaded enemies, any and all men. She was not as tall as most other warriors in her tribe, she was the only one with yellow hair, instead of black, and one of the very few with eyes that were any color than black, she was the only green eyed girl the tribe had ever seen. Avanra was a soft beauty, with a round face, instead of the harsh angular faces of the other warriors.
Avanra timidly approached her terrifying leader. Her whole body shook. She knew that voicing the question that she was afraid to ask could have a great punishment, but she felt this question had to be asked. “Lexdray, I know you are tired of attacking the Spartans every month, but do you really think that this is the best way of going about it? I mean there are better ways of solving problems than with blood shed.”
Lexdray glared down at Avanra, infuriated that anyone would dare doubt her judgment. “How dare you question me, you foolish girl,” Lexdray screamed. “I am the leader of this tribe and what I rule is law!” With that Lexdray struck Avanra to the ground. “If you ever dare doubt me again, your punishment will be grave.” Lexdray left Avanra there, an example to all that dare have reservations about her rulings.
The whole village feared Lexdray. There was no woman alive in that tiny village that dare speak aloud their disdain for her ruthlessness. The village was small, and full of only women. Men were the enemy. It was man that caused all their suffering. Women in the tribe hated them, but didn’t feel that they were completely useless. They brought men in once a year, to keep the tribe of warriors alive. If any male children were born they were killed immediately. Men were not allowed in the tribe, but that didn’t necessarily mean that men everywhere should die.
There were shrines everywhere of their favorite goddess, Athena, the goddess of war. All of the warriors in the village wished to be like Athena, courageous in battle, yet wise and compassionate in times of peace. There hadn’t been a day of peace since Lexdray came into power. All in the tribe loathed her for her blood lust, all but her right hand woman, Alysinra.
Alysinra was almost an exact copy of Lexdray, except that she was a head shorter and always looked fearful. Alysinra was a spineless, fearful woman that dared not utter one word against anyone. She didn’t have a mind of her own, and did what anyone told her. For this reason she was Lexdray’s favorite. Lexdray would order the little coward to do all her bidding. She now was in charge of organizing all the warriors for the mornings attack. As she walked through the ranks to see that all was in order, Avanra looked at her feet as she kicked the ground. She wanted to see if anyone else believed as she did, but she was afraid to say anything. After a long minute her interest in what others thought outweighed her fear of what Alysinra would say. She yelled after the Lexdray’s ultimate follower.
“Alysinra, you can’t honestly be so cruel as to support the slaughter of a whole tribe to satisfy the grudge of one individual.”
“Avanra! Lexdray is our honored leader. You would be wise to stop this talk immediately if you wish to live. Anymore disloyal talk from you shall not be tolerated.” That was the last anyone spoke against Lexdray and her plan. The tribe attacked in the morning, killing all in their path. As planned the four leaders of the Spartans were taken hostage. The battle was short, but bloody. The women lost none, but the Spartans suffered great losses.
Lexdray was extremely pleased with herself, so she decided to be merciful. She did sentence all the men to die, but she wouldn’t be killing them all her self, or all at once, and she would wait a week between each execution. She ordered a feast in celebration. The feasting lasted a week. At the end of the feasting the first prisoner was executed by Lexdray herself. Avanra was horrified at Lexdray. She not only disagreed with her, but Lexdray had ordered Avanra to execute the next one.
Avanra couldn’t believe that her leader would have been that cruel. She went for a walk to where the prisoners were being kept. She didn’t know what she was going to do there, but she felt like she needed to be there for some reason. She wanted to see the men that were sentenced to die. She wanted to try to see which one would die because of her.
When she arrived there she was appalled by how horrible they were being treated. The three remaining men were forced to be in a pen so small that two pigs wouldn’t even fit in it. She wished that there was something she could do for them.
Then one of the prisoners looked up. He was the most beautiful man she had ever seen. He had eyes that were just as green as hers, and hair that was just as yellow. He was a tall strong man, with features that should belong to a god. This man was completely, and breathtakingly perfect in every way. Avanra couldn’t believe that the person she was looking at was to die.
The man looked up and saw her gaping at him. He was surprised that she hadn’t started to yell or mock him, like all of the other women did. He saw kindness in her eyes that he didn’t find in any other Amazon.
“What’s your name?” Avanra asked before she even knew that she was doing so. At the sound of her voice the man jumped. He wasn’t used to any of the women talking to him, only yelling.
“I’m Androcles,” the man said. “And who are you?”
“My name is Avanra. I’m so sorry about how Lexdray and the others are treating you.” And that’s all it took. That simple conversation was enough to make the two fall in love. From that day for the rest of the week Avanra visited the prisoners. She and Androcles talked about anything and everything. He asked her about why she was so kind. She said it was because she saw her mother and many sisters kill a small army of men before she was old enough to feel as every other woman in the village felt about men. That event changed her life and view on the village forever.
Alysinra noticed Avanra missing from her training. One day she decided to follow Avanra. When she arrived at the prisoners’ pen and saw Avanra and Androcles kissing and holding each other she became furious. She jumped out of her hiding spot and yelled that Lexdray would know what the two were doing. Lexdray was furious when she found out and ordered the next execution to be held the next morning. The man sentenced to die was Androcles, and Avanra was to be the warrior to kill him.
Avanra was heartbroken. Not only was her love to die, but he was to die at her hand. She didn’t know how she could live after he was gone. All of the other women tried to remind her of the evils of men, but she would not be swayed.
Finally the day had come. Androcles was brought to the great stone temple where he was to die. Avanra was there waiting with Lexdray and Alysinra. Avanra was sobbing while Lexdray was smiling. Finally Lexdray handed her the spear but Avanra dropped it. She stood there refusing to kill the man she loved.
Lexdray would not let this man live. She ordered Alysinra to do it while Avanra watched and left them alone. Alysinra picked up the spear and hurled it at Androcles. Just before it hit him, Avanra jumped in front of him and was hit. When she fell Androcles took the spear and killed Alysrina.
Androcles grabbed the dying Avanra and ran. They ran for days until he was certain that they were safe from the Amazons. The two stopped in the middle of a forest. Androcles left Avanra to go hunting. Avanra had gotten worse since she was attacked. He knew there wasn’t much time left with her. As he hunted he thought of how everything had gone wrong in the past two weeks. Two weeks ago he was happy and free in his village. Now he’s hiding out with an Amazon warrior in a forest.
When he came back to Avanra, she was dead. He wept for days at the loss of his love. He had only known her for a short time, but in that time he had been happier than ever. Only in a cruel, horrible world would such a good and kind person be killed. He couldn’t stand to live in a world like that without his true love to take away the evil. He carried Avanra’s body to a cliff. Androcles looked down at the raging rapids hundreds of feet beneath them. The water looked like a better place to spend eternity than buried in the ground by a tribe of sisters that were too cruel to care about the feelings of all the warriors. He held Avanra tight to his body, closed his eyes, and jumped.
Fairview Park, Ohio
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"When one door closes, another opens. But we often look so long at the closed door that we never see the one that's been opened for us" -Helen Keller