Adam was shaving and cleaning his face, trying to look as decent as possible. He was in the small guest room that guards of Iron fort gave him and Annia to stay and rest. Now it was time to meet Mad Noah the leader of the southern people.
Adam and Annia both thanks to the baths in there felt fresh and clean Annia got in the room and gave him his washed clothes.
"Thanks, you feeling any better?" Adam asked Annia.
"yes, we are lucky that these people are kind and willing to help us, oh and we need to see Noah he needs to know how close Gorgans are to the Iron fort" she said. 'She looked better or she just got better in hiding her anger' Adam thought.
"sure but I don't think even Gorgans dare to pass through Ma'ash" Adam said as he was wearing his clothes
"yeah tha…" tried to speak but Adam cut her words short
"where is my sword?" he looked panicked and worried and it was weird for Annia to see him get upset for a sword that quickly as if he lost a loved one.
"don't worry they've put it in a weapon locker you can take it back when you want but first we got to see Noah"
"yeah sure let's go then" Adam said with ease, he was relieved to hear that.
Yesterday Adam was too tired to understand how Ironfort really looks like but as they were following the guard to Noah's command room he looked around as he guarded his eyes against the shining sun with his hand.
"This place is really something right" Adam looked amazed by all the artilleries and thick walls around them.
"yeah and I'm still wondering how these many people are living in here and how did they build this place" Annia said
"I doubt if any army can break through their defenses" he said
"you should take the stairs and you'll see him right after that, he is waiting for you" the guard said and stayed where he was.
As they entered the command room they saw Noah looking at a list of some sort. He was now in his sixties but against his old age, his body looked straight and quite masculine as his white beard and hair opposed his dark skin.
"I heard you've survived the Gorgan's attack, is that right?" Noah was still looking at the list.
"yes I actually got nearly killed by them and it's because of her that I'm here right now" Adam answered him
Noah took a look at them with no expression on his face "and what about you, girl, what happened to you?"
Annia stayed silent for a few seconds it was still hard for her to talk about the paper tower "we had a good peaceful life until they came and took it from us, we never harmed any of them"
"Are you the only survivors from their attack?" Noah asked
"probably, last time we saw people were going toward them with what they had in their hands so maybe Gorgans took them as slaves but we fled before they reach there" Adam said.
"I heard of the paper tower one of my people even traveled there and I have a drawing of the Paper tower too, I'm sorry to hear it's now gone though I cannot judge your leader's decision not until I'm in his shoes"
"thanks" Annia appreciated Noah's respect.
"But I want to stop them and prevent more tragedies like this to happen so I want you to write exactly what you saw from their army how many are they what kind of guns they have and how do they attack. I know it's hard but I need that information"
Adam still had one question for Noah "Sir, I don't think they attack here. I mean what good will come out of paving Ma'ash and try to conquer a place that let's be honest already looks impenetrable what makes you sure to say that they will come for you now?"
Noah took out a map to show Adam something "come here"
He said to Adam "look" Noah pointed at the southern lands "Gorgans in all these years managed to conquer and pillage all the parts of southern lands in that once were part of the old western and eastern empires all except Ma'ash and he wouldn't even know about this place if we weren't been betrayed by our kind"
"you mean they know about your fort?"
"yes and as you know Gussar swore that they'll conquer the whole world and they seem unstoppable but we had the time and we are prepared for them"
Adam wrote down all he remembered but reminding of the night
that he nearly died made him sure about something, that even this fort might fall when Gorgans arrive and he needs to leave this place behind as soon as he can.
Adam saw how Gorgans wiped out an entire army of Vina surely here he'll be safe but eventually, even these walls won't be enough. He wanted to believe that it will but in truth, it's just another place that will fall and Adam couldn't witness another massacre.
"I wrote all I could remember but if it's ok we will be leaving tomorrow"
Annia was surprised by what Adam said "but you said it yourself this place is impenetrable" Annia said
"you are safe here son you can make a stand-in here" Noah tried to convince Adam that he was safe.
"I know; I know but I just can't face them ok I need to leave"
"you are going to flee just like what you did in the Paper tower?" Annia turned bitter and disappointed in Adam.
"you are a true coward Adam and I won't follow you this time"
Annia left the command room without saying anything else
"you have a chance to face your fears and revenge those animals we have the power to make a stand son"
There was a lot that Adam liked to explain but to put them in words would take hours of explaining "I wish you luck but I'll be leaving tomorrow morning" Adam smiled wanly to show his appreciation.
"it's not my job to judge a lost man" Noah said before Adam can leave the room
Adam turned back but remained silent "but I can help him get close to the righteous path" Noah continued
"my men will give you warm clothing food and water enough for a week because where ever you choose to go weather just going to get colder" Noah smiled and Adam nod to thank him once more.
The hardest part was to say goodbye to Annia, Adam knew it might be the last time they see each other so before they go to their beds Adam talked to her "I'm sorry Annia" Adam sounded sorry too.
"I'm sure you will make it but I hope you understand that I'm not prepared" Adam tried to explain his feelings as Annia remained silent and didn't even look and Adam.
"either way I wish that you can forgive me one day for everything"
Adam never was good at saying goodbyes or handling his sorrows so as usual he kept most of his thought to himself and kept it simple.
Annia was crying because she knew it would be the last night that they can call each other friends but like Adam, she too hid her feelings. Buried them deep inside her heart and lift the blanket up to cover her face and tears and to don't see him leave in the morning.
Annia wanted to say goodbye and forgive Adam but she just couldn't, not yet.
Adam left the Iron fort in the middle of the night when the moon was still shining in the sky. Everyone was at sleep except the guards, he found it easier to face the coldness of the desert on his own rather than staying in the same room with Annia knowing he is the reason for his sadness.
Adam on his motorcycle and sword on his back and supplies for a week rode without looking back. again alone on the road and Adam only had one place in mind to go to, Uhadall. where the east ends and the reason he started his journey all those years ago.
He heard it a good peaceful place, he also heard that place doesn't exist but there was only one way to find out.
_ _ _
Adam was holding his sword tightly hugging it as his life depended on it as he was hiding in a shallow ditch made by explosions covered in mud and blood and praying in names of all the gods he knew to save him not from the eastern soldiers no but from the beast that ended the battle.
The deafening sound of Thir put fear in the heart of a few soldiers who were lucky enough to be out of his sight didn't dare even to cry for help or breathe deeply for it might be their last breath.
Adam was but a teen boy and the only battle he was ever fought in was the first and last, of its kind, the great battle of Zero where both empires lost to nature.
Eastern empire wanted to use the mighty eagle of Hons mountain to wipe out the entire western army but seemed like they didn't learn from history that Thir is and always will be untamable and nothing can change that.
They took Thir's peace and she took theirs, it cost him his left-wing but it cost humanity its civilization.
Adam still can remember his white feathers colored red by the blood of millions his silver shiny beak and sharp claws as pieces of flesh stuck on them and thousands of soldiers falling from the sky, maybe Adam didn't lose his life that day but he lost far more than anyone else can imagine.
Each night he would wake up by the nightmare of Thir flying above the sky casting a dark shadow that no light can clean off of the ground and blood rains over him and drowns him and he would wake to shout as his clothes are sweaty, it's been years since that horrible day and only one who made Adam forget about it was Lilith with her warm smile her gentle touch but now she was gone too and he had no friend like Annia to talk to even if it was about little things.
Now Adam was alone and the sound of his thoughts was somehow louder more distracting than the rusty old bike that he was riding on.
He was on the right path and a week was passed since he left Iron fort, he wondered if Annia and the southern people survived Gorgans attack or if he did the right thing to leave her behind but Adam regretting his choices was over when a sharp rock on the rocky road burst of his bike's tires.
Adam got off of his bike to use his spare tire, a few miles ahead there was an old sign that showed the name of the city nearby it was called Hons city.
All this time Adam ran away from his fears but he was only a few miles away from his biggest one, the mountains near Hons city were home to the beast that haunted Adam in his dreams for years. Thir ender of the world, but for now, he just had to change tires.