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Who am I?, he asked himself. Wandering through the plains of a home too soon forgotten, this former warrior could only imagine his past destiny. Flashes were the closest things to memories he had. Flashes of something he had done. Flashes of death and destruction. Everytime he closed his eyes, he could see a bearded man clutched in his white fists, blood running down the man's body. This man knew his skin was not naturally pale but he did not understand the cause of it. Had he been in a cave for centuries? Had he seen something so terrified it bleached his flesh? He could not fathom the sins he had committed. He knelt down beside the water and looked at himself. A scar etched its way from above his right eye to below his cheek. A red tattoo stretched from his left cheek to over his bald head, down his back, around and up his chest, and ended in a swirl on his left shoulder. A black goatee pointed down like an arrow on his chin. The only thing he knew was his own name; Kratos. Its very sound sent shivers up his spine. Something about his name burned his heart. It was as if this name had been cursed for all eternity.
Kratos' memory only reached back to hours before, below a tremendous cliff before a raging ocean and vicious tornadoes. That was the beginning of his life as he knew it. He awoke with a massive scar engraved in his chest and was soaked in blood. He had cleaned himself off and made his way to the rooftops of a city when he returned to reality. Beside the shoreline he sat, pondering his past. He spotted something in the water some distance away from him. It seemed like a person but Kratos was too far away to be certain. He entered the water and swam after it. As he approached it, he could make out features that resembled someone from long ago. Kratos drew near enough to discern that it was a man and so called out to him. "Wait!", he cried out, hoping he could help Kratos find answers. The man dove under the surface and Kratos followed, but before long had to draw a breath. He was too far down below, however, and desperately gasped for air. Strangely, he did. But how?, he thought. He shook his head, knowing it was not the time to find out the meaning of his breathing underwater.
Pursuing the man further into the deep ocean, Kratos passed by sunken houses and drowned bodies. At last, he came upon the sight of a temple. A foreboding temple that Kratos' instincts begged him to avoid at all costs. His curiousity outweighed his instincts and so he pressed onward. He opened the door, a massive bronze gate, and entered the temple. The man Kratos had followed was nowhere to be found. In his stead were two falchion-like blades on alters at the far end of the temple. Approaching them, Kratos heard screaming and looked around wildly, but then shrugged it off, as no voices can speak underwater. The blades glowed blue and silver, their hilts resembling angelic wings. As he grew closer, Kratos once again heard a scream but it was calling for him. He spun around to face a woman and child. They stood firmly on the floor and did not move an inch. Kratos stretched his hand out, but the image instantly vanished.
Resuming his exploration, Kratos turned to the blades and held them. A surge of memory flooded his mind as chains grew out of the blades' hilts and wrapped themselves around his gauntlets. He saw the courts and houses that he had passed, but they were full of life. Men walked about, women baked and cooked, and children played amongst themselves. Two children caught Kratos' eye. One was frail and long-haired and cowered behind the other, a bald and strong-looking boy. In front of them was a gang of ruffians. "Go on, Platos! Hide behind your big brother, Kratos!" taunted the leader of the gang. The bald-headed boy pushed the taunter away but another grabbed him. Within moments, the younger Kratos was being brutally assaulted while the boy he was guarding cowered behind a nearby well. Kratos blinked and instantly his younger self grabbed one of the ruffian's arms and twisted it.
A pained scream echoed out of the boy's throat as Young Kratos shattered his arm and brought his knee to the boy's stomach. Blood flew through the air and onto Young Kratos' face as he continued to bludgeon the child. Three of the other ruffians grabbed Young Kratos and threw him to the ground, kicking and punching his body. Blood puddled below the mass of children as Kratos' childhood self was beaten into the ground over and over. Looking through the mass of legs that surrounded him, Young Kratos saw one of the ruffians approaching his brother, Platos. Unwilling to allow such paltry odds to keep him from protecting Platos, he roared, throwing all of his attackers to the ground around him. His fists swifter than arrows, Young Kratos savagely fought his way through the group just in time to catch the fist of Platos' attacker. Using all of his strength, Young Kratos crushed the ruffian's hand in his own and kicked into the boy's leg, shattering his femur. The ruffian collapsed in a sobbing heap as the others at last realized that Young Kratos was more than capable of fending them off with his bare hands. The leader spat at Kratos' feet and retreated from the already-promising warrior.
The child form of Kratos wiped blood from his lip and turned to Platos. The ferocity in his eyes melted into compassion as he held out his hand. "Brother, are you hurt?" he asked, sincere and innocent, as if the entire brawl never took place. Platos silently shook his head and took his brother's hand. "I'm sorry, Kratos. I should have been stronger." he said, his voice sounding as if he was the one taking a beating. "Platos, you need only remember that strength is not always force," Young Kratos said as he helped his brother to his feet, "a Spartan never lets his back hit the ground. Right, Brother?" Platos smiled and nodded as he and Young Kratos walked off toward their mother's house.
Kratos at last returned to the moment at hand, unsure of what he had just witnessed. I have a brother? he thought. He recognized the house his younger self had walked to and swam towards it. As he approached, a statue caught his eye. It was hidden behind a large house that kept it from Kratos' view when he first came through. It was a statue of Kratos himself wearing an elaborate set of armor and holding two blades that looked just like the ones Kratos had just found. Turning his attention back to the house, Kratos entered and found a mural carved into the wall opposite him. It was an image of two men locked in combat. Kratos figured that he was one of the men since the mural was inside what he believed was his old house. Kratos turned to leave as a loud shriek pierced his ears. A green-skinned woman with the tail of a fish floated in front of Kratos and screeched again. Kratos covered his ears but the sound was too much for him to bear. The mermaid held up a spear and pointed it at Kratos' heart. He was caught off-guard as she rushed him...
TO BE CONTINUED...
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