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August 2, 2013
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He staggered to the ruins, soaked with sweat. Blood dripped into his eyes in crimson rivulets. It was over. He was home now. Fatigue and nostalgia meshed together in a haze of memories and reality. The thick clouds above him blurring and molding together into a dreary gray sky matched his mood.

How long had it been since he had seen this place: Weeks, months, ages? He ran his hand over the remains of a house wall. The craggy mortar and soft moss beneath his fingers seemed strange. Had this been his home? The toppled chimney behind him was growing a wild garden in the fireplace. Was this really home?

It had been a long journey, there and back again. He had fought and even loved it at times. He had the scars to prove it. He squeezed his arm tighter. More blood seeped through his fingers. The last battle that plagued him was finally over. Disapproval was the only thing that had spared him. The dense air popped his ears, muffling everything but his thoughts.

He ground his teeth at the memory. How stupid had he been to not predict a rogue ambush?

He had let the prospect of being so close to home drop his defenses and war trained instincts like a fresh recruit. The sharp blow to his head left him fumbling for his senses and his blade. His skull was still throbbing from the fresh wound.

When the stranger saw his sheath emblazoned with his company’s insignia and rank. The optimistic assault turned to calm malice.

The rogue spat then put up their knife before vanishing into the hazy shadows off the roadside.

The sting of shame from a highwayman was like being tossed into a wasp’s nest. In a way, the stranger denied him the a well-earned death. Life was cruel and Death had become an odd comfort in his time.

Plip. A raindrop landed on his arm. He jerked back at the cold tap.

He shook the memories from his mind. Blood seeped and clung to his shirt then ran down his arm. His return was far from the joyous welcoming throng or the spiteful glares or stones and chicken’s blood being thrown his way. His greeting was solitude. After trials, battles, doubts, and horrors to last him more than a lifetime’s worth; silence and rest were perfect salutations. More drops fell around him a soft applause of watery hands.  

Was it worth it? Was this all he had to show for, to prove, this tiny, shambled hamlet around him? He slumped down. Blood clouded his eyes again. He swiped it away. The conglomeration of forgotten homes stood like sentry of guards around him. He scanned the remnants around him, He recalled scattered faces of friends, families, his family, to protect their memories, life and hardships with none but him to remember it. Others had survived, fled to other villages, only he dared to return here.

The breeze ruffled his hair before a gentle kiss of rain washed over him.  The pelt of water seeped into every garment giving refreshment. He smiled at the irony of the unspoken welcome. He closed his eyes, giving exhaustion a chance to retreat from the invigorating hospitality. The wind tugged his soaked shirt and vest with childlike eagerness to be noticed. Yeah, it was worth it, He was home. Tomorrow could wait for a proper welcome. This was all that mattered now. It was worth it.
A story to accompany :icondragonsong12: 's picture fav.me/d1emqlt Here's hoping you enjoy. For some reason upon seeing this I was drawn in by the juxtaposition of the expression and mood the piece offered. I didn't feel like the young man was a lone warrior or mercenary for hire, but a soldier having returned home with a little worse for wear with an intimacy of doubts and a kinship to death that seems to be known only to comrades in arms. Yet there is this spark of reassurance that really drew my inspiration.

3-31-14
Holy moley! I am a day late to notice this, but I never expected this to ever occur. Thank you so much for the DD! Also thank you to OHiNeedTea and GrimFace242 for the suggestion and feature! and the rest of you for your amazing comments!
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Daily Deviation

Given 2014-03-30
For Some Reason I Think Home by Lupina24 ( Suggested by OHiNeedTea and Featured by GrimFace242 )
:iconfreshmonkeys:
freshmonkeys Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014
this is well written. Describing the raindrops as applause was great.

I'd remove the backstory. It's good to keep the reader guessing, and it interrupts the flow of the scene. If this were part of a longer story you could add it in later or hint at it. Well done nonetheless.
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:iconraze-two:
Raze-Two Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
This is a beautifully written piece, one which I can only hope to replicate.
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:iconlupina24:
Lupina24 Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you so much. I am certain that with practice, perseverance and a keen eye you can write just as wonderful piece.
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:iconraze-two:
Raze-Two Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks :D
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:iconlupina24:
Lupina24 Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
no problem. Keep writing and grab a story you are passionate to tell.
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:iconerfdog10:
erfdog10 Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I find that this piece is really impressive. The detail is evident, and the story well-written. I would only say that the sentence length could use a bit more variation in certain places -- however, you definitely make this writing style work, so it's really just an observation. Nice job on this!
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:iconlupina24:
Lupina24 Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for your comments and observation. I'm just completely blown away right now. but I do see your point on varying sentence lengths. I'm just happy to hear that you found it worthwhile and enjoyed it.
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:iconerfdog10:
erfdog10 Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome! I would be blown away too, so I don't blame you.
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:iconlupina24:
Lupina24 Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks. This was the best surprise I have gotten in a while.
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:iconwolvenmage:
Wolvenmage Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014
Reading this feels... it makes me feel like I'm there. Like the story is what's happening to me, it's that relatable. It's rare to find something that can do that...
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