A Baby Boomer, I grew up in the 1960s—during the Viet Nam War years. Virtually every young man in my high school and college eventually enlisted or got drafted. Many were sent off to fight in a war that no one understood.
My college boyfriend served three tours of duty in Viet Nam. He was a brave young “proud American.” And in spite of the surging protests against the War, he felt it his patriotic duty to due his part to defend this great land.
During his third tour, he was killed in a raid on a village. His division had already captured it twice before. Each time, they were forced to pull back, and then re-take it. Why? He never knew. Only that far too many lives were lost on both sides during each attack.
The tremendous number of individuals who senselessly lost their lives in that war was only part of the horror these soldiers faced. Like Jake, they did not return home as heroes. But, instead, faced an even greater challenge—the smearing and hatred of a country that blamed them for the war.
Yes, there were atrocities committed by our soldiers. But the worst atrocity of all was perpetrated by the politicians who sent our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, and friends into a war we never should have fought. A war that our troops were not allowed to win. Unfortunately, Viet Nam wasn’t the first time this has happened, and, even worse, our politicians keep doing it.
Here is Jake’s Story…
Shortly after King Toeyad assumed the throne, the feuding among the twelve Clans of Calabiyau escalated into an all-out war. This, however, was no ordinary war, just as Calabiyau is no ordinary world.
Battles laced with magic know very few bounds. Spelled stones become deadly landmines seconds after the perpetrator passes over them. Trees limbs burst into flames without warning. And vines coil around unsuspecting victims like anaconda to prey.
On this afternoon, Jake was leading a group of twenty soldiers through the woods just outside the Castle. Their mission was to undo the spells that held the area hostage so General Minz’s army could pass through it.
The sun was straight overhead as Jake and his troops discovered the last of the spelled areas. But this was no ordinary spell. Every attempt to release it seemed to create and even greater threat. Three of Jake’s soldiers were instantly suffocated in a whirlwind of leaves that came out of nowhere. Seven more soldiers simply vanished.
Jake immediately ordered his troops to retreat, but as they were attempting to leave, a massive tree branch burst into flames. He shoved the two soldiers beneath it out of harms way. In doing so, however, ground creeping vines jerked him off his feet, and the flaming branch came crashing down on top of his legs.
The other soldiers struggled to free him. But there was little they could do. The intense heat from the flames had already seared through Jake’s ankles. He lost both feet that day and nearly didn’t survive.
Though a war hero, Jake was now an “Imperfect”—someone who is not physically perfect. As such, he was no longer allowed to live in Calabiyau. Not wanting to further disgrace his mother and father, as soon as he was strong enough, he transported to the only place he could—the savage dead-land called The Mists.
Though Jake couldn’t walk, he could still fly, and survived for several years, alone, with nothing more than his wits and magic to keep him alive. It was during this time he befriended the wolf, Ari, and rescued Leanne—a five-year-old child who was sent away when she lost her sight. Later, they met Selena, moved to the Château, and began rescuing other Imperfects.
The laws in Calabiyau have changed. But just as in the human world, many of the attitudes toward physically challenged individuals have not.
Thankfully, however, our soldiers have regained their rightful place as heroes.