In the distance, beyond the mountains, there was the sound of beating drums. The air was weighed heavy with hatred. The war they called "Ochiyaki" had lasted for more than 20 years. Each side had had its victories, and its share of loss. Simon and Milo remember both well, and hope never to re-visit that time. For you see, Milo and Simon were enemies in the truest sense. They hated each other with a zeal that came from their convictions, a sense of duty that could compel them to kill.
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Milo had been drawn into the Ochiyaki when his brother Jurgen was killed by a mammoth "Wasabi" bomb off the Morgan peninsula. As a young boy, he never dreamed that he could fight, would fight...but fight he did, and well.
Simon came to the Ochiyaki as a sad young man, who had never known family, never known the touch of his mother or the boisterous, sometimes embarrassing, laugh of his father. He was raised by the government and, like many young boys and girls of the time, met the call to war when he reached the "acceptable" fighting age. He was never sure what it was he was fighting for. He knew that winning in battle meant making it to the next day, another meal, another chance to find a friend. Even in war, when misery was the rule of the day, Simon could find no one. Simon was alone.
Simon and Milo were sent to face each other at sea. Milo worked as an oarsman on the large shipped called "TIKIWA." He was the pride of the ship, able to pull the mammoth vessel forward with the dipping of his oar alone, and for this reason his division had never lost a battle. He would always greet you with a smile, as sad as he may have been, and would always whistle the same mysterious tune.
Simon was an "Enichya." Prized for their slightness in stature, cunning and speed these young men and women were frequently sent into battle on the oceans where their weight allowed for ships to offer up full divisions without comprimising the need for heavy artillery.
It was a brisk autumn day off the Morgan, directly east of "Te" bay. The swells were high, and the ships rolled across their huge peaks with amazing agility. "The two men fought like angry dogs, with neither gaining an upper hand." Simon was feeling ill, and he tried to stay as close to the rail as he could, just in case the movement became too much for him. He thought about his life, and how much he hated having to fight in a war he had never really understood. He wondered about life beyond the Morgan, and whether he would ever know anything of it. Simon also wondered if he would ever know love, and deep down he knew he would do anything he could to understand what it was to live in the heart of another. It was then that he caught a glimpse of the TIKIWA, cresting over a wave 200 "cubits" away. He could see the oars cutting through the water as the ship moved in his direction. Simon immediately alerted his commander. Before long, instructions had been conveyed to every corner of the ship and slowly it made its dramatic turn toward the TIKIWA. Simon was afraid. He had never fought in a real battle before. There had been drills, and he had done well, but today would be a matter of life or death.
For a moment, Simon lost sight of the enemy ship, he scanned the deep valleys of water; and saw nothing. He breathed easy for a moment hoping that perhaps his ship had out maneuvered the massive enemy vessel. Suddenly the TIKIWA rolled over a wave next to him and rammed deep into his ship's hull. He could hear the violent screech of splintering wood, and the hulls cracking under the immense force of each ship's weight. There was smoke and chaos. Warriors were screaming and running, calling their comrades to battle.
Seeing the gaping hole in the TIKIWA's hull, he jumped from his ship and pulled himself into the enemy vessel. He could hear the battle raging overhead, and he made his way through the lower deck, wading through cold water and debris. It was dark and as he neared a small staircase, he could hear a rustling behind him. He turned slowly, in time to see the hulking figure of Milo descending upon him from a stowage rack in the ceiling. The two men fought like angry dogs, with neither gaining an upper hand. Simon matched each of Milo's blows with a single precise one of his own. Simon was smaller, yes, but his will to know love gave him the strength to keep such a massive opponent at bay. Before long the men drifted out through the hole and were fighting in the open water. Milo was a much better swimmer than was Simon. The little "Enichya" tried as hard as he could but before long, Milo had gained the upper hand and was preparing to squeeze the life out of his little enemy. Simon was frightened. Simon did not know that Milo too was frightened for, despite his size, he had never had to fight a man who's face and eyes he could see, never had to accept the responsibility that came with killing.
It was then that an eerie calmness descended over Simon and Milo . The water was still, and the noise was gone. Simon felt warmth against his back, and could see confusion in Milo's eyes. Milo had stopped struggling and was staring at the sky just behind Simon's head. Simon didn't know what to do. Was this a trick, or should he take his eyes from Milo? "It was then that an eerie calmness desended over Simon and Milo . The water was still, and the noise was gone."
Simon took a deep breath, turned, and his rectangular deep, blue eyes swelled with tears. The sky had opened and a bright helix of light shone down on the two warriors. Through the light, he could see a dark shadow, a figure, who motioned the men to climb a narrow band of steps. Simon looked to Milo and for the first time saw that Milo was as afraid as he. He reached up and touched his enemy's shoulder. The man who, seconds earlier, would have taken his life lay his hand upon Simon's shoulder and together they climbed. The men could see the Morgan beneath them. It was as if they were in a room of glass, hovering above the lands that many had fought so long and hard for. There was a table ahead of them. The table was sleek and modern, unlike anything the two men had ever seen before. Upon the table was set a shiney instrument with six strings. Simon looked to Milo; he edged forward, towards the instrument and when he was but inches away, a booming voice beckoned from all around them...
"There has been too much fighting. Too many people have been hurt, too many families shattered, too many loves lost. Only true love holds the key to your destiny"
"Who are you?" Simon asked. "Where and what is this place?"
The voice continued. "You men have been chosen for your talents, which you both must discover on your own. Chosen to live in a time that is not your own, sentenced to walk the earth in search of true love. You will not know where you are going until you get there. You could be sent to anytime, to anyplace. You will have to adapt as friends and discover how you may work together to spread a message of love, a message of peace. The six stringed instrument on the table is for Milo. He will know what to do with it."
Simon reached for the instrument and handed it to Milo. Milo studied it, admiring its beauty, plucked its strings and marveled at its sound. For the first time, the two men smiled at each other.
"Good luck to you both, and remember that you can find love anywhere, if you look for it. Your first stop...EUROPA."
With that and a flash of bright light the men were transported to the beginning of a great adventure.
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