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Gather your wit and pay me heed,
A story I will tell to thee,
“Long ago, in a far away land”;
Thus the tale I weave began.

Allow me to preface this tale by saying that I love this team. I love these people. Last year I told a story using the members of our team as metaphorical characters in an allegorical story. I’m not sure if my readers enjoyed it, but I did: it gave me a chance to combine my creative fantasy writing and the personality analysis I have been doing on each member of the team. So, without any further ramble or rant:

Intrepid:

Long ago, in a far away land, 24 determined souls surrendered to the One to follow His plan for their lives unto the ends of the earth. Little did they know that was exactly where He intended to take them. From diverse places, with each a different skill set, the 24 were gathered under the banner of a great warlord for the purpose of bringing peace to the end of the world: Africa.

The journey was long, the path treacherous; often so narrow that they feared for falling, yet they continued to climb, following in the footsteps of their Captain. Before they reached their destination, the far side of a great mountain, a mighty blizzard was stirred within the heart of the mountain pass. Many of the warriors fell behind and were lost from the squad. The ragged few that remained pressed on through to the valley on the other side of the mountain, there they made camp for the night. The following day was spent in the valley as the squad waited to be joined by their comrades but they were not found. The sorrowful soldiers chose to press on to the goal and finish the mission, hoping and praying that their comrades would follow their trail and rejoin them soon.

~Meanwhile~

The lost squadron, under the command of Dav the Indomitable suffered through many a cold night and weary mile until they saw the light at the end of the mountain pass: they had made it through! The lost squad found the camp of their fellow soldiers and rested there that night knowing they were not very far behind.

The following day they journeyed as far as they were able but we’re not able to reach their target destination even then. It was not until the day after that they rejoined their compatriots. There was much joy and excitement among the squad at their reunion, yet they noticed there was one who was missing: a young, veteran warrior named Victori had been lost to the mountains. The squad sent a local officer Andre and their second-in-command Dav to search for the lost soldier in the mountains; but the others pressed on with the mission.

It was not long before they found themselves in the midst of a terrible battle. Enemies pressed in from every side, they were pinned! Michela and Torad, the two commanders of the squad ordered Abi, Marus, Rachelle, Bekaia, and Deb the Destroyer to protect the children of the villages. Michela was struck with a fiery dart from enemy lines and went down, Maliodar and a warrior called Bain rushed to her aid as the others stood their ground. Weston, a fearless young warrior led a charge to the claim the open field across from their encampment: better fighting ground. At his side was a beast of a warrior known as Mikal the Raging Bull, and behind them rushed a young squire named Christoph.
The three fought bravely, but their initial charge had expired. The enemy began to close in. Weston swung his blade to catch a stroke aimed at Christoph’s young head. Mikal cleared the field of foes with his cleaver and boisterous bellows as he pushed the enemy back. There were too many, the three could not hold the ground long; the from the brush stepped an archer from the southern marsh: Abi had come to their aid. Leaping before her to stop I rushing does from reaching Abi, a warrior with dual daggers, a rough and tumble brawler named Joseline barreled into the lines in front of Abi. The archer’s arrows drew the attack away from the three warriors and split the enemy forces. Mikal and Weston hacked down the frenzied does that cast themselves upon their blades and Christoph thrust his blade at every opportunity. Each stroke cost the enemy another minion.

The enemy was persistent, time and again they sent droves of fighters to the fray. Then focused their efforts on the Raging Bull. A troop of enemy archers sent a barrage of flying darts at the Bull and struck him hard; but it was not enough to bring him down. Not yet.

On a distant battlefield, a group of medics led by local commander Roxelle threw themselves into the line of fire and rescued as many of the villagers from the battle lines as they were able. Rob, a stout, skilled fencer, a swift and intentional swordsman cut off the minions that clung to the downed villagers, which sought to strike them in their weakness. Ricardo, a wild man from the Norse lands with long, black dreadlocks dove headfirst into the fire and knocked out the enemies in droves with his massive war hammer.

Once lines were clear, the warriors pulled back to their fortress to recoup their losses for the impending combat of the following day. There must’ve been some protecting force over them at night, for not one fell prey to enemy attacks during the darkness. On the morrow they found death and destruction wreaked upon the land and all its inhabitants. Despair at the monumental task ahead nearly caused some to lose heart. Many influential members of the squad took turns motivating the soldiers with words of the One and passages from the Book of Truth.

Then it was back to the defense of the villagers. The passion of these brave fighters was admirable, they fought like men and women possessed; and of a truth, they were: wholly consumed by the cause of their Captain. Mikal, young Weston, and Bekaia charged again to take the field for their Captain! Bain with twin swords in hand flanked them on the left, Abi and Marus, the deadly archers from the southern marsh marched behind; sliding arrows from their quivers, notching them, and firing one after another to clear a path for the frontline into the fray. Fighting as one warrior rather than 6 they drove the enemy back to the hills. A stray arrow fired in desperation hit Mikal in the back and he went down. The others drug him to the fortress and safety. Mikal was safe and the wound was not too severe, so the others joined the rest of the squad under fire at a small village of helpless children on the other side of the town.

~Meanwhile~

The medics had been cut off from the rest of the squad and had to retreat to a small fortress in the apex of the town. Joseline, Deborah, and Maliodar led an attempt to break the lines and join the two medics fenced in their fortress trying to care for the wounded villagers. Bekaia and Weston met up with them in the middle of battle led by Roxelle. The team began to think they were invincible, carelessly Bekaia dropped her guard for a second and Weston deftly covered, diverting a blade aimed at her throat. She breathed a heavy sigh, having nearly lost her life. Not a moment could be given to the enemy. Roxelle planted a foot in front of Bekaia and stepping in swung a furious spinning backlash, finished the beast and all around it. Spurred by the strength of the One, the three, in righteous anger broke through enemy lines.

When they reached the fort in which Ricardo and Rob were fenced, they saw the two great warriors standing over a fallen comrade, protecting her from the droves of assailants. As they neared the duo, the group rallied and hacked the enemy lines to ribbons. Minions fled and the incoming group of the squad saw that Joseline had been injured. But that wasn’t the end of the problems.

~Hope

At the village of children the rest of the squad made ready fortifications and held the village: stalwart against all attempts at siege. The village was impenetrable! So the squad taught the young ones to handle a sword and bow, training them to fight and defend others. They poured their knowledge into these children, the future of their squad.

The squad pulled back to their fortress that night and found both Mikal and Joseline healed and ready for battle. They rested that night in security and faith of the coming dawn’s victory. In the night Dav and Andre returned in stealth to the fort with the lost squad member Victori. And hope rose as the sun when morning came.

~Now~

United as a single fighting force, the squad stormed the enemy castle. Michela ordered a small force of some of the younger, more agile warriors, including: Abi, Marus, Bekaia, Weston, Zavac(a young, ambitious rebel fighter), Jorash, Victori, and a brash young commander named Kalev to find a way into the castle. Dav the Indomitable led a rout to the eastern wall as a diversion with many of the more stout soldiers like Mikal, Ricardo, and Torad. Several of the others split to do the same at the western wall.

As the diversions were in place and the signal given, torches were throw over the walls and into the heart of the castle. The guards were distracted and Kalev uses the momentary distraction to throw a grappling hook over the wall. He climbed with three of the others following. Weston waited on the other side with those remaining. They stood in silence at the base of the great darkling shadow of a bastion before them, watching three tiny people ascend higher and higher. Fists clenched in anticipation, hands growing tight and stuff on the handles of weapons, feet shuffling and pacing without sound, they waited for the gate to open, prepared to lead a charge and hold the breach until the entire squad could blitz through.

Kalev dropped down on the wall softly, his feet barely making a tap on the hard cobble. Jorash dropped lightly behind him. They both stayed in a crouch in the shadows, but only for a moment. Light was coming. The One filled them with power and they sprinted toward the door to the gatehouse. Enemy darts from crossbows whizzed toward them, but as they impacted these light filled warriors the darts simply glanced of. The One had become their shield! Abi came up last and stood on the wall, arrows in hand ready to cover the two running toward the gatehouse. As Weston waited at the doors, his troop heard the sounds of clanging steel as Kalev and Jorash fought the gatekeepers. Then, there was silence. The winch sounded and the portcullis began to lift. When it was just high enough to clear, one by one they rolled under and into the yard. Abi stood vigil on the wall. Bekaia and Marus flanked to provide cover. Weston grabbed a torch from beside the gate and waved it above his head. The signal! They were in.

~Charge!~

Torad called out to his troop and they charged toward the opened gate with sabers drawn and bows at the ready. The enemy had noticed the signal as well and turned from their distractions to see warriors filling the castle. They responded instantly and tried to stifle the attack in swarms. The squad fought for hours, many growing weary and weak from exhaustion; but they never backed down or gave in. In a moment of inspiration, Mikal the Raging Bull began to sing songs of hope and light in the One. Soon, the entire squad sang and they were filled with new strength.

They heard shouts behind them and turned expecting to see overwhelming enemy forces. What the saw, however, was all the villagers who were able with hoes, axes, and other tools prepared to fight. These villagers were tired of living under the oppression of the Dark One and his minions. With Samwise at their helm and beside him his brothers in arms, Simeon, Rivengard, and General Francisco, the people of the village stormed the castle and pushed the enemy back, protecting the squad who had come to protect them.

There was light now in the eyes of the villagers where once there was darkness. The One had filled them with His power, victory was for the taking. Zavac, Christoph, Joseline, and Bain rushed into the secondary gate as the minions tried to escape. Throwing themselves into the gateway, they held off the enemy, but they were not alone. A troop under Samwise barreled through. Marus gathered to her Rachelle, Denecia, Deb the Destroyer, Maliodar, and Victori to protect the troops from the archers on the left battlements. They each fired with sure and deadly accuracy.

Likewise, Abi called together Bekaia, Pamina, Deborah, and Christoph to take care of the foes on the right battlements. But she needn’t have chosen them all, for with one precise and skilled shot from her mini ballista, Pamina destroyed the entire section of the battlement upon which the enemy stood. The foes fell to the ground and were crushed by massive rubble.

The charge plunged to the throne room, Michela and Torad were the last to enter and found the others staring at an empty throne. The Dark One had fled, he was defeated and driven from this land. All of the people rejoiced with great gladness, praising the One for His protection and faithfulness! The enemy was defeated, the squad’s job was done.

Each one of them had been hand selected for this mission by the One out of very different lifestyles. Would they ever see each other again? Would they all see each other like they do now? Likely not. So, before they journeyed back home, they shared some time together, got to know each other’s heart a little bit better. They may not all be together again in this life, but great will be the reward in Paradise for the few who chose to follow the One to death and even to the end of the earth.

~Conclusion~

This has been a fictional telling of real life events. The names have been changed, but perhaps you can still guess who is who. It’s been fun, look for more updates on allenministries.com and photos of the trip on the Hope Missions International page!

As always, thanks for reading.

–the anonymous novelist

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