For too long now he had battled against this land and its people conspiringto control his destiny, to destroy him, wear him down and kill him. From theraging firestorms that threatened to engulf him before levelling wholevillages, flash floods that swept him away and almost drowned him, to thepeople who lied and cheated him, ex lovers who fled taking all his gold andtreasure, and friends he helped selflessly but in his times of need faded intothe mist.
Through all his trials as the seasons came and went, and came aroundagain, he found only a meagre few true friends he knew he could trust and relyupon, and his most devoted and faithful friends of all, his two hounds Macduffand Bianca, who stood by his side though every adversity, never complainingthrough his ever increasing bad fortune, until finally, two full moons past,they succumbed to the final battle and age had taken them.
He was tired and growing older, his long flowing locks were greying(though not thinning) and his body though physically intact was beginning toshow signs of wear.
Using his last remaining meagre resources of gold and his few contacts,he travelled the land until finally he found a trader willing to transport himfrom this cruel land. With a sense offinality he exchanged the last of his treasure for a letter guaranteeing himsafe passage, and made the deal. He was leaving.
After a time of worry and soul searching, killing time by frivolousentertainment and excess drink, the appointed day arrived. As dusk began tofall he made his way to the port. A recent friend had offered him carriagethere which he gratefully accepted. Arriving at the port they bid Farwell, “Goodbye dear friend. I thank youfor you charity, May the gods smile down on you. Until we meet again, in this world or the next.” They embraced, andwatching his friend depart into the night he made his way into the port.
He was early. Searching he found the representative of the ship he wasto depart on. Exchanging the letter hehad purchased, he completed the transaction and secured his place on thetransportation away from this land, forever.
He had time to kill, so he browsed the stall of the traders inside theport, offering a variety of exotic goods at special prices, but he neitherneeded or wanted any of them, but it helped past the last few hours he had leftin this place.
Suddenly in the distance he saw a figure. A figure he thought he knew.As the figure moved, obviously searching looking around for some familiarity herecognised it. Pushing though the crowd of fellow travellers he made his waytowards the figure. As he came close recognition took place. “Oh”, theyexclaimed, and rushing towards him hugged him.
“I got your message you were leaving but I didn’t know if I’d make it tosay goodbye, but I have!” He was happy,of the few friends, this was one he was glad to see before he departed.
“Thank you for coming. It means to me more than words can express. I’mso glad you could make it. I will never return to this land but if by futurefate you find yourself in my kingdom, I will always have a safe room for you torest your head.”
“Thank you. May the gods provide favourable winds for you journey. Imust depart, I have a long journey ahead this night myself, and have newadventures to face in the morrow.”
With a final embrace she departed.
As the witching hour approached, he climbed onto the transport and madehimself as comfortable as possible for the long journey ahead. Soon he feltmovement beneath him, and with more than a twinge of sadness he realised, itwas the end of an era, one life was over and another was beginning, and withone last look out of the window at the land he was leaving, they departed.
After a long and tiresome journey with just one port of call to take onmore supplies, the transportation finally arrived at his destination and as he disembarked intothe early evening light he realised he had returned. Returned to the kingdom.The United Kingdom.
(This was written on my return to England after an unhappy spell of years in Australia. (5 years out of 16.)