When Luka died he was 21, a young man by any means. He was unlucky enough to step on a black mamba”s tail while deep in the forest, a mistake you only make once. As the reptile’s venom made its way up his left leg, it’s toxins began to eat away at his insides, infecting muscle, polluting his blood. He knew he was going to die in a couple of hours. Alone.

He felt his chest begin to tighten as the venom made its way to his heart. Blurry dots began appearing in his vision. His hand began to twitch and he was sweating heavily. He staggered as his foot caught on something in the underbrush. He stumbled against a tree and leaned himself against it. The while world spun around him. He sat down with his back towards its trunk. There was a low rumble in the sky as the rain gods announced their imminent arrival. Their voices drowned the shrill dirge  that Chien, his warrior spirit, was humming into his ears and making him want to shut his eyes. The mango tree danced in the wind and three of its fruits fell within arm’s reach.


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