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The Final Blessing
After the Gods created Man, they gave him Woman to be his friend and companion as he journeyed through life. To woman they gave a chest containing blessings for her descendants. Woman was told never to open the chest, lest these precious gifts escape. Curiosity finally led Woman to open the chest and the divine blessings were lost--all but one.
Elpis shook his silver mane as the darkness surrounded him. How long had it been since he had been last called? As the first born of those who guarded the final blessing of the gods he was only summoned when there seemed to be nothing left but defeat and despair. There were other guardians in the mortal realms; they were the ones who should be answering the normal calls. He stepped onto the ancient path and felt the ground pull at his hooves and the air grow heavy with the despair calling to him. When the darkness cleared, he found himself standing on a beach. He tossed his head and a golden glow from his horn surrounded him, pushing back the chill that hung like the touch of death. The stench of rotting bodies mixed with the salt spray of the ocean, creating a palpable fog. Red tinged water swirled around his hooves as he carefully followed the call that brought him here.
He stepped around a large outcropping of rocks and saw a man sleeping next to a small fire. He stepped closer and lay down beside the man. The ornateness of the man's armor and sword, which lay under his right hand, indicated he was a person of some importance in this place and time. Elpis studied the rugged face for a moment, noting the streaks where tears had flowed during the man's dreams.
He bowed his head, and gently, as to not wake him, touched the man's forehead with his horn. With practiced ease he entered the man's thoughts and began drawing the despair from his soul.