Mitera Scheuren wiped the sweat from his brow as he sat around the fire with his children John and Rose. As usual, young John was close to falling asleep. He was only eight, and so he really hadn't stood any chance of staying up very long. Mitera smiled fondly at his son as he saw John's eyelids flutter open and closed.
Rose stood up and walked toward the caravan, and Mitera walked over to his son. Rose was a lot like Mitera in her personality, but she reminded him so much of her mother. She had the same blonde hair, even if it came with Mitera's eyes. She had the same grace of movement, not a trace of Mitera's lumbering gait. She had her very same soft voice, even if she had a slight rasp, just like Mitera.
Mitera lifted John in his arms. The little boy snuggled against his father's chest, and an old lullaby rose in his throat, low and loving and pure. He sang this song softly as he watched Rose set out the sleeping bags. Mitera looked at John, and smiled.
John was nearly the opposite of Rose. He had Mitera's physical features, from the almond eyes to the dark hair, to the complete lack of grace in movement. Meanwhile, he seemed to have his mother's bubbly, bouncy personality. He was always going around talking endlessly and telling jokes(often bad ones) and playing and running. More than once had Mitera been grateful for Rose keeping an eye on her brother while their father worked. John would get himself in many scrapes over the course of his life, Mitera knew, but he would pull himself out when he learned how. Mitera worried, but he believed in his children.
Mitera tucked John into the sleeping bag once he knew that the kid was completely and utterly unconscious. He placed a gentle kiss onto his son's forehead, and stood up, breathing in the cool night air. He was content.
He heard a choked gasp from Rose, and turned his head to the left. He saw a man in dark clothing, strangling her with a wire. Mitera's eyes widened, and he took a step back, before gathering his courage and charging foreward. He drew his dagger from its sheathe at his waist, and the man with the wire released Rose, stepping back. The man seemed to produce a club from nowhere.
"If it's money you want, you can have it," Mitera said, standing protectively in front of a gasping, choking Rose. He wanted to kneel down and comfort her, but for now he couldn't let his guard down, "Just leave us in peace."
Every single one of Mitera's instincts cried out to attack. He wanted to see the man who'd harmed his children bleed. However, Mitera restrained himself, keeping his eyes and ears open as he waited for the man's reply.
The man stepped forward quickly, swinging his club overhead. Mitera barely dodged out of the way, and thrusted his knife forward. The man shifted to the side, and punched Mitera in the face with his left hand. Mitera staggered backward, his left hand pressed to his jaw. He spat out blood, then turned to face the man again. He saw the club coming just a moment too late, and shifted to the side just in time to spare his skull the impact. He felt an excrutiating pain in his left arm, and heard a sickening snapping noise. He screamed as he bent over, pressing his right fist, still clutching the dagger, against his arm. It felt wet and mishapen.
Mitera barely managed to remain coherent. He had to stand and fight for his children. He did not understand this seemingly random act of violence, but he would not let his children be hurt or taken or killed by this man or whoever he worked for.
Mitera swung his dagger with a roar of pain, fear and fury, and felt it bite into flesh. It tore into the fabric over the man's left shoulder, and cut into the meats of the arm.
The man screamed in pain, but it didn't stop him from swinging his club.
Mitera fell to the ground, eyes fluttering, head bleeding. Then, his eyes shut, and his mind faded into oblivion.
His first thought, as he awakened hours later, would be that he was alive.
His second thought would be terror that his children were not.