Green Arrow: Arrowhead Chapter ten

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My take on the Green Arrow Mythology

Chapter ten: The Lesson

We walk down the hallway until we come through the door that leads to the range. For weeks Roy and I have been in this place working with different kinds of guns and weaponry for our ‘training’. This is the first time though that I’ve been here without anyone else around.

Arthur takes out from his quiver a regular arrow and studies it for a second; his face portraying such extreme thought that I think he doesn’t even remember that I’m standing right next to him. As if unsatisfied by it, Arthur unscrews the arrowhead and tosses it into the dirt. He then shows me the headless arrow and says, “This is you.”

He tosses the arrow at me and pulls another one out of his quiver. He motions to this one also and says, “This is what you are becoming.”

He nocks the arrow and then sends it flying through the field in the blink of an eye, hitting the target square at the center.

“The arrow is straight and true, Oliver,” he says, “but only when it has something to guide it. When you came to this island, you had no guidance. I’m sure you loved your family greatly, and I’m sure standing these few feet from me, their killer, is torture. I’m sure that you would like nothing more in this world than to kill me, achieving your revenge, burn this godforsaken island to the ground and leave, never to return. But what would you learn from that?”

He pauses, not for me to answer, but to let the question sink in.

He continues, “Every arrow is never useless until it is broken. If the head is dull, sharpen it. If it has no head,” he motions at me, “then give it a new one. Give it the purpose that it was supposed to have in the first place.”

Arthur fishes through his pockets and brings out an arrowhead. He tosses it to me and I screw it into place on the arrow.

“That head was on the same arrow that you found when you first awoke on this island. I know this because I left it there.”

He takes another arrow and sends it flying through the air once again and strikes the target, dead center. He takes another arrow out, fires, and repeats. He begins to speak again.

“After the storm that caused you and your parents to arrive here ended, I was sent to go and figure out if anyone washed ashore, as is customary on this island. When I saw you, I only saw a boy, weak and helpless. I should have ended your life right then and there. Someone like you would never have survived on this island alone. But when I went to shoot, something stopped me. Something that I cannot explain. I’ve actually experienced this before, when I was sent to kill Roy. I left that arrow there as a warning for you, to not venture into the jungle, which apparently you didn’t heed.

“Like I would have gotten that,” I say.

Arthur shrugs and keeps on firing, “Whichever way, you are here now, and I think that’s all that matters. Now come over here, I want to see how you shoot.”

I go over to my own spot at the range and Arthur shows me how to get into a regular stance. After he feels okay with this, he allows me to take an arrow out of the quiver and nock it. He doesn’t say anything when I start to pull back the string until it’s finally as far as I can pull it.

“Terrible. You’re going too slow. Do it again.”

I take his advice and try my best to pull the string quicker. Again, though, it’s too slow and he makes me do it again. This continues until I’ve finally drawn it as much as I can, my fingers numb from the pressure the string puts on it. Arthur says that it’s enough for today and sends me back inside.

Six Weeks Later…

Training with Arthur has been hard. The first few days were spent in my attempts to pull the string back as fast as I could. Finally, Arthur was pleased with my results and allowed me to shoot. This, too, was told by Arthur to be too slow, and I was made to practice shooting faster and faster. I would like to say though, that on none of these occasions did I get anywhere close to the bulls-eye. Thankfully, though, I got better.

Today, just like it has been for weeks now, I shoot with Arthur in a more secluded range, away from the sounds of gunfire. I know that I’m a lot better than when I started, but Arthur takes the chance to show me up every time. He’s faster than me on the draw and easily a better marksman. I feel myself enjoying archery, feeling the bow become a part of myself during my training. But something’s still in my head that doesn’t let me truly feel safe in this place. Finally, I ask Arthur.

“Why did you kill my parents?”

For once, Arthur’s arrow actually misses the target. He stares at it for a second and then looks at me, his eyes allowing a look of curiosity on his face.

“That’s something that is incredibly hard to explain.”

He takes his quiver off his shoulder and leans his bow on it then goes down to collect his fired arrows, talking as he does so.

“The reason that we’re all here, on this island, is to do the world a favor. One that it should never know about.” He motions to the mountain looking down on us. “Years ago, a ship crashed on this island the same way that you and your parents did. This ship carried with it a couple, a man and a woman, who were scared out of their minds about being stranded. They tried their best to survive, but for some reason the man began suffering from some unknown disease. He became sleepless, angry, and all out a danger to the woman that he used to call his wife. One night, the woman awoke to the sound of the man’s painful screams. When she found him alone in the jungle, she saw that his eyes had turned a dark purple, surrounded by purple veins that went all around his head and body. He became incredibly enraged by her presence and tried to kill her. The woman though was resourceful and she ended up killing him instead of the other way around. In fear of what happened to her husband happening to her, she built a raft as quickly as possible and escaped the island. Two weeks later, she arrived on the American shore and was hospitalized. My employer, intrigued by her story, decided to find the island and figure out what caused the man’s disease. He found the island. Five days later, one of his crew members succumbed to the disease and tried to sink the boat that they had arrived to the island on. This made my employer sure that this disease must be stopped. About two years ago, we discovered that this disease is a man named John Dee.”

By now Arthur’s sitting on the bench next to the range. He continues, “Every person that’s come to this island has succumbed to John at some point in time. Eventually it’ll happen to you, me, Roy, everybody. Our job is to kill him before he gets the chance. Your parents, unfortunately, feel under Dee’s spell. If you would’ve found them before I got to them, they would have killed you.”

He stops his story then and walks into the building, leaving behind his arrows and bow. I’m left to figure out what he just told me, and I can’t see how any of it could be true. But one thing lingers, that one sentence, “If you would’ve found them before I got to them, they would have killed you.”

For some reason, I know that he’s telling the truth.

End of Chapter ten

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@knightofthechronicle I enjoyed the background history of the Island. This is by far one of the best origin stories that I've ever read on this site.

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I've got to say, as much as I like your Argus stuff, this is even better. This chapter finally cleared some things up- things are finally starting to make sense.