This is a short story that I've toyed around with for a few years. This story spawned one of my favorite characters, Karasu Bhaal. However, the character is nameless, and has no appearance outside of this brief story. Also, just a fair warning, this is a rather violent piece, and is supposed to seem traumatic. Do not read it if murder or violence offend you.

A wind rips through the night. Held in its arms is sand, and the voices of men. The sand is normal, this is the Wasteland, sand is everywhere. The voices, however, are unusual, nobody is awake at such a time, not when everyone is exhausted just staying alive. Here, in the desert that now covers the world, is a small village, about to become a ruin.
On a nearby ridge, men are gathered. Men who have been changed by the emptiness of the Wasteland, men who kill, steal, and destroy, because nothing should exist in this dead world. These men laugh and smile as they see the village. Such an easy target, such a peaceful people. Peace can not exist anymore, not in a place that makes life so hard.
A boy, just barely into his teenage years, sleeps in the village. He is awakened by the sounds of gunfire and screams. He quakes in his bed, not understanding the chaos he hears through the stone walls, or sees through the small cracks in those walls. He forces himself to go to his door, to see what the cause of this hell could be.
Gunfire, explosions, screams, and laughter accost his ears. He sees a man holding an automatic weapon, shooting anyone he sees. Near the man's feet lies his mother, bleeding into the sand. Tears fill his eyes, and he hears a voice cry out above the noise of the raid. He sees his father run out, roaring like a madman. The gunman is tackled to the ground, and the child watches his father revert to a beast, brutally killing the man who has murdered his wife.
Then the father is killed. The boy sees both his parents, dead, or dying. He runs out to them. Tears wet his face, but no longer flow from his eyes. He is no longer a boy, he is no longer even human. He does not know why his parents are dead. It does not matter, the reason does not change the result. Instead of running to his parents, he runs to the man, to the gun.
He raises the weapon, and looks at the monster who had shot his father, who had laughed and cheered as the other man had shot his mother. With a cold hand grasping his heart, the child, the avatar of vengeance, fires the rifle. One man is not enough for his vengeance. He walks calmly, his vision is not disturbed by wind, sand, tears, or the tang of the blood in the air.
He is dimly aware that other people from his village have begun to fight back. Even in his lust for vengeance, for justice, he does not loose his mind. He has lost all emotion, but he never fires on one of the people he grew up with.
Some time later, the sun rises on the Wasteland. Many people died this night, and many more will yet die from injuries and starvation, for the Wasteland is not an easy place to make a home, it does not care for its inhabitants. However, as the morning sun illuminates the rusty, blood stained sand, one person has been born this night.
The Wasteland has a hero. He is heartless, he is nameless, he is speechless. He does not have mercy, he does not have patience, he does not have fear. He is a mercenary, a soldier, a warrior. He walks away. This village is no longer his home, he can not live here. His home is the Wasteland.

This is a very different piece for me, since most of my characters are light-hearted in the worst of situations. The Avatar of the Wasteland is an emotionally stricken wreck, who no longer has the ability to feel compassion. He is the only character of mine who never develops into a common perception of a hero, but he still seems like a hero to me. It is also the only time that such a violent scene is depicted. The violence is not there for the sake of violence, it is there to show why this child will never be the same, why he embraces the reality around him.