“Get in line!” – The commander yelled at him. He did that with no joy of course. The battalion was training (for what felt like the millionth time) their battle formation in case of a skirmish against the Death Preachers, the warrior elite of those following the god of Death. Sometimes He forgot how long the war has been going on, how old He himself is. Time was slipping, now dripping slowly, uncontrollable and painful. If only He knew why He will die, why His friends died. Hell! If He just knew why the damnable Death Preachers would –hopefully- die! Of course they were constantly remained of the reason, only the reason was wrong. He was supposed to be fighting for the “Good” side; He was supposed to fight Justice -for the God of Justice no less- to save the world, to fight evil. Instead He was only killing kids and old men. Because everybody else was already laying down in the ditch their bellies swollen, their muscles eaten to only leave the bones. The war has been going on now for over 400 hundred years, give or take a hundred years. All the men were sent to war at the age of 12, 14 if they had some unearthly luck. All women were given the task of giving birth to children they weren’t going to have the chance to raise or even give names. There wasn’t a place for a luxury like family they kept telling us. The women -trying not to think about the life they just sent to its death- worked full time in the job they were given at the age of 8. There was no man in the cities of men, only the chronically pregnant women breaking their backs –literally- at jobs that weren’t suitable for a human being. The only good thing about that way of life was that only the Justice league was suffering in such a ludicrous way.
"I will give you a tip, next time that you live in a world waging an endless war try and don’t get born into the most numerous faction. You'll just see more people dying on your hands, people that fought beside you, people that were your friends. But of course with time it gets less horrible, you learn not to become friends with the people around you."
He thought out loud.
The war was almost perfectly balanced between the two sides. The trouble being that no one could strike a decisive blow. I would even prefer the "evil" factions to win if it meant the end of the war. Right now every faction is tainted with crime, vindictiveness and death. No longer we're the good guys, good; no longer are the bad guys, evil. No more black and white, only a great blur of grey.
Suddenly a head was thrown out of the forest onto His right side, spluttering blood into the air as it went, 7 more followed the first a second later (they were the heads of watchers, the basic troops of the Observers of Nature). He knew what it meant; it was the signature move of the crazed warriors of the followers of war, –they silently killed the guards posted at the outposts of a camp and threw their heads at those unlucky enough to be in the camp- he quickly drew his sword in anticipation of what was coming. He didn’t have to wait for long, in a matter of moments a warrior clad in strips of blood soaked leather (or is that human skin He thought horrified) came in running and shouting from the forest. The crazed warrior only held a short sword in his right hand. The followers' short sword was very thin, with the tip of it being wider than the staff (much like a spear) but with a spike going back from the tip in the direction of the hilt (forming the well known "v" shape of their swords). The warrior stopped after a few meters, looked around, spotted Him and -never stopping his shouting- ran towards Him. He was already standing in the instinctive fighting position, –left leg forward, right leg behind, crouching a little and sword in His right hand- but when he was sure that the warrior was looking He changed into a somewhat more secure stance, even moving his feet deeper into the ground by stirring his feet left and right rapidly.
"The warriors maybe crazy, and maybe behave to make you think that they don’t give a shit about what happens around them, but at the same time they take in every detail of your behavior."
A few meters before the impact the warrior moved his sword clearly into a simple over-the-head-blow, He knew this move. Quickly He change his position, bringing his right feet forward and left then mimicking this with his left feet. The warrior continued his crazed sprint, just having no time to change his direction, so He brought His sword onto the sword of the follower. But not from beneath (as the follower would have expected of him) stopping the movement of the warriors' sword, but from above enhancing the speed of the sword. So when he brought the sword down, the warrior quickly lost control, what with him speeding to His right. The followers' sword made a half circle and came up with the tip of it behind the warrior. While striking He was also careful to bring the hilt of His short sword into the "v" tip of the opponent. Thus when He drew His sword forward the hilt caught onto the warriors' sword and it left his hands. The warriors' horror stricken face hit the ground and was spluttered with blood, as He brought His sword hard into the shoulder of the crazed warrior. When He brought the sword out of his meat and looked up, He saw that even though this fight was going on for no longer than 5 seconds the whole camp was already in pure chaos. Crazed Warriors, Inferno Magicians and Albino Adherents were all around Him setting the camp on fire and slaughtering the boot camp soldiers. They were heavily outnumbered, but that only meant a bigger massacre. After accessing the situation He began running towards the nearest warrior butchering some poor kid, "Meguro" He thought was his name. "It doesn't matter" was the thought going through His head while He beheaded the warrior guilty of the deed; the kids' intestines were fertilizing mother earth already. In matter of seconds He was already attacking another follower, this time an Albino Adherent. Forgetting to be careful He just ran towards the 2 meters high Albino monster, with blood red hair, pants for armor and a spear-sword, cutting through the forehand of a Sheriff (the elite force of the Judges, with light mail covering almost their whole body, full helmets, a small shield and a long sword) splintering its bones in the process. In His recklessness our warden went in for a simple thrust at full speed, but the Albino turned around at the last possible second. Albion skin, and blood shot eyes with no whites came into his vision, blocking the whole world as if it never even existed. His head felt as if it would explode, as if water was trying to enter it at unbelievable speeds. The feeling was dreadfully familiar by experience, the Albino was trying to breach into His mind. While He was strong enough to withstand the first blow and not loose control absolutely, the Albino did succeed in making Him change His direction, but because of the powerful moment He lost His footing and fell into a dead Protector (a glorified name for "boot camp soldiers").
"Pull yourself TOGETHER! Not TODAY!"
Wet His inner dialogue. "CLANG!" The spear-sword of the Adherent hit our wardens sword, (the Albino was thrusting it into his breast) while He was parrying it with the broad side of His short sword. He was still lying on the floor, His right hand parrying the blow. The strike of the Adherent was not blocked but redirected; it hit the body of the Protector behind Him just above His neck. Laying down He saw His opportunity; the Adherents' spear-sword was momentarily stuck inside the hips of the dead Protector. Our Warden seized the spear-sword as high as possible (trying but not succeeding in reaching the wooden beginning of the weapon) holding the spear-sword and even making it cut deeper into the flesh. His hand getting incised, He began to stand up as fast as was humanly possible. At the same time He brought His sword to the heart of the Albino. When He was already standing our Warden noticed that His sword did not penetrate the chest of his opponent but his guts instead. Horror came into the Wardens mind, He knew that from such a blow the albino would surely recover and kill Him. In His panic He tried to bring the sword up into the Adherents breast cache, but in time remembered that the sword was in a horizontal position. The Albino already started to recover, his weapon almost free now.
"Think you Moron!"
And then He saw it; a small broad red dagger fastened onto the left hip of his enemy. Releasing the grip on His weapon (thus abandoning it in the guts of the follower) He took a step left to reach the dagger, but just as He gripped it the Albino sharply turned around bringing the wooden shaft of his weapon to His face. The short broad dagger in His hand He was blown backwards, falling onto His back yet again. His vision went awry, not only because of the blow but also because His nose was broken and blood run in streams down His face and into His eyes. Not knowing what to do, or how to survive He rolled over one and a half times to His left (stones biting into the sliced skin of His left hand). And then He just ran.
"Maybe it's not noble, but at least I will live to be ashamed."
Knowing that the Albino with his body mass and the sword sticking in his innards would be an opponent best defeated by time and by leaving him alone, He ran like hell. He picked up a Warrior short sword in His sprint, trying to loose as little as possible time while at it but leaving the dagger behind. He didn’t know if the Albino was defeated, but He did know that after half an hour no followers were left while the whole base was burning white smoke into heaven, leaving it for the rain to drop back down. Only then did he notice that the spear-sword of the Adherent did cut quite a gash across his neck, other than that only His hand was cut and dirty. He had to patrol the camp so His mind could wander freely while all around Him Protectors were busy restoring the camp to its former "glory". He couldn’t care less; His only thoughts were about how close to dying He came today. How close His liberation came, His release from this war, this endless suffering. He never thought of Himself as someone who would kill himself.
"Its too cowardly an exit, if the times are hard and unbearable die from them not because you are too weak to live in such a time. Suicide is weakness; show the world what you are capable of, never surrender never go down out of your own free will. But death, ohhhhh death! Take me, TAKE ME NOOOOOW!"
The last part He actually shouted out, few of the Protectors looked around just to give Him a furtive glance, and then quickly returned to their work. When did He start hating live so much? He couldn’t make Himself remember, was it when His dad died, before He actually was born? Was it when His mother died while giving birth mostly because He was her 16th child (or so He heard)? Was it because He never met any of His siblings, or because He may have actually met them but didn’t know that? Was it because He never experienced real comradeship (or at least one that lasted for more than five weeks) or love? No, it's because He doesn't care, He never cared that it was lost upon Him to meet His family. He never cared that He didn’t have friends, and that He never experienced Woman Company exempt for the mass produced love of the Nuns, the Priestesses of Love? If not for that feeling deep in Him that it was all wrong, that it wasn’t supposed to be like that. That men were not supposed to throw their lives away in war (no matter what was their profession), that women were not supposed to live only to bear children, support the war and fuck with the sweating damaged men of war? If not for that feeling, He wouldn’t miss anything; He could almost imagine Himself living in peace.
"For man" –He imagined- "can withstand any punishment and still feel at peace, almost happy. It's that gnawing memory of our ancestors still remains in us, still makes us feel that life was different once. That, THAT makes us feel as if we are in hell. And only death, honorable death could release us from this nightmare."
In the middle of this suicidal rambling He noticed a beautiful woman in a fine purple stripped robe. She seemed to be not from around…well this world. She ran at first it seemed that she was running to get from one place to another. But soon He noticed, that she was doing far more than that, she was checking the camp. She seemed to be familiar with it, her eyes never did any double takes; she never seemed to be surprised or taking in anything new, just proving her previous assessment. Purple robe, it meant a priestess of Love. But the robe seemed of too high a quality and too clean to belong to a Nun (the bringers of Love, or whores). A Cleric, no; no Nurse or doctor would be outside after an attack. And even if she was running to get a doctor some medicine than there was still the fact that she had no blood on her robes. A Bishop then or even a Minister? No, not a Bishop, no high command would ever leave a city or castle. Then a Minister, He never saw one, and she certainly looked to be strong enough, she had finesse. He forgot about everything, He needed to know what this Minister was doing here. And then He noticed one thing that almost made Him fell down hard (He was running by now to keep up with her). She had a bow tucked below her robe! That proved her to be a Minister, but what made Him almost kiss the ground was that the bow hadn’t had a handle of Purple. It was golden!
Every faction had its color, in sake of their god. Love was purple, Justice blue, War red…etc. But no god had gold as their color or even yellow. And those color were very important, a soldier with no color was a mercenary. She was either a mercenary who stole the robe, but the weapon… From whom could she have stolen it?
"A new religion perhaps?"
He thought with fear. "But that is unattainable; the DeVarDe laws make that impossible," – "almost impossible." He corrected Himself.
And even if some one would succeed in creating a new god, the amount of people needed to worship the new god would make sure that He would surely have heard of it.
"But…what...if this is just the beginning of it?"
That would be as bad, but still the last thing this war needs is the fanaticism of a new faction.
"Or maybe a third side is what it needs to stop the madness?"
Either way, He knew that He needs to catch her. He needs to stop her…or support her? He followed her for a short while by then, but He would need to follower her for a long time until He would actually catch her.
"What are you doing?!" – A sweet voice He heard in his right ear, her breath gently moving the hairs on His neck. Partly from the whistle of air, mostly from the sent that went deep into His lungs. For a moment everything went out of His head, everything exempt the sent and the need to breathe it in. For long seconds He just stood, deeply inhaling her aroma. So sweet and strong it was that it no longer felt erotic for Him in any sense, His brain somehow connected everything good in His life with this single marvelous smell, even though this was the first time He ever inhaled it, naturally.
"Why! Answer me goddamnit! Why.Were.You.Following.Me?!" – This put Him out of His trance, hearing the threat in her voice He looked down onto her hand. Onto her right hand which was holding a thin golden dagger, shaped as if exactly for the slicing of His throat and spilling of His guts (at the moment that was exactly what He felt). But in shock He still stood startled and silent (never looking away from the dagger). She didn’t bother do say another word, she simply drew the golden dagger to His throat. Her thumb on His gullet, His skin bulging around the dagger until a thin stream of blood began going down to His chest (leaving a mark to join the already dry one made by the Albino). That was the mark for His brain to begin really functioning.
"Because I am a Warden, and you a spy!" – Well I said functioning; He remained a man of the sword not the word. Cutting yet deeper into His neck She said: "Right now it would be best for you if that statement would be false. Do we understand each other?!" – "…YES!" – With that her dagger left his gorge and her body left the narrow alleyway in which He remained still. He didn’t even try to catch a glimpse of her, He feared to disturb the air around Him. The warden stood there for another 4 minutes until all the air around Him was void of her aroma.
© Copyright 2017 Igonnan Wanhugda. All rights reserved.
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