Blood dripped from his open wounds, covering his skin in a tight, sticky crust. The air smelled of metal and weighed heavily of his weary body. With his swords gripped tightly in calloused hands, the lone survivor looked up to face the Red Field.
In every direction bodies met the horizon—an expanse of fallen comrades and destruction that made his skin crawl to look upon. A battlefield, he thought, is such a lonely place to die. Carefully he picked his way through dismembered arms, heads, and bones that glistened in the dawn with the souls of those not quite ready to leave the life they sacrificed. Disgusting.
His journey was met with silence. To him, it was the same murky, grave silence of his judge, his sentence, and his conquests. “Ne’er a word said,” he muttered, “just judgment and consequence.” All around him, face frozen in despair screamed in agonizing quiescence. “Have we yet paid our debts? Our blood, our pain, is that not the fee we were charged?” Hand in hand does the Gwaed Empire walk with atrocity. They had made subjects slaves to salvation that would not spare them, used prisoners for warriors. Men lived in fear that one minor offense would mean death at the hands of a rival. But who is the true enemy?
For just as a man of nobility bids due, the subject must follow. Your pleas will not be heard, no one will cry against your verdict, and you will obey.
No, the Duil were not the enemy, not men so peaceful before the struggle of survival forced their hand. Surely no simple casters, tied to Gaia with spiritual strings, could be a threat. But as the Gwaed wished their deaths, so it must be. This was not ethical, thought the lonely warrior, already many miles from where he killed one last man for the sake of his country.
Not the last.
The wars would never end; there would always be another man to send back to Gaia by violent means. The only way to finish this is with them. The last man that Cannen the Dual Wielder would eviscerate would be the final Gwaed terrorizing his homeland. Revenge, regret, every ounce of self Cannen had had before this god forsaken war had been extinguished, and replaced with only the bloodlust of a mercenary, and the morals of a rioter. For all the misery he’s caused, he will pay with blood.
Lonesome, is the path of hatred—but every era must come to an end, and this would be the end of a decades long tyranny that had ravaged a once prosperous country and turned good men savage. And so it was by his hand that the Silent Empire fell, leaving nothing but horrific memories and ghost stories behind. Cannen’s fierce battle and hunger for change dissipated, and his bravery was only that of legend. And yet, he was satisfied with this.
For what better way to judge your oppressor than with the same silence they sentenced you with?
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