Centurion's Fate

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
After a bloody battle between two rival emperors, the lone surviving centurion takes his fate into his own hands to make sure that when his children grow up, they may never share the same experience as he did.

Submitted: November 13, 2013

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Submitted: November 13, 2013



Taking a few steps at a time, the injured centurion gritted his teeth against the stabbing pain he felt along his side. He could feel the warmth of his own blood draining down his side and leg with each stumbling step forward. Clutched in his right had was a badly worn blade that was coated with the life-liquid of his fallen foes. After a few more steps and a sudden coughing fit, the warrior doubled over and held onto the nearest object as his body shook with each cough. Blood welled up in his throat and all but choked him until it spattered against the ground. Turning his head to glance weakly behind him, he could still make out the blood and gore of the rotting battlefield. carrion birds circled and dived, snapping at the fallen bodies like some sort of sick feast, the sun baked the corpses and wafted their stench into the breeze. The sole warrior turned his body and slid down the rock he had clutched onto and could only laugh. Oh how cruel the fates were, what a joke this thing called life was. Countless men had just given their life for... nothing. Just the whim of two emperors that wanted to show off their mighty armies and crush each other on the field. The two armies were evenly matched though, and now only one remained, laughing against a rock like a man possessed. Another coughing fit took over and almost took him into the world of unconsciousness. He clung to the world of the living though, biting his tongue and bringing a renewed taste of coppery blood to his mouth. He gazed up to the sky, a couple of shapes circled above him. The carrion birds had spotted him just sitting there and thought him just another meal. One swooped down and landed on the rock above his head, only to have it's head suddenly disappear with the sudden swipe of the battle worn sword. The cut had not been clean, the stump of a neck that was left behind was jagged like a torn piece of paper. The headless body flapped it's wings and twitched around after falling from the rock, flailing around on the ground in it's last twitches before falling still. Now the beast's brethren had something else to feast on besides the injured soldier. The move did cost the still bleeding man though as his blade clattered to the ground. His eyes clenched shut as fresh waves of crippling pain washed over him like the tide over the beach. It brought with it a bout of nausea which was only amplified by the rotting smell that wafted in the breeze. Blood and bile began to coat the ground as his gut evacuated whatever was in his empty stomach, and after only a few splattering retches he was dry-heaving, having thrown up pretty much his entire stomach. He knew he wouldn't last very much longer, but oh what a horrible fate it was to be the feast for those wretched corpse eating vultures. After regaining his composure, he stood on weak legs and picked up his sword to use as a crutch. The tip of the blade sank into the ground as he put his full weight against it, testing to see if the sword would flex under the strain. Satisfied that it wouldn't, he turned his back on the stinking remains the his fellow warriors and continued away from the battlefield. His walk lasted far longer than the first time he had tried to get away from the death strewn plains. After a while even the pain in his side stopped, though he could still feel blood sliding down his leg. The copper-mail that he had been given had not protected him from the cruel bite of his enemy's blade. He was grateful that he had been spared from the poison and flaming arrows that peppered a lot of the corpses. Ally and foe alike fell victim to each side's raining death. Those that were spared this gruesome fate did not fair any better though, falling to a slashing dagger or stabbing blade. After what had seemed like an eternity, he came across a cave. The shelter called out to him in his mind and soon he slumped down at the mouth of the tunnel. He set his weapon to the side and gingerly began lifting up the copper armor that had did him no good in the skirmish. The action brought with it a pain so sharp he feared he might pass out then and there, never to wake up again. It was soon off however, and the centurion was left topless, gasping down air as new waves of pain coursed through him. His fingers lightly touched to wound and his heart all but sank. he could feel something hard and wet, and taking a daring glance down, he spotted the pinkish-white of exposed ribs. Falling onto his back, he stared up at the roof of the cave and began to think. His thoughts drifted to his home, the family he left behind, and the worst part was that he knew they would never know the truth of his fate. Nor would any of the other families who had lost someone out on that tainted and blood-soaked piece of land. his wife's face was there in his mind, the beauty he had left behind to fight in some tyrant's war. His children... Their laughter echoed through his conscious. The sound brought tears to his eyes and for the first time that day, he felt a fear so profound it shook him to his core. his children, what if they grew up and were drafted into some war that meant nothing, like he had been? What if they fought and died on some unknown piece of land? This thought stayed with him for a while, tearing at him until he felt something else, a feeling that started out only tingling at his gut. But soon it grew, and he knew that it was rage. Rage that families had been torn apart, pure rage that caused him to yell out into the air above him before he turned over onto his uninjured side and struggled to his feet. "I... won't die here... I won't... be washed away so easily...!" He gasped out as he once again began using the sword to help him walk. He knew which way his home was, he knew the stars that would guide him, and he felt that the Gods above would help him on his way home, to see his children and wife one last time before he made the one responsible pay. That bastard emperor would soon know what it felt like to be stabbed and gutted. With a white knuckle grip on the hilt of his sword, he shuffled along and ignored the pain. Luckily for him the bleeding stopped and his wound began to crust over with the drying blood. "Please... Let me carry out this one last mission... Let me be able to make it home and fell this foe of the people." He groaned out through clenched teeth, his voice now a dangerous growl. It hadn't been a days march to the deadly battle, and now the winds of fate seemed to spirit him on his journey home. He did not stop for food nor water, he needed neither to carry on. The sheer anger and will to see this last deed done carried him along. 

At last, as the dark of night took to land into it's dark bosom, he spotted the lights of his home. The kingdom walls soon loomed over him and as he approached the from gates he could hear the shouts from the sentries on the ramparts. "A soldier returns!" "Where are the rest?" "Where is his armor?" The drawbridge was lowered, the sounds of the chains clinking filled the air until the wooden path fell landed with a thud. a team of guards and nurses rushed out to meet him, but he just brushed them off. "I need audience with the Emperor..." He growled at them. "I have to tell him what happened. Would you bring my family as well?" The stunned people could only agree as the injured warrior set off to the palace, shambling closer to his final fate. House after house, building after building, step after step he made his way up to the large stone brick facade of the looming palace. The guards at the front entrance did nothing to stop him as he pushed his way past, only able to stare in awe at the wounded centurion who only muttered to them as he passed. His words were not audible though, not that it would have made a difference anyway, the look in his eyes kept them at their post. The grandiose entrance hall stretched for what seemed like miles ahead to a set of ornate oaken doors that hid the emperor's throne room. His sword scratched the decorative marble floors as he stumbled forward, his goal now within reach. As he reached the two large doors, he took a deep breath and pushed them open with his free hand. The startled looks that he received from everyone in the room might have caused him to laugh had it have been any other situation, but he was as serious and focused as he had been on the way home. "Your majesty... I've returned from that now blood tarnished field you damned so many men to. The only one to survive on both sides, I alone bore witness to the terrible fate you and your rival saw fit to cast down upon us." He was met with no response except the gaping mouth of the spoiled ruler. "Legion upon legion of good men lie rotting as a feast for the beasts of the wild. And for what?" The last three words he shouted at the man as he made his way closer. Two guards moved to bar his way, but one dark look from the warrior stopped them in their tracks. He pushed past them and stood at the throne of the man who had caused so much blood to be spilled. "You sit there and decide the fate of men, there upon your cursed throne! You bastard! You have no idea the grief that will be felt across the lands, the songs of sorrow that will be forever sung in halls and taverns!" At that moment the doors to the throne hall opened and in stepped a woman and two small boys. They bared a striking resemblance to their wounded father, minus the blood encrusted hole and unkempt look the centurion had gained in his day of battle. As he turned slowly to look at them, he felt tears welling up in his eyes. His hand came up, signaling for his family to stay where they were. "Know this, my love for you will not be stopped by the binds of death, nor will my death be in vain. I do this for you my young ones, so that you may not share this same fate... these same haunting images that I now have." With that, he turned back to the emperor sitting on his throne and in on swift motion ran the murder through with his blade, the last life ever to be taken by his hand. And as the emperor sat there, gasping and coughing up globs of blood, the warrior fell forward onto him and exhaled his last breath. After the scene had been calmed down and everyone removed, it was later found that the centurion had not a single drop of blood left in him, nor a single bit of bile left in his stomach. His body was given a proper warriors pyre as the citizens of the city celebrated the death of their emperor, the tyrant that had wasted so many lives. Though no one survived on the enemy side, the citizens revolted and overthrew the man who had destroyed countless families. Both kingdoms soon made peace with each other and joined together afterwards, becoming one new kingdom that bared the name of the lone survivor. His children grew up to become great and powerful men, leading the combined kingdoms to a new era of prosperity. They never forgot the last words their father spoke to them and inscribed them upon a large marble tablet for everyone to see:

 "Know this, my love for you will not be stopped by the binds of death, nor will my death be in vain. I do this for you my young ones, so that you may not share this same fate... these same haunting images that I now have." 

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