I was lying there sleepless for what was to come. Next to me my beautiful wife had just opened her eyes, locking them with mine.
“Please don’t do this; please don’t leave us for that fool’s errand” She whispered in my ear. My eyes began to stray from hers, staring blankly at the ceiling.
“You know I have no choice; it is my duty to fight for my people and to fight for you.” I said while standing from the comfort of my bed which seemed to be calling back to me. I began to walk towards my sword, and as I picked it up my wife sat up with an aroma of disappointment glistening from her eyes.
“You do have a choice – you are not risking your life for me, or your people. You are doing it to prove something you are not. How can you not see this?” Her words were soft, yet seemed to stab my heart, nonetheless.
“You don’t know of what you speak. You know nothing of what I do for you, for us, and for our future. This is the sacrifice that needs to be made.” I yelled, looking back at her, sword in hand.
“If you love me, you would not do this; you know you cannot win this war. You know you will not come back to me.” She cried walking towards me, gripping my sword hand as hard as she possibly could. I pulled away, turning my back towards her.
“What is love to you then? Cowering from our people to be here with you? Leaving my men to die so I can live? That is not love nor is it honor. Love is the exact reason I am doing this. Love is sacrifice; it is something so rare and achieved so little, that when you are finally able to grasp it, you embrace it. You fight for it, and do everything in your power to keep hold, no matter the circumstances.” I paused for a moment, setting my sword down against the wall.
“What would you have me do?” I asked – turning to face her once more in annoyance.
“I understand why you feel this way. But you are my home, and without you in this world, I don’t know how I’ll survive. My heart will crack into a million little pieces that will never be able come back together” She wept quietly, watching me as I wipe at the tears rolling down her cheek. After slowly kissing her forehead goodbye, I went for my sword, cautiously walking towards the door.
“It’s time for me to leave…I love you. I will see you again – and no matter what, I will never be gone, whether it is in this life or the next.” I walked out and joined my brother and our men marching to what seemed now to be a pointless matter. I could feel my heart growing heavy, and all I could think about was her smile. A smile that could light up an entire solar system…A smile I had just left for something I was now struggling to believe in.
We finally reached the doorstep of our enemies. The battlefield was an open grassland that went on for miles; our men lined up, the sun and wind penetrating the little armor we had. My brother began to walk up and down the line, thinking of what speech he would give before the gruesome bloodshed.
“Brothers, we are here now to vanquish the enemy and show no mercy, for none will be shown to us. We will fight with honor and the hope to go back home, back to our families, and cherish moments with them that have not yet been given to us.” My brother cheered while lifting his sword above his head – soon after the noise of cheers and shield bashes consumed the air – but was cut short – the land that was once bright was overcome with an unsettling darkness.
“Look to the sky!” I pointed out in urgency.
“SHIELDS NOW!” My brother lunged back on his horse pulling up his shield. The men soon followed up, but it was too late. The arrows pierced through them like a fork through cake. The dirt that was once brown, now unrecognizable with the red of blood. Gusts of cries were flowing through the wind like a mist from a dangerous waterfall. I felt arrow after arrow hit my shield – and then nothing. I began to look around me, watching good, honorable men fall to the ground like they were not worthy of living. I glanced towards my brother, and as I did an arrow pierced through his horse, both falling to the ground.
“BROTHER!” I yelled running towards him, somehow dodging every arrow that whizzed past me. “Somebody – anybody come help me!” I yelled through the air, hoping men would come to my aid.
“This damn horse is heavier than the king himself” My brother chuckled.
“This is no time for your jests” Yet after I said that I could hear myself chuckling with him. Soon after my brother’s ridiculous joke, some men moved up the line to protect our grapple with the horse. We were able to get the horse off him, but as soon as we did, we heard stomping. We looked north to see an army running towards us faster than the gods themselves.
Our archers had time to fire back – so they did.
“We shall see no defeat” I screamed to the men, pulling out my sword from my scabbard. My brother soon pulled his, as we both stood side by side, with what was left of our men behind us, forming a line.
“Archers don’t stop” My brother exclaimed – “Men, on my go”
As soon as we were ready to charge, the ground started to vibrate. This was a vibration so fierce that could cause little men to lose balance.
“How can this be..” I thought to myself, looking to my brother. Running towards us were rare creatures, resembling mammoths, yet much bigger and more ferocious. They were headed right towards us, with men riding them. Creatures that were unknown, only talked about in legend, were right before my eyes.
“Stand your ground men, we will not falter, this is not our demise; but where we make history” I vocalized, looking back towards the men trying to fill their hearts with what I seemed to be lacking; courage. The men were brave, and looked more ready for this fight than fearful.
“Archers, aim for the heads, it will knock them out faster”, my brother yelled pointing his sword to the beasts. The archers began firing towards the creatures instead of the men, still running towards us.
We began to charge towards the opposition and finally clashed. Swords were swung, spears were thrown, and men fell still, their souls leaving their bodies. All that filled the air was the cries of the beasts, the cries of men, and the urgency to dominate their opponents in this struggle.
As I defeated man after man, I could not help but notice that my brother was no longer by my side. I looked everywhere, and soon caught sight of a mammoth of a man, holding a sword as long as a spear, walking towards my brother.
“Brother!” I shouted, “Look out!” I started to run towards them, arrows and spears flying past me, my sword bombarded with others – but all I could do was fight my way to him. He was the only family I had left. The giant man and my brother started to fight, and the giant was winning. Yet as I looked back, the clanging of swords were sporadic, making it hard to tell who had the upper hand. The giant began to pull his sword above his head, swinging it down on my brother. The sword my brother was using was no match for the giant’s, and broke as my brother was trying to block, cutting it in half, carving into my brother’s shoulder, cutting his entire left arm clean off. He looked at me, but instead of sadness swallowing his face I could see a man now free of the torment of this world.
“NO” I exhaled finally reaching the giant.
The giant looked towards me with a smile and swung at me. I dodged it all while slicing his thigh with my sword. That did not seem to faze him. He swung again, but I was too slow to evade so I blocked it with my sword. As soon as our swords collided the power of his flung me back. As I hit the ground a mixture of dirt and blood rose from the ground, tanning my body. The colossal man started walking towards me as I was struggling to get up. I was dizzy, and the sight of hope was growing dim. Before I knew it, the man was standing over me, sword in both hands, getting ready to take my last breath away from me. He looked down on me, and it wasn’t the face of a man who had just won a battle, but the face of a man struggling to stay alive. He dropped his sword and fell to the ground, with a spear in his back. I got up swiftly and drove my sword through his neck.
I ran to my brother, but it was too late. He was gone, and I had not even said goodbye. I felt a tear drop down my face, clearing the blood and dirt from its path. As soon as I stood, an arrow pierced my shoulder, pushing me back. I could not think straight, my mind, revolving around the slaughter of my brother, and the good men still fighting. I felt the hiss of arrows whipping by me, but I moved forward, and kept fighting. Slice after slice, blow after blow, and the blood of warriors oozing in every direction. We had finally started to push the enemy back.
“The gods are with us!” The men started cheering as they fought.
Still dazed from the giant, I could barely keep my sword in hand. My head was throbbing with a tremendous pain, but I could not let it affect me.
Another arrow pierced my leg, but that did not matter. The rush of adrenaline was seeping through my body. I stood my ground and fought off all those around me, until another arrow penetrated my stomach, dropping me to my knees. My sword fell from my hand, and before I could reach for it, one last arrow entered my chest. I fell on my back, afraid of admitting that I was wrong; that I would not be able to hold my wife once more or kiss her soft lips. I could no longer hear the thumps of bodies hitting the ground, splashing a pool of blood. There was only an array of silence, and nothing but darkness. The darkness engulfing me began to transform into a memory. A memory of my beloved and her endless beauty set foot in my mind. For a moment all the pain and agony had gone away, all of the sorrow vanished, and I was finally at peace.