My newest, complete piece of fiction. Inspired by things like Dark Souls and ASOIAF.
|My vision becomes clouded and blurry, my mouth hangs agape, and I'm on my knees. The gray sand beneath me shifts in the cold wind, falling from the gaps between my fingers. I cry out to the wind, screaming into nothing. The voice leaves my throat and only blood comes out, staining the sand a deep sanguine red. Tears are streaming down my face, hot streaks stinging my cheeks. I failed. I failed my king, I failed my countrymen, I failed my country. I came from an esteemed land, a land of knights and radiance, of abundance and honor. I was a knight, sworn to my king, my sword pledged to his will. Now I am without a king, without a home. My sword now obeys me, but I am without direction.
So I wander an exile. The armor upon my body was once shining steel, polished to look silver in the light of the sun. I look upon it now and see only rust and mud and grime, the brilliance of it all lost. My feet are heavy, my steed having died long ago. The sky is dark and the moon hangs low and full, like the eye of God looking upon me, judging me, weighing my sins.
Why? Why was it me that survived? Out of all the men in the kingdom, out of all the noble souls, why out of all of them was I the only one left? My hands move on their own, throwing my helmet to the sands. The cold air hits my face, the strength in my body leaving. The ground rushes up to meet me and all I hear is a dull thud. I lie there, motionless, silently sobbing to myself. My lament drowns my mind as my body is taken by the shifting sands of the desert. I resign myself to my fate, I'm ready to die. I cannot go on any longer; I just wish to finally return home.
But my body works on its own. Though my heart is resigned, my body is not. The accursed body forces me to survive, to keep on living. I'm crawling through the desert, dragging my tired legs behind me. I can feel the eye of God judging me, watching me crawl like an ant through the infinite gray dunes. Blood leaks from between the gaps in my teeth as I grit them together, stifling groans of excursion and pain as my body forces itself to move. For nearly a league I crawl before I finally give out, the last of my energy finally expended. My vision grows dark and the whistle of the wind slowly fading from my ears.
I awake. Warm light surrounds me, a soft mattress is below me, my armor is stripped from my body. I look down and see my thin form, little more than skin stretched over bone. The sound of a fire crackles close by. A kindly hand that felt pity upon a lost soul. Some nomadic tribesman lifts my head and brings a spoon to my lips; a thick broth pours itself down my throat and fills my growling stomach with much needed sustenance. I look upon the face that owns the hand, the face of a kindly reaching the twilight of his life. His eyes were soft and green, with a broad nose, the lower half of his face concealed under a thick, long beard and mustache. He said nothing to me, but I knew what he wanted me to do.
I stayed with the old man and his tribe for a time. They fed me, bathe me, and brought me back to health. With my time in the tribe, a rival group of raiders came upon them, their howls ferocious and guttural. The men draw their spears; the women hide in tents with the children and the elderly. I cannot simply abide, my pride as a knight commanding me not to. I draw my blade and stand in front the men of the tribe, prepared to repay these kind nomads for their hospitality. When the raiders made their final approach, I charged them, my voice singing the song of victory. With sword raised, I cut through them and I'm suddenly back on the battlefield of my youth, alongside the men I thought long dead. The raiders bled, their horses having more sense to turn tail and run during the midst of war. None of them ever reach the camp, the men and I make sure of that. When the last one falls, I return to the present, surrounded by a landscape dyed red with blood and littered with the corpses of the fallen raiders. The men bow to me, the other nomads cheer. A great party is thrown in my honor, an honor I don't feel worthy of.
I slip out in the night, travelling to the west, continuing my curse to wander. I look up to the night sky, the moon is waning, and the eye of God was closing. Did God choose me to continue? Was it the will of the Divine that I continue? I look down at my armor. Some of the mud and dirt had been scrubbed away, and I see that, under it all, it still shines as I remember.