I’m excited to be posting fiction on my blog again. I already had something in mind and it coincidentally turned out in such a way that I could work FRIDAY FICTION with RONOVAN WRITES Prompt Challenge #19-A Celebration into the story. My word count isn’t anywhere close to what is expected, but I didn’t want to drag it out.
The smoke from the burning pyres almost masked the stench of blood that coated the ground. I watched silently as my men piled their wounded companions onto makeshift stretchers and whisked them away from the battlefield. I couldn’t move an inch without stepping on a dead body – both ours and the enemy’s. My hands trembled with exhaustion as I wiped my sword clean.
“A hard-fought victory,” the men and women in power would say and the commoners would rejoice at the news. They would all go back to their everyday lives, unchanged and unfazed. Only the eyes of my soldiers would reflect the horrors of the war.
One would think that fighting for a good cause justifies the slaughter of the opponent’s army. But the scene in front of me told a different story – thousands of lives lost as a result of two kings’ lust for power, each convinced that they hold the supreme and divine right to rule over a piece of disputed land. Yet, when I passed on the commands of my liege to my warriors, they obeyed without question. Duty, honour and sacrifice were so deeply ingrained in us that we never stopped to search for a meaning in our actions. We bled for our nation and revelled in the pain.
I felt someone tap my shoulder and turned to see the grim face of my second-in-command, waiting for further orders. The words died in my mouth and I shook my head in response. He squeezed my shoulder with his only hand and picked his way among the fallen. I followed him back to our camp, guilt haunting me every step of the way.
One of the youngsters handed me a cup of mulled wine and threw me a relieved smile. I acknowledged the gesture with a nod, but little else. I wasn’t paying close attention, but one word of the toast wormed its way into my mind – bravery. The novices used it lightly for they hardly knew its meaning like I did. True courage, contrary to popular opinion, was about wading into the fray and living with its consequences.
A loud cheer from the group of survivors pulled me back to reality. They downed their share in big gulps, whereas I took a single sip, wondering if that was a moment I wished to celebrate or forget.
It’s the first time I’m using the personal pronoun in my narrative, so I’m slightly nervous about the result. I hope I’ve picked an intersting character for it. What are your thoughts on this? Let me know through the comments section below.