The gates to the palace were breaking. It was clear at that point that the royal guard was doing the same. With each heavy slam from the battering ram I watched a drop of sweat slide down the face of my bravest soldier. Watched as their skins turned lighter and their blades shake. I could feel in that moment that whatever bravery they once had was not soaking into the dirt as they shed their courage.
I turned to set my eyes on the door, not willing to watch these so-called ‘knights’ wet themselves once the enemy broke in. I had no time for morale boosting, we all knew what was about to happen. At least, it seemed, I was the only one who was going to die with blood on my sword and wounds in my front.
I stepped forward ahead of my men as the gate splintered into nothing with the battle bash from the swinging log. The enemy knights entered, although their bravery was clear. First, they were walking, with their weapons sheeved. Ahead of them was their captain, who stood a head taller than me. Knowing what was going to happen I knelt down in the sand, drawing my sword and placing the point in the dirt.
It was a challenge towards the captain to which he did not accept. However, there was more to it than a challenge. He ordered his two strongest knights to fight me, I accepted their swords and fought. Each had their unique way of thrusting, but both had the same fatal flaw. Their helmets had wide gaps for their eyes and nose.
The point of my sword expertly found their targets weakness and both fell to the ground, grasping at their face, one now blind. The captain grimaced, but I could tell he was impressed by my fighting. However, there was no honour in all of this. He ordered his men to charge and attack me and my men. Of course, this wasn’t what I was expecting, but it lead me to do something I never thought I would do in warfare. I lost my calm and fought with all the anger and frustrations within me.
I roared bloody murder, for I was going to die at the hands of cowards who outnumbered me. I was beginning to break. I swiped my sword here and there, digging it into obvious weak spots, crippling or killing who ever go to close. It was keeping me alive a little longer, but soon I was surrounded. I knew it would happen this way, but I wasn’t going to fall this easily.
I ran towards the weakest looking knight, surprising him as I knocked his sword aside and tackled him to the ground. I broke free from the circle as my soldiers died like children armed with sticks against wolves. It was terrible, but I had long lost my knights. Those kittens in armour deserved what they got. We were royal guard, the best of the best.
I made sure to keep my distance this time, to avoid being surrounded, fighting those who got close. The enemy captain kept his eyes on me however, watching and then ordering men to move around me. I was beginning to lose hope, because I was running out of options fast. No amount of fury and training could help me now, so I was to fight until I could no longer.
One moved forward, I brought my sword down on his neck quickly. Another fell, but not before taking a swipe that would have killed me if it had it. The third nicked my arm, but I took his. The knights closed in with polearms now, not wanting to get close with sword. That is when they decided to charge towards me, leaving me to drop flat on my stomach as the spears flew over me.
It was catastrophic the damage they did to each other, but I stood to kill some more. It was almost mocking of the general, but then it happened. An unforeseen attack that brought me to my knees. I sword a heavy sword come down I dodged it only by falling back. That is when the captain finally stepped forward, like a coward, to finish the job and take all the glory.
That is when reinforcements came bursting through the front of the palace. A legion hidden in the tower finally released. I suppose that some knights had hammered in the door to spring the trap and not a moment too soon. I was saved by a distraction which I leapt upon, bringing myself to my feet with one leg, striking upwards at the captain. He saw my steel before it lodged into his throat. He fell, spraying blood over me and his men.
With renewed vigour I began to fight, my leg holding my back from chasing the enemy. I watched as the legion chased the remainder of the enemy out the gates and the courtyard was empty save for me and my team of dead knights. Out stepped the king, walking slowly forward with his closest guards at each side.
He admired my bravery and skill, but his recognition was that of a passing glance as he left me where I hobbled. The cruelness in him was vast, but I never knew someone so uncaring. To him the guard that stood by him was to be sacrificed, and the lower guards such as me were even less worthy of living. I bit back words and hobbled back to the castle. I would seek my medical attention.
I was crippled now, the battle would be finished without me, but I couldn’t help silently wishing that the result would be different this time. A new king to swear allegiance to, one who was forgiving and just. One who cared for his people, the families that supported. Not this child beneath the crown, this boy lacking any heart and courage. The late king would have been sickened if he could see the state of his broken lands today.
Be sure to follow!