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Last Hope of Siandia
The wind blew angrily against Terania, wiping his blue cloak harshly around his lean frame. A sword, with ruins running along its blade, hung on his left side. A spear was strapped to his back as well.
Terania was a warrior, from his leather boots all the way to his long, blonde hair crowned with his blue hood. His face was lean, like his body, with a haunted look in his green eyes. A golden flamed circle surrounded his pupils; a rare thing, something of the gods. Bushy eyebrows covered his eyes, like a forest shadowing a plain of grass. He had high cheekbones, and the starts of a beard covering his chin and upper lip. All in all he was a very handsome man.
Terania stared down at the valley below. It was wide, and large, the Valley of the Sun was its name now. But Terania knew by the end of the year it would have a different name; the Valley of the Dead.
The valley had a river running through it, the river Dusk. It was a shallow river; a foot deep in most spots, sometimes two feet, but it was wide. To the east of the valley were some cliffs, parallel to each other, about 50 yards apart from each other. This would be Teranian’s retreat if the battle was going badly, this would be a good spot to hold off the enemy. At the end of the cliffs passage was a smaller passageway, only ten yards across in all, which lead into the ocean, where the river Dusk ran through.
Terania grasped the reins of his horse and turned Glenshian around to face his captains.
“Men, this is where we make our final stand.”
The night was dark, with clouds covering the moon like a blanket.
Under this cloudy night was the encampment of Gregorio’s army. It was a large mass of Siandian’s who had rallied against the King of Siandia, King Horris. They had been waiting for someone to lead them, and Gregorio had answered their call.
One of these men was Deniel Fritirn, a shorter man with dark hair and green eyes.
Deniel sat in his tent, staring across at his assigned partner, an averaged heighted man with blonde hair and blue eyes. This man’s name was Sethril Gengrod. He had a nasty temper, and Deniel had to keep him in check.
Deniel watched as Sethril sharpened his sword with a wetstone, and frowned when he raised it and ran it smoothly along his clean shaven face, nodding afterwards with content.
Deniel scowled. Every night this unruly man sat and sharpened his knife and sword. It annoyed Deniel; he just wanted to grab the man and shake him.
Sighing Deniel rose from the ground and ducked out from under his tent, starting off in a random direction. Just to walk.
He moved silently through the forest of squat tents, staying out of the light of the many fires. Men circled these, talking and roaring at small, petty jokes. These men are like animals. Deniel made a sour face, invisible in the darkness.
Deniel walked for a while, and found that his feet had taken him to the tent of General Gregorio. He stared at the tent in front of him. It was nicer than any other, obviously. It was taller, a man could actually stand up in it, and it was twice the width of any other tent. It also had a flap, used as a door. That was all though, the General just wanted more room it seemed, and more privacy.
Suddenly laughter came from inside it, and the flap was swept aside. Out came five men, the captains of the army. The General must have been planning with them. Then another man came out from behind them, only a small smile playing on his face. A cloth of white hung from his belt. A messenger from the King’s army.
It was said the General Gregorio was a man who liked to joke. A man who liked to have fun ,and who could tell a good joke. Deniel wasn’t doubting this, especially since the enemy messenger was laughing.
Then Gregorio appeared, striding out from the tent on long legs. He didn’t wear a shirt, but had on his pants and boots, with a belt strapped around his waist, a sword hanging from it. He had long, blonde hair that dropped slightly passed his broad shoulders. His arms were muscular and well sculpted. His, eyes, not visible in the dark, were crystal-blue. Deniel had seen them in the day; they were shockingly noticeable.
Gregorio wore a smile on his handsome face as he strode from his tent, calling after the messenger.
“Goodnight, sir! Your horse is well fed and has been watered and rested! We shall see each other at the Valley of the Sun!”
So, the battle had been planned. They would do battle in the Valley of the Sun. Deniel couldn’t help but fill a glimmer of excitement shoot up his spine. The King was almost defeated. This would be there last battle. It had to be, if the enemy was requesting the battle ground.
Deniel hurried back to his tent to start the preparations for tomorrows march. The victory was near. He let out a laugh.
The morning brought a misty cloud and a blotched sun. But by midmorning the sun had defeated the mist, and stood high and proud in the blue sky.
The encampment of Terania was busy, preparing for battle. They fixed armor, sharpened weapons, and prayed to their gods. Tomorrow the battle would start.
As Terania’s men made their preparations Tirania was out with his closest friend and captain, Sethlo Friyes. The two had met at childhood, their parents both being of noble blood.
The two walked through the fields that covered Siandia, discussing battle tactics and what would be best for the battle on the next day.
“Did you see those cliffs facing east?” questioned Terania.
“Aye, I did.”
“If the battle goes badly for us we will retreat to there, and make our final stand.”
Sethlo took on a thoughtful expression. “Aye, that would be a smart move. But they could keep us penned in until they mount archers upon the walls of the cliffs. Then we wouldn’t stand a chance.”
“Perhaps. But if we retreat quickly enough they will follow after us, and with luck they will just attack, and not think of such things. Though Gregorio’s mind is quick. But we have no better choice.”
“Hmm, perhaps. Then that will be our retreat. What should happen if they block its entrance from us? What then?” Sethlo questioned.
“Ah, I have not thought of this. What are your thoughts?” Terania frowned slightly.
Sethlo glanced at his old comrade and felt a deep love for this man. This man was one to admire. He had been lucky to make friends with one such as this. There was not a more loyal man than Terania, or a better friend.
“Terania, what do you think will happen to us?”
Terania stopped short, and turned to his friend, staring him in the eyes. “I believe we will fight, and that the outcome of the war will decide our fate, but we men can have a hand in it, and we will not back down! This is our land.”
Terania continued walking.
“I pray that the gods will be on our side.”
Terania nodded. “Perhaps, but I believe the gods care not for our cause. They care for themselves, and a man should not trust in those unfaithful to him. That is foolishness. I do not put my trust in the gods, so they do not decide my fate. I decide my own fate.”
A long silence followed this speech. Sethlo broke the silence with a simple question, “Has Tolor answered us?”
Terania’s handsome face furrowed in a frown, his bushy eyebrows drawn down over his stormy eyes. “No.” he murmured.
Sethlo sighed. “They would help us greatly.”
Terania remained silent.
Sethlo glanced towards the side as he noticed a quick movement. A deer bounded away, disappearing into a patch of trees.
“Beautiful. The deer. Nature. All of it, so beautiful, and after tomorrow, we may never see it again.”
Sethlo didn’t know what to say to that, but he his friend didn’t require and answer from him.
They walked in silence for a little longer, both wrapped in their own thoughts.
Terania’s mind wandered to Savaithia, his wife-to-be. She was at the moment in the palace at Siandia’s capital city, Siandon, under the protection of King Horris. He knew he may never see her again. His last moments with her flashed through his mind.
They had been standing under a large stone arch, both of Sevaithia’s hands held in Terania’s firm grip. Neither had said much, both knowing each other’s thoughts, and their worries and concerns.
Terania whispered in a soft voice, “I will be safe, do not fear for me.”
Sevaithia had nodded, her eyes red-rimmed. She had not cried aloud, and only a few tears had slipped from her clear, blue eyes. Other than that she had remained in control of her emotions, a queen to Terania. Then she had dropped into Tereania’s arms, her head resting against his muscular chest. Terania cradled her, speaking soft words to her as they embraced each other for the last time. Terania then gave her a quick kiss and departed, never looking back at Sevaithia as she held her head high and proud.
Suddenly Sethlo spoke aloud, bringing Terania from his thoughts.
“Look, there’s the messenger. He has returned.” He lifted an arm and pointed. Terania’s eyes caught the dust cloud of the messenger’s horse as he galloped into camp.
“Good.” Was the curt reply from Terania. “Let’s see what he has to say.”
“He will be here and we will do battle tomorrow afternoon. He will camp opposite us, across the valley.” The messenger spoke calmly, with an air of sureness around him, indicating with his hands.
“Good,” Terania answered. “Then we will be ready.”
The messenger nodded. His face, complimented with a large nose and dark eyes, flashed a look of accomplishment. “Is that all Lord?”
Terania looked at him, his eyes narrowing slightly, lips pursed, as he measured the man, looking him up and down. “Yes.” He answered quietly.
The man nodded and took his leave.
Sethlo knew Terania didn’t like being called ‘Lord,’ even if it was his proper title.
Terania suddenly turned to Sethlo, with a quick movement that reminded Sethlo of a hunting hawk. “What do you think?” he asked.
Sethlo paused in thought, then answered. “I think we can trust Gregorio, he is a man of his word.”
Terania nodded and stood, stalking to the far corner of his tent.
With the grace of a stalking panther. This man is deadly. Gregorio almost let a smile play across his face. Almost.
Terania turned around, a scroll in his hand. “Give this to Sevaithia if I do not make it to the end of tomorrow alive.” He handed the scroll to Sethlo, his face impassive.
“I will. Do not fear.”
Terania smiled, “I do not.” Terania sat back down and continued speaking. “Sethlo, do you remember when we were young, and Horris attacked us with ten of his friends?”
Sethlo nodded. He and Terania had not been on good terms with King Horris when the three of them were young. Horris had been three years older then Sethlo and Terania, and had an air of cockiness around him. He had changed over the years, and had eventually befriended Terania and Sethlo, and now they were good friends. But in their teenage years King Horris had been full of himself, and had mocked and scorned his two younger subjects.
Terania continued. “We were outnumbered, and I was scared half to death. I did not know what was going to happen to me. Sethlo, this is how I feel now. I feel afraid, and I feel uncertain of the future.”
Sethlo listened intently, then answered, “But we won Terania. We outsmarted them. Perhaps this will happen again.”
“Perhaps. Nothing is sure.”
“No, nothing is.” Agreed Sethlo. “But we can fight.”
Terania nodded. “We have no other choice my friend.”
Storm clouds hung to the east, over the sea. They were moving fast, and would arrive over the valley by afternoon.
Terania watched these storm clouds from the beach of the shore. He had finished his battle plans with his captains and they were now relating it to there men. Now Terania stood alone on the sea shore, staring out over the blue mass of sea, his thoughts wandering.
He bent down and picked up a smooth rock from the sand, then sent it skipping over the waves. Four skips. He scoffed. I’ve gotten eight before. He bent to pick another rock from the sand and sent it in a parallel throw over the ocean. Six. Not bad.
Terania quickly lost interest and dropped to the sand, legs crossed out in front of him. He hated these moments right before the battle started. There was nothing to do, so minds wandered and thought of things not to be thought of. Butterflies filled stomachs more than ever, and men sat on the calm, silent edge of the storm, waiting for it to break and engulf them.
Terania pulled himself to his feet and mounted his white steed, Glenshian. He spun him in a circle, Terania’s blue cloak spinning through the air like a disk, then set his horse to a quick canter towards his camp. He arrived quickly as Glenshian was a well-bred battle-horse.
Once he reached camp he glanced towards the sky. It was time.
Terania raced Glenshian through the camp, calling his captains to prepare the men to go, yelling orders as he went.
The Siandian’s rushed to and from their positions, hurrying to prepare.
Terania let a grin pass over his face. Then he let it brake into a small chuckle, then a loud laugh as he leapt through his army’s tents on his horse.
The men who saw him swore he had gone insane.
But Terania felt completely fine; only one thought was passing through his mind. It is time.
Gregorio stared out over the valley, resting upon his brown horse. He wore golden and red painted armor, with a helm covering his blonde hair. Horsehair was strung to the top of his helmet and whipped in the wind. A spear was wedged into his stirrup, and a sword hung lazily at his side. A large battle-axe was strapped to his broad back, and a knife hung on the back of his belt. The only thing in Gregorio’s hand was a large shield. It had a red, roaring dragon painted upon it, with a golden background.
All in all Gregorio was an impressive sight.
Gregorio’s army looked about as impressive as he did. He had 400 thousand men behind him, with 3 thousand mounted upon horses. This was his cavalry, and they would charge in first, with him leading them. Then his captain, Horst, would lead in the infantry after Gregorio had collided with the enemy. The archers were led by another captain, Thenial, who had taken refuge closer to the valley upon high ground where they could send volley after volley upon the enemy. Then there was Gregorio’s secret force. A small group of five thousand men that were already in position behind the enemy, riding horses, would charge in after the battle was well along. This would be lead by Gregorio’s top captain, Pretern.
Gregorio remembered a tune from the night before and hummed it quietly, thrumming his fingers upon the pommel of his saddle, nodding his head slightly as he waited to for the charge. He smiled slightly and started humming even louder.
Across the valley waited the army of the King; only 100 thousand men. They were greatly outnumbered, but they had the thoughts of their families on their minds, and all their loved ones, and this set a fire inside them that could not be kindled.
At the head of the army was the figure of Terania, sitting straight upon Glenshian. His head was held high like a king’s, proud and resolute. He wore armor, though not much, that was silver and shone slightly under the oncoming tempest. His right hand held the reins to his horse, and his left rested upon the pommel of his sword. His spear sat snug in the stirrup and his golden hair blew lazily around his lean face.
His men gazed at him in admiration. This was a heroic man, one look-up too. This was a symbol of the King, and a living god upon the earth. His men loved him, and would follow him to the death.
Terania turned his horse and cantered him back and forth along the ranks of his men as he started his speech.
“Men, we are here. This is it. We fight for our country and for our families, in a battle where we are outnumbered. But take heart! For without heart we cannot succeed! Without heart we will perish, and our loved one’s will die and be enslaved! Is that what you want?! Do you want our loved one’s licking the boots of Gregorio?! NO! So let us do battle! Let the enemy come! For we will destroy them! We will conquer!” Terania grabbed his sword and yanked it from the stirrup, raising it to the sky, pointing to the heavens.
Terania’s army screamed in approval, cheering and waving their weapons above their heads.
Then the rain came, starting as a steady drizzle, then a thicker sheet of rain, until everything was soaked.
Terania listened to the cheers as he turned and stared at Gregorio across the valley. Though he could not see that far, he swore there eyes met.
Then Terania turned and pointed his spear towards the enemy and he charged. The cavalry leapt behind him and followed, with the infantry running behind.
Gregorio’s army suddenly started to move in mass as his cavalry charged. It was like a flood coming forwards, like a flood about to engulf Terania and his men, but they did not waver.
A volley of arrows from the enemy whispered through the sky, piercing the rainwater and landed amidst Terania’s cavalry. Horses collapsed as they were pierced with thick, wooden shafts, and men dropped from their steeds, only to be trampled by their fellow soldiers.
Terania’s army formed a V-shape and then the two armies collided, crashing into each other like a wave upon another wave. Men and horse flew into the air as the two armies collided.
Terania ducked a stabbing spear and let his own find flesh. His men behind him followed him, stabbing with their own weapons.
Sun flashed upon metal as the battle raged. The valley glared with the reflections of weapons and armor. Men died and fell, and others conquered, and then fell.
After two to three hours of battle, Terania and his men looked to be winning, and were pushing Gregorio and his men backwards.
Terania glanced around, noticing how his men fought with vigor and emotion, and he knew they thought of their loved one’s back home. Terania felt a pride swell within him and he turned towards the enemy with renewed energy.
Suddenly a horn blasted through the air from behind Terania and his men. He turned to see what it was and felt his heart skip a beat. Gregorio had sent a group of cavalry behind Terania’s army and they were charging into the valley like devils from Hell.
Terania recognized that this would change the tide of the battle and grasped the ram’s horn at his belt. Lifting it to his lips he blew two long, sorrowful notes.
His men reacted instantly and started to retreat towards the cliffs towards the east, heading for refuge in between them.
Terania turned to see the surprise attack breaking through the ranks of infantry near the end of the battlefield.
Cursing silently Terania turned Glenshian and headed towards the cliffs, spear still in hand. Somehow he had held onto it during the charge.
Pursued hotly by Gregorio’s army, Terania’s men fled through the entrance and towards the end of the canyon.
Suddenly another horn was blown three times and Gregorio’s men pulled back, halting at the canyons entrance.
At least Gregorio is allowing us to reform and fight our last battle with honor. Terania almost smiled at the thought, and he thought back to Savaithia. Terania knew he’d never see her again. This was it, there wasn’t any possibility of surviving.
Gregorio’s army had reformed, and with Gregorio at their lead, were preparing for a charge.
Suddenly something came alive within him. A burning demon, climbing his spine and taking over his body. Terania felt the rage boiling inside of him and turned sharply to his men.
Sethlo had reformed them and they were ready for another charge as well.
Terania nodded to Sethlo, then patted his horses blood-stained flank as he trotted to the front of his armies ranks. He turned and faced his men, raising his head high and proud, his blue cloak fluttering around his impressive frame.
Suddenly lightning flashed and struck the ground behind Terania, flashing a whitish-purplish glow around him.
Then Terania spoke. “Men, it looks like we make our final stand here, in the mouth of the tiger. We are greatly outnumbered and outspirited. But think of the people, the families, the cultures that depend on this fight. They have come to our land, and have attempted to eradicate our military force. They want out loyalty and our land.” Terania suddenly raised his voice to a shout. “But we will not give it to them! They want our people, and our riches! But we will not give it to them! What we will give them, is a body full of arrows, and a pool of their own blood to drown in! And we will fight for all that we love as the fires rain down from the skies above!” A meteor flashed across the sky, leaving behind a trailing slash of flame slicing through the grey sky, and Terania pointed to it with his spear. “We will live to see our families one more time!” Terania whipped his horse around to face Gregorio and his oncoming army, his spear raised before him as if he were using it to quall Gregorio’s storm of men His men screamed in approval, brandishing their weapons as eagerness flared through them.
Terania’s eyes flickered to the sky momentarily. Rugged line of grey upon rugged grey, with the meteors streak of flame still smearing the clouds ominous appearance.
Terania let a ghost of a smile play his across his face, then he lifted his spear towards the sky and forward, kicking Glenshian’s flanks to start him moving. His horse gained momentum fast as the men behind him followed on foot or on horse. Arrow’s flickered from the men of the King, finding their marks in the ranks of Gregorio’s charging army.
Then the two armies collided. Cries rang from the unlucky ones, and the wind howled in rage. Horses’ screams echoed loudly within the confines of the canyon, and the sound of metal on metal was magnified as the battle commenced.
Terania found himself amidst screaming men, sword in hand. His spear seemed to have disappeared during the charge. He battled from Glenshian’s now red stained flanks, with anger boiling his blood. Suddenly Terania found himself surrounded by his men and he kicked Glenshian forwards, yelling hope to his men.
The battle had not lasted long before Terania caught a glimpse of Gregorio. A wrathful bitterness flared through his being. His eyes narrowed like a cats as he kicked his steed forwards, trampling those in his path. He swung his sword above his head as his enemies leapt from his path, fleeing his grisly image. He was like a demon from Hell, dealing out death’s justice. Gregorio’s men knew death when they saw it.
Then Terania noticed Sethlo. He had made his way over to Gregorio and the two were deep in battle, trading blow after blow. Terania knew Sethlo was in danger and kicked Glenshian’s ribs harder.
Another man appeared by Gregorio’s side and faced Sethlo with a menacing look.
Fury burned deeper inside of Terania and he spurred his horse forward.
Deniel had enjoyed the fighting so far. As a blood-thirsty man he enjoyed slaying the enemy. It was sickening, yet, that was his way.
Deniel thought it had been a bad idea to attack Terania within the canyons walls as numbers did not make a difference here within such a small space. Gregorio should have used his greater numbers to his advantage. But it was too late now, Gregorio’s army was too deep into the canyon to try to pull out without taking serious losses.
As soon as Terania’s army had crashed into Gregorio’s ranks Deniel new the battle would be lost. Terania and his men seemed to have renewed vigor and energy, and were slowly pushing Gregorio’s men backwards. This battle was not turning out well anymore the tide had changed. As autumn turns to winter, so too does this battle turn against us. The thought was quick and fleeting, and Deniel pushed it from his mind as he saw Terania, mounted upon his warhorse, pushing through Gregorio’s men, wielding his blade like some kind of hero from ancient times.
If Terania were to die, then perhaps his men would lose all hope.
Deniel snarled, his upper lip curling in disgust, and he leapt forwards towards Terania, brandishing his sword.
Suddenly Terania was on him, his eyes burning with rage.
Deniel quailed, recoiling back in fear. Moving with a savage grace Terania whipped his blade downwards and an icy pain shot through Deniel’s head. His vision suddenly blurred and everything seemed like a million mixtures of color. He tried to focus, barely discerning the shape of a mounted figure garbed in blue. With a last effort Deniel stabbed out with his sword. It met flesh. Deniel felt a massive weight tugging at him and he gave in. Darkness slowly enclosed his vision, and a million voices blared in his ears. The sound rose to a deafening roar and he screamed to try to drown them out. Then silence enveloped him and he ceased to exist.
Terania suddenly felt a burning pain in his side. He glanced down and noticed a dying man had stabbed out hard with his sword. Terania growled and wrenched the blade from his side with his gauntleted hands. Kicking out ferociously he dealt the man a quick blow to the head, sending him to the ground. The man made no other move and Terania pressed forwards, ignoring the pain.
Suddenly Terania saw Sethlo fall to the ground and Gregorio raised his sword to finish him. The other man who’d help defeat Sethlo turned to face Terania but fell hard with an arrow piercing his chest.
“Gregorio!!!” Screamed Terania.
Gregorio turned to see Teranai mounted before him. A grin broke over his face and he laughed.
“Let’s finish this!” Hissed Terania.
Terania kicked his foot out of his stirrups and slid from his horses back.
Suddenly a trumpet blared, and upon the cliffs appeared the Tolor army, coming to Siandia’s aid.
Gregorio’s face suddenly turned bitter and he glared at Terania.
Both stood looking at each other as the army of Tolor rushed into the canyon, attacking the rear of Gregorio’s army. Gregorio’s fate had been sealed.
Suddenly Gregorio leapt forward, bringing his blade in a broad arch towards Terania. Terania’s sword flashed sunlight as he swung it to block Gregorio’s blow. But Gregorio quickly reversed his swing and sent it deep into Terania’s already wounded side.
Terania gasped and danced backwards, ignoring the pain that exploded in his side. Stepping nimbly forwards, Terania attacked Gregorio as a puma attacks a wounded beast. His blade flickered, darting through the air, but Gregorio’s blade quickly blocked it.
The two men’s blades wove and danced with each other, much like two snakes as they weave around each other in an intament dance.
Gregorio suddenly swung his sword wildly, bringing it crashing towards Terania’s skull. Terania moved like a striking viper, spinning under the blow and giving Gregorio a sharp cut to his exposed side.
Stumbling backwards Gregorio grasped at his side with claw-like hands. Terania strode forward, tall and proud, sword held poised before him.
Gregorio lurched towards Terania and slashed at him. Terania blocked it with ease, wielding his anger and using it as an ally.
Gregorio lashed out again, but it was once more blocked. Terania dealt a quick stab, snaking past Gregorio’s defenses. It pierced Gregorio’s armpit and his sword fell uselessly to the ground.
Terania kicked Gregorio hard in the stomach, knocking him to the ground, then stood over him, sword raised high.
Gregorio stared up at him. This devil of Siandia had no rival. “Just kill me quickly.” Pleaded Gregorio.
“Your wish is granted.” Terania’s soft voice seemed to echo throughout the valley, cutting through the cries of the dying. “I will honor your last wish.” Then his sword dropped and Gregorio’s life leaked from his shattered body.
Terania suddenly gasped as his adrenaline leaked from his pained body. He dropped his sword and clutched at his side. Sethlo hurried over to him and checked his wound. A worried expression crossed his fair features.
Terania glanced up at his friend. “I am dying,” he whispered. “I am losing too much blood.”
“No, no. You’ll live. I’ll get help!” Sethlo stood to go but froze from Terania’s expression.
“No, I am a dead man. But take my letter to Sevaithia, and give her this too.” He slid a ring from his right hand and passed it to Sethlo, breathing heavily.
“I will old friend.”
“My sword…please.” Terania reached out his right hand, grasping for his faithful weapon.
Sethlo grabbed it and slid it into Terania’s hand, a tear leaking from the corner of his eye.
“We will meet once more in the afterlife.” The whispered words were barely audible from Terania’s lips.
Sethlo nodded and Terania’s body went limp as his spirit escaped its earthly prison and rose towards the heavens, towards the great halls of the noble warriors. Terania had returned to his family, and now sat upon his throne, taking his place besides his ancestors.
The great city of Siandon stood tall and resolute on the shores of Crothin Sea. Tall towers and spires rose high above its thick walls, carved from pearly-white marble and grey granite.
Two weeks had passed since Terania’s glorious victory against the rebel Gregorio, and the story was upon every tongue and in every tavern and bar across Siandia.The story had even leaked its way across the land of Tolor. Terania was a hero. Bards already performed plays and sung songs in his honor. Terania’s epic story would live on forever.
Sethlo Friyes had done as Terania had asked, and had visited Sevaithia the day he returned.
Her room was in the palace as she was of noble birth. Sethlo had rapped her wooden door three times. She’d answered quickly, a look of excitement upon her lean face. A hungering look. Hungering for Terania. This had made it all the harder for Sethlo to tell her. Her face had frozen when she’d seen Sethlo standing in Terania’s place.
Sethlo had raised his hand outwards, holding the letter and the ring forward for her to take. Her numb hands had groped at the letter and ring, finally grabbing them, an impassive expression frozen upon her face.
Then a tear leaked from the corner of one of her crystal-blue eyes. It shone softly in the faint light as it slid down her cheek and stopped at the corner of her mouth. Then her door slammed shut in Sethlo’s face.
Sethlo had stood outside her door for a good ten minutes, listening to her moaning cries. Once a muffled scream shattered a long silence, then her crying had began once more.
Sethlo had finally departed, descending to his own room, left to his own thoughts.
The two weeks for Sethlo had passed slowly and dully. He needed something to do, to take his mind off of Terania and all the other lost men. Luckily King Horris had called to have a feast. The dinner-party would last all night long and well into the morning.
The feast was held in the main hall, a long room guilded with shining colors of gold, green blue, and red. Tall drapes hung over the tall windows, hiding the fabulous view of the city.
The food was served after a grand speech by King Horris, ending with a solum mournful silence out of respect for the dead.
Sethlo noticed Sevaithia had not shed a single tear during this silence. It must be hard for her to go on everyday. Sethlo let a fleeting smile of sadness etch itself onto his face. But it was gone quickly. He was not a man to smile often.
As the food was served raucos laughter and chatter broke out through the hall. Sethlo quickly found himself being pestered about the battle by and old noble. Sethlo politely answered his questions. The man seemed to have the idea that not a single soul had been killed from the King’s army besides Terania. Sethlo couldn’t help but laugh at some of the things he said about his youth and all the battles he’d been in. He was quite the storyteller. According to him, he’d never received a battle wound, never lost a battle, and had killed almost entire armies on his own.
When the old man was well into the middle of one of his stories about killing a dragon barehanded, Sethlo interrupted him and excused himself, promising he’d be back in ten minutes to hear the rest of the story.
Sethl stood from his seat and headed towards a doorway towards the far end of the hallway, the old man’s incessant bantering trailing in his wake.
Sethlo reached the doorway and pushed aside the dark-green cloth that covered it. Raucous laughter chased him onto the balcony that overlooking the city and the ocean. A salty breeze daintily battered his face as he walked towards the railing. He let his gaze stray to the heavens and stared hard into the dark canopy of sky.
Needless life’s wasted. War has no victory, Sethlo though bitterly, both sides lose.
Sethlo sighed. “Terania, you have saved us all from Gregorio. You will live on forever in our hearts. Good by old friend. Peace be with you.”
Sethlo turned from the balcony and headed towards the doorway, back to the feast. Back to hear the old man’s tales.
He pulled the cloth aside to enter the hall and the jovial voices of the nobles flooded around him. He released a deep sigh and headed back to his seat.
Kansas City, Kansas
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AD ASTRA PER ASPERA- to the stars, through difficulties.