No one wins in War

No one wins in War

A Story by K. L. Nussbaum

Maeya pushed past the survivors that she could see. Her ears twitching at every sound as she looked around frantically. The battle was mostly over, though some fights were still going on. Those would end swiftly enough. She couldn't see him anywhere, and her chest was aching in such a way that it could only mean two things. Either her son was in trouble, or her beloved was. Neither was something she'd care to hear. Her husband couldn't be too far away from where she stood. She knew her son was safe in the hands of friends in a nearby village.


She found her way to higher ground and stood at the edge of a cliff with her five tails wrapped around her waist in an attempt to calm herself. Her eyes scanning the battlefield as she ignored the voices trying to gain her attention. Then she saw it, the glimmer of what could only be his cloak off in the distance. Without a thought, she leaped from the cliff. Wings of ice burst into life on her back on instinct alone as she flew through the sky. The closer she got the worse the ache in her breast grew. In mere moments she knew why. Two armored figures held him down as another stabbed at his bloodied and tortured form. A fourth seemed to vanish into thin air and she missed the figure of the wolf she'd trained running off in panic.


"No..." She inhaled sharply.


"No!" She screamed as her wings shattered from the torrent of emotions building inside her. She landed on her feet with practiced grace, her frosted glare causing whispers of "Snow Angel..." to fill the air. With a twitch of her fingers, large icicles burst upward from the cold blood-stained earth. The three remaining enemies that had been near him were instantly impaled. Another twitch had those icicles explode into shards, flinging their victims away from him. She dropped to her knees beside Yukai and placed her hands over one of the larger wounds. Closing her eyes to help her ignore the amount of his blood that covered the ground she began to gather her energy, only for a warm hand to cover hers.


She opened her eyes and looked at him, the sad smile and the regret in his eyes telling her all she needed to know.


"No! There has to be a way! You survived through worse," She denied the unspoken words wholeheartedly. She moved to attempt to heal him again, but he stopped her.


"Love... I've lost too much blood. You may be able to do miracles, but this is one you can't pull off..." He murmured, flashing a toothy grin her way as if making a joke.


"Please... Let me a least try... I can't lose you... Your son can't lose you! We can't! Not yet..." Maeya's voice cracked as tears began to flow down her face.


"You aren't losing me, and neither is he. I'll always be with the both of you, so long as you both remember me..." Yukai spoke gently, raising his hand to cup her cheek.


"Be strong my heart. I have faith in you." He murmured, wiping at her tears with the pad of his thumb as she leaned into the caress.


"I wish I had as much faith as you..." Maeya whispered softly, struggling to contain the sobs that wanted to escape her throat.


"You will be fine, and so will our boy. He is his mother's son." Yukai's voice, while wavering slightly, left her no room to question his words.


"Can I see you smile, Princess?" He asked her with a smile. A small sad smile formed on her lips at his request, though it was hard for her to manage. She knew she needed to be strong for him, but she couldn't keep the tears back.


"Love... This isn't goodbye. We will see each other again. I'll wait for you alongside our daughter. You must remember... You still have a mission to complete, a destiny to fulfill, and only you can do it. You can't let yourself die till you've done your part." Yukai flashed her a grin.


"I promise my love. I will do what I must till the gods allow me to follow you." She murmured before turning her head to kiss the palm of his hand as tears fell from her eyes.


"Can you do one last thing for me?" Yukai's words forced her to calm her sobbing.


"Mm?" She sounded not trusting her voice.


"Can you sing something?" Yukai requested.


"I'll...I'll try..." She promised as she cleared her throat and took a deep breath. No words came to mind, for once in her life, so she began to sing a wordless tune from the bottom of her heart. She didn't know how long she'd sat there singing, ignoring the cracking of her voice or her loud gasping breaths. She only knew it was time to stop when his hand slipped from her cheek and bounced once on the ground. Sobs shook her petite form as she drew his cooling body into a tight embrace. She buried her eyes into the crook of his neck, taking in his scent one last time as she muffled her cries.


She didn't hear the roar of the storm that burst from the sky. She didn't feel the rain that quickly drenched her in its downpour. All she knew was that he was gone. She didn't scream out into the night, but that didn't stop the remaining troops from finding her in her grief. Many turned away, not wanting to see the state of one of the remaining generals.


However one stepped forward silently. He stopped next to her and squatted down, placing a tender hand on her shoulder.


"Milady, I apologize for disturbing you in your grief, but there is something you must tend to at once." Maeya froze for a moment, taking the time to pull herself together. She removed his jacket and wrapped it around herself, before reluctantly moving away.


"Gather the fallen, and prepare the pyre. We will free their souls when the rain quells." Her voice wavered, despite the cold steel of her tone.


She was lead to a nearby cliff, one that overlooked where she'd just been. It was there that she spotted the bloodied mess that was Merc, pinned to the ground by swords through his limbs. He was alive, she noted with confusion.


"Why have you not freed him?" She questioned the men that stood around.


"His own request, Milady." "I... see... Leave us, I will tend the matter. Assist the others in preparation, we have lost many this day."As they left them she turned to look at the downed kitsune, who refused to look her in the eyes.


"What have you done, that makes you act guilty? If it is my beloved's death, then your guilt is unfounded." Maeya questioned Merc.


"No... My sister, I am a fool. I've not much time before my body is no longer my own..." Merc stated still refusing to meet her eyes.


"Explain." She sighed as she knelt down next to him.


"Remember the collar the Templar had placed on you, as well as that armor I was tricked into," he paused to see her nod silently.


"It wasn't just controlling me. It forced another soul inside of me, and it has been trapped there ever since. It has made me betray you and yours." He finally said it.


"Betray how?" Her eyes narrowed.


"Your son... Daemon... He is not where he should be." He whispered and she clenched her fists.


"I know only one way to free you from this other spirit. Even then, I can't be certain." She murmured as she stood and drew her weapon from its sheath.


"Thank you, and forgive me, my sister." With a quick downward swipe, she removed his head from his shoulders and a soft cry caught her ears. Turning, she spotted Mokiru staring at her and their comrade in horror. Unable to look the girl in the eyes, she moved passed her, the words "I'm sorry." escaping her lips as she moved forward without looking back.


Long after the rain had dried and the clouds dispersed, She found herself standing before the burning pyres. The smell of burning flesh and blood poisoned the air among black smoke. No sound was to be heard, aside from the crackling of the flames. Maeya held her head high in honor of the fallen, regardless if they had been friend or enemy, as did the remaining soldiers behind her. At her side stood Mokiru, who trembled and shook with the deep emotions that filled her.


She wanted to tremble and shake, to feel outraged, guilt, and pain, but she felt numb. Perhaps she was in shock, she didn't know or care. She was tired of the bloodshed, pain, and death. She was tired of her people having to suffer, sacrifice, and fight, just to earn their existence. It had to end. She would break this cycle, but first, she would save her son.


Maeya!” The shout drew her attention to Vix, who glared at her with hate-filled eyes.


"This is your fault! You caused this! You the reason all of these people are dead. I swear I will kill you for this!" Vix yelled, mad in her grief, as she pointed one of her blades at Maeya. The soldiers frowned, knowing the woman was no longer right in the head with the loss of her mate, and the closest ones started to move toward the woman.


"Begone then. I'll find you when I'm ready for my end." Maeya stopped the movement with a wave of her arm. Vix glared at her.


"Gladly. I was tired of being near filth such as you anyway." The violet-haired woman snarled as she turned on her heel and vanished in a flash of lightning as she sheathed her weapons. Maeya sighed, grateful for the woman to have left.


"Milady, are you sure that was wise?" One of the surrounding men questioned. She sighed and raised her head to the sky.


"There has been far too much bloodshed these last few years. Time is nigh for it to end. Those who wish to continue forward alongside me may do so, for I vow to bring the bloodshed to an end. I vow to not let our fallen's deaths be in vain!" Her voice was louder than they'd ever known it to be. It was strong and firm, filled with a determination that sparked pride in their hearts.


"Those who choose not to fight at my side, do as you will. No one shall be judged by me, or anyone else that stands among you!" She finished. To her amazement, all the men that had been under the now late and former generals moved closer to her. None made the choice to leave. All were willing to fight alongside her.


"I will not be your general unless it is asked of me. I see you all as my equals, my brothers and sisters. I will watch and guard your back just as you have mine. I place my life in your hands, just as you have placed yours in mine. Together we will end this war," her voice rang out, as the men and women around her began to chant and cheer. And she knew then, deep in her heart, he would be proud.


© 2017 K. L. Nussbaum



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Andrew Nelson Stewart
Andrew Nelson Stewart
In poetry and to find answers of who we are while walking the ephemeral road upon cracks of pain signs leading you.

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Added on October 5, 2017
Last Updated on October 5, 2017

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K. L. Nussbaum
K. L. Nussbaum

About
So a little bit about me... Hmm... I'm a mother to a beautiful little boy. Yes, he already has me wrapped around his little fingers. I am a big supporter of the U.S. Military. I have odd, weird.. more..

Writing
Bonding Bonding

A Story by K. L. Nussbaum