Chapter OneA Chapter by Dearantlers
The clash of metal on metal echoed throughout the steep sided valley, joining yells, booms, and more clashes. The combined sounds bouncing off the rocky out crops of the ravine was deafening, especially compared to the tense silence we had had only moments before. The sun was beating harshly on us, frying any exposed skin to a bright red. A slight breeze ruffled the tall grass that hadn’t yet been trampled. The stench of sweat, mixed with blood and fear was unbearable, but there was nowhere to run away from it. In every direction there were more and more soldiers. I could tell by the determined look on their sunburned faces that there was one thought running through their brains. Win. They were determined to win this war, and I knew that there was no way to beat them, and yet I kept fighting. I kept slashing my sword at my opponent’s. I kept fighting for what I believed in.
Muscles burning, I blocked a blow aimed at my head, the sound of our sword clashing adding to the roar of war. My enemy swung again, his blade sending me a clear message of hate and loathing, but as I glanced at his face, his stormy blue eyes were sending me another. He was pleading for me to forgive him for fighting me. He didn’t want to be here. He, like me, was forced to fight this war, and my mind opened a little with this realization. These men and boys weren’t the ruthless, trained, killing machines that my army had thought they were. They were farmers, shoemakers, bakers, ect. They were regular people who have been forced out of their homes, and away from their families to fight in this stupid, pointless war. I realized that my opponent was human, and that we have many things in common. We’re both young. He couldn’t be older than 18, and I’m 16. We both wanted to be anywhere but here. We both had no idea how to properly handle a sword. We were both regular boys.
My opponent and I kept swinging at each other, picking up a rhythm of swinging our swords, then blocking our opponents. Soon though, my swings were less fierce, while his seemed to be stronger. I was losing my stamina, and fast. His metal armor flashed when it caught a ray of the sun, and he swung yet again, but my arm was too slow to block it. I jumped away from his weapon with a burst of energy, but was too slow. His blade easily cut through my flimsy farming shirt, drawing a deep crimson line on my stomach. I screamed out in pain, clutching the wound with my free hand while the other gripped the hilt of my sword so tight my knuckles turned white. I swung my weapon at the boy with a new ferocity. My energy seemed to come with the pain. The more painful, the harder I swung. I pushed my enemy back a few feet, and suddenly, I had no energy. I became the person being pushed back. I felt the end was near, and things seemed to be moving in slow motion. Everything around me was the same. The army in the shining, silver armor with the crisp blue uniforms underneath, were easily beating the armor less army, with multi-colored farming clothes as their only protection. These men with armor were from Tir Gavin, the one place that my kingdom, Elvera, did not get along with.
I knew my older brother was out there somewhere, fighting with a pitchfork that we‘d taken from the farm. My neighbor used a crudely carved club, and I’d even seen some men with flimsy tree branches as their only weapon. Rarely, you saw someone lucky enough to have a sword. My sword used to be my granddad’s. “Byram,” he’d said, handing me the shiny metal, “I’m givin’ this to ya ‘cause ya the youngest in the family. Yur older brother and yur pa, they are stronger than ya, and smarter too. They don‘t need a sword to win a battle. But you do.” My ego had been hurt by his words, but I was grateful for the gift from Granddad. I would be long dead by now without. I was also lucky that he had the sword. Most had been destroyed a long time ago.
Time sped up again, and my opponent swung yet again. This time I didn’t have the strength to avoid the blade, and he hit me hard. I fell onto the trampled grass, and the my blade dropped to the ground. I bit my tongue to keep from screaming. On my right arm, just above my elbow, a crimson line formed, growing larger, and larger. I ignored it, hoping the bleeding would stop soon. My left, blood-stained, but undamaged arm reached for my sword, and my opponent let me grab it. He watched as I clambered to my feet, and we stood there staring at each other, both waiting for someone else to make the first move. After several moments, my opponent took a step forward, lifted his sword, and swung. My unpracticed hand lifted my blade also, but completely missed his. My blade and the ground once again met, and where his sword cut my shirt, there was another crimson line, this one deeper than the last. I knew that I had officially lost. I would not get the chance to pick up a sword again.
My eyes drifted to my opponent. He had both swords in his hands, but they were hanging limply by his side, not thrust jubilantly in the air like I had expected. His faced was scrunched up into a grimace, not the elated smile I had assumed would be lingering on his features. His blue eyes were full of regret. Everything about him was the opposite that I had apprehended, but then I remembered that he was a boy just like me. I would have felt the same way had I won the battle. He opened his mouth, jaw and lips moving, but no sounds were coming out. He cleared his throat, and then asked hoarsely, “What’s your name?”
“Byram,” I replied, my voice timid.
He stared at me for a long moment, and then whispered barely audible, “I’m sorry Byram.” With his words, I closed my eyes and said a quick prayer for the safety of my family, and waited for the final blow to come. Instead I hear two thunks of metal hitting dirt. I opened my eyes and looked at my rival. He had thrown the swords into the dirt far out of my reach, and was bending down towards me. Terror paralyzed me as he drew closer, my mind painting frightening images of what he was going to do to me. No doubt, in the end I’d be dead, but what would happen to me before Death opened his arms toward me? I couldn’t move as his hands reached for me, as they yanked my arms behind my back. I was pulled to my feet, and then he gently pushed me forward, expecting me to walk. I stumbled, but his strong hand was there to steady me. I walked a few steps, and then looked up at the battle field. I was stopped in my tracks ignoring my adversary’s soft proddings to keep walking.
The initial battle was over, and only a few groups were still fighting. The deafening roar of war had been replaced with an eerie silence that terrified me. Everywhere I looked, I saw my enemy still standing, and still alive, I only saw a few of my comrades clustered in a group surrounded by the enemy. I guessed that they were the few taken prisoner, and I realized that was the direction that my captor was taking me. Rather than ignoring his prompts to move, I started to resist them, trying to go the opposite way in which he was telling me. He ended up dragging me towards my allies. They all had either grim, or terrified faces. They did not want the fate that was waiting them. As we moved slowly closer, I could just make out the shackles that circled their ankles and hands. A couple more men came to help get me to my comrades. They forced me to my feet, and I half walked, and was half dragged the rest of the way. As the manacles were snapped around my wrists and ankles, my original opponent whispered almost regretfully, “Byram, you are now a prisoner of Tir Gavin."
© 2012 Dearantlers
Added on June 4, 2011
Last Updated on May 10, 2012
Where unicorns roam wild, dragons soar overhead, and pickles sing. (Your guess is as good as mine)
AboutI'm either a girl or a boy. I live somewhere. I like to read and write. My age is somewhere between 1 and 1000. (Minutes, days, years or centuries, I don't know.) I'm a little crazy, (can you tell?) a.. more..
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