A Preamble of a Warrior

I froze. I didn’t know what to do. What COULD I do? Nothing. That’s what.

But… I couldn’t just stand there.

I looked into the crevice that could fit two full-grown men to double-check; there she was, a typical damsel in a dangerous situation. Even in a pinch, she looked dazzling; her curly brown locks, though disheveled and muddied from past ventures, could charm the sparkling white teeth off of any bucking prince. I imagined the piercing green gaze behind the closed lids. Her figure, a figure that seemed to be carved by the gods, for the gods, and yet managed to find its way into our humble mortal world, was kept cloaked under the ragged and torn clothes she wore before her kidnapping.

And when compared to the ugly beast that had her now, she looked all the more beautiful.

The monster, a mess of teeth stuffed into a maw, decaying green skin, baleful eyes full of hate for the world it was reborn in, held her in one of his massive hands—hands that matched his massive body.

He was baiting me, I knew, to call forward my soldiers into a suicide mission to rescue the girl we were ordered to protect. Somehow, I managed to lead my men behind the cave wall and ended up in an air pocket in the ceiling, directly above the giant and his hostage.

I bit back my reckless rage and swallowed my pride. I knew that every one of my company were ready to die for me; for that, they deserved better than to be sent to the Underworld by His Hideousness.

I took a deep breath, as if it were my last, put my bronze helmet on, and readied the swords in my hands. I gave my men the signal to wait, slowly walked to the crevice, and peered down, as if making observations. I looked back at them for the last time. Mugs grim-faced but eyes full of fiery determination, their loyalty sang to my very soul; and then, I leapt through the crevice. I didn’t dare look back; I imagined the look of surprise on their faces as their captain, who spent years with them, abandoned them on a mission he would not allow them to partake.

I looked at the dual bronze blades in my hands; our relationship stronger than any friend I’ve had, I prayed to the gods they would serve me well one last time.

Several hundred feet below, the oversized mongrel vigilantly watched the cave entrance, expecting, waiting patiently. I drew my blades back in a striking position and briefly saw myself; a falling hero, straight into the hands of Death, a direct passage to Charon and the River Styx. Fate was a cruel thing, and whatever fate lies before me I will take without objection. But I fought not for my sake, but for the sake of the unconscious victim that lay in the beast’s hand; a girl who never had a choice in her life—not when she was born into a rich bloodline, not when she was the child-puppet of her parents’ high expectations, not when she was stolen by the night and held for ransom in a time of war she had no relation with.

I let out a final, fierce battle cry that shook the caverns and the giant as he looked up in slow realization; quickly, before he could react, I struck down with all the strength and vigor my tired body could muster.





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