Captain 42

April 8, 2011
"The sun is bright today isn't it?". "Sure is", I answer as we slowly march towards home after a long ten year war. The sky, almost bare of clouds,resembled a pond in it's dark blue depths. On the ground there are scattered shrubs and bushes managing to grow in the dry, tan dirt. Lizards skitter from the platoon's path as we draw near. As the sun rises higher I notice small shining rocks that glisten in a miners torch light. My thoughts are interrupted when all the guards-men behind me start to cheer. I look up to find the city of Rome and I think I'm finally home! Suddenly I feel Hatrius' eyes boring into me and I remember my role. "Silence", I snap, they all fall quiet. I don't wish to be this way but if I want to retain my fairly high status then I must feign cruelty, lest someone try to take it from me. The only people that know that I am not like that are my family, and my childhood friend, Sieches. Although I am a captain and Sieches a guards-men our friendship has remained strong. My thoughts wander back to Hatrius. I get the feeling that although he doesn't like me much, or anyone else for that matter, he knows that I have a strong military mind and he just might step down from commander and retire. Giving me the chance to rise another rank. "Company...halt"!, Hatrius commands as a small group of of soldiers come to greet us. I see someone I know within their ranks, he is a captain also but for the life of me I can't remember his name or where I've seen him before. I'm still trying to remember who this man is when Hatrius begins to walk forward, I rush to keep up with his long, quick strides. The other group follows suit and sends their two highest ranking officers, including that man."Welcome Hatrius, I see you have a new captain",snickered the commander. I notice that the captain is staring at me with hateful eyes,then I know who he is. Marcus, he was in love with Racia, my wife, before I married her."And you too Kalthazar", Hatrius replies. Kalthazar looks toward Marcus, then shifts his eyes to me, gray as the sky on an overcast day. Still looking at me he answers: "yes", he pauses a moment, a slight sneer on his pale, almost gray face. For some reason the fact that his face was almost as gray as his eyes struck me as funny and I struggled to keep my face emotionless. Behind me I could feel Sieches and the other guards-men watching anxiously about fifteen feet away, as if they could feel the tension. Then a small smirk came over Kalthazar's face. He turned and began to walk back to his platoon. Marcus gave me one last glance before following. I just tightened my grip on my spear, partly because I forgot I was holding it and partly because he was p*ssing me off. I pretended that I didn't know he existed."Company... march!", I shout as Hatrius storms ahead, his face contorted with rage. Now Hatrius is a man of about forty with chestnut colored eyes and hair and an occasional strand of gray. He looks a lot like my father but taller and more robust. I , on the other hand, am twenty-six with brown hair and blue-green eyes. Sieches catches up but hesitates before whispering: "what was that all about?"his voice cracking with nervousness."I don't know, but the captain was Marcus", I responded. " That guy again", gasps Sieches,"He tried to stab you last time, you had better watch out who knows what he's capable of"."I know" was all I could think of to say.

My eyes begin to open some light coming through the window blinds me for a moment. I sit up to see my bedroom, and my head is still foggy from wine. I quickly stand up and run excitedly down the steep stairs leading down to the living room, almost falling head over heels in the process. I see my wife cooking but she notices me enter the room. As she turns around I see her raven hair and blue-grey eyes, a smile on her face. "Morning",she says quietly. I try to clear the wine from my head as I answer: "What time is it?". "About midday, oh and someone dropped this off for you not too long ago" she says as she hands me a folded piece of paper. It was a summon from the emperor himself. It read:

Captain 42,

I send for you urgently in hopes that you can help me with a small problem, come immediately.

~ Julius Caesar, Emperor of Rome

"Hmmm...." I mumble quietly. "What is it?" Racia asked, a tone of anxiousness in her supple voice that I couldn't stand. "Nothing, I'll be back soon", I said strapping on my armor and removing the sword that I normally wear at my hip. An unfortunate consequence of going to see the Emperor. "Wait--",she started but I interrupted: "No time to explain" I hurried out the door my thoughts screamed in my head this can't be good!

I opened the giant door that led into the Emperor's throne room, the door had massive metal studs embedded in the thick wood that must be there to protect against a battering ram. Around the top of the frame a golden arch harbored multiple jewel encrustments, it reeked of wealth. For some reason Hatrius was there kneeling in front of the Emperor but he didn't stand as one usually would after doing so. To the Emperor's right I see Marcus and Kalthazar.Instinctively I reach for my sword only to remember that I don't have it. D*mn these safety protocols, I think to my self. If I fall because of this ridiculous notion then may I be d*mned for eternity in Hades. "Ah Othello, good of you to help us in this time of need",Marcus said mockingly. "Teh, I'm not here to help you I'm here to serve the Emperor" I snapped. "Good",said Caesar, who had been watching us carefully. " Then I hope that you can help me with a small problem". "Of course", I replied. "This man has informed me of your treason, Captain". I instantly tried to think back to last night for any thing I might have said or done that would even hint at something like that. Nothing came to mind, but then it hit me. "Oh, really?", I responded rudely, putting a slight sneer on my face for effect. "Then what was it, Marcus!, that you saw?". He looked at me mockingly as if baiting me, "Nothing much except that you were talking to a known group of rebels to the empire". "W-what?", I stuttered in disbelief, slightly shaking my head. I knew the penalty for even talking to a known conspirator. "But who?", I thought to myself. Hatrius then looked up from kneeling, all the color drained from my face as I realized what had happened. "It was Hatrius' brother, Thax!". "Seize him!", commanded Caesar. Again I reached for my sword that wasn't there. Instead I put up my hands to fight, but a sidelong glance from Hatrius told to come quietly. The two guards roughly took me next to kneel next to Hatrius and shoved me to the ground. "Now", said Caesar simply. The guard acting as executioner drew a long iron sword and walked towards Hatrius. My thoughts bounced around in my head. Just as the guard raised the sword the chamber door opened. "Racia?", I asked lamely. In her hands was a loaded bow. She pulled the string back and fired it into the executioner's brain. Sieches was here too, he threw a sword to me and Hatrius. Caesar panicked. "Kill them!", he screamed as I approached the throne, sword already drawn. Kalthazar ran for Hatrius as the older man stood up. Marcus came after me. Racia loosed another arrow into the other guard when he attacked. My wife shot another this one hitting Caesar in the thigh, a gasp of pain escaped his lips. He yelled for help as he limped into another chamber. As I fought with Marcus I noticed that Kalthazar's swordplay was better than that of Hatrius, and he was quickly being bested. I found a weak spot in my opponents defence, but before I could deal a final blow I tripped over a guard's corpse. D*mn it all!, I thought as I saw his sword closing in on my torso as a lion closes in on a wounded animal to finish it off. I saw his hate filled eyes one second but after I blinked there was an arrow embedded in his eye. In what seemed like forever he slumped slowly to the floor."Fool", said Racia who had fired the arrow. Then I remembered Hatrius. I stood and threw my sword which bounced off of kalthazar's helmet, it must have given him a concussion. Hatrius then dealt a final blow. But the worst possible thing happened, a squad of archers had assembled. They pulled back the sinew and took aim. "Loose!", said the Commander. I saw the black rain, I heard the bow strings twang. This is the end of Captain 42, I thought.
My eyes flickered and a familiar light shone through. I could hear an echoing voice but it sounded very distant. My mind sharpened as I became fully conscious and an intense pain seared my entire being. A groan of agony escaped my lips as another wave of pain stabbed into my mind like a ice imbued dagger. "Hey he's awake," the distant voice echoed. I sat up but most of my body went numb, and I was forced back to the ground. "Agghhh..." I mumbled trying to block out the pain. I could open my eyes now though I didn't really want to, I opened them slowly. "Calm down, you're lucky to be alive, but you won't be for much longer if we can't get your wounds bandaged," says Racia with a worried look. She was right of course, I was losing blood at an alarming rate, she always seemed to be right. I looked down the length of my body to see multiple arrows sticking out of me, these wounds weren't lethal unless they bled me out. I looked at the cool marble floor I was lying on but I felt strangely warm at the same time, I was bleeding out quicker than I had imagined. Apparently I hadn't been out long, but I felt as if I was unconscious for days rather than minutes. Hatrius was propped up in a corner, almost paralyzed with stiffness from the fight. "How did you all survive the second volley?", I asked weakly. " Thrax's spies heard about an execution, so he sent some men to check it out. Obviously he doesn't wan't innocent lives at risk.", Sieches answered, shrugging his shoulders. "Killing Caesar's personal guards gave them a chance to strike effectively.", said Racia, "Now lets get those arrows out.", she said yanking one. The barbed arrow ripped out a chunk of flesh. "OWWWW, that hurt!", I complained. "Well do you want me to patch you up, or do you want to bleed to death?", Racia asks. I think a moment then decide life is the best choice, and submit to the pain-bordering torture.

Sequel:Ashes to Ashes

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Plush_Baneling said...
Oct. 31, 2011 at 11:02 am
A good story overall, could have put more time into it, but keep up the writing
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