Saturday, December 24, 2022

Anax 12/24/22

 It was the quiet before the charge. There was a faint shifting of armor, clinking and shuffling as the soldiers adjusted their shields, and a snort of an impatient steed. All were glimmering bright. All believed in their righteous cause. 

There were rumors that there was a dispute on how the day’s battle should commence. Some wanted a stealth attack in the night. Come in silent and swift. Clear out most of the enemy before the call to arms rang. Some wanted a charge at first light. They were charging from the East which put the sun at their backs. With any luck, the skies would be clear and the sun would be a distraction, putting them at advantage. This was the side that won and planned the attack. No one thought to mention the battle would fill with air with smoke and debris. The position of the sun was irrelevant. 

The battle cry rang out as the commander raced along the front line. Her steed was wild with bloodlust and foaming at the mouth. They slapped their swords on their shields and started moving together as one. An aerial view would have likened them to water pouring forward over the field in perfect synchronization. 

The commander frowned. There was no response at the enemy’s site. No one was coming to meet them for battle. She stopped the assault sensing something was wrong and sent scouts to get any intel from behind enemy lines. What they found was disturbing. 

“What do you mean they’re all dead?” The color drained from the commander’s face but her tone did not waver.

The scout answered with a salute. “Forgive me Commander. The tents were all checked. The camp is full of the dead. Their throats were slit, likely while they slept. Guards remain at their posts with the same wounds as those sleeping.” The scout bowed and quickly made their exit. 

The commander’s face flushed in anger and her voice could be heard outside her tent as she screamed at her compatriots. “What honor is there in this?” A pause while she was answered. “This is abhorrent and not what we stand for. For as long as I am in command, this will never happen again, do I make myself clear?” 

Several soldiers snuck to the door of the tent to hear more.

“We won didn’t we?”

“You butchered men in their sleep. That is hardly a victory and you certainly should not feel proud.”

“You have your ways and I have mine. Your men would have been overwhelmed and hit with heavy losses. I have no problem leaving if you don’t like my methods.”

“I think perhaps that’s best. You’re despicable.”

They heard laughter in response. “It’s exactly the same thing except the body count is on my head alone. If you had seen what some of them were doing…we got here too late, and all because you insist on this pomp.”

“Enough. Do you need to be escorted out or will you leave on your own?”

The soldiers scurried away and sent a silent prayer to Justice. They worried about the state of the army losing opposing reason to the commander. They hoped Justice would watch over them and allow them to see their families once again.

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