Blood in the Streets

A Daily Response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: City

Typing the same thing each day gets kinda monotonous. Skip this part if you are familiar with the story.

Part One: Path of the Mountain Warrior
Part Two: Grand Cleric Anastasia
Part Three: The Human Condition
Part Four: The Rift

In addition to trying to continue this story every  day, in relation to the Daily Prompt of that day, I am also using this as the perfect time to experiment with the writing styles I spoke of here, as well as any others I may or may decide to bowl with. I know see that there is no text to part one of this story. I have not got it saved in any drafts or anything so it seems to be lost forever. If I ever find it, I will be sure to repost it and notify all of you of the addition.

Grand Marshal Erik

Wiping the thick black blood of the third Reaver off of my blade I watched my comrades spit on the body of the once-human beast. I could tolerate no disrespect on my battlefield. The ranks of the dead would welcome these skilled warriors. But they deserved no place amongst the Templars. They were tough to put down but they were not as resilient as the Reavers and I had killed two of those already. I called up to Torm in the skies above the battlefield. Answering my plea with a great red pillar of light, he stripped the soldiers of the power that they used to disrespect our enemy.

Our code was righteous and honourable and only permitted injustices to those who showed you no respect on the battlefield. The Reavers, although gut-wrenchingly awful, had my respect as true warriors. The fought bravely against odds they could never hope to win against. Never faltering, always pushing forward. Their only flaw was that they worked in tangent with one commander. They were not soldiers. They were warriors. As the rest of my men pushed forward, the Reavers started to fight more recklessly. They became easier to hit the more their comrades fell, but each one became harder to kill every time another was returned to the earth.

Victory was hard come by. They lost ten and we lost well over ten hundred in each division. More than two-thirds of our forces had been crushed by these abominations. Ten thousand soldiers marched into battle this morning. If we are lucky, we will have the death toll by weeks end. I stood before the gates to the chantry, praying to the gods above and below to watch over all those who gave their lives for their beliefs today. Thanking the maker, the clerics, my soldiers and the city whose walls withstood the siege I set my men to the taverns where they could make merry and relieve themselves of the stress of the battle. I went forth to Grand Cleric Anastasia who welcomed me as I fell into her arms as soon as we were out of sight.

“My child,” her voice is old and croaky, like a rough stone smoothed by the waters in a river, but only partially. “The maker was watching over you and all of your soldiers. He saw what they did and permitted their banishment from the material realm. You feel sorrow, and you feel remorse. That, my child, is only natural. The maker still smiles upon you for doing your cruel duties as commander, but doing it humanely. This facade of yours is growing too heavy for you to bear alone. You must find wife and make child. The kingdom would rejoice at your love.” I wiped away the streams from my cheeks. I was silent for about a minute more before I could muster up a response. A single tear remained about to break forth of my eye while I spoke. My voice, wavering. Fragile, as if about to shatter. “I shall heed your words Grand Cleric. I thank you again for your time, and your advice.” Getting up and placing my helm back on, I resume the facade of the Grand Marshall, “I trust the usual tithe shall suffice?” We were used to this routine often enough by now. I was commander of all the forces in this region and a master swordsman, but I despised unnecessary killing. We had to defeat the Reavers r else they would have defeated us and all we love. We had to go into battle knowing that more of us would not be returning home in order to give those who were skilled or lucky enough to make it out the chance to live the life they wanted as best they possibly could. I had to defeat those comrades, my friends, because that is what my code of honour says that I must do. Like them, in order to not be spited in the afterlife I had to give them a merciful death and send them to the realm beyond myself.

I kept telling myself this as I walked through the bloodstained streets of my dear city. The moon illuminating the rows of the dead as the city guard tirelessly spoke to potential relates and tried to identify the bodies. I walked on home, passing lines of clerics carrying red sticks of lit incense, handing out prayer books to those mourning the dead. Marshall’s quarters were in the Kings Court. I slowed my pace to a stroll whenever I heard the footsteps of another. Slave or noble, I had to keep up appearances when in this suit. Throwing open the door I hastily doffed my armour and stripped bare. I wanted to nothing to do with that armour anymore. I pulled out the drawer I hid under my bed and grabbed my oldest, most worn out clothes. I was far more comfortable in the clothes of a beggar than I was in the armour of Grand Marshall. Sneaking past out of the military wing, I slipped into the kitchen where I felt at peace with my former slaves. “Eriko!” It was the voice of the head chef of this wing, Asal. “Where are you going?” She speaks fast, her voice, unlike mine, was definitely not from ’round here.

I was a native of this golden city. Born and raised on the streets that were not soaked in the blood of the departed. I first learnt to wield a great sword after I found one left in the tavern I used to prey on. It made for a good weapon to blend into the crowds with. Nobody suspects the largest guy to be the thief. I had the most average face and voice. Everything about me just screamed ‘average’ and with a rusty greatsword on my back and mixed armour, I looked like any old mercenary that wasn’t worth the hire. Asal, was a most definite foreigner with subtle and refined features to her elegant, fallow face. Sold into slavery at a young age, she changed hands many times, each of them abusing her in their own way. She bore physical scars from at least seven of her previous ‘owners’ but the mental damage sowed from them all. I stole one of her pies and gave her a kiss, grabbing the mop as a left the palace. Someone had to clean up the blood from the streets, and it might as well be me.

Image Credit: Bloody River by Aydan Yildiz. via freeimages.com (license)

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