By Maya Petzoldt, TIWP Student
I heave myself to my feet, my light blue jeans now dusted in dirt. As I now stand upright, I face my foe in my long sleeve teal shirt. Oh god, please don’t rip this shirt, it’s really soft. My short curly brown hair tickles my chin a little as the wind blows over this barren battlefield.
As I look around, I have to keep telling myself I’m supposed to be here. Step after step, I walk past fallen people, people I considered angels and gods in strength. I pass them with a saddened heart to reach the only one standing in the middle of this bloody field.
His armour is blacker than blood that he bleeds, and he stands over a body that’s still coughing, with a foot on his chest. At this I run—I step between them and push at the man’s metal clad chest. I can feel his amused smirk staring me down as he steps back, although from choice, not my push.
I stand in defense in front of my beaten friend. I know I have no power or strength to fight this guy, so my defense is standing with a disapproving look and my arms crossed over my chest. I see him sigh and look around with a smile on his face, I may be new to this world, but that does not mean I don’t know what this means.
He’s won this battle, and he’s going to call his army to siege the city. I don’t know why he’d need it, he just took down an army entirely on his own. But I do know one thing, I have to stop him, I have to defend these people that I am proud to call my friends.
As he goes to speak, I interrupt him.
“Hey, what do you think you’re doing?”
Okay, not the greatest line ever, but you know what, I’m under a lot of pressure right now. There are six thousand people in that city behind me, and I’m the only thing in the way of this guy killing every single one of them.
He chuckles a little, observing the bright blue sky filled with a few fluffy clouds here and there. It is way too bright a day for the massacre that just occured. I’m practically shaking in my sketchers.
When he looks back at me with that same triumphant smirk, a small shiver goes down my spine. I set my feet a little more firmly, I refuse to show I’m scared to this guy.
“Taking the city of Hala, what else would I have just wasted my energy on?”
I feel a bit of sweat on the back of my neck, what can I say next? Before I can throw up at the feelings of fear and uselessness flowing through my gut, I notice something. A small but sure cut on his cheek. He’s bleeding a little. It’s strange because his blood is black, but he’s definitely bleeding. I realize that this must be the first time he’s ever bled; this is my chance.
“With that cut? I think not.”
He cocks his head at me, a slightly confused but still amused smile on his face. I know he’s going to ask a question, but he doesn’t know that I know more about him than he thinks I know.
“Why should a little cut stop me? While I’m almost impressed that the boy on the ground behind you managed to cut me, it is of no use with no one left to exploit it. Oh, don’t tell me, you’re going to exploit it, you little girl?”
He chuckles a little, definitely mocking me. Oh hell no, no one mocks me without getting one hell of a speech back. Looks like my annoying nature may come in handy now.
“It’s the first time you’ve been hurt, isn’t it? It’s the first time your life has ever been scratched, or even been in the slightest bit of danger, isn’t it? This is the closest you have, and probably could ever, come to death.”
His smirk lessens, but it’s still present. I’ve caught his attention. There’s no stopping me now. I take a daring step forward and continue.
“For the first time in your very long life, you’ve possibly felt pain, at least physically. All alone, no friends in your lonely castle but the books and professors your absent mother sent to teach you. You’re only doing what she said, aren’t you? She’s telling you you’re the hero, isn’t she? You’re invincible, and the heroes are always invincible, aren’t they?”
His smirk turns into a frown and he also takes a step closer, we’re probably close enough that I should be worrying now. He speaks in a very angry tone.
“What do you know, you outsider? I am the hero-”
He looks taken aback for a second, and before his anger can return full force, I press on.
“Are you really the hero, here and now? You’ve just slaughtered an army of men and women, girls and boys, who are only fighting to defend their home! This city didn’t even have an army before they heard you were coming! Look out there, into this field, how many children do you see, how many children did you just kill without a second thought?”
I grab his chin and let him look around. I see fifteen from where I stand and I’m not even looking very hard. I can see his eyes get wider by the second, and so I continue.
“Do you even know why you’re about to lay siege to the city? Or do you just trust your mother that much? How do you trust someone you’ve rarely seen so much that you kill an army of a thousand people just because they said so? How many times have you trusted her like that, how many cities have you taken and enslaved because you believe you’re the hero?”
He takes a staggered step back, and tries to explain himself, I can see him starting to come to a revelation.
“I am the- the hero. Hero’s are warriors, and warriors kill all the time. I’m just doing what every hero does.”
“No you’re not.”
He looks up at me with a face that is pleading to tell him differently, and I can’t help but see a small, scared boy, a boy that probably has never been allowed to grow up. Well, it’s time to grow up, William.
“Warriors were made to protect long before they were made to attack. They were made to protect the village from wild beasts and predators, not other people. You are not a warrior, Wiliam, nor a hero. People are not afraid of the hero because they know the hero would never hurt them on purpose.”
I can see it that he’s starting to break down, and I think I have a chance to turn this whole thing around. One thing I know is how to talk. I can’t pick up a sword or shoot an arrow, but I can talk, that’s for sure. Although, I’ll have to do it quickly, because I can hear the siege army’s steps getting louder.
“In my world, in my time, there’s a saying that says your life begins the day it nearly ended. That can mean something different to a lot of people. It can be scraping your knee, losing a loved one, or taking a shot to the chest that’s an inch too close to your heart. But, what it means overall, is that the day your life nearly ended, fate failed to get rid of you.
“Fate no longer decides your path, your life is yours now. The path you take is your own, and it has to be one you chose. Your life just started, and the great thing about paths is that you can change them whenever. I don’t know you exactly, but I’m pretty sure you’ve just had your life nearly end before your own eyes.
“So, the next move is yours, the path you take is up to you. Your mom, fate, and destiny can’t decide things for you anymore. I know you can’t call that army off, but you can fight it, like every hero in every book you’ve ever read. Sometimes we can see the future, but that never means it’s indefinite. We can change it. I have to ask, what future are you going to fight for?”
As he turns to face me, his face slowly melts into one of a decision set in stone. You know what, I think we’re gonna be alright. I think we can make it through this, as long as we all choose to fight for our future.