The Crusader

April 17, 2002

Self initiated short story -- Attempt at zealous thinking.

As a knight, he had pledged both his sword and his life to the king. As a warrior of the church, he had pledged his sword and life to God. As he stood on the battlefield that day, facing the war bands of the unpure infidels, he served them both. An aura of both uneasiness and pure hatred pulsated from the lines of the King's men. As a professed soldier of the church, he knew neither emotion. He was merely a tool, meant to deliver sift, unemotional justice to those deemed unworthy of God's gift of life. The monstrosities lined up in front of him were undoubtedly deserving of whatever punishment he could deliver. His steed shifted it's weight back and forth, obviously feeling the tension exuded by the soldiers waiting for the signal to attack. The tension was soon to melt away, however, as the sounds of trumpets soar from the enemy lines.

In an instant, both lines charged toward each other, cries of excitement and determination echoing from undistinguishable faces. He meditated as the world passed by him, the sound of hooves tearing up dirt drowned out by the sounds of man and beast readying to clash with a merciless, demonic foe. He understood exactly what he fought for, and just what this victory meant. He was defending everything he knew, everything that was right. Not only his faith, but his loved ones, his kingdom, and the very way of life his whole race had acquired. He would be victorious on the battlefield today. There were no other options left.

He focused within himself, on his own code of justice, as the eastern clans and king's forces continued to near. These ferocious demons had caused so much devastation, so many towns razed, so many people killed. They could never be forgiven, by God or any man. He let his righteous rage fill his body, control his reactions. His zeal for the preservation of God's will now guided him; body, mind, and soul. He clenched his crucifix emblazoned shield against his body, and held his massive war hammer tightly in his hand. The two armies closed the gap between them quickly, 50 meters, 40, 30, 20, 10. . .

It was no longer he who controlled his body. His war hammer swung devastatingly downward swing after swing, in some combination of reflexes from training back at the church, and the castle before that, and what he could only explain as heavenly endowment. Both he and his mount survived the first pass, causing a deadly wake in the four man thick enemy lines.

He reeled the mount around and surveyed the carnage of the battle. Soldiers armored with the finest of metals clashed with foreign giant beasts armored mainly by their own rigid muscles. Swords clashed against gnarled axes and curved blades, and sliced hardened skin, spilling forth dark ichor from beastly foes. The demon-spawned enemies countered with brutal strength, slamming sharpened weapons straight through hardened armours. Some displayed their hell-born abilities in fiercer ways, collapsing men with swings of horrid might.

With eyes tightened and fists clenched, he ordered his steed back into battle. He cried out in anger as he reached the line once again, loosing his hammer against not only his own foes, but also the bane of all things good and holy, which he stood against in that faceless field on that cold, rainy day. The battle raged on until dusk, which had only barely been visible through the dark rain clouds that suffocated the sky.

He found himself devoid of emotion as his warhorse trotted back to the city. The remnants of the army were scattered, and a fog of sullen serenity had slowly crept up the battlefield. Soldiers who could still walk helped those that could not, and carts appeared to retrieve the affects of the fallen.

Torches lit the faces of the crowd as he rode into the town. Not a word was spoken as he dismounted his steed and he walked silently up the steps of the church. He walked to the alter of the massive cathedral, packed with people praying for the lives of their men at war and for the livelihood of their entire race. He set his shield upon the altar and kneeled, leaning his weight heavily on his warhammer. His mind was fuzzy as he recited  the prayers without emotion, like some bard's lyrics he had committed to memory. All eyes in the church were upon him, the lone warrior returning form battle. He hoisted himself up and marched down a hallway to his room in the cathedral.

He closed the door behind him and looked straight into the mirror before him. He saw himself for the first time in what seemed like ages. His armor and weapon covered in life essence both dark and light, from both demon and ally. Wrinkles littered his face while streaks of grey and white shot through his hair. In an instant, the world's weight materialized upon him, his emotions, and it seemed like those of countless others, returned to him in a flash of agony. His warhammer clanked loudly on the stone floor as his hand lost it's grip. He fell to his knees and buried his face in his blood-stained gloves. And cried.

Copyright, 2002, All rights reserved

 


First Upload: April 17, 2002
Last Update: April 17, 2002