“My brave Tripolinians! It is our duty to defend this land, to create an environment where our children can grow up safely, to take care of this world that El Elyon has given us! Now let us retake this land that our ancestors once had! For glory and honour! To give hope to our people, and a future to our children! This, is why we fight. Tonight, the ground will turn black with Naeglim blood, and tomorrow we shall wash it away and plant a future. Are you with me? Tripolinians, are you with me? ARE YOU?” Prince Eldon raised his great spear, and the ground shook as the soldiers rattled their weapons and shouted for triumph. The sun continued its path downwards as night began to claim its domain.
He put his spurs into his chestnut stallion. It rose onto its hind legs and then rushed forward with a dash. The legionnaires behind him rushed forward with him. At the other end of the field Naeglim began to form; putting up their pikes and scythed swords in defensive positions. An arrow flew against Eldon but he was able to dodge it and it just skimmed the rim of his platinum helmet. He sent his horse forward with a final push of his spurs and jumped off into the crowd of Naeglim. Around him the legionnaires joined him. Metal clashed. Grunts of pain and shouts of desperation began to erupt. He swung his giant spear, the spearhead itself was almost half a whole arm’s length! On it were inscriptions of the Blessed Tongue, it was an old, precious weapon which he had inherited from an old mentor. The spear cut through a Naeglim’s throat and hit the next in the shoulder. Eldon removed it quickly and then stabbed it through. They were pressing forward. This was their time and their victory. The legionnaires were cutting through with their square shields and short swords.
Then it came. Its terrifying presence filled the area like a dark cloak covers the light. The Deirm grinned broadly and lifted its great two-hand sword. Eldon was caught by surprise and only barely blocked with the blade of his spear. Sweat had appeared on his forehead. The Deirm’s blows were heavy to block and hard to dodge. A small circle of Naeglim had formed around the two captains. They laughed as they watched Eldon struggle to survive.
Some legionnaires saw their prince’s predicament and came to his rescue. The fight between Eldon and the Deirm continued as the Naeglim around started to fight the legionnaires. Eldon twirled his massive spear, killing a Naeglim and then thrusting it against the Deirm. The Deirm jumped out of the way and then retaliated with a great slash, which Eldon just barely managed to dodge. A legionnaire shouted, voices were crushed underneath the clashing of metal. Eldon held his spear against the mighty blow of the Deirm. He could feel his strength deserting him. He would not hold up long against this Deirm any longer. It was too strong. Suddenly in the midst of the duel a legionnaire had decided to try and help. Eldon recognized him. It was Fieran, an old friend who had been his duelling partner as a young teenager. Fieran stabbed his short sword into the side of the Deirm while its blade was locked with Eldon’s. The Deirm snarled and turned its head to see who would dare to harm it. Fieran spat in its face while trying to pull out his short sword. The Deirm swung its two-hand sword and Fieran’s head rolled to the ground with a thump, his face showing a moment of surprise. Eldon screamed in fury and, while the Deirm was watching its victim, thrust his spear, Ishandir, into the heart of the Deirm. The Deirm grabbed the spear and pulled it through completely, pulling Eldon to himself.
“You only killed me out of luck,” the Deirm spat defiantly. It tried to lift its sword in an attempt to finish Eldon too, but its black blood was pouring out rapidly from its wound. The Deirm sunk to its knees.
“This is for Fieran.” Eldon took up the Deirm’s sword and removed its head.
The Naeglim around them stared in surprise. A Deirm had not died before. Deirm were impossible to kill. Without their leader the Naeglim did not know what to do. If these soldiers could kill a Deirm… they would be next. The Naeglim turned and fled.
Eldon’s company pursued them to the edge of the land. Once they had crossed the river into Naeglar, there was no longer any point in following. The land had been retaken. They had won. They had even killed a Deirm! Something that was incredibly rare and had not been done for decades. The legionnaires cheered and celebrated that evening. It had been a great victory for Tripoli.
Eldon sat alone in his tent, mourning the losses. The men that had died under his leadership. Each one had been his responsibility. Forty-six had been lost. Each name would be honoured and remembered when they returned. But what was honour to a dead man? What was honour to the families that had lost their beloved husband or son? Tears dripped down Eldon’s cheeks. He knew his words would never be able to compensate for the pain that he had caused them.
Copyright © Danai Gabre, 2009-02-01