January 28, 2013 5 Comments
He stared at the sky and watched them soar. Watched them circle. Watched them prepare. They moved through the air so gracefully. They were angelic. He could hardly believe they served such a dark purpose.
He lifted the visor on his plate helm. “They’re so beautiful.”
The soldier next to him followed his gaze up to the sky. “They’re just vultures, kid.”
Drums began to beat. It was time to march.
He couldn’t take his eyes off of them. “I wasn’t talking about the birds.”
The man looked down at him, then back up to the sky and shook his head.
His unit began to move, and a shove from behind broke the spell which the scene above held over him. He slammed the visor down on his helmet and began to walk.
It was his first battle. He had lied about his age to be in it. He shrugged and found the plate armor to be far clunkier and heavier than he expected. It restricted his movement and limited his vision. The spear was too long, and unwieldy in his hands. It felt unnatural.
His father had chosen the life of a farmer over the life of a hero, and he was determined to be different. He was going to be a hero. The time had come to prove himself. There was no way his children were going look down on him with disdain.
Across the field he caught his first glimpse of the barbarian horde. His pulse quickened. They whooped and shrieked and smashed their weapons against their shields. His heart hammered in his chest. They sounded inhuman. He thought they might be. His body went cold.
Horns trumpeted, signaling that it was time to charge. Maybe his father was right. Maybe this was a mistake. He looked around for a way out, but found none.
The sea of soldiers surrounding him surged forward. Their momentum carried him across the field against his will. He struggled just to remain on his feet within the mass of bodies.
His unit crashed into the enemy and together they became a tangle of knotted sinew and steel. Each side thrusted and hacked at the other. Shields were pressed together. Faces were contorted into violent grimaces.
The Valkyries swooped down from the sky to begin their work.