“THEY SAY, 𝑇𝐻𝐸 𝑂𝑅𝐼𝐺𝐼𝑁 𝑂𝐹 𝐻𝐼𝑆 𝑆𝑇𝑂𝑅𝑌 𝐵𝐸𝐺𝐴𝑁 𝐼𝑁 𝐵𝐿𝑂𝑂𝐷, 𝑇𝑂 𝐶𝑂𝑁𝑇𝐼𝑁𝑈𝐸, 𝐼𝑇 𝐶𝐴𝑁𝑁𝑂𝑇 𝐵𝐸 𝐼𝑁 𝐼𝑁𝐾, 𝐹𝑂𝑅 𝐼𝑇 𝑅𝐸𝑄𝑈𝐼𝑅𝐸𝑆 𝐵𝐿𝑂𝑂𝐷.” — K.G.F
“SON OF MAN, DO YOU YIELD?”
A roaring command, fickle in meaning, yet so cold at the tip. The sword, mighty to the warrior who pressed the tip to my throat, demanded I comply to his demands.
“I SAID, DO YOU YIELD?” It came again, louder and fiercer this time. Titus pushed his sword, tearing the skin at my throat, it was done in an attempt to make me surrender, of course. The sounding trumpet behind me, melodramatic in sound, once belonged to all the victories I led across Rome, lay now in the hands of my enemy. A heavy cloak of disbelief blanketed the general at my disobedience, settling his scarred features to a bloody blaze with mad fury, I suppose it was to be expected.
“YOU DARE DEFY MY COMMAND, MORTAL? Do you wish to die a coward’s death in front of mighty men who you—might I add, trained for this very war? I spite you, Sires! Even with death at your feet, you defy the laws of Domitian. This boast of arrogance will not go unpunished by me. Gather his men, line them up each on their knees.” We were animals, not men, animals who knew not a thing of mortality. Vengeance, I say, as I knelt before my enemy. Rage cursed through my blood like poison, but I remained still and watched my men kneel one by one. The Masks covering their faces, were torn and ripped,
revealing scars, marks of our victories in previous wars. These men, my men. They… They didn’t deserve this, if I didn’t mold them into who they were now, they wouldn’t even be here. I’ve killed them.
“Do not appear so sullen, this is the price you pay for the sins of your master. So, prepare yourself, soldiers!” Valk, right hand man of general Titus, roared and others joined him in sheer mocking. The brutality of this war was endless, because the things we did for greed, power and wealth. Bound and shackled, my wrists, skin torn, blood slipped pasts the cuffs of my black, linen shirt. The cold snow beneath my knees, bites my skin, yet it was nothing compared to the rage I felt inside. I questioned myself, beaten half to a bloody pulp, how had we lost our war against the barbarians? Was it my lack of armory? Was it my lack of faith? Nay, I believed not. Perhaps, Rome was always destined to fall, if not by our past oppressors, but maybe by my hands... The thought alone, feeds me nothing but utter darkness.
“Last chance, son. Do you yield?” Again, a barking fit of laughter broke out from the lips of the general. With a harsh force, the sword pushed until the tip dug into the jugular of my throat.
I suppose it was fair, but it needn’t not be used in a form of disrespect. Words, mighty were they, if you used them in the right way, my thoughts came to a halt though, leaving my tongue dry and paralyzed. Was I scared? Never, at least not for myself. Valk lifted his sword with a dangerously evil glint in his eyes, the rest followed suit, it was in conclusion to my silence. Thick waves of fog rose, blanketing the grassy field, smoke had filled the air with toxicity and death leaving a terrible stench. My men, far loyal then any servant is to his master, they knew no bound to trust, even in this moment they all nodded in a silent agreement. A tightness in my chest pulled the strings of my broken heart. Together, in death, we were to be slayed, together in disobedience, we were to be killed!
“I see. Soldiers! Prepare to strike on a count of three. One! Two! Th—”
A shattered breath left my lips at the sharp inhale I took, heart galloping, my muscles screeched, and pain burst behind my eyes, to which I immediately screwed my eyes shut, and listened to the exact moment when a strange roar sounded in the far distance. The sword I expected my neck to meet, never came, for the words that left my mouth, halted time itself.
So, this was my end after all...