Tall Tales….

The battlefield was filled with cries from the damned and the dying. All of the damned praying for quick release and the dying unable to do much other than lie bleeding and groaning.

Bervan had never noticed the groaning before, but now he lay groaning himself, covered in blood, sweat, and thankfully no tears. Thought by many (including himself) to be the greatest swordsman the land had known for many years, Bervan lay dying. Not that he was concerned, for he had seen HER for the briefest of moments, glinting in the afternoon Sun.

“Karnell!” Bervan croaked, “Karnell, are you near?”

There was a dry chuckle beside him and Bervan managed to turn his head towards the sound, Karnell looked to be in a bad way, his long dark hair was matted with blood and sweat. Bervan could see he was dying, though much of the blood on Karnell was a congealed mess, every now and then a fresh flow would ooze from one of the many wounds on Karnells head.

“Karnell, did you see HER too?” Bervan whispered.

“I saw nothing today but blood, death and suffering.” Karnell replied, his eyes still glittering despite his injuries.

“I saw HER, briefly, yet see HER I did.” Bervan’s voice was gaining in strength the more he talked though his vision was coming in waves; moments of total clarity followed by mist.

“Tall tales beside the fire,” Karnell said with a chuckle.

Bervan’s pale blue eyes flickered angrily for a moment. “I’ve done many things in life that people would call contemptible, but I have never lied even to an enemy.”

Karnell had regretted his words even before Bervans remonstrations, and they lay in silence for a while, or as near silence as is possible with the air around them still filled with cries and sobs.

“SHE looked taller than I’d imagined,” Bervan said suddenly. He looked as if he was about to say something else but a burst of coughing stopped him, blood started to trickle from the corner of his mouth. Karnell tried to move closer to wipe the blood away but his vision started to spin as he moved and with a groan, he slumped back to the ground.
“The spear surprised me, striking my thigh and pushing me backwards for a moment.” Bervan said his voice growing weaker, “when I looked up to see who had thrown the spear, you had already cut him down Karnell.
“Then in the distance I saw HER again, she was raised off the ground on a seat carried between two saintly knights, she looked to me and called. There was no sound or voice in her call, at least none I heard above the battle, yet she called me to my rest. The next thing I knew I was laying here.
“I no longer wish to tarry here Karnell, who would when they’ve been called to their rest by HER. My life has been more than I cou…” Coughing interrupted him again, but this time the coughing did not cease but quickly gave way to a wheezing gurgle.

A minute of silence past, then two, Karnell looked sadly at his dead friends face, and then a rasping laugh escaped him, his face suddenly alight again.

“Bikini chain mail clad goddesses calling you to rest!” Karnell said still laughing, “that legend is older than both of us together and is naught but a tale told to calm child soldiers before a battle.”

Karnell slowly shook his head and sadly turned away from his friend, there was little movement on the battlefield now and night was rapidly approaching. Suddenly there was a gap in the cloud and a shaft of light illuminated the ground, Karnell’s gaze followed the shaft of light, in the distance he saw two saintly knights almost gliding towards him. As they approached, they turned and Karnell’s eyes went wide and his mouth fell open.

All around and within his head Karnell could hear Bervan’s voice echoing, “we’re all called to rest by our most treasured desire, for years uncounted a soldier is called by the bikini chain mail clad goddess. So why the hell is your most treasured desire a chain mail clad turnip?”

Karnell did not, indeed could not answer, his eyes had rolled upwards as he slumped backwards, a smile still twisting the corner of his mouth.

Originally posted here LINK

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