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“Charge!” The command rumbles through the army like thunder.  And like a flash of lightning, the men surge forth, splintering into the waiting force.

With his heart galloping in his chest and a call for death rushing through his blood, Lysand plunges into battle with his fellow soldiers.  They scream as one as the swords are pulled from scabbards, a united zing filling the air.  

The unison breaks as the weapons descend, heavy metal clanging against feeble shields, splintering the wood.  Swords clash.  Some slide harmlessly off breastplates while others slice through skin and bone, butchering muscle.  And blood.  It splatters onto skin and armor alike.  It sprays the grass and mud below.  And taints the air with copper and death.  

Time blurs as Lysand wields his weapon; he jabs the blade into the unprotected side of his enemy, yelling his victory to the heavens as he readies his next blow.  Sweeping the sword up, he arches the blade into the underside of a man’s jaw.  As he tugs the blade free, blood spurts from the wound, and the man drops like a fly.  

Gasping in air, Lysand smiles at the feeling of victory.  He is invincible.  

A burning flash of pain in his side alerts him to a threat.  Twisting, he spots the enemy.  With a rough shove, he distances himself.   And with the force of an enraged blow, he removes the threat.  

On and on the battles rages until the numbers thin, the enemy becoming sparse on the field.  Soon enough, the enemy issues a call for surrender, finally understanding their inferiority.

They fall to their knees, dropping their weapons.  Pleading for mercy.  Lysand curls his lip in disgust at their show of weakness.  

He strolls towards his prey with his sword dangling at his side, his boots squishing in the blood soaked mud.  He tilts his head to the side as he assesses the man before him.  Shaking shoulders, curved inward from fear.  A frightened little mouse.  A so-called warrior’s mask covers the coward’s face, hiding their pathetic panic.

Ignoring the burn of his muscles, he swings.  The blade slices the throat to the bone.  As the body falls, the man gurgles, choking on his blood.  Lysand examines the body, satisfaction puffing out his chest.

Until he sees the lower half of the enemy’s face.  

Guilt squeezes his stomach.  Kneeling, Lysand pushes the mask up, his middle violently churning when the eyes are revealed.  Terror stricken eyes.  And the face… a young face.  Younger than him.  

Lysand’s throat tightens up, straining his breath.  

Much younger than him.

Falling back, he lands on his butt, his hands shaking.

A boy on the cusp of manhood.

His heart thuds faster and faster.  Rubbing the ache, his eyes smart with tears.  But when Lysand’s gaze lifts, he chokes on his saliva. 

Death colors the field.  

Body after body after body, so many cut down.  So many dead.

And still, more join.  Lysand watches–horror holding his eyes open–as another masked child dies, their body flailing then stilling. 

A hand on his soldier directs his gaze away from the carnage.  Eyes zeroing on the offered flask, he takes the gift, mumbling his gratitude.

The alcohol burns.  Grimacing, he breathes heavily through his nostrils, trying not to gag.  After a moment, he takes another, longer pull.  A small smile graces his face as a haze settles over him.

Gabriela is always energetic and excited about life. She approaches every situation with a positive attitude. Currently, she is studying at Texas A&M University where she has hopes of becoming an engineer. In her free time she hunts for the best lattes or huddles up with a good book for hours.
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