Lone Soldier

Premise: an infantryman in a more or less medieval/fantasy setting finds himself the lone survivor of a large skirmish too far into enemy territory for help

Arcturas shoved the stout enemy soldier back, planted his feet and yanked his sword out of the man's body. Several minutes ago, a few of his brothers had still been alive. He looked around now, and saw that the full complement of his unit, a Century of skilled infantryman, was arrayed about him on the ground, dead to the last man. The man he'd just slain gurgled quietly.

The battle had taken place in a clearing and their fallen bodies matted down an acre of high grass. Arcturas scanned the treeline that surrounded the clearing, listening intently for sounds of life and battle, half hoping to see movement of some kind, either Salasian reinforcements and their crimson cloaks or the monstrous scavenging beasts that were reputed to inhabit these lands...but there was nothing.

He turned around again, scanning, this time with nervousness as if he needed another battle to save him from something. He was so far from his home, not only as measured across the land, but as measured in his heart and mind, that absent a plan and accompanying orders,  he did not know what there was for him to do. He was only one man.

And it hit him, then. He'd journeyed to the farthest edge of the world he'd known and now the reasons he'd traveled here were gone. His unit had been led by a man of questionable sanity with a quest of his own. Their scribe and messenger had been slain several days before, and their necromancer had succumed at the onset of this very battle. He, himself, could not read nor write. No one was following behind him. No one even knew he was here.

He chewed at his fingertips nervously, hoping for something to happen that would make sense to him. He stood expectantly for several minutes just in case, and then began to pace when he got bored waiting.

He breathed,again, and blinked. He knelt down next to the man he'd just killed and grabbed up a corner of the man's travelling cloak. He used it to wipe the blade of his sword clean, then he rubbed the sword with the clump of rancid fat he'd been using for the last week.

The sky was gray through and through. Even the clouds were indistinguishable from one another. The trees were larger than he was accustomed to, bushy and broad-leafed. The air was so wet it threatened every moment to congeal into a thick fog, and the ground squished moistly under his cleated boots. It was unnerving for a man from the sunny Southlands.

He sat down on the body of a slain enemy, without concern. He turned his water skin up and doused himself, then gnawed on some jerked horse to calm down. He was certain he would see this land and this battlefield in his nightmares.

The End

5 comments about this story Feed