Chapter Twenty-Six: The Art of War

The air was still in the cell.

Murdul slowly turned around after suddenly rooting to the spot at the mention of his faithful son's name.

Murdul looked at Jonrah for several seconds, dead in the eyes, and to Jonrah it felt as if it were an eternity. Looking to the floor, Jonrah could still feel the heat of Murdul's gaze burning through his skull. He sighed deeply, and then looked back to Murdul, who was still staring at him intently.

'How do you know of my son?' Murdul finally asked.

'I have been friends with him for many years. I was once his teacher, and he my student. I trained him in the art of war.'

Murdul spat on the floor in disgust. 'War is not an art!' He shouted, taking a step closer to Jonrah, who jumped a little. 'War is the most regrettable of all things we men do. Men of the West, men of the East. It is a crime we are all guilty of. It is a sickening last resort that has become an easy way out. Violence in itself is not necessary.' He paused, still staring at Jonrah. Then, repeating himself, 'War is not an art.'

Jonrah remained silent for some time, now. Murdul was still intent on gazing at him, but this time Jonrah did not try to avoid his stare. This time, he met it, and they looked at each other, agreeing to disagree for several minutes, before Jonrah continued with his story.

'Your second son, Gurden... He attacked my city, as you said.

...everything he held dear was being reduced to ash and cinders...

'My home was burnt to the ground...

...he saw his wife and son huddled in a corner...

'I watched as it all burnt...

...floorboards creaked underneath the weight of the three of them...

'Needless destruction at the hands of your son...'

Jonrah relived the incidents in his head. The heat, the sign of The Eden scorched into his mind's eye... The fear of never seeing his wife and son ever again...

...as a fiery beam fell to the ground, Jonrah witnessed his beautiful wife crushed underneath its weight...

'My wife was crushed, burning alive under the weight of falling debris...

...screams filled the room...

'You may be correct that war is no art, but don't tell me that violence is not necessary.'

Both men remained silence, Jonrah giving himself several moments to catch himself before he became any more enraged by the situation that he found himself in.

A tear fell from his eye, rolling down his face and dropping to the floor; it was the first of many that followed. Silently, Jonrah cried.

Laying his head gently down on the wooden bench, he relived the death of his wife behind closed eyes.

The End

56 comments about this story Feed