Sorry for the lack of a post last week. I came down with a cold, and between dealing with it last week and catching up with everything I missed this week, I haven’t had the time to write. Now that I’ve managed to post something, though, I hope you enjoy this!
Armin glanced behind him at the white citadel, the blue flag atop piercing the sky as the wind buffeted it. Around the flag, smoke rose from the interior of the fortress, and orange flame made the city glow. A black swarm of enemies still poured into it, like ants diving into an anthill. Armin sighed. There was only one thing to do now.
“Armin!” called a voice from further up the path. “Come on!”
He turned around to face his friend William, with whom he had made this journey. Nodding, he looked up the slope of the craggy, grey mountain, his eyes resting on a spot where the red and black flag of his enemy flew over its lord, Uther Drackle.
They scrambled up slowly, tediously, scratching their hands on the stone as they struggled forward, always taking side glances at the flat cliff where Uther and his bodyguard stood, viewing the conquest of the city from afar.
At last the two reached the cliff, close behind the bodyguards around Uther. The villain stood, arms crossed, his red cloak blowing like the flag above him. Armin and William drew their swords. They’d only have one shot at this, so they crept as quietly as they could toward the backs of their enemies.
“My lord!” cried a sudden voice. “Behind you!”
Shoot. Armin made a quick glance behind him, only to see a messenger coming up from the opposite side along a path. Ahead, Uther and his soldiers wheeled around, the latter drawing weapons and advancing on the two infiltrators.
Armin and William sprang into action. There were about twenty guards against them, but they were close enough that their first blows cut the number down to eighteen. The others responded quickly, however, and the next two blocked the infiltrators’ attacks.
Eighteen against two quickly resolved, as, while losing a couple more in the process, the guards managed to disarm the infiltrators, holding them, beaten and bruised, before Uther.
“Ah, Armin Gottfried,” Uther drawled. “We meet again. I see you finally made a choice on the matter of sides, but I’m afraid you chose poorly. In fact, the side you chose won’t exist much longer.”
“So long as there’s any kindness, any love, in this world, there will always be a side against yours,” Armin growled.
Uther sighed. “I thought I told you last time – those things don’t exist. It’s just deceptions and compromises. Take my men: do you think any of them feel any loyalty, any love toward me? No! They’re just here for the money, for the power I offer them.”
“That’s because you have no love in your heart to give them!”
Uther laughed and turned away toward the messenger. “What news?”
“Your general reports we’ve broken into the citadel. It should fall in a short time.”
“Excellent.” Uther turned away, this time to William, whom he only now seemed to notice.
“Captain, who is this man?” he asked one of the guards.
“He’s with Gottfried, sir. He killed two of my men.”
Uther looked over at the group of bodies that had once been his guards. “I see. Well, then, I suppose you’ll have to kill him.”
“With pleasure.” The captain grinned and rammed his sword through William’s chest.
“No!” cried Armin, struggling against the guards holding him. The guards holding William released him, and he fell to the ground, blood spreading over the stone.
“Oh, don’t delude yourself with any feelings of sadness, Armin,” said Uther. “Now he won’t ask you for money. Ah, good.”
Armin followed his gaze, out over to the citadel. Amidst the smoke, the spire still shone clear, but the blue flag was lowered; now Uther’s red flag was raised in its place. Uther had won. But that didn’t mean it was over. Armin’s eyes narrowed in fury.
“My lord, what should we do with him?” asked the captain.
“Just dispose of him.”
The captain grinned and rammed his sword, still red with William’s blood, through Armin’s gut. Armin’s legs buckled, and the two guards holding him turned him around and threw him down the cliff. His body tumbled among the crags and rocks, coming to rest some dozens of feet below. Uther glanced down at the body, and departed, his guards following him down the path to the city, eyes bright and lips curled in total triumph.
A couple hours after they had gone, the mountain falling utterly silent, the smoke and fire in the city beginning to die down, Armin’s fist curled, and his hands pushed him to his feet.