Just Another Statistic

The title really says everything about this story, born out of the whole analyzation of the virtue of courage and heroic last stands.

Hans stood before the gate of the citadel, steadfast despite the fire and smoke and screams of women coming up from the city around him.

“I shall not suffer you to pass!” He stood at the ready, his sword pointed at the great, armored figure before him. The figure laughed.

“Do you really think you can stop me? I am von Brasche, and heroes and champions are like children before me. I have slain fifty four men like you. What makes you think your end will be any different than theirs?”

“Probably not much,” Hans admitted. “But I shall oppose you with my life!”

Von Brasche laughed again. “Your life? Keep it!” He stepped to the side, gesturing to the main road of the city. It was largely clear, all the way out the gate at the bottom of the hill and out into the countryside. “Depart this city. Live to fight another day! Why waste your life against me?”

“There is no life for me except here, and no honor in flight. I will have this fight.”

“So find a new life! And what is honor? It is the reputation of a name and a dark feeling in one’s gut. Both of these you can cast aside.”

“No. That would not be right.”

“Very well. So you choose death.” Von Brasche drew his sword, an immense thing that he effortlessly lofted into the air against Hans.

The villain lifted his sword up and swung at Hans. Hans blocked the blow, but staggered back from the force. By the time he had recovered, von Brasche already drew his sword back for another swing, this one from directly above. Hans blocked this one too, but a notch formed in his blade.

Von Brasche lifted his sword to attack again, but Hans lunged forward, thrusting his sword at his enemy’s heart.

But von Brasche stepped aside, dodging the strike. He then swung his sword at Hans, who quickly blocked, then counterattacked. The villain whipped his gauntleted hand at Hans, striking him in the face and sending him sprawling. He swung at Hans, who blocked once again, just in time. But now his sword snapped in two. Von Brasche grinned.

One more swing later, Hans’ headless corpse fell to the ground.

* * *

Von Brasche stood in front of the citadel of another city, where a small squadron of royal guardsmen opposed him. Behind him, his soldiers burned and ravaged their way through the city, collecting its valuables and destroying all else.

“I shall not suffer you to pass!” said the captain bravely, his sword at the ready.

“Do you really think you can stop me? I am von Brasche, and heroes and champions are like children before me. I have slain fifty five men like you. What makes you think your end will be any different than theirs?”

“Probably not much,” the captain admitted. “But I shall oppose you with my life!”

Von Brasche merely laughed, before drawing his sword and beginning another slaughter.

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