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  • Writer's pictureJon Huber

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The cold blue stone I find myself laying on is bitterly crisp on my back, a vast contrast to the seemingly hot blood that openly flows from my abdomen. A strike that not only severed but completely split my Aforax in two, an organ vital to my species, one that keeps us alive. The dimly lit cave is an unfortunate place to take your last breath, but against my liking, it will be my final resting place. A war will promptly break out, due to my failure.


A lavish entrance carved from the stone of a dark and dismal cave was my guard post, that which I was to defend with my life. It was well known that Hermanius was on his way and regrettably, he was as skilled with his sword as all myths claimed. With the middle finger of my three-pronged hand I reach for my wound. It is deep, surely fatal, but masterfully placed. Even in the heinous act of murder, Hermanius spared me a slow death, the act of a true warrior.


Our meeting was swift, as the man with the heart of a lion was close to his prize, my king. Besides my comrade and I at the mouth of the hidden temple’s gate, there were six more of my brothers waiting for Hermanius’ arrival, all ready to die for our mighty ruler. My eyelids struggle to open after each blink, and I can feel the ability to draw a full breath become increasingly difficult. I roll my head along the cold stone to survey the gloomy cave. To my left, my sword, issued to me by the king, who personally christened myself a royal guard with it. To my right, my fallen brother, a laceration to his throat which took his life instantly.


When I took the position, the oath, to protect my king, I knew exactly what it meant. It was no secret that Hermanius was on his way to my city to confront its ruler. Many were unsure if he was even real, as the destruction left in his path was not that of one man, but an army.


He arrived at my post without racket and his presence caught us off guard. Two figures stood behind him, fully robed with their faces bathed in shadow. The armor Hermanius wore was gorgeous and only added to his allure. My armor, in contrast, was made of shotty leather and did little more than provide my blunt iron sword a place to rest. He spoke with an immense volume, with a powerful and rich voice, ordering us to clear his path. His mercy on us was inspiring, it was made obvious if we simply abandoned our post, our lives would be spared.


Promptly drawing our swords, I looked over and saw my fellow brother alive for the last time. With a sudden step forward, Hermanius drew his sword and severed the neck of the goblin beside me. A quick slash in my direction left me disarmed, vulnerable, afraid. I thought of my duty, the oath I took, the honor of my family and I looked deep into the eyes of the strapping man before me. He stood and looked at me with disbelief as I raised my clenched fists in defense.


He was strikingly handsome, and his masterfully crafted gold-plated armor added to his beauty. Without warning he lunged forward and plunged his broad sword into my leathery blue abdomen. Before I realized he had struck me, the three mysterious men vanished through the doors of the temple.


I cough as my throat becomes tight, the taste of blood on my tongue. I think of my family, and I thank the gods for the wrath of Hermanius. Never will they hear of my bleak attempt to save our kingdom, of my comical effort to strike down the greatest warrior the world has ever known. I close my heavy eyes for the final time and can feel my essence begin to leave my body. Thank you Hermanius. Thank you for my quick death, thank you for allowing me to stand before you in defense of my kingdom. Never will I forget the graciousness and honor you bestowed upon me by taking my life.

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