This article has been submitted by Arpita Verma for the CLATGyan Blog Post Writing Competition. If you think this article is a good read, ‘Like’ this article on Facebook (the button is at the bottom of this piece) or post a comment using the ‘comments’ section below.
I wonder who are better off, they who died serving their king, defending their country with their own life or is it us, those who survived only to see the horrendous aftermath of war caused by no known reason? “Musing again Al?” captain asked
“So, his name is Al? Maybe Alfred or is it Alan?” the boy excitedly, almost shouting so that his voice could be heard over the uproar that was tavern’s regular crowd. The bard looked up from his sketching; he too looked barely older than the boy, only his wisdom induced eyes told a different story. “Or it could be Armand, maybe even Albert” the bard offered smilingly teasing the boy. The boy pouted his too old-looking eyes showing their true age for the first time “you have told me about his childhood to how he joined king’s army, but not his name why?” The bard chuckled but said nothing “you still haven’t told me why there was war between both the countries?” boy tried again, the bard smiled as he sketched the blond locks of boy on his canvas. The boy cleaned benches in tavern and in his eyes was maturity that had saddened the bard. Betrayed too many time this one thought bard sadly. “I told you once that there was a war before the two countries before too hmm? The boy nodded forgetting for a while that the bard was still intent on canvas and could not see his gesture “the reason for war is that a king never dies” the bard said the boy looked confused “I don’t…” he started saying “you will in time”
I woke from nightmare and saw captain sitting beside me “here, take this” captain said thrusting me a water skin I took a few gulps and handed it back “how far do we have to travel?” I asked the captain “we would be there come noon” he answered “would you tell me why our troop has to travel to a forest while the war is still going on?” the captain shook his head smiling apologetically I could not help comparing his now stoic face to that of his childhood one. We had been so close together me a kitchen boy and him the young master of house. I could not help but wonder what happened in that three-year he had gone, what changed so you thus Silvester? Captain smiled softly as though he knew my thought and stood up, patting my shoulder before he left.
I looked up from stirring the stew as the captain growled impatiently he looked agitated as if waiting for something important to happen and his actions worried me. A boy, the small troop’s scout game running towards the captain “they are here captain” he said breathlessly and I looked to where he pointed. A small group of soldiers, twelve of them came barging in the camp and captain smiled gesturing towards his tent. I frowned I was not told that more soldiers were joining us but again I am just a solider not worthy of knowing the secrets of kings and commanders but still something about them nagged me. Could they be enemy soldiers? No of Course not! Silvester would not betray our country especially me.
I lay there coughing blood, body broken and the sword piercing me but more battered was my heart “Oh! Silvester why? How could you betray our nation? How could you sacrifice me your childhood friend for money? You were the one who asked me to join military for these? Someone sat beside me and I looked at him. He looked human but his black pooled eyes were not human “who are you?” I mutter “the only friend who will always never desert or betray you. I am death”
The boy faced with contrasting emotions. Surprise, sadness and smugness warred inside him as he recalled the bard’s story and what a story it was! All in exchange of his sketch and time.“Hey you!” someone shouted at him and only too late he realized that he had wandered into more dangerous alley. It was with a certainty he knew that he would be dying.
“You are Al’s friend! The Death” the boy exclaimed as he saw the figure standing beside him “guilty as charged. What gave it away?” “I know I died” the boy shrugged for the first time in a long while unafraid “Alvin told you about me Hun?” “Alvin? You mean the bard?” “One and the same” the boy sucked in a breath surprised “you mean he was the Al of story?” “un-Hun” “he still haven’t told me why was there war” “because a king never dies, he just changes the face and place but almost every other king is the same in his actions, take both king of those countries for example, if the present kings were not so much like their great grandfathers than these war would not have happened” the boy looked thoughtful “The bard knew I was going to die didn’t he?” “Sadly yes” “the boy smiled “he told me the story to help me like you helped him”