The Knight in Silver

April 17, 2007

“Does it ever grow old?”

The knight in silver surveyed the battle-field, and did not answer the question. The enemy lay dead and rotting, no longer a threat to this once-peaceful land. Brutes from out of the mountains, barely human, they had needed to die – but the sight still brought no comfort to the knight.

Nor did the sight of his own troops. Though victorious, far too many would never leave this battlefield. Far too many would remember it forever in the injuries they bore.

The knight himself was untouched, though he had forged into the very heart of the enemy to slay their leader. He regretted, as always, that his men insisted on coming. He almost would wish for the chance to fight alone, one man against an army. So long as he bore God’s blessing – or God’s curse, depending on one’s view – he would not lose. No matter the odds. No matter the foe. If only they would let him fight alone, he wouldn’t have to bear the sight of another grieving widow. Another orphaned son.

“Sir?” The lad beside him was young, but as skilled with a blade as any knight the lands of man had ever seen. His squire spoke again. “Does it not grow dull, this endless fighting? There must be a land without war, that you could make your home. With every battle I see you die inside – we could leave it all behind, before it grows too late.”

The knight in silver shook his head. “There are lands without war, it is true. But for every one, there is another kingdom caught up by the tide of battle. So long as the mark remains upon me, I alone might turn the tide. If even one life should be saved by taking my place in battle, I cannot turn away from where I am needed. You know this as well as I.”

His squire bowed his head in acknowledgement. A cut ran across one cheek, and his armor sported several new dents from the battle – for all his skill, he was not invincible. But it was clear his words had come from concern for the one he served, not for his own safety. It was clear that, though he knew the answer his words would receive, he had needed to speak them anyway.

The knight in silver rode away from one battlefield in search of the next, and his squire followed close behind.

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