Knight to f6

Knight to f6

by Daniel Stride

I have stood here a thousand times, and shall stand here a thousand times again. One day it will end. The final confrontation, when gods and giants clash, when all is set ablaze and sinks beneath the Sea. But remaining battles are more plentiful than sand-grains upon the shore. The world will not end today.

I ready my axe. If fortune smiles, I shall pile foes in great heaps around me, ere I fall clutching a blood-slick blade with defiance writ upon my lips.

The moments tick onwards, and the rabble march forth to slaughter.

Across the battlefield, an old foe from the new faith smiles and waves. A clever man. Too clever, these Bishops.

I turn to the figure behind. ”Such is immortality.”

The cleric frowns. With his pointed hat and fragile face, he too is a clever man.

“Immortal life, as our saviour promises.”

”I do not follow your saviour, yet here I am.”

”One cannot know the ways of the one who moves us.”

Our peasants are butchered, our defences broken. Our mighty Queen lies dead, slain in single combat.

I grin at the survivors. Shoulders stooped, they are resigned to defeat. But I see only the short road to glory. Such is Valhalla.

The foe-Bishop rushes towards me, his bloodied cape billowing in his wake. I grip my axe-haft. It will be a good death, defending my King.

”Avenge me,” I mutter.

Our clever man rests his hand upon my shoulder. ”I shall.”

As shall I, for him, in battles yet to come.

I have time to smile, ere the blade comes down, sending me into dreamless slumber.

It is the end. For now.

When the gods call me forth, I shall fight once more.

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Daniel Stride
Daniel Stride has a life-long love of literature in general, and speculative fiction in particular. He writes both short stories and poetry; his first novel, Wise Phuul, was published in November 2016 with a small UK press. Daniel lives in Dunedin, New Zealand.

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