snippet 15

Like a knife being slid slowly down her throat, right down her chest. Straight into her heart.
That was the grief she felt.
Like slivers of razors running through her veins. Throbbing with her pulse.

His blue eyes. So pale they looked like clouded sky. No glow now. No sparkle.

His hands, covered in blood and bits of flesh, growing cold in hers.

“Why did you leave my side? Why did you not hold the line?” she rasped. The icy rain began to pummel her helmetless head relentlessly.
“I couldn’t get there in time…”

The bucketing rain began to wash the mess of gore from his hands and body. His sword hand was twisted and broken. The fingers bent at angles and the bones sticking through the skin. These were the minor injuries. The killing blow was evident in his crushed side.
The troll that had caused the damage lay dead behind her, her great axe stuck fast in its skull.

Astur stood panting an arms length from her. His beautiful white face scraped and bloodied, his armour torn from him. His black mane matted with gore. He bled from many wounds, but would not leave her side. A true warhorse. A true friend.

But even that brave horse could not get her to his side fast enough. And here he lay, his head on her knees, his hands in hers.

“Oh my darling, my darling…” she sobbed. Some of her warriors stood and watched in sympathy. These two were the stuff of legend. There would be songs. But songs could not bring him back to her. Songs would not heal the hurt.

There were no words to speak to her, so none were spoken. They waited silently for her command. Their horses regaining their breath. Their wounded being cared for by Halas, as he made his way amongst them. His red robes glistened with rivulets of blood. His blind eyes glowed.

There they all stood. On this battlefield, victorious, but at such a cost it could not be fathomed until the dead had been counted. And there were so many.

“This war was not ours, my beloved, like many other wars. Our luck ran out.” she said softly. She took a shuddering breath and gently laid his arms across his body. She softly closed his eyes with her fingertips. His sword she took, and then she stood, looking down at him one last time.

Astur stepped closer to her and put his nose against her chest. His sister, Melur, had been the mount that carried her beloved into battle. She too was lost.