Footsteps sounded in the hall. They approached my door, heels clicking against the marble tiles. A knock.
I rose from my chair, walked to the door. I opened it, to reveal a small, middle-aged woman. She came to suit me up, I suppose. I followed her to a small room, where my armor awaits.
After I have put on my protection, I am to choose my weapon. I chose three, in total. A sword, spears, and a bow and arrows. Also, a shield. I would need one.
Who would have known that this would have escalated into something so serious, so terrifying? It had started as a simple disagreement. Doesn't it always? But when you live in a world such as mine, these things are not trivial, unimportant. They mean life or death for us. Especially here, at Silver Sword. A school. But it is a school that comes with great risk.
And not just some schoolyard brawl. No, here, we have wars. Battles. Death.
I had, in my time here, picked many fights, won many battles, achieved great things. But never, have I had a war with an outsider.
He arrived in our school one day, claiming that fighting was a necessary part of life. Death, was what made life flourish.
I disagreed. I'd never liked the tradition of fighting at Silver Sword, because I believed things could be resolved peacefully if we put our minds to it. It was just that nobody had ever tried.
And now, because of that, our entire school was at war.
Never before had this happened. You picked a fight, you chose your army. Or they decided if they wanted to join. But this time, the entire school joined in.
And our side was small.
The majority of the school had gone to the outsider. They believed he was right, because it was all we had ever known.
My friends, and the people who sought justice, joined me. They believed in me. They believed that I did not do foolish things.
They stood up for me.
But this time, I wasn't truly sure if I was right. If by going to war to prove I was, wasn't I being a hypocrite? There did not have to be war. There did not have to be pain, sorrow, or any of this killing. No death. Wasn't that what I stood for?
And yet, here I was, standing on the battlefield, the rain soaking my armor.
Lighting flashed. Thunder roared. The castle of Silver Sword stood behind the opposing army. They stood, on a balcony. Some were scattered in the forest, some at the base of the castle.
We stood on the edge of a cliff. Our army was behind us. We advanced, slowly, and claimed the rocky ground to be ours. They didn't care. They were taking the castle's perimeter. They had many weapons, more people.
Lilian stood at my side.
"It will never work. They outnumber us." She said, somberly. "We'll lose."
I stared at her, straight in the eye. "Yet, you are here. Because you believed we could do it. Do you regret your decision?" She bit her lip. I knew she didn't. She simply had doubts about whether we could win or not. I turned to face the opposing army. They were orange, we were blue.
I twirled my spears, trying to get warmed up. There really was no need for it, however, since I had spent hours preparing today. Cassidy smirked at me from across the line. She was in the Orange Army, and she absolutely hated me. I never liked her, but as the spears flew in a whirl around me, I realized that I couldn't kill her. She was not my friend, but she was not my enemy. She was simply a human. Someone I knew.
I dropped my spears, just as the whistle sounded.
Swords clashed, battle cries uttered. Slash, stroke, block. Stab, uppercut, block. Swipe, dodge, thrust. My body responded to the commands given by my brain, urged on by countless years of training and experience.
But, still, we were losing.
The opposing army pressed against us, forcing us to the edge of the cliff. Their triumphant smirks were evident. They thought they were going to win. As much as I hated to admit it, they were probably right. Our army was only a fraction of theirs, no matter how much better we were. They had strength in numbers, and when it came to wars, that beat skill.
And that's when the assault really started.
Arrows rained down, adding to the vicious onslaught of the army. An arrow struck my arm, and I cried out in pain. Caleb, one of the only people who stood by me, noticed. As he was distracted, an arrow lodged in his leg. He yelped, and gritted his teeth. He continued to swing his sword, determined not to give up. I staggered backwards as another arrow struck my ribcage. I swung, slashed, stabbed, thrusted, and blocked, but it was too much for me. I looked up, and realized that the arrows only aimed at Lilian, Caleb, and I. They knew that we were the leaders, and that our army would not have any instruction to go by if we were to fall. So we couldn't. We had to stay alive. Ducking, I ran to the edge of the cliff and swung my legs over, motioning for Caleb and Lilian to do the same. They ran over, and clung on to the rope ladders that dangled over the edge. We hung on, safe from the storm of arrows. I clenched my teeth. I felt like such a coward, leaving my army. They would all suffer because of me.
Just a few more minutes, and they would run out of arrows. Just a few more. And then I could go up, fight, direct, and try to win. I just hoped my army would last a few more minutes.
As if reading my thoughts, Lilian said, "Don't worry. They won't give up so easily. We'll win." She sounded as though she was trying to convince herself.
The most agonizing amount of time passed, and finally, I couldn't stand it anymore. I hoisted myself up, and peeked over the edge of the cliff. Lilian and Caleb did the same.
Our eyes were greeted with a heartbreaking scene, a view I never wanted to see. Ever. Bodies, the bodies of my friends, littered the rocky ground. A few blue armors were seen among the orange. They had surrendered, joined the other side. Corpses all had various weapons stuck in them. The ground was dark with blood. The rain continued to pound down, trying to wash away the sorrow and death in front of us.
But nothing would ever erase this memory.
I dropped back down, clinging to the rope, tears streaming down my face. How had this happened? How could this have happened? My friends, all dead. The other team victorious. And so, so much heartache. So many people, all gone, never to return. Their families would grieve for days on end. In my battles, I never killed people, only knocked them out or disarmed them. But now, by asking my friends to join me in something impossible, I had done the unthinkable.
"I've killed them." I whispered, tears still cascading down my face. "It's my fault. I could have just backed out. Said I was wrong. But I was too proud to do so. I've killed my friends to save my pride."
Lilian grabbed me by my shoulders, and shook me. "That's not true, and you know it! We joined you because we believed in you. We believed you were right. And we still do. It was our choice. It was our risk. "
I heard, but I didn't listen. I was too far gone. I couldn't be brought back. Caleb said something, probably agreeing, but I didn't believe. I didn't hear. I didn't want to. Caleb winced, and tried to remove the arrow.
"I see. It's quiet. We've lost. You want to give up, because this was never what was supposed to happen. You can surrender. You can get treatment, help, and go on. Pretend like this never happened. Forget all my terrible mistakes, and move on, never wanting to remember what happened tonight. I understand."
I closed my eyes, my voice eerily calm, despite the tears leaking and mixing with the rain. I pulled the arrows out of my body, and opened my eyes to see the blood streaming from the open wounds. I didn't feel any pain. I knew, that if I were to live with the knowledge of what I did today for the rest of my life, I would go crazy. I would be insane. In fact, I already was.
"I want to do the same. I don't want to remember. I don't want for this to happen, ever again. And it won't. Not by my hand. It can't. I will leave, never come back. I will close my eyes.
And hope, that this was all just a dark and desolate dream."
With that, I let go of the rope, let go of everything, closed my eyes, and fell.