The sodden soldier trotted slowly home, battling against the frosty winds and slipping on the country paths. This uniform that he was wearing was torn to pieces, his lance tattered, his blade blunt, his axe shattered. His horse faltered and stumbled on the cobbled paths leading to his grand luxurious manor house.
Lord Lovelace imagined the grand hall of his beloved home, the giant staircase with fair Ellen waiting for him. He could see the candles flickering in there holders, visualize the fire wood burning; hear the laughing of his guests and the quiet, knowledgeable chatter of his serving boy Jehan in the mornings after breakfast. He could feel the soft cotton from the yellow sheets of the marital bed.
Lovelace started into a furious canter, leaving the perfect hoof prints in the crisp white snow of his scar ridden black mare. He galloped through the meadows, unaware of the ripped-up grass and the footprints in the mud, full of joy. A feeling similar to the joy from wedding. Him and fair Ellen elegantly waltzing in the large halls. The picture in his mind was so bright, so vivid as it was a recent event. Just a week before being sent off to war. A week.
Then, arriving at Lovelace manor, he went to the stable block, tied up his horse and practically skipped to the large arched door. He flung the door back to see the meadow at the back of his house. Odd. He stepped back and gasped. He looked around the door frantically. No walls. No windows. No candles. No laughing or soft yellow curtains. Nothing. Just ruins. He staggered back, hands clasped over his mouth. "No" he whispered, shaking. He tripped over something. No, not something. Someone. He looked frantically staring at the scattered bodies that were battered and bruised. Jehan was sprawled on the remains of the stairs, a smashed bottle of wine in his hand. The red wine from the bottle trickled down the stairs. Then, there she was. Ellen. She was tucked in the blood stained yellow sheets of her bed. Lovelace ran over to her and jabbed his fingers onto her neck, desperate for a pulse. Nil. Naught. Silence. She was still slightly warm. He slipped her ring carefully of his wife's finger and unclasped her plain gold chain necklace. He retrieved his own ring and slid them both on the chain. Then hanging the chain loosely around his neck under his armor, he strode out of the ashes. He would never be the same again.