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Gonzalothethird
June 5th, 2012, 09:42 AM
Here's a short story I've been editing and fine-tuning for a while and a rare time where I cross into the first-person narration.



Glory


It’s a beautiful, clear day. The heavens are a tranquil blue with clouds streaking their thin forms while the sun delicately warms the atmosphere. I remember the days as a child, laying on the softness of the grass and staring into such a peaceful sky; the reminiscent of innocence; where the world was still a big place. Black hawks preyed the skies, flying freely and proudly, the way I dreamt life would be when I would become a man. They were moments I treasured, especially when one day I found a girl laying beside me, observing the world the same way I did. And years later this girl would become a woman and then become my wife. These periods of my youth are the foundation of who I am. Well...who I was. At the time, I enjoyed the serenity around me portrayed because my heart was pure and I loved. I saw providence in every action I made. At the time.

Not today.

My boat—my merchant ship—is steady; the white sails cavorting to the song of the western winds; my merchant ship that has been converted to a warship; my vessel of adventures taken from me. The helmsman shouts, “land!” as he navigates the till towards the forming beach ahead. Seamen who travel the waters as long as I had on this trip would have welcomed the sight of soil; the knowledge their journey had ended. This particular journey will begin for me as soon as my boots touch sand.

The captain places his hand on my shoulder.

“Today you may bring the glory back to your people.”

He smiles at me while patting my back then returns to his cabin to do whatever it is captain’s do prior to battle. I simply sigh and gaze out towards the mountain terrain beyond the beaches. Glory, he said. My sense of glory passed when I constructed the house in my field for the refugees of the last war. Glory came when I made peace between two countries when conflict was certain. Glory was sailing medicine to our friends across the seas when the plague ravaged humanity, sailing when this warship was my ship—my ship that was once directed on my bidding. Glory…reasons for glory is far distorted today; people no longer recall the days of good deeds of which led to true praise, not since the ignorant and belligerent folk took claim over our governing society.

Dark blots scatter the coming beach; blots that became people; people armed to kill. Reports I’ve read stated seven thousand hold the beach. We’ve but five thousand strong and courageous men, but they have high ground. Fortunate. But this is for glory. Aggression is a fantastic method to gain glory.

It doesn’t matter anymore.

The captain revisits me and hands me my dark helm. I set it firmly onto my head and my vision condenses to the black rims of my visor. They say the horns and crevices of my helmet give the resemblance of a lion; the Lion was what they called me. A shield is given to me as my sword settles comfortably in its sheath on my back. Finally, a spear is handed to my rough hands, tired of wielding the tools that take the lives of others.

I placed myself at the forefront of the ship: shield in one hand, spear in the other. The blots are in battle lines and the towers are sounding their horns; a short distance separate between ship and beach. Hard waves pound my hull. Glances to my corners reveal other ships receiving similar treatment. Fate has it seem my ship will be first to land by ten meters.

Fortunate, yet again.

One hundred men are chanting behind me. The captain is shouting a morale speech from the stern—war cries vibrates the wooden deck. Foolish men. They cheer their impending and inevitable death; animals that savor the scent of blood, nevermind a far greater predator is the one stalking, the one who has set the trap. But they still chant and the captain still cries his motivation.

Fine. False glory shall be theirs. Allow me to pave that road for you oh dear captain; captain who will remain in the rear of the line.

The enemy’s silver armor glistens in the sun and the twinkle of the spears flash. Faint thunder of their chant swims through the waves and slam against the ships. My men’s will and determination remains strong and unfaltering. I see their archers now.

“Shields high!” I shouted.

A hundred shields bang against another and create a phalanx. I keep mine low, watching the archers set their projectiles, rear back, and let loose. I wait. Not but a few hundred feet lay before us and them. My shield arrives.

Dozens of clunks clattered the deck; two striking my shield. I peer around my shield before the second barrage and I find the beach is suddenly approaching in a hurry; the ship bounces to the crashing waves and the encroaching sand. I’m ready. When the ship makes the sudden stop, I leap to my doom.

My beloved wife fills my thoughts: her beauty, her undying love, enticing eyes. Her sensual smile—I think about her smile, her soul of which molded into mine and sculpted an inseparable entity of love. The void she filled in my heart is something for why I prayed to our God. My heart beats tremendously, reminiscing of her wonderful scent, her soft touch. Making love to that angel of which stole my heart—this is driving me mad. I love her too much to simply die here and never see her again.

I hate war.

And the ship stops.

I leap off the side. My legs jar for a moment. I paused for four beats, and dash across the beach; a mere few seconds lasted of peace before blood decorated my body, slamming the spear into the neck of my foe.

“For glory!” shouted the captain; still in the rear.

That’s right my brothers: glory. I wonder if this man trying to pry my spear from his abdomen thought of glory as well. I hear my kin madly fighting to preserve their pride, and chant for a victorious triumph. Steel on steel sang on the beach, the swift slit of flesh being torn was the chorus and the splatter of spilt blood the lyrics. It is the poem of battle.

Was it honor that they shouted when we left on the ships? Patriots they sung for us, that’s certain; fight for your country we were told. That’s how our soldiers want to be remembered. That’s their purpose. That’s how they think I will be remembered.

No.

Such a provincial idea in this world today, but I preferred to be remembered for honor and integrity.

No.

The world will remember me as the killer of hundreds, gloriously.




****EDITED****

K. Altan
June 6th, 2012, 06:26 AM
Wow, that was really creative. I like how he questions war as he's going into battle. Just one question: If it's his ship, then wouldn't he be the captain. What rank does he have? Is he like the general? (okay, I lied, 3 questions, but you get the picture.) It was very well done. :)

podman36
June 7th, 2012, 08:44 PM
Wow that was really really good. Its one of the more realistic war stories I've seen on this site, really good at questioning the reality of war and showing the conflicted mind of a solider.

HKayG
June 15th, 2012, 02:25 PM
Hi, I thought i'd read this and really go for mega input (I hope you're still looking for it!). Overall I love this, although at some points it was a little difficult to read, i love the idea, the way it's written.


Allow me to pave that road for you oh dear captain; captain who will remain in the rear of the line.
My favourite line. How well this comes across!

Ok, so I didn't find any of your writing bad in anyway but I did find that if some of it was rephrased it would be easier to read.


Those moments I treasured for one day I found a girl laying beside me, observing the world the same way I did; one whom I would fall in love with and make my wife. At the time, I enjoyed the serenity around me portrayed because my heart was pure and I loved.

I feel like the tense in this is flick-flacking a bit."For one day i found" and then "One whom I would". Then the sentence with portrayed, for me this word doens't do the sentence any justice. It just doesn't fit in properly.

I also find that this then leads on to another problem i have in the writing later, I can't work out whether he is married or he just wishes to be. (Although later it does prove to be that he is married). I just feel this section could use a little more structuring.

And to be honest that's it :) Great job

Gonzalothethird
June 19th, 2012, 04:58 AM
Wow, that was really creative. I like how he questions war as he's going into battle. Just one question: If it's his ship, then wouldn't he be the captain. What rank does he have? Is he like the general? (okay, I lied, 3 questions, but you get the picture.) It was very well done. :)

Thanks! I was hoping that it was implied his ship was confiscated from him as he followed directions of the "Captain" rather than delegate the order of the ship himself. But I do have a few ideas in rewording that situation to really drive his disgust for war.


Hi, I thought i'd read this and really go for mega input (I hope you're still looking for it!). Overall I love this, although at some points it was a little difficult to read, i love the idea, the way it's written.


My favourite line. How well this comes across!

Ok, so I didn't find any of your writing bad in anyway but I did find that if some of it was rephrased it would be easier to read.



I feel like the tense in this is flick-flacking a bit."For one day i found" and then "One whom I would". Then the sentence with portrayed, for me this word doens't do the sentence any justice. It just doesn't fit in properly.

I also find that this then leads on to another problem i have in the writing later, I can't work out whether he is married or he just wishes to be. (Although later it does prove to be that he is married). I just feel this section could use a little more structuring.

And to be honest that's it :) Great job

After reading the story, I agree that I could've structured the wordage better to imply he did marry the girl in the first paragraph of the story.

I like that people can point out the various things I overlook, especially bits seemingly so simple I always miss! It makes me like this forum that much more. Thank you for appreciating my work!