He-Who-Died-Dishonorably
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Author Topic: He-Who-Died-Dishonorably  (Read 293 times)

Mima

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He-Who-Died-Dishonorably
« on: June 17, 2020, 05:20:01 AM »
{alt}
"They say nature reclaims the dead."

She stares out into the horizon as she speaks, into the summer buzzing of bugs of all sorts over her garden. The great moth at rest on her horn, however, does not move. It understands she is talking to it, somehow- something Sleeping Terror did often.

"The Zikwa say their souls still live on in all of us. I don't know if I believe them."

How could she know?

"...I remember the first time I killed."

-

He was foolish. I was larger than him. More experienced. He had woken me to sing his own praises, knowing it was a challenge. It should have been like the hundreds of times before. He should have quit before he even started. He should have known who I was.

But that wasn't how it happened.

I remember it. I remember the sound his horns made as I twisted and wrenched him to the ground, forcing him to his knees. I remember that look in his eyes, that righteous indignation. I remember smiling back at him.

...I remember the feeling as he lunged forwards once more, the feeling of his horn driven into my skull.

We were both bloody already. Of course we were. But the sound of my flesh and blood hitting the rock below our hooves... The scraping of horn against bone, splitting my ears... I don't know what did it.

I kicked him in the teeth, with all my might. He coughed and spat. I wheezed. But I didn't step back. No, I put my hoof on his neck, and shoved him down even further, forcing his face into the dirt.

"Admit defeat."

He grit his teeth. "No."

"Don't be stupid. You've lost."

"Over my dead body." He spat a broken tooth at me.

"Want to try me?"

"You don't have the guts to kill me."

Staring at him there, completely prone... I felt the eyes on my back, of those around me watching. They all knew. I knew. He knew. He had lost. His threats were empty.

I could have just walked away.

But the blood flowing down my face, from the hole he'd put in my head... The wound was to more than just my plate. In that moment, it was a wound to my pride. I had won the battle, but he had scarred me.

...

I shoved him as hard as I could, and watched him topple over the cliffs.

I remember the sound his body made as it crashed upon the rocks, too.

There were no cheers. I did not feel any better for having done it. In the moment, I didn't feel anything. All the world was, as I stared on, was my labored breathing, and the trickle of blood down my face.

They said I was not wrong to have done it. That I had given him a chance to walk away. He was reckless, and stupid, to not have taken my mercy. In my heart, I knew all of these things. They had all been told to me from the day I was born.

...I don't know if I believe them, either.

His body did not go back into nature quietly. The freeze swept over us all first. It sat there for months encased in rock-hard ice, a silent and ominous reminder of what I had done. Was this guilt? This emptiness that I felt through every part of my soul?

...

I left my tribe before the spring thaw. I didn't want to see what became of him then.

As if to mock me, out of my skull, flowers bloomed- reclaiming the part of my soul that died that day.

-

All is silent, for a long while.

The sun has begun to dip below the horizon now, and the moth on her head stirs in anticipation. She looks up at it, and smiles. "Oh, have I told you that one before? I'm sorry. I'll make up a better one next time."

She pulls herself to her feet, wading through the long shadows of her garden and back to her den.

Yes, maybe next time, she'll stick to the fanciful stories of her dreams instead.