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**Image by Marzell Wagner and her drawings can be found here:**

The lush green grass covered the field as far as the eye could see. As the grass bathed in the sunlight that washed over the field, growing taller and taller day by day, it provided sufficient food for the animals that grazed on it, and they in turn were destined to forever be the meal of the animals that preyed on them. But today there would be no hunter or hunted – at least not for the animals on the field. A force of death more deadly than the fangs, claws or poison of the most fearsome predator was approaching and fast. The animals scattered as two enormous, roaring armies collided in bloody combat. Like all battles in history, this one was a massacre with the loss of life, staggering.

At the end of the battle, the once green field was crimson red from the spilled blood of so many warriors. It seeped into the soil, forever cursing the land where such tragedy had taken place. There was no sign of life within the vicinity; all that was left, was death. She danced around happily and unseen to mortal eyes. She let out loud bursts of laughter as she withdrew the souls of man and beast from their lifeless bodies, pronouncing final judgment on them.

The sun had long retreated behind the dark storm clouds that had covered the earth beneath. It was not long before the heavens opened up. Rain poured unto the land, drenching the blades of grass and washing them free of the blood that had sullied them. It was then that the soldier's armor glistened as he navigated his way through the sea of lifeless bodies. The soldier crawled on all fours; his breath labored as he painstakingly inched forward, leaving a trail of blood behind him. His golden armor, banged up and dented, glistened in some parts, revealing its former glory.

He stopped to catch his breath. His vision was beginning to blur and he could feel the life draining from him. Still, he had to move on. He gathered his strength and crawled on, while the heavens beat on him and everything else around. Finally, he had reached it. Just in front of him lay his sword. It was his one true companion in battle and how many had they won off the edge of this sword? How many times had his life been saved because his sword had stayed true? However, it was not the same today. They had won the battle and they had almost won the war... but not quite yet.

He tried to reach out for his sword but his body had gone numb. His breathing became labored as anxiety took over him. I've failed you! I'm so sorry! It was then that a figure in a brown cloak appeared in front of him. The soldier looked up at the aged arms of the figure in the white overalls and black cloak. Even though the figure stood right in front of him, he could only just make out his features. The figure stooped low and picked up the sword, handing it over to the soldier. The soldier, finding one final wind, grabbed the sword but the strain on him was visible. After going through a bout of gut wrenching coughs, he spoke.

"Matilom... you... finally... made it..."

The elderly man called Matilom grabbed the soldier's sword hand, clasping it reassuringly. He had tears in his eyes. "I told you I should have been by your side. But you've always been so stubborn."

"I... I...couldn't risk your know he'll need you."

Matilom nodded his head in agreement. The soldier looked at Matilom, his dying eyes begging the question that weighed heavy on his heart.

"They are safe."

"Good... My apologies... Matilom. I cannot leave... this with you."

The soldier said looking at the sword. Matilom understood. If their enemy were to get their hands on the sword, the human race was finished. The soldier scribbled something unto the blade of the sword, with his own blood. He leaned the sword in closer, and whispered an incantation. Upon whispering, the sword's blade seemed to absorb the scribbles in blood, into itself, and it began to glow and shake in the soldier's hand. He looked at Matilom, who clasped the soldier's hand tighter before letting it go. "You can let it go now... it's okay... they are safe. I promise."

The soldier released his grip and the sword whizzed off skywards, disappearing in the distance.

The soldier's breathing got shallower as the minutes passed.

"My... time is up... Matilom."

Matilom nodded slowly. "You can go home. You'll find peace there."

Finally, the soldier lay still and lifeless. His grip on Matilom's hand had gone limp but his right hand remained firmly curled into a fist. Matilom reached out and closed the dead man's eyes. He noticed the curl of the dead soldier's right fingers and tried to pry them open, to no avail. In the distance, he could hear the support infantry approaching.

"Your majesty! Your majesty!" They cried out as they searched the dead bodies in the field. Matilom looked back at the dead soldier.

"Long live the King." He muttered under his breath.

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