Title: The Victim and the Martyr
Author: Traxits (also known as whitecarnations)
Rating: T (character death).
Word Count: 596 words.
Summary: This is actually in response to a challenge posted on Lunaescence. "Write either one shots or drabbles with the following themes (as taken from the song 'This is War,' by 30 Seconds to Mars): the good, the evil; the soldier, the civilian; the martyr, the victim; the prophet, the messiah; the liar, the honest; the leader, the pariah." In this work, I've paired each of them up, designed to kind of play off of one another.
Notes: This is the third pair of six.
[[ ... The Victim ... Cailan ... ]]
The sword was heavy in his hand, sweat was rolling down his back under the heavy armor as he swung the heavy blade. It sank, over and over again, into the flesh of the darkspawn before him, behind him, all around him. They were hopelessly outnumbered, out manuevered, out done. The beacon wasn't lit yet, which was impossible. Surely they had been fighting for hours now, as many as they had managed to cut down?
The bodies were piling up, darkspawn and human alike, and still they pressed, wave after wave of charges met and deflected, chaos errupting each time they managed to form another line and try to press the darkspawn back. He spun on his heel, looking up at where he knew Loghain stood, waiting with the other men, watching the tower for the beacon. For the signal that two Grey Wardens had failed to deliver. He cut down one more darkspawn, blood splattering everywhere.
He could feel it on his skin, burning and stinging, and he was certain he had swallowed at least a little. It was impossible not to, shouting orders and trying to maintain some degree of order in the heat of battle. He pushed the fear down, couldn't let it master him now. He had a war to win, men to lead. They needed him. He swung back around, his eyes widened as a beast lumbered up the field, moving faster than anything that size ever should. It reached for him, caught him around the middle. For just a moment, he couldn't breathe, and he knew. He knew what was coming.
[[ ... The Martyr ... Duncan ... ]]
Everything slowed to a stop when the beast grabbed the king, and Duncan felt his heart stop. He should have felt it sooner, should have known what was coming. His eyes widened, and he felt the intention, the decision just before he heard the cracking of Cailan's ribs. No, that wasn't right. He couldn't have possibly heard that; not over the roar of the battle, the clanking of metal blades on armor, the screams of the wounded. He couldn't have heard the king's final gasp, didn't actually see the blood that came out of Cailan's mouth. It was just his mind, filling in the details he knew would be there.
He felt the weight of the dagger in his hand, his calloused grip tightening around the warm metal, his eyes focusing on the creature that was roaring, standing over Cailan's limp body. He let himself go, let the rage of the darkspawn pressing so hard around him consume his body, fuel his own anger. He broke into a run, shifting his grips on the blades as he prepared to leap, as he landed on the ogre, digging the entire length of the steel into it. He gasped for a breath, pulled one out, and stabbed again, using any force he could muster. He couldn't see, couldn't -
Then he was on the ground, staggering over, drawing the king to him. He was shaking, touching Cailan's face, understanding slow in coming. There was something important, he knew that. Something he wasn't grasping as he tried to shake the golden king, tried to tell him to get up. He glanced around, and watched as men and darkspawn alike fell, but more darkspawn flooded in to replace those who had died. No more men came to replace the fallen foot soldiers. He leaned back, settling his weight as he glanced up. The beacon was lit, he could see it. And still, only darkspawn came. They had been betrayed. No one was coming.