To Stand With Brothers
Notes: How the one act from the past effected a battle in the future- and yes, I haven't forgotten the pretty necklace that Dastan wore in the movie...And if there is interest in a modernized version please let me know and I will write something. (not something long, but something)
Dastan and his brothers had been separated, hunkered down by the archers of the Zahedan fortress who had the tactical advantage of being on higher ground and prepared. Persian soldiers who went forward were shot through and easy pickings. Their father had ordered them to the region to quell the uprising; one ruler believing he had the power to break from the Persian Empire could lead to others and a civil war that would break the nation.
"What are you doing?" Bis asked him as Dastan crawled away from the east part of the fortress.
"I'm getting my horse," Dastan answered, still in a crawl walk so not to be noticed by the men in the fortress.
"Dastan, we've been ordered to stay put until we receive the signal." Bis gestured to the north where his brothers were being forced to camp.
As a soldier in his father's army Dastan was supposed to follow orders and not make them. He was not commissioned, wanting to be like everyone else without special treatment. He needed to prove himself. But he could not stand by while soldiers were being picked off, when there was a chance one of his brothers or uncle could be next to be wounded or worse. He had a way to help.
"Don't worry, Bis. I know what I'm doing." He clapped his friend on the back. They had been reunited years ago with Dastan convincing Bis to join the Persian army for a better life.
In the cover of darkness, dressed in black, Dastan made his way unseen to the walls of the castle. Nestled close to the eastern wall with archers poised for a distant attack, he stood on the horse,, looking for purchase on the wall. When he found it, he began his silent climb, only looking up when he was near the archers, waiting for a chance to spring into action. With the element of surprise he was able to take one of the archers and throw them from their vantage point.
It was then he started to attack the other archers.
Garsiv was by Tus's side, the Persian army at a standstill because of the archers poised above them, stopping any attacking from moving forward. It was a stalemate, an act of patience, which Garsiv did not have in limitless supply.
His eyes were locked on the distance with the telescope. "What is he doing?"
"Who?" Tus asked as his brother caught his attention.
'Your brother," Garsiv growled. He was Tus's brother when Dastan was doing something foolhardy. He passed the telescope to Tus.
"Call the order to attack from the east," Tus announced. "And we need to have a long talk with Dastan after the battle is won."
It was a brutal and final attack with the forces of the Persian army bearing down on the weakened fortress. Garsiv was unable to keep an eye on Dastan, but was able to find his man Bis in the melee. Bis informed Garsiv about Dastan's stunt to get into the fortress undetected.
The Persians had pressed and gotten the gate opened so Zahedan was at their mercy.
Garsiv galloped to his brother. "Tus, the white flag has been raised. We have their unconditional surrender."
Tus grinned with the excitement of battle and satisfaction of having carried the day. "Order that in the name of Sharaman, King of Persia, that their ruler and subjects should present themselves in their great hall with all haste," he ordered one of his soldiers.
"Yes, your highness." The man bowed before making haste.
"Have you seen Dastan?" Tus looked around for their errant younger sibling.
Garsiv shook his head. "I've been a little busy, brother."
"Take a team within the fortress, make sure they are following orders and find him. I'll hold this ground," Tus said as he set off on his horse to manage the remnants of the battle and contain the prisoners.
Garsiv was not happy to be his brother's keeper. He led the way, to the main staircase, finding minimal resistance. What little him and his men found surrendered their swords with minimal fuss.
He found Dastan near a window casing, bent over with two bodies next to him.
"Dastan!" Garsiv called out with relief upon seeing his brother. "You did not follow orders. Tus wants words with you," Garsiv said in the way of a gruff greeting.
Dastan rested a bloody hand against the wall and pulled himself to a fully erect position.
Garsiv studied his brother, seeing part of an arrow protruding from Dastan's shoulder and a slash along his stomach, cutting into the leather armor. "You're hurt."
"This place is larger than I imagined, and well-guarded." Dastan leaned heavily against the wall and then began to slide down it.
Garsiv matched his brother's descent. He hollered for one of his men to get assistance. "No one asked you to do such foolishness." He placed his hand on the slash wound to keep more of the blood from leaving Dastan's body.
"I couldn't risk you or Tus getting hurt." Dastan gasped at the pressure and tried to wrangle away. "I'm expendable."
"You are not." Garsiv held his brother in place, wanting help to get to them quickly. He would carry his brother out if he had to. "You are a Prince of Persia."
Dastan looked to the wound, distracted by it. "The third one and not of noble blood. If someone has to make a sacrifice then it's going to be me, Garsiv."
Garsiv did not want to hear such nonsense talk spoken by his brother who needed a more healthy dose of self-preservation. "Be quiet, you've lost a lot of blood."
"I don't think it is all mine." He glanced to his shoulder, which had trailed a substantial amount of blood down his arm. "Maybe it is?" He added before he passed out, leaving Garsiv to pick him to carry him to help.
"Stay strong, little brother."
Tus remained in his tent, drawing up plans for Zahedan and who amongst their allies would rule over the outpost to secure it. He had asked not to be disturbed, waiting until Dastan awoke before he could pay attention to the other matters at hand.
He allowed Bis to stay at his friend's side. Dastan seemed less distressed by having someone near to him, talking to him. Bis called him over when he noticed that Dastan was stirring.
"Where am I?" Dastan said from the pallet brought in for him when Garsiv had carried out an injured Dastan from the fortress days ago, wracked with worry that Dastan was dead in his arms. Dastan struggled to move, but gave up when he discovered how week he was. He turned his head towards his friend.
"In Crown Prince Tus's quarters," Bis answered with a whisper.
Dastan had not noticed that his older brother was nearby.
"I shouldn't be here." Dastan began struggling again, his breath coming in pants. "I should be with the soldiers. Help me up, Bis."
"Stay where you are Dasta," Tus put a stop to Dastan's struggled with a hand on his brother's sheet covered leg. "Bis, you can leave now."
Bis gave his friend a shrug. "Be well, my prince," he said as he departed. Tus assumed he would spread the word that Dastan was awake.
Tus settled his eyes on his brother's pale face, wane with sickness still. "You've been unconscious for three days, and your fever just broke this morning. Father was being sent for."
"Why?" Dastan croaked, swallowing.
Tus lifted Dastan up to a more inclined position, setting pillows behind his back, but careful not to put any stress on the stomach stitches. He poured a glass of water and brought it to Dastan's lips. Dastan frowned, but did not argue, showing Tus that he truly did fell weak. "We thought you were going to die, Dastan."
Dastan rolled his eyes. He glanced down at the white linen bandage across his stomach and the bandage wrapped on his shoulder where the wound had been cauterized to stop its bleeding.
"There is talk of your bravery. I think it bordered on recklessness and insubordination." Tus took up the seat that Bis had vacated, moving it closer to the pallet.
Dastan licked his lips. "I couldn't get word to you or Garsiv, and I knew I could help. The soldiers should not have to risk their lives, and neither should you."
Garsiv had informed Tus of the discussion he had with Dastan before he had succumbed to his wounds. "And you can because you are expendable?"
Dastan looked away. "I am."
Tus waited a moment. "Garsiv told me. Can you please look at me?" Dastan turned his head slowly back to his brother. "You are not expendable, Dastan, not to your brothers and not to Father."
"You're my family." Blue eyes held firm in a solemn promise. "I would die to protect you."
"And I you," Tus grasped his brother's lip forearm, and was glad when he was rewarded with Dastan's strong grip in return.
"You know there is only one thing that I can think of to make you more careful." He had spoken to Garsiv and his uncle about the matter. "Give you a field commission and your own company of men to command."
Dastan moved his hand to settle on the wound on his stomach. "I have not earned that."
"You have. The men look up to you for your heroics."
"And stupidity," Garsiv said as he entered the tent. Bis must have gotten word to the middle prince. He removed his helmet in a few short strides was at Dastan's side, grinning down at their younger brother. "You need a bath."
Dastan sniffed and grimaced, agreeing with Garsiv's assessment. They had only cooled his body because of the fever, not for cleanliness.
"I'd like to choose my own men," Dastan replied after a few moments.
Tus thought it a good sign that his brother was not protesting, but knew Dastan enough to know there was another purpose, as did Garsiv.
"Let me guess, the street trash," Garsiv said with a sigh. He believed the princes should not associate with the common men, but hold themselves higher as nobles.
But for Dastan, he would always have a place in both worlds. "Yes, and they are very skilled men."
"Very well," Tus agreed, giving his younger brother leeway. "When you are better."
"I'm fine." Dastan said with a few blinks that showed how tired the conversation had made him. "I should go back to my quarters with the others."
"You are a Prince of Persia," Garsiv roared at Dastan. "When you are ready to be moved, and trust me when I say I've seen camel dung look better, then you will have your own tent, befitting a prince. Enough about being a common soldier, Dastan. You are not. You are our brother."
Dastan didn't flinch as his brother's outburst, quite used to Garsiv's temper.
"When you first came into our family and fell, Father spoke to us privately," Tus began his story about that time long ago. "He said he was disappointed in us, and though we better men than what we displayed because we did not realize that you were no threat to the Crown. That you truly were and wanted to be a brother at heart, and that no one could ask for more loyalty than that from such a brave young man."
"And Father is always right," Garsiv added, taking a seat on the pallet. "We ask that you take care of yourself brother, for our sakes."
"I promise to try," Dastan replied, moving his leg so it touched Garsiv. "I cannot do better than that."
That was the best they would get from their younger brother, but at least they were able to remind him of his importance in the family.
"You told us that one day being able to stand on a horse would come in useful," Garsiv teased.
Dastan smiled. "I told you it would work." Dastan moved his hand to his neck.
Tus knew he was looking for the necklace his older brothers had given him. He had removed it when the healers were helping his brother, kept it safe keeping in his pocket. He pulled it out, and gently placed it around his brother's neck.
"Thank you," Dastan said, his hand resting on the charms as his eyes closed in a more natural sleep. Both brothers understood the thank you for what it was, a thanks for watching over him and caring for him like a brother and a prince.