The Flight of The Draykes
Till now, we had fought and we had almost died but the concept of death had never felt more real to me than it did at this moment.
Looking around, I saw less of the veterans and more of the children that comprised our forces.
I was 7 and a few weeks old, Sia was 11 and a few months old, Ares was about the same, and as for Damon - I’m unsure but I remember him being around a year older than Sia.
The rest of the seedlings I was unfamiliar with but they all ranged in age from 10-15, with the oldest perhaps being around 17.
Their lives and our lives had not even started and yet here we were, fresh off one battle - resting for the next battle.
“Protos!” I thought helplessly.
For this was Protos. The strong survive and the weak die. Wars rage everywhere! Swords and spears are dropped and picked up by everyone at every moment of time!
But then I would look closely at the veterans and see beyond the beards, dirt, and grime that covered them and I would realize that they too were young.
Not as young as us seedlings but most of them were young enough to be considered as first-stage adults - those who are adults but not yet ready to be parents.
“Would they live to be parents,” I mused to myself, idly.
Shaking my head free of the absurd thoughts running through it at a time when every moment counted, I stumbled to my feet and spied around.
I saw Damon who was busy examining his armor for damage.
I saw Sia who smiled at me while sharpening her sword.
I saw Ares, who…
Rushing over, I slid to a stop next to him and carefully lifted his arm which had a big gash on it.
Wincing at the movement, Ares lifted his lips to reveal a part of his white teeth before he grimaced as I probed the wound.
“Doesn’t matter. It’s not that bad,” he replied.
Frowning, I looked at it carefully and realized that it truly wasn’t that bad. It just looked ugly and would hurt a lot. Also, he might have difficulty using the hand for a while but it wasn’t that bad - objectively.
Taking out herbs from my finite stone that I used for my training, I mashed them up and chewed them before carefully applying it to the wound, ignoring Are’s hisses of pain.
Once it was done, I moved back in satisfaction before telling him seriously, “The next battle, you’re staying next to me. Same with Sia. I can’t let anything happen to the two of you.”
Looking away, Ares forced a smile and said, “Faust, I’m not a warrior. I...I can’t fight the way you and Sia do.”
Looking down on him and then pulling him up to my height with his good arm, I looked him in the eye and said, “Ares, you forget who taught Sia how to fight before she met Leonidas. You forget who taught me how to bear the pain and stand tall. You forget who had taken care of me when I would cry in the night.”
“You forget that you are not Ares, the attendant, but Ares - My knight in training.”
“For all of those things were things that you did. So stand tall, my future knight!”
Looking at me with a slowly budding resolve, Ares clasped my arm and said, “Faustus, I will stand by you in battle, if you would have me.”
Grinning, I replied, “No,” and then continued as Ares stared at me with bulging eyes, “Not until you call me Faust.”
Grinning in return, Ares said, “Faust, Let me fight by you in battle!”
“Of course!” I said as I hugged him.
Then I immediately apologized as Ares gasped in pain as his injured arm was also crushed in between.
Nodding to Sia who had crept closeby and had heard everything, I pulled her into the hug too before softly saying,
“No one dies. Do you hear? No one dies or I’ll haunt you as a ghost.”
Solemnly, the two nodded at me.
Smiling, I let them go and then sat down where I was before taking out all the rations that I had and wolfing them down.
Raising an eyebrow at Sia who was looking at me askance, I mumbled through the food, “What! Time is precious and I’m hungry!”
Then tossing a sausage to her, I continued gorging myself.
Finished, I lay down and within a minute, I was snoring - trusting that Ares and Sia would do the same and watch over me while they were at it.
I don’t know when the horn blew, but it did and it was time.
Shambling, we got into formation again.
This time, there were no tricks involved.
The enemy knew where we were, they knew how many we were, and they knew what we had to give them in blood.
So all the people - soldiers and seedlings alike - hefted their weapon and shield and stood in line with straightened backs.
The archers formed a line behind us with their arrows stabbed into the earth.
The javelins were counted and redistributed to the first two ranks seeing as they were all that we could outfit with what we had.
Our formation was the simple shield wall yet again for we didn’t have the numbers to pull off more complicated ones.
We were 10 men wide again but 5 deep this time.
50 men held the line while 20 archers stayed behind to rain fire on the enemies.
The Knights were the only reserve force we had and they numbered a scarce dozen.
Among the silver rank Knights, we had 3 section leaders, Sir Egon, Sir Galen’s remaining silver rank knight, and my brother - Aaron.
Among the gold rank knights, we had Sir Galen’s remaining 3 gold rank knights, Sir Galen himself, Sir Patrick, and my teacher - Sir Leonidas
That was all we had.
The enemy had two companies or perhaps more.
It doesn’t matter.
We shall still stand.
For we have survived and we are the survivors.
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