Remnants of a Memory

By Christopher Pier


 

Some people call me heartless, ruthless for the things that I have done. The decisions I’ve made. And they would be justified.

I will freely admit that I have never subscribed to justice. Being a hero holds no appeal to me, but that does not mean I am a villain. I do not do the things that I do out of some base need for personal gain or a desire to see the world burn in the fires of destruction.

No… I am but a sword that attempts to be a shield. A weapon with a longing to be armor.

To protect the ones I hold dear is my purpose and I will go to any length to hold true to my oath. My will gives me strength, strength to break through my limitations and soar to new heights as I defend those precious to my heart. Those who have always believed in me despite the path I have taken, their belief is a greater salvation than they shall ever know.

I have forgone the name I was given at birth; instead opting to take on one that strikes my enemies with fear and grants my allies hope. It is a name I endured much to earn, trials that have and will continue to break the spirit of many who sought the power it granted. I survived because I was not interested in this power. I did not desire it for my sake alone, but to use it in the defense of others.

My hands are stained in ways that will never come clean. My hair colored by the very blood I have spilt over the course of my life. My soul scarred by the memory of those whom I have failed to protect.

And so, I fight.

I struggle, I sacrifice, I endure.

I do this so that they will be safe. That those I protect can live on to enjoy the next rising of the sun. That they never experience the wrath of war, the horror of death, the pain of loss.

I know that one day I shall die, but until then I shall fight as if every battle were my last. Any warrior, young or old, is most dangerous when they feel as though they are about to die and it is this feeling, empowered by the thought of what may happen should I fall, that aids me in combat.

So long as my death can buy another moment of peaceful existence for those precious to me then I am content.

This is how I have lived and it shall be how I die.

--------

A book was gently closed, the reader handling the object with the greatest of care. He looked up to his surroundings, to the tomb he stood in. There, resting on a simple chair, was the brittle remains of a man still clad in faded armor. Even death it seemed could not topple the body as it sat there, straighter and more proud than any statue designed by a master sculptor. A dust-clad sword was stabbed into the ground at the warrior’s feet, the hilt grasped tight by skeletal hands.

The visitor gazed upon the remains of the warrior with solemn eyes, wondering what this man must have been like while he still drew breath. With great care, he placed the book in the lap of the warrior before leaving the tomb to let the warrior return to his eternal slumber.