Friday, July 1, 2011

No guts no glory

"I would have stood up to him, you know," the prince said pensively, staring out the window at this brother's advancing army. "I would have."

"Then why didn't you?" his lady general asked. Her arm had been lanced by a poignard in the morning's skirmish, and it was being bandaged by a medic now. She grimaced, but made no sound.

"We would have supported you," she said. The medic snipped the excess bandage off and bound it tight. The general exhaled sharply at the pain.

The prince looked at his brother, at the back of the horde on a raised platform that was supported by four riders on horseback. That could have been him. And this could have been the world. How could he answer his general?

"There was no point," the prince said, after a moment's hesitation.

"No point?" the general exploded. "How can there be no point?" she exclaimed. "This could be him now, and you could be out there, and right in the front, too!"

"There was no point," the prince said stubbornly. "I didn't know you would support me," he lied. But the guilt that festered in his heart had grown. He had let his people down because he did not dare.

"You're scared to face him, aren't you?" the general said scornfully, turning away from the prince. Her arm was lifted gently into a sling, and the medic left her to test its movement out before a mirror in the room.

"I'm not!" the prince protested, but his words held no strength.

"You let us all down," the general told him. "You were more important than all of this kingdom..."

She left the room, and the prince was quite alone.

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