Fury, Anger, and Hatred

It was a torrent in all regards. Rain crashed down on the ground like daggers from above, cold and piercing, their cacophonous thuds on the ancient stone of the tower’s top the only sound save the clanging of steel. Here, far above the now ruined keep below, above the noise of the fires and anger and battle that raged below, fought two friends in a hail of furious blows.

Two armored figures, one in shiny steel plating with a thin visor line in their helm, and another in a black, shadowy armor with wisps of mist trailing off of its visor, obscuring their eyes. Both were soaked, cold, shaking, standing ten paces apart in the open air of the tower’s crown, swords ready, eyes locked, waiting. Panting. Crying. The air was tense with desperation, anger, betrayal.

Overhead, high in the sky, two lights collided. One white, one a deep, vibrant crimson. They seemed to bounce off of each other at times, and at others they would disappear and reappear in the sky. They were like lightning in the thick, dark clouds. Rarely there would be a cry from above that would pierce the air as though God herself was crying out, in anger, fury, hatred.

The two knights raised their blades again, but neither moved. They were both bloodied and bruised beneath their armor. For the one in steel, it hurt to move. Tears streamed down her face, her hazel eyes glossy and red. She gripped her sword tighter, but didn’t move.

“Well?” the other knight called out, positioning her sword before her face. “You speak of betrayal, then come!”

The knight in steel sneered. “Why should I come? You came here, caused all of this!” she cried, motioning to the calamity and destruction around them. “Why should I take one step toward you, when you’ve taken so many already?”

“Sarell… you’re no coward!” The other knight hesitated for a moment, and then pushed her foot back and settled into a battle stance. “Don’t be a coward now.”

Sarell rushed forward, swiping at her, and the other knight deftly dodged and returned the blow, barely being parried and pushed back. The clanging of steel rang out in the air. Sarell slid back on the wet stone, and pushed forward again, aiming to stab the black knight with the point of her blade. She barely missed, and the knight spun around and clanged her on the back of her helm with the pommel of her sword. Sarell stumbled forward, and backed off.

Once more, they stood on the edge of the tower, ten paces apart, blades readied. Sarell glared at the other knight. They were friends, once. How did it come to this? Years of friendship, sandblasted and eroded. For what? The sake of the argument in the thunderheads above? She remembered the times they’d go out in the golden fields and pick flowers as kids, or the times they’d cause a ruckus in the dining halls of their respective masters just to get on their nerves. Mischief and fun and love abound, years ago. Years ago now.

“I… I can’t. I can’t fight you again Arial! I just… fuck I just can’t!”

She threw down her blade. It clattered on the ground as lightning shot out from the sky, followed by the rumble of disquieted thunder. Sarell glared at Arial and clenched her fists. “We’re friends… What am I going to do, kill you? Fuck no! And you’re really gonna kill me? I doubt it.”

Arial clenched her blade and growled, “Pick it up.”


“Pick up your damn blade!”

Sarell stuck her fingers under her helmet and tore it off, exposing her short blonde hair matted with sweat, her sharp features, her piercing eyes. “I’m not going to fight you. And this!” she shouted, pointing skyward. “This is not okay! They shouldn’t be fighting either.”

Arial rushed forward, blade ready, and stopped just short of Sarell, placing the edge of her sword on Sarell’s neck. Sarell could feel the cold metal on her skin, just barely cutting into it. “Pick. Up. Your blade.”

“No.” Sarell looked down at Arial, at the black, shadowy visor, and even though her eyes were obscured, Arial could feel Sarell’s glare pierce through her. “Put it down.”

Arial hesitated, holding her blade there for a moment more, before shakily, slowly lowering it. The rain continued to crash down, the thunder roared above, the battle still raged below, and the sky was alight with red and white, but when Arial pulled back and dropped her blade, it was as if time stood still. The two stared at each other for a moment, before Arial dropped to her knees, and began to sob heavily.

“Why…” she muttered. “Why is this happening? This is wrong.”

Sarell could feel the tears returning to her as well. She knelt down and placed a hand on her former friend’s shoulder, and said, “It is. It really is.”

Then, she began to sob as well.

Rain mixed with tears as Sarell sat beside Arial, and Arial sat too. She reached up and pulled her own helmet off, revealing a head of black hair and strong steel blue eyes, but soft, gentle features. Tears ran down her face as well, and for a moment they just cried together. Then, after a moment, Arial leaned in on Sarell’s shoulder, just like when they were kids and she would cry to her friend, and let the tears rain down.

“You know,” Sarell said after a moment, looking up. “One of us is going to die. Whichever one of them comes down, they’ll probably kill whichever one of us isn’t theirs.”

Arial nodded silently. “I know.”

Sarell paused.

“These are our last moments together.”

“I know,” she said again.

A moment of quiet passed over them, and even in the clouds above. Things became quiet. The rain even seemed to let up just a bit. No longer was it piercing like knives, but dropping like tears should, gently and with grace. They sat with each other for a time, letting things be at ease for just a moment, before the thunder started again.

And it did, with gusto and hatred and anger, but the rain still fell softly, and the battle below even seemed to quiet a bit. Sarell looked down at Arial, who looked back up at her.

“Who do you think will win?”

Arial shrugged. “I don’t know, honestly. They’re pretty evenly matched.”

Sarell laughed. “They are. But if they heard us saying that we’d both be dead.”

Arial laughed softly as well, chuckling to herself and looking skyward. “Maybe that’s better?”

“Ah, you think so?” Sarell said, raising an eyebrow and looking down at her.

She shrugged. “That’s what I’ll do. If it’s you that dies, I’ll die too, and I’ll find you in the next life.”

Sarell shook her head. “If it’s me that dies, I want you to live on. Find peace. Be happy. What about your dream, huh? Learning magic? Could you do that for me?”

Another tear streamed down Arial’s face, lost in the raindrops. She was tacit for a moment, and then nodded and said, “Only if, if it’s me… you go tame that dragon like you always talk about. Ok?”

Sarell nodded, but could feel the tears welling in her eyes once more. She pushed them away, and looked up, to let the rain wash her clean. “Ok.”

“So… what now?”

“We wait.”

“I’ve always been impatient.”

“I know.”

They chuckled again, sadly, but familially.

“I’m gonna miss you,” Sarell said.

Arial wiped her eyes. “I’m gonna miss you too.”

And together, in silence, they waited, watching the lightning above as the skies once again cried out in thunderous fury, anger, and hatred. But these friends felt no such things at all.


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