Jan knew he should have felt honored by the great Lord Nirinberk asking him to serve at his side. He knew he should have felt eager for the glory of battle ahead.
But as he stared at the mail coat – the coat he was expected to wear, the coat he might die in – he was terrified.
Jan walked over to the swords and picked one up. The steel was cold and heavy, like a winter storm. Giving it a swing, he tried to imagine himself as a bold knight. He tried to fall back into childhood dreams where swords gleamed and proud warriors came home victorious to the sound of the trumpets.
But all he could imagine was death: blank faces watching the skies, maybe his own amongst them, all the breath gone from his lungs, the last beat gone from his heart.
The sword dropped from Jan’s fingers, clattering like thunder. Jan collapsed to his knees.
“It isn’t easy, is it?”
Lord Nirinberk put a hand on Jan’s shoulder, no longer looking like a storybook hero but rather a man ravaged by battle and memory.
“I was afraid too,” he said. “Fear doesn’t make you weak. It makes you human.”
Word Count: 201
This is for Sunday Photo Fiction.
(I’m very glad to be back and able to do these challenges again. I’ll be putting up a more detailed post about that sometime this week. Thanks to all the readers who read, commented, and liked the content that went up while I was away. You’re all fantastic.)