After a short siege, Curaw, an important Vargir city, drowns in blood. The massacre is on Tharon’s hands, who start to question himself and re-evaluate his endorsment of a violent life.
Price of Blood
I was standing silent in the soft rain. Hearing the sounds of destruction from afar. By the gods, I knew that I was capable of destruction, but this was different. Suddenly, the vision that I had made sense… The words of this priest, that I will only bring death and blood in Calradia… For the first time in a long time, I felt remorse. Curaw was completely destroyed. Only the flames and ashes remained.
A day had passed since the massacre. My armies had broken into the city, seeking revenge. And I, in my blind rage, I let them tear everything down. Curaw was a beautiful, thriving city just the day before and now, it was a ruin, with her roads covered in the blood of her children. For endless hours, I heard the screams of the men, the women, and children, put to death, by the maniac Nords. I didn’t sleep. How could I? Their blood was in my hands.
When I entered the city, the first image that I encountered haunted my dreams for entire weeks to follow. A child, sitting in front of his disfigured mother and father, that had been stabbed to death multiple times. The face of the kid was covered in the ashes of burnt wood and the burnt flesh of its family. When I stood before him, it just looked at me. He did not ask anything; he didn’t ask why this happened. It just stared me down with his big eyes. I could feel something inside me break. It wasn’t possible to remain apathetic to the suffering of the innocent. And I was the one to blame for all that. I had their blood on my hands.
Soon after I arrived at the steps of the keep, some of my men brought a man in front of me, with his armor destroyed, his hair all messed up and his face covered in blood – though not his own.
“Who is this?” I asked the men.
“He is the one that led the defense of this city” said the captain of the group.
He paced towards me and leaned down, in order to whisper.
“I think he is a member of the royal Vaegir family. He could prove a valuable asset, both alive and dead”.
“Are you indicating my line of action, soldier?” I barked at him.
My appetite for blood had been fulfilled and my stomach has seen enough death for the day. I wasn’t going to add more victims to the long list that my lust for revenge had created. I approached the man, that was bowing down at my feet, begging me to end his misery.
“What else is there for me?” he cried. “End me! Give an end to this nightmare”.
“No more killing will happen today”.
I cut loose his chainmail and removed his cape.
“You are free to go” I simply said.
Instead of leaving, the man fell to my feet.
“End me! Please! I can’t stand it anymore! I can’t live my life now! These horrors will always hunt me down!”.
For a moment I thought about it. To give this man a clean death, that he so much craved for.
“Life is more valuable” I simply said.
I flashed the blade in front of his face.
“This weapon will rest for today”.
But as I was ready to sheathe my sword, the man grabbed it with his bare hands and with a cry, plunged the sword in his throat.
The Throne Room
“Finally…” he gasped, with blood pouring from his mouth and he fell down dead.
“Take his body and clean it. Then, place it in a royal carriage and send it back to King Yaroglek”.
I looked at my men who looked at me with bewilderment.
“Is that understood?”
“Yes, sir!” they answered together.
“Good” I said, as I made way for the throne room.
When I entered through the main entrance, I stood in silence. There was still blood on the walls, but no bodies. The men that ransacked the palace, must have pulled the bodies away, in order to pillage them in peace. It wouldn’t be the first time that men could kill each other for an expensive jewelry piece or a fine tunic. I walked with slow paces towards the throne, at the other side of the vast room, with my sword scratching the floor, with screeching sound.
As I stood in front of the throne, I couldn’t quite place my emotions. I didn’t know what to feel. Curaw was the summer palace for Yaroglek. Now, it was just a room covered in the blood of its former occupants. Fate had played a cruel game to these people, who weren’t even involved in this warfare. The city was a neutral place, with little to no army. I attacked and destroyed the city because it was a symbol and not a military target. But after these actions, I was not so sure anymore.
Horrors of Blood
As I sat down in the vast but empty room, I could hear the voices of the dead, that now lay down in the dirt. I looked at my blade. It was still covered in blood, human flesh, and their insides. I ripped apart a cloth from my cloak and started cleaning it. I remembered the last moments of the governor of Curaw, this relative of the Vaegir king. His last words were still on my mind. The truest of all. These horrors will hunt me down for the rest of my life. I cannot undo the massacres. It is not possible to give the orphans their fathers back. I brought only death. My path is covered with piles and piles of corpses at each corner. One cannot help but wonder; is this how I will be remembered? As a cold bloodied killer?
Soon, I heard footsteps echoing through the throne room. Olaf appeared behind a corridor, with his hand bandaged. As I could see, he probably got a nasty cut.
“This may be the biggest massacre of my lifetime! The gods of the underworld will be pleased”.
I didn’t answer and Olaf noticed that. He also realized why my face was in sorrow, in spite of our victory.
“You start to think like a leader” he commented.
“Not in the mood for philosophy”.
“You see, I am a soldier. I lead in battle, and me and my men kill. Simple as that. But you start to care. That means something”.
“It doesn’t mean that I am less of a monster now, does it”.
“No, but you learn how to tame it, harness its power…” he went on to continue, but I stopped him.
“Why are you here, general?” I asked with my patience fading.
“You have visitors!”