Enuth fell. His knees struck the ground and a moment later he was stretched out on his stomach, his face to the mud. He drew in a sharp breath, which sent searing pain through his rib-cage. He felt the weakness of surrender begin to seep in his bones. A shadow fell over him, and he looked up to stare at the troll towering over him, a wicked smile on its ugly face. The great club in its hand, the one that had broken Enuth’s ribs, hefted up, ready to come down on Enuth’s head. Even with his thick helmet, Enuth knew it would be a death blow. He closed his eyes, dropping his head weakly back to the mud of the earth. Tears pricked them, but they would not fall from his eyes. His grief was non-existent.
He opened his eyes and looked back, staring dully at the castle behind him. It was up in flames, flickering and roaring. Towers crumbled and crashed to the ground, but Enuth heard nothing. His ears were ringing, and his vision blurred from the pain in his ribs. He could feel blood trickling from his wounds and staining the inside of his armor, but it didn’t matter. He had given it his all. He had massed his troops, charged into battle against the band of trolls, but he had failed. The trolls had slaughtered the king and the queen, all of the nobles, and had made short work of the soldiers struggling to stop them. Then they had set fire to the castle. Enuth, with his specially trained force of knights, had faced the trolls one last time. The battle had been long and strenuous, and all but one of the trolls had been defeated. But the knights were exhausted, and many had fallen. Only Enuth and two others were left to face the final troll. And the two knights had been killed. Enuth was the last warrior alive. And he was about to die. His sword was fifteen feet away. The troll was bunching its muscles to bring down the club. Enuth didn’t want to rise. He had tried. He had failed. That was that.
Or had he? Had he tried his best?
A slight spark of the stubborn will to live flickered inside Enuth’s heart. He was a warrior, born and bred. Was this how he was to die, lying helpless at his enemy’s feet? He had failed everyone, but was he to let that stop him from avenging those who had all ready fallen?
The troll brought the club down. Enuth warred with himself. It would be so easy to lie there and welcome death. But it was living that was hard, not death. He loved challenges. He loved the hard paths. It was what had kept him alive and strong for so long. So he moved. Mustering a tiny store of strength he hadn’t realized existed, he shoved himself onto his elbows and rolled to the side. The troll’s club crashed into the ground inches from his shoulder. The force of the blow sent waves of impact through Enuth, vibrating his frame. He dragged himself to his knees and stood. He almost fell, but widened his stance, struggling to stay upright. Lightning flashed in the sky. A storm was coming. The entire sky was looming with dark clouds, and a harsh breeze was shrieking across the lands. Enuth weaved on his feet, nausea bubbling up inside of him.
Another bolt of lightning flashed. Enuth’s sword glinted in the harsh purple light. It was calling. Calling for him.
Enuth stumbled toward his weapon. He fell to his knees next to it and slowly, painfully, hefted it with both hands. He knelt there for a moment, eyes squeezed tight. He gathered strength from his blade. He could hear the monstrous troll moving toward him, chain mail clinking and breath snorting through its large nostrils eagerly, ready for the kill.
Enuth planted the point of his sword into the ground, using it as leverage to heave himself back onto his feet. He straightened his back and opened his eyes, taking a moment to observe the dark night sky. He was a warrior. He had to avenge those he had been unable to protect. He could not surrender. He would never surrender.
Sliding his sword from the ground, raising it in front of him, he wheeled to face his enemy. The troll stopped just a few feet from Enuth, snorting. Its dark, hulking form stood, ready to fight. Enuth swung his sword through the air, cutting the wind and whistling through the night. Then, with a battle-cry bursting from his lips, Enuth rushed forward to face the troll. He would fight to the end. He would fight until either he or the troll was dead. Above all, he would never surrender.
Copyright © 2020 Caleb E. King
Life is hard. No matter how hard you try, you will always face tough times. That’s just part of life. Don’t let it defeat you. No matter how tough it gets, look beyond it. There is hope for the future, even after this life. This lifetime is short compared to the endless joy all Christians will get to experience when we reach heaven.
So get back up. Have hope. Keep going. You’ll get through it. Never surrender. 🙂
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