Jan. 16th, 2012

Arminder

Jan. 16th, 2012 07:32 pm
tayastorm: (rules)
"Yield and your men will be spared."

The words cut through the haze and bloodfury, and Arminder stumbled a fraction, just enough for the enemy soldier to land a glancing blow against her side. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed her Second pause, though whether at the words or her own hesitation she couldn't tell. Though their fighting and leadership styles were perfectly matched, she sometimes felt like they were complete strangers.

Throwing herself into the battle with renewed vigour, Arminder pushed the foreign soldier's words out of her head, ignoring the whispered voices of her own doubt and curiousity.

She'd heard rumours that the Tlaosin army released prisoners unharmed at the end of every war, and any injured and taken in battle got patched up and sent home - though few were ever able to fight again. Of course, their commanders didn't like such rumours getting around, and tried to sweep it all under the rug, but she'd seen too much that matched what was told about Tlaos and its people. For her squad she doubted it would matter much. Each one had been deliberately selected for their combined intelligence and devotion to the kingdom.

Arminder wished she could be so loyal. Insert thing about how she secretly wants to be caught, though she could never let it happen.

In the end it was the poison in the blade that decided for her. Convulsions wracked the right side of her body, and she dropped to her knees, shielded left arm raising almost too slow to deflect the sword coming at her head. A moment later she was on her feet again, but for her at least the battle was lost.

She looked around for her Second, only to find him surrounded and bleeding heavily from a head wound. If she gave him command now it would only get him killed sooner.

"Do you yield?"

The quiet voice cut below the roar of the battle field, and Arminder turned to see a tall man in dark armour slicing his way through the soldiers towards her. She braced herself, ready to die fighting. The man just smiled.

"I will spare your men," he said.

"And me?" she asked, kicking herself for not just attacking and to hell with it.

That got a laugh, and she hated him as much as she hated herself.

"Your fate has always been your own," he said. "Perhaps you would like to choose that path after we have made sure the poison won't mark the end of it."

Arminder tried to snarl something at her, but coughed instead, dropping back to her knees. She couldn't even feel the pain of it, just the weakness and the trembling.

"Yield?"

She closed her eyes at the gentleness of it, the quiet concern and reassurance that all she had to do was say yes and somehow everything would be okay. It was the sort of voice she had spent her life fighting against. The sort that told her to behave, submit, let them do whatever they wanted. It was a voice that wanted to take everything she was and turn it into something else, even if it killed her.

"No," she tried to say, coughing up blood instead.

A good soldier would never have doubted of course.

She pressed her forehead against the hilt of her sword, listening to the sounds of the battle and trying to think through the fog seeping through her mind.

"You swear they will be well treated?" she asked, words barely audible even to herself.

It was treason of course, but she was tired. They would live this way, wasn't that enough? She had spent a lifetime being loyal to a kingdom she didn't believe in, had become the first female Prime and the best in the armies. That had to be enough. She wasn't sure she had anything else.

"The rumours you hear are true," the man said, somehow now kneeling only an arm's length away from her. Even poisoned she could kill him. She would still die, but it would surely be a triumph for the kingdom. "Your men will be well treated, returned home safe and well. Whether they are able to fight again will be their own choice. But I think you are less concerned by that than most."

She would never be able to return home. The thought gave her the courage she needed.

Embracing the threads of power that linked her to her unit she let her will flow into them, giving herself to it so completely that not even her Second could resist it.

"We yield," she said, looking up into the pale eyes of the dark man.

He nodded once, satisfied, then reached out to catch her gently as she fell.

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