By: Anonymous
Now that I’m old, feeble and lonely, I have time reflect on my past as my days draw near. I, Lord Covenant, made the biggest mistake of my life decades ago, for I chose retribution instead of the love my life. You see her father and my former right hand, Baron of Rhyll, was the one who had done me wrong. He poisoned the minds of the villagers with his beliefs against my actions. It is true that the acts are horrendous. However, as one of King DuBlanc’s loyal subjects, I had to carry out his orders, even if I didn’t believe in them.

I remember the day I confronted the Rhyll.  The villagers, sensing a scene, started to gather around us both, but the mothers gathered their children close to their bosoms.  I calmly explained to everyone that as a warrior, I was trained to kill since the first day of being a page and listen to my superiors.  I told them, “It was true that I’ve killed innocent people, including children, but you do not know the reason behind it.  If I had not done so, then you would not be here because those people were the hearts of King Rivalen and they would have sent their army to do the same to us.”  They began whispering to each other as they found something new to take into consideration.

Rhyll responded, but I didn’t clearly hear what he said to me.  The only thing I could hear was, “Baby killer!  Baby killer!” and other obscenities that are not worth repeating.  Unconsciously, I slowly walked backwards toward my black warhorse.  The villagers swarmed closer and closer, making me feel claustrophobic.  I ran the last few steps and smoothly mounted.  Before galloping away, I realized, from that day forth, that we will meet again one day and on that day, his blood will run cold through my hands.

I had ridden to the outskirts of the kingdom before slowing down.  I sought for a spot to stay for the night.  Knowing that I smelled like a horse, I searched for a place near a lake.  Just as I was going to step out of the lake, a fair maiden appeared at the other end of the lake with a basket of clothing.  She gracefully knelt down and quickly began washing them.  

I decided to swim a little closer because I was not about to stand up and frighten her away.  She was humming a little song as I approached closer.  When she finally realized that she was not alone, she looked up.  I swam as close as I can and said to her, “Never have I seen such beauty from one person, especially in this land.”  Blushes bloomed on her cheeks, as she made a move to go.  “Wait, don’t go.  What is thy name, oh fair maiden?”

She seemed a little hesitate at giving her name, but she managed to softly say, “Eloise,” before leaving the area.

Day after day I returned to visit Eloise, as she gradually became less shy.  It was several weeks after our first meeting when I asked, “Why are you living here alone with no form of protection?  It was quite unsafe for a woman to live alone, especially in the woods.”

“I have lived her nearly all my life, but I didn’t always live by myself.  My mother used to, however, she died several years ago with pneumonia.  My mother had brought both of us here to be safe from the war while my father went to war,” she replied.  “I have not seen him in years.”

A sickening feeling suddenly appeared in my stomach.  “Eloise, I was in that war and I have killed many people, quite possibly thy father.  What is thy father’s name?”

“You cannot not have killed my father, for he is alive.  His name is Rhyll.” 

For months, I made trips from kingdom to kingdom to visit her.  If anyone had caught me, it would have cost me my life and hers as well.  My purpose in King Rivalen’s court, was to join their army.  After some trouble, I managed to do so and we were in the process of planning another war.  It was done so perfectly, for it was to take place on King DuBlanc’s birthday.

I, being the only one who knew the ins and outs of the castle, sneaked into it and quietly let down the drawbridge for the rest to come in.  I positioned the foot soldiers and the knights.  I sent a small group to start destroying all the armories they could find.  I found the door to the hall closed because of the festivities were inside.  I could hear the music of the piper that everyone was dancing and joyfully laughing to.

I pushed opened the doors, and everything stopped.  It must have been quite a scene to see, one man with several hundred soldiers behind him.  I drew my blade and chaos began.  The screams and the sound of metal slicing through the air.  The first person I spotted was Rhyll, in the corner with a woman standing near him.  A look of dread fell upon my face as she turned.  “Eloise, go hide!” Rhyll shouted, as he shoved her up a nearby stairway.

She looked at me, asking me why I did this.  I silently answered, “Just go.  I don’t want you go get hurt.”  But from the look on her face, she had already began bleeding.

Both of us made sure she had left the hall before turning toward each other.  He knew why I was there and lifted his sword up.  With a slight raise of his eyebrow, he gestured me to do the same.  Our blades clashed and we were in a deadlock, each straining to make the other bow to the brute strength of the other.  “How do you know my daughter?” he asked, grimacing at the pain in his arms.  

“She has nothing to do what we are doing.  I’m only here to pay you back for dragging my name through the muck in the swamp,” I said and shoved him back to break us up.

We lunged and parried each other, endlessly.  Most the commotion had nearly died down as my army cut down everyone who had not ran for safety.  I could feel the sweat bead on my brow and hoped that they would not fall to my eyes and blind me.  Rhyll was in the same condition as I was.  We mechanically sliced our swords at each other, looking for an opening.  I finally found one when, his attention wavered to something behind me.  I could see the word, “No,” forming, but took no heed.  With a flick of the hand, I sent my blade toward his heart.

That was not the first thing it pierced through, it was the second.  The first was Eloise.  She was the reason Rhyll’s attention shifted.  Her arms were around him and his eyes wide open.  After a moment of stillness, they both fell back.  My sword protruded from the back of her as a stain rapidly formed around the metal.

I quickly pulled it out and flung away.  I flipped Eloise over and picked her up, leaving her father on the stone floor still bleeding.  I carried her to my horse and rode away.  I held her close, whispering complete nonsense, and smooth down her hair like I had done many times before.  

We finally got to her cottage and I gently laid her down on her bed.  With jerky movements, I got her ready for her burial.  I went outside to cut down a tree to build her a coffin, and after working through the night, I finally finished.  The coffin was made fit for a queen.

For years after, I roamed around as a mercenary, hoping that a stray arrow or wild beast would kill me.  As luck with have it, I wasn’t.  Every year, I returned to visit Eloise no matter how far away I was.  I developed a pain in my back, as well as my arms, which forced me to change from a hired assassin to an old man with many regrets in his life.

I will die here in the cottage, where my love lived.  I will die hoping I can travel back in time to change the path of my life.  I will die alone and never knowing what it is like to grow old with the person I love.

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