The tension hung in the air like a thick, invisible fog. A slight breeze made the grass quiver. The sky was void of shadow or cloud, but a storm was on the horizon, rumbling, ready to strike. A scent wafted on the air - it was stagnant, like the odor from a dying lake.
The clearing was twice as long as it was wide with trees on either side - witnesses of what was to come. They stood still and silent, as if fearful of the next moment.
From the West came the sounds of clashing armor. Horses snorted in expectation. Men’s voices shouted orders, or were whispered along the orderly rows of soldiers. All eyes were ahead, focused on the enemy. Today they would own victory. Today they would own a soul.
To the East, the opposition stood at the ready. Spears, bows, swords and shields were taken up for the inevitable battle. The seasoned troops were poised, equipped with the order from the King not to surrender, no matter the losses.
It was hard to tell which army took the first step. But in the time needed for a field mouse to take cover in its nest, the battlefield came to life. On foot and mounted both, soldiers advanced, the war cries rippling across the plane. The pounding of feet and hooves shook the earth, making trees tremble and wildlife scatter.
Like two swarms of angry bees, the armies raced towards the center of the field. No one knew if they would live or die. But courage forced no man to flee.
Swords clashed. Spears were hurled through the air. Shields ricocheted off of each other. Teeth rattled in soldiers’ mouths as their helmets were struck with force. Men dropped like rain laced with lead.
The sounds were deafening. The sights would make one’s stomach churn. It was war in its most brutal form.
Though the battle seemed to see no end, only one victor would rise. Though both sides had been mortally wounded, only one army would stand. This land was owned by the King himself, given to Him years before. And it was this land that He would not give up. His troops would prevail. Victory was theirs...
...I lifted my head one more time to stare into the eyes of my captors. The curse I wanted to hurl in their direction was held back by biting my tongue. I blinked as a bead of sweat mixed with blood stung my eye. My arms ached from the chains that held me to the wall.
Though my voice cracked, barely above a whisper, I refused once again to deny my Lord.
Another backhanded slap to the side of my face intensified the battle within me. I could end my suffering here and now. It would only take a word.
But I had taken a vow. And no matter how intensely I could taste freedom, I knew that a greater freedom awaited. No matter the outcome of my captivity in a foreign land, I knew who would be the victor. Today was the day that righteousness would prevail.
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