This prompt has so many amazing possible ways to translate it so I decided to give it a second go. I loved the way ‘The Phoenix’ turned out, but I also wanted to do a more dark piece with it. Anyhow, hopefully it turned out just as good.
I am standing in the black, cold dark. Tears dripping from my chin after wandering a slow path down my face. I brush my black hair away from my eyes, something so trivial and easy, but so impossible to actually do. Because here I am, standing in this destroyed place, surveying Death’s artwork and knowing exactly who will next become part of it.
“Give the order to fire.” I told the general standing beside me.
The man nodded respectfully and I felt tense exhilaration at the use of power when he yelled the command, “Fire!”
Immediately the archers let five hundred perfect missiles fly and I knew that of those five hundred, all of them would find a mark somewhere, I only hoped that most of them would be lethal.
Screams of pain followed a second later as the arrows found their marks. I could feel the visible taut attitude in the crowd intensify as they realized that soon they would be in that same position, without the help of a great deal of luck.
“Call for a volley.”
The general looked at me strangely when he registered that I had decided to break the rules of war, but still ordered, “Volley!”
This time a volley of equally mixed flaming and regular arrows whizzed toward the sky, hitting their marks and causing more intense and more regularly occurring agonized screams. I smiled with malicious hate and pleasure. This war was mine and mine alone to win.
Hot crimson blood drips down my back from the gash on my shoulder. I have yet to reach back and feel it, but I already know it stretches from my left shoulder top to the bottom edge of my right shoulder blade. My senses must be dulled because although I see the horror and feel sick at the pungent smell of rotting corpses, I barely feel the pain. How could I when I am surrounded by this scene?
Briefly, I imagine what each of them must have left behind. A wife, small children, siblings, parents, anyone really. What will they say when these men, their sons, brothers, fathers and lovers , do not return for them? Their anguish already fills my mind and I feel sick with rage that this could happen.
Then I spot a man that died on the end of my blade. His eyes are still open, portraying pain, terror and the heat of the battle he took his last breaths in. I am horrified by what I have caused, I know he is only one of the hundreds I have slaughtered, added to the thousands that died because of me. Some even sacrificed themselves for me.
In the heat of battle it was easy to over look but even then I knew, he too left something behind the moment he died. Someone who was innocent to the suffering this war and I have caused, but will bear the punishment of pain and loss anyway. I close the man’s chilling eyes, thoughts of remorse running through my head.
The blade of each foe I faced became my world as I slipped into a pattern of only action and reaction. There was no time for fear, no time for remorse as my blade ended the lives of so many. I could not hesitate even a second or I knew my end would find me.
The ground around me is littered with bodies and soaked with blood. What plants used to grow here will be dead by tomorrow evening. The sky is black with storm clouds that occasionally light with brief streaks of lightening. I stumble over to the face of the cliff and lay back.
What was vindictive pleasure has become remorse and bitter regret now. I am fading fast and even faster realizing that although I did win this war, I will not be alive to enjoy my hard won victory. Such is the irony that Death has added to his artwork.