A short distance away stood a young draftee. He carried a large crossbow against his side, swinging it gently. Nothing about the boy seemed particularly special, save his fearful demeanor. The man, named Markus after the great warrior Markus Orhelis of long-told fable, was breathing heavy, stress blatantly evident to anyone that saw him. He had watched as his best friend, whom stood beside him in the battle line, was killed by an arrow nearer than a yard from himself. Markus was now terrified.
“Why don’t you get some rest, sonny,” an older man from a neighboring farm said to him with pity. Markus looked at the speaker blankly. Several silent moments went by.
“Why did he have to die? That arrow just missed me; I should have been behind it, not George,” he said, breaking the silence. Tears streamed down his face.
“Hey, boy, don’t cry. We’ve all got to join Remish in the silver city up in the sky at some point or another. Death is not the end, ho, it is just the beginning. Your life isn’t over now that your friend has fallen. Fight on for George’s sake, in his honor and memory press on.”
“I don’t think I can. George was my only companion. With both him and my parents dead I have nothing left to live for.”
“You’re brave, my boy, more brave than can be said of myself. You’ve got a quiver of bolts to live for; you’ve loved to shoot since you were but a wee farm boy. Look at the horizon. Is not the sincere beauty of a sunset strong enough to put a tingle into your heart? That’s what living is for, experiencing, doing what you love to do. Don’t just build yourself a wall to cry behind. Live. For Remish’s sake live on.” Markus’s expression lightened.
“Thank you, Armand. I will. After I take a long rest.” Markus walked into his standard issue tent and fell into a deep yet tormented slumber, unknowing that the man who would become his greatest living friend slept just a few hundred yards away.