Lonely, Broken Hero

By Iced Blood

I saw nothing. My eyes were closed. Reason was lost, only vengeance was on my mind. I leapt high into the air with my sword raised high. He made no move. I heard nothing. I opened my eyes, finally, and looked down.

Time slowed to a stop as I stared into his blood-colored eyes. I saw no hatred, no scorn in that stare. I saw no thirst for blood, as I had in the past when I had looked at him.

I saw sorrow.

I saw here below me a man who had lived in nothing but anguish for most his life. I saw here a man who had seen so much death and destruction that sorrow was the only emotion left in his heart, and he kept that veiled under a shield of impassiveness. I saw here a man who had lost all he ever had…

I no longer wished to kill him. But it was too late. Time returned and I dealt the stroke that meant this man’s death. I had done the work of the Reaper. Life was a gamble, and his last card was dealt. I was the dealer, and I despised myself for it.

I knew as I landed on the ground and his corpse fell at my feet that my people would think me a hero for such a deed. They did not want this man alive. They wished him dead, and their wish had come at my hand. They would cheer and celebrate. They would look upon me with admiration and thanks as they merrily drank and talked of how the great hero had saved them.

I am no hero. I knew this as soon as my blade had passed through his chest, and his blood ran cold. As I turned from him and walked back towards my home, I closed my eyes and thought.

He was not always the man they hated; the man they wished dead. He had once been a happy, free child. But they had changed him. They took him under their vile wing and taught him to kill. He was alone. What else could he do? He was afraid, and he needed someone to turn to. They were there. We were not.

We turned our backs to him, looked upon him with disgust. We, who think ourselves in the right, had brought his wrath upon ourselves. If only we would have invited him with open arms, if only we hadn’t closed our eyes to his pain, perhaps he could have been saved. But no. That had not happened.

It was they who opened their arms to him and took him when no one else would. It was they who fed him and raised him and taught him. They were his family.

I opened my eyes and looked up to the guard who stood atop the tower near the gate. “Hail, Sir Knight!” His voice floated down to my ears. The gates opened and I was allowed inside the town. People already crowded in the cobblestone streets, struggling for a glance at their hero.

I looked through them; I did not see them. I pushed past them, my eyes shut tight. How could they cheer me so? How could they praise me for such a grievous wrong? I deserved to be jailed. I was a murderer.

But they did not think so. They showered me with flowers; they shouted my name as they cheered. I was their hero. Goddamn it all, I was their hero.

I ran. I ran through them as quickly as I could. Their voices echoed in my mind. I couldn’t stand it. My guilt drove me to insanity. I was losing my mind! Why did they cheer for me? I didn’t deserve it! I deserved to die! Damn them all, they cheered because I had killed a man!

I saw a way out of it: A door. It was the only thing I could see clearly anymore. I ran to it, ignoring everything except that door. I finally reached it in what seemed like years. I reached for the knob with a trembling hand.

Finally my gloved fingers closed around it. I turned it slowly. I heard a click. I pushed. The door swung inward.

A man looked up at me. I walked inside, and he rose to his feet. He did not cheer. He seemed not to know me. I was glad. But damn it, why did this man seem familiar? He did, and I could not place him.

“Who are you?” He asked me. His voice was familiar too! Who was he?

He walked toward me. His arms were crossed. He wore a cloak, and I could not see his face as he approached me. His walk, his look, all looked so damn familiar!

“Who are you?” He repeated, this time harshly. He was inches from my face now. And his eyes pierced my mind. His eyes…

They were red; Blood red…

He removed his hood. His hair flowed down past his shoulders. His hair…

It was blue; Sky blue…

It was he. He was back. How? How could he be alive?!

“Who are you…” his voice faded, and his image went with it. Soon he was gone. But the image of his face was burned in my memory.

Who am I? “Just another lonely, broken hero…”

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