Each week, we will spend ten minutes writing and attempting to complete a flash story. We hope that the exercise will allow us to grow as writers, as well as provide a small amount of entertainment for you. Further, we hope to inspire you to do the same.
Of Blood and Ice
Håkon traversed the battleground. The battle was over, but, as they say, the war had just begun. His people had far too long been considered heartless and evil, but as Håkon crossed the wasteland, strewn with the decimated remains of his enemy, he felt only sadness. It was a meaningless war—as if any war bore meaning. The Ingred people lived here first. They wanted to remain a viable part of the community but lacked the ability to properly communicate with the ancient Goresh. To the Goresh, their actions were considered hostile. To Håkon, he knew they were confused, hurt, and protective of the land they’d cherished for generations.
When the Goresh landed on the shores of the great ice nation they saw only opportunity. Their land had been bled dry of resources and they’d taken all they owned, stocked up their many ships and sailed off into the deep. Never before had any of them travelled so far from shore, but the Goresh were a proud and powerful people, longing to accomplish the impossible.
Håkon wished they would have stayed, or at least chosen a different direction to sail.
He looked out over the plains. The snowy fields were now stained red, not just with enemy blood but plenty of Goresh blood as well. Two nations—sworn enemies, for lack of understanding—but each with blood that ran red. The Ingred—a Goresh word meaning foreign—people did not have any legitimate weaponry to fight off the nearly surprise attack. They never stood a chance.
Håkon sat down in the middle of death. He stroked the hair of a young lady, fallen before she’d been old enough to bear children. Her cold blue eyes stared up at the sky as if waiting for death to come and collect her remains. But no one came. Only Håkon. Through tears he used two bloody fingers to close her eyes. “Tdensh Et won meetou,” Rest my sweet.
“Ordiano Et tsu meyonco desh?”—why must we kill in order to live?
His sentiments were honest and true. He desired peace, but it was too late for that. He placed his long sword down beside him, covered it with snow, then stood and walked away. He hadn’t realized it but he had been counting dead bodies as he travelled. Silently, in his mind, he had already counted nearly one thousand. Men, women, children—ugly or beautiful the sword of the Goresh spared no one.
In the distance he could hear shouts of victory coming from the makeshift alehouse his fellow soldiers had set up just outside the perimeter of the field. They were drinking and partying. Håkon wondered if no one shared his distain for battle. Sure, he had taken many lives that day, but what choice did he have? The battle was waged and blades were flying. The Ingred people rightly made no distinctions. You were either Ingred, or you were the enemy.
The battle, that day, had been won. But Håkon knew that there’d be more nations lacking the ability to speak Goresh. It was only a matter of time before Håkon and his people were counted amongst the blood-soaked dead.