A Wandering Warrior VII

Comes the fateful dawn and the two armies face
each other across an expansive field. The king’s
forces outnumber Aldric’s…“Gallant men, embrace
this day, for today shall be the day that justice rings

“out over this land. Fight to restore honor and virtue.
Fight to bring an end to tyranny and brutality. Fight
for a better life for your children. What each of you
does today will leave its mark on history. We have right

“on our side. Fight hard and win! Follow me to victory.”
Shouting this before his soldiers, Aldric becomes the
focal point of his army. Then he rides to his destiny,
followed by a fanatical army screaming like a banshee.

The two armies crash together like angry ocean waves,
and the carnage begins. The din is overwhelming –
clashing metal turning the living into fodder for graves,
shouts of anger, screams of dying, terrified horses whinnying.

The air is filled with dust and splattering blood. Confusion
consumes the battlefield as uncertain the outcome remains.
Aldric is at the forefront killing the enemy with profusion.
Mowing down soldiers like harvesting ripe wheat strains

his endurance, but he fights on like a warrior possessed.
Suddenly, he spies the king and his entourage fighting
close by. Rallying his troops, he charges with renewed zest
straight toward the king, only to be surrounded at last sighting…

Gwendolyn sits alone in her room quietly reading poetry,
when the Mother Superior knocks on her door. “Excuse me,
my lady, but the king and his entourage are demanding to see
you. They await at the front gate.” “Oh, how can this be?

The king has discovered my hiding place. All is lost, for I
will never submit to a return to servitude,” races through
Gwendolyn’s mind. She searches among her things to spy
a dagger. Placing the tip against her chest…“This I must do.”

Just as she prepares her fatal thrust, “No, my child! Not even
the king would dare to touch you here. There is no need for
such drastic measures.” So, Gwendolyn decides to believe in
the safety promised and lets the dagger drop to the stone floor.

She follows the nun to the front courtyard. “I’ll let the king
alone enter to talk with you. Wait here.” Dread swells inside
Gwendolyn. Heavy footsteps approach…tears of joy spring
to her eyes as in walks Aldric, smiling larger with each stride.

They fall into a passionate embrace, holding each other tightly.
Gwendolyn speaks, “I don’t understand. I was here to meet
with the king.” Aldric laughs. “My dear, I am the king, rightly
chosen by a council of noblemen. In a fierce battle we beat

“the army of the vile king. Upon my killing the king, his troops
were easily routed and destroyed. Then, what nobleman could
hold the kingdom together? Supported by all the different groups,
I became king.” As king and queen, their lives were long and good.

Harry Edward Gilleland      10.26.04