For King and Country
For the first time in a thousand years, a whisper of air disturbed the dust. A man, his hair and face powdered grey, brushed aside a last few pieces of debris and entered the vault. After a quick search, he spotted a scroll in a corner. Leaving his colleagues to investigate the room further, he carried the ancient parchment out into the light to read. Choosing a place where the sunlight punctured the dense canopy of the forest, he propped himself against a fallen column and began to read.
“I write this in hopes that it will survive me. This is meant to be an honest account of the last war of the Kingdom of Talos—perhaps the only one that will ever exist. I am one of the Bishops, and it is our duty to protect the kingdom with crossbow, knife, and sword. Six months ago, I fulfilled that duty.
Over a period of months, stories grew of a city in the South: an evil made wealthy through foul arts and dark sorcery. I do not remember the city’s right name, but we called it Necropolis, the city of the dead. After weeks of rumors that spoke of an infinte variety of hideous practices, we set off to cleanse this stain from History’s pages.
The march to Necropolis was arduous, but when we reached the mist-shrouded gates, it was the Bishops who lead the attack. I charged through the city, cutting down all who stood in my path, so eager was I for battle. I alone smashed the doors to the Great Shrine, and I alone saw the women and children, the old men and the infants hidden inside. I alone told my comrades, “I have taken care of the sorcerers inside.” I did not lie, for there were none: only those unable to fight or flee, sheltering from horrors of war. It was not until week later that the army turned towards home, the smoke from the burning city staining the sky behind us.
And now all the world is arrayed against Talos seeking to exact retribution for our unjust war. Now the enemy is at the gates, and I must ready my crossbow and fulfill my final duty.”
The archeologist let the parchment roll languidly up. He recalled learning (in a history class many years before) that the last king of Talos had been found dead by the forces that stormed his palace, a crossbow bolt in his heart.
Return to Polis 2007