#DailyPrompt: UnsungHeroes

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Unsung Heroes.”

Treptow Park, BerlinYour face haunts my sleepless nights, so far away and yet so familiar,

I see the immense plain, covered with snow, and the litter of war, to the horizon.

Victory was then still deep in your future, but I know now that you saw the wings,

The songs, the invincible armies, in the Spring of what you hoped would be

A world without war.

We will never forget.

#FiveSentenceFiction: Maps #Valleys #Normandy #Eu #1914

William and MatildeWe look at the map: in front of us runs the long road, above the shore, bordered by legendary harbours, and wildlife reserves.

Here Saint Laurent O’Toole came from green Ireland, and blessed the town where he now rests.

Here William took his future young bride, fair Mathilde, to the altar, and then, with his men, sailed across the sea to defeat Harold.

In the middle of the forest is the town, built by Gallo Romans traders and soldiers, for, in this country, there is no gap between the splendour of Rome and the new kingdom, between Caesar and Guillaume.

In the wide bay, flows the river Somme: the map shows on its banks the small crosses of the immense military cemeteries, where our grand fathers fell in infernos of fire and steel…

Image: memorial to William and his wife Mathilde, in Eu (Normandy)

© 2014 Honoré Dupuis

#DailyPrompt: From the Top

From the Top…

 

Edward Burne-Jones, The Magic Circle, c.1882“What is it you like so much in me?” she asked.

“The blue of your eyes, the red of your hair” he said, bowing low.

“Nothing unusual” she replied, “there must be something else, something that drew your attention…”

“What is it you like so much in me?” she asked again, her cold gaze fixed on him.

“The white of your skin, perfect as pure silk” he replied, lowering his eyes.

“You are a strange man, and yet I like you too. But you haven’t answered me truly. So I will ask again: what is it you like so much in me?”

He sighs, and then, as if deciding to jump from a high rock, into a dark abyss:

“I like the thought of dying for you, my Queen”.

Image: Edward Burne-Jones, The Magic Circle, c.1882

#FiveSentenceFiction: Wishes

IsaShe was their benefactor, their protection, the One, fearless, who could keep the Enemy at bay.

When She disappeared, they held vigils, sacrificed a calf to the Goddess, prayed for Her return.

All their wishes were for Her to be back in their midst, honoured and more than a little feared; their planet completed a revolution around their Sun, and she did not come back.

The village wise-men considered what to do next. Had they displeased Her?

Then, one cold dawn, the following winter, She was back, with a mate, a young knight wearing the black armour of the Deathless: their prayers had been answered.

#DailyPost: Binding Judgement

Does it ever make sense to judge a book by its cover?

Alberto SevesoIt was old and dusty, and must have been hidden in the ancient trunk for centuries. For a while she contemplated the cover, cracked leather worn by the passing years, touched by the hands of long dead knights.

Around her was silence and the smell of decay. The sacred chapel’s walls shimmered in the morning light filtering through narrow windows. She placed the book on the altar, as the rite demanded, facing the nave.

She drew the Infinity Blade. A ray of light fell on the book. Far away she heard the light steps of Her she would soon meet, as the prophecy had predicted.

She open the cover, placed the Blade flat on the page with Her name.

The door of the chapel opened silently. The Queen walked slowly toward Isa, who fell on her knees.

“My child, I see you are ready for me.”

The Queen seized the Blade, and lightly touched Isa’s shoulder :

“Now, go and fight for me, and take this book, it will teach you how to overcome the Deathless.”

Image: Alberto Seveso

#DailyPost: Dream Teacher

Any person from history…

BushidoAs he entered the room he saw her: a diminutive woman of about his age, wearing her kimono tight, and a white belt, both immaculate.

Before his first step on the tatami he paused and bowed. After all, he had not forgotten his manners on the battlefield.

From the corner of her eyes she saw him, moving gracefully despite his stature. Captain Yves Legrand, formerly of the Fusiliers Marins Parachutistes, now training in preparation for a most secretive mission.

She bowed in turn, as he approached her, at that instant a little too stiff, not quite controlling his military demeanour. She smiled, the man was attractive, in an old fashioned way, with the face of a soldier or a priest, serious and a little sad. She knew of his record, had read his commendations.

They bowed again. In a low melodious voice she said: “Captain, I have been asked to teach you the art of fast killing without weapon. I know you know a thing or two on the subject. But please listen.”

He was a good pupil, strong and fast. He would learn. The more she could teach him, the longer he would live. Maybe.

For two hours he tried to guard against the fireworks of blows from her small fists and feet. He was tired, he knew he would have died many times, had the combat been real. Her control was stupefying. He was aware that using brute force would be pointless: there was little to do against fluidity and speed. And her knowledge of the human body…

His training would last four weeks. She was the dream teacher.

Later he would remember. There, on the high mountains, alone, hunting the merciless enemy, with no other weapons, than his big hands and feet.

 

 

#DailyPrompt: Pride and Joy

What’s your most prize possession?

IK 1813

He could not understand those youngsters glorifying a past which was alien to them: how could they know? How could they even understand what it had been like?

He could tell them, but he doubted they would listen. So they marched in the streets of still peaceful cities, ignorant, holding flags and symbols whose meaning they could not guess at: like a herd of sheep.

But, he, the ghost, the dead warrior, the one who knew and remembered, just held the small cross, hidden tightly under his poor shirt: the small cross he had won, still a boy, confused and lost, in the ice, the snow, alone still living, far away, surrounded by his dead comrades.

Yes, he’d understood the victors then, the just ones,  the real heroes, the ones who alone deserved to win. So, as he, a mere shadow, walked the streets of Berlin, once again united, he held the cross against his meagre chest, his tears unseen.

#FiveSentenceFiction: Whimsical

Consciousness

And consciousness comes out from the bowels of earth; its wet womb, with the fragile vessel of her thoughts in hand, ready to sail abroad… Cristina Francov, 2012

“We will build it here”, she said, her young face lit by her angelical smile.

He looked at the mountain, above, and below them: the sheer vertical rock, down to the lonely valley.

He looked at his lover, smiled: their fortress would be impregnable.

She took his hand, suddenly serious, taking him in, deep, with her eyes.

“Then,” she said, “we will wait for eternity.”

#FiveSentenceFiction – Ruins

Isa She stood, very still, in the shadow of the ruined tower.

The massive door was now wide open, no light came out from the depth of evil inside.

There, through corridors guarded by hideous titans, she knew the God King would be waiting, a corrupting and seductive smile on his lips.

There too, in the deepest, coldest dungeon, in chains, lied her brother, her lover, the knight she would soon free.

She had rehearsed every move, every corner of the sinister building, she could walk in blinded: but she would enter his domain, eyes wide open, the deadly sword firmly in her hands, a merciless warrior with an angel face.

VisDare 52: Ingenious

Ingenious

We were at the bottom of our garden, just at the fence that separated it from the fields: for us, the wild country.  You’d climbed over the wooden fence, and held forth against the barbarians (that was me), daring me to give the assault.

So I thought  I would call upon my chief engineer, who knew how to build amazing siege machines, boat bridges, and all sorts of military marvels. He (that’s me) imagined complicated stuff, then decided for a frontal assault: straight to the centre of the enemy’s fortress…

We looked for, and found the long plank, strong enough to support the cavalry charge and its heavy horse (me). Then the assault was given, at the slow rhythm of the war drums: the path was steep, and constantly we were bombarded by arrows and boiling lead, thrown at us by the enemy.

When I got to the top, peace was signed, and we shared an apple.