(WP) The Red Knight Ascending

(WP) The Red Knight Ascending

               They say that just before the battle began, a man clothed in red appeared, seeming to float above the ground slightly. His face was flecked with what looked horribly like blood, and his smile was fierce and sharp. He looked angelic, with a round face, bright blue eyes, and curly blond hair; it gleamed in the pink dawn light.

               The steady beat of the drums pounded in the distance, announcing one of the armies that had chosen to do battle here.

               Soon blood would be spilled, and his hunger would be sated. He had been growing fat and rich on humanity’s offerings in his name, and he had absolutely no intention of advocating for peace.

               War was as much a part of the fabric of humanity as anything else. There was honor in it, to be sure. But not in the way that this batch of mortals were playing.

               Mothers killed their own kin, fathers turned on their brothers; every smile was razor-tipped and poisonous.

               This war was not necessarily fought on the battlefield; there were just as many casualties behind closed doors.

               War thrived on chaos, on righteous rage and the cries of the dying, secret schemes and bids for power.

               Perhaps he had been created to be completely insatiable. Either way, it was much too late to be getting deep and philosophical.

               That was more his brother, Death’s, thing, anyway.

               **

               The opposing armies had arrived at last, and War hovered above it all, just watching.

               One of the most important tenets of his existence was that no matter what, he could not interfere.

               And why would he, anyway?

               It was like a movie out of Hollywood, only better. It buoyed his power, for he was as old as time, as darkness, as chaos itself.

               At last, the battle began, the two groups of warriors clashing with a sound straight out of hell.

               Their screams and the screech of metal on metal were like the sweetest music to his ears, and with each fatality, he could feel himself growing stronger.

               His essence seeped out of him in a bloodred cloud, and he gasped, clenching his fists. When the power flooded him this way, it was hard not to give in to his more primal instincts.

               To rip. To rend. To kill and destroy. To bring annihilation to the world and bring it to his knees, as he was meant to do all along.

In his younger days, it had been all too easy to forget himself, to cause destruction just because that was what he wanted. But his brother and sisters had helped him remember himself; he only wore the helmet of war was to assist his siblings, help them do the duties they’d been assigned.

Of course, when he’d been mortal—as they all had been, at one point in time—he’d fought in every battle he could, and if he’d believed in an afterlife, he would’ve hoped to reach the mythic hall of Valhalla.

But for now, he reveled in the dark, vicious art he’d created, and though no one could hear him, he raised his head and screamed his exultation to the skies.

He was War, and though his trade was bloody, it was something he loved.

**