Good things happen to good people.
They have to. Because if they didn't, I'd explode like a bomb that's been ticking for 22 years. I'd kill the next person who asks me how my father is doing. Or better yet, I might tell them the truth.
My dear father is lying down in a pool of his own blood, nice of you to ask. What would follow is nothing short of the wailing and screaming of my people. There would be wrath, chaos, men with weapons twice my size asking for revenge. Their best chance at winning this war is dead, and someone has to pay for it.
My father is a warrior. Has been so ever since I laid eyes on him. When my mother had me, he was just returning from a battle north of Edson Tark River. It's a funny scene if you think about. A man who had just slain no less than a dozen babies is back home to welcome his own. But my people.. they don't see him like that. They don't see him as an example of walking hypocrisy. They see him as a leader, the reason we are still alive. I'm not going to say that's a lie. Out of all the battles my father went into, he'd lost none. He commands thousands of soldiers, many of whom he never spoken a word to, but all of them would gladly give up their life for him.
Not me. Not his own son.
He might be the reason we are winning this war, but he's the reason there is a war. He reignited people's hatred for the north villagers.
When I was a kid I once asked him why is it that we hate the northerners so much. "Imagine finding a rat at your household, son." he'd said. "A vermin, leaving dirt all over your floor. What would you do? Do you kill it? A man with some little sense would do so, but our late King, may the God Bless his soul, was a weak man. Not physically, no.. I knew better than anyone what the palm of his hand felt like on your face, no, but emotionally. He wouldn't kill the rat, saying no harm could ever come from a weak creature. Do you know what happens when you let a rat live, Thomas?"
I shook my little head.
"It breeds. Soon enough they're everywhere. In your bed, gnawing at your clothes, stealing your food. You decide to kill them, but it's too late. It was easier taking out a rat, not so much a whole fleet of them. That's what the northerners did. Instead of being the harmless guests they ought to be, they stepped out of boundaries. And now you have to kill them, or they'll keep breeding."
It made sense at the time, what my father said. I nodded ferociously and started dreaming of the day I would hold my own sword against the northerners. What I didn't realize at the time is that they were not guests. They were entitled to this land as much as we were. They weren't vermins. They were people, capable of as much hatred we threw their way.
Capable of love, too. No one in my army would know that better than me. Her name is Helena, in case you're wondering. A walking beauty, with fiery hair that was a trademark of her people. The day she decided to save an enemy soldier, down on his knees about to receive a death blow, was the day I owed her my life. Two months later, and she had my heart as well. No one knew about us; I'd travel every fortnight in secret to meet here. Lately, my journey has been taking less and less time. What once took a six day ride on a horseback, became four, then two, then a few hours. Now, we are stationed right in front the gates to her village, men readying their weapons.
When my father goes to battle, he leaves no one alive. He burns down cities, erases them from existence. I wasn't going to let him have her. Over my dead body. Or in that case, his.
A scream comes from the far end of the camp.
The day Helena saved my life, I'd asked her why she did this. She said "I'm buying you time."
Little did she know, so am I.
In the next ten minutes, all the camp would learn about my father's death. In the next hour, someone will find the Kashkari pin I left there. By tomorrow soldiers will be making their ways to Kashkar city, demanding to find my father's killer. If they don't, they might burn down the entire city. Lives will be lost because of me, because I framed my father's murder to someone else, but it's not like that city wasn't going to face that fate anyway. Northerners always face their fate, my father said.
If I am as lucky as my mother used to tell me, no one will see me leaving camp in the middle of the night.
Good things happen to good people.
I'm not a good man, I know that. I'm a selfish one. One who'd rather risk a thousand lives for the one he loves. I'm going to face my fate one day, but atleast Helena will be at my side.
But my father, he wasn't a good man either, and he deserved his end. Even if I was the one delivering it.
A pool of blood like the thousands he made.
Side note: Every week I'll ask you awesome people to recommend me a title or prompt to write my short story on. Last week the awesome Eve @ Paper Sanctuary suggested Blood and Gore, and here it is. Eve plans to dominate the world, so be on the lookout.