A Boy At War
The sound of trebuchets snapping as they fired resounded not far in the
distance. Any moment now, large boulders would come crashing into the
village with a ferocity that had even the strongest of warriors fleeing
As the boulders fell, synonymous to the rain that had been pouring all
morning, houses collapsed, bodies were flung from buildings along with
shattered brick and mortar, and the range of fire grew ever closer to
the school center the village’s families were taking shelter in.
Everyone was supposed to have fled to the lower chambers of the school
center, marked as the safe zone for times of bombardment. However, one
boy gazed out the window closest to the battlefield with eyes full of
melancholic interest in the proceeding battle.
The eleven-year-old boy stared on as several boulders smashed into the
finely constructed stone wall bordering Takanova Island, which kept the
village at least somewhat safe from the coastline where the battles
often took place. The boulders seemed to hit several week spots in the
wall, as a section of it collapsed into the village.
As a result, a group of infantry soldiers poured into the village, where
they were met by unorganized soldiers, guards, and armed villagers. What
followed was a messy skirmish, in which the invading infantrymen
eventually won out. One man attempted to flee the scene the moment their
defeat was confirmed. However, it was quickly made clear he would not be
allowed to run far. A group of six caught up to him, and cornered the
bloodied and heavily bandaged man in front of the school center.
The lone soldier turned to face the group, shaking slightly in the cold
rain as he readied two short swords.
Through the window the young boy watched as the six men pounced,
thrusting swords at the cornered man from all angles. The man mustered
all of his energy into defending and countering, spinning while swinging
the short swords wildly yet precisely. He managed to push the group back
a bit, cutting several of the attackers. However, he paid a price each
time he landed a blow, as the attackers would take advantage of brief
openings to execute a short stab.
Before long, the fight became one sided, as the man’s wounds slowly
piled up. Backed up against the wall of the school center, he lowered
his swords, taking deep breaths.
He’d managed to injure all of the attackers, though he couldn’t get
a killing blow off as outnumbered as he was.
The attackers slowly closed in, winding up for the finishing blow. As
they struck, the man kicked off the wall in a low, forward dive,
managing to duck between most of the blows.
As blood spurted from his back, he leapt up, quickly swinging his short
swords across the neck and torso of two of the attackers.
The two dropped before him. However, his wide swings left him open, at
an angle in midair he couldn’t defend against. Two of the remaining
attackers struck, going to one knee to execute a long side swing.
The swords sliced through the man’s ribcage on either side, flooring
him immediately. His swords fell from his hands as he lay crippled and
bloodstained, left only with the strength to look up at his four
attackers with defeated eyes as they raised their swords high.
Within the empty school center’s first floor, the sound of rapid
The nearest door burst open.
Outside, the rain muffled the sound of the double doors swinging open.
Therefore, the two attackers in the rear did not expect to be knocked
aside by the heavy wooden doors.
As the two men, whose swords had almost begun their downward arc into
the man’s skull, turned in surprise, the boy streaked by them and
dropped to his knees, holding his arms out over the collapsed man.
“LET HIM GO! YOU’VE ALREADY WON, HAVEN’T YOU?!”
“Hahaha, what the hell is this kid doing?”
“This is war kid. Fight to kill. Take no prisoners!”
“You brainless pieces of shit, how many times were you briefed on
The voice came from a horsed man approaching from several meters away.
“Taking prisoners like this man is EXACTLY what you’re supposed to
“O-oh..yeah..I forgot about tha-“
“Who gives a shit?! Why do we have to take orders from you Red Wolves?
If we hold back because of your agenda, we won’t survive out here!”
“What we’re doing is going to end the war so you don’t have to die
out here, morons.”
The horsed man was now close enough that he did not have to yell, which
didn’t seem to suit him anyway. His red-gray uniform, completed with a
red general’s cap, was a daunting sight, the rain bouncing off his
armor in a way that accentuated his broad build.
“Nobody asked you to stop the war, shithead, this is how some of us
make it through!”
The men continued to argue like this.
The boy now froze in fear, understanding the possibility of being taken
hostage or being killed here. He hadn’t thought about bursting onto
the scene at all. It was simply a knee-jerk reaction to seeing the
man’s struggle end, his face wearing a sense of hopeless defeat. He
didn’t understand it, but he knew he couldn’t stand by and do
However, it was still going to end in despair.
At least, that’s what he’d thought.
Beneath him, the boy heard the sound of cracking knuckles.
Slowly glimpsing downward, his eyes widened.
The young wounded man was grasping his swords so hard It seemed he might
When he looked in his eyes, defeat was the last thing he saw in them.
Instead, he saw a mad vigor to fight, to live.
After all, he had never given up.
The sight left him in frozen awe, until the man turned his eyes up
toward the boy.
The moment the two made eye contact, he knew what he had to do.
Being eleven years old, there wasn’t much the boy could offer with his
small frame in this situation.
Therefore, he did the only thing he could do.
Gripping the man’s arms tightly, the boy let out a shrill roar as he
put all of his strength into pulling them toward him.
The man simultaneously kicked off his feet, and used the boy’s slight
push to leap forward.
Passing the two nearest men in a glide, the man gave a rounded swing on
As he dropped to a knee behind them, blood spurted in a straight line
down the two men’s neck and back.
The two fell without another word, landing on either side of the frantic
However, the lone man was now propped on one knee, shaking furiously as
he barely maintained his position.
On either side of him were threats, two last infantrymen on one, a
horsed general on another.
The horse slowly clopped over to the boy, who wore fear on his face like
a hunted animal.
“And this is exactly why you were briefed on such situations. It’s
their own fault they let their guard down.”
The large, intimidating man scoffed at the two fallen soldiers, before
looking at the frozen boy.
His countenance bore something heavy, like the ever-present gray clouds
in the sky.
“Now, what to do with this spunky kid here. I really don’t want to
kill a kid, so I guess I’ll say he shows qualities of an heir as well,
He seemed to be talking to himself, disregarding the other four people
present, especially his own men.
The boy, now realizing what was going to happen, cowered before the
“Don’t worry, kid. Thanks to you and this guy, we bought enough
The man, still sitting up on one knee, muttered this.
His gaze remained pointed in the opposite direction, but the boy could
feel the fire in his eyes from his mumbled words alone.
“So don’t you dare give up on yourself.”
The boy suddenly grit his teeth and stood tall, back to back with the
The horsed man saw this and gave a short laugh, a look of slight pity on
“That’s the spirit, boy. Those are the eyes I wanna se-
He was cut off by the impending sound of hooves beating the grass
nearby. The rain had gotten even heavier, creating a dense layer of
mist, so that nobody could see nor hear which direction the sound was
And then it happened.
The boy saw something like a specter.
A dark figure, with a large frame and long flowing hair, moved like a
blur through the scene, before disappearing into the mist.
Following it, a horse dashed upon them, traveling along the wall of the
As it streaked by the group, its rider brandished a long broad sword,
and proceeded to sear into the two infantrymen with minimal effort.
As the bodies of the infantrymen slumped onto the wall like slabs of
meat falling from a fire, the horse then stopped on a dime, kicking up
the earth before charging in the direction of the horsed general.
The general, a small grin on his face, gripped his long sword with
certainty, awaiting the clash.
As the horses met each other, and iron struck iron with enough force to
send sparks flying, the boy realized what this person was.
Clad in thick green robes with exquisite armor plating, a finely welded
silver helmet, and a sleek green cape flowing behind him, the man’s
large build matched that of his abnormally sized horse.
The boy had heard all about them before, but as he was not old enough to
be allowed in town, he’d never seen one.
The Knight clashed with the enemy general, exchanging one fierce blow
He’d never seen anything like this. It was a display of power he never
knew was even possible. As the Knight’s long, flowing blonde hair
shook with each blow, he wondered how the horses could withstand the
force of the strikes the two traded with ease.
Finally, his attention was pulled away from the spectacle by the sound
of a body splashing into mud.
Jumping to, he found the battered Teuton soldier having finally
collapsed, losing all signs of consciousness.
Frantic to administer some form of first aid that would allow the man to
survive this, the boy ripped the top of his own robes off and wrapped
them around the man’s torso. He then dug his hands into the wrapping,
putting pressure on each of the man’s most lethal wounds.
Eyes darting around and hands shaking, he wondered if he was doing this
correctly. He had no idea or preparation on how to behave in this
situation, aside from a very brief first aid session in class. As the
two horsed men continued trading blows, neither giving the other an
inch, the boy looked around him.
The situation finally began to feel real to him.
The battered, flaming buildings.
The seven bodies on the ground.
The blood painted thickly into the grass, the rain beating down upon it
to form a light red mist.
The stench of death in the air.
The boy vomited violently, turning to avoid the soldier he was
attempting to tend to.
Tears involuntarily streaked down his face
Just as he hoped for some form of reprieve from the situation, the
Knight finally gained the upper hand in the duel.
Their blades locked fiercely, the Knight managed to break loose, pushing
the general’s sword across his body.
Never losing his grip, the Knight lunged across the general’s left
side, his horse reacting swiftly to the flow of the battle.
From his left side, he gave a short sideways sword sweep, his grip wide
on the sword’s long hilt.
The general had seen this coming and tried to move his horse in the
opposite direction to avoid the strike, but he was just late.
Or rather, he was just on time to avoid his mouth being opened up all
the way to his neck.
The blade sliced into his cheek, cutting deeply through his ear before
completing its arc.
Grasping at his face, the man groaned furiously in pain.
Spitting blood onto his own horse violently, the general pulled the
reins and turned to flee back toward the wall, where the main battle was
Understanding its victory, the Knight’s horse jumped up on its rear
legs as the Knight gave a chilling war cry, thrusting his broad sword in
It was a glorious sight, befitting of the Teutonic Knights the boy had
always heard about.
And, just as the boy became lost in the moment, a voice brought him back
“Cedric, what are you doing out here?”
“You were told to stay put in the shelter, Cedric.”
It was him.
“How many times have I told you that you mustn’t be a burden to
It was the emotionless voice of his father, who was not his real father.
A man who, despite his large build, great work ethic and technical
ability, was for some reason excused from fighting in the war.
His father, Gadric Cintog stood thoroughly drenched, some distance away
from the door.
He was getting lightheaded, fast.
“Come back inside, Cedric.”
His father’s cold voice, along with the horrible stench around him,
finally overcame him.
Just as he felt his body falling slowly over, the knight appeared before
him, taking hold of the wounded man.
“Rest easy, young man. You’ve done more than enough.”
As his consciousness began to fade out, the boy’s heavy heart felt
just a bit lighter.
…this is …a… knight?
Excerpted from "Sword Quest of Enigmatic Souls: Takanova" by Alex Theriot. Copyright © 2017 by Alex Theriot. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.