What made him do it? Was it pity? Did he think she was defenseless and needed his help?
What a load of horseshit… Everything could not have gone any more wrong. And all he can do now is sit here and try not to forget.
“Come on, faster! Run, Saint, they’re coming!”, Thelia waved her arm from the doorway, jumping up and down, terrified. Saint was close and, what gave him hope, the bandits haven’t turned the corner yet. Should be at least a few seconds still. The heavy plate armor wasn’t making it easier to run, but he would never admit it.
Thelia saw the huge guy with a whip, the one who threatened her and Saint mere minutes past. His silhouette appeared from behind the corner, followed by a dozen of his henchmen. They were shouting, egging each other on and laughing as they ran, closing in on Saint.
But he made it. She quickly closed the door behind him and blockaded it.
“We don’t have a second to lose. They’ll get through in no time. Can you run some more?”
“Aren’t you tired?”, Saint asked, catching his breath. The greatsword on his back was a weight, but that was a comforting weight. He would feel wrong without it.
“Tired? I’m exhausted! I got you into this mess and I am not leaving you to those bastards!”, Thelia went up and tried to nudge Saint forward, pushing him to move out of the building and away from the bandits. He wouldn’t move.
“No, Thelia. I cannot run anymore. I won’t.”, He looked at her with a grim determination. It was enough to silence her objections. “Like your ancestors ages past, I will stand my ground. Will you?”
Saint unsheathed his greatsword. Holding it in one hand as the pounding on the door began, he offered the other hand to Thelia. She sighed and took his hand, looking up at him.
“Like Marthus. I only agree to this because I want to be like Marthus from the legends. You’re gonna tell everyone, right?”, Thelia chuckled, weaving protective magic around herself. Their hands unlinked the moment the door broke. A dozen marauders came pouring into the small room, their leader staying behind, watching what he expected to be a one-sided slaughter.
Thinking back now, when time had passed, he knew what he did wrong. The misaligned step there, the wrong move of the arm here… But all of that was ultimately inconsequential.
How did he expect to fight effectively in a tight, small room against a dozen opponents with a greatsword? No instructor would ever deem it a good idea. Saint knew it was not a good idea. But he just loved that blade so much, it meant more to him than he cared to admit. It probably wasn’t completely healthy, he thought to himself.
Sword n’ board! A sword and a shield, that’s what he needed then. If you are trying to protect someone, or yourself, in combat, they invented a shield precisely for that, stupid. Several of them had shields, it would have been a breeze taking one off them…
These thoughts weren’t helping. Saint was just reliving it over and over, unable to forgive himself.
But unwilling to forget.
With several of the bandits laying dead before them, Saint and Thelia felt like there was a light at the end of the tunnel. They could be victorious. They could get out of here in one piece after all.
That’s when Saint let his guard down. For just a second, granted, but that was enough. The whip entwined around Thelia’s neck and the bandit leader… PULLED! She was already exhausted before the fight, bruised and battered during, and that was just too much for her. Thelia’s neck snapped with a loud cracking sound, her body falling to the ground, last gasps of air leaving her mouth. The bandit screamed in a rage fueled haze. Saint did not let out a sound when he, without thinking, heaved his greatsword at the marauder leader. The sword flew through the air, impossibly straight as an arrow, severing the whip still around Thelia’s neck, and impacting the leader’s torso. No one could have survived that.
Saint crawled to Thelia, taking her head in his arms, crying.
“It’s my fault. I shoul- I shouldn’t have…”
“What’s your actual name?”, Thelia said, faintly.
“What did your mama call you when you were a boy?”, with each word, she was getting more quiet. Fading away.
“Elor.”, he answered, sobbing.
“Yeah... No wonder you go by Saint.”, Thelia smiled. And died.
After several minutes, Saint stood up, not being able to cry anymore, went outside and dug a hole in the ground. He buried Thelia. He prayed. And then he left.
A lone raven flew over an old fort. It was disheveled, with doors falling off the hinges and stonework crumbling away. The only interesting thing about this fort was an old, small grave in the courtyard. The raven flew closer, looked around, landed on a rusty greatsword’s hilt and cawed. The sword was planted near the grave to act as an improvised marker. Cawing again, the raven flew away. There was nothing else interesting about this old, disheveled fort.