Grade: 12th grade
Age: 17

Like a Son to Me

Save pagePDF pagePrint page

I was a teacher, of sorts, I taught my students how to kill. Well, I taught them archery to be more specific.
I taught them under the king’s name, Achealaden it was, that was before his line was overthrown and replaced with this new one you have to rule you today.
I lived in a simple cottage outside of my lords keep, but still well within his lands to protect him, the idea was that we could be near enough to report back to him, but my kind, we had a direct allegiance to the king, so we needed to be far enough away to avoid falling into a debt, or under too much influence from our respective lords.
I was training what was then my third pupil at the time. He was a stubborn fellow, always following his head and overthinking things instead of trusting his gut. It got him killed, in the end. Being a smart boy is one thing, being smart enough to know when you shouldn’t be, that is something else, and, in my personal opinion, an even more useful skill entirely.
There was one of my past students who… got himself into the wrong kind of trouble with enemies of the crown, I was tasked with a new assignment, to make him regret that.
I tracked him down, I killed off his men. No, the men who had swayed him to turn, forced him even. Yes, that was it. That’s what it must be.
I took out his men from a distance, I aimed for the men at the center of his encampment first. They would be looking out into the night towards potential attackers, they’re not concerned if something happens behind them in their midst, after all, they would need to get past the other men looking out, doing the same as they were on the other side of camp to get at their backs in the first place. No one noticed as their men slowly fell, one by one. The first three men by the fire falling in no greater time than ten seconds.
As I unstrung my bow, I did not wish to continue its use once I got into the closer bloody combat, and best done with a knife, I watched their camp from my elevated position on the hill to see that no one had left via the thick and dense shadows that lurked around the heavy tents while I wasn’t looking for them. No one had. I made my way down to the one that after several days of observation, I now knew was his tent. Before I arrived into it I made a thorough sweep of the rest of the camp to see if I had missed anyone still breathing, I had not. Except for a small rodent of some kind already starting to investigate one of the freshly hewn bodies, there was not a living soul in that place, except for me, and for him.
I reached for the flap of leather that was the entrance to his tent. He was standing there, his bow leveled at my eyes.
“Put the knife down, and the knuckles on your left too.”
I did as he wanted, and I held my hands out palms facing him so he knew I wasn’t hiding anything.
“You don’t have to do this, you’re like a son to me.”
“No, I do, I know how you feel about me, and feel regret only for that reason. You don’t have to ask me why, that’s not your job. But I made my choice. You have to do your job.”
I may not have had my knife, but I had this little concoction that I made of my own, when I was just a student, not of our trade, but a personal weapon of my design and choosing. I would always keep it on me when I would go on a mission. It was comprised of a small capsule of gunpowder that then ran along a small pulley system going down my left arm. When the device was triggered, all the tension held within the small creation would be released, and the capsule would run down the arm beneath the sleeve, striking a piece of flint against a small steel striker as it went which would then ignite the gunpowder filled capsule as it reached the base of my left sleeve. The bright flash caused would be harmless, meant to blind the intended target in front of the wielder.
He knew that I had it, I always knew that, I showed him how to use it once, though he never bothered to learn to make one of his own.
I cocked my head as if to ask him if he was accepting of my next course of action, to give him a last chance, just one more time. He did not move to reply, only put a little less tension on the string of his bow. A rookie mistake, a mistake of the kind he would never make, not unintentionally at least.
I pulled the lever, which was now resting in the palm of my hand, that would cause the device to release, he didn’t try to stop me.
The bright light made a searing flash in his face, as he was still blinded and the effects were just wearing off from me, I spun myself twirling into him, I grabbed the arrow from his deliberately loose hands, and continuing my spin, I drove the arrowhead into his neck. He fell over, gasping for breath and writhing on the floor, but then he stopped. He wasn’t dead, but his face set in stone, a man who made a decision to not have his last moments be groping at his own neck. I crouched down with him, I held him. My first pupil. His death should have been in a great castle, in honor. Not here, like this.
Then I lay with him until he died.

One thought on “Like a Son to Me

  1. The narrator of this story has a very strong voice; it was easy to understand their personality and motivations from the start. However, this entry reads more like telling instead of showing throughout, making it a bit difficult to connect with the narrator or their struggles.

Leave a Reply