Published on Jan 19, 2020

Warrior Background Images

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License Info: Creative Commons 4.0 BY-NC

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The warrior sat on a mound of stones atop the great mountain, his head in his hands and his chest still heaving with the exertion of the last stage of his climb.

His black hair, now flecked with grey, clung to his face just as his clothing stuck to his body from the combination of the perspiration that resulted from his recent efforts as well as the ever-present fog that had dogged his steps since he first began his ascent of the sacred mountain many days before.

Chain mail once as bright and shiny as a mirror was now caked in grime and dirt as well as patches of bright orange rust from the lack of the cleaning and oiling to which it was accustomed and his sword, whilst still serviceable showed signs that it had not been cared for for several days.

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The warrior laughed inwardly as he thought about how his old swordmaster used to punish him for even the slightest speck of dust on his uniform and more severely still when his arms and armour were not properly cared for. He still recalled the long hours spent marching drill as punishment or, worse yet, when his transgressions against the warriors code were deemed great.

If the swordmaster could see him now…

Thinking of the old man suddenly reminded the warrior of his quest and of the struggles and deprivations he’d endured and, suddenly as it had come, the faint smile that had creased face for the briefest instant was lost and replaced by the frown that had taken up residence a long time hence.

It hadn’t always been this way, he reminded himself.

When he had set out on this quest those long years ago, he and his companions, warriors all, had been driven by an almost child-like excitement and sense of fun and adventure that seemed to give them boundless energy and focus. But that excitement had soon worn off.

Within a matter of weeks, three of his companions had been lost to rivers whose banks had swelled with the great flood and two more, fearful of the wrath of the water Gods, chose to return home, justifying their leaving by stating that it was better to live in a castle than die in the wilderness.

“Cowards” he said aloud to himself, still scornful and angry at the memory of their abandoning the quest so soon.

The warrior had remained steadfast and said to the others “We will continue with our quest for if we turn back then our friends have died for naught”. His companions, in full agreement, rode on.

Months passed and three more companions were lost, this time to bandits and brigands who had lain in ambush to take by force that which they could not earn by honest labour. They had been routed by the warrior and his men yet still, the cost of victory had been a high one.

Two of his men said “We will go no further. We will return the bodies of the fallen to their loved ones back home and be thankful that our folly has allowed us to come so far and experience so much without harm to ourselves” and with that, they turned and left.

The warrior looked at his remaining men, now so few in number and said “We shall persevere, for to have come so far and risked so much and paid such a dear price, it makes no sense to abandon our quest and return home”. His companions, in full agreement, rode on.

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