Trading of Places

The two combatants stood locked into death’s embrace, armor grinding, helmets met at the brow. Slowly, amidst the carnage and fire about them, they knelt, pulled either by pain or exhaustion. Hollow breaths were the only sign they both still lived, puffing out irregularly. One would surely not rise, but which?

Bedecked in once-gleaming scale armor, the warrior of the owl helm was now sullied with violence. Justice had driven him to confrontation, and had left him kneeling in destruction. The embroidered feathers on his tattered cape proved he would never fly again.

Opposing this specter, held in his enemy’s arms like a dancer, the wolf-clad soldier could no longer lift his head. It lolled to a resting place on the other’s shoulder. His hands still clutched the broken haft of the javelin with which he had killed many before this final foe.

With his mouth now closer to the other’s ear, he whispered in hoarse tones, dry as the crackling flames about them, not words of hate, but an unanswerable apology.

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