This story is by Cipriano Oliva and was part of our 10th Anniversary Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“Here, let’s sit down a moment and rest while we have the chance. Why am I smiling in the middle of this battlefield? You don’t remember do you? That’s alright, I understand. Happy Anniversary! What has it been? Forty years? Here, let me clean you up a bit.”
“There you go. I still remember the first time I saw you. You were sitting there, bathed in moonlight, looking as if the gods had placed you there for me and me alone. It was love at first sight and we were inseparable from that moment on.”
“Now look at us. In the twilight of our years and on another battlefield. It’s likely our last you know. I still remember all of them. How we’ve gloried in our conquests. We had been together for less than a year when the Warlords of Yish invaded our lands and tried to enslave us. It was a year to the day when together, we destroyed the Warlords’ sacred staff and brought them down. What a first anniversary that was. It kind of reminds me of this morning. The rising sun lightening the sky to our backs. Giving us the advantage. Hordes of the enemy in the valley below us. Though there was only one moon high in the sky and not three back then.”
“We had some peace after that. It might have been a short, but it was a pleasant change, wasn’t it? We were able to get to know one another better, that’s for sure. We kept the peace and helped those in need. Ha! Remember old wizard Barnus and that mad idea he had for magical constables? What chaos that was, Ha Ha!”
“Our peace didn’t last though, did it? Soon we were called upon again to defend our people. We were too busy fighting the Giants of Noc to celebrate our fifth anniversary. But I guess our victory at the Peak of Anador, in the Tower of Mirrored Dreams made up for that. The Arch-Wizard Morkath didn’t like it though. The mountain, if I recall looked nearly like that mountain behind us with the snowcaps still on it.”
“I never thought I would see this again in our lifetime. Another legion of men and…things bent on destroying and enslaving. How many are in the valley below us? Thirty, Forty thousand? How did they get so many, so fast? Well, this time it’s different. We’ve cut off their supply chain, their escape road has been collapsed and we have the high ground and the numbers.”
“Do you see the ocean? We must be what, two-hundred miles from it? So beautiful, such a deep blue. Who knew that water would be the same on other worlds eh? I mean I guess it stands to reason that water is water, but you just never trulythink about it.”
“Heh heh. Remember near our fifteenth? Oh gods! The nerve of that petty little pirate prince. No! What was it he called himself? Ah yes! The Buccaneer King. Ha ha! We sure showed him what happens when you raid our villages. Not so much of a tyrant when your ship has been reducedto a scow and bucket and your crew has abandoned you. That was a pretty pay day for us though. All that gold for the taking after we had given back what he stole from villages, with interest no less, Ha!”
“Look at those things down there coming out of the caves. if I didn’t know better, I would swear that they’re the same damned things we fought our twenty-third year together. I thought I had lost you that day in the Cavern of the Wretched. I can’t describe how I felt when that giant ten legged thing came out and snatched you away from me. There isn’t a lot I remember after that. You probably remember everything better than I do. It was the only time in my life that the Berserker took over in me. To say that I was relieved to see you safe and sound in that web is an understatement. I’m so glad that it never happened again. Who could have known that our bond would be that strong?”
“After thirty years, and all of the sights and battles we have fought together. You would think that nothing could surprise us anymore. But then there was the day that we learned of the Forgotten Gods and the Armies of Wrath. We learned that The Forgotten Gods had already invaded the high countries. After their victory, they brought those poor souls back from the dead, raising their army. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, we learned that the Armies of Wrath had allied with the Forgotten Gods. They had come West across the Barrier Sea and invaded the Elven Nations, decimating them. What a sad, sad day that was. There was nothing I could do to cheer us up after that. The only thing we could do was answer the Call to Arms and pray it was enough.”
“I was surprised that we survived another year. What a sight we shared that thirty-first year though. That beautiful, giant blue dragon. Coursing through the skies and setting fire to the Armies of Wrath. Then sweeping down and laying waste to that undead horde of the Forgotten Gods. To see her splendor flying one last time was a blessing that I never expected for us to see. Her sacrifice on the Plains of Dobar was a loss to us all. But at least it rallied us enough to hold the enemy back until her final spell could take effect. That shield saved those few of us that remained, just long enough for our escape.”
“Hard to believe a spell would take six years to complete. Now THAT is a memory I will happily die with. To be able to celebrate our anniversary with the creation of the Bridge of Stars. Though I doubt the mages in charge knew or cared that it was a special day for us. Well, now it is a special day for all. What a glorious sight it was too. A magical bridge, bright with the light of stars and colors of magic, leading us off of a dying planet to our new home. Seeing all those we saved crossing that bridge was a wondrous sight. I don’t think something like that can ever be topped as far as magical feats, and I hope there is never a need”
“But now this. This, I think will be our last stand. But, if this is our last day. If the gods say that this is our time, then let us make a memory for someone else to remember. Let’s give whatever couple that sees us a lifetime of memories. An image that can never be forgotten. This is our land, our world. The Forgotten Gods may have found us again, but this time, we have the advantage. They cannot raise the undead in this world and the Army of Wrath is no more. We have the strength to defeat them, once and for all. This is our final stand. This, the very day of our union will be the day that will be remembered again by everyone. I could not think of anyone else I could spend my final day with. We shall win this day. When we do, we will be either dead along with our enemy or we will be rewarded the highest of honors. Our own immortality. Happy Anniversary.
“It is time. Are you ready? Let’s finish this battle once and for all. Today we go down there and I wield you one last time for glory and the fate of our entire world! We cannot lose! Happy Anniversary!”