Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Mercenary

He was just ten – a toddler in his world full of soldiers – tin soldiers with a metal head and a hollow chest. He was no 10 – for he could carry weights much larger – of those hammers, belts and arrows – all together. He was just ten – he mistook the ticking mechanical sound from those tin soldiers to be a heart-beat. He was no ten – for he could do tasks others twice his size couldn’t – fighting a lone losing battle for example. Not just a battle – but one that was never his own; One that he chose to fight because the king was weak – too weak to even acknowledge his presence – or when he did – follow it up with further battles.

And just like that, after the battle was won – litres of his blood spilt – he walked on – to the next battlefield. And just like that, if the battle was lost, he vowed to come back – never any taller – never any stronger – Just in his battered state – to avenge the defeat – to bring glory to a gory king who never knew he existed. The king – the dear loved king who he idolised – the one with those green eyes which saw everything green – green, not as the expanse of grass before him – but the barren battlefield – greened by the impure blood of the other tin soldiers.

And just like that he fought on – and on – and on – swords flung at him from all sides – including his 'own side'. His own side – or the one he thought was his own – for he never had a side of his own – and also, always did. Every time he turned – whichever way he turned – his back felt a sharp sting – from the hammers, belts and arrows – the sting he was no stranger to – a seasoned hard-bound bag of sand – who ruffled every time it was hit – ruffled to the core – and in no time – reformed to get ready for more. And his king looked on – at times sending a bludgeon to the weak spot – the tender spot – ensuring he was seasoned fully.

Could he run away from battle – but run from which battle – and go where? Back to the loins he came from – to the place he was born – born to fight – or so he thought – thoughts of a warrior –here to please and appease – just waiting for one strong paw of the beasts to pin him down – the thought of being the gladiator – when in fact all he was – was an expendable, replaceable – but always available – a mercenary.


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