His birth-star glittered in the night sky. That day again.
The sell-sword felt his years. Every one of them. They had removed the arrows and dressed the wounds. Yet they still burned his flesh, more deeply tonight than on any other. As an old crone once said “A warrior carries his battles with him.”
Each scar. Each blow.
No one lives this long without having regrets. Certainly not a petty soldier of fortune.
The times he had raised his shield too slow. The times he had left his defenses open while going for the kill. The times when he had walked through the woods, opening himself to ambush and pain, rather than riding down the long winding highway. The false Gods he had worshipped. The false covenants he had made. The times he had been stabbed by the poisonous blade of treachery. The times he had done the same.
But most of all, he rued the moments wasted squabbling over trifles. The more summers he had gone through, the more he had realized how precious time is.
Regrets. They swirled around him like wraiths, their icy breath chilling him to the bone.
Having seen many winters though was not without its benefits. They threw a few more coins his way. He had good war stories to tell, some even true. The whelps bowed to his years. Of course they mocked him behind his back. He knew they did. He had been a whelp once too.
He dug into the mead with his fingers, as ravenous as a werewolf on a moon night. The strong ale hit the throat, warm like first love.
No. Not that bad. Life had been good. More or less. He thought of all he had known, better men than him, who lay fallen by the road, in the shadows, an arm or leg less, defeated by fate.
But he, he still walked.
The armor creaked. The steed wheezed under his weight. He feared the enemy inside, the one that kills silently without a sword, more than he ever did when he was young.
Yet he fought. Bled. Laughed. Killed. Lived. Dreamt.
He raised his goblet to the heavens.
And rode slowly into tomorrow.