By Neil Beynon
“Are you not frightened?” asked the pikeman.
Across the field the enemy gathered in armour the colour of crow’s feathers. The horde was as vast as the eye could see and moving amongst them was the bear king in his amber armour. The sky was cast in pale blue but the wind came from the north with ice on its breath and the faint smell of the enemy forges.
Avan turned his eyes from the enemy to the pikeman whose eyes flicked from the horde to the warrior’s scarred face, wary of being caught starring at the knotted ribbon of pink flesh marring his features.
Avan smiled, amused. “What is there to fear?”
The pikeman’s eyes widened. “What is there to fear? We are outnumbered and entrapped. I fear pain and death.”
“But you cannot know for certain that you will die, none of us are granted the Sight. Besides death is but a moment, it passes.”
“Then you believe in an afterlife,” said the pikeman. “I do not.”
“It matters not what we believe in – if there is an afterlife then when we die we will awaken somewhere else. If there is nothing we won’t be aware of it to care either way.”
The pikeman poked the ground with the base of his pike.
“What about pain?” he asked. “Are you not afraid of that?”
“There will be pain for many,” conceded Avan. “But pain is fleeting not forever.”
“So there is nothing to fear?” said the Pikeman.
The pikeman considered his words.
“I think you’re wrong,” said the pikeman. Avan shrugged.
The pikeman continued. “I think they should be afraid of you.”