(This is a flash piece from another book I’m working on, which will be called People of Sarenia)
They were friends, once.
He remembers the way the sun struck over the hills as they ran through the knee-high grass, laughing, wooden swords aloft and pint-sized capes billowing out behind them. The other boy was two years older than Colf, but about the same size, and they were perfect opponents. Their tutors at the castle often set them against each other, and so together they improved.
He remembers their first fight, the other boy’s scared blue eyes almost eclipsing the rest of his face with how large they were, and it was then that Colf knew he’d be a worthy opponent. There wasn’t a hint of the arrogance some of the other boys had: this one had nothing to lose. Colf can’t remember who won that first fight. From then on, it didn’t matter.
Now, those same eyes, wide and afraid, stare up at him out of his lap, the other’s mouth filled with blood. The sight fills Colf with rage: how can this person—this monster—look the same as the boy he’d once played with in the sun? And yet, a small part of him feels pity, maybe even grief. After all, Colf was the traitor first.