My name is Renard and I am a soldier, a guard. At 19 I don't have much to my name. Iv never done something that people would talk about. I've never been heroic or anything like that. I served as a common foot soldier and by a stroke of lucky I got my current job. I guard the princess of our great kingdom, well I'm one of her guards. Unfortunately for me she is a spoiled little brat.
One day her fiance arrived, a man of poor birth but had been adopted by the late duke. Everyone gossiped about him. And then I met him, he Held himself with such a grace and Nobility that I had never seen before. I at first thought it was the wrong person until his attendant announced him to the king. He was pure and knoble and only a few years younger then me. He had ignored all of the Nobles who criticized and insulted him. He had a look, like he was thinking of bigger, more important things.
My sister was an attendant to the princess. I say princess lenently, she was more a spoiled brat. I watched in pain as each day her bruises grew worse and one day she returned home with a leg. I couldn't pay for a doctor, only the rich could afford to pay for doctors. So I bandaged up her leg and watched as she worked. Even with her new injuries she was still beaten daily.
I cry most nights thinking about her pain. I wish I could take it all.
One evening at a royal banquet the king made inappropriate and cruel jokes about the princess mother. The prince, did not tolerate it on ebit and argued with the king. When the king beat the prince he didn't utter a single cry. He was in bed for two days after. Many people had grown to hate the Prince, myself included. I hated the prince and the king and the princess because everyday my little sister would come home with even more bruises. The Maids and stewards would talk to each other and gossip about the prince. Apparently he was an incredibly bad man. Spending his childhood in and off of battlefields. Apparently he had quite the army to marry the spoiled Princess. All he wanted was power, just like every other noble out there.
But then that day came when my world came crashing down around me. The prince was having a meeting with the princess when I heard a crash. We didn't move because it wasn't unlike the princess to throw tantrums. "Guards" I rushed in to find the prince covered in boiling tea and bits of procelen stuck out of his arm. Which was blocking my younger sister and her friend, Mary-bell.
I had been in love with Mary-Bell since before I joined the army at 15. She was kind and sweet and innocent. Nothing like the Princess that I served. The prince turned to me and said these words. These words that changed my life. Made me doubt everything I knew.
"Strike me, I want you to strick me for every time she struck someone. My life isnt anymore important then there's." He pointed his blood and tea coated hand towards the princess. I balked. I shook my head, no. I could not do such a thing. He stopped his foot, not in a childish way but to snap me to attention, to bring me back to reality. Because in the end I was just a soldier a guard, a tool. Stepping forward I hit him once. I hit him hard enough to make a normal man pass out. Yet he got right back up to my own horror. I tried to remove my glove but he wouldn't let me.
"Strike me a as many times as she has struck!" I did so. I am the embodiment of a soldier. I am the embodi- I can't do this. Every time I struck him he would get right back up. And when he couldn't stand he ordered Percy and Miles to hold him steady. My fist was coated in his blood. I can't do this. He had a look in his eye that every time I stopped he would shout,
"Again, five times, no ten times, no twenty. Hit me twenty more times." And I would. I am the embodiment of a soldier. I am the embodiment of a soldier. I am the em- I still can't do this. He refuses to let me stop. At first the cruel princess laughed and then she stopped. She had never seen sacrifice. She had never sacrificed anything for anybody. As his body hung limp between my friends arms she turned and stormed out of the room in a confused rage.
That night I sat on my bed staring at my hands. Id thrown away my gauntlets and gotten a new pair. Id scrubbed my hands raw. But I couldnt get rid of the feeling of each strike id delivered.
The net mourning the castle was full of gossip, apparently the prince had not woken up. One day, two days, three days passed before he awoke and even then he could not move his body and could not even drink water by himself.
My sister came to the night he had woken up. She showed me her leg. It was wrapped in a cast and splints. She cried as she told me the prince had noticed her leg injury and ordered a doctor to treat her immediately. The doctor had come, after his beating.
She had looked at me with such sad and teary eyes that I couldn't say anything to her as she asked me over and over again in a small voice that seemed to disintegrate my already shattered heart.
"Why?" A single word that plagued me at night. And then Miles told her the reason why when I did not answer her. The thing that everyone knows but never wants to here.
"Because they were orders"
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