Violets and Lilacs

Submitted into Contest #43 in response to: Write a story about transformation.... view prompt

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General

     Feran had not expected the smell. His fingers gripped the arrow loosely. He took a moment to look down at the fletching. It was perfectly symmetrical, the white feathers stiff and even like the soldiers ahead of him. He had heard stories of grand battles and heroic deeds. His father, Dillan, stood three feet away from him. His father, who had slayed great creatures, battled men, taken on the greatest of odds. He looked to his father, wanting to ask about the scent of flowers. Violets and lilacs, the scents calming his nerves ever so slightly as he took a deep breath. 

     The field of battle was open and filled with flowers. Somehow he had always pictured the fights on a dirt field with nothing between the two sides. How could there be any beauty in a struggle between men? The bloodshed had not begun but he had seen injuries before. He had watched as soldiers came back, missing limbs, spewing insides from open wounds, and howling with the madness of pain. Feran had done his best to give those men comfort. 

     And it wasn’t just men. He had seen boys, girls, women, all come in after the battle, injured in ways that could not be changed or undone. The stench of the hurt and injuries was earthen and foul, not like the violets and lilacs. The sun was shining. In his mind he went through what that meant. A clear view of the enemy, yes, but if the fighting continued long enough, the sun would be in an archer’s eyes, giving the enemy advantage. 

     “Ready!” came the cry.

    With automatic precision he nocked his arrow, keeping the string loose but ready between his calloused fingers. Calloused from practice, never from a living target. At least, not a human one. He had only felled animals and target shields before. His father’s arrow was in the same position. He nodded. 

     “Aim!”

    His bow raised to the sky. The first volley would be a warning. They would shoot and some might fall from the deadly projectiles but most would land in the grass and only encourage the enemy to step back and rethink their actions. He wondered if his arrow would pierce flesh, shield, or flower. He thought momentarily about tracking it when it flew but that would make him less ready for the next order. 

    “Fire!”

    Again with practiced precision he lifted his bow skyward, drew back, and let loose. It flew and before he realized he had done it, a new arrow was in his fingers. For the next ten minutes, the process repeated itself. Feran’s breath drew shorter each time and he was sure that there must be some end to this. None came.

    Once his fingers were sore and bleeding, they heard the pounding. Horses with armed and armored riders atop had broken the line in front. He looked to his father.

    “Daggers,” Dillan said.

    Feran dropped his bow and took a step back. He wiped his blood on his black tunic. He lifted his dagger from his belt. He let the point pierce into his palm for a moment. The blood trickled at first, then flowed. He looked once more at his father.

    “It must be done, there is no other way. Remember your duty,” Dillan said.

     Feran stepped to his father, placed his injured palm on his father’s face. He held the dagger aloft and breathed in deeply, the scent of violets and lilacs now gone. There only remained the scent of blood and sweat. 

     “Blood of my blood. Pain of my pain. Injury to my enemies. Death to those who oppose the Lords of Shadows. Feel this pain as yours,” Feran said.

     With an anguished cry he drove the dagger into his father. Dillan’s face showed no pain. He would die as he had lived his life. Stolid and unyielding. 

     The dagger in Feran’s hand began to glow a fiery red. His father sank to his knees. Feran helped him to the bed of flowers they were standing upon.

      “As I have done to my father before me and as your son will do unto you, you have sacrificed blood for blood. You are now, truly, a soldier. Remember never to let the light outshine the dark. His shadow is all.” Dillan lay back, eyes open, blood pouring from his wounds.

     In the distance, the riders began to scream. Underneath their armor wounds gashed open. Some of them soiled themselves. Others were as stoic as his father. Great confusion rang out in the enemy forces. 

     The archers wasted no time. They nocked new arrows and loosed them upon the enemy. The soldiers in the front lines, holding melee weapons, sliced at the horses, cutting their knees out from under them. Silver plated knights were brought low into the flower beds. Spears from the enemy ranks were thrown. Some of them hit but most of the spear throwers were clutching their stomachs in the same place Feran had driven the dagger into his father.

     The magic was strong and he was confident in its effectiveness. His line was a line of the strongest dark mages. Their battle against the light had been long and difficult. He had defended his father’s honor and become a true soldier and a true mage. In a few moments the battle would be over and the smell of violets and lilacs would be completely gone, in exchange for only the smell of death and carnage. Their enemies would be crushed at the expense of his father.

     He started to wonder about the dark. The smell of the battlefield clung to his tunic and he tasted the copper of blood in his mouth as he bit down on his tongue to keep from screaming his grief. His power was strong and he felt the magic grow inside of him. If he chose it, he could lay waste to all who ever opposed him. The Shadow Lords were strong but not one of them could do what he just had. He had been told since he was young that he must serve the darkness. That he must not let the light in. 

     But he thought of the violets and lilacs. The scent had calmed him. Was the loss of the flowers worth the life of his father? For the first time in his life, he thought maybe the light might be worth something after all. He plucked a violet from the earth. It was stained with red. He held it to his nose. Underneath the blood he could still smell it, that calming sensation. 

     Feran started to think that it was time for a new life. One full of the scent of violets and lilacs. 

May 26, 2020 21:55

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7 comments

Blessing Eke
14:06 Jun 04, 2020

Nice work Adam!

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Kelechi Nwokoma
22:39 May 27, 2020

I really love this story, with the fantasy and all. I also love how you included scents in it- really great. Your story was really interesting and captivating, and I hope to see your write more.

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Adam Wright
23:27 May 27, 2020

Thank you and yes, I will be posting more on here for sure!

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Unknown User
07:25 May 27, 2020

<removed by user>

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Adam Wright
10:19 May 27, 2020

Thanks! I definitely think it's part of a larger story, not sure if it's one for children though. Thanks for reading!

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Kathleen March
03:32 May 27, 2020

Great framing of the story with the floral scents.

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Adam Wright
06:42 May 27, 2020

Thanks for reading and commenting!

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