Tag Archives: battle

The Final Battle

SAO pic

I hold them tighter, allowing the moment to last.  Finally, finally, they’re safe once again.

Then Cassie grunts.  “John!” she exclaims, the maturity and earnestness of her tone surprising me.

I whirl around.  Perhaps I thought too soon.  He’s standing there, beside the body of the dead giant Evil, watching us.

The Red Captain…Nirak.

Crouching, I don’t remove my gaze from him.  I sink until I feel my fingers close around the hilt of my sword, and then I stand upright.  I slowly, cautiously raise my hand, and in a gentle, drawn out motion, remove my cloak from my shoulders.  It jerks and waves as it flows away from my body, alighting delicately on the ground to my right, the way the wind beckoned it.

“I’ve been watching you, ever since you entered Howaito Maki,” his voice comes to me from across the distance of twenty feet between us.  “At first, I didn’t know why I found you so interesting.  But now, I think I understand.”  He gestures with his sword, pointing at me, “Who are you?”

“Do you remember me?” I question.  “Your Evil left me for dead in the middle of my own home, and you kidnapped my little brother and sister.”

Nirak pauses, thinking for a moment, and then smiles, “Yes, I remember you.  You were the first family we found.  I had given my Evil orders not to kill any of you three, so that I might have a higher number for the sacrifice, but my Evil didn’t listen very well.  They were too…excited.  They felt too…challenged.”  I grunt, unnerved and uncertain as to the meaning of his words, and then he speaks once again, “I ask you once more: what is your name, human?”

I grit my teeth and state boldly, “My name is John Hedekira, son of Anthony!”

John Hedekira,” the Red Captain repeats.  “Indeed, you are interesting.  Do you even know what ‘hedekira’ means?”

I grunt; I don’t know.  I didn’t even know my last name had any significant meaning.  “I’d stop acting so confident,” I say, trying to change the course of our conversation.  “You’re outnumbered and the prisoners have been saved!  You can stop asking questions, because I don’t feel like answering anymore!”

Nirak lowers his head, baring his white teeth, his yellow eyes both glaring and smiling at me, and he questions, “Are you sure?”

The sound of feet pounding against the ground fills the air.  Across the courtyard, exiting the gate in the next wall, a squad of thirty Evil emerge, each one bearing a long pike and a short sword.  I look about warily, watching as the thirty Evil fall upon the dazed army of Castrum Fortress, and then I swiftly return my gaze to Nirak.  The Red Captain raises his sword.  “This fight is not over.”  And he charges me.

I hop backwards, accepting his blow against my blade, making sure I’m covering both Cassie and Luke.  Out of the corner of my eye, I see Faith and Bernard approaching.  Good, maybe they can get Cassie and Luke out of here.  But Nirak…I’m focused on him.  I feel as if…this is destiny that we should fight, and I kill him—

Cover art by Elizabeth M

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Clash of Hearts


There’s something about the way we fight.  Something about how we swing, or how we attack.  It’s something different than war.  It’s different from chaotic battle.  We might be blind as we strike at each other.  But we don’t need to see.

The air seems to explode and ripple with power every time our blades clash together, ringing clarion every time they meet.  Sparks fly into the air, and gusts of wind tear through our hair.

We don’t need to see while we battle.  Because this isn’t a battle with blades.  It’s a battle of the heart.  Our bodies move, and our swords follow, but what we really attack with is our minds.  Our hearts.  Our souls.

Why do we feel alive when we fight?  Why do we feel alive at the times when we’re closest to death?  Is it just the excitement?  Is it just the emotion?  I wish I knew the answer.  I don’t want to be a killer.  I don’t want to exact supremacy over another human.  That’s not what this is about.  That’s not what I want this to be about.

But something about fighting with my emotions, letting them guide and direct me…why does that feel so right?  Why is there something beautiful about the way I attack and destroy?  Why do I feel alive when I’m fighting a battle to the death?

Maybe…maybe it’s because, if I didn’t feel alive, I would lose.  I would just die.  We’d all die.

Or maybe there is something beautiful about destroying.  About fighting to the end.

But maybe the person we should be fighting against isn’t another human.  Maybe other humans aren’t the enemy.  Maybe they were never the enemy.  Maybe the person we need to be fighting against is ourselves.  Maybe there’s something beautiful about that; destroying what needs to be destroyed within ourselves.  Maybe that’s why we love fighting.  Maybe that’s why we think it beautiful.  We just need to realize where the fighting belongs.  We need to realize that fighting is for purification.  That unless we defeat the evil in ourselves, then evil in this world will prevail.   It’s still a fight to the death.  It’s still exciting.  It’s still beautiful.

It’s still a clash of the heart.

It’s a question I often find myself asking: why do we find the action (aka the violence) in certain books, movies, anime, etc. to be so fascinating and exciting?  Why do we “enjoy” it when two characters are killing each other?  I mean, if you think about it, that’s pretty twisted.  I’m extremely guilty of it.

However, I do believe that we naturally perceive the beauty of it all for a reason.

I forget which saint (or maybe it was a modern Catholic author) said it, but he described the Holy Spirit as One Who Destroys.  That’s why one of the symbols for the Holy Spirit is fire…fire destroys things.  We usually use fire to burn away whatever things are useless to us.  In the same way, the Holy Spirit destroys-literally burns away-the impurities within us.  He helps us to win that interior battle.

I’m still working out the logic of it all 🙂

Stay awesome,

Dom (Aul)