The battle was long and exceptionally bloody. I was delirious from the hours of fighting, parched to a point I had never before experienced. The last man standing from an entire field of armored soldiers… Even both sides’ kings were slain, and I couldn’t understand by what design I was made to survive. But if I didn’t get to water soon, no one would be left to return home with the news.
I wandered into the woods at the edge of the battlefield. A short distance inward, a small creek pooled into a calm bowl of crystal clear water. I threw down the king’s sword I was dragging along, pushed my helmet off, and fell at the water’s edge, lapping it up and throwing it onto my face.
When I felt my life returning to me, my senses began to return, making me more aware of my surroundings. Even through the trees, I could see the morning sun and the heat of the spilled blood replacing the lifting fog with layers of steam. Looking down at the creek, I realized that it and its pool were red with blood, and I began to retch.
From that place, I began the journey home. From town to town, I delivered word of the great battle and how both of the world’s most beloved kings had perished. As I rested in the inns and drank in the taverns, word of the battle began to precede my arrivals. Everywhere I directed my horse to go, there were people who knew me, gasping and calling me not by name but by an earned reputation, “The Last Man Standing!”
I stopped a man who knew me when I arrived at Garleton.
“Sir, what is it they say about me?”
“That you are the Great Battle’s Last Man Standing, that you saw the death of both of the beloved kings, and that you slew over a hundred men yourself!”
It was absurdity in the making. I likely didn’t slay more than fifty in the Great Battle, and my survival was a simple draw of good fortune.
By the time I arrived home, my reputation had unanimously won me the throne, as our king had no successors. People I once knew as companions were bowing to me and giving me gifts.
Now, I occupy the throne, The Last Man Standing king, wondering how to lead these people.
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