There was the crackling of explosions in the distance. The familiar echoing of cries muffled by the clashing of metal. His back was wet as his head pounded. He looked up at the burnt sky. A funnel of smoke snaked across his view.
This wasn’t Menk.
Sitting up, he felt the put of his stomach sink. The blood was in the air as blue tattered capes flapped in the wind. The noble war beasts lay like burial mounds as he pulled himself to his feet. He spun, trying to make sense of what he was seeing. He couldn’t possibly be back here. It had been years since he stood knee deep in his personal hell.
“Foe…” he heard his name across the field as he bolted in the direction.
This wasn’t real. This couldn’t have been real.
He stopped, seeing the young man pinned under the black beast. Blood dripped from his lips staining his ginger beard. A gash was across his forehead and his crown was buried behind him in the muck.
“Cain,” Foe gasped, leaping into action to pry away the creature laying atop of the King. “Stay still, me boy. I’ll get yah free.”
“Boy?” Cain gave a moist laugh, spitting blood across the front of his armour. “I’m older than yah. Must’ve hit yar head harder than yah thought, eh?”
Foe forced a laugh, pulling the man out of the muck before collapsing beside him. This scene haunted his dreams but never with such detail. He could feel the mud seeping into his boots and squishing between his fingers as he leaned his weight back. Blood filled the air, along with the sulfur they used in the pop pots. His eyes burnt from the smoke, and ears still faintly buzzed from the explosion.
“I shouldn’ve listened to yah,” Cain croaked. His emerald eyes peered up to the sky. They glistened with tears as they ran down his temples and into his matted locks. “We’d be alive if not for yah.”
“Aye, I know…” Foe breathed heavily through his nose, pressing his eyes shut. He didn’t need some bloody nightmare to remind him of his guilt.
He had pushed for a frontal assault. He had believed he had thought everything through. He had considered their enemy but it was his allies that he had forgotten to count.
They lit the pop pots early. The explosion went off before they had cleared the field. He had convinced them of the plan. He had given the signal to light the pots. It was his fault.
“Rio, Mac, Der, Javi… Me,” Cain listed, “we’re all dead cause of yar stupid mistake. Yah know how good the world would be if I was still alive. If I was still King we’d ‘ave pushed the lines… not sit like me brother’s doin’.”
“I know… yah don’ think I know…” Foe growled, “not a day goes by that I don’ think of what happened. I would do anythin’ to right me wrongs. I’d do anythin’ to bring yah peace.”
“Repent,” Cain muttered, struggling to reach for his dagger. His fingers wrapped around the hilt as he pulled it from the sheath. The silver blade glistened like fire in the dim dank trenches. “Repent an’ I’ll forgive yah.”