The Risk to Save a Life
“It’ll be risky,” he whispered.
“I know, I know, but we’ve got to do it! It’s the only way!” I replied. “Let’s go!” And although my voice sounded it, I didn’t feel very confident. In fact I felt exactly like my best friend did. I knew it would be incredibly risky – I knew we could very possibly die.
I shook my head. No, more than possible. It was very likely that we would die. It was almost positive.
“Are you sure?” he asked again, still crouched behind the tree, unwilling to move.
I started to say yes, but the truth was that I wasn’t sure. I shook my head, my eyes closed, my mind expecting the worst. I pressed my palm against the bark of the tree, the knots imprinting on my skin. But I pressed harder, my mind focused not on the pain but on the visions I saw. I dug into the tree, pressing my palm into it with all my strength, trying to distract myself from the images I saw. My breath quickened.
Finally, they stopped. I opened my eyes, released the pressure, steadied my breath. “Yes, yes I’m sure,” I said. I stood up, still hiding behind my tree and watched my friend follow suit. I still knew that in all likelihood we wouldn’t come back from this, but I forced myself to remember why we were here.
They had taken her. The night before, when everyone was sleeping. She was young – only six. I couldn’t let them keep her. Even if I myself didn’t care for the child, the voice inside my head would not let me forget her.
“Please, please!” her father begged. “You must rescue her. Save my child!” The tears were rolling down his cheeks, mixing with the sweat that was already upon his face. His hair was wet and mop-y. But the one thing that I would never forget – that I could never forget – was his eyes. His pleading, begging, horrified, concerned eyes, already red from all the tears he had shed.
I stood up straighter now, my back straight against the tree. I promised the father I would do all I could – and I meant it. I unsheathed my sword, holding it firmly in front of me, feeling the perfectly balanced blade that I had fought with in so many battles. The blade that had slaughtered so many enemies.
And, God help me, the blade that would slaughter more tonight – the blade that would save her. I looked at my best friend again and nodded. With a yell, I leapt out from behind the tree and sprinted forward, my friend close behind. Our battle cries continued, ringing throughout the forest as we advanced upon the fortress, not caring any long about the risk for our lives but only thinking of one thing – saving a life.