‘Red Moon’ by: Dominik Mayer
The moon is red with blood. It’s a happy omen. The Gods smile down on them tonight.
In their wake they leave a devestated city. The fire burns hot. The smoke glows orange with the coals.
The smell of roasting carcasses is heavy on the wind as they move on to the next city.
Desperate cries from captured chattle stir none of the Warrior’s souls. Freedom does exist for anyone. The delusion of which is more curse then blessing.
Most of the new slaves will be forced back to the homeland to work the salt mines and dig ore, or be house servants.
Some of the women will be lucky and get to pleasure the warriors until their bodies whither into uselessness.
Of the children, a few, will be raised up to wield shield and spear.
They will learn it’s an honor to die for the War God. They will learn this lesson well, or be sacrificed to the God of cowards to keep him away from battle.
The moon drips blood into the pitch filled night. The chieftain smiles, for this is an omen that the Gods favor their deeds. They are warriors leaving a devastated village in their wake. Behind them, burns a hot fire with smoke oranged with coals. The wind carries the stench of roasting carcasses like a greasy weight of things to come to the next city. They will bivouac tonight and let this olfactory promise be the first artillery barrage to reach their enemies.
The warriors are ready for the night’s festivities, even the chieftain with his task to do.
Desperate cries from the captured chattle stir up from the rear of the formation knock him from his thought, however, as they move. He orders a harsh reminder with fire-forged steel on soft, yielding flesh, and things settle back down. Pain reminds one their freedom does not exist anymore. The delusion of freedom is more curse than blessing anyway. The chieftain, most of all, knows this- slave as he is to his own service to the clan. Unlike what he is asked to do, most of the new slaves will only be force-marched back to the homeland, made to work salt mines and dig ore. The ones of the highest value are smart and pretty, they will be house servants and kept whole. Nobility would not spare a penny for maimed flesh. Some of the leftover women will be lucky if they get to pleasure the warriors until their bodies whither into uselessness. The others will be cast away as worthless.
Of the children, only a few will be raised up to wield shield and spear and be the spine of the army. They will be beaten. Harangued. Humiliated. Tortured. Until anything resembling humanity is ripped from them. They will learn it’s an honor to die for the War God.
Out of all of them, his ordeal is worse, however. As chieftain, it is his job to die.
Chieftain of the clan is a harsh reward, and tonight, once the festivities end, he will be sacrificed to the God of cowards. Not because he is one, but because he isn’t. And tomorrow, or after the next battle, another chieftain will rise until there are either no more warriors or need to raid is done.
Thus is the way.