By Ezra Alderete
Long ago in a far away land, there lived a young man with a strong eagerness for tales of grandeurs of battles of old found in books and his father’s stories. His father, you see, is a warrior and a veteran of past wars, this gave the young man a passion for it. The young man loved it so much that he went to classes and studied outside of his regular days. Everyday he would beg his father to regale him of stories and show him some techniques. He would go to the libraries, ask scribes and even took lessons in sword-fighting from other veteran soldiers.
The young man found friends that share the same joys as him, maybe not to the same extent as him. He was so infatuated with it that he even considered to join the army. Sadly however, the land seems to be at peace and support on an army has been cut thin. He was dismayed by this but determined he convinced himself that this will not stop his passion. Ultimately however, he became a blacksmith’s apprentice. If he can’t wield be in the army and paid to wield the sword at least he can make one and practice with it.
His time as a blacksmith was dull, creating mundane items for everyday use. He was bored majority of the time but during his breaks and free times he would continue practicing the swords he makes and, at times, while reading or re-enacting his favourite stories. He would often be found fussing over the fact that he can’t seem to use these beautiful swords in a real fight. There seems to be a scarcity of individuals entranced on the idea of fighting in wars and battles, as it should be, but only a couple of men. He would sport his finesse ways of fighting against these men in a sparring match and would even flourish some moves just to brag how good he has become. He would brag to those around him that the play-fighting they do has become stale and uninteresting to him now. The young man would even boast of how easy it has been. Nonetheless this would not stop him from doing these sparring matches and of course in the process, show off.
On one fine day however, the young man was leisurely sitting under an apple tree reading his books and resting from a day’s work. Spotted by an old friend, huffing and puffing as he ran towards the young man, gasping for air and falling on his feet. “The Empire!... It lied… to us all!,” he mumbled almost losing each word with haste, as if being chased by hounds all night. The young man calmed his friend down and inquired about what is troubling him. The friend stated that there is a rebellion a foot, a Hero emerges from among the lands and with him opening the eyes of the people to the injustice and grievances about the Empire. With each story the young man was persuaded, or at least understood. He nodded in agreement to his friend, a look of recognition filled his eyes and with distraught he bid his friend farewell, as the other raced towards the city with haste.
The young man once again fell to the ground as he contemplated on everything he has heard. The Empire, the peace, the lives they lived are this all a lie. This whole time he was blind. As time passed and the night drawing near, the young man slowly stood up and sluggishly walked home. As he reached his house he was met by his father, the veteran soldier garbed in his Imperial Armour, greeted the young man with a smile. He spoke of what he has heard from news, never really naming from whom the news came from, regarding a rebellion and the façade of the Empire. His father reassured him that this is only a propaganda and nothing more. It was all a lie, as the Empire has been good to them. He faked a smile, still confused in his mind but did not want to show it.
Everyday He would return to his friend asking questions and it seems to be showing a great deal interest to this rebellion. He would inquire every time if this would lead to a war, fighting perhaps which really has peaked his interest. His friend would assure him that it would be inevitable. The young man would partake in the secret meetings tucked away in the shadows of the city. He would join the gathering in the streets, and even with the preparation of the men on fighting. Yes, he would train these men to be soldiers for a war that he knows is fast approaching, as he is known in these parts as a great sword-fighter. The young man was passionate in what he does, his love for fighting is going to be of good use. He is showing such great promise and a possible leader to this Rebellion.
News of him spread throughout the rebellion. Though no one outside of the Rebellion knew about him, only rumours of a warrior-teacher, and the young man kept it that way. In the morning he would work for the blacksmith, sharpening the swords of the Imperial army and at night would silently meet and train the Rebels. It was perfect for him, a life with the passion of what is true and just, doing what he loves but at the same time unfettered by immersing within the safety of the Empire. It’s all about managing time.
Due to the growing number of rebels and them being well equipped in the city, not only by equipment but also with skills, the Hero himself wanted to meet this great young warrior-teacher. This Hero ventured far, and the young man was brought into his presence. The Hero pleased by what the young man has done and asked if he is willing to fight with him. He has prepared enough soldiers and he himself a capable fighter, but alas, he urged that he cannot. He expressed to the Hero that he needs more time, he needed to further sharpen his weapons first and expressed that he is in the process of perfecting the creation of his sword. The Hero smiled and stated that when he is ready with his weapon that he should join them. And so, the Hero and his army waged war with the Empire.
The young man rushed into creating his weapon, and after days of working with it, he has created a beautiful weapon. One ornate with beautiful metals, precious stones and, of course, well balanced. A truly powerful weapon and not to mention stunning blade.
The war continued, and the Hero came back from a great battle and once again met the young man to inquire if he has completed his weapon. The young man confirmed that he did and even strutted it up to the Hero. “Truly a beautiful and formidable sword”, complimented the Hero, “a very powerful item on your side.” And like before the Hero queried the young man if he is joining them in the fight to come. The Young man quickly shook his head and explained to the Hero that there is only a couple of books and scrolls he needed to finish that could greatly aid him in the battle ahead. He advised that he is almost done with them and assured that Hero that it would be valuable knowledge to have in his arsenal. Once again, the Hero smile and stated when he is finished with his learning to join them. And with this, the Hero and his army departed, and the war waged on.
The Young man quickly brushed through the texts he wanted to finish. Passionately finishing the lessons and cramming as much knowledge and techniques as he can, placing a much-needed confidence in his heart. Practiced for a couple of weeks on things he has learned, and seemingly mastered it with ease. During this time however, The War has pushed the rebels back, nearing the city where the young man resides. The Hero once again met the young man and inquired about his learning and his training. The young man confirmed that he has become better because of it and quickly boasted his new-found knowledge. Impressed by the knowledge the young man now has acquired, the Hero queried if the young man now would join them in the fight. With hesitation the young man bowed his head down advised the Hero, that he needs lastly to speak to his father to change his mind. He believes he is a powerful ally and believes that his father would see reason. The Hero looked at the young man and gently placed his hands in his shoulder with a sure, calm voice said, “the unwillingness to fight in this war doesn’t take you out from the battle, it just places you on the other side but go then.” The Hero quickly left the presence of the young and join his army as the war waged on.
The young man shook from what the Hero said, rushed home to find his father. He convinced himself that he is not unwilling to fight, he loves it. There is nothing wrong with preparation and more pressing needs is important, like family. As the young man entered his home, he found his father preparing for the fight. He speedily placed his hand on the top of his father’s sword and spoke to him about this War with the Rebels and to open his eyes. His father looked at him with unbelief, as he shook his head and advised his son, that deep in his heart the young man truly doesn’t believe in all that nonsense. He moved his son out of the way and said, “I know that you are my son, but know this full well, if you join the other side I will not hesitate to cut you down and remember this you will lose everything.”
Still in disbelief and saddened about what his father said, rushed to join in the fray outside of the city to aid the Rebels, and possibly fight his own father. As the young man arrived in the battlefield, he saw the fight not going well for the Rebels as they are being pushed back. He saw the Hero and his troops pushing another way, trying to run through the weak flanks of the Empire. At this time the young man saw his old friend fighting and retreating to the alleys of the city where they will find refuge in their hideaways. The young man joined his friend and found themselves into the mouth of an alley. His friend advised him that they both can hold off the soldiers so that their comrades can escape. The young man looked at his friend and nodded. As the soldiers drew near, his friend loudly beckoned the young man to join him but at this moment the young man froze. He gazed at his friend’s eyes and at this moment feeling discouraged and afraid, dropped his sword. The young man walked slowly, passing by his friend and into the Imperial soldiers. As he meets them, they passed by him, nodding in approval as they trod on, they knew he is the son of a veteran Imperial soldier, loyal to the Empire. His friend shocked by what happened felt betrayed and fell, routed and overwhelmed by the Imperial soldiers. The young man looked back, saw the Rebels soldiers, his students, his allies and his friends flanked, blocked off and losing their lives. As tears rolled down from his eyes, as he fell to his knees. This young man, though he believes it or not, though he takes it or not, is now standing against the Hero and his army, a war that wages on…
“In a Christian life and the war with the World, the unwillingness to fight doesn’t take you out from the battle, it just places you on the other side”