Chapter 3 – Black and White

King to Bishop Nine” Barekvar said through clenched teeth as he fought the searing hot pain shooting across his arm. “I can watch this no longer.” murmured Manor under his breath as he turned and walked away, unable to continue his exposure to the sight of his best friend putting himself through such agony, “He is a fool” he added, wiping the beginnings of a tear from his left eye. “Listen to me Barekvar!” King shouted. “He has your Queen. This is over. Stop your madness.” But despite his friend’s pleas of sanity he played the game of infernal chess with the Serpent King, refusing to see the last of his hope dwindle in the face of his opponent’s end game.

As the scaly foe hissed in laughter and made his next move, drawing the game to its inevitable end the Lady Lazarus walked quietly to the Battlemage’s side. There she stood. Motionless and without speech. “I don’t want to hear it.” Barekvar grunted, swallowing back the urge to burst from his seat or pass out from inflamed agony. “I know,” she said, breathing in a long and heavy sigh, “But you have to.

I”m not going to tell you did not see what you saw. Nor am I going to tell you that you did not feel what you felt. Nor am I going to tell you that the course upon which you now find yourself, with us by your side, is foolish or doomed. I am not going to tell you these things because I do not know them in truth.” She paused, working the strength to finish her thought, “What I am going to tell you is this. You have suffered Windrunner. Suffered more than I would ever wish any that I hold so dear to my heart to ever suffer. And sometimes you have deserved it. But most times you have not. You are a good man and a loyal friend. And though you are the most resilient soul I ever may have encountered, you take wounds deeper than most. And this one… I do not know that this one will ever heal. Whatever you do next know that I will be here. To follow you or bury you. But things in this world seldom end the way we would wish them. And even more seldom do they make sense. Though we quest after great riches and tell tales of great battles survived, the truth is we lose far more than we win in the end. And the true losses are seldom avengeable or reversible. But this is the way we know. So we go on.

For minutes the two were held in silence, two sets of teary eyes watching them. Barekvar took his left arm with his right and forced his grip around his King.

It hurts.” Barekvar said, through a tear and blood stained face.

I know.” his friend replied, resting a hand gently on his left shoulder.

I don’t want it to hurt anymore.” he said as he lifting the piece for his next move.

Then let go

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