The student news site of De Smet Jesuit High School

The Siege of Widow’s Web – Part III

May 29, 2019

Keith bridge had completely collapsed into the valley, all that remained of the hundred-year-old bridge was its gatehouse littered with corpses of rebel and loyal alike. A pile of them had been pinned against the gate doors causing them to stay open for the entirety of the battle. Noise itself seemed to have died, only resurrected by the occasional winged buzz of flies, who could possibly be the only ones happy with the battle’s outcome. They had found a wonderful place to eat, mate and nest. This paradise was ruined by the right gate door beginning to shudder as it slowly crept open the flies buzzed, moving to another spot as the pile of dead were pushed to the side swept away by the door as an unknown force from behind exerted itself on it. Heavy breathing could be heard now over the insects stopping every so often when the door moved. After some time of this, a gap appeared between the door and the wall enough for one to squeeze through. Another corps fell out of this new area with its head partially smashed on the side, behind it the figure of Ralph came into view. Miraculously the only part of his body that hurt were his legs which had prevented the rest of his body from being crushed by the door. Because of his entrapment, only a splatter of blood seemed to reach him staining his face with droplets.

The entire scene didn’t seem to register to Ralph, desperately wanting this to be just a dream. He felt something heavy resting upon his feet, looking down he saw two familiar unblinking eyes staring back at him.  It was Arthur, dead at his feet with the side of his skull crushed in. Ralph’s breathing seemed to pick up at this moment, he tried to look away but everywhere he turned there was a body. Without him knowing, it his feet began to break into a sprint going out of the gatehouse. He didn’t care where they would take him as long as it was away. He went on like this for some time until he tripped, curled up and began to cry. His tears fell prey to the summer breeze being blown back to Whistler’s Grove, over the valley the droplets flew, flying above bodies and the destroyed Keith bridge. Below, the dead began to be picked up and tossed onto carts as mothers wept for their now cold sons, grasping and shaking them trying to get them to wake up. They clung to their sons having to be dragged away so their offspring could be laid to rest. From high above one could see this as crowds gathered around the debris, although, the commander of these forces was not present amongst the dead and instead stared down at the scene from the central tower.

Marten himself was in horrible throbbing pain every so often from his right knee. The doctor said he would walk with a limp for the rest of his life. It was a horrible thought of him being a cripple, he contemplated whether he should just jump out the window he currently sat on. He convinced himself away from the thought of taking his own life, but a depressed mood still lingered inside him. The tapping of footsteps on stone floor drew him out of his mood for a moment and directed his attention toward it’s source. It was the last person he wished to see, his own mother. A woman he once saw as a wise ruler now only a shallow tyrant stood in her place. Blood in his veins began to boil at the image of her emotionless face. He could barely speak to her with wanting to pounce on her throat.

“Why?” Was the only thing he could say while still keeping his calm façade.

“Why wh-,”

“YOU KNOW WHAT!” Marten got off his ledge but still leaned against it for support, he shook with rage feeling ready to kill her but in response, she calmly drew nearer.

“Do you know what would have happened to this place if we lost,” he remained silent unsure of how he should respond so his mother continued.
“They would’ve killed you and your men and the entire valley, I did what I had to do to protect you.” She seemed to get teary eyed seeming to lose control of her calm state.

“Why didn’t you protect them.” She remained quiet, “didn’t you hear the pounding on the door.” She looked down not wanting to make eye contact. “No, no you were hiding with that faun in your room, but I heard them and still do, screaming, begging, crying to be saved by their dear lady.” He didn’t want to continue to say these things to the women who raised him, but he knew no one else would.

“Where were you, hiding with that faun you fuck.”

“He has a name.” She intervened

“I don’t care, you weren’t there you didn’t fight with them you didn’t know their names.” He paused for a second trying to gather his thoughts and prevent himself from crying.

“Why didn’t you just support Myrin like everyone else.”

“What, and let the people elect an idiot as our leader we’d be led to ruin at le-

“WERE ALREADY IN RUIN.” Marten’s face was inches from his mother’s

“I did what I had to do to save us.”

“Bullshit, you did it to save you.” He began to calm himself not wanting to rile himself up to the point of doing her harm, he turned back toward the widow no longer wanting to look at her, but one question remained.

“How’d you do it?”

“We weakened the supports then Therabin attached a rope to one of them and then all he had to do was pull, he said it was easy with all the extra weight, a little longer and it would have fallen anyway.” She stopped, not wanting to explain anymore.

“Who else knows what you did?”

“Only a few men, those who weakened the supports, Therabin and the guard who took you from the battle. All the other survivors seem to think it was an accident.”

“Why didn’t you just break the bridge before Myrin arrived?”

“He needed to die, him and the army because if he’d survived, he’d raise another and spread his disease of rebellion everywhere. The people should be happy they’re fed, clothed and belong to no one.”

“Except you.” Marten now turned and faced her, tired of her act of appearing to do the greater good at the expense of everyone but herself.

“I did what I had to do to protect you, Marten”

“Well you did a great job of that,” he motioned to his crippled leg. “Now get out of my sight you whore.”

She was red in the face, now Marten was unsure of whether she would cry or scream. Instead she marched out of the room, slamming the door behind her with a great boom that nearly made the hinges pop form their place. Marten no longer seemed to care about his mother, almost as if the last 14 years never happened, when she nurtured him and told him stories of brave knights fighting for righteous lords and ladies, but then he realized all the good rulers he heard about none of which he ever met. How could he know if he’d never known them. Were any of them good rulers? Did they do what his mother just did often enough to the point of it being little concern? How many times had a king left his army to die so he could save himself, no, there are no good kings or queens, at least not anymore, all the rulers seem to be the same. They were all raised as lords and ladies then had to be elected by the masses, but nobody in the masses could be elected so how could any of them know what it’s like in the taverns or orphanages. Marten was always told as a child, the masses were unfit to have one of their own rule themselves, but did he deserve to rule them? He fought with the masses and talked with the masses, was he not one of them? His eyes looked down upon the wreckage where corpses laid, the only difference seemed to be that he was alive and they were dead. They were born without power and he was, none of them had control over where they were born, but they had been forced to fight against their fellow man who were following someone who wanted power and the others followed someone who wanted to keep it. If he deserved control over what he could do why couldn’t they? He knew the answer, his mother knew the answer, Myrin knew it even the dam faun knew it. The only ones who didn’t know were the masses. If the people had control, his family would lose power, but would they be replaced with anyone better, he didn’t know.  Myrin rose from the mases, who’s to say another lunatic wouldn’t come from the lower classes. They needed to be educated not riled up, to vote not kill others with different opinions and to live for happiness not out of fear. If the royal council ever wanted to stop rebellion they needed to let the people elect someone from amongst themselves. He didn’t know if such an idea would lead to paradise or destruction, but he knew one thing for certain, this would not end with Myrin.

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