Ready to Die

Dust and smoke rose into the air, creating a haze so thick the sun could barely penetrate. They had been fighting for days. Days that seemed to go on forever. They would push forward, but the enemy's forces always seemed able to push them back. She thought they were prepared for this battle. Her father, the King had thought they were ready, but now she wasn't so sure he had been right.

Pixabay

Pixabay

The enemy soldiers were not like any other she had fought. They had battled against them previously, but something had happened in those months since that prince of darkness had taken her daughter. She wasn't sure what it was. Maybe it was because they were in his territory. Maybe it was due to the long journey their own army had to traverse to get here. Whatever, it was, she did not feel confident in their ability to win this battle. 

The thought made her cringe. How could she even be thinking these thoughts. She had never struggled with doubt before. She always had been confident in her Father's abilities as both a King and a commander. Now, however, doubts seem to plague her like some sort of blister on her foot and she had a lot of those. Her feet hurt. Her legs were stiff and her arms felt like lead. Fatigue filled her being from toes to fingertips.

Pixabay

Pixabay

Now, her small battalion was surrounded. She was not even sure how it happened. They began the day's fighting in the clear, but now they were backed up against a canyon wall. They were hemmed in on every side. The only thing that kept them from being slaughtered was that they were on the high ground. Every time the enemy tired to attack, they sent a volley of arrows flying and the enemy retreated, but their arrows were running out. 

Pixabay

Pixabay

"Your highness?" One of her men had come up behind her.

"Yes?"

"We only have enough arrows for one more attack...then..."

She knew the time had come. She had to make the choice to surrender or to go down fighting. She turned to face the soldier.

"I want you to bring the men together. I want to speak to them."

The soldier nodded, bowed and quickly left her.

She went to her knees. "Father, I know you cannot hear me, but wherever you are, I want you to know how much I love you and how much I look up to you. I know that I have been angry, frustrated and impatient in this mission to rescue my child, but you have never wavered and for that I am thankful. I know there is no way out of this. My child might be dead and soon that will be my fate as well, but I will never surrender to that vile, son of filth. I will go down fighting. Thank you for never giving up on me."

Tears, brimmed her eyes. She clenched her fists rising to her feet. Turning, she went to where the men were assembled. She was shocked at how very few of them were left. She stood before them, her head high.

"I would like to offer you hope. The hope that I give you is not hope for life, but hope to die with honor. Today, we are going to die, but you have a choice in how you do it. You can go out cowering, or you can go out, sword in hand, taking as many of those cursed vermin as possible before you fall. If you do that, I will be proud. If you do that, my father will be proud."

Her voice grew loud and her words were clear. "Today, let us die, for the sake of our King!"

She raised her sword and the men raised their's, voices matching hers; a chorus of rebellion they hoped the enemy would hear.  

It was not long before they saw the dust of their enemies' horses, filling the small valley below their sacrificial high ground. She instructed the men to form two lines. The first line was made up of the remaining archers. They went down on one knee, nocking their arrows as they did. The second line was made up of what was left of the battalion. She knew they had no chance, but they would die with honor, fighting for their King, her father. 

"Hold steady archers!" Her voice rang out even as the noise rose ushered in by the approaching chaos. "Hold until I give the order!"

Closer the dust came and along with it the sound of pounding hooves, a battalion of enemy riders bringing death.

Her heart beat rose and sweat mingled with the dirt and grime trickling down her neck. It felt itchy. Funny, she thought, the things one thinks about before one dies. 

Suddenly, the sky seemed to turn dark. She lifted her eyes up and saw shadows coursing through the sky over her head. She felt confused, but then those shadows became the solid forms of horses and their riders. Her heart sank. They were surrounded...

But wait! Those riders wore the King's colors!

Her men looked just as confused as she felt, but more and more shadows flew overhead, diving straight into the approaching storm. She heard a shout.

"Daughter!"

Pixabay

Pixabay

A dusty figure on his steady mount appeared behind her. It was her father, the King.

He smiled at her, then held down his hand. Pulling her up onto his horse, he commanded others of his battalion to take up her remaining men. Once all the were mounted with other soldiers, the King raised his hand and his voice.

"This ends now!"

(This was a fictional work by Amy D. Christensen)

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This fictional work is meant to remind you, when all seems lost, the King is behind you. When the dust storm of the approaching enemy brings you to the end of yourself, the King is above you. When you are severely outnumbered and you have very little left to fight with, the King is diving in ahead of you. He will be there for you, every day, every hour, every battle and especially when you finally lay down your weapons and face the last enemy of death. 

....I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
— Matthew 28:20 (NASB)

For the other parts in this fictional series, click on the links below. 

Part 1: Return to Battle

Part 2: A Father's Perspective

Part 3: Waiting

 

 

Waiting.

She walked with purpose through the camp. Her waiting had turned to worry and her worry had turned to anger. Why weren't they moving? Why were they just sitting here? The enemy's walls were within sight, which meant her daughter, who had been in his filthy grasp for more than two months, was within the reach of her arms. Her arms longed to hold her once again, to look into her sweet face and see those blue eyes smile back at her. 

Pixabay

Pixabay

She saw the King's tent ahead. Two guards stood outside the entry and just as she made to move past them, they blocked her way with their long spears. She backed up angrily.

"What is the meaning of this? I am here to see the King."

The two guards didn't even flinch. Staring straight ahead the one said, "The King is not to be disturbed, by anyone."

Pixabay

Pixabay

She stepped up to the one who spoke and looked up at his face. He was at least a foot taller than her, but she was not going to be intimidated. 

"I am the King's daughter. He will most certainly see me."

The guard did not move, his expression stony. "He will not be disturbed by anyone, not even you, your Highness!"

She fumed, but she also remembered her place. She was the King's daughter, but He was the King. Ranting and raging would only make her look a fool and would not serve to get answers to her questions any sooner. 

She took a deep breath. "Would you please tell my father, as soon as is convenient, that I need to see him?"

The guard did not speak, merely gave a curt nod.

She moved away, ranting and raging on the inside. 

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The small brook she sat beside had a calming effect on her tumultuous nerves. As the sun began to slide behind the horizon she heard a voice behind her.

Pixabay - stream

"So I have found you."

Her father joined her on the fallen log that she was using as a bench. 

She stared at the stream, willing herself to be calm.

"I was told you wanted to see me."

She made no response.

"Here I am!" His voice was almost jovial.

She sprang to her feet, whirling on him as if he was the enemy himself.

"How can you be so calm? The enemy is within sight and yet here we sit! My daughter is within reach and yet we have been camped here for days. You have been distant from me, even telling your guards to not let me, your own daughter, in to see you. I am mad with the waiting!"

He patted the log beside him. "Come. Sit beside me."

She started to pace. It was her default, to keep moving. Moving meant she was doing something and doing something was far better than doing nothing at all. She said as much.

"I do not want to sit. I want to go get my daughter. I want to go in and kill the man who has no doubt violated her by now. We don't even know if she is still alive."

Once again, he patted the log next to him, his voice a bit more forceful.

"Sit!"

She took a deep, steadying breath, then sat back down. 

"You have been trained to be a warrior. You know as much about tactics and battle as I do, maybe even more. You also are aware, that this enemy is not one to be trifled with. He has his own tactics, many of which have taken husbands from their wives and fathers from their children. I will not go into this battle on anyone's timeline, but my own."

Now it was his turn to stand up and pace. 

"You don't think I've lost sleep over the fact that my grand daughter is in the hands of that beast? Do you think I am unaware of the ramifications of delay? That little girl is never going to be the same, but to rescue her alive is my only goal. Our enemy will have no qualms about taking her life. My goal is to keep that from happening...but it must be done with great care."

He went and knelt before her. This time he took her hands in his own.

"You must trust me. You must believe in my ability as you father and as your King."

She felt her anger recede to a dark corner of her mind. As tears filled her eyes, she said, "Help my unbelief!" 

She leaned into his strength and sobbed.

for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’
— Deuteronomy 20:4 (NASB)

This was a fiction piece by Amy D. Christensen. You can see the first two parts to this series by clicking on the titles below.

Part 1: Return to Battle

Part 2: A Father's Perspective

 

 

 

The Tower

I lived there once, the Tower. More accurately, I was held captive there. Maybe you are familiar with my story. I was young and curious and that curiosity would often lead me off the beaten path. One particularly beautiful day, when it wasn't quite spring yet, but the sky shone so blue and the sun so bright that I couldn't help but wander, I came upon the castle...his castle. It was beautiful in the sun light, covered with green ivy. The stone walls were built with some ingredient that sparkled, and I loved bling. Before I knew it, I was touching the warm walls with my fingertips. I wasn't afraid. I had no reason to be, or at least I didn't know of one.I walked along the wall until I came to a heavy wooden door and there he was.

Arundel Castel - Arundel, West Essex, England - Photo by Amy Christensen

Arundel Castel - Arundel, West Essex, England - Photo by Amy Christensen

He was tall and very handsome. His light brown hair fell in waves to his broad shoulders. He smiled at me and held out his hand. I took it.

I don't know why! What was I thinking? He was nice to me for a while, giving me presents and telling me I was special, but then he took me to the tower. It became my prison. It wasn't until after he had locked the door that I realized I had made a mistake. Fear grabbed my stomach like a claw then scrabbled its way up into my throat. What had I done? How could I have been so naive, so foolish? The tower became not only my prison, but my torture chamber. The first time he pulled me close I realized his flesh smelled like the breath of hell and rotting meat. He never took me, but would hold me close, until I nearly suffocated from the stench, then he would push me away, mocking me, telling me I was ugly and stupid. Then he would leave locking the door behind him, laughing as he walked down the hall. Over and over, day after day. I had no idea what he would do when he came in. I was terrified. It was always the same. He would hold me, his putrid scent filling my nostrils, until I no longer noticed it. Then he would push me away, railing me with insults. One day, he took the key to the door and threw it out the window. 

Tower steps - Raglan Castle - Raglan, Wales - Photo by Amy Christensen

Tower steps - Raglan Castle - Raglan, Wales - Photo by Amy Christensen

Turning to me he grinned, "You will never be enough!" He walked out the door, laughing down the hall until I could no longer hear him.

I fell into a heap and cried. I didn't even care if I was rescued. I just wanted to die. I was worthless. No one would come for me. No one would ever love me, especially now that I reeked of his lair, his stench. Everyone would know that I was not enough. 

That was years ago now. The Prince saved me. He rescued me. He came and defeated the master of that castle who held me captive. On that day He stood in the door of my tower, I will never forget the eyes that shown like that bluest sky I remembered so well from when I was captured. I cowered at the other side of the small room with a ragged blanket wrapped around my shoulders. He came and knelt down in front of me. 

Holding out His hand he said gently, "Why are you here? You are free. Come, beloved!"

I winced. Shaking my head I tried to back even further into the stone of the walls that had imprisoned me. 

He smiled, "Come, beloved!"

"No!" My voice came out like a squawk. 

He moved to touch me, but I scooted back. He persisted. "You are my beloved. Come, take my hand."

This time, I stood up. "No! I....am...not. I...am...not...enough!"

The prince stood and in one step gathered me into his arms. The first thing I noticed was that he smelled of earth and pine, flowers and fields. He took my face into his hands and said, "Beloved, I am!"

There are still times, I hear that other voice, "You will never be enough!" It comes as a whisper at the end of the day when the sun is waning and the sky darkens.Those words that once held so much power over me were real and cut deep. But the Prince brought healing. His voice has become a balm to my injured soul. He is enough. And I am His. 

“...I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
— Jeremiah 31:3 (NASB)
I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me
— Song of Songs 7:10 (NASB)