Artillery batteries bellow in the distance. Moments after their throaty bellows, there are sharp whistles that end in a roll of thunder. A soldier stands on the edge of a ruined building. A silver sword is held in his hands. A long trench coat flutters in the weak wind.
His eyes wander across what is left of his birthplace. The square where his father once sold fresh baked bread is bordered by the remains of gutted buildings. Across from him, the city’s library is now a crater. In fact, the broken down wall he is standing on was once the front of the candy shop where he spent many days as a child.
The young man feels anger at the people responsible for destroying his home. His fingers twitch. The teen realizes it. He tightens his grip on his blade.
His quiet muses are interrupted by soft crunch of stone.
He turns towards the source of the sound.
A young girl with dark hair and fair skin walks towards him. Like him, she holds a blade in her hand. A cloak rather than a trench coat wraps her body.
“Synth.” He says to her.
A roll of thunder from a distant battery punctures his words. The girl draws even with him but remains on the street.
“You know what must happen.”
He sighs and looks up. Clyde allows himself to be distracted by the field of stars overhead. Clyde wonders for a moment. What kind of fate would allow a terrible battle to be fought underneath the beauty of the stars? Why should such beauty be destroyed by battle?
“Surrender?” He asks, grasping one last hope.
“Why must we fight? We are the same, you and I. We both want peace.”
“But at what cost? You and your people see to bring everyone under one kind of rule. Your rule. To follow your rules and your beliefs. If anyone challenges it, they disappear. You kept pushing that we follow your way. Instead, you choose to resist the greater good. We could have accomplished so much– if you just accept it.”
“Do you hear yourself!?” She yells. Her words echo through the empty ruins, “You demand peace by demanding we all march to the same tune. And that is why we fight! You won’t look at anyone else’s opinions or beliefs. Only your own!”
“You refuse to accept diversity. You just want to look alike and not be discomforted by someone who thinks differently. Or acts differently.”
“And you don’t? You may look different but all your people think the same. Is there really any difference? At least we admit that we think alike. But we also work to understand each other and choose the path that is best of all. You just want it your way.”
Clyde drops in front of Synth. “You just won’t give up.”
“I can’t. I believe what I believe and you won’t accept it.”
“But is it worth the bloodshed.” He says angerly, “Is your opinion so important that you will kill others? Have killed others!”
“You started this by passing laws that silenced us.”
“You were spreading hatred.”
“We were telling the truth about your leader. And you wouldn’t accept it because he was the first. Because he was making history and represented all you thought were minorities.”
The two stare at each other for a moment.
“But you are outnumbered.” Clyde snaps his fingers. Out of the shadows
Out of the shadows step more warriors. Men and women dressed as him. Their blades glisten in the starlight. Synth chuckles. From behind the teen, more cloaked figures appear. Like his own force, they are a mixed of men and women. They hold their own blades.
For a moment there is silence.
Then the distant batteries howl once more. As the artillery rounds cross through the night sky, the two sides leap across the distance. The only sounds made by them are the sounds of their booted feet and the whistle of the wind against their blades.