Original Work Friday: Battlefield

holding hands

Two people stand alone together, facing, in a field. Perhaps this is the first time they have met, perhaps it is not.

They are here because they have convinced themselves ready and able to make this commitment. Whether they actually are, remains to be seen.

They came to be here after searching for an opponent worthy of meeting in this place. They have approached others and discarded them like a sweater that did not fit properly, was too itchy, or the wrong shade of blue. Each has been waiting innumerable years to be able to come alive in this situation. Certainly they have been in similar locations and circumstances but never quite like this. This is something real, something true, something bonding.

This place, it is not something to be easily thrown away or easily kept. Staying upright can be as much of a challenge as looking the opponent in the eye at times. There are unexpected events, flowers cropping up, rocks becoming overturned, secret powers revealed and wonders to be beheld if only each can remain on equal footing.

When these two people are first viewed, each is equally unarmed. Although either might be wearing armor, that is natural defense and not a cause for alarm, only a boundary for the other to work around in this quest.

As each stands there contemplating the other, several futures race ahead of them before the eyes of fate but unseen by the players. Every move they make from now on will affect an outcome that they are not yet aware of. Eventually one or the other might catch a glimpse and alter the course to the greater good or steer harder towards it endeavoring to win for themselves.

The longer they stand there, the more they study one another, size up the opposition, the more battle ready each becomes. They stand gracefully, at first an appropriate distance apart, before ever so slowly inching closer. And the closer each moves to the other, the more intimate the battlefield becomes. They more knowledge each gains.

The weapons appear in many forms. From the sharpest of swords and rapiers, to throwing stars, bows and arrows, dull knifes, axes and hatchets, there are maces and bludgeons and strange things not able to be described. There are also needles and bouncy balls, there are pillows and potted plants, handcuffs, and skillets.

From the time these two begin gathering weapons and disaster strikes, one of these outcomes becomes inevitable. For enduring battle is more than just standing in a field.

First, the years trudge on with nothing significant happening, the players remaining close, possibly touching, but not fully encased in one another. Until out of nowhere, a storm brews but they take no notice. A large gust of wind comes and finding the players unprepared, sweeps both off their feet. One is knocked out and the other remains conscious. And so it continues.

Once both are alive and well again, a sort of infection occurs in the one who was unharmed by the storm, a sort of resentment against having to lay quietly while the other rested in preparation. And so they begin to use the weapons against one another.

While each knows the weaknesses of the other, the one who begins the fight does so with the intention of vengeance and hurt. The one who receives the fight, retaliates without being positive that this is the correct outcome, but they must duel if they are to survive.

Sometimes it can start with something as small as a needle, a pinprick of blood drawn and the lust of battle takes full force. The use of the mace and the sword, the sharp stars and the lances grow until it cannot be contained by either side. There is no thought but blood and pain.

If it is not reigned in, it will rage on until each player has worn themselves out or forced the other to their knees. There is no victory here, only death. Shards of glass and bits of self lay scattered in the grass. Weeping can be heard but neither knows if it is themselves or their opponent.

One might eventually have the strength to get up and walk away. Or they might both remain forever in that desolate place, trapped, broken, and alone in their mutual despair of imprisonment.

If the first then perhaps the fates granted them this endeavor.

The opponents become close, each trying to best the other without the use of weapons first. They use skills of the body to seduce, to overwhelm, to overcome. But they are equals without being equal to each other.

The more they learn about the other and in turn, themselves, the more they realize that they are standing in what they thought was the right field but turned out to be the wrong field. They are not battling with the one they were meant to.

This can be confusing and one or the other might try to convince that this is the right place. If this goes on for long enough, there can be an earthquake which will awake each to the truth. While they protect each other from harm, it is not for the right reasons.

They fight and become angered, agitated and afraid. Each is unsure of how to proceed. They cut into the other without knowing why, but not truly wanting to cause permanent harm.

But eventually each will agree upon the right conclusion. The shallow wounds are not worth the price of the occasional shelter or frenzy. This set of players chooses to walk away from one another and this battle ends in a draw called friendship.

If not the first or second, then the final becomes the inevitable conclusion.

The players continue to creep towards one another, ever exerting the right amount of caution and curiosity until they are touching. A light touch to simmer the blood, to heal, to learn, to evolve. Eventually they are drawn up so close they it is hard to distinguish between one and the next.

The years pass and the weapons remain present but relatively unnoticed. The two remain pressed together. Suddenly a great thunderstorm approaches, seeing this, the couple breaks apart and decides on a plan of action.

There is no shelter, nothing to prevent the storm from breaking, so they strip off the armor, discard all attached weapons and sit together, huddled on the ground for warmth and wait it out. There is thunder and lightning, all manner of terrifying things that come howling, but still the pair do not separate.

Tempers can be short when forced into such situations and though each might pinch or prick the other at times, it is not enough to cause any lasting damage, nothing irreparable.

When next the sun finally arises, days or years later, each is tired and sore but alive. They take again to each other in mutual affection, thankful that at least the other made it through intact.

They once again noticed the discarded weapons and do not think much of them except in jest. They toss the bouncy ball at one another, playfully lob the pillows, and put the handcuffs to a better use than torture.

Here the stay in this field together, seeing it not as a prison but as an oasis. They continue to have occasional strife and first blood but the war never has a chance to begin when the two are ensconced in so much mutual respect, desire, and affection that has endured such a rough storm.

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