I do not sleep anymore. Cannot sleep. I am haunted by the death of my dearest friend. I wake up in cold sweats screaming, but my voice is choked. It is the same grief-stricken nightmare over and over again.
My vision is blurred by the crimson veil of blood dripping down my face and coating everything. My sword feels loose in my hands as I swing blow after blow. The blood makes it hard to hold the hilt. It makes it hard to walk, each step sliding ever so slightly. Blood is everywhere. Is it mine? Is it my foe’s? My ally’s? I cannot tell. All I know is that I cannot stop fighting. The demons that surround us will not die. They seem stronger than anything we have ever faced. The blood must be feeding them, for they are relentless. Foe after foe I defeat just to see two or three more rise up out of the blood of the one I just felled. I wipe the blood and sweat from my eyes, but it is of no use. This is an unnatural place. We should never have come. I should never have led these men, my friends, to their doom. I move around the battlefield surveying the carnage. Aegnor is dying in a hallway out of my reach. Greth lies motionless in a pool of his own blood. Ferrin lies to one side bleeding to death. Only Deor and I remain. I thrust my sword, that is now stained red, into the only demon remaining, and I feel a sharp pain in my chest. It is a realization rather than a physical force. Ferrin is fading from this world. Deep crimson blood begins filling the room. Blood is everywhere. Ferrin’s blood is everywhere. It blurs my vision. It streams down the walls. I run to my friend and try to bandage him, telling him that he is going to be all right. I have hope, but there are so many wounds. So many wounds. I work furiously, but my hands are too weak or too slippery to help my friend. I watch as his eyes turn a sickly cloudy color. His head rolls to one side. He takes one last breath. I think he is about to say something, but nothing ever comes out. Ferrin is dead. My dearest friend is dead. I hold him to my chest sobbing uncontrollably asking him to forgive me. Asking the Unknown God to heal him. But Ferrin just lies motionless in my arms. His limp body looks . . . Then I wake up screaming, but nothing comes out.
It is my fault. I did this. I cannot go on knowing that I was the cause of his death. I hate evil, but my zeal to destroy it where ever I see it has a price. A price I am not sure I am willing to pay, especially if I pay it with someone else’s life. I am unfit to lead this group. I have but one job: protect my friends and keep them alive. I cannot even do that. I am supposed to sacrifice myself for the sake of others, but I was so focused on ridding this world of evil that I forgot about them. I forgot about him. I forgot about . . . Ferrin. I forgot about he who risked his life to save me on that mountaintop so long ago. He who has always stood by me. He who would follow me anywhere. And, to think, I could not even return the favor. Instead, I led him to his doom far beneath the world where light hardly ever touches. Far away from everything he loves and admires. No, I led him away to be slaughtered in Hell itself.
No, I will never forgive myself for letting him die, nor should he.