The dark silence of the night was pierced by the loud blast of gunshots, and the sharp zing of the bullets that accompanied them. The slaves had been rebelling for months now, but the citizens of the small farming village, Righenval, had never expected themselves to be a target. One small farmhouse on the outskirts of the village was still untouched by the invaders, a house containing only two young women, who now crouched in a dark corner, trying to stay hidden. Enre, the older of the two, brushed her silvery hair away from her eyes and attempted to look outside through the small window, but she could see nothing through the blackness. Not wishing to be separated, the younger woman gripped Enre’s sleeve for comfort. Feeling this, Enre turned to look at her, and, seeing her fear, pulled the woman close. Her name was Melanie. As she gently stroked her long, auburn hair, Enre remembered when they had first met.
Melanie had come to Righenval from the town to the east; she had nowhere to stay when she arrived, so Enre had offered to share her home, since she lived alone anyways. It had been three years since that day, and over that time the two had become very fond of one another. It was fair to say they were lovers, though to the people in the village, it was only a rumor.
“I won’t let anyone hurt you.” Enre promised, she knew it was her responsibility, and it seemed to still Melanie’s fear.
The tender moment was short-lived however, and the safety was broken as the soldiers burst in through the door across the room. Enre didn’t give herself time to be taken off-guard; she knew what she had to do and focused on that task. Releasing Melanie, she stood defensively in front of the corner and the woman that it sheltered.
“Go away!” She growled, hoping they would leave them alone.
Her hopes were dashed by a bulky soldier who obviously had no intention of taking orders. With nothing but a small grunt, he swung the butt of his rifle, catching Enre in the ribs and sending her flying across the room.
“Enre!” Melanie called out, rising from the ground to come to her lover’s aid, but she was quickly stopped as the soldiers palm struck her across the face. Outraged that this man had dared to injure the young woman, Enre got to her feet and launched herself at the intruders. She didn’t stand a chance; they were armed soldiers, while she was just a simple farmer with nothing but her hands to fight them off with. The larger soldier, again, swung his gun around, this time hitting her square in the temple. As she fell to the floor for the second time, the world went blacker than the night around her.
Many hours later, Enre awoke to the silence, slowly she sat up and rubbed her head until everything that had happened came rushing back to her.
“Melanie?!” She called out, frantically searching around for her lover. Turning around, Enre looked behind her, and through the darkness of the early morning, saw the figure of Melanie several feet away. With slight shock and caution, she crawled over to the woman. As she got closer she could tell something was wrong, Melanie wasn’t wearing any clothing, and Enre’s fears were realized when her raised palm came to rest in a puddle of warm liquid.
“M-Melanie, no!” She stammered, in shock, as she pulled the limp woman into her lap. “Melanie, hun, c’mon and wake up, wake up!” She begged as she urged away the inevitable. Holding Melanie close, as if to force her own life into her, Enre began to cry, “Please wake up, Melanie.” But her lover did not wake up, just as no one ever wakes up from an eternal sleep, and Enre was left with her tears, her departed love, and her anger.
Hours had passed and the sun had already risen. The morning dew had made the earth soft and it fell away easily as Enre’s shovel cut into it. Melanie lay on a wooden bench a few feet away. Enre had taken great care to clean all the blood away from her wounds, and she was now clad in a simple white dress. As Enre hauled herself out of the freshly dug grave, she looked forlornly at her love, and the makeshift pine box beside her. No one else in the village had survived, and the majority of the houses were now nothing but ashes. Enre guessed that she had survived only because the soldiers had thought she was dead. She walked over to Melanie while softly running her fingers over the wound on her own head. Kneeling, she gently lifted the body into the coffin. She knew no good would come of crying, but tears welled up in her eyes anyway as she looked down upon the woman she had once held so dearly against the dangers of the night.
“Farewell, my dear,” Enre spoke as she gently placed her hand on the back of Melanie’s neck and gave her the last kiss they would ever share, “I’ll see you again one day, my love, I promise, Melanie.”
Silently she lowered the coffin down into the grave and tossed a single rose down on top of it.
“And I swear to you, I’ll make them pay for what they did, they won’t get away with it.” With that Enre filled the grave, trying not to look as the dark earth covered Melanie’s final resting spot. After the grave was filled, Enre positioned a simple wooden headstone above it, then silently went inside.
Lighting up a small oil lamp, she ventured down into the cluttered basement of the house. She hadn’t been down here since she first moved in, but she knew what she was looking for was there. Walking over to the corner, Enre found what it was she was looking for, and the moment that she removed the burlap wrappings, her plan was clear. Standing before her was an old suit of armor, though Enre couldn’t think of how it ended up down here. Running her hand over the breastplate, she could feel the strength and the thickness, and new it would do just fine. She quickly set upon her work, strapping the armor plates onto herself, and was slightly surprised that it fit her so well. Enre reached for the helmet but withdrew her hand to take hold of a hair clip in her pocket. After doing up her hair she then picked up the helmet and put it in place on her head. Her eyes darted to a second bundle leaning against the wall, “I swear, they’ll pay.” Those words escaped her lips as she picked it up and exited the basement.