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It hadn’t gone as planned, the journey, long, treacherous, and unfruitful. The knight removed his helmet and cast it away. A clunk followed as the warrior too collapsed into the desert sand. Lolligan was too dehydrated to sweat. Vomiting had drained his body of its last precious bit of moisture. His lips were thin shriveled stretches of jerky. If only he’d held on to the horse’s reigns, if only.

Scavengers glided overhead, their grim shadows the only shade for miles. Heat beat down upon the hapless champion. Armor, once the protector, now helped to usher in his fate. He’d been near death before, but this time he could smell her foul breath. Lolligan resigned to her will. He fell backwards, and all went dark.

Six segmented legs whisked across his brow, a quick slap. Reality struck, a gauntlet in the face awakened him from his slumber. The wee hours upon him now, the cool air refreshed him, giving him a spark, the same spark that emboldened him in battle, and a moment of clarity helped carry him to his feet. Only one thing mattered, keeping a promise.

“Mother if I live I shall do no more harm,” he said.

Saying the words out loud gave them power somehow, strengthened his resolve. He’d always been a fighter, violence an instinct, so easy for him, killing a natural talent. Effortless and final, he’d taken down all who challenged. But, there were always the nights that followed, filled with regret. Faces young and old, opponents worthy and otherwise, all snuffed out by his sword, they haunted him.

No, he would live. Dying now would be too easy, and he’d always taken the easy road. With each strap undone a burden was eased, not just the physical one as the armor’s load was removed, but a mental one. Lolligan left his past among the discarded plate, and walked towards the moon in his undergarments. “I will do no more harm.”

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