Servius fell to his knees. The rush of blood faded and the exhaustion overtook him. As the wind carried the smell of fire and iron, and while the setting sun was engulfing everything in a bright red light, the blankness in his head cleared up.
He would live to see another day. Live to carry on the dream they all shared. They all, who stood right next to each other mere hours ago. They all, who were now scattered across the same field. They all, with the same purpose in life and death.
Their dream was nothing special. Nothing unique. Unimpressive to some even. A long time ago, Servius himself would have deemed it indifferent.
On his knees, with empty eyes locked on to the ground in front of him, he remembered the time when it became his dream, too.
He wondered, was it their young impressionable characters that were easy to influence? Was it what they, as humans, truly believed in and they just required a reminder? Or was it each and every word that was deliberately chosen to convince them to give away their lives for some other reason?
That day, they lined up shoulder to shoulder. They were standing there as a man emerged before them. Moments of silence passed as he did nothing but observe them. Then, with a clear and decisive voice, the man broke the silence.
He began to tell them a story. A story that was passed along to him. A story that became his. A story that would become theirs. And as he told it, it consumed all of them. It was as if it started a flame in everyone who dared to listen. And each word this man said was like fuel to that newly kindled flame. Like a wildfire it spread through all of them.
Servius remembered the feelings that overcame him at that moment well. Determination, excitement, full of purpose. And yet, right now, he continued to wonder whether the story the man told that day was true or if there were ulterior motives? Whether he himself believed it or not? Whether a liar could have convinced them if they had used the same words? Whether he lived by a lie someone else created?
As Servius raised his head, his eyes fixated on the lifeless body in front of him. He wondered more. Would a liar have died for words he did not believe in?
He turned to gaze towards the last moments of the sun. His wondering was futile. In the end, he believed in those words that the man told them. And that was all that mattered. He would continue to live by them, and he would probably die by them.