Never Look Back

Today I have a short cautionary tale, entitled “Never Look Back”, told from a prompt by Henry David Thoreau. Enjoy.


“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” – Henry David Thoreau

Triston stood before the Council of Rhulk. It had been 48 hours since the collapse of the Q’Alor Regime in the decisive victory of the battle of Seven Mountains. Triston knew full well the part he had played in the counterrevolution, and the Council of Rhulk had called him into their chambers for a special meeting.

A servant had held the door open upon his arrival, and all twelve masters sat about in their seats in their ceremonial robes, watching Triston intently. Even after all staff had left and all recording devices were turned off, the council chambers were quiet for some time.

“You perceive our true purpose in calling you here, do you not?” Said Kiriah, a white-headed female master of venerable years. 

Triston nodded. “You probably want to thank me for my work in command in the Battle of Seven Mountains.” He said.

Another master, a middle-aged man with a gray-blonde beard, spoke up. “You perceive rightly.” He said approvingly. “Without your command, the Regime would have had our throats cut by now.”

Triston didn’t nod or assent. “Noted.” He said in military fashion. “Do I have your permission to leave?”

Kiriah cocked an eyebrow. “But…we haven’t had a chance to proclaim your reward yet.” She said, a quizzical look in her eye. “My magic informs me of…misgivings within you.”

“May I speak freely before the council?” Asked Triston. No one saw, but his hand clenched behind his back. 

“You may.” Said Kiriah, motioning to the other eleven masters. “We have no qualms with honest opinions fearlessly followed.”

Triston grit his teeth. “You’re cowards.” He said brazenly. “You’re all cowards.

No one spoke. Nobody had expected this. “The Battle of Seven Mountains wasn’t what you told the people it was, was it?” He said threateningly, pointing his finger at the council. “Maybe you should inform them that the town of innocent people known as Bvahn no longer exists?”

“A soldier like you must have no regrets.” Said another master in a mocking tone. “You are a tool of the Council. Hopefully you can be grateful for your victory,” He said, veiling a threat, “and move on from this.”

“You owe the truth to every man, woman and child in this country.” Said Triston, stepping forward. “The Battle of Seven Mountains was a massacre. You had us bomb the whole town to kill our targets.” He looked the masters in their eyes. “Bvahn is a ruin. Your political war is over, and the truth remains hidden from our people. Have you no shame?”

The eyes of the masters were dull and calloused. “No regrets.” Said Kiriah, solemnly looking at the commander of the armies of the Council. “Rhulk can no longer afford to have regrets. That is the greatest of the tenets: no matter what atrocities you commit for the greater good, we will act free of conscience. Never, ever look back.”


Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

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