Astyanax

An Action Packed Parable

by

Matthew Snee

Shortly before dawn, Astyanax and Hogan rallied their men with whispers, and the Royal Army set off marching through the forest towards the rebel encampment.  The two forces met just as light broke, and the day began under the auspices of a bloody carnage.  The Royal Army not only outnumbered the rebels, but was also accompanied by a squad of giant white helicopters.  To say it was a massacre would be a discredit to the Royal Army’s efficiency.  It was like a boot squashing ants.

Astyanax killed men with a handmade double-barreled rifle that was both a machine-gun and grenade launcher.  He killed men at an industrial rate.  Their bodies fell before him like cut grass.  He laughed; he did not know.     

Astyanax was a giant.  He was seven feet tall, maybe, and wide with muscle.  He was white, of the peasant caste, and had rapid yellow hair and piercing blue eyes that had a silent wit about them.  His jaw was wide and his face was strong.  He had a tattoo running all the way up his right arm.  His left arm was only covered in scars. 

The battle was soon over and Astyanax and Hogan met amidst the mounds of bodies.  They smiled at each other as friends do when they survive a battle together.  They returned to the Royal Camp.  Some hours later the captured rebel leaders were collected and brought to them in chains. 

Astyanax asked the rebels their names and one of the rebels cried out: “My name is the blood on your boots.  How can you kill your own kind with such lust, Astyanax?”

     Astyanax wheel-kicked the rebel in the face.  The force of the kick twirled the rebel into the air and he landed on his face in the dust with a thud and the rattle of chains.  But then the rebel got up, spat, and glared defiantly at Astyanax.  Blood fell from the rebel’s face.

     Horns bellowed in the distance.  General Rippler rode into camp under his guard and banner.  The General was riding a young brown horse that bounded with thunderous energy.  When the General came to Astyanax and Hogan he got off of the horse and nodded at his two Captains.  The General’s uniform was a fierce green and scarlet embroidered and emblazoned with images of hawks and wolves.  He was in his late fifties, and had oriental features, a mark of the kingdom’s ruling caste.  His eyes were a dark gray, and he had a pinched yet nefarious mouth at the center of an expanse of cheek, jaw, and neck made of sharp but weathered angles.

     The General greeted his Captains and called them his sons.  He told them they had won a great battle against an insipid enemy, and the kingdom was in their debt.  Astyanax and Hogan knelt in humility.  The rebel who had spoken before spat loudly.

     “What’s this?” asked Rippler, seeing the rebel.

     “A fool,” Astyanax replied.

     Rippler took the rebel and threw him on the ground.  He stamped his boot into the rebel’s face.  Panting, Rippler gestured for his guard. 

     “Take him to the capitol.  He will be a wedding present for my bride, the Princess,” General Rippler said.