“But back at the soldier’s encampment,” Grandpa continued. “Demetrios, Eleon, Linus, and Praxis had no idea that the warlords had spawned a demon or that it destroyed most of the village. They had rallied their troops and were already marching toward the destruction.”
“Oh no!” Maddie gasped. “They can’t go there. They’ll get melted.”
The boys laughed at their little sister but the adults smiled, touched by her innocence and concern.
“They can’t get melted,” her brother Ethan emphatically declared. “They’re the heroes and the heroes don’t die, silly.”
“Some heroes die,” the eldest, Zack, replied somberly.
In a military family, they knew all too well that heroes often died in battle but the sentiment was not one their grandfather cared to touch upon. Instead, he steered back to the story before the children began worrying about their father instead of having fun.
“Fortunately for our brave captains,” Grandpa resumed, “the demon had flown off, most likely seeking out a dark hiding place until sundown. At first, the troops were cautious entering the village. They had assumed the warlords would be ready and poised for the attack yet each scout came back insisting that there were no sentries posted and, from what they could tell, the village had been sacked. The four captains led their soldier straight into the village, completely unfettered. The men gaped at the carnage strewn through the square. When they reached the center, Eleon discovered the body of one of their own, (or so he had thought) bound to a post with the curved blade sheathed in the corpse’s chest. He called to his fellows and they all drew near.”
For effect, the old man stood, miming out Eleon’s role and belting out the lines theatrically.
“My brothers, see here-one of our own, taken, beaten. He fell valiantly, refusing to give us, his bondsmen, up to save himself. I will not allow his sacrifice to be in vain. By the blood of our fallen brother, and that which still flows, warm in my veins, I vow my own life’s blood to avenge his death!”