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The Last Prayer

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At first he sat on his knees; so he saw all sitting when praying …  he put the weapons together, knew that killing iron is not good house with prayer. Then, when, without realizing it, tears started to flow through the increased beard, he stretched face down, in the form of a cross, and all thoughts, wrapped in a prayer as no longer had ever said, were leaking in the dust soiled by the horse camp manure, sanctified by the blood of the dead during the past days.

The high and clear sky, without a trace of cloud, began to light immortal torches, as if to give a greater solemnity to the prayer of man who never prayed before.

He was the most feared of mercenary, the eternal soldier of foreign causes; he beat of pleasure and knew no better reward than the good name, full girdle and, especially, the horror in the eyes of soldier reached less than a length of sword… He needed not too many things in life, nor he seek to carry more than the burden horse could carry for a day, but now he wanted…

A wish was born in him the night before, when the camp rested, and he had gone to drink horse to a river in the lap of the mountain, where the murder did not happen yet, and the water was not troubled by any corpse. While horse drank water, he descended from the high saddle, sitting on a pile of leaves collected there by an old wolf who had fled when had seen him. Cleaned by his thoughts and fatigue of battle just finished, he stood and stared, as not much did usually, the arm leaning on the sheath of heavy sword rested on his knees. Then he saw her…

Frightened, looking all sides, she was coming to the source with a large jug in one hand and an elm branch in the other. Perhaps to defend the beasts, he said to himself. He realized that she was sheltered in the forest to avoid the plague of war; both knew what was her fate if soldiers of either camp would have found her.

Curiously, he tried to keep breathing just to not scare her. Under the silver light of the moon, he saw her like a Slav deity, as he seen long time ago, in another war, that he neither knew against whom and under what flag he fought. Her hair was yellow and long, his eyes – a moment those eyes were resting on his eyes – and then he saw that they are azure.

She was close to get out of hand the pitcher and flee, but his pleading eyes made her stand. They were separated only by the water thread, and he could have reach her a few steps only, but stood on the spot … She filled the jug, then slowly stood up and left after looking at him a few seconds…

And now, lying under the starlit sky as cross, as in a great cathedral, he stood and prayed as he had never did: to live one more day, to wait for her in the evening, to go to the source and to see her… After that, I do not wish anything more!

When the trumpets sounded the wake-up, he stood up and took his weapons. He knew that he will not grab the evening …

(Translated from aMorale, by Marius Cilibia)

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