What is the colour red?
It is a wavelength of light on the visible spectrum, it invokes such raw emotion on people depending on the hue.
Love and lust, hatred and rage.
It is the colour of the extremes, the passionate, the dangerous, and the fire within us.
It is the colour of action, the colour the brave, the bold, and courageous.
It is also the colour of life, you never want to be passionless, inactive, cowardly, and boring.
I struggle with my breath, the air stale and sour. The tips of my fingers are going numb, I’m sweating but I’ve never felt so cold.
I glance down.
A sword. Ornate in design, well maintained and oiled. The sword guard on the hilt looks like wings stretched out, etched into the blade is; ‘While I still draw breath.’
It is my brother’s blade, not by blood but by occupation, honour, and choice.
I take another shaky breath and try to gather up some emotions to fuel me. To give me strength, to burn inside me but as I reach all my emotions slip from my grasp.
He hasn’t moved since stabbing me, his blade firmly stuck in my chest.
My head feels dizzy like the fae have cast a spell on me. My knees are weak, I can’t stand any longer and I’m losing my balance.
Before I know it I’m sitting against a wall while my breaths become weaker.
“Levi! You need to hold on!” I hear Stefan shout as he reaches for a healing potion kept on his waist. He brings one up to the sword still in my chest but I weakly raise my hand and push it away.
“While I still draw breath, my Oath will not end,” I whisper, it’s hard to talk with a sword in your chest.
“Fuck your Oath! You didn’t deserve this! We’ll kill him and you’ll be free!” He shouts but he already knows they won’t find the Mad King in time. I look him in his eye. The remaining one he has left since I gouged out his other with my thumb. Blood and tears leak out of it like a fountain, the rest of his face is smeared in blood and dirt.
He already knows my answer, whoever partook in a King’s death must be hunted to the ends of the world, their family tortured and killed. That role was reserved for any surviving Royal Knights, if he didn’t kill me now I would kill him later.
“You gave up everything, you don’t deserve to die like this.” He wept. I had made my choice and decided that my Oath was worth more than my life, it weighed heavily on me even now as I felt parts of my body failing.
I was sure to receive punishment for the life I had lived, to follow a mad man rather than take a stand and fight against him as Stefan did. However, Oathbreakers would get far worse in the afterlife and I pity Stefan for the punishment he would receive in time when his end came to pass.
I glanced down once more and smiled. Stefan and I had both seen wounds like this before while serving as Royal Knights. This is a mortal wound regardless of the potion or tonic. The wound too deep, the shock so bad that the potion would make me insane or kill me itself.
I struggled to breathe, blood was filling my lungs. I coughed weakly forcing some of it out.
“T-” I coughed and heaved, Stefan leaned in closer to hear my last words. “No point,” I whispered, my throat clogging up. “Of standing in the light.”
“With a torch, you must head into the dark.” He finished solemnly. We spent our last few minutes together, he was kneeling by my side face down and likely crying. I spent my last minute with my eyes on the dimly lit brick ceiling of the sewers where the Mad King escaped from, the torch flickering orange and red.
Years ago, when I saw my comrades and brothers killed on the battlefield and their blood spilling over the earth. I realised that;
Red is the colour of Sacrifice.