Through the endless wasteland they walked, two knights clad in heavy armour, and met in the middle. There was nowhere to hide and nowhere to run. Standing against each other, they looked like giant carnivorous bugs, so black and shiny their armour was. Broken into dozens of reflections on their helmets and cuirasses, each sunray turned into quivering plashes in the sand.

The knights’ visors were made of transparent glass-ceramics, the material space travellers use. Their hands, clad in ribbed metal gloves, rested uneasily on the hilts of their swords…

Their meeting was an accident. Bored in their endless journey, amused by light flashes running through the wasteland for the reason they didn’t know, the knights followed the strange things and finally met there. Are accidents really so accidental or is there someone powerful above who plays their own games to play when bored?

The mysterious flashes drove the knights together and disappeared. There they stood, two ebony-black warriors, both equally surprised and hesitant to begin a fight. Under their dark space glass visors, each of them was smiling because it’s always nice to meet someone who indulges in the same foolish game as you.

After a while, both knights raised their visors. Their eyes met, human eyes, one’s solid brown, the other’s spotty, ever-changing along with the light. The brown-eyed knight stared at their new acquaintance unblinking, the spotty-eyed knight averted their eyes and, not knowing where to look, followed the runic patterns on the armour of the stranger.

Then they spoke. The brown-eyed knight’s voice was feminine, young, flowing and gentle. The spotty-eyed knight had a masculine voice as velvety and deep as a southern night.

While they were talking, the day had burnt out above the wasteland and the first stars appeared in the quickly darkening sky.

Something powerful shook the air like an invisible shockwave, making the reality rock like a giant cradle. The female knight took her helmet off, ruffling her short yellow hair. The next moment, her sword fell to the ground with a loud clatter.

“I love you!” she made herself say, despite the horror she felt, despite seeing the man’s fingers grasp the hilt of his heavy sword and the cold, despite the cruel glint in his eyes…

The sturdy belts holding her armour were snapping like dry, time-worn sticks. With nothing to hold it anymore, her rune-patterned cuirass fell to the ground, raising a cloud of dust, then the rest of the metal garments did. Nothing protected her anymore beside her thin underclothes. The cold night wind, always hungry for someone’s warmth, rushed toward his new victim, making her shiver.

The spotted-eyed knight stood abashed, not knowing what to do. Never before he had seen anyone remove their armour willingly. It became one with the warrior, their second skin, their exoskeleton, it grew into their body, it fed on their blood…

Blood… it was already showing through the girl’s white shirt where the severed connections became wounds. Oh, girl, what are you doing? Why would anyone do that to themselves?

No… he couldn’t kill an unarmed opponent. Yet he also couldn’t trust someone behaving in such a strange way. Not knowing what else to do, the knight embraced the girl. His heavy hand clad in ribbed metal glove grasped her soft, warm shoulder under the blood-stained clothes… Then they walked away, together, through the endless wasteland…

She had invisible wings behind her shoulders; he had a burden of terror on his. Never before he had felt anything like it. Never before, he could have imagined that an unarmed person would frighten him so…

They still walk side by side - the armour-clad knight and the unarmed girl. For them, the wasteland will never end while the ribbed metal glove lies on the defenceless shoulder.

(March 12, 2003)

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English is not my native language.
If you see an error or a typo, please, tell me. I will fix it.