Pain in the Valley

"I have fought the good fight, 
I have finished the race, 
I have kept the faith."
~ I Timothy 4:7

There was an eery stillness in the valley now.  One could hear very little compared to the roaring of hours before.  A young woman could be heard quietly weeping over the much loved one who had ceased breathing, gone to another world altogether.  Horses were wandering free, waiting for the strong command of their masters, also gone.  The scene was ugly as devastation was evident.  This is where Bravadin  found himself as he slowly came to.  He had been left for dead which was partly true.  The young soldier was bleeding from his shoulder and his head hurt from the massive blow of the enemy. So the scene that was before him did not register to his mind.  It took quite a bit before he understood what his eyes were seeing and then he felt sick to his stomach.  The cry that came from him echoed in the valley and summed up the agony of his soul.

A battlefield is never glorious but a scenario of the struggle against evil.  There might be a victory but always at a cost.  Sometimes the cost is almost too much to bear and the wounds go so deep that one never really heals properly.  At this particular moment for Bravadin he hoped he would succumb to his wounds and quietly go to that wonderful place of rest.  As he slumped over he could hear someone approach but was too weak and heartsick to even look up.  Fresh blood dripped from his forehead and he could taste the grime and sweat on his lips.  "God, help me" he thought as he didn't even have the strength to push the words past his lips.   Gloom, despair and agony were swirling around him like a tornado.  Then he slipped back into realm of blackness again.

Kabed had received the message from his niece, Frailian.  He had hurried as fast as he could, meeting his younger brother along the way.  These three were banning together on a rescue mission.  Frailian had quickly sought out her father after the dreadful night of her mother (Honoria's) abduction.  They were making their plans in route when news of the battle and the devastation of the battlefield reached them.  Hence, their previous plans had to wait as they made their way to where the battle had been fought.  All three had been searching all night for the brother/son/nephew in hopes that he was still alive.  Both for the Old Man Warrior and his younger warrior brother the scene before them was not a new experience.  It didn't lessen the gut wrenching that they both felt as memories came back in a rush, flooding their minds with the heartache of battle.

The Warrior, Frailian and the OMW had been praying all night amongst themselves to find Bravadin.  Now they stopped and in unison joined hands to petition the Holy Spirit for guidance.  Time was always of the essence.  They knew this when they had first started out the day before towards a totally different goal.  But it was a well known fact that time was held in the Maker's hand.  And though their actions were swift they counted on the divine will of the Master Commander.  There was no question of submission to this will even though the outcome could possibly be something other than what they hoped for.   Sometimes our prayers are not always answered in the way we want but are subject to the All Knowing One.  So, consequently, it took a good remainder of the day to find what the group had been looking for.  Bravadin had succumbed to unconsciousness again.  When Frailian found him he was hardly recognizable and she had to wash his face to make sure it was him.  She cried.  When her father heard her he came running, falling to his knees to hold his son.

"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, 
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me."
~ Psalm 138:7

Bravadin was a good and faithful soldier.  He was true to his men and cared for them deeply.  His concern for them always superseded his own wants and desires.   So, consequently, he was much loved.  This love not only came from his family but almost everyone that knew him.  There wasn't a soldier that wouldn't follow him into battle and most wanted to be in his squadron.  Now, many of those that had followed him lay on the battlefield floor.  The fortunate ones were still alive but barely.  Many were gone, never to return to their families and the ones that loved them.  This would prove to be a heavy burden for Bravadin to bear ~ so many of his brothers-in-arms fallen on the battlefield.  He had followed the MC's orders never imagining that it would cost so much.  This, too, would be something that the young soldier would have to reconcile to himself.

The Kingdom fighters had held fast that day.  It didn't seem like a victory but the enemy was held back from advancing.  This is what had been hoped for.  Of course, the soldiers were hoping for a massive victory.  But it was not to be.  The cost for this semi-victory was much and there were those who doubted the wisdom of such a battle.  But seasoned soldiers know that victory isn't necessarily seen with the naked eye.  One has to believe though not seeing.  It takes a measure of trust in the One sending you forward to believe in victory.  If you were to ask the now fallen soldiers there would be no hesitation to do it all over again.  Such were the heroes.  The memory of them would be what stories are made of.

As the OMW and his brother lifted Bravidan into the cart they could hear a quiet moan.  However, the young warrior did not regain consciousness and wouldn't for some time.   His physical wounds, though many, would heal.  But no one knew of the mental toll this battle would have on Bravadin and of the monsters that were gleefully planning their reunion.  However, this time it would be with the brother of their old captive.

The sister could feel the ominous, cold presence of her old foe.  She knew a battle was brewing for the mind her brother.  But this time she would be the one to help instead of her mother.  She was unafraid and ready.  The Master Commander would help her and guide her to his restoration. Frailian knew that her brother was strong and that his love for the MC was great.   "The monsters are fools." she thought if they think they can gain a foot hold on Bravadin.

As the four members of this warrior family headed back to the castle the OMW was already  formulating a plan for the next venture.  Bravadin would be in the care of the healers for some time.   The Warrior remembered the time that he had barely made it to the castle to be restored.  He remembers the caring hands and the tender words.  He remembered how his body, though beaten and sore, had responded to their treatment.  He was confident that Bravadin would be in good hands.  Therefore his resolve was to go after his wife.  Although he was tired and worn out he could not lay his sword down now.  Would this battle ever end?  How he longed for the peace of the city and rest for the soul.

Kabed was thinking the same thing.  As the two brothers left the healing wing of the castle they gave each other a knowing look.  With quick and long strides they headed to war room to plan and make preparations for Honoria's rescue.  The Master Commander was waiting for them.  His kind eyes and gentle voice beckoned them in.  As He sat down with the two brothers they realized without a word that what they desired was not going to happen.  The MC's plan for the much loved Honoria was to leave her for a time in the belly of the beast.

"Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!"
~ Psalm 37:5-7

Not always do we feel victory on the battlefield.  Often we come away broken and wounded.  We question our endeavors to fight for the right and wonder if we heard God's voice at all.  This is the way of the soldier of Christ.   We do, what we think, is our best trying to be true to what the scriptures say.  Our semi-victories bring us to our knees as we were fully expecting total conquest.  But, oh dear friend, how sweet the surrender of knowing that the battle is the Lord's.  Yes, we are called to the struggle against evil but amidst the struggle is the assurance that He leads the way and secures the final outcome.  This never is a one-time lesson as we are thick in the skull.  Yet, the Lord allows breaking in us so that He can tenderly mend us.  The wounds that come often, He will heal.  And the disillusionment that is so prevalent can turn into confidence in a loving Savior.  All is never lost.  All is gained when we look to Him.

"When I am afraid of evils to come, comfort me by showing me
that in myself I am a dying, condemned wretch,
but that in Christ I am reconciled, made alive and satisfied;
that I am feeble and unable to do any good,
but that in him I can do all things;
that what I now have in Christ is mine in part,
but shortly I shall have it perfectly in heaven."
~ Valley of Vision

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