Of Bravery Are There Many Kinds

Lilia is watching the battle from a convenient rampart when the Ostrogoth line breaks. “Oh what the hell,” the noble lady growls around her cigar. “What kind of chicken-shit bullshit is this?” Down the stairs she goes clomping, hobnails striking sparks from the stones. Out the castle, out the town, into the fields and into the road she goes waiting, fists ground into her hips, waiting for her son Theodoric.

Up he comes riding. “Time to leave, Ma,” shouts brave Theodoric. “We have lost the day, but we may yet fight tomorrow.”

She spits at his feet. “You mewling sack of crap! You simpering pustule on a camelopard’s taint!”

His soldiers laugh, deep in their helmets. “Aw, hey now, come on, Ma, it isn’t like that.”

“You milk-fed poetaster, unfit to cast your shadow upon me!”

Theodoric winces. “I don’t have time for this, Ma! Odoacre’s right behind us, we gotta–“

Up she hoists her dress. “Nowhere left to run except back to the womb, boy.”

There’s a long, long pause. “Fine,” grits Theodoric. “Fine. Come on, men, let’s go kill a whole lot of people.”

Which of course they do.