“We Were Enemies”

A story by Jeremy Kapp

Copyright 2007 by Jeremy Kapp

Chapter One: Clinging to Faith

The battle was long and hard. The optimistic Brennites fought bravely to the end,
but now their army lies dead, scattered over the hills and their leader, Jaim, stands with his throat against the tip of Agassar’s sword. Agassar waited patiently for King Kessar’s approval before making his final kill. King Kessar was the ruler of both upper and lower Kannon. He watched his triumph over the Brennites from the battlefield. With only eight protectors, he moved across the land watching his victory unfold. He watched Agassar with great interest and considered him the greatest warrior of his entire army. Defeating Jaim and his people pleased him very much since the people of Brenn believed they could never be defeated. The people of Brenn considered Jaim a true wise man among their land. He would often accurately predict the accounts of his land and the King of Brenn looked up to him. His abilities earned him the role of general in the war, but he did not predict his army to lose. “This was never meant to happen!” Jaim declared. “I had a vision, a dream in which my people are victorious over you!” King Kessar moved closer to Jaim. “It appears you are not the wise man your people believe you to be,” the King said with a laugh. “Perhaps you saw yourself defeated and mistakenly believed it to be us.” “No,” Jaim replied. “In my vision I saw your people running in every direction. I saw my own blade cut down your best men and I carried your head back to my people.” King Kessar held his hands out to his sides. “Do you still believe this is going to happen?”

The sound of laughter began from the surrounding Kannonites. The King looked into Jaim’s eyes, raised one eyebrow and smiled. “Well?” “I don’t know how, but this vision must come true. It is a vision given to me from God and no vision has ever been false.” The King walked behind Agassar and put one hand on his shoulder. “I will make you an offer, Jaim,” the King said. “If you can defeat my greatest warrior, I will allow you a safe passage out of this place.” Without waiting for Jaim’s reply, the Kannonites began to form a circle around Agassar and Jaim. Standing at nearly four cubits tall, Agassar sheathed his sword and slowly unsheathed it to remove the blood from the blade. Jaim kept his eyes locked on the King and nodded. King Kessar stepped back among his protectors and prepared to speak. “May the greatest man prevail!” Both men raised their weapons for battle. Agassar rushed at Jaim and swung his sword fiercely at him. Still clinging to his optimism, Jaim stepped forward and raised his sword straight up, protecting his head and upper body. The force of Agassar’s first blow was so great it removed the sword from Jaim’s hands and left him standing unarmed. The sound of laughter came from all around them now and the King smiled in approval for his warrior. Several men from the crowd began to shout. “Kill him! Kill him!” Jaim lifted his head to the sky and spoke aloud. “God, give me instruction what to do! I am confused with your vision and unsure how to proceed! Please help me in my great time of need!”

Then, a fiery presence ascended from the sky and hovered over them. The men of Kannon gasped in awe at the radiant spirit above them. “YOU HAVE WATCHED YOUR ENTIRE ARMY FALL DEAD AND STILL YOU HAVE HOPE. I HAVE GIVEN YOU MANY VISIONS AND NONE HAVE EVER FAILED TO COME TRUE. I TOLD YOU YOUR PEOPLE WOULD HAVE FOOD DURING THE GREAT DROUGHT AND THEY FOUND FOOD. IF I TOLD YOU FIRE WILL RAIN FROM THE SKY YOU WOULD WATCH IT WITH YOUR OWN EYES. IF I SAID TO YOU, A MAN TRAVELING WEST LONG ENOUGH WOULD RETURN TO HIS STARTING POINT YOU COULD FIND IT TO BE TRUE. EVEN WITH ALL ODDS AGAINST YOU, YOU CONTINUE TO CLING TO YOUR FAITH. I WILL NOW TAKE THE TWO OF YOU AWAY FROM THIS PLACE, TO ANOTHER PLACE WHERE YOU CAN FIGHT MAN TO MAN WITH NO WEAPONS. I WILL EVEN THE ODDS AND WHEN THE FIGHT IS OVER, I WILL RETURN BOTH OF YOUR BODIES BACK TO THIS PLACE.”

Chapter Two: Sympathy for the Wounded

Jaim awoke from a deep sleep. He lay in a clearing in the center of a large wooded area. He followed a path to a small stream where he drank cool water and washed his face. As he followed the stream, the path began to widen out. The plant-life around him became less of trees and more of moss and vines. He heard the sound of another man’s voice and remembered why he was here. He ran his hands through his garments, but had only his flask with him. “I am unarmed, and must battle a much greater warrior than myself,” Jaim thought. He slowly followed the stream in the direction of the man’s voice. The stream had now widened into a vast body of rushing water and Jaim saw a waterfall at its end. He walked to the very edge of the waterfall and looked down. At the bottom, he saw Agassar lying among the rocks, holding a badly broken leg. “Hello, Jaim!” said Agassar. “Perhaps you will have this victory after all!” Jaim followed a path down the hillside to the place where Agassar lay injured. He looked down at his adversary and Agassar looked back at him. “Surely the Lord does not intend for me to kill an unarmed, injured man!” Jaim knelt down and pulled Agassar from the water. He left Agassar and later returned to him with four straight branches and several thin vines. After setting the bones, Jaim used the vines to tie the branches to his broken leg. “When you are healed, we will fight.” For many days Jaim brought food and drink to Agassar. They shared their stories and a friendship grew between the two men. They spoke of their adventures, the battles of their past and of all the women and riches their kingdoms held. “Why do you assist in restoring my health when it can only be harmful to you later?”

“I believe in doing what is right, and I will not kill an injured man. When you are healed and back to health, I will fight you.” Jaim broke rocks into sharp pieces and used them to sharpen a long branch into a spear. He carried his spear into the woods and returned later with a large rabbit impaled on it. Jaim left to gather water into his flask, and when he returned, Agassar had built a fire adequate for cooking the rabbit. “How is your leg healing?” asked Jaim. “I should be able to stand soon,” replied the larger man. “Tell me Jaim, do these visions of yours always come true?” “All of my visions have come true. Sometimes I fail to take in the full detail of the vision, and sometimes I fail to understand the full result after the vision, but yes, they have all come true.” “I am King Kessar’s most prized warrior. I do not believe you can defeat me in combat. Perhaps you were meant to kill me at the bottom of that waterfall.” “I believe what happens will happen. This King of yours cannot overtake our land. I am sure one way or another, my people will prevail over yours.” “My King believes he can take over the world I think. I am his servant, but don’t believe for even a moment I like that man. He has done terrible things to the good people of many great lands and although I do everything he asks, I do not stand with him in my heart.” “You seem like a much better man than anyone else I’ve met from your kingdom, Agassar. Why not assist me in eliminating your King and become a member of my kingdom?” “If my people saw me kill my own King they would all together turn and kill me! That would be madness! I sit at the same dinner table as my King and live better than anyone else I know! Sorry my friend, but I will take my chances with you and return to my good life afterwards!” “Have it your way. I understand how difficult it would be to leave such a wonderful position. My King considers me a great man too, although I live outside

of the kingdom. I have assisted my King many times and even shown him the key to winning our last war, but I eat my dinner in my own home at my own table. As I explained my last vision to the King, he became overwhelmed with the details and the strategies I saw. He saw it fit to appoint me general over the army, since no one could understand the goal better than me.” “Perhaps you were never intended to be the general,” said Agassar. “Perhaps taking the role of general has spoiled the vision.” Jaim sat silent for a few minutes searching for his words. “I hope, for the sake of my people and for my own sake that you are not right.” Later that night, while the two men slept, a snake approached Jaim and crept very close to his face. Agassar woke and saw the snake dangerously close to Jaim’s throat. Agassar quietly stood up on both of his feet, took Jaim’s sharpened rod and returned. He raised the weapon high in the air, but paused. His eyes shifted back and forth, from the snake to Jaim. As Jaim lay on his back sleeping, the snake brushed by his face. He awoke, but only saw Agassar standing on his feet holding the rod above him. With no further hesitation, Agassar thrust the rod down, piercing the snake through its skull. Jaim sat up and cleared his throat. “You are a great man, Agassar. You could have spared the snake and done away with me, but you haven’t. When I saw you standing on your feet, I was sure you would kill me. However, if you can stand on your feet and walk, then it is time to set our friendship aside and do what must be done.” “I will not kill you, Jaim,” the warrior stated. “Although my people kneel to no god, I believe your God is with you and has chosen you to be his messenger. I would not dare kill a man as close to God as you, and I would not kill the only friend I have made in years.” Jaim considered Agassar’s words. “Perhaps there is another way. If you could return with me to the kingdom of my land, you could live a long life there and be respected for your talents.”

As Agassar considered this, they heard a voice from a nearby bush. “Are you men going to fight?” asked a female voice. From the bush emerged a young girl of about nine years. She wore plain clothes of animal hide, but had a colorfully beaded necklace around her neck. “Where did you come from?” asked Agassar. “From the nearby village,” replied the girl. “Would you like to meet my friends, we don’t get visitors very often.”

Chapter Three: The Way to Paradise

The two men followed the young girl to a large village on the outskirts of the Kadesh Kingdom. The people of the village greeted them with warm smiles and a good meal. The villagers gave the men a place to sleep and shared stories with them. Word of their arrival soon made its way into the kingdom and the King’s officials entered the village to have words with them. Unhappy with their answers, the officials took them into the Kadesh Palace to speak with the King. The King of Kadesh wore a robe of red and gold and sat on a thrown of beautifully painted wood. “So, you are a man of God, with the ability to read visions and win wars?” “Yes,” answered Jaim. “And you are the greatest warrior of the Kannon army?” “Yes,” replied Agassar. “We are about to go to war with the neighboring city of Simbarra. We could make use of men with your skills. If you assist us in this war, you will be well rewarded and always have a welcome home here among us Kadeshites.” The two men agreed to help the people of Kadesh win their war against the nearby city of Simbarra. Upon agreeing, the King brought one of his wise men into the palace to speak with each of the men. The wise man lowered the hood of his robe and spoke softly to Jaim. “I had a dream in which three cattle were grazing on a hill. A lion approached the cattle, but instead of killing them, it walked between them and slept. I had a second dream in which a man shot an arrow at a lion. His arrow hit and killed the lion, but several more lions appeared behind the man and quickly killed him.

For my third and final dream, I saw many men celebrating a great victory and drinking ale. One man had a bag of gold coins. After the celebration, I saw all of the men sleeping in their great tent; the man’s bag of coins spilled out on the ground. What are the interpretations of my dreams?” Without hesitation, Jaim unfolded his hands on the table before him and answered. “Your first dream is your first warning. Your adversaries will create a diversion. The three cattle represent three false warriors. The lion does not eat them because they are not real. If you attack the fake warriors, the real men will find and kill you. Your second dream is your second warning. The lion represents a man standing alone, when you see a man and you are sure he is alone, do not try to kill him or you will alert many more men that will overtake you. Your third dream is yet another warning. When you believe the war is over and all of your enemies are dead, do not celebrate and drink. The men in the tent are not sleeping; they are dead. Your enemies will launch a last stand against you and kill many of your men while you are drunk. The bag of gold coins represents your King; after they kill your drunken warriors, they will rush into the palace and kill your King.” Jaim’s words frightened the King and his wise man. They spoke briefly to one another and excused themselves to make a conference. They returned later and sat before Jaim and Agassar. Only the King spoke this time. “We leave for war in three days. If you lead us into battle and win this war with u, I will appoint you both with the highest positions here in Kadesh.” After consideration, the two men agreed to lead the army of Kadesh into war against Simbarra. It was a crushing victory; they avoided the three traps seen in the wise man’s dream, including the assassination attempt on the King. Every man in Kadesh hailed them as heroes and the King gave them the highest positions in the kingdom. The King gave each man three women for wives and ate his dinner at the same table with them every day.

Chapter Four: The Forgotten Vision

One day, while Jaim and Agassar were walking through the fields talking happily with all of the kingdom’s men and women, the fiery presence again ascended from the sky and had words with them. “I TOOK THE TWO OF YOU TO THIS LAND SO YOU COULD BATTLE TO THE DEATH. INSTEAD, YOU HAVE BEFRIENDED ONE ANOTHER AND EVEN SAVED EACH OTHER’S LIVES.” “Agassar is my friend,” Jaim declared. “He is a good man and a good friend. I could never fight him and surely never kill him.” “DON’T FORGET YOUR VISION, JAIM! YOU ARE HERE TO RESOLVE A CONFLICT. THE VISIONS I GIVE YOU WILL ALWAYS COME TRUE, YOU CAN DELAY THE FACT, BUT I ASSURE YOU, IT WILL HAPPEN. THE LIVES YOU HAVE MADE FOR YOURSELVES IN THIS LAND ARE ONLY TEMPORARY AND CAN NOT CONTINUE.” Jaim looked at his friend Agassar, then back to the fiery presence. “If I have done wrong, kill me. I would rather die at the hand of God than die by the hand of a good man like Agassar. He has become like a brother to me and I refuse to fight him.” “IF YOU REFUSE TO FIGHT, I WILL RETURN YOU BACK TO WHERE I FOUND YOU, AND YOU WILL RECEIVE NO INTERVENTION FROM ME.” Jaim lowered his head. “If there is no intervention from you, then I will most surely be killed by Agassar.” “I HAVE GIVEN YOU THE TIME NECESSARY TO TAKE ACTION AND GIVEN EACH OF YOU AN OPPORTUNITY TO OVERTAKE THE OTHER. UNLIKE ARITHMETIC, SOME PROBLEMS CANNOT BE SOLVED BY MEN. THERE ARE MANY PATHS A MAN CAN WALK, BUT ONLY ONE IS THE CORRECT PATH. BEFRIENDING THE GODLESS WILL ONLY

WASTE YOUR DAYS AND HARDEN YOUR HEART. THIS IS THE LAST TIME I WILL INTERVENE ON THIS MATTER.” “I believe what happens will happen,” replied Jaim.

Chapter Five: The Last Intervention

Both men raised their weapons for battle. Agassar rushed at Jaim and swung his sword fiercely at him. Still clinging to his optimism, Jaim stepped forward and raised his sword straight up, protecting his head and upper body. The force of Agassar’s first blow was so great it removed the sword from Jaim’s hands and left him standing unarmed. The sound of laughter came from all around them now and the King smiled in approval for his warrior. Several men from the crowd began to shout. “Kill him! Kill him!” As Jaim studied Agassar looking for an opportunity to overtake him, a strange thing happened. He looked into Agassar’s eyes and saw a change in him. A look of dawning came over Agassar and a small smile curled from his lips. He dropped his sword to the ground and opened his mouth, preparing to speak. Jaim saw the opportunity he was looking for. Without hesitation, he plucked Agassar’s sword from the ground and thrust it through his breast. With his next move, he raised his sword and ran at the King. The King’s protectors did not have time to move and Jaim’s new blade removed the King’s head from his body. As two protectors approached him drawing arrows from their quivers, he cut them both down with one slash. The Kannonites began to flee in many directions. As they began to run, Jaim took the bow and arrows from the fallen protectors and shot them into their backs. When the last of the Kannonites had fled into the woods, Jaim picked the Kings head from the ground and tucked it under his arm. With King Kessar’s head in his possession, he set off for his homeland to tell everyone of his victory. Jaim lived his life as a firm believer in God, but when anyone asked him if he ever actually saw God, he would answer no. He will never know the amount of interaction he had with God, only that he was with him when he defeated the

Kannonites. Jaim never fully understood why his victory over Agassar was so easy, and he never understood why Agassar said those final two words. “My friend”