Iachimo stared down at his wretched hand. The ring was dull, he couldn’t bring himself to shine it. All that, all of that for a ring. Not even his, not tied to any of his memories. But tied to someone’s. Well, some people’s. Two creatures, heartily. God, why did he say that? Why did he begin this sickening cauldron of all things villainous?
Right. He needed to prove himself. He wanted to be the best. The most handsome. Him. The flirtiest, him. Most confident. Him?
But now everything was wrong. He had gone too far. He only meant to win. He didn’t mean to— to— his guilt was too much to hold inside him. He had to let it out.
His sword connected with the closest tree to him. He swung and swung, the bark cracking and falling to his feet in fractures.
Not only had he committed such heinous acts with any man or woman on the earth, but he chose the princess of this country. This country he fought.
He took another swing at his tree, and then another and hacked at the trunk like it was the ring clutched to his knuckle.
The rivers of this country he drank water from, the stars he slept beneath. The stillness of the mornings left him more full with guilt with each sunrise. Betrayal was the only descriptor for what he had done, what he does.
Another swing. He was honored in Rome. Pieces of wood littered his boots. He didn’t deserve all of this, he wasn’t the best. He had defiled his awards, rusted his titles. A loud creak like that of leather brought the tree to Iachimo’s attention.
He had chopped it down. And it was falling. He could just stand here. He could rid Britain of the stain he was on its landscape. He could, he could go just as this tree did—
He couldn’t. He had a duty. He had to go fight a battle against an enemy he so often owed his life. He is but a mere mortal going with arms ‘gainst Gods.
Iachimo jumped out of the way. His only comfort was his inevitable end.
But would he do the same thing again? Probably. And so he gripped his sword, took a shaky breath, and ran into battle.
Lost, him. Wrong. Him. Sentenced, him?
Iachimo saw Posthumus lung at him with broken strides across the battlefield. Sword up. Gaze down. Hair swept up into tumbling waves. A dullness in his eyes that matched that of his ring that Iachimo wore. Iachimo knew he had to die here, he was probably going to anyway.
He charged, and swung down over Posthumus’ head, intending an end to his guilt. But Posthumus was too swift and ducked out of the path of his blade. Iachimo aimed for Posthumus’ torso, but he vaulted, and then spun and locked it against his arm. Iachimo saw the outcome of this. He knew he couldn’t get out of this, at least then there would be one less problem in the vast world that was full of better. Better than him. Posthumus swung him around by his sword and Iachimo fell to the ground, his knees thumping against its rocky features.
He took up Iachimo’s sword, two against none. Both glinting beauties, angelical fiends, taunting Iachimo’s courage. Boldness was no friend of his.
Posthumus and Iachimo held each other’s gaze. Posthumus pointed his blades at Iachimo‘s head, who crept backward, shuffling into the shadows. He deserved to die, or, rather, the world deserved him gone.
Iachimo was too afraid of his end. Undermining himself, he let out a small and quiet whimper. A vocalization of all the thoughts racing through his mind, a message to Posthumus of who he was. He didn’t deserve the blade of Posthumus’ sword. Posthumus, in turn, heard him and realized that he was dealing with someone not worth the strike. He had is own job to carry out, and was no better than Iachimo, other than his nerves. Posthumus had caused the death of his beloved Imogen, and although she did do wrong, she didn’t deserve the gruesome end he set for her. He wasn’t meant to kill Iachimo. In the end, although he craved it, Posthumus left his enemy unharmed.
Iacimo’s sword thumped into the dry earth, chocolate dust swarming it. Posthumus turned on his heel with a look of contempt, leaving Iachomo shivering on the ground. The coward took up his sword, and with a trembling breath to try and calm his nerves (which didn’t work), left to rejoin his comrades.