Monday, November 28, 2005

He didn't lose his belief during the war. He hadn't been that lucky.


Title: Faith Author: Ana Sedai Rating: PG-13 for graphic war images and language Character(s): Mal Prompt: 008 – Hate Word Count: 695 Author’s Note: Seventh for Joss100. It’s not Mal/River, but it explains a bit about Mal, and why he is the way he is. Source Note: I paraphrased the last lines of the story from another source. They hit me hard the first time I heard them, and it seemed appropriate to put them here.

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Zoë knew the whole truth, but she’d never brought it up, and never would. Shepherd had had some inkling. Maybe more than an inkling, but he’d never let on. No one else had the first clue, other than the fact that mentioning God with him in earshot triggered his temper but good. They assumed it was because he thought belief in God was foolish and silly, and as such had no place on the ship.

Well, they had it wrong. He wished they didn’t. It would’ve been easier. ******************************************** The call to surrender the Valley had been a blow. A big one. They’d fought so hard for so many days. Surely it couldn’t take much to finish the job? Seeing Angels of Death disguised as Alliance battleships spew forth fire and brimstone on his men had been an even bigger blow. But a lifetime of faith in a just and merciful God is not wiped out in an instant, no matter how dire the circumstances. It takes much longer, and is infinitely more painful.

Instead of surrendering as ordered, he and Zoë scrounged up as many as could still fight, or at least walk on their own, and set up at the head of the canyon, the narrowest part. A hundred men could hold against a few thousand there. All they had to do was hang on a little while longer. The war wasn’t over, not by a long shot. When the Independents finished kicking the Alliance’s ass elsewhere, they’d come back and help retake the Valley. Wouldn’t look good to give up and miss the victory party, now would it?

At first, even Mal believed what he said. They were on the right side, the side of freedom. God wouldn’t abandon their cause to the likes of the Alliance.

The next two weeks were spent in Hell. There were too many wounded, and too few supplies. For the first few nights, no one could sleep for the screams that echoed up and down the battlefield. They couldn’t even put the poor souls out of their misery. It took all the ammo they had just to keep the Alliance at bay.

Then the screams started falling silent. And then the smell arose. By the end of the first week, the stench of corpses had become unbearable. His group had dwindled to half its original number. Some had died of their wounds, some had been killed, a few had lost it and eaten their guns. Mal’s world had shrunk to the ground five feet in front of him and his future to five minutes from now. When he was able, Mal prayed, begging to understand why they were being put through this. Hadn’t they proven enough? As the days wore on and it became obvious that no one was coming, where others would have started to feel despair, Mal just started to feel fury.

He became a man possessed, taking foolish risks, daring them to kill him. Zoë threatened to tie him up if he didn’t stop acting suicidal. But death bypassed him and just took more of his men, and it just made him angrier.

By the end of the second week, only Zoë and Mal were still standing. On the morning of the fourteenth day, they heard the announcement of the unconditional surrender of all Independent forces. It was over. It had all been for nothing. And all Mal was left with, was his rage. ******************************************** He hadn’t lost his belief in God during the war, or during its aftermath. Could he have stood and watched wanton fire and death rain down, burning good men alive, and not still believe? Could he have squatted in a stinking hole for two weeks, listening to those wretched screams, waiting for salvation that never came, and not believe? Could he have seen the victorious Alliance, those to whom God had deigned to give His blessing, be freely able to treat those who had dared oppose them as subhuman mongrels, and not believe?

The irony of it all was, he absolutely still believed in God. He just absolutely hated the son-of-a-bitch.


Monday, November 28, 2005 5:52 PM


I love your writing! This piece is so full of great imagery and emotional turmoil. Simply eloquent!

I loved the last lines, what source did they come from?

Monday, November 28, 2005 6:15 PM


Yes, the last lines were paraphrased from "Pitch Black". Sure, the premise was absurd, but it still had a few redeeming qualities. Those words were, and remain, some of the most painful regarding faith that I've ever heard.

Monday, November 28, 2005 10:06 PM


The imagery was so vivid and brilliant in this peice. It makes so much sense that Mal would feel that way. Loved it!


Tuesday, November 29, 2005 9:48 AM


I can so see this explanation. The sense of betrayal so deep and poignant it warped the best of him and left the bitter ashes of his faith like unwelcome ghosts. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 3:13 PM


You're a very good writer, as others have said.

You know what I really like? The summary. Really gets you in the right mood.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 6:38 AM


wow. just, wow. i never thought of it like that, but now it makes a whole lot more sense...



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