The Scarlet River


Once upon a time in a land far, far away a king stood watching the battlefield he had just conquered. He noticed that there was blood and smoke from burnt corpses everywhere. The river which flowed along the battlefield had been stained scarlet. About 1.5 million warriors were dead.

The king was known for his exemplary warfare skills and ruthlessness…he was one of the greatest of all times. Once again he had proved his might. Riches, beauties, fame awaited him. This kind of bloodshed was not new to him.

But at that moment, watching that deathly still picture of blue and red, he felt something stir deep within him. The enormity and severity of his doing dawned on him. His sword fell from his hand and he wept in agony. The victor had just witnessed his greatest defeat.

(Based on King Ashoka the great and the Kalinga war. The conquest of Kalinga marked a turning point in Ashoka’s life and reign. Ashoka decided to renounce warfare. He sent peace missions to his Asian neighbours and turned to the teachings of Buddhism.)

This story is a part of a Mondays Finish the Story Challenge by Barbara Beacham. It is a wonderful contest in which flash fiction is created based on the picture and an opening sentence. Take the challenge here: