A Banner of Iron is the eighth and penultimate chapter of my fourteenth fanfiction, "The Stage". I originally planned on having 10 chapters, but there are now going to be nine, not including the prologue and epilogue. The ending of this chapter is very emotional. I want to say in advance: Prepare to Cry.
A Banner of Iron
I left Ancrya, and returned home. When I got home, Henriett was crying. She ran up to me, and gave me a hug. I hugged her back, and tried to calm her down.
Henriett: This can't be happening, Harold. I don't want to lose you.
Harold: I'm sorry. But I'm powerless to change this.
Henriett: There has to be another way.
Harold: There is no other way.
She backed up a few steps, and wiped the tears from her eyes. I put my hands on both of her shoulders.
Harold: Don't vote against this. You can't let your feelings stop you from doing what is right. Do you understand me?
She hesitated, but ultimately made her choice.
Henriett: I understand.
Harold: Thank you. It's getting late. I'm going to bed.
We went to bed, and I fell asleep almost instantly. The next day, I left the house at about 2:00 in the afternoon. I had a few things to do that day. The vote was going to happen the following morning, so I had to do everything today. The first thing I did was go to James's house. I knocked on his door, and he answered it very quickly.
James: Harold. How can I help you?
Harold: I might not be around to say goodbye tomorrow.
James: What are you talking about?
Harold: I'm going away tomorrow. I came to say goodbye.
James: I don't understand. What are you trying to tell me?
Eleanor walked up behind James, and looked happy to see me. She run up, jumped at me, and gave me a big hug.
Eleanor: Uncle Harold!
Harold: Hey there, kiddo. You've grown.
I picked her up off me, and set her down on the ground.
Harold: I'm leaving tomorrow.
Eleanor seemed upset when I said this. I crouched down, and put my hand on her shoulder.
Harold: Don't worry about me. Everything is going to be alright.
I stood back up, and left. I went to the cave, and asked Ptolemy if I could speak to David. David and I spoke in Maltron's house, and he tried to keep himself under control.
Harold: I'm sorry about Eli. I shouldn't have let our argument get out of hand like that.
David: Eli always was an idiot. He was a liar, a cheater, and a coward. But he was my brother, and I loved him. I'll never forgive his death.
Harold: I wouldn't ask you to. The vote happens tomorrow. Vote in favor. I know that you will.
David: As you wish. I have to go.
Harold: So do I.
I then went to Yharnam, and headed to Pale's house in the Cathedral Ward area. It was an old workshop that Pale had renovated. The place gave me the creeps. Pale saw me come up, and told me to come in.
Pale: It happens tomorrow, Harold. I'm not ready for this.
Harold: None of us are. But it's the only way. I wish there was another way.
Pale: What happens after it's done?
Harold: I want to make you the new Nameless Lancer. You are the only person that I trust with this. You can choose who the new Iron Lancer is, but I would advise against choosing Arminius.
Pale: Thank you, Harold.
Harold: You've been like a daughter to me, Pale. We've come a long way. I never thought that it would end like this.
Pale: Neither did I.
Harold: It's getting late. I'm going home now. The vote has to happen at 8:00. Be ready.
Pale: I will.
The last thing that I had to do before going home was go to the Forbidden Woods. I went to the windmill, and stepped out on a wooden platform. I took out my Burial Blade, and transformed it. I then spoke to my blade.
Harold: You have been a good friend to me for a long time. We have claimed many souls together, and destroyed many things. You have brought nothing but pain and suffering to this world. Be gone!
I cast the blade off the ledge, and it fell into the river below. I then went home, and needed to speak to my wife. We sat down next to the fireplace, and she tried to say calm.
Harold: It happens tomorrow morning. I want you to stay at the fort tonight. I can't be there when the vote happens. You know that.
Henriett: Okay. I'll go to the fort. I love you Harold.
Harold: I love you too.
She gave me a kiss, then left the house. I went to bed, but couldn't sleep. I was awake all night, and couldn't stop thinking. I was questioning what I had become, and all the things that I have done. I knew that I had done many terrible things, and destroyed many lives. By the time that I had almost fallen asleep, I glanced at my clock, which read 8:00. The time has come.
The Reapers and Lancers gathered in the chapel at Fort Wellington. Everyone except David, Zhukov, and Dimitri was very upset. Henriett and Pale were crying, and everyone else was trying to hold back their tears. They didn't want to do this. When Pale spoke, her voice cracked constantly.
Pale: None of us want to do this. But we have to. I love Harold just as much as everyone else in this room. But he knew what happens when he hurts the family, even though he didn't intend on hurting any of us. We must have this vote. It has to be unanimous. (Deep breath) Yay.
Ptolemy: (Stuttered breathing) Yes.
Arminius: I'm sorry, Harold. Yeah.
Henriett was crying too hard to say anything. Pale grabbed her hand.
Pale: You have to do this. I wish there was another way, but there really isn't. Please. What would he want you to do? Do the right thing.
Henriett: (Several deep breaths) Yes.
Pale: 9-0. The votes are in. Harold Jenkins.... (Deep breath) Meets the Reaper.
This is a very good chapter. I hope you liked this. The last chapter and epilogue will be out tomorrow. Tell me what you think in the comments. Have a good day.