The time to mourn is not now. Drawing the fletched shaft back to his cheek, Kel let out one last tear, one last shudder, before releasing. They made a choice. The string slipped from his calloused fingers, sending the arrow off its rest, speeding away. The hard iron tip flew between darkwood trees and thunked into its target.
The armored figure he’d known as Uncle Giles crumpled to the ground, an aspen shaft sticking from his neck. Shouts arose and the entire army stopped. Bugles sounded and every man turned to face their enemy, the archer. Shields locked and spears bristled.
“Give me the man called Dethroner!” Kel yelled. “The man you call ‘lord.’ The demon you sacrifice your future to is mine. If you don’t give him, I’ll kill each one of you, just to run an arrow through his throat.”
Wiping his face of any sadness, Kel looked each soldier in the eye; men he’d known as friend, neighbor, and towns folk. “You may say I’m only one man, but I tell you I am one man fighting for love. Nay you shall not have me, I shall have you. Let it not be said that a single one of you made it to the next town while I still stood!”
For many a second, not a sound was made. Trees no longer creaked, leaves stopped whispering, and birds went silent. The black cloud overhead darkened, getting heavier by the passing. As the clouds overhead darkened, a bugle blew, three short blasts. As one, the armoured wall began inching forward, closing in.
Drawing another shaft, Kel thought of the old poem. Ever in darkness, always no light. The sky is clouded, we ever must fight. He let the arrow fly and its cold tip whispered, flickering through the trees. The razor sharp head struck its target, sinking in between two shields. A man’s shriek of pain split the air and the wall’s pace doubled.
Lightning struck in the dimness and thunder roared. The clouds became too heavy and let loose. First only a trickle, but then a flood. Metal joints squeaked and faces dripped with sweat and water, while the ground turned to mud.
Kel unclasped his soaking cloak. Anyone caring to count would have seen twenty eight arrows bristling from the right shoulder. A dagger was strapped to his calf.
He drew the next shaft, setting his stance, prepared to meet the foe.
From the towering flames of a burning home, many years ago, stepped a boy of fourteen. In his left hand was an empty helmet, and in his right a sword near as tall as himself, dragged on the ground. The soldiers stood, frozen with shock. The boy had killed their chieftain, whose helmet was now being thrown at their feet.
Then grabbing the massive sword with both hands, he raised it over his head and yelled. Clouds formed over the smokey sky…. Dark clouds. The yell turned to words, and at the them, those in the dark armor trembled, falling to one knee, in hope to live.
“You barbarians of Tenebris live that others might die! I tell you now that he who lives by the sword will die by the sword… the ones that chase after land and lives shall find theirs taken.” The clouds grew heavy, and let forth a torrent. “I will not execute you here, no… I will not execute you at all, but you will die by the sword, and those of your own country. We will sail west to the land you call home. It will be mine, and you will take it for me. We will go first unto your king; his crown shall be mine. And then, I will show the whole world my mercy. Mercy you have never shown.”
None dared challenge the boy, who called upon the strength of the storm to face his adversaries.
— Excerpt from A Sailor’s Tale of Tenebris, as told by Callos Histos.
Kel drew his second to last shaft. Pulling it back to his cheek, he breathed in, choosing a target. The army had pushed him back, but that was fine. So long as they’re moving away from the next town. The sharp tip swayed, pointing at the mayor. Of my own town. He released, and the arrow wisped off burying itself between two armor plates. Reaching back to draw the last arrow, he paused. That one’s for someone in particular. The man that ravaged this land for so long, while we hid low in our little town, hoping never to be found. He found us, and killed the children… the women… the men of the town gave in and joined.
I’ll fight my way through an army to get to him. Reaching up, he folded the cover over the last arrow, then dropped his hand down and clasped the solid handle of his dagger. It slid from the sheath, dripping wet, razor sharp, and glimmering in what little light there was.
Written by Buddy J.
Edited by The Flabbits
Copyright © 2018 by The Flabbit Room
Welcome to The Flabbit Blog! Here you will find writings by the many members of The Flabbit Room, most of which will be set in the world of Ildathore.