November 27 (Happy Thanksgiving!) – Do You Wanna Die?

NaNoWriMo: Posted November 27@11:57pm

[I’ll have to weave the two scenes into a single piece later on]

The land’s rugged wild nature died as it neared Lynthia. The part Kalle and Toivo trudged through was swamp water mixed with leafless, low-lying, twisted branches. The two men trotted around the swampy lake before the last of night blanketed the land and made travel dangerous.

They’d been following a carriage for the last two hours. Toivo swore it was Lynthian. Why the Lynthian royalty would come out this far made no sense to Kalle. That carriage readied itself to stop for the night, but in the distance Toivo noticed a second carriage came to a halt on a small hill. The wood must have been painted dark because

“Do you wanna die?” Kalle asked Toivo from his horse. “We’d be outnumbered.”

Toivo, sitting on his horse by Kalle’s side, glanced over at the man he hated then back to the Lynthia Royal Carriage. No one knew his roots rested in Lynthia. No one knew his mother worked within the Palace there. For all he knew, his mother could be part of the caravan.

Kalle stood in his stirrups, shifting his weight uneasily in his saddle. Toivo worried about Kalle’s question; it was what stopped him from answering. No one trained Kalle to fight, not really. His question was his answer. He was prepared to die.

“Make up your mind,” the man huffed. “Decide.”

“I can’t sit here and just allow this.”

Toivo leaned back in his saddle, popped his packs and withdrew his favorite pair of swords. His daggers and smaller weapons were attached to his belt. “You sure you want to do this?”

“You said there were women and children.”

“There’s an older teen. There’s definitely women.”

“Tell me how to stop them.”

“I’ll go in on foot. Stay on your horse, distract them.”

Kalle heeled his horse rushing toward the Royal Carriage as the attacking party ran down from a hill. The last man in the party carried lumps of plastic and rope. The man yelled the stereotypical
”yeehaw” of a Kupa’o Raki. Toivo shook his head – they never should have spent so much time there – and ordered his horse forward.

The pair galloped at full speed to catch up to Kalle then, as they got close to the attack, Toivo flipped his leg over his saddle and rolled from his horse, his swords tucked at his sides. He rolled to safety, finishing a move that he practiced as a stable boy whenever his stable master allowed him out with animals. He knew he wasn’t bright enough to become a Lynthian Solider and refused to bow to the ranks of Palace Guard.

Toivo ran for the backside of the Royal Carriage, his movement hidden from the oncoming attack as his horse run away from the scene to safety. He flopped to his belly and eyed the indistinguishable, ghost-like blobs. He couldn’t focus in one area for long or his eyes would play tricks. Whoever was in charge stood on the hill. He ordered an attack on three front. Toivo noted the man advancing to his right would be positioned to strike first. Toivo pulled himself out from under the carriage and waited in a squat for him.

Kalle hooted some delirious call as he galloped by on his horse. The man attacked with a two-handed mace, a heavy weapon even for quick feet. He looked around for the source of the call. It was enough for Toivo’s first strike. He lifted his dagger from his belt, twirled it once in his hand then with a swift and definite motion stabbed a man in the neck, looping around the man’s back before he managed to lift his weapon or cover his neck. Toivo wasn’t interested enough to see the man’s split second reaction. Instead he weaved, needing to focus on his next attack.

He knew he should have screamed, should have made noise to warn the Lynthians, but it was like he didn’t have time to get the desire to come to fruition. He needed to concentration on not getting himself killed.

Kalle galloped by again, this time closer to the camp. His horse whinnied as it whirred pass the camp fire. Flecks of the ignited ash billowed up. Toivo used them and screamed as he attacked the next man, ducking below his raised mace to kick the man’s feet out from under him. The attacker fell to the ground. Toivo grabbed his sword and plunged it into the man’s body.

The attack had been coordinated, whomever did it knew exactly who belonged in the party. They struck the four Lynthian Soldiers first so as to preserve the easiest of kills for last.

Take out those trained to fight, remove the greatest enemy first.

One of the Ghosts jumped over the helpless attendants, ignoring the usual target – opening the Carriage for the Royals and their money – and instead climbed to the top of the Royal Carriage where a hidden Lynthian Soldier slept. His cry translated to impeding death.

Toivo ran to the closest Lynthian Soldier who struggled with a different Ghost. Unfortunately, Toivo didn’t see the Lynthian Soldier lose his balance as the Ghost stepped backward. As the Soldier fell the Ghost wailed his hammer through the night air. Invisible to Toivo until it struck him in the face. He heard the Ghost curse when his weapon impacted, surprised. He whipped the same arm backward again, slamming his elbow into the Lynthian Guard’s neck, hitting his carotid.

Toivo dug his heels into the dirt, pedaling away from the struggle. He was disorientated and tried to breathe through pain that was no longer familiar to him, but he knew that Lynthian Soldier was seconds away from dying and as soon as he was…the Ghost would kill Toivo next.

As hard as it was, Toivo got to him feet. Unbalanced, he toppled forward but caught himself. Kalle rushed by again, throwing items from his saddlebags. It was the last time he’d freely rush by. As Kalle finished his pass, Toivo looked up and saw one Ghost hand another part of their rope while two more struck at the Royal Carriage’s locked door. Toivo could hear the Queen screaming inside.

Behind him, the driver’s body hit the ground. Toivo heard the sound of his skull cracking. The last Lynthian Soldier fought off his attacker on the opposite side of the carriage. He thrashed violently. He was the last trained muscle. The approaching Ghosts closed in on the servants, most of whom were awake and clinging to each other in terror. On the hill, the first of the two undistinguishable shadows stepped, each stride looming with undeniable alarm.

As Toivo ran at a Ghost, lunging to stop him from stabbing a young maid, Kalle galloped by again. The Ghost that waited for him on top of the Royal Carriage raised his rope. The line pulled tight across Kalle’s chest and ripped him off his horse. The animal ran. It would join Toivo’s.

Kalle hit the ground hard and didn’t move.

“Get up,” Toivo growled under his breath, then rolled from his stomach to his back and shoved his dagger into an attacker’s temple.

Deep voiced shouts came from the Royal Carriage where two attackers fell backward, kicked away by the Lynthian King, who drew his sword but wouldn’t move from the carriage’s door. He’d die protecting his wife like that.

The man from the hill swaggered to the middle of the scene. Blood dripped from the top of the caravan. Fire barely provided light anymore.

Kalle still didn’t move.

But that boy…the young man who stood this entire time on the hill finally began his approached while the man from the hill waited for the Lynthian King’s capture.

“Get the Queen,” the man from the hill order, nonchalantly waving a Ghost to do his bidding.

“Ahriman?” the King asked, his voice sounding hurt and surprised at the same time.

Toivo recognized the name. The Lynthian King promoted him to Lord Protector of Ethantine a few years back, after his brother died. This Ahriman stabbed him in the back.

The last Lynthian Soldier still fought, killing Ahriman’s Ghost. Toivo fought as well, trying to save as many servants as he could. He barely felt his sliced skin, but he knew they were there. He knew he didn’t have much left to give. He needed Kalle to stir.

Or he needed Kalle to look dead long enough to save the man from this.

The Queen helplessly squirmed against the clutches of one of Ahriman’s men. She didn’t understand that that he locked her arms behind her. He pushed her head down to her chest as they left the interior of the carriage, and when his boot met solid ground he forced her to kneel there.

The man stood behind her, his knife drawn and ready.

Near Kalle’s lifeless body, the men worked wrapping bodies into the tarps and binding them.

Decaying leaves pressed to the mud like stickers.

The boy finally entered the campsite but didn’t stop walking until he reached the Queen. Without a word, he dropped to his knees and stared her in the face. He held his own knife at his side. Toivo could only assume that the boy was Ahriman’s son, Zef.

He did nothing.

The Lynthian Soldier across the way got a lucky shot, ripping away that flesh and muscle that held the Ghost’s wrist together. The man’s hand flopped, and he screamed as the Lynthian Soldier pushed him away, pummeled a knee into his chest then took the end of his sword and with the blade against the Ghost’s neck pressed.

His face wore war paint of blood and soot, but turned for Ahriman to attack. Toivo jumped at the same time he did, hoping for a duality to confused the Lord Protector of Ethantine.


AUTHOR’S NOTE: Inspired by the song/video Possum Kingdom The TOADIES Possum Kingdom

Copyright ©2010-2014 by Kristine A. Strauss, Amara SuraShakta. All rights reserved.

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