This was written as part of a serial.
Fallon checked over his wounds and washed blood from his face and knuckles while Raelle prepared herself for bed.
He tucked the blanket tight around his daughter as the first rains of the mountain squall began to fall. Sharp lighting flashed outside, sending light throughout the small house, and Raelle braced herself for the coming boom of thunder. When it came a second later, the house shook with the force.
“Don’t worry about the storm,” Fallon said, brushing the hair from his daughter’s forehead. “It will be gone by morning, and we have lots to do. You’ll need your rest.”
“Pop Pop, can you teach me how to fight?”
He gave her a long look. “I suppose with the days events, that question could have been predicted, but we’re farmers Dear Heart, not soldiers. What need do you have of fighting. Besides, we have crops to plant, and that starts tomorrow when the ground has been softened by the rains. Praise those above for sending their blessings upon us.” He turned his eyes to the heavens, then back to Raelle. “Now got some sleep.” He kissed the top of her head, puffed out the candle on the bedside table, and walked out of the room.
Raelle’s room was small, but she had found a spot for the shield at the foot of her bed. It stood between her feet and the small four paned window that looked out over the farm’s largest field. Raelle would often lay awake at night, waiting to hear the heavy breathing of sleep from her father before rising to watch deer graze by the light of the moon. There would be no deer tonight. Tonight, there would only be wind, lightning, thunder, and driving rain. The spring squalls had begun.
Fallon slept, tired from the days events.
Raelle lay in the bed restless. Her mind going from point to point in the day, connecting them, trying to make sense of them, succeeding at some and failing at others. She always settled on the fight on the road, and how helpless she felt. She hated that feeling, but what could she do about it?
After long hours, the lightning and the booming thunder that accompanied it waned, leaving only the constant rain to sound on the roof. Beneath this constant droning, Raelle drifted into fitful sleep.
A great road, the likes of which Raelle had never seen stretched before her. It was wide and long, seeming to take up all the visible space, all things beyond blurred to nothing. A lone hooded warrior stood against four armored foes on smooth worked stone. The warrior, Raelle could see was a woman from stance and apparent body shape, was surrounded by four remaining men. Two others lay discarded, their blood staining the stone just outside the circle.
The woman dressed strange for a warrior, but Raelle knew that was what she was. No armor was visible, only a long flowing brown-green cloak that seemed to hover an inch from the stone.
She bore a shield with only points on the top outer edges and another at the base. It protected her left as she attacked with the sword she held in her right hand. The weapons flowed, extensions of the woman, not tools of war but a part of her. She flowed from stance to stance with grace only told in stories, pushing one man back as another attacked, only to turn into his shield blocked blow to sweep through the man’s leg with the her blade.
The man went down with a scream and it was three against one. The next man lost more than his leg as the warrior drove the point of her sword through the man’s eye-hole. He crashed to the stone and moved no more. The two remaining men charged the warrior together in an all out attack.
She fell back, defending blow after blow as the men tried their skill. She parted their attacks left and right, looking for openings as they charged reckless and full of battle lust.
She took one in the hand with her sword. His own sword clattered to the stones as the warrior turned her attention to the only armed foe left. He retreated as his nerve left him. The warrior engaged, pushing him back. He defended franticly until he tripped over his one legged friend. She drove her sword beneath the man’s breastplate and blood splattered from his mouth.
The man with the mangled hand was running when she turned back. His sword lay abandoned on the road.
The warrior watched the man run, pushed back her hood and took a pull from her water-skin. The man who lay with one leg whispered in awe, “a woman?”
She walked over to the man and looked him in the eyes. “Yes, a woman. The last you will ever see.” She drove the point of her sword between the man’s armor.
Raelle looked then, really looked into the eyes of the warrior, and in those eyes, she the storm and recognized herself.
Raelle sat bolt upright in bed, breathing hard, heart beating fast as though it had been her fighting in that strange road.
She lay there, unable to sleep until the morning sun rose to drive the darkness away, thinking of her dream and the day before. Wondering if the woman in the dream, the warrior, had been her, and by the time the day had dawned, decided that it was.
This is the third installment of a serial. Every week, another portion will be posted with a target word count between 500 and 1,000.
If you missed the previous episodes, I have links at the top of this post!
I hope you enjoyed this portion of our story! I look forward to seeing you as we continue the journey.