Battle! (Evening)Submitted by ridiculous at 2010-02-12 10:20:43 EST
Rating: 2.0 on 14 ratings (14 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
The Knight Commander kneeled next to the boy. He looked at the pale hands that clutched at his abdomen, the nearly black blood oozing through the fingers that vainly attempted to hold his entrails inside.
“We won, didn’t we sir?”
Sir Perth’s looked across the carnage on the field. There were dead and dying everywhere, the carrion eaters would come soon. The smell of burning horseflesh compounded by that of blood and the excrement of the dead made him want to retch. He swallowed and looked at the boys pale face.
“Yes. We won.” He lied.
“I did my part, sir. I got one of them.” The boy looked him in the face with pride before coughing up a mouthful of blood. His breathing was labored, it wouldn’t be long.
“I know you did, son. I saw.” He lied again. “You were very brave.”
The boys chest heaved, then stilled, his eyes slid closed. Perth stood and went to the next one.
“M’lord General, they did not pursue us.” Bromere looked confused.
“They will come.” Baraccus studied his maps.
“But, why didn’t they follow us?”
“He is tending his wounded.” Baraccus voice conveyed his annoyance.
“What? Why?” Bromere was clearly confused. Baraccus seriously considered killing him.
“Because wounded are an asset, injured are a liability.” Baraccus quoted, his patience gone.
“I don’t understand.”
Baraccus had had enough; he sprung at Bromere grabbing him by the gorget, dragging him to the tent opening and throwing him to the ground outside it.
“If I cut off your hand, you can fight! If I cut off your leg, you can’t and I should leave you to die!” Baraccus turned and re-entered the tent. He had an ambush to plan. “Bring me the witch.”
The night descended quickly, Baraccus had permitted fire in the camp as well as a ration of ale for his men. A reward of sorts but also a small comfort circumstance allowed. After all, there was no use hiding their presence and if the Horde had not attacked in the afternoon then they wouldn’t, until morning.
Baraccus stood as she entered the tent unbidden. Choking back the instinctive fear she wielded he watched her approach. She was graceful, elegant and beautiful by all measure of the word and yet something inside screamed for him to get away. He watched the sheer purple fabric of her gown slip over her legs as she took each step towards him. The candles light glinted off the delicate silver tiara she wore above her raven hair. She stopped and their eyes met. Baraccus shuddered.
“Saleene, thank you for coming.”
“Do not bore me with pleasantries but tell me why you have summoned me.” Her eyes were a dazzling green; they seemed as if they could cut through him.
“I wanted to thank you…” He started.
“Thank me? Were you struck in the head? You paid me you fool! Now tell me why I am here and do not test me!” Her voice left no uncertainty as to her temperament.
Baraccus felt the spark of rage catch in his gut and snuffed it just as quickly, being aggressive with a witch would end badly for him and he knew it. “Our losses were significant. I need poultices and salves for the wounded.”
“I care not for these trifles. If the moans of the wounded disturb your sleep I suggest you use that, instead.” She pointed to his sword, lying on the table.
“Then perhaps you can aid us to make time. Our fortifications are incomplete.”
She hesitated. “Perhaps… however, if you expect me to put myself in jeopardy to delay your enemies then the price will be high.”
Baraccus did not like where this was going but needed her help. He swallowed and asked:
She smiled at him, a smile both attractive and serpentine. She strode the line between life and death with mastery over both and he knew it.
After the fog had cleared in the afternoon the day had become hot. Sir Perth had sent scouts into the wood after the enemy. None had returned. Baraccus had insulted him and dealt him a terrible blow today both in arms and personally.
He tried to avoid thinking about Mordarren’s death. Instead he busied himself overseeing his army. The carts had been out collecting the bodies most of the day and as the sun dipped to the horizon the Knight Commander was handed a torch.
“Our enemy has shown us the depths of his treachery. He has deprived us all of the ones we love. Today he has done it again.” He slowly looked over the assembled army, he looked at their faces, he saw their tears and their rage. He felt their rage. He felt his own tears. “Pray for their souls tonight and mourn them not, for they died for what they believed in. They died for us, they died for something. We shall revenge them.”
The only sound was the crackling of the torch in his hand as he turned and approached the pyre. He bent low and touched the flame to the pitch soaked beams at the bottom. The flames spread over the base and quickly climbed the tiers. As the inferno grew before him Sir Perth threw the torch into the blaze.
Long after the flames had died and the men returned to the camp the Knight Commander stood watching the embers and planning what he would do to Baraccus when next they met.