Friday, January 10, 2014

Friends and Enemies // Chapter Seventeen // An Outlawed Adventure


The sound of swords clashing rent the air. Cheers resounded as a swordsman made a rather excellent move. Though at first you could have mistaken the sounds for a battle, in reality it was just a match. Two swordsmen going at each other with {very} sharp blades.
   "Gettin' tired yet?" Twenty-two year-old Shemesh taunted Teclemith, rushing at him with his shining blade.
   "I could do this all day," Teclemith countered, deflecting the blow.
   "Go for his legs!" Willow coached, her eyes shining with excitement. After getting rescued, she was eager to have a little fun. It had been only about two days since their harried escape from Lady Adira's home, just ahead of the clutches of Zemerah. They had reached Essgarothe within a half day, and were greeted heartily.
   Hyaline clapped enthusiastically. "Go Teclemith!" she cheered.
   Shemesh ducked and then tried to tackle him, but Teclemith leaped aside. Tumbling to the ground, Shemesh tried to jump back to his feet, but Teclemith pointed his sword at his throat. "Concede."
   Shemesh glowered, but threw his sword aside and nodded. "I concede." Teclemith beamed.
   "Well done, big brother!" Hyaline congratulated him with a hug. He hugged her back, then extended his hand to Shemesh.
   "Good match," he offered. Shemesh didn't look pleased, but grabbed the offered hand and shook it goodsportingly.
   "Where's my coach?" Teclemith asked Hyaline playfully, glancing around.
   Hyaline pointed to the tower. "She's speaking with Sir Richard, I think it may be important."
   Wondering what on earth could be wrong, he jogged over to the tower, and hurried up the steps. "Sir Richard?" Standing in the center of the tower, Sir Richard had a serious expression on his face as he spoke to Willow, with Kadesh nodding in agreement beside him.
   Coming up behind Kadesh, he grabbed his arm and inquired, "Is something wrong?" Kadesh shook his head, pointing at his father.
   Willow was nodding. "I'll go. But who will go with me, especially if it's a day's ride?"
   "Pardon, Sir Richard. Is something wrong?" Teclemith asked.
   Sir Richard shook his head. "Teclemith, you know my brother Sir Jehonathan?" Teclemith nodded. "The reason I wanted to speak to Willow was that he was appointed to be Knight over my province of Gossgath during my "absence", and we need to know if he is with us or against us. He doesn't know her, but someone needs to be there whom he knows, but Kadesh simply cannot go at this time."
   "Teclemith could go," Willow broke in. "I trust him, and I know he'd be great. And doesn't Sir What's-His-Name know him?"
   Sir Richard nodded slowly. "Teclemith and Hyaline used to live in Gossgath, so he should know you," he commented, directing his comment at Teclemith, who nodded. "But someone else needs to go as well. I believe Killian is free for the moment. Kadesh, go send for him, please."
   Kadesh nodded and hurried away. Willow groaned. "Not Killian! Come on, he's nitpicky! He doesn't like me!" she protested.
   Sir Richard rolled his eyes. "Than I suppose this trip will teach you two to get along," he stated. She moaned.

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   "I made sure to pack you a small pouch of money. There should be plenty for any emergencies. And be sure to tuck it into your new secret pocket, you do not want to be searched and they make off with your money. And be sure not to talk to any strangers. Or provoke anyone," Hyaline rambled nervously as she tucked some snacks into Willow's horses' saddlebags. Willow rolled her eyes.
   "Hyaline, I seriously doubt we'll run into any trouble. I mean, they're sending me along. If there was going to be any trouble, they definitely wouldn't be sending me. You know how much trouble I am," she pointed out.
   "She's right, 'Line," Teclemith assured his sister as his horse sidled up. Willow grunted under her breath as Killian and his horse trotted up.
   "Well, I hope you've got everything, we're on a schedule you know," he remarked pointedly.
   "We do," Hyaline assured him brightly before Willow could cause a scene. "When should you be back?" she asked, turning to her brother.
   "Within a week," Killian answered before Teclemith could open his mouth. He nodded, and gave his twin's hand a squeeze before they rode off.
   "Farewell! Stay out of trouble!" Hyaline called as they trotted off. Oh Author, please keep them safe!

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   "Wow, I didn't realize the rations were this bad," Willow commented as she stuffed the remainder of their noon meal back into it's knapsack.
   "Why?" Teclemith asked, a hint of a laugh in his voice. "I didn't know you disliked dried meat and two day old bread."
   She wrinkled her nose at him. "Whatever."
   Killian held up his hand for quiet, then pointed into the branches of a high tree. "Look, a crow," he whispered.
   "So?" Willow questioned.
   Killian rolled his eyes. "Crows are sometimes used by Tash as messengers. We should see if it is, and than intercept the message."
   Teclemith already had his bow out, and was trying to find his quiver from where he had dropped it in the pile of everyone's things, while Killian grabbed his own.
   A sudden rustling caught Willow's attention, so she ignored the guys and their ridiculous bird shooting and decided to investigate the sounds. "Hello?" she called cautiously, hand on her elven sword. It wasn't glowing, so it couldn't be an orc or goblin. What is it?
   Twang. The sound of the two bowstrings pulled her attention back to the guys. Thump. The crow landed right in front of her, almost on her feet.
   "Gross!" she cried, leaping backwards to get away from the thing. Killian strode up to it and jabbed it with the tip of his bow.
   "It's dead," he pronounced.
   "You don't say," Willow retorted, venturing close enough to poke at it with her foot. The medium-sized black crow had two arrows sticking out of it, making the sight almost comical. Teclemith snickered, but managed to cover it with a cough.
   Killian knelt down and started feeling around the bird's neck, obviously looking for the message he seemed quite sure was there.
   "Here!" he exclaimed, holding up a miniscule rolled up scroll, tied with a tiny blood red ribbon.
   Then the silence was shattered by the sound they all had been dreading. Hoofbeats. Willow's instinct pricked her mind, and she snatched the tiny scroll from Killian and buried it in her pocket, just as a squad of Gossgathian guards thundered into the clearing.
   The leader of the squad noticed the dead crow immediately, and the two arrows sticking out of it. And the two bows in the boys' hands. {Willow's bow was in her quiver which was in the pile of stuff near the horses.} He nodded sharply at two of his guards, who leaped down off their horses and seized Teclemith and Killian by their arms.
   "Do you two lads know the penalty for killing one of lord Tash's messenger birds is?" the sergeant barked at them. Teclemith and Killian shook their heads. "Off with a finger!" he crowed, a creepy gleam in his eye.
   "What?! No!" they cried, straining against their captors.
   "Hey!" Willow cut in. "You can't cut off somebody's finger just because they shot one of your precious birds." The sergeant narrowed his eyes at her.
   "Someone grab her," he ordered coolly. Willow tried to reach for her her bow, but a young guard snatched her elbow and gripped it tightly.
   "That fallen tree over there will do nicely," he suggested, pointing.
   "No!" strained Teclemith as they dragged him over to the stump.
   "C'mon, gents! You wouldn't want to harm such a fine-looking hand as mine, now would you?" Killian appealed, struggling madly.
   Willow glanced around wildly, trying to find something to help. And then her eyes fell on the pile of everyone's things near the horses. The silvery carved horn that lay on top of the knapsack and a quiver. My horn. In that split second as the guards were forcing the guys to stretch their fingers out for more convenient finger-lopping, she made the decision.
   Wrenching her arm free of the guard's grip, Willow took a leap and made it to the pile. Another second and she was raising the horn to her lips. An instant later, the cool clear call of the horn resounded throughout the forest.
   All of the guards stared dumbly at her for a minute as the ringing sound faded away. Then the sergeant stomped over to her. Without a word, he used the flat of his sword to knock her to the ground!
   "Who are you people, anyway?" he demanded, jabbing the point of the sword at her. Rubbing her sore shoulder, Willow pinched her lips together stubbornly. She wasn't planning on talking anytime soon. The sergeant growled and raised his sword to deliver another flat-sworded blow. Willow flinched and squeezed her eyes shut.
   "So, Sargent Pisgah, you've sunk this low to hitting young ladies with swords?" a cocky young man's voice questioned. Everyone whirled around, trying to see who was speaking. No one was in sight.
   "Oh, not you again," muttered Sargent Pisgah. "You little Outlaw, come out now! I have fifteen warrants for your arrest!" he exclaimed.
   "Oh, now you're just hurting my feelings!" the voice continued in a mocking tone. "How long have we known each other, and you're still carping about those warrants. Why don't we have a match? Whoever can beat the opponent can have those lovely prisoners, no insults of course, gents."
   Killian was obviously insulted. Teclemith was more concerned with the figure sneaking up behind Willow.
   In a swift move, he clamped a hand over her mouth, and lifted her into his arms. Silent as ever, he snuck back into the brush. Depositing her at the feet of a medium-sized young man with jet black hair, where he was crouching near the crown of the small hill that oddly surrounded the clearing, he then slunk away.
   Turning to her, the young man swept down in a low bow, and offered her a hand. "Zethan of Gossgath, at your service," he introduced himself in a low voice. Willow took his offered hand and he helped her to her feet.
   "Willow of the Veil," she offered in return. "Who are you and what are you doing?"
  The Zethan fellow was skinny and rather small, but the words agile, confident, and cocky seemed to describe him. "I am the leader of this group of men known as the Outlaws. and we are saving you and your friends," he replied. "Those guards are nothing if not trouble. What is a young lady doing out with her brother and his friend in these times of trial, if I may ask?"
   Willow pushed the urge to ask him if everyone on this planet was a poet to the back of her mind. "He's not my brother. He's the brother of a close friend of mine."
   "Ah," Zethan remarked. "Forgive me. But sit tight for just one moment, and all will be well." He then signaled to his group, who in turn began to shoot arrows very close to the guards.
   "Be off with you!" he cried, brandishing his bow, and in shooting it, just missed the grumpy Sargent by an inch.
   Startled, the Sargent barked a retreat order, and made for his horse. Within a minute, the clearing was empty of all but Teclemith and Killian.


*******

   Sorry about not posting earlier in the day! I was going to write most of the chapter yesterday, but got waylaid with art, choir, Doctor Who, and best friends.

   Fun fact: I actually wrote most of this chapter about two months ago, and just added a couple of paragraphs to the end and beginning, a voila! my chapter. I was originally going to do a different chapter, called A Reflection of the Past, but when I did write some if it it seemed not as funny or emotional as it was supposed to be, so I went back to my archives and found this little gem.

Postscript // I will add Zethan and Sargent Pisgah to the character post that you can find on the characters page.

Be a friend, not an enemy,

~Willow

4 comments:

  1. ooooooh! now we have new characters, more intense scenes, and even willow blowing her silvery horn! <3 speaking of willow, she is wonderful. why? because you are wonderful. to God be the glory for your talents and gifts, my friend. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Les :) By the way, I'm planning on introducing more characters soon, and have their pictures on my Pinterest for F&E, www.pinterest.com/willowsilverb/friends-and-enemies.

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