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Rated: GC · Novel · Fantasy · #2199755
a young lady running from what she saw in the swamp.
What I saw!

{b)PROLOGUE(/b}



Java was suspected of being a witch. Sacrificing men when a storm arose. This is what had been bantered about by the people of our community. No one had dared to say it out loud, However, my grand mom was a white sorceress and strong enough to dare to do this. So, she told granddad about this happening.

“The men were vanishing in the community whenever a storm arose. One man would vanish.” Grand mom said.


Granddad said,” Maybe they went in the swamp.”

“They know the swamp. As well as you do. Don’t they?”

“So,”

“I think, that Java has had a hand in their vanishing.”

“You do.”

“Don’t you?”

Granddad was a cleric of the church he needed to prove that to have her burned at the stake or to be evicted from the community. He went over to her house.

When he arrived there, Java allowed him inside. He was gone for quite a while when he returned he slapped his glove on the table of the church. It was so loud it would have woke the dead. Grand mom turned about to face him. She was frightened by what he did.

His skin was white as bleached flour. His hand was trembling. His eyes were wide open. He said,” You have been lied to. Java is not a witch.”

“Then where have the men gone.”

“I don’t know. They are not there. I tell you.”

Grand mom could not give up on what she thou8ght she knew. Even though her husband refused to believe her{./size}.

CHAPTER 1
}


Come it on, Mica move. Come on. Move. I wanted to get to someone's house. To have an adult to help me. Away from the wind and what I saw emerging from the swamp's water. Knights whose features were eaten with mold and flesh with falling from their very bones as they emerged. I was running for my very life as the wind howled and threatened to draw me from the ground into the air. Lightning lit sky, its voice roared in my ears; it was deafening. The bolts lit the skyline. Huge bulrushes rose up around me. The blades of grass were long and sharp as a dagger. Blood ran from where I encountered them. The plants made it impossible to pass them. The plants created walls through which I was unable to walk.

I had to get someone to help me. Explain what I knew,
My muscles were strained from the flight. I could feel the blood roar in my ears. My mouth was dry as the sand is. I refused to look over my shoulder, to see what is there. My lungs were burning with the pain I was feeling.

The trees loomed high overhead. Their branches are heavy with moss and ivy that crawled up their limbs. I was afraid. I thought I had seen something that frightened me. I ran through the muck, it slowed my pace. The muck held me tight in its grasp. I could barely move through the brush.

. I was afraid of what I had seen, fear moved my feet. I had to get to an adult. I had taken the wrong turn. Java told no one to arrive at her door in a thunderstorm. Yet, I was there. I had to get her attention
. I crawled towards Java's house being unable to stand. I fought. Struggled to gain my footing. Fell lost my balance. Tried again repeatedly. Finally, Gained it. I stood before Java’s door. Saw through the window a body laying on a table in the middle of the room. It looked palid..

Java the woman who owned the house was dressed in a simple tunic going to her knees. Her hair stood on end. Sweat ran down her face. Her face was lean, there was no meat on it. Wrinkles adorned it. Her cheeks were shallow. Her eyes were as blue as the sky wide as they could possibly be. Her nose was broken with boils on It. Her chin was pointed. Her form was willowy. Knuckles were large, the skin on her bones clung there like wet silk. She was fairly tall.

There was a mound of earth inside the house to my left through the window. The mound that looked vaguely like a bear, but not quite, that was alive. It had shifted a bit about to see me. The brow was a twig, the forehead was stone and earth. It had eyes that looked like gems. The nose was a flat stone. Its cheeks were shells. The mouth was made up of pebbles for lips. Having massive shoulders, and the chest was huge. It looked to be very muscular for a mound of earth.

She smiled malevolently and laughed at Taka's demise. Said, "They're all will be right. Won't it? Taka!. You want it to don't you. Of course, you do?"

She stood with a serpentine dagger in her hands. Smoke slithered up its blade’s edge as a serpent would. It was lifted out of the chasm that was his chest. I recognized who it was on the table by his face. It was Taka's a young boy in the community. Java having plunged a dagger into his chest. Blood rose, a volcano of blood erupting from his chest. Reached inside his chest. Drew out his still-beating heart. Smoke rose from the blade's edge. Taka watched me stand there. His mouth opened. It hung agape. A bead of blood trickled from the corner of his mouth.

A droplet of blood. Fell from the edge. It burst and splattered on the table where it emerged. One hand held a heart that was still beating steam rose off of the blade. She looked at the mound of earth with an air of amusement in her eyes. I was there looking at her as she was doing this.

It’s branches for fingers reached out towards the pane of glass where I stood. It broke the glass showering me with its shards as it tried to reach me.

There was a scent of decay. I drew my breath short. I was gasping to breathe. I had to elude its grasp. It reached out and touched me. The fingers were barbed, blood ran from where it touched me. The fingers drew lifted me,. Blood poured from my flesh. I did not get out of its grasp. The fingers sharp as daggers. Caught me. Ripped through my flesh. Caught me. I dangled there like a fish in its net.

"Why are you here?" it said melancholy to me. Its eyes rested upon me, as I hung there.

"Who are you speaking with? I have given you what you asked for. Haven't I?" Java asked as it rose furtehr upright to peer at me.

I closed my eyes, felt the skin rip through my throat. I felt the warmth of my blood run from the wound. I reached out to grasp the hand. That held me. My fingers found that there was nothing there. Nothing? Why didn't I feel this? I should have, shouldn't I? I could not feel anything touching my throat. My shoulders felt something heavy resting against them, something warm to the touchstone open my eyes to see.

****


That I was in my house. In my bed. I shouldn't be here. I should still be at Java's house. I needed to warn Dad about her being a black sorceress. A black witch. Dad! I have to tell you to go there and find the proof I have seen. Also so what I saw in the swamp the bodeis rising from the brackish water. My father the cleric of the community was sleeping in his bed. The house was as quiet as a grave. My bed lay beside the window which lay beside the swamp that enclosed our homes. I screamed,"Father."

Dad shifted about peered over at me, as I lay there in my bed. Looked at the window, where my eyes usually rested at this time of night. He expertly thought Mareat would be there awaiting my arrival. He looked at me, as I trembled in my bed. The blanket pulled up about my neck.

"Mica, what's wrong?" he asked, as he began to close the distance to my bed. He wanted to comfort me.

"Taba has been killed," I said slowly.

"Nonsense. Taba is in his bed, like you."' he said, smiled.

"No. he is not," I said.

"How can you say this?" "Java has sacrificed him to her deamon." "Enough of this. She is not a sorceress."

"I tell you, this? I know it is the truth."

"Go to Java's home and you will see?" I warned.

Dad grabbed the staff of the dragon of the swamp. Kiaka is the dragon depicted by the carving on the staff. He prays to Kiaka, to gain his powers. Then he heads out the door, he recalled that I have been saying this for years. He feels that I must be mistaken. as she has been here for years in our community. I joined him in his walk there the thunder and lightning had vanished.

He chooses to get more males to join him in this problem. They woke, they were tired and upset at being woken up by him. He arrived at her door. Brought up his foot to kick in the door. He saw. Java who had retired. She spun about to see who was here.


CHAPTER 2


Mica still had the belief that Carata was a black sorceress. She could not shake the feeling that she knew this. She had decided to look at Carata and check out what she was thinking. Also to find a way to prove to Dad, what she knew to be fact, How could she do this for so long. Didn’t she raise suspicions of anyone else? She remembered that Mom had said this to granddad.

****

One evening when Mom was still alive. It was becoming late, She decided to attempt to have Granddad go there with her. They had to stop Carata from continuing on in her practice of black magic. The belief had been brought before his father that she was practicing this. He was also a cleric. He should check this out to determine if she was a black sorceress or witch.

He went there to understand what they had said. He could not find out what had happened or if she was a black practitioner even. He was upset by what he found there.

He returned, the storm front matched his mood. Swore, “I would not go there, again.”

She remembered the fact that he entered the church, drove his fist down on the table. The objects that were there danced from the force of the blow there. He had frightened her and the others who were there at the time.. That was all he said.

Mom slammed the goblet she had been holding onto the table, where they had been sitting. Her voice had grown in volume and timber, she was roustabout something. Mica heard the name, “Carata.” Then she heard most of it with her ears.

Mica was there in the room, with her parents. They were having supper, the food was savory and delicate. A droplet of gravy fell from the meat that she was eating. The potatoes were mushed, and beets were a part of the meal. The goblet contained beer. MIca saw her mother’s face grow flushed. Her hand had gone white in color. AS the goblet came down.

Dad reached out to take her hand in his. He patted it, caressed her hand and forearm.

Mom had come in one evening She looked over the table to glare at him as she said, “I saw her talking with Palea the night before a storm rolled in, The next day, no one had has seen hide nor hair of him. Where did he go?”

Granddad spied her and said, “Maybe he went into the swamp and got lost there.”

Mom said as she reached for a goblet that sat on the table, “Got lost! As if! That. It is not possible! He knows the swamp as well as you do? Doesn’t he?”

Granddad said as he reached for his own, “He might have gone to Meneast to see what he could find there?”

Mom took a sip from the goblet and said,“I don’t think, so. Why did he not tell Juna>”

Granddad had taken a gulp of his, and said,“I don’t know why”

Mom said,“I will have none of it,”

Grand said.“The truth is what I speak. Why do you not believe me.”

Mom said,“Your word may be good enough for me, but this accusation has to be proved. We can not simply go in there and throw accusations about. We are done. Do you understand me,”

Granddad drew up his cloak, walked towards the door. The night was falling. He headed towards the house where Carata was living. The fog was also rolling 0in on the community. He had returned after going there. He said, “I do not believe, that she is. What you have said she is?”
“but...”

“I have had enough,” Granddad said after he had gone into Carata’s home and returned from there as he came into the house.”But I did see her and she is not a black practitioner.” He flung down his cloak on a chair, He bent down to scoop Mica up in his arms, he smiled easily at her. He felt that they were safe. Nothing to worry about is there.

Mom looked at him and smiled, said,” Thank you. I can rest now.”


The next day, Mom walked towards James as he stood beside his horse, it had his saddle on it. He smiled at her. He reached out to grasp her in his huge arms.

Mom smiled coyly at him and winked at him. They were on the street where other horses stood tied to the rails about the street. A few other people looked them, Maries was his sister and said,”I would like you to find Palea? I think he is in Meneast.”

“I will. Do this for you,” James said, as he mounted his horse. Slapped the horse’s withers with his reins. The horse began to ride off in the direction of Meneast. He had other things to do there.

The rider who heard this agreed to do this. He had not returned.

Granddad said,” You must have evidence. Not the lack of Palea being this is not evidence. He could be anywhere if not there. The discussion is over.”

Mom glared at him. She knew he would not listen to her. She needed proof. There was no way she could do these things. Her husband could not act without proof. If he did then they would have anarchy instead of what they had here.

Mom vanished also. I remembered tears ran from my eyes.

I slipped up towards, crept to the house of Carata one day. The plants that grew there served as a means with which to hide. She struggled and fought to gain access to it, the plants were a barrier through which she was fighting to get to the home. Carata had felt her home. To do some shopping in the neighboring community

Since she had left I then chose to do it then. No one would be there, So, no one would see her going there. A lot of the people here did not feel pleased with Carata. There had been quite a few people who heard Mom arguments with Granddad
.
This had made Granddad weary of what she Mom had said to him about Carata. I will need proof to react like this/ Like she would have me act. No! There is no proof. No validity to it.

People vanished when they spoke the words that they accused Carata of being a black sorceress or witch. It made an interesting argument. However, there was no way he could consider her to be what they said, without proof.

He needed something tangible. Not just the words of another person saying this.
****


Mom had to prove it to Dad. He would not dare to accuse her, as she had had several people who supported her in the community. There could be a great deal of trouble to arise because of his doing this. There had to be a reason, that his daughter had seen these things regarding her on this night of the thunderstorm.

But he had no proof, just his daughter saying these things as had his wife beforehand. Mom before she had vanished, NO one knew where she had gone. His own mind suggested Carata was responsible for her vanishing. He was not a judge or the sheriff.

Granddad did not understand why she was gone. He tried to have a seance, but that did not work. Her ghost was not there or her spirit. It puzzled him, that she was not there,

He knew of her and through his wife’s beliefs, he suspected her. He had no proof. You do not act on suspicion alone. Teva was not dead. He could talk to him about his daughter's fear. Maybe he would listen. He hoped that Teva would tell him when Carata did what Mica had told him of her desire to kill him in her house.

Taba said, “He would not go into Carata’s house. You don’t have to worry about it."

Granddad was worried, and said, “Be careful.”

Taba stood there rubbing his toe of the boot on the ground as he looked at Granddad and said, “ No worries.”
`
Granddad said, “I want you to be safe,”

Teva said, “Carata is what a hundred years old. You suspect she will have the drop on me. Is that likely?”

“No.”

` ”I also think not.”

I made my way to it. My nerves were on edge, Hear a twig snap. Whirled about. Looking about to see what made the twig snap. Do not see anyone. Shrugged her shoulders. Stepped toward the hut. Loomed before me. Wasn't safe. Had Carata left? I did not know.. My eye caught a movement with the curtain and ran away.

I did this repeatedly until she had seen Carata leave to check on something in the neighboring village.

**No one’s at home. No one will see me there. What do I have to worry about? Nothing. Since no one is there, IS there a reason I should worry about being there.**

I peered about approached the shelter. Carata may have been a witch or sorceress but she did have friends in the community. Someone may see me approach as previously on other days. When she dared go to the house. Crawling across the ground.

No one was looking, I slipped into the bulrushes waited as the animals there took notice of her being there. The birds that lived within the swamp took wind and flew from where they rested there, some made noises as they did this, I held my breath and froze. When I heard a sound. I whirled about drawing my dagger.

Friak saw me in the brush, his eyes were huge as eggs from a chicken, and said,” What do you think, you are doing here.”

I spotted him looking at me there, brushed my hands off on her leather skirt and said, “I thought I saw something, there. But it isn’t there.” As she drew herself up from where she had gone into the bulrushes that grew there.

Did it a few days later, checking every inch she crept upon the house. Cautiously to avoid being caught there Looked about saw no one looking my way

I am safe. No one's here. Now I can find out for sure! I needed proof to prove to Dad with proof. He could not argue. Without proof Dad would not listen,she knew this. There had to be proof of this. Mustn’t I find it? I would find it. This I knew, I crept to the house.

I quickly looked about trying to see if anyone was looking. Swa no one looked. Slipped into the bulrushes. Startled some birds taking wing and flew into the air. Held my breath., Waited. No movement.

I wiped my bow. Gnawed my lip. Tried to calm my nerves. The door and window were before her. Inched toward the window. The curtain was drawn. The hay that covered the roof, was brown in color.

I crawled across the path to arrive there. My very life depended upon not being caught there. Hearing a sound nearby. Cautiously peered through the cattails to see, It frightened me. Seeing a serpent slithering through the grass.

I drew away. Fell. I was beside the door. Hit the door with my shoulder. The door flew open. I stumbled and fell inside. My head hit a chair’s seat. A chair fell.

The door hung open. Crawled inside The door slammed shut. Spun about. Prayed no one had heard the door close. Was afraid, Someone was looking,- Who was watching me. No ones there. Who closed the door. I did not know.

I spied the table, where I saw Teak sacrificed by Carata for her servant of deamon. I was afraid of this happening. She recalled the men who had vanished on the night of a storm. She now, knew that they had died by being in the community. There was no way that they had not left the region. They had been killed by her.

There were a bowl and a serpentine dagger on the table. The blade looked bright and clean. The handle was covered in gems and cloth on the handle. There was fluid that had dried as it had stained the surface of the table. The blade looked like the one I had seen in my premination. I did not see anyone there

Other than a spider in a web in the corner of the room. It must be the spider. I grinned. finding a shovel in the corner of the room beneath the spider's web.

I trembled as fear gnawed away at her nerves.

The door shifted a bit. I saw it do this, fled towards the door to her right. Slipped into the room it was bathed in darkness. They lay a bed that was all. Why was I so afraid if being here. Calmed her nerves. Looked about and sighed with relief. Maybe I have been mistaken. I was mistaken.

I moved effortlessly about the home. Finding nothing to indicate this to her that Carata was a black witch or sorceress.

I looked at a pool of water in a basin and saw my reflection in it. My hair fell to her shoulders in waves of brown. Eyes were red as blood. Eyebrows were thin. Cheeks were full, and nose as tiny. The mouth was full. I smiled at me.

I slowly I saw a second image appear in the water that was there, this image was a dark image of a face that was scarred and twisted. It was a male’s face, the skin looked ghastly and white. The hair was askew. The ears were visible, looked pointed, and its eyes were slanted, and the eyebrow was shaggy. The eye deep inset into the skull. The nose was flat and broad. The lips were thin and having marks like they had been usually smiling. The mouth opened and saw fangs. Where had my image gone? Who or what was this being I saw in the fluid.
.

I spun about to see, who was with me. No one's there, just the wall and the roof. Re-looked at the water and saw nothing there. I imagined it. Must have. Mustn’t I? Should I go and get my father to look at the basin, He will see it? Won’t he

I ran off to get Dad to come here and look at the basin of water. I raced into the temple, Cried, “Father. Come with me. I have proof!”

Dad looked up at me as I breached the door tp see him at the church, Did not look pleased, Reached down to clean off his hands on his pants, he said, “What do you mean. You have proof. Of what?”

I said and peered into his eyes, “That Carata’s black sorceress or witch.”

Dad turned to see me and. said“How did you come by this proof? Where were you?”

I said as I trembled my skin grew white “Well, I was inside her home.”

Dad said as he remembered that she was away on this day, “Did she invite you in?”

I said, “Well, no!”

Dad walked towards the pews at the rear of the temple. It was shrouded in shadow, he said, “How did you cum to be in her home,”

I walked with him there, said, “I walked in.”

Dad said, “Was she there?”
I
said, “Well,”

“Was she?”

“You have to see, what I have seen there.”

“Fine,” he grabbed his cloak and walked out the door of the temple strode to Carata’s. There was nothing to stop his daughter from doing these things that I have done. What was he going to do with her to stop her from doing these things, He did not know, Knocked on it. The door moved back as his hand had touched the door. He looked inside to see

There was no mound of the earth there. She had been mistaken, must have been. The room she was looking in had a table that she did see in her dream as having the body lain upon it. The wood was stained with a reddish-brown fluid. It may have been blood that she saw there.

Karya was blond with short hair, her figure was striking. Karya was in her market stall selling her vegetable to the people there when I appeared before her. I was bobbing up and down, holding a peach to bit into

, Karya said, “I don’t know, what she was doing at night,”

I bit into the fruit its juice covered her chin and lower lip, said,” Well, Marie did not like her.”

Karya noticed the juice as it ran down my lower lip and chin, she drew up a portion of her apron to wipe her chin, and said: “Do you know, why?”

I winced as the fabric came in contact with her face she said, “I have no idea.”

Karya shifted so, she could see her merchandise as Mica talked with her, from the way she was talking, she would be here for a while, said.“Mariea might have been mistaken, or she simply did not like her for no reason at all.”

I stepped back a step, peered over her shoulder to see and said.“I don’t know.”

After deciding I could talk with her freely. The stalls were busy with people buying the merchandise, she said,“Whenever a lightning storm front rolled in, we would lose another member of our community,”

I smiled happily at her, and said, “Yet, there were no bodies being found here.”

Karya stepped aside, to accommodate another customer and said,“There is nothing that proves that Carata was or is a dabbler of the black arts.”

I knew that she was right, and so said, “is there?”

Karya smiled as she said, “I don’t think so,”

I said,“So forget about what you are saying. She might object to your saying these things.”

Karya counted the change back to the customer as she continued to talk about Maries belief to me, “I know the truth, I tell you.”

I said, “You know what the people here think. Someone is dabbling in black magic. We just do not know who it is. Do we? Well?”

Karya said, “But! What proof do you have? Do you have any proof?".

CHAPTER 3{{/size}



Several of them had passed since that had happened. A storm arrived, a hellish storm. It exploded and burst upon the community of Essa. Its wind tore away at the earth and trees. Lighting lit the ski. Thunder roared like a lion. This night was that of a full moon. When I had fell asleep, it rose. The knights may have reappeared from the swamp.

I knew this, but I had forgotten what Java said. Now, on this eve I could not sleep. As well as I should have. The deathly quiet tore me out of the grasp of nurturing sleep.

The quiet resonated in the confines of my home as loudly as thunder would upon her door. It woke me tearing away the cobwebs of sleep and the dream was torn to shreds. I sat bolt upright as though startled into a world of wakefulness.

The chill of the night filled my veins. The scent was of the food that sat out to be eaten the next day. The house was filled with their belongings. The curtains that were drawn revealed the swamp t where they did not meet. The house has cobwebs in it. The air was dank from the bog.

I held the blanket as though it would protect me, but I knew it would not. My eyes were as wide a silver dollar. My palate was dry as the sun is hot. My hands were wet with sweat. A chill crawled across my form. Slithered up my back, I screamed, "Help! Help me!"

In my dream, if that was what it was; night begins to emerge from the brackish water of the swamp; someone riding his horse hard through it. He seemed not even to notice the water running from his bodies. The horse had a blanket of moss on it.

Snapping bulrushes as if they were twigs they rode through them. The horse looked skeletal as well. Seeing his visor was up, saw flesh dangling from threads of flesh and moss on his face, his eyes were aglow, he opened his maw to reveal black, swollen gums and broken teeth a silver light poured from his maw and nostrils. It looked like it was riding towards Essa their community. Others rose up as well from the water that is there to join him in this ride.


Dad woke, he was afraid of what had woke him. He looked at me sitting there in my cot, Was petrified by something that had woke me. He could hear my lungs gasping for air with which to breath. The air was drawn my lungs hurt. I trembled. My eyes were wide and tear-filled..

He asked,"What is wrong?"

"I had a scary dream. It was a nightmare. I tell you," I said, wept to tremble, my muscles bunched. I turned my head, as my teeth rattled in her maw I coughed hoarsely.

"In what regards to it, where was its setting?" He asked.

"The swamp,"I said pointing at where the swamp only to see the crooked limbs of the trees as they had emerged from its desolate water. Dead trees whose bark fallen away with moss and vines covered them, and without leaves on the trees.

"In regards to what in the swamp?" he said to try and comfort me taking me in his arms to sooth my fears..

"There is or was knights emerging from it," I said.

"That is impossible, you know nothing has ever come out of it," he said as he held me in his arms. Trying to soothe my fear as it presented itself to me. He knew what he said was true.

The only thing there were bulrushes and the trees that grew there, plus the animals that lived there. The moonlight radiated across the vast plain of the swamp. branches of the trees that had grown there hung moss and spiders webs dangling from the branches. there were very few leaves on them. It clung to the branches as wet silk would cling to an appendage, it did not appear that there is nothing there. Other than the plants that grew there.

Something moved in the swamp. Emerged from the brackish water. Not even a ripple appeared as the top of the helm, a knight's head, then a bit more of it. Ever so inert his skull came out of the water, then his mail, and the rest of him, and his horse's head, neck and so on. When he finally emerged, then two more came out. Horrified upon seeing this. He was holding a pole with a pinion on it.

Dad was afraid of what he was seeing. He knew he would have to alert the others. Fear caused him to flee towards the bell tower. What kind of magic could do this? Who wielded magic such as this?

I did not know, but he knew what he was seeing was happening here. Saw it with his own eyes. They were coming out of the swamp. He gasped. His hands hurt because of the force he was using to hold them still.

A great silence that filled the air, not even the wolves howled to announce their wakefulness. It was as though nothing could make a sound in their presence. The dead witnessed their arrival there. The quiet scared me more than death itself. I drew the curtain back to where it had been, turned to alert my father laying asleep like a babe.

He heading towards the window. Thinking, I was awake to see the leech of a boy, I loved. Drew back the curtain to see what I saw.

They were able to do this, because according to them as a pact that they had instilled in their beliefs. Their chief paladin had become disenchanted with their god. He attempted to make a connection with one high devil, was able to conjure up the blessings of them. The devil desired something, that he was unable to give him.

Now, he understood. Tore out the door.

The lead rider held a tower shield and the reins watched Calais as if expecting something to occur. I was frightened— terrified as I looked out the window to see this knight.

He raced out of the confines of their house to alert the others, Java had suggested this, figured she was mistaken, but now, that he saw this. He knew she had not been.

There were twenty knights here approaching their community. Had to alert the others. Charged towards the bell tower to tell the others as to what was happening there an to do this was to ring the bell. Screamed,"They are coming! They are coming!"

The others emerged from their sleep warily,rubbing their eyes trying to remove the sleep from their eyes. Last night, they cavorted, played, and drank their fill of liquor. They were happy. Nothing could cause them to be unhappy. That was until they heard the bell ring, his voice to scream.

Now, they looked into the full moon whose light cut through the mist that accompanied the darkness and in it; they saw the knights riding towards them. They knew of no knights who would dare ride through here in the dead of night. The swamp had claimed enough of them for them to ride fearfully through this region in full daylight. They reached for their weapons, which they had never doubted to use. Until now, It was no longer a question, but the answer to all to stay alive.

Stumbling about, trying to wake themselves. Slamming doors, screaming at each other. To allow them to fully awaken. They drew their weapons sped out the doors to defend their homes. Some with arrows, stones and spears. Others with swords daggers, and other weapons of a farming community.

They would slay the knights who came here. That was a certainty. They smiled grimly to themselves as they prepared for battle. They would first use their arrows, spears and stones to stop the knights. Than it would become armed conflict, they knew how to use their weapons of choice. They learned this as they learned to breath.

The people were worried – no terrified. Saw the shadows of them by the full moon. The leader rider seemed to be a head or two taller than the others were. He had drawn his bastard sword a light played across its keen edge, but even when the moon was not there or mist was there. Was still visible with its unholy light appeared as though it was aflame. Fire blazed upon the sword's blade. He held it outstretched in his hand. It vanquished their resolve turned it into fear. Terror grasped them by the throat as they saw him there standing in full regalia on his horse. Transfixed on the community was her.


CHAPTER 4


I had grabbed my skirt with my weapons of choice a randel dagger, and a sword. I raced out the door to protect my community from these invaders. I knew how to run through the swamp without making a sound. Wanted to get to them before they would be able to destroy the Essa, my village.

I slipped and slithered through the brambles and briers as a serpent would. Too not dare to cause a leaf to tremble. I did not betrayed myself in doing this and to arrive before them, without their knowledge or so, I pleaded. It was the most assured desire I had. Arrived before the horsemen was behind the lead one by a horse's length unnoticed. Knew I had to stop them.

His presence caused fear. My mouth parched. Ran my tongue to wet my lips. I knew fear, it was him. This knight whose sword, maw, nostrils and eyes glowed. Skin hung from his bones. Insects crept and crawled from his body. His hands were held in gauntlets. His horse was a skeleton also.

The lead rider sat there looking over Essa he chortled a small laugh as if to say he had nothing to worry about, so, as if this was his birthright to claim this village as his own. Declared, “I want you to leave your community. I ask you to do this, without question. I will let you live.”

There had come a barrage of arrows spears and stones flying towards them as they sat there. The arrows fell a few of them. It was as if they were wearing mail beneath their surcoats. The arrows tore through surcoats to reveal mail in place of bare flesh.

“You dare to challenge my word. Than you will die, by my sword.” He declared.

I saw the crest of the shield it was a hand holding a head whose mouth was a gape by the hair on its head blood and Grey matter raining off of it, and the very tip of a sword on it. This froze my nerves, I knew what I had to do.

I decided it was now time to act. I grabbed the nearest rider to me by the leg. The rider looked down to see me. I tugged, but he refused to move. With my opposing hand, I grasped his pommel to pull myself up on the rider.

The rider released his reins to shake his pommel to cause me to fall. Was unsuccessful. Grasped my arm. I released the sword. His huge hand closed on my biceps, it was as if it was a grape and he the wine press. I flung her other hand filled with dirt into his eyes. He screamed and released me. Threw my empty hand upon the pommel. Dragged myself up the horse.

The barge having just ended, the lead rider saying, “They will pay for this. Slay them all. Leave none alive”

His sword a glow with white fire as his eyes, nostrils and mouth. Oddly, enough no smoke appeared with this fire. He stank of hellfire and brimstone. The stench made my stomach quake and spill. Unable to breath. Struggling. Gagging to breath.

Now I upon the horse with its rider jostling for position on it. The rider swung his fist went over my shoulder. Now, straddling his left leg and hip. I pulled out the sword out of the scabbard. Nearly fell, but my right leg caught him under the elbow of his opposing side. The sword emerged, barely held it up. It drove I fell off of the horse. Before its rider was able to grasp it.

The rider snarled, “Stupid wench. You will pay for this.”

As I drew up my dagger to make use of it as he drew back to withdraw his dagger. My dagger went into his calf. His blood did not jettison from his leg as it should have. The dagger sank through his calf to the horse's side. My wrist sank into the wound. It hit nothing but air or so it appeared however my eyes told her another tale. Something squirmed and oozed about her hand. Saw leeches and pupa's cover her wrist and forearm. I sank up to my elbow in it.

The scent filled the air of decay.

#####

When I re awoke. The community was burned to the ground, its people were slain. I remembered vaguely. But knew, the lead rider had sever scars on his face, his left side was as if it had fallen into a fire, the skin looked as if was melted wax instead of flesh. His eyes were not in his head, instead of eyes there was a light blazing there and burned there. That did not make sense. As if they were candles lit.

Mica felt a great deal of pain between my legs. Blood ran from there to pool about my body as I lay there. The chasm was in a great deal of pain there. There was a lot of blood flowing from there. Vaguely I remembered the lead rider. As he tore off my garments. Drove my head into the ground.

He pried my legs apart. My legs had bruises upon them. Where I saw his hands were. The bruises looked to be the size of his huge hands. I could see the creases that were the imprint of his hands. It tore into her, he crushed and bruised her breasts. with his huge hands. They to had the same bruises upon them that her thighs had on them. He laughed at my pleas to be released from his hands.

"I will let you live, if I may have you whenever I wish. Please, note I said, whenever I wish. You will carry my child." he said, the voice was icy cold.

The hand that wielded the dagger was covered in marks as if it had been food for hundreds of leeches. The knuckles of it were unable to close, my blood ran from them.



Chapter 6


I was inside the walls of the duchy, approaching the five-towered building.  Sweat dripped and spilled off me as if I was a river.
My legs screamed with every step. Groaned with the pain. Barely move. My form saw the sun too long. Garments were covered in dried blood. Tumbled onto the sidewall, felt myself unable to move before a man who stood before me. I looked up to see him and asked,”Where would I find Caleas?”

Mudsos knelt down to help me to my feet as he pointed to the palace said,"Caleas would be holding court there."

I began to hurry after saw the building. There stood guards with pole arms at the door. I smiled at him, saying,"Thank you. Kind sir!"

Mudsos tried to help me drag the shield and weapons to the palace. Very hard to move. There were tears and rents in the surcoat. I was hunched over dragging a scarlet cape lay a sword, a mace. Weighed more than me. The shield was taller than me by two heads.

From what I knew King Caleas was a god fearing man, he dabbled in magic. That was how his kingdom was so strong. I grit my teeth as she pulled the surcoat. I wanted to go see King Caleas and warn him of what I saw.

King Caleas a portly man, wore a cape of mink black, his red jacket was satin, his blouse white silk. He had hands as fast as light his mind quicker still. Caleas would be willing to help. Caleas looked at his guards as if to say: no one may approach me. Without my allowing them to do, so. The building was a monstrosity; it towered over me.

In this room in all its splendor and glory. pendants hung from the rafters on spears driven into it The stairway was white quartz, with masonry of black polished stone work, the place was made in the shape of a pentacle. There were five towers that rose up and made this chamber what it was.

There were priest holes in the walls from which archers could shoot. The place was huge, there was a multitude of benches with which to sit on.

There were people here, with pressing business she was sure. None of them had what she had and had scrapped the stone work getting here. Now it was tearing up the red carpet, that served as the aisles.

There were guards at the doors, I must pass. The guards attempted to close ranks. Put their weapons together to create a wall. I would be unable to enter. I smelled rank, they almost purged their stomachs just smelling me.

I strode through them. The guards glared at me. My appearance beyond question. Should not be here, in no way could I? I was here in this room; I smiled.

Caleas would not be pleased; if he was to see me here. They might be hanging by the giblets, He still seated on his throne, looked over this woman with contempt, hatred burned a fire there in his eyes. I sickened him. The stench of me.

The weapons had been theirs as well. How could this waif have gotten them? The girl had a chiseled jaw, high cheekbones, deep eyes, whose color was a blue as the bluest night sky. Her nails were chipped and broken. He did not see me enter.

I arrived outside of the aisle crouched in front of Caleas and his duchess Maruieast. I toppled to the floor. I was the move for days. Tried to get here. My heart was racing, her breath was haggard, and ragged.

He called off his guards by raising his arm. The bowmen drew their quivers and retrieved an arrow. The archers could almost out match his guards attack, he was reassured by this having happened. They aimed.

The archers could almost out match his guards attack, he was reassured by this having happened. They aimed at my frail form as it lay there.

I lay there, in a heap. A puddle appeared as she lay there. The stench was heightened her voiding her balder and stole.

Maruieast rose from her chair approached me. Duchess glared at Caleas. She knelt beside me and was asleep. I was in pain. I could not move. My lungs heaved and quaked.

Maruieast countered Caleas's order, by holding her right hand up and open. The bowmen lowered their bows, withdrew their arrows. She said,”What this child was doing here? Why had she brought these things here?”

Mica's eyes fluttered, they froze as seeing Queen Maruieast. Unable to speak. Her breathing was rasping. The Queen knelt beside her. The Duchess touched her brow wet with sweat. She demanded,"Get me water, a cloth, and a blanket."

I looked up at her, a small smile appeared and disappeared like a ghost. Maruieast dabbed my cheeks.

The king said,"Enough."

I spat. I gasped,”We need your help!”

Caleas said,"Who are you, child?"

"Mica is my name. The community has been overrun by these butchers," I said. My eyes went to the Queen dabbing my face. I smiled easily.

The beef eater knelt beside her, handed her the objects she asked for, he looked worried too.

"Take it easy." the queen said

Where did you get these things from?" the guard asked

"Essa. The riders attacking us, carried them on their person."

“Cal,that's a six day ride from here. How did you get here," Maruieast asked.

"Walked," I said. My feet looked cracked and broken. Whimpered. My right hand and forearm had small circles upon it apparently as if it was covered in leeches and small insect bites.

"I saw a knight with a mouth, nose and eyes filled with fire his sword was also a light." I whispered.

Maruieast was horrified hearing this. Said,”It involved that knight, he had made a pact with the devil.”

"The armor is of Sarata, that kingdom has ended. Long ago. They are gone?"

“They came back, three weeks ago. To destroy my village, they killed everyone who was there, but me," she whimpered, trembled. closed my eyes. Seeing the knight harming her. She screamed.

"Why did they allow you to live?" Maruieast asked.

"I do not know?"

"What can you tell me of this?"

"There were twenty knights, he was the largest."

 The King sent twenty soldiers to find out what happened there? He could not confirm what I said. Thinking,” She has to have made a mistake. She could not have seen this. Caleas was afraid. It could not possibly be that.”

The riders rode out to the village took them a great deal of time. Silence hung about their necks like a noose to chill their very bones and marrow. They saw a black disc that appeared to be churning.

Clearly, they could make out what they were. Birds was what they saw. They knew this as they heard them caw, saw their wings bend and break the air. Talons hung from their bodies as they flew. Crows and ravens circled high above them area. They could hear their caw, Numbering in the hundreds maybe even thousands.
****


It was so quiet; they felt the dead should speak to them, of these things, that had happened to them. Nothing as much as moved other than the bird, which rose off its meal? The stench was bad enough, insects made meals of all who were present there. The dead did not complain..They had no reason to. Their bodies are slain by sword mace, and spear, the dead would not speak, as there was no necromancer with the riders.


Jolly slowed his steed as he approached; he looked at the doors to find them with a skull painted in blood upon them. It was a sign of the plague. Black Death, which had killed many long ago. Jolly looked at a body with its blotted belly, swollen gums. He blanched. He was the strongest of the riders.

Vende was concerned. Frightened beyond belief. His mouth grew dry, his fingers grew wet with sweat. He stared at the birds his eyes did not waver from what they saw. Said hesitantly,"I think, we should return to Caleas."

Tab said,"We shall ride to the community. WE can not ride back to Caleast can we?

Vende stated patting the neck of his steed trying to calm her.,"I do not like it."

Jolly said,"There are birds, just birds."

Vende said,"What...."

Jolly spied the birds, smiled easily, said,"Scared of a few birds?"

Vende turned to see Jolly, said,"Why would you say that?"

Tad laughed as he said,"Why did you say that?"

Vende spat, and said,"We should turn back."

Jolly said,"We should go back, you say?"

Vende said,"Yes, that is what I have said,"

Tad said,"We haven't got to the village. Have we?"

Jolly asked,"No. Would you like to see the village."

Vende said,"Mind if I wait here?"

Jolly said,"Not at all."

There were bodies laying there, their hands were clasping their weapons, or were stretching out to gain their weapons. Several heads had been removed from their bodies. It appeared they had fought to stay alive as the best of their ability. Women and girls looked to have been raped.

A shield was on one of them a huge raven stood there with its beak digging into the eye cavity of the body as it stood on its shoulder to do this. The beak had tore a rent into the eye cavity. Drew up the orb, that was its eye. It swallowed the eye. Blood did not fall or run from the eye. The raven peered at him, he felt it had even smiled at him.

Jolly witnessed this, so he ran towards where the others had gone. Trying to calm his steed, but his steed would have none of it. It struggled.

Vende pointing at the bird and said, "Does that look like just a bird."

"Its still a bird," Tab said grimacing as he saw this..

Jolly raced towards them.

They were vanquished without a doubt.

The raven had taken to the air to join the others. As soon as it arrived, they flew to the west behind them they saw huge volatile storm clouds coming towards them.

 In their place was a mass of black clouds, that were deadly, violent and vicious. The clouds spoke of a monstrous storm that would fall upon them as a hammer would upon blade being made by an armor. The thunder roared, screamed death. The rain fell in a deluge, blinding it fell. They could not see what was before their noses. The rain flattened most of what stood there. The sound of the rain was deafening, it pounded as if it was a heavyweight champion on the bodies of the riders.

A few fell from their horses to arrive on the muddy ground, that threatened to swallow them whole in water. It was as if death walked among them, they felt the chill of its bone hand upon their shoulders. They looked about to try and find something to refresh themselves form this thought.

They ran towards the houses that were still intact, these houses had a door with a brownish-red skull on them.

There stood several houses, these houses had a door with a brownish-red skull painted on it. Every house was with the door painted brown to red skulls. The three of them charged headlong into the house nearest to them, there was a meal that had been set up to have been eaten. It was calm as the grave is quiet.

There was a loaf of bread on the table, beside which was meat, that insects were enjoying. Also potatoes, the bread loaf shifted and ahead of an animal with huge pink ears, whiskers, and a furless nose. It had two front paws like a raccoon. Vende leaped backward startled by this animal. It showed him her fangs.

Vende collided with the wall that was behind him.

They had sent out the other seventeen to watch over the party, they were they suspected the best in the company. It had been very silent, we suspected that no one had made a sound or a move. The sun slowly climbed over the trees that were bare of their very leaves to show what remained of them.

There had come a heavy pounding on the door to the house the three were in. There was a voice accompanying it, saying<"Let me in? Damn you! Let me in!"

When the door opened, a woman stood there, her body was covered in insect bites, it seemed as though she was attacked by insects. She looked mortified, her skin was as white as the bone is. Her eyes were huge. She held the most prowess in combat. Her position was supposed to be that last watch.

"Where were the others?" Jab asked.

"I don't know," she said. "I was attacked."

"Who attacked you?" Vende asked.

"I have no idea," she said,"But I do not think, that he was alive."

"What do you mean?" Jolly asked he was unmeasured of that.

"well, I hit him, and his skin burst what came out of him was insects and larvae of them. There also was a stench that filled the air when I broke his skin."

"What do you mean?" Jolly asked confused by what he had heard.

"Well, take a look at what I found, when I killed him," she said

She led us back to the area where she found the man, who attacked her. There was nothing that remained of him, the body was not there, just the armor that he was wearing was there. The breastplate, the mail skirting, his helm. and his weapons. That made no sense unless one was to have experienced what Mira had attacked as well. The stench was disgusting, it was as if the being became decayed.

"I don't know?"

"Check that section of the woods, where he should be?" Tad suggested as he looked at the area where he had been. There should have been a volley of arrows coming their way as he looked in that diction. But there were no arrows in flight.

Jolly began to advance

He found Calca standing there with a crossbow bolt in his chest, one hold holding the bowstring taunt and the bow to hold in the position to shot an arrow. He did not know or understand what had happened here. Yet he was looking at his best archer, who had been slain, by an archer or archers. It was not possible, that this had happened.

The fetching of the arrows was unlike any he had ever seen before. He looked to see where the bowman was, seeing nothing there. He looked at where the archer had to have stood. There was nothing there to betray what he knew was impossible. There had to be an explanation for this but what.

He knew his eyes did not betray him, yet they told him nothing.

The others in the camp died, the only thing he was to find was perhaps weapons that their enemy had carried with them, It defied common sense. He found a surcoat of the enemy as none of his people wore a surcoat of this fashion.

Where Salin had been was a body that crumbled into nothingness as he looked at it. The armor was still there, where she had slain him.


Chapter 7

Mira walked into a tavern to try and make some sense of this. The tavern was busy there were people everywhere. She needed some time to herself to figure this out. A waitress walked over and brought a tankard of ale for her to drink, she graciously accepted it. The waitress looked at her and smiled curtly as she put down a sovereign for the cup of ale. The waitress walked over to another table and conducted her business as if it was any other day.

Her community was destroyed by the knights, whom she and her people had no quarrel with. She had never seen these knights before she was frustrated that Caleas did not believe her. What did he need her to be dead? For him to believe her. From what she understood, the skulls on the doors meant something, just what she did not know nor could she fathom a guess.

A few eyes stayed on her, they did not waver from her. She looked at them wondered what she should say to them to cause them to not look at her. A few of these people she recognized from entering the house where the duke waited to hear of the problems of his people. They had seen her there. That might explain why they were looking at her. She took off her cloak to show them her breasts, maybe that would cause them to look away. It only caused them to look more at her.

Quite a few heads turned to face her, as she did this. She saw someone who was most appetizing to the eye, from what she saw she took him to be a bard. In his hands held a lyre, he was strumming it. The melody was faint and yet appealing. He was looking at a buxom girl who at the moment was about to bite into an apple. He plucked it from her hands as if it was an errant feather. She bit into air, where the apple should have been. He laughed at her reaction.

She glared at him, he stepped aside as his teeth tore a rent in the apple. Said,” Mine. ”

The woman got to her feet and strode towards him, in an instance there was a dagger in his hand its blade rested on her throat. He said, “Be gone. I have had enough of this. ”

I am not dead, why did he not take me at my word? What should I have done? She looked about the tavern and spied a bard. The bard looked at her, he smiled, maybe he liked what he saw? She smiled faintly back.

The bard looked at her, knowing she was not a noble, as no noble would dare look like that in the eyes of the populace. She had to be a peon as he himself was. His cloak was brown, on his waist was a purse, it looked full. He had caught the eye of a blonde woman here eyes were engaged on him, they did not waver. She looked to be a member of the upper crust, but nowhere like the nobles in the throne room, where she had been yesterday

Maruieast gave her, some coins with which to dress in. The clothing she chose were what she was comfortable in. Gaining a skirt of leather, boots, and a tunic. She was also able to gain enough coins for her to have coins enough for a bath. She brushed her hair out of the leaves and grass that is there. Her face still had the dirt which had coated it when she ran from the community that she lived in.

The bard stopped beside her, he looked at her. His hair was long and black as the night, his face was shallow, there were recesses in his cheeks. His skin was bronze, and his form was muscular, eyes were brown as the cloak he wore. He brought his hand to touch her chin and to lift it into his eyes so, he could look at her. Said,“I am Dannicka,”

She then gained enough encouragement to talk to him did not know what to say, “I am Mira, I have never been here before. ”

Dannicka looked as though struck, drawing himself away from her a bit, he said, “I have heard of a Mira is that you?”

“I suppose so, what did you hear?”

“Cal fell by the knight of darkness. There is something that they had done to cause them a great deal of harm from the knights. ” Dannicka said.

“Where did you hear that?”

“From the throne room of Caleas that is where the story had come from. ” He declared, as he drew away from her.

“I need to speak to someone, who knows about these knights. There has to be a way to stop them, but what?”

“I do not know, enough to speak of them or their curse. Why they walk again?” Dannicka warned.

“Where could I find something about them?”

“Do you know, how to read?”

“What is this word read?”

“Words that are written down on paper, is what reading is to know this?” Dannicka said.

“I have no idea,”

“Let me take you to where you can learn, what you know about these knights?” Dannicka said.

He took her by the hand and lead her into a building, where there is an arc over the door frame. The building was made of stonework, they walked into the building, there were scones from which hung torches, there were small boxes that held tubes of paper. There was also strange from of objects that had paper inside of them.

Dannicka asked,” We are seeking anything about the knights of darkness, that you have?”

A short man looked them both he grew pale upon hearing what they were seeking to .Dannicka knew of others who had spoken of them. And even they seemed afraid of talking about them. He did not understand what everyone had done that. Why were they so scared? Dannicka knew of no one truly dreamed to speak of them.

Vende and the others returned to the kingdom, the lot of them seemed scared no petrified about speaking of what they had seen. Salin was the only one who could speak of this matter. Even the bravest of them besides Salin were unable to speak of it.

Salin walked into a tavern to take a drink, and to fill her gut. She saw the girl, that had caused all the trouble there. She had walked off with a bard whose music she enjoyed. She got up and followed them outside of the tavern. Noticed that they would want to walk to where the scribes went. She herself knew a little how to read the documents that were there.

Dannicka drew away from the clerk he did not know how he would be able to find out what they were seeking. He felt that there should be a tome about it somewhere in here. However, he did not know where to find the tome or scroll.

Mica said,” The doors of the houses had skulls painted in blood on them. ”

Dannicka asked, “Doors with skulls painted on them?”

“The clerk turned even more pale, said,” I see?”

Does this help you to find this?” Dannicka asks.

“It allows me, to be able to find out what you need to know,”

He walks into the area where the strange flat surfaces were with paper between them. Draws out something from one of these shelves. It seems as though there is an answer to this matter. The clerk asked, “Can you read?”

“A little,” Dannicka says.

Salin walks into the building, sees them both standing there waiting for something to be brought to them. She approaches them to try and find out why they are here. There has to answer to this matter, but what?

The clerk returns to hand them two books. Dannicka looks at it, opened it up and looked at the page, found that he was unable to read this book. He did not know, what the answer that was there was. He had looked at the book and the other. There were strange things there, that he could not make heads nor tails of.

“What you can not read this,” the clerk said in a condescending voice.

“Dannicka what are you doing here?” Salin asked as she looked at him.

“Trying to find out what she faced in Cala?” Dannicka supplied.

“I saw them too,” she said.

Mira looked at her, she seemed ill at ease with her being here. What was this girl to either of them? Dannicka spun around to look at her, he was frightened of her being here. There had to be an answer to this, but what. Dannicka said,”Salin, this is Mica. ”

“What do you know of this matter?”

“I was there, I saw what attacked them. Survived,” Salin said as she brought here fists to her hips to thrust her breasts out to suggest she was confident in what she was doing. She could not shake what she had seen there.

“Really,” Mira said.

There had been an answer, that made Dannicka nervous about their talking about this manner.

“Can I look in the books, you have got for them,” Salin said, looking at the clerk who had just grabbed the books to put them back to where they should go. Now, he looked at her and recognized her as a woman who spent the majority of the time aside from fighting with the other knights here. At least she knew how to read, but these books he figured she would not have to much a problem with these books.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes,”

She picked up the books, opened the books and could not believe what she was looking at it involved a paladin who was on a crusade in this region. He had been unable to do this. There was something there that had destroyed them. The force that was there, from what he understood, or tried to understand. The people here had made a pact with a devil.

This devil had allowed the plague to travel here, it killed those who did not make the pact with him.

Mira looked at the girl, she looked at her and felt some remorse in doing this, Maybe what she had said is true. She too saw them. Mira did not know for sure if she did or not. There should have been a lot more of them here, from there.

Her mannerisms were similar to her own. Salin’s hand lingered near the dagger on her hip or the mace. She did not look directly at the book, she was watching them. There had to be an explanation for this, but what.

Mira asked, “who did she face?”

Salin answered, “Where?”

“In Essa,” Mica said.

“Knight who was upon the ground, he stepped into my view, I tried to destroy him.

“Did you see a knight whose face was in flames. He used a bastard sword to fight me. He nearly killed me. He let me live. I don’t know why?”

“I saw him, too. He came after me, upon slaying another knight. The being I slew turned to air. His skeleton and skin dissolved. The only thing that remained was his armor and weapons. I brought hi head to show the others inside the house. Where they were hiding. ”

“That does not make sense,” Dannicka said he looked at us both as if we had had our minds addled. He looked at us, both. trying to figure this out, none of it made any sense to him nor us.

“Where are the others that were left alive,’ Vende is I think Seeing Caleas. To try and explain what has happened there. I have similar armor from them. like the type, you have brought here. ”Salin said.

The other two?”

“I don’t have a clue,’" she said.

Tab walked into the library he looked at us, he gulped and advanced towards them. He knew he had to talk to Salin, to see what she could offer to tell him. He was frightened of what had happened to the party there. He was unable to come up with a reason, that Sim lived, where as the majority of the party had died in the town.

Tab walked over to her, dropped his gauntlet hand on her shoulder. She had been taken by surprise, she stepped backward, grabbed his hand and threw him over her shoulder into the nearest wall. By the time he had righted himself, she had drawn her dagger and the Warhammer in her opposing hand. Glared at him as he looked at her. Said,” Damn. ”

“This is Tab, sorry about that?”

Tab looked at the three of them, watched as she slowly moved the dagger and war hammer from where they had come. Tab smiled carefully not to ruffle her feathers or nerves for that matter. Said,” You are sorry? Look what you did to me?”

“Why did you have to come and do this for?”Mira asked as she reached for a dagger with which to protect herself from this man. , he figured he should have known better than this. Tab smiled harmlessly at them, he shook his head, to try and clear it from what she had done to him.

Tab said as he had reached out for Mira’s hand. Mira shook it, as he asked,” Any idea what we had come in contact with there. ”

“The crusaders, is who we faced?”

“Really who did these crusaders think we were?” Tad asked as he rubbed beneath his cleanly shaved chin in deep contemplation, Salin began to feel more ill at ease, with what he had done moments beforehand.

The clerk had rushed off t get someone probably with a lot more authority than himself to try and maintain some order here. During the ensuing quiet and rest bit, the arrived with a couple of the guards for the interior of the duchy. Four of them approached watching the three people standing there with a great deal of concern in their eyes. This was until they recognized who two of them were. They took their hands off of their weapons, then they smiled at them, and asked,” Who is this woman?”

“I am Mica,” I said.

“Is everything in order Salin,” the biggest guard said.

“Yes, now that the ruffian has been put in his place,” she quipped.

\Tab glared at her, “What do you mean ruffian, all I did was. . . . ”

“Do you want to be introduced to the wall again,” she asked as she laughed at him as he brought his arms across his chest looked at the ground, He seemed displeased of this matter. I am no ruffian, what did I do. Nothing he felt like screaming to the gods. He prayed they would listen to him as he did this, and knew that they would do nothing for him.

“Easy, Tab. You that they know you were you only joking,” Mira asked trying to soften the blow on his ego, there was a large smile on her face.

Tab said,” You remember Vende and the dreams he had on this way back here. They seemed so real to him. He could not stop looking over his shoulders to see if what he had dreamt had followed him here. He still is as nervous only more so now. ”

“How can that be possible? He jumped off his horse and ran quite sways before he had settled down enough to admit, he was lost. We had to find him,” Salin laughed as she said this.

The clerk looked at them, shaking his finger to admonish them from doing this here. He said,” This is a place to read not to cavort. If you wish to do that than leave this place. Go. ”

“We are sorry for the disturbance; we have caused here,”Salin said as she walked towards him, ran her fingers across the purse she had tethered to her waist. Feeling the weight of it and decided when she had enough coins in her purse to get them out of here. Without causing a further uproar from him. She opened her purse and put down several coins on the table before the clerk.

The clerk eyed the coins, opened his mouth to say something.

She put her hand to her face with her forefinger up and the others down she blew on them. Looked at him, he nodded in agreement. She drew up the books, he had provided, she left with them, and gave him the coins. He saw her pick up the books and leave with them. He stood there looking at the coins, not her as though he was mesmerized at the sight of those coins.

“What a minute, we are not supposed to take those books out of here, ” Tab said, as Salin held him in his place, Tab was looking over his shoulder to watch the clerk, who now was caressing the coins as if they were the love of his life.

“He won’t notice, I tell you. He’ll forget all about us being there?” Salin said as he put the coins into his pocket. He looked at where he was looking before they had come in.

“That is one devil of a spell you cast on him?” Tab said as he led the lot of us to where the other two survivors should be. It was a tavern called the screaming dragon. The place stank of tobacco and booze. Salin saw Jolly standing there talking to someone who was looking at Vende as if he had been very offensive to her. She turned around and left the room in tears.

“Careful, with what you say here,” Salin cautioned as she shot Vende a look that said many a thing, but the most likely was watch your tongue.
© Copyright 2019 Albert Richard (allen-richard at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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