by Anon Rafael
a story of Revenge
|The boy ran. With each step he could feel the pounding in his ears; the drum beat of his heart racing. With each in drawn breath of the icy winter air he could feel his lungs burn. As the wilderness of the northern forest blurred past his vision he could see the darkness racing along with him, trying to catch him. Yet he would not let it. The sounds of pursuit hounded him from that darkness, he could hear the baying of hounds and the rattle of metal, the distant thunder of hoofs. He ran faster. After what seemed an eternity of flight, his legs began to grow numb and each painful step was automatic.
Suddenly his heedless rush thru the trees hit a root jutting from the forest floor, the boy saw the earth rise up to meet him. He slammed to the ground his head striking a rock. There were sparks and searing pain. He was strong, stronger than he realized, he rose shakily to his feet, all he knew was that he had to escape. But it was too late, a short distance beyond him his assailants emerged from the shadow of the woods. Fierce looking men on horseback, clad in black armor wielding spears and swords.
One of them shouted, "There he is, Kill him!"
Along with the riders were a dozen gray hounds who sped past the riders their hungry blood shot eyes and jaws snapping. The boy stumbled backwards, tripping over another branch, he fell backwards down the steep hillside.
Crashing thru the brush he rolled a great distance before falling into a pocket of ferns. Cut and bruised he looked up. Staring at him were two bear cubs. One of them startled began to whine and cry out. A massive shadow fell over him. The boy slowly turned around, directly behind him was the mother of the cubs, a cave bear. Three times bigger than a horse, three thousand pounds of muscle and fur she stared at him with rage in her dark eyes. She growled a deep rumble of anger. She began to lift her paw to swipe at the intruder thinking that the boy was threatening her cubs, just then several gray hounds leapt over a fallen tree.
The mother bear spun as the hounds attacked. Their jaws snapping at her as they tried to get to their quarry. With a swing of her claws the cave bear killed two of the hounds hurling their broken bodies thru the air. The remaining dogs circled their jaws snapping. From the forest the armored riders emerged. The forward rider pulled up short. Surprise looking up in shock as the bear spun around biting down to take his head from his shoulders. There were shouts of outrage from the riders. They leveled their spears taking aim to throw.
Before they knew it the mother cave bear was upon them, massive claws shredding thru armor and powerful jaws snapping thru bones. The two bear cubs turned fleeing deeper into the ferns and dense underbrush. Glancing back at the slaughter that was occurring as their mother tore thru both horses and riders, the boy had a brief moment to consider then with out a second thought followed the bear cubs to their den. A large cave in the side of the hill, the roots of large dead tree hanging down over it made the entrance almost impossible to see.
The boy crawled inside. The cubs sensing that no danger from him gathered around him. One of the cubs shivered with fear. Wrapping his arms around the cubs neck and shoulders the boy whispered comforting words, in the distance the sound of battle continued. For how long the boy didn't know, exhausted beyond his strength the boy ended up passing out from the pain. He woke to the soft tongue of one of the cubs liking him in the face. Outside the cave the sun had grown dim with the coming of dusk, and everything was silent.
Emerging into the fading light the boy, followed by the two cubs, tracked his way back. There was a deathly silence over the forest. As they came to the glade where the battle had occurred the boy found himself reeling back. Body parts of both men and horses lay spread along the forest floor, pools of blood had begun to soak into the earth. In the center of the massacre the large brown form of the mother bear lay sprawled, dozens of spear shafts protruded from her, countless slashes crossing her hide.
Tentatively the boy approached. A few steps away, the beast shifted letting out a low growl. She tilted her head gazing at the boy watching as her two cubs came up along side him, both letting out whimpers. Their mother sighed her eyes closing forever. The cubs knowing that their mother was dead whimpered until the boy knelt down with them wrapping his arms around them.
The day passed, and night arrived. The moon rose blood red into the night sky. Aedian and the two cubs had retreated back into the cave and they sat huddled together to keep warm. The night crept in with long dark shadows and howling wind. Huddled together the boy and the bear cubs kept the cold at bay.