Running late for posting a blog entry today. No particular reason for being late. I'm feeling lazy and moving slowly for what seems like everything I'm trying to do. It's not a bad way to deal with a Saturday.
I hope you're also getting the chance to have the day you wanted to today. (Even better if it's a day where your brain, body, and situation are allowing you to get everything done – as much or as little – that you wanted to.) I'm not getting nearly enough done. If you are, please consider this as me cheering for you :D
There were storm warnings this past week, our first of the winter season. So far there hasn't been much of anything resembling a winter storm at my house, but my achy joints are telling me the weather warnings weren't lying. My hubby got the vehicle tires changed over to winters, and we bought new snow boots for the kids as their feet have grown out of last year's boots. Getting these activities done appears to have held off the winter weather for a day or two lol.
I haven't gotten any new writing done. I'm focused on editing at the moment, and am now really getting excited to share Daion Echoes through Transglass with you. Still a few more weeks of work to do on it, but it's exhilarating to feel this close to finished again. Doesn't seem to matter if it's the first novel or, in this case, the eighth, the excitement of knowing my story is almost ready to share is the same. I do love having this "Author" gig as part of my regular work.
Side note: writing books pays as well as being a stay-at-home parent, so loving it is quite important. At least for me. :)
Hope you're staying safe and well this weekend!
7. Crossing Camp
There had been forty guards when Tor started following the wagon. Ten were dead on the road, and the trio had circled the camp once already to pick off anyone who wasn’t inside the fire’s light. Some others had run away. Now there were twenty-three guards remaining, and all the prisoners in the wagon.
“The lynch walked the known world! In every place that people resided, he used his dark magic and twisted an animal into a monster to torment and torture the innocent! As they battled the cursed beasts, the lynch stole their riches and crops to feed his never-filled greed and hunger!”
The Leshnatti woman in the wagon who’d been muttering Cautionary Tales from her home country for most of the past month of being locked in the cage was now yelling the stories. Her tone had taken on a pitch leaving no doubt she was so far into her own delusions that she believed the fiction and had stopped understanding the tales were only fanciful creations to support the morals at the ends. Between her yelling about monsters, the already missing guards, and the absolute fear hanging on each surviving member of the guard troop that Tor was gone because scouts were hunting them, Justin assumed the remainder of the fight would be a mop-up. He’d never had a problem with using any advantage, and head-games were an advantage they needed with the eight-to-one odds currently against them.
“One beast walked upright like a man and was burdened by no less than six arms! Porcupine quills covered each arm, and could be thrown as knives, and the head of a hound sat upon its hideous shoulders!”
Justin smirked as he threw two of the knives he’d collected into the tight knot of guards in the middle of the camp. He hit both targets he was aiming for, satisfying his personal scores against the decision makers for first Lark – for being put in chains at his advanced age – and then for Rourke – for dying because of a broken leg that could’ve been easily set and plastered by any doctor. The one who’d ordered Lark put in chains died on his feet, toppling like a felled tree into the churned-up snow. The one who’d ordered Rourke to walk or die tried to pull out the knife. The blade snapped in the hurried motion, leaving half its length embedded, and the guard stared at the hilt and broken blade in his hand as he fell.
“Fengus deserved that,” Justin rasped. The few closest guards heard the muttering and looked in their direction.
Tor hissed out a reprimanding breath at their position being given away. Justin watched him disappear through the trees, Tam in tow, and waited exactly where about a third of the remaining guards were edging closer to. He crouched low to keep under the squinting stares as the guards tried to see into the dark after so much time between the fires, the running timer in the back of his mind telling him they were getting short on keeping their lead ahead of Tor’s friend.
On a whim, he set aside his weapons and scooped up a handful of snow. The woman in the cart was getting close to the part where poisonous spit got hurled out of some bird-monster’s beak at a bunch of villagers. He threw the handful so it was a scattered spray of snow just as she screamed like the bird-monster in the story. Half of the group dropped, wailing as if they’d been hit with hot oil. Justin grabbed his weapons and lunged out of the tree line into the edges of the fire’s light. He kept a stance that was low enough he would look like he was on all fours. The panicked guards barely fought as he swept in among them.
Tor leapt into view from above, dropping off the top of the cage like a hawk into the thickest side of the knot of guards that hadn’t approached the tree line. Tam summersaulted out of the trees into the group that Tor was fighting, slashing out from her knees as her brother’s blades clashed above her head. The ringing steel collisions ended within a minute, and Tor and Justin blinked at each other across the sudden silence. Tor was the first to scan for his sister and then look up at the wagon to watch the Leshnatti woman slouch against the bars of the cage. Tam’s head and shoulders appeared as she pulled her arm back and drew her sword out of the Leshnatti woman. She glanced over at where Justin was standing as she cleaned the blade with a handful of snow.
“Open the cage and give him the pick,” she ordered Justin, nodding up at one of the prisoners. “He’s a lock maker,” she added.
Justin first grabbed the few items that he knew would complete his kit, then collected enough rations and blankets for the three them to get to the mine – possibly a few days further, if Tor’s estimate of how long it should take could be trusted – and then did as she’d ordered and opened the cage. The lock maker hesitated to take the pick when Justin held it out to him. Tor appeared beside him and took the pick, holding it out to the lock maker.
“Looks like I’m the only one stone headed enough to trust you,” the scout said, the smile on his face impossible to see behind the mask but very easy to hear. The lock maker took the pick and immediately set to work freeing himself. Tor’s mask turned to look up at Justin. “Come on, we need to get moving.”
“Wait, Tam! Take Ree!” the mother in the cart called after them as they started walking in the direction the wagon had been going, Justin going first to begin adjusting his eyes to the dark after spending time near the fires while collecting supplies.
“We’re going through the valley,” Tam called over her shoulder, not turning or slowing. Justin looked back and saw the mother stop trying to convince her young daughter to climb down and instead pull the little girl into a tight hug. He stopped walking and looked at the people in the wagon, all of whom were now turning away from Tor and Tam to start figuring out another route away from the camp.
“They don’t know about the army. We need to keep moving,” Tor said as he walked past, barely loud enough for Justin to hear. Justin turned away from the wagon to watch Tor’s back; the scout’s strides were quick and even. Tam passed him without saying anything. Just where were they leading him that the rest of the prisoners wouldn’t even consider this direction to escape?
A weekly blog updating on Saturdays with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and that doles out my short stories and novellas in bite-sized parts for everyone to read for free!