Thursday, 23 April 2015

The Hunt

The sword cut through the air in an effortless half-moon crescent gleaming white in the morning sunlight before glancing off the throat of the attacking warrior and sliding away leaving a deep slash. As the man fell to the floor grasping at the spraying wound Commander Lexa regathered her attack stance centring her energies and balance. She must live in her training or perish and in her mind's eye there was nothing but the next target as he too rushed towards her wielding a two handed axe swinging it back over his right shoulder as he prepared to deliver her a fatal blow.

 With a calm side step she allowed the man to continue his charge and swing with the axe head cleaving the air in which she had been standing with force. Lexa's blade slashed across the back of the man's knees cutting sinew and flesh and leaving him laying on the floor unable to stand. The whole move had taken seconds. 


Lexa's eyes darted along the tree line to where Indra stood surrounded by fallen warriors, whether they were her's or Movar's she could not know.

"That was the last of them!"

Lexa widened her perception from her mental combat circle and glanced around the clearing in front of her. The golden brown leaf littered ground was covered with thirty to forty dead and dying warriors and sprayed by their blood. Behind her on the ridge of the tree line she could see her four bowmen laying flat, barely visible to the enemy. All that remained was Movar's encampment below.

The ramshackle collection of crude wooden huts formed a circle around the still smouldering remains of a cooking fire and she could make out a few bedrolls scattered on the floor.

Lexa lowered her blade so the tip hung inches above the ground seemingly disarmed but like a scorpion's tail ready to deliver death with one swift movement.

"Movar! Come out and face our justice! You have no more warriors left to hide behind!"

She doubted there would be a response, the coward lacked honour and had been betraying their cause to the Mountain Men and slaving other villages to the Reapers. It was only on freeing the prisoners from Mount Weather that his treachery had been revealed. 

The Mountain.

Her eyes darted up to the rocky edifice to her left which towered above the tree line to touch the clear blue sky.
"Will we ever be free of them?" She wondered. 

She had freed her people for now but how long before they needed fresh blood? How long before their Reapers were scouring the woods once again dragging women, children and wounded warriors deep into their fetid caverns below those rocks? How long before she would have to try another attack but this time without the Sky People.


She had betrayed their blonde leader, a girl a few years younger than herself yet so naive. She had tried to teach her, show her the realities of being a ruler, that tough decisions must be made and that your people must come first even over your own feelings and desires. Feelings were a weakness. She had tried to explain that to...

To Clarke...

The name resonated in her head again like a faint echo. Her nose filled with the scent of her hair and her lips twitched with the memory of the feel of Clarke's pressed against them.

She pushed the feelings aside, the leader of the Sky People was of no importance only Movar's encampment and the blade in her hand. She raised it into a combat stance and moved forward again, her eyes darting from window to door to open space searching for the traitor.

She deftly moved between a pair of wooden huts and stared into the clearing beyond, her senses straining for any hint of attack or approach but thee was nothing. Perhaps Movar had fled? 

Without taking her eyes off the clearing she raised her left fist to signal her warriors to advance and prepare to search house to house if the traitor would not come and fight. She contemplated taking up position at the Central camp fire but didn't want to make herself vulnerable.

Lexa's warrior's approached stealthily from behind the ridge and with a tight nod left and right they broke into small assault groups and headed towards the huts weapons ready. 

Indra was at her side with her sword drawn.
"Do you really think he is here still?" Her question was more of a challenge than query and Lexa met it with the slightest shake of her head.

"No, he will have bought time for his escape with the lives of his warriors. We will have to track him."

"He will not be easy to follow, he knows these woods as well as we do." Indra looked across the clearing to the tree line opposite.

"He hasn't gone into the woods." Lexa said calmly, her eyes burning. "He's gone underground" she lifted her sword and pointed at a cave entrance opposite that was mostly obscured by bracken. It would have been easily missed had the bracken not been parted by something or someone recently.

With an icy smile playing across her face Lexa advanced raising her sword.
"The hunt is on."

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