Today dear friends and readers, I thought I’d share a little bit of a work in progress. It’s just a little scene from a much larger picture, but it’s nice and vivid. Enjoy!
A jolt of ice shivered down his back. His instincts told him he should go; his curiosity, and his orders, willed him where he was. Lying face down across a flat rock overlooking a green hillside.
His quarry was easy to spot; a figure in black armor moving slowly across an emerald backdrop. The halberd it easily carried in one hand gleamed in the sun.
As he, or she, disappeared around the hill, Edwylde moved carefully off the rock, stalking his prey. Near the top of the hillock, he fell again onto his stomach and crawled up to the crest.
Peering over the hill, flat greenlands spread out before him, turning to yellow in the distance; probably a farmer’s ripe cornfield.
Edwylde held his breath. There was no sign of the figure in dark armor. The stark fields were bare of any movement at all.
Raising his head ever so slightly, the ranger cast his gaze across the landscape. Nothing. There was no sign of the black intruder anywhere.
Suddenly his instincts lit up again, telling him to move sideways. Ed listened this time, saving his life.
The bladed axe of the halberd surely would have cut him in two had he not moved at that exact second. On his feet the next, Edwylde barely had time to draw his sword before another blow came slicing downward.
His opponent moved incredibly fast for someone in such a heavy outfit. The dark figure moved as though he wearing nothing at all.
The black knight’s weapon whistled in the air like nothing Edwylde had ever heard, it almost seemed to hum. His foe’s attacks came fast, almost too fast for Ed to dodge, much less block. For the moment, all he could do was retreat.
At last, his opponent swung wild, too wild, the attack far overreaching and leaving the dark figure vulnerable. Ed swung with all his might at black warrior’s midsection.
He might as well have been hitting a stone wall.
Edwylde’s blade bounced off the dark knight’s armor, leaving not so much as a scratch. The sword flew from his hand from the vibrations, landing too far away for Ed to have any hope of getting it back.
His foe was upon him again, forcing Edwylde to retreat further. With no weapon and no way of getting another, Ed made the only sensible choice. Run. At least he was sure he could outrun a man(or woman) outfitted in solid plate-mail.
Or so he thought.
Edwylde broke out into a solid run. He was fast as the wind in his light green leather, his feet as sure and quick in his tall-boots as any rabbit. After thirty or forty yards, Ed looked back, and ducked just in time to keep his head on his shoulders.
The dark knight was right behind him.
Ed heard the halberd whirl again, slicing the wind where he’d been an instant earlier. The young ranger’s courage began to wane. If he couldn’t outrun this foe…
Then perhaps he could hide. Hope rose again in the young man’s breast. A small copse of trees appeared ahead. If he could make it that far, he might have a chance. Surely this tin can couldn’t climb in that outfit.
Ed never made the mistake of looking back again; he could hear the dark knight’s footsteps right behind him.
The trees came closer. Only twenty more yards.
Ten yards ahead.
Suddenly Ed was running between the trees, looking for the biggest and tallest. He found it soon, breaking suddenly to his right. As if sensing what the young man was going to do, the black knight stayed right behind him, not missing a step.
Edwylde jumped just as the halberd swung again. He’d have screamed had he seen just how close he came to losing his foot. Like a cat, Ed shot up the tree in seconds, at last leaving his opponent behind.
Still, he didn’t look down until he was good thirty or so feet up.
Ed smiled as he saw the black knight pacing beneath him. My turn.
Edwylde’s bow was suddenly in his hand, arrow nocked and ready. The knight stopped, and Ed shot. His eyes had never gone wider.
The arrow merely bounced off the knight’s armor. Impossible. He’d put an arrow through three boards with that bow, and no telling how many suits of armor. Even the best steel-plates hadn’t stood up to his weapon.
Ed fired again, and again. Each arrow hit the mark exactly, and should have stuck inside the black warrior’s head. Instead they simply bounced off, his third arrow actually shattering into a thousand shards of wood. His bravery again began to fade. Options were narrower now.
Suddenly things got worse.
The tree shook mightily, as though a giant had kicked it. Ed looked down to see the dark knight swing his halberd into the trunk, like a black-mailed lumberjack.
The axe-head of the halberd bit hard into the tree. Whomever was in that mail had to be incredibly strong. The dark figure jerked his weapon out, pulled back, and swung again. The tree shook like an earthquake; Ed nearly lost his balance.
The nimble ranger climbed higher as the black knight swung again. He couldn’t be sure, but he thought he saw more black figures approaching from the hills.
Out of time and out of options, Edwylde took a deep breath, said a silent prayer, and jumped.
Be sure to read Tales of Aeonith
for a great new story every day.
See you in the Future,
J S Eaton