When I saw the gypsies moving out for battle, my thoughts instinctively went to Nolan. I turned, searching for him among the flurry of wings, and saw him jogging behind the mass, also searching for me. Our eyes met and, despite our anger towards one another, we made our silent oaths to watch each others’ backs. I didn’t have much of a choice–he was the only being I could actually see–but nonetheless, our loyalty outweighed our dispute.
Adjusting my armour where it had twisted out of place, I rolled my shoulders, tested my sword in its sheath, and climbed up into the saddle. Faith saw the movement, felt the urgency, and understood what it meant, and she was dancing on the spot with anticipation. I looked again for Nolan and, seeing we were both ready, let Faith slip into a gallop after the fast-moving throng of gypsies. Nolan ran with the wind parallel to us, keeping pace easily and evenly. We plunged into the forest, the river at our backs, and our army thundered through the trees with tremendous might. I had no clue where the bearskins were hiding out but trusted the gypsies’ instincts. When such a terrible foe was in their territory, they made sure to know exactly where the threat lay.
Faith followed the colourful birds unfailingly, weaving nimbly through the trees and hopping over obstacles in her path, and I stood crouched in the stirrups to gain better height and scout out our route. I was focussed more on an upcoming ditch than the forest around me when the first garbled howl erupted from the shadows. Startled by the chilling sound, I looked behind me for the source of the sound and saw a pair of bearskins loping after us, tongues hanging from their jaws and a hungry glint in their beady eyes. They bore the mangled pelts of bears and I couldn’t help but notice their twisted claws. A set of those in Faith’s flank would be bad news. I whistled lowly, sending Nolan a warning on the wind, and urged Faith to go a little faster.
The more I looked around, the more bearskins I saw coming out after our warband. We were gathering them, flushing them out from beneath the trees so we could fight them all at once, drive the whole colony away. My heart started beating a little faster as I saw them pouring out. Some were running ahead of Faith and me–if they turned and saw us, we’d be hard-pressed to avoid them. But Faith galloped on bravely, keeping alert and wary of the bearskins slowly surrounding us. I could see the gypsies pulling to a stop ahead of us, flapping in a vortex amongst the trees with bearskins flooding in around them, and as Faith neared the flock, I drew my sword.It was time for action.
I glanced at Nolan one last time before riding into the battle. He was set and determined, eyes locked on the impending fight, his feathers wrapped around him and the wind at his back. Praying briefly that he would be safe, I returned my gaze to front and centre as Faith plunged into the writhing mass of bearskins and gypsies.
Trained for combat, Faith was light on her feet, avoiding swiping claws and snapping teeth while dealing her own damage with vicious kicks and bites. From her back, I swung at any bearskins that came close enough for me to reach. They were horrible to fight. They were creatures full of rage and ruthlessness, not fighting with any logic or sense of purpose, but instead writhing and clawing and snapping at any flesh around them. They were like cyclones of malicious energy. And when I managed to get a stab in, to pierce their thick, mangy hides, they screamed with unearthly pitch but didn’t seem to slow down despite the injury. It only made them angrier.
Faith was used to intense battles, but this was too much for even her steady nerves. She was tense and anxious under the saddle, fighting very hard against the urge to flee, and I was having to expend more and more energy in keeping my seat on her unstable back. Blood pumping with fear and adrenaline, I tried to control her, to guide her out of danger. It struck me then that we were feeding off each other’s fear, and that the bearskins in turn were getting hungrier and hungrier, sensing that very same fear. We were building a storm around us and as I began to see the enormity of it, I felt horror build inside me.
And with that horror built anger.
It swelled hot and large within me, and I dug the edge of my blade deep into the shoulder of a bearskin, snarling at it like I was a bear myself. It twisted, furious, and swiped its ugly claws at me. It missed my flesh but didn’t miss Faith’s–catching her on the flank, it ripped deep gashes in her beautiful pelt that spurted hot blood. I saw the cruel act and burned ever hotter. Seeing only red, I struck again at the bearskin, managing to kill it, but that had been the last straw for Faith.
Neighing with a high, terrified note, she reared desperately before plunging back towards the earth and kicking out, spinning and lurching in a panic-driven frenzy. I clung to her mane as my bubbling anger fought with my desire to help her, to comfort her. Finding it too hard to remain on her back, I slipped out of the saddle. I staggered slightly as I hit the ground, grabbed uselessly at her reins, but she was too worked up to be calmed.
Stumbling back from my mad, dangerous horse, I bumped into none other than Nolan. I turned to face him, my wrathful gaze meeting his tear-stained one, and the bearskins around us howled with a thirst for blood.
Paaaaaaaaaah. More LotSF. I annoy myself, with how slow I am at updating. But at least I do. At least I’ve not given up on it. It bothers me, because I do really want to finish it, but I simply can’t get myself to sit down and write it. I shall try my best to remedy that.
Mm. I’ve been very frustrated lately. With myself, I think, although I don’t know the precise reason why. It’s hurting my blogging though :/ I don’t feel like writing a post when I feel this way, and that’s just making me even more frustrated. What a vicious cycle, hm?
And it doesn’t help that my browser crashed while I was trying to upload the picture for this post. Thankfully I didn’t lose anything, but having to go through my entire text to manually add paragraph breaks is just another frustration I didn’t really want.
Aanyways, my bed is beckoning and I shouldn’t argue with it. Have a good night everyone.
Your biggest frustration right now?
May you never lost sight of your reason, no matter what frustrations fall upon you.