Bandit Queen: Six

Hearing the bandit’s gruff voice, Sabit put her hand to her shoulder—and was reminded of dropping her iron-tipped spear on the distant shore when she dashed for the serpent. Sabit carried no other weapon—her hands were sore and empty. If only she had kept hold of the snake!

She slid out from under the cart, noting a strand of rope that had come loose from one of the bundles. A bag of thick cloth lay open in the back of the cart, exposing its load of bronze adze-heads to Sabit’s gaze. She cradled one of the curved lengths of sharpened metal in her hand, concealing it behind her brown forearm. Slowly, Sabit raised herself to her full height.

“There’s the savior of my booty!” cried the bandit king. His bald head barely reached Sabit’s chin. His body was thick with muscle and fat, nearly bursting from a yellow silk loincloth that served as his only garment. Gold and silver of every sort hung from his ears, nose, and neck—booty seized from other passers-by, no doubt. Sabit judged his skin to be a deep tan, based on the slivers of it visible between the twining, abstract tattoos that covered him from scalp to toe.

“I have saved the life of one ass today,” Sabit said, stepping in front of the merchant’s donkey. “Turn and walk away, that we might save another.”

The bandit king laughed, addressing his followers over his shoulder, “This one has wit as well as beauty, boys. She’ll make a fine—”

With the speed of a striking snake, Sabit swung the adze-head for his neck. Her form was flawless: feet set solid, hips pivoting smoothly, arm swinging wide and strong, grip loose but accurate. For an instant, the short blade whistled through the humid air. Then, it struck the bandit king’s throat.

With a loud clang, the adze-head glanced off his tattooed skin as though striking stone. It spiralled out of Sabit’s grasp and into the raging river below. The shock shot from Sabit’s hand up to her shoulder, jolts of pain engulfing her arm.

The bandit king looked at Sabit and smiled a gap-toothed grin.



Wayfarings of Sabit: Bandit Queen is copyright (c) 2017 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters are posted on Monday and Thursday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon,, or at